The Rainbow. A World War One on Canada's West Coast Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by YYJ, Jun 14, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Another tropical port

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    July 30, 1914. Light Cruiser SMS Nürnberg, Honolulu

    ALERT MESSAGE THREATENED STATE OF WAR WITH ENGLAND STOP SMS NURNBERG REPORT TO WEST COAST NORTH AMERICA TO CONDUCT COMMERCE WARFARE ALONG WITH LEIPZIG IN CASE OF WAR STOP

    Kapitaen zur See Karl Von Schönberg considered the decoded message. Not entirely a surprise, but then, a career of practicing for war is a different thing that actual war. Especially against the British Empire. Nürnberg had been lingering in Honolulu for several days, since Admiral von Spee ordered him to hold on his original orders to meet up with the East Asiatic Squadron heavy elements at Ponape, in the Caroline Island colony. Nürnberg had just been relieved two weeks ago by Leipzig after several months defending German interests off revolutionary Mexico, as part of an International squadron. So von Spee had different plans for him. Very well.

    Not a terrible place to linger he mused. Another tropical port. His crew had been appreciating the shore leave. Von Schönberg surveyed the green volcanic cone of Diamond Head, looming over the tangle of masts and funnels of the harbour. Sea birds wheeled overhead, excited at the return of the fishing fleet. Their cries mingled with steam whistles and engine noise of the harbour traffic. As a cruiser captain in His Majesty’s East Asiatic Squadron, Von Schönberg was no stranger to tropical ports.

    At present, still, Germany was in a state of peace with England and her allies, and with The United States of America. Come an actual Declaration of War, Germany and England would become Belligerents, and the United States a Neutral. In this case Neutrality laws would come into effect. Belligerent vessels would legally be allowed to enter a neutral port for 24 hours at most, and to take on only enough coal to reach a friendly port. This put Nürnberg’s supply situation into sharp question. The German south seas colonies were far away and very exposed to the Royal Navy. Von Schönberg looked down from the bridge wing at the filthy trimmers and navies just finishing Nürnberg’s coaling from an equally filthy barge.

    “Lieutenant, arrange for another 200 tons of coal to be purchased and stored as deck cargo.”

    “Aye, Sir! ” The young lieutenant snapped to attention, turned on his heels, descended the bridge ladder, and approached the foreman on the coal barge.

    The young Lieutenant in question was Otto von Spee, eldest son of Von Schönberg's Admiral, Graf Maximilian von Spee. Von Schönberg made sure to give the young officer no special treatment, but held him in high regard. His father’s title Graf meant that Otto would himself be a Count one day, should he survive this war. But then, nobility was as common as rain in the German officer class.

    Von Schönberg strolled to the chart room at the back of the enclosed bridge.

    “Obermatrose, bring out the charts for Western Canada.”

    “Sir!” replied the seaman, who consulted the index, and produced several rolled sheets from the tidy chart locker. Von Schönberg spread one out on the table.

    “Let’s see what awaits us in…” his finger ranged over the map “…British Columbia.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Nürnberg_(1906)
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  2. YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    The main Point of Departure on this timeline is in the initial cable, ordering Nürnberg and Leipzig to give more attention to the West Coast of North America, rather than joining Von Spee’s main force as historical. There are other minor PODs that tend to lead them in the direction of Victoria and Vancouver. I have enough written already that I can promise to make one instalment per week minimum, more if I feel like it. I am having a great time researching and writing. Almost all of what is written so far is as historical, and certainly all of the weirdest stuff is as historical.

    If people are feeling generous, I am hoping for lots of critical feedback. I think I have most of the technical details well researched, but I may have some stuff wildly wrong since I am neither a sailor, a military veteran, not a person who lived in 1914. Feedback on the feel, the language both period and military would be much appreciated. Are those all caps cables evocative or distracting? Or just wrong for some reason. Also feedback on the writing itself would be appreciated, although I can get that editing advice other places too.

    Almost all of the point of view characters are real people. Some, like Commander and later Admiral Walter Hose, are historically significant people. I am using their names and life events, but making up their personalities from whole cloth, the way I like. I’m not sure how this is looked upon in the historical fiction community. In an alt-history setting I think I have more license, but I would value feedback on this as well.

    Hope folks enjoy.

    Edit: I changed the thread title because there is another timeline running concurrently with a vey similar title to my original.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  3. God-Eater of the Marshes chill ass dude

    Joined:
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    I like this so far. I used to live in Vancouver but I don't know very much about its history in the 1910s. I think you should consider the coal refuelling situation though, because once up in Vancouver, there are very few coaling ports that would be friendly to the SMS Nürnberg. Did the Americans let German warships into their coaling ports during WWI? Would be worth looking up if you haven't already. Anyway, cool stuff. I'll be watching.
     
  4. YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Yes, coal would become a problem, if you had to buy it...
     
  5. Threadmarks: Prepare for Active Service

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 1, 1914. Protected Cruiser HMCS Rainbow, Esquimalt Naval Dockyard, British Columbia, Canada.

    HMCS RAINBOW PREPARE FOR ACTIVE SERVICE TRADE PROTECTION GRAIN SHIPS GOING SOUTH STOP GERMAN CRUISER NURNBERG OR LEIPZIG ON WEST COAST AMERICA STOP OBTAIN ALL INFORMATION AVAILABLE AS TO MERCHANT SHIPS SAILING FROM CANADIAN PORTS STOP TELEGRAPH DEMANDS FOR ORDINACE STORES TO COMPLETE TO FULLEST CAPACITY STOP URGENT STOP

    Commander Walter Hose had always been a fatalist at heart. This temperament suited him as captain of Canada’s only warship on the West Coast, and as senior ranking naval officer, responsibility for the defense of all of Western Canada. So when he received the official War Warning message on July 29th, his first response was to chuckle. The Royal Canadian Navy may have been only four years old, and so scorned by the politicians of the nation that it was perpetually starved for resources. But if called to put himself in harms way, By God, he would do and die in the best tradition of the Royal Navy of yore.

    Of the dying part he had no doubt. HMCS Rainbow, currently provisioning at quayside in the Esquimalt Naval Dockyard as he watched from the bridge wing, was his flagship and his only ship. She was launched in 1891. Her armament of two 6 inch, six 4.7 inch, four 12 pounder quick firing guns, two 14 inch torpedoes, and a top speed of over 19 knots looked sufficient, if you were reading it from Brassey’s Naval Annual.

    But he knew from personal experience that Rainbow’s weary triple expansion engines were good for no more than 15 knots. Her torpedoes were operational yes, but were such an old design that they lacked gyroscopes, and that they could not be counted to hit anything beyond 500 yards. Her guns were good enough, at close range, and he drilled his crew in firing practice ammunition as often as he could. But in the coming war Rainbow’s likely adversaries were much newer German light cruisers, probably Nürnberg or Leipzig, or both, each with ten 4.1 inch guns that ranged out to 12,000 yards, compared with his 8,800 yard reach. And top speeds of more than 23 knots. Enemies both faster and longer ranged could completely control the engagement, leaving Rainbow with little to do other than sound the alarm by wireless and go down fighting. It was conceivable, but unlikely, that the entire East Asiatic Squadron might show up with Admiral von Spee’s main units, the armoured cruisers Scharnhost and Gneisenau each three times Rainbow’s displacement with a main armament of eight 8.2 inch guns. At least in that case his demise would happen even more quickly.

    The worst part, or the best if you were partial to gallows humour, was that apart from the solid shot practice rounds he had his gun crews blast into local waters as often as budget allowed, the only shells for his guns in the Esquimalt Naval Stores were black powder filled common shells dating from before the Boer War. And close to useless. The Royal Canadian Navy did own some modern Lyditte filled high explosive shells. They were in Halifax, almost 4000 miles away by rail. A special munitions train was being dispatched. It was expected to arrive on August 6th. Tough luck for him if Nürnberg or Leipzig showed up before then.

    At least, Hose told himself, he was preparing for honourable duty. The only reason the Rainbow was ready to sortie, rather than being in semi-decommissioned state dockside, was that she had been preparing for a sealing protection cruise to the Bering Straight. That was a mission more suited to the Department of Marine and Fisheries, but he was willing to take whatever sea time he could get to train with his crews. Then in mid July Rainbow had been diverted and ordered to Vancouver harbor to bully… ahem… threaten… ahem… guard a ship carrying immigrants from Punjab, British subjects all and some war veterans. These men were refused entry to Canada on a variety of bureaucratic technicalities, but really, as far as Hose could tell, because the good citizens of Vancouver and their elected representatives considered them to be wogs.

    The resourceful immigrants had rioted and showered police and immigration agents with lumps of coal. That was when the authorities had called on the Rainbow. Rainbow’s guns were convincing. Hose had watched through binoculars as one of the immigrants, presumably a veteran, had stood on the ship’s bridge roof and signalled to Rainbow by semaphore OUR ONLY WEAPONS ARE COAL. The worst of it, Hose had been forced to board Komagata Maru and look the immigrants in the eye accompanying the intransigent Chief Immigration Inspector and the pompous Conservative MP who instigated the public panic, while holding his peace. And Hose had to break the news to the immigrant men that they were being returned to the Punjab. At gunpoint. His gunpoint. He still bristled at the recollection. After Rainbow had escorted the Komagata Maru back out to sea he had ended up back at this wharf, preparing for war. Well, it is a soldier’s lot. Perhaps the Imperial German Navy would help wash away his sins.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Rainbow_(1891)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  6. Threadmarks: Desperate times, desperate times

    YYJ Well-Known Member

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    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 1, 1914. Esquimalt Naval Dockyard

    Lieutenant Henry Pilcher, Royal Navy, was doing his best, really. Commander Hose was the ranking officer of the navy on the coast, and thus was in charge of all military preparation. But since Commander Hose was also preparing a warship to go to sea, and quite possibly to battle, he had landed 22 year old Pilcher from the Rainbow to the Dockyard headquarters, as Hose had said, “to take care of things.” Pilcher was aghast. Hose endevoured to rally Pilcher with “We all have to rise to the occasion boy. Desperate times, desperate times…” Pilcher could see Hose’s eyes drifting back to the Rainbow dockside, and with a “You’ll be fine. If you don’t know the answer to something, make one up. Ha!” the Commander turned and strode from the office.

    Pilcher soon found that taking care of things involved putting order to the mobilization of the navy, harbor defense fortifications, and local infantry units, which seemed to each consist of a dizzying array of both Royal Navy and Canadian regular forces, reserves, militia, and volunteers. Jurisdiction was very unclear. Lines of communication and chains of command had to be established. Supplies had to be released from storehouses or requisitioned from national stores in Eastern Canada. His telegrams to National Service Headquarters in Ottawa went mostly unreturned.

    At noon he received notice that the railroad was refusing to transport ammunition or explosives, so the special munitions train from Halifax was stranded on a siding in New Brunswick.

    At 12:20 he was approached by a delegation from the Civil Service Riflemen’s club, a group of bureaucrat hobbyist shooters asking to use the Menzies Street Armoury for drill on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

    At 1:00 four men entered his office, and introduced themselves as Premier of the Province of British Columbia Richard McBride, Federal Agriculture Minister Martin Burrell, Victoria Member of Parliament GH Barnard, and local Lloyds Insurance agent and Maritime Surveyor Captain WH Logan.

    Pilcher ushered the men into his office, his head spinning, and produced chairs.

    “Thank you for making the time to see us Lieutenant,” began Premier McBride, “I can see you are a busy man.” Pilcher surveyed the unruly piles of paper on the desk with some horror. “To get straight to the point, it has come to our attention that there are currently in Seattle, two submarines of the latest type, that were constructed for the navy of Chile, but which the Chileans have declined to accept.”

    “Apparently the Chileans are unhappy with the submarines’ radius of action, their range,” added Logan.

    “So the Government of Chile stopped making payments,” continued McBride. “The Seattle Construction and Drydock Company is prepared to sell these boats to the Canadian Navy. We came to solicit your professional opinion as a naval officer on whether these boats would be an asset to the defence of the region.”

    Pilcher knew nothing about submarines.

    “Please describe these submarines, he asked.

    Logan produced a folder from his brief case and consulted. “They are both around 300 tons, similar to the Royal Navy C-Class,” Logan flipped some pages “um, diesel electric, capable of 13 knots surfaced and 10 submerged. Although they are sisters they are not the same, devil knows why. The Iquique has 4 bow torpedo tubes and one stern tube, 18 inch. The Antofagasta has two bow tubes and one stern tube, also 18 inch.” More paper was rustled “ Crew of two officers and 16 men… Chile contracted to purchase both for… $818,000. That’s about the size of it.”

    All looked at Pilcher.

    Through the office window, Pilcher could see the Rainbow at dockside, raising steam. For the umpteenth time that day, he wished he could ask Commander Hose what to do. But the Commander might as well have been on the moon.

    Pilcher put on his most sage expression. “I believe submarines would be of benefit to the defences.”

    The men looked overjoyed.

    “ Very good then,” said McBride, appearing relieved and energized. “We will proceed with discussions. I expect to be able to report back to you soon.”

    https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca...1145ea-f69c-4bb0-9ec5-5fe0ff995207-A16246.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2019
  7. Tonrich Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2016
    Location:
    Near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. USA
    Was up in Vancouver about eight weeks for work. There was a huge copper mine right up the coast and it would have been VERY strategic for the UK once hostilities commenced. Many inlets and fjord type formations. I've never been to Norway but I imagine it would be similar.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Britannia_Mines_Concentrator

    This link give a little history
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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  8. RelativeGalaxy7 Junior Canada Wanker

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    May 20, 2017
    Very interesting that we've both started timelines using what I can guess is a similar starting point due to the exact same title :coldsweat:. Going to be interesting to how our timelines differ from each other.
     
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  9. Unknown Member

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    Corpus Christi, TX
    Don't you mean 1914, @YYJ?

    Good start; interesting to see two timelines on this...
     
  10. YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Thank you. 1914 it is.
     
  11. YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Wow, what are the chances of that? I can already see differences. My timeline is unlikely to run past September 1914. And there are differences in the way we are storytelling. In my timeline there definitely will be submarines. Although, as you point out, they will not make it as far south as the Farallon Islands. Our identical titles is not such a surprise given the subject matter, since 'Remember the Rainbow' is dropped by legit historians talking about the period as the almost certain outcome of any encounter between the Rainbow and actual Germans.
     
  12. RelativeGalaxy7 Junior Canada Wanker

    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    I had a similar reaction hahaha! Yes I can already see the differences in our writing styles, I quite enjoy the more indepth character interactions you are going through here. The entire debacle surrounding the CC class submarine "procurement" is definitely extremely interesting and I hope you will cover it as well. My timeline was always a more general one as I plan to follow the RCN through the loss of HMCS Rainbow and perhaps into the 21st century.

    Look forward to seeing what you have for us here!
     
  13. YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Thank you for this. I have not written those scenes yet. That would make an attractive target. How many most productive copper mines in the British Empire are in range of naval gunfire? I have been underground in this mine, in it's later role as the BC Mining Museum.
     
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  14. Threadmarks: The model of international co-operation

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 3, 1914. Light Cruiser SMS Leipzig, Gulf of California, Mexico

    Friggattenkapitan Haun turned his binoculars again on the HMS Algerine. He was amused. He had received the Alert Message, Threatened State of War on the 30th of July. HMS Algerine, he knew, was not fitted with a wireless set, so her captain had not received his War Warning message. This created a funny situation.

    Both Algerine and Leipzig were here off the coast of Mexico as part of the international squadron protecting their countries respective interests and citizens. They had together recently overseen the evacuation of Mazatlan, as rebel forces had threatened to over-run the city. The sky was clear, the ocean almost flat. Visibility was to the horizon. Haun could easily see the Algerine, four kilometers away to the north. To the south another four kilometers was the Japanese armoured cruiser Izumo, a monster at 9,500 tons to Leipzig’s 3,800. Inshore another two kilometers were the American cruisers USS California and USS Albany. Together, they were the model of international co-operation.

    Officers of the international squadron often dined and drank together in their respective wardrooms and when they happened to be ashore. Haun knew the captain of the Algerine well, and liked him. They had somehow discovered that they were both afficianados of dry-fly fishing, and had promised once, while well into their cups, to host each other at their respective favourite secret spots back home. Likewise, he got along well with the captain of the HMS Shearwater, which he knew was currently further north up the coast at Ensenada.

    Here, in the beautiful, yes he said it, beautiful Mexican ocean it was almost possible to believe that there was no world outside of this community. No world that would send, probably in a day or so, a War Message that obliged Haun to consider these men his enemies and his duty to sink or capture their ships and kill or take them and their crews prisoner.

    HMS Algerine and Shearwater were screw sloops. Displacing a thousand odd tons and capable of a dozen knots or so under steam, although they also carried a full sailing rig. They were armed, yes, but this assignment was their highest, best use. Showing the flag in the tropics and caretaking civilians. Leipzig was built to scout for the High Seas Fleet, or lead a flotilla of torpedo boats, or engage in commerce warfare against an enemy’s merchant marine. He did not look forward to sinking these ships.

    Likewise, Japan had a naval treaty with England. If war is declared, the Empire of Japan will likely be drawn in sooner or later. And jolly Captain Moriyama Keizaboro, who could drink any of them under the table, will do his level best to take Izumo and sink Leipzig and kill Haun.

    Some motion caught Haun’s attention. A steam dispatch pinnace had left from the California. In a few minutes it became clear that it was headed for Algerine. Haun watched the boat’s casual progress. It approached the sloop, words were exchanged, Algerine raised steam, and departed to the north.

    “Fly away, little duck.” Haun said, under his breath. “If we meet again you will be the worse for it.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMS_Leipzig_(1905)
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  15. Threadmarks: Destruction Island

    YYJ Well-Known Member

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    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 3, 1914. HMCS Rainbow, Esquimalt Naval Dockyard

    RAINBOW PROCEED SOUTH AT ONCE IN ORDER TO GET IN TOUCH WITH LEIPZIG AND GENERALLY GUARD TRADE ROUTES NORTH OF THE EQUATOR STOP

    This cable from the Admiralty had been sitting on Commander Hose’s sea desk since the day before. Hose was certain that in the case of war being declared, all Royal Canadian Navy assets would be placed under direct command of the Royal Navy Admiralty. But since war had not yet been declared, it seemed a bit premature for the Admiralty to be issuing direct orders to him. Never mind that his crew was at half strength and half trained, and his ship not properly armed.

    Hose queried the National Service Headquarters, his de jure leadership in Ottawa at present, and proposed a more modest patrol off the entrance to the Straights of Juan de Fuca, considering.

    NSHQ replied: PROCEED TO SEA FORTHWITH TO GUARD TRADE ROUTES NORTH OF EQUATOR STOP KEEP IN TOUCH WITH PACHEENA UNTIL WAR HAS BEEN DECLARED.

    Well that was a sort of answer. Pacheena was the wireless station at Pacheena Lighthouse, the south-westernmost piece of Canada’s wireless communication network. And since Rainbow’s wireless set only had a transmitting range of 200 miles, Hose interpreted his orders to amount to his previous proposal, patrolling The entrance to the Straights of Juan de Fuca, from Cape Flattery as far south as Destruction Island, a small offshore island about half way down the coast of Washington State.

    Hose’s eyes lingered on the name of the island on his chart. Destruction Island.

    At 0400 August 3, as the very first glow of dawn arrived, Rainbow slipped out of Esquimalt Dockyard on patrol.
     
  16. sloreck Grunt Bear

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Midwest
    A couple of small coastal submarines would be useful for the Vancouver area sea defenses, however I cannot imagine they could be operational in less than 6 months cutting every corner and throwing every safety rule in the trash. Supporting them will require the establishment of an infrastructure for maintenance, and armament. The waters in this area offer many chances for ambush, and Rainbow could, with luck, do that on whatever forces approaches Vancouver or the sea lanes. Given the guns she has, and the state of the crew, and the crap shells, only a golden BB would be effective. Another issue is the line between US and Canadian waters can be crossed quite easily, especially in a fight, which could cause all sorts of issues.
     
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  17. YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    In any normal circumstance I agree.

    OTL spool up of Canada's submarine service: Warning! Possible spoilers.

    Aug 4. Declaration of War

    Aug 5. Submarines acquired

    Aug 9 or 10. Lt. Adrain Keyes Commander of the submarine flotilla appointed. He immediately selected crews with available men, some crew of surface ships, some who had no naval training at all. He and some others were retired Royal Navy submariners.

    Aug 13 First sub seen to be at sea. Sometime before this they were diving at dockside

    Aug 20. Provisioned and Armed

    Aug 30. Number 2 boat declared “ready for sea.”

    Sept 8 HMS Shearwater transferred to the Canadian navy as a submarine tender.

    Third week of Sept. Number 1 boat declared “ready for sea.”

    Shortly after they started training tasks like loading and firing torpedoes.

    Their ethic was not about whether they should throw the safety rules in the trash. It was that a German cruiser might arrive any minute, we need to learn as much as we can before we make our banzai charge.

    Apparently Keyes worked the men so hard at training that they staged a fake wedding at a local restaurant so they could get one night off.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2019
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  18. Threadmarks: Don’t Tread On Me

    YYJ Well-Known Member

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    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 3, 1914. SMS Nürnberg, Open Pacific Ocean.

    MEET WITH GERMAN TRADE COMMISSIONER FROM VANCOUVER WILL BE WAITING IN BARKLAY SOUND VANCOUVER ISLAND STOP

    Nürnberg was eastbound from Hawaii, at her best economical cruising speed. She had been at sea for three days and was not quite halfway to the West Coast of North America. Captain Von Schönberg had spent as much time as he could with his nose in books studying contingencies for commerce warfare should war be declared. San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego were the busiest ports on the coast, and shared a shipping lane to Asia. Vancouver and Seattle were also major ports, and the approaches to both passed through a confined body of water known as the Straights of Juan de Fuca. This straight was guarded by the Royal Navy base at Esquimalt, adjoining the city of Victoria.

    The Californian ports handled the highest volume of trade, and since bulk of the world’s trade was carried by the British Merchant Marine, that meant the most prizes. One had to be very sensitive though to threatening neutral ships, particularly American shipping. The German Diplomatic Corps wished to keep America neutral in this upcoming war, and that meant avoiding incidents with American vessels. Americans had a particular kind of entitlement against being told what to do. They even had a flag with the motto “Don’t Tread On Me”

    Vancouver was a major port for coal, timber, grain, fertilizer, and metals; all strategic war materials. Interrupting that flow would cause great mischief. And every prize he took would be an enemy ship that could not carry more cargos on repeat trips. There were also military resources on the west coast of Canada. Telegraph cable stations, wireless transmitters, possibly warships, and the naval base of Esquimalt itself.

    Von Schönberg had to balance the benefits of attacking military targets against the risk to his ship. Even a winning engagement that left his ship damaged stranded him half a world away from the nearest friendly drydock. He had to shepherd his resources, and make the most effective use of them. Coal certainly, but every single shell his guns fired was irreplaceable outside of a port in Germany. He only had 1500 shells. Actually, consulting his ledger, 1468 shells. If Nürnberg fired all its guns rapid fire it would use up that supply of shells in ten minutes.

    If he engaged in commerce warfare, his job was to be a ghost whose only presence was sensed when merchant ships failed to show up at their destination ports. And was simultaneously feared to be lurking in every fog bank in the wide ocean.

    If he was to tangle with the Royal Navy, his job was to come down like a hammer and then, God willing, vanish again.

    Von Schönberg drummed his fingers on his desk top. The smooth vibration of Nurnberg’s engines was reassuring. He looked up at his upper shelf, at the box that held his chess set. A game would be nice. But he knew his senior officers would only play him out of a sense of duty. They tired of losing to him.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  19. Threadmarks: This is no time to indulge in talk of that kind

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 3, 1500 hours. Esquimalt Naval Dockyard.

    True to their word, the group spearheading the purchase of the submarines did return to Lieutenant Pilcher’s office. This time the participants included Premier McBride, and the Maritime Surveyor Logan, but no representatives from the Government of Canada. In fact, no one in the room represented Canada, the ostensible submarine buyer. Pilcher himself was a British citizen and a Royal Navy officer. Were they a committee? Or a conspiracy? Pilcher was not accustomed to this free-flow entrepreneurial style of military procurement.

    “Did you notice that this morning the Daily Colonist published a picture of the Leipzig, next to an article on the relevant International Law regarding the bombardment of undefended ports?” said Premier McBride. “That should help soothe the nerves of the local population.”

    Logan used Pilcher’s telephone to contact the Seattle shipyard’s representative Paterson. Pilcher talked with McBride and his team, while Logan interjected with updates, phone earpiece crooked against his shoulder. Pilcher was making a point about how he needed actual authorization to take action, when Logan shouted “575 thousand dollars each!”

    Logan, open mouthed and incredulous, looked to McBride. McBride scowled and shook his head – No.

    Logan started to offer a counter proposal, then recoiled and pulled the phone away from his ear. Across the room, the men could hear the tinny voice from Seattle asserting “This is no time to indulge in talk of that kind and I will not listen to it! If you do not care to take the boats you do not need to take them!”

    Logan managed to placate Paterson enough to keep him on the line, while casting helpless glances over to McBride.

    McBride did the math out loud. “575 thousand dollars each, amounts to one million, one hundred fifty thousand dollars. Versus the 800 odd thousand dollars the Chileans were paying! I’ll say that is a tidy markup. Hmph. Mr. Paterson is certainly a man who know when he has someone over a barrel.” He waved to get Logan’s attention. “Tell him very well, let us settle on terms.”

    Paterson insisted on a government cheque, for the full $1.15 million. McBride insisted on the submarines being delivered to the Canadian maritime border off Victoria. Everyone understood this had to be accomplished before the Declaration of War, when the United States would invoke the Neutrality Act and embargo all military material to Belligerents. Everyone also understood that this Declaration could happen in days, if not hours.

    Pilcher drafted a cable to National Service Headquarters:

    TWO SUBMARINES ACTUALLY COMPLETED FOR CHILEAN GOVERNMENT SEATTLE ESTIMATED COST $1,150,000 COULD PROBABLY PURCHASE READY FOR ACTION TORPEDOES ON BOARD STOP CHILEAN GOVERNMENT CAN NOT TAKE POSSESSION STOP PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT WILL ADVANCE MONEY PENDING REMITTANCE STOP

    After the delegation had left, Lieutenant Pilcher pondered his situation. Was he doing the right thing? Was he in fact doing anything, or was he merely a chip tossed on a mighty ocean. He could not tell. It all caused him great distress.

    https://archive.org/stream/dailycolonist56y200buvic#page/n1/mode/1up
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2019
  20. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    I am liking Lieutenant Pilcher. A junior officer placed in a situation where he effectively IS the Canadian Navy on the west coast. He can go far; I hope he does. GOOD STUFF

    I hope he got spare parts and spare torpedoes! Also, he might be able to work with some others to get those munitions moving...
     
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