AHC: Paraguay wins the Paraguayan War

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by zeppelinair, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. zeppelinair これ以上の詳細は略する

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    In one of the more bizzare beginnings and conclusions of a war, the small country of Paraguay once declared war on all of its surrounding neighbours: Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. The country was completely decimated in the quick onslaught of foreign armies.

    The challenge is that Paraguay is successful in this endeavor. Either by going against each country separately similar to Prussia's approach (Austria-Denmark-France), or due to sheer military genius, Paraguay must successfully defend itself against its foreign neighbours and take some of their territories.

    For reference here is a map of Paraguay and the neighbouring region:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Gukpard hominem populist

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    Paraguay had some chance of defeating Argentina on a Argentina only strategy, as Brazil also had unfriendly relations with Argentina. but it is impossible for paraguay to defeat uruguay or Brazil. Brazil had a population ten times bigger than Paraguay, a larger industrial base and good relations with neighbouring countries, while paraguay was a pariah state.

    Buuuuuuuuuut, Brazil had a huge diplomatic incident with Britain between 1862 and 1865, the question Christie. Maybe a different british government could have allied with Paraguay and attacked Brazil, that was one shot in a million, but it could work.
     
  3. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    IIRC a major turning point was when Paraguay lost some naval battles, which ruined their supply lines or something.... is continued Paraguayan naval supremacy possible, and if so how long does that prolong the war?
     
  4. Captain Jack Hobbes Was Right

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    Winning the battle of Riachuelo is an absolute necessity, in my opinion, for a Paraguayan victory although it doesn't ensure it. At Riachuelo the officer in charge of the Paraguayan fleet disregarded his instructions from Lopez to attack and seize the Brazilian ships with boarding parties (IIRC composed of army units embarked specifically for that purpose), to both remove the Brazilian naval component and acquire the fleet for Paraguayan use. Instead, the Paraguayan commander, for some reason, decided to engage in a full naval bombardment of the Brazilian fleet and camp. In the ensuing battle the Brazilians, though disorganized, were able to bring their ships into the battle and handily defeated the Paraguayan fleet. There's lots of room for POD's to the battle, too; The Paraguyan fleet intended to arrive at night, but was delayed when one of their ships' engine broke down and they spent a couple of hours trying to repair it before abandoning the effort and proceeding with the remaining ships. Even then, there was apparently enough fog over the river and Brazilian camp that the surprise attack/seizure could have been conducted. So maybe the POD could be the Paraguayans not trying to repair the engine, or the ship not breaking down in the first place. Or maybe they just have a more competent admiral in charge. Regardless, I think its much more promising to have the Paraguayan attack go off acording to plan than to have them win the battle once it had begun.

    As for broader effects, a win at Riachuelo allows Paraguay to retain the initiative and continue the campaign into Argentina with confidence of controlling the river and having a secure supply line. Whether they're able to turn that into a victory, or at least a series of campaigns to put themselves in a beneficial negotiating position is another question. They may well simply squander men and resources on pointless offensives.

    There are other potential PODs too, a Paraguayan victory at Tuyuti comes to mind as one, but to me those seem like too little too late. The ultimate calculus by the Triple Alliance that Paraguay needed to be defeated and remade had already been arrived at and I don't think Paraguay can plausibly score enough meaningful victories at that stage to change it. You really need to change the course of the war early, before it devolved into the brutal war of OTL.

    EDIT: misremembered the name of the battle of tuyuti
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  5. Md139115 Bring back the Inquisition! Banned

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    Here’s the problem.

    Only so many groups have access to a time machine and a large number of assault rifles.

    Of those groups, very few are not connected with any government or research body.

    The remainder, generally, go for religious fundamentalism or white supremacism, so they would have zero motivation to go help Paraguay, and some might even go help Brazil or Argentina if they find out that Paraguay is getting help.

    So then, you have no one interested in running modern assault rifles to the Paraguayans, which is pretty much the only scenario that could possibly cause the war to end in anything remotely resembling something other than the near-eradication of Paraguay.
     
  6. nandalf nandalf

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    No chance for Paraguay wining an attrition war,and since D.Pedro II was willing to fight it out till the and,no chance for a "short victorious war".
     
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  7. unprincipled peter Well-Known Member

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    You need Paraguayan troops to be well trained and armed. blitzkrieg through Corrientes/Entre Rios/Uruguay. If they hold that position, and command of the rivers, they have a chance. Brazil took forever to bring up any troop strength, relying a lot on Argentina for the first phase. So, once phase one is accomplished (blitzkrieg), look to knock out buenos aires. Perhaps, with a massive early win, the warlords of the hinterland will join in to defeat their enemy Buenos Aires. At that point, Brazil has a tough row to hoe. It has to bring any military power in by sea, or down through an undeveloped southern region (Parana/Santa Catarina). Paraguay will be running on fumes at this point, but perhaps a foreign power sees an opportunity to work its way in and backs them.

    First and foremost you need a 'prussian army' (ala Frederick the Great era) to match Lopez' ambition. Brazil at the time was big, but a lightweight militarily (until it finally built up strength). Argentina was a middleweight militarily, but had huge potential to fracture (Lopez had hoped for a fracture to occur, but it didn't pan out), thus neutralizing Argentine might. After the initial phase OTL, Argentina mostly sat back and took Brazilian gold for supplies. ATL, they might just write off Entre Rios/Corrientes/Missiones and drop out of the war, and just look to sell supplies to whomever has the means to pay for it. It'll be tough for Paraguay to invade and defeat Brazil, but without victories, Pedro might lose support. Brazil wasn't that far removed from being a fractured country itself. He may want to stay in it til the end, but if things aren't going his way, or it settles down to a stalemate in Rio Grande do Sul/Santa Catarina, he may not have the backing to stay in it.
     
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  8. Lenwe Well-Known Member

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    You could see this thread of five years ago that I shamelessly take his images, that are really good for this question.

    Ok, if we have a Partial war, then Paraguay at least could don´t lose as bad or end in a Tie, the principal Problem of the Triple Alliance War, was that Paraguay Causis Belli was bad, really his motives to start the war immediately put them against Brasil and Argentina.

    A good form to stop this is that Paraguay and Argentina Fight a War before. Why you ask? because Argentina could be defeat by Paraguay Alone, Paraguay was more stable, secure and with better standing Army than Argentina in the period previous to the triple alliance war,after the country was barely a country.

    Country Army Navy Artillery(source)
    Paraguay 60,000 27 ships 400 cannons
    Alliance (Total) 26,000 47 ships 239 cannons
    Argentina 8,500 5 ships –
    Brazil 16,000 42 ships 239 cannons
    Uruguay 2,000 – –

    So Paraguay declare a war to "Liberate" o "reunited" the guarani population of the Argentinean Yoke, Paraguay considered itself as mestizo population were all his population is half Spanish half guarani, how true is this affirmation is another basket, or Argentina close the Paraguay River to the Paraguayan Commerce, or Argentina Taxes more all the commerce coming from Paraguay(the same causis belli that the War of the Pacific). o Paraguay at the lack of better options invade Argentina and Take the Actual regions of Misiones y Corrientes plus they don´t lose the territory of the Actual Formosa Province of Argentina, there is little doubt that Argentina alone against Paraguay lose the war, if someone have other sources That say otherwise please feel free to respond.


    As this war don´t involve Brasil, and historically Brasil an Argentina in the XIX century are in complete opposition, Brasil don´t intervene and could even support Paraguay effort´s as they could use Paraguayans as buffer state between then and Argentina.

    so we have Paraguay that look more similar to his "claimed frontier"

    [​IMG]
    Next we have the Brasil-Paraguayan War. Again Paraguay have a lot of advantage against Brasil, the sames as against Argentina, plus a bigger Territory, and a more developed Industrial base, in the XIX c. Paraguay was the more industrialized country in South America, they have a native, munition, weapons, metallurgy industry, plus a telegraph in his most important lands. that his bigger neighbor's lacked.(source in Spanish)

    plus with his new territory they could more easily intervene in Uruguay.

    so how the Brazilian-Paraguayan war goes?.
    this i a question that i don´t know enough about Brazilian forces to respond could It be the same that in OTL, Could it be a stalemate that end with Paraguay maintain all his gains from Argentina, could it end better to Paraguay and Uruguay with Brasil losing Rio Grande do Sul and this territory being incorporate to Uruguay, and Paraguayan gains in Mato Grosso do sul, my personal favorite but i´m not sure how make it happen, Uruguay was a mess before 1904 because the Guerra grande(great war) that officially ended in 1852, but was the cause of the Triple alliance War.

    So in case of a Tie we end with a Paraguay that look like this:

    [​IMG]

    or they could don´t fight a war and end being a industrial powerhouse in the middle of south america, both option are valid
     
  9. lordroel Well-Known Member

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    If it was not something that happen in OTL i would think a ASB made a cruel joke with Paraguay.
     
  10. Lenwe Well-Known Member

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    I Must Say that the war wasn't Quick it lasted six years(1864-1870) or four if you only want to count the 1865-1869 period of active Argentina and Uruguay participation, by all acount the Paraguay defeat wasn't quick
     
  11. unprincipled peter Well-Known Member

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    Technically, Paraguay didn't start out with the idea of declaring war on all three neighbors. They started out by standing up for a political faction in Uruguay. at the time, Uruguay was theoretically a republic, but in practice was a puppet state of either Brazil or Argentina, depending on the times. Lopez wanted in on the pawn playing action and got sucked into a war. He then had to get his troops to the scene of action across argentine land (this is where Lenwe's multiple war scenario makes sense - one war to build his launch platform, another to put Uruguay into Paraguayan orbit), and found that his assumption Argentina would join him wasn't valid. In hindsight, it's easy to see OTL coming from miles away, but a better statesman/general than Lopez might have made it work, but it's not like Lopez woke up one morning thinking 'today's the day I take on 3 countries'.
     
  12. chrnno Well-Known Member

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    There are two kinds of actual victories(that is giving more to the country than it takes) Paraguay can get in this context, not fight the war in the first place and just continue to develop the country taking advantage of the fact neither Argentina nor Brazil will allow the other to hold too much influence or drop Brazil as enemy entirely and get them to neutrality, ideally benevolent, so to expand against Argentina while destabilising them so there isn't a threat in that direction and to allow for future expansion.

    Making an enemy of Brazil for irrelevant lands when it would be perfectly content with focusing on itself is just stupid on so many levels.
     
  13. Athayde Member

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    look Paraguay had a good army but did not have enough manpower for the war even using almost the entire male population of the country including the elderly and children could not win the war against Brazil,Argentina and Uruguay
     
  14. Galba Otho Vitelius Well-Known Member

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    I had another thread up on this but got little interest.

    Paraguayan victory in the War of the Triple Alliance is one of those scenarios that seems at first glance to be ASB but really isn't. The key point here is that in our timeline, Paraguay lost the war. That means modern day Paraguay has half the territory of pre-war Paraguay, and losing the war obviously devestated Paraguayan population and social cohesion. In a timeline where Paraguay not only wins the war but expands, particularly if it winds up with a port via a puppet later to be absorbed Uruguay, their victory would seem inevitable. It would draw comparisons to Prussia at the same time.

    Paraguay defeating all its neighbors and becoming the greatest power in South America is actually not much more far fetched than Savoyard unification of Italy, Prussia defeating all the neighboring powers, or even the rise of Japan. What these examples show is that what you need is either a killer military tech such as the Prussian general staff system that your neighbors don't have and/ or powerful allies like the Savoyards have and/ or your rivals are just hopelessly incompetent as in the case with Japan.

    While the British coming in against Brazil is an interesting possibility, though I think if the British intervene in a war in the Americas in the 1860s its going to be in North America, Paraguay potentially did have two other things going for them. They started the war as the most industrialized army in South America with the largest and most well trained army. They don't have the manpower to win a long war, but can win in a blitzkrieg scenario. Their opponents were either more divided (Argentina) or more backwards with a weaker military (Brazil). Now I think if you run this scenario ten times, nine times out of ten Paraguay loses, but them winning is not impossible and doesn't even require very radical PODs.
     
  15. Masked Grizzly Well-Known Member

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    How much Bolivian territory could this ATL Paraguay gain, especially since Bolivia still had access to the Pacific coast prior to the later War of the Pacific?
     
  16. Gukpard hominem populist

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    Sadly @Lenwe , there is a lot of problems and biased information in your comment.

    The first is about the size of the Paraguayan army.

    While it was big on total numbers, the paraguayan army was basically a huge militia with just a few number of them having the basic training of a footsoldier, Paraguay also had only one general: Lopez, and he wasn't competent, refused to listen his advisors, even killed his own brother who asked for peace, and he was a coward too as he run away from the front every time that the frontline approached him. The Argentinian army was better trained and had it paraguay won a war aganst Argentina, it would be a crushing pyrric victory and it would be reversed on a few decades because Paraguay wouldn't had enought troops to defend itself against the argentinian counter attack.

    Eh, and this source is wrong.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Population,
    Foreign commerce
    taxes arrecadation
    Taken from this article

    This is based on the price of the british pound in 1864, as you can see, Brazil arrecadated 4,4 million pounds in taxes every year, while Paraguay only arrecadated 314 thousand.

    The myth of the industrial paraguay that have been debunked doens of times before was created after the february 1935 coup that brought the nationalist Rafael Franco to power in Paraguay. But in reality Paraguay was the 2nd poorest country in south america, just richer than Bolivia. Most of it was either unsettleted or rural (and most of the land proprierties belonged to Solano family). Paraguay didn't had a native mettalurgy, neither a munition or weapon factories, they had one railway and one steel fundition in the whole country, this is the main reason that they lacked the resources and fired everything they could find from their cannons, including clutery. Brazil had over ten times more industry, and we still was a agrarian backwater, but not as much as Paraguay.

    Paraguay would be backstabed from ARgentina at day one, the argentinians would advance through the south while Brazil would advance through the north and the war would end shorter than the OTL triple alliance war. There is no way that Solano woudl align Uruguay because both Brazil and argentina were sponsoring his oppositors there, and even if they got into power they wouldn't join the war because it would be suicide.

    Uruguay was a mess, but still was richer, more developed and industrialized than Paraguay:

    [​IMG]
    The most bizarre part is that Uruguay had half the population of Paraguay and felt into civil war constantly, but still was more developed than paraguay.

    It was the opposite, they didn't got a good army but they got the manpower to use it. Most of the weaponry used by Paraguay was dated to the independence wars on the early 1800s, and the general population diet was poor even for south american standarts.
     
  17. Gukpard hominem populist

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    Prussia already was a industrial power before unification, and had it's own military school. Savoy also had the conditions to pull off the unification, because a considerable part of the population wanted to unify the peninsula and so they supported savoya. Both situations are not present here.

    Paraguay didn't had the resources of it's neighbours, it was following the same doctrines used on the independence war, it's equipment was outdated and they were the agressors, the civiland population resisted their incursions. If you want a modern example of a situation like that, imagine pre 2006 north korea, before they got the nukes. They had a army of million men, most of them using 1950s equipment while the population was starving on one of the worst famines of the post soviet era. Just because their army was large, it didn't meant so much since any invasion of south korea is doomed from start. The north korean army is big also because it is already mobilized to its max, they cannot replace their losses, the same as paraguay, while south korea have a smaller army but they can mobilize their population and even surpass north korea in numbers.
     
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  18. Lenwe Well-Known Member

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    I doubt it , Argentina in this period was barely holding together, His army was barely 10.000 trained men, and when they ask for more men for the army to the Provinces this was used as excuse to launch another federalist revolution against the centralist Buenos Aires government, They have to hire European Mercenary to have more men, and most of the troops that was being send to fight against Paraguay were forced to do so (this last bit is by the Argentinean historiography so i´m no sure how trustworthy it is).

    The Argentinean forces in the battlefront barely have 25.000 men, including 3 European mercenary companies and 4.500 Correntinos militia, there is a reason that when the Brazilian Forces showed in the front, most of the Argentinean army disappear of the combat.

    Paraguay have all his forces available to the Argentinean front, as they don send half of the army to Mato Grosso and Rio grande do Sul in a campaign of conquest and pillage.

    So we have 25.000(if) Argentinean Troops,with a low morale, far from his supply lines, and without river boat support, against some 50-60 Thousand Paraguayan forces, close to his supply lines and with his boat in complete control of the river, with good morale, and you tell me that the Paraguayan Victory will be Pyrrhic?

    Plus are you telling me that in the Case of an Argentinean-Paraguayan war Brasil will not support Paraguay against Argentina? in the XIX century? Before the Guerra do Paraguai?

    I agree with you that Lopez was a Coward and a Asshole.

    I concede the rest of your post, Paraguay can´t defeat Brasil, at lest not with Lopez as Head of State, maybe a stalemate if Paraguay kill, or surrender, Lopez soon enough
     
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  19. Gukpard hominem populist

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    While it is true that Argentina was shaky at the time, but you are ignoring some points:

    First; That happened because Argentina was fighting itself, with the countryside wanting to curbe the power of the capital and the capital wanting to unite the whole country. Lopez tried to capitalize on that OTL, and what happened is exactly what would happen on this timeline. The argentinians would unite themselves to fight the invader. It is very common for enemies to unite against a invader on such cases, and this is the perfect situation, in OTL Solano expected to ally with some local lords on northern Argentina and use them against the federal government, but the opposite happened. On this scenario the same thing would happen, the argentinians would rally behind Buenos aires and push back the Paraguayans.

    buuuut

    So we have 25.000(if) Argentinean Troops,with a low morale, far from his supply lines, and without river boat support, against some 50-60 Thousand Paraguayan forces, close to his supply lines and with his boat in complete control of the river, with good morale, and you tell me that the Paraguayan Victory will be Pyrrhic?

    The Argentinian troops would have a higher morale, agian, they are fighting a invader from the closest that America came from a totalitarian state on the 19th century and this state wants to take huge chunks of the Argentinian land. Argentina has a better economy and a larger population, so they will eventually win a war of attrition. There another point comes, however, Solano can use his numbers and win some decisive victories (taking large casualties in the process) and force the argentinians to surrender. This IS possible and this could have happened, but the Paraguayan army was already mobilized to it's max and they needed to demobilize, while the Argentinian army wasn't, and so as soon the paraguayans demobilize, the Argentinians will come to crush them and recover the lost land.

    Brazil cannot support paraguay because Paraguay was friendly for the anti brazilian faction on the Uruguayan civil war.
     
  20. chrnno Well-Known Member

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    Blitzkrieg in South America of the 19th century lol I think that gets the award for most ridiculous thing I have read on AH this year.

    For Paraguay to even get to anything Brazil actually cares about beyond a vague 'it is our territory I guess' with their army is nearing a thousand kilometres(distance between Paris and Berlin is a little under nine hundred for the sake of comparison), for them to get to things that truly matter it is even more. The distance, the technology, the preparation, the shitty terrain and infrastructure and such just don't allow for the concept of blitzkrieg to work, it would be like Prussia pre-unification going through France to Spain and somehow holding them both, hell on further thinking that would be easier in fact.
     
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