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

If Niobe could make the trip, would a voyage via the Northwest passage be viable?

Edit: NVM Artic Sea Ice is probably too much to handle.
The Panama Canal open in August 1914. Not sure what the Hague says about using it? The Russians used the Suez in their reinforcement of their Far East fleet in their war with Japan.
 
Rest in Peace, Nürnberg.
Perhaps the Kaiser will give her the Iron Cross for heroism beyond that normally expected of a Prussian officer. Or ship.

(In OTL the Emden was given the same award. All the subsequent ships named Emden in all the subsequent German Navies have proudly borne that award. Yes, even the two in the FRG Navy.)
 
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If Niobe could make the trip, would a voyage via the Northwest passage be viable?

Edit: NVM Artic Sea Ice is probably too much to handle.
HMCS Niobe takes the Northwest Passage 1914 would be worthy of a timeline all its own. The first East to West full transit of the Passage, by Roald Amunsdsen, was only completed in 1906 and took 3 years. The first West to East transit did not happen until 1940. The Niobe's ram bow might help with ice breaking, but I expect the outcome of the attempt would be the same as the Franklin Expedition, with the ship trapped in the ice, scurvy, mass death, insanity and cannibalism. And a place in Inuit oral lore.
 
HMCS Niobe takes the Northwest Passage 1914 would be worthy of a timeline all its own. The first East to West full transit of the Passage, by Roald Amunsdsen, was only completed in 1906 and took 3 years. The first West to East transit did not happen until 1940. The Niobe's ram bow might help with ice breaking, but I expect the outcome of the attempt would be the same as the Franklin Expedition, with the ship trapped in the ice, scurvy, mass death, insanity and cannibalism. And a place in Inuit oral lore.
That would be a fairly epic timeline. Caught in the ice, the crew dies/leaves, the ice releases the vessel and she plays ghost ship for the next few decades. Legends of gold being transported, and who knows what else
 

Driftless

Donor
That would be a fairly epic timeline. Caught in the ice, the crew dies/leaves, the ice releases the vessel and she plays ghost ship for the next few decades. Legends of gold being transported, and who knows what else

Here's another twist to any Arctic Niobe mis-adventure: her story from Greek mythology metaphorically fits the situation

(from Wikipedia)
She(Niobe) was already mentioned in Homer's Iliad which relates her proud hubris, for which she was punished by Leto, who sent Apollo and Artemis to slay all of her children, after which her children lay unburied for nine days while she abstained from food.[6] Once the gods interred them, she retreated to her native Sipylus, "where Nymphs dance around the River Acheloos,[7] and though turned to stone, she broods over the sorrows sent by the Gods".
 
So in terms of non US or non neutral merchant shipping, how much could either German warship find sailing along the east coast of the US?

Even if they do nothing to provoke the US either intentionally or by accident, if a lot of merchant traffic bound for west coast ports suddenly goes missing, that's going to freak people out along the US west coast. There is no radar and radio wireless is still in it's infancy, so they could score a number of successes before anyone realizes what is going on.
 
So in terms of non US or non neutral merchant shipping, how much could either German warship find sailing along the east coast of the US?

Even if they do nothing to provoke the US either intentionally or by accident, if a lot of merchant traffic bound for west coast ports suddenly goes missing, that's going to freak people out along the US west coast. There is no radar and radio wireless is still in it's infancy, so they could score a number of successes before anyone realizes what is going on.
Sailing along the eastern seaboard of North America gets you promptly jumped by the blockading cruiser force the British have set out there, incredibly poor idea and the reason why SMS Karlsruhe ran down to South America instead of going North to raid off the east coast.
 
Sailing along the eastern seaboard of North America gets you promptly jumped by the blockading cruiser force the British have set out there, incredibly poor idea and the reason why SMS Karlsruhe ran down to South America instead of going North to raid off the east coast.
So in terms of non US or non neutral merchant shipping, how much could either German warship find sailing along the east coast of the US?

Even if they do nothing to provoke the US either intentionally or by accident, if a lot of merchant traffic bound for west coast ports suddenly goes missing, that's going to freak people out along the US west coast. There is no radar and radio wireless is still in it's infancy, so they could score a number of successes before anyone realizes what is going on.

Yes, the Royal Navy simply has not had enough time to move units to British Columbia, but the East Coast of the US is much closer, and had more ships already on station in the Caribbean. On August 6 Karlsruhe was arming Kronprinz Wilhelm at sea when they were surprised by HMS Suffolk. Karlsruhe outran Suffolk, but was chased by the faster HMS Bristol, and they had a minor shoot out. That was 2 days into the war. Karlsruhe ran south off Brazil to get away from the attention of the RN.
 
The Sicilian Defence
Aug 22, 1100 hours. SMS Leipzig off Barclay Sound.

Friggattenkapitan Haun watched the barrier islands of Barclay Sound draw astern with some relief. His ship had been in Canadian waters for far too long, in his estimation, and nothing was to be gained by lingering. The late morning sun was warm on the shoulders of his tunic, as he looked out to sea. The sky overhead was clear, but to the west a band of cloud sat on the horizon, hinting at weather to come. The collier Bengrove was a nautical mile to Leipzig’s port side, on the southern leg of her watch picket route. The big freighter slowly turned back north.

“I wish Von Schönberg would get on with it,” said Haun to the gunnery officer beside him.

Haun saw a flash of movement in the water and lowered his binoculars to look. A school of porpoises was riding Leipzig’s bow wave.

“Dall’s porpoises,” said Heinrich Mueller. “It is so charming when they do that.” He was about to be relieved of his role as pilot, and he and his son would soon become civilian passengers, but they still took the privilege of sight-seeing from Leipzig’s open bridge atop the wheelhouse. The marine mammals wove back and forth across the cruiser’s prow. “A fitting send-off I think.” The Muellers were as eager as Haun to leave British Columbia far behind.

The coast shrank in their wake as Leipzig moved offshore. Haun was relieved to feel the ocean swells under his feet. Looking back he saw taller, bare crags poking their heads above the tree covered ranges surrounding Barclay Sound. The tallest of these peaks were rimmed with cloud. He swept his binoculars to the north, and noticed a long white sandy beach, then another, like those he remembered from Mexico, nestled between black jagged headlands. He intended to take a position about 10 nautical miles off shore, where he could still communicate by Morse light or flag with Von Schönberg on Niagara, but would extend his visual reach further towards the horizon.

At 1145 a lookout called “Smoke! Due South!”

“Bother,” said Haun to the gunnery officer. “I do not want to trifle with taking prizes just now.” He focussed his binoculars to the south. The smoke was indeed from a ship, still out of sight over the horizon “Japan is going to be jumping into this war, by 1900 hours local time if they declare as soon as their ultimatum for Germany to surrender Tsingtao runs out. The opportunists. I can not afford to to have a boarding party on the decks of some British gin palace when our old friend Captain Moriyama arrives in Izumo.”

“I suppose that ship could be a neutral,” said the gunnery officer.

“I don’t even want anyone on a wireless reporting my position,” said Haun. “Send a message alerting Captain Von Schönberg.”

SMOKE FROM SHIP DUE SOUTH OVER THE HORIZON, flashed Leipzig’s Morse light.

“Keep a close eye on that smoke,” Haun ordered the lookouts. He could not long ignore the smoke himself, but the lookouts up in the top crow’s nests would have a better angle of view, with 25 meters more altitude. Leipzig was converging with the unknown ship at her own speed of 15 knots, but the bearing and speed of the other ship was unknown.

“Two Masts visible,” announced the lookout, ten minutes later.

“Does the mast have a spotting top?” called up Haun.

“Not enough visible yet sir,” answered the lookout. Haun racked his brain for Izumo’s profile. He had last seen the Japanese cruiser on August 5, the day war was declared with Britain, 17 days ago. He could not remember if Izumo had a proper spotting top like the British and American large cruisers.

“The masts are obscured by smoke, sir,” the lookout reported. A few moments passed. The new ships slowly rose up the curvature of the earth.

Haun had his binoculars trained on the new arrival. A swirling column of smoke, and two thin upper masts. The line of the sea was dark blue-grey, the sky behind almost white. Heat lines caused the image to dance and shimmer.

“Ship has a naval spotting top,” called the lookout.

“American navy sir?” prompted the gunnery officer.

“Perhaps,” replied Haun, focussed on the horizon. “I would not expect the Royal Navy to have a ship here, just yet. The Royal Navy will be too busy chasing our Admiral Von Spee all around the wide Pacific. Bremerton Naval Yard is nearby, so this could be an American. The Yanks like those strange lattice masts, but they also like military masts with those old washtub fighting tops. That cruiser South Dakota we saw yesterday had one of each. This ship does not have lattice masts.”

“I am seeing funnels!” called the lookout. “One. Two. Three. Three Funnels.”

“Send a message to Niagara,” ordered Haun.

SHIP SIGHTED WARSHIP MASTS AND THREE FUNNELS, flashed the Morse light.

“Niagara acknowledges sir,” reported the signal officer. “The Morse light is very marginal in these conditions,”

“I can see an ensign, Sir,” announced the lookout, “but it is obscured by smoke.”

A few more moments passed. Haun saw the tips of the funnels clear the horizon through his own binoculars. There were indeed three.

“Rising sun!” called the lookout finally, “Japanese!”

“Damn,” said Haun. “That is Izumo.” He looked at the chronometer. It read 1200 hours. The Japanese cruiser was just cresting the horizon, 20 nautical miles away from Leipzig, and a further 10 miles to the shore of Vancouver Island, where the rest of the German flotilla was penned up against the coast or inside the Sound.

If the two cruisers converged at their full speeds, they would collide in half an hour.

Izumo will certainly have seen who we are by now. But they will not be able to see Bengrove or Niagara yet. If they do, that will put a sudden end to Von Schönberg’s sortie. Signal Niagara.” The Morse light flashing on Leipzig’s shoreward side was invisible to the Japanese.

NEW SHIP IS IZUMO WILL DRAW OFF TO THE WEST IF WE ARE ABLE GOD SAVE THE KAISER

“Commence jamming Izumo’s wireless,” ordered Haun. “Set course west at 19 knots. Let us see how her hull condition and boilers are doing, after all that time off Mexico. I seem to recall Captain Moriyama being coy while we bragged about each other’s vessels. Over the excellent local Mezcal.” The gunnery officer nodded in acknowledgement, of the remembered exchange, and of the liquour. “Naval Intelligence says Izumo could do 20 and a half knots, but that was in 1899. Leipzig is not brand new either, but she is 6 years younger, and we should be a full 2 knots faster.” He pulled down the brim of his hat, against the wind.

“Ship is changing heading to follow,” reported the lookout.

“Good,” said Haun. “Range?”

The gunnery officer gave orders, and crewmen took a sighting with the rangefinder behind them on the signal deck. “37,000 meters,” he reported.

“Very good,” said Haun. “Maintain 19 knots, and let’s see if Izumo gains. I see she is making more smoke now. I want to let her close, so she does not give up the chase, but let her stokers work for it. We have plenty of coal. I don’t see why Izumo should not herself. She is still a neutral, so she can coal where she pleases.” Leipzig had worked up to 19 knots, and was sporting a tall bow wave. The porpoises had departed long ago. The mountains of Vancouver Island were now a greenish band on their starboard quarter. 15 minutes passed.

“Range?” asked Haun.

“No difference,” answered the gunnery officer.

Haun looked about. The Muellers, father and son, were still standing on the open bridge, huddled back against the base of the foremast. Despite the sun and wind, the men looked pale.

“Well gentleman,” said Haun jauntily, “Are you still pleased you chose to come with us? Such adventure, right out of the gate.” Haun rubbed his hands together. “Ah, the thrill of the chase.”

Fifteen more minutes passed. Leipzig had travelled 10 nautical miles westward out into the Pacific since turning away from Izumo.

“Range?” Haun asked again.

“36,000 meters.”

“Just as the script calls for,” said Haun. “If Izumo is gaining at 1000 meters in a half hour, she has one knot on us at our current speeds. We have her on the hook.” He paused. “What would you figure for the range of Izumo’s 20 cm guns?” he asked the gunnery officer.

“I recall Captain Moriyama was tight lipped about that number as well,” said the gunner officer. “Their guns are in 15 degree mountings. They might get a 20 cm shell out to 12,000 meters. Same as us. Are you thinking of fighting? Sir?”

“Not if I can help it,” Haun answered. “And we control this engagement, by virtue of our speed. I simply want to know what margin I can let Izumo close to. To keep her on the line. If Moriyama gives up on us, and turns back, he could bag Niagara and her prizes.”

The ships continued racing west. The sun reached, then passed its zenith, and the cruisers now followed its progress across the sky. At 1300 hours, the range had fallen to 33,000 meters. “I see Izumo found that extra half of a knot,” said Haun. From time to time, Izumo flashed Morse light messages inviting Leipzig to stop, or to parley. Haun ignored the messages. At 1400 hours, the gunnery officer reported the range to be 30,000 meters. Canada was now simply a dark patch to the northeast. To the west, white cauliflower shaped clouds rose on the horizon, above a dark grey stripe at sea level.

“I am familiar with the inexorable maths of a sea chase,” said Haun, “but this is becoming excessively dull. Can we communicate with Izumo by Morse light in these lighting conditions?”

“With difficulty,” answered the signal officer.

“Go to my cabin astern and fetch my chess set,” he ordered a sailor. When the sailor returned, Haun set up the board on top of the signal flag locker. “Send a message to Izumo.”

KINGS PAWN TO KING 4 E 4 Flashed Leipzig’s Morse light.

“Let’s see what Moriyama does with that!” Haun chuckled.

After 10 minutes with no response, Haun ordered the signal officer to repeat the message. Another 10 minutes passed, then Izumo signalled.

C5 flashed the light on the Japanese cruiser’s bridge wing.

“Bishop’s pawn to bishop’s 4,” said Haun, moving the black piece. “The Sicilian Defence?”

“How about King’s knight to king’s bishop 3,” said Haun, chewing on his top lip. NF3

The exchange continued across the rolling ocean swells. Captain Moriayama played an aggressive game, and put Haun in his heels several times, but he lost his queen early, and was checkmated on turn 26.

“Range 27,000 meters,” announced the gunnery officer. The chronometer read 1500 hours.

REMATCH flashed Leipzig.

Izumo responded with a series of requests for Leipzig to stop, which Haun ignored.

Finally, Izumo flashed E4

D4 responded Leipzig.

This game took longer. Both sided played offensively, and kept the pressure on. The game concluded with a draw.

“Range 23,000 meters,” said the gunnery officer.

“Time is 1600 hours, Sir,” said the navigator. “Sunset is at 2014 hours. Full darkness around 2200 hours. It looks like we will be under cloud by then, although there will only be a sliver of a moon in any case.”

Haun did some quick calculations in his head. He invited the assembled officers down to the more spacious wheelhouse, and summoned the head officers of Leipzig’s departments.

“The Japanese ultimatum expires at 1900 hours. Captain Moriyama should expect to receive orders to commence hostile action, if Japan actually declares the moment the ultimatum expires. Which they will. Everyone understands the ultimatum to be a diplomatic ploy. It was never meant to be accepted. Moriyama will not receive those orders, on account of our wireless jamming the airwaves. Will our Captain Moriyama take unilateral action on his initiative? There is no doubt that he will. That man is destined for Admiral. At 1900 hours, Izumo will have closed to 14,000 meters at this rate. Moriyama will have an hour of daylight, and two of twilight once a state of war commences. I am counting on our engineers to be able to give us another two knots right around then, otherwise we will be ein Happen for the Japanese. And when the state of war commences, we will have put 140 nautical miles between Izumo and Captain Von Schönberg’s flotilla.”

The sun went behind the clouds at 1730 hours. At 1830 hours it began to lightly rain. Visibility dropped to 15,000 meters. Izumo was barely visible through the mist, doggedly pursuing. At 1902 hours. Izumo flashed a Morse light message.

A STATE OF WAR EXISTS BETWEEN THE EMPIRE OF JAPAN AND THE GERMAN EMPIRE

Izumo’s forward turret trained on Leipzig, barrels at maximum elevation. The guns flashed. A pair of waterspouts rose in Leipzig’s wake, 2000 meters short.

“Engineering, give us full speed,” ordered Haun. Leipzig’s engine telegraph rang. “Signals, send a message to Izumo.”

SINCEREST REGARDS TO THE EMPEROR.

Izumo fired again, ranging shots. The shells again fell short. Leipzig’s engine revolutions rose. The Japanese cruiser continued to fire ranging shots sparingly, testing to see if the range had closed. Instead, Leipzig began to pull away, opening the space by 1000 meters in the first 15 minutes.

“That would be marvelous luck to lose Izumo in the mist,” said Haun, hopefully, but the rain stopped, the mist lifted, and Izumo remained in Leipzig’s wake. They missed the sunset, under the clouds. At 2100 hours Izumo became lost in the murk 11 nautical miles astern of Leipzig. By 2200 hours it was pitch black.

“Wireless, cease jamming,” ordered Haun. “Helm take us south.” Leipzig heeled over as she made a wide turn.” The wireless runner soon reported transmissions nearby, but was unable to decode them. After two hours of steaming, Haun brought the ship down to 18 knots, to give the engines and stokers a break, and retired for some rest himself.

Pre-dawn twilight came at 0430 hours, still under high cloud. At 0515 hours Haun was back on the bridge, just as a lookout reported “Ship!”

“Incredible!” Haun exclaimed, looking through his binoculars. “Moriyama is still there!” Izumo sat just on the horizon. The Japanese captain had guessed Haun’s intention, but not his exact bearing, and Izumo was well to the east of Leipzig. “Full speed!” Haun ordered. By the time the sun came up, peeking under the lid of clouds as it rose from the sea, Izumo was just a pair of masts and a smoke trail on the horizon, and an hour later not even that.

The Muellers came up on deck at 0630, and looked around at the horizon apprehensively, until they were satisfied it was empty.

“Well gentlemen,” Haun laughed, looking down on them from the bridge wing, “onward to Mexico."

Iwate.jpg




 
Aug 22, 1100 hours. SMS Leipzig off Barclay Sound.

Friggattenkapitan Haun watched the barrier islands of Barclay Sound draw astern with some relief. His ship had been in Canadian waters for far too long, in his estimation, and nothing was to be gained by lingering. The late morning sun was warm on the shoulders of his tunic, as he looked out to sea. The sky overhead was clear, but to the west a band of cloud sat on the horizon, hinting at weather to come. The collier Bengrove was a nautical mile to Leipzig’s port side, on the southern leg of her watch picket route. The big freighter slowly turned back north.

“I wish Von Schönberg would get on with it,” said Haun to the gunnery officer beside him.

Haun saw a flash of movement in the water and lowered his binoculars to look. A school of porpoises was riding Leipzig’s bow wave.

“Dall’s porpoises,” said Heinrich Mueller. “It is so charming when they do that.” He was about to be relieved of his role as pilot, and he and his son would soon become civilian passengers, but they still took the privilege of sight-seeing from Leipzig’s open bridge atop the wheelhouse. The marine mammals wove back and forth across the cruiser’s prow. “A fitting send-off I think.” The Muellers were as eager as Haun to leave British Columbia far behind.

The coast shrank in their wake as Leipzig moved offshore. Haun was relieved to feel the ocean swells under his feet. Looking back he saw taller, bare crags poking their heads above the tree covered ranges surrounding Barclay Sound. The tallest of these peaks were rimmed with cloud. He swept his binoculars to the north, and noticed a long white sandy beach, then another, like those he remembered from Mexico, nestled between black jagged headlands. He intended to take a position about 10 nautical miles off shore, where he could still communicate by Morse light or flag with Von Schönberg on Niagara, but would extend his visual reach further towards the horizon.

At 1145 a lookout called “Smoke! Due South!”

“Bother,” said Haun to the gunnery officer. “I do not want to trifle with taking prizes just now.” He focussed his binoculars to the south. The smoke was indeed from a ship, still out of sight over the horizon “Japan is going to be jumping into this war, by 1900 hours local time if they declare as soon as their ultimatum for Germany to surrender Tsingtao runs out. The opportunists. I can not afford to to have a boarding party on the decks of some British gin palace when our old friend Captain Moriyama arrives in Izumo.”

“I suppose that ship could be a neutral,” said the gunnery officer.

“I don’t even want anyone on a wireless reporting my position,” said Haun. “Send a message alerting Captain Von Schönberg.”

SMOKE FROM SHIP DUE SOUTH OVER THE HORIZON, flashed Leipzig’s Morse light.

“Keep a close eye on that smoke,” Haun ordered the lookouts. He could not long ignore the smoke himself, but the lookouts up in the top crow’s nests would have a better angle of view, with 25 meters more altitude. Leipzig was converging with the unknown ship at her own speed of 15 knots, but the bearing and speed of the other ship was unknown.

“Two Masts visible,” announced the lookout, ten minutes later.

“Does the mast have a spotting top?” called up Haun.

“Not enough visible yet sir,” answered the lookout. Haun racked his brain for Izumo’s profile. He had last seen the Japanese cruiser on August 5, the day war was declared with Britain, 17 days ago. He could not remember if Izumo had a proper spotting top like the British and American large cruisers.

“The masts are obscured by smoke, sir,” the lookout reported. A few moments passed. The new ships slowly rose up the curvature of the earth.

Haun had his binoculars trained on the new arrival. A swirling column of smoke, and two thin upper masts. The line of the sea was dark blue-grey, the sky behind almost white. Heat lines caused the image to dance and shimmer.

“Ship has a naval spotting top,” called the lookout.

“American navy sir?” prompted the gunnery officer.

“Perhaps,” replied Haun, focussed on the horizon. “I would not expect the Royal Navy to have a ship here, just yet. The Royal Navy will be too busy chasing our Admiral Von Spee all around the wide Pacific. Bremerton Naval Yard is nearby, so this could be an American. The Yanks like those strange lattice masts, but they also like military masts with those old washtub fighting tops. That cruiser South Dakota we saw yesterday had one of each. This ship does not have lattice masts.”

“I am seeing funnels!” called the lookout. “One. Two. Three. Three Funnels.”

“Send a message to Niagara,” ordered Haun.

SHIP SIGHTED WARSHIP MASTS AND THREE FUNNELS, flashed the Morse light.

“Niagara acknowledges sir,” reported the signal officer. “The Morse light is very marginal in these conditions,”

“I can see an ensign, Sir,” announced the lookout, “but it is obscured by smoke.”

A few more moments passed. Haun saw the tips of the funnels clear the horizon through his own binoculars. There were indeed three.

“Rising sun!” called the lookout finally, “Japanese!”

“Damn,” said Haun. “That is Izumo.” He looked at the chronometer. It read 1200 hours. The Japanese cruiser was just cresting the horizon, 20 nautical miles away from Leipzig, and a further 10 miles to the shore of Vancouver Island, where the rest of the German flotilla was penned up against the coast or inside the Sound.

If the two cruisers converged at their full speeds, they would collide in half an hour.

Izumo will certainly have seen who we are by now. But they will not be able to see Bengrove or Niagara yet. If they do, that will put a sudden end to Von Schönberg’s sortie. Signal Niagara.” The Morse light flashing on Leipzig’s shoreward side was invisible to the Japanese.

NEW SHIP IS IZUMO WILL DRAW OFF TO THE WEST IF WE ARE ABLE GOD SAVE THE KAISER

“Commence jamming Izumo’s wireless,” ordered Haun. “Set course west at 19 knots. Let us see how her hull condition and boilers are doing, after all that time off Mexico. I seem to recall Captain Moriyama being coy while we bragged about each other’s vessels. Over the excellent local Mezcal.” The gunnery officer nodded in acknowledgement, of the remembered exchange, and of the liquour. “Naval Intelligence says Izumo could do 20 and a half knots, but that was in 1899. Leipzig is not brand new either, but she is 6 years younger, and we should be a full 2 knots faster.” He pulled down the brim of his hat, against the wind.

“Ship is changing heading to follow,” reported the lookout.

“Good,” said Haun. “Range?”

The gunnery officer gave orders, and crewmen took a sighting with the rangefinder behind them on the signal deck. “37,000 meters,” he reported.

“Very good,” said Haun. “Maintain 19 knots, and let’s see if Izumo gains. I see she is making more smoke now. I want to let her close, so she does not give up the chase, but let her stokers work for it. We have plenty of coal. I don’t see why Izumo should not herself. She is still a neutral, so she can coal where she pleases.” Leipzig had worked up to 19 knots, and was sporting a tall bow wave. The porpoises had departed long ago. The mountains of Vancouver Island were now a greenish band on their starboard quarter. 15 minutes passed.

“Range?” asked Haun.

“No difference,” answered the gunnery officer.

Haun looked about. The Muellers, father and son, were still standing on the open bridge, huddled back against the base of the foremast. Despite the sun and wind, the men looked pale.

“Well gentleman,” said Haun jauntily, “Are you still pleased you chose to come with us? Such adventure, right out of the gate.” Haun rubbed his hands together. “Ah, the thrill of the chase.”

Fifteen more minutes passed. Leipzig had travelled 10 nautical miles westward out into the Pacific since turning away from Izumo.

“Range?” Haun asked again.

“36,000 meters.”

“Just as the script calls for,” said Haun. “If Izumo is gaining at 1000 meters in a half hour, she has one knot on us at our current speeds. We have her on the hook.” He paused. “What would you figure for the range of Izumo’s 20 cm guns?” he asked the gunnery officer.

“I recall Captain Moriyama was tight lipped about that number as well,” said the gunner officer. “Their guns are in 15 degree mountings. They might get a 20 cm shell out to 12,000 meters. Same as us. Are you thinking of fighting? Sir?”

“Not if I can help it,” Haun answered. “And we control this engagement, by virtue of our speed. I simply want to know what margin I can let Izumo close to. To keep her on the line. If Moriyama gives up on us, and turns back, he could bag Niagara and her prizes.”

The ships continued racing west. The sun reached, then passed its zenith, and the cruisers now followed its progress across the sky. At 1300 hours, the range had fallen to 33,000 meters. “I see Izumo found that extra half of a knot,” said Haun. From time to time, Izumo flashed Morse light messages inviting Leipzig to stop, or to parley. Haun ignored the messages. At 1400 hours, the gunnery officer reported the range to be 30,000 meters. Canada was now simply a dark patch to the northeast. To the west, white cauliflower shaped clouds rose on the horizon, above a dark grey stripe at sea level.

“I am familiar with the inexorable maths of a sea chase,” said Haun, “but this is becoming excessively dull. Can we communicate with Izumo by Morse light in these lighting conditions?”

“With difficulty,” answered the signal officer.

“Go to my cabin astern and fetch my chess set,” he ordered a sailor. When the sailor returned, Haun set up the board on top of the signal flag locker. “Send a message to Izumo.”

KINGS PAWN TO KING 4 E 4 Flashed Leipzig’s Morse light.

“Let’s see what Moriyama does with that!” Haun chuckled.

After 10 minutes with no response, Haun ordered the signal officer to repeat the message. Another 10 minutes passed, then Izumo signalled.

C5 flashed the light on the Japanese cruiser’s bridge wing.

“Bishop’s pawn to bishop’s 4,” said Haun, moving the black piece. “The Sicilian Defence?”

“How about King’s knight to king’s bishop 3,” said Haun, chewing on his top lip. NF3

The exchange continued across the rolling ocean swells. Captain Moriayama played an aggressive game, and put Haun in his heels several times, but he lost his queen early, and was checkmated on turn 26.

“Range 27,000 meters,” announced the gunnery officer. The chronometer read 1500 hours.

REMATCH flashed Leipzig.

Izumo responded with a series of requests for Leipzig to stop, which Haun ignored.

Finally, Izumo flashed E4

D4 responded Leipzig.

This game took longer. Both sided played offensively, and kept the pressure on. The game concluded with a draw.

“Range 23,000 meters,” said the gunnery officer.

“Time is 1600 hours, Sir,” said the navigator. “Sunset is at 2014 hours. Full darkness around 2200 hours. It looks like we will be under cloud by then, although there will only be a sliver of a moon in any case.”

Haun did some quick calculations in his head. He invited the assembled officers down to the more spacious wheelhouse, and summoned the head officers of Leipzig’s departments.

“The Japanese ultimatum expires at 1900 hours. Captain Moriyama should expect to receive orders to commence hostile action, if Japan actually declares the moment the ultimatum expires. Which they will. Everyone understands the ultimatum to be a diplomatic ploy. It was never meant to be accepted. Moriyama will not receive those orders, on account of our wireless jamming the airwaves. Will our Captain Moriyama take unilateral action on his initiative? There is no doubt that he will. That man is destined for Admiral. At 1900 hours, Izumo will have closed to 14,000 meters at this rate. Moriyama will have an hour of daylight, and two of twilight once a state of war commences. I am counting on our engineers to be able to give us another two knots right around then, otherwise we will be ein Happen for the Japanese. And when the state of war commences, we will have put 140 nautical miles between Izumo and Captain Von Schönberg’s flotilla.”

The sun went behind the clouds at 1730 hours. At 1830 hours it began to lightly rain. Visibility dropped to 15,000 meters. Izumo was barely visible through the mist, doggedly pursuing. At 1902 hours. Izumo flashed a Morse light message.

A STATE OF WAR EXISTS BETWEEN THE EMPIRE OF JAPAN AND THE GERMAN EMPIRE

Izumo’s forward turret trained on Leipzig, barrels at maximum elevation. The guns flashed. A pair of waterspouts rose in Leipzig’s wake, 2000 meters short.

“Engineering, give us full speed,” ordered Haun. Leipzig’s engine telegraph rang. “Signals, send a message to Izumo.”

SINCEREST REGARDS TO THE EMPEROR.

Izumo fired again, ranging shots. The shells again fell short. Leipzig’s engine revolutions rose. The Japanese cruiser continued to fire ranging shots sparingly, testing to see if the range had closed. Instead, Leipzig began to pull away, opening the space by 1000 meters in the first 15 minutes.

“That would be marvelous luck to lose Izumo in the mist,” said Haun, hopefully, but the rain stopped, the mist lifted, and Izumo remained in Leipzig’s wake. They missed the sunset, under the clouds. At 2100 hours Izumo became lost in the murk 11 nautical miles astern of Leipzig. By 2200 hours it was pitch black.

“Wireless, cease jamming,” ordered Haun. “Helm take us south.” Leipzig heeled over as she made a wide turn.” The wireless runner soon reported transmissions nearby, but was unable to decode them. After two hours of steaming, Haun brought the ship down to 18 knots, to give the engines and stokers a break, and retired for some rest himself.

Pre-dawn twilight came at 0430 hours, still under high cloud. At 0515 hours Haun was back on the bridge, just as a lookout reported “Ship!”

“Incredible!” Haun exclaimed, looking through his binoculars. “Moriyama is still there!” Izumo sat just on the horizon. The Japanese captain had guessed Haun’s intention, but not his exact bearing, and Izumo was well to the east of Leipzig. “Full speed!” Haun ordered. By the time the sun came up, peeking under the lid of clouds as it rose from the sea, Izumo was just a pair of masts and a smoke trail on the horizon, and an hour later not even that.

The Muellers came up on deck at 0630, and looked around at the horizon apprehensively, until they were satisfied it was empty.

“Well gentlemen,” Haun laughed, looking down on them from the bridge wing, “onward to Mexico."

Iwate.jpg




Good to see Leipzig escape but damm I would love to see a true naval duel between them.
 
Good to see Leipzig escape but damm I would love to see a true naval duel between them.
Ah, no, a fight between the 2 wouldn't be a duel, it would be an execution.


Izumo is an armored (heavy) cruiser of 9500t with 4x 8" and 14x 6" and an armor belt about 6" thick

Leipzig is a protected (light) cruiser of 3000t with 10x 10.5cm (4"), and very limited armor (no belt)

Not even close

Leipzig has nothing that can seriously damage Izumo,
so they ran, of course
 

Driftless

Donor
A couple of thoughts.

Leipzig may have led the Izumo away from the other German auxiliary cruisers, but they've been running hard for some time now(so has the Izumo). But the Leipzig has no safe harbor to put into to perform even routine maintenance. The Izumo isn't much better off, but they are in less of a pinch (IMO). Esquimalt is a wreck, so not much help there, and the US and Mexican ports are going to play by neutrality rules. Izumo's two goals (IMO) are to (1) sink the Leipzig, or (2) failing to catch the Leipzig, keep him from any effective raider role.

The German auxilliaries now rule the roost off BC - for a few days. Soon, HMS Manchester(?) will arrive and the game changes - regardless of how that ship is committed.
 

Driftless

Donor
Another thought on Leipzig's challenges..... After running that hard for that long, they have to be going through coal quickly. Where is their collier Bengrove at this point? The last we heard of her was early in the post, so I'm assuming Bengrove headed away from potential trouble. How will Leipzig re-coal, without a collier, unless there was a contingency plan to rendevous at some point to the south. But even that raises risks, as there will be more American (neutral) ships in the shipping lanes perfectly happy to make note of warship positions.
 
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