On the subject of the level of detail of this TL, for some of my very favorite TLs the author sometimes wanders off of the main focus of the TL into a bit of history that I know better than they do and the author makes some goofs that are obvious (to me at least), even when the overall TL is very strong that sort of thing always undermines my suspension of disbelief since if the author is making some errors in the areas that I personally know well who knows what errors they're making all of the areas they're covering that I don't know well.

That's has never ever EVER happened in this TL.
On the subject of the level of detail of this TL, for some of my very favorite TLs the author sometimes wanders off of the main focus of the TL into a bit of history that I know better than they do and the author makes some goofs that are obvious (to me at least), even when the overall TL is very strong that sort of thing always undermines my suspension of disbelief since if the author is making some errors in the areas that I personally know well who knows what errors they're making all of the areas they're covering that I don't know well.

That's has never ever EVER happened in this TL.
Carp is very cautious about butterflying further than necessary and that is the result. This TL is so self contained, it could almost be a novel.
Current updates are waiting until I figure out what I want to do with the Wittelsbach Succession Crisis. I was able to push the last chapter out because it's not relevant to broader geopolitics, but everything else I want to do really ought to wait until I have an idea of where international politics are in the mid-late 1780s.

That's has never ever EVER happened in this TL.

I appreciate the compliment, although I'm certain there's someone with sufficient knowledge to point out plausibility issues with my later "Europe" chapters (the WAS chapters are very nearly OTL and something I have a lot of material on, but the alt-SYW is probably more questionable). I've tried to avoid that in recent chapters mentioning the "American War" by giving as little detail as possible. That said, it makes sense in context - one wouldn't expect a history book on 18th century Corsica to go into great depth on the American Revolution aside from its direct effects on Corsica.

This TL is so self contained, it could almost be a novel.

Oh God no. Then I'd have to write dialogue.

BTW, what RPGs you play?

The current game I'm running is D&D 5e, which is not my favorite but that's what the current group does. In the past I've run 2e, 3e, PF1, FATE, and The Riddle of Steel (and techically a session of Maid RPG, but I probably shouldn't admit that). I'd like to try Mythras someday, and maybe PF2.
Well I don't know the SYW well enough to fact check you on that. It's just that I've read TLs that I dearly loved that hit Korea and don't seem to realize that basically the entire peninsula is covered in mountains or other really basic errors like that because when you bite off and try to chew the entire fucking world you're inevitably going to choke on something. This TL seems to work very hard to avoid that kind of choking, which makes it special for a TL of its word count.
Singapore express should contain the largest submarines in the allies fleet. The US V boats (especially the three huge Narwhal and assosciates) in particular. Not sure about the Brits. If American problems with torpedos are more rapidly forced to be dealt with then transferring more submarines who aren't good for torpedoing ships to be temporarily repurposed.

The surcouf could have taken more then a few men back. It was built with a 40 man brig and with the space and manpower that the weapons and ordnance opened up I feel you might be able to make a run to Singapore with a 100 more men. Besides non combatants, the injured, and those with tech or strategic value to valuable to be worth exposing to capture you could also bring fighting men out. I'm thinking choose experienced Phillipino enlisted men, NCO, officers and especially Phillipine scout elements. Not aiming to get most men out. But to bring the cadre that at least a brigade or two composed of a core of veteran Phillipinos and American veterans supplemented by recruits fleeing or smuggled out of the rest of the Philllipines and Phillipinos abroad. Be interesting if the first landing in a eventual reconquest fleet is done by men of the Elite 1st Phippine Scout Brigade.
wrong thread?
The Unwanted War New
The Unwanted War


Prince Friedrich Heinrich von Hohenzollern

On March 3rd of 1786, Maximilian III, Elector of Bavaria, died at the age of 59. Having sired no children with his wife, Maria Anna Sophia of Saxony, the electorate and its territories fell to the elder Palatinate branch of the House of Wittelsbach and the person of Karl Theodor, Elector Palatine.

Although Austria’s victory in the Prussian War had seemingly confirmed Habsburg hegemony within the empire, Emperor Joseph II was increasingly concerned about threats from outside it - in particular, the rise of Russia. Emperor Pyotr III had conquered the northern Black Sea littoral from the Ottomans, reasserted Russian authority in Poland by securing the election of the “Piast” King Kazimierz V Czartoryski, and inserted himself into northern German politics through his familial claims in Holstein (even if his attempt to seize the entire Schleswig-Holstein patrimony had been unsuccessful) and his cultivation of ties with Brandenburg. Against Russia’s gains in the 1770s, Austria’s acquisition of Oltenia and Spisz was quite underwhelming. Yet while Joseph felt pressed to restore an imagined “parity” with the Russians, expansion at the expense of Austria’s usual rival, the Ottomans, was undesirable; weakening the Turks would only invite further Russian expansion into the Balkans.

The inevitable failure of the childless junior line of the Wittelsbachs was thus of considerable interest to Joseph, who possessed a rather tenuous claim to Lower Bavaria based on a concession granted in the 15th century by Emperor Sigismund in the event of a Wittelsbach succession failure. Long before 1786, the emperor had been in communication with the Elector Palatine as to Bavaria’s fate. Karl Theodor, for his part, had little interest in Bavaria; his preferred outcome was a territorial swap for the Austrian Netherlands, which would give him a more or less coherent swath of territory on the empire’s western edge. While Joseph was willing to humor this “Burgundian plan,” however, the emperor preferred a deal which was more to his advantage. Although strategically vulnerable and geographically distant, the Austrian Netherlands contributed much to the imperial coffers. Joseph preferred to compensate Karl Theodor with the much less valuable territory of Further Austria, a constellation of old Habsburg territories in southwestern Germany. As soon as Maximilian’s death was announced, Joseph moved to enact his “agreement” with the elector. As Austrian troops marched into Lower Bavaria, Karl Theodor felt he had no choice but to take what was on offer, lest Joseph seize his territory with no compensation at all.

This bold act immediately raised an outcry from the other imperial princes. As Karl Theodor was himself childless, his heir-presumptive was his cousin Karl II August, Duke of Zweibrücken, who raged against this theft of his rightful inheritance. Zweibrücken was a state of no consequence, but the electors of Brandenburg and Saxony also opposed Austria’s move. This was not the most obvious of alliances, as the two states had been foes during the Prussian War. The Saxon elector Friedrich August III, however, had his own familial claims on Bavaria and hoped that he might be able to realize them through confrontation. Elector Friedrich Wilhelm II of Brandenburg had tried to repair relations with Austria in recent years, but he shared the general concern for Austria’s further ascendance and hoped that his state too might be able to secure some compensation, perhaps in Silesia. He was also being goaded into action by his esteemed uncle Prince Heinrich, the “savior of Brandenburg,” who had so ably defended the state after his brother’s death and urged his nephew to defend the interests and honor of the House of Hohenzollern.

The most enthusiastic opponent of Austria’s bid for supremacy among the great powers turned out to be Britain. King George III, in his capacity as Elector of Hanover, was gravely concerned with Joseph’s cavalier attitude towards the constitution of the Empire, and the British government’s postwar stance of conciliation towards France and containment of the “imperial powers” strongly inclined them towards supporting the princes against Joseph. Parliament did not intend to send a British army into Germany, but fiscal support for a Hanoverian army and subsidies for other princes were certainly on the table. Some questioned whether Britain ought to be spending yet more money on a European conflict after only just concluding the American War, while others advocated a return to the “old system” of an Anglo-Austrian alliance, but they were drowned out by outrage against Joseph’s despotic ambition and the conviction that the Habsburgs would run roughshod over Europe and upset the balance of power if they were not checked.

On April 20th, Hanoverian, Brandenburger, and Saxon diplomats met at Dresden and pledged mutual support for the Imperial constitution and opposition to the “unlawful” Austrian seizure of Lower Bavaria. Known as the Dreikurfürstenbund (“Three Electors’ League”), the alliance pledged to immediately field an army of 60,000 men. For the moment, however, these forces merely assembled on the Saxon-Bohemian border, for the leaders of the Dreikurfürstenbund hoped to be able to marshal sufficient support to convince Joseph to back down without actually fighting a war.

Joseph was not intimidated by this posturing. He was confident that he could raise 300,000 men if necessary, and since he already occupied Bavaria the onus of organizing an invasion was on his enemies, not him. The longer the princes waited, vainly hoping for diplomatic efforts to bear fruit, the more time Austria had to mobilize its forces and prepare its defenses. Joseph did not want war either, believing it would be ruinous for the country’s finances, but he was sure that once they saw that he would not be moved by their bluster, the princes would soon see the impossibility of their position and accept his “deal” with Karl Theodor as a fait accompli.

Aware that the German princes alone would have difficulty intimidating Austria, the British sought to play Russia as their trump card. Emperor Pyotr had been annoyed by Vienna’s diplomatic flirtations with Denmark and the Porte and had a defensive alliance with Brandenburg, but his ministers cautioned him against rushing into war with Austria. The Austrians were still seen as important partners against the Ottomans, and the ownership of Bavaria was hardly considered to be a matter of crucial Russian national interest. Pyotr was more sanguine than his cabinet, but even he was reluctant to act unless offered some incentive to do so. It fell to Britain to try and tempt him into action with what he had long desired: a British subsidy. To be sure, the British government was just as suspicious of Russian ambitions as they were of Austrian ambitions, but the Anglo-Russian trade relationship remained important, and the Russians did not actually stand to gain any territory from a confrontation with Austria. Once Britain had coughed up the money, Pyotr ordered a 40,000 man “army of observation” to begin a transit of Poland.

Meanwhile, the forces of Austria and the Dreikurfürstenbund stared at each other across the Bohemian-Saxon border while diplomats raced back and forth across Germany. As the electors gained the support of a growing list of imperial princes, the alliance was given the more manageable and accurate name of the Fürstenbund. Aside from a few militarized northern states in the Hanoverian orbit, like Hesse-Kassel, the military value of these newcomers was insignificant, but the Fürstenbund scored a political victory by gaining the adherence of the Archbishop-Electors of Mainz and Trier, giving them a majority of the imperial college of electors.[1] The Fürstenbund could now, in theory, threaten to deny the empire to Joseph’s successor, although the actual force of this threat was questionable: it meant nothing until Joseph died, and even then it was doubtful whether the defiant princes would really choose to dethrone the Habsburgs (something Britain had fought a war to prevent in the 1740s) or be able to agree on a rival candidate.[2] Once again the alliance hoped that mere saber-rattling would obviate the need for action, and once again Joseph called their bluff.

Although the Russians were still en route, the allies finally decided to make a military demonstration in early June. The Saxon elector was the most reticent to actually resort to force, as his state would bear the brunt of any Austrian counterattack, but Friedrich August III was also interested in receiving some compensatory Austrian territory - and was concerned that if he did not act, the Hohenzollerns would benefit instead once the Russians were on the scene to aid them. The target of this foray would not be Bavaria, nor Bohemia proper, but Silesia, which would force the Austrian army assembling near Prague to abandon its defensive posture and would facilitate the eventual merger of the allied and Russian armies.

The allied army was under the overall command of the indomitable Prince Heinrich of Brandenburg, now 60 years old, who had won fame as the “savior” of Brandenburg after the death of his brother. His appointment to this position had been resisted by the Saxons but came at the insistence of the British, who viewed him as the only commander with the talent and reputation to take on this role. Prince Heinrich gained an early victory by storming Glogau, but he was cautious by nature and wary of overreach. The prince knew the Russians were on their way and had some doubts as to the effectiveness of his cobbled-together army, and there was thus no reason to seek battle unless it could be gained on the most favorable circumstances. His counterpart, Field Marshal Franz Moritz von Lacy, was not particularly eager for battle either; the emperor had communicated his hope that a mere counter-demonstration by Lacy’s larger army would be sufficient to get the electors to back down.

This time, however, it was the allies’ turn to call the emperor’s bluff, and after weeks of maneuvering and repeated clashes between raiders, screens, and foraging parties in Lower Silesia it became clear that Lacy would have to pick up the gauntlet. The Russians, after all, were still on their way, and the emperor had come to the conclusion that the best way to end this crisis before it spiraled out of control was a quick, decisive battle. The electors clearly needed to be reminded that Austrian might was real, not merely theoretical, and Pyotr would think twice about throwing his support to an already-failing alliance. One defeat would be enough to make the alliance collapse under mutual jealousy and recrimination.

Heinrich and Lacy finally came to grips with one another at the Battle of Polkowitz on July 10th. Lacy possessed the larger army, with about 80,000 men against 65,000 allies, but Heinrich had fallen back to a strong position atop the Dalkauer heights with his flanks secured by wooded hills. After a massive cannonade by the Austrian batteries, Lacy launched a series of assaults against the allied positions. The Saxons on Heinrich’s right were put into considerable distress and nearly broken by repeated attacks from the Austrian cavalry, but by the end of the day the allied army had held its ground. Lacy was forced to withdraw, and his forces were too battered and disorganized to make another attempt to drive the allies out or liberate Glogau.


The rolling foothills of the “Dalkauer Berge” (Wzgórza Dalkowskie)

The defeat at Polkowitz hit Vienna like a thunderbolt. Would Prince Heinrich, Austria’s bête noire since 1760, take up his brother’s legacy and carry all before him, particularly now that the emperor no longer had the brilliance of Marshal Browne at his disposal? The emperor had arrogantly dismissed the idea that Austria might not win - and certainly could not afford - a war against the princes with British and Russian backing, and had expected to simply overawe his enemies. Only after Polkowitz did the real danger of Austria’s total diplomatic isolation seem to dawn upon him. Lacy, for his part, tendered his resignation; at the age of 62 and with mounting health problems, it was now clear that he was no longer the commander he had been during the Prussian War.

Panic in Vienna, however, was not matched by jubilation in the courts of the allied powers. Prince Heinrich had held the field but his bloodied army was in no condition to press on to Breslau - and the prince, just two years younger than Lacy, was not exactly bursting with youthful energy either. Despite his “defeat,” Lacy had done enough damage to stop the allied offensive in its tracks. In fact the allied army was about to fall apart anyway: The Saxons grumbled that their heavy losses were a result of Prince Heinrich purposefully leaving them unsupported, and a foray by an Austrian cavalry corps into Saxony reminded Friedrich August III that he had more to lose in this war than any of his “allies.” Austria at least had the benefit of a unified command, while allied reinforcements had to be carefully negotiated between German princes who preferred to avoid undue losses and their British backers who preferred to avoid undue expenses.

While a brisk petite guerre continued in Lower Silesia and on the Saxon-Bohemian frontier, a lull in major operations after Polkowitz provided a brief window for diplomatic maneuvering. Austrian efforts focused primarily on France, their notional ally, which had thus far observed a strict neutrality. King Louis XVI had been warned that his state simply could not afford another war, and although the Austrian alliance was still considered geopolitically useful, his cabinet was generally sympathetic to the British argument that the annexation of Bavaria would be an unwelcome aggrandizement of Habsburg power in Europe.

Britain’s decision to draw in the Russians, however, was not well-received in Versailles. Britain’s earlier insistence that both of the “imperial powers” needed to have their wings clipped seemed hollow in light of the fact that they were presently bankrolling the Russian army. Unlike the British, who were of two minds about the Russians - anxious about Pyotr’s ambitions, yet solicitous of his friendship and eager to receive his exports - the French saw Russia more straightforwardly as a threat to all of their traditional friends in the east (Sweden, Poland, and the Turks). Yet Bavaria was a traditional French ally as well, and in the summer of 1786 the French government was not yet willing to spurn the British and exert themselves on the side of Joseph’s annexationist ambitions just so they could spite the Russians.

Vienna also reached out to its enemies, making belated inquiries as to whether some sort of modest compromise might be possible after all, but it was too little and too late. Despite the steadfast insistence by all parties that war was wholly undesirable, peace eluded them that summer. The long-awaited arrival of the Russians and the reorganization of allied forces by early September instilled the allies with new confidence, and diplomatic overtures were put on hold while the coalition awaited a verdict from the battlefield which would surely compel the emperor to abandon his great design.[A]

[1] The merger by inheritance of Bavaria and the Palatinate reduced the number of prince-electors to eight. The Dreikurfürstenbund, of course, represented three of these electors, so with Mainz and Trier the anti-imperial alliance controlled five out of eight votes. The electoral vote of Bavaria itself was somewhat in doubt; it was no secret that Karl Theodor was chagrined by Joseph’s actions, but he seemed to have neither the resources nor the will to oppose him. Karl Theodor, however, was far older than Joseph, which meant that by the time an election would be necessary the Wittelsbach vote would almost certainly be in the hands of the Duke of Zweibrücken, a firm adherent to (and chief beneficiary of) the allied cause. The only vote the emperor could actually count on, aside from his own, was that of Cologne, the third ecclesiastical electorate - because it was held by the emperor’s brother.
[2] The only obvious alternative candidate was the Elector of Saxony, Friedrich August III, as he was the only Catholic member of the Dreikurfürstenbund. Given the historical rivalry between the Wettins and the Hohenzollerns, however, it was far from clear whether the Elector of Brandenburg would actually vote to give the imperial mantle to Saxony. Friedrich August himself clearly thought this was a longshot and was more interested in negotiating territorial “compensation” from Austria than in pursuing an illusory imperial dream.

Timeline Notes
[A] French diplomacy played an important role in resolving the Bavarian succession crisis IOTL, which resulted in a brief “war” of maneuver without major engagements. Also critical was the opposition of Maria Theresa, who was less interested in another war than her newly-crowned son. ITTL, Max’s later death means that when the crisis erupts Maria Theresa is already dead and France is no longer constrained by the American War. Moreover, ITTL victorious Austria appears more capable and threatening than she did IOTL, and the relative weakness of Brandenburg/Prussia allows the emperor to act more confidently. The result is more willingness to risk conflict in Vienna, and less desire to quash it in Paris - and, in turn, a series of failed bluffs culminating in a conflict that neither side wants but both feel obligated to undertake now that they've already come this far and put their credibility on the line.
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Big question is if France jumps in or not- their most obvious gain would be part of the AL, but that would only be on the cards if a desperate Vienna makes concessions.
Other possibility is the Ottomans sparking another war with Russia.
Further Austria, a constellation of old Habsburg territories
ITYM Hither Austria...


Was the Netherlands really that lucrative? Because adding Bavaria to the Habsburg Realm provides a land bridge to Hither Austria, which they might appreciate. (And that in turn could lead to the acquisition of the SW corner Germany when mediatization comes.)
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ITYM Hither Austria...

View attachment 907828
Was the Netherlands really that lucrative? Because adding Bavaria to the Habsburg Realm provides a land bridge to Hither Austria, which they might appreciate. (And that in turn could lead to the acquisition of the SW corner Germany when mediatization comes.)
I think you're overestimating how small Niederbayern/Lower Bavaria, the region Austria was actually interested in, was.

Here's an 1808 map with Niederbayern/the Niederdonaukreis being entry number IX.


And here's a link to the Regierungsbezirke today with their Kreise, just for good measure, with Niederbayern being the orange ones.

In fact it's probably a good idea to have both in mind, because Austria's claims to Niederbayern date back to the Bayern-Landshut days, with Landshut itself not being part of Niederbayern again as an administrative until 1838...

Also the idea to swap Niederbayern for Further Austria was from OTL (here's a QBAM by DeviantArt user MapBoi that showcases it well)!

Because yes, for one the Austrian Netherlands were that profitable. Not profitable enough to sustain Austria's miniscule colonial attempts of the time but wealthy enough to attempt them. A similar situation would later happen when Austria would lose Lombardy and the Veneto to Italy, by the way, which were richer than most other Habsburg lands in the 19th century. Further Austria was too disconnected, both from the core and from itself, and besides Freiburg it was mostly farming communities. Plus Austria wasn't in favor of mediatization out of principle, so they probably wouldn't be banking on that happening and trying to get more of historic Swabia to compensate.

EDIT: Switched any instance of Oberbayern to Niederbayern, which is more correct. Thanks for pointing that out, Anarch King of Dipsodes, I was not quite awake yet.
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I think you're overestimating how small Upper Bavaria/Oberbayern, the region Austria was actually interested in, was.

Here's an 1808 map with Oberbayern/the Niederdonaukreis being entry number IX.

And here's a link to the Regierungsbezirke today with their Kreise, just for good measure, with Oberbayern being the orange ones.
I don't think so. That map clearly shows the orange area labelled as Niederbayern, with Oberbayern off to the SW (and much larger than area IX on the the other map).
Screenshot 2024-05-22 at 2.36.39 AM.png

and this map shows the full extent of Oberbayern in Bavaria today:
I don't think so. That map clearly shows the orange area labelled as Niederbayern, with Oberbayern off to the SW (and much larger than area IX on the the other map).
View attachment 907892

and this map shows the full extent of Oberbayern in Bavaria today:
View attachment 907893
See, this is why I shouldn't write early in the morning XD

The update does mention Lower Bavaria/Unterbayern as the Austrian goal but my mind swapped it with Upper Bavaria/Oberbayern while writing it, while still correctly applying my knowledge of Lower Bavaria.