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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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blitzthedragon

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Ah, I get it now. Keep up the excellent work! And somebody give Mr. Boxhall a medal.
 

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Ice, Part Three



dawn_T1972c_KM_carpathia.jpg



North Atlantic
3:36 AM, April 15th, 1912

Captain Arthur Henry Rostron was worried, although the Carpathia was racing towards the Titanic's last reported position, the ice fields and the sheer distance between the two ships had delayed the Carpathia. Cottam had awakened him about three hours earlier, with the news that the Titanic was sinking and sending the women and children off in boats. Although he knew that the ship was built solidly, with all the benefits of modern shipbuilding, it had been about two hours since Cottam had been sure that he had heard the Titanic transmit anything. Rostron closed his eyes and murmered another prayer, anything to distract himself from the fact that Titanic may have indeed gone down. As he sent his prayers skyward, Third Officer Rees prepared to fire another starburst rocket to try and signal the distressed liner.

The starburst light snapped Boxhall out of his reverie, distracting him from contemplating how many might have gone down. He scrabbled around inside the sea-trunk which contained the various mandatory lifeboat supplies and extracted a navigational flare, which he lit up and began waving, trying to attract the attention of the ship which was approaching, small in comparison to Titanic and with a single funnel, but a saviour nonetheless.

It took all of Moody's energy to stay awake, as he knew that falling asleep would mean the death of him as the water had soaked and chilled him to the bone. He recognized the tell-tale signs of hypothermia, yet even with the knowledge of the mortal danger which faced him, the siren song of sleep lured him ever closer to oblivion. But then there was a stirring in the front of the boat, which broke the unnatural stillness which had settled over the group since they had heard the moaning and screaming of the multitude of people thrown into the water by the foundering lessen and finally quiet. He saw Boxhall standing by the tiller waving a flare and then the liner. He smiled.

The men on Collapsable B shifted their weight with the swell of the ocean, which had changed the dark, glassy sea to a light chop. The precariousness of their perches was apparent, but Lightoller's direction kept them all stable. He had never doubted that he would live, for he knew that with God all things are possible, but he was shaken by how many had slipped off the collapsable during the night, sinking away like shadows. Then, he saw the starburst rocket off an approaching ship and he smiled, no one else would have to die today.


North Atlantic
Sometime in the afternoon, April 17th, 1912​

Major Archibald Butt walked into the Carpathia's wirless room, a violation of protocol, but a necessary one. At the wirless set were two men, one with bandaged feet, wrapped in a blanket, the other in the uniform of the Marconigram company. He cleared his throat and the blanketed one turned back toward him, asking in a slightly hoarse voice "Yes?" Butt handed him a slip of paper with a few terse lines and said "I need you to transmit this to President Taft as soon as you can." Butt turned on his heel and began to walk out to the rythmic tapping of the wireless key as it flashed his message to Cape Race. In the corridor, he almost bumped into a man being carried by two able seamen, with his legs bandaged up to the knees and a general air of death about him. He turned to see the man being carried into the wireless room. Butt walked off brooding about the telegraph he had just sent.


- .-. .. .--. / ... ..- -.-. -.-. . ... ... ..-. ..- .-.. .-.-.- / . -- -... .- ... ... .. . ... / .--. .-. . .--. .- .-. . -.. .-.-.-
Trip successful. Embassies prepared.


@Blitz: One more butterfly, Carpathia finds the lifeboats 1/2 hour earlier, preventing the death of at least one person, mentioned, but not names somewhere in this post, points to whomever gets it!

Second to last Titanic post and then we get to more butterflies, also, I don't like the way I've written Lightoller, he's easy to write in every situation except for the disaster stuff, ie: the stuff people know him for. It's worse because I don't know squat about Christian Science.
 
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Kurt_Steiner

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Embassies prepared... For what?
 

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@Kurty: You'll find out soon enough.
@Larkin: Hmm, that's a possibility. Again, the future remains unknowable.
 

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Oh well, let's jump onto the guessing band-wagon...

Embassies prepared, that can either be prepared for an event/announcement that will have ripples in various European nations (ala Larkin's Anglo-German alliance) or prepared for a dignatarie's visit...

And in the end turns out Taft goes to Europe to spend the summer, lulz
 

blitzthedragon

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*gasp* Mr. Bride's partner-in-trade lives!
 

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Ice, Part Four

From the New York Herald-Tribune
DISASTER AT SEA: Astor, Strauss Feared Lost, Major Butt Plucked from Freezing Sea!

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer
TITANIC CATASTROPHE: Over One Thousand Feared Lost, Astor, Widener, Captain Smith Among The Casualties

From the Daily Telegraph
HEROIC OFFICERS TO BE DECORATED: Officers Lightoller, Pitman, Boxhall, Lowe, Moody to Receive Medals from President Taft​

From the Proceedings of the United States Senate's Inquiry​

...
SENATOR SMITH: Did you see the ship go down?
OFFICER MOODY: Yes sir, I did.
SENATOR SMITH: And how would you characterize the final moments of the liner?
OFFICER MOODY: I am afraid I don't understand the question, Senator.
SENATOR SMITH: Are you aware of the testimony of Seaman Osman?
OFFICER MOODY: I am not, no.
SENATOR SMITH: He claimed to see the ship split in two during the liner's final plunge.
OFFICER MOODY: I would agree with that assessment.
SENATOR SMITH: Did you witness the split?
OFFICER MOODY: Yes, Senator.
SENATOR SMITH: Please describe the split.
OFFICER MOODY: I was very close, so I was able to see the ship split between the third and fourth funnels, dividing the ship roughly in to thirds, with the bow section, which I would characterize as comprising about two thirds of the ship, sinking away, while the stern portion settled into the water almost horizontally, before going perpendicular again and sinking.
...

...
SENATOR BOURNE: Are you familiar with the testimony of your colleague Mr. Bride?
MR. PHILLIPS: Yes, sir.
SENATOR BOURNE: You are aware that he claims that before leaving the wireless shack, you sent a final transmission?
MR. PHILLIPS: Yes, sir.
SENATOR BOURNE: Could you describe the content of that transmission.
Mr. PHILLIPS: Certainly sir, I intended to transmit the message, "CQD MGY", but the power to the wireless set finally cut off, and water could be heard in the wheelhouse, so we decided to evacuate the wireless room.
...

From the Washington Post's interview with John "Jack" Phillips, Senior Wireless Operator on Titanic

The true miracle of the disaster for me was the arrival of the Carpathia, had they arrived even a half-an-hour later I am sure that I would have been lost altogether, rather than just losing part of my leg. I was chilled nearly through by the time I was pulled onto the ship and I have to credit Second Officer Lightoller, Captain Rostron and the Good Lord for somehow ensuring my survival. By the 17th, I was actually well enough to help Mr. Cottam and Bride with the Wireless, although only for a few hours.

From the Amazon.com product description of James Paul Moody's The Last Watch: An Account of the RMS Titanic

James Paul Moody was serving as the Sixth Officer when the RMS Titanic struck the iceberg which sent her to the bottom of the North Atlantic. Here, in his first book, his eye for detail and his incisive and powerful storytelling are already clearly developing. The Last Watch displays the beginnings of Moody's literary style and although it is from his early period, this book ought to be required reading for any student of either the Titanic or Moody. The books is an exorcism of sorts, an attempt to comprehend the disaster he had lived through, and his frustration, anger and grief give the work a special, raw, unvarnished power which adds to the power of the writing. Moreover, the book provides the best account of the decisions which were taken on the bridge during the collision between the Titanic and the iceberg as well as the final struggle to launch Collapsibles A and B.

Washington D.C.
4:28 PM, April 26th, 1912​

Butt shuffled the six page report he had compiled from memory, his documents having been lost in the sinking. A flurry of encrypted telegrams and packets had been going out to various European embassies in the past weeks, expanding upon what he had already done on his trip. He shuffled his feet, his thoughts coming back to the Titanic, he winced, biting his lip. He had thrown himself into his work for the past week, doing everything in his power to forget what had happened just a few days before. He began to weep softly, finally alone with his grief, until the secretary walked in and said "The President will see you now". Butt took a moment to compose himself before walking into the Oval Office.


@Mr. Santiago: They're planning on having the embassies send chocolate to Taft, as a "Chocolate of the World" celebration.
@Blitz: YES! You win 10 Titanic Points, redeemable for a minor butterfly of your choice later in this AAR. Let's give him a big hand folks!
 
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blitzthedragon

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Hurrah!
 

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Steam, Part One


300px-Shanghai_South_Railway_Station_01.jpg

The Heavily Renovated Shanghai South Railway Station in 2011

Shanghai, Republic of China
10:40 PM, March 20th, 1913​

The Shanghai Central Railway was fairly full, even at this late hour, Constable Zongzheng Lan thought, as he surveyed the station's bustling crowds. He took another puff off of his cigarette. Then his attention was caught by a flash of black over nearby him on the platform. Someone in black was rudely shoving his way through the crowd. Then he realized that the man was wearing some sort of military garb. He began to shove his way through the crowds, roughly, yet stealthily, gun drawn. He found himself behind the man, who appeared to be closing in on a young man in a Western suit. The man began to extract a Browning Revolver and Constable Lan cried "HALT!" The man began to spin around, gun drawn.

A single gunshot rang out inside the station.

An hour later, on the train to Nanjing, Constable Lan found himself sitting across from his new employer, Song Jaioren, the next Prime Minister of China. After all, when one is an important man, one can never be too careful. These, mused Lan as he lit another cigarette, were certainly interesting times. He looked out at the countryside and wondered what his homeland would look like in ten or twenty years.


And we see the next butterfly, and we may see some more butterflies which actually take place earlier than this before we get to 1914 (My computer is still dead, so I don't have the game yet).

Are there any butterflies, American or not, that people would recommend I include?
 

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blitzthedragon

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I'd have to think about that one. Can't put too many PoDs in, otherwise we'll end up with a mess. Still, it'll be interesting seeing how the Kuomintang's fortunes play out with Song Jiaoren at the helm.
 

H.Appleby

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Steam, Part Two


20121222_XSH010_0.jpg


From the book An Express History of the Orient: China Since 1500

Song Jaioren arrived in Nanjing visibly shaken by the attempt on his life in Shanghai, with him were various friends and his new bodyguard, former Shanghai constable Zongzheng Lan. He became Premier two days after his arrival in Nanjing and his first act after assuming the office was to formally request that the Chinese government begin an investigation into the attempt on his life. The President of the Republic, Yuan Shikai, was publicly supportive but privately arranged for the investigation to be neutered. Indeed, although in public, the Provisional President Yuan and the and the new Premier Song attempted to maintain some facade of unity, privately they were bitter rivals. Indeed, it was Yuan that had ordered the murder of Song and this fact would prove to be crucial in the coming months.

As the hustle and bustle of Chinese poltics continued apace throughout March, the investigation proceeded apace. The trail of evidence appeared to lead to Zhao Bingjun, Secretary of the Interior and former provisional Premier, meanwhile, Song announced that the Parliament would choose a President sometime in the middle of April. It was clear that Song meant to unseat Yuan, probably replacing him with Sun Yatsen, the erstwhile father of the Chinese Republic. As a provisional first step, Yuan appears to have given orders to have Zhao poisoned and indeed, on April 1st, Zhao was poisoned.

Unfortunately for Yuan, the poison didn't take. The next day, before a special committee of the Chinese Senate, a gravely ill, but alive Zhao admitted his role in the conspiracy, naming Yuan as the lead conspirator. An hour later, the leader of the Progressive Party, Song's main opponent in the National Assembly, Liang Quichao, took the floor in order to denounce Yuan as a dangerous man and call for his impeachment, from there events snowballed. Two hours after Quichao's speech the House of Representatives voted to impeach, 504-92 and an hour later the Senate finalized the impeachment, over the strenuous objections of Vice President Li Yuanhong, a Yuan ally.

At point, the normally cool and calculating Yuan made an uncharacteristically rash decision. He declared the Nationalist Party to be a "seditious organization" and issued an arrest warrant for Song. At the same time, he personally gathered together some troops to move south on Nanjing in what he hoped would be a lighting strike to place himself at the head of government. He immediately commandeered several trains to transport himself and around 8,000 troops to Nanjing in secret, while at the same time ordering two divisions to march on Nanjing from Bejing and issuing proclamations to the effect that he was traveling with them.

Yuan might well have secured power had his ruse held, unfortunately, Chief of Staff Huang Xing, a loyal Nationalist discovered the ruse and prepared a defense. On the night of April 6th, Yuan's trains were ambushed by forces under Huang's command. Huang's troops opened fire on the railroad cars with rifles, antiquated cannons and a few machine guns. While Yuan's forces put up a spirited defense, it appears that Yuan was cut down by machine gun fire as he attempted to organize his forces. Thus the although the Republic was saved, the Beyiang Army, one of the most volatile and powerful forces in China was left without a leader.

Yuanshikai.jpg

Yuan Shikai (September 16th, 1859- April 6th, 1913)​



@Blitz: I'm interested too, I just picked up a book on Chinese history today. (This AAR is half an excuse to research countries I know nothing about)
@Mr. Santiago: I have one or two more butterflies before we move on.
@Agent Larkin: Glad to hear it.

Wooh! Wall of text! Also, I hope that this format isn't turning people off this AAR.
 
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H.Appleby

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Water

From the doctoral thesis of Hendrik Kruger, Doctor of History, University of Pretoria:
The Hungry Sea: Maritime Disasters from 1912-1918

The year 1914 would prove to be another terrible one for a world already shaken by the sinking of the RMS Titanic a scant two years earlier, although the Empress of Ireland disaster would prove to be the most remembered maritime disaster of that year, another disaster would have a much greater effect on South Africa and on the sailing practices of the liners which traversed the dangerous seas around the Cape of Good Hope. The RMS Capetown, a mail steamer and passenger liner carrying 348 passengers, mail and assorted cargo, left Durban on March the thirteenth. The next afternoon, she found herself caught in a massive storm which had blown up around the coast. The ship seemed to be handling the rough weather well, when a massive (between 60 and 80 feet high) wave hit the ship at a 45 degree angle to the bow, causing her to lean precipitously to one side. The captain ordered that the ship be abandoned when it became clear that the forward ventilator covers and hold covers had been stoved in by the force of the water, but unfortunately only one lifeboat could be launched before the ship suddenly lurched and keeled over, disappearing beneath the waves taking with it 312 passengers and 83 crewmen.

The trauma this event caused is immeasurable, comparable in scale to the effect that the loss of the SS Waratah had on Australia in 1908. Perhaps the most tragic part of the affair was the loss of a young and idealistic lawyer Mohandas Gandhi, a prominent leader of non-violent resistance to the racist policies of South Africa's government. Indeed, he was so beloved by the Indian community in South Africa that over 50,000 people, including future South African Prime Minister Jan Smuts, attended. Smuts and Gandhi were adversaries, albeit with a heavy mutual respect and the pressure exerted by Indians and tacitly by Smuts after Gandhi's death led to the passage of the Voting Act of 1915 which secured permanent voting rights and a large measure of social and legal equality for South African Indians.


170px-Gandhi_suit.jpg

Mohandas Gandhi (October 2nd, 1869- March 14, 1914)​

So yup, I just killed Gandhi. Let's see what that does.
Anyway, that's it for the Prologue, now onto history!
 
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SovietAmerika

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Gandhi sure looked nice in a suit....
 

H.Appleby

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Kurt_Steiner

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At this pace, the butterflies will change the world so much that no one will be able to guess what will come next.

At least I am capable of that.
 

Milites

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I'm not too certain that I appreciate the trade off between the Mahatma and Song Jaioren, but at least your butterflies are going to spice up both China and India considerably. Without Gandhi, Congress might just be marginalized for a good while longer - Gandhi was the only one of the many Congress politicians who understood the need to expand the independence movement beyond the bungalows of London trained barristers in Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay and Madras. Maybe the lack of a strongwilled Hindu in the INC might allow plain Mr Jinnah to have his day in a moderate Congress?