Hispano-Confederate War

Wolfpaw

Banned
Let's presume that the CSA manages to win independence by '62-'63 and has the below borders, plus the Indian Territory.



A Confederate Cuba is a numbingly common trope in AH, though the process of its absorption by the CSA is usually glossed over by having the CS purchase it from Spain (Turtledove) or people just assuming that Southerners are Supermen.

So I say, let's give this trope a good beating with the Plausibility Stick.

How do you all think a Confederate war with Spain over Cuba would work out?
 
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The CSA gets its ass royally kicked by Spain and the US. The Spainish would go to war over Cuba and see a natural ally in the US. The US and Spanish navies blockade Cuba until Spanish troops arrive while the US invades from the north.
 
The USA for sure would step in and reclaim lost territories I would think. A war that goes badly can lead to a split in the CSA as prominent states whom opposed the war (or who wanted to expand into Mexico) would threaten to secede.
 

NothingNow

Banned
How do you all think a Confederate war with Spain over Cuba would work out?
assuming the Spanish and Cubans don't immediately drive the CSA from the Island, it'd work something like this:
The CSA gets its ass royally kicked by Spain and the US. The Spainish would go to war over Cuba and see a natural ally in the US. The US and Spanish navies blockade Cuba until Spanish troops arrive while the US invades from the north.
But with Bushwhacking by OTL's Cuban Nationalist groups in the Tobacco and Coffee farming East and some reprisals against either side, as Sugar Planters and their allies in the Western portion of the Island might be more likely to side with the CSA, (sharing common economic values and all.)

Oh, and Yellow Fever will utterly decimate Spanish, Confederate and Union troops sent to Cuba, with the exception of a few units raised in the South Carolina Lowlands and similar environs. The Cubans are generally immune, save the Peninsulares, who have the good sense to stay inside and/or smoke like chimneys to survive.

Meanwhile the Spanish may or may not be sidetracked by the Carlist war (meaning fewer troops get deployed to Cuba,) depending on the time period, and the Union might not get actively involved (if they hold Key West and the Dry Tortugas however, they'll probably deny their use to the CSA, even if they're ostensibly neutral.)

Either way, Cedar Key, Jacksonville, Mobile, and New Orleans are likely fucked if the war expands outside Cuba, while Tampa might just be ignored. Fort Marion / The Castillo de San Marcos might be taken with gunfire for the first time in about a century and a half (counting from the Siege of 1740.)

Maybe it grows into a second War between the States, maybe it doesn't.
 
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When is this war? If the USA stays out of it. I would think the CSA would win . The Spanish are not a world power. The CSA would have a better army by far. A cold war with the USA would make the CSA military bigger and better than what the USA had in 98, and that military won in otl. They could have a decent navy depending on if they put money into it. I would think if they wanted Cuba they would put an effort to have a decent navy first. I be curious whose side the Cubans would be on. Would the CSA bring slavery back to Cuba. If so the Cubans would have to fight on the side of Spain. That would cause lots of problems for the CSA after they chase the Spanish out of Cuba. The Cubans wanting independence would be more of a problem for the CSA than Spain.
 

mowque

Banned
The Spanish did better in Cuba then most people give them credit for.

The Battle of Las Guasimas showed the U.S. that the old linear Civil War tactics did not work effectively against Spanish troops who had learned the art of cover and concealment from their own struggle with Cuban insurgents, and never made the error of revealing their positions while on the defense. Spanish troops were equipped with smokeless powder arms that also helped them to hide their positions while firing. Regular Spanish troops were mostly armed with modern charger-loaded 1893 7mm Spanish Mauser rifles in using smokeless powder, while militia and irregular troops were armed with Remington Rolling Block rifles in .43 Spanish using smokeless powder and brass jacketed bullet.[57] The high-speed 7x57mm Mauser round was termed the "Spanish Hornet" by the Americans because of the supersonic crack as it passed overhead. In response, American troops using .30-40 Krag-Jørgensen and worse, .45-70 Springfield single-shot black powder rifles found themselves unable to respond with an equivalent volume of fire. American soldiers could advance against the Spaniards only in what are now called "fireteam" rushes, four-to-five man groups advancing while others laid down supporting fire from small arms.
All of this will be even worse against a CSA. The CSA will lack capital to invest in new arms, (and the war might even happen before OTL 1898) and will be fighting the Civil War over again. The climate alone will kill thousands and determined resistance will make the war a pro-longed one. The CSA navy will not be strong enough to choke off Spain, and it may get ugly (doubly so if the USA holds onto some bits of Florida).

Again, yellow fever is going to be a killer-

A group of concerned officers of the American army chose Theodore Roosevelt to draft a request to Washington that it withdraw the Army, a request that paralleled a similar one from General Shafter, who described his force as an “army of convalescents”. By the time of his letter, 75% of the force in Cuba was unfit for service.
And a more backward and less logistical capable army (one lacking any *Leonard Wood's) will only deal worse with it.

And the CSA will NEVER pass the Teller Amendment or anything like it. (Obviously, the CSA is invading for land and glory). The Cuban people will be dead against them from the very start. If anything, if the CSA still has slavery, the Cubans might simply side with the Spanish (or at least be neutral).
 
When is this war? If the USA stays out of it. I would think the CSA would win . The Spanish are not a world power. The CSA would have a better army by far. A cold war with the USA would make the CSA military bigger and better than what the USA had in 98, and that military won in otl. They could have a decent navy depending on if they put money into it. I would think if they wanted Cuba they would put an effort to have a decent navy first. I be curious whose side the Cubans would be on. Would the CSA bring slavery back to Cuba. If so the Cubans would have to fight on the side of Spain. That would cause lots of problems for the CSA after they chase the Spanish out of Cuba. The Cubans wanting independence would be more of a problem for the CSA than Spain.
Where to begin.

The CS army will not be overly big. For a start, they have a much smaller manpower pool than the US has, made even smaller by the fact they refuse to let a very large minority have equal rights to the majority. A CS army will be a relatively small federal thing, at an exceptionally rough estimate I'd say no bigger than 20,000 men maybe even smaller. The states themselves would be defended by state run militias (National Guards if someone gave them more power), and each guard will be loyal to their own state rather than to the Confederacy as a whole. So a war that will only immediately benefit a few states will not have the support of the others.
A CS navy would be a similar dealie to the army, a small federal institute supported (in theory) by the state run counterparts.

The CSA would have an exceptionally backwards economy, it being mainly rural and all, and even if Britain and France decided that the Confederates were not only their bestfriends but were worth wasting money on supporting, the South would still never be able to bring an army up to scrath with the USA, or even Spain for that matter. And no, the Royal navy will not be sailing to the Bay of Pigs anytime soon.
 
Where to begin.

The CS army will not be overly big. For a start, they have a much smaller manpower pool than the US has, made even smaller by the fact they refuse to let a very large minority have equal rights to the majority. A CS army will be a relatively small federal thing, at an exceptionally rough estimate I'd say no bigger than 20,000 men maybe even smaller. The states themselves would be defended by state run militias (National Guards if someone gave them more power), and each guard will be loyal to their own state rather than to the Confederacy as a whole. So a war that will only immediately benefit a few states will not have the support of the others.
A CS navy would be a similar dealie to the army, a small federal institute supported (in theory) by the state run counterparts.

The CSA would have an exceptionally backwards economy, it being mainly rural and all, and even if Britain and France decided that the Confederates were not only their bestfriends but were worth wasting money on supporting, the South would still never be able to bring an army up to scrath with the USA, or even Spain for that matter. And no, the Royal navy will not be sailing to the Bay of Pigs anytime soon.
If the CSA has an army of only 20,000 it will be run over by the US. Try 75,000 and you will be in the right ballpark.
 
If the CSA has an army of only 20,000 it will be run over by the US. Try 75,000 and you will be in the right ballpark.
The US army was pretty tiny, I think the first time it had ever made it into the millions was for the Great War. Before that it was a standing force of some 16,000 professionals who rode around the west beating up Indians.
Both armies are naturally going to be larger, but as armies are seen as tools of big, oppressive, centralised governments, and both countries constitutionally have to avoid those, they're still gonna be fairly small.

If anyone can find figures for the US standing army around 1880-90 I'd actually be much obliged.
 
A Confederate Cuba is a numbingly common trope in AH...
And maybe someone can explain that to me? I've seen it crop up repeatedly, and I still have no idea why so many people think that an independent CSA, unlikely in its own right, is so certain to start this war. What is so attractive about this theme?
 
And maybe someone can explain that to me? I've seen it crop up repeatedly, and I still have no idea why so many people think that an independent CSA, unlikely in its own right, is so certain to start this war. What is so attractive about this theme?
The US could have annexed Cuba but didn't IOTL, so a lot of people (Turtledove) believe that their historical opposite number will be ballsy enough to pull off the invasion and annex the entire island.
Plus it's close and inhabited by dark-skinned people. Make way for Mighty Whitey!
 
And maybe someone can explain that to me? I've seen it crop up repeatedly, and I still have no idea why so many people think that an independent CSA, unlikely in its own right, is so certain to start this war. What is so attractive about this theme?
I can think of a few reasons

1. Confederate Cuba looks nice on a map

2. A Confederate Cuba often leads to an American Cuba if the US reabsorbs Cuba sometime in the future.

3. People want the CSA to expand territorialy. It's not likely to happen at the expense of the US so the only real options are Mexico and Spain, and quite often in timelines where the CSA gains independence Mexico is ruled by a Hapsburg who serves as a French puppet, leaving Cuba the most likely outcome. I'm sure this might not be the reason many have the CSA take Cuba, but it seems like it would be the most logical one.
 

NothingNow

Banned
The US could have annexed Cuba but didn't IOTL, so a lot of people (Turtledove) believe that their historical opposite number will be ballsy enough to pull off the invasion and annex the entire island.
Plus it's close and inhabited by dark-skinned people. Make way for Mighty Whitey!
Yeah, pretty much. Most people who use the trope just don't do enough research on the subject (aka read Anything at all,) realize how fucking terrible the idea is. It'd be a great setting for a Novel though.
 
Ok, well, all of the above is pretty much what I expected to hear. I guess anyone who bends probability enough to get an independent CSA in the first place wouldn't shy from bending it to make said CSA a mover and shaker in the world.
 
If the CSA becomes independent, the US army (and navy) will NOT shrink like they did OTL after the CW with a semi-hostile neighbor to the south, and concerns about Canada and the UK (and French Mexico which does border AZ/NM/CA). On other threads suggested the USA will keep the Keys as naval bases & I think that is reasonable.

As far as the CSA taking Cuba, to do so they need to "uncover" their border with the USA and if the USA decides they want to take some back... Furthermore the CSA is unlikely to have much of a navy. Their industry in 1865 for shipbuilding of modern (by 1865) standards was zero, and they are unlikely to build the capacity that would allow them in the next 20 years to build a fleet that could transport a force to Cuba and defeat the Spanish navy. They are not going to spend a lot of $$ to buy many ships from UK or France as they will not see a need for a navy, for unlike the USA they don't have a world wide trade network to protect (a la Mahan).

Lastly, given the larger black/mestizo element in Cuba, the locals may not like the Spanish but they will hate the Confederates who are either still slave holders or running a very ugly apartheid regime.

Oh another note...invade during the right season and yellow fever less of a problem...
 
The US army was pretty tiny, I think the first time it had ever made it into the millions was for the Great War. Before that it was a standing force of some 16,000 professionals who rode around the west beating up Indians.
Both armies are naturally going to be larger, but as armies are seen as tools of big, oppressive, centralised governments, and both countries constitutionally have to avoid those, they're still gonna be fairly small.

If anyone can find figures for the US standing army around 1880-90 I'd actually be much obliged.
The US Army was tiny because the US had NO real competitors in its backyard. No one in the area could invade the US and have a prayer of winning. Canada had a tiny population and Mexico was backwards. The CSA changes that. It has a real rival in its own backyard. That changes the outlook of everything and it is going to wind up with a large army, probably at least in the neighborhood of 100,000.
 
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