Ok, so, there is a rough explanation and the PoD. The relative merits/demerits have been thrashed through on the following thread:There seems to be a consensus of opinion that America joining the Entente is a death knell for any chance of a German victory. So I decided to butterfly away the Zimmerman telegram. Likewise the sinking of the Lusitania (apparently is was a random ‘lucky break’ for the U-Boat involved anyway). The unrestricted submarine warfare campaign is a little tougher, but can be done, I refer you to OWs latest TL for an inventive way of doing this.
As Susano pointed out a late CP victory will make sure that all the combatants are ‘mortgaged to the hilt’ with war-loans and weary from four years of industrialised manslaughter. So, events proceed pretty much the same as in OTL with exceptions mentioned above. Russia is defeated and humiliated at the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and Germany is able to transfer around 50 or so divisions to the western front for a knock out blow.
This is the real POD. Unlike in OTL Ludendorf actually has a vague gameplan in mind. He is quoted as saying ‘we just punch a hole in their line and the rest will follow’. Whilst this proved true in Russia, it wasn’t the case in OTL. But now, Ludendorf has a vague idea of what happens after the hole has been punched. He plans to pin the BEF against the channel and threaten Paris. It’s a close run thing, losses are heavy, but in the end the Germans win through and manage to isolate the BEF and threaten Paris.
Things don’t look great for the Entente at this point and its about to get worse. On the Italian front Von Straussenberg backs Von Hotzendorf (arguably the best of the Austrian WW1 generals) over Boroevic as supreme commander of the Austrian offensive. Von Hotzendorf concentrates his forces for a pinpoint style attack on 15th June 1918 (in OTL VS couldn’t decide between the two generals and divided his forces evenly and allowed both to attack along the entire front, unsurprisingly it was a disaster for the Austrians). The Italian lines are ruptured and after heavy fighting the Italians are forced to retreat. The Austrian breakthrough dislocates the Italian lines and leads to a general withdrawal/route. This is the final straw for the Italians, their army in tatters and the Austrians seemingly about to burst into northern and central Italy, the Italian government requests a cessation of hostilities.
The Italian ‘betrayel’ is the final straw for France. Many units simply refuse to move, when ordered to counter-attack the Germans. First Paris and then the rest of France explodes into violence. Within a few days, what is left of the French gov’t requests an armistice with the CPs.
German sends out peace feelers to Britain and points out that the BEF is still intact…for now, oh and btw they want their colonies back!
My question now is, what happens to AH politically? My understanding of AHs position in 1918 is that the Empire is fracturing apart along ethnic lines. However, would such a decisive victory enable it to hold together and cobble its way through to a more stable post war situation? Or simply postpone the collapse till a later event such as a severe economic depression? I've seen in various TLs that AH becomes a: Triple Monarchy, A Quadruple Monarchy or even a Federal Alliance
Also, as an afterthought, how likely is a victorious AH to demand territorial recompense off the prostrate Italians such as the province of Venetia?