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Thread: The War of 1880, A naval summary(USA vs UK)

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    The War of 1880, A naval summary(USA vs UK)

    In October of 1880 Britian declared war on America.

    The American Navy consisted of two battle fleets, and a transport fleet. Each battlefleet had 3 Heavy Cruisers(with corvette escort), 2 Ironclads(with corvette escort), and 4 Ironclads. The transport fleet had 9 steamer convoys.

    The 1st Battle fleet was escorting the transport fleet near Cambodia when war broke out with England. Both fleets went to port in Cambodia to refit and prepare for a war with the world's greatest naval power.

    The 2nd Battle Fleet was based in Boston, and despite frequent landings by the British, the Secretary of the Navy refused to send the fleet from its port until it was "ready" for battle.

    It was six months before the American Navy sallied into battle. In the East, the 2nd Battle fleet engaged and defeated several small British fleets, primarilly transports with frigate escort. This fleet provided cover as the transport fleet landed General Sherman's 1st Army, which took British Malaysia, and then escorted the transport fleet with the 1st Army(minus 2 divisions to garrison Malaysia) to Australia. The 2nd fleet saw no more action in 1881.

    In the Atlantic, the decisive battle of the War was fought between two skilled fleets. The American 1st Fleet sallied out to do battle on April 9th, 1881. Meeting the 9 Iron-Armored ships was a british task force of 20 warships, roughly half Men-of-War, and half frigates. Over the next 8 days, the fleets traded salvos(they had a really slow reload rate I guess), until on April 17th, a few British frigates limped away. The lead American warship, the Ironclad Galena, had taken some very armor scratches. There were no casualties on the American side. On May 2, 1881 the fleet moved to the Gulf of Main, to stop an anticipated British landing. It was there that an Empire was undone.
    War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponents to fulfill our will -- Clausewitz

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    America was the only power in the world to deploy Ironclads or Cruisers. Later analysts have suggested that when the United States disbanded their wooden frigates and Men-of-War in 1870, they lost the respect of other Naval powers, who discounted the power of a small, iron-armored navy.

    Britian responded to the Battle of the Chesapeke by massing her warfleet and attacking the American Fleet. It was expected that the Americans would flee into port, and that the British Army would capture the fleet there. It was insane to think that a mere 9 warships could stand against 80.

    The Americans, however, had other ideas. Having gained confidence in the abilities of his ships, America's nine atlantic warships deployed for battle against the British Armada. On June 4, 1881, the fleets begain firing at each other in the Gulf of Maine.

    The American Admiral was nervous, and was watching closely for signs that things were goign wrong, yet he was willing to stay and fight until such indications came. They did not. At the end of June 4th, the American ships had taken no noticable damage, except for the Galena, which lost 4 crewman, but was definately in fighting form.

    As the battle opened the next morning,several British frigates had joined the fray. When notified the American Admiral said "They are already too many to count, what's a few more?" Day after day these two fleets battered at each other, however, the British were losing ships, and the American were not. Offsetting that, the British were adding ships into the battle, and the Americans were not.

    The battle was pure hell for its sailors. Every day, thousands of shells were fired at each fleet, hundreds of hits were scored, men were mained, promising lives were ended, resupply was impossible.

    Every day, the American gunners would awake, go to their turret, and begin firing. Round after round after round, until men could not move. It seemed impossible a naval engagement could last more then a few days, but this battle lasted into September.

    Towards the end of August, the Galena had suffered crippling hits, and was barely seaworthy. Although her gunnery seemed unaffected, the loss of the Galena seemed likely. The American admiral seemed ready to disengage, despite the great slaughter his ships were wreaking on the enemy, in order to save this one ship. The remaining crew insisted that the fleet must continue to fight. When orders were given to retreat to save the Galena, they were disobeyed. After months of constant battle, no one was willing to leave until their merciless slaughter of the British Navy was complete.

    On September 15, 1881, the last British warship in the Gulf of Maine was defeated. The Galena was towed into port and would survive the war. The Battle of Maine resulted in the annhilation of the vast majority of the British fleet at the cost of several dozen crewmen from the Galena, and a handful from the other ships. It is unknown how many British ships were sunk, the highest number commited at any one day was 80.

    The United Kingdom was going to face some difficulties at sea after a loss of this magnitude.
    War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponents to fulfill our will -- Clausewitz

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    Mop up and Victory

    On November 12, 1881, the American 2nd Fleet, fresh from its Victory at the Gulf of Main and missing one Ironclad(the Galena was Boston for repairs, and would remain there until war's end) moved to St. George's Channel to provoke what little British naval strength was left in the world to come meet them. The next day they were rewarded with a small flotilla of transports with a Men-of-War and several frigates for escort. Although there could be no doubt as to the outcome, the battle did take several days.

    While that was going on, the 1st fleet made it to Boston. The 1st fleet had engaged several small transport groups in the Straits of Malaca, but had no specific glory to it. The fleet escorted the 2nd Army under Custer to Gibralter and Malta, and then to Ireland. The fleet provided shore bombardment to aid Custer's forces in Ireland.

    There were no significant naval engagements between then and war's end.

    In June of 1882, American shipbuilders began construction of a new class of warship, the Battleship.

    The battle in Australia and Ireland raged on until August of 1882 when the United Kingdom offered peace. The UK had only 9 warships left anywhere in the world.

    America recieved Springbokfontein, Angra Pequeña, Swakopmund, Okinawa.Mauritius, Amami, Seychelle Islands, Singapore, and Malacca. More importantly, America was established as the world's dominant naval power, and the United Kingdom was ruined at sea.

    The Naval Building Program of 1882-1900 called for the elimination of Ironclads, and shifting to a 3 battle fleet navy, each consisting of Battleships and Heavy Cruisers. Facing America in the decades ahead would be the United Kingdom, bereft of wooden ships, but possessing the means to build iron ones in large numbers.
    War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponents to fulfill our will -- Clausewitz

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    I suppose in many ways this says something about the AI's inability to build anything between MW and BB, a few Raiders notwithstanding.

    Still, an interesting read nonetheless.
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  5. #5
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    This is interesting. When I, as New England, had to go up against Old England in 1899, I had a mixed fleet of battleships, cruisers, and ironclads. The fleet sailed out of Boston for the Canadian coast, to intercept English transports. It wiped out the Canadian navy (which consisted to two commerce raiders) and waited. After a few weeks, it intercepted an English convoy of cruisers and transports.

    In high spirits, the New England navy began to destroy this fleet. Then the Grand Fleet arrived; a mixed force of dreadnaughts and battleships, about 30 of them. The rest of the battle looked like Tshuma (not spelled correctly, I know).

    So, at least in my game, the Brits build a substantial iron fleet, but the big battle was 20 years after the one you described. Perhaps the Brits just didn't have the tech yet?

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