TL-191: Filling the Gaps

4th Barrel Division (Confederacy)
Commanders:
-
Brigadier General George S. Patton Jr. (1938 - 1941)
- Brigadier General John S. Wood (1941 - 1943)
- Brigadier General Matthew J. Donahue (1943 - 1944)

The Confederate 4th Barrel Division was widely considered one of the most elite armored formations of the Confederate State Army during the Second Great War. Originally activated as a training regiment during the invasion of Louisiana it rose to prominence as Lieutenant General George Patton's favorite spearhead of the Army of Kentucky's armored forces. The Division ultimately fought from the first day of Operation Blackbeard, up until the final days of the Battle of Pittsburgh, before it was quietly reactivated, at President Featherson's insistence, and was the final unit of the Army of Kentucky to surrender with Patton in Birmingham in 1944.

Origins

The 4th Barrel Division was originally organized as the 2nd Forth Worth Light Cavalry Brigade. This was one of many misnomers that the Confederate General Staff had created to hide their armored training school in Texas and the reality of their units. The 2nd Light Cavalry Brigade was originally used as the western spearhead during the invasion of Louisiana, under the command of then Colonel George Patton. Patton's successful command, and his dedication to Lieutenant General Forrest's armored warfare theories made him the primary commander to take over as the Division's first commander. 4th Barrel Division was one of the first units that marched over the border into Kentucky, as apart of the newly reconstituted Army of Kentucky. Patton was later promoted to take command of I Barrel Corps, the chief armored spearhead for the entire Army of Kentucky, and the division was taken over by Colonel, later Brigadier General, John S. Wood.

Operation Blackbeard

During the opening phase of Operation Blackbeard, 4th Barrel Division was apart of I Barrel Corps, of the Army of Kentucky's Combat Command A, and lead most of the thrust towards Lake Erie. Patton drove his division relentlessly, urging it to pierce any position it could find. While it did lead the 4th Barrel Division to run into several of Colonel Morrel's ambushes and local counter attacks, it also allowed them to break portions of the line that normally wouldn't have been able to be broken. Following one particular engagement where Brigadier General Patton knew he had beaten Morrel personally he is reported to have said "Morrel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!" 4th Barrel was ultimately the armored unit that reached Lake Erie first. For it's extremely successful service record, John Wood was promoted to Brigadier General, while George Patton was promoted to Major General.

When Patton was transferred to Virginia to command Armored forces there, 4th Barrel Division remained in Ohio for refit and reinforcement and await further orders. When US President Al Smith, refused to surrender to the Confederacy, rumor began openly floating within the 4th Barrel Division where it would be aimed next; either northwest to Michigan or east into Pennsylvania. When Operation Coalscuttle was planned, 4th Barrel Division was one of the first units to receive the new Mark IV. Confederate Barrel.

Operation Coalscuttle & the Battle of Pittsburgh

When the Confederacy launched Operation Coalscuttle, 4th Barrel Division was again at the forefront of combat, leading the offensive east, and was the chief unit that shattered the initial US lines between Akron and Canton, driving towards Pittsburgh. Although 4th Barrel was one of the first units to reach the suburbs of Pittsburgh, both Brigadier General Wood, and Major General Patton resisted constant calls by Confederate High Command to to deploy the barrels into Pittsburgh itself, much like they had not been deployed into Columbus the year before. As the Battle of Pittsburgh dragged on however, and the infantry and air force couldn't dislodge the stubborn US defenders, 4th Barrel, like much of the Army of Kentucky's armor, found itself increasingly being deployed deeper and deeper into Pittsburgh to get rid of the armor that Brigadier General Morrel had entrenched in the city. This eventually lead to it's death knell when Morrel launched his counter offensive and surrounded the bulk of Combat Commands A and B, within the city itself, including the entirety of the I Armored Corps. General Patton was forcibly evacuated from the city, leaving Brigadier General John Wood in de-facto command. 4th Barrel was eventually ground down to a scratch unit, with enough barrels to constitute a battalion at best, much like a division. 4th Barrel eventually surrendered with the rest of the Army of Kentucky trapped within Pittsburgh.

Rebuilding and the Grinding Retreat

Following the surrender of the bulk of the Army of Kentucky within Pittsburgh, to shore up morale, President Featherston ordered the recreation of several of the surrendered elite and notable units, including 4th Barrel. This new 4th Barrel Division was placed under the command Brigadier General Matthew H. Donahue, and apart of the rebuilding Army of Kentucky. A shell of it's former status, the new 4th Barrel Division only ever got up to full strength once during it's second existence, during Patton's attempted counter attack out of the Appalachians. 4th Barrel Division, like most of the armored forces that attempted the counter offensive were eventually ground down thanks to US air supremacy and the superiority and numbers of the US Mark. III Barrels. Outside of that 4th Barrel's forces were constantly pushed back, and anytime reinforcements came into the line, it, at General Patton's insistence, made as many localized counter attacks as it could get away with, though this only even slowed the US advance, never stopping it. 4th Barrel was kept as an armored reserve during the Battle of Chattanooga, with Patton holding it south of the city to reinforce the city similar to what General Morrel at done at Pittsburgh. It being held back ironically saved it when Morrel captured Lookout Mountain, and allow Patton and Donahue to withdraw 4th Barrel, and the bulk of the Army of Kentucky in order back into Georgia.

Last Days

4th Barrel Division was kept as part of Patton's armored reserve during the Battle of Atlanta and fought on the western side of the city. It attempted several attempted counter offensives, however it constituent brigades were rarely able to push back to the superior US barrel forces and air supremacy, even after the introduction of the Confederacy's Mark V. Superbarrel. 4th Barrel withdrew with what forces it could into Alabama, and prepared for it's final stand in Birmingham. As close to the factories as it could be, 4th Barrel eventually almost reached it's full strength, with some barrels rolling directly off the line into combat commands. Brigadier General Donahue and Lieutenant General Patton knew this would be a final stand, but figured that they would be able to grind General Ironhewer's forces to dust. That all changed when the US threatened to drop a superbomb on Birmingham. Following the threat, Lieutenant General Patton surrendered all remaining forces of the Army of Kentucky.
this must be like OTL's Grossdeutschland or the Panzer Lehr Divisions then?
 
this must be like OTL's Grossdeutschland or the Panzer Lehr Divisions then?
You are exactly correct. It was obviously also based on OTL 4th Armored Division in terms of its Commander and initial combat history. My next post will be on the 24th South Carolina Infantry Regiment (Tom Colleton's Regiment) as the books mention multiple times that Tom's Regiment went faster and further then most other Confederate units, and made it the furthest into Pittsburgh and was one of if not the last pocket that held out
 
I was just watching Knowing Better's video on the Jehovah's Witnesses and I was wondering, what would happen to them or the Bible Student Movement in general in TTL? I have a feeling that their rejection of secular authority would be tolerated even less in TTL's USA then in OTL. Would they be seen as traitors, on par with the Mormons? Would the US government crack down on their activities?

 
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Here's another question that I've been thinking about based on the Mexican Civil War in the Centre Cannot Hold - Jefferson Pinkard talks about how the Freedom Party volunteers are not the only CSA volunteers fighting on behalf of the Mexican government. My take is that you could have an unaligned Confederate volunteers drawn from the ranks of the Tin Hat association, which might be more of the 'de facto' formation. Which would naturally have a rivalry with the Freedom Party volunteers, the question is if the Germans had the Condor Legion in Spain. Is there another suitably cool name we could use for the two Confederate volunteer formations? I thought the Eagle Legion might be too cliched.
 
Here's another question that I've been thinking about based on the Mexican Civil War in the Centre Cannot Hold - Jefferson Pinkard talks about how the Freedom Party volunteers are not the only CSA volunteers fighting on behalf of the Mexican government. My take is that you could have an unaligned Confederate volunteers drawn from the ranks of the Tin Hat association, which might be more of the 'de facto' formation. Which would naturally have a rivalry with the Freedom Party volunteers, the question is if the Germans had the Condor Legion in Spain. Is there another suitably cool name we could use for the two Confederate volunteer formations? I thought the Eagle Legion might be too cliched.
Building on that thought.

It's probably that both members of the Tin Hats (as the largest veterans organization) but also clandestinely actual Confederate military personnel that were brought in as Advisors.

It was probably unofficially organized similar to a State militia along Regimental or Brigade lines they probably had two or three Regiments worth of personnel down there.

Could have potentionally organized like this;

Official Confederate Black Staff - The Jeb Stuart Sr. Volunteer Regiment
Tin Hats - The Cardinal Brigade
Freedom Party - The Dixie Brigade

Jeb Stuart was Commander of the Department of the Transmississippi and his force was the first to enter into the newly acquired land and, considering Jeb Stuart Jr appears to he in most of our head canons as the Chief of the Confederate General Staff throughout most kf the internal years, it would make sense for him to name the detachment in honour of his father.

Brigades are more common in North American military use then Legions. The Cardinal is the State bird for multiple southern states if we are keeping the bird theme. The Dixie Brigade is just about Southern pride as a whole, and the Freedom Party essentially believed they are the only real patriots in the Confederacy.
 
That is awesome and I'm going to use your suggested CSA volunteer organisational structure @vesica within my tl, if that is okay.

I had Vinegar Joe commanding the Cardinal Brigade or at minimum a Battalion. Perhaps Patton commands the Barrel detachment?

Who do you see leading the Dixie regiment? Also I'm thinking about attaching Clarence Potter to the Staff HQ.
 
If this is a TL entirely based on your own thought then the assumption in your TL is that Potter remained within the Army as one of the elect after the war. He finished a Major.

I would be honestly surprised if Pattom hadn't been in Mexico at all with the "official" Confederate detachment. He had probably been a barrel Commander during the Great War and would wanted to get back into it the second he found out the Confederacy was clandestinely building and designing barrels in the Civil War. In my head Canon and an earlier post I made about the Confederate 4th Barrel Division I had Patton having been the Commander of a "Light Cavalry Brigade" which was one of the unofficial Armored units before the Confederacy officially unveiled their new toys. If he didn't pick up experience in Mexico, like I said, I would be astonished.

Feel free to use whatever you wish, and anything you need help with just let me know :)
 
I noticed that Amos Mizel essentially disappeared after the 33 Election.. also notable that there was never an acknowledged Secretary of War of the Confederate States.

What if Mizel had been the initial Secretary of War, but he got caught up with the attempted Knight Coup. Featherston could have used the excuse to essentially dismantle the role/assume control of it directly himself himself so he would have direct oversight over the Confederate Armed Forces. It would explain why Nathan Bedford Forrest III went to Featherston directly rather then the Secretary of War.

I might do a write up on the Knight-Mizel Affair....
 
I noticed that Amos Mizel essentially disappeared after the 33 Election.. also notable that there was never an acknowledged Secretary of War of the Confederate States.

What if Mizel had been the initial Secretary of War, but he got caught up with the attempted Knight Coup. Featherston could have used the excuse to essentially dismantle the role/assume control of it directly himself himself so he would have direct oversight over the Confederate Armed Forces. It would explain why Nathan Bedford Forrest III went to Featherston directly rather then the Secretary of War.

I might do a write up on the Knight-Mizel Affair....
What you're talking about here kinda is reminiscent of the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair of OTL, when Hitler removed several Generals in positions in the high command and replaced them with others who were aligned with the Nazi Party.
 
What you're talking about here kinda is reminiscent of the Blomberg-Fritsch Affair of OTL, when Hitler removed several Generals in positions in the high command and replaced them with others who were aligned with the Nazi Party.
Essentially accurate yeah. I had imagined the Knight Coup was a combination of both the Blomberg-Fritsch Affairs and one of the many attempted assassinations of Hitler.

My write up will overview Mizel's participation in the Coup, and touch on the reforms Featherston does in light of the attempted Coup.

Itll be the beginning of showing both how much Featherston wanted things micromanaged but also how much he didn't want any possible challengers to his ultimate authority. Hence why he never promotes anyone to full General or Admiral, and why officers that were in his favor were given direct access to him rather then going through their nominal superiors.
 
Honestly I see the Ottomans much like the Austro-Hungarian Empire;
in my personal opinion it's very likely that they would've had a chance to reform in this timeline as such they may be able to survive into the late 20th century and then it's up Air in the 90s Yugoslavia only existed in the 20th century
 
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bguy

Donor
I noticed that Amos Mizel essentially disappeared after the 33 Election.. also notable that there was never an acknowledged Secretary of War of the Confederate States.

What if Mizel had been the initial Secretary of War, but he got caught up with the attempted Knight Coup. Featherston could have used the excuse to essentially dismantle the role/assume control of it directly himself himself so he would have direct oversight over the Confederate Armed Forces. It would explain why Nathan Bedford Forrest III went to Featherston directly rather then the Secretary of War.

I might do a write up on the Knight-Mizel Affair....

Mizell as the initial Secretary of War makes a lot of sense. It's mentioned in The Victorious Opposition that Action Francaise purged the "deadwood" from their army much faster than Featherston did, and there's also a scene in Blood and Iron where Mizell expressed disapproval of Featherston describing the men in the War Department as traitors. Combining those two factoids, my head canon has always been that Mizell was Featherston's initial Secretary of War, and in that position he was the one who was protecting the army's senior leadership from Featherston (which helps explain how Jeb Stuart lasted in the army until 1936.)
 
Mizell as the initial Secretary of War makes a lot of sense. It's mentioned in The Victorious Opposition that Action Francaise purged the "deadwood" from their army much faster than Featherston did, and there's also a scene in Blood and Iron where Mizell expressed disapproval of Featherston describing the men in the War Department as traitors. Combining those two factoids, my head canon has always been that Mizell was Featherston's initial Secretary of War, and in that position he was the one who was protecting the army's senior leadership from Featherston (which helps explain how Jeb Stuart lasted in the army until 1936.)
That can also explain why Mizell supported Knights attempted Coup as after Stuart's firing it was notable that Featherston began firing Generals (as was mentioned by Chester Martin's brother in an off handed comment) so Mizell saw it as going against the country and undermining his authority as SecWar
 

bguy

Donor
That can also explain why Mizell supported Knights attempted Coup as after Stuart's firing it was notable that Featherston began firing Generals (as was mentioned by Chester Martin's brother in an off handed comment) so Mizell saw it as going against the country and undermining his authority as SecWar

Definitely. There's also a scene in "The Center Cannot Hold" where Mizell is speaking at a Freedom Party rally and seems unnerved when the crowd starts chanting Featherston's name, so while Mizell was fine with the Freedom Party's racism and revanchism, he did seem uneasy about Featherston getting too much personal power. If so I could see Mizell wanting to keep the army as a potential check on Featherston, and once Featherston succeeds in purging the army despite Mizell's best efforts, Mizell deciding that the Knight coup was the only way to save the country from a dictator.
 
I'll be working those thoughts into my write up!
So I'm guessing now for your write up, the Department of War becomes the Confederate Armed Forces/Army High Command. In this capacity leading Featherston's personal military staff, who becomes his de facto defense secretary? James F. Byrnes? Blanton Winship? A couple of oft-speculated names. Nathan Bedford Forrest III already acts as Army Chief of Staff in his capacity. What would become of the Department of Navy as well? It's also speculated the C.S. Air Force is its own department by the time of the SGW. The last two would be explored in other write ups .
 
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The War Department is going to retain its title, Clarence Potter mentioned multiple times that he worked in the War Department Offices. Instead Featherston is going to assume control of the Department directly, similarly to how Winston Churchill was also Minister of Decence during OTL WWII
 
The War Department is going to retain its title, Clarence Potter mentioned multiple times that he worked in the War Department Offices. Instead Featherston is going to assume control of the Department directly, similarly to how Winston Churchill was also Minister of Decence during OTL WWII
Well, with the Freedom Party becoming the sole legal party, they'll gladly rubber stamp Featherston serving concurrently as the Defense Secretary.
 
With the Canadian election being this past Monday, I have some ideas and questions on how different the state of Canadian politics would be pre-GW1 and post. First with the immediate prewar period: Robert Borden is mentioned as still being the PM during GW1; and in 1911, he came to power after a split in the Liberal Party under Wilfrid Laurier on the issue of freed trade, reducing tariffs, and cultural rapprochement with the United States. Of note, Champ Clark would never utter his wish to see the "American flag will fly over every square foot of British North America up to the North Pole" since since the CSA are state allies with the British Empire, which drove the issue against free trade in favor of the Conservative. But with OTL's relations and cultural animosity, the end results would be the same and the Liberal's may split further as a result.

Now with the US winning the FGW and annexing Canada as a whole, how long would it take for Canadians of various political backgrounds to ultimately accept the US and know the UK was never coming back after the Great Wars? That would mean among the Conservatives, Liberals, and small left wing parties that were the predecessors to the NDP. The Conservatives would react strongly against this the most and would make up the lot of the rebels; the Liberals would be a mixed bag as they had wanted to work with the US, but now their country is gone and the US are their new overlords; left-wingers would perhaps try to cooperate the most IMO through negotiations. Though when Custer becomes the Governor General, Canadians are universally opposed to his heavy-handed rule and have total hatred toward him. Long term once the US tries to make the former provinces into states, it won't be an easy process. A bit of speculation is that the US offers the chance for Canadians to serve in the Armed Forces to become citizens, but there'd still animosity. An idea from David in his After the End thread is that Canadians become the foremost constitutionalist activists in trying to have their rights recognized as US subject and citizens for those born after annexation that ends up working out for them in their favor. What are all your thoughts and opinions on this matter? What are your speculations for long-term rapprochement between the US and their former Canadian subjects when it comes to politics and society, apart from what was mentioned in the books?
 
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