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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

MacGowan

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  • Darkest Hour










AUGUST 11 - AUGUST 18, 1914

THE MASSACRE IN THE NORTH SEA

"SHIP IS SINKING. ESCAPE IMPROBABLE. THE BOYS FIGHT ON.”
- Admiral William Pakenham, last transmission, 1914 -​





Manchester, England

The sounds of the chains echoed through the gray and long hallways. Alice wondered if they feared that she would try to escape, or more ridiculous, attack them. What sort of men lock up a young lady like a Zoo animal?

“Do you know why I have called you in here today, Miss. Osborne?” The Warden asked. Hidden behind his large wooden desk filled with trinkets and stacks of paperwork.

“I’m afraid not, warden.” Alice replied, looking down at her chains.

“For goodness sakes, man, remove her shackles.” The warden ordered, visibly distraught at her condition.
“Miss. Osborne, I am to inform you that a truce with the protestors has been established. All WSPU prisoners are to be released immediately. In return your... colleagues… have promised that there will be no more protests.
There’s a war going on, Miss Osborne. Both sides agree this takes precedents.”


“.... I understand, warden...” Alice replied. Trying to understand the ramifications. She was free to go, the cause was in limbo. Now she would have to travel back to her hometown in Whitby. To her sister, to stay with her, while her husband is out at sea. In this terrible war.







-------------------------------------------------


London, England

“What’s Kitchener’s lap dog doing here?” Admiral Fisher asked, eyeballing Cecil.

“He’s here to tell us what the German army is carrying on, gentlemen.” Churchill declared. “Or would you rather read it in tomorrow’s newspaper? Filled with half-truths, and downright lies.”

Cecil put on his best face walking into the room filled with the Royal Navy’s elite leaders. He had been in important meetings before, shook hands with prominent figures. But never in such a solemn and perilous situation.

“Gentlemen.” He nodded and took a seat.

Admiral Fisher grunted in return.

“Continue, Admiral Hall.” Churchill said, looking across the table filled with rolled up maps, to a man standing in front of them, nervously rubbing his hands.

“Yes… Yes, sir.” He replied and signaled to another officer to hold up one of the maps.



THE BATTLE OF GERMAN BIGHT:

“The Grand Fleet operating to uphold the blockade made contact with the High Seas Fleet at 5:00, 12th August in the German Bight. Admiral Scheer sailed out to fight us straight on. Sir… They’re saying it’s the largest navy battle in the world’s history.”

“Good Lord.” Cecil whispered. Churchill shot him a quick look.

“And our boys did us proud.”

“Y, Yes.. Sir” Admiral Hall replied.

Cecil looked down on the table. Cold hard numbers stared back at him.

German casualties - 8 000
British casualties - 2 617
German ships sunk:

Kaiser class battleship - SMS Kaiserin - SUNK
Pre-dreadnought battleship - SMS Schwaben - SUNK
Light cruiser - SMS Thetis - SUNK
Light cruiser - SMS Strassburg - SUNK
Light cruiser - SMS Stralsund - SUNK
3 Destroyers - SUNK

“We reckon there were around 8 000 German casualties sir.” Admiral Hall announced.

“Not to mention the sinking of Kaiserin, and Schwaben. Terrible blows to the German Navy” Admiral Fisher added.

“Splendid.” Churchill replied. “Make sure the newspapers keep printing that, we will need those numbers to survive this bloody mess.”



SHIPS TO REPAIR:

Our own Grand Fleet took a severe beating.” Admiral Fisher said. “We lost no ships, but plenty of them are in dire need of repair. The HMS Liverpool for example is in tatters.”

Cecil picked up the report.

Ships docked for repair:
Pre-dreadnought battleship - HMS Queen
Pre-dreadnought battleship - HMS Venerable
Light cruiser - HMS Liverpool
Light cruiser - HMS lowestoft
Armoured cruiser - HMS Antrim
Armoured cruiser - HMS Roxburgh
Armoured cruiser - HMS Cressy​

“And why was HMS Queen, and HMS Venerable apart of this operation?” Churchill asked.

“Those were the ships Admiral von Battenberg assigned to the grand fleet, sir.”

“They are still fine ships.” Admiral Von Battenberg’s voice finally arose from the corner. He was sharp and stylish, a dashing man of royal linage. “I leave it up to the discretion of the Fleet commander to assign them accordingly.”

“Well, they’re hardly fine ships any longer.” Churchill replied.

“We have underestimated the German Navy every step of the way.” Admiral Fisher said.

“There we agree, Jackie.” Churchill muttered. “Brief us on the Russian situation, Admiral Hall.”

“W, Will do, sir.”



THE SECOND BATTLE OF POMERANIAN BAY:

16:00 on the same day, the Russian fleet was attacked.” Hall pointed to a map of the Baltic sea.

“The bastards are mad.” Fisher declared. “They have split their fleet into three and attacked every side at once.”

“We’ll get there, Jackie.” Churchill interrupted. “Continue.”

“Sir, the Russians suffered terrible loses.”

German casualties - 150
Russian casualties - 1 358
Russian Ships sunk

Armored cruiser - Rossia - SUNK
Protected cruiser - Aurora - SUNK
Protected cruiser - Diana - SUNK



THE SACKING IN DANZIG BAY:

German casualties - 200
Russian casualties - 2 327
Russian Ships sunk

Pre-dreadnought battleship - Imperator Pavel I - SUNK
Pre-dreadnought battleship - Slava - SUNK
Pre-dreadnought battleship - Andrei Pervozvanny - SUNK
Armored cruiser - Bayan II - SUNK
Armored cruiser - Rurik - SUNK
Protected cruiser - Oleg - SUNK
Protected cruiser - Bogatyr - SUNK

“That’s half of the Russian Fleet.” Fisher noted.

Cecil jaw dropped. The list of ships destroyed, years of craftmanship, tons of steel and metal for the defense of the nation, lost forever, at the bottom of the sea.

“We could divert our submarines,” von Battenberg said. “The waters in the Baltic is suitable for them.”

Churchill poured himself a glass of whiskey. “Don’t mind me, gentlemen.
Admiral Hall, I now have to burden you with the task of messenger-of-terrible-news, as it seems fate has chosen you to deliver it.”


He took a swig of the glass.

“Let’s get on with it.”



THE MASSACRE AT VIKING BANK:

“Yes.. Yes, Sir.” Admiral Hall grabbed another map and rolled it out on the table.

“When the Grand Fleet engaged in combat in the German Bight, there…” He paused. “There was another fleet…”

“Hipper.” Fisher shuttered. “We let Admiral Hipper sneak past the Grand Fleet. While we greedily attacked Admiral Scheer.”

“Yesterday, sir, at dawn, off the coast of Bergen, this German fleet engaged with our patrol fleet.” Admiral Hall said. “They’re not supposed to be in any direct battle, sir… They don’t have the range, nor the armor. It was a shooting gallery out there.”

“Gather yourself, man” Fisher replied.

“Yes, sir.” Admiral Hall replied. “Admiral Hood was ordered to separate from the Grand Fleet and head straight for Viking Bank. But….. It was too late, sir.”

German casualties - 0
British casualties - 5 600
British Ships sunk

Protected cruiser - HMS Venus - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Minerva - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Isis - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Heseus - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Theseus - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Doris - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Diana - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Eclipse - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Hawke - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Talbot - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Juno - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Charybdis - SUNK
Cruiser - HMS Pelorus - SUNK
Cruiser - HMS Royal Arthur - SUNK
20 destroyers (4 Squadrons) - SUNK

“That’s the entire Patrol fleet…” Fisher said.

“And 8000 brave seamen in defense of His King’s Navy.” Churchill replied.



INTERCEPTION:

“Admiral Jellico has hastily put together a plan.” Churchill added. “One that you support, von Battenberg?”

“I think it might be rather hazardous.” von Battenberg replied.

“hazardous?!” Fisher barked. “You’ve incompetently lost 35 ships! You are responsible for the greatest maritime disaster since bloody Scilly!” Papers flew through the air. “Jellico is the only man out there able to save what’s left of our support fleet!”

“Ah, so I am to be the scapegoat, then.” von Battenberg replied.



WHO IS TO BLAME:

“Gentlemen” Churchill interrupted. “The battle is still being waged, and resolutely so. I am to hold a speech in the House of Commons tomorrow, concerning this… This catastrophe. And seeing as how it might play out, there is still a chance that we might salvage it. Hipper is now surrounded by a numeric superior. von Battenberg’s concerns for the operation has been duly noted. But today belongs to Admiral Jellicoe.”

Now, get on with it, Admiral.”

Hall nodded.



THE BATTLE OF GUINEA BASIN:

“We’ve also have had some… issues outside of the North sea, sir. Yesterday our squadron fleet from Freetown in Africa met a formidable German squadron in the gulf of Guinea”

“It’s our Achille’s heel.” Fisher complained. “The sheer size of our empire.”

“Yes, sir.” Hall nodded. “We took significant casualties, sir.”

German casualties - 700
British casualties - 1 001
German Ship sunk

1 Destroyer - SUNK



NEW SHIPS READY:

“This is no doubt macabre of me to say.” von Battenberg broke the silence. “But these ships... The Germans have only sunk aged and obsolete equipment… Aside from the terrible losses of our dear men.” He sank down into a shadow, contemplating his words. “But, these ships were old. We have 2 state-of-the-art light-cruisers ready today, and a long list of ships that will be finished in a few months. If the Germans wish to trade a Kaiser-class Battleship for a cruiser from the last century, are we to stop them making that mistake?



OUR NAVY BLOCKADE:

Not to mention.” He stood up and walked over to the table. “The blockade still stands, and it is proving mighty effective. The Germans cannot supply anything through the north. Their attack has been a clear sign of their distress. Germany wants those ports open, and even in light of this battle, they remain locked.”

“He is correct.” Churchill noted. “As far as the public is concerned, this has been one large battle. One that we have won.”

“If Jellicoe finishes the job.” Admiral Fisher corrected.

“Indeed, Jackie. Indeed.”



INVESTIGATING SINKING OF CONVOYS:

“Sir,” Hall spoke in a low questioning tone.

“Speak up, young man.” Churchill replied.

“Last, on our report, sir. The merchant fleet has reported the disappearance of 2 ships in the Atlantic.”

“We have dispatched part of the patrol fleet to that location,” Fisher added. “If the Germans are up to anything we will catch them.”

“Right,” Churchill mumbled. “Well, it’s your turn, General Cecil. Give these men a quick briefing on how the army is buggering it up on land.”

“I do not believe we can do much worse than the Russians, sir.” Cecil declared and bounced up. “Right-o, chaps, move out the way.” He marched up towards the end of the table with his own stack of maps and papers.

“Chaps, we’re proper buggered.



THE EASTERN FRONT:

If the Russian army’s movement seem chaotic, it is so primely due to them being in a state of utter panic, some are even being routed into the arms of the enemy. They have lost 25 000 soldiers as we speak.” Silence in the room.
“They have lost 25 000 soldiers, gentlemen.” Cecil continued. “Heavy fighting across the entire border. One division is even about to be encircled near Breslau.”

“My God.” Admiral Hall said.

“The soldiers are putting up quite the fight.” Cecil replied. “But they require orders, and the leadership is sorely lacking. There is hope however. A counter-attack in Austria seems promising. 22 Russian divisions are currently raining down on Tarnopol. If they can punch a hole in the enemy’s lines, Germany will be surely forced to send reinforcements there.”

“And our own men?” Fisher asked. “The BEF?”



THE WESTERN FRONT:

“Ah!” Cecil let out. “The Expeditionary Force! It has arrived, admiral, and it’s digging in.”

“Outside of Belgium.” von Battenberg pointed out.

“Ah, well. We’re being cautious.” Cecil replied. “We’ve barely reached Lille, and the Germans have broken through at Liege. They’re invading Brussels as of now.”

“So it is true, you have given up Belgium then? Just as you gave up Luxembourg.” von Battenberg said with an ice cold tone.

“Well, we haven’t thrown our men foolishly into the unknown. seeing as their equipment is neither aged nor obsolete.” Cecil replied callously.

von Battenberg sneered.



THE BATTLE OF LONGWY

“The French have little help to offer them as well. Great battles are now raging in Longwy. 47 divisions are now involved in the fighting. Over 350 000 German soldiers are marching in. The French, in response, have begun transporting in reinforcements to ease the pressure, but we must do our part.”

“To sit idly by?”

“To cover our side of the flank, von Battenberg! The time will soon come for our men, don’t you worry.”



THE BALKAN FRONT:

“Thankfully, the Balkans look a bit better.” Hall added, looking down at the maps.

“Ah! yes, admiral Hall,” Cecil replied. “And with Montenegro joining our side there is now even the possibility of reinforcing that front. Perhaps send forces through the Balkans to Russia, or punch our way into Austria-Hungary, with our colonial troops.”

“First things first.” Fisher interrupted. “How are the Serbians holding out?”

“Surprisingly well.” Cecil replied “The Serbians are winning a battle in Petrovgrad. They’re actually advancing on an invading enemy.”

“Hard people.” Churchill noted.

“Indeed.” Cecil replied. “We expect them to lose—especially if Bulgaria joins the conflict—however, every week they hold out is a gift to us. Fighting a war on three fronts is suicide for the Prussian alliance.”

“And do you share Kitchener’s belief that this will be a long and grueling war?” Churchill asked.

“I don’t know, sir.” Cecil answered. “But I know we have not seen the worst of it. Not by a long shot.”







-------------------------------------------------


Czestochowa, Russia

Paul Mueller had murdered two men this morning. The first he had fired at from 130 feet away. His battalion had met resistance in the forest during their great push into Czestochowa. He had planted a bullet through the man’s chest and quickly moved on. For such is the nature of war.

The second man had not gone down so quickly, however. This man had snuck up on Paul while he was busy reloading and kicked him hard in the face.

It had been a tough fight after that. In the mud, where swift movements slow to a crawl. Paul had—after a long, torturous struggle—ended the Russian man’s life by stabbing him rapidly in the side of the neck. The Russian had then crawled up into fetal position like a pathetic dog.

Now he lay dead in front of him.

Paul sat on a rock, looking out at the aftermath of the battle. He wondered what his fellow soldiers would say if they knew how many more he had murdered in the past.




 
Last edited:

Specialist290

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Well, the North Sea is certainly a mixed bag. On the one hand, we have the Viking Bank catastrophe -- a tragic case of what happens when the Royal Navy lets its guard down. On the other hand, cold as it is to say, the fact that most of the damage to the RN has landed on its older, less capable fighting ships may prove to be a blessing in disguise, especially given that the British can afford to absorb more losses than the Germans. I'm confident that the High Seas Fleet can be routed, allowing the Kriegsmarine fleets in the Baltic to be bottled up quite nicely.

Russia's performance is worrisome but not altogether unexpected. With luck they may be able to trade space (which Russia has in such vast quantities) for time, and stay in the fight long enough to keep the Central Powers divided between two fronts. The main worry there is that with the Baltic lost to them, the Russians only really have their Black Sea ports (under threat from the unfriendly Turks) and Vladivostok (at the far end of a not-entirely-reliable Trans-Siberian Railway) available for warm-water ports.

As for the Western Front, it's still too early to tell, honestly. Saving Brussels is possibly one march too far, but it might be possible to anchor a defensive line from Ghent or Bruges to Lille to keep the coastline open, serving as a springboard for a possible counterattack once the Germans run out of momentum.
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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Only reasonable way to destroy coalition is to pick each member, one by one. Few notes on situation:

1) if Kaiser no longer feel sentimental about his naval toys, it's very bad for Royal Navy - Kaiserliche Marine can be completely destroyed in battle, and it wouldn't hurt Germany in the same way Britain will be hurt by losses of dozens of ships and tens of thousand of experienced sailors.
2) Slow advance through Belgium may indicate that Paris is actually false, abandoned target and Russia First strategy with longer war in mind can be reality. Now, with Baltic Sea being Prussian lake, Germans can invade entire Russian coast or 'just' support nationalist uprisings in Finland or Livonia. You lose Russia in a one or two years, you lose war, no matter what.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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“The Grand Fleet operating to uphold the blockade made contact with the High Seas Fleet at 5:00, 12th August in the German Bight. Admiral Scheer sailed out to fight us straight on. Sir… They’re saying it’s the largest navy battle in the world’s history.”
Good stir for the papers. And we're winning too, even better.

Cecil looked down on the table. Cold hard numbers stared back at him.

German casualties - 8 000
British casualties - 2 617
German ships sunk:

Kaiser class battleship - SMS Kaiserin - SUNK
Pre-dreadnought battleship - SMS Schwaben - SUNK
Light cruiser - SMS Thetis - SUNK
Light cruiser - SMS Strassburg - SUNK
Light cruiser - SMS Stralsund - SUNK
3 Destroyers - SUNK
Fantastic stuff gentlemen.

Cecil picked up the report.

Ships docked for repair:
Pre-dreadnought battleship - HMS Queen
Pre-dreadnought battleship - HMS Venerable
Light cruiser - HMS Liverpool
Light cruiser - HMS lowestoft
Armoured cruiser - HMS Antrim
Armoured cruiser - HMS Roxburgh
Armoured cruiser - HMS Cressy
Nothing lost, refits being made. Very good. Only issue is whether we can keep up pressure with some ships down but not out. Hopefully so, because the Kaiser and the German people are going to be demanding another battle even if the navy isn't, as explained below

Sir, the Russians suffered terrible loses.”

German casualties - 150
Russian casualties - 1 358
Russian Ships sunk

Armored cruiser - Rossia - SUNK
Protected cruiser - Aurora - SUNK
Protected cruiser - Diana - SUNK
The Germans have to release this to their press, it's a good result and russia is the feared enemy here. Which means the population is going to think the navy is better than it is, especially when they hear of the slaughter of the patrol fleet (it will of course be refered to as a full battle fleet in the press). Both these things will be released to the press...but the losses inflicted in the main fleet can't be hidden either, especially the battleships. Thus, riding high on naval victory, the public and poltics involved will mean another larger naval battle before long, which favours the royal navy.

“That’s half of the Russian Fleet.” Fisher noted.
Even more reason to suspect the germans will kill the russian fleet then turn around for another go at us.

German casualties - 0
British casualties - 5 600
British Ships sunk

Protected cruiser - HMS Venus - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Minerva - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Isis - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Heseus - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Theseus - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Doris - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Diana - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Eclipse - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Hawke - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Talbot - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Juno - SUNK
Protected cruiser - HMS Charybdis - SUNK
Cruiser - HMS Pelorus - SUNK
Cruiser - HMS Royal Arthur - SUNK
20 destroyers (4 Squadrons) - SUNK
“That’s the entire Patrol fleet…” Fisher said.

“And 8000 brave seamen in defense of His King’s Navy.” Churchill replied.
A shocking naval catastrophe for UK. Not the worst in history but up there.

these ships were old. We have 2 state-of-the-art light-cruisers ready today, and a long list of ships that will be finished in a few months. If the Germans wish to trade a Kaiser-class Battleship for a cruiser from the last century, are we to stop them making that mistake?
True, and that's why overall together with the above reasoning on german strategy should lead to RN strategic dominance.

“Outside of Belgium.” von Battenberg pointed out.

“Ah, well. We’re being cautious.” Cecil replied. “We’ve barely reached Lille, and the Germans have broken through at Liege. They’re invading Brussels as of now.”
...risky. Very risky to let Belgium go without a fight poltically. Whole reason we joined the war, even if it makes sense militarily...and not sure it does there either. We want as few ports as possible for the germans to be using for U boats and ships

Overall though, 10k deaths in the navy earnt the British quite a good position on the sea. The same cannot and will not be the case on land.

Edit: a thought occurs. If this series of events is used by Germany properly, they should get the ottomans in the war early through russian weakness and naval 'victories'. If they manage that, the austrians and ottomans will begin competing with each other to be Germany's partner in the war, at the expenses of each other.
 
Last edited:

El Pip

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The sounds of the chains echoed through the gray and long hallways. Alice wondered if they feared that she would try to escape, or more ridiculous, attack them. What sort of men lock up a young lady like a Zoo animal?
Equal opportunity men. Those who believe that just being a woman does not excuse criminality and apply the same sentences and treatment they would give to a male criminal. (For the avoidance of doubt the aims were noble and the cause just, but they still broke the law. And whether chains were appropriate for criminals of either gender is yet another question.)

“We have underestimated the German Navy every step of the way.” Admiral Fisher said.
Fisher! I know you are trying to get your job back, but the issue is over-estimating the Germans here. Only an idiot would carve up their fleet and leave it open to defeat in detail.

“hazardous?!” Fisher barked. “You’ve incompetently lost 35 ships! You are responsible for the greatest maritime disaster since bloody Scilly!” Papers flew through the air. “Jellico is the only man out there able to save what’s left of our support fleet!”

“Ah, so I am to be the scapegoat, then.” von Battenberg replied.
Speaking of idiots dividing a fleet up for no reason at all we come to Battenberg - Cake by name and Cake for brains. It's only scapegoating if it isn't your fault. If you are blamed for things you are responsible for then it is accountability.

Though admittedly this is also partially Churchill's fault, he supported Battenberg getting the job because Battenberg was a malleable administrator who would keep things ticking over but not interfere in the big decision. Fair enough in a peacetime navy looking to reform, but a liability in wartime, as he has just proved.

I would also have enjoyed seeing the chat between Jellicoe and Callaghan, given that Callaghan only got replaced as head of Grand Fleet by Jellicoe at the outbreak of war there must have been a frisson of tension there. Extra motivation for Callaghan to thrash the Germans and prove that he should have been kept in post.

“Last, on our report, sir. The merchant fleet has reported the disappearance of 2 ships in the Atlantic.”

“We have dispatched part of the patrol fleet to that location,” Fisher added. “If the Germans are up to anything we will catch them.”
Suspicious indeed. Those ships would have had radio and if the Germans are on Cruiser Rules they should have got a message off. If the Germans aren't then they must be firing on sight, so we can expect the US to enter the war shortly.

“So it is true, you have given up Belgium then? Just as you gave up Luxembourg.” von Battenberg said with an ice cold tone.

“Well, we haven’t thrown our men foolishly into the unknown. seeing as their equipment is neither aged nor obsolete.” Cecil replied callously.

von Battenberg sneered.
You would think Cakeboy would have gained at least a bit of humility after his cockups and incompetence, all he is doing is making it even easier for Fisher to get him sacked. But then if he was better at working with people then the Naval Staff wouldn't have been so disorganised and mishandled the start of the war so badly, both OTL and TTL.

Mind you Cecil's attitude about not throwing men away is going to get him sacked shortly, once Asquith and Lloyd George get into full "Hurl bodies at the machine guns" mode.
 

J_Master

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As I said in my response to the last weeks QA, I think that moving the units guarding the coast further forwards would be the better option. The Scheldt would provide excellent defense and we wouldn't be accused of just abandoning Belgium. But to the matters of this week.

The goings on in Russia are to be expected. Hit by the Germans but hitting the Habsburgs, nothing unusual. Poland, at least the western parts, are lost. The Russian military just isn't capable enough to maintain such an extended frontline. The real problem will be the dissent that hits from the continued occupation of Poland. Hopefully, they will limit the German advance to just Poland.

Naval wise, the losses are.... tragic to say the least. Simply letting our guard down let thousands of boys die, and it will be the first real setback of the war, hopefully the public takes it well. In case of naval assets, no disaster. Unless the Germans are going to make a 3:1 or 4:1 KD ratio, we'll maintain the blockade.

Serbia is preforming well, but that will be until the Germans arrive to back the Austrians up and the Bulgarians are bribed with Macedonia.

If the overstretching of our empire is a problem, perhaps we should take away Germany's ability to project power overseas. For us, German East and German Southwest Africa are of importance to take out, the other two colonies are in the hands of the French.

Most of all, I think we should be bracing ourselves, since within 2 weeks we'll see first contact with the German forces currently in Eastern Belgium
 

TheButterflyComposer

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And whether chains were appropriate for criminals of either gender is yet another question.)
Cruel, unusual, unnecessary and expensive, the four things required for an imperial plan of any kind.
They could have just broken their legs. That would at least been cheaper.

Speaking of idiots dividing a fleet up for no reason at all we come to Battenberg - Cake by name and Cake for brains. It's only scapegoating if it isn't your fault. If you are blamed for things you are responsible for then it is accountability.
I quite agree. Use him as encouragement for the other british admirals.

By which I mean, shoot him.

Though admittedly this is also partially Churchill's fault,
Story of his life...

I would also have enjoyed seeing the chat between Jellicoe and Callaghan, given that Callaghan only got replaced as head of Grand Fleet by Jellicoe at the outbreak of war there must have been a frisson of tension there. Extra motivation for Callaghan to thrash the Germans and prove that he should have been kept in post.
On the bright side, this could mean we have both men leading a fleet each in this war. Especially since they need to rebuild/replace the patrol fleet with something a bit meatier.

Suspicious indeed. Those ships would have had radio and if the Germans are on Cruiser Rules they should have got a message off. If the Germans aren't then they must be firing on sight, so we can expect the US to enter the war shortly.
Perhaps some kind of radio jamming device, cunningly constructed by some mad german scientists. Or perhaps they got lost and are too embarrassed to check in.

You would think Cakeboy would have gained at least a bit of humility after his cockups and incompetence, all he is doing is making it even easier for Fisher to get him sacked. But then if he was better at working with people then the Naval Staff wouldn't have been so disorganised and mishandled the start of the war so badly, both OTL and TTL.

Mind you Cecil's attitude about not throwing men away is going to get him sacked shortly, once Asquith and Lloyd George get into full "Hurl bodies at the machine guns" mode.
Well I feel the admirality has lots of good choices for replacements so thats fine.

As for Cecil, we can only hope Fisher gets his job back and Kitchner doesn't die (hopefully not going to happen now) so their schemes of 'not simply brute force' might be put into play.

If the overstretching of our empire is a problem, perhaps we should take away Germany's ability to project power overseas. For us, German East and German Southwest Africa are of importance to take out, the other two colonies are in the hands of the French.

Would that we could. The British tried this for the entire war in otl, and never got german east africa to surrender. Thousands of men locked up trying to pin down a mobile force. Nightmare in those days.
 

J_Master

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Would that we could. The British tried this for the entire war in otl, and never got german east africa to surrender. Thousands of men locked up trying to pin down a mobile force. Nightmare in those days.
You don't need control over all of the respective colonies to deny them to the German navy, you just need control over the naval base. The German forces can easily be driven from the ports, the rest of the colony, especially East Africa, will be a bigger problem.
 

El Pip

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You don't need control over all of the respective colonies to deny them to the German navy, you just need control over the naval base. The German forces can easily be driven from the ports, the rest of the colony, especially East Africa, will be a bigger problem.
Indeed. In the grand scheme of things a few thousand colonial troops committed to deny the German Navy any overseas bases is well worth it. Especially as that total includes a large number of South African troops who you couldn't deploy outside of Africa anyway.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Indeed. In the grand scheme of things a few thousand colonial troops committed to deny the German Navy any overseas bases is well worth it. Especially as that total includes a large number of South African troops who you couldn't deploy outside of Africa anyway.
Fair enough. But the german fleet outside of Europe wasn't a problem anyway, aside from being an embarsment for how long they lasted. But yeah, secure the ports and then just send the south africans in to try to handle the problem (although there were south africans in the trenches too).

Though this does tie into the underlying problem for Britian of ehat to do about the empire that we should probably be trying to solve as well.
 

El Pip

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Fair enough. But the german fleet outside of Europe wasn't a problem anyway, aside from being an embarsment for how long they lasted. But yeah, secure the ports and then just send the south africans in to try to handle the problem (although there were south africans in the trenches too).
South Africans in the "Union Defence Force" (pre-war army) could not legally be deployed outside of Africa, whole new force had to be raised for that. Same thing with the Australians, the Militia had to stay home and the all new Australian Imperial Force was recruited for overseas service. You can sort of understand the South African position with the whole Boer issue, the Australian one is a bit odder.

I would disagree about German outside Europe fleet being an issue. It was only because all the ports were captured and they were hunted down that they didn't become an issue. Hunting them down ties up a lot of warships that should be doing something more useful, which is of course one of the points of a surface raider strategy, so anything that makes that process faster is worth doing.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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South Africans in the "Union Defence Force" (pre-war army) could not legally be deployed outside of Africa, whole new force had to be raised for that. Same thing with the Australians, the Militia had to stay home and the all new Australian Imperial Force was recruited for overseas service. You can sort of understand the South African position with the whole Boer issue, the Australian one is a bit odder.
Yeah but the South Africans and Australians were everywhere on the western front. I think it was the case of the british not caring about the legal ban when they genuinely needed the troops, though again that peobably raises a ton of questions and problems about the empire and future stuff.
 

El Pip

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Yeah but the South Africans and Australians were everywhere on the western front. I think it was the case of the british not caring about the legal ban when they genuinely needed the troops, though again that peobably raises a ton of questions and problems about the empire and future stuff.
Nope, the British (and the South African and Australian and New Zealand governments) emphatically did care and put a lot of effort into respecting it. The AIF (Oz) NZEF (NZ) and Overseas Force (SA) were legally separate, all volunteer forces that were raised after war broke out. It was those troops who went to the Western Front, Middle East and everywhere else.

Sure there were a lot of transfers across from the pre-war forces into the wartime volunteer forces, certainly at command level but also among the troops, but many pre-war troops did not move and stayed in the non-deployable forces. This was respected until the end of the war and they weren't ordered or forced to move, certainly not by the British. I suspect it might have been a bit socially awkward for those troops who didn't transfer and many may have felt pressured into doing so, but that was public opinion in their home country not London demanding.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Nope, the British (and the South African and Australian and New Zealand governments) emphatically did care and put a lot of effort into respecting it. The AIF (Oz) NZEF (NZ) and Overseas Force (SA) were legally separate, all volunteer forces that were raised after war broke out. It was those troops who went to the Western Front, Middle East and everywhere else.

Sure there were a lot of transfers across from the pre-war forces into the wartime volunteer forces, certainly at command level but also among the troops, but many pre-war troops did not move and stayed in the non-deployable forces. This was respected until the end of the war and they weren't ordered or forced to move, certainly not by the British. I suspect it might have been a bit socially awkward for those troops who didn't transfer and many may have felt pressured into doing so, but that was public opinion in their home country not London demanding.
That's a lot of volunteers fighting in that war. No wonder it was so reviled afrerwards. Imagine fighting in France over the balance of power in Europe when you're Australian or Canadian and it really doesnt matter to you. Makes the VCs they won more interesting I suppose.

And made troop mpvements more complicated perhaps? Not that there was much call for that but still...
 

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I can't judge for the political situation in the other dominions, but if the British would force conscription upon South Africa for the other fronts of the war besides South West Africa, it would at the very least lead to the rising of anti British sentiment among the Afrikaners. Maybe you would see a somewhat stronger Maritz Rebellion, but with the 2nd Boer War in recent memory, many would not join a revolt against British rule. The ballot would see a strong shift towards anti-British Afrikaner parties
 

MacGowan

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the next line of defense would be the Scheldt. It lies only a shot amount forwards from our current positions and it would allow us to threaten the port of Antwerp. Keeping the fight out of France
Saving Brussels is possibly one march too far, but it might be possible to anchor a defensive line from Ghent or Bruges to Lille to keep the coastline open
We'd also be vulnerable to an attack from 3 directions.
I'm confident that the High Seas Fleet can be routed, allowing the Kriegsmarine fleets in the Baltic to be bottled up quite nicely.
Yes, it's embarrassing that we dropped the ball in the North Sea. We're supposed to be a seafaring nation!
The main worry there is that with the Baltic lost to them, the Russians only really have their Black Sea ports (under threat from the unfriendly Turks) and Vladivostok (at the far end of a not-entirely-reliable Trans-Siberian Railway) available for warm-water ports.
That is a concern. We could divert part of the Royal Navy to clear up the Baltic Sea, but do we dare to do that with the way things are shaping up in the North Sea?
I can't judge for the political situation in the other dominions, but if the British would force conscription upon South Africa for the other fronts of the war besides South West Africa, it would at the very least lead to the rising of anti British sentiment among the Afrikaners.
I think it's fair to say South African troops will only be used for Africa.

here's an awkward question though: Our transport ships have 2500 range. Just how the hell do I ship Anzac and Canadian troops anywhere?
Most of all, I think we should be bracing ourselves, since within 2 weeks we'll see first contact with the German forces currently in Eastern Belgium
Ay, the French at Longwy have felt the German bayonet, very soon it will be our turn.

England Expects.



 

Herbert West

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Shame the game (and by extension the AAR) does not have minefields. Sailing up the Denmark straight would be a suicide run in that case, as would have been historically.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Shame the game (and by extension the AAR) does not have minefields. Sailing up the Denmark straight would be a suicide run in that case, as would have been historically.
Indeed.
 

J_Master

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We'd also be vulnerable to an attack from 3 directions.
Is it? Lille can be attacked from Brugge, Brussels and Mons. This means that Brugge can't be attacked from Mons. Since the Netherlands isn't in the war, Brugge can only be attacked from Antwerp and Brussels.
 

Pieter Bruegel

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Also, just looking back, Cecil calls Pancho Villa, "Poncho Villa". I wish it were just a typo, but I can't put it past Cecil to get Villa's name wrong.