REDUX: Place In The Sun: What If Italy Joined The Central Powers?

Not looking forwards to seeing what the next phase of the war is going to be like. Falkenheyn's strategic plan seems like it's going to work here, with the addition of another front and bleed the French army white. It means a lot of Italians (not to mention chaps from a lot of othe rplaces) are going to die to get a few hundred meters of ground.
 
Thus concludes Part II of the timeline- part III will cover everything from Verdun through the French ceasefire sometime in 1917 (haven't quite worked out the details yet). Part IV will encompass the peace process, which will be far more chaotic than either 1.0 or OTL. After that is very much up in the air.

There's been some incredible discussion over the last few pages on Italian war aims and what they can realistically do to achieve them. Rest assured, I read and ponder every single comment, even though I don't always reply- this is typically because I'm at work/school and can't type out a whole post, or I want to focus on writing a chapter. In general, a criticism/critique will always get a response. That being said, here's my thoughts on Italian war aims in rough order of priority:

#1: Trentino and Zadar. Austria-Hungary had to promise plebiscites in these areas as a condition for Italy to join the Central Powers- it should come as no surprise that Rome already views these territories as "theirs". South Tyrol is another question, as Austria-Hungary has no intention of giving it up, but it is still seen as rightful Italian territory. This will be a bone of contention between the two states in the future, I imagine.

#2: Historic Savoy and Nice. Both spent large swathes of time under Piedmontese rule, and having the dynastic homeland under French control is still seen as a snub (something the Italian propaganda machine is keen to point out). Several key figures in the Italian military have called for these territories to be taken by force rather than ceded at the peace table, the idea being that if France consents to hand them over, even under duress, then Germany will try and claim credit.

#3: Colonies. Getting Eritrea/Somalia back is the top priority (not going to happen), then resolving border disputes with British Egypt to Italy's satisfaction. Given that the Senussi are not only sitting on both sides of that border but control most of Italian Libya, the question is moot even if Britain cedes land on paper. Tunisia is next on the list, and some still dream of marching on Tunis after the Senussi are vanquished, then Djibouti.

#4: Naval expansion. The battles of the Ligurian Sea and Cannes affirmed the Italian conviction that capital ships are not merely "aesthetic" or ways to show strength, but are vital if the country is to go from regional power to Great Power. What better way to ensure this than by taking some of the vessels the Regia Marina didn't sink at Cannes?

#5: The Balkans. Obviously none of the fantasies about annexing Dalmatia are going to come to fruition here, but the Italians have a protectorate in Albania, and keeping that strong is going to be a priority- including whatever annexations they can get from Montenegro/Serbia. This could make Italy a major player in Balkan politics, and it's not impossible that Albania could drag it into a hypothetical Third Balkan War.

#6: Corsica. Gallipoli showed just how difficult amphibious operations are, while the naval battles of the Ligurian Sea have shown how high the stakes are- anything short of a comprehensive victory and thousands of good men are going to end up on the bottom of the ocean. Nor is there much of a precedent for the island being under Italian rule- France has controlled it uninterrupted since 1768. It would help with power projection in the Western Mediterranean, but integrating it into Italy would be impossible for at least a generation. Nice to have- and certainly part of irredentist fantasies- but not really worth it in the short term.

Thank you all for commenting; next part should be up soon.

1 - South Tyrol is...iffy, it's not really part of the irredente and everyone knows that the population is german-speacking sure there are some historical justification but is coveted for pure strategic reason as it's the second best natural defensive territory in Europe and due to our relationship with A-H is seen as an assurance....it also can be used to give some diplomatic concession to Wien by giving up claims, it will hurt but not that much. Regarding the plebiscite, well due to the terms (Italian occupation and timeframe for leaving for people that don't want to be an italian citizens) in Trentino things will be more a formality (and everyone knows it) the real deal is about the effective border aka who control the strategic pass, same for the border strip that include Tolmino and Gorizia. Zadar/Zara is more difficult but the city had a strong italian majority but i don't know if Wien will agree on an occupation . The roadblock is Trieste, is a too important city and port no A-H will give her away, at most can concede an university, local autonomy (at least on paper) and economic concession to Italy like free basing right

2 - More Nice than Savoy as the second was important for historical reason, the attachment to the royal house and strategic reason but in the popular imagination the inhabitans were more french than italian

3 - Tunisia is always number one, second getting back our colonies (more Eritrea than Somalia) and third the enlargement of Libya (the general thinking will be that the Senussi will be dealt once the war end in a way or another like OTL)
 
#6: Corsica. Gallipoli showed just how difficult amphibious operations are, while the naval battles of the Ligurian Sea have shown how high the stakes are- anything short of a comprehensive victory and thousands of good men are going to end up on the bottom of the ocean. Nor is there much of a precedent for the island being under Italian rule- France has controlled it uninterrupted since 1768. It would help with power projection in the Western Mediterranean, but integrating it into Italy would be impossible for at least a generation. Nice to have- and certainly part of irredentist fantasies- but not really worth it in the short term.
I do think Corsica could be taken post war, and I think the Italians would plant the seeds by supporting Corsican rebels and making them become more and more cognisant of other options that they have (namely Italian unification).

Tunisia for Somalia and Eritrea would be a good trade, even though it is a deeply painful one (especially if they add Tunisia into Libya).
 
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IMVHO, the German and the A-H will look at italian victory and will go for a try hoping to do the same and not desiring the latecomer getting all the glory, this will weight much more for the Austrian Navy due to the ehm messed up relations between the two nations; frankly the Austrian admirals will begin to receive pressure to launch an attack to not make the italians get all the honors.

The British in Malta will worried a lot as they are the next target even if is much more probable that the italians will 'merely' increase the number of bombers sortie against the island plus the occasional sub attack
-The Austro-Hungarians are fairly happy sitting in port at Trieste and letting the Italians do all the heavy lifting. Having a bigger navy than their rival-turned-partner will be handy once they are partners no longer. There are voices in the Admiralty calling for a strike against the British or French, but they're in the minority.

-Submarines are a different question. German submarines are operating, not out of Trieste as OTL, but out of Naples and Taranto- this has given them much greater reach, with the result that nowhere in the Mediterranean is safe for Allied shipping. A small squadron has even moved over to Bulgaria via Constantinople to harass Russian vessels in the Black Sea. Italian and Austro-Hungarian submarines are doing most of the heavy lifting in the Central Mediterranean, and anything leaving Malta or French North Africa needs a heavy destroyer escort.

-The Maltese are certainly getting paranoid.
Oooh! The Regina Marina having a victory over the French! I mean, sure the French Navy has another five or six Dreadnaughts and the Royal Navy has a couple hundred or so up in the North Sea, so in theory it's not a huge change strategically! Not that the Regina Marina will have any more real heavy capital ships to throw into things or can you call what the Austro-Hungarians and Ottomans have real navies..

But, a victory like this will be a huge boost to Italian morale, hit the French hard, and also perhpas make the Germans want in on the glory and get a bit more aggressive iwth the Kaiserlichemarine. Or heaven forbid change thier cipher books.

But, if the Royal Navy has to send sufficient ships down to the Med to cover it, that's fewer than can be kept up in the North Sea. Presuming the RN thinks they need at least a 2:1 advantage in numbers (at minimum) to keep the Germans bottled/maintain the blockade, there's only so much they'll want to send on down. So diverting more than ahandful of ships will be tricky (much less whether somewhere like Malta or Alexandria is close enough to the Italian coast to serve as a base for naval operations in the Med for the technology of this time). So can the Royal Navy afford to send down a half dozen battleships and escorts to match what the Central Powers have in the region?

Without worrying about the Germans? Timing-wise not sure if Jutland has happened yet.
-The French Mediterranean Fleet has another eight battleships, not sure about what else is scattered around the world. Neither side wants to risk another engagement, nor (as you pointed out) can the British pull much from the North Sea. Several battleships have been sent to dissuade an Italian attack on Malta, but there isn't enough to reinforce the French Mediterranean Fleet.

-Destroyer escorts are going to become very important once Unrestricted Submarine Warfare kicks into high gear. There weren't really enough to go around in OTL, here the problem is going to be much worse. Imperial Germany will have her own "Happy Time".

-We're still in February 1916, Jutland (if it even happens here) isn't due for another three months.

I thought it was quite well done, especially the fate of the Bretagne which felt very true to reality. I didn’t quite understand one sequence of events though - did the French hit Menton on the 13th, leave towards Marseille, and then turn around and try to come back on the 14th? I’m trying to picture the route that gets them with the sun in their eyes
-Thank you. Yes, that's how the French did moved, I suppose the blindness would not have stopped them from making a move they thought the enemy wouldn't contest...

Kaiser Wilhelm: If the Italians can pull off a win against lopsided odds, then my navy sure as hell can as well!
Admiral von Pohl: Mein Kaiser, there is a huge difference between the French and the British...

*five minutes later*

Kaiser Wilhelm: *stares coldly as Ensign von Pohl is carted out having fainted from demotion to the bottom rank* How soon can you sail?
Admiral Scheer: With the tide.
On point as always!
XD
i would like to say one thing. the paris is courbet class. to not make too fine a point they were not very good ships to be as simple as possible the main dreadnought threat was the bregtagne but even then still limited to ten guns compared to the italians 13 or twelve for the Dante Alighieri but that is sunk by this point. this compared to the fact most french vessels could only fire 10 a broadside at one time. in short numbers of the dreadnoughts the french vessels can fire 50 rounds in a volley the italians with 4 can fire 52. so i rough number they are firing even but will very depending on engagement to take their first engagement this disparity would be 40-64 if you include dante alighieri.

i do like this update i just thought i would give some thoughts on it, though one benefit the paris would have in 2 of the 12 that couldn't fire on broadside could fire on another opposing ship
(something i found which is the dante alighieri ironically enough was fastest of the 5 ships italy had in 1915 just some food for thought).
Thanks for the feedback. When I started doing research for this update, I had assumed the French had a qualitative advantage, ship-for-ship, over the Italians. Interesting to see that that isn't necessarily so. Italian speed was definitely of the essence.
i would also i loved how you wrote out the naval battle. it was amazing. and the felling of the Bretagne was also very well written hats off my man
Thank you very much!
I enjoy it as a narrative. A lot of naval battles here get described in precise wargamed detail. Yours focused more on the emotions and motivations of the participants. I enjoyed that.
Thank you very much- I've always wanted to be able to write in that technical, wargamed style but it never seems to come out right. To each his own...
Nice writing, as usual, I got only a minor nitpick:



Granted, the weather around the Mediterranean is by and large much drier than in Flanders, but drowning in or near the trenches, while usually not likely, did occasionally happen upon some unfortunate soldiers.
An excellent point!
Wonder if the Italians in the post-war world will put a emphasis on submarine warfare?
This is an interesting question- I think so, but submarines will never have the political value "ooh, shiny!" of capital ships and, a few years ahead, carriers. Certainly, the Central Powers are coming to see just how effective they are, especially compared to prewar doctrines of battleship supremacy.
honestly they have only lost two of their largest ships across the 2 battles the french in that battle alone lost 3 including their new fancy battle ship honestly the french should be scared away they simply from this perspective can't take that exchange rate so neither side can UNLESS the Austrians join in then well France has a massive problem. ultimately this battle swung the Mediterranean naval war massively in cp's favour which puts Britain in a bind. they can send more resources to their already established med fleet in the hope of evening the scales but doing so weakens their home fleet. or leave the med situation to decline in the hope of containing Germany. however one problem with that is the med is an important short cut of British trade they can't risk not protecting it when the med is so important for a lot of colonial resources to be transported. this battle has put the entente in a mighty bind
-You raise a good point. Both sides expected the Battle of the Ligurian Sea to be "the last word"; neither expected to fight at Cannes, and certainly neither are eager to do it again.

-Neither Austria-Hungary will be joining the naval war in the Western Mediterranean, the Dual Monarchy simply doesn't want to while Britain can't afford to. Holding Malta, Gibraltar, and Cairo will have to do.
Even if the Central Powers end up dominating the Mediterranean, would it still be possible for them to make up for the trade they are not getting through the North Sea? Britain still holds the Suez and Gibraltar and I find it unlikely the Ottomans could take Suez to open up that trade route.
This hits on the basic problem the Central Powers are always going to face. Their biggest asset is also their biggest weakness- their, well, centrality. The same geography which lets them switch forces between East and West lets the British envelop them no matter what happens in France. The British Home Fleet can seal off the North Sea from Scotland and Plymouth while Gibraltar and Suez do the same for the Mediterranean. The Central Powers will never have the naval strength to break this, so they'll always be penned in and Britain will have the upper hand.
Some sort of combat/situation update in Libya would be appreciated. Even if it is only covering combat with the Senussi or how it is related to the ottomans now that the Italians (somewhat of a Senussi enemy) are allies of the caliph.
I'll put in an update sometime before the British make peace- it will definitely become relevant once the Anglo-Italian peace is signed.
Theoretically this means no more deployment by the French Navy for bombardment operations. But.. Even with losses, the French still outnumber the Italians by 2:1 in Battleships. The two surviving Italian BB's still have damage and will be in dry dock for awhile. Two BB's is not something that they'll want to risk in further engagements for national prestige. They've had thier smashing victory - don't throw their remaining 'national heroes' back into it. Their offensive into France will still be slowed - they were hit hard by the bombardment.

The French can still counterattack if they need it - they'll be getting heavy reinforcements in the next several days and the Italians will have been ground down by their own bloody offensive. So that zone will still be a stalemate with likely no real momentum either way - but that's the way the Western front has been.

The AUstro-Hungarian Navy will (still) likely remain a fleet in being purely in a defensive role - they're still based too far away from the Med in thier home ports to want to cruise far away, and being based out of the Italian ports may not be a bit much. But Italy likely is under no more fear of bombardments.

The Royal Navy will likely have to reinforce the MEd. They have like 2:1 or even 2.5:1 superiority in heavy capital ships in the North Sea, they can easily shift a few Dreadnaughts down without worrying on the balance of power. If they desperately need escorts, the Japanese Navy can be asked. IIRC the Japanese Navy did send some destroyers to the Med so this could happen a bit earlier.

The biggest thing here for the Central Powers is.. Basically the Balkans are completley secured from Italy down to Constantinople. Greece isn't joining the war, Romania isn't joining the war. Romania might even be willnig to sell massive amounts of foodstuffs to the Central Powers, which might alleviate a lot of thier agricultrual shortage. With Bulgaria mostly standing down they can use their workers to boost their own exports. And to handle most Balkans garrisoning. Presuming Germany wants to, they can have thier Berlin Railway all the way down to Turkey, which can be used to send supplies on down.

Not sure if anyone will care, but they could send more troops to help keep the Turks from bleeding away the Middle East if they really feel like it, or more military advisors/supplies. In the east this means that everyonr eally only has one front. The Ottomans in the Middle East (no way a Gallipoli happens here). The Austrians on Russia (not that this helps much I guess). The TUrks on the British (and some garrisons in the Urals, if they feel really adventurous a push for Baku). The Eastern front should be pretty stable defensively. The Austro-Hungarians might even be able to rebuild some of their army frmo the horrific losses they've taken and have more German military help and get some organization back.

The East likely doesn't see more than limited offensives if only to keep up with the glory of the west but is pretty stable against the Russians. The Russians also aren't at the point of internal political collapse (this isn't 1917) so you won't see things desperate enough for the Brusilov offensive.
Great analysis here. I'll try and hit the main points:

-Right on point. The French could sortie again if they wanted to, but Choceprat's replacement does NOT want to be responsible for a second Battle of Cannes. Di Revel, on the other hand, cannot. Andrea Doria will be completed on schedule (March 1916), but that won't be enough to go back for another round. At this point, the Italians would rather deal with another bombardment of Cagliari than risk a third major battle. You're right about the Austro-Hungarian Navy as well.

-The Royal Navy has beefed up Malta especially. Letting that fall is not an option- it would imperil Suez, and if that goes, the whole British Empire east of it might as well be gone. If the RN wanted, it could sortie from Malta and give the Italian south coast hell. Good catch on the Japanese, by the way- I have a (somewhat silly) role for them to play as the war ends.

-Everything from Flanders to the Bug River is either German or pro-German neutral. King Constantine has no desire to join either side, and Romania is enriching themselves selling to the Central Powers (whom they'll join at the eleventh hour to cinch Bessarabia). Bulgaria is barely even at war- they have no soldiers deployed outside their borders except for their holdings in Serbia. Austria-Hungary has sixty extra divisions to spare compared to OTL and is using them to occupy Poland and their part of Serbia, plus they hold much more of the Eastern Front- this will become important once the Brusilov Offensive gets rolling.

-The Ottoman Empire is probably the Central Power least affected by butterflies here. Gallipoli was abandoned a few months earlier than OTL, once it became clear that Italy was about to side with the Germans and cut the Entente supply lines. The British push into Mesopotamia will fare no better than OTL, but they're still going to squeeze the Ottomans out of Palestine and southern Mesopotamia throughout 1917. The Arab Revolt predates the PoD and is unaffected; no way Turkey keeps the Hejaz. That said, Ottoman Turkey is going to get a much better treaty than Sevres, and it'll still be around come 1923.
Futher on the topic of Austro-Hungarian naval power, how can I convince you @Kaiser Wilhelm the Tenth to transfer Madagascar to AH in the peace treaty?
I'd never considered that. I'm not sure the Hungarians would be on board with such an acquisition, nor would Britain have any reason to let them have it
Not looking forwards to seeing what the next phase of the war is going to be like. Falkenheyn's strategic plan seems like it's going to work here, with the addition of another front and bleed the French army white. It means a lot of Italians (not to mention chaps from a lot of othe rplaces) are going to die to get a few hundred meters of ground.
The Mincing Machine is going to bleed the French to death... and the Italians too. It won't be pretty.
Why would getting some colonies back be impossible?
Britain has no reason to let the Central Powers have them back. If Germany demands them at the peace table, Britain can laugh in their faces. The High Seas Fleet would have to smash the UK Home Fleet and then sail halfway around the world just to reach the colonies... where the Army would face a protracted campaign in terrible conditions. With the exception of East Africa, Britain, France, and Japan own the territories now. All the leverage is on Britain's side.
1 - South Tyrol is...iffy, it's not really part of the irredente and everyone knows that the population is german-speacking sure there are some historical justification but is coveted for pure strategic reason as it's the second best natural defensive territory in Europe and due to our relationship with A-H is seen as an assurance....it also can be used to give some diplomatic concession to Wien by giving up claims, it will hurt but not that much. Regarding the plebiscite, well due to the terms (Italian occupation and timeframe for leaving for people that don't want to be an italian citizens) in Trentino things will be more a formality (and everyone knows it) the real deal is about the effective border aka who control the strategic pass, same for the border strip that include Tolmino and Gorizia. Zadar/Zara is more difficult but the city had a strong italian majority but i don't know if Wien will agree on an occupation . The roadblock is Trieste, is a too important city and port no A-H will give her away, at most can concede an university, local autonomy (at least on paper) and economic concession to Italy like free basing right

2 - More Nice than Savoy as the second was important for historical reason, the attachment to the royal house and strategic reason but in the popular imagination the inhabitans were more french than italian

3 - Tunisia is always number one, second getting back our colonies (more Eritrea than Somalia) and third the enlargement of Libya (the general thinking will be that the Senussi will be dealt once the war end in a way or another like OTL)
Being Italian, you'd know better than me. I'll bear that in mind as we draw nearer the peace treaty- thank you.
I do think Corsica could be taken post war, but I do think the Italians would plant the seeds by supporting Corsican rebels and making them become more and more cognisant of other options that they have (namely Italian unification).

Tunisia for Somalia and Eritrea would be a good trade, even though it is a deeply painful one (especially if they add Tunisia into Libya).
-I could see that solution for Corsica long term. The only reason I didn't put it higher on the list is that Italy doesn't have the military means to take it in the short term. Bringing it into the fold over a longer period is not impossible.

-Tunisia for Somalia and Eritrea would be a fair deal, but all the leverage remains on Britain's side. Britain doesn't need to coerce France into ceding Tunisia to legitimise their occupation of East Africa. If it takes longer to hash out a peace with Italy because of that, so be it. Britain has nothing to lose; Italy does.
You forgot the most important thing, it's prettier on a map under Italian control.
Haha, yes. That comes first!
 
-The Austro-Hungarians are fairly happy sitting in port at Trieste and letting the Italians do all the heavy lifting. Having a bigger navy than their rival-turned-partner will be handy once they are partners no longer. There are voices in the Admiralty calling for a strike against the British or French, but they're in the minority.

-Submarines are a different question. German submarines are operating, not out of Trieste as OTL, but out of Naples and Taranto- this has given them much greater reach, with the result that nowhere in the Mediterranean is safe for Allied shipping. A small squadron has even moved over to Bulgaria via Constantinople to harass Russian vessels in the Black Sea. Italian and Austro-Hungarian submarines are doing most of the heavy lifting in the Central Mediterranean, and anything leaving Malta or French North Africa needs a heavy destroyer escort.

-The Maltese are certainly getting paranoid.

-The French Mediterranean Fleet has another eight battleships, not sure about what else is scattered around the world. Neither side wants to risk another engagement, nor (as you pointed out) can the British pull much from the North Sea. Several battleships have been sent to dissuade an Italian attack on Malta, but there isn't enough to reinforce the French Mediterranean Fleet.

-Destroyer escorts are going to become very important once Unrestricted Submarine Warfare kicks into high gear. There weren't really enough to go around in OTL, here the problem is going to be much worse. Imperial Germany will have her own "Happy Time".

-We're still in February 1916, Jutland (if it even happens here) isn't due for another three months.


-Thank you. Yes, that's how the French did moved, I suppose the blindness would not have stopped them from making a move they thought the enemy wouldn't contest...


On point as always!
XD

Thanks for the feedback. When I started doing research for this update, I had assumed the French had a qualitative advantage, ship-for-ship, over the Italians. Interesting to see that that isn't necessarily so. Italian speed was definitely of the essence.

Thank you very much!

Thank you very much- I've always wanted to be able to write in that technical, wargamed style but it never seems to come out right. To each his own...

An excellent point!

This is an interesting question- I think so, but submarines will never have the political value "ooh, shiny!" of capital ships and, a few years ahead, carriers. Certainly, the Central Powers are coming to see just how effective they are, especially compared to prewar doctrines of battleship supremacy.

-You raise a good point. Both sides expected the Battle of the Ligurian Sea to be "the last word"; neither expected to fight at Cannes, and certainly neither are eager to do it again.

-Neither Austria-Hungary will be joining the naval war in the Western Mediterranean, the Dual Monarchy simply doesn't want to while Britain can't afford to. Holding Malta, Gibraltar, and Cairo will have to do.

This hits on the basic problem the Central Powers are always going to face. Their biggest asset is also their biggest weakness- their, well, centrality. The same geography which lets them switch forces between East and West lets the British envelop them no matter what happens in France. The British Home Fleet can seal off the North Sea from Scotland and Plymouth while Gibraltar and Suez do the same for the Mediterranean. The Central Powers will never have the naval strength to break this, so they'll always be penned in and Britain will have the upper hand.

I'll put in an update sometime before the British make peace- it will definitely become relevant once the Anglo-Italian peace is signed.

Great analysis here. I'll try and hit the main points:

-Right on point. The French could sortie again if they wanted to, but Choceprat's replacement does NOT want to be responsible for a second Battle of Cannes. Di Revel, on the other hand, cannot. Andrea Doria will be completed on schedule (March 1916), but that won't be enough to go back for another round. At this point, the Italians would rather deal with another bombardment of Cagliari than risk a third major battle. You're right about the Austro-Hungarian Navy as well.

-The Royal Navy has beefed up Malta especially. Letting that fall is not an option- it would imperil Suez, and if that goes, the whole British Empire east of it might as well be gone. If the RN wanted, it could sortie from Malta and give the Italian south coast hell. Good catch on the Japanese, by the way- I have a (somewhat silly) role for them to play as the war ends.

-Everything from Flanders to the Bug River is either German or pro-German neutral. King Constantine has no desire to join either side, and Romania is enriching themselves selling to the Central Powers (whom they'll join at the eleventh hour to cinch Bessarabia). Bulgaria is barely even at war- they have no soldiers deployed outside their borders except for their holdings in Serbia. Austria-Hungary has sixty extra divisions to spare compared to OTL and is using them to occupy Poland and their part of Serbia, plus they hold much more of the Eastern Front- this will become important once the Brusilov Offensive gets rolling.

-The Ottoman Empire is probably the Central Power least affected by butterflies here. Gallipoli was abandoned a few months earlier than OTL, once it became clear that Italy was about to side with the Germans and cut the Entente supply lines. The British push into Mesopotamia will fare no better than OTL, but they're still going to squeeze the Ottomans out of Palestine and southern Mesopotamia throughout 1917. The Arab Revolt predates the PoD and is unaffected; no way Turkey keeps the Hejaz. That said, Ottoman Turkey is going to get a much better treaty than Sevres, and it'll still be around come 1923.

I'd never considered that. I'm not sure the Hungarians would be on board with such an acquisition, nor would Britain have any reason to let them have it

The Mincing Machine is going to bleed the French to death... and the Italians too. It won't be pretty.

Britain has no reason to let the Central Powers have them back. If Germany demands them at the peace table, Britain can laugh in their faces. The High Seas Fleet would have to smash the UK Home Fleet and then sail halfway around the world just to reach the colonies... where the Army would face a protracted campaign in terrible conditions. With the exception of East Africa, Britain, France, and Japan own the territories now. All the leverage is on Britain's side.

Being Italian, you'd know better than me. I'll bear that in mind as we draw nearer the peace treaty- thank you.

-I could see that solution for Corsica long term. The only reason I didn't put it higher on the list is that Italy doesn't have the military means to take it in the short term. Bringing it into the fold over a longer period is not impossible.

-Tunisia for Somalia and Eritrea would be a fair deal, but all the leverage remains on Britain's side. Britain doesn't need to coerce France into ceding Tunisia to legitimise their occupation of East Africa. If it takes longer to hash out a peace with Italy because of that, so be it. Britain has nothing to lose; Italy does.

Haha, yes. That comes first!
That is not how peace negotiations work however. Britain values channel ports and Belgium way above gaining colonies in Africa. Peace would not be a case of current ownership and what you can take but one of negotiations. Fine, you wanna keep Colonies, imma keep Belgium, build a gun called F England and point it at the isles. That’s my view of it.
 
That is not how peace negotiations work however. Britain values channel ports and Belgium way above gaining colonies in Africa. Peace would not be a case of current ownership and what you can take but one of negotiations. Fine, you wanna keep Colonies, imma keep Belgium, build a gun called F England and point it at the isles. That’s my view of it.
A valid criticism and something I gave much thought to in planning out the Redux. My logic is this:

By the end of 1918 or so, France has been defeated and Russia neutralized via civil war. It's just the Central Powers versus Britain. Both are in a race to see whose economy will crumble first under the strain of blockade/unrestricted submarine warfare. Britain already knows the answer: they have access to the world market and the United States while the Germans do not. The Central Powers are better off than OTL, but their economies can't sustain the war throughout 1919. Britain is floating on American loans, and no longer needs to field a massive army in France. It's become a contest to see who can hold their breath longer, and the answer is clearly Britain.

The British can thus drag out negotiations as long as they like, because eventually their enemies are going to collapse. Germany won't restore Belgian independence unless granted the Congo? Okay, then the deal's off. Everyone leaves the neutral city where they'd been hashing things out, and another six months of economic warfare ensue. Now it's summer 1919 and the Kaiser wants peace because the bread riots in Berlin are out of control. He's still not getting the Congo... but he can have eastern Belgium as long as the western half is demilitarised. He's not getting Togo, Namibia, or Kamerun back... but the British and Belgians can leave von Lettow Vorbeck alone in East Africa. He's not getting any French colonies... but the British will recognise whatever terms he imposes on France. A fair compromise? No- but that's what Britain's naval power and geography let her do.

None of this is set in stone yet- it's simply my thoughts as they stand and I'm open to changing my plans before we get to the Peace Treaties. Thank you for your feedback- getting to defend my ideas is the best way to enhance my thought process.
 
The British can thus drag out negotiations as long as they like, because eventually their enemies are going to collapse. Germany won't restore Belgian independence unless granted the Congo? Okay, then the deal's off. Everyone leaves the neutral city where they'd been hashing things out, and another six months of economic warfare ensue. Now it's summer 1919 and the Kaiser wants peace because the bread riots in Berlin are out of control. He's still not getting the Congo... but he can have eastern Belgium as long as the western half is demilitarised. He's not getting Togo, Namibia, or Kamerun back... but the British and Belgians can leave von Lettow Vorbeck alone in East Africa. He's not getting any French colonies... but the British will recognise whatever terms he imposes on France. A fair compromise? No- but that's what Britain's naval power and geography let her do.
That makes sense, but I don’t think it’s quite accurate. If the war in France is over in 1917, there won’t be bread riots all the way to 1919. Once the war ends both in the East and France, it’s only a matter of time before the food situation is solved. Sure, they will be a push to end the war for once and for all inside Germany, but it’ll probably not get to the bread riot point.

And there are ways in which a Germany that controls all of Europe can threaten Britain, or at least play into their fears and make them more inclined for peace. Given they can demand use of French naval bases in the ceasefire, they can have U-Boats everywhere in the Med, in the North Sea, and in the Atlantic, which will take a toll. Another possibility is to begin deploying troops to the Ottoman front, hinting at an eventual push on Suez. Granted, logistical realities would make this far-fetched, but at the same time this Germany can concentrate all their resources on this, and the threat of it alone might be enough to make the British reconsider.

As for the US loans, it should also be consider that without its entry into the war and with Britain’s situation looking bad, they might start to dry up. IMO the British risk far more by continuing the war than by giving Germany some colonies back, or at least that would be thinking in London. Especially since if push comes to shove, the fate of the colonies would be no different than in this war, so there‘s not much to fear.
 
That makes sense, but I don’t think it’s quite accurate. If the war in France is over in 1917, there won’t be bread riots all the way to 1919. Once the war ends both in the East and France, it’s only a matter of time before the food situation is solved. Sure, they will be a push to end the war for once and for all inside Germany, but it’ll probably not get to the bread riot point.

And there are ways in which a Germany that controls all of Europe can threaten Britain, or at least play into their fears and make them more inclined for peace. Given they can demand use of French naval bases in the ceasefire, they can have U-Boats everywhere in the Med, in the North Sea, and in the Atlantic, which will take a toll. Another possibility is to begin deploying troops to the Ottoman front, hinting at an eventual push on Suez. Granted, logistical realities would make this far-fetched, but at the same time this Germany can concentrate all their resources on this, and the threat of it alone might be enough to make the British reconsider.

As for the US loans, it should also be consider that without its entry into the war and with Britain’s situation looking bad, they might start to dry up. IMO the British risk far more by continuing the war than by giving Germany some colonies back, or at least that would be thinking in London. Especially since if push comes to shove, the fate of the colonies would be no different than in this war, so there‘s not much to fear.
You beat me to the punch. I was going to make some similar counterpoints to his post. I think the simplest one though is this; if France is defeated and the Russians are defeated, that means Europe is basically under control of the CP and they have trade outlets overland through the Balkans to the Ottoman Empire. The British can not stop overland trade and even the Royal Navy can't cover the North Sea, Atlantic, the Med, Red Sea and Persian Gulf by itself and completely shut down trade, some merchants will get through. UK may be able to get some concessions but I dont think in this scenario the UK can force Germany to give up ALL of its colonies.
 
A valid criticism and something I gave much thought to in planning out the Redux. My logic is this:

By the end of 1918 or so, France has been defeated and Russia neutralized via civil war. It's just the Central Powers versus Britain. Both are in a race to see whose economy will crumble first under the strain of blockade/unrestricted submarine warfare. Britain already knows the answer: they have access to the world market and the United States while the Germans do not. The Central Powers are better off than OTL, but their economies can't sustain the war throughout 1919. Britain is floating on American loans, and no longer needs to field a massive army in France. It's become a contest to see who can hold their breath longer, and the answer is clearly Britain.

The British can thus drag out negotiations as long as they like, because eventually their enemies are going to collapse. Germany won't restore Belgian independence unless granted the Congo? Okay, then the deal's off. Everyone leaves the neutral city where they'd been hashing things out, and another six months of economic warfare ensue. Now it's summer 1919 and the Kaiser wants peace because the bread riots in Berlin are out of control. He's still not getting the Congo... but he can have eastern Belgium as long as the western half is demilitarised. He's not getting Togo, Namibia, or Kamerun back... but the British and Belgians can leave von Lettow Vorbeck alone in East Africa. He's not getting any French colonies... but the British will recognise whatever terms he imposes on France. A fair compromise? No- but that's what Britain's naval power and geography let her do.

None of this is set in stone yet- it's simply my thoughts as they stand and I'm open to changing my plans before we get to the Peace Treaties. Thank you for your feedback- getting to defend my ideas is the best way to enhance my thought process.
But this isn’t case of Hitler and Churchill. It’s relatively normal sane states that found each other on opposite ends of a network of alliances. If France falls the war makes no sense from British popular perspective. If France falls or is about to be defeated they would heavily and I do mean heavily pressure Britain to sign a peace then and there otherwise France is gonna get screwed. On top of it Britain is heavily leveraged to do so too since their vital national interest is preventing Germany from having Channel ports and Atlantic access. If Britain refuses peace Kaiser would and should take Atlantic coast under occupation. This isn’t 1943, Germany with easy access to Atlantic with WW1 tech will absolutely wreck the convoys and shipping.

On top of it the technology of amphibious landings is undeveloped. They’re literally people on rowboats rowing ashore. There is no air support that can provide pinpoint strike.

And lastly - outlast Germany? Germany doesn’t really need Oil imports or other critical imports save explosive components. And is Germany going to sit on their butts all that time? They can send millions of men or threaten to Suez, to Basra, to Persian border and pressure it to join their alliance. What is Britain going to do? Defeat combined land forces of Germany Austria Italy and Ottomans, all who have no large commitments and can pull all their efforts on a front of their choice. With Russia and France out the food crisis is resolved. Realistically France and Britain would negotiate jointly, give up some less important colonies, negotiate German withdrawal from Belgium and France in exchange for that and probably try to strike some sort of arms limitation treaty to prevent another war if possible.
 
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Another two cents on the Italy priorities from a native!

#1: they are almost the absolute best concessions for A-H - the best if they can walk back from having promised Sonnino Trieste (has the promise even been formalised?). The Tyrol border still favors them to a moderate extent and takes away all propaganda for the Italians. More rational voices would want to trade away Zara, but I'm sure they'll be out voted by fools who like giving a likely enemy an instant threaten button that will but suck in money, slowly die due to being cut off from their hinterland, and be conquered anyways.
Trieste punches a hole in Austria defences more than the Tolmino strip, due to it being a rail hub for the Littoral, but that can be fixed given enough time.
#2: Nice seems like a no-brainer to me. It's where Italians bled the most, won some, and hold down some parts of it, nor does it concern anybody but Italy and France. Savoy would be nice, but no progress there, no claim to be made.
#3: if the UK is dead set on having Italy as an enemy, as it seems likely; they can keep those, but I don't think it has to be this dry and cut. Unless they decided A-H is the more convenient European counterweight, that is. There's a snowball's chance in hell Italy gets Tunisia regardless.
#4: a no brainer, those ships lose value each year anyways so yeah, let them have those.
#5: armed with concessions, A-H is going to resist them every step of the way and the some. Keeping Montenegro (that has likely declared for the Entente here, too) alive is going to be enough.
#6: It seems to me this Italy would want to go Mediterranean harder than OTL. Corsica is the necessary addition there, besides without Nice France has no easy way to protect it, so I'd expect to be up for debate (Sonnino is a good bargainer, so I would peg it as 50:50, especially if claims in Savoy are tacitly dropped for now).
 
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A valid criticism and something I gave much thought to in planning out the Redux. My logic is this:

By the end of 1918 or so, France has been defeated and Russia neutralized via civil war. It's just the Central Powers versus Britain. Both are in a race to see whose economy will crumble first under the strain of blockade/unrestricted submarine warfare. Britain already knows the answer: they have access to the world market and the United States while the Germans do not. The Central Powers are better off than OTL, but their economies can't sustain the war throughout 1919. Britain is floating on American loans, and no longer needs to field a massive army in France. It's become a contest to see who can hold their breath longer, and the answer is clearly Britain.

The British can thus drag out negotiations as long as they like, because eventually their enemies are going to collapse. Germany won't restore Belgian independence unless granted the Congo? Okay, then the deal's off. Everyone leaves the neutral city where they'd been hashing things out, and another six months of economic warfare ensue. Now it's summer 1919 and the Kaiser wants peace because the bread riots in Berlin are out of control. He's still not getting the Congo... but he can have eastern Belgium as long as the western half is demilitarised. He's not getting Togo, Namibia, or Kamerun back... but the British and Belgians can leave von Lettow Vorbeck alone in East Africa. He's not getting any French colonies... but the British will recognise whatever terms he imposes on France. A fair compromise? No- but that's what Britain's naval power and geography let her do.

None of this is set in stone yet- it's simply my thoughts as they stand and I'm open to changing my plans before we get to the Peace Treaties. Thank you for your feedback- getting to defend my ideas is the best way to enhance my thought process.
germany food problem OTL was mainly because the royal navy could actually embargo since the area of blockade was the north sea.
If france falls down, Germnay has access to all the french coast, Spain( a neutral nation) and food will also start arriving from ukraine
 
If both France and Russia are defeated, well the situation basically devolve in a stand off, sure the CP can't really invade at the moment the British Island and neither force London to make unilaterally concession...on the other side with the CP in control of the continent the blockade and embargo will collapse and the german submarine can continue their attempt to isolate Great Britain (it will not succeeded in full but it will hurt seriously); not considering the menace towards Egypt and Persia that will hurt seriously the Empire and wihtout the massive land war a lot of soldiers can be demobilizated and sent back to their work as farmer
Basically once the land entente powers are gone, London option to continue the war alone are very limited but on the other side, Berlin know that she can't enforce nothing more than a white peace.
So London option are three:
- keep the gains to be added to the Empire so: Eritrea, Somalia (that need to be pacified like Libya), part of south Iraq, the German colonies that they have directly captured and what they can take from what the French occupied once Paris surrender and Congo, so they can show to the population that the war has been for something
- use the occupied colonies as a bargain chip to get concession and a more lenient treaty for France and Russia so to mantain a semblance of Balance of Power and Congo can be exchanged for a retreat from Belgium as a naval base in Antwerp will scare everyone in the British Island to a level not know from the Napoleonic war...plus has the war has been officially declared due to the invasion of Belgium it save face at least a little.
- a mix of the two

Regarding France once she surrender due to her military collapse her bargain power is almost zero, basically there is little that she can do to resist the CP demand and yes that ships loose money every year but giving them to their direct adversary mean that you not only need to spend a lot of money to rebuild them from scratch but your enemy had more resources (that ship had a lot of value just for the high quality material) plus it's a big offense to the national honor.

Regarding A-H, sure they will want avoid giving anything to Italy but Sonnino (at least for Trentino and probably the border strip, i'm not sure for Trieste) obtain that while the formal passage is after the war, at the moment the territory are italian occupied so there is little that Wien can do about that; at most she can bargain Trieste with Zadar or Sebenico plus some cultural and economic concession (it will be politically, military and economically better for the empire.
Preserving their fleet while letting the italians fight while it seem a sound strategic move, mean that diplomatically the situation will be tense (more than usual) and the general morale of the Austrian navy low and yes, once the war end and money will become tigher the fight for the budget will see the navy as the loser due to their lack of action during the conflict and the possession of Italy of both side of the Otranto straits, basically she is at risk to become a glorified coast guard
 
#6: Corsica. Gallipoli showed just how difficult amphibious operations are, while the naval battles of the Ligurian Sea have shown how high the stakes are- anything short of a comprehensive victory and thousands of good men are going to end up on the bottom of the ocean. Nor is there much of a precedent for the island being under Italian rule- France has controlled it uninterrupted since 1768. It would help with power projection in the Western Mediterranean, but integrating it into Italy would be impossible for at least a generation. Nice to have- and certainly part of irredentist fantasies- but not really worth it in the short term.

Thank you all for commenting; next part should be up soon.

The "There is not much of a precedent for it being under Italian-rule" could have been said the same for Lombardy, Istria and Trentino/Sudtirol.
I see no reason for Italy not to gain Corsica if France collapses, it's just not very valuable for France and would prefer to give it away in exchange for Savoy or Tunis. An Italian Government that doesn't annex Corsica after such a destructive war will fall immediatly.

On the other hand I can see D'Annunzio going for an autonomous invasion of Corsica and that would be very entertaining.
 

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#2: Historic Savoy and Nice. Both spent large swathes of time under Piedmontese rule, and having the dynastic homeland under French control is still seen as a snub (something the Italian propaganda machine is keen to point out). Several key figures in the Italian military have called for these territories to be taken by force rather than ceded at the peace table, the idea being that if France consents to hand them over, even under duress, then Germany will try and claim credit.

#3: Colonies. Getting Eritrea/Somalia back is the top priority (not going to happen), then resolving border disputes with British Egypt to Italy's satisfaction. Given that the Senussi are not only sitting on both sides of that border but control most of Italian Libya, the question is moot even if Britain cedes land on paper. Tunisia is next on the list, and some still dream of marching on Tunis after the Senussi are vanquished, then Djibouti.

#5: The Balkans. Obviously none of the fantasies about annexing Dalmatia are going to come to fruition here, but the Italians have a protectorate in Albania, and keeping that strong is going to be a priority- including whatever annexations they can get from Montenegro/Serbia. This could make Italy a major player in Balkan politics, and it's not impossible that Albania could drag it into a hypothetical Third Balkan War.

#6: Corsica. Gallipoli showed just how difficult amphibious operations are, while the naval battles of the Ligurian Sea have shown how high the stakes are- anything short of a comprehensive victory and thousands of good men are going to end up on the bottom of the ocean. Nor is there much of a precedent for the island being under Italian rule- France has controlled it uninterrupted since 1768. It would help with power projection in the Western Mediterranean, but integrating it into Italy would be impossible for at least a generation. Nice to have- and certainly part of irredentist fantasies- but not really worth it in the short term.
Regarding the point i left in the quote...
depending on how long the war goes on, the life support on Austria might go on or die out when FJ Hapsburg dies. if war end in 1917 they might not survive it.
IF the AH empire implodes Italy will b there waiting to snatch away as much territory as possible. Karl, the heir, would try to grant a same status to all minorities ( Croats, Slovaks, poles and Czechs) which won't sit for the Hungarians who are happy to be on a superior position. Aside the usual implosion, a valid and interesting alternative might be a Yugoslavian civil war alternative.

regarding Corsica, yes, it hasn't been ruled by Italians since 1768 which is "only" 150 years ago. but while the french worked actively to integrate Savoy and Nice, Corsica was left to itself mostly.

In the balkans, the albania protectorate is going to have a Savoy family member as... prince/king?
 
The "There is not much of a precedent for it being under Italian-rule" could have been said the same for Lombardy, Istria and Trentino/Sudtirol.
I see no reason for Italy not to gain Corsica if France collapses, it's just not very valuable for France and would prefer to give it away in exchange for Savoy or Tunis. An Italian Government that doesn't annex Corsica after such a destructive war will fall immediatly.

On the other hand I can see D'Annunzio going for an autonomous invasion of Corsica and that would be very entertaining.

Also for comparison Danzig had a few more residents than Corsica but it was made into a league mandate regardless of the wish of the locals, so if the Central Powers win then Italy will get Corsica or at least some sort of domination/sovereignity over it. If not outright annexation then maybe some sort of "Congress Corsica": Corsica is made an independent Kingdom but in personal union with the Italian king, this way could placate both Italian irredentist and Corsican independence movements if done right. Let's just hope that there are no Italian politicians messing things up...
 
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