The Soft Underbelly - a Gallipoli TL

After 2 posts it's game over for the central powers!

I hope you continue this time line beyond the Great war or it will be done with in a week, which would be a pity as I'm really enjoying it.
I'm liking this. Keep it coming.

The Germans and the Austrians are obviously going to be appalled by this. Do they try for some kind of high-risk knockout blow to compensate?
Update time :D

Chapter III: Tipping the Balance, December 1915-October 1916.

The military ramifications of the Ottoman Empire’s disintegration became clear very soon (much sooner than the potential ethno-religious ticking time bomb in the Middle East). Following, the Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive in May-June 1915 Russia had been forced to conduct a strategic withdrawal from the Galicia-Poland salient. Based on serious losses, the Russian General Staff had ordered withdrawal to shorten the frontline and avoid potential encirclement of large Russian forces in the salient in September. The Imperial Russian Army had received a morale boost from its victories over the Turks and even more so from that hated enemy’s surrender. The Ottoman surrender also freed up nineteen divisions (thirteen from the Caucasus and six that had been guarding the Black Sea coast). Their redeployment to the Western Front would take two months due to the inadequacies of Russia’s underdeveloped railroad network. Redirecting their supply train from the Caucasus to Poland was similarly difficult due to Russia’s underdeveloped railroad network (Russia had only 75.000 km of track in 1914 compared to 163.000 km in the USA in 1890, a country less than half the size). This ensured that any Russian offensive there wouldn’t happen before late spring/early summer 1916.

The Russian bear, slow in redirecting its freed strength westward, also felt another positive effect: the trade routes were opened. There’d been tonnes of grain waiting to be exported. With the Bosporus open Russia could now once again sell its main export product and obtain some highly necessary funds. With some financial breathing room, the Russian government could purchase arms and materiel from abroad, offering lucrative contracts to American arms manufacturers among others. For example, Grand Duke Nicholas, who had been named Minister of War for his successes in the Caucasus, was convinced to give Colt a contract to provide pistols after receiving a pair of .45 calibre Colt Single Action Army pistols with ivory handles. Colt also allowed the Russian government to build a factory to produce these pistols under license. Their stopping power would make them very popular.

Besides that, the new funds allowed Russia to import the locomotives and rolling stock it was desperately short on, enabling it to distribute food to the cities. Much of the earlier food shortages had been the result of insufficient equipment to simultaneously supply the frontlines and the domestic front and not so much of actual food shortages. This added transport capacity was complemented by trains freed up from the Archangelsk and Trans-Siberian routes. The ability to import again also revitalized the economy and put many people back to work again. All-in-all, the faltering Russian economy was provided with a new lease on life by the collapse of their historical rival.

As a result of the Ottoman collapse and Austro-Hungarian worries, Falkenhayn was replaced by Paul von Hindenburg as Chief of Staff because the latter favoured a Russia-first strategy. In the winter of 1915-’16, German forces on the Western Front withdrew to the Hindenburg Line, shortening the frontline and freeing up fifteen divisions for use on other fronts. These were organized into two new field armies, each composed of two corps, one division and a cavalry brigade. Hindenburg and his quartermaster general Erich Ludendorff devised a plan to “blitz” into Petrograd and intimidate the Russians into a negotiated peace, freeing up their hands to deal with Britain and France. This spring offensive, known as Operation Michael, was launched in March 1916. Three field armies advanced along the Baltic coast and took Riga while off the coast the Imperial German Navy landed 20.000 men on the islands of Saaremaa and Hiumaa, just north of the Gulf of Riga, to threaten the enemy flank. Though it stampeded many surprised Russian formations into surrender and spectacularly overran much of Latvia and Estonia, Operation Michael stopped just west of Narva and therefore fell short of its objective by over 150 kilometres. As an example to the extremely worried people of Petrograd, Tsar Nicholas II for once ignored his advisors and stayed in the city (though he sent his family away). In the meantime, the Ottoman collapse meant Greece, Bulgaria, Britain and France could sent support to Serbia and threaten Austria-Hungary. Romania had an interest in Transylvania and the Austrians were wary of them, even proposing a pre-emptive invasion to capture the Ploiesti oilfields. In response to this situation, Field Marshal Von Hötzendorf redoubled his efforts against the Serbs and again took Belgrade in April, concurrent with the German spring offensive.

Back on the Eastern Front, the Tsar had replaced General Alexei Evert with Brusilov as commander of the Western Army Group, thereby approving of an offensive rather than a defensive strategy. Brusilov developed a daring plan to attack toward Riga and cut off German forces in Estonia and Latvia, which was executed on June 4th 1916. It started with a short, but massive and accurate artillery bombardment, preserving the element of surprise and not damaging the battlefield to the point that it was hard for the infantry to advance. Hindenburg withdrew his troops before the Russians could cut them off and made a brilliant riposte in July, known as the Second Battle of Gumbinnen, which kept the Russians out of East Prussia. Hindenburg inflicted serious losses and Brusilov withdrew to fight another day, which would turn out to be in the winter.

Meanwhile, the French were still logistically challenged by the territory offered to them by the German strategic retreat to the Hindenburg Line, which had entailed scorched earth policies that left these areas devastated. The French were still digesting the gains of the preceding winter and they left the proverbial slack to the British, who planned a summer offensive to relieve the Russians. General Douglas Haig planned to seize control of the ridges south and east of Ypres in West Flanders, Belgium. After that, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) was to seize control of the vital railway junction at Roeselare, interfering with the logistics of the German Fourth Army. Confident in their amphibious capabilities after the successful Gallipoli Campaign, the British planned a major landing on the Belgian coast in order to outflank the Germans, to take place after the BEF had achieved its objectives. This ambitious offensive was meant to draw German attention away from the Eastern Front, where the Russians were planning a new offensive. Brusilov was planning his coup de grace against Austria-Hungary.

In the meantime, on July 1st 1916, the British offensive kicked off with an explosion underneath Messines Ridge, the result of covert British digging of mines underneath German position, efforts which had been redoubled when planning for this offensive had begun. This attack on Messines Ridge had driven off the Germans by July 8th, removing them from the dominating ground on the southern face of the Ypres salient that they’d held since the First Battle of Ypres. The fierce resistance of the German army and the onset of rainy weather reduced the Third Battle of Ypres to a slog, like other battles on the Western Front. Besides that, mistakes were made in the preparations on the British side, like using shrapnel shells instead of regular shells. This meant that the artillery bombardment did little damage to the enemy’s defences, which allowed the Germans to inflict heavy losses on the first wave of attackers. The amphibious component was postponed because the battle on land had to achieve its objectives first.

In the meantime, on August 1st Brusilov unleashed his offensive against Austria-Hungary. He had amassed fifty infantry divisions and fifteen cavalry divisions and faced 39 Austrian infantry divisions and ten cavalry divisions, formed in a row of three defensive lines. Brusilov let his men dig entrenchments about 300 by 90 metres along the front line, providing shelter for the troops and hindering observation by the Austrians. The Russians secretly crept to within 91 metres of the Austrian lines and at some points as close as 69 metres. Brusilov prepared for a surprise assault along 480 kilometres of front. On June 4 the Russians opened the offensive with a massive, accurate but brief artillery barrage against the Austro-Hungarian lines, with the key factor of this effective bombardment being its brevity and accuracy. This was in contrast to the customary, protracted barrages at the time that gave the defenders time to bring up reserves and evacuate forward trenches, while damaging the battlefield so badly that it was hard for attackers to advance. The initial attack was successful and the Austro-Hungarian lines were broken, enabling three of Brusilov’s four armies to advance on a wide front. The success of the breakthrough was helped in large part by Brusilov’s innovation of shock troops to attack weak points along the Austrian lines to affect a breakthrough, which the main Russian army could then exploit. By October 20th Russian forces had reached the Carpathian Mountains, where their advance petered out with the first snowfall on the mountain summits. The Austro-Hungarian army was left crippled, having suffered about 1 million casualties.

Russian success also had to do with developments in the Balkans. On September 1st, Greek, British and French forces amassing in Serbia unleashed an offensive to liberate Belgrade. Progress was slow due to heavy autumn rains and the Austro-Hungarian defending forces inflicted heavy losses on the attackers. They held the left bank of the Sava River and destroyed the bridges before withdrawing across it (besides that, a major hindrance to the Entente were river monitors bombarding their positions). Like in the Carpathians, the first winter snow came early in mid October and the frontline became static: Belgrade was divided between an Austro-Hungarian controlled part north of the Sava and an Entente controlled part on the southern bank. The fighting artillery duels back and forth reduced the city to a smouldering ruin. The city’s suffering was extended as liberation was put off until after winter.
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This is good shit, interesting to see the Russians hold it together. A victory at Gallipoli is going to have huge ramifications for Australian and New Zealand national identities.
A very interesting look into a nice POD here so far. The war is certainly in for a different outcome here and with Russia now looking in much better shape, I can't really foresee a happy end to the conflict for the Central Powers unless they get very lucky or try and get a way to bargain as healthy a peace as possible.
Nice update and lots of changes on the Eastern Front. Just how well the Russians will do after the POD and if the Tsar will stay in power will have to be seen.
Oh snap, Germany is screwed. Hopefully they'll ask for an armistice and they won't be a wrecked as they were by Versailles. Makes for an interesting post-war world.
I was thinking that with a successful Gallipoli campaign Churchill wouldn't have been forced to resign. Indeed his reputation and power within the war cabinet would have been significantly increased.

I think this would have had a positive effect on the British war effort especially as it would allow Winnie to promote one of his favorite projects, the early tanks. I would think ITTL that more tanks would be available earlier, perhaps enough as to make a contribution to the British offensive mentioned in the last update.


Hopefully the Russians learn their lesson and expand their railroads as well as industrialize their country and modernize their army
Excellent. Austria-Hungary is hanging by the thread, losing about half of Galicia, and being unable to hold even onto Belgrade. Once Russians cross Carpathian mountains into Hungary, Romanians are gonna smell blood in water and jump in.
I expect Austro-Hungarian collapse or surrender in mid-early 1917. Perhaps successful Sixtus affair?

Chapter IV: War’s End, October 1916-June 1917.

The frontlines froze during the winter of 1916-’17, during which Austria-Hungary began searching for a diplomatic way out of the conflict. These attempts were ignored by the Russians, who smelled blood and wanted to cut up the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The British and French responses were vague at best and negotiations ultimately broke down because they didn’t want to affront Russia, throwing away an opportunity to end the war in 1916 and save hundreds of thousands of lives. When the Germans found out about Vienna’s talks with the Entente they were infuriated and berated their ally; Vienna was subsequently forced to break these talks off anyway.

The Entente powers were consumed by rather more important diplomatic negotiations with a medium sized and usually unimportant power: Romania. A rather complicated situation had arisen because Britain and France had promised the Romanians Transylvania, Banat as well as Bukovina, all three of which were areas with strong Romanian national identities. Since the late 19th century, however, Ukrainians had become the largest ethnic group in Bukovina due to an influx of migrants encouraged by the Austro-Hungarian government. Ukrainians constituted about 40% of the population while Romanians were 33% (other sizeable ethnic groups were Jews, Germans, Poles and Hungarians). Russia therefore also claimed Bukovina because the Ukrainians there were “Slavic brethren.” Negotiations about the area’s partition roughly followed ethnic lines and settled on a north-south divide, the north befalling Russia and the south Romania. As far as the Banat was concerned, Croats and Serbs formed 37% of the population and the Romanians 28%. Serbia therefore claimed that region as well as part of its planned South Slavic kingdom. Its planned division between Serbia and Romania followed ethnic lines, resulting in an east-west divide, with the concerning ethnic groups roughly falling within the projected borders of their national homes (these groups being Serbs, Croats and Romanians, while Hungarian and German interests were ignored). Bucharest subsequently declared war on the Central Powers in November 1916, adding half a million troops, albeit of mediocre quality, to the Entente war effort, but the consequences of that move would be felt first in spring 1917.

In March 1917, Entente offensives started everywhere, starting on the Eastern, Balkan and Italian fronts. On March 4th 1917, after a bombardment with mustard gas shells, Serbian, British, French and Greek troops got a foothold in northern Serbia while simultaneously Romanian forces advanced into Transylvania. Panic resulted in Von Hötzendorf’s headquarters as Austria-Hungary’s entire southern flank fell to pieces. Three days later, on March 7th, the weary Imperial Russian Army pulled itself together and went unto the breach once more, advancing through the Carpathians with great difficulty. It was commanded by Alexei Brusilov, who had been promoted to Field Marshal for its military successes. The Galician front collapsed first and Russian forces began advancing south along the Tisza River, threatening to split Hungary in two. This caused a panic amongst the civilian population which had been frightened by war propaganda depicting the Russians as pillaging barbarians (which wasn’t entirely untrue). The Austro-Hungarian war effort collapsed. Italian forces were finally successful as well in the Tenth Battle of the Isonzo. 38 Italian divisions pitted against twelve Austro-Hungarian divisions broke through into central Carniola, threatening Ljubljana and Vienna. Romanian forces overran Transylvania, Bosnia-Herzegovina fell to Serb forces, and in the meantime Russian forces were less than 100 kilometres from Budapest. On May 9th 1917, representatives of the Austro-Hungarian government met with representatives from the Entente powers in the castle town of Visegrád and signed the “Armistice of Visegrád.” In response, German forces occupied Bohemia, much of the German speaking provinces of Cisleithania, and western Hungary.

In the meantime, up until the spring of 1917, the Western Front didn’t budge. By April 1917, the slogging match known as the Third Battle of Ypres had been going on intermittently for nine months, with phases of relatively calm and phases of intensified combat. Douglas Haig was still committed to the idea of a massive breakthrough and turned around the original notion of an amphibious landing as a secondary operation on its head. He wanted the amphibious landing to take place to divert German attention from British operations around Ypres, as a supporting operation to facilitate a breakthrough rather than an operation to help consolidate after a breakthrough. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill was often attracted to audacious plans, case in point being Gallipoli, and he approved of it. He expected it to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Churchill also thought Jutland had scared the Imperial German Navy, since it hadn’t made a serious move since then.

Vice Admiral Sir Cecil Burney’s 1st Battle Squadron and Vice Admiral Beatty’s 3rd Battlecruiser Squadron provided the big guns. Eight battleships, four battlecruisers, fifteen light cruisers, 22 destroyers and 37 minesweepers supported a landing by ~ 30.000 men, unleashing a bombardment of 15 inch (380 mm), 13.5 inch (343 mm), 12 inch (305 mm), and various smaller calibre shells while minesweepers took care of German minefields and destroyers guarded against U-boats. The landings took place on May 13th 1917, known as Y-Day. Under heavy cover fire six artillery batteries landed with a total of 900 men equipped with 72 artillery pieces: QF 4.5 inch (114 mm) field howitzers, QF 18-pounder 3.3 inch (83.8 mm) field guns and various mortars needed to provide further artillery cover. A cavalry brigade and 24.000 infantrymen established a beachhead twelve kilometres wide and one kilometre deep by Y+1, although resistance toughened. The Germans brought in several heavy railroad guns and heavy Big Bertha heavy siege guns to shell the landing area. The landing area came under siege and the British suffered heavy casualties since the open terrain made them vulnerable, prompting them to dig trenches in the sand.

When a British destroyer hit a mine missed by the minesweepers it sank and a German U-boat took the survivors prisoner. The captors found documents on the ship’s radio operator which, after investigation, turned out to be maps that were extremely accurate concerning U-boat dispositions. The Imperial German Navy thusly learned that their codes had mostly likely been broken by British cryptologists, meaning that all of their communications through the ether would be intercepted. German commander Admiral Reinhard Scheer decided to use this to his advantage: the British didn’t know that the Germans knew their codes had been broken and Scheer used that to drop dummy messages concerning a sortie by the High Seas Fleet. With the military situation deteriorating on both the Western and Eastern Fronts, Scheer envisioned one last fleet advance to inflict as much damage as possible on the Grand Fleet to achieve a better bargaining position for Germany regardless of the losses.

The Imperial German Navy was otherwise uncommitted and fielded all of its nineteen dreadnoughts as well as five pre-dreadnought battleships, five battlecruisers, eleven light cruisers, 65 torpedo boats and twelve U-boats, which steamed to open sea on May 16th 1917. The alarmed British admiralty commanded by Admiral Sir John Jellicoe deployed a total of 23 dreadnoughts, six battlecruisers, five armoured cruisers, fourteen light cruisers and 57 destroyers. The Grand Fleet had greater numbers than the High Seas Fleet, but the discrepancy in capital ships was significantly smaller than at Jutland. The Battle of Jutland had been a tactical success for the Germans, but a strategic failure since Britain had retained its control of the seas. Scheer knew that in order to break British naval dominance a much higher rate of attrition was required than Jutland’s. He was confident that, with a lessened British numerical superiority and a well laid battle plan, this could be achieved. In the meantime, in early 1917, Germany had already resumed unrestricted submarine warfare, much to the annoyance of the United States.

Based on German disinformation Jellicoe believed the Germans were intending to disrupt coastal bombardment operations off the Belgian coast and destroy the fleet element operating there. According to intelligence the High Seas Fleet would be steaming southward 43 nautical miles (80 km) northwest of the Dutch island of Texel by the late afternoon of May 16th. As a result the Grand Fleet was on a course due east in order to cross the T of the enemy fleet. A major part of German misinformation, however, concerned their timetable. They had steamed further south than intelligence reports had told Jellicoe to expect, allowing Scheer to cross his T while the setting sun back-lighted British ships.

Much to his horror, at 18:33 hours, Jellicoe saw muzzle flashes erupting from a bog of mist in the distance. Germany’s latest battleship, SMS Baden, managed to land seven hits with its heavy calibre 15 inch (380 mm) guns and inflicted significant damage on HMS Iron Duke. Like at Jutland this was Jellicoe’s flagship, but the damage forced him to transfer his flag to HMS Revenge while the German battle line kept firing away with all their guns whereas the British could only bring their forward guns to bear. With the sun to his rear, Jellicoe realized he couldn’t just withdraw because that’d make his ships easy pickings. Therefore he ordered his ships to weather enemy fire and redeploy so they too could fully use their gun batteries, an order that proved disastrous for HMS Iron Duke. The damaged ship was hit by several more 15 inch shells from Baden and her sister Bayern, Scheer’s flagship. U-boats had been placed in the area in order to intercept the Royal Navy. A total of three torpedoes, two from U-17 and one from U-24, in combination with dozens of shells proved fatal. By 19:45 hours she was taking on so much water that her captain gave the order to abandon ship, after which her guns fell silent. She had sunk to the bottom of the North Sea another 45 minutes later. Several other ships succumbed to German guns. One of them was battlecruiser HMS Indomitable, which was hit by several 11 inch (28 cm) and 12 inch (30.5 cm) shells, several from the superior German battlecruiser Moltke. The combination of naval gunfire and U-boat torpedoes was used throughout the battle, to the detriment of the British. It was by far the most successful use of submarines against capital warships of the Great War.

Scheer’s goal was to inflict as many casualties as possible regardless of the cost solely to gain a better position at the negotiating table, recognizing the war was lost. He didn’t back down, much to the confusion of British commanders since they held the numerical advantage. To them their enemy’s behaviour seemed to lack strategic sense, but it made perfect sense: the German navy being intact was of no use if the Royal Navy still had the upper hand by the time the war ended. This dynamic turned the battle into a slogging match that proved costly to the Royal Navy, with Scheer pressing his tactical advantage while the British tried to use their numbers. The Battle of the West Frisian Islands ended during the early morning hours of May 17th 1917. By then the Royal Navy had lost three dreadnoughts, three battlecruisers, two armoured cruisers, three light cruisers and nine destroyers. This made it a defeat in British eyes, though it was by no means the Trafalgar size victory German propaganda claimed it was. The Germans had lost one dreadnought, four pre-dreadnoughts, two light cruisers and ten torpedo boats. It was a complete tactical victory for the Germans and, given that the British people had been told the war was almost over, a blow to British morale. Britain, however, still maintained its command over the seas.

In the meantime, the forces on the Belgian coast finally broke out of their beachhead and the Germans had withdrawn to a line roughly following the river Scheldt by May 25th. On the Eastern Front, the Russians could now devote their full attention to fighting the Germans. With the Austro-Hungarians out of the war, the Germans faced a dozen Russian armies arrayed against them on a front stretching from Lemberg to Riga. The ambitious plan formulated by Brusilov, the Tsar’s favourite general at this point, was to advance from Baranovichi to Bialystok and then swing north-westward toward Danzig and cut off East Prussia from the rest of Germany. The Russians launched their offensive on May 7th 1917, but it wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. Their strength in numbers and their high morale was offset by German superiority in artillery, machine guns and modern communications, as well as superior officer training and discipline. Russian forces reached Bialystok, but their infantry couldn’t shoulder the breakthrough and Brusilov had to call off the attack in order to avoid creating a vulnerable salient.

Brusilov awaited reinforcements to cover the serious losses inflicted by the Germans. The Imperial Russian Army renewed its offensive in late June with the more limited and realistic goal of reaching the Lida-Kobryn line, an advance of 100 kilometres over a 170 kilometre wide front. It was to create a springboard for an autumn offensive into the Poland or into East Prussia. The limited success, achieved difficultly, proved demoralizing.

Entente plans were overtaken by the sudden German request for an armistice on June 25th 1917. The German general staff was well aware of its disadvantageous position. In the West they had been pushed back to the river Scheldt in western Belgium, having lost a lot of the territory they had once occupied in France. In the meantime, the Russians had positioned themselves for an advance toward Warsaw or maybe a another attempt on Danzig while British, French, Serb, Greek and Romanian forces were assembling for an advance westward along the Danube. In short, Germany’s enemies were positioning themselves on all sides.

However, Germany still had millions of well-equipped and well-led men at its disposal and had received a boost in industrial production due to their occupation of Bohemia and Moravia. These areas had been the Austro-Hungarian economic heartland, producing about 70% of the country’s industrial goods and now producing weapons and ammunitions for the Germans. Besides that, in February 1917, Germany had begun a programme imitating the “dig for victory” programme in the UK. The German government similarly requisitioned waste ground, ornamental gardens and lawns, sports fields and golf courses for farming and growing vegetables and fruit. Women aged 15-45, adolescent men aged 13-17, men aged 50-60, men deemed unfit for military service and prisoners of war were conscripted to cultivate these lands, for as for as they weren’t already working in the armaments industry. The German Empire was mobilizing all available resources and manpower. The Germans figured that they could gain a more advantageous deal with their fighting strength still intact and enemy forces well away from Germany’s borders during the peace negotiations. Effectively, they planned to discourage the Entente from a fight until an unconditional surrender by using the prospect of severe losses and the threat of devastation as part of scorched earth tactics.

Entente generals estimated that this gave Germany the potential to fight for another 6-12 months and cause another estimated 2 million casualties. Germans negotiators, most of them German officers, met with Entente diplomats at the town of Veszprém just north of Lake Balaton. Entente diplomats initially demanded an unconditional German surrender, which included a withdrawal to pre-war borders and a full demobilization. German militarists, however, dangled the prospect of another year of war in front of a delegation mostly consisting of civilians. What the Entente and Germany agreed to was more of a ceasefire than an actual armistice. It was signed on Monday June 18th 1917.

The French government was hell bent on taking revenge for the humiliation of 1870-’71 and floated proposals to break Germany up into its constituent states, demilitarize Germany, occupy the Rhineland with its Entente allies, assign to Germany full blame for the war, and force it to pay crippling war indemnities to forever end its great power status. During the summer of 1917, however, it looked like Germany would fight to the death to get a better peace. Paris’s principal allies Petrograd and London, however, didn’t want to fight on to realize France’s revenge trip. Originally, Russia wanted to annex East Prussia, West Prussia and Pomerania, but was too exhausted to make true on those claims, never mind enforcing French designs. The Russian ambassador to France Alexander Izvolsky explained to Prime Minister Ribot that the Russian economy was in tatters, that the government was nearly bankrupt, that the troops might mutiny if the war continued, and that there were dangerous revolutionary sentiments (especially on the fringes of the Russian Empire). Britain, in the meantime, mainly wanted to eliminate the naval threat posed by Germany, but was also intent on preserving the balance of power. A crippled Germany would allow the respective spheres of influence of Russian and France to meet at the river Elbe, which would directly contravene Britain’s traditional commitment to the balance of power. Therefore, the guns fell silent and the strategic situation froze along the frontlines as they existed in June 1917.
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Those naval losses seem a bit large on the British side, especially ratio wise with the Germans losing very little ship wise.

I would also question the UK not noticing its missing destroyer and it's crew, especially since it opens the risk of Germans discovering they have the codes. You'd think they would at least be more wary in ship deployments but it could just be out down to arrogance on the British side since they hold naval supremacy.
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If we still get Alsace-Lorraine back, I'm ok; don't forget the letter from Kaiser Wilhelm I given by Empress Eugénie to Clémenceau to prove the Germans did annex these lands for military purposes.
This is an amazing story, I can't wait to see what you do with the peace process. I sorta hope that Germany doesn't get shafted this time around, it might prove more stable in the long run, or it might be fun if GB started fighting with France over the peace. Lots of ways this could go, look forward to following this.
A more balanced peace or a greater stabbed in the back myth?

More a pause for round two, just this time everybody knows it.

While this war has been shorter and so much much cheaper in both blood and treasure for everybody it was also less...let's say resolutive as Germany will remain a strong nation in the middle of Europe and both France and Russia will be scared by her and so will mantain an higher military spending.
Relations between London and his wartime ally will be strained due to Petrograd and Paris getting a lot of 'mutilated victory' feeling due to the perceived weakness towards the huns.
Ironically, Italy will just get what has been promised with much much less problems of OTL due to both the absence of Wilson and the continued menace of Germany and the Entente internal troubles (meaning that as an ally Rome mantain a certain importance for Paris or London)

Germany will probably obtain some serious concession (like much less punitive reparation and keeping the occupied part of the Hapsburg Austria proper, in the end the Czech can get some kind of protectorate status) but the rest of the border will be like OTL (with the exception of Silesia that will probably remain totally Germany and Memeland...but in the last case at least it will be demilitarizated).

Russia has dodged the revolution for now, but the Baltic, Finland and Poland will be an hotbed of rebellion and some concession of autonomy need to be done if anybody want to the situation to explode. Political stable as OTL Italy after the war and at the first place to become a right wing dictatorship.

France will feel menaced and isolated, even with all the gains (A-L , as it's not political feasible not obtaining that from Germany and his share of the German and OttomanEmpire).
If reparations are not possible in the amount envisioned, at least somekind of demilitarizated zone will be demanded and any possible pressure will be applied to obtain it.
Much much less devastated and spent of OTL, some big political troubles are ahead but less than OTL due to the lack of russian revolution and the general better situation.
Probably try to get an alliance with Belgium and Italy both in military and economic terms.

Italy, well, no Caporetto, lot and lot less deaths and the probability of being humiliated as OTL at the peace conference are very slim. Still political violence is unavoidable but with a better economic situation Benny or the socialist possibility for a takeover of the nation are much much less than OTL.
Probably political very similar to OTL France (maybe slighty more stable due to the presence of the King).

The USA (or better Wilson) have lost their chance to get the top spot for now; while they have greatly profited by the war the great power of Europe are not spent like OTL and without the DoW Wilson political capital in the old continent is not comparable to OTL.
Probably will try to get support for his 14 points and the LoN and receive polite refusal.

East Europe will be the usual mess.

With the war ending at this stage a lot of the defying moment for many nation has been butterflyed away.

- No Russian Revolution
- No Caporetto for Italy
- Spanish Influenza deathtool probably lessen than OTL due to no massive influx of american troops and soldiers living in the trench.
- No conscription crisis in Ireland.
- No entry of the USA in the war and so no crackdown of the socialists or of German culture
As mentioned, the naval battle seems too lopsided to me. Even if the Germans got the surprise without anyone from the Netherlands alerting the UK to the German fleet, I would still say the Germans would have suffered more casualties.

That aside, the Entente should still get more concessions from Germany for its actions. Not as bad as Versailles, but still some hard consequences.
In this situation Germany just needs to, and essentially already has, thrown its allies to the wolves. A-L absolutely needs to go France for peace, maybe Eupen to compensate Belgium, and of course independence for Luxembourg. However in the east, things need not be so harsh. I don't know that Russia would really have the political will or capital to push for big territorial concessions from Germany, though I think they would certainly need some war indemnities to quiet discontent at home. All of Galicia of course to Russia as well as their Ottoman gains would go some way towards sating their bloodlust, but I think raw funds would be needed as well.

Maybe the Hungarian and Turkish rumpstates can be made to foot the majority of the bill. I think Austria bereft of all the Italian claims given to Germany is reasonable, but I think Bohemia-Moravia is much harder, especially outright annexation. Maybe some sort of Protectorate status, and the protectorate also has to foot some of the bill of indemnities. If there is any talk of war guilt, just shove it onto Austria-Hungary, that's most palatable to the powers. A peace where Germany is not blamed, all the major powers gain SOME territory, and fewer war indemnities for the big players is a recipe for success I think.

If there is any stab in the back sentiment in this timeline I don't think it would be centered in Germany, but in Hungary and the rump Turkish State.
Oh man, this keeps getting better. Germany asked for peace before it was completely at the Entente's mercy as in OTL. Though at a disadvantage they are more than strong enough to make an unconditional surrender extremely painful.
The negotiations are going to be fun