WW1 WI: Neutral Britain vs USA

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by LucaTheDevilCat, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. LucaTheDevilCat My Timelines make Hitler look like a liberal

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    Is what it says on the tin, what if Germany remained on the defensive on the west and focused on Russia. Tensions between the USA and British Empire increase for whatever reason so you two major separate wars. What could be the implications of this?
     
  2. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

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    America wins on land and gets fucked hard navally. We wouldnt starve, but the economy would be toast. Similarly no trade with america means that the CP are still functionally blockaded, but the entente still isnt getting anything else. Bye bye france
     
  3. LucaTheDevilCat My Timelines make Hitler look like a liberal

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    Wouldn’t Britain be able to bring in hundreds of thousands of troops and at least take New England. There could even be a Gallipoli of sort in Long Island and Manhattan.
     
  4. KingOnTheEdge Vive La Revolucion

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    Britain does still have to keep some regulars in the big colonies, and the US would probably win the war of attrition because of the massive railways, and amount of food we can produce
     
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  5. Scerus No but yes

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    Which is the main reason why the Great Rapprochement happened. It was in neither nations interests to go to war with each other without nerfing their own respective economies.
     
  6. RMcD94 Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the war aims of each country and if it remains a limited war then its possible to be resolved in British favour. An unlimited war would allow the USA to unspool and eventually dominate Canada by proximity
     
  7. NoMommsen Donor

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    This - ofc - provokes the question, why these "hundreds of thousands of troops" were'nt sent IOTL to i.e. the western front ?

    However and by whatever events (I would be REALLY interested what you envisage herer) :
    Britain and France would be rather fu - - ed.
    - no trade even without unlimited loaning as IOTL
    - trade from the americas drossly hampered by american navy (as ... 'helpless' as it may be at that time as many depicture it) which would be as quickly evpanded (perhaps even faster : US homeland mioght be at risk) as IOTL
    - Canada ... might rather quickly severe any bonds left with Britain as it would have - at least after US mobilization - no chance at all against the US. Even if it might try to occupy Chicago region or march south to New Yor... given the widespread weaponry in the hands of all these wannabe Daniel Boones ...​

    Meanwhile, with eventual britsh troops NOT sent to Gallipoli or the western front ... rather easy to see the CP win.
    - France is banging its head against a german wall in Lorraine and sacrifieces one (though perhaps rather small) strip of land after the next by the counteroffenses
    - No Dardanelles rather probaly that Greece joins the CP, the russians adventure in the Caucasus backfires or wouldn't even happen with the rest of their troops therer also redirected against the germans and austrians, the way to support the OE is earlier "fought free" (Serbia down)​
     
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  8. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    One immediate consequence is that Britain does not seize the Turkish battleships, which may lead to Turkey remaining neutral. (If not pursued by the RN, where does Goeben flee to? Probably Austria.)

    France cannot blockade Germany. France can block the English Channel, but not passage north of Scotland. German shipping in the Atlantic would be subject to French raiders, but not shut down. Also, France unlike Britain would not be able to impose restrictions on shipping to neutral countries that happen to border Germany (Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands). And of course Germany can trade at will with Britain, as can France.

    As to the US-UK war, it's extremely improbable, but for a thought experiment, suppose it breaks out in in 1915.

    First, neither country is prepared for a major land war.

    Second, while Britain has a larger navy, the initial area of operations will be near the US, which is a major offsetting advantage to the USN. Britain does have advance bases near the US: Halifax, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the British West Indies. The US has outlying bases in the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama). The US is also occupying Haiti and Nicaragua.

    Course of the war: the US would occupy the British West Indies early on, but the effort would leave the US unable to attack Canada; the RN would move in strength to the Maritimes while the "BEF" would go to Quebec and Ontario. There would be major naval conflict. Britain IMHO cannot project its power into American waters, but would hold against American attacks. Britain could move to recapture Bermuda and perhaps the Bahamas - or British Guiana, which is farthest from the US.

    Once both wars are in full swing, neutral ships will lead an exciting life, depending on where they are sailing from and to. Britain can try to interdict traffic to the US in the Atlantic, but I don't see that even the RN can interdict the US west coast, or traffic via Panama to the Gulf coast.

    There's also French-flag traffic between France and its Caribbean colonies - which could cover traffic with the US. Dutch traffic with their colonies has similar possibilities. In the Pacific, does Britain try to interdict Russian-flag traffic with the US West Coast?

    (In all of this, it's an open question as to who would be shipping what to whom. It's not obvious what the US would particularly need to import or want to export.)

    The US can raid British commerce all over the world - well, not in the Mediterranean or the Indian Ocean, but anywhere in the Atlantic or Pacific. But the US would not dare touch neutral ships, even if bound to/from British ports.

    The US with 92M people outnumbers Britain and all the "white dominions". ISTM that the US can raise and equip more troops faster that Britain can raise equip, and transport troops to Canada. US troops will mostly be raw - but Britain's new formations will also be raw (think "Kitchener battalions").

    Britain can draw on India for troops, but will be reluctant to do so - except perhaps for use against the Philippines. With Malaya, Sarawak, Hong Kong, and Australia to base from, Britain can take the Philippines. Guam, Wake Island, and Samoa are toast.

    Umm. One other point. The naval campaign in the western Atlantic would be the first to make use of aerial reconnaissance, mainly by airships (airplanes of the period lacking the range or endurance for maritime patrol). The US thus might have a major advantage in the only major supply of helium.
     
  9. NoMommsen Donor

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    Great post @Anarch King of Dipsodes

    ... only wee critique : the turkish ships were seized by Churchill/Britain already on the 1st of August, decided upon on 31st of August, and - given the ostherwise haste of events IOTL - well before the outbreak of any hostilities or DoWs all around.
     
  10. David T Well-Known Member

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    Virtually all tensions between the US and the UK in 1914-17 were the result of the UK being in the war and trying to hamper US trade with the Central Powers. It's hard enough to see even these leading to a US-British war, but it is extremely difficult for me to conceive any reason for a US war with a neutral UK.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
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  11. History Learner Well-Known Member

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    U.S. wins decisively on land and, in the event London doesn't see reason after the loss of Canada, the U.S. will displace them as the world's largest Naval power in a few short years in order to enforce the loss of more territory.
     
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  12. 33k7 Well-Known Member

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    to be honest with the British if they're going to be in a war with America they're going to start putting a decent amount of soldiers in Canada there is no way the Americans can get away with raising an army to invade Canada without the British knowing.

    so the British most likely do a preemptive attack the American Navy is most likely stuck on the coast there's no way they can engage the British royal Navy and hope to win

    Hawaii the Philippines and any other Islands in Asia are gone the US can't protect them

    the Americans will be flat-footed for a little bit because their army isn't big enough the British will put almost all their strength into a knockout punch multiple Landings as well as a large drive from Canada in the hopes to overwhelm The Americans. the question becomes if the United States can recover from this initial Massive Attack they will win the war at least in Mainland North America if not and the British probably stripped United States of Alaska and all of its colonies and territories outside of the lower 48
     
  13. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    Grotesquely wrong.

    Austria-Hungary issued its ultimatum to Serbia on 23 July; Serbia mobilized on 24 July; Austria-Hungary mobilized on 25 July; Russia alerted its army and partially mobilized on 25 July; France cancelled all military leaves and ordered troops in Morocco to France on 26 July; Moltke warned Belgium not to resist German passage on 26 July; the Royal Navy went on war footing on 26 26 July; Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July and fired on Belgrade on 29 July; Germany tacitly admitted its intention to invade Belgium (by promising not to annex Belgium if Belgium did not resist); Russia fully mobilized on 30 July.

    Thus when Churchill decided to seize the Turkish battleships, it was after several nations had mobilized or prepared to mobilize, after Austria-Hungary had declared war and started shooting, and after Germany had threatened to invade Belgium, which almost certainly meant Britain would go to war.

    In the OP, it is stated that Germany remains on the defensive against France; this implies not invading Belgium, which allows Britain to remain neutral.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 1:42 AM
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  14. metalinvader665 Well-Known Member

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    Aside from the general implausibility here, what's Japan doing in this? They're allied with Britain and with the Royal Navy's help can theoretically make plenty of gains. If Japan's involved then the British can without a doubt take the Philippines and make a solid effort at taking Hawaii. Actively threatening the West Coast is doable too although they probably can't do more than commerce raiding or shelling some minor cities.

    US would likely take a few heavy punches on land through either failed invasions or counter-offensives into the US but the British won't take much territory since the terrain will be difficult. I'd expect they get thrown out within a few months of the start of the war, but US won't be able to occupy Canada for at least a year or two. If we use OTL's WWI timeline, the major cities in Canada likely won't fall before winter of 1915 at earliest and the country itself not before winter 1916. It's going to be a bloody campaign for the US the first year or so.

    I could see the US getting screwed big at sea though since there aren't enough escorts for the battleships. There'd need to be a massive buildup of smaller ships to both help protect the battleships, stop British commerce raiding, and counter with commerce raiding of their own. But one place I expect the US will dominate is the Great Lakes simply because of the disparity in industry there, it's critical importance to the land war as the center of Canada's industry and population, and the number of US ships already in the Lakes to assist with the war effort. Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence too, or any other international river the US needs to conduct military operations. In the end the US will likely fight the British to a draw at sea simply because of disparity of industry and declining British finances and situation at home.

    In the end I'd expect a US victory and all colonies Britain seized returned and likely a transfer of a few Caribbean islands. Possibly the severing of Canada from the British Empire as an independent republic but I don't think the US would be able to annex any significant amount of Canada.
    Hundreds of thousands of troops, sure, but the Canada - New England border (all woods, hills, and mountains) has so much rugged terrain the US would easily be able to fortify it. The only city of note in New England they'd have a real shot at taking and holding for any length of time is Burlington, VT. Maybe Portland or Portsmouth with a successful naval invasion but that would be challenging thanks to the US Navy sitting so nearby plus coastal defenses. In any case, that would certainly be a Gallipoli and a painful defeat for the British. I'd expect that after the offensives of the first few months, the US would throw the British back into Canada and they'd never again set foot in New England.

    No way would the US be able to grab more than the Bahamas (and Turks and Caicos) and maybe a few of the smaller islands. Jamaica and Bermuda would be too heavily fortified and the US would be spreading too thin with available resources. It could actually be a challenge to recapture the Bahamas for the British since it's much easier to resupply and should be a priority to hold since it seals one of the entrances into the Gulf of Mexico.
    True, which means the US Army expands during peacetime to counter it and if tensions get high enough then treaty forbidding warships on the Great Lakes gets renegotiated.
    It's a whole different thing to land in Hawaii or the Philippines or Samoa than it is to conduct landings at any useful part of either coast under the watch of the US Navy AND coastal defenses. That's just asking for a lot of blood in the water and a pyhrric victory for the Royal Navy at best.

    And I don't think the Royal Navy would actually do so well in the long run since once Halifax is gone (probably one of the US's biggest targets) that removes a major base and I'd expect the Marines to spend the war fighting in the Caribbean which would be their main theater of operations.
     
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  15. NoMommsen Donor

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    Without a doubt but your argumentation/lining up of events even more suggests, that Churchill would have seized the turkish battleships no matter what. ... especially no matter what happened after the 30th of July (sry for the typing error of 31st August in my former post, it should have been 31st July).
     
  16. Anarch King of Dipsodes Overlord of All Thirst

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    I did not even notice that typing error. I was more concerned with the absurd assertion that Churchill's decision on 31 July to seize the battleships was before any declaration of war or fighting, when in fact Austria-Hungary had already declared war and bombarded Belgrade. Also, of course, the announcement of mobilization, and Germany's threat to invade Belgium, which was almost certain to provoke Britain into war.

    Churchill's action was driven by the expectation (amounting to near-certainty) that Britain would be at war with Germany in a few days. In the ATL, there is no such expectation, and therefore no reason for that action.
     
  17. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    While the US sits on its thumbs watching GB send over a big army to Canada I expect. There is no way for GB to hide an army in Canada that has even a prayer of taking on the US. The moment it does is the moment the US mobilizes. In fact that could be what starts the war. A big British Army in Canada can have only one aim. The US will counter. Also the Brits don't have a prayer of supporting such an army at that distance and the US economy is larger than the British Empire by this time.
     
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  18. 33k7 Well-Known Member

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    your completely ignoring that I made a comment with a belligerent America building up its own Armed Forces. why wouldn't the British send soldiers to protect Canada from US invasion? you basically said the same thing I did just reversed.
     
  19. Johnrankins Well-Known Member

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    It might, but in the reverse case it doesn't help, by GB's own analysis. There is a reason they started pulling troops out of Canada after the ACW. It was a no win situation for them if the US invaded Canada. It's plan was basically fight enough to discourage the US from repeating it and start looking for an exit strategy. The US was too big, too rich , too populous, and too far away with too many ports. An arms race in North America is a race that the US wins every time. It doesn't have to ship its supplies 3,000 miles, it just sticks them on trains and freights them north. By 1915 a war in North America between the US and GB is a one sided curb stomp.
     
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  20. 33k7 Well-Known Member

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    United States really doesn't have a military In 1914 the United States Army comprised 98,000 men, of whom some 45,000 were stationed overseas. The regular army was backed up by the 27,000 troops in the National Guard. the US can draft soldiers increase their numbers but while they're doing this the British are also doing the same thing.

    The total strength of the British army on 1 August 1914 was 735,000 men. Barely a third of them, fewer than 248,000, were regulars, of whom almost half were then serving overseas, predominantly in India, and so were not immediately available. and we haven't even gotten to the Canadian Australia New Zealand and Colonial Empire soldiers that they can call upon

    any US invasion of Canada will be on a wide front so there will be no trench warfare outside of Defending cities but with the introduction of the Maxim gun defensive positions will become quite costly to take.
    United States Navy is one-third the size of the British Navy it will be like the German Navy won't be able to operate with the added disadvantage of not being concentrated in one ocean.

    what you call this an inevitable march to Victory I see a hundred thousand + Americans dying to take Ontario British and American Cavalry units spread out throughout the North American flanking infantry positions I see a 3 years if not longer campaign by America with over a million Americans dying. the British Navy will be able to and the British will be able to open up front wherever they want on the u.s. coastline it is quite reasonable American Naval defences are not as fortified as you would think an some British warships actually out range some of them New York and Norfolk and Boston will be able to protect themselves but Charleston and other coastal cities are actually quite vulnerable to Naval bombardment.economically United States economy will collapse during this war.