AHC: Boers win Second Boer War

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by John Fredrick Parker, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    With no PoDs prior to October of 1899, how can the Boer Republics have survived annexation by the British Empire for at least another decade?
     
  2. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    Wait for the British to come at them. If they manage to pull off even a few early victories the shock of those is going to be magnified over OTL as the British are not fighting to protect their own territory from attack. Even if the Boers are forced to guerrilla warfare the use of concentration camps and the deployment of a large number of troops to police the wire boundaries would be far more problematic for the British Government.

    Not merely that but the British liked their colonial wars cheap, defence of the Empire was a no expense spared affair but an invasion would be unlikely to be seen as worth deploying the British 1st Corps aka the Field Force. Given that the Boer Republics could potentially field as many as 40,000 men at a time between them it would be unlikely in fact that the British would assemble the margin of force required for an offensive victory.

    The Uitlander problem would not go away but surviving to 1909 and maybe a fair bit beyond is eminently possible.
     
  3. James Ricker Own your mistakes

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    The Boers would make nice with Germany , buying industrial goods and weapons from them and having visits from the High Seas Fleet.
    The extra trade with the Boers would help the German economy, more tax revenue means more money for military expenditures.
    Once the great war starts, the British Empire would have more troops stationed in to South Africa, leaving fewer troops for Europe.
    The first world war could end early.
     
  4. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    The Boer Republics are land locked, the HSF was not really designed for cruising anyway. The Boers would be unlikely to jeopardise much for the Kaiser who is German bloke of little concern to them in this scenario. Further but any garrisons are likely to be drawn from the Indian Army so the Germans are not going to see a big shortage of British troops in Europe or even much of a small one.
     
  5. IndefatigableRN From the Senior Dominion

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    Not sure the Boers have access to a port for the HSF to visit...

    Edit: beat me to it
     
  6. James Ricker Own your mistakes

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    My mistake
     
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  7. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    Well, strictly speaking the Indian Army has been promised that they won't be deployed outside of India/Asia, so insisiting that they garrison South Africa is going to require some negotiations if you don't want to generate animosity/backlash. However, given the presence of so many Indian expats (?) in Natal (Which would be your main area of concern from any offensive Boer threat; the Cape is more than protected) , I think they could pull it off. However, this leads to one big point: a lose in the 2nd Boer War (Or just not winning, I suppose) means the Union of South Africa is far less likely to form. This would mean Natal and the Cape retain seperate political insitutions, and the Cape is not subject to needing to represent the concerns of the Boer population inland or the more racist leadership in Natal. Given the less-belligerent attitudes towards blacks by the Cape, do we see an earlier enfranchisement of "Cape Coloreds" in domestic affairs?
     
  8. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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  9. Raferty Well-Known Member

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    The Uitlander issue wasn’t going away though. Kruger’s camp kept prevaricating on the issue of the franchise because they knew that electorally they’d lose in the near future and Transvaal would no longer be a Boer Republic.

    Now it is true that Kruger wanted a seaport (preferably in Natal) but that they were likely not going to try to force the issue unless they saw affairs as irreconcilable.

    The Orange Free State generally was less militaristic in the late 19th century than Transvaal was in terms of warring with native neighbors and acquiring territory. However, Steyn was a bit of an outlier in terms of OFS leadership and seemed to think the Cape Dutch would rise en masse, which didn’t happen.

    I don’t think a completely defensive Boer strategy was politically likely or would even be militarily effective as it would not use British unpreparedness as an asset. Now, quick attacks into Cape and Natal but no sieges might be effective.
     
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  10. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    Hm... interesting. I'll admit I wasen't aware of these, though I was always under the impression that the "agreement" that the Indian army would be kept at home was more of an informal promise. I suppose my interpretation of what I've read in the past has been wrong. Thanks for correcting me!
     
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  11. yulzari Well-Known Member

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    There were religious issues about Hindus crossing oceans but there were ceremonies that could remove the effects and it was a promise not to compel them to do so. However, they could, and did, volunteer to go and the Indian army was active in Suakin in Sudan in the 1880s. There were no such religious problems with Muslim soldiers. They key logistical issue was having separate food supplies and the British and Indian armies were well used to dealing with this matter (hence the later use of corned mutton in lieu of corned beef for example).
     
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  12. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    How would the Boer Republics holding out affect shorter term developments in Southern Africa, like the Bambatha Rebellion?
    Another thought - does everyone agree with this as a good PoD?
     
  13. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    I am not sure on the first point. A lot depends on the recruitment policies by the mining companies in the event of continued Boer independence. If the mines are still drawing workers from Natal then likely the causes of rebellion remain. Though one limiting factor may be fear of the Boers coming in should the British leave, that said I do not think it was the aim of Bambatha kaMancinza to remove the British so much as establish a bargaining position to remove the poll tax.

    On the second...well obviously it is brilliant but I may be somewhat biased :D
     
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  14. Barry Bull Donor

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    Given the small size of the Boer republics, any revenue generated by Boer-German trade is unlikely to make a difference in German military budget. The British Empire may also decided to increase its military expenditure as a counter-measure.

    The Brits did arm the locals too.
     
  15. James Ricker Own your mistakes

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    Stopping the Germans out side Paris in 1914 was a pretty close thing. Even the smallest butterflies could effect that.
     
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  16. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    Limitations on German army size had far more to do with a shortage of pre-war politically acceptable low level officers than lack of funds.
     
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  17. Barry Bull Donor

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    And 800 million Goldmark had been spent on the German Navy which poisoned relations with Britain, money that otherwise might well have been spent on expanding and moderning the army. Also, the social democrats in the Reichstag and their political partners often used the power to approve budget as bargaining tool, blocking proposal that increase army and navy budgets to horse-trade with the Chancellor.

    The Schliffen-Moltke Plan is flawed in many aspects, 1914 is not exactly "a pretty close thing."

    I quote p. 73 of War Planning 1914 by Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig:

     
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  18. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    A Major war in Europe or other reason for Britain to be distracted as there is no way that Britain loses to the Boer Republic once it gets its sh1t in order and learns...relearns how to fight in that region.
     
  19. John Fredrick Parker Donor

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    Oh, now this raises an interesting thought -- could the desire for unity in the face of the Boers lead the British controlled parts of South Africa (the Cape Colony, Natal, etc) to provide further civil rights to their non-white populations?

    Another thought - how would this affect the British South Africa Company’s rule in Rhodesia following the death of Cecil Rhodes? Even with their southern border secure, the company had difficulties with administration and turning (enough of) a profit over the next few years.
    Supposing the Boers had stayed on the defensive? AIR OTL, once they took the offensive, they were able to do very well on the battlefield for months, until the British Empire was able to send reinforcements; and I would think sending said reinforcements would prove politically difficult for the empire if they're not officially doing it to protect their existing colonies.
     
  20. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

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    Well if they are doing that to the point of not giving the British reason to mobilise against them then they are not winning the war as there is not one as such - at least not as far as the British are concerned anyway!