How would you qualify this TL

  • Complete ASB

    Votes: 18 20.5%
  • Borderline ASB

    Votes: 5 5.7%
  • Pretty unrealistic

    Votes: 6 6.8%
  • Unrealistic

    Votes: 7 8.0%
  • Makes sense

    Votes: 28 31.8%
  • Looks good

    Votes: 11 12.5%
  • Plausible

    Votes: 6 6.8%
  • Excellent

    Votes: 7 8.0%

  • Total voters
    88
Chapter 0: About the Timeline
Chapter 0: About the Timeline

Hey there, it has been a long time since I made my last Timeline, which I abandoned as I soon realised it went off-track and didn't really match what I pretended it to be. However, it's not entirely abandoned, as elements from the timeline will appear here and some ideas I had for that TL's future will also be embodied here. I started developing the "Winds of Iron" Timeline last year (or maybe two, it's been a long shot). I even got a map game of a "beta" version of the Timeline running in a Spanish-speaking site, which ended up in a mess as players became aggressive and pretty much turned the map game's Great War into an utter massacre. Oh well, the game was liked enough that a HOI IV mod is on the works based on that beta version which as of now has a complete map and a variety of portraits and events. Since then the Timeline and it's developements have been tweaked quite a bit in order to make it more realistic, which is an ironic word coming from me, this TL as most of my work is borderline ASB, but at least I'm trying it to be as accurate as I can. I'll leave a poll in the heading so you can decide how much this goes off-track. Also, English is not my native language, so I beg you to notice me of mistakes in spelling, grammar or my writing style, I'm trying to improve as a write this. I'm open to suggestions and changes aswell as they do not affect excessively what I have already planned in my head (until the 1920's). I can't promise permanent activity on TTL's but I'll try to post a chapter per week minimum, depending on my mood because if I'm not motivated I just stop working on something. I'll post the first chapter in a couple of minutes, as I'm finishing the graphic part of it. Enjoy the read!
 
Chapter 1: To Rebel is to Shatter
Chapter 1: To Rebel is to Shatter

The situation of the 15 colonies [1] of North America was tense during the latter half of the 18th century. Having survived the French and Indian War, and capturing all of French North America as a result, the British colonies seemed safe from foreign attacks. However, the main threat to the colonies at the time came from no other than Britain itself. The victory in the French and Indian War was nothing short of costly in monetary terms and the fact that British forces were driven out of southern India [2] caused tea prices to sky rocket, forcing the government to increase taxes on the colonies in order to compensate for the losses. The colonies were agitated by this decission as they realised that they didn't have a voice on the laws that affected them directly. This led to rising tensions in the continent culminating in the Boston Tea Party and the colonies banding together to press for further representation in the parliament, although during this first Continental Congress some voices claimed for the colonies to declare independence from Great Britain. The Parliament initially refused to accept American representatives, causing further outrage, specially among the merchant classes and those seeking further liberties or political representation.

The situation spiralled out of control and on 19 April 1775 Massachussets militias attempted to seize a weapon depot near Concord, being repelled by the British garrison of Boston, albeit at the price of putting most the local population against them, resulting in town of Boston eventually being sieged by the revolutionaries. Then they launched an attack on Quebec hoping for the local French population to aid them against the British, but American forced under Bennedict Arnold were repelled and the expected Quebecois uprising didn't happen, albeit the troops managed to secure upper Massachussets and a great part of Nova Scotia, except the port of Halifax. Britain expected to put the rebellion down quickly, but it spread like wildifire to Virginia, Carolina and the rest of the Atlantic colonies. The conflict was no longer a simple rebellion, which was proven when the Americans handed the British a costly defeat in Saratoga, repelling Burgoyne's attempt to control the Hudson River valley and convincing France (and later Spain and the Netherlands) to declare war to Great Britain on March 1778.

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General Burgoyne surrenders to the Rebels after the Battle of Saratoga

France aided the rebels sending them supplies, advisers, troops and their navy to assist them in their effort while fighting Britain in India, the Caribbean and the Atlantic. This forced Britain to split its efforts and led to a series of American victories, like Clark's occupation of the Ohio River valley, albeit the British made gains in New York (American forces couldn't retake the harbour) and the South, where support for the patriot cause was more ambivalent as locals still recquiered British forces to aid them against Indians and possible slave revolts (showing some of the first cracks that would cause the collapse of the US). The issue of slavery became a big problem when the northern states tried to push a constitution that prohibited slavery and gave way more powers to a federal government than what the southrons desired. Despite blatant support from northern states, the states south of Virginia rejected the constitution project as a block, and others defended more independence for the states, such as Maryland, Rhode Island or Nova Scotia. This way the constitution project was blocked and the Articles of Confederation remained in place as the binding document of the states [3].

As the war progressed the British found themselves more and more limited. They suffered a series of naval debacles, such as the capture of a 50-ship convoy by a Spanish fleet and a string of defeats in America and the Caribbean. By 1783 the British were exhausted and had failed to recapture any extra territory in the Americas save for Cape Breton, and their last major force fighting in the colonies had been defeated by the Americans aided by a French fleet at Yorktown. By the Treaty of Paris of 1783 the United Kingdom recognised the United States of America as an independent nation and ceded them all lands south of the Great Lakes and east of the Mississippi (although they never abandoned a series of forts in the northwest, which would give the US and post-US states headaches). Spain gained Minorca and the Floridas, while the Royal Navy had suffered heavy losses.

The war had not only been costly for Britain but for France aswell. The amount of aid given to the revolutionaries and a series of terrible crops led to a situation of discontent among the citizens of Paris, which ultimately led to the French Revolution [4]. Initially a constitutional monarchy was stablished but as Louis XVI was discovered attempting to leave the country for Austria hoping for the Austrians to help him recover his throne, the constitutional monarchy was abolished and the king beheaded, triggering an avalanche of war declarations from most of Europe. The nascent French Republic was able to defeat the invading forces at Valmy and Touloun and push the invading forces across the Alps and the Rhine.

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Battle of Valmy

The United States, led by general George Washington, the only man that seemed capable of controlling the Union despite the almost negligent powers the Articles of Confederation gave to the president, decided to stay away from the events happening in Europe, including the Revolutionary War debt, which he stated it had to be paid back to the Bourbon crown and not the Republic, and focus on attempting to keep the states united, however a second proposal for a Constitution of the States was rejected aswell. It was decided that the next President of the US in Congress Assembled would be chosen by direct suffrage. The winner was the Federalist leader John Adams, who tried to push the states into a tighter bond and for the United States to have closer ties with Great Britain in opposition to France. Since the Jay Treaty of 1795 [5] the French had been hostile to the United States and their trade relationships with Britain, and by the time Washington left office in 1797, the issue had escalated into a crisis. Feeling supported by the northern states (those more affected by French attacks as they traded primarily with Britain), he asked the Congress in a special session on May 1797 to declare war to France. Out of the 15 congressmen (each for one state), those of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia refused to go to war with France, thus leaving the US in a state of "Quasi-war" with France that was broken when a series American ships were attakced by French privateers. New England was incensed and New English states banded together, with Hamilton pushing Adams to finally start fighting the French using New English ships (more like the states acted unilaterally though, Adams simply agreed). When French ships counter-attacked against the rest of US states' ships later in 1798, the southern states defected and proclaimed their independence.

This was actually the last nail in the coffin, as tensions had been on the rise since the war ended, but the prospect of outright war with a foreign power divided the union. The different states had overlapping claims to the Northwest territory, with New York claiming the whole territory north of the Tennessee river and then west to the Appalachians up to Pennsylvania (more than half of Virginia), Virginia claimed land that was de-facto controlled by Pennsylvania while also in a territorial dispute with Maryland over the upper Ohio valley, and several states of New England had ludicrous claims such as Connecticut and Massachussets claiming a third of Pennsylvania and New York respectively with claims extending in straight line up to the Mississippi despite the fact they had no land or water connection to the territory whatsoever. The weak Congress could never resolve any of the disputes except for revoking New York's claim to the south and territorial claims over Pennsylvania and New York, albeit Connecticut fought tooth and nail for a strip of land on the coast of Lake Erie. The overlapping claims would be resolved rather violently. Another major issue was Adams' attempt to pass the Alien and Sedition Acts, which Virginia deemed unconstitutional and some claimed four outright secession in June 1798, which would make Virginia claim that it was "the first to leave the sinking boat". Adams would attempt to curbstomp Virginia under Federal thumb and unilaterally declared press censorship to avoid news of Virginia's half-hearted secession from spreading, which could have caused a secessionist avalanche. It was futile, as that last-ditch effort was deemed unconstitutional by Maryland, Georgia, the Carolinas, Rhode Island and New York, completely breaking the Union apart.

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Claims by the different states to the western territories, a great source of friction in the Union

Adams and Hamilton pushed for a war with France nonetheless and the rump United States allied with Britain and declared war to France. However, this war desire was not supported across the whole Union, with Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and New York being opposed to the war effort and refused to cooperate with their taxes. Adams' government collapsed soon after as he had failed to keep the country united, with many relevant personalities such as Thomas Pinckney defecting to their respective states. Rufus King attempted to form a solely Federalist government based in Boston while a coup of minutemen supported by the remaining Democrating Republicans placed John Quincy Adams as leader of the so-called "Union Government" based on Philadelphia. Both sides claimed legitimacy, but by this point the former US was so divided culturally and politically that a complete separation was inminent. Adams betrayed the Federalists in a daring power ploy accusing them of corruption and somehow convincing the mob to give him control, although he would attempt to broker a secret deal with the Federalists and he was ousted and replaed with Burr. New York initially sided with the Democratic-Republicans but the Federalists launched a coup d'état in the city that ousted the Democratic-Republican government and invited Connecticut militias to cross over the border.

The fleet of New York is divided but ultimately the Democratic-Republicans prevail when ships from New Jersey and Pennsylvania arrive. Connecticut militias would cross over the Hudson on September 19th 1798, encountering New Jersey militias close to Pearl River five days later in an indecisive battle. A parity of forces would ensue while both sides scrambled to organise State Militias without a clear chain of command and the campaign season would end with New York in Federalist hands, however Rufus King was decided to exploit the victory at New York to attack Philadelphia and reclaim the government. On April 27th Federalist forces charge against Democratic-Republican positions at Woodbury, brushing them aside and moving west to secure western New York before crossing the Delaware at the start of its course. The plan would prove to be a huge mistake when Jacob Brown, commander of Democratic-Republican forces located them at the isolated valley close to Hawks Nest and decisively defeated the Federalist force, forcing them to retreat behind the Hudson. Brown himself would cross the river on early June and siege New York City, which would surrender on July 28th. Meanwhile Vermont and Rhode Island attempted to secede but were beaten back into submissions by the Federalists, giving the Unionists a window of time to clean New York out of remaining Federalist supporters. The conflict, known sometimes as "The Second Revolution" ended quickly, as both sides suffered from both internal and external strife. The Federalist controlled territory became the "Commonwealth of New England", while the states and territories controlled by the Union Government decided to scrap the Union altogether, becoming the "Atlantic Federation". The United States was no more.
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Unionist forces during the Battle of Hawks Nest

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North America circa 1799 AD. In order from top to bottom: British America, Commonwealth of New England, Atlantic Federation Republic of Maryland, Commonwealth of Virginia, Federation of the Carolinas, Republic of Georgia, Spanish America



[1] - TTL's historiography considers Nova Scotia as part of the founder colonies of the US. IOTL they attempted to send representants to the Continental Congress and parts of the population supported joining the US, however raids from American privateers and the preachings of Reverend Henry Alline kept Nova Scotia in British hand. But that's 14, not 15. Yeah... Plymouth wasn't absorbed by Massachussets ITTL's, which will be my trump card for pulling sort-of-ASB things under the butterfly umbrella.

[2] - The French repulsed the British siege of Madras in 1759 and they control the southern tip of India as a result.

[3] - France is slightly more wealthy and powerful than IOTL and is capable of aiding the rebels enough that the problems caused by the structure of the Articles of Confederation are brushed under the carpet (don't look at me that way, I genuinely need this kind of POD for what comes next in TTL, which I have already mapped out alteast until WW1, this isn't the kind of TL that is hyper-realistic but more of a "for-fun" TL).

[4] - French Revolution and subsequent wars are pretty much OTL, not goint to cover them in much detail.

[5] - OTL Event, largely unaffected by previous events.
 
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11/10 Would read again, I like it so much I swear I can almost even predict how things will turn out to be!
 
It's certainly an interesting start, although the Quasi-War being the main factor behind the collapse of the United States seems implausible (not that it's a bad thing if it makes for an entertaining scenario, as you admitted is your goal). I do wonder what's up now that America is out of the picture; looking forward to new updates.
 
Chapter 2: A Profile of post-Union Nations
Chapter 2: A Profile of post-Union Nations

By the turn of the century the Great Experiment had resulted into a Great Failure, with the country broken into pieces, suffering from Indian rebellions and a foreign diplomacy that backfired in most cases. The different states tried to fix the mess caused by the collapse of the Union and departed ways...

The Commonwealth of New England
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Arguably the direct political succesor of the United States, or at least at a party level. New England continued under Federalist rule as King granted himself emergency powers to control the states, with most complying except for Vermont and Rhode Island, which had to be put down using force. The core of New England, Massachussets, soon became the dominant force of the Commonwealth, with the capital city placed in Boston. New England reformed itself as a centralist, mercantile-based Republic that still claimed to be at war with France and being allied to the United Kingdom despite most of the US fleet defecting either to the southern nations or the Atlantic Federation. George III felt an opportunity to regain a foothold in the former colonies and began to absorb most of New England's trade, controlling their politics using the economy. By the time the war against France resumed in 1803 New England was essentially a puppet state of Great Britain. This partial degree of British control suited many merchants but angered patriots and a majority of the low classes. With his popularity under the floor, Rufus King left office. John Marshall (who turned down the offer to return to Virginia) assumed charge and was the main mind behind the "Constitution of the Commonwealth", a document that bonded the states of New Englands closely together, with a single federal army and fleet, the beginnings of a national bank and ample liberties under a relatively strong central government. The Constitution was ratified in 1804 and the first elections (5th May 1804) resulted into a federalist victory with John Marshall as the "President of the Commonwealth". However conservative forces, united recently into the Connecticut-based Toleration Party (later simply called Conservative) were starting to gain traction. Over time the Parliament of New England would evolve into a system based on two major parties that gave stability to the lower chamber, with several smaller parties that would help decide future elections. As Britain was more pressed to fight Napoleon from that year onwards, New England recovered a bit of economic independence.

The Atlantic Federation
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Immediately the government of Quincy Adams tried to keep the rest of the territory under control, managing to stabilise a Delaware that almost followed the footsteps of Maryland and leaving the Union altogether. He was able to keep the Federation under relative stability despite internal disputes of the members (Pennsylvania and New York both claimed the Erie Triangle, the dispute had to be solved by arbitration, awarding the land to Pennsylvania). The territory of Ohio was given statehood on June 18th 1804, but the rest of the Northwest remained mostly unsettled by Americans, with the British controlling de-facto the Great Lakes and even the Illinois rivers, with the local natives supporting the British over the Americans. Elections were held in 1804 and gave victory to the Democratic-Republican candidate George Clinton. His foreign policies were mostly oriented against Britain and New England (he advocated for continuing the war with the Federalists until, at least, Vermont was in New York hands again [1]). This opposition to the British led to what's commonly known as the "Frontier War", in which Atlantic forces attempted to make their claims valid in the Northwest Territory, fighting British-sponsored Indian tribes. The rebels, led by the Shawnee leader Tenskwatawa were able to defeat the Atlantics close to the Tippecanoe river, capturing their commander, Thomas van Horne [2], bribing the Federation for his life. With that money and some direct British support the Indians were able to bid their time and keep the Atlantics out until 1810, when British soldiers patrolling Miching and American militiamen exchanged fire. Britain didn't want to escalate the conflict, but with the Napoleonic Wars already coming to an end [3] British forces began to pour into North America. A British campaign, led by George Prévost, was launched across the Detroit River into the Northwest Territories, defeating the local Federation forces under Pierce Andrews and securing most of the land west of Ohio under British control, or under the British-aligned natives led by Tecumesh. Finally, being unable to push into the territory, and fearing the British would come crashing down the Hudson after 1811, he decided to call for peace. The London Treary of 1812 would partition the Northwest Territory between a slightly enlarged Ohio (inclding the lands purchased by the 1795 Greenville treaty), a British-allied Indian Confederacy (commonly known as "Indiana"), a British controlled north, and a Virginia that managed to snatch the souterhnmost portion of the territory.

The Republic of Maryland
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Maryland was by far the smallest of the post-Union nations, with a population of roughly 350,000 people by 1800, and with a economy that relied heavily on tobacco, albeit the northern and western parts were diversifying rapidly into other products such as wheat in order to cover the increasing demand. Mining was also practised in order the exploit the iron ore reserves in the westernmost part of the country. Maryland resorted to a trade-based economy, offering higher quality products at a higher price, trying to fill a niche market left by the competing republics of Georgia, Carolina and Virginia, and drifting away rapidly from tobacco crops. This decrease in tobacco production and exports led to a reduction of slave labour viability, thus many slave owners in the country had freed their slaves by 1830, being the first of the post-Union nations to abolish slavery a decade later.

The Commonwealth of Virginia
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At the moment of the shatter, Virginia was by far the most populous state in the Union, with a population of more than a million people. It also had a functional state apparatus and many of the most relevant politicians in the former Union, such as Thomas Jefferson or James Madison. They immediately began to work in a Constitution, basing themselves on the proposal by Washington [4]. The Constituion gave ample rights to the citizens, as well as creating a decentralised form of government, dividing the territory of Virginia into three Provinces, those beign Tidewater (also known as Virginia Proper), Westsylvania [5] and Kentucky, each divided into counties. The constitutuon also designed a flag inspired in that of the former US, using the same colours but with a central blue stripe that hosts three stars (one per province, also symbolising Virginia's geography with a central range). Thomas Jefferson won the elections of 1803 for the Liberty Party, with John Page, of the Conservative Party, acting as vice-president. Virginia's form of government consisted in a senate and a revived House of Burgesses which held the functions of the US House of Representatives. Virginia's economy at the moment was mostly reliant on tobacco crops in the east, mining and timber chopping in the Appalachians, and again agricultural products in Kentucky, with many plantation owners moving there as Tidewater's soil was depleted after over 200 years of intensive tobacco crops, resulting in Kentucky's conservative position through the years. Virginia also desired to expand into the Northwest, having laid a claim on the territory since the creation of the US and backed up by Congress-approved measures such as the Virginia Military District. Virginian settlers flooded Kentucky and crossed into Atlantic territory across the Ohio rutinely (something which angered the Federation, they desiring control of the whole Northwest Territory). Virginia opted for a pro-French political standpoint, however they wouldn't declare war to the United Kingdom despite Royal Navy ships boarding Virginian vessels and pressing their sailors into service for the British Crown. The House of Burgesses was enraged by this, however Jefferson managed to keep the war urge under control and focus on territorial expansion. When the War of the Frontiers started in 1809, Virginia declared neutrality, but began pouring forces into Kentucky hoping for an opportunity to snatch the southernmost part of the territory and control both sides of the Ohio. Virginian forces would clash with British redcoats near Vincennes in 1810, with 4,500 Virginians under William Henry Harrison utterly crushing the play-by-the-book British general Procter. In the 1812 London Treaty, Virginia gained all lands south of the 39th parallel.

The Federation of the Carolinas
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When the Union collapsed both Carolinas declared independende as separate states. Initially South Carolina refused to join the North in a federation and insisted on being independent. However, one man was to change that, Andrew Jackson. Jackson was a charismatic politician and military man that happened to be born in the area of Waxhaws right between both Carolinas. Using political ploys and sheer charisma he managed to tame South Carolina's government into a federal union with the North, while the disputed territory to the east became it's own state under the name of Tennessee. Indians in the territory were quickly beaten into submission or expulsion by James C. Neill's corps, opening Tennessee to further settlement, except for the Cherokee, which being considered a "Civilised Tribe" and held at high esteem by Jackson after they refused to slaughter a captured regiment. The Cherokee would help fight the Red Sticks in Georgia, but opposed the large cessions fiercely, starting their own conflict later down the road [6]. Jackson won both the 1805 and 1809 elections, then retiring not seeking a third term, wanting to copy Washington's example, however his political viewpoints would influence the Carolina's politics until well past his death, as opposing parties tried to rally around his beliefs. This caused Carolina's political landscape to be fairly homogeneous compared to their neighbours, giving the Federation enough stability and national unity to slowly dissipate the north-south differences.

The Republic of Georgia
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Georgia's independence was initially half-hearted, as the state was still home to aggressive Indian tribes, but governor Josiah Tattnall finally jumped off the sinking ship when the Carolinas seceded. Georgia was the only one of the post-Union republics not to hold an election, with Tattnall remaining as head of state until his death in 1806, when he was succeeded by John Milledge after winning the elections for the Conservative Party. Milledge's main focus was territorial expansion, but he knew Georgia's military was still too weak to force concessions out of the natives, and so he began plotting a plan to divide the main tribe to the west (the Creek) between it's constitutent factions, so "they kill themselves so we simply have to walk over their corpses". His plan worked perfectly when the conservative and anti-white faction of the Indians, the Red Sticks, began attacking the other Creek factions as well as other tribes such as the Cherokee during the winter of 1808. Georgian troops waited until the Indians had bled themselves dry and attacked the Red Sticks on September 1809, crushing the Red Sticks at Talladega and securing the Alabama river for further settlement, as the remaining Creek were browbeaten into accepting a large cession that included most of Georgia's de-iure southern border. However, Georgian settlers would not stop there and often encroached Spanish Florida.


[1] - IOTL George Clinton was a firm opponent of admitting Vermont into the Union, seeing it as part of New York.

[2] - William Henry Harrison, who led a similar battle IOTL is in Virginia.

[3] - More on this in the next chapter.

[4] - Pretty much the IOTL Constitution of the United States.

[5] - Westsylvania occupies all land west of the Atlantic-Gulf Divide and east of a diagonal that goes approximately from Maysville to Harlan

[6] - That conflict being the "Strip War" between Georgia and Carolina in the 1820's.
 
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Here are two attempts at infoboxes. They're inspired by those of Wikipedia but with a slightly altered style.
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tell me where the asb is? i don't feel it
The whole part where the Union collapses almost out of nothing. Given that TTL has to reach a certain "place" as it has a long backstory of worldbuilding behind, I have to "force" history so it comes close that idea, thus I must take some very big licenses / creative liberties to reach that place. I already mentioned all of this in Chapter 0 btw.
 
The whole part where the Union collapses almost out of nothing. Given that TTL has to reach a certain "place" as it has a long backstory of worldbuilding behind, I have to "force" history so it comes close that idea, thus I must take some very big licenses / creative liberties to reach that place. I already mentioned all of this in Chapter 0 btw.
Still feel pausable, it could have happened otl, again feel a little forced but not ASB
 
Chapter 3: The Rise of Napoleon
Chapter 3: The Rise of Napoleon

By the time the United States had dissolved into six separate entities at the turn of the century, Europe had been in an on-and-off state of war for eight years. The French Republic managed to come out on top, defeating Austria, Spain, the Netherlands and the Italian and German states while Britain was safe behind the Channel. France had annexed all lands west of the Rhine and converted the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy into puppet states, while allying with Spain against Britain. France attempted to expand into North America after the Treaty of Basel when it gained the eastern two-thirds of the island of Hispaniola, and in 1800 purchased Louisiana from Spain. However Napoleon's dreams of an American empire were truncated when yellow fever decimated his forces in Hispaniola and his brother-in-law Charles Leclerc was defeated by slave uprisings in the island, with Napoleon relinquishing soverignity of the island to the rebels in 1804. Louisiana remained French, and several American nations (mainly the Atlantic Federation, Virginia and Georgia) attempted to purchase all or part of the colony in order to gain easier trade access to the Gulf. Napoleon pondered his options for a while, but ultimately decided to refuse any deal, but permitted colonists from the American nations to settle in Louisiana in low numbers. France kept control of Louisiana until 1808, when Spanish colonial authorities captured New Orleans without much effort after a short siege. However the locals didn't seem to like a return to Spanish rule after being de-iure independent from France and receiving a further boost of French-speaking population that left Haiti after the revolution. Louisiana would become a battleground again in a decade.

War resumed in Europe during the first half decade of the century as Britain declared war to France, breaking the peace of Amiens. This caused France to invade Hannover and for both sides' fleets to fight each other all over the globe. India had become a battleground already, with local French forces mostly contained and Dutch possessions occupied by the British as allies, promising to give them back when the war ended (the East India Company was forced to respect the deal after a bit of arm twisting from the Crown, signaling their loss of independence after the disastrous siege of Madras in 1759). A small Franco-Spanish fleet attempted to retake India in 1801 only to be beaten back by company forces, thus securing British superiority in the subcontinent. Battles were also fought in Indonesia and African, Australian [1] or Caribbean outposts, with the French colonies being mostly occupied by the time the war in Europe ended.

Said European war, or more correctly, series of wars, covered the whole first decade of the century, with the most intense phase from 1808 onwards. The war against Britain started in 1803 became international when in 1805 Austria, Sweden and Russia formed the third coalition. French troops waiting in Boulougne to invade Britain had to be called back as the fleet arrived way too damaged [2] to attempt any kind of invasion, so the so-called "Grande-Armée" marched to the Rhine. On September 8th Karl Mack von Leiberich led 70,000 Austrian troops across the Bavarian border, however he was met by the French in Ulm, halfway to the Rhine, where Napoleon managed to block his pass and surround, then defeat his forces in a three-day battle. The French victory was so swift that Napoleon advanced to Vienna almost unopposed, entering the city on November 13th. Austrian forces led by emperor Francis retreated to Bohemia where they were reinforced by a Russian force of 60,000 men led by Alexander I and Mikhail Khutuzov. Khutuzov correctly realised that French lines were overextended and that Napoleon had to either win a decissive, war-ending victory, or he would have to retreat in order to keep his forces supplied. Napoleon knew this and decided to lure the Coalition forces into a battle which he could win, faking anxiety at interviews and requesting for arminstices while retreating part of his forces from a gap in the mountains. Coalition commanders (except Khutuzov) fell for the trap and took apparent French weakness for real, launching an all-out attack right at the gap that Napoleon had intentionally left open, being massacred by flanking attacks [3]. The disaster of Austerlitz forced Austria's surrender as per the Treaty of Pressburg.

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Battle of Austerlitz

The shocking defeat of Austria secured French control of most of Germany, now unified under the Confederation of the Rhine. Prussia felt threatened by this and Frederick William III declared war to France in August 1806 without foreign involvement, almost challenging Napoleon to a duel. However, Frederick William misscalculated the time it would take the French to mobilise forces and march into Germany, being surprised when French forces crossed into Prussia on November 8th while most of the Prussian army was to the south, in Saxony. Napoleon managed to split the Prussian forces and handed them a double defeat at Auerstädt and Jena which resulted in 25,000 Prussian casulaties and well over 150,000 prisoners. Napoleon then marched to Berlin, stopping by the tomb of Frederick II and commenting "If he were alive we wouldn't be here today". In the course of just twenty days Prussia had been virtually knocked out of the war. Saxony switched sides on December 11th and Russian forces poured into Prussia in a last ditch effort to save the kingdom (that was also collapsing in the east as the Poles rebelled against conscription). The siege of Danzig stalled Napoleon enough for the Russians to arrive, but their participation was futile as their forces were crushed at Eylau. Prussia was forced to be allied to France and join the Continental System against Britain, as well as to accept the cession of Polish lands to the new Grand Duchy of Warsaw, ruled by Frederick Augustus of Saxony. However, Napoleon was "soft" to the remnants of Prussia and tried to ally Russia after a meeting with the tsar at Tilsit, succeeding in a temporary alliance with Russia that allowed France to ignore Sweden as they were fighting against Russia for the control of Finland [4]. This "softness" would prove to be one of Napoleon's political flukes, as he permitted the Prussians to rearm and be assisted by Russia in the process.

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Napoleon meets Alexander at Tilsit

By 1807 only Portugal resisted the French Continental System. Napoleon convinced the Spanish monarch to sign the Treaty of Fontainebleau in October of 1807, allowing for free passage of French troops through Spain into Portugal (although Junot's forces had already crossed the Pyrenees and French forces were garrisoning places as far away from Portugal as Aragon). The Franco-Spanish army of Junot crossed into Portugal in early November and by the 29th had captured Lisbon, with the Royal Family scaping to Brazil. Portugal was divided in three entities, with the north and south being given to Spanish or Spanish-related nobles while the central part, including Lisbon, remained occupied by French troops. This continued presence of French troops recquired a continuous French-held supply line through Spain, which kept growing to include more towns that were not in the way to Portugal. French forces even began to push Spanish troops aside by force, such as they did in Pamplona. Spain's government, led by the utterly incompetent and power-hungry Manuel Godoy (about who Napoleon declared "he [Godoy] is a rascal who will open the gates of Spain for me") didn't realise in time that the French were actually invading Spain. Charles IV realised it and tried to make a run for the Americas, being stopped by his son Ferdinand at Aranjuez. Ferdinand launched a coup d'état and forced his father to abdicate while declaring that Godoy was to be stripped of all government positions. Godoy was found hidden inside a rolled carpet two days later, then executed by the mob surrounding the palace [5]. By that point Spain had collapsed in virtual anarchy, and Ferdinand rode to Madrid hoping for the French (who had occupied the city a day prior) to accept him as a king. Napoleon, sensing an opportunity to get rid of both monarchs at the same time, called them both to Bayonne, where he forced Ferdinand to abdicate to his father Charles, and then Charles was forced to abdicate to Napoleon, who passed the tittle to his brother Joseph.

French troops in Spain got order to kidnap the rest of the Royal Family from the Palace, but upon using brute force to take away the two years-old infante de Paula, the citizens of Madrid rebelled against Murat's garrison, commencing a series of uprisings through all Spain, with most being suppressed by brute force, but planting the seeds of rebellion. Suddenly the Spanish became even less cooperative with the French, cutting their supply lines and attacking their forces where they found a gap in their defence. French forces then decided to march south, seize the port of Cádiz and secure a continuous line from the Pyrenees to the south. Dupont's army was met with assaults and had to fight street battles across most towns in the way, finally encountering a Spanish force at Bailén. The Spanish commander opted to stall the French knowing that Dupong was isolated from supplies while he could count on the local support. The battle took place at the valley of Bailén and lasted from 18th of July to the 22nd, being fought in terrible weather conditions (Andalusian summers often surpass 40ºC, and this was no exception). The French found themselves tired and dehydrated while the locals constantly brought water to the Spanish troops. Dupont surrendered on the 22nd and the Spanish captured over 17,000 prisoners, this being the first major defeat of a French army in open field since Napoleon took the throne, and sent the French reeling all the way to the Ebro river.

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Dupont's surrender at Bailén

Dupont's defeat sent shockwaves through Europe. France's aura of invincibility vanished all of sudden, and Austria, Prussia and Russia realised they had a chance of defeating, or at least pushing back the French while Napoleon prepared his forces to invade Spain. Napoleon attempted to mediate with Russia in the Congress of Erfurt, trying to consolidate his alliance with Russia while he knocked out Spain. Alexander pledged to Napoleon's initial demands, but the French emperor soon began to realise that peace with Russia wouldn't be so easy this time. Alexander agreed to a treaty that promised Russian assistance should Austria attempt to attack France, although when Alexander left the Congress he ripped the treaty. A conspiration against Napoleon was brewing in the three powers of the east, but Napoleon was too focused and busy to see it coming [6]. Shortly after, Russia ended it's war against Sweden as per the Treaty of Olkijoki, in which Sweden ceded Finland to Russia and a secret clause acorded that both sides would declare war to France soon (Sweden would do later, as political instability caused by Gustav's incompetence led to a coup in early 1809 which placed his uncle as Charles XII of Sweden, however his poor health and premature senility forced the Riksdag to choose a new heir, with the Danish-born Charles August, the first of the Schleswig dynasty on the Swedish throne [7]).

Meanwhile Spanish forces under Castaños crossed the Ebro and Arthur Wellesley's redcoats crushed the French at the battle of Vimeiro, however his orders to capture the French were overruled by Sir Harry Burrard during the Convention of Sintra, allowing them to scape with all their equipment (including Portuguese loot). To the north, the city of Zaragoza held through a brutal siege thanks to José de Palafox's determination not to cede a single inch of the city to the French, but he couldn't see the siege being lifted as he was hurt by a falling roof tile the day before the French retreated leaving him unable to assume command for weeks [8]. Castaños assumed control of the whole Spanish army of the Ebro and expected for Blake's northern army in the Basque Country, ignoring he was defeated in Valmaseda. French marshal Lannes was sent by Napoleon to check Castaños' army while the emperor himself advanced towards Madrid. Lannes' army couldn't cross the Quelles river and was forced into a stalemate that was only broken when Castaños retreated to the east and then crossed the Ebro just west of Zaragoza in an attempt to pursuit Napoleon. Blake, aided by Romana's Division of the North (one of the only professional forces in the Spanish army at the time, having fought their way through Denmark into a British fleet that evacuated them to Spain) and a couple of British regiments managed to defeat general Victor at Espinosa de los Monteros, but later being forced to retreat due west as Soult's forces pushed from Castile [9]. Soult's forces were halted by British forces under Moore and Spanish under La Romana, while Blake boarded a British ship and headed to Seville in order to assist with the creation of a General Staff of the army, as it was disorganised with each unit fighting independently and relying on the British for communication. Soult continued to press into Galicia, hoping to advance right inbetween the Spanish and British forces through the river Sil into Monforte and then Corunna. His forces were beaten back in the steep slopes of the Sil at La Rúa, preserving the entirety of Galicia under Spanish control [10].

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Sir John Moore and the Marquis of La Romana


[1] - France showed interest in Australia as a back-up colony for French India, founding the initial settlement of Louisville 20 km south of OTL Perth, later expeditions under Nicolas Baudin and Antoine Bruni d'Entrecasteux would cement French rule over western Australia.

[2] - Butterflies affect the Battle of Trafalgar. On the one hand a stray bullet doesn't kill Nelson, but on the other a generally better weather situation allowed the Franco-Spanish fleet to scape taking fewer losses than IOTL.

[3] - Pretty much the OTL battle.

[4] - TTL's Finnish war is a bit shorter, with Sweden conserving some extra almost useless territory in Finland and the Aland islands.

[5] - Yes, he was found that way IOTL, only leaving his rugged carpet shelter in order to go to the bathroom. But IOTL he wasn't killed by an angry mob and went to exile in France and later Italy.

[6] - This is a sort of miner PoD, IOTL Alexander decided to aid the French, albeit deliberately avoiding doing so much as he could. Here, he rememebers Napoleon's trick of feigned weakness in Austerlitz and decides to attempt to gain momentum.

[7] - He was chosen as Crown Prince of Sweden IOTL, but died of a sudden stroke in 1810.

[8] - A freak accident knocks him out, this will have major implications soon.

[9] - No longer commanded by Napoleon as he left Spain the moment he knew Austria (and Russia ITTL) had declared war on France.

[10] - Here's where Blake's victory at Espinosa matters, as the army of La Romana contacts Moore's forces as they are retreating and persuades him to await the French in the rugged terrain of the Bierzo.


Note: I originally intended for the Napoleonic wars to be in a single chapter, however I didn't expect the TL to reach 1809 with that much text, so the War of the Fifth (and last) Coalition will be covered in the next chapter.
 
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Interesting POD! “Failure of the Articles of Confederation → Divided States of America.” I remember fondly how What Madness is This started in a similar way. Of course, that universe is just insane. It will be interesting, reading about how events develop in a somewhat more realistic setting such as yours.

And I’m glad to see that some of the changes to the Napoleonic Wars don’t revolve around whatever le petit caporal decides, but rather the different choices of his enemies. This take on Spain’s Independence War seems nice, too (less “scorched earth” tactics by the British can only help in the long run).

Just a suggestion: maybe more maps would help? For instance, a visual representation of how the Northwest Territory was finally divided between all the contenders; or some of the troop movements in the Peninsular War.
 
Interesting POD! “Failure of the Articles of Confederation → Divided States of America.” I remember fondly how What Madness is This started in a similar way. Of course, that universe is just insane. It will be interesting, reading about how events develop in a somewhat more realistic setting such as yours.

And I’m glad to see that some of the changes to the Napoleonic Wars don’t revolve around whatever le petit caporal decides, but rather the different choices of his enemies. This take on Spain’s Independence War seems nice, too (less “scorched earth” tactics by the British can only help in the long run).

Just a suggestion: maybe more maps would help? For instance, a visual representation of how the Northwest Territory was finally divided between all the contenders; or some of the troop movements in the Peninsular War.
Oh I definetely took inspiraton from WMiT, but in this TL most people are sane. I have maps on the making, including some troop movements and extra infoboxes like the one in the spoiler. However I want to conclude the Napoleonic Wars first before publishing a complete world map, however North America is already done, check spoiler 2.

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Interesting POD! “Failure of the Articles of Confederation → Divided States of America.” I remember fondly how What Madness is This started in a similar way. Of course, that universe is just insane. It will be interesting, reading about how events develop in a somewhat more realistic setting such as yours.

And I’m glad to see that some of the changes to the Napoleonic Wars don’t revolve around whatever le petit caporal decides, but rather the different choices of his enemies. This take on Spain’s Independence War seems nice, too (less “scorched earth” tactics by the British can only help in the long run).

Just a suggestion: maybe more maps would help? For instance, a visual representation of how the Northwest Territory was finally divided between all the contenders; or some of the troop movements in the Peninsular War.
As someone who participated in Drex's map game that was the seed of this alternate history, I'm just going to say, things get much better for Spain, just wait
 
Chapter 4: The War of the Fifth Coalition
Chapter 4: The War of the Fifth Coalition

"This Spanish ulcer is killing me and my empire"
-Napoleon Bonaparte


As Soult failed to conquer Galicia he decided to retreat to Astorga, leave a garrison through Leon and then turn west and attempt to push through the Douro, capture Porto and isolate Galicia, then besiege the Anglo-Spanish forces and hopefully seal the northern front. Soult's forces managed to sneak through the Douro while Moore was besieging Astorga and succesfully capture the city before being confronter by Silveira's and Wellesley's forces coming from the south, which handed Soult a dual defeat at Grijó and the second of Porto. Soult's forces were sent reeling across the border pursuited by the Anglo-Portuguese army, which he finally managed to stop at Ciudad Rodrigo while the Spanish to the south were reagroupping and finally stablishing a proper chain of command and General Staff; and in the east the cities of Saragossa (this one particularly brutal) and Gerona held continous attacks and sieges from the French, chomping away French manpower. Soult used this temporal pause through the spring to consolidate his positions and reorganise his forces, as more and more forces were called back from France to support the campaign against Austria and quell uprisings in Germany.

Napoleon was unsure of Austria's intentions after the news of the disaster at Spain spread, just in case, he began to reinforce Louis-Alexandre Berthier's army in southern Germany. When he was notified of the Austrian declaration of war he inmediately departed to France along with 30,000 troops from Spain, heading to the Rhine. Napoleon planned to knock out Austria quickly before the Russians (or the Prussians) could send forces, essentially repeating his glorious 1805 campaign. Austria attacked Bavaria and Italy on April 9th (a week before what Napoleon had predicted) and on the opposing side of the Danube, forcing Berthier's army to either cross the Danube or wait for the Austrians to do so, and risk Davout's forces on the other side. As the Austrians crossed the Isar river and captured Landshut by April 16th a rebellion broke out in Tyrol led by Andreas Hofer, who led a militia force through a spectacular victory at Bergisel that caught the Bavarian commanders off-guard and the French commander drunk [1], with both forces being captured with their equipment. Napoleon finally arrived at the battlefields by late April, crushing a small Austrian force at Abensberg just a day after the inconclusive battle of Teugen-Hausen. Napoleon then forced his pass through Landshut and pushed Austrian forces into Bohemia and the left bank of the Danube, securing victories at Eckmühl and Ebersberg, pushing into the Austrian heartland and capturing Vienna on May 13th. However, Austria's main fighting force under Archduke Charles was still mostly intact and just across the river waiting at the Marchfeld, being reinforced by a 30,000 strong Russian force under Prince Peter Wittgenstein [2]. Napoleon pushed for a crossing of the Danube using the island of Lobau as a stopgap. The subsequent battle of Aspern-Essling (sometimes known as the battle of Lobau) started when a French Army of 27,000 men crossed the Danube as the Austrians allowed them to do so, then firing their artillery and the french bridges, which lakced backing pales and collapsed, leaving the French forces trapped, but kept fighting as French artillery attempted to nullify their enemy's and cover the engineers' attempt at rebuilding the bridges. At 9 AM 22nd May the bridge was finished and the remaining French forces retreated, having lost most of their men and equipment. Further events in Germany would force Napoleon to abandon his Danube campaign and retreat out of fear of an encirclement.

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Map depicting basic troop movements in the Battle of Aspern-Essling

The uprising of Spain gave wings to revolutionaries all across Europe, specially in Germany, with most of the country subjugated either directly (Confederation of the Rhine) or indirectly (Prussia) by France. A group of Prussian officers known as the "Tugendbund" (League of Virtue) was planning an uprising which had some degree of support from the government, specially from Heinrich Friedrich vom und zum Stein and Gerhard von Scharnhorst. Napoleon suspected that a conspiration could be boiling in Prussia but he couldn't find any proof of it [3]. The League of Virtue decided to wait until news from Russia and Austria arrived (Stein filtered them in secret meetings as he was pretty close to Frederick William himself). Finally, seeing that Napoleon was occupied in Bavaria, the Tugendbund launched his uprising against French forces in Prussia and Thuringia. On April 29th a force in Westphalia under Friedrich von Katte raised the banner of revolt and marched east to Magdeburg aided by the parallel uprisings of Wilhelm von Dörnberg at Kassel and Ferdinand von Schill at the Thuringia-Saxony border. Von Katte failed to storm Magdeburg but Schill's forces came to the rescue and secured a crossing of the Elbe while Dörnberg was causing mayhem in the French puppet of Westphalia. When news arrived of the succesful crossing of the Elbe, Scharnhorst launched a coup d'état in Berlin against the local French garrison. Frederick William suffered from indecisiveness (and even had a panic attack when hearing the news, fearing for Napoleon's response). He recomposed himself in time to see Scharnhorst's genius overrun the French garrison at Berlin. Knowing Russia was also at war with France and the revolt gathered local support, Friedrich William ordered the Prussian Army to arrest all French troops on Prussian soil and prepare for war. The French garrison at Kustrin, guarding the Oder was crushed by Scharnhorst's forces while the regiment at Breslau was informed of the uprising with time and managed to retreat all the way to Saxony. France and Prussia were now at war.

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Prussian troops charge a French position

The Peninsular War reactivated when Wellington crossed into the Spanish highlands and faced the French at Talavera de la Reina, while the Spanish armies were amassing forces to push into Salamanca and Madrid from the south. The Battle of Talavera was a tactical victory for the Anglo-Spanish army as the French retreated, but Soult was marching to the south hoping to surround Wellesley's forces and cut his supply lines from Portugal. Wellesley decided to attempt to confront him [4] before he could cross the Tagus, parting with a force of 17,000 British soldiers that reinforced the Spanish forces at Puente del Arzobispo. The following battle over the Tagus met 37,000 French troops under Soult against 17,000 British troops under Wellington and 13,000 Spanish troops under De la Cuesta. The battle was brutal as the French chasseurs launched brutal cavalry charges that decimated the Spanish lines while the British held most of the French infantry. In the end the bridge was destroyed and the French, despite obtaining a victory, found themselves unable to take profit of it, with Joseph Bonaparte ordering Soult to return to Madrid and defend it from Spanish attacks coming from the north and south.

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To the north, the forces of John Moore and La Romana, aided by 12,000 troops commanded by the Duke del Parque began to push into Castile from september, routing the forces of Jean Marchand near Salamanca and routed his VI corps. Marchand retreated south to Alba de Tormes, meeting with Kellerman's 10,000 troops only to be forced back again as the Duke del Parque surprised the French army with a prior crossing of the Tormes river. Kellerman requested further reinforcements from Madrid on november, but Joseph Bonaparte could spare little troops as the Coalition forces defeated Soult's army at Illescas [5]. Soult inflicted heavy casualties on a force twice his size, but by late November any hope of retaining Madrid was in vain. Joseph and his court left the city on December 2nd and an uprising opened the gates to Wellington's and De la Cuesta's forces. Kellerman and Marchand retreated towards Burgos, hoping to meet with what was left of Soult's forces and hold the line through the winter. After an entire year of opposing armies attempting to outmaneuver each other in the northern half of Spain, the war was static. During the capture of Madrid Spanish forces caught French soldiers with stolen art pieces from the El Pardo museum and the soldiers recovered them. After the war Spain's government asked for a retribution and they were handed back art pieces from the Louvre, including the Mona Lisa.

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The Iberian Campaign between late 1808 and 1809

With Prussia, Austria and Russia at war with France, Poland found itself completely surrounded. Despite Poniatowski's stand at Raszyn, he knew he couldn't stop the combined force that was about to enter Poland. Despite his forces outflanking the Austrians after Raszyn and capturing Krakow, his campaign was doomed the moment Russian forces crossed the Bug and Prussian forces secured Silesia, and German colonists living within Poland had also risen up. Poniatowski opted to attempt a last stand at Wodzislaw on May 2nd 1809. The end result was the almost complete anihilation of the Polish army and the death of Poniatowski when he launched a desperate cavalry charge against Austro-Russian lines. Polish independence was crushed again, but Poniatowski's last stand impressed the Russian tsar [6] and delayed the arrival of Russian forces to Germany two weeks. Brunswick, Osnabrück, Kassel and Minden had been taken by revolutionaries and French forces (read Saxon) under the then-ill Bernadotte marched west into Westphalia to curbstomp the uprising. Bernadotte pleaded to Napoleon to remove him from command due to his sickness, but the emperor refused and Bernadotte was sent to fight the rebels. He routed a mostly Westphalian force at the Battle of Eisenach of 28th July, securing the Hörsel river and then the Werra, where he had to stop as his sickness only got worse. He would later recover, but he would give a window of opportunity to the rebels, who called for Prussian help, which would arrive in September.

Meanwhile the army of Louis Claude Monnet, consisting mostly of ill-equipped Dutch recruits engaged von Dörnberg at Lübbecke, forcing him to retreat towards the Wiehen Hills, but had to abandon the pursuit of the rebels when Napoleon ordered him to return to the Netherlands and block a British landing in the Netherlands which had taken over the islands of Walcheren and South Beveland on July 30th, and they temporarily seized Antwerp before the sheer power of French artillery (and a myserious disease called "Antwerp fever [7]) forced them back to the island. Overall, the summer and autumn of 1809 was a confuse time for both sides, having to properly oil their war machines and knowing the opponent was well-prepared for a war, although with all of Europe assembled in a coalition against him, Napoleon knew he had to act fast before the enemy armies had time to reorganise and resupply. Thus, he began his offensive from Thuringia into the Saale, meeting a Prussian army under von Schill aided by two Russian regiments at the Battle of Naumburg. Napoleon decided to attack head-on during the morning of September 2nd, catching the Prussians with their left flank opened. French forces crossed the Saale with ease and routed Schill's army back to Berlin, where the offensive ran out of steam as French supplies reached a critical lowpoint, forcing Napoleon to retreat before capturing Berlin for the second time.

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As the winter of 1809-1810 arrived, Napoleon realised he could lose the war despite his recent victory at Naumburg, and attempted to use diplomacy. He offered the Coalition a white peace in which he would retreat from Spain and fix the border between Napoleon and the Coalition at the border of the Confederation of the Rhine while sacrificing Polish and Saxon independence [8], but the Prussians would have none of it. Giving Napoleon time to rebuild his forces and rethink his strategy could lead to an even greater conflict in the future, and by 1809 the war had turned into a, as a British newspaper called it, "Crusade against Napoleon". Britain stablished a parallel Dutch administration at Walcheren, helping to contribute to an Anglo-Dutch reapprochement as locals assisted the Redcoats during the fever times, which had receded by winter. This infuriated Napoleon, who declared that his brother Louis was incapable of ruling and forced him to abdicate, incorporating the Netherlands into the French Empire. The Dutch attempted to revolt but were crushed even with British aid, although many had scaped to British South Beveland, increasing the concentration of people and causing a new fever outbreak in January 1810. Prussian, Russian and Austrian forces were assembling behind the Elbe, the Alps [9] and the Bohemian Mountains, waiting until the spring to attack. French forces in Germany were constantly harassed by rebels and their manpower was starting to feel the effects of an active war in three (four if counting the Netherlands) fronts at the same time.

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Napoleon inspects his troops during the winter

Hostilities reactivated in the spring of 1810, as British and Swedish forces were beginning to show up in northern Germany (George III wanted to secure Hannover and considered Iberia a sidekick theater). Wellesley found himself depleted of British troops, having to compensate with Portuguese forces trained by Beresford into a competent fighting force, and Spanish recruits as their army structure was beginning to get back on it's feet. After the battles of Illescas and Alcañiz in Aragon French forces retreated behind the Ebro river. Anglo-Hispano-Portuguese forces routed Jourdan's army at Villanañe, opening the road to Vitoria and the Pyrenees. By July 1810 French forces had retreated behind the Pyrenees completely in the west, while Spanish forces aided by local militias resisted Suchet's attempts at clearing Catalonia of Spanish forces, then being recalled to France. By September, Spain was free of French presence. The drained French troops were moved to the Rhine Valley were Napoleon was preparing an offensive against the Coalition, hoping to knock Prussia out definetely. However, Coalition forces attacked before Napoleon could ultimate his plans, with the Austrians crossing into Bavaria from Bohemia and along the Danube, and a Prusso-Russian army advancing through the plains of northern Germany. Napoleon focused his defence on Thuringia and Westphalia, knowing his enemies would have to go through there eventually and prepared a trap for them. Austrian forces crossed into Italy led by Hohann von Hiller, facing the French of Eugène de Beauharnais at Venzone and succesfully crossed the Tagliamento river after Beauharnais ordered a retreat to the Piave river and then to the Brenta, where he finally stopped the Austrian onslaught until autumn.

The main attack came into Germany though, and Archduke Charles crushed a Bavarian garrison at Mühldorf. As the French army of Berthier retreated, Bavaria switched sides [10], crippling French supply routes into Germany and opening a hole in their defenses. This was followed shortly after by the defection of Saxony, which had been probing both sides for a favourable exit to the war. Napoleon ordered a general retreat towards the Weser and Rhine rivers in order to reorganise his forces, abandoning most of Germany to the Coalition, shortening supply lines and freeing troops from garrison and anti-guerrilla operations in Germany. The Austro-Bavarian army advanced into Franconia while the Russians were moving south from Magdeburg, defeating Berthier's army and sending forcing him to retreat behind the Vogelsberg range. Napoleon bid his time and waited until the Prussian and Russian forces were isolated enough to launch a counteroffensive, while the Coalition seemed to prefer a Fabian strategy. Napoleon was going to give them the exact opposite of that. Friedrich Wilehlm von Bülow's army was surprised when the French assaulted his position Schmallenberg, and without any other option but retreating to the north he did so. Napoleon then marched across this gap in the front to Bad Wieldungen, where he routed another Prussian force and crossed the Eder and recaptured Kassel. Coalition forces were slow to react and had to be moved from places as far away as Franconia to resist the attack, giving Napoleon enough time to consolidate his gains and for Ney's III corps to completely crush Bülow's remaining forces. Napoleon decided to press his attack further in a risky maneuver, finally encountering a massive coalition army of Swedes, Saxons, Prussians and Russians at Alberstedt.

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Battle of Schmallenberg

The battlefield consisted of a lagoon to the north with a swampland just under it, with the Harz and Thuringian mountains to the North and South. Napoleon started the battle with an infantry charge at the farm of Schraplau and a detachment of forces crossed the small Welda river, with forces also occuppying Querfurt and the range to the south. Von Blücher ordered an assault to recover Schraplau but failed to do so as 300 French guns repelled the attack. The Coalition army outnumbered Napoleon by almost two to one, so Napoleon had to play the right cards in order to defeat them. He attempted to lure the main enemy force through the plains between the swamplands of the Süsser lake and the hills, succeeding in dragging Russia's corps under von Bennigsen, and then he launched a counterattack that sent the Russians reeling. Napoleon felt that it was time to crush the Russian forces using his cavalry, that slammed the Russian right flank. Then the Coalition artillery fired. The Coalition had almost 1,200 cannons in the battlefield, way more than the Emperor had predicted, and the cavalry charge was forced to stop only to be pusued by Austrian and Russian hussars that pressed the French chasseurs into the swamplands, bogging them down enough to catch them. French infantry attempted to attack under slight artillery cover (the rest was dueling the Coalition), being repelled. Then a massive Coalition charge was ordered, and with both the French artillery and cavalry occupied, French infantry was overrun. Napoleon retreated as the Old Guard and what remained of the Polish forces loyal to him launched a suicide charge in order to cover his retreat. The battle was a disaster for Napoleon, losing over 30,000 men and 40,000 prisoners, losses that completely crippled his army in Germany [11]. The Confederation of the Rhine vanished after the battle and the Coalition forces rushed to the Rhine, pursuiting Napoleon. Unadvertedly, Karl Philipp von Wrede's Austro-Bavarian army had placed itself behind the French to the south, hoping to cut Napoleon's supply lines and casually encountered Napoleon's remaining forces at Alsfeld, where Napoleon was defeated yet again by continuous cavalry charges that decimated his rearguard as he retreated across the Rhine, and even got hurt by a stray bullet in the armpit.

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By autumn 1810, the French Empire was a walking corpse, running dry on troops and supplies, with foreign enemies about to enter France proper and internal tensions resurging as the confidence in the Emperor waned. Secred societies of radical republicans and absolutists were beginning to form all across France, with the local garrisons having difficulties to dismantle them. Napoleon liberated Ferdinand of Spain from his prison-palace at Valençay with hopes that this would lead to an arminstice in the Pyrenees [12]. Napoleon didn't get an arminstice, but the Spanish had to accomodate to the monarch, leaving Wellesley's forces temporarily alone, albeit he continued to push into France aided by the Portuguese. In Italy, Beauharnais' defences finally cracked in October and the Austrians swept most of Italy as the French retreated to the Alps and the local Italian troops found themselves outmatched and outgunned, surrendering quickly. Coalition forces crossed the Rhine at Neuwied on November 17th, repelling the French forces in the area. Napoleon won a delay victory at Gillenferd, but that was to be his last victory. While riding a carriage in Paris, a group of radical Republicans threw a bomb at his carriage, killing Napoleon instantly along with his spouse Josephine [13]. The radicals then proclaimed a "Second French Republic" in Paris, only to be curbstomped by Prince Bagration's forces twelve days later. Napoleon was dead, and the Napoleonic wars were over.

[1] - The commander being Pierre-Baptiste-François Bisson.

[2] - Russian detachments are small as they are still fighting the Ottomans for control of Bessarabia, but the war is mostly decided at this point and the Treaty of Bucharest is pretty much the same as IOTL.

[3] - Stein's letter is never intercepted ITTL. Also Napoleon is a bit more lenient to Prussia aswell, check previous chapter.

[4] - IOTL Spanish guerrillas intercepted a letter from Soult indicating that his army was twice as big as the British expected, this led to Wellington rethinking his strategy and retreating back to Portugal, waiting there for over a year.

[5] - TTL's equivalent to the Battle of Ocaña, except the French lose.

[6] - This will matter in a couple of years.

[7] - OTL Walcheren fever, likely a combination of malaria and typhus.

[8] - News of this were leaked to Frederick Augustus of Saxony, leading to his latter defection from the French cause.

[9] - The Austrians were defeated in Italy like IOTL.

[10] - Pretty much the OTL Treaty of Ried.

[11] - TTL's Battle of Leipzig.

[12] - He mentioned to his assistants that he regretted "not getting rid of this idiotic prince before".

[13] - Keenly pointed by a user, if the War of the Fifth Coalition doesn't end as IOTL Napoleon does not divorce Josephine and never marries Marie Louise.
 

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Polish independence was crushed again, but Poniatowski's last stand impressed the Russian tsar [6] and delayed the arrival of Russian forces to Germany two weeks.
You forgot to write about number 6 at the end of a chapter
 
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