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

Great update - as always - I hope they make a showing in Vancouver XD
Doubt it but if they do they will get a hot welcome. There were 4" guns mounted in Stanley Park during August of 1914, covering the first narrows into the harbour.


 
Doubt it but if they do they will get a hot welcome. There were 4" guns mounted in Stanley Park during August of 1914, covering the first narrows into the harbour.


Noted in the chapters entitled Get Back to Business and Standing Orders
Coberg Heavy Battery also has two 60 pdr. field guns emplaced on Point Grey covering the harbour.
 
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Tall white church
Aug 19, 1530 hours. HMCS Rainbow, Bella Bella.

The Rainbow sat in the middle of the Inside Passage Channel, in the stretch known as Lama Passage. In places the pass narrowed to scarcely 200 yards wide. To the west lay the Heiltsuk reserve town of New Bella Bella, with its European style houses, and tall white church. Brown could pick out a school, firehall, hospital, and post office among its buildings. To the south was the old Hudson’s Bay Company Fort McLoughlin, and old Heiltsuk settlement of ‘Qélc, mostly abandoned, dilapidated, and being reclaimed by the forest. Across the water on Denny Island was a cannery, with all the usual attendant vessels and structures. The CPR freighter Otter was tied up at the cannery wharf, loading palettes of canned fish with her cargo derricks. Only a few wisps of high cloud interrupted the blue of the sky. The sun beat down on the ships and the harbour.

Hose surveyed the scene. “My orders are to proceed to Prince Rupert,” he said. “But I also wish to get a damage report and witness interviews from Ocean Falls. The Otter here is headed up to deliver supplies to Ocean Falls after she loads all this fish. I am going to detach you, Sub Lieutenant, to Ocean Falls. You can rejoin us somehow as we head back south again."

“Yes, Sir!” replied Brown.

"Or depending on how things go," Hose continued sardonically, "this might be your miraculous survival story of how you escaped from the Rainbow just in time.”

Brown gathered his things, preparing to transfer to the Otter. A fish boat approached Rainbow from the town. Three Heilsuk fishermen operated the boat, wearing bandanas or wide brim hats against the bright sun. Two men in Fisheries Protection uniforms were granted permission to come aboard.

“Fisheries Officers Rowland Mees and Harold Aslet reporting sir,” the taller officer said to Hose.”

“So you saw the German raiders, this is true?” asked Hose.

“Indeed sir, they almost ran over top of us,” answered the shorter one.

“And you can identify the ships?” asked Brown.

Nürnberg and Princess Charlotte, sir. Names painted right on the sterns, they were,” said the shorter man.

“And what armament could you see?” asked Brown.

“The Nürnberg looked like cruiser, guns everywhere. The Charlotte had two guns on her stern, and some machineguns up higher,” said the smaller man again. “We couldn’t see any armament forward.” The two men looked at each other in a way that Brown could not decipher.

“And where did the German ships go?” asked Brown.

“Straight south down Fitz Hugh Sound, as far as we could see.” Answered the taller officer. “ We were occupied trying to keep the Kingfisher afloat.”

“What is the state of your vessel?” asked Hose.

“The Kingfisher’s engine is getting a quick overhaul now, after being submerged. The mechanics said it should be ready to run in six hours or so,” replied the taller officer.

“We have brought a machinegun to arm your launch. We should transfer that now. We will be leaving shortly,” said Hose.

Brown noticed that the smaller man rubbed his hands together and made a whistle of pleasure at this piece of information.

“Am I to understand that the armament will be in the custody of the militia, and operated by them?” asked the taller officer.

“Yes. That is correct. The crew will accompany you now back to town.,” said Hose. Now the taller man looked pleased, and the smaller man disappointed.

The Rainbow’s crew helped manhandle a machinegun down into the fish boat that brought the fisheries officers. The officers followed, then the militia gunners, carrying the ammunition. The Heiltsuk fishermen helped them stow their load. Brown climbed down into the Rainbow’s yawl, and strong backs pulled the boat towards the moored Otter. The afternoon sun was hot, and Brown’s cheeks felt chapped. The harbour of Bella Bella wrapped around him like a vast bowl lined with tall trees, cone shaped hills, and more distant mountains stepping away, to the edge of visibility, each range paler and paler until they merged with the sky.


 
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Brown climbed down into the Nürberg’s yawl, and strong backs pulled the boat towards the moored Otter.
Not sure if this is an error on your part, my misunderstanding of the terminology or foreshadowing but I'm not sure what Brown is doing getting into Nurnberg's yawl at this point in the story :openedeyewink:
 
Aug 19, 1530 hours. HMCS Rainbow, Bella Bella.
(snip)
“And where did the German ships go?” asked Brown.

“Straight south down Fitz Hugh Sound, as far as we could see.” Answered the taller officer. “ We were occupied trying to keep the Kingfisher afloat.”
With the information from Fisheries officers, Captain Hose finally has some almost current and useful data to work with.
 
Hose surveyed the scene. “My orders are to proceed to Prince Rupert,” he said...

... "And where did the German ships go?” asked Brown.

“Straight south down Fitz Hugh Sound, as far as we could see.” Answered the taller officer. “
Hose is taking a huge chance here. He has solid evidence that Nürnberg is almost certainly at least 30 miles south of his present position, and therefore at least 200 miles south of Prince Rupert. He should report these findings to Esquimalt, and ask for further orders. To withhold them and rigidly follow his current orders, issued before any of this was known, could easily be taken as cowardice and dereliction of duty.
 
Hose is taking a huge chance here. He has solid evidence that Nürnberg is almost certainly at least 30 miles south of his present position, and therefore at least 200 miles south of Prince Rupert. He should report these findings to Esquimalt, and ask for further orders. To withhold them and rigidly follow his current orders, issued before any of this was known, could easily be taken as cowardice and dereliction of duty.
Oh, Captain Hose is between a rock and a hard spot here. Whatever choice he makes has decidedly negative outcomes.

Is part of the mission to Port Rupert humanitarian, which puts some time pressure on the Rainbow? Or considering the several stops they've made to drop off weapons mean the time of arrival at Port Rupert is not so critical?

If he were to turnabout and head south, is he too late to be effective?

On a different tack, if Hose continues heading to Port Rupert, might the Rainbow encounter SS Princess Sophia heading south?
 
Putting guns on non men of wars... might have really serious repercussions in the UK strategy as this would be perfect propaganda material for the CP
 
Putting guns on non men of wars... might have really serious repercussions in the UK strategy as this would be perfect propaganda material for the CP
The Germans are smashing coastal communities from the North to the South in B.C. How anyone in Germany much less the British Empire would see this as propaganda for the C.P. I do not know. I find it mind blowing that that would be an issue.
 
Also they are arming government vessels. There isn't any breach of any naval treaty I can think of.
Yes that is something to take into consideration. The Department of Marine and Fisheries predates the Royal Canadian Navy itself by over 40 years and in 1914, was renamed Department of Naval Services. This department operated armed fishery protection ships and had full justification to act defensively or offensively within Canadian waters.

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The largest ship they operated was CGS Canada, which was originally built as a patrol ship armed with multiple 12 pdr's with the secondary objective of building up the nucleus of what would become Canada's navy.
 
Putting guns on non men of wars... might have really serious repercussions in the UK strategy as this would be perfect propaganda material for the CP
Considering merchant ships were armed in both world wars and pretty much every war involving ships before them it's not really a big deal.
 
Considering merchant ships were armed in both world wars and pretty much every war involving ships before them it's not really a big deal.
Arming civilian merchants ship became common practice in both wars, but it made it harder to follow cruiser rules. This mattered more when the warship was a submarine. Armed merchant ships led to Germany adopting unrestricted submarine warfare, which made military sense, but lost them the propaganda war.

The commonly accepted rules were written in the London Treaty of 1909, but it was not ratified.

 
Signals Intelligence
Aug 19, 1600 hours. Dockyard Commander’s office, Esquimalt Naval Dockyard.

“Commander Hose is out there playing blind-man’s bluff with a sack on his head,” said Captain Trousdale. “We need to help give him some direction.”

The Naval Dockyard’s new Signals Intelligence Y-Station had none of their own wireless transmitting or receiving equipment. They also had a tiny office. That was why they were briefing the Ranking Naval Officer and his guests, Premier McBride and Submarine Service commander Keyes in the Dockyard Commander’s office. The blinds had been drawn against the afternoon sun.

“Sir,” began the Senior Intelligence Officer, addressing Captain Trousdale. “Dominion Wireless Stations have been receiving today a number of coded wireless messages that match no known naval or merchant codes. The signal strength ranges from very faint to moderately strong. Our intelligence department is working on plotting the possible sources based on the reception strength as reported by the various coastal stations. That might give us a map with overlapping circles helping isolate the transmission sources.”

“How accurate a position can that give us?” asked Trousdale.

“Only notional sir,” answered the Senior Intelligence Officer. “Received signal strength depends very much on atmospherics, and the angle of the transmitting antenna to the receiving antenna, especially at longer ranges. We have no direction finding equipment on this coast. And in any case the duration of the signals has been too short to allow us to get a directional fix, even if we had a Scheller or Bellini-Tosi set.”

The junior Intelligence Officer had set a chart of the entire British Columbia coast and an unruly pile of wireless transcripts on the desk. The map had a number of penciled concentric circles drawn radiating from the Dominion Wireless Stations on The Queen Charlottes and Vancouver Island. Some attempt had been made to cross-hatch overlapping circles, and the chart was torn where a compass tool’s point had slipped.

“What does this tell us?” asked Premier McBride.

The junior Intelligence Officer made a noise of discomfort. “We brought this along more to demonstrate that we were working the problem, than to provide any answers. As of yet. Sir.”

“Can you tell us anything?” badgered McBride, beginning to sound exasperated.

“Someone is using a new code,” responded the Senior Intelligence Officer. “The Cryptographers are attacking it. They refused to come to the meeting. They were like dogs with a bone.” He glanced at the junior officer and they seemed to share a private joke. “Until they work some of their magic, we can say nothing of the content. But by the fact that the transmissions are uniformly short, we can infer that the sources wish to avoid their direction to be plotted.”

The assembled officers nodded.

“Furthermore, the Cryptographers were saying that even if they cannot break the code, they can identify repeated phrases that could be vessel’s call signs. And of course, if we get enough messages from a single source, we will be able to recognize the hand, the individual characteristics, of the operator.”

“Let’s be clear, we are talking about the German navy, are we not?” asked Commander Keyes.

“We believe so,” answered the Senior Intelligence Officer. “As far as we can tell the Germans have maintained wireless silence until today. There may be a reason why they have to transmit now. These could also be American navy signals, or the Japanese navy, or a neutral merchant code. But the complexity suggests a military code.”

“Japan only has one vessel on this coast,” interjected the junior officer. “The Izumo has no other naval vessels to talk to.”

“Whereas, the Germans may have the Nürnberg, Prince Rupert, Princess Charlotte, Princess Sophia, and Galiano,” said Captain Trousdale.

“Don’t forget the Leipzig,” said the Senior Intelligence Officer. “She left San Francisco sixteen hours ago, and we have no position on her since then.”

“This is like a nightmare,” said Premier McBride.

“We will continue to work on narrowing down the positions of these transmissions, and of decrypting the messages,” said the Senior Intelligence Officer. “We will update you when we have anything of substance. The ensign here,” he gestured at his junior, “has been attempting to use science to tease out the valid reports of German activity from the hill of spurious reports.” The junior officer started attempting to explain his methodology, but the senior said “Ensign, please cut to the chase.”

“This message meets my criteria.”

RRR BEING CHASED BY UNKNOWN WARSHIP RRR SS OTTER BEING CHASED BY UNKNOWN WARSHIP RRR

“That report was received at 0815 this morning, and the Otter gave her position as Queen Charlotte Sound.”

“Have you heard from the Otter since then?”

“We have not,” he said. “Here is another.”

THREE FUNNELLED CRUISER REPORTED COALING FROM AMERICAN FREIGHTER SS DELHI OFF PRINCE OF WALES ISLAND

“That is Alaska. American waters,” said Trousdale. “That would be risky for a German warship. Especially after the Ketchikan caper. And Prince of Wales Island is huge, almost as big as the entirety of the Queen Charlotte Islands.”

“The southern shores of Prince of Wales Island form the north side of Dixon Entrance,” said Premier McBride. “The report could just mean the cruiser is in Dixon Entrance. In international waters. What is the provenance of this report? And when was it received?”

“Provenance unknown,” said the junior officer. “The message was relayed to us by Pacheena Wireless Station. We received it at 1345 today.”

Premier McBride began counting on his fingers.

“Five and a half hours between transmissions,” said the Senior Intelligence Officer.

“Could that be the same ship?” asked McBride?

“The distance between those reports is about 270 nautical miles,” replied the Junior Officer, “To be the same ship she would have to average,” he paused for a moment, “forty nine knots, sir. So no.”

“So several raiders are pillaging the coast independently now,” said McBride, his expression completely flat. The room was quiet for a moment, as the officers sat in contemplation. Beams of sunlight shone through spaces in the blinds, and lit dust motes bright white against the dark woodwork.

There was a knock on the door.
 
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