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Ah, dammit. That was supposed to be Aix-en-Provence.

My apologies. Now fixed.
Already thought it was a somewhat strange sentence, makes much more sense now
 

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The blood-letting is staggering.
 

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a geopolitical Hit and Run.
Ah, a reference to American foreign policy.


As you point out, British literature would likely focus on the Riviera - with Flanders too grim and Spain interesting only as a comparison with the Napoleonic campaigns. (I could see George MacDonald Fraser writing an epic of a military family). American literature would likely focus on Spain since that's where the troops are, and that's the most recent American experience of war (Spanish-American, assuming something like that happened in this universe). France... there likely won't be any French literature about this war. For that you need survivors and something other than grinding stalemate to write about and France will have precious few of either.

So I have to ask... is this a European war or is it a true world war? Any involvement by Asian countries?
 
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Well pretty much everyone in Asia at this point was bought by the British and firmly in their camp, so Germany is probably experiencing much the same war there as otl. Everything got caught and captured very quickly, with the big outlier from otl being the german Asian fleet, which probably got caught faster by the amercians (as they were in from the begining, and were probably not enthused about the enemy escaping to South amercia).
 
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Already thought it was a somewhat strange sentence, makes much more sense now

Thanks again for the spot. Whole update makes a lot mroe sense with it.

The blood-letting is staggering.

It's only going to get worse before it gets better. Remember; this was the quiet front.

Ah, a reference to American foreign policy.

As you point out, British literature would likely focus on the Riviera - with Flanders too grim and Spain interesting only as a comparison with the Napoleonic campaigns. (I could see George MacDonald Fraser writing an epic of a military family). American literature would likely focus on Spain since that's where the troops are, and that's the most recent American experience of war (Spanish-American, assuming something like that happened in this universe). France... there likely won't be any French literature about this war. For that you need survivors and something other than grinding stalemate to write about and France will have precious few of either.

So I have to ask... is this a European war or is it a true world war? Any involvement by Asian countries?

Like father, like son.

I see Midnight in Marseilles as the war literature people choose as their favourite when they want to pick something people definitely know, but which isn't the most famous book on it. I imagine the most famous work will still be the kind that isn't set entirely during it, like Parade's End and, of course, the poetry will still be the main war art teenagers are subjected to.

It is indeed a world war, though for Act Two non-European fronts remain confined to their own Part, being relatively minor. There is a major extra-European development in Act Three that will get its own Part.

Well pretty much everyone in Asia at this point was bought by the British and firmly in their camp, so Germany is probably experiencing much the same war there as otl. Everything got caught and captured very quickly, with the big outlier from otl being the german Asian fleet, which probably got caught faster by the amercians (as they were in from the begining, and were probably not enthused about the enemy escaping to South amercia).

Germany's colonial possessions are even more minor ITTL, so their survival for very long was never a possibility. It is the trouble that the larger Spanish possesions in Africa can cause which forms the colonial front for the TTL war.
 
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25
Alea Iacta Est


I believe we may be able to end the entire war with this manoeuvre, for it will show an audacity and capacity for war that cannot but convince our enemies of the hopelessness of their cause.
Winston Churchill, August 10th, 1914


The Viareggio Landings, and the Tuscan Campaign it formed the opening of, were the brainchild of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. Incredibly audacious, it was a product of the same self-confidence in his own military genius that made him the kind of person to reform an institution like the Admiralty, because he felt little need to heed the advice of the experienced traditionalists. Had he felt such a need, he likely would have abandoned the idea when he first brought it up to ‘a chorus of shocked and bemused naval officers’.

The basic premise of the operation was quite simple. An amphibious landing would be made near the capital of an enemy nation. If the enemy did not surrender immediately, shocked into submission by the very audacity of the manoeuvre, it was only a short distance from the landing grounds to the heart of the government. This short distance, in addition, was likely to be defended by lighter, more inexperienced opposition than the battle-hardened and well-equipped units on the front. This way, the brutal slog of trench warfare over many hundreds of miles could be avoided.

For those less confident in Churchill’s genius, and more familiar with logistics, this was a self-evident failure in the making. It may have been feasible in the Age of Sail, when armies moved as individual units and could manoeuvre freely; when living off the land until an early, decisive engagement was still possible. In the age of millions in arms, with fronts stretching over hundreds of miles, and more ammunition being expended daily than had been produced in the century preceding, it was madness. The logistical feat that would be required to effect the landing, let alone sustain it beyond the first day or two of combat, was mind-boggling.

Churchill himself did not envisage the plan to be utilised against an enemy of the calibre of Italy. Aware of the logistics to some extent at least, he recognised that it could be put to best effect against a weak link. The obvious candidate in the west was Portugal, but Lisbon’s ambivalent attitude to the Pact made the Exiles a far more enticing (and low-cost) avenue of attack. Madrid, on the other hand, was too far inland, even if, arguably, the transfer of XII Corps via sea transport to the lightly defended ‘Passable Gap’ was a form of this manoeuvre. With Iberia out of the question, and Italy too strong (it seemed), Churchill had looked to the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Dardanelles Strait.

A landing on the Gallipoli Peninsula, for a push to Istanbul, would have the added benefit of opening up the Turkish Straits, thus offering a lifeline of Entente shipping to Russia. Unfortunately for Churchill, the combination of his plan’s riskiness and the manpower demands of the Italian and Spanish Fronts meant that the 150,000 men and ten ships he thought necessary could not be spared [1]. It was the closure of the Spanish Front, and the unexpected brutality of that closure, that finally provided the means and the motive for trying something like the First Lord’s plan

The means was the liberation of three British and four French army corps from duties in Spain. Coupled with IV Corps in the Riviera and XV Corps in reserve in France [2], this was, for Britain, a notional attacking force of nearly 300,000 men. If the French could replace IV Corps in the Aix-en-Provence corridor, and provide a reserve corps to ensure breakthrough if needed, there would be some half a million men involved on the Italian front. What led the British to a naval landing as the task for this force was the combination of the Alps (a prospect far more daunting than the Pyrenees) and the promise of a quick victory if it worked. Nobody in French or British command had any interest in repeating the slow strangulation of the Spanish regime, and so were much more amenable to an idea that promised a short, sharp blow to the head than they were in 1912 or 1913.


kennedy - Copy.jpg

Lieutenant-General Sir James Kennedy

In early discussions about such an operation, Haig had recommended James Kennedy, then-commander of IV Corps, to be in command of the initial invasion force. Kennedy had experience of combat against the Italians through the Riviera Campaign, and had long-standing links to the Royal Marines – who would presumably be seconded to any invasion force – though his family. Both the Navy and Army thus came into the British part of planning with a surprising amount of agreement on numbers and command chains. Before a landing could take place though, there was a combination of politics and military logistics that would determine its location and their co-combatants.

The French, bruised by the war further north, proved unwilling to lend a corps for the invasion. They could replace IV Corps in the Riviera, but the other two that had been freed up by the fall of Spain (it was by now becoming clear that one would have to stay behind to keep some semblance of order) were desperately needed to shore up the approach to Paris. British hopes for reinforcement thus turned to the Americans.

For Roosevelt, eager to maintain the momentum of the war fever engendered by victory in Spain [3], the request was a simple one, and the question of the corps to involve an even simpler one. The US Marines had, until then, only been involved in minor Pacific operations. Participation in the Tuscan Landings seemed to be precisely the kind of operation that fit as a debut in the European Theatre. Even more fittingly, it was in preparation for that debut that they had been expanded to the size of an actual Army Corps, and that was precisely the size of force needed.

The inclusion of Major General George Barnett (Commandant of the Marine Corps) and Rear Admiral Lawrence Anderson (Commander of the US Navy contingent assigned to the Corps) in the planning of the Landings introduced a mismatch in ambition that both helped and hindered the operation. British officers, both Army and Navy, tempered in their expectations by the realities of France and the North Sea, were advocates of caution. Barnett and Anderson, rearing for action and – more importantly – in command of a unit specifically created for amphibious warfare, had high hopes for what could be done.

The Americans’ presence was welcomed by Churchill, who had, at one point, advocated for the location of the Landings to be as bold as Ostia, the port city of Ancient Rome. Though he had retreated from this to Anzio, further south, he was still outnumbered by those advocating a more cautious approach. Near Rome, the Italians would certainly have numerous reserves, especially following the fall of Spain. The military, unwilling to sacrifice tens of thousands of men on what would be a large-scale version of a trench assault immediately undone by the arrival of the defenders’ strategic reserve – except with no friendly trench for the attackers to retreat to – wanted a landing further north, in Tuscany.


tuscany - Copy.jpg

Northern Tuscany

For the British Army and Royal Navy, Northern Tuscany offered the perfect combination of short supply lines from a major Entente-held port in Marseilles (and a smaller one in Toulon) and relatively flat land to establish a foothold in. What both they and Churchill also knew though, was that a landing there was a far cry from the idea of a quick blow to the head. Though the Arno River valley did provide the plain that was so valuable to attackers, between that and the approach to Rome was the hill country of Southern Tuscany.

The military justification was that Tuscany provided the safe middle between no landing and a doomed one. Furthermore, once Florence was captured, Italian supply lines from industrial centres in the Po Valley to Rome would have to go the length of the boot, around the Apennines. This would make the push to Rome much easier, particularly if a successful invasion forced the Italian Army to abandon the French Riviera and Liguria, thus opening a land-based supply line between France and Tuscany.

Convinced by this, the War Cabinet – reconstituted after the battles of summer 1913 – approved the Tuscan version of the campaign. The Americans, aware this would still be a largely British operation, went with the War Cabinet on the strategic level, but pushed for a far more aggressive tactical approach to the landing. They emphasised a rapid movement out of the beachheads, with ambitious goals for the first days and weeks, and minimal coastal bombardment in preparation, allowing for the element of surprise. With American support, Churchill and Seely were able to better overcome the objections of their professional subordinates.

The date set was 12 August 1914, and the location the set of beaches between Viareggio and Leghorn. Three days earlier, the US and Royal Navies made their way down the coast, bombarding suspected gun emplacements. This would be the first cost of tactical ambition; there were indeed gun emplacements, but the cursory attempt at taking them out had left a majority intact. The second cost would come with the composition of the first day forces’ equipment.

As they were intended to move quickly off the beach, and cover as much ground as possible, the first day of landings lacked field artillery. As the opposition was largely meant to be garrison forces, with reserves (likely from around Florence) taking time to move into place, this was not meant to be a concern. Heavier guns could be brought in over the following week via the port at Viareggio or Leghorn. However, with emplacements intact, the meagre artillery support that was in place found itself outgunned. It took all day for commanders on the beach and surrounding fields to use radios – at least, those that had not been ruined by Mediterranean water at the beach – to contact the battleships guarding the invasion fleet and direct their fire to the appropriate places.


Viareggio Day One - Copy.jpg

Troops from the Cheshire Regiment making their way off the beach on the first day.

The guns kept the attackers on the beaches, or extremely close to them, long enough for the garrisons at Viareggio and Leghorn to form somewhat effective lines of defence. The towns, which were intended to fall in the first week, were nowhere near close to captured when the seven-day mark arrived. That Viareggio eventually did fall at the two-week mark lent its name to the landings. By then, the port had been damaged enough to only accommodate one supply ship at a time. This was a major improvement on re-using landing craft to re-supply via the beach, but a far cry from the deluge of materiel that had been planned for.

At Leghorn, the US Marines were introduced to European warfare. Unlike the British, who had only assumed quick progress in the first day, and thus had heavier equipment on the way for day two, the Marines had been envisioning the lightning campaign lasting for a week. Even after that week, their heavy equipment supply was limited compared to their pessimistic cousins’. Their experience against the guns and the town’s defenders was characterised by appalling losses and conspicuous bravery. It was on day three of the invasion, faced with a determined counter-attack that threatened to push them out of the town, that Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Daly reportedly uttered the immortal words ‘Come on, you sons of bitches! Do you want to live forever? [4]’

Throughout the first month of the Tuscan Campaign, there was a constant fear that reinforcements, steadily arriving from other Italian fronts, would achieve critical mass and throw the invasion back into the sea. Finally, on 19 September, with the harbours at Leghorn and Viareggio cleared of debris and in a condition to accept something like the materiel they had been supposed to funnel to the attackers since the first week, and the French offensive in the Riviera reaching the Italian border, Lieutenant-General Kennedy could report to the Admiralty and War Office that he considered the position too secure to dislodge.

By then though, it was too late for Churchill. What was supposed to be a swift and easy knockout of Italy had turned into a month-long, nail-biting meatgrinder with no end in sight. Some historians of the conflict have pointed out that, arguably, Churchill had been proven correct; if the level at which ambition was accepted should have been the opposite, there may well have been a well-prepared landing near Ostia that captured its first day objective, the port, intact. With materiel flowing at planned levels, the invasion force could have made quick and steady progress east to Rome. If Churchill had argued this, he could perhaps have survived the debacle of that first month. Instead, despite knowing on some level that his strategic vision had been fatally compromised (and saying as much in his diaries), the First Lord of the Admiralty continued to present the Landings as a death blow.

The death blow had not materialised, and in the month it had failed to do so, almost 20,000 British and American troops had died in Tuscany. 2,288 had died on the first day alone. The politics of the moment demanded a ritual sacrifice, and Lloyd George had held a grudge since Churchill’s ‘duplicity’ over Canadian accession. On 27 September, the First Lord of the Admiralty officially announced his resignation following back-to-back meetings of the War Cabinet and full Cabinet. For the first time in his career as an MP, Churchill was on the backbenches. He may have been done (for now), but the campaign resulting from his grand plan was very much not. In fact, in just over the six months, it would achieve its original goal.


[1] - Then again, the first part of Churchill’s plan for the Dardanelles included these ten ships bombarding the coastal defences into oblivion to protect the landing. As the bombardment of the Tuscan Coast, which had less natural cover for the Italian guns, would prove, such an operation was easier planned than done. The forcing of the Dardanelles may have failed to silence the guns, and a landing on the Peninsula proven far more contested than hoped.

[2] – XV Corps had taken part in some of the major Northern battles of 1913 and 1914, but was ultimately always the first reserve in case the situation in the Mediterranean demanded yet another corps.

[3] – That the mood in mid-1914 qualified as ‘war fever’ according to the President is likely only in comparison to the mood during the early year. Of course, if there were to be a real sense of victory in any Entente nation following the Spanish surrender, it was in America, for whom the Spanish Front had been the primary one so far.

[4] – Daly himself would later insist that he had not been quite so vulgar, shouting ‘For Christ's sake men, come on! Do you want to live forever?’
 
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Ah. What's the quote? "I had hoped that we were hurling a wildcat onto the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale."

Amphibious operations are notoriously complex; there is a great deal of logistical planning and preparation required. Against a mainland target, success depends almost entirely on the amount and speed of reinforcements landed. You did not specify but my impression was that the initial landing forces were not immediately and strongly reinforced... At Anzio there were few reinforcements to send, in Normandy there were entire corps and armies waiting to go. That's certainly not the only reason for success but i think it is a good one. 'The general who holds the last uncommitted reserve may still act'.

And yet... any rational Italian army commander would draw down the Riviera forces as much as possible, so the Viareggio landings may prove indirectly valuable even if they are not the 'Royal Road' to Rome that Churchill promised. (You see what I did there?) In addition, Livorno was a major Italian naval base and shipyard - its capture, and the fact that you don't mention the Italian Navy at all, leads me to think the damage to the Regia Marina's fighting spirit may greatly outweigh the loss of the port. Despite the jokes made at its expense, the Italian Navy in our WW1 and 2 fought hard and well, especially in its smaller forces of cruisers and destroyers, though hampered by lack of resources (particularly fuel). Here... they appear to have simply absented themselves.

"It takes the Navy three years to build a ship. It will take three hundred years to build a new tradition." I believe the Italian Navy may have preserved itself to no great end.

I am puzzled that there was no consideration of an invasion of Sicily. For the same reasons it offered in WW2, Sicily makes for an ideal invasion site - as an island it can be isolated and the defenders reduced in economical fashion. As an Entente base it offers access to all of the Italian coastline... and in our WW2 the Allied conquest of Sicily was the immediate cause of Mussolini's fall and the Italian peace proposals, so its value as leverage on the Italian government is high.

My father served in the US Army and helped liberate the Philippines. Your analysis of Marine doctrine matches his: the Marines go all out, the Army is more cautious about leaving enemies in the rear. He always thought the Marine doctrine was best for smaller islands where they could roll over the entire island in a few days, but he preferred the Army way for larger targets.


My few wandering thoughts aside, that was a fine update. I am pleased to see the Entente roll forward, no matter how creaky the machinery may be.

*whistles* 'From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Italy...'
 
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In fact, in just over the six months, it would achieve its original goal.
Hmm. They took the original port; or they took out Rome?

Either way, good progress against Italy. That, a front that Germany can defiantly support, is one they cannot leave to die like in Spain.
France will thus have some pressure relieved, the amercians have a proper front to get worked up about, and the german alliance is in serious trouble everywhere in the west.

The war for the allies seems to be going rather well, to be honest.
 

DensleyBlair

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Seeing as I’m behind a couple of updates, I’ll take each in turn. The Riviera first – and a literary treat!

It is, as you say, odd to think that a front of such staggering brutality could be considered at all forgotten, but such is war. Or Great War, anyway. I could easily imagine Pemberton’s book getting turned into a sort of Oh, What A Lovely War! production: draw you in with its dark year-in-Provence sentimentality, then knock everyone out with the total horror of it all…

Its publication finally offered the veterans of the war in the Riviera their day in the sun
Ho ho!

I imagine the most famous work will still be the kind that isn't set entirely during it, like Parade's End and, of course, the poetry will still be the main war art teenagers are subjected to.
I for one would welcome an account of how the coming of the war snuffs out the promising but unwieldy careers of the Vorticists, who all become disillusioned by the shiny modern future when it turns out to be a lot more muddy and bloody than they’d imagined.
 

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I believe we may be able to end the entire war with this manoeuvre, for it will show an audacity and capacity for war that cannot but convince our enemies of the hopelessness of their cause.
Winston Churchill, August 10th, 1914
I read the epigraph, and I was very concerned for the prospects of the invasion... but then it seemed to turn out *fine*(well, not for the dead and the wounded). Despite the complexity of the amphibious assault, I wonder if the difference between Viareggio and OTL Gallipoli will simply come down to the distance to the existing front lines.
 

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Discovered this gem a couple weeks ago, been devouring updates ever since :D

Churchill still gets sacked for a less-than-spectacular naval invasion, eh? Some things never do change, although Viareggio still looks set to succeed despite the costly delays. It seems that with the soon-to-be Italian capitulation, Germany will have another frontier to guard to its south, and a drastic reduction of allied forces in the Balkans depending on that situation. The Entente's noose tightens, but who knows what cards Berlin will have left to play...
 
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Viareggio update now read, and not knowing enough to speak critically on the subject it seems to me like it went… fine? As much as I love to see him humiliated, I don’t get the sense that Churchill has blundered too much here. No doubt shunting him to the backbenches is simply the latest play in an evolving Winnie–DLG tango rather than anything like considered ministerial policy, but it does feel rather odd that the PM should want to give fuel to the idea that the fitting conversion rate from dead Tommies to dead careers is 20,000:1. With odds like that they’re all going to be out a job before long…

Then again, this is Lloyd ‘Politics with a smile and a stab’ George we’re dealing with… When the war is over, it feels like we’re going to have one hell of a political dogfight right at the moment where (presumably) Britain goes royally down the shitter. Maybe this is a spin-off Echoes prequel fanfic after all? :p
 
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the idea that the fitting conversion rate from dead Tommies to dead careers is 20,000:1
Put like that I think that Churchill will certainly attempt to gain some vindication post-war, if not only later in the war, considering the rate of deaths we'll be seeing from Flanders' fields
 
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Put like that I think that Churchill will certainly attempt to gain some vindication post-war, if not only later in the war, considering the rate of deaths we'll be seeing from Flanders' fields
Yes...think his war has gone much better than OTL. May well end up on the front anyway (he did OTL after being sacked) but he'll be back in the frontbenchs soon enough.
 
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slothinator

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Hmm. They took the original port; or they took out Rome?
I interpreted it as Rome but now I'm curious as well...

A rocky start for this Italian campaign but it seems like a swift victory won't be long, I'm sure Churchill will return suitably emboldened once his plans come to fruition.
I'm still wondering what will cause the war to drag on so long if most of the German satellites are falling one by one but maybe Italy will be able to hold on longer than expected.

Also, I am always amazed that Leghorn somehow became the exonym for Livorno, but here we are.
 
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I interpreted it as Rome but now I'm curious as well...

A rocky start for this Italian campaign but it seems like a swift victory won't be long, I'm sure Churchill will return suitably emboldened once his plans come to fruition.
I'm still wondering what will cause the war to drag on so long if most of the German satellites are falling one by one but maybe Italy will be able to hold on longer than expected.

Also, I am always amazed that Leghorn somehow became the exonym for Livorno, but here we are.
If they took out Rome, then the campaign is going amazingly well and Italy can't last much longer. Half the country's rail hub is captured, the goverment is in exile and Italian unity was never all that high to begin with. I doubt the southern parts are going to want to bleed to slow down conquest of the northern cities...
 

slothinator

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If they took out Rome, then the campaign is going amazingly well and Italy can't last much longer. Half the country's rail hub is captured, the goverment is in exile and Italian unity was never all that high to begin with. I doubt the southern parts are going to want to bleed to slow down conquest of the northern cities...
Definitely, if Rome falls then the whole edifice comes crumbling down but I'm sure their brave king will never bow down to armed men marching on Rome! *checks notes* Oh bugger...
 
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Apologies for the delay to the fortnightly schedule. Hell of a bank holiday weekend, so got nothing done week before last.

Ah. What's the quote? "I had hoped that we were hurling a wildcat onto the shore, but all we got was a stranded whale."

Amphibious operations are notoriously complex; there is a great deal of logistical planning and preparation required. Against a mainland target, success depends almost entirely on the amount and speed of reinforcements landed. You did not specify but my impression was that the initial landing forces were not immediately and strongly reinforced... At Anzio there were few reinforcements to send, in Normandy there were entire corps and armies waiting to go. That's certainly not the only reason for success but i think it is a good one. 'The general who holds the last uncommitted reserve may still act'.

And yet... any rational Italian army commander would draw down the Riviera forces as much as possible, so the Viareggio landings may prove indirectly valuable even if they are not the 'Royal Road' to Rome that Churchill promised. (You see what I did there?) In addition, Livorno was a major Italian naval base and shipyard - its capture, and the fact that you don't mention the Italian Navy at all, leads me to think the damage to the Regia Marina's fighting spirit may greatly outweigh the loss of the port. Despite the jokes made at its expense, the Italian Navy in our WW1 and 2 fought hard and well, especially in its smaller forces of cruisers and destroyers, though hampered by lack of resources (particularly fuel). Here... they appear to have simply absented themselves.

"It takes the Navy three years to build a ship. It will take three hundred years to build a new tradition." I believe the Italian Navy may have preserved itself to no great end.

I am puzzled that there was no consideration of an invasion of Sicily. For the same reasons it offered in WW2, Sicily makes for an ideal invasion site - as an island it can be isolated and the defenders reduced in economical fashion. As an Entente base it offers access to all of the Italian coastline... and in our WW2 the Allied conquest of Sicily was the immediate cause of Mussolini's fall and the Italian peace proposals, so its value as leverage on the Italian government is high.

My father served in the US Army and helped liberate the Philippines. Your analysis of Marine doctrine matches his: the Marines go all out, the Army is more cautious about leaving enemies in the rear. He always thought the Marine doctrine was best for smaller islands where they could roll over the entire island in a few days, but he preferred the Army way for larger targets.


My few wandering thoughts aside, that was a fine update. I am pleased to see the Entente roll forward, no matter how creaky the machinery may be.

*whistles* 'From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of Italy...'

The lanfing certainyl wasn't reinforced as much and as quickly as it should have been, and was saved by the elemtn of suprise, as the Italian Army couldn't guite get everything in place before the Americans and British realised they needed to accelerate their reinforcement schedule (as much as it could be without the ports).

I have an update on the war in the Mediterranean more widely in the 'World at War' section of Act Two, and figured I'd leave the fate of the Reggia Marina for that.

I think the key reasons for Sicily not getting attention this time are a) the invasion's genesis being in Churchill's decapitation idea, which was still, ostensibly, the goal despite Viareggio being far too north for it to realyl work, and b) the fact that the Entente controls Southern France, which means you don't need to capture Sicily as a stepping stone because you already have a continental presence.

Hmm. They took the original port; or they took out Rome?

Either way, good progress against Italy. That, a front that Germany can defiantly support, is one they cannot leave to die like in Spain.
France will thus have some pressure relieved, the amercians have a proper front to get worked up about, and the german alliance is in serious trouble everywhere in the west.

The war for the allies seems to be going rather well, to be honest.

Too well, really. Of course, as this update hints, things are not so rosy in France, and the Fall of Rome represents something of a mid-war high point for the Entente. What follows is the final cataclysm that will break the Old World completely.

Seeing as I’m behind a couple of updates, I’ll take each in turn. The Riviera first – and a literary treat!

It is, as you say, odd to think that a front of such staggering brutality could be considered at all forgotten, but such is war. Or Great War, anyway. I could easily imagine Pemberton’s book getting turned into a sort of Oh, What A Lovely War! production: draw you in with its dark year-in-Provence sentimentality, then knock everyone out with the total horror of it all…

Ho ho!

I for one would welcome an account of how the coming of the war snuffs out the promising but unwieldy careers of the Vorticists, who all become disillusioned by the shiny modern future when it turns out to be a lot more muddy and bloody than they’d imagined.

I'm still considering whether to have a chapter in FAWHA specifically devoted to the cultural shift, or leave that more for the follow-up. Probably will have to have one specifically on culture during the war.

I read the epigraph, and I was very concerned for the prospects of the invasion... but then it seemed to turn out *fine*(well, not for the dead and the wounded). Despite the complexity of the amphibious assault, I wonder if the difference between Viareggio and OTL Gallipoli will simply come down to the distance to the existing front lines.

Yes, the failure of the Viareggio landings is nto so much an actual military failure, but rather of spectacularly poor expectations management by Churchill.

A lot of factors at play, but the ability to put reinforce from as close as Marseilles, and to put pressure on the Italians further north as well as at the landing grounds certainyl palyed a maor part.

Discovered this gem a couple weeks ago, been devouring updates ever since :D

Churchill still gets sacked for a less-than-spectacular naval invasion, eh? Some things never do change, although Viareggio still looks set to succeed despite the costly delays. It seems that with the soon-to-be Italian capitulation, Germany will have another frontier to guard to its south, and a drastic reduction of allied forces in the Balkans depending on that situation. The Entente's noose tightens, but who knows what cards Berlin will have left to play...

Happy to have you on board!

As we shall see in this update, following the Fall of Rome, some cards simply fall into Berlin's hand.
 
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BigBadBob

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Splitting in half for purposes of page roll-over.

Viareggio update now read, and not knowing enough to speak critically on the subject it seems to me like it went… fine? As much as I love to see him humiliated, I don’t get the sense that Churchill has blundered too much here. No doubt shunting him to the backbenches is simply the latest play in an evolving Winnie–DLG tango rather than anything like considered ministerial policy, but it does feel rather odd that the PM should want to give fuel to the idea that the fitting conversion rate from dead Tommies to dead careers is 20,000:1. With odds like that they’re all going to be out a job before long…

Then again, this is Lloyd ‘Politics with a smile and a stab’ George we’re dealing with… When the war is over, it feels like we’re going to have one hell of a political dogfight right at the moment where (presumably) Britain goes royally down the shitter. Maybe this is a spin-off Echoes prequel fanfic after all? :p

As noted above, Churchill's failure was in expectations management, and DLG had no compunctions about using it to get rid of him.

Shhh! Don't give away the ending!

Put like that I think that Churchill will certainly attempt to gain some vindication post-war, if not only later in the war, considering the rate of deaths we'll be seeing from Flanders' fields
Yes...think his war has gone much better than OTL. May well end up on the front anyway (he did OTL after being sacked) but he'll be back in the frontbenchs soon enough.

Churchill's story is indeed very much not over, and the reappraisal of his Gallipoli idea is likely to come sooner than it did IOTL.
 
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Splitting yet further like a left-wing movement.

I interpreted it as Rome but now I'm curious as well...

A rocky start for this Italian campaign but it seems like a swift victory won't be long, I'm sure Churchill will return suitably emboldened once his plans come to fruition.
I'm still wondering what will cause the war to drag on so long if most of the German satellites are falling one by one but maybe Italy will be able to hold on longer than expected.

Also, I am always amazed that Leghorn somehow became the exonym for Livorno, but here we are.

One could say this is Italy holding on for longer, but that seems... incomplete.

The Entente is making good progress elsewhere in the West but, as this update hints, France and Belgium aren't quite such success stories. There is also the matter of the East...

It is indeed ridiculous. I just can't see how it got there.

If they took out Rome, then the campaign is going amazingly well and Italy can't last much longer. Half the country's rail hub is captured, the goverment is in exile and Italian unity was never all that high to begin with. I doubt the southern parts are going to want to bleed to slow down conquest of the northern cities...

A fitting observation.

Definitely, if Rome falls then the whole edifice comes crumbling down but I'm sure their brave king will never bow down to armed men marching on Rome! *checks notes* Oh bugger...

Doesn't matter the timeline, Victor Emmanuel III somehow always ends up undermining the monarchy.
 
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