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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Machiavellian

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A good introduction, though the font did seem a little large, but that just might be me. I really liked the way the Austrian war staff came off as out of touch and almost medieval.
 

unmerged(39597)

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Suggestions about the map:

Give Turkey Tabriz. Its aesthetically pleasing, and they had historic aspirations to it during WW2. Its the Azeri area of Iran anyway, and the strategic difference is basically nil.

I see Germany has picked up Morocco, which I guess is based on the Agadir crisis. tehy almost should have French Equatorial Africa (Gabon, Congo-Brazzavile) and the Belgian Congo, to complete their Deutsch Mittelafrika colony and make them a big rubber power. Also make Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck a major general or politician (or both), as well as perhaps Lothar von Richtofen, Manfred's brother (and a major character in Phillip Jose Farmer's Riverworld). And Kaiser Bill will die in 1941.

Baltic Kingdom? I understand that there's historical background, but what an awful name. Courland, Livonia, or Estland would be better.

China is interesting. Some neet possibilities are Yuan Shikai as emperor, Sun Yat-Sen having established a real democracy, and Japan promoting Pu Yi as Emperor... of all China!

Give Bulgaria Macedonia, Kosovo and Nish. King Ferdinand had big aspirations (saw himself as a future Byzantine Emperor) and its just less aesthetically pleasing with Austria wrapping around Romania and Albania like that. You could have commie rebels fighting Bulgaira too if you like there.

What about a Finnish Karelia? Maybe even the whole deal area, including Murmansk and the Kola, which would give them only three provinces bordering Russia.

The Hedjaz would probably not have fallen to the Wahhabis of Nejd under Ibn Saud with Turkey, Germany, and Britain all dominant. It should either be Turkis, an independent Turkish protectorate, or many a British protectorate.

Bela Kun should be leader of the Hungarian commies, he was a Trotskyite and briefly ruled Hungary historically after the war.

Make sure the Pacific is drawn carefully, boundaries should be totally different (less to Japan, the Commonwealth, and the USA, more to Germany). Include spheres of incluence at least of Germany and Britain at Shantung and Shanghai... what happened to the French one at Canton? And what are Mao and Ho Chi Minh up to?

Plus, Black Jack Pershing probably led U.S. armies in the Second Mexican War of 1917... I'll be disappoited if the US has not grabbed some land, or Mexico isn't under an interesting new leadership (an aging Villa-Zapata junta?)
 

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Yogi, Have you considered setting up a comments thread and a general AAR updates only thread? Might make it easier to keep everything straight. Or, this may be your prefferred style.

Either way, this looks quite interesting and I'll hit my subscribe button shortly. :)
 

discovery1

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How does germany get the belgian congo if they never went to war with them? Could a victorious Germany apply the leverage needed get take it w/o a shot being fired? But what of the old british guarantee of independence? Tis complicated, since GB would probably be less inclided to challenge a semmingly invincible Germany and Germany would want something in Africa, not belgium proper.
 

cthulhu

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Excellent stuff Yog. You have masterfully captured the atmosphere of this alternate timeline. Rommel considering Guderian's ideas on the use of Panzers questionable but respect him when it comes to the traditional way of making war. I think the German General Staff will be forced to reconsider their stance on armored warfare.

Brilliant. :)
 

unmerged(1020)

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discovery1 said:
But if GB wasn't in the war, then would LH have developed his ideas on tank warfare? I suppose so, since the frogs have the jerries probably would have developed them just like in rl.

I think you're right. After all, the British weren't the only ones building tanks. If they hadn't built them in 1916, the French probably would have. After all, that was the year they created most of their prototypes, such as the Schneider and that ugly great box of a tank, the St Chammond. All of these were used before the middle of 1917, and production might even have been sped up if there wasn't the hassle of war all along the Western Front to deal with. Depending on what time in 1917 the war ended, they might have even had prototypes of that light Rennault with the revolving turret. However, there may not have been the successful history of tank actions, since the French vehicles tended to be designed and used worse. That would be the only major barrier to the development of tank theorists like Guderian and Liddell Hart.

That said, the one thing we can be certain of is that no one in this timeline will use the word 'tank'. That is entirely a wartime British creation, and hence would never exist.
 

The Yogi

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discovery1, Machiavellian and cthulhu: Thanks, I'm happy you like it!
Regarding fonts, which one of these would you like better (as compared to the existing one):


Few points in recorded history have been as favoured by alternate historians of our days looking for potential points of departure from the factual to the counter-factual as the opening days of the Great War.



Few points in recorded history have been as favoured by alternate historians of our days looking for potential points of departure from the factual to the counter-factual as the opening days of the Great War.


General Dayan:Thanks for the input, and good catch about Bulgaria's claim to Macedonia, they would definitvely have got that in a situation were AH annexed Serbia outright. Regarding Kosovo (which wasn't predominantly albanian at the time) and Nish, I'm reasoning that AH wanted all of Serbia proper. You're also right about the Hedjaz, it should have remained Ottoman without a british-armed and Lawrence-led Arabian rebellion. Will restore the 1914 Ottoman border in Arabia.

You think "Baltic Kingdom" is ugly? Try out "United Baltic Duchy" which is the historical precedent - yergh! Although in German, (sorry for certain mispelling, I don't know German) it doesn't sound so bad: Baltisches Reich. I suppose you could call it Kingdom of Livonia & Courland, although I'm reluctant to stray too far from real history.

However, as a general rule, I'm not going to make changes to the borders based on aesthetics - so Tabriz stays Persian (for now). For the exact historical justifications (also regarding Africa, Finlands borders, America, Asia etc), you'll have to wait for the AAR to get into full swing, it would be a pity to tell the story half-assedly :) now.

Stonewall:I kind of like this way, the posts naturally divide up the comments - but I could set up a separate AAR only thread too, for easier reading. In fact, I'll do just that now.

Evil Capitalist, Vandelay & rollothepirate:Interesting discussion on ta... I mean armour. :) Without saying too much, neither Britain nor Germany have developed the concept of mechanised warfare to the point of having Armoured divisions in 1936 - only lots of CS-ta... CS-armour brigades.

Most languages will use the equivalent of "Combat wagon" - French, Spanish, Swedish just like IRL. Germans will tack on the word "armoured" to that - so "Panzerkampfwagen" will still be used, although at least early on, "Sturmpanzerwagen" will be the more common term.

The official English term will be "Tracked Combat Vehicle" or "Track" for short. So there will be (eventually) British Track divisions...
 
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Hey Yogi,I think the Austrian General Staff is just jealous of Rommel's victory at Capperetto.They know without German support the Austrian Army is useless.And you now see why they need the mighty German Army to help them !! :rofl: :p :D
 

unmerged(25839)

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Funny you should do an AAR about alternative history. Im doing a "projektarbete" (someone with better english skills may translate that :) ) about alternative history and your scenario will surely help me out. So thanks and good look with your story
 

Rommel22

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Wow, just amazing Yogi. Your writting style is as good as an author of a book, in some cases even better. Where did you learn to write like that?

Anyway, I can't wait for more.
 

Armfeldt

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I'm positive this AAR will prosper! I love alternative history!
 
Nov 23, 2004
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me and a friend are watching this with piqued intrest. He likes it for the subject, but ill read anything with the Yogi Seal.

gl yogi!
 

The Yogi

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The Great War, 1914-1917

Chapter I – The western front

In August of 1914, despite the misgivings of General von Moltke and the OHL, Germany began an all-out offensive against Russia, employing six sevenths of her Army, while standing on the defensive in Alsace-Lorraine with the remainder. The plan had been dutifully prepared at the OHL at the insistence of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who above all things did not want his hands tied. A great deal of risk was accepted in its execution; it was for example assumed that Belgium would maintain its neutrality and not join the Entente. Next to no forces were deployed along that border. Britain, seeing its protégée Belgium safe from the Germans, saw no reason to intervene, especially after a personal letter from the Kaiser to his cousin King George V assuring that Germany was fighting only defensively against France and would demand no territorial concessions in return for peace. Russia, the traditional counterpart to the British Empire in the “Great Game” of the previous century, commanded little sympathy in Britain and neutrality seemed an attractive and viable option.

The German forces in the west dug in, and dug in deep; soon a system of trenches - double, triple, even quadruple in places - covered by machine guns and cleverly positioned artillery batteries (including most of the available heavy artillery, which was considered too cumbersome for the war of manoeuvre expected in the east) extended from the Belgian to the Swiss border. Within a year the trenches would also be complemented by a sprinkling of reinforced concrete bunkers.

The French immediately and furiously attacked in support of their Russian allies, but the narrowness of the front prevented them from exploiting their great numerical advantage. The French Army paid a terrible price for learning the basics of trench warfare – the advancing infantry was mowed down in their tens of thousands by machine gun fire and pre-planned artillery barrages. Gained ground could be counted in metres, rather than kilometres.

verdun.jpg

The initial French offensive made little progress against German trenches

Severely shaken, the “poilus” settled in to dig trenches of their own. These helped to dramatically lessen casualties from German artillery, but were otherwise of no great use, since the Germans refused to go over the top. The western front ossified. For the reminder of the war, long periods of relative peace, with only some sniping and trench raiding going on, were broken by French offensives of increasing strength. The first real crisis came in 1915.

The French, employing fantastic amounts of artillery, pulverized a five km sector of the German trench lines in front of Metz in a month-long saturation bombardment. When the smoke cleared and the French launched their massive spring offensive, little but the concrete bunkers and strong-points remained of the German lines. Casualties were otherwise next to total. These machine-gun emplacements exacted a heavy toll from the attackers and delayed their advance for a few hours before being overrun. As the jubilant French finally broke through, they soon found that while their artillery preparation was going on a new trench line, flimsy compared to the original but still impervious to unsupported infantry assault, had been built cordoning off the bombarded sector. Once more, the French columns were raked with machine-gun fire and artillery. Concentrated in the salient, they suffered horribly and could do nothing but dig in. They had advanced a total of six kilometres on a five kilometre front. Metz was never in danger.

somme4sf.jpg

French artillery efficiently paved the way for the 1915 offensive against Metz

Next year, the French opted for a new weapon to break the stalemate – tracks. To prevent the enemy from cordoning off a breakthrough like previous year, the 1916 offensive was launched on a broad front, including most of German Lorraine. Again, the target was Metz. The ship-like 23 ton “Char d’Assaut St Chamond” (based on the American Holt agricultural tractor) had been rushed into service and built in great numbers – 400 units would take part in the 1916 offensive.

stchamond.jpg

The Char d’Assaut St Chamond was the first track to see any action

Armed with a 75mm field piece and four machine guns, they allowed the French to overrun the first German trench line with ease, but most of the armoured beasts would go no further. Many had been knocked out by German field artillery firing over open sights, but the vast majority simply floundered as they tried to negotiate the cratered and muddy ground. Once mired, there was no easy way to get the St Chamonds going again, since no tracked recovery vehicle had been designed and the combat tracks themselves had insufficient engine power to tow a disabled comrade.

As a result, the second trench line was pierced in places were French tracks were present, but as they too became stuck, the offensive petered out. Still, the 1916 offensive had been a great success compared to those of 1914 and 1915. The French had advanced 3-4 km on a broad front, taking almost the totality of the original German trench system in Lorraine. And while losses had been extremely heavy, the Germans had suffered too. The OHL was shaken, and transferred ten divisions from the Eastern Front. For this meagre result, the French had lost a million men since the outbreak of the war, and morale began to show cracks. Total German casualties were half of that, but at least they had bought great victories in the east. The French Army had little to show for its appalling losses.

During the second half of 1915, scout planes had started to come under attack by dedicated fighter planes. The Germans pioneered this development, but the French soon responded in kind. By late 1916, one Ace pilot outshone all competition on both sides of the Western Front – Manfred von Richthofen, known as the “Red Baron” because of his partially red-painted Albatross biplane (a challenge to the French pilots). On New Years Eve of 1916, he shot down his 40th opponent and was awarded with the “Pour la mérite” medal. The other pilots of his unit, Jagdstaffel 2, started to imitate their leader, painting portions of their planes bright red, and this in turn prompted von Richthofen to paint his all-red in order to continue to stand out. Although this colourful aerial war had marginal effect on ground operations, it captured the imagination of the world. The names of von Richthofen, Immelman and Guynemer became household words even in neutral countries like Britain and the USA.

The final year of the war saw the French High Command prepare with growing desperation for their final attempt to force the issue on the western front. Russia was collapsing like a house of cards, and there could be little doubt that the German armies in action on the Eastern Front would soon be transferred west. Before that happened, the French would try one last time. They had learnt from the failure of the St Chamond tracks and had replaced them with the new light track Renault FT-16, which had much better cross country ability and lower weight - only 6,6 ton. Where the St Chamond had had a nine man crew, the FT-16 had two. It carried only one MG or a short 37mm gun, but the weapon was mounted in a 360 degree traversing turret, allowing it a better field of fire than the heavily armed St Chamond. Being smaller and lighter, it was also cheaper, and more than a thousand were in place for the 1917 spring offensive.

ft17pol_4.jpg

The light FT-16 had excellent cross country capability and was by far the best track of the Great War

This time, the attackers made good progress in their three pronged advance against Metz, Strassburg and Mülhouse. The Germans had developed special anti-track ammunition for their light field pieces, and these knocked out many FT-16, but the great number of French tracks allowed them to push past the German trenches, inflicting heavy losses on the enemy. The Germans counterattacked furiously, and after a month of savage battle fought the French to a standstill at the very gates of Strassburg. Having suffered another half a million casualties in their latest offensive alone, French morale plummeted. Now, with their enemies exhausted, disheartened and weakly entrenched, the Germans struck back. Even before the final surrender of Russia in June, Crown Prince Wilhelm’s Army group, one third of the forces present in the East, was transferred to the Western front, where it went into strategic reserve. In late July, as the French were still settling in in their new positions, these rested and experienced troops spearheaded the first German offensive on the Western Front. They were armed with the German answer to the St Chamond track, some 500 Sturmpanzerwagen A7V. This boxy 34-ton monstrosity was even bigger and more cumbersome than the St Chamond, with a crew of 18 and an armament of a 57mm cannon and six machine guns.

3005d6v.jpg

Two A7V Sturmpanzerwagen advance through a French village during the final days of the Great War

Like the enemy track that inspired its construction, most Sturmpanzers did not get far past the French trenches – but in this case, that was enough. Already demoralized, the French units began to waver under the powerful German blows. Not even their secret weapon, the tracks, were enough to turn the tide of battle, since the Germans had tracks of their own. The Germans reached the main French line, from where the 1917 attack had begun, but their foes had given up – as the line was crossed with minimal casualties and the Germans crossed into French territory for the first time of the war, the French retreat turned into a rout. Guynemer, the French Ace of Aces was shot down and killed (probably by Lothar von Richthofen, Manfred’s younger brother) as he was strafing an advancing German column west of Reims. The Germans seemed unstoppable, and at the urging of London, the French asked for terms.

Even as the French Government was discussing an armistice, Crown Prince Wilhelm’s luck ran out. He was killed by a stray artillery shell, probably fired by a German gun, in August of 1917. The war had begun three years earlier on the day, and had only a week left to go.​
 
Last edited:

Culise

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I hate you...I'm halfway through reading Where the Iron Crosses Grow, and you post these here.

Ah well, more is better. A great read, really. :)
 

discovery1

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Excellent telling of the war in the west. Can we expect a similar tale of Russia being beaten into a bloody pulp?

especially after a personal letter from the Kaiser to his cousin King George V assuring that Germany was fighting only defensively against France and would demand no territorial concessions in return for peace.

Hmm.. Germany takes some French colonial possessions. I wonder what effect this going back on words will have on German-Anglo relations?
 

Rommel22

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Wow, very good. So, tanks are now called tracks? Since it's not the Brits who invented them now, but the French. Very nice...it's amazing how much detail, and depth you put into your writting, just magnificent.

I WANT MORE!