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. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    I can't believe they would try to put a Stuart back on the throne. Catholic maybe made up 3% of Britain's population at this time. To put any Catholic on the throne would be a recipe for constant rebellion.

    Maybe some willing puppet. I've been thinking about this and will decide which direction I will take in the next few chapters.
     
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  2. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Much appreciated.
     
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  3. HistLover Well-Known Member

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    They should have someone named so as to have an excuse to toast more
     
  4. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

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    These major revolts will probably cripple the slave trading industry for several decades. The whole sugar industry should be imploding drastically by now. I wonder if the Spanish and French would try to do the same in the Southern American colonies if they got the chance.
     
  5. Threadmarks: Chapter 34: Disaster in Anglia

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - October

    East Anglia


    The French would take most of September consolidating their control over London. Initially, mobs formed of patriotic Londoners intended to evict the French, Danes and German hirelings. However, patriotism was less powerful than bayonets and, in a few days, thousands of dead Londoners would break the will of the people and the French occupation of the capital was soon relegated to being harassed by petty skirmishers rather than a full-blown revolt. Immediately, hundreds of thousands of Britons would be put out of work by the war as trade plunged, harvests were not collected and tradesmen found no market for their goods.

    The chaos would not result in the allies being evicted but would delay the primary French forces for nearly the full month of October. This gave the Duke of Cumberland time to consolidate what he could.

    By October, 1761, the British government had effectively collapsed. Technically, no Parliament could be called without the King nor any elections. The routine matters of state were handled by the Ministers to be approved by Parliament. However, with this invasion, the routine was no longer valid.

    Realizing the dire need for leadership, Lord Newcastle would pass on authority to someone whom, unlike Newcastle himself, was willing to take it. Though he may be a supreme political organizer, the Duke of Newcastle lacked a powerful will or decisiveness. Nor were the rest of his Cabinet capable of making such decisions. The Secretary of War was considered a nominal position with little direct power while authority over artillery was left to the Board of Ordinance. The militia was paid and led by another group. This left the nation's military forces totally...and purposefully...divided so one person could not assume dictatorial power.

    This worked fine most of the time. But with an enemy army alighting onto British soil, the deliberate chaos regarding British land-forces would cause no end to trouble.

    Fortunately or unfortunately, the only true man bearing the will and personality to control the situation was the Duke of Cumberland. While Newcastle technically needed the approval of the Crown to make such decisions, even the timid Duke knew that legalisms didn't matter much now. He granted the late King George II's favorite (until he lost Hanover) son power to reclaim the nation from the Papist hands.

    If no longer considered a military genius (though few thought that in the first place), the Duke was at least willing to take the responsibility, especially given that the Ministry had given him carte-blanch to win the war.

    The Duke understood and enjoyed the idea, perhaps having more autocratic tendancies than the rest of the House of Hanover. He commanded every army unit within reach to march to his base in the town of Cambridge, East Anglia where Parliament had flocked (many having matriculated there) over the past two months. For his own part, Cumberland just ignored them, something Newcastle could hardly do.

    But, in the end, Parliament would not settle the future of Britain...it would be the army.

    Beyond summoning most of the remaining regulars in Britain (10,000 out of the remaining 16,000 regulars, fully trained or not), a picked 15,000 of the militia (Cumberland dismissed those he could not arm or considered a waste of rations and ammunition) and impressed 10,000 sailors from the Royal Navy and civilian fleet. These latter were preferred to most landsmen as sailors, both navy and merchant, were accustomed to discipline. As such, he managed to assembled 35,000 men in East Anglia to oppose the invaders by late October. This was probably something no one else in Britain could manage.

    However, the Duke would still make the vital error in choosing his subordinates solely based upon their loyalty to the Crown and Cumberland himself. Key lieutenants were Sir John Mordaunt, the Earl of Loudon, Thomas Webb and others whom had performed poorly in the New World. Younger, more talented, officers were brushed aside for political reasons.

    In one colossal battle, the Duke of Cumberland would pit the bulk of Britain's available soldiers at the invaders. Despite his patriotism, the 30,000 French and German mercenaries (the term "Hessians" would go down in British history in infamy) would crush the Duke's forces, forcing him to retreat with 6000 casualties, 4000 desertions, 5000 captured and without most of the British army's effective artillery and baggage train.

    The Battle of Cambridge (actually 10 miles southwest of Cambridge) would see Parliament scattered before the guns of the French. Within weeks, the weather in normally balmy Britain would turn frigid. The plotting march northward was slowed the point that little more was accomplished by the French invaders in 1761 beyond seizing the rest of East Anglia and consolidating their hold over southern Britain.

    Perhaps more importantly, the French would manage one more major wave of troop disembarkation across the English Channel as 10,000 more French regulars and 2500 mercenaries (mainly from Waldeck and Lippe) hired by the Dutch Republic would manage to cross again.

    Interestingly, the regulars were not the only Frenchmen to arrive. Thousands more men were deposited on shore with the intent of Freebooting. During the Hundred Years War, the English had dispatched wave after wave of scavenging and pillaging pseudo-military men whom fell upon France like locusts, ravaging the nation for generations. Now, the French had determined to repay that old debt.
     
  6. Darth_Kiryan The Númenorean Sith

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    French are ruthless here....
     
  7. r1ncewind Well-Known Member

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    Never heard of freebooting before.. sounds like land piracy
     
  8. Grand Prince Paul II. Xenophobic Russian Agent, pro-Europa

    King Edward VII looks like the logical choice.
     
  9. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    Filibuster or carpetbagger would be other terms.
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Chapter 35: Royal Assent

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1761 - December

    New York


    The North American Parliament would meet throughout the fall and winter of 1761, though it would accomplish few tangible benefits to the nation's defense. Pledges were made for "donations" from the various colonies but Benjamin Franklin had lived far, far too long to believe he could rely upon the colonies to merely provide what the Parliament of North America demanded in provisions and funds. The central Parliament must have its own revenue streams. In order to ease the transition to this new mode of thought, Franklin bypassed for now the idea of direct taxation. Instead, he proposed that all customs collections and those taxes previously imposed by Britain (direct or indirect) to the coffers of the central government. This was perhaps the fairest way to do it as most of these were fees on trade or excise taxes. If one decided one didn't want to pay any taxes, then one simply did not have to purchase any of these goods. No one could force a man to buy foreign goods, could they?

    But all of this was still a mere proposal approved by the Parliament for the King's approval. Normally, this would have taken years of debate and the King would have been informed long before of the intent in order to gage his opinion. But, by 1761, George II and Prince George of Wales (possible George III if his grandfather predeceased him) were dead and "Good King Edward" had only recently been generally acknowledged to be a prisoner of the French.

    George Howe, the Commander-in-Chief of His Majesty's forces in North America, similarly didn't know what to do. However, he was at least politically adroit enough to work WITH the new Parliament in North America as every predecessor of his had echoed the same complaints regarding the American provincial assemblies: they were impossible to deal with and often deliberately obstructed any appointed official whom offended them (which was most).

    The new Parliament was Howe's best hope for sustaining his forces in North America for the immediate future. Granted, these forces were modest overall as most of the British regulars had been withdrawn from the mainland in order to invade Saint Domingue and Guadeloupe (where many more would die of disease or at the hands of the slaves than by French soldiers).

    In the end, both Howe and Franklin could only manage as well they could.

    And wait.

    1761 - December

    The English Channel


    Though the weather in the English Channel would often by dangerous, the commanders of the Royal Navy dare not wait any longer. Several dozen warships had finally been accumulated from other ports in Britain and abroad and massed along western British ports and the sole remaining major harbor along the southern coast of Britain, Plymouth, was being encroached by the French army. Should Britain be expelled totally from this southern base, then it would become almost impossible to regain control over the Channel due to the harsh, prevailing easterly winds. Any British fleet would always have to tack into the wind and would have no avenue for shelter with the French controlling the lands on both sides of the Channel.

    It was determined that, above all else the French supply line to the army occupying southern must be cut, no matter the cost, else so many French troops would be stationed in Britain that the Navy would cease to matter in the equation.

    Though it took months to accomplish, over 45 warships from 1st Rate Ships of the Line to frigate class (and a few below that), would mass along the Irish Sea and sail past Cornwall.

    Historians would argue what may have happened if that winter gale had not suddenly shot up in the Channel. But emerge it did. While over a hundred French, Spanish, Dutch and Danish warships huddled under cover, the assorted British Admirals doggedly attempted to rail against the winds in order to gain advantage of positioning.

    The result, when the winds finally died, was the loss of 6 ships to the storms and severe damage to 9 others. The remainder of the fleet had been unable to stay united and, as the French and Spanish ships emerged from the harbors of Southern Britain or Northern France, they fell upon the exhausted and battered Royal Navy suppliers.

    In the ensuing battle, another 8 British ships were sunk or taken (compared to 9 French and Spanish). Most of the remaining British ships sustained damage and were forced to retreat. The allies, though, could afford the loss. The British could not.

    To make matters worse, a French army had marched west to Plymouth and seized the naval base from the shore. Most of the local fleet had already fled to rendezvous in the Irish Sea. But many of the Royal Naval vessels damaged in the gale and later in the battle had been forced to limp into Plymouth. Many of these ships were taken by the French army while several others looked on impotently from the harbor. These were later scuttled as the French fleet arrived in Plymouth to cut them off and complete the job.

    The Channel had fallen.

    By February, another 30,000 French, German and Danish troops had crossed the now secure Channel.

    Albion's Orphan - Britain January 1762.png
     
  11. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    Britain's forces in the field have been crushed. Question is, how much damage can the French do before their funds finally run out?
     
  12. Colonel flagg Well-Known Member

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    What the economy of Spain?
     
  13. luis3007 History amateur

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    With the new revenew source (aka looting) the French army can live of the British islands for quite a long time.
     
  14. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    That will be a major point in the next few chapters.
     
  15. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    In some ways, stronger than both France and Britain as the mid-17th century saw new mining techniques which improved the efficiency of silver mining. This would be a temporary windfall for Spain.
     
  16. Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that the looting would be short lived as it would create more resistance and, therefore, incur more cost for France to occupy.

    Also, Britain's merchant fleet basically greased the wheels of world trade. Without it, all of Europe would suffer, as I'll get into in the next few chapters.

    I think it would soon become apparent that any occupation would bleed France as much as Britain.
     
  17. Threadmarks: Chapter 36: Midlands

    Alt History Buff Well-Known Member

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    1762 - March

    The Midlands, Britain


    Long an agricultural bastion, the Midlands region would provide a bounty of wheat and other goods for centuries before slowly turning into an industrial powerhouse based around her meandering rivers. Small towns grew into larger cities producing textiles and other manufactured goods. The population boomed as workers from the surrounding countryside would migrate.

    By spring of 1762, it was apparent that the British government was barely functional, both the bureaucracy and Parliament. Indeed, the House of Lords hadn't even managed to form a quorum in the temporary capital of Birmingham while the House of Commons spent most of their time shouting at one another. The Duke of Newcastle and his Cabinet would struggle to even maintain the tax collection and other regulatory practices necessary to maintain law and order. The entire country had been under Martial Law since the invasion, making Newcastle's job easier.

    In truth, not by nature a decisive man good in a crisis, Newcastle was happy to allow the Duke of Cumberland whatever hand he needed to expel the invaders.

    1761 had been an unmitigated disaster for Britain. The capital had fallen and god only knew how many French and allied soldiers now infested Britain. Every many battle had been lost and the enemy was only slowly by an atypically harsh British winter. Now, as spring peeked out between the omnipresent clouds overhead, the enemy was on the move again.

    Cumberland had not been idle. He maintained his retinue of cronies - Mordaunt, Webb, Loudon, Monro and others like Peregrine Hopson - not because he believed them to be brilliant soldiers but because they were loyal to HIM, to the Whig Party and to the House of Hanover. In the end, trust was more important than skill to Cumberland.

    This would prove to be a poor decision.

    Cumberland's army had swollen to 60,000 men. Only about 10,000 remained of the regulars whom had been stationed in Britain at the commencement of the invasion. Secure in the believe that the Royal Navy, not the army, protected Britain, former (defacto) leader of the government William Pitt had dispatched much of the British Army across the globe to America, Brazil, Africa, India, Gibraltar, the West Indies, Ireland, the Channel Islands, etc.

    But Cumberland had impressed huge numbers of British militia into his forces though he preferred to utilize sailors (both Royal Navy and civilian) as they were "accustomed to discipline". Sailors Britain had in large numbers and they would largely willingly march forward to protect their nation. When the Admirals objected, stating that Britain could not win a land war with nations bearing a combined 4X to 5X the population of Britain and usually held standing armies 5X the size of Britain, Cumberland scoffed that the Navy had its chance and failed. Now the army must do its job. Having impressed the crews of dozens of ships into the Army, the Royal Navy would not have the capacity to make another attempt at the English Channel.

    Cumberland had managed to summon home 4000 Regulars from Ireland as well as 1500 (mostly sick) soldiers from Saint Domingue. The latter Britain had invaded almost two years earlier but only managed to incite a slave insurrection in France's wealthiest colony. This was certainly a boon to Britain but most of that army had been decimated by tropical disease and slave rebellion more than the official enemy (as was the case in Jamaica, Martinique and Guadeloupe). Cumberland had considered ordering the British regulars remaining in Guadeloupe, Quebec and other locales (he even considered recalling the Channel Islands and Gibraltar garrisons) but eventually realized the numbers would be modest and the men would be too late to affect the outcome of the Battle of Britain anyway.

    Thus with an only partially trained and poorly equipped army, the Duke marched through the rolling hills of the midlands towards the gathering French army. Though he outnumbered the invaders 60,000 to 50,000, he was critically short of skilled artillery and most of his army had never actually shot a musket before. Many were sick due to endless and urgent drilling in the frigid winter in hopes to getting them up to speed.

    With Peregrine Hopson and Sir John Mordaunt, two aged warriors in their sixties, manning the left and right wings of his army (mainly militia and impressed sailors), the Duke of Cumberland would march forward. As his adjutant, Cumberland chose his nephew, the dim-witted Prince William (third son and second surviving son of Prince Frederick) whom was arguably his only potential contender to replace the Duke as the face of the House of Hanover to the exiled British government in Birmingham. Though he had no designs to make himself King, the Duke wanted to impress that he would represent the monarchy during this crisis.

    The battle went as expected. The Duke charged in the center with most of the Regulars. He pushed the French and allies back in several places but French artillery would soon force the British back to their original line. Neither side had a great advantage in positioning. Rolling hills rather than hard geographic positions would dominate the area.

    The French then counterattacked...not in the center but along BOTH flanks at once. Predictably, the flanks collapsed and the amateur militia and sailors were broken. Cumberland seeing that he'd lost the field, retreated too late and much of his force of regulars was cut off, including his own headquarters, by a troop of Hessian cavalry. The Duke and the teenaged Prince William were captured. Lacking direction from his subordinates, the militia eventually collapsed and fled, abandoning precious supplies, weapons, artillery and other irreplaceable goods.

    With a week, the French were in Birmingham and by mid-summer, they had forced the remnant of the government even further north.
     
  18. unprincipled peter Well-Known Member

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    Back in the fall, it was written that harvests went unharvested. couple that with widespread chaos (including economic) and a harsh winter, famine/hardship would be widespread. Regardless of martial law, I'm guessing any politician/military leader not shouting for peace would be subjected to neck stretching. Pitt didn't need to die - he'd have been bounced from power when Hanover fell, certainly when a successful crossing was made. Ditto for Newcastle.

    If Britain doesn't capitulate virtually unconditionally at this point, might as well petition the mods to move this to the ASB forum. No (little) civilian turmoil and no sign of peace terms sought to date already puts it dangerously close to that territory, IMO.

    Still, sometimes, one must suspend belief to enjoy a TL, and I've already enjoyed this one several times, so what's one more?
     
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  19. BigBlueBox Well-Known Member

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    My guess is that the British surrender and give up all their recent colonial conquests, along with Ireland and some of their own Caribbean islands and parts of India. The Americans however, refuse to agree to this. Since Britain cannot keep its end of the bargain up the French install a puppet government.
     
  20. unprincipled peter Well-Known Member

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    IF France decided it wants New France back, it's debatable (being extremely charitable) whether there's a darn thing the 13 colonies can do about it. the rest: not a darn thing the 13 can do. The colonies can declare independence, which France would love. hmmm, now I see why the French were deported from NF. I think I see another suspension of belief coming up.

    edit: unless the puppet is in America, in which case, there isn't enough suspension to swallow that one.
     
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