TL-191: Filling the Gaps

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Craigo, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    Full disclosure, the following section depends heavily on memory and help from the Turtledove Wiki since I don't have my copy of Return Engagement handy and only have American Front and The Victorious Opposition handy. This is my rough take on carrier construction between 1918 and 1940.

    Any corrections and suggestions welcome.

    Part I The Interwar Naval Build Up

    Between the Great War and the Second Great War the build up of naval power by both Germany and the United States was substantial, however, it paled in comparison to the build up of the Royal Navy. The humiliating reverses which had led the British Empire to seek an armistice and lose her North American holdings had propelled increasingly hawkish governments to power. This had seen an increased naval spending as Britain sought to ‘make good’ her losses from the previous war. It was also aimed at bringing the British up to strength against her enemies, the High Seas Fleet and the United States Navy.

    Renewed naval spending was spurred initially by the humiliating failure to provide for the Protestant Rebels in Ulster in 1924. The idea that Britain could not provide adequate support for sympathetic peoples in her own backyard shocked not only the public at large, but also the naval establishment. Parliament began a crash program of modernization of the fleet’s lighter forces and cruisers.

    Through the 1920s and 1930s the naval build up was truly prodigious, to the extent that even at the height of the Depression men did not go out of work at the Royal Navy’s yards. However, it was not until the rise of Churchill/Mosley government in 1932 that a true modernization began.

    The Royal Navy had initially, like many thinkers, been skeptical of the aircraft carrier as a method of winning wars. Only commissioning the HMS Hermes in 1924, too late to play any role in the uprising. It was only with the inventive use of carriers by the Japanese Navy in the Pacific War, the Churchill ordered the Royal Navy to begin commissioning its own aircraft carriers.

    This would lead to the launch of the famous HMS Ark Royal in 1938, and she would be followed by four sisters of the Illustrious Class which were laid down and slowly commissioned through the 1940s. Despite this interest in naval power projection, Churchill still spent enormous amounts of money on capital ships, competing with the German naval program.

    The German Navy for its part, had gone in an opposite direction. The loss of their Pacific Colonies in the Great War had soured many in the Reichstag on naval spending, and the glory won by the army had meant that funds were heaped on maintaining the new puppet states in the East and the burgeoning colonies in Mittelafrika. The Navy, until 1932, was the ‘poor cousin’ of the army. However, the Kaiser’s interest in the High Seas Fleet had not diminished, it was merely a matter of time before he cajoled the de-facto leader, Hindenburg, into more navy spending.

    In the interwar years the navy had largely languished, until the 1930s when the aging Kaiser got his wish and was able to spend funds on more battleships. Though his admirals desired to build some carriers, the Kaiser maintained that dreadnoughts, and more importantly his cherished project of the Tripitz Class Superdreadnoughts, would rule the seas. Though the High Seas Fleet would lay down one carrier in late 1938, and another in 1939, neither the Graf Von Zeppelin or Manfred von Richtofen would be ready when war broke out in 1941. Even then, the High Seas Fleet would concentrate its main strength on its gun line to oppose the power of the renewed British fleet in the North Sea and the Baltic.

    The US Navy, unlike its German counterpart, had embraced aircraft carriers in the interwar years, learning from the Pacific War and their use of the USS Remembrance. This had lead to the commissioning of the USS Sandwich Islands and the USS Bahamas[1]. With the events of the Pacific War, the United States and Japan became arguably the most skilled naval tacticians in the world at using carriers. The Though the United States planned a massive carrier expansion program to modernize and expand the fleet in the wake of the Pacific War, the election of the Socialist Party to power curtailed these plans as spending cuts across the board were made. The armed forces would suffer the most from these, much to their detriment in 1941.

    -----

    1] I find the lack of numerous US Carriers a bit disturbing. My memory may be faulty, but the USN having only two carriers at the outbreak of war seems insane to me. The Bahamas is my solution to that, I haven’t read the in book sections about the Pacific War in nearly eight years so maybe that accounts for it?
     
  2. RaspingLeech Well-Known Member

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    There are only two named USN fleet carriers, but there's a line in Drive to the East that the USN and Royal Navy are the two major Atlantic carrier powers, so maybe there were more than we saw.
     
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  3. bguy Donor

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    It's mentioned in one of the Sam Carsten scenes in The Center Cannot Hold that the US Navy (circa 1928) had three purpose build aircraft carriers in addition to the Remembrance, so there should have been at least 4 US carriers at the start of the Pacific War. Maybe some of those carriers were lost during the Pacific War, but given the US was willing to build up to 4 carriers under the Socialists in the 1920s, it's hard to believe they wouldn't have maintained at least that large a carrier fleet throughout the 1930s given the continued hostility of major naval powers like the British and Japanese and the fact that carriers proved their value as a weapon of war during the Pacific War.
     
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  4. ohlourdespadua Well-Known Member

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    I remember why the USN didn't have that many carriers; the Socialists starting from Upton Sinclair slashed military spending done by the Democrats and wanted to divert said money to social programs. The current messes that are the Canadian rebellions and the Pacific War was solely due to lack of military preparedness. Even Morrell complained that his purpose in the Army was degraded when they closed the Barrel Works at Ft. Leavenworth...
     
  5. EnglishCanuck Blogger/Writer/Dangerous Moderate

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    My internal logic is that the Pacific War cost a number of carriers, but there should be at least 4 carriers in the USN at the start of the war, two for each sea. I'm considering just inventing them whole clothe to 'massage' the book's battles a little.
     
  6. Tiro Well-Known Member

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    By the sound of things this is one of those massages that does NOT have a Happy Ending ...
     
  7. Tiro Well-Known Member

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    On a more serious note, please allow me to compliment you on an excellent first article EC - one looks forward to seeing the rest of the series and confidently anticipate another heartbreaking clash in T-191s Eternal Civil War between the English-speaking peoples.
     
  8. bguy Donor

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    Well you've got to put it in context. IOTL the US Navy only had 3 aircraft carriers in 1928. Whereas in TL-191 the 1928 US Navy had 4 carriers. Thus even in the Socialist dominated '20s the Socialists still funded a carrier fleet bigger than that of the OTL US Navy. Indeed the large US carrier fleets makes me even wonder did the Socialists really cut the defense budget that much or was it more that the Army simply lost the 1920 budget battles to the Navy. Which would actually make sense as in the TL-191 1920s, Japan, Britain and Germany would all have seemed like bigger threats to the US than the prostrate CSA, and thus it would be understandable that the US would emphasize the Navy over the Army.
     
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  9. vesica Well-Known Member

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    It's possible that the Navy and Army did get their funding slashed in the immediate 1920s until the Irish Uprising. Recall in Blood & Iron (which I'm listening to again right now) Commander Grady explicitly mentioned the Carrier Program was on the chopping block despite the fact the Remembrance had proven it's worth.

    After that the Remembrance did languish in port for a while (Sam was studying for the Officer Examinations and had a lot of free time)

    It's possible that a combination of the Irish Uprising, and naval intelligence reports from Japan and Britain to Philadelphia inspired the Socialists to invest what resources were going into the Navy into laying down the keels for the three purpose built Carriers. It's also likely that the Sinclair Administration made the decision to invest in the Navy over the Army, hence why the Carriers were built and the Remembrance wasnt mothballed but the Army languished with nothing more threatening then Occupied Canada and a still crippled CSA to deal with
     
  10. vesica Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of which I have a number of projects I have spent far too long languishing

    - The American Campaign in the Maritimes
    - The Second Great War in Europe (Specifically the Western Front)
    - Occupied Canada (Interwar Years)
     
  11. Allochronian Well-Known Member

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    YES! Please do it.

    I'm interested in hearing about the nature of that war in Europe. I would also like to suggest if you could create some circumstances in which Britain/France/Russia could have won the war. When I was reading the books, I got the impression that Germany was "destined" to win and I didn't like that. Regardless of whether or not it contradicts ideas established by Dr. Turtledove, I want to read all about them.

    Oh, and Occupied Canada would be good to expand even further, too.
     
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  12. Spencer Pease Well-Known Member

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    There already is an Occupied Canada post.
     
  13. vesica Well-Known Member

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    Link?
     
  14. Spencer Pease Well-Known Member

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  15. vesica Well-Known Member

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  16. President Mahan Well-Known Member

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    Search the thread he was President from 1889 to 1897. President before Mahan and the father of the remembrance movement. He single handedly saved Haiti from Confederate occupation in the 1890s. Most historians consider him the third best president behind Theodore Roosevelt and Alfred Thayer Mahan.

    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/tl-191-filling-the-gaps.148857/page-55#post-9931368

    https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/tl-191-filling-the-gaps.148857/page-55#post-9985741
     
  17. Roosevelt Mayor Mike

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    I always wondered, would historians consider Buchanan the worst, or Lincoln the worst?
     
  18. Odinson The Thunderer

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    Buchanan, seeing as he let the States declare succession. Lincoln actually fought to keep them in the union.
     
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  19. Odinson The Thunderer

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    I'm not sure if this is the right thread to ask, but why does Teddy die in 1924 in timeline 191 if he dies in 1919 in OTL?
     
  20. J.J.Jameson88 Well-Known Member

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    He doesn't go to brazil and contract malaria.
     
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