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Vlad_Dracul1989

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What if Germany 'simply' managed to 'just' kill twice as many British? Or two times more of their ships compared to our timeline?
Britain may print posters about fighting to last breath, blood and bullet indefinitely, but reality is reality.

Or better question, how many losses, before red flags wave around Westminster. And no, I don't mean red ensign...
 

TheButterflyComposer

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But that assumes the adults take over the Admiralty and the Grand Fleet performs something like OTL. If the Royal Navy continues to be ineptly frittered away then maybe a 'Treaty of Amiens' type peace is possible, a temporary lull that will burst into war again once one or other side has recovered enough.
I admit to being faintly disgusted by the actions of the admiralty. Churchill should have resigned and Battenburg should have been shot.

What if Germany 'simply' managed to 'just' kill twice as many British? Or two times more of their ships compared to our timeline?
Britain may print posters about fighting to last breath, blood and bullet indefinitely, but reality is reality.

Or better question, how many losses, before red flags wave around Westminster. And no, I don't mean red ensign...
In theory or in practice?

In practice...I mean, eventually. But in theory and to be honest reality, there is absolutly nothing the Axis can do to get the British out of the war. Their navy shouldn't (shouldn't) be enough to threaten GB or the trade routes, the UK has virtually unlimted manpower, unlimited credit and unlimited resources. They won't surrender unless the germans literally conquer GB and perhaps not even then. There'd need to be insurrection in India and Ireland etc. to get to that point.

But...yeah, it is feasible but outside of the game, probably not doable. They might have deicded to figure out a diplomatic solution once the entire contient fell, or they would have done what they did in Napoleonic times and just fought it all by themsevles.
 

J_Master

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Herbert West

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In practice...I mean, eventually. But in theory and to be honest reality, there is absolutly nothing the Axis can do to get the British out of the war. Their navy shouldn't (shouldn't) be enough to threaten GB or the trade routes, the UK has virtually unlimted manpower, unlimited credit and unlimited resources. They won't surrender unless the germans literally conquer GB and perhaps not even then. There'd need to be insurrection in India and Ireland etc. to get to that point.
Erm, these are the Central Powers, mes ami. WWII has not happened yet, so the trick of retroactively making the CP look bad by association with the Axis also does not work.

With a more successful CP, the uprising in India might be possible (not as a full-blown rebellion, but as a long bushfire). Ireland had The Easter Rising in 1916 OTL, and you need no special butterflies to make the Conscription Crisis on 1918 into the start of an armed insurrection.

London need not be occupied for a peace deal to be signed. War just has to be politically unprofitable long enough. To draw a somewhat trite analogy, the US also had virtually unlimited manpower, unlimited credit, and unlimited resources, on paper.

Not sure the game models any of that, though.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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oh bugger
Indeed. That may well have cost another million men at least.

Erm, these are the Central Powers, mes ami. WWII has not happened yet, so the trick of retroactively making the CP look bad by association with the Axis also does not work.
British propaganda was pretty good, so in the eyes of the rest of the world and UK, yes the Germans really are that bad, esepcially if they do take over france and all that so ypu can claim they're doing all sorts of nasty and terrible things to the continent.

With a more successful CP, the uprising in India might be possible (not as a full-blown rebellion, but as a long bushfire). Ireland had The Easter Rising in 1916 OTL, and you need no special butterflies to make the Conscription Crisis on 1918 into the start of an armed insurrection.
Indeed. It's more a matter of time. The British have the most going in, as they had at least 4 years of stability before things started to go very wrong for them domestically and in the empire. Germany did not have four years, not if the naval war was still ongoing. They'd have to conquer quite a lot of Europe to supply themsevles, and then they'd have the problem of running it all.

Bascially the issue we have is it is very possible that Germany could have 'won' the war to a degree, we just don't really know what exactly the British would have done if they had no continental allies left. The naval war still has to go on, and the US is always going to enter eventually because of that. Which means in practice the gemans have a few years to defeat russia and france (plus everyone else in france) and try to either destroy or make peace with the RN.

London need not be occupied for a peace deal to be signed. War just has to be politically unprofitable long enough. To draw a somewhat trite analogy, the US also had virtually unlimited manpower, unlimited credit, and unlimited resources, on paper.
Some form of collapse all along the front in 1918 might have done it in, but the amercians were fresh and eager so would possibly have dragged the rest of the Entente over the finish line by themselves. Not like Germany could stop them at that point.

Realistically, the CP needed to end the war blindingly fast. Smash up russia and france again, get them to fork over some desired land/concessions and then turn to the British and ask what they want to do next. Sure, both countries are on course to war because of the navy thing but I doubt if 1914 saw a war over by Christmas, in Germany's favour, the british would be willing to build and land huge armys in Germany itself on their own. They'd do something different I think. Probably economic trading blockade stuff.
 

Vlad_Dracul1989

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Financial cost of war alone was crippling the Britain. The national debt increased from £650m in 1914 to £7.4 billion in 1919.

Now imagine this even worse, due to greater losses or additional funds for creation of larger land army.
And if American bankers had serious doubts about eventual victory, UK would be forced to armistice before total collapse of war economy.
 

El Pip

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Financial cost of war alone was crippling the Britain. The national debt increased from £650m in 1914 to £7.4 billion in 1919.

Now imagine this even worse, due to greater losses or additional funds for creation of larger land army.
And if American bankers had serious doubts about eventual victory, UK would be forced to armistice before total collapse of war economy.
You are confusing expensive with crippling. The war debt was very low interest rate (lots of war bonds,etc), mostly denominated in sterling and there was a lot of wartime inflation which reduced it even further. Put some useful numbers on it;

Total spending on debt interest went from £61 million in 1913 to £313 million in 1919, so the 'cost' of that debt was rising slower than the debt itself. As a percentage of govt spending it went from about ~17% in 1913 to about ~23% in 1921 (1919 and 1920 defence spending was still coming down from wartime peak, so it looks even better in those years. All that wartime inflation may have been bad for savers, but it was 'good' for government borrowing figures.

Don't get me wrong it was very expensive, not something to be taken on lightly and arguably the results were in no way worth the money (let alone the human cost) but the UK was absolutely nowhere near it's financial limits by the end of WW1.
 

stnylan

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Don't get me wrong it was very expensive, not something to be taken on lightly and arguably the results were in no way worth the money (let alone the human cost) but the UK was absolutely nowhere near it's financial limits by the end of WW1.
To further this point, whilst in the early 1920s the UK was not looking forward to a new naval arms race (this time with the USA) if the Washtington Naval Treaty hadn't come along it was ready to do so, and given how antsy the US Congress was already getting at the time the UK would probalby have "won" that race - for a considerable policial and economic cost, but early 1920s Britain was still capable of bearing quite remarkable costs.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Financial cost of war alone was crippling the Britain. The national debt increased from £650m in 1914 to £7.4 billion in 1919.

Now imagine this even worse, due to greater losses or additional funds for creation of larger land army.
And if American bankers had serious doubts about eventual victory, UK would be forced to armistice before total collapse of war economy.
Sure, I think it's certainly possible the british can lose, or decide it's no longer worth fighting, but still, the deck is stacked in their favour. They'd have to make mistakes, and germany would have to play perfectly. I admit however that so far, the British have somehow managed to do worse than otl and we're something like two weeks in. That naval incompetence must be resolved and resolved quickly. It's nothing war ending yet but that's just disgraceful sailing and leadership so far.

So far as cost is concerned, the british never lose wars because of expense. Not even when it literally was bankrupting them, as their enemies went bankrupt faster. If a country is rich, practically untouchable (as it was with ww1 era air tech and the RN around) and willing to fight (which the british were, to stop a euripean power bloc emerging), the war can go on as long as they want.

(Note: not so much blaming author here. More interesting to have GB, the powerhouse in this game, screw up its opening moves)
 
Last edited:

Pieter Bruegel

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Has anyone here read John Mosier's 'The Myth of the Great War', and if so, what do you think about it?

It makes a compelling case of German tactical superiority, and how Britain and France cocked it up, while the Americans helped save the Allies. I'm not entirely convinced, but it definitely makes for a sobering read. Hopefully Britain doesn't cock it up too badly here, although that's beginning to look like a pipe dream...
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Has anyone here read John Mosier's 'The Myth of the Great War', and if so, what do you think about it?

It makes a compelling case of German tactical superiority, and how Britain and France cocked it up, while the Americans helped save the Allies. I'm not entirely convinced, but it definitely makes for a sobering read. Hopefully Britain doesn't cock it up too badly here, although that's beginning to look like a pipe dream...
Well I recall from his second book about the opening stages of WW2 that he seemingly believed he was the only historian of the last 20 years to comment on how lucky the german army was and that panic helped a great deal in helping them take france so quickly.

As for his first book, he seems to think the german plan of attack through Belgium was a good idea and worked. He does focus heavily on france and french perspective, which is interesting because usually its british or german trenches or very rarely, the middle east stuff. Still, it smacks of bombasity of statment rather than hardcore historical analysis. This makes sense because he's a former english professor 'correcting' myths that historians have been correcting for decades. The germans not being completely shit or Nazis for example. He also argues, so it seems, that the AEF was instrumental not for its new and fresh numbers at the late hour of the war but singular and extraordinary competence.

...

This is astoundingly untrue. It's the kind of nightmarish 'scholarship' that one can read to first year university students on how not to construct an argument. Arrogance is to be expected (literature professor from US? Virtual dictator of opinion within his class) but aside from pointing out the obvious (that country fighting on three fronts and won two and a half, not losing for 4 years is really good at fighting) it's best avoided. Even as an introduction to the First World War, reading 'The First World War' would be better.
 

El Pip

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Has anyone here read John Mosier's 'The Myth of the Great War', and if so, what do you think about it?
It's a revisionist history book. That's really all you need to know, it's going to be more concerned with dramatic statements than proper research or facts.

History shouldn't be frozen in aspic and new perspectives do come to light, there was some fascinating new research about the battles around Kursk recently. But that is the point, it was research - new, previously unseen, photographs which added to our knowledge and changed perspectives. If the author doesn't have something new to add to the field (unseen documents, private letters, photographs, some amazing contribution from another field, something) then their attempts at revising/correcting history are going to be worse than useless.
 

Pieter Bruegel

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History shouldn't be frozen in aspic and new perspectives do come to light, there was some fascinating new research about the battles around Kursk recently. But that is the point, it was research - new, previously unseen, photographs which added to our knowledge and changed perspectives. If the author doesn't have something new to add to the field (unseen documents, private letters, photographs, some amazing contribution from another field, something) then their attempts at revising/correcting history are going to be worse than useless.
Putting aside the good points brought up by the Butterfly Composer, the author does do this. He tries to use German and French sources wherever possible, sources that apparently weren't at all used by English-speaking WW1 historians.
 

El Pip

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Putting aside the good points brought up by the Butterfly Composer, the author does do this. He tries to use German and French sources wherever possible, sources that apparently weren't at all used by English-speaking WW1 historians.
Given how much else he gets wrong I am unconvinced by this. Easy example would be the casualty figures he quotes which are way out of line with every other book on the subject. Mosier's figures are far higher for the British/French and massively lower for the Germans, supporting his theory that the Germans and Americans were amazing and everyone else idiots.

The problem is the figures just don't make sense. It's not just that Mosier disagrees with absolutely every other writer on the subject, it's that his figures don't match those of the various governments both now and at the time. Now it could be that the entire world is engaged in a mass conspiracy to lie about Western Front casualties to hide how amazing the German army was. Or it could be the author is badly wrong. I suspect the later. Thus I put it to you that even if he was using 'unused' sources they had likely been unused because they were wrong.

There are certainly of myths about the Great War that could be busted, it's just that they are myths held by the general public and not people who are actually interested in the subject.
 

Pieter Bruegel

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Given how much else he gets wrong I am unconvinced by this. Easy example would be the casualty figures he quotes which are way out of line with every other book on the subject. Mosier's figures are far higher for the British/French and massively lower for the Germans, supporting his theory that the Germans and Americans were amazing and everyone else idiots.

The problem is the figures just don't make sense. It's not just that Mosier disagrees with absolutely every other writer on the subject, it's that his figures don't match those of the various governments both now and at the time. Now it could be that the entire world is engaged in a mass conspiracy to lie about Western Front casualties to hide how amazing the German army was. Or it could be the author is badly wrong. I suspect the later. Thus I put it to you that even if he was using 'unused' sources they had likely been unused because they were wrong.

There are certainly of myths about the Great War that could be busted, it's just that they are myths held by the general public and not people who are actually interested in the subject.
I'm not well-read enough nor committed to Mosier's views to argue this, only to comment that contradicting the majority opinion doesn't necessarily make you wrong, although it's more likely that you are.
 

MacGowan

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AUGUST 25 - SEPTEMBER 1, 1914
THE BATTLE OF BELGIUM

"Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred..”

- The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Tennyson, 1854 -​





Lille, France

“They told him what exactly?”

“They told him to take charge of our company, sir.”

“You’re havin’ a bloody laugh.”

“Hand on me heart, sir, I ‘eard it with me own two ears.”

“I believe you, Grimsley. Go on.”

“Trotter was wi’ him. The bloke was flabbergasted. Said somethin’ ‘bout being down ‘ere on special assignment.”

“And?”

"And they would ‘ave none of it, sir.” Corporal Grimsley replied. “Won some sort o’ medal in Africa, and you know, whi’ Captain Jennings gone...”

“Lovely dovely, Grimsley,” Lieutenant Hammond moaned. “We’re all buggered.”

“With all due respect, sir. Captain Jennings was hardly capable of doing the job, sir. It’s a miracle you held the company together, as well as you did.”

“Thank you, Grimsley. Now we have to figure out how to survive another mad aristocrat.”







=========================

“SOD OFF!”
General Allenby shouted and threw his boot at the closing door. The assistant running for his health down the corridor. “Sit down, Captain Robertson.”

“Ehm, yes, sir?”
John grabbed a seat, weary of the location of the other boot.

“I swear, these assistants can’t get one bloody thing right.”
He flipped through his papers. "so Kitchener says you’re on special assignment?”

“Yes, sir”

“But Haig has assigned you a company in the 4th Infantry Division?”

“Yes, sir. There must have been a mistake.”

“Haha!”
He slapped his hands on his leg. “Well, I’m not going to get in the way of Haig’s blunders.

“Sir, I’m here to gather information on behalf of General Kitchener, not lead 50 men into battle.”

“Well, that’s entirely up to Haig. My task is simply to fill you in on the current situation at the front.



MONS FALLS:

With the Belgians cut off, General von der Marwitz marched his men on Mons. They pushed the French forces out on 26 August.”

“Why didn’t British forces move in?”
“Oh?” General Allenby leaned forward. “I did not take you as a Field Marshall, Robertson. Why didn’t we think of that?”

“Sir.”



BEF MOVES INTO BELGIUM:

“The French army in the south has been under fire for weeks. At this point, Kitchener, Haig, and French decided on a strategy for a counter-attack. General French moves into Brugge and Ghent, while General Haig maintains a defensive line here in Lille. Here’s the idea, chap: The Belgians are still holding a flanking line that stretches all the way to Hasselt. If we can reinforce Antwerp, and the flank, it will threaten the German rear. It might not be strong enough to surround them, but it is strong enough to force them to divert manpower. To carry out this plan, we require two things.
1. to slow down enemy movement, and
2. quicker troop movement.




THE OFFENSIVE:

28 August. The Belgian army in Ghent has now begun advancing towards Hasselt, and so General French sends the quick 1st Cavalry Division with them. To slow down enemy reactions—which have begun—French and Haig the launches full on attacks on both Mons, and Brussels.



THE BATTLE OF HASSELT:

29 August. Hasselt falls to the German army, but at this point we have entered and secured Antwerp. What follows is an attempt to regain the province using 3 Belgian Infantry divisions and the 1st Cavalry Division. It’s still being partially waged, but I believe the battle of Hasselt is lost.



THE SECOND BATTLE OF LONGWY:

And while all of this is transpiring. The second great push on Longwy begins. This must be the German plan. They have committed countless divisions into Argonne and Metz. The offensive is still ongoing. and we are looking at large casualties.



THE BATTLE OF HIRSON:

The neighboring province came under attack 3 days back. The French beat them back earlier this morning.


STORM HAULTS THE OFFENSIVE:


The primary objective was to ensure that we take Antwerp and that we have time to reinforce the Belgian flank. In this we succeeded. However, with this bloody storm roaring, our offensive slowed to a snail’s pace. We predict a casualty rate of around 10 000 men.



WESTERN FRONT:

As you can see, Captain, we are reinforcing with fresh men. The Belgians won’t let Hasselt lie, and so, as they battle the Germans for it, we use our time more wisely to fortify Antwerp. 2 additional cavalry divisions are entering the city. The logic is that if, knock on wood, The Germans breach our defenses, our 3 cavalry divisions are plenty agile. Enough to withdraw to Brugges in time. As you also can see, in a matter of a few days, Longwy will be reinforced by large amounts of French troops. If the Germans believe they will break through, they are sorely mistaken.”

“And then what is the plan?”

“And then what?”
General Allenby was flabbergasted. “Then we crush every German helmet out there, you little shit.” He stood up. “Now get the fuck back to your company, soldier!”

John ran out of the room and closed the door just in time to hear the other boot bounce off it.







=========================


Cincinnati, USA

“Well, she’s finally dead.” Lucy declared.

“Oh, no, not our beloved Martha.”
Elanor replied. “I hope it was a dignified passing.”

“Why do you care? It’s just a pigeon.”
Lucy rolled her eyes and opened the curtains. “She was so old, anyway.”

“Don’t be crude, darling.”


Elanor walked over to the window where Lucy stood, and they both looked out into the streets of Cincinnati.

“She was the last of her species, last of her kind. God put them on this earth, and now we will never see another like her.”


“Still just a pigeon.”

“It signifies the end of an era, Lucy. This 20th century, where God’s creatures pass into myth, where man wages war on himself. Who’s to say where we’ll be at the end of it. Will we too face extinction?


“How poetic of you.”

“You know what, Lucy? Sometimes you can be such an asshole.”





 
Last edited:

Pieter Bruegel

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General Allenby (it's Allenby isn't it?) sure knows how to terrify his subordinates. Holding the flanking line is an interesting strategy. It's precarious, especially if the Germans can cut off the men at Antwerp, but hopefully, it can weaken the German offensive. Every division on the frontline against Antwerp is a division not plunging into France!
 

El Pip

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Was Allenby that foul mouthed? Genuine question. I know he had a short temper and could be abrupt, but if asked I would have guessed he would have avoided swearing in front of junior ranks while still making himself clear. But I confess I don't know either way.

That said he has fully and comprehensively expressed my views about Captain Robertson (the 'little shit'). My previous appreciation for Allenby has increased yet further as a result of this update and I look forward to more sweary sarcasm ("Why didn’t we think of that") in the future. :D
 

J_Master

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Lille, France
It always kind of annoys me to see the French name for this town because I prefer the Dutch one (Rysel/Rijssel)

BEF MOVES INTO BELGIUM:
Finally! But reorganising in France might also have been the right move

But onto the matters of the moment. I find it somewhat strange that there isn't any news from other fronts. Russia is feeling the pressure, Egypt is threatened and the Royal Navy has seen humiliated, strange to see that there isn't any news from there, but I guess we'll hear from it once the perspective shifts next week.
Brussel seems ripe for the taking, its flanks are well defended, but we have 3 angles of attack and the city itself is somewhat badly defended, time to give the Germans a bloody nose!
Considering the cavalry nearby, and the Jerries occupied in Hasselt, we could drive a wedge between the German forces and drive on the Meuse from Brussel, reaching the Dutch border and cutting off the Germans in Hasselt. Speculation, but an option to consider. Would also open up so many angles of attack on Bergen(Mons) that it would almost force a German retreat