The Napoléad: What if Napoléon won the war in Russia?

British Prosperity, 1870

On the fourteenth of April, 1870, King Adolf II of Great Britain died after a period of illness. He would be missed greatly by the British people, who he had led to victory abroad and prosperity at home during his twenty-seven-year reign. Napoleon II did not miss him, and merely hoped that his successor would be less capable.

Adolf was succeeded by his son William, who became King William V. King William was notoriously lazy and could not have cared less about becoming king, much less ruling one of the two strongest nations in the world. His first act as king was to basically tell the Prime Minister and Parliament to do what they wanted and not bother him too much, and while very little changed officially (William still did nearly all of the duties that his father had), in public he became very much forgotten.

Instead, the most well-known ruler of the country would be Prime Minister Tony Green, who got in to power in November 1870 after a landslide election. Green was a dominating personality, committed to making the lot of the British people better both domestically and internationally. For the first ten years of his long term in office, he focused on the former, subsidising labour unions across the country, opening up new government railroad-building programs and expanding the merchant fleet, which gave the British the highest standard of living in Europe by 1880, if not the best in the world.

Grand Meeting of the Alliance, 1873

Tony Green’s exploits did not go unnoticed in France. By 1872, Napoleon had decided that Green was probably the most likely man to cause trouble for the Alliance other than Robert Hampton, and considering the timing of the previous three wars (1812, 1833 and 1853), he was firmly convinced that another war was just around the corner.

Napoleon decided to meet personally with the US President Oliver Danjoe (his name is thought to be an 18th-century corruption of d’Anjou, but no evidence exists for this claim) in Washington, where the two leaders hammered out a plan for the next war, which involved isolating Britain from its allies, especially Russia, on land, with a French landing in the British Isles being considered if the US Navy was able to break out of its ports in Boston, New York and Baltimore.

The Danjoe Plan as it became known, mattered very little when the President died in office the next year (the first President to do so), but the meeting caused the beginning of what is now arguably the most important American national holiday: Hang Hampton Day, celebrated on August 6 every year.

Second Wave of Tremors, 1875

By 1875, the Christians in the Balkan territories of the Ottoman Empire had grown tired of the fifteen-year-long effective military occupation in their cities and decided that if they were to remain part of the Ottoman Empire, they deserved to at least get the treatment that the other parts of the Empire received (ie. No armies in their cities). Hoping to get noticed, the people of Sofia protested in a ten-day, 12,000-person march around the city chanting “Go home soldiers!”.

The Sultan paid them no attention, tossing the newspaper that reported the events into a fireplace on the evening of the first day of the march. When he was later told of a similar march in Sarajevo the next month, he issued a warning that any further protests would be met with “a severe response”. It did not take the Christian leaders long to figure out that this meant he would order the army to crush the protests.

In Sofia, the people then reached out to the Tsar, who as leader of the Orthodox church, was supposed to be their protector. He told them that he could do nothing directly, but gave them a gift of four million rubles (approx. equivalent to OTL 100 million US$ today) secretly.

The Bulgarians thought that the best way to frustrate the Ottomans would be to organise a city-wide strike, with the leaders using the Russian money to pay for it. Although only around 40% of the city’s workers actually took part, the entire railroad network through the city shut itself down for over two weeks, which harmed food supplies in other parts of the empire.

Even this was not enough to bring the Sultan to the negotiating table, and after the strikers’ fund ran out (with the Tsar hesitant about sending them more), he resumed his policy of doing nothing.

External Pressure, 1876

The Sultan’s hand was finally forced in the spring of 1876 when Qajar Persia invaded Armenia, on the pretext of regaining lost lands (though they hadn’t held those lands for almost a century). The Ottomans were forced to come to the defense of their ally, and the Ottoman treasury had been drained to such a point that the Sultan was virtually unable to raise any new forces without ruining the country in the process. France, which was already subsidising almost a fifth of the Ottoman budget, was unwilling to commit any more resources to their failing ally, so the Sultan was forced to pull half of the forces he had in the Balkans out to fight the Persians.

The Armenian War was a total disaster for the Ottomans, who were repeatedly outmaneuvered in battles by a general known now only as The Red Lion. Armenia itself was only prevented from falling by an intense partisan campaign, not unlike that conducted in the War of Napoleonic Succession, and eventually by Russian intervention (the Russians hated the Persians almost as much as they hated the French), while the Ottomans were embarrassed time and time again. The Red Lion even contemplated an invasion of the Baghdad area, but stayed back out of worry that the Russians would launch a full-scale attack from behind.

A white peace was eventually negotiated in 1879, but the war was effectively the death blow for the Ottomans, who returned to an empty treasury, a loss of prestige and a large number of angry subjects in their European territories. It would not be long before the empire suffered yet another shock...

Glory and Imperial, 1880

In 1880, the greatest leap in naval technology since the invention of the iron-rate (which had since evolved into twenty-gun broadships*) was made when the French Navy commissioned two steam-driven submarines into its fleet, which were named Glory and Imperial. Each one was capable of five knots in ideal conditions, or two underwater, and armed with three electrically powered torpedoes. Although their limited armament and short range prevented serious ocean deployment, they represented a new threat to British naval dominance, that so far had no counter.

Napoleon had hoped to keep them secret, although the Coalition found out about them not long before they were launched. Prime Minister Green’s response was to increase the budget for the Royal Navy, although he later decided that the two submarines were too weak to be a serious threat to Britain within the next decade. Until a ship specifically designed to fight them was made (and the technology for such a ship was not thought to exist yet), the only counter would be to capture them in port or catch them on the surface, with the latter being considered very unlikely.

*something of a mix between an OTL pre-dreadnaught and a battleship, designed with 18th-century-style tactics in mind.

Imperial Train, along the Paris-Amiens Railroad
June 17, 1881
9:30 AM

The Emperor looked at his son Jerome, who was sitting opposite him at a table on the train.
“My son, you will be facing a war by the Coalition in a month or so. I don’t see any way out of it.” He said.
Jerome looked up, puzzled. The Coalition had been silent for several years now. “Why?”
“I’m dying. This rotten illness is becoming too much for a seventy-year-old man. And as soon as London gets the telegram that I’m gone, they’ll do exactly what they did when my father died.” Napoleon explained.
“So we better get ready, right?” Jerome jumped in.
“Indeed, but if we get too ready, the Brits and Russians and everyone else gets ready too. The army is already on low alert.” Napoleon paused to cough. “But the army isn’t our problem. It’s the bastards over the Channel that are our problem.”
“We can’t invade England though, and you know it, father. We’ve tried twice this century and been beaten both times.” Jerome stated. “Those new submersibles won’t make up all the difference, and the British still have thrice as many ships as we do.”
“All of that is very true.” Napoleon observed. “We cannot invade them if they have a chance to stop us, but I have a plan to invade them before they are ready.”
Napoleon opened a folder, with a map of the Channel and substantial parts of the British and French coasts marked on it.
“I’ve announced that a military parade will be taking place on July first in Antwerp.” Napoleon explained. “That lets me move the army there without Tony Green worrying about it.”
“You’ve moved a lot of ships to Antwerp too in the last few months.” Jerome broke in.
“I have, yes.” Napoleon said. “But only two or three at a time, right?”
Jerome nodded. “I see what you’re doing, father.”
“That’s all good, if Mr Green doesn’t figure it out. But four weeks from now, there will be a sizeable force there. 200,000 men, 3,000 cannons, a devil of a lot of horses and a few dozen tons of gas. Some of that stuff will be loaded on the boats while the parade is happening. The moment that you or one of your staff gets a call saying that either I’m dead or Green has attacked, you get those men onto the boats. I’ve briefed the captains already to land somewhere between Portsmouth and Dover. As long as the landing party gets ashore, we win. The rest of the navy, even the subs, can be sacrificed if they must. It’s only a week’s march to London, and the Coalition is dead. Greatest victory since Vitebsk.”
“Straight away? What if the seas are rough?” Jerome asked.
“Unless there’s a hurricane or an act of God, those men must get ashore. Must! Rain, snow, storms, anything. I don't care about it. By the end of 1881 the British Navy will cover our coasts from Denmark to Spain otherwise, and it’ll take two acts of God and three miracles to break out once that happens. The army can still beat Russia, but there will be a war in 1900 as well, and 1920 and 1940, if you don’t take London. Put the Alliance on top once and for all this time, and you, my son, will rule over everyone.”

The Third Bonaparte, 1881

Friday, July 15, 1881, was a warm and pleasant day in Amsterdam. Napoleon II had arranged to meet some of France’s leading bankers there, hoping to figure out a plan of economic reform for the country, which would allow it to break away from the South Atlantic trade and remove the only reason for a British blockade of the continent.

He never got there. Just after his train left Brussels, the Emperor died. His final orders, given out days before, was that events such as the coronation of his son not be allowed to get in the way of a rapid response should the Coalition declare war. Jerome could be crowned in September or even in 1882 if that would help the country defend itself.

They turned out to be wise moves. Tony Green received a two word telegram (NAPOLEON DEAD) at 10:30 in the morning, asked if Russia was ready for war by 11:00, and had made a declaration by the mid-afternoon. Emperor Jerome wasted no time either, having conveniently been in Antwerp at the time of his father’s death. Men were rushed onto ships, orders were telegraphed to commanders all across the continent, and reserves were called up. The new war, for now known as the War of 1881, had begun.

War of 1881: Summer 1881
The War of 1881: Part I

10 Downing St, London
July 16, 1881
8:30 AM

Prime Minister Tony Green looked at the telegram as if it was about to squirt acid in his face. “How in the name of Jesus did those bastards get an army into Hastings? Not just a division, an entire army! Snuck past our fleet and everything!”
Lieutenant General Isaac N. Custer looked back at him. “I don’t know, Mr Prime Minister. They must have been planning this for months. Hard to put together an invasion force that quickly otherwise.”
“You’re from Michigan or one of those places though. Canada anyway. As hard to get through a forest there then as it is across the Channel now. Yet we managed then, your pappy must have noticed back in 1833.” Green said.
“My pappy didn’t do anything but fuss about wanting Michigan to be back with the damnyankees.” Custer said. “I moved to Liverpool as soon as I could to get away from him though, so let’s leave him behind.”
Green took a deep breath. “You’re right. The bastards are here. We need to make them go away. The question then is how? They’ll be in London on Tuesday otherwise.”
“We have enough men on duty right now to either keep them out of Portsmouth or keep them out of London. They’ll probably go for London with most of their force, so I think we had better defend Portsmouth, at least long enough for the fleet to get into the Channel.” Custer suggested. “Once they are cut off from supply we’ll have to push them around for a while, but they’ll run out of powder eventually. By then the rest of the army will be ready to take the fight back to Europe.”
“You would abandon London?” Green was shocked by the mere idea of it.
“Jerome’s whole war plan, from what I can tell of it so far, is that he will land, take London and expect us to keel over. If we defend it, he will realise that a campaign in the Isles will take a long time, at which point he will go for Portsmouth to keep the supply line open. If he just walks into London but we don’t surrender, his army will then be too far away to do anything about supplies and his marshals will need to draw up new plans. I doubt that army has the supplies for more than a single big fight.”
Green nodded. “I see what you’re saying. I don’t like it, but it makes sense. I’ll still call on the militias to defend the city, but no regulars, right?”
“If you want me to have the resources to kick him out in a month or two, I need the regulars in the west.” Custer said.
“It’s a deal then.” Green said.

British Isles Front, Summer 1881

The initial French plan for the invasion of the British Isles could not have possibly gone better. The Royal Navy was not even aware that the French had left port until the first French soldiers landed in Hastings. Hastings itself, apparently chosen as a landing site for the 1066 battle (William was a French duke after all), was captured without a serious fight.

Jerome’s Army immediately made for London, reaching the city outskirts after a mere two days of marching (far quicker than any English predictions), only to find that the British government had moved to Nottingham. The French stormed the city anyway, where the city militia was slaughtered. London was then put to the torch, as a great fire destroyed nearly half of the city’s buildings, including 10 Downing St and Windsor Castle.

After his peace overtures were ignored, and his fleet had been beaten (although not decisively) in a fight in the Channel, Jerome ordered his army to target the British industrial region of the Midlands, hoping that a total-war campaign would cripple the British ability to fight him. Custer, initially caught off guard, was quick to respond, and ordered as many regulars as he could to assemble just east of Birmingham. A French spy caught word of this and sent word back to the French Army’s headquarters, where the commanding generals decided to change course away from Birmingham to deal with Custer. Custer was subsequently defeated in the battle of Kettering, and the French capture of Birmingham two days later secured for them some badly needed supplies. Tony Green only responded by calling up more conscription classes and moving his government again, this time to Newcastle.

American Front, 1881

If any pair of countries could claim to have a bigger rivalry than France and Britain, the title would have to go to the USA and the League of Southern States, where Robert Hampton was still fiercely maintaining slavery, or as some liked to call it, feudalism. That rivalry was backed up by constitutional amendments declaring the other side illegitimate, a national holiday for hating the other side, a thousands-of-miles-long armed frontier, and even three specially-named river gunboats (LSSS Down with Davis, LSSS Polk is Putrid and LSSS Murder Michael Morris).

The same day that the French captured London, President Michael Morris declared war on the Southern League, to the surprise of no-one. His army, a million and a half strong, stormed into Hampton’s territory from every direction, quickly overwhelming the Southern Army. The League itself only lasted six weeks under the pressure of the USA before it crumbled under its own weight.

What the US Army found behind the border was a failed state. Except for the highest class, most citizens were too poor to own property better than what their fathers would have called slave shanties. The black slave class themselves were worse off, but only slightly. As for the nobles themselves, they lived off US dollars and British pounds, exchanged for cotton and other raw goods (the LSS dollar being virtually worthless). Industrialisation, having only barely begun in the South around the 1840s, had never progressed past its infancy, and apart from some mines in Alabama, was never given the resources it would have needed anyway.

Robert Hampton himself was brought before the Supreme Court, more so the US press could gather information than for any real chance at freedom (there was hardly a person in the USA that did not absolutely hate the man by this point). Hampton, resigned to his fate, said of his failed nation:

“If you had let us keep Kentucky and Virginia, we could have survived. Grown the goods in the Carolinas and manufactured them in Richmond. Maybe we would have been weaker than you, but we would not have suffered this way. 1881 was no game-changer. We were broken in 1854 and ‘55. But by that point, you had all made it your sole mission to destroy us with no mercy, so what choice did we have but to fight for our lives? I could not surrender, neither could the men I led. The mess you are now left with in those eight states, it is one that you made when you began this policy of unrelenting hatred.”

He, along with the major government leaders of the 8 League states, were executed on April 22, 1882.

War of 1881: Autumn 1881
The War of 1881: Part II

Hungarian Front, 1881

Knowing that Great Britain was only days from collapse, Emperor Jerome soon turned his efforts towards the east. Before he could turn his eyes towards Russia however, he knew that he would have to secure his flanks, as unlike the wars his father fought, this time the Ottomans were not in any position to launch even limited offensives.

The invasion of Hungary was a quick but surprisingly bloody affair for the French. Pest was captured in early September before the Hungarian army had time to react, but the Hungarians managed to retreat in good order to the city of Szeged.

Unlike in Pest, the Hungarians made the French fight hard for Szeged. The Hungarian commander, Marshal Laszlo Herczeg, had ordered his men to dig trenches and other fortifications, and combined with new breach-loading rifles, was able to slaughter nearly two corps’ worth of French infantry, including their commanding marshal and his second-in-command, at little cost to their own.

Emperor Jerome quickly called a temporary halt to the operation, ordering his men to pull back out of artillery range of the city, while he re-routed trains and found a new marshal. The man he chose was Henri Regnier, who had served with distinction as a brigadier in the Third German War.

Regnier’s approach was the same as his commanders had used in 1868: an overwhelming assault of poison gas. The Hungarians, like the Germans, were poorly prepared, and suffered gruesomely as a result. Hungary surrendered after the Second Battle of Szeged, but the French high command knew that they needed to find a way to counter the advantage that breech-loaders and especially trenches gave defending armies.

Caucasus Front, 1881

Georgia and especially Armenia had acquired a rather fearsome reputation for guerilla warfare in past wars, and Tsar Peter IV had little interest in maiming his army trying to subdue them. However they also presented a major obstacle, as to invade the Ottomans from the east (which Peter knew would be an easy win if he managed to invade it at all), a Russian Army would have to go through either them or Persia.

Peter’s approach was to use diplomacy. If the two countries would open up their borders to his army, Peter would renounce his claims to their land. The leaders of Georgia and Armenia agreed, knowing that the Ottomans were virtually unable to defend themselves, let alone their allies. They also believed that of the major world leaders, the Tsar was one of the more trustworthy people and would actually protect the countries if the Ottomans did fall.

As soon as he had word of their acceptance, the Russian Army swept through the countries. The Tsar himself gave strict orders to respect the countries’ lands and the Army was hardly allowed off its trains until they reached the Ottoman border. From there, they marched through Erzurum and then took the city of Trebizond before the winter.

Ottoman Home Front, 1881

The Ottomans meanwhile were descending into civil war. In early August, the city of Sofia once again exploded into rioting, which the local garrison struggled to put down. A similar revolt broke out in Athens a few weeks later, and then in October a general revolution broke out across much of the Balkans, as the territories sought total independence.

Matters were made worse when the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed V was murdered by revolutionaries in early November. His two sons, Mustafa and Selim, had hated each other since childhood, and both believed themselves to be the true heir to Mehmed. The palace officials decided that Mustafa, the eldest, would be crowned Sultan Mustafa V.

Selim simply left for Egypt, where he was more popular than his brother, and sparked an uprising. Shortly afterwards, most of Syria and Palestine declared for Selim, who began a march on his brother’s lands. His first target, Baghdad, was taken in December.

The Russians meanwhile, set their sights on the Straits of Marmara. Tsar Peter had planned an invasion through the Ottomans’ European territories as well, but the explosion of revolution there caused him to stay away. He simply could not be sure that the Bulgarians and others would not attack his forces as well, so he opted for a naval campaign instead.

The Russian landings outside Constantinople were a complete success, although much of that success they owed to good timing (the day they landed was the same that Mehmed V was murdered). Nearly 50,000 Russian soldiers stormed the city, only to find that they had to fight with the many revolutionary groups that had formed there. The Tsar eventually increased the force to 200,000 men just to quell the disorder.

Irish Front, 1881

Ever since the fifteenth century, the Irish people had been trying repeatedly to get out from under the English (or later, British) thumb, although none of their frequent rebellions had ever been successful enough to create a new nation.

The French Invasion and capture of London gave Irish nationalists what they thought was their best hope at independence that would ever happen, and in August 1881 huge numbers of Irishmen and women declared a rebellion against the British crown. In the western counties, this rebellion was enormously successful, as the small British garrisons were overwhelmed. In Dublin and a few other eastern cities, the garrisons were slightly more successful, although events on the main British isle would force Tony Green’s attention away from Ireland...

British Isles Front, Late 1881

In mid-September the British fleet had been resupplied and was ready to attack the French supply line in the Channel again. Tony Green, and all of Britain, watched nervously as the fleet sailed for a battle that would likely decide the fate of the nation. The demand for news was so great that daily newspapers even printed two editions a day for nearly a week, giving vague reports of everything that was happening (hoping it was vague enough that spies would not be able to get any useful information out of it).

What the British people first heard however, was the first ever sinking of a ship by a submarine. The HMS Adolf II, a British broadship, was attacked by the French submarine Imperial off the coast of Wales. At the same time, the Glory severely damaged two other British ships. The British were outraged, and swore vengeance on France.

Vengeance, although less dramatic, came swiftly in the Battle of Eastbourne Sea (the name coming from the fact that historians wanted to distinguish the battle from the July battle of the Channel). Eighteen French broadships, and dozens of smaller ships, were sent to the bottom within a couple of hours. The British losses were eleven broadships in battle, plus two that were scuttled as a result of battle damage, and a similar number of smaller craft. What mattered more was the fact that the French retreated, and were never able to put a substantial fleet into the Channel again. The Armée d'Angleterre would have to survive on its own.

Although the Battle of Eastbourne Sea was a much-needed confidence booster, Custer knew that the job was not done, and the Armée d'Angleterre still had the power to defeat the British nation. When the French took Norwich in October, capturing the remnants of a great 1850s military base there, he grew even more worried. So far, the French campaign of stealing everything from the English had appeared to work.

In November, Custer got word of the First Battle of Szeged, and decided that the strategy of total defense that had worked so well for the Hungarians (at least when gas wasn’t used), could work for the British as well. Custer asked the Russians to send Marshal Herczeg to Britain as fast as humanly possible (a plan that involved sailing a ship through the Baltic sea with a French flag so the French wouldn’t fire on it). He also conscripted almost 60% of the working classes of Liverpool and Manchester (as many as he could without compromising the abilities of the cities to function at all) to build a massive fortified belt in the Midlands, becoming known as Custer’s Wall. Although far from professional, Custer hoped it would be enough to hold off the French invaders until the rest of the Army could be brought to bear on them.

The French commanders decided to attack when a break in the winter weather came in mid-December. A massive bombardment was made against one section of Custer’s Wall, near the town of Winsford. An infantry attack was then attempted, only to be driven off, suffering nearly 10,000 casualties. No attempt to gas the British lines was made, as the French commanders were worried that it wouldn’t work in the freezing weather, while they did not want to waste their limited supplies. The lines remained stalemated as 1882 dawned...

Situation in Europe and America, January 1, 1882

The Charlotte Address, 1882

“More than one hundred years ago, the Constitution – the same Constitution that President Polk and Robert E. Lee used to denounce secession – declared that all men are created equal. Today, on the third of January, in the year of our Lord 1882, I declare that this should be, once and for all, true for all Americans. No more will the black man be held in bondage. The black labourer in Georgia or Alabama shall have the same rights as a banker from Boston or the railroad owner in North Plains.
What has passed as history for the last twenty-eight years in these eight Southern states is nothing but a deep and sorrowful tragedy. Possibly worse than that, for it is the saddest state of affairs when a man earns less in a year than his father did, while prices have doubled over the course of that generation. One man benefitted from the farce that called itself a nation, and that was Robert Hampton. He will be passed over for a Final Judgement shortly, and I expect the verdict to be harsh.
While the United States has made it an official policy for a generation to exert unending hostility towards the South, do not let that be mistaken for hatred towards the people of the South. The eight stars were not removed from the Stars and Stripes for the reason that we still consider the people of the South our friends, our cousins, our brothers and sisters. Hampton was but an evil great-uncle, trying to destroy the family. But family we shall remain.
Some of you will disagree. Say that Hampton was right. Say that living like a medieval peasant is better than a new-age American. I would like to take this opportunity to say that some of the Army will remain in these states. Their mission is not to treat them like conquered provinces, which they most assuredly are not, but to assist in repairing the damage that Hampton caused. If you choose to help them in their mission, you will be welcomed back into the family of Americans. By the end of my term, for I shall not seek a third, you will be allowed to join the army as any other American could. I do truly hope that you wish to join the family again, for while the Devil’s welcome may be warmer than ours, I personally find that his welcome may be too warm to be enjoyed.
I wish to conclude this address with a message to Mr Anthony Green. You too hold members of our American family. North Massachusetts, Michigan, the northern extremities of the Louisiana Purchase. I would like them back. With a quarter million Frenchmen in London, you are in no position to stop me from getting them back. When Napoleon the first was running things in Europe, your grandpappies said to my grandpappies “we do not wish to conquer you”. They kept that promise, but in doing so they did their level best to break the backbone of the country. Now I say to you, that I do not wish to conquer Canada. It is because I say that that I now ask, in addition to my old lands, for a port on the Hudson Bay, and an appropriate land route so that a railroad may be constructed. You may hand over these lands at any time of your choosing, but take too long, and there may not be a choice for you to make."

- President Michael Morris, January 3, 1882.

War of 1881: 1882
The War of 1881: Part III

British Isles Front, 1882

As winter ended, the Armée d'Angleterre was in a sorry state. While Norwich and the charred remains of London were still under their control, the Armee could hardly say that it owned Southern England. The populace, tired of the endless foraging and pillaging, had reclaimed virtually all the land that didn’t have French forces directly on it, and was prepared to fight them to ensure that it never would.

Emperor Jerome realised that the situation was desperate, and hatched a plan that might save the lives of his troops. If they could fight their way into Manchester (Britain’s only sizeable industrial city that hadn’t been torched yet), he could make an agreement with the British to not burn the city if the Armee be allowed to evacuate the Isles entirely. Should the British refuse, 150,000 French troops would die, but Britain would be ruined almost beyond repair.

The French commanders put the plan into action in early March, launching an all-out assault on Custer’s Wall, complete with the largest gas bombardment the world had yet seen. They fought valiantly and breached the “wall” in several places.

It wasn’t enough. It is most unlikely that anything could have been enough. Custer by this point had more than a million troops, pulled from all parts of the Empire. As soon as the French objectives had become obvious, he moved his troops to block the route to Manchester, while he sent other forces to encircle the French entirely. The leading French generals in England committed suicide early the next morning, and just after 11:00 AM, the Armée d'Angleterre surrendered. 110,000 men, famished and demoralised, entered British captivity. Less than a thousand ever saw their homeland again, when Britain finally released them from prison in 1907.

Days later, Custer was taken on a tour of some of the places that the French forces had passed through in their assault north, including London. “The Romans at Carthage, or the Mongols in Persia, would be proud to call this devastation theirs. I feel it would be a disrespect to the untold thousands of Britons that have died in this slaughter if we did not pay back their debts. Paris must be made to look like this.”

Ottoman Front, 1882

The Ottoman Empire, if it could still be accurately described as an empire, was in no better shape than the French Army had been outside Custer’s Wall. Its capital was occupied by the Russians, Egypt and Mesopotamia were in the hands of a pretender and much of Europe was in rebellion against the Sultan.

From his court in Ankara, Sultan Mehmed V was reduced to trying to find ways out of the various wars he was engaged in, in the hope that he might keep some remnant of his lands intact. The first man he approached was Tsar Peter IV, who demanded a handover of Constantinople and the surrounding lands, and all Russian-occupied lands in the north-east be handed over as the Trebizond Protectorate (except for a portion that went to Armenia). In addition, an absurd demand of reparations was made. Knowing that the Ottoman state was in no position to be losing any more money (most estimates said that they would be outright bankrupt by 1884 anyway), he instead offered the coast of the straits as far as Gallipoli (which would give the Russians direct access to the Aegean Sea). Peter accepted, but the Sultan was left unsure of whether he had staved off the Ottomans’ problems, or merely compounded them.

Selimid Front, 1882

As negotiations for the Treaty of Ankara were underway, Mehmed’s brother Selim declared himself Sultan of the new ‘Selimid’ Empire. In doing this, he hoped to raise his status from a pretender to the Ottoman throne, to ruler in his own right. His land was quickly recognised by both Russia and Great Britain (although the latter was unable to open an embassy until 1889), and he officially joined the Coalition. Save for an almost impossibly decisive Ottoman victory, he would have an empire at the end of the war.

To defeat his brother and become the true Ottoman sultan however, Selim had to move north. Moving out of Beirut in June, Selim attempted to secure the city of Adana. Mehmed caught word of this plan and moved his army there. The erupting battle was a pyrrhic victory for Selim, who occupied the city in early July. Before he could push on to Ankara and depose his brother though, a new threat emerged in the east...

Persian Front, 1882

‘The Red Lion’, hero and general of Qajar Persia, was determined to get revenge for the Armenian War of 1876-79, and the descent of the Ottomans into simultaneous foreign invasion and civil war presented a great opportunity to him on a silver platter. The Ottoman defeat at Adana boosted his confidence enough that he declared war on them for the second time in a decade. Kuwait and Basra were attacked, captured and annexed into the Persian realm.

Had he stopped there, he might have gotten away with it. Instead, he decided to advance on Baghdad, which was under the control of the Selimids, despite still legally belonging to the Ottomans. Tsar Peter took note of this, and decided to wipe out the expansionist Persians once and for all.

Persia’s army was unsurprisingly crushed relatively quickly, the Red Lion was executed and Russia annexed the land (including Basra and Kuwait). The last decision appears to be an attempt by Tsar Peter to fulfill the old Russian dream of a true oceanic empire, much like France had held in the eighteenth century and Britain continued to maintain. Kuwait gave Russia easy access to the Persian Gulf and from there, the Indian Ocean.

Balkan Front, 1882

If the Ottomans ever wanted more problems, they only had to look to the Balkans to find them. By summer 1882, the revolutionaries and rebels in most major cities in the Balkans had developed armies that individually could have caused major headaches for what was left of the old Empire. The half-dozen or so movements combined could call on forces numbering over a million, far beyond the Sultan’s capacity to resist.

Mehmed V didn’t even bother. In early September, he released all of the Balkans to the rebels, ordering them to sort out territorial boundaries among themselves. What emerged was no fewer than six new independent countries: Wallachia, Moldavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Serbia all emerged on the map, while Montenegro managed to break out of the image of ‘Ottoman puppet’ that it had held for decades.

Eastern Front, 1882

Ever since the French Army in England had been destroyed, Tsar Peter had expected that his empire too would see a French invasion, and it was this that prompted him to wrap up the Ottoman War so quickly. His fears were realised when Marshal Henri Regnier, victor of Second Szeged, crossed the Carpathians and invaded Russia, in the late spring.

Regnier’s plan was to advance on Kiev and then Moscow, while a German (mostly Prussian) force would invade along the Baltic coast to take St Petersburg. With these three cities, Emperor Jerome was confident that Russia could be wiped out of the war (although no orders had been given to raze major cities yet), and from there, he could turn his attention back to Great Britain (which was still operating out of Newcastle).

Tsar Peter was no fool. He had ordered his generals to study the battles in Hungary and England, and it had become obvious that if his men dug, even shallow, trenches, and he could keep that line well supplied, no attacker would ever push him out without paying a horrendous cost. If a gas attack was launched, there was still little counter, but his advisors assured him that Russia could match France’s chlorine gas production by the end of 1883 if funded sufficiently.

The Russian generals chose to defend a line approximately 100-150 kilometres into Russian territory. Although on the outset it appeared foolish to yield so much ground unnecessarily, they justified it by stating that France would have an extra 100km of logisitical difficulty (railroads could be dismantled), while Russia would be working straight off its own railroads, which were in fairly good condition.

Regnier noticed this, and decided to counter it by digging his own line of trenches, at some places less than four hundred metres away from the Russian line. His own justification was that “the enemy can’t move us out now. They can only move us backward a little bit, and it will cost them untold millions to do so”. Jerome reluctantly agreed.

American Front, 1882

In North America, the situation was considerably better for the Alliance than in Europe. Michael Morris’ demands for all the land taken from America in 1814 and a Hudson Bay port had been ignored by the British Government, and as the winter snows cleared, he decided to take them by force.

His first move was to eliminate the Blackfoot Confederacy, an Indian protectorate of the British. This campaign took only a matter of days, for the invading force was larger than the entire population of the Confederacy. Morris annexed the lands as soon as the tribal chief surrendered, breaking the land up into three territories (one Indian, two for settlers).

Frustrated by Green’s lack of response, in June the US Army stormed into Canada proper, all along the border. Fighting was fiercest in Michigan, although the numerically superior Americans overwhelmed the defenders easily. In North Massachusetts, a similar success was seen, with the US Army able to push all the way to the St Lawrence River by the end of the summer.

Along the St Lawrence, the Canadians had established a major defensive line, taking a page out of the Tsar’s book. It was here that they resolved to keep the Americans out of Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City, and it was here that the American offensive was halted, at least in the east.

In the Western theatre, Michael Morris established a goal for the US Army: get ten thousand men on the coast of Hudson Bay by the end of the year. Such a goal was probably unachieveable, as the terrain that had to be crossed had no railroads and was largely a dense forest. Even with all of this in mind, the Americans made a good show of it, pushing far north of the Great Lakes before winter made further campaigning impossible. On their march north, the Americans reached the westernmost point reached by a Canadian railroad. One soldier, Private Peter Jenkins, nailed a sign to the last inch of track, saying “This is as far as you’ll ever get!”

The line became famous, with Tony Green sending a letter to Michael Morris, complete with map of Canada and the US line marked on it. He captioned it with “This is as far as you’ll ever get!”, to which Morris replied by simply stating “How do you plan on stopping me then?”

War of 1881: 1883-1884
The War of 1881: Part IV

Ottoman Front, 1883

Selim entered 1883 in a precarious position. Although his army had managed to blunt the Persian invasion of Mesopotamia, it had been as badly damaged there as he had at Adana. What he was left with was adequate for a defense force (provided the French or their allies didn’t intervene), but his chances of successfully marching on Ankara were dashed, drowned in Persian blood.

Luckily for him, Mehmed’s army was in little better shape. Mehmed himself had been wounded in the fighting at Adana, and was quickly turning to alcoholism and other vices as a way of escaping the disastrous state that his once-great Empire was now in. His advisors, acting without the approval of the Sultan, began to try to find a way out of it.

Their way out came when the Kingdom of Norway, one of the only neutral powers in the Western world, offered to mediate a peace. Selim agreed, and after a short negotiation, final borders were drawn where armies stood. Most importantly, Selim was given the title of Caliph, as he controlled Mecca and most other Muslim holy sites.

Selim declared his empire’s neutrality in the greater European war in May 1883.

Bombardment of Bordeaux, 1883

Great Britain had spent most of 1882 and early 1883 attempting to figure out a way of getting revenge on the French for their invasion and the burnings of most of southeast England, and by June 1883 a plan had emerged to attempt to burn the entire French coastline via a great naval bombardment.

Owing to a shortage in large-calibre shells (no doubt caused by French destruction of industry), the Royal Navy scaled the operation back to just the destruction of Bordeaux, and that plan was then put into action in July.

“For ten days and ten nights, the great fire raged.
A once-fine city, reduced to rubble and chlorinated smoke.
The gods of war turned away from the Frenchmen,
While Jerome looked to the East for hope.”

The death toll in Bordeaux was massive, estimated at nearly 100,000 after delayed deaths from the effects of gas are factored in. The political message was ever-greater, for British resolve to finally defeat the Alliance, no matter the cost, was now obvious to all.

Irish Front, 1883

The first to suffer the wrath of the British Army was the Irish rebels, who by this time controlled nearly two-thirds of the island. Tony Green dispatched the newly-promoted Field Marshal Custer to deal with them, and his landing in Dublin was enough to convince many to quietly return to their farms.

Those that didn’t suffered terribly, as Custer’s Army stormed westward, crushing any opposition in a matter of days. Custer’s show of force did not include chlorine gas, with the most likely explanation being that he wanted to stockpile it for use against the French later. He didn’t need it anyway, for Cork, Limerick and Galway had all been captured at minimal cost to the British by the end of the summer.

The British had not forgotten that Ireland had risen up during the middle of the French invasion, and their vengeance was brutal. Thousands of rebel leaders, suspected traitors and eventually most people in western Ireland that owned military-quality firearms were executed, while the area of Limerick that had served as the Irish Government District was razed. Emperor Jerome looked on warily, knowing that if Custer ever managed to get troops into France, the same, or worse, could very well happen to his own cities.

British Home Front, 1883

These great British victories could never have been achieved if not for the women of Britain who, from the moment the French occupation ended, had worked tirelessly to rebuild the ruined cities and factories. By the end of 1882, an estimated three million women were working in armaments factories, making bullets, rifles, uniforms and other essentials, and by the end of 1883 this number had more than doubled. Even in cities that had not seen French troops, women began to flood industrial districts asking for jobs, hoping to serve their country any way they could.

Tony Green took notice of these events, and by the end of 1883 he felt it was only fair to grant any woman working for her country to be allowed a say in how that country was ruled. The Female Voting Act of 1883 saw only minimal resistance in Parliament, and King William V signed it into law on Christmas Day.

American Front, 1884

While the British were seeing success in Europe, their Canadian allies could not say the same in America. President Morris finally made good on his boasts about reaching Hudson Bay when his forces captured the tiny fishing village of Great White* on the Moose River in late July 1883. The President himself was photographed standing on the jetty of Great White, holding a massive Stars and Stripes to signify America’s newfound power.

Although the capture of Great White had significant propaganda value, the more significant events occured in 1884. In January, the US Army forced a crossing of the St Lawrence river, and in the following months managed to outflank the Canadian lines. Quebec City fell in May, while Toronto was taken in June. Neither city was burned, to the relief of many thousands of Canadians.

The capture of Toronto prompted Tony Green to finally capitulate to President Morris’ demands. Morris kept his word from the Charlotte address, taking only ex-US territories, the Hudson corridor and the lands of the Blackfeet. No reparations were demanded, and prisoners of war were returned as fast as possible.

“My objective in this war was always to ensure the rightful restoration of US lands, with a peace agreement that would ensure that America was to be forever safe from the risk of conquest that loomed over our grandfathers’ heads. That was accomplished at Toronto, without the need for the barbarism that has overtaken the fight in Europe.”
- President Michael Morris, on the Toronto Peace Deal, 1884.

* Great White does not exist in OTL, the town of Moosonee is approximately 10km southwest of its location.

Eastern Front, 1884

The war on the Eastern Front meanwhile, had simply bogged down. In the autumn of 1883, Marshal Regnier launched what has become known as the Wasteland Offensive, which advanced the front by, in areas, up to ten kilometres, all chewed up by artillery bombardments, which occasionally included gas. The cost of the operation is known to be no fewer than 70,000 men, and some estimates place it at two or even three times that.

The Tsar’s men were meanwhile working on ways to break the year-long stalemate, and by early 1884 two promising inventions looked like war-winners. The first of these was the ‘rollbarrel cannon’, which can be most simply described as a cannon chassis with eight rifle-sized barrels and an electric motor to turn them. Adequately supplied, the rollbarrel cannon could fire up to 300 rifle rounds per minute. In addition, it could be mounted on a tripod to make aiming easier. The addition of wheels to the tripod and a few plates of armour to protect the crew allowed a group of two or three men to move the machine into no-mans-land and pour enormous quantities of fire into the enemy trenches.

The other was phosgene gas, discovered in 1812 but first produced on an industrial scale in 1883. Chlorine had eventually been countered by urinating on a rag and covering the face with said rag, and the Russians hoped to restore the certain-death nature of early chemical warfare. By early 1884, the Russian Army had a multi-thousand-ton stockpile of phosgene ready to use.

On June 22, the seventy-second anniversary of Napoleon I’s invasion of Russia, they struck. All across the frontline, French and German forces were gassed and mown down by the largest offensive of the nineteenth century. Regnier himself was horrified to discover that a single gun now had the capacity to wipe out a company in a couple of moments, and ordered that one of the fearsome new guns must be captured and brought back to France (the first soldier to do so was offered a reward of several thousand francs).

Despite Regnier’s best efforts, the Russian assault tore a huge hole in the French line, and the Russians exploited it well. Galicia was liberated within a few weeks, Warsaw was taken in the autumn and by the end of the year Berlin was under threat...

The Election of 1884

Had Michael Morris attempted to run for a third term in 1884, his re-election would have been assured, despite the unwritten rule against it. Having defeated the hated Southern League and rubbed the British’s noses in the dirt, he was an even greater hero than Hugh L. White had been when he won the War of Napoleonic Succession in 1836.

Morris explained his position as “a Worker’s Party man doing the job of a Nationalist”, saying that loyalty to a man’s country comes before his loyalty to whatever party he belongs to. The Southern League, after all, had its roots in the Liberal Party.

Instead, most Americans threw their votes behind Morris’ Vice President David Ambridge. His support was strongest in the ex-League states (who had been allowed to vote but only for either of the two major parties), and he took all the Electoral College votes except those of North Massachusetts (where the public believed more should have been taken from Canada).


War of 1881: 1885-1887
The War of 1881: Part V

Eastern Front, 1885

Marshal Regnier looked on the dawn of 1885 with nothing but despair. The war’s casualties by now were totalling tens of millions. Mongol-level devastation, a century of war and violence crammed into a factory-made industrial-sized package of just three and a half years. Worse for him, the Alliance was now being beaten at its own game. French shipyards had built the world’s first iron-rates, and more recently, the only working submarines. French chemists had been the first to produce chlorine gas. French gunsmiths had made the first good-quality breech-loading rifle. Now though, it was the Russians who held the upper hand with the rollbarrel cannon.

The rollbarrel cannon was an entire company, maybe even a battalion, mounted on a tripod and wheeled around. As long as the Russians had ammunition and lead batteries (both of which were common goods in the 1880s), they had the power to do unto France what France could only dream of doing unto England in 1881. Do unto France the Russian generals did too, as they toppled the Prussian government in February 1885.

The fall of Berlin, although it represented the end of the great Russian offensive, finally and undeniably shattered the image of an unassailable France that had existed since the days of Napoleon I. French field armies had been beaten in the past, sure, but the fighting capability of an entire frontline had never been so dramatically wiped out. For many nations that had spent decades under the French thumb, attitudes began to shift away from the Emperor and toward their own nation, not just its part in the wider machine of Europe.

Tsar Peter meanwhile spent the days after the Battle of Berlin urging his generals to get the campaign back underway. Although logistics would not allow such a happening to occur until railroads had been repaired and four-storey-warehouse loads of ammunition had been sent to the front. The Russian Army, never before stronger than at this time, was finally ready in August 1885.

The new offensive outdid all the records set by its predecessor. Hungary was liberated as Russian troops entered Pest in November, while in 1886 the Russians stormed through the German states of Bohemia, Bavaria and Saxony to finally enter French territory when they took the border city of Ulm.

Spanish Front, 1886

The Spanish front, although existing since 1881 when Aragon declared war on Spain, had seen little action since the beginning of the war, as both sides had poured their energies into first the Battle for England and then (for the French at least) the Eastern Front.

By 1885, British industry was operating at a level that Tony Green felt confident was enough for the British to put boots on the European continent. The best place to do this, it was decided, was first to send them to Spain. The Royal Navy was directed away from the semi-random bombardment of French ports to ensure that the remnants of the French fleet would not interdict transport routes. In this they were less than successful, as Glory and Imperial were both able to make numerous raids, at the cost of nothing more than a few torpedoes. Had Emperor Jerome had more than a pair of submarines (and with most of his ports in ruins, he had little hope of building more), they might have done enough damage to stop France’s southern flank from heating up.

As things were... France’s southern flank heated up in early 1886, as a combined British-Spanish force stormed across the Aragonese border. Their target was not Aragon which, although ruled by Jerome’s brother, was hardly a concern to the armies of the great powers, but the French homeland itself. The difficult terrain worked to the Alliance’s advantage for a while, and the British had no rollbarrels, but Aragon eventually capitulated in the autumn. King Louis fled to his brother’s court in Paris, but the British kept chasing them, reaching the Pyrenees by the end of the year.

Western Front, 1886

Field Marshal Custer had not been a part of the Spanish front. Even in its glory days, the Spanish front was always destined to be a sideshow. The real British action was still to come...

Custer’s landing in Brittany in September 1886 finally gave the British the opportunity to pay the French back for the events of 1881, and they made out like bandits. Hamlets and villages were sacked because they committed the crime of merely being in Custer’s way. The captains of ships in drydock at Brest were burned at the stake, while those drydocks themselves were only spared from the torch because they were more useful to British logistics intact.

After the landing, Custer opted to consolidate his hold on Brittany rather than risk outrunning his supply line. Perhaps it was worth it, but the fact that he didn’t push forward dragged the war into 1887, with horrific consequences for all.

Italian Front, 1887

The Kingdom of Italy had watched on as France’s other allies were trampled under the combined weight of Great Britain and Russia, and in late 1886 the king, one of Jerome’s many cousins, decided that loyalty to the Alliance was not worth the potential cost in lives. As Christmas approached, he declared Italy no longer part of the Alliance, declaring war on France (although he never formally joined the Coalition).

Despite its small size, Italy was able to secure many notable victories over the following months. The first of these was the invasion of Piedmont, long a direct French holding, and its annexation to the kingdom was another in a growing list of humiliations for Emperor Jerome.

The next, and undoubtedly the most important, was the invasion of France’s territories surrounding the city of Rome. These lands had seen their garrisons stripped from them as losses grew on the Eastern Front, and when the Italian Army marched in in April 1887, they were relatively low-hanging fruit. Although many Italians wanted to take the city for themselves (with a few extremists even proposing a revival of the Roman Empire from the remnants of the French), a moderate faction won out, declaring the restoration of the Papal States. Pope Clement XVI returned from exile in England in January 1888.

The other French territory directly bordering Italy was the Illyrian Territory, and that too was poorly defended after six years of war. The part nearest to Italy was outright annexed into the Kingdom, much like Piedmont, while the southern half of the territory was released as the new independent nation of Croatia. By the time Emperor Jerome heard of Croatia’s release, he had given up worrying about Italy. Bigger threats, much closer to home, were all that mattered.

French Front, 1887

On New Year’s Day, 1887, a French engineer finally managed to build a working rollbarrel cannon of his own, although one that was powered by a hand crank rather than an electric motor. Emperor Jerome cared little for the details, labelling even the less powerful machine a “jewel from the heavens”. Factories in France were ordered to build as many rollbarrels as humanly possible.

Jerome knew he would need everything he could get his hands on, and a million more men besides that. In March 1887 the Russians overran Westphalia, the most loyal ally that France ever had, and for good measure they set the cities of Kassel and Hannover ablaze.

Marshal Regnier pleaded with the Emperor to allow him to retreat behind the Rhine, undoubtedly the best natural defense that the core of France could hope for. In April, Jerome finally allowed him to give up half of the Rhineland, France’s largest industrial region. The Russians moved in quickly, burning hundreds of factories, thousands of homes and tens of thousands of people in the process.

Regnier’s new defensive line was comprised of not only the river, but three lines of trenches dug into its west bank, backed up by virtually every rollbarrel cannon in the Empire and fifteen hundred thousand men. When winds were favourable, he would also release hundreds of tons of chlorine gas over the river, hoping to break up Russian attacks before they formed.

In at least one case, they failed. The Russian offensive across the Rhine in late July, involving the majority of the five-million-man front, got boats more than halfway across the river, where the Russians shot at the French lines with rollbarrels even before they made it to the other side. Backed up by a westward wind that blew phosgene all across the French line, it was the best hope the Russians had of breaking through. The offensive was shot to pieces in the river, and while the French had failed to stop the Russians from attacking, they had finally halted the Tsar’s horde.

Unfortunately for Emperor Jerome, neither Brittany nor Aquitaine held any rivers the size of the Rhine, and despite his best efforts to defend those frontiers too, Custer’s Army eventually broke through in August, although the French rollbarrels had cost his men enormously.

Backed up by the fury of more than a million Englishmen, it was Custer, the greatest British hero since King Alfred, that led the charge into the heart of France. The British Army stormed through Rennes, Rouen, Tours and Orleans, and each city was practically levelled by the passing soldiers. Emperor Jerome frantically pulled troops from the Rhine frontier (although keeping barely enough to hold the Russians out), and rushed them to Paris.

Describing the Battle of Paris as a bloodbath would be an understatement. Nearly a million soldiers perished in the month-long battle, cut down by rollbarrel cannons, ruined by chlorine gas and crushed by falling buildings. As the British fought their way into the centre of the city, a shell from a British artillery piece blasted off the head of Napoleon I from the great statue that stood where the guillotine had been during the French Revolution. When that statue was pulled down by British troops three days later, it symbolised the end of the Bonapartes. Not only was their capital city being destroyed by the greatest battle of the war, but British troops were inflicting ever bit of rage that they had built up over the last century on the city. The end had finally come.

On December 16th, 1887, Emperor Jerome laid down his grandfather’s sword and surrendered to Field Marshal Custer. Eighty-five years, four great European wars and 120,000,000 lives had passed, but now the French Empire and its Alliance had finally been vanquished.

Atlantic Ocean
17 December, 1887
2:00 AM

Five-year-old Jerome Louis Napoleon Bonaparte Jr. lay on a bunk inside the cramped cabin of the submarine Glory. His three-year-old sister Emma and infant brother Charles were with him, both fast asleep. It was cold and damp, and the Emperor’s son didn’t want to sleep, so he didn’t. Fiddling with the screws on an old crate was a much better use of his time.

Slightly more than a week ago, members of the French court had decided that the British were getting much too close to the Imperial Palace, and had fled the city for Saint-Nazaire, a rather unimportant port but still large enough to hold the Glory (the Imperial had been sunk fairly recently when it was rammed by a British broadship). Emperor Jerome stayed behind in Paris, knowing that him fleeing would only cause the British to chase him down. His children? Surely they weren’t worth throwing an army away for. When they got to the port, they were put on a submarine, which was loaded up with as much coal as could be stuffed inside it, and the Americans were telegraphed with instructions to send a ship to pick it up when it reached the limit of its range. The Americans could then keep the Glory and use it to build their own submarines. The children would not become subject to British capture, and the British could spend the next thirty years feeling bad about not capturing them.

Not that Jerome Jr. understood much of what was going on. A short, plump old officer had told him of France’s surrender when the wireless telegram (OTL would call this radio) came in earlier in the night. He most likely wouldn’t see Pappy again, the officer said. Pappy hadn’t wanted to come to America, so he wasn’t here.

Pappy, or Emperor Jerome to the rest of the world, was meanwhile being taken to a Parisian prison, now claimed by the British Army. It was up to Tony Green, Marshal Custer and Tsar Peter to figure out what to do with him.

The Fate of France, 1888

Emperor Jerome’s surrender marked the end of the French Empire, and as a temporary measure, the French General Jacques Casavant was placed in charge of the country (under the watchful eye of a British overseer). Casavant’s role was merely to make sure that France didn’t explode into disorder (or reignite the war), while the Coalition worked out what to do about everything.

In January 1888, the leading Coalition leaders gathered in Dijon, one of the largest cities in France (the conference had to be held in France to show the Coalition’s dominance over the defeated Alliance), to discuss terms. Neither Casavant nor Emperor Jerome was invited to the conference to even observe. The fate of France was to be decided solely by the nations that had spent decades putting the Empire down.

The Treaty of Dijon was harsh. Britain annexed Corsica and the Balearic Islands into its Empire, and declared the part of the old Kingdom of Hannover not belonging to Westphalia to be held in a personal union with Great Britain under King William V (the death of King Ernest Augustus would have led to the kingdom passing under British King Adolf I, William’s grandfather, although the French overran it before then). Furthermore, the French territories once belonging to the ‘Angevin Empire’ of Henry II in the twelfth century, as well as Brittany, to now belong to the ‘French Protectorate’, which was a thinly-veiled puppet state. For good measure, Calais and the rest of the Channel coastline as far as Flanders were added to the protectorate.

The carving of the French pie was not yet done though. The Kingdom of Aragon was dissolved, with its territories going to Spain, which also took Catalonia back off the French. Baden and Wurttemberg became independent states instead of autonomous regions. French Pomerania was broken off as the Kingdom of Mecklenburg. Italy’s gains in Piedmont and Illyria were confirmed, and Croatia’s independence was acknowledged. Holland and Flanders were broken off to form the Republic of the United Provinces (the British choosing the name specifically because it existed before the French Revolution). Switzerland and the German States were stripped of their French overseers and those countries with Bonaparte kings were forced to install different noblemen as king. Italy and Naples-Sicily were permitted to keep their kings (who were Bonapartes) but all treaties with France were considered void and were forbidden from renegotiation. Whatever was left, France could keep.

France was also to be stripped of her warmaking potential. Production of chlorine and phosgene was forbidden, rollbarrel cannons were to be surrendered and never rebuilt. Their standing army was restricted to 200,000 men. The French Navy was restricted to four broadships in the Mediterranean and no submarines (the Glory was now part of the US Navy) and a few coast-defense ships.

Finally, the Treaty of Dijon declared the monarchy dissolved, with a republic to be installed in its place. Casavant, as a French general of little consequence (he had been in charge of France’s coastal defenses near Marseilles for the duration of the war), was permitted to become its first President, with his term set to expire in 1890. As he signed the treaty, President Casavant only grunted, wondering if France would have been better off if it was simply annexed whole.

A Tale of Three Bonapartes, 1888

To the French people, Emperor Jerome had a fairly mixed legacy. Being the grandson of Napoleon I, his name held considerable prestige, but there was little that could be said to further that statement. Historians, after spending more than a century debating his character, have come to the conclusion that Jerome was simply fighting out of his weight. Not at all a ‘great’ leader like Custer, but hardly a poor one either.

“It is fair to say that if Jerome’s grandfather, maybe even if his father was at France’s helm during the War of 1881, the French would have had a much greater chance of winning. Since they did not, Jerome simply did the best he could, but it turned out not to be enough. He was not the legend his predecessors were, but he was capable enough to rule the country well for the six years he was there.”

- Gustav Brunnberg, Historian, 1982

What historians would say about Jerome a century later had nothing to do with the British attempting to get a final, supreme moment of revenge over the Bonaparte dynasty. Shortly after Paris was taken, Tony Green ordered that the bodies of Napoleon I and II be brought back to England. Almost as an afterthought, Jerome was brought along too. They were taken to Manchester, where a crowd numbering tens of thousands had gathered. It was here, three months to the day after France surrendered, that Emperor Jerome was hanged, drawn and quartered.

The three Bonaparte corpses ended up in the Custer’s Wall Memorial Park, an area of around ten square kilometres where some of the fiercest fighting of the war took place. There stood three fifteen-foot pikes, built into a foundation of concrete inside one of the ex-French trenches, apparently to ensure that the pikes could not be knocked over the way the one that had held Oliver Cromwell’s head did. An emperor’s head was placed atop each one, and today it is still possible to view them (although they have largely rotted).

Green’s Demand, 1888

By the summer of 1888, news had arisen that Emperor Jerome’s three children were living in the United States, finally ending months-long speculation and debate. In Newcastle, Tony Green was furious, enough so that he sent a demand to US President Ambridge.

“Our Coalition, not your Alliance, are the victors in the war just past. France is now our subject, and that makes the Bonaparte dynasty our subject too. We demand that you return to us Jerome, Charles and Emma, unless you seek to have enemies for the next century.”

David Ambridge burst into laughter when the letter reached him.

“A man who could not even stop his country from being invaded thinks now, because he has beaten said invaders and stuck their emperor’s heads on spikes in the Midlands, that the children of one of those heads also belongs on spikes, for the simple reason that those children were once in the lands of an enemy.
My reply to your demand is this: by the same logic that I should hand over Jerome, Emma and Charles, you must now hand over Field Marshal Isaac N. Custer, a man who had the misfortune to be born in Michigan, which just so happens to be now on my list of United States.
We do not fear your threats. This is not 1812. Our navy proudly protects our shores and our Army defends our farms and our houses. If you come, we are prepared to fight you. Jerome, Emma and Charles are no more your subject than the Pope is a Muslim.”

No response was ever heard from Green.

Breakup, 1888

With the defeat of Napoleonic France, the major reason for Europe’s two great alliances to exist was now gone, and without it they crumbled like a house of cards. At Dijon, the Coalition powers had made special efforts to break France’s alliances with the various German and Italian States, with the Ottomans and with anyone else that they had dragged into the war with them. The United States and Mexico decided to stick together, and the United States kept at least some loyalty to the old Empire when they gave refuge to the Emperor’s children. Most of France’s other agreements simply fell into dust.

What emerged was a series of smaller factions. The German states immediately resumed their feud from before the Third German War, grouping together into the Protestant Prussian Alliance and the Catholic Bavarian Alliance. The Grand Duchy of Warsaw favoured the Bavarians but refused to officially join out of fear of invasion from either Prussia or Russia.

In the Balkans, the nations that had broken away from the Ottomans together agreed to band together, originally for the purpose of protecting one another from a resurgent Ottoman Empire or perhaps the Russians. What eventually emerged was a full-blown Balkan League, which welcomed Croatia to its colours shortly after being founded.

The Coalition proved no more immune to dissolution than the Alliance had, and by 1890 the strongest military pact in history had fallen into the ash heap of history. The Russians maintained their relationships with Hungary, Galicia and the states in the Caucasus, but when Tsar Peter IV suddenly died, their ties to Great Britain evaporated. While the two great powers did not descend into unyielding hostility, tensions over control of the Persian Gulf and India kept Europe in fear even after surviving the most horrific period in human history.

The Great Crash of 1889

“Europe had been ruining itself with a total war footing for several generations, but in a cruel twist of fate it was the attempt to return to peace that finally broke the economy. The end of the tragedy of 1881 was merely the beginning of another, and one that would prove extremely hard to fix when half of Europe had been burned into ashes and the smoke of phosgene gas.”
- George Calvin, Economist, part of a speech given in 1902.

The banking crisis that broke the world’s markets in July 1889 has frequently been blamed on the shift from a wartime economy to a peacetime one, but if that were entirely true it would be saying that factories could survive by producing rifles or poison gas but not by producing dining tables and farming tools, which is obviously nonsense.

More correctly, the crisis began because the world attempted this shift without the infrastructure to support it. The markets in Russia, for instance (a country that had seen little enemy occupation), did not fail until months after those of Germany or the French Republic, while the economy of the United States was hardly shaken at all. What those countries needed was money going into new factories and roads, to repair cities that had been ruined. With the notable exception of Great Britain, most government money in 1888 went into keeping the existing factories going at far greater capacity than they were designed to, on the assumption that the same goods could be made and then distributed. But without jobs in the devastated regions, those goods could only be distributed to parts of the world where nobody could pay for them. The governments of France and Germany were then unable to raise the taxes they needed to fully rebuild, and a cycle of disaster continued.

The nations of Europe turned to the United States for help, only to find that President Ambridge was himself struggling with a similar problem of rebuilding the eight Southern League states. Russia meanwhile refused to do anything, the new Tsar Nicholas II (a rather poor ruler) believing that Europe deserved to suffer for the devastation it had caused itself.

Tony Green retired in 1890. His successor, Benjamin Lawton, decided that the best way to keep the peace in Europe was to reconcile them. The British economy, although strangled by the war, had survived the crash and was growing substantially by 1891. Much of that growth was poured into European businesses, which eventually funded a restoration, and construction of a new Europe. When David Ambridge announced that the Southern states were finally “rebuilt” in 1892, he too began to pour money into Europe. The wounds of war and three generations of tension were healing, although Britain remained adamant that the Treaty of Dijon would be enforced to the letter.

Les Ennuis, 1894

By 1894, the British- and American-led efforts to rebuild Europe were bearing better and more fruit with every passing day. Although the most optimistic predictions said that industrial and commerical capacity would not reach pre-war levels until 1900, the German States, and to a lesser extent France and Spain (which were both larger countries, and Britain refused to rebuild their arch-nemisis at all) were well on track to reaching that goal.

In the French Protectorate, or as the locals liked to call it, British France, more effort was directed towards trying to convince the populace that their old lords had been demons from hell than actually rebuilding the place. The French living there had spent their entire lives until 1888 under the Bonapartes, and could say with a fair degree of certainty that their old lords were more like angels from heaven, as the lands had done far better before the British had come than they were now that they had.

The British approach to this was divided into three parts: the first was a semi-regular passenger convoy between Brest or Bordeaux and ports in the United States. If someone wanted to leave, and could afford to get to either Brest or Bordeaux, he would be allowed to. “After they step on that boat, they’re someone else’s problem” as a British MP said.

The second stage was to focus on rebuilding the parts of the country that had been loyal, or at least quiet, to the British. In some towns, particularly places that were relatively untouched during the war, this worked out very well for them. This was mostly seen in the countryside, where the populace were less worried about their highest lords and more concerned with whether they could sell their eggs at market. Largely though, this was not the option that many people took (despite it probably being the best one).

The final stage, and the one that earned this period the name of “The Troubles” was the British Army’s merciless crushing of any resistance, with a brutality no less horrible than had been seen during the war. In one particular case, an angry Frenchman shot a couple of mortar rounds into the British barracks in Angers as a way of resisting. A circle of radius of fifty metres around his house had been burned down before he ever made it home, and he was shot only a few days later.

At that point, the British allowed their French subjects to choose how to act, and while a sizeable minority of people more inclined to actively fight the British chose to leave for America (after all if the children of their Emperor had gone there, why shouldn’t they?), there was an almost overwhelming proportion of angry Frenchmen that caused the British Army a massive headache that lasted well into the early twentieth century. As late as 1910, it was not uncommon to see fires almost daily within major cities, with the problem being so bad at times that a full half of the British Army was stationed in the Protectorate. The British by that point were counting on the younger generation, growing up with a British education, to take power from their elders. Only by getting rid of the people who hated them would get the British peace.

The Palermo Incident, 1895

For most people that weren’t British however, attention shifted very quickly away from the defeated French in 1895, to a part of the world that had lain forgotten for as long as the French had been controlled by the Bonapartes: Africa. Yet it all began in an event that had been hardly different from routine for centuries.

The Barbary States had controlled northwest Africa since not long after Columbus, and except for a brief period in the early nineteenth century had stayed there, causing trouble for anyone they didn’t happen to like very much. One of their favourite things to do was capturing ships and stealing some of the goods off them, usually only to sell them to someone else for a nice profit.

Yet in 1895, pirates serving the Barbary State of Tripoli managed to capture the Neapolitan broadship Palermo, which had been conducting a routine patrol near Malta. Instead of stealing goods however, the pirates simply stole the entire ship, sailing it back to Benghazi to put it on the market. When the Sultan of Tripoli (as these pompous fools liked to call themselves) heard of this, he officially denounced the pirates and offered to return the ship.

The King of Naples and Sicily however was a Bonaparte, and shared the rest of the family’s trait for impatience. Before the ‘Sultan’’s offer even went out, a fleet had been mobilised for war. He conquered the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi fairly quickly and the State surrendered shortly afterwards, but international opinion had turned decisively against the Barbary States. A region, once forgotten by the world, was now the world’s most interesting source for news.

War Spreads, 1896

Philip VI of Spain had meanwhile been looking for a way to restore Spain’s international prestige (something it had sorely lacked since Napoleon I had deposed his grandfather), and the Tripolitanian War gave him the perfect excuse. Right across the Straits of Gibraltar was the State of Morocco, and a short hop to the east was the State of Algiers. Neither had been especially friendly towards Spain, and while neither had ever attempted something so stupid as to steal a broadship, they had caused the country a fair deal of trouble anyway.

In March 1896, he invaded and quickly defeated Morocco, whose army of bandits had little hope against a professional force armed with poison gas. Algiers was taken down in the following months, and both territories were quickly incorporated into what Philip hoped was a new Spanish Empire.

In Naples meanwhile, the government decided to expand its efforts against Tripoli to the neighbouring State of Tunis, which was easily wiped out in August. Total European losses for the destruction of the four states totalled just under a thousand men, a much more refreshing figure than the seventy or eighty million from the War of 1881.

As the Tunisian Army was gassed into oblivion, the leaders of Europe’s major powers began to discuss what was going on in North Africa. The rest of the continent’s coast was pockmarked with small trading posts and occasionally a larger colony, but no-one wanted to find their outpost now surrounded by another country’s claims. After the King of Italy pointed out that Spain and Naples were both just attacking nations directly across the sea from them, however, and that nothing between Morocco and Tripoli was anything better than dirt (and bad dirt at that), the great powers turned a blind eye towards it.

Eyes Unblinded, 1898

The “blind eye” policy lasted merely a year before the African pot began to stir itself again. The Sultanate of Oman, a substantial regional power in Arabia but pathetic in comparison to the British, had begun to collect taxes from ships passing through the Persian Gulf. While this was initially limited to trading ships, in early 1898 an Omani official attempted to tax a Russian patrol boat (it is believed that this was a mistake on his part).

Tsar Nicholas quickly blew the relatively minor incident right out of proportion. Despite the attempts of the Omani government to return the money that had been taken (and it was a pretty small amount of money to begin with), the Tsar simply ordered his army to Basra. Either Oman would end the shipping tax for good, or war would exist between the two nations.

Oman’s economy was relying on the shipping tax to stay afloat, and ending it could very well spell the end for the country. The Sultan of Oman quickly ordered a report on estimates of the strength of the Russian force. The spies in Basra telegraphed back ‘250,000’, but the Sultan misread it as saying 25,000 (a force small enough that his army could beat without too much trouble). He then did nothing, and after Nicholas lost patience, the Russians invaded. Oman was overrun and by the end of the year, all Omani territories were handed over to Russia.

One of those territories happened to be the Zanzibar Coast, a substantial part of East Africa. Tsar Nicholas had not even been made aware that the territory had belonged to his enemy until someone pointed it out to him after reports started coming to St Petersburg from there. Then, in 1899, he extended his claim all the way to the Horn of Africa, and the construction of forts along the coast was ordered.

The Return to Africa, 1899

Unlike Morocco or Tripoli, the Zanzibar Coast was a reasonably important territory to anyone that wanted to look past their own backyard. Britain knew that Russia was a threat to their primacy over Europe (although not a hostile one), and did not want to see Russia gain too large an advantage over them.

Britain however, already had a fairly large number of outposts in Africa that had been largely forgotten by anyone that didn’t live there. Dakar had been taken off the French during the Napoleonic Wars, and southeast of it lay dozens of trading posts where the slave trade had once been conducted (slavery had finally been abolished by Brazil and Gran Colombia in the 1870s, while Hampton’s League had fallen in 1881). No-one had really cared about them for nearly a century, but the British government jumped at the chance to make them mean something again.

Britain’s decision was simply to claim the entire coast of Guinea, as well as all lands north of it until some poorly described point in the Sahara. The declaration itself changed little in Africa, as most of the land there was already under British or native control (and if the natives decided to complain, the British were more than happy to use phosgene against them). Politically, the declaration was quite important. Other countries, notably Portugal, reinforced their old claims along the rest of the coast of Africa. Spain pushed their line of control in Morocco as far south as the British hadn’t claimed already. British South Africa was given a substantial garrison that it had not seen since 1833.

In the midst of this, Prussian King Albert II decided to pull a rather impulsive stunt. Getting three broadships and a division of his army, he decided to sail to the mouth of the Congo River personally, setting up a tiny outpost there. Why he did such a thing is still unknown, for Portuguese and British claims to the coasts directly adjacent to his little fort would halt expansion in those directions, while the interior held too many diseases for exploration and colonisation to occur there.

What Albert’s move did was secure the entire African coast for Europe (with the exception of Egypt and the Sudan, which was held by the Selimids). Detachments of Armies from Britain, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Naples and Prussia flooded in to take control of their respective spheres. Beyond the coastline however, most claims were either vague or simply non-existant, and no-one tried to enforce them anyway (owing to a combination of disease, lack of knowledge of the interior and a fair deal of laziness).

Imperialism, once as dead as a snowman in hell, was back and stronger than ever.

Third Gold, 1900

When aluminium was isolated in 1849, it was briefly known by names such as “nineteenth-century gold” for its role in catapulting industry forward (and initially, due to its high cost per kilogram).

In 1900, a massive oil deposit was found in the US state of Davis. Although smaller deposits had been worked in places such as Pennsylvania for much of the last century, none had ever been large enough to draw the interest of either the US government or distant investors. The Davis oil boom changed that, and before long French investors came flooding in to take advantage of the new find. If there was one thing that looked like an easy way to make France rich and powerful again, “twentieth-century gold” would do it.

While the kerosene industry quickly got a huge boost, engineers (who had seen the use of oil as a fuel decades prior) quickly took an interest in making a replacement for the steam engine. Walter Harrison, an inventor from Ohio, had drawn up sketches for an oil-based engine as early as the 1880s, although the cost of oil, and eventually his death in 1896, prevented him from making any serious progress. His son George, who was a banker, took note of the oil boom and sent some of the drawings into Washington, on the assumption that the government might know of the right people to actually start building oil engines. The government did, finding several railroad building firms, and Harrison’s design worked after some small modifications were made. With manufacturing beginning to draw in profits, the oil industry took on an importance that it had never seen before.

Across the Altantic, the reaction to the boom was much more muted. British leaders in particular appeared quite hesitant to abandon coal, which was much cheaper to extract and did not require any imports to use. A small-scale operation to find oil in Britain was set up, but without serious backing it was unable to accomplish much.

Imerina War, 1901

The defeat of Oman had secured Russia a substantial empire in East Africa, but by the turn of the century Tsar Nicholas II was feeling greedy again. Unable to push into the interior of Africa without either large-scale deforestation or the slaughter of enormous populations of tsetse flies (gassing them with phosgene was proposed but did not work well in practise), his attention shifted to the island of Madagascar.

The island was controlled by the Kingdom of Imerina, a native state that had existed since the 16th century. Imerina had at times been officially under the protection of the French and British, but neither had ever really made an effort to add it to their alliance, and since the early 1840s neither had even considered sending diplomats or trading ships.

The ships that the Tsar sent were loaded with men and guns and phosgene gas, not trading goods, and when they reached the coast those men stormed out with conquest on their minds. Unlike the French or even the Ottomans, the Imerinans were unable to put up serious resistance in many places. Where they did, their musket-bearing lines were simply gassed and then mown down by rollbarrel cannons. More Russian deaths were reported due to disease than to enemy fire, and the Imerinan King surrendered the island after a mere month of fighting.

Ripples, 1901

When news of the invasion reached Newcastle, British leaders were angry. Madagascar sat right in the middle of the main sea route to India. With it in Russian control, the tsar was well positioned to aim next for the crown jewel of the Empire. Nobody in Britain with an ounce of patriotism was going to stand for that.

Overtly attacking Russia (which was still widely seen as an ally by many Britons) however, risked beginning yet another Great European War. Should one of those break out, British leaders knew that France would be all too happy to have another fight with them (more than a million troops were still stationed in the French Protectorate, which was no more happy with its situation than it had been fifteen years earlier).

Instead, Britain ordered a landing of seven divisions in southern Madagascar, citing a treaty from 1815 that officially aligned Imerina with Britain. An official declaration of war was made when the troops landed, with the British government putting specific emphasis on the fact that they were “defending” the kingdom, even though it had already surrendered.

The British Army quickly swept Russia’s outnumbered troops from the southern part of the island and began moving north, forcing the Tsar to begin considering an expansion of the rather limited fight. Fearful that the German States would side with Britain, Nicholas ordered the war be limited to the Indian Ocean only, and also rejected the idea of invading British India. Nicholas signed peace with Britain when the rest of his colonial army was overrun, ceding them the island.

The Russian nobles had meanwhile grown tired of Nicholas, whose only real accomplishment was the defeat of Oman, an easy win if there ever was one and hardly a substitute for his violent personality and the fact that he just handed the war to Britain. He was found dead on February 22nd, 1902, and it is widely believed that he was murdered (although his cause of death was officially listed as ‘heart failure’). He was replaced by his brother Alexander, who became Tsar Alexander II.

Presidential Office, The White House
5 May, 1902
3:15 PM

“Come in, come in!” President Friedrich Vogt shouted.
Jerome, Charles and Emma Bonaparte did come in, and took seats opposite the Preisdent. He had called them in, but had conveniently neglected to tell them why.
“You three are probably celebrating the fact that old Mr Green decided to finally keel over.” Vogt said. “I’ll tell you what, I don’t miss the dummkopf either, not for a pfennig I don't.” Sure enough, Vogt was sounding every bit as German as his name would suggest (although he was born in Maryland).
“You didn’t just call us in here to celebrate the death of Tony Green.” Charles said. “It has been on the news all day. Most of yesterday too.”
“No, you’re right.” Vogt said. “I can spend all day blathering on to the press people about Tony Green. The press people don’t much care that all three of you are past fifteen now.”
Charles puffed his chest out, proud of the fact that he had had a birthday on Saturday.
“Settle down, you.” Vogt said. “Just because all the laws say you are an adult, Charles, doesn’t mean you’re ready to charge back into Paris or Dijon or wherever the devil the French government sits these days. That’s why I brought you here.”
“To tell us we can’t get our country back?” Jerome Jr. said.
“No no no no no. You all have citizenship here and in France. You are all fifteen or older. As far as the cops and border people and the Justices are concerned, you are free to do whatever.” Vogt explained. “If you want to run down to Norfolk and take tomorrow’s ship to Marseilles, I won’t stop you, and I won’t let anyone else stop you. Right now though, that won’t be such a flash idea.”
Jerome Jr. studied the President’s face. Charles looked like he wanted to jump on top of the man.
“Half of politics is bashing the other fellow’s nose in. The other half is convincing him you’re not about to do so.” Vogt said. “The United States is strong enough to help you with the first part, and Lord knows there will be plenty of men in France that will want nothing better. It is the second part that we are going to struggle with.”
“Wouldn’t we just be better off staying away from England’s nose?” Emma suggested. “They’ve been in a war in their part of France since the day I was born, and they don’t look like letting go.”
“Your sister does raise a point.” Vogt said. “I will make sure the United States gives you a good life here.”
“Great grandpappy is on a spike. Grandpappy is on a spike. Pappy is on a spike.” Emma pointed out. “If the English get one of you, you’ll join them... on a spike.”
“No!” Jerome Jr. burst out. “I will be Emperor!”
“You don’t need to decide today.” Vogt said once the siblings stopped shouting at each other. “You can stay here for twenty years without deciding. As Emma said, if you do go and it doesn’t work, Tony Green Jr. or whoever the limeys have at that point will happily expand the Bonaparte Head Yard.”
“So you’re taking her side?” Charles demanded.
“Not in the slightest, but I’m not jumping in with you or Jerome either. I want the three of you to think everything over, is all. If you do decide to fly over to Paris though, you definitely need to listen to your sister for a good five or eight years first.”
“Fly?” Jerome Jr. asked. “You can’t fly unless you get in a balloon, and no balloon has the power to get across the Atlantic.”
“Not yet,” Vogt said. “But I mean what I said quite literally.”
The President reached into one of the many draws in his enormous desk and pulled out a folder. He opened the folder, allowing a few photographs to spill out onto his desk. “Take a look.”
Look the Bonapartes did, with a great deal of interest. “You’re building flying machines?” Charles asked.
“We’re building flying machines.” Vogt said. “But don’t tell anyone. Apart from the people in South Plains building the dashed things, word of this is not to pass the walls of the White House. It probably won’t change much if it does, but we don’t want the limeys getting any ideas.”
“Do they work?” Emma asked.
“No.” Vogt said. “At least not yet. We’ve tried every type of steam engine in the country and none of them have the power. Pretty soon though, they’re gonna slap a Harrison in there and see if that works. If it does, they have orders to figure out how to slap a rollbarrel in there. You want to wipe out an army from fifty feet in the air, that’s how to do it.”
“What about phosgene?” Like his great-grandfather, Charles had a working military instinct.
“To haul enough up to be worthwhile, you need to drag a heavy tank full of it onto the flier. Which is too heavy for the thing to fly. You’d need a couple dozen cannon shells’ worth to put enough out on the enemy.” Vogt explained.
“So spray it as a cloud. Don’t need a lot of gas to kill an Englishman.” Charles suggested.
“That’s actually a good idea, Charles. I’ll forward the word to the South Plains people.” Vogt promised. “We’ll need a much better pumping thing first, but in the meantime, I’ll send you back to K Street. When you are ready, if you are ever ready, to go back to France, tell the sitting President about it. If he can, he’ll get the army ready and he’ll tell the French government. You’d be better going back in quietly and getting elected properly, but if you want Uncle Sam to give England hell you need to tell him first. Oh, and don’t forget, this talk of flying machines never happened. Flying machines stay in an Alison’s novel.”

First to Fly, 1902

The Harrison engine proved to be just the tool needed to take flying machines out of Alison’s novels for good. Before its installation, the Bird Man had accomplished a couple of short hops in the field outside Hope, South Plains, but the steam engine could accomplish no more. With a Harrison engine, the now renamed Bird Man II was both lighter and stronger.

August 19th, 1902 was a clear day with a mild breeze blowing in South Plains. Cheston Ridgeway thought it was perfect weather for flight and decided to test the machine out. A filming camera was brought to the field (the first use of one outdoors), and the people of Hope gathered around the field to watch.

The Bird Man II spent three minutes and thirteen seconds in the air, travelling a good two miles before attempting to land. Ridgeway messed up the landing by coming in at an angle, which caused Bird Man II to skid in a half-circle. His first words after flying were “Oil in 1900, autos in ’01 and fliers in ’02. What will this great nation make next year?”

As the President had feared, the moment that other countries knew that building a working flier was possible was the moment they ordered that one be made by their engineers. Vogt for now had the advantage in aeronautics, and he would do everything in his power to ensure that the United States held on to that lead for as long as it could.

A rollbarrel cannon was successfully mounted on and shot from a flier in early 1904.

An End of Trouble?, 1903

Although peace had been concluded in 1888 between Britain and France, war still existed between the British and French people. British attempts to hold the French Protectorate down with a massive occupation force had accomplished little but lots of dead Britons and a slightly smaller number of dead Frenchmen. The Protectorate was no more reconciled now than it had been when Jerome was executed, and holding down the territory now looked like a job that could literally take forever.

Both sides in the fighting were well aware that the French Republic was actively aiding the rebels, although the Republic officially denied everything. Short of invading the Republic (and probably buying themselves another heaping of troubles), however the British Army had little power to stop them. And although the Republic could be rolled over easily enough, the rest of Europe held many countries that were all too happy to reclaim the glory they had had during their time in the Alliance. Worse, the United States maintained their alliance with France, and their army stood poised along the Canadian border.

If brute force didn’t work, what was the harm in trying a little diplomacy? The British government sent some diplomats to the now mostly-rebuilt Paris, with the objective of finding a solution that would keep the Treaty of Dijon more-or-less intact while ending the war in the Protectorate. France agreed to receive them, knowing that the worst that could come of the talks was their ministers hearing a lot of hot air.

“There are two problems with what you ask. I cannot order the rebels to stop fighting and I cannot make them stop making chlorine. Phosgene, you will notice, has been used little, as it needs a factory to be made in and the Republic has not chosen to violate the part of the treaty about gas production. Chlorine though? All a man needs to make chlorine is a lead battery, some bits of carbon, a tub of water and a lot of salt. Salt and carbon are as easy to come by as air, and lead batteries aren’t much harder to find. As for the people themselves, I never ordered them to rise up, the previous Presidents never ordered them to rise up and as far as I know, Jerome Jr. hasn’t ordered them to rise up. They rise up for what your men did to Bordeaux and Paris and Rennes.” The French diplomat explained. “If you return France’s territories to France, the troubles will stop. We have abided by the treaty in every particular, and that would not change. If anything, having our lands back would make us more loyal, not less.”
“I have been specifically ordered not to agree to that.” The British diplomat said regretfully. “Is there any other solution that could benefit us both in this matter?”
“As long as there are Englishmen in France, there will be French who hate them. Nearly everyone in the country does, and I am an exception only because it would be undiplomatic to suggest a warmer, demon-infested clime for some of your men. We may be able to find a way to reduce their impact though. The boats were a good idea, but not everyone wants to start a farm in Teton.”
“Such as?”
“I know you are not here because you just want a quieter chunk of France. You could have asked ten years ago for that. No, your government worries that Jerome Jr. or Charles will try to boot them out again.”
“It is too late to go with the Bourbons now.” The British diplomat said.
“I think the Bourbons would be worse. With the Republic, the French people have some say over their destiny. With the Bourbons, all they are is ruled over by a king they have been taught to hate for nothing less than a century. The French people that you control want that same control over their fates, or perhaps a Bonaparte.”
“And they get it. Frenchmen are allowed to take part in the elections that decide who goes to Newcastle.”
“So they may choose which British lord they are stuck under. I’m sorry, sir, but the French people specifically don’t want to be under a British lord at all.”
“A Bonaparte means nothing but trouble for the British though. Yes, our men torched Paris, but your men are no less responsible for what happened to London.”
“I didn’t say that a Bonaparte had to be installed Emperor again and break free.” The French diplomat had chosen his words carefully, and that seemed to be paying off. “They would appreciate a Bonaparte in Angers though. I wouldn’t expect Jerome or Charles too be willing to submit to you, but if you can convince a governor to marry Princess Emma, and you keep them there long enough, it might turn the trick just enough to give you peace. If I was a governor, I’d take the chance in a heartbeat. I’d probably take the chance if I wasn’t governor even. She has the looks of two ordinary girls.”

The British attempted to get in contact with the Princess. She simply responded: “My brothers are not safe to return to the country they were born to without fear of their heads being mounted on a spike. How can I be sure the same won’t be done to me?”

Fliers In Europe, 1904

President Vogt had known from the moment that he announced the achievements of Bird Man II that the other great powers would very quickly attempt to build their own fliers. What surprised most of the people involved in the ‘First to Fly’ program was how long it took them. It was not until the United States had a small fleet of fliers with rollbarrel cannons attached that the British and then Russians managed to get a man in the air.

People in the French Republic quickly found a loophole in the Treaty of Dijon. In 1887, fliers had yet to be conceived as a weapon (bombs were occasionally dropped from balloons, but those were nuisances at worst). Broadships? Yes. Poison gas? Yes. Rollbarrels? Yes. Those three weapons had been banned. Fliers though? Legal as much as cheese was. After an American submarine quietly sent some flier plans to Marseilles, the French air industry was born. France wasn’t allowed to stick rollbarrels on the fliers yet, but you didn’t need a rollbarrel to kill an enemy pilot. A good rifle would do just fine.

A Worse Gas, 1905

The French attempts to exploit loopholes in the Treaty of Dijon were so great that a British MP joked that they had a ministry in government dedicated solely to Treaty Avoidance. While this wasn’t quite true, the MP wasn’t especially far off. If the MP was attempting to predict the future when he said that, he did a rather fine job of it.

“The Republic of France will not possess stockpiles of either chlorine or phosgene gas, nor will the ability to produce said gases be maintained.”

France’s reaction to the treaty was to work on a new poison gas that didn’t require either phosgene or chlorine to make, but was just as good (if not better) at killing people. In 1905, they made just the discovery they were looking for. Called either “garlic gas” or “mustard gas”, the new gas quickly put phosgene to shame. It caused horrible damage to both the respiratory system and the skin, and could linger in areas for days if not weeks. It also had no odour, making it virtually impossible to detect until it was too late. The military rejoiced at the news, glad to finally be able to match Britain’s chemical warfare abilities.

Mustard gas, quite simply, scared the hell out of the British. France under the Republic had been a pest when it came to the issue of the Protectorate, but no serious attempts to violently restore the Napoleonic Empire had ever come out of the country. British leaders attributed that to the fact that France had felt defeated when Paris surrendered, while their warmaking potential had been curtailed enough to make fighting a new war virtually impossible. With a new weapon in the works, France could very well stop feeling defeated, and what but a newer version of the War of 1881 could possibly follow?

British leaders suddenly became very thankful of the fact that they had opened talks with France in 1903, for they wanted to find a way out of having their soldiers mustard gassed in the French Protectorate. The diplomats were sent back to Paris, where they were met by the same men they had talked with unsuccessfully two years later.

The resulting agreement was a major victory for the French. Limitations on rollbarrel cannons were axed and France was permitted to engage in diplomacy with other European states again. All they had to promise was that no mustard gas would ever cross the border between the Republic of France and the French Protectorate as long as peaceful relations were maintained. The British diplomats dismissed concerns that France would grow powerful again by saying “What use are rollbarrels if they are still stuck to having 200,000 in their army? France now likes us more and is hardly more powerful than they used to be.”

Connecting Two Seas, 1906

In the twenty years since Russia had imposed itself on the Persian Gulf region, the Tsars had been trying to find a way to create a sea route between the Black Sea and Constantinople, and Basra or Kuwait. It was already possible to sail through the Straits of Gibraltar and around Africa, but that took a lot of time. In the event of a major war with Britain (although not a concern in the skirmishes of 1901), it was very likely that British control of Gibraltar would be enough to see this route sealed off.

Attention then shifted to an idea that Napoleon I had thought of during his 1798 expedition in Egypt: a canal connecting the Mediterranean Sea at a point northeast of Alexandria to the Red Sea at the Gulf of Suez, a distance of around 120 miles. Surveys in Napoleon’s day had made this appear impossible due to an apparent sea level difference of around ten metres, but when that was found to be an error later on, the possibility arose again.

In 1906, Tsar Alexander II offered to buy the land required for the canal from the Selimids. Selim, knowing that the canal could benefit his Empire too (such as connecting Syria to the Sudan by sea), agreed on the condition that the completed canal would be owned by both nations, and the Selimids contributed thousands of workers to the project, largely recruited from the neighbouring cities.

Russia meanwhile decided to pull their workers out of their East African colonies as slaves. Transporting workers from St Petersburg or Moscow was deemed to be too expensive, while the Africans were also more likely to be able to resist the intense heat of the Egyptian desert. Ultimately 30,000 people were taken out of East Africa and dumped in Egypt, with the intention that they would be returned to the colony once the work was done.

Russia’s methods were intensely criticised by both the United States and France, while the British deemed the canal to be a serious threat to their own interests. Tsar Alexander decided that the British were to be allowed free passage through the canal, fearing that Newcastle would invade Egypt otherwise. Other countries were meanwhile taxed if they decided to pass through, but in practise this meant little.

The Zulus, 1907

British focus in Africa was meanwhile directed towards their colonies on the Cape of Good Hope, which they had held since the Napoleonic Wars. For much of this time, it had served as little more than a coalling station between the British Isles and India. As a result, many of the native tribes had acquired substantial power in the region, and in the events after the Grab for the Coast (as the period between 1895-1905 has become known), there were several that refused to relinquish their control to the British. One of these was a particularly warlike and organised tribe known as the Zulus.

By 1907, the Zulus had forced the other tribes in the area to submit to them, and their king (whose name this author dares not attempt to spell) worked to create a unified tribal confederaton. In light of the Russian exploitation of the native population, defense against a possible British implementation of that policy made unity sensible.

In Newcastle, the British saw things differently. The Zulu Confederate Kingdom (as the king’s domains were roughly translated) appeared to have subjugated everything that bordered them and refused to become British subjects. Britain sent a demand to the king that the confederation be disbanded and that all Zulus swear an oath of loyalty to King William VI. They refused, confident that they could hold their own. In previous conflicts, the Zulus had done just that. Their spear-armed men had proven a match for the British riflemen that made up the majority of the local garrisons.

They were wrong. The British government ordered a division of the Army, equipped to a modern standard, to South Africa. To back them up was a stockpile of mustard gas, which they had developed in 1906, and six fliers, equipped with rollbarrels. To sum up the war, the Zulu ranks were decimated no less thoroughly than the Imerinans had been when they encountered the Russian invasion. Mustard gas proved its use in warfare, while the war provided valuable lessons on the use of fliers in battle. The Zulu Confederate Kingdom was dissolved shortly after the Battle of Ulundi, with the natives too frightened to dare attempting to fight the British Empire again.

Bonaparte Marriages, 1908

Jerome Jr. and Charles spent the rest of Vogt’s presidency attempting to figure out the best way to return to France. One of the problems they had faced was that Britain was determined not to ever let that happen, and arguing with a great power usually results in getting gassed or shot.

What they could still call on was their status as nobles. Britain could do everything it wanted to keep them out of France. No great power could ever change the fact that they were the sons of an ex-Emperor. They decided to exploit this for everything it was worth, adding themselves to the sea of royal marriages that had dictated European politics for centuries.

Jerome Jr. chose Duchess Cecylia of Warsaw, whose brother had taken the throne in 1903. The Grand Duchy was so happy to be reunited with the Bonapartes that they even offered to pay for her transport to Washington.

Charles selected Princess Rachel of Prussia, who was the third daughter of King Albert II. Prussia, he reasoned, was head of the Protestant Alliance, and as such they would be able to drag in the majority of the German States to the French cause. She too was brought to Washington, finally putting to use the full extent of the rather large estate they had been given there.

Surprisingly, the marriages sparked no response from Britain, who had done a good job of complaining ever other time the Bonapartes had done something that moved them closer to a return to France. Perhaps they reasoned that a complaint would make it less likely that Emma would change her mind about marrying a British governor of France? Possibly they knew that the Americans would do nothing but laugh in their faces if they did complain? Either way, the lack of response made the French more confident with every passing day.

Presidential Office, The White House
19 October, 1908
10:25 AM

“Good morning.” President Friedrich Vogt said as he shook the general’s hand.
“Good morning to you too.” General Bill Blaine said as he took a seat.
“What can I do for you today?” the President asked.
“I’ve had an idea. It isn’t as good as that pump that finally let us put gas sprayers on fliers, but I think it runs a close second.” Blaine said.
“For kicking the English where they don’t want to be kicked you mean?” Vogt said.
“Exactly.” Blaine produced a piece of paper that had been folded many dozens of times. “What if we stuck a gun to an auto, gave it some armour so it could defend itself, and sent that into enemy lines?”
Blaine studied the drawing. The picture Blaine had made looked more like an armoured box than an auto. If a dozen of those could be driven into the middle of a battle line...
“That’s devious.” Vogt said. “That said, if there was ever a way to cross the T of a line of infantry, and rain a hail of bullets into them, that’s the best way I can see of doing it.”
Vogt then studied the diagrams a bit more. “That’s a lot of armour though. An auto engine might be able to haul around a tonne if you strained it. The way this looks, I think we’re dealing with something on the order of five.”
“That is the biggest difficulty I have encountered, apart from someone spraying mustard gas down the barrel.” General Blaine said. Vogt respected the fact that the general was willing to admit mistakes. “Is it possible to find a better Harrison engine?”
“The people in Richmond think they’ll have a better engine just before I get tipped out in March, but you’ll have to talk to whoever is sitting here in six months for that.” Vogt said.
“Oh, very good.” Blaine said. “Do you think you could pull a bit from the military budget into making these machines?”
“Not right now.” Vogt said. “If I threw money at every good drawing someone has shown me, I’d waste enough money to make Adam Smith spin in his grave. Tell you what though, if you go down to the Zhorjelc Iron Works in Richmond and can get me a working prototype before the fourth of March. I like the prototype, I’ll make sure whoever comes next gives it money. What should I call this, by the way?”
“AFFA.” Blaine said. “Armoured Fast-Firing Auto. Besides, it sounds like the name a fellow on the other side of the Mississippi might call a bird, so the British won’t pay us any attention.”
“That’s what we hope.” Vogt said, before waving the general out. What wasn’t to like about an armoured automobile with a rollbarrel attached?

Fliers in the Navy, 1909

The type of ship that came to be known as the flier carrier was born of the desire to bring them into the Navy so that they could scout enemy broadships out well before they came on the horizon. Some broadships, especially the Tony Green-class, built in 1906-1907, had small runways on their decks to enable the takeoff and landing of a flier.

The HMS Carrier, designed and built in 1909 at the Portsmouth Dockyards, took this idea another step forward. Carrier was built similar to the Tony Greens, or what they might have looked like if all their guns and superstructure were just ripped out and replaced with a few hangars and a full-length runway. At full capacity, Carrier could hold up to fifty-eight fliers, each one ready to spray an enemy force (or maybe even another flier) with gas or bullets.

While Carrier represented a substantial leap in naval technology, perhaps its most important role (for the ship was quite underpowered) was how it alerted the world to the possibility of fliers being used in battles on the high seas. Before it was built, most fliers carried either rollbarrels (or their more modern cousin that only used a single barrel, despite the name that they shared), or gas pumps. After Carrier, the Navies of the world realised that fliers needed to be designed with more powerful weapons, for no rollbarrel would ever sink a broadship. In 1911, these gave rise to the “bombing flier”, or ‘bomber’ as it became known. The first of these, the British ‘Air Dragon’, carried 50kg of bombs, and their successors would grow more powerful as time went on.

The Brick, 1911

“The design I submitted to President Vogt has been a complete success. Affa, with the Zhorjelc 1909 engine, can achieve close to a hundred k.p.h., putting the cavalry to shame. In the test at Polk Field, NL, the rollbarrel crews made short work of the targets that were set up to represent men. No doubt the other countries will want to know about the affa too. Though the bloody thing needs a better name.”
- Diary of Gen. Bill Blaine, 1910

While the ‘affa’ project proved quite capable at mowing down enemy infantry lines, the armoured autos had two weak points. One was the difficulty they suffered in crossing wide obstacles such as trenches, which had become quite common in the War of 1881. The other was the same flaw that anything else armed with a rollbarrel cannon suffered: it couldn’t destroy heavily armoured objects, such as bunkers. Although it was never tested, it was claimed that two affas in combat weren’t powerful enough to destroy each other.

The US Army then decided to mount a 30mm cannon onto an auto in place of a rollbarrel. The Zhorjelc 1909 engine proved unable to handle that, but once a suitable, more powerful engine was found, that was installed instead. Caterpillar tracks were added to improve obstacle crossing ability, and more armour was added to make it virtually impossible for a rollbarrel round to penetrate. Project Baffa (‘big affa’) was then put into production.

When General Blaine was shown the new vehicle, he exclaimed “that thing looks like a massive iron brick!”. The name stuck, and eventually extended to the rollbarrel-armed affa too.

Wrestling for Power, 1912

The opening of the Suez Canal late in 1911 immediately changed the face of the world. Russia could now easily transfer ships between its Black Sea and Persian Gulf Fleets, Portugal used the canal to supply its colonies in Mozambique and Britain got angry that the canal existed at all.

For all its anger, Britain did manage to be the first country to truly exploit the canal’s potential. The Ethiopian Empire, a native state (that still used spears and muskets) wedged between the Selimid Sudan and the Russian colonies on the Horn of Africa, had largely been ignored by the great powers. Russia considered the territory to be within its sphere of influence simply because no-one could access it without sailing past their lands (while the Selimids had limited ability to project their power beyond their own borders). When the canal opened, the British took full advantage of it, and made an agreement with the Ethiopians that was an alliance in all but name (although officially, neither party was required to come to the defense of the other).

The Ethiopian Treaty triggered a rush by the other Europeans to claim as much of the interior as they could. Prussia was the first, and sent men to explore the length of the Congo River. Anywhere near the river, they claimed for themselves. Portugal rushed to claim the lands between Angola and Mozambique, and managed to connect their two colonies into one contiguous swath of land. The Russians pushed their claims on the east as far as the major East African lakes, which roughly formed a border between their lands and Prussia’s, while Portugal and Britain decided that the line between the two most northerly points of British South Africa would become their border in the area. Britain, Spain and Naples-Sicily split the Sahara along rather arbitary lines, if only to give a precise border between the various powers. Before long, the rest of the African pie had been carved up, with the last border adjustments made late in 1913. No-one asked the natives what they thought. If the natives resisted, the European powers were all too happy to use mustard gas on them.

Amazingly, the second round of claiming Africa did not result in any immediate wars between the great powers. It is likely this was due to the high mortality rate in the interior of the continent (which led to the rather arbitary borders), but also the fact that the following years were spent fighting native populations that refused to surrender their lands. Like the Zulus, they were all crushed without any serious trouble. Jerome Jr. meanwhile sat in Washington, waiting for chaos in Africa to give him the chance to reclaim the French throne. His chance didn’t come.

Exploiting Africa, 1914

Once explorers had carved up the African interior, European businesses wasted no time in rushing to the newly-colonised lands to begin exploitation of its resources. Rubber plantations, relying primarily on slave labour, sprang up in the Portuguese colonies, while Russian East Africa produced huge amounts of cotton and coffee. Ivory was hunted in the Prussian Kongo and massive gold and diamond mines were built in British South Africa. The United States officially condemned the slavery that was taking place in the continent (their only European ally, France, conveniently didn’t own any African territory), but the European powers ignored them.

The African Resource Boom soared to unexpected heights in 1916 when oil was found in the Prussian Kongo. Under the explicit orders of the Prussian King Albert II himself, the area near the oil deposit was developed at a rapid pace as emerging businessmen rushed to claim fields for their new companies.

Outside of the areas marked off for resource production however, the Europeans mostly ignored their new African possessions. The natives that passed under their control were forced to deal with the reality that Europe’s armies could easily crush theirs, and most chose not to resist after their unlucky neighbours found out what happened if they did. Phosgene factories were also set up to combat the tsetse fly, an insect that caused illnesses across much of sub-Saharan Africa. While Europe’s efforts never seriously reduced the populations of the fly, they were enough to keep them out of the most valuable areas.

Second Germany, 1919

Kongo oil quickly made Prussia much richer than the other German states, who had missed out on the chance to gain pieces of Africa for themselves, and when King Albert II died, his brother Friedrich Wilhelm V was quick to exploit the advantages that this provided.

Friedrich Wilhelm V was nothing if not a troublemaker, and he sought to fulfill the dream of his ancestors: a German Empire. The last time that had happened, Germany had been a mostly Catholic realm held by a Protestant Kaiser, and Bavaria had made it fairly clear that a repeat attempt would not be taken well. The Protestant kingdoms though, were only separated from Prussia because France and then Britain had torn them out of it. France was now in no position to complain (and wouldn’t be allowed to without permission from Newcastle anyway), while Britain had kept its head out of German affairs as long as Hannover wasn’t troubled.

Friedrich Wilhelm offered each Protestant state a choice: either submit to Prussian rule (with the local king becoming a Prussian subject but otherwise remaining more or less in control of his lands), or face an embargo. With the German states depending heavily on Prussia for heavy industrial production, such an embargo could well destroy their economy utterly. All of the western German states decided to become vassal states of Prussia.

Italian Revolutions, 1919

When the Neapolitan Army invaded the Barbary States in the 1890s, King Napoleon III (actually Napoleon I of Naples-Sicily, but he didn’t want to be confused with his grandfather), had advertised the operation as something that would bring wealth and glory to the Neapolitans and Sicilians. Glory lasted in a small part as Napoleon III could claim to actually owning a piece of Africa while France could not. Wealth though had yet to come in any large amounts, while Prussia and other countries enjoyed massive growth from their new colonies. The Italians were tired.

One Italian in particular, was especially tired of the autocratic Bonapartes. Not only did the King’s family name cause an immediate hatred by the British, but he was still a foreigner (Napoleon III was born in Naples but behaved like a Frenchman). His name was Julius Gargiulo, a noisy Italian nationalist from Salerno.

Gargiulo thrived on the growing discontent of the populace. He began by giving speeches denouncing the king at pubs around town, attracting many followers almost overnight. Then, once Salerno opened a wireless station, he began broadcasting messages saying that Naples-Sicily, and the rest of Italy needed a revolution. The Pope, after all, was sitting on the ancient home of Italy in Rome. An embarrassment to all Italians to be sure, while Napoleon III was seen as nothing but a corrupt and lazy Frenchman and a remnant of the failed Alliance.

Napoleon III declared Gargiulo a traitor in late 1919 and ordered that he be deported from the Kingdom’s lands (with the assumption that he would be sent to the Spanish colonies in Africa). Gargiulo responded in a wireless broadcast, declaring the King a traitor to Italian interests, and urging for all Italians to move to overthrow the Bonapartes.

The next day, October 20, 1919, Napoleon III was woken to find that the majority of his kingdom was in rebellion. He demanded of his advisors a reason, and they are thought to have said “he makes more and better noise about Italian peasants than you do, Your Majesty”. He ordered the police and army to suppress the uprising, only to find that many of them had defected. Five days later, he was overthrown and executed. By the beginning of 1920, his head had been shipped to the Custer’s Wall Memorial Park, where it joined its cousin, uncle and grandfather.

Gargiulo did not stop at Naples. Preaching about the glories that a united Italy would bring, his army (which welcomed new people every day) stormed across the northern border. The Papal Guard was fired upon, although the Apostolic Palace itself was not stormed. Rebellion broke out in Milan and Venice, and fighting broke out in the ranks of the Army of the Kingdom of Italy. King Giuseppe committed suicide as Gargiulo’s forces stormed the Italian Royal Palace, and in early 1921 Julius Gargiulo declared himself King of All Italy.

After the Storm, 1921

The growth of Prussia and unification of Italy were a major shock to Europe. King Julius had emerged out of nothing to conquer all of Italy within the space of three years, for reasons that were never truly determined. Envy towards Prussia and the long-awaited dream of a united Italy (which had not existed since the days of Rome) form some reason, as does the fact that Julius was a powermonger (as became increasingly evident later in his life). Simple anger at the Bonapartes had existed since the Bonapartes had come to Italy, but nothing so substantial as to provoke such a massive uprising.

As one historian put it, “Bonapartist Italy was a pot put on the fire by Napoleon I. It wasn’t until 1919 that it began to boil, but one could not deny that it was boiling.”

Wherever they came from, the Italian Revolution and Prussia’s expansion shook the balance of power in Europe immensely. Prussia, which had aligned itself with the Bonapartes ever since the War of the Fourth Coalition in 1806, was now much stronger and wanted to see their old allies restored on the throne in France. The new Italian government meanwhile was undergoing a radical and violent time, not unlike the French Revolution (although there was less executions). France panicked, and mobilised enough men to ensure their borders could not be threatened. Those numbers, of course, were far in excess of what they were permitted by the Treaty of Dijon, but the French President assured the British that the extra troops were only for self-defense, and the British did not bother them about it.

Switzerland and Calais, 1922

When Friedrich Wilhelm was integrating the rest of Protestant Germany into an enlarged Prussia, Switzerland had refused to be a part of his scheme. Switzerland was as much Catholic as it was Protestant, and had managed to avoid being severely impacted by the embargo through increased trade with Bavaria and Russia.

This didn’t sit well with the Prussian King, who wanted control of all of Protestant Germany. In 1922, he made a pact with King Julius of Italy, offering to split the country between them. Italy accepted, and Switzerland was quickly overwhelmed. Switzerland however, was almost 30% French, in addition to its German and Italian parts. Prussia knew it had lost a friend with Britain, decided to give the French territories to the French Republic.

The fact that France accepted the offer of what was basically free land enraged Newcastle (not that they didn’t already hate the French implicitly). The British government immediately demanded that France demobilise its entire army (a nation that has just acquired new land can’t exactly claim to be acting in self-defense after all), on pain of war. France, after seeking advice from Prussia and the United States, decided to follow the British demands. Prussia meanwhile ordered that Italy stay away from France.

The people of the French Protectorate were utterly furious at British behaviour towards what they still saw as the ‘mother country’. The frequency and intensity of anti-British violence within the Protectorate increased dramatically during 1922, severely straining the resources of the British Army. In the city of Calais, this was even more notably the case, as pro-French rebels stormed the government districts of the city and burned them to the ground, with the British-installed mayor being thrown into a room that had been filled with chlorine gas, where he died in a matter of minutes. The British responded by ordering Calais be wiped off the face of earth, and both Navy and Army resources were sent to ensure this would be the case.

Presidential Office, The White House
30 September, 1922
1:15 PM

“Good day to the three of you.” President Alfred Schmidt said as he waved the Bonapartes into the seats opposite his desk. “Let’s get straight to business, shall we?”
“This is about Calais, isn’t it?” Jerome Jr. said.
“Almost.” Schmidt said. “The Russians sent a top-secret telegram to Paris, and Paris has forwarded it to us. God knows how they got it past the British, but that’s not for us to worry about. Take a look.”

The continued dominance of the British Empire across the world has been deemed a threat to the security of the Russian Empire and its good people. To that effect, fliers, armour and infantry are to be assembled in Persia for an attack on the British domains in India. Supporting attacks will be made against British airstrips and their allies in East Africa and the Mediterranean, while the Navy is to be positioned such as to be able to counter any enemy movements. Preparations will be completed and troops ready for action to execute the invasion on December first, 1922.

It is considered likely that our coming war with Britain will assist the French Republic in their attempts to liberate old territories, and we are communicating this information to you to assist in your own preparations should the Republic decide it is in its interests to join the fight in their quest for freedom.

Tsar Alexander II, Emperor of Russia

“Russia is about to attack the British!” Charles exclaimed. “What better time to kick England’s heads in ourselves then?”
“I expected you would think that,” The President said. “So did the French President. He wouldn’t have told me to tell you if he didn’t want to hand power over. If I was in his shoes, I wouldn’t much want to be sitting in Paris either, taking orders from the lice in Newcastle.”
“If he doesn’t want power, he’ll hand it over as soon as Charles or I set foot in France then, won’t he?” Jerome Jr. asked.
“I would expect so. As soon as Russia strikes, Newcastle won’t be worrying about France anymore. Russia’s army is something on the order of seven millions. Indian militia won’t cover half of that, so the Brits will have to pull men out of the Protectorate just to hold them off.” Schmidt said.
“So the United States is prepared to go to war with Britain and the Coalition on December first as well?” Jerome Jr. asked.
“Maybe not December, early 1923 would be better. It will give Britain time to move their men out of France. Every soldier they stick in India is one we don’t have to worry about, and frankly I don’t mind if Alexander impales his whole army trying to take India.” Schmidt said. “But if France goes to war, we will too. I don’t know about ground troops, we’ll likely need them to take out Canada, but our fleet can cause trouble for Spain, while Russia will deal with Italy. Us, Prussia and Russia will be more than enough to smash England’s face into the ground. For good this time.”
“They’ll never let you get men on the British Islands again though.” Emma pointed out. “Ever since Pappy did it, the Brits have made sure as sure can be that no-one will ever do that again.”
“It won’t matter.” Charles said decisively. “London and Portsmouth can be hit by our fliers.”
“Regardless, this war isn’t about conquering Britain. All you have to do is retake the Protectorate and make sure Britain can’t beat you. Long as that happens, the Treaty of Dijon will be burned in twelve months’ time.” Schmidt said. “Shall I prepare a submarine for your return to France?”
“By God, yes!” The Bonapartes shouted at the same time.

Kandahar, British India
1 December, 1922
6:40 AM

General Bradley Andrews awoke to the noise of hundreds of fliers roaring over the barracks in Kandahar.
“What the hell is going on?” He demanded of no-one in particular as he rushed to open the curtains.
All around him, Russian fliers were shooting apart the city. Tracer bullets streaked the dawn sky. Bombs rained down, causing random fires all over the place. Andrews couldn’t see any gas, but that didn’t mean that there couldn’t be any.
Once he had a good idea that the world was going to hell around him, he reached for a telephone.
“Flier Force 14 Base, Major Hutchins speaking.” The voice at the other end of the line said.
“Hutchins, this is Andrews. Are your fliers up yet?” Andrews demanded.
“No, why? Regular patrol starts at 0800.” Hutchins said.
“God damn it to hell, Major, it’s the bloody Russians.” Andrews had been an officer for nearly twenty years, but still talked like the common soldier he had been in the War of 1881. “I don’t know if they got gas, but apart from that their throwing everything my way.”
“Jesus Christ!” Hutchins said. “Any word from the other bases?”
“I don’t know. I don’t care either. Get the fliers up before the bastards wipe the other bases off the map for Christ’s sake!” Andrews shouted, slamming the telephone down when he finished.
Moments later, the phone shook again.
“Andrews speaking.” Andrews said.
“It’s the 47th, General, sir.” Someone from the 47th Infantry Division said. “We’ve got thousands of the Tsar’s men storming across the border. They’re headed right for us!”
Great! Andrews thought as a nearby building crashed to the ground. An invasion and an air strike. “You got enough men to hold them off?”
“I doubt it, sir.” The other man said. “Militias aren’t meant to hold off anything more than uprisings. Russian Armies, no way.”
“Then pull back to the goddamned mountains near the Indus. Shoot the gas over as you leave, that’ll slow the bastards down a bit.” Andrews ordered.
“Yes, sir!”
A messenger burst into the room. “General, sir, the telegraph office has been hit!”
“Bloody hell.” Andrews swore. “Get my auto.” I need to tell Newcastle to get off their butts and give us the army!

8 Government Square, Newcastle
14 December, 1922
9:00 AM

Prime Minister Gregory Donleigh felt like he had just eaten a block of lead. Or perhaps fifty blocks of lead. India was under attack from the Russians, Italy was under attack from the Russians, Spain was under attack from the Russians. The only reason the British East Indies weren’t under attack from the Russians was because no Russian fliers or ships had the range to hit them.
“Please tell me you bring good news.” Donleigh said to the Secretary of War General John J. MacDonald.
“Sorry to say, I don’t, Greg.” General MacDonald said. “Brad Andrews is screaming in my ear, and he wants me to scream in yours."
“What’s gone wrong now then?” Donleigh asked.
“Kandahar.” MacDonald said. “I don’t think the Russians have set fire to it, but that doesn’t mean they won’t start setting fire to things once they get to the Indus.”
“Where the devil is Kandahar?” Donleigh asked.
“Middle of the desert in the far northwest of India. Basically the main frontier base before the Indus.” MacDonald explained. “Not somewhere we really want to lose, because you can’t very well get far in the desert without it.”
“Then what does Andrews want me to do about it?” Donleigh asked. “I’ve already given him all the men in India, I can’t do anything overnight and right now we’re just not ready for a war there.”
“He recommended pulling troops out of the French Protectorate.” MacDonald said. “We have a million there, if we take half of them out...”
“We basically invite the stinking French to take over the place.” Donleigh finished.
“Well, sir, I’m not sure there’s a lot of good options on the table. Not sending those troops basically hands India over to the Tsar, and we can kiss goodbye to the rest of the Empire if we lose that.” MacDonald said. “Besides, France has stayed quiet. The Republic has been good to us.”
“It is still France.” Donleigh said. “They still hate us, but you’re right, we don’t have any better option right now. Once the Russians have all died in the desert, we’ll have to spend the next five years sitting on France even harder than we did already.”

Angers, French Protectorate
29 December, 1922
7:15 PM

General Ian Cooper thanked heaven that the telephone was still working. A mortar round shot by an angry Frenchman had knocked out one of the city’s two power stations, another incident in what was becoming an alarmingly long list.
“Greg, it’s Ian Cooper.” General Cooper said. “We need boots back on the ground right now, or there’s going to be trouble.”
“I’ve given you everything I can.” The Prime Minister said. “The situation is much worse in India. Russian troops have already hit the Indus, Calcutta has been bombed and Delhi got hit by a gas attack an hour ago. The power station in Angers is nothing next to those.”
“Sir, with all due respect, we should not be wasting our time with Calcutta or Delhi. You don’t do something here right now, it won’t be Russian fliers killing Indians, it’ll be French fliers bombing Portsmouth! Liverpool even if they can reach that far!” Cooper was basically shouting into the telephone, however much good that did.
“France’s army is still smaller than yours.” Prime Minister Donleigh pointed out.
“For how long?” Cooper insisted. “The Bonapartes tipped out the Republic yesterday, and Jerome II is making just like the other three did. His brother has already been made a Marshal for Christ’s sake.”
Cooper heard Donleigh sigh into the telephone. “Our forces are needed much more in India. I’m sorry, but we don’t have the resources to do everything.”
“If you don’t find the resources pretty darned fast, we’ll have another three doses of trouble to go with the one the Tsar gave us. The Bonapartes mean Prussia, and those two mean the USA. Canada is as dead once they’re in.” Cooper said. “Having a million troops here kept France quiet, now that they’re gone France is going to burst out like a swarm of hornets after their nest has been smashed up.”
“Tell the Spanish or someone to help us then.” Donleigh said. “Because I can’t do anything for you right now. Sorry, but your front isn’t the only one I’ve got to deal with.”
Cooper heard the Prime Minister hang up. Fantastic, now we’ll be at war with three people that hate us, not just one.

The World War: 1922-1923
The World War: Part I

December Offensive, 1922

General Andrews’ first day of war was absolutely horrendous. Most of his flier force was still parked on the runways when Russia’s fliers swept in, shooting apart most of his air arm. His ground forces were subjected to bombing raids around-the-clock, occasionally including gas. Meanwhile cities in Northern India, especially Delhi and Calcutta, were hit repeatedly by long-range Russian bombers, with the latter only possible due to the presence of the Russian carrier Tsar Peter IV in the Bay of Bengal.

The Russian ground offensive stormed across the border just after 0700 on December 1, with their first objective being the Indus River. The advance, backed up by heavily armoured automobiles carrying 19mm or 30mm cannons, nicknamed “bricks”, had enormous initial success, smashing through the British and Indian defenses at Kandahar and Karachi, with both cities falling in the first three weeks of the attack. Neither city was destroyed, the Russian commanders giving explicit instructions that the cities be able to serve as supply checkpoints.

As the Russians reached the Indus, a British patrol boat managed to locate the Russian squadron including the Tsar Peter IV. The RN Bengal Squadron was quickly dispatched to deal with the Russians, and both Russian broadships and the carrier were sunk after an intense battle, with a fourteen-inch shell igniting the Tsar Peter IV’s storage of aviation fuel.

In January the Russians launched their first assault on the Indus line, which included a two-day mustard gas bombardment. General Andrews pulled his forces to a secondary line ten miles behind the river, but when the first Russian units crossed the Indus they found mustard gas was still present on the now abandoned east bank. A storm washed over the area the next day, which largely cleared the gas (and made the Russian generals feel a lot better), while fliers were sent forward again to spray the new British line with phosgene, which was less likely to linger in the area long enough for the Russian forces to be affected.

Having lost his main defensive line, Andrews opted to conduct a fighting retreat towards Delhi and Bombay, with the latter beginning to receive reinforcements from Europe, including nearly half a million veterans from the French Protectorate. The Russians meanwhile burned and gassed many of the cities along the Indus, keeping only the ones they deemed useful for getting supplies to the front, although this destruction was much less thorough than it had been in the War of 1881 (most commanders opting to just start a few hundred fires and spray mustard gas in the most densely inhabited areas before moving on).

European Escalation, 1923

Within weeks of Russia’s invasion of India, Jerome Jr. installed himself as Emperor of France, while the President of France merely looked on. The restoration of the Bonapartes immediately sparked a new, massive uprising in the French Protectorate, forcing the now reduced British garrison to retreat towards the coast to avoid the huge mobs of angry Frenchmen and –women.

Jerome II quickly got to work violating the Treaty of Dijon in every way he could. On New Years’ Eve, he ordered an expansion of the Army with the intended goal of 1,500,000 soldiers, and within days the ranks had been filled with enthusiastic volunteers (although many of them would need weeks of training before they would be ready to fight). Stockpiles of mustard gas were also secretly sent to known bands of rebels in the French Protectorate, and in March Jerome officially declared war on the British, with his brother Charles leading the charge against the remnants of the shattered British garrison.

Spain and Italy, already under attack by the Russian Mediterranean Squadron’s carriers, invaded southern France two days later, prompting Prussia to join the war. Prussia quickly overran British Hannover, which was directly annexed once the Hannoverian Army laid down their arms. King Friedrich Wilhelm V ordered his armies against Italy (using French railroads to transport them there quickly), while France turned its attention to Spain, capturing Barcelona after a bloody fight in the late summer.

East African Front, 1923

In the aftermath of the construction of the Suez Canal, Ethiopia had been brought into the British camp as the British attempted to curb Russia’s growing power in the Persian Gulf region. British fliers were stationed in the country, and the natives were given some modern weaponry (but no gas), with the ultimate intention that Ethiopia become a state equal to something like Bavaria.

Russia however, had never liked the fact that Ethiopia had been brought under British protection, and they seized the first chance they got to overturn that. Fliers showered Axum and other Ethiopian cities with gas and bombs, while the Tsar ordered the East Africa detachment into Ethiopia. At the same time, the Selimids attacked from the North, stretching Ethiopia’s meagre resources over two massive fronts.

Despite the odds, the Ethiopian Army fought bravely, severely bloodying the Russian force until the Russians opened fire with cannons loaded with canister shot at point blank range. After a two-month campaign, the Ethiopian king (although he styled himself Emperor) surrendered to the Russians and Selimids, which split his territory between them. East Africa was finally completely secured.

American Front, 1923

Just days after France’s entry to the war, the United States joined the fighting. Their navy, substantial but not strong enough to realistically beat the RN one-on-one, directed its attention towards blockading the Canadian coast, while US patrol boats and submarines stationed in Great White, Hudson, tore up the British fishing fleets in Hudson Bay. They then waited for the chance to interdict British shipping aimed at reinforcing Canada. Their chance never came, as Britain made a token effort at best to defend their territory.

The Canadians meanwhile, were not seriously expecting reinforcement, the events of 1882 being proof that Britain was more concerned with maintaining some control over Europe and India. However they had spent the years since the last American invasion preparing for the next one. Marshal Custer had returned to Canada after the fall of Paris to champion the building of the greatest defensive line ever seen in history: the Green Line (named after Tony Green).

The Green Line extended along the St Lawrence river all the way from Quebec City to Lake Ontario, with smaller lines along the Niagara Peninsula and near Lake St Clair. Containing hundreds of thousands of concrete bunkers, obstacles, minefields and even underground railroads to supply it, the Green Line was virtually impervious to any direct attack, including naval fire and bombing raids by fliers. In addition, Custer had worked to ensure that every Canadian soldier was equipped with a full-body airtight suit to protect against mustard gas. With the majority of the line situated behind the St Lawrence river, American soldiers would struggle to get to the beginning of the line, let alone force their way through it.

Custer didn’t live long enough to see his work being tried against the United States, but if he had he would likely have been pleased with the results. The first American offensives, aware of the Green Line but believing it to be much weaker than it was, were a horribly bloody mess that resulted in a lot of dead Americans (and very few dead Canadians in comparison). A second attempt was made in July (this time after a much longer bombardment), with a similar outcome, although some progress was made on the Niagara Peninsula (although not enough to pierce the line).

By this point the American leadership realised that the Green Line would not be defeated without the loss of millions of Americans, and began to look for alternative ways to defeat Canada. The first of these was a large scale attack from the state of Hudson, and although this was attempted there was not enough infrastructure to make a decisive advance possible, and it quickly slowed to a crawl.

In late October, the state government of Ohio submitted a suggestion to the President: to send an army over Lake Erie when it froze up during the winter. The weather near the lake had been cooler than usual for most of the year, and the state government believed that it would be possible to send men (although not artillery or “bricks”) across the lake. The President, after discussing with some of his generals, agreed.

The Erie Offensive caught the Canadians off guard when it was launched in January 1924. The Americans were able to rush across the lake and reached the coast of Lake Huron in early February. Attacking from both sides, they were able to pinch off the part of the Green Line that had been encircled, and London, Ontario was captured. The rest of the American Army (save enough troops to hold the US side of the St Lawrence) then poured in. As the winter ended, Canada’s ability to continue resisting looked more doubtful with every passing day.

Indian Front, 1923

General Andrews’ forces reached Delhi and Bombay in March and began assembling a defensive line between the two cities. In the meantime an order to begin conscripting Indians (which had not even been given in 1881) was issued. Although many of the Indian Princes grumbled, Prime Minister Donleigh’s approach was to simply send them photos of cities the Russians had already destroyed along the Indus.

Backed up by reinforcements from the French Protectorate (much to the anger of General Cooper) and the native Indians, General Andrews was just able to halt the Russian advance mere miles outside of Delhi and Bombay, although with the frontline so close to the cities they were both ruined by the constant artillery duels and bombing raids that modern battlefields involved. Andrews was counting on the monsoon, which would arrive in June, and the difficulty of supplying a force from the other side of the Persian deserts, to cripple the Russian force and save the colony.

The Russians, once they realised that they would not be able to conquer India by the end of the monsoon, decided to put their efforts towards improving the logistics of the area, knowing that a war of attrition was one that they could eventually win. A railroad was built from Tehran in Persia to Kandahar and then connected to British lines further east, while a second line was extended from Southern Persia to meet with British-built lines near Bombay. The construction of these lines was mostly carried out by Ottoman workers who were struggling to find jobs in their own country (largely due to the near-endless recession that had been plaguing the Empire since the 1860s), and some have labelled the Trans-Persia railroads as “the eighth wonder of the world” in light of their apparently quick construction, although work had begun as much as five years earlier.

When the monsoon season ended in December, the British Army of India found itself facing an enemy who was getting stronger by the hour.

The World War: Early 1924
The World War: Part II

Polish Revolution, 1924

Ever since the German and Italian Revolutions of 1919, the government of the Grand Duchy of Warsaw was staggering under the weight of its own local nationalist revolutionary group, so much so that they didn’t join France and Prussia in declaring war on Britain (the alliance between the powers only required intervention if one of the powers was fighting a defensive war, although Prussia joined anyway). This group was the “Sons of Poland”, whose stated objective was the restoration of “the old borders” of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Meanwhile Russia’s failure to conquer India in a quick campaign led many in the Grand Duchy to believe that Russia was weak, especially as their opponent was Britain, wide seen as a collapsing wreck. The most radical of the Sons of Poland went so far as to say that the Grand Duchy, under their leadership of course, could launch a campaign into western Russia and take the lands back by force. Most of the Polish people preferred the idea of Poland triumphantly storming into Russia over the fact that it was sandwiched between two powers much stronger than itself, and the Sons of Poland became extremely popular by 1923.

Much like in Italy, the Sons of Poland gained power in a coup d’etat. Their leader installed himself as King Krzesimir of Poland and Lithuania (despite the fact that he held no Lithuanian territory) in early 1924.

Polish Campaign, 1924

One man had a huge problem with that: Tsar Alexander II. The new Polish regime was openly screaming out for a war with Russia, and fully intended to take as much Russian (and Galician) land as they could possibly draw up a claim for. Poland’s army was weaker than Russia’s by a sizeable margin, but if France had pulled together a new army so quickly, why couldn’t Poland do the same?

If Poland wanted a war, the Tsar would give them one. As soon as the rasputitsa ended, he ordered two million men into Poland, hoping to overthrow Krzesimir and either restore the old Duchy or simply annex Poland into Russia directly. France and Prussia were treaty-bound to support Poland, and reluctantly declared war on Russia, creating a bizarre three-sided war*.

The Tsar’s attack was rapid and decisive. Poland’s army was shattered as the Russians attacked along the entire front, and by the end of May the fight was deep into Polish territory. Krzesimir himself fled to Prussia, while the rest of his army retreated in face of the superior Russian force, which took Warsaw and then Lodz in June. Three days after the fall of Lodz, they pushed across the Prussian border, aiming for Berlin and Konigsberg. Bavaria, Austria and Bohemia, all eager to get revenge on the Prussians, declared their support for Russia as Konigsberg came under siege.

(* the three sides being Britain/Italy/Spain vs France/USA/Prussia vs Russia)

American Front, 1924

The bypassing of the Green Line had a devastating effect on Canadian morale, and while Canada attempted to pull some troops out of the Green Line to hold the Americans out of Hamilton and Toronto, they simply did not have the manpower needed to hold out the massive US Army.

The final American Offensive began as the snows cleared in May, smashing through Canadian defenses outside and then in Hamilton. Toronto was declared an open city the next day, and the Green Line was breached near Quebec City in following weeks. Canadian resistance, although weakening, finally crumbled for good when the St Lawrence was successfully crossed, while bombs rained down on Montreal.

The Canadian Colonial Government surrendered to General Bill Blaine in early July, ceding control of the entirety of Canada to the United States. British and Canadian prisoners of war who did not wish to live under the USA would be returned to Britain in following months.

French Lines on the Ebro River, Spain
4 June, 1924
10:15 AM

Sergeant Luc Clermont waved his hand around. “Welcome to the front, Your Imperial Majesty. Welcome, General, sir. We are very pleased to introduce you to the 31st Brigade’s lines.”
“Don’t bother with the formalities.” Emperor Jerome II said. “I can be a ‘sir’ just like everyone else. I came to see the front, not to be worshipped.”
“As you will, sir.” Sergeant Clermont said. “It’s a shame more leaders don’t do this and get to know the men that fight in their name.”
“They used to.” Emperor Jerome II pointed out. “My great-grandfather did it a lot, and I’m pretty sure Marshal Custer used to as well.”
“True that, but many years have passed since.” Clermont was interrupted by a nearby rollbarrel crew opening up on the enemy.
“Rollbarrels have come in those years. Mustard gas too.” Jerome observed. “Hard to imagine the Tsar being brave enough to stand under those."
“Rollbarrels are nothing much as long as you have good cover.” Clermont said. “You picked the right front for avoiding mustard though. Hardly a bit of it is ever used here. Shall we watch the dogfight?”
Clermont pointed upwards, where a Spanish and a French flier were trying to kill each other. The Spanish were using a faster one-wing, while the French model was an older two-wing. “Are we going to be getting our own one-wings, sir?”
“Soon.” The Emperor promised, while his brother nodded. “The factories aren’t ready yet, and fliers were too hard to hide from the British before the war, so we’re a little behind. I’ve seen a prototype of our new fliers though, and once they’re done with the enemy there won’t be a British flier left in Europe.”
Artillery began rumbling in the distance. Sergeant Clermont and the two Bonapartes crouched behind a tree and continued to watch the fliers. The Spanish one-wing eventually caught up to and shot down the French flier.
“Hope the pilot got out all right.” Clermont said.
Jerome poked his head out from behind the tree to see what was going on. Then he noticed a stream of smoke, presumably trailing an artillery shell, coming right his w

The June Crisis, 1924

The deaths of Jerome II and Charles on the Spanish battlefield threw the Government in Paris into crisis. Most other male-line Bonapartes had been executed by British soldiers or Italian revolutionaries at some point or another, were illegitimate or in the case of one of Jerome’s distant cousins, had been sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy for repeated theft. Within France, there were no suitable candidates for the throne, with the exception of a posthumous child of Jerome’s if his wife delivered a boy in the winter.

Facing war with Britain and now Russia, France didn’t have until winter to decide who would be Emperor. Instead, a council in Paris quickly declared Jerome’s sister Emma as Empress, ignoring the part of the French constitution that forbade women from inheriting (and also the fact that the Hundred Years War had been fought specifically to exclude women from succession). This however resulted in even more issues: Jerome and Charles both had living daughters, although they were still minors, and if women were to be allowed to the throne, it would be Jerome’s firstborn Elisabeth who would be Empress.

Debates such as those were shoved aside fairly quickly. Emma had just turned forty and was unmarried, and it was unlikely that she would ever bear children. The succession could then pass to whoever of Jerome’s issue was still alive and fit to rule. Whoever that would be could be decided in the future, and France wasn’t in a great position to be arguing about it now.

Emma’s first act as Empress was to request a ceasefire with the British, Italians and Spanish. The British agreed on behalf of their allies, sending a representative to Paris to negotiate terms.

Paris, France
6 June, 1924
12:30 PM

Empress Emma shook the British delegate’s hand and waved him to a seat. “Nice to have you here in Paris, Mr. Green.”
“David will do.” The son of Tony Green said. “The last time I was here, I was part of Custer’s Army. I’d say the city looks a lot nicer now than it used to.”
“We can look past the old days, can’t we? If we keep fighting, Russia is the only one who benefits. They’ll wreck your armies in India and we’ll both wreck each others’ armies in Europe.” Emma said. “Have we not spilled enough blood in the last century and a half?”
“It is a shame that things have gone on as long as they have. Our leaders in the past have made many mistakes, it is up to us to ensure they are not repeated.” Green said. “At the end of the Second German War, King Adolf made a statement about how a next war was inevitable. He was right, and we had 1881. This time, things can be different.”
“That’s exactly what I was thinking.” Emma said. “If we wound Russia enough that they don’t attack anyone again but not so much as to make them hate us, things really can be different. But to do that, our two peoples, who have spent a century slinging bombs and bullets and gas at each other, must become allies. My brothers may never have accepted that, but I will.”
“My father wouldn’t have accepted it either. If anyone in Britain will accept it, I think Donleigh is the man to do it. He’s desperate for anything at the moment, especially after what the Russians did to Delhi. What terms were you thinking?” Green asked.
“We keep the Protectorate, Prussia keeps Hannover and the Treaty of Dijon is thrown into the rubbish heap.” Emma said. “We’ll pull out of Spain and Italy without fuss, but the USA will probably keep Canada.”
“You’re not speaking for the USA are you?” Green asked.
“No.” Emma said. “I expect France will remain allied to them, but once Canada falls they can help little in the fight against Russia.”
“All right then.” Green said. “In principle, I agree with your terms, and I think Donleigh would too. The Protectorate is too hard to hold down anyway and we’re not going to be able to take it back, and Hannover is more of the same. Dijon though, I think the people will struggle with a bit more.”
“France’s army isn’t going to get any smaller.” Emma said. “Our people won’t accept the treaty’s return.”
“That makes sense.” Green said. “The entire reason for the Protectorate, though, was that it would be a buffer between our countries. The burning of London in particular casts a long shadow over our nation. Would France find it acceptable if an area 100 kilometres from the Channel coast, between the Dutch border and Saint-Nazaire, was permanently demilitarised, for land, air and naval forces?”
“Whatever risk of invasion Britain has, France also must endure.” Emma explained. “If you will demilitarise your southern coast to 100 kilometres, from Land’s End to Norwich, we will do the same. Our DMZ can also only be put into effect after the conclusion of the war with Russia. To do otherwise would hand control of Normandy and Brittany straight to the Tsar.”
“Makes sense.” Green said. “I don’t think you’ll be invading us as long as the Tsar is a going concern.”
“I hope we never invade each other again.” Emma said. “Something like eighty million people died in the last war, and I had to be secretly put on a submarine and sent to America to escape being one of them. If Delhi and those places on the Indus are any indication, this war could get close to, maybe even pass, that number. No, Europe has seen too much.”
“You’re right.” David Green said. “Europe has seen too much. Unless Donleigh overrules me, and I don’t think he will, Britain agrees to the terms we have discussed.”
Empress Emma was notified of Donleigh’s acceptance of the terms three hours later.

The World War: Late 1924
The World War: Part III

Fall of Canada, 1924

The surrender of Canada in July 1924 raised the question of how exactly the United States was to deal with the newly-taken territory. Although there was no doubt that America would keep control over the territory (no-one within the country even considered returning it to British control, or even releasing it as an independent nation), there were fears within the thirty-five states that admitting the Canadian provinces as states would upset the balance of power within the Electoral College, and the risk that a rogue party, such as the one that had led to the rise of the Southern League, could get into power in new Canadian States.

Was this likely to happen? Historians remain divided as to whether such an eventuality was possible. Michigan and North Massachusetts had been brought back to the Union during the late 1880s without trouble, although they had a much larger pro-US population than Quebec or Ontario. Regardless, President Schmidt ordered that they be treated as territories, much like Apachea or Commanchea, but without the autonomy that the Indians held.

Meanwhile, the US government worked out a peace treaty with Great Britain and her allies, although this was largely just a formal handover of Canada to the government in Washington. However the United States refused to join France’s war with Russia, saying that it was simply too far away for them to assist in.

The Selimids, 1924

As one great power left the war, another one entered it. The Selimids had been an ally of Russia in all but name since their independence and had already contributed greatly to the Russian war effort, sending workers to build railroads as the Russian Army advanced into India and the deployment of thousands of mines in the Suez Canal to deny its use by the British.

The new Sultan, Selim V, knew that the new alliance between France and Britain (which surprised virtually the entire world), had the potential to be extremely dangerous to his ally, and offered to join the Tsar’s attempt to become the greatest power in Europe. The Tsar accepted his offer.

Upon hearing the news, Selim ordered his army across the border into Italian Tripolitania, which was almost completely undefended. His forces, arranged into a massive mechanised column, swept through Benghazi and El Aghelia within a matter of days, and took Tripoli in less than a month.

The Selimid Invasion of North Africa prompted a response from the Spanish, who sent the majority of their army to Algeria almost as soon as it began. The Italians and French were meanwhile busy fighting the Russians in Germany. Spain however could not hope to defeat the Selimids on their own, and called to the British Navy for help.

The Royal Navy entered the Mediterranean ten days later, and immediately made their presence felt. The two Russian flier carriers that had been conducting nuisance raids on Italian and Spanish ports were sunk within days of each other, and all seven Selimid broadships joined them on the bottom shortly afterwards (along with two British broadships). With the Mediterranean secure, the British began bombarding the North African coast. Supply convoys between Tobruk and the Selimid Army were regularly shot apart, while the same terror that had visited the coasts of Italy and Spain was now returned on Selimid cities. The Selimid capital of Alexandria was regularly a target, suffering no fewer than eleven major gas attacks between September 1924 and January 1925.

Prussian Front, 1924

No matter how many times Selimid cities were gassed, the war would now be decided in Europe and India. India however was in monsoon season again, slowing the campaign there to a virtual standstill, so the Tsar fixed his attention on Europe.

Ever since rolling over Poland, the massive Russian advance had seen tremendous success in Prussia. Konigsberg was taken after a short siege, and was gassed, looted and burned for its defiance. Breslau in Silesia and then Berlin were the next to fall, with the Russians again destroying both cities as thoroughly as a fast-moving advance could.

Russia’s allies and Prussia’s mortal enemies, the Bavarians, were also quick to take part in the destruction of their enemy. The land that had once belonged to Baden and Wurttemberg and was now part of Prussia was overrun. Cities there too were looted and leaders executed. Bavarian soldiers got as far as the French border on the Rhine, but like the Russians a generation earlier, they proved unable to force their way across it. The Prussian Army meanwhile retreated in the direction of Hamburg, hoping to hold on to whatever was left of their country.