America - Albion's Orphan - A history of the conquest of Britain - 1760

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Alt History Buff, Jun 24, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 27: Landfall

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - July 4th

    Portsmouth


    Despite the anticipation of such a landing, the British Army and Militia were woefully unprepared. Only 3000 Regulars were in the immediate vicinity of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Most of these remained in fortifications which were besieged by the French Navy or so out of the way that no one bothered.

    Given the disparity of numbers, it would have been difficult to even consider contesting the landings but no serious attempt was made.

    The summoning of the Yeomanry was perhaps even more embarrassing. Over 5000 militiamen were called to action in the region…but only 2400 actually showed up. And there were no arms, no munitions, no food or water and seldom anything resembling leadership. Directions tended to be something like “Militia Assembly in the town center”. But beyond that, the British militia was so poorly trained, organized and armed that they proved to be nearly useless. Many showed up with fowling weapons or other antiquated arms which would prove impossible to provide munitions.

    Despite months of warnings, Great Britain proved utterly unprepared for actual invasion. The political classes had long been so assured of their naval superiority that it was considered laughable that any enemy would breach the English Channel. However, contrary winds, over-extension of resources and pure bad luck conspired for what proved to be the first successful invasion of Britain in nearly ¾’s of a millennium.


    Scotland

    Invasions of Southern England and Ireland would not be the only points by which the French intended to invade George II’s dominions.

    A small French flotilla would carryover arms and munitions and 250 French soldiers to Scotland. They also carried the Young Pretender, Charles Stuart. Better known to history at Bonnie Prince Charlie, he had attempted to invade Britain in a previous war. After failing miserably, he was promptly forced into flight, leaving his supporters to be slaughtered.

    Having descended into a pathetic drunk in the ensuing decades, barely communicating with his father. Both men lived off of the charity of the King of France and the Papacy. When the invasion was being planned, the Prince was summoned to Paris to discuss a role for him in the invasion. He showed up late, drunk and arguementative and was promptly discarded by de Choiseul as a potential puppet King in Britain.

    However, later de Choiseul relented and agreed to dispatch the Prince to Scotland. The duc did not believe that Charles Stuart would raise significant support in Scotland or elsewhere in Britain. However, he was a demonic figure throughout Britain and the mere word of his presence may split the enemy response to the invasion, pulling precious Regiments north away from the main invasion.


    It turned out this worked quite well. Bonnie Prince Charlie, whom failed to remain sober for five minutes would make speeches in various western Scottish towns, enough to prove to the locals he was the real thing.

    However, this did not work out well for him. Only a few hundred Catholics or arch-Stuart supporters rallied this time and he was forced into flight one more time. The French forces, which had dumped him on shore, never alighted onto Scottish territory other than to assure he was going be recognized. The French then reboarded and sailed away, stranding the Prince and his party.

    Within 48 hours, the Prince was fleeing throughout the highlands where even those clans whom supported him decades before hunted him like an animal.

    As predicted by de Choiseul, several key Scottish regiments would be delayed in marching or sailing south to assist against the main invasion.

    Though it would take two weeks, Bonnie Prince Charlie was captured. Unfortunately for him, it was not British regulars but militia that caught him. He was strung up and hanged like a criminal.

    The rest of Britain would pay little notice as, by this time, they had more important things to worry about.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019 at 3:59 PM
  2. Colonel flagg Well-Known Member

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    Who next pretender with Bonnie prince Charlie dead?
     
  3. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    His brother would still be alive though he is in the church (and rumored to be gay). His father is still alive at this point as well though it seems unlikely the Old Pretender would be put on the throne by any conqueror. After that, there is the House of Piedmont-Sardinia, the closest legitimate relatives to the House of Stuart.
     
  4. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

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    You know when it comes to you AHBuff, you do have a lot of unexpected twists and turns in your stories - this one I was not expecting. I was actually kinda hoping for British North America with its Kingdom in Exile vs House of Stuart England....

    Now I am curious to see where you are going with this...
     
  5. Threadmarks: Chapter 28: London

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - August

    London


    It was a short march from Portsmouth to London and the British resistance was shockingly non-descript. If anything, the only reason the French didn't reach London within days would be the fact that the French invasion was SO successfully swift that there was mass confusion. Fortunately for the French, the Naval Battle along the Channel had so thoroughly exhausted the Royal Navy's Channel Fleet. Facing the brunt of the French, Spanish, Danish and (leased) Dutch Fleet, the Channel Fleet would be unable to truly unite against the mass of ships facing them and was forced to break out of Spithead and the Nore as French artillery began to be emplace upon hills landward of the naval bases.

    Though a disaster for the Royal Navy (over 15 British warships were lost in battle and another 10 were seized at the docks) while many, many others sustained various levels of damage from modest to severe), the delay would allow the dismal British Army and militia time to form some semblance of resistance.

    On the positive side for the French, this would allow the French time to carry thousands more soldiers across the Channel. However, here the French preparations came up short as there appeared to have been no plan for which French forces throughout the larger country would march to the northern ports. Despite have local superiority for several weeks, only about 10,000 more French troops and a surprisingly small amount of supplies (though it did include several dozen key pieces of siege artillery and the best French artillerymen in the country as well as several regiments of French and hired German cavalry) would reach England's shores in July.

    Having been forced to leave 20,000 soldiers around Portsmouth, the Isle of Wight and the Southampton region in southern Britain, the French invaders managed only 25,000 men to march forward London, 73 miles away through Sussex and Surrey. This seemed an impossibly low number to gain control over a huge city. However, the British had yet to form much of a resistance and would not fight a pitched battle until the French were 20 miles from the London gates.

    By the time the British would finally organize their limited forces into an army of 10,000 regulars (most of the British establishment on the island) and 15,000 moderately well armed militia, the French regulars had been reinforced with adequate artillery and cavalry, which would prove decisive in future battles.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
  6. Knightmare Well-Known Member

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    No pressure though. I mean, sure, most of the militia couldn't be trusted to run a bar crawl in a university, but the Redcoats, many of whom are probably rookies, will surely hold their own!
     
  7. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    And so the ultimate showdown begins. Will England me forced to sue for peace immediately if London falls or can they hold out?
     
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 29: A Crisis in Leadership

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - August

    America


    The length of America, the colonials were rejoicing as they toasted the seemingly endless string of victories from Quebec to New Orleans to the tip of Florida. Though the relations with the British Army and their colonial counterparts had always remained strained, this did not prevent a working partnership to develop after William Pitt ascended to the defacto leader of the British government. He'd offered subsidies to the various colonial assemblies like allies rather than subservient peoples.

    Then, when William Pitt's government approved the new inter-colonial Parliament (though details were vague as to what power it would really have), the colonies viewed this as a victory for their local rights. The Parliamentarians would be elected by the popularly elected lower houses of the various colonies. Had Pitt determined that the Parliamentarians would be selected by Royally appointed governors, there probably would have been riots the length of the continent as the provincials viewed this new Parliament as a sham.

    Thus, toasts were raised in honor of William Pitt, George II and his heir, George, Prince of Wales.

    They did not realize in July, 1761 that Britain had been invaded...and that all three of those men were already dead.

    1761 - August

    London


    Though Parliamentary rule had brought a level of peace to the nation compared to continental counterparts whom seemed to continuously seethe with rebellion, the divisiveness in Britain's Parliament had made for a dysfunctional government when Britain was invaded from the south. Rather than allow the government to react as best they could, Parliament remained in session for weeks after the French invasion and opposition leaders condemned the Pitt-Newcastle coalition roundly. Feuds and rivalries boiled over as faction leaders placed all the blame upon Pitt's shoulders and those of his weaker ally, the Duke of Newcastle.

    Pitt, though deeply shaken by the fact that the Royal Navy had failed to defeat the allied armada, would nevertheless utilized his superhuman confidence to vow that the French would quickly be pushed back into the sea. He ordered the Admiralty to concentrate their strength into one massive push to regain the English Channel, thus cutting off the French invasion force.

    The Southern Secretary was fully aware of the martial weaknesses of the army defending Britain. He just never believed that it would matter.

    George II, whom had been in mourning over the loss of his beloved Hanover, stopped caring about British governance and merely signed whatever the Ministry put before him. Having learned of the invasion, the old man shrugged and called for his morning coffee.

    To George II's surprise, his much-loathed grandson, the Prince of Wales, and his equaled obnoxious tutor, the Earl of Bute, requested an audience and the Prince requested to serve the country in whatever capacity the government saw fit. For once, the King actually felt a smidgeon of respect for the youth and directed him to his uncle, the Duke of Cumberland. The Duke had recently reconciled to an extent with the King after failing to protect Hanover. Both the King and the Duke were in poor health and bonded over their shared loss.

    When General Ligonier died in 1760, there seemed to be no better choice for commander-in-chief of the forces in Britain (Cumberland's previous position before falling from favor) especially when considered that the post would be little affect to the overall war effort given it was assumed no enemy would ever alight to British soil.

    The Duke was not a military genius and spent much of the past few months putting his old subordinates back in positions of power. This included men like Lord Loudon, General Abercrombie, General Webb and General Monro. These were men known best as being political cronies of the Duke whom had supported him in the previous war against the Young Pretender in Scotland. Indeed, when he learned that Charles Stuart had returned, the Duke panicked and ordered three regiments of Scottish regulars back to Scotland even after the call to arms in the south was raised.

    Cumberland retreated most of his southern-most forces to defend London, perhaps wisely, in hopes of forming an army capable of defending the capital. Here, the Duke received word that the Prince of Wales had been granted a commission by the King. William Pitt was not even informed but that certainly didn't bother the Duke. Proud of his nephew, for whom he had no personal animosity, the Duke would grant the Prince a commission as a Captain of a fashionable regiment. Originally, he'd intended the Prince for a staff position, maybe with a higher honorary rank, but opted to grant the youth's request to serve in combat. The Duke felt risking one's life for one's Kingdom, as his own father George II had done, prepared the boy for his eventual in heritance.

    Thus, as the Duke marched forward southwest of London, the Prince was in the vanguard. As the British defenders stumbled forward, the Prince was among the first killed as a bullet struck him between the eyes. In due time, the confused mass of British regulars and militia would be routed and sent running west of London, leaving the city largely defenseless. The King would never know that his grandson was dead as he expired earlier that morning while taking his daily bowel movement. George III would never know he'd been Britain's legal monarch for about six hours.

    William Pitt's government would also be forced to flee London. Having not accepted the possibility of defeat, the Southern Secretary hadn't bothered to evacuate the mint, the museums, the Royal collections (though some of the crown jewels were saved), the museums, the precious records of the war departments, etc. A large number of private banks also were taken with deposits still within their vaults. Millions of pounds sterling of gold and silver as well as countless valuables were inexplicably still present when the French marched into the city. Despite their best efforts, the French commanders were not capable of fully preventing the looting of the city.

    Perhaps more importantly, several key shipyards, arms manufactures and powder factories in southeastern England fell. This would severely constrain the ability of the British to resist the invasion.

    Having been shifted from London, Parliament was unable to sufficiently organize and the onus was upon the government to fight back without significant Parliamentary input (which would likely cause more division than anything else). Wealthy Parliamentarians instead fled to their country houses outside of London, leaving their servants to hide the silverware.

    At least with Pitt, there seemed the chance of a decisive leadership by the broken British government. However, the man grew sick while fleeing London and his gout grew so severe he could not ride a horse. Instead, he was carried north in a carriage...which flipped over when it collide with a column of London refugees. Pitt's neck was snapped and he died instantly.

    By August, the true leaders of the British resistance were the marginally competent Duke of Cumberland and the Duke of Newcastle, whom now was called upon to lead the government in a time of crisis. As his specialty was parliamentary procedure and forming majorities, he lacked the skillset which defined a man like Pitt, whom could rally a nation.

    In the meantime, it was announced to the nation that the new King was the former Prince Edward, Duke of York. Something of a silly chatterbox, Edward was more popular than his late elder brother, George. He showed an interest in naval affairs and had participated in several naval campaigns over the previous years. Unlike many other Royals in the Army or Navy, Edward would...more than most...actually serve his country. When he was promoted to Captain of the HMS Phoenix, most doubted the youth would actually take command, rather he would remain on shore and his rank would be mainly honorary. Instead, to the horror of the admiralty, the 22 year old would assume command directly. Immediately, the admiralty ordered several highly regarded officers to staff the fifth rate ship "should the young captain require advice".

    In truth, for all his defects, Edward was at least a competent sailor. Unfortunately, he proved to be unlucky as the HMS Phoenix was captured early in the Battle of Spithead and the then-Prince taken prisoner. This was not generally known for several weeks and the Duke of Newcastle, days after announcing Edward's ascension to the throne, would have to announce the King's capture by the enemy.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  9. Unknown Member

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    Chapter 28 is set in August of 1761, while Chapter 29 is set in July. What gives?
     
  10. President Roosevelt Populist Liberal Monarchist

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    THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA!
    I'm curious as to what's going to happen to the British Monarchy as even though Edward is captured, George is dead, they still have plenty of siblings to replace upon the throne

    BTW, always love your timeline @Alt History Buff
     
  11. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, typo on my part. I'll correct.
     
  12. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Much appreciated.

    As the rightful King Edward is still alive, I don't think that another member of the House of Hanover could be put on the throne. However, they could choose a regent, maybe the Duke of Cumberland or one of the younger brothers. Given the brothers are all in their teens or younger, Cumberland seems the natural choice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  13. Threadmarks: Chapter 30: Europe

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - August

    Belfast


    When the initial distracting invasion of Ireland succeeded beyond expectations, the French government would have a dilemma upon their hands. Do they reinforce the Irish invasion force and their Irish allies or does the government dispatch ALL forces available to southern Britain?

    There was a great amount of skepticism regarding the prospects for the British invasion but the Catholic majority island of Ireland may well rise up en masse and cause a catastrophic loss to Britain long term even if the invasion of Southern England is repulsed. Stiffened by a strong spike of French troops, a Catholic-Majority Ireland with all resources pressed towards independence which would prove impossible for Ireland to reconquer.

    The duc de Choiseul would opt to hedge his bets and send another 6000 French troops and large amounts of munition to Ireland. Belfast, the center of the invasion/rebellion, had been momentarily blockaded by Admiral Hawke but abandoned by the Royal Navy when news of the invasion of Southern Britain reached him. This allowed the French convoy a relatively safe transport to Ireland.

    Like Britain, the Irish Army was spread out throughout the island. However, unlike Britain, this was intended to suppress the Catholic majority. The army was not intended or designed to combat European Continental-style armies but to battle insurgents. The Irish militia (like the army units banned any Catholic participation) was probably in far better shape than the British militia due to the omni-present threat of rebellion by the Catholics. Still, they were not fit to battle the French forces mustering in Belfast.

    1761 - August

    Galway


    To the astonishment of the duc de Choiseul, the Spanish were not idle as they waited for the Battle of the Channel to determine the outcome of the war. The Spanish, despite being heavily involved in the occupation of Lisbon and Porto as well as having provided a large portion of their navy (about 50%) to the Battle of the Channel, actual acted without prompting by the French and dispatched their own invasion fleet of western Ireland. A small flotilla Spanish naval vessels escorted 6200 Spanish regulars to Western Ireland and the port of Galway. As expected, there were no significant Royal Navy ships in the area as, by August, every available British ship in European waters was being hastily recalled to expel the allied navies from the Channel.

    This allowed for an easy landing by the Spanish forces. Western Ireland was lightly populated compared to the east and even more heavily Catholic. Remote from the rest of Ireland and with the advantage of most of the British and Irish regulars present on the island already gravitating towards Belfast.

    Like in Belfast, large numbers of Irish, mainly Catholic but some Presbyterians as well, would flock to the Spanish colors. They brought along tens of thousands of muskets and large quantities of powder and shot to arm the Irish insurgents.

    1761 - August

    Madrid


    Ferdinand VI of Spain had, after the death of his beloved Queen Barbara, been a shell of his former self. The man was emotionally dependent upon the Portuguese princess whom was the power behind his throne until her death in 1756. Since then, the King basically left his Ministers to conduct policy (much as the late King Joseph of Portugal had done). Had the Queen lived longer, it was unlikely that the conflict with Portugal would ever have taken place.

    Ironically, the leader of the "war" faction in Madrid, the Minister of State Ensenada, had been a favorite of the late Queen. Seeing Portugal's weakness after the earthquake of 1755, Ensenada would take advantage to press Spanish claims in assorted border conflicts between New Spain and Brazil. On the whole, Spain had done well in the war, though whether any of this was worth the material costs was up for debate.

    Ensenada was the true power in Spain...until the King finally, mercifully, died. As Ferdinand and Barbara had failed to produce living issue, that meant that the King's half-brother, King Carlos of Naples and Sicily, would assume the Spanish throne.

    By prior agreement by the great powers after a previous war, it was determined that the thrones of Naples and Spain would never be reunited (as it had been under the Spanish Habsburgs of the 17th century). However, King Carlos loved Naples and never wanted to give it up.

    After the war, Spain, France, Austria and Britain had agreed that, should the Spanish Bourbons (Ferdinand VI) die out and King Carlos ascend to the throne, that one of King Carlos' younger sons would be given Naples in full sovereignty.

    However, in 1761, King Carlos would find that Britain could do nothing to enforce this, France would have to agree to whatever Spain wanted if they desired the alliance to continue and, in the east, Austria seemed more interested in Germany, Poland, Russia and the Balkans than what happened in southern Italy. It seemed unlikely that the Empress would intervene militarily should Carlos renege on this agreement.

    Carlos, upon reaching Madrid, would unilaterally announce that the previous settlement regarding the separation of his inheritance to be "illegal" and would be put aside. The King of France would hardly argue and, it was found, that the Empress certainly DID have other focuses of her attention.

    1761 - August

    Vienna


    King Carlos' pronouncement of unifying his two Kingdoms did not come at any particular sense of surprise in Vienna. The Empress would find the debate of Naples' future relatively unimportant and never considered intervening militarily.

    In truth, Austria had her own economic problems and was starting to view the Czarina Elizabeth as her primary rival in the east now that the Hohenzollerns had been laid low. Elizabeth was raiding into the Ottoman Empire (no loss there) and she had her own designs in destroying Ottoman power (though little desire to control much of the Predominantly Orthodox Balkan region.

    But perhaps more importantly, the Empress was becoming more and more enamored with the idea of expansion within Germany. The Elector of Bavaria, after fourteen years of marriage, had yet to produce an heir and seemed unlikely to do so. The House of Wittelsbach in Bavaria would go extinct at the death of the Elector (now in his thirties). Adjacent to her other domains, Bavaria would give the Empress and her descendants an unassailable position in the Holy Roman Empire. Just as importantly, the vote of the Electorate of Bavaria would give the Habsburgs control over a third vote for the position of Holy Roman Emperor, thus virtually ensuring continued Habsburg domination of that position.

    The rightful inheritors of the Elector Max Joseph of Bavaria was his cousin in the Palatinate (northwest Germany) by any reasonable view on the laws of inheritance. But Maria Theresa did not care much about that. If she could snag Bavaria, the risk would be worth it.

    Maria Theresa began to plot and realized that she may still have several bargaining chips to get what she wanted.
     
  14. Colonel flagg Well-Known Member

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    What the economic situation of France with captured British gold/loot?
     
  15. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    I'll get into that in the next chapter.
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Chapter 31: Sterling and Livres

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - August

    London


    Great Britain was not in a terribly good financial condition even at the start of the war. In debt nearly 70,000,000 pounds sterling, the average annual tax revenues in 1755 were 8,000,000 pounds sterling. Over 5,000,000 pounds of this was already being used to pay past debts.

    By 1761, when the French invasion crossed the Channel, the British debt had tripled. Witnessing French troops marching on London, the primary capital market of Britain (and the world) was catastrophic for the government. Accustomed to accepting all direction from the capital, the loss of this financial apparatus of state was even more devastating than the political and bureaucratic one.

    New York

    Even as the assorted colonial assemblies prepared to send their representatives to the still-vaguely-defined colonial assembly in New York (though the official capital had yet to be determined), the shocking news of the invasion of Britain rocked America from Quebec to Florida.

    The colonies were in a subordinate relationship with Great Britain, whose merchantilism would prevent the colonies from gathering adequate access to liquid capital. This had long been one of the greatest grievances for the Americans whom believed it retarded their growth. Many turned to smuggling to the French and Spanish Empires (whose West Indian possessions required barrel staves, fish, wheat and other goods while providing rum or hard currency in exchange) to provide what Britain could not or would not.

    Great Britain, from King to Parliament to commoners, resented the colonies for paying so little in taxes compared to the British public. The average American paid one shilling per head while the British paid twenty-seven shillings during the course of the war. Of course, with the Americans, they lacked the currency in circulation to pay these taxes anyway.

    Like the British themselves, the colonials never imagined that the French would ever manage to make it across the English Channel and feared for their King and country. They would not know that their King George II and his heir had died on the same day as William Pitt. Their new rightful King was currently in the custody of the nation of France.

    Paris


    The duc de Choiseul was getting tired of his Finance advisors. He knew damned well that the nation's debt had reached 2,000,000,000 livres (about half during the past six years of war and half inherited debts from previous wars). Over a third of the nation's tax revenues were being dispersed to service the debt. Soon that may reach half of the tax revenues.

    While losing 80-90% of their colonial trade (the declining Canadian fur industry and, vastly more importantly, the bulk of the French West Indian sugar trade) cost the exchequer hundreds of millions of livres in taxes as well as damaging the trading sector by reducing nearly 200,000,000 livres in goods were per year (with very high tax rates on the highly controllable goods coming from the West Indies), the key source of the financial pain was the direct huge expense of the war. Even temporarily increasing taxes on luxury goods did little to help offset the balance.

    Indeed, so many private French banks went under that a panic struck the Parisian capital markets. Only two events saved the French government from collapsing for lack of capital:

    1. In 1759, an emergency Spanish loan had kept the French government solvent and able to pay their soldiers' wages and for their upkeep.
    2. In 1761, despite the euphoria over the initial success of the invasion, the immediate effect in Paris was the effective looting of London, the largest capital market on Earth. Over the summer and fall of 1761, the French army seized at least 4,000,000 pounds sterling throughout London alone (mainly in assorted banks). At an exchange rate of 13 to 1, this amounted to 52,000,000 livres, enough to pay nearly a third of the year's war related costs. Several million more livres were raised in the next year by selling off the assorted pillage including much of the British Royal Art Collection to the highest bidder and hundreds upon hundreds of British merchant vessels (and cargoes) captured along southern Britain's shores.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2019
  17. Threadmarks: Chapter 32: London falls

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - August

    London


    The apparent collapse of leadership among the British government (the King, the Prince of Wales and the defacto Prime Ministers, William Pitt) would utterly cripple the British defenses. Though man for man, the British regulars were as capable as any soldier on earth, the fact was that only about 20,000 existed on Great Britain itself. Many of these had been recruited in recent years and had yet to reach the full capable state of a true soldier. Few had ever been in combat despite the nation being at war for years.

    More importantly, the soldiers were split throughout the country in remote billets. With the lack of central command, many of these regiments remained in place for lack of orders or received confusing or contradictory orders from multiple sources as local commanders sought to augment their own forces.

    After six weeks of invasion, only about 6000 of the British regulars had even been engaged by the French. That was enough for London to fall.

    It didn't help that London had, over the past 75 years, built a number of bridges over the Thames River. In the 17th century, only one such bridge existed as the Company of Watermen defeated proposal after proposal to build them in order to preserve the livelihoods of their 60,000 ferrymen. The 18th century, though, saw a wave of new bridges which adequately forded the north and south shores of the Thames.

    [​IMG]

    Had such an invasion been attempted a hundred years earlier, the invaders would have found the stately and slow-moving river a difficult barrier to ford, especially given the large amount of material which modern armies must carry in a huge and vulnerable baggage and artillery train. Had these bridges been severed, the effect would be the same. However, the chaos now infesting the higher command (many regimental commanders were getting orders from the Southern Secretary, the Minister of War the Board of Ordinance, multiple Generals and assorted political hacks) would prevent a single one of these bridges being destroyed in time. Astonished, the French were able to march almost unopposed across the structures into northern London.

    By the end of August, 1761, several counties had fall and the capital was entirely in French hands. Perhaps more importantly, the dockyards of Chatham, Harwich, Deptford, Sheerness, Woodwich, Portsmouth and others had been taken along with the Naval Bases of Spithead (in the south of England) and the Nore (southeast England at the Thames estuary).

    The loss of these bases would make the task of retaining the Channel nearly impossible.

    September, 1761

    The English Channel


    Admiral Edward Hawke had not enjoyed his war. Though he'd attempted to engage the enemy multiple times, he had been put off by bad luck relating to contrary winds, stout enemy harbor defenses and French Admirals too cowardly to face him in battle and fled at the first sight of his forces.

    As a young and aggressive Admiral, Hawke was a natural choice to lead an expedition of twelve warships to blockade the port of Belfast. This he temporarily did...only to discover that the French had invaded his nation across the Channel. Hawke immediately ordered his squadron south...only to discover that he was too late and the Channel Fleet had been destroyed or forced to flee. Hawke would stop several Royal Navy vessels sailing west past Cornwall towards Liverpool and inquire as to how this could have happened.

    It was explained that the bulk of the Channel fleet at Spithead and Nore had been trapped by French, Spanish, Danish and Dutch vessels (Hawke wondered why the Dutch were partaking given they had not, to his knowledge, declared war). This plugged the Channel fleet as the French transports delivered an army three times that remaining in Britain. Eventually, the Channel Fleet was forced to fight their way through the blockade. Rather than battles of maneuver in which superior British seamanship would hold the day, these were slogfests in which the British were forced to charge into the guns of the enemy broadsides. Though they acquitted themselves well in adverse conditions, over 40 Royal Navy warships from First Rate Ships-of-the-Line to frigates were lost. About half of these were not lost in battle but had been captured or destroyed (by either the British or French) while awaiting repair or crews in the shipyards. Though the Royal Navy had 250 warships of Frigate and above, only about 150 were usually in service at any given time due to refitting or lack of crew.

    Of the 20 (out of the 60) frigate class and above ships at Spithead and Nore which managed to escape, most sustained heavy damage and needed repair in the other assorted British shipyards. Some of the Channel fleet escaped west towards Cornwall and Liverpool while others, aided by an uncommon westerly wind, had fled east towards Newcastle.

    Over 5000 sailors and assorted shipyard personnel were draft into the infantry and ordered to man defensive fortifications. However, the French fleet would not enter the harbors until the Army had landed and taken them from the landward side. A few of these bastions would last for weeks under French siege but would fall one by one until the last succumbed in September.

    Hawke would lead his twelve ship fleet on a raid against the Channel only to determine that the enemy forces were, indeed, far too powerful for his fleet to challenge. By most estimates at the time, over 200 allied warships of frigate class and above were in the Channel. In truth, it was closer to 125, still a great number despite a fifth of these already too heavily damaged (or destroyed) to be of use.

    The true allied Naval Advantage lay in their control over the ports both north and south of the Channel. With heavy fall weather coming, trying to navigate a full fleet into the face of the easterly winds was always dangerous and added an element of risk for a force attempting to invade the region. The French and their allies, meanwhile, could easily taken shelter in protected harbors both north and south of the harbor.

    Hawke was forced to retreat to Plymouth, the largest naval base remaining in southern England.

    This allowed the French Army to shuttle twelve thousand more soldiers across the Channel in September, 1761 and another 10,000 in October, mostly to the captured port of Portsmouth.

    Similarly, the King of Denmark, still irate at the British attack on Copenhagen, would agree to dispatch 15,000 soldiers to the Thames estuary. Only about 6000 were actual Danes (or Norwegians or from his German domains). Instead, the other 9000 were hirelings from northwest Germany, most notably Hesse. Ever since the "allies" of Britain and Prussia had "leased" their armies to King George II early in the war, the occupation of their countries by the French led to an international agreement that no forces would be leased within the Holy Roman Empire. This was as much demanded by Austria as France as the predominantly Protestant petty Princes would more often than not lease their armies to Britain or France (depending on the situation) and rarely directly to Austria.

    France desired the neutrality of these petty states due to their position near the French border.

    When the Kingdom of Denmark was offered another "Subsidy" by France to become more gainfully employed in the war, Denmark hired these soldiers to fight for them as the Danish army was weak.

    Thus, by September 1761, over 65,000 allied troops were in Britain and another 20,000 in Ireland.
     
    RMcD94, wemayberry, Soverihn and 7 others like this.
  18. Threadmarks: Chapter 33: American Parliament

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Location:
    Detroit
    1761 - September

    Cities of Lagos and Faro, Southern Portugal


    For several months, the Portuguese Army (a charitable designation) had done little more than harass the French and Spanish troops which occupied their primary cities of Lisbon and Porto. Then a wave of modest attacks followed which led to nothing more than the slaughter of some poorly armed Portuguese patriots. The French and Spanish were hardly impressed and would soon see the Portuguese focus split even further when a Spanish-Italian fleet (Carlos III of Spain had not yet given up Naples as promised per previous treaty) would seize the southern cities of Lagos and Faro.

    The reasoning behind this was plain: King Carlos, whom would be more involved in the war effort than his late half-brother Ferdinand, wanted to start off his reign with the capture of Gibraltar and seizing these southernmost ports in Portuguese would help cut off the flow of ships to the bastion.

    Carlos also reasoned (he would not blindly take instruction from his Minister Ensenada as Ferdinand had) that the Spanish could leverage these gains in Portugal for overseas possessions within the Portuguese Empire.

    1761 - September

    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


    For the past several months, the 5000 men of the British army would sit in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo waiting for an attack from Spain which would never come. The Brazilian militia was moderately well organized and the Spanish forces in theater were less than exceptional. Though many Spaniards would speak of "conquering Brazil", no forces sufficient to the task would be dispatched from Spain. Even if all the forces occupying the Portuguese main cities had been sent to South America, it likely would not have altered the truth. Spain lacked the capacity to conquer Brazil and France was disinclined to help.

    More out of boredom, one Spanish officer would come upon a useful tactic to unsettle the Brazilian/Portuguese/British hold on the core regions of Brazil (I.E. the northern sugar areas to the southern mining regions). Brazil held the largest slave population in the new world, larger even than Saint Domingue. With a few minor incursions, the Spanish would arm the slaves of Minas Gerais' mines and among the coastal sugar plantations outside Salvador.

    By September, much of Brazil was engaged in the greatest slave rebellion in Brazilian history. This was being repeated in Saint Domingue, Martinique and Jamaica.

    1761 - September

    New York


    Having received word that their new Colonial Union plan had been approved (and the shocking news of Britain's invasion by France), the assorted colonial assembly lower houses (elected by popular vote) would dispatch three representatives each to New York. This city had been largely selected due to the presence of the acting commander-in-chief of Britain's North American Army, George Howe.

    As little word had been cascaded to the colonials as to the actual powers of the Assembly, there seemed to be no reason to gather so quickly. Yet most of the colonies, fearful of being left behind in key decision, hastened to send representatives to New York in early September.

    Within days, Benjamin Franklin was selected as the Speaker of the Colonial Assembly. Perhaps the most famous of Americans, the man held a gravitas which could not be replaced and would allow him to negotiate with King George's British metropolitan minions in the eye.

    Among the first actions by the Colonial Assembly would be renaming itself His Majesty's North American Parliament, with "Colonial Assembly" sounding perhaps a bit demeaning.

    A swift ship in late September would bring news of the death of George II. Toasts were raised in his memory and in favor of George III. It would be October before the Americans learned that George III died on the same day as his grandfather (though no one was sure if George III even technically reigned as no one knew which died first, grandfather or grandson). In early October, new toasts were raised in George III's memory and to the new King Edward VII (the former Duke of York whom had received his Duchy by writ of his grandfather in 1760). It was later October when they learned "King" Edward was actually in French custody.

    By this point, no one in America had the slightest idea whose health they should be toasting.

    As it turned out, no one in Britain knew either.
     
  19. Tarabas Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2018
    This timeline is simply amazing.
     
  20. Colonel flagg Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Who the most likely king that france/spain would approve for Britain?
     
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