AHC: Central Powers USA

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Antonio the Komnenoi, Nov 26, 2018.

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Do you think the Entente could still win the War ?

  1. They could ! (For Historical Determinists)

    15 vote(s)
    8.0%
  2. Maybe ? It would be hard by they still got a shot

    45 vote(s)
    23.9%
  3. No, they were already almost collapsing irl before the USA joined and would stand no chance

    128 vote(s)
    68.1%
  1. Riain Well-Known Member

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    At Jutland Jellicoe achieved tactical perfection by crossing Sheer's T twice, and Scheer was no idiot. Crossing the T Is hard but not nearly mpossible for the skilled RN Admirals.
     
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  2. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    To cut your scenario to the chase the Germans will have 15-12 Battleships and 5-4 Battlecruisers. The battle though is likely to be fought close to British bases rather than the Skaggerak meaning that British cripples can expect to limp home and German ones have more risk of foundering. All of this and the Germans are aware that the British have more ships building than they do and further they are not exactly going to looking to weaken themselves against any possible conflict against America and thus reduce their means of pushing into South American markets.

    Also this 2:1 claim you keep repeating is not merely arbitrary but misses the point that if the British win a victory the Germans are likely to be more cautious as a result.

    Also and no the British battleships in service used oil sprayed coal firing rather than pure oil firing. The story is different for many of the lighter units but both the Germans and Americans are actually rather weak in those.
     
  3. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    True but my point and yours is there are many factors to suggest the odds are in favour of both the RN and Canada remaining in play for longer than some folks seem willing to allow for.
     
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  4. Riain Well-Known Member

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    All the RNs 13.5" and 12" gunned dreadnoughts were coal fired.
     
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  5. Riain Well-Known Member

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    That's right, and nobody denies the US are going to win but that's no reason not to count the numbers and deny battles will take place.
     
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  6. Riain Well-Known Member

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    When is that exactly? IOTL the RN received 5 QE 15' fast BBs in 1915 and 5 Royal 15' BBs and 2 R 15' BCs in 1916. IIRC the Germans only received 3 capital ships from 1915.

    The US will have to build a lot of new BBs in a very short time while working hand over fist to address their shocking lack of cruisers and destroyers to overtake the RN which is getting 12 new capital ships in 2 years.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 3:39 PM
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  7. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    I posted established strength here; Germans have 15 BBs and 4 BCs.

    My point is that the Central Powers are fleets in being and don't have to fight to restrain the Entente. You're focusing in on tactical strengths which are irrelevant to the wider strategic picture; the Anglo-French don't have the numbers to maintain strength in the Med, North Sea and in the Americas. The Royal Navy is certainly a fine force but it can't risk a decisive battle in this environment because if it losses, or even wins by a low enough margin, they've lost the war right then and there.

    As for the lighter units, thats the point with the oil thing; yes the Entente is better in that department but that's a failed advantage going forward if they can't use them.

    Certainly, but the Queen Elizabeth-class and Revenge-class are not. This means that what Britain starts off with is all that got for the conflict.

    If you're looking at BBs alone, 1914 as the Germans-Americans outnumber the British by three vessels. Going forward, IOTL the 1916 Naval Act would've made the U.S. the largest naval power by 1922. An Act passed in 1914 can move the end date completion up to 1920 at the least while the Brits will have limited use out of the aforementioned Queen Elizabeths. Including the German fleet with the Americans, and pretty much it's clear from the moment the ATL act is passed how it's going down.
     
  8. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    No your point is that you keep shifting your point rather than admitting your point is not nearly so solid as you would like. So Germany by your own contention is now under blockade, we know Germany can endure blockade a while but this is not conducive to a quick win. The US itself may not be under formal blockade but it will be subject to the travails of commerce warfare and while there are several pinch points that come to mind such as copper and even some grades of iron ore (yes the US was a net iron exporter but note that net has a meaning and it did require some imports of that material) the most important pinch point is probably nitrates which have to come a long way from Chile and Chile is well within the sphere of Britain's informal empire in South America at this time not to mention all those Royal Navy cruisers. Between banks and cruisers the Americans will find themselves short of the key ingredient for making munitions.

    Now it is likely the Germans will share the Haber process rather than see the USA drop out of the war but it will be awhile before the US has enough munitions to prosecute any grand offensives, once again no short war.

    So once again Germany has 15 Battleships and 4 battlecruisers in the North Sea they do not want to risk save for a sure thing or perhaps it sits as a fleet in being hoping France will fall. Which likely does not happen as the iron laws of logistics snap tight before Paris rather than after its encirclement. Indeed when the Germans do sally forth the RN can afford to sit back as the Germans must penetrate into UK or near UK waters to achieve anything without battle.

    Now the long war should go in the Trans-Atlantic Alliance's (the CP of ITTL) favour but the British can field the oil QEs at least for a while and the coal fired Rs indefinitely
    once they have them. Geography at least to an extent favours the RN who are fighting on the naval equivalent of interior lines. Geology not so much as the RN will find much oil cut off from them (Texan oil because of being on the wrong side, Russian oil might also if the Ottomans jump in of the German side, in time Venezuelan oil might be interdicted leaving Persian oil which can be defended but it a long way away) still that will not happen overnight.

    Hence people keep on making the modest suggestion it is not going to be a war over by Christmas.
     
  9. VoidStalker Well-Known Member

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    To address this, I thought we had moved beyond one side making an absolute blunder in deployment (e.g. BEF being sent to Canada which would really put the hurt on the US but would see France get hurt far worse) that this would likely be a 1916 or later war (maybe end of 1915 on some fronts depending on the situation).

    Going off a situation where the relationship between US and various Entente members deteriorates quickly and drastically what changes in deployment do we see by the Entente? I cannot see the Germans or AH making a change as they are locked into mobilization plans, Russia and France at least for the first month is going to be running their own mobilization and campaign plans since they border hostile countries. The only one I can see making a change is the UK and her dominions. The question I have to ask is would they make a change and if so what is it and when (besides not calling back garrison forces in the Western Hemisphere and any Canadian forces staying in Canada).

    Things they could change: Calling the Anzac Divisons (2) to UK (OTL were stopped in Egypt to train over the winter) they may instead choose to have them stay in Australia/New Zeland and train there (though operations towards the west coast would be awkward and send the fleet way out of the way) or still bring them to the UK (where they are likely to go and not be stopped at the suez without the 1st Canadian taking up barracks space).

    Grand Fleet redeployments- given that OTL they sent a grand total of one DN for the Gallipoli campaign and instead sent pre dreads on the basis that they would not be used in line of battle I find it hard to see them making any fleet changes in the initial month, not as the new German DNs workup and the BEF is deploying to France. Most likely they continue a German focus for the fall/early winter of 1914 and instead use the winter of 1914 to look at the situation after things calm down a bit (most fronts will have a lull for some or all of winter due to weather). Something will have to change but I feel it more likely that any such change comes in the winter or spring and any deployment against the USN would require the build up of supplies in Halifax to support the RN. I could see a deployment of a mix of DN and pre dreads on the basis that they would force the USN to stay concentrated and hopefully in port even if they number a bit less due to the additional light forces deployed. One factor to consider is that once German and US forces withdraw from the pacific theater the HMAS Australia would be free to redeploy to the Atlantic (maybe as the scouting force for whatever is deployed to Halifax) which adds one BC to the British forces. This would occur no sooner then January 1915.

    BEF deployment- I really have a hard time not seeing the first 6 divisions and the components of the Royal Navy division not being deployed as in OTL given the threat of the german attack into France and the worry of german control of Belgium and French ports on or near the channel. Having said that this is where they would have units to deploy against the US in fall of 1914 and while if they deployed the full force that would let them push until winter doing so would be at the expense of France, where the 5th would either be facing the full strength of the German 1st, 2nd and 3rd or the German 1st would be contested by French territorials that were OTL to the left of the BEF (towards the coast) and those would not really slow down a frontline army. That situation sets up the ability for the Germans to wrap around and try to cut down behind French armies starting with the 5th (or the french 5th gets pushed back, the German 1st screens it and the German 2nd and 3rd swing down to try and encircle french forces giving them the option of giving ground or be encircled).
     
  10. Riain Well-Known Member

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    As stated earlier the RN got most of its oil from Mexico rather than the US. In any case without US oil and interlinked US finance the British wouldn't have developed their reliance on US oil. They'll find enough to keep 5 BBs running through 1915.

    BBs are where the US does best, they are woefully short of all support ship classes.

    1920? What good are ships in 1917 for a war starting in 1914?
     
  11. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    No, I've kept a pretty consistent line on my points on this matter. Here's me on page six:

    You're welcome to cite where I've deviated from this line.

    I've never said anything to the contrary. My entire point is that the Entente can be strong (parity or better) in two of the following: the Americas, the North Sea, and the Med. America has 10 BBs, so Britain is going to want to send at a minimum more than the Americans have because otherwise risks disaster. The problem with that is, to do that, they have to dangerously expose the North Sea in order to that. In all actuality I expect the Royal Navy to concede the Americas in favor of protecting the British isles and keeping the Med open.

    As for the matter at hand, I've maintained the line that Entente can be strong (parity or better) in two of the following: The Americas, the North Sea or the Med. The Royal Navy has 22 BB and 9 BCs to deploy where it sees fit, for a grand total of 31 major warships. The Americans have 10 and the Germans 19, for a total of 29 at a slight disadvantage in the aggregate. Now, the British could deploy 15 to the Americas and leave 16 for the North Sea but that leaves them exposed to the HSF which outnumbers them by three. They could have the French transfer their four BBs to the North Sea in order to restore parity, but that grants the Med to the Austro-Hungarians with their three BBs.

    Munitions aren't an issue for the U.S. sans in terms of field artillery and all the research I can find suggests the Haber Process was already being adopted by 1914 in the U.S.

    I've been operating under the assumption everything in the Western Front stays the same, unless of course the Canadian situation diverts forces from the BEF. If we want to apply butterflies, it's entirely possible for the Germans take Paris in August/September. Ignoring that, the German fleet staying in port is my exact point; they're a fleet in being and tie down British forces because London cannot take the chance the Germans will sortie after the Grand Fleet is weakened for duty in North America. Further, the British can't avoid because otherwise the Blockade is broken.

    There are no alternatives to U.S. oil because America produces two thirds of global supply and most of the rest is in Mexico and Baku. IOTL they did attempt to develop the Persian sources but the U.S. was still supplying 80% of their needs. In short, the Anglo-French are out of oil in a matter of weeks.
     
  12. Riain Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering about this 2/3 global oil output, although I don't doubt that in macro terms in 1917 or whatever its accurate enough. How much was exported, and to whom and for what? The reason I ask is because I have read that in 1917 the Royal Navy (note the RN not Britain) got most of ITS oil from mexico, and US intervention was likely to get those sources destroyed, which was a reason behind the Zimmerman telegram.

    As usual the devil is in the details, so.lets exorcise the devil.
     
  13. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    Well if your line is everyone else but the glorious Americans are cowards then I suppose you can argue that.

    The problem is that the Royal Navy has operated under conditions where the combined fleets of the enemy outnumber them before, it is part of the naval tradition. They will risk forces to cover North America but in each case no they do not need parity as they are likely to be defending. That means that either the US fleet will find itself operating close to Halifax or the Germans close to somewhere like Rosyth if they want to bring the battle to the British and either (in the case of the Americans) intercept supplies to Canada or break the blockade (in the German instance). Further but yes I am pretty sure that the Royal Navy would risk a three capital ship margin at times in order to face the Americans if they thought they could bring them to battle on favourable terms. The US fleet being the weaker of the two enemy forces and defeat in detail being a thing. Likely though all three navies would avoid battle save under favourable terms meaning a lot of glaring but most action among the lighter units where once again the Royal Navy still have a significant margin.

    As to the fall of Paris, it is not going to happen (or rather not in 1914), the Germans had outrun the extent of horse drawn supply by the time they reached the Marne let alone Paris. That rather than the exact situation on the ground is why Oberst-Leutnant Hentsch gave instructions for a withdrawal. This same situation had been foreseen by Schliffen himself but had been handwaved away by later adherents to his plan.

    Once again even with the US onboard trying hard to win a depression the war will not be over by Christmas 1914.
     
  14. VoidStalker Well-Known Member

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    For oil, mixed firing was quite common at the time for the improved performance that it gave over straight coal so they are going to see a lack there. Also I saw numerous mentions of oil being used for industrial purposes. And you are removing US tankers from the merchant marine, I know the loss of a few tankers (I think it was 6) later in the war really had a major impact on the shortages the British were facing and that was with some American trade. Here with no American tankers or supply the loss of any tankers coming from Persia could be devastating. As it is several of the birtish DNs under construction do not come online until 1916 so more american DNs in 1917 is not a bad thing, and they are likely to be considering post war as well that the British are now hostile and we need a bigger fleet.

    Okay first I don't think anyone has seriously suggested a 1914 end after the initial few pages of discussion short of some side making a colossal blunder- or for some reason both sides decide to sit down for peace with limited changes when fighting lulls in winter 1914.

    Second no reason for the US fleet to operate near Halifax if the RN is there in force, more likely it would be kept to defend the US coast and only sortie if they try to bypass to the Carribean and we would be more likely to see scout cruisers and destroyers being the main forces at sea given what the European theater looked like. However this also risks the English Channel to the HSF- the reason the RN wanted to outnumber the HSF is that the assumption is that when the HSF sortied they would do so at a time when all their ships were able to sail, not when they were undergoing maintenance and refit. The RN however could not guarantee that they would not have ships undergoing maintenance or refit at that time which would reduce their margin OTL, here a split fleet that was already smaller would find itself even more outnumbered in such a case and if they decline to fight and the HSF appears off the coast of England you can bet people will be howling for the Halifax dettachment to return home. Or if they bust through the Dover blockade there was a lot of shipping they could disrupt or sink that would reduce supplies to France and the forces fighting there as well as reduce shipping capacity after.
     
  15. RodentRevolution Chewer of Wires

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    The issue with oil is once again the issue of resupply and not that there were stocks on hand. With supplies restricted to places like Venezuela (heavy oil lots of processing required) or Persia (long way away) the British would have discovered they had too few tankers to keep up with demand but among the things that contributed to the tanker fleet being insufficient to meet demand was the increased motorisation of the British Army. Now there is actually another option for the British which is coal fired steam trucks to support the Army in France. Steam engineering buffs might actually enjoy TLs based on variation of this scenario.

    And erm yeah check your very next paragraph on the arguing 1914 point.

    The US fleet likely would assume the defensive as as the defensive needs fewer ships (for reasons I have discussed above) and also has a Pacific coast to cover which means against an enemy who could in theory swarm their armoured cruisers with their own more numerous first class cruisers or even deploy a battlecruiser or two would require the US to cover it with a division of battleships (likely only two but maybe more depending on the intelligence picture) of their own rather than concentrating them all in the Atlantic. Now the Channel bash is certainly a worrying scenario for the British but to be most effective it does need to combined in timing with a land offensive...increasing the chance of the concentration/preparation of the British capital units and further as intelligence is more likely to pick up combined preparations. Further but it would also expose the HSF to risk...now destroyers, mines, submarines are not weapons of decision but they can hurt major units, they may not sink many (or even any) but those units are at greater risk if they get hurt further from Germany.

    Again we have a scenario that is presented as the British cannot deal with this and they will succumb to one good push and yet and yet no. The Channel would need to be interdicted for not merely a couple of days which is already a dangerous operation for the HSF which is likely at most to want to spend hours in those waters but weeks or even months before France and the BEF could no longer endure.

    Also and seriously the argument that the US simply lay down more dreadnoughts in 1914? Well that is going to go down as a bold move considering the other resource requirements and also American trade goes into the skip the instant such a war occurs. The loss of British hulls alone would severely impact American exports and imports and the efforts of enemy cruisers would merely add to this pressure. But yeah build dreadnoughts for post war world where Europe is now a closed German market.

    Now while I have no doubt that America would turn the war into a German win, possibly an AH win, maybe even an Ottoman win it should be noted that America would be losing more than it gained even if it compensated itself with Canada who an earlier poster declared not allowed to fight because that might make the Americans be mean to them as but again note that Canadians would likely only draw the conclusion they are the American objective because there is nothing else in it for America in a CP victory.

    This factor in what might be referred to as the 1914 scenario where somehow the US joins the CP at the last minute and OTL can be used as a straight up template for calculations is one of the reasons why the Entente might dig their heels in and continue to resist as the Americans will, they assume, at some point ask themselves why they are fighting an expensive war for "make benefit glorious nation of Germany" to misquote a character rather annoying to Kazakhs.
     
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  16. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Given Britain built hundreds of ships during the war is there any reason why some of them can't be oil tankers if yhat is a recognized bottleneck? I see mention of oil tanker shortages as if shipbuilding doesn't exist.
     
  17. FillyofDelphi Well-Known Member

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    They can be,but there's the fact that said ships would have to come from building capacity used IOTL to produce something else:s problem given the need for greater cargo capacity to replace lose of access to American civilian contract shipping, hulls seized from American harbors at the start of the conflict, which are likely going to be greater than the corresponding American ships in Entente ports due to the balance in global merchant marines, and the greater travel times tying up ships in order to bring in goods from further afeild in the Empires to make up for lost in ports. Any tanker is tonnage that isent available to carry food or military supplies that were actually carried,and demands for everything else aren't going to be any smaller
     
  18. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Of course, that's why the CP with the US will win. But "Arrrrghh, oil tankers!" isnt THE thing that is going to cause the entente to collapse in 5 minutes.
     
  19. VoidStalker Well-Known Member

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    I doubt there is anything that would lead to that quick of a collapse, just lot of little things, but also a bad month at sea where the losses are concentrated on a single type of ship will introduce a temporary shortage that will at least temporarily constrain actions. The logistics study of this ATL would be fascinating.
     
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  20. Catsmate Well-Known Member

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    Very probably. Also very costly to the Entente, assuming the Germans defend well.
    This would likely influence the entry of Italy and Bulgaria into the war, causing a cascade effect.