Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Craigo, Feb 12, 2010.
Ages and ages ago I brought up the idea for a "filling in the blanks" naval battle from the Second Great War. Now, some of this does rely on info from the wiki and a hazy memory of the second trilogy, but bear with me, as I'm adding to the idea.
Firstly, there is the confusing claim about the battle between the Royal Navy and the High Seas Fleet, I'm choosing to interpret this as a fight between the British fleet and the German warships. Tentatively I'm calling this the "Battle of the North Sea" in my idea. Now, I picture this as something akin to OTL's Operation Ten-Go where the Germans (who are deficient in aircraft carriers) launch an attempted naval offensive with their large surface fleet, hoping to force the Royal Navy into decisive battle with their super dreadnoughts. They get their wish, but disastrously.
The Germans sortie, only to be torn to pieces by British air power from both the British Isles, and the fleet anchored and waiting. The High Seas Fleet suffers catastrophic losses and is all but wiped out, only a massive air battle managing to save the remainder of the fleet, but at great cost.
Because of this, the British feel confident enough to turn their naval might to challenge the Americans in home waters. Originally my thought was to put this in the Grand Banks, but I figure the British would want to do something big, but the USN would catch on. They allow the British fleet to concentrate at Bermuda, then launch a do or die attack, to drive the British from North American waters for good.
In my mind this "Second Battle of Bermuda" plays out much like OTL's Battle of Midway, save for it is the US doing the invading. After the British carriers are savaged, the fleet has no choice but to retreat to European waters. The Americans let them go, but retake Bermuda shortly thereafter.
These battles sound really good, especially the "Second Battle of Bermuda". That battle should have been made official and given more attention, instead of portraying the U.S. and Japanese fighting each other in Midway. The Turtledove Wiki states that Bermuda had Confederates and British fighting against the U.S.
Now that I think of it, I'd like to see Bermuda be given some discussion. Alterwright and I were able to give life to the Caribbean Campaign, especially to a U.S.-aligned Jamaica. Why not Bermuda, even if it is one battle?
This sounds more like a campaign to me, much larger than just the sea battle itself. Its not a bad thing, I like it, it just sounds larger than just a one time battle. And as part of the co-current Battle of the Atlantic, this one would be a major engagement, on the scale of Midway indeed or even the Battle of Saipan and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. But would it be exactly like Midway? Are we looking at a primarily carrier vs. carrier engagement or is this a capital ship fight? How many ships and how many carriers? We're also seeing multiple sides get involved here too.
I've done a bit of thinking on this subject and my own personal theory was that the German fleet tried to do something clever with the Norwegian harbours opened up to them after that little fit of optimism on Winnie's part; possibly using those bases to launch sallies into the Norwegian Sea (chasing the convoys likely to be running between Great Britain and Russia) and quite possibly being inspired by smaller sallies to risk a larger operation that sees them ram headlong into a meat-grinder.
It's not impossible that the difference between a major defeat and a minor embarrassment for Germany lay in a few hours of clear flying at EXACTLY the wrong time ...
I agree with both of these ideas - my suggestion would be that the British had committed a number of ships to harassment operations against the United States' points of vulnerability in the Western Hemisphere (in a bid to keep the US Navy too busy covering its bases to poke its nose into the Irish Sea); while the US would, of course, have far more to play with the sheer length of the Atlantic seaboard the Northern fleet would have to cover makes it nearly impossible to cover everything (especially with the Confederate States presenting an almighty distraction of Air Corps assets and the Pacific Fleet demanding resources be committed to the "wrong" side of Cape Horn).
While the British cannot HOLD very much or hit the juiciest targets, it seems very plausible that the RN could sting the Northern colossus just enough to keep coastal populations screaming to the central government for help - adding to the burdens of the Smith/La Follette Administration; its possible that the Battle of Bermuda flowed out of a (somewhat belated attempt) to upgrade the RN commitment in the Western Hemisphere to the point where it could strike a serious blow somewhere on the Eastern seaboard (one imagines this as a somewhat belated attempt to support Confederate operations in Pennsylvania - a British naval assault launched in tandem with Operation COALSCUTTLE would have made things even nastier for the US and might well have proved unpleasant even after Pittsburg).
My suspicion is that Confederate commitments to the this particular battle would have been fairly minor - probably submarines and light support, but not much more (given the presumably parlous state of the Second Great War Confederate Navy).
Maybe something akin to the naval battles off Guadalcanal where they are a whole series of battles covering everything from carrier fights to destroyer night attacks to a good old fashion dreadnought clash as the US and Royal Navies try to grind each other down.
Now that sounds like quite the epochal clash - a real heart breaker.
Interesting! Can you direct me to some of these posts on the Caribbean Campaign?
Bermuda would be the culmination of a larger campaign. I've got some rough notes on it down (the British and the CSA conspiring to lock the Yankee's out past the Florida straights, British air power harassing the Yankee coast to pin down the American flyboys, codes being broken) but essentially it involves the British trying to 'bait' the Americans into a decisive battle, and then things really not going their way.
The Confederates are bit players (committing with light forces) while the British do most of the heavy lifting with carrier groups. I think the US would have had many of its carriers out in the Pacific so the British (after their defeat of the Germans) decide to try and inflict another such on the US.
TL-191: Rivals - Confederates, Yankees, and the Banana Wars - 1900-1914, 1917-1939
Yankees and Confederates in Mexico and the Caribbean: circa 1920-1938
Confederates in the Caribbean: Second Great War -- 1941-1944
Confederate Marines landing in Haiti under heavy fire in 1941
Charlie White Shooting down a Confederate Houndog
Anastasio Somoza García's visit with Jacob Featherston
Jamaican soldiers during the Second Great War
U-Day: The Invasion of Haiti - Crowne Beach, King Red Sector, 1941
"The Bahamas - little more than sand, trees and a small Confederate Military base. Miller's reconnaissance team landed there almost a week ago. Since then - we've heard nothing. The waiting's over, we're going in. For all we know they're already dead. If what little we know about what the Confederates are doing to the Colored folk, it better not be true."
"Years after the raid on the Bahamas, we're heading up an all-out assault on Confederate-occupied Haiti... No POW's to rescue this time... Our mission: take the airfield and find proof of their atrocities. Alongside familiar faces, fresh faced recruits. The older guys like Miller, Sergeant Sullivan and myself, we're known as "The old breed". "Old"... we're not even out of our twenties."
"We're all numbed by all those dead Colored bodies. We just never knew anyone could be capable of doing that; I still can't believe it. Most of its population, in a blink of an eye, gone. Now it's down to me and me alone, to lead these men, my brothers, safely through this campaign. AA fire from Port-au-Prince airfield is knocking our planes right out of the sky. Taking this airfield is our only priority. Whatever the cost."
"Though we've taken the airfield, the enemy still holds onto most of the inland areas of the island. A maze of trenches and artillery positions run right through this whole Godforsaken rock. The enemy's dug in deep and we have to get our hands dirty. Flamethrowers. We'll burn 'em out."
"Getting this far has been tougher than any of us could ever have imagined. Taking the airfield and the mortar pits showed us that the enemy will fight to the death for every last inch of this rock. They're making their last stand in the jungles and caves that surround the heavy guns on the point. We take them... and we take back Haiti."
"The Battle of Port-au-Prince finally came to an end in November of 1943. Three bitter months after it was supposed to. When we shipped out for Cuba, the airfield became a vital asset in the campaign. Among those stationed there are the crews of the US Navy Black Panthers. Men who would risk everything before they would leave any of us in enemy waters."
"Status report? The last few months on Cuba have taken their toll... Morale is low. It's the rain, sir... and the mud. Barrels are getting bogged down. Supplies aren't getting through. We can't even get the wounded out. Yes, sir... Understood... "
"Everything that was asked of us - we've done. Every night we lay in a filthy foxhole - prayin' the enemy won't slit our throats. Every day we spent crawling through the mud and the dirt while bullets whistled all around. But this is the last time we're gonna have to put our lives on the line. This is the enemy's last stand. When we take Habana, we go home. All of us."
General J. Lawton Collins
Map of the Caribbean Before the First Great War, 1914
Modern Jamaican soldiers
One thing I've always wondered and could be elaborated upon would be the potential role of Franz Sigel in formulating the German-American alliance. Since the Civil War ends in 62, Sigel wouldn't have left the corps and even if he wouldn't have an active role after the war could still be influential in getting German immigrants to join. There could even be the idea of raising him up and giving him more credit than he deserves to maybe push the angle of "Germans and Americans are natural allies."
Perhaps I Goes to Fight Mit Sigel would be a fairly popular trench song in the Great War as a result.
A solemn Remembrance Day to my fellow Yankees
Thanks! This is some good stuff to ponder on.
For these series of posts, I'll be making some guesses on carrier numbers and the fleet strengths at the end of the Second Great War.
Lest the fire in our hearts that burns with vengeance be dimmed, lest the memory of humiliation vanish from our minds --- we remember.
*dramatic, somber music plays in the background*
As a hint, I'd guess that the Atlantic and the Caribbean would be United States' primary naval theaters, with the Pacific as a secondary theater and the Gulf of California and Baja by extension to that as kind of a sideshow theater of sorts.
August 12, 1943, Headquarters of the Commanding General, U.S. Army Group Midwest
MG Irving Morrell: <looking at map of Chattanooga> It's a crazy plan, Jim, but can your men take those heights? That's the easiest way to capture the city. Once we have the city, Patton will have to turn tail and flee for Atlanta.
BG James Gavin: Sir, my men have been training hard and furiously for this mission. We'll take the heights even if it means throwing the Confederates off by hand. I plan to have "George" secured by H+3, and "Tom" secured by H+4.
MG Irving Morrell: That's good to hear. Once we push Patton out of the city, we can fight him on open ground..........and completely annihilate him!
Final mission brief between MG Irving Morrell and BG James Gavin, the latter commanding all U.S. airborne soldiers during Operation Custer.
In 1941-42 I'd say the Atlantic and the Pacific would be the major theaters, but Japan's defection to her own side in 1943 would make the Caribbean a major theater (and the US retakes Bermuda in early '43 so that makes sense) but with the war against the Japanese being a problem in 1941-42 I think the major effort would be on the Atlantic and the Pacific, effectively splitting the US's attentions.
My thinking is that the British are hoping for the Japanese to win big so they can make an attack somewhere in North America (Newfoundland or Halifax) as part of some hair brained scheme by Churchill, which is what leads to the Battle of Bermuda in 1943.
In my version, there is no Pacific theater. I have the Japanese being neutral from 1941 to 1943 until the United States make a deal with them to attack Russia in exchange for no hostilities to occur between U.S. and Japanese forces. Oh, and the Japanese get to keep whatever they conquer from Russia, except for Russian America.
So! Apparently Thomas Brackett Reed was president in TL-191 and actually got his face minted on the US half-dollar coin by the time of the Great War in 1914.
^^^ --- In this timeline, according to his wiki article, he was particularly notable for vehemently supporting the Republic of Haiti's independence, entering into a treaty with Haiti to protect the country and prevent from being invaded from any possible Confederate invasion. He was apparently a fervent advocate of the Remembrance Ideology in the United States. He is thought to have served as President from 1897-1902 and is likely the next president after Alfred Thayer Mahan.
So, Gavin's still a US paratrooper in this timeline eh? Well that's interesting to note then! Nice little addition.
Separate names with a comma.