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.

  1. Driftless Geezer

    Sep 16, 2011
    Out in the Driftless Area
    That would give the Japanese a chance to score some diplomatic points and to update some real-world operational knowledge. Tsushima was less than a decade earlier, but a considerable change in naval technology in that short span of time.
  2. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    Many were still spark gap transmitters.

    These really were not tightly tuned, but blasted out noise of many combined frequencies, in bursts of dots and dashes to get your morse code out to the world
    YYJ likes this.
  3. Donald Reaver Still alive Donor

    Jan 25, 2004
    Interesting, thank you for that link.
  4. Nick P Donor

    Jan 4, 2013
    Just outside London, UK
    SMS Emden tried to use radio jamming to block signals from the British station on the Cocos Islands. It didn't work and HMAS Sydney heard the distress calls. That was in November 1914 so it was a known trick.
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  5. Cryhavoc101 Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2014
    1123 6536 5321
    The Royal Navy first started using radio communication in 1901 (IIRC) and very quickly learned how to jam it using the same equipment.

    So I would imagine that all the major 'players' would be aware of how radio could be jammed by 1914.

    And as has been pointed out it was not an exact science and there are examples of jamming efforts not working.
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  6. YYJ Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Interesting. That was a high power long range station, so maybe it simply overpowered of Emden's jamming . Canada has a few of those along the west coast, including one at Anyox and one at Prince Rupert.

    Note that November 9th, when Emden got caught at Cocos Island is still 2 1/2 months in the future in this time line.
  7. Threadmarks: Welcome to the United States of America, Captain

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 17, SMS Leipzig, San Francisco.

    Captain Haun was an optimist, and sometimes it led him astray. He had cruised off the San Francisco coast for several more days, hoping to catch a prize, until at last his coal stocks were beyond anything that could be called a reserve. He needed coal immediately. He contacted the German Counsel General in San Francisco and arranged to meet him in port. Leipzig sailed through the Golden Gate, drawing crowds of curious American sailors in all manner of boats. Some waved at the Leipzig as it passed. The Japanese bear cubs showed off one of their tricks, standing on their hind legs and waving back at the boaters. Haun noticed that San Francisco Bay was very busy with ships of all flags, was surrounded by many hills, and that the city seemed to be largely under construction.

    When Leipzig arrived at her coaling station as pre-arranged, Haun saw from his bridge that the German Counsel looked to be engaged in a vigorous argument with the American Customs officials. By the time the Leipzig had tied up to the barge and Haun climbed down to join them, they seemed to have arrived at an arrangement, and were smoothing things over.

    “Welcome to the United States of America, Captain,” said the lead Customs Officer. “I trust you are familiar with the Neutrality laws as they relate to belligerent ships of war.”

    “I am indeed, sir. I extend my gratitude and that of my crew for your hospitality,” replied Haun. What he was thinking was, will I be allowed any coal? Or will Leipzig be forced to intern here?

    “I was just telling your counsel,” said the Customs Officer, “we deem that, as per the Neutrality Act, your nearest friendly port is Apia, in the colony of German Samoa. I have instructed the collier to provide you with no more than 500 tons of coal to allow you reach that destination. We will be supervising until coaling is complete.”

    Five Hundred tons of coal! Haun was elated. Leipzig’s bunkers at maximum capacity could only hold 850 tons. That was the best possible news, better than anything he imagined. “Very good. Thank you,” Haun said to the Customs Officer, his face formal and expressionless.

    The American Customs officials in their white uniforms returned to their launch, where they would be clear of the cloud of coal dust.

    “Is the Samoa colony still in German hands?” Haun asked once the Americans had left.

    “We have been receiving wireless messages from them,” answered the Counsel. “The last was this morning and all was well. For now. But that is no matter for you here.”

    “Yes,” Said Haun “Whether our closest friendly port is Apia, or Tsingtao, or Wilhelmshaven, we are getting enough coal to continue.”

    “I thought I had made some progress on getting you a collier, Captain. The Hamburg America Line Alexandria is here, and we made arrangements to have her sold to an American company to give her more freedom of movement. But the British Counsel has objected and the whole thing is tied up in legal motions. The Americans have placed guards aboard her. There she is over there.” The Counsel pointed.

    “Pity,” said Haun. He was eyeing the American cruiser anchored close by the Alexandria.

    “We have other options for auxiliaries that we are pursuing,” said the Counsel, “but unless they bear fruit, I won’t bore you with the details. You heard that Japan has issued a war ultimatum? On the 15th?

    “Yes, two days ago,” said Haun. “So with a week’s deadline, Japan will pile in on the 23rd. That only gives us five more days where we have the freedom to accomplish anything more here, before the Izumo comes after us. The rest of the Japanese navy as well, but they are have a longer way to come.”

    “Naval Intelligence reports the Izumo is still off Mexico,” said the Counsel. They also report the battleship Hizen and the armoured cruiser Asama are patrolling off Hawaii.”

    “Hmm, at least that is safely distant for the moment.” said Haun. Changing to a brighter tone he said, “In the meantime, we are here in a neutral port, showing the flag and representing the Kaiser. Counsel, I have a list of events and meetings I would like you to arrange in the city here, if you would be so kind.”
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2019
  8. Threadmarks: The Brave Boys of Anyox part 7

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 17, 1200, Ksi Gwinhat’al Valley, Near The Nass River, BC

    The boys sat each on their own branch, with their backs to the trunk. They had adjusted their perches after it became obvious that the grizzly was not leaving soon. Both of them found a place where branches grew close together from the trunk, and made a comfortable place to sit. The grizzly scratched at the tree trunk from time to time and circled. The small black bear bawled once in while, and chewed on the new growth and cones on the tree. Zacharias handed an apple up to Magnus.

    “Zach, the Germans are getting away,” said Magnus sadly.

    “Don’t tell me, tell the bear,” said Zacharias.

    The grizzly paced.

    “Do you think it wants to eat us?” asked Magnus.

    “I don’t know,” said Zacharias. “Maybe we are just in its territory. But who knows what it is thinking. Grizzlies are scary monsters. They make their own rules.”

    Zacharias experimented with throwing some hard tack to the grizzly. The bear took a bite, and then spat it out again.

    “See!” said Magnus. “Even he agrees that miner food is disgusting.”

    Zacharias threw a can of beans, and hit the grizzly square on the forehead. The bear shook its head back and forth, then bit the can of beans. It squashed, and the grizzly licked up the beans that squeezed out of its fang holes in the can.

    “Don’t throw the bully beef,” said Magnus. “We might need to eat some later.”

    “Oh!” said Zacharias. “Look who loves bully beef now? Please Zach,” Zacharias imitated Magnus. “Please can I have some bully beef?”

    “Nom. Nom. Nom.” said Magnus.

    “Please sir,” said Zacharias, in his Oliver Twist community theatre Cockney accent, “Please can I have some more bully beef?”

    The black bear in the top of the tree bawled.

    Eventually this near death experience became boring. No attempt to lure or drive the grizzly away worked. The boys resorted to talking about baseball statistics, until they even got bored of that.

    Magnus woke up.

    Someone was pushing past him.

    “Zack. Stop!” he said, still rising from sleep.

    A very hairy set of paws was using Magnus as a stair.

    The yearling black bear, who by now seemed like a hundred pound irritating cousin with no manners, rather than a monster, pushed past Magnus, descending.

    When the bear passed the branches that Zacharias was sleeping on, it rudely pushed him off. Zacharias fell a long way to the ground, where the spongy bog absorbed the force of his impact.

    Zacharias woke up winded, seeing stars, staring at the sky and trying convulsively to draw a breath. He could not move for lack of air, and when he sized up the situation, feared that the grizzly would devour him alive. But, the grizzly was nowhere in sight. The black bear, moving like a huge toddler in a poorly fitting fur costume, jumped the last ten feet to the ground and scampered off into the brush.

    “Zach! Zach!” Magnus had arrived at the ground, beside himself with worry.

    Zacharias tested all his limbs, and found they still worked.

    “Lets get out of here”, he said.

    The burlap sacks with their meager supplies had fallen when Zacharias fell. Miraculously, the water bottles had not even broken. He picked the bags up, and the boys ran. They soon picked up the tentative trail, and followed it across the bog and back into the trees. When it appeared that the grizzly was not giving pursuit, the boys slowed to a cross-country running pace. After only about 5 minutes they broke out into daylight. The creek had recently experienced some weather that had created a wash-out. For 100 yards there was nothing but grey rocks and dried uprooted trees. The boys stumbled across the open space, then dived back into the forest and picked up the trail again.

    They ran for half an hour. The ground gradually flattened, until the boys could hear the burbling of a mighty river. Zacharias has taken the lead, and he crashed though some shrubs, slid down an embankment, and found himself on a gray sand beach at the edge of a wide river, The water was milky white. Magnus was right behind. As they had seen earlier, the valley was defined on the south by another tall range of snowcapped mountains. Across the river they could make out a row of poles carrying a telegraph line.

    The boys splashed their sweaty faces with river water, then refilled their bottles and drank. The water was very cold and fresh, but left a funny earthy aftertaste.

    “What do we do now?” asked Magnus.

    “Well…” pondered Zacharias, “we can walk a really long way in grizzly bear country, or we can wait for a boat to go by.”
  9. Threadmarks: Heil dir im Siegerkranz

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 17, 1200. SMS Nürberg, Aground, Portland Inlet.

    At noon, the galley served pork chops and potatoes from Anyox to the crew and guests up on deck. By now, the tide was coming in vigorously. The isthmus beach had disappeared under water and Nürnberg’s stern was afloat again. The water passing by her stranded hull even gave her a bit of a bow wave. Von Schönberg had divers put over the side to inspect the rudders and screws. The divers trailed safety lines so as not to get swept away back to Anyox. When they returned, the divers reported all seemed to be fine.

    “By the Grace of God,” said Von Schönberg.

    The fog remained at thick as ever. After the mid-day dinner, the band set up, and began to play again. This time their repertoire seemed to be all classical and German. They played Beethoven, and Bach, and Mozart. About 45 minutes later, while Ode to Joy was reaching its crescendo, the Nürnberg shifted and began swaying with the current. On the bridge, Von Schönberg, ordered the engines Astern Slow. Nürnberg pulled free. She backed out into the channel, turned, and headed towards deeper water.

    At this moment, the Camosun broke free from her ledge, and drifted upstream, keel skyward and slowly sinking, until she was lost in the fog.

    “Well then, let us continue,” said Von Schönberg. “Helm, keep the Prince Rupert in sight. First Lieutenant, you have the bridge. I am going to make a request while the band is playing.”

    When he got to the boat deck, the musicians were just staring to tidy things away. Von Schönberg approached the Minister conductor, thanked him very much for the performance, and asked if a request could be played. The Minister was charmed, and replied he would do his best.

    “Do you know Heil dir im Siegerkranz?” asked Von Schönberg.

    “Oh, I’m sorry, I have not heard of that one.” The Minister said sadly.

    “How about God Save The King?”

    “Yes, of course we can play that.” He spoke to the musicians. The Minister thought the choice a bit odd, but he and his people were being treated well, and wished to show respect.

    He cued up the band with his baton, the horns played the four note intro, then dove into the first verse. When all of the crew on deck snapped to attention and joined in with booming martial song, in German, the Minister was surprised.

    Heil dir im Siegerkranz,
    Herrscher des Vaterlands!
    Heil, Kaiser, dir!
    Fühl in des Thrones Glanz
    Die hohe Wonne ganz,
    Liebling des Volks zu sein!
    Heil Kaiser, dir!

    As the verses unfolded, and the Minister dredged through his very poor German to follow the lyrics, he noticed the frequent repetition of words like Vaterlands and Heil Kaiser, and figured this was not an ordinary song. The sailors on deck on the other ship had lined up on the rail to belt out the song across the foggy inlet. By the fifth verse, the Minister was wondering if playing the enemy’s national anthem to their military forces in a time of war constituted actual treason on his part. He figured that as a man of the cloth he was probably exempt, and in any case, there would be a lack of witnesses who would testify.

    Sei, Kaiser Wilhelm, hier
    Lang deines Volkes Zier,
    Der Menschheit Stolz!
    Fühl in des Thrones Glanz,
    Die hohe Wonne ganz,
    Liebling des Volks zu sein!
    Heil, Kaiser, dir!

    “Well, that should do wonders for morale, after the setback of the grounding,” said Von Schönberg. “Navigator, how long until we are in open waters?” Nürnberg’s chart room now featured a full, up do date set of charts taken from the Amur.

    “At 10 knots, and truly moving at 7 knots against the tide, we will be leave Portland Inlet and enter Chatham Sound in an hour and a half.

    And how long to Prince Rupert harbour from there?

    The navigator worked his divider and parallel rules across the charts. “If the fog keeps up, 30 nautical miles, at 8 knots, about three and a half hours to the harbour entrance. If the fog lifts, an hour and a half at 18 knots.

    “Signals,” ordered Von Schönberg, “send a message to the Prince Rupert.”


  10. Somedevil Well-Known Member

    Apr 16, 2015
    this will ether go well for the Germans or could be the end for them
  11. alfredtuomi Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2012
    thunder bay,canada
    Heading for Prince Rupert could put them in contact with some less forgiving bits of terra firma.
  12. Dilvish Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2008
    Gastonia, NC
    Will the boys be able to get a message out before Prince Rupert is attacked?
  13. Threadmarks: The Brave Boys of Anyox part 8

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 17, 1430 Nass River

    Magnus and Zacharias stood on the beach, watching the pale river flow by. The last time they had really eaten was 10AM.

    “I’m really hungry,” said Magnus. They looked inside their food bag, as if something might have spontaneously appeared since the last time they looked. There was one can of beans, two cans of bully beef, half a dozen hard candies, and some powder that had been hard tack.

    “We can’t eat that cold,” said Magnus, his voice full of despair.

    “We can light a fire,” said Zacharias. The boys gathered some sticks and driftwood. Both boys had matches in their shirt pockets. When the fire burned down to coals, they sat the open bean can in the glowing embers and stirred every few minutes. They opened one bully beef can, cut the gelatinous pink meat into slabs, and sort of toasted them stabbed onto a green stick. They scooped some beans onto each slab of bully beef, and quickly devoured the lot.

    “I told you I kinda like bully beef,” said Zacharias.

    “Yeah, when I’m that hungry, it’s OK,” conceded Magnus. “I hope someone comes along soon. We’re pretty low on food. How far a walk is it to the next town?”

    “I really don’t know this place,” said Zacharias, “but a long way. Most of the towns are on the other side of the river, and there are no bridges.”

    “Could we walk till we get across the river from a town and wave until someone noticed us?”

    “I guess.” Zacharias skipped a rock on the river, and watched the splashes flow downstream. The boys skipped rocks in silence for a while.

    A canoe appeared on the river. The boys watched it for a moment, then jumped up and started leaping in the air and waving their arms yelling “Oh! Oh! Oh!”

    The paddler in the back of the canoe turned in their direction, and moved across the river towards them, but was carried past by the current, and disappeared from sight behind the trees at the edge of the beach. Magnus and Zacharias stopped jumping and looked at each other, crestfallen.

    “This might be harder than we thought,” said Zacharias.

    Ten minutes later, the canoe appeared again, right beside the bank and headed upstream. The canoe nudged up on the beach, and the paddler held it in place with his paddle jammed down into the river bottom. In the back of the canoe sat a Nisga’a man, of middle age, shirtless.

    In the front sat a plump Nisga’a woman, also of middle age. She wore many layers of patterned dresses. On her lap sat a baby , wrapped up so only its face was showing. Between them, filling most of the canoe, were stacks of shiny dark furs.

    Magnus and Zacharias tried to tell the story of the German Navy, Anyox, the trip, and the bear, both at the same time double speed. The three in the canoe watched them impassively. When they realized they were being completely incoherent, they stopped, both at the same time.

    “So,” said the paddler, in English, “are you gonna get in?”

    There was a space between the stacks of pelts in the center of the canoe. Zacharias steadied the canoe while Magnus climbed in. Then Zacharias stepped in after. The boys settled themselves as low as they could in the bottom of the canoe, for stability. The canoe smelled strongly of fur. The man pushed the canoe off the beach with his paddle, backpaddled into the current, then turned the nose down river.

    When the paddler had them back in the main stream of the river, and could spare attention, he looked Zacharias straight in the eyes for an uncomfortably long time. “Where are you from?” the man asked in Nisga’a.

    “Anyox,” answered Zacharias in Sm’algyax̣

    The man cocked his head to one side, as if to listen more closely. “No one is from Anyox,” said the man. “Where are you really from, seal eater?”

    “I was born in Port Simpson, Lax Lw’allams,” said Zacharias defiantly.

    The man snorted.

    “Thank you for the ride,” said Zacharias.

    The man nodded in return “You’re welcome.”

    They dropped into silence. “What did he say?” whispered Magnus.

    “Just saying hello. That kind of thing.” Zacharias whispered back.

    The woman and the baby were staring at the two boys, with flat expressions. Magnus smiled at the baby. The baby’s expression did not change. After a while the boys looked away and instead took in the scenery. Tall forests were moving lazily by on both sides of the river. Now they were in the middle of the river, the boys could see the mountains they had come over, and they were impressive. But more impressive were the mountains to the south. These were row upon row of sharp snow capped peaks, with one in particular topped with bare grey stone like a castle, rising out of a glacier so white they had to blink.

    When they looked away, the woman and the baby were still staring at them.

    “Do you want some grease?” the woman asked, in English.

    “You have to say yes!” whispered Zacharias in Magnus’s ear. “And you have to like it!”

    “Um, yes please.” said Magnus.

    The woman dug into her pack, and produced a cedar box, and some flat bread. She opened the box and scooped some thick golden liquid onto the bread. She passed it to Magnus.

    Then she repeated the procedure for Zacharias.

    Magnus said “Thank you,” and brought the bread to his lips. It smelled strong and fishy, like lutefisk. Magus took a small bite. At first he though it was bad. But he could tell his body liked it. He could feel energy flowing to his muscles. He slowly finished the bread and grease, and said “Thank you,” again.

    “Yes, thank you,” said Zacharias, liking the last remnants from his lips.

    The woman nodded, and her expression changed to one of satisfaction. The baby still stared at the boys.

    “What was that?” Magnus asked Zacharias, in a whisper.

    “Oolichan grease,” answed Zacharias. “These little fish that come in the spring. You catch them and let them rot and then boil them. And you get the grease. My people make it too, but different.”

    “My people make something like that too,” said Magnus, “but it’s a thicker slime, and not as oily.”

    Zacharias looked at Magnus. “Liar,” he said.

    “No, it’s true!” protested Magnus.

    “You are a hundred percent making that up,” accused Zacharias.

    “It’s a Norwegian delicacy!” argued Magnus. “We have it every Christmas!”

    The boys stopped short when they realized they were arguing out loud. The baby was staring at them. They stopped arguing and watched the scenery slowly scroll by for a couple of more hours.

    “Aiyansh,” said the man. The first words he had said to them in three hours. “You can get out here.” The boys looked up. They had come around a bend, and there on the east bank of the river, stood a cluster of frame houses, a white church with a tall steeple, and the poles of the telegraph line.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019 at 1:55 AM
  14. Driftless Geezer

    Sep 16, 2011
    Out in the Driftless Area
    Sometime in the ITTL's future Hollywood will make a movie (1940) of this part of the story. In true Hollywood fashion for that era, the cast might be something like Mickey Rooney as Magnus, Sabu as Zacharias, and Conrad Veidt as a nazi-fied Von Schönberg. (It's Hollywood, so fairness and acccuracy are iffy propositions)
  15. alfredtuomi Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2012
    thunder bay,canada
    you forgot the part about being set in Alaska in the summer of 1917.
  16. weasel_airlift Well-Known Member

    May 5, 2016
    And filmed in California
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  17. The Wizard Well-Known Member

    Apr 14, 2011
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    And shelling town as they depart just because that is what is expected of the Hun..
    YYJ likes this.
  18. Threadmarks: These innocents

    YYJ Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2019
    Aug 17, 1800. SMS Nürnberg, Chatham Sound, off Prince Rupert.

    The fog was unrelenting. But Radl had brought the Prince Rupert truly home to her eponymous city.

    The two German ships were sitting in the narrow shipping lane between Digby and the Kinahan Islands. The colour of the water told Von Schönberg that another major river was emptying into the ocean close by. In this case it was the Skeena. The steam cutter and picket boat had steam up, and were lowered with Lieutenant Adler leading the landing parties aboard. Each boat was laden with Dynamite crates and armed with a Spandau gun. When the boats were away, the Prince Rupert continued up the channel, with Nürnberg following. To their port side, some very dangerous looking reefs were barely visible through the fog.

    The entrance to Prince Rupert harbour was, as Von Schönberg noticed, like many channels in this part of the world. Narrow and lined with steep, forested banks. The channel was in no place more than 500 meters wide. Sometimes they could see one bank, sometimes not. Radl was using the foghorn trick to stay in the middle of the channel. About a kilometer into the entrance, Prince Rupert signalled back to Nürnberg by Morse light. Nürnberg launched two boats, then two more boats. The first two boats contained armed landing parties. The second pair, the largest oar powered boats Nürnberg carried, each held 8 oarsmen and between them all 112 passengers from the Camosun, including the band and their instruments. This was a calculated risk on Von Schönberg’s part. The residents of Kincolith could overpower the crews of the boats and row off to raise an alarm, despite being covered by Nürnberg’s guns. But Von Schönberg wanted to get these innocents off his ship before any action started. It was possible that the city of Prince Rupert was fully alert, and they would be shooting their way in and out. The crew of the Camosun he counted as too much of a security risk to release just yet, but the Kincolith residents he landed on Digby Island on an open beach, between what his chart said was Emmerson Point and Casey Cove. Some of the passengers were grandmothers, but they seemed like resilient folk. It would take half an hour or more for them to walk anywhere from there, and by that time he figured it would do no harm if they announced his presence. It would no longer be a secret. The landing happened without incident, the boats unloaded, and returned. The Kincolith residents waved goodbye as the boats pulled away, the musicians still holding their instruments tightly.

    At the same time, Lieutenant Von Spee on the Prince Rupert had rigged a ship’s boat anchor to a long line, and dragged for the submarine cable connecting the Dominion Wireless Station on Digby Island to the city of Prince Rupert. The search was made easier by a large yellow triangle sign on shore with the text WARNING SUBMARINE CABLE NO ANCHOR. Once they hooked the cable, it was pulled up on deck with the aft capstain, and at 1820 by the Petty Officer’s watch, sailors cut the cable with axes.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019 at 1:44 AM
  19. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

    Jan 1, 2004
    NICE! Someone's taking a lot of chances, but I think that Nürnberg has paid for herself already. Her crew is behaving with exceptional honor, in the tradition of the High Seas Fleet's raiders. She'll go down into legend with Moewe and Seeadler. (Seeadler should have had a movie made about her!)
  20. Father Maryland Enemy of Neo Secesh Everywhere

    Jul 30, 2007
    The Grand Duchy of the Chesapeake
    And stopping to have a baby eating contest.
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