TL 191: The confederates win in Pittsburg, what happens next? (some changes to the TL)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Gukpard, May 19, 2019.

  1. Gukpard hominem populist

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    First of all, my contact with the TL 191 came first from the Hearts of Iron 2 mod, the Arsenal of Democracy mod, then the series made by the althistoryhub and Emperor Tigerstar, this forum, the series TVtropes, some reviews I readed and critics like the video below



    Years ago I found a site that discussed some major roles in the history, from the military perspective like the invasion starting at the same day as barbarossa, to the fact that the CSA managed to keep fighting even after such massive defeat on the siege of Pittsburg, that in any normal case would collapse the whole fighting effort as the video above says. As the video above that site commented on the impossibility to make the genocide of the afro americans without collapsing the southern economy, so based on that I decided to come with a small scenario on the TL 191 but slightly more realistic, and I want to know what could happen in such conditions.

    The rise of Featherston goes as the usual timeline 191, but instead of genociding the black population, he adopts a system close to the slave labour used by the OTL nazis to heavily increases the industrial output, this might leader to a "Featherston who" scenario since that would be against his nature, so then let be it, maybe he hits his head and got this realization that it would cripple his country or simple has a different development. The rearmment of the CSA goes as on the normal TL and the USA politics start as the same. Just as on the books the CSA invades on 1941. The campaign progresses steadily as on the books with the southern armies arriving at the great lakes and cutting the USA in two, while the canadian uprising happens as on the timeline, just like the Utah uprising. Daniel's MacArthur invasion of Virginia flops and then in 1942 the second year of the campaign start, with the Pittsburg offensive. The major PoD on the Pittsburg offensive is that the original confederate plan to encircle the city passes, maybe due a increased number of tanks and airpower since the increased industrial output (due inhuman means), cutting off the city, it's large industrial output and the city surrenders after months of relentless artillery and air bombing.

    What happens next? Does the CSA still loses but later, or it wins the war? If they win what are the conditions? Could some sort of peace treaty be signed as Featherston offered to Al Smith? Maybe the loss of Pitssburg is enought to get Al Smith to give up and accept a peace deal, who knows?
     
  2. bguy Donor

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    The loss of Pittsburgh itself is probably survivable. (After all in the canon timeline Pittsburgh was pretty thoroughly wrecked without seriously impeding US war production, thus the US clearly either evacuated much of the Pittsburgh industrial plant before the fighting got there or had sufficient coke production elsewhere to do without Pittsburgh.) The critical question is how much of the US Army defending Pittsburgh managed to slip out of the city before it fell. If the Confederates captured most of that army then the US is in a real bad way. They'll have to strip their forces on the Virginia front to the absolute minimum to get a new defensive line together in Pennsylvania. The reassigned troops will be battle seasoned but probably have a serious morale problem. (Seeing how they are coming from a defeat in Virginia to try and staunch the bleeding from an even worse defeat in Pennsylvania.) They also presumably won't have Irving Morrell as a commander. (If he isn't killed/captured in Pittsburgh then he will presumably be relieved of command over the fall of the city.) Not sure who ends up commanding US forces in Pennsylvania (General Ironhewer perhaps), but he presumably won't be as good a commander as Morrell.

    Still, it's not all bad for the US forces in Central Pennsylvania. The Confederates, even after a victory in Pennsylvania, should be pretty worn down themselves and are at the end of a very long supply line. And I could easily see an aggressive commander like Patton trying to drive forward before the Army of Kentucky has had a chance to properly recover.

    If the US Army is able to hold the line in Central Pennsylvania (protecting the critical coke plants of that region) then the US probably still ultimately wins the war. President Smith knows he can't trust Featherston, so I don't see him negotiating even after the loss of Pittsburgh, and if the US keeps fighting then eventually its greater industrial strength and population will begin to tell. (Though the war probably lasts at least another year which means a lot more atomic bombs going off on US and CS cities.)

    But if the Confederates break the Central Pennsylvania defense line then the war is probably over. The US will lose (or in the best case scenario be forced to relocate) the critical coke production plants of the region, which will cripple US war production, and with the last major veteran US Army formation mauled, it is hard to see how the US keeps fighting.
     
  3. Gukpard hominem populist

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    Can you elaborate three scenarios for me based on that?

    The first is the best case for the USA, with them winning even through losing the city, and how things happen on this scenario that DOES NOT have the afroamerican holocaust but instead industrial slavery

    The second would be a costly CSA victory, how it could play if they break into Pennysilvania, maybe even driving into Philadelphia and cutting the USA troops in north virginia

    The third is the costly CSA victory, they are bleed dry but it comes to a point that the US government simple thinks that a negociated peace is better than to keep marching down and losing millions of men in the process.
     
  4. rob2001 Well-Known Member

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    Just one little thing, Al Smith was killed in a air raid several months before the battle of Pittsburg even started.
     
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  5. Gukpard hominem populist

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    Sorry :confused: as I said I didn't readed the book. Who was the president after him?
     
  6. rob2001 Well-Known Member

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    Charles W. La Follette.
     
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  7. m0585 Well-Known Member

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    As @bguy said very well: it depends on how/when the CSA takes Pittsburgh. Do they take it on the march because Morrell realizes he can't hold it, or do they take it only after a protracted battle? If the latter then the Army of Kentucky is definitely going to need time to rest and refit. In fact, given that the CSA had to pull troops from other fronts to launch Operation Coalscuttle, it might have shot its bolt in taking Pittsburgh.

    Most likely, Morrell is kept in command as there's simply no one else at the moment who can effectively lead the U.S. forces in Pennsylvania. Additionally, the U.S. will only get stronger in terms of manpower. I look for the U.S. to launch and earlier Operation Rosebud (attacking the western part of the CSA corridor in Ohio). The U.S. will pull troops from Daniel MacArthur in northern Virginia (which won't really affect the U.S. position there as the Confederates would be just as weak if not weaker), and probably delay sending troops to Canada to retake Winnipeg. The Army of Kentucky would still be trapped between U.S. forces in the Midwest and in central Pennsylvania. Taking Pittsburgh won't change that strategic picture, and now Patton has just taken heavy losses to satisfy Featherston's ego.

    All in all, the U.S. victory is probably delayed until late 1944 or early 1945.
     
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  8. MarchingThroughGeorgia Well-Known Member

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    All this depends on when the US launches their counter-offensive. If they launch an offensive before Pittsburg fully surrenders, then most of the Army of Kentucky is still around the city, and the Mexican divisions are still holding the flanks, and the books clearly state that the Mexicans aren't a proper fighting force. If the US launches after the city surrenders, then either the CS forces are still strong in the center, or are spread along the front-lines, and whichever way it is, the Confederates have a weakened front line to deal with the full brunt of the US offensive. So no matter what happens, the Confederates are spread too thin, and the US has an opportunity to win a huge victory, even if Pittsburg falls.
     
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  9. bguy Donor

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    I imagine it would go something like this:

    General Morrell manage to extricate most of the US Army from Pittsburgh before the city is cut off and establishes a strong defensive position in south central Pennsylvania. The Confederates (worn out even in victory) are too spent to immediately resume their offensive and thus spend the rest of 1942 refitting their army. Featherston makes a rather harsh peace offer to LaFollette who immediately rejects it.

    Spring of 1943 sees the Confederates launch their offensive with their forces driving east from Pittsburgh to Harrisburg. However, Morrell (or his successor) has established a solid defensive position, and (at least IOTL) General Patton isn't that good a commander at attacking strong defensive positions (see OTL's Metz Campaign). Thus sometime in the summer of 1943 we get a massive battle somewhere along the route to Harrisburg with the Confederates attacking a heavily fortified US defensive position. (If the Battle of Pittsburgh was TL-191's Stalingrad, this battle will be TL-191's Kursk.) The US wins, blunting the Confederate offensive, after which the initiative passes to the US.

    The fall of 1943 sees US forces retake Pittsburgh and in the spring of 1944 the US expels Confederate forces from Ohio.

    Per the canon this is about the time that both sides get atomic bombs. Featherston could use the atomic bomb tactically to try and blunt a US invasion of Kentucky, but knowing Featherston he will probably instead try and use it to kill as many Americans as possible. Thus I would expect him to order a nuclear strike on Philadelphia itself. ITTL the Confederates are in much better material shape at this point in the war than they were in the original story at this point, and we know that the British at least have nuclear capable bombers (some of which they would presumably give/sell to the Confederates), so the Confederates can probably deliver their nuclear weapon by air rather than having to smuggle it into the US. Thus Philadelphia is destroyed in a nuclear blast. (There is also a decent chance that the attack kills President LaFollette since he would not have been expecting an atomic attack and thus would have no reason to abandon Philadelphia. The US will respond with its own atomic attack. (Presuming obliterating Richmond.) And then the two will probably spend most of the rest of 1944 trading cities. (I could see the Confederates nuking Washington, Baltimore, and Chicago while the US hits Atlanta, Birmingham, and Nashville.) Eventually though the US greater production capability will win through, and the US will start hitting the Confederates with nuclear attacks that the Confederates can't answer while US armies are advancing through Kentucky/Tennessee and Virginia.

    The war ends sometime in mid-1945 with the US occupying the CSA. North America has likely seen something like a dozen nuclear bombs go off on its soil.


    I doubt the Confederate armies can get to Philadelphia (it's a very long way from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia), but if they can just get to Harrisburg that would probably be enough to bring the US to the table. And if Featherston achieves a decisive military victory I imagine his terms would be much harsher than his first peace offer.

    In addition to his original terms (the return of all former CSA territory still held by the US, reparations, the removal of most US border forts, and the US being barred from having barrels or warplanes within 100 miles of the CSA border), I expect Featherston would also demand the US withdraw from Canada, Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the Bahamas (to keep the British happy), that the US be outright barred from possessing barrels or warplanes, and that the US armed forces be limited to no more than 100,000 men.

    It's hard to see the US government ever being willing to negotiate with Featherston at this point unless they have been decisively militarily beaten. (They know that Featherston can't be trusted.) If LaFollette tries to negotiate and the US Army commanders don't think the military situation is hopeless, a military coup isn't out of the realm of possibility. (The armed forces are already furious at the Socialists for underfunding the army for the last 20 years and then making the Richmond Agreement that let the Confederates take back Kentucky and Houston, and LaFollette isn't even the elected president but is rather an accidental president who came into power after the Confederates killed his predecessor, so his opening peace negotiations might just be the last straw.)
     
  10. Gukpard hominem populist

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    Ok thank you very much :D
     
  11. m0585 Well-Known Member

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    Nothing short of the CSA rolling tanks down the main boulevards of Philadelphia would convince the U.S. to seeks terms with Featherston. The U.S. knew that it cold outman and out produce the CSA. The U.S. only had to stick in the fight and wear the CSA down to win the war.
     
  12. rob2001 Well-Known Member

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    Given Featherston's mentality, do you think he might have put the Superbomb project on the backburner if he thought he was about to win?
     
  13. MarchingThroughGeorgia Well-Known Member

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    Probably. In the books he only approves the project because he hears that the US is already working on a bomb