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The Age of Plenty

The completion of the Dutch war gave Britain the Dutch trading post of Amami, close to the nation of Japan. Amami and neighbouring islands then became the crown colony of Okinawa. This move apparently angered the Japanese however, who for unknown reasons felt threatened by Britain’s selfless efforts to promote free trade, as they had done in China. Small conflicts quickly turned to violence, as a naval squadron under Tryon sought to negotiate trading rights with the Shogun of Japan, leading to an escalation of hostilities early in 1861. Britain was sadly forced to dispatch several divisions to negotiate trading rights with the Japanese.

UK_oct1859.JPG

The Invasion of Japan begins

Britain’s major acquisitions during the period following the Dutch war was the South West of North America. This was a large territory, which the Mexican government, suffering enormous financial difficulties was ill equipped to administer. Britain had allowed the Mexican government to borrow large sums with which to develop this region, and improve their economy. However, corruption and mismanagement soon squandered these sums. In exchange for emergency loans to bale out the Mexican government, the British government purchased the lands of California, New Mexico, Utah and several other territories, in a series of treaties that became known as the Gadsden-Hutchison-Smythe purchases. Although under Mexican management these lands had been poor, under British management things began to improve, although the West remained a wild semi-frontier town.

Sadly, the honeymoon of Mexican-British relations soon soured, after the United States government, in the last act of the outgoing administration of President James Buchanan declared war upon Mexico, to attempt to force the Mexican government to pay its debts. Britain was again called upon to comply, which they did, although it would be some time before troops were available for a campaign.

UK_NA_1860.JPG

American gains, soon to be part of Britain

In any case, events moved too fast- before British troops were engaged, on December 22nd civil war broke out in America. President Lincoln, the new President had attempted to increase the size of the army for the 3rd Mexican war, but met with sharp resistance from many of the state governments, who saw an army as a potential instrument of tyranny. Numerous governments of the southern states, especially those who depended upon slaves, seceded. However, to claim that the American civil war depended solely upon slavery is false- corruption, economic difficulties and the obvious inferiority of US institutions as opposed to British were contributing factors.

In any case, with Lincoln’s army in Mexico, it proved exceedingly difficult for him to attempt to bring the wayward states back into line, especially as supply routes through the confederate states were essential for continuing the war, and without which the US army would starve. Faced with multiple wars, President Lincoln appealed to Great Britain for help- however, the government of Palmerstone offered very little support, apart from vague commitments to intervene in Mexico. The continuance of slavery in both Americas, a practice absolutely abhorrent to all decent Britons, meant that support to fight America’s wars was non-existent. In any case, Britain itself would face the beginnings of its greatest crisis since 1688.

Crisis

qvbib.jpg

The last public outing of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as they present a bible to the ruler of the savage !Xhosa.

The marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had been uniquely happy and fruitful, despite Albert’s obvious Teutonic nature. Alas, in 1861 Prince Albert passed away, a victim of typhoid fever. Queen Victoria was distraught with grief, and totally cut herself off from public life. The link between the nations and the monarchy, the symbol of order and justice, had been broken.

Between 1861 and 1870, Her Majesty’s Government was effectively on autopilot, without effective direction. Of course, the business of government had to continue. The 3rd Mexican war was again brought to a favourable conclusion for Britain and America- Britain received substantial indemnities for the unpaid loans, whilst the US received a thin strip of Mexico in the Texas border region. However, Lincoln, attempting to juggle the Mexican war and the fight the Civil War, was forced to make peace the Confederates, and did so on January 5th 1861, the war lasting a bare 3 weeks.

(Note: Some events screwed up here- the civil war was over in the flash of an eye)

Without Royal Direction, the business of government continued as best it could. The war in Japan continued. British troops occupied all the territory of the shogun, and the waited for Royal instructions, which did not come. A brief war against the Russians was fought again to protect the Balkans from Russia’s designs. This war ended very quickly when a force of Bengali regulars commanded by General Gray captured St Petersburg and the Tsar. The Tsar was again forced to cede territory in the Caucasus to the Ottomans, whilst paying indemnities to Britain.

Russian_war.JPG

Though vastly outnumbered, the heroic Gray captured St Petersburg with minimal losses

Research proceeded- British industry continued to lead the world, and eventually, the army got a bit better as well.

Research_1863.JPG

The UK’s technological achievements in 1863. The army’s not too good.

The Foreign Office continued to organise deals to help usher in peace and stability in the world. To this end, Angola and Mozambique were purchased from Portugal, the Philippines from Spain, Northern Italy and Croatia from Austria, Albania and Bosnia from the Ottomans, and finally, the Mexican territory taken by the US from Mexico, now worthless as it was cut off from the rest of the US by the Confederate states of America.

Buy_Albania_1861.JPG

Liberating Albania

Africa_1867.JPG

Africa in 1867

But a great pall hung over Britain. With Victoria shut off from all public appearances, the ship of state was without a captain, and was entering treacherous waters.
 
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Arilou said:
A lot of swedes there.

Yes, well, obviously they played such an important role they had to be counted twice.

By the way Arilou, how would you feel about a cameo appearance as Sher Ali Khan?

Pax Britannia said:
Great AAR! Keep up the good work

Thanks Pax! Rest assured, it will get quite gory very soon.

calcsam2 said:
Brilliant!

Thanks! :)


Stuyvesant said:
Nice AAR. I particularly like the smug, self-satisfied tone of the Official History. It's just so OBVIOUS that the British way isn't simply the best way, it's the ONLY way.

Are you implying that somehow there is another way of doing things? :eek:

I'm appalled. You're not a capitalist are you?

;)

Seriously, thanks for reading Stuyvesant.
 
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I really love the humour.

Bring the world free trade wether it wants it or not. :D
 

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However, to claim that the American civil war depended solely upon slavery is false- corruption, economic difficulties and the obvious inferiority of US institutions as opposed to British were contributing factors.
Such insightful and completely unbiased analysis... :rofl:

I would offer encouragement with your civilizing mission, if I thought that it was anywhere near required. It seems you (and that inexhaustible supply of Bengali cannon fodde... I mean, soldierdom...) are doing quite alright. :)
 

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But a great pall hung over Britain. With Victoria shut off from all public appearances, the ship of state was without a captain, and was entering treacherous waters.

Could there be trouble ahead? and kepp up the excellent AAR.
 

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Stuyvesant said:
Such insightful and completely unbiased analysis... :rofl:

I would offer encouragement with your civilizing mission, if I thought that it was anywhere near required. It seems you (and that inexhaustible supply of Bengali cannon fodde... I mean, soldierdom...) are doing quite alright. :)

You can never run out of Bengalis ready to die for Queen and Empire!!
 

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Well, I see switching from EU2 to Victoria hasn't affected your bloodlust. I also see that we have similar strategies for playing the UK: highly aggressive colonization, picking off the low-prestige uncivilized nations, and beating up on whomever is in second place. Though I was considerably nastier to China - Chinese war indemnities are rather nice, and quinquennially sacking Beijing is just too easy. :)

Keep up the great work.
 

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Shoot - Africa will soon be a sea of HMS red. Very successful wars, but you left us with some worry there at the end. Oh, and very nice interlude on the political environment. Great stuff!!
 

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coz1 said:
Shoot - Africa will soon be a sea of HMS red. Very successful wars, but you left us with some worry there at the end. Oh, and very nice interlude on the political environment. Great stuff!!

Thanks Coz1! You will soon see how the worry turns to something better.

Crimson King said:
Well, I see switching from EU2 to Victoria hasn't affected your bloodlust.

Bloodlust? Bloodlust! What Bloodlust! :eek:

I've been exceedingly restrained so far. Apart from event wars and honouring alliances, I have never once declared a real war yet. Of course, that may change if circumstances change. ;)

I also see that we have similar strategies for playing the UK: highly aggressive colonization, picking off the low-prestige uncivilized nations, and beating up on whomever is in second place. Though I was considerably nastier to China - Chinese war indemnities are rather nice, and quinquennially sacking Beijing is just too easy.

Well, in my defense I was a bit of a newb when I started playing the game, although I had learnt the art of negotiation, I hadn't yet learnt that you could be in an infinite number of colonial wars. Ah well. Live and learn.

Pax Britannica said:
You can never run out of Bengalis ready to die for Queen and Empire!!
Well, you can if enough of them die. :( But only the soliders of Calcutta gave all of thier lives, the rest suffered only moderate casualties.


Sir Humphrey said:
Could there be trouble ahead? and kepp up the excellent AAR.

Thank you Sir Humphrey. Indeed there is trouble ahead. A great deal of trouble. So much trouble that- yes- the fate of civilisation and the world is at stake.

Stuyvesant said:
I would offer encouragement with your civilizing mission, if I thought that it was anywhere near required. It seems you (and that inexhaustible supply of Bengali cannon fodde... I mean, soldierdom...) are doing quite alright

Indeed, the brave Bengalis alwas volunteers. Such magnifiicent obedience and courage. If only they were British. They'd be fit to rule!

And of course, the official history will continue is inciteful and totally unbiased analysis of course. The corruption and civil strife in America gives grave cause for concern. I fear intervention to restore peace may be necessary...

Rajj said:
I really love the humour.

Bring the world free trade wether it wants it or not.

Thanks Rajj! Rest assured, the world really wants free trade.

Of course, I have been buying up all the sulfur, small arms, iron and a few other strategic goods but yes! Free Trade forever! Huzzah!
 

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The Time of Trouble

The years following the death of Prince Albert were arguably the worst in terms of British foreign policy. Numerous foreign crises were almost completely ignored by the British government, adrift without Victoria’s leadership.

Arguably, the most embarrassing failure was the debacle in Japan. Despite the complete occupation of the Japanese archipelago by late 1861, no further action was taken to end the conflict. Although completely occupied, no peace treaty ending the conflict was signed. Skirmishes between British troops and brutal Japanese partisans were common, and slowly but steadily dissatisfaction grew amongst the British public.

However, it was in European affairs that inaction proved disastrous. In particular, nothing was done to prevent the expansion of Germany. As we have seen, Germany had seized Alsace Lorraine and Slesvig-Holstein from Denmark. Denmark was little more than an empty shell after the war, and soon joined a union with Sweden and became part of “Greater Scandinavia”. This union temporarily halted Germany’s expansion to the North, but not in other directions. In a series of wars, German defeated Russia(1862), Austria (1866), France (1867) and finally Belgium (1867-8) and eventually went so far as to annex Belgium to the German Reich. It was obvious, that if not contained, Germany would dominate all of Europe. However, Great Britain made no move to contain Germany’s expansion, and Germany continued to expand, seizing Poland in 1868 from Russia. Germany’s success was in part fuelled by their technologically advanced armies, equipped with dastardly weapons such as the Gatling Gun.

Europe_1870.JPG

Europe in 1870, fearing the German onslaught

Germany’s wars were not the only ones in Europe. The dukes of Sardinia-Piedmont made an attempt to unite Italy under their own banner- despite alliance with France, it ended in disaster, as Austria crushed the Sardinian and French armies with consummate ease. Sardinia never had the manpower to defeat Austria, and France still reeling from losing Northern France to Germany, was in no state to support it. The efforts at Italian unification ended in the death of Italy’s dreams of unification.

China reintroduced restrictions upon free trade, and several attacks were made by Chinese upon British merchants. Empress Dowager Cixi sent a letter to Victoria abusing her in the foulest terms, and stated that the British were the lowest race upon the earth. There was no response, not even a gunboat was sent.

The worst failure of British diplomacy was arguably the second war of Northern Aggression (1866-7). The Confederate states had despite their “peculiar institution” of the most barbarous and despicable form of slavery, was recognised as an independent state. The United States continued to practice slavery as well, and recognised the independence of the confederacy in 1861. After the remainder of the dismal term of President Lincoln ended in 1864, the Democrat McLellan was elected President in 1864.

Although Mclellan spoke of peace between the United and Confederate States, he was secretly planning a war to destroy the confederacy once and for all. In 1866 his armies were prepared, and he struck, showing the Characteristic daring, energy, lighting speed and persistence that earned him the nickname of “Little Napoleon”. McLellan insisted on personally commanding the Union armies, becoming the first President since George Washington to do so. His advance, led by brilliant commanders such as Hooker, Pope and Meade crushed the incompetent defence of Lee and Jackson, and by 1867, McLellan had occupied all of the territory of the former confederate states. Confederate President Longstreet had refused to surrender and a bitter guerrilla war was raged by the ex-confederates, but for all intents and purposes the confederacy had ceased to exist and the United States once again became a great power, ready and willing to contest British authority. McLellan gave his support to several armed gangs of Irish Terrorists known as the Fenians, who staged an abortive invasion of Canada. Relations between Britain and the newly reunited US quickly soured.

NA_1870.JPG

North America, showing Britain’s manifest destiny

Naturally, these failures of foreign policy had their effect on British Opinion. The leader of the liberal party, Willian Ewert Gladstone, called openly for the abolition of the monarchy- still Victoria did nothing. Even worse, Gladstone’s republican campaign appeared to be gaining support. The paralysis afflicting the British government showed no sign of abating.

A great change

However, this paralysis was lifted quite suddenly after Victoria made a sudden reappearance. The reasons for her reappearance are unclear. Vanity Fair suggested that she had begun a liaison with her Scottish manservant John Brown, with the natural result that the offices of Vanity Fair were burnt to the ground by an enraged mob. Although she had aged considerably in her grief, many observers noted a seeming change in character, and that she had acquired a new purpose. Her reappearance was made in a stunning speech to the house of Commons on January 2nd 1870.

Victoria1870s.jpg

Queen Victoria in 1870

Queen Victoria said:
We have for several years lamented the death of my beloved Prince Albert, and have cut myself off from you, my loyal subjects. We apologise that in my grief we were unable to attend to the pressing matters of the day. It is our intention however, to repay this lack of attention.

Our empire, is the most advanced and freest empire in the history of the world. All who serve as my subjects live enjoy the liberty and order available under our flag. But there are untold millions who even today toil under the tyrannies of a most barbarous and evil nature. In the past we in Britain have contented ourselves to preserving our own interests, and through our own industry enriching ourselves.

It is our determination that this practice must stop. We have a moral obligation to free those living under these tyrannies, an obligation that thus far we have not accepted. It is our duty to bring freedom to all the peoples of this world. The tyrants will resist this- we must therefore be prepared to use force to defeat them. We cannot shirk in this purpose, it must be completed whatever the cost. The freedom of the entire world rests upon our shoulders. Will you shoulder the burden with us?

This speech was granted a roaring reception, and opinion polls quickly confirmed that the vast majority of the population supported Victoria’s position. And so, a new era of British and indeed world history had begun. No longer would the soldiers of the British army merely defend British freedom from foreign tyrants- they would seek them out and destroy those tyrants, until all the peoples of the world were free to live under British rule, under the most benevolent and just system yet devised by man.

flag.jpg
 
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Huzzah! Victoria has regained her wits. Man, German IS huge! You really must step in there and do something about that!
 

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Great speech by victoria ;) but it seems she has a whole lot of work ahead of her.

Great cliffhanger too, and i can only comment by saying, GIVE US MORE! :D
 

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It's good to see Victoria come to her senses and undertake the historic mission that has been placed on her shoulders... And that mission is going to be tough, judging by the size of that Germany. That's going to take an awful lot of Bengalis to sort out!

Some nice quotes in there:
Vanity Fair suggested that she had begun a liaison with her Scottish manservant John Brown, with the natural result that the offices of Vanity Fair were burnt to the ground by an enraged mob.
Quite. Natural. Yes. :D

Originally Posted by Queen Victoria
My, that Queen Victoria sure knows how to keep abreast of the latest technology! And how to connect from the afterlife! Fancy that, posting her own speech, a mere 103 years after she passed away! :p
 

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Gjerg K said:
... they would seek them out and destroy those tyrants, until all the peoples of the world were free to live under British rule ...

And what if they don't ... oh, wait ... never mind. That was silly.

A question: How did Germany annex Belgium? Last time I checked Belgium had a few more than three provinces. :confused:
 

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Plendid, utterly splendid, will Britain appease the Germans or will the continent be thrown into war?
 

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Alain-Masque said:
Fight the Dastardly HUN!

All in good time. The peoples currently suffering nder the iron jackboots of the Kaiser will be liberated in due course, but for the moment the Belgians, Poles, Balts and germans must be patient.

Sir Humphrey said:
Plendid, utterly splendid, will Britain appease the Germans or will the continent be thrown into war?

Appeasement? Surely you're not suggesting that Britain should not leave the Germans under the fist of the Iron Chancellor? Their time will come, just not yet.

Crimson King said:
And what if they don't ... oh, wait ... never mind. That was silly.

A question: How did Germany annex Belgium? Last time I checked Belgium had a few more than three provinces.

Well, I suppose it is theoretically possible that some people may prefer native tyrants to British freedom, but such a situation is like observing Margaret Thatcher spontaneously bursting into flames- possible, but unlikely, and if it did happen likely to be the work of dark forces.

As for Belgium, Germany waged two wars against belgium in the 1860s, beaing them up in about 63 and then annexing them in 69. Quite Brutal really. I'm rather surprised they didn't attack the Netherlands for Luxembourg, but they never did.

Stuyvesant said:
It's good to see Victoria come to her senses and undertake the historic mission that has been placed on her shoulders... And that mission is going to be tough, judging by the size of that Germany. That's going to take an awful lot of Bengalis to sort out!

Well, sometime in the future we may have to rely on other peoples of the Empire for soldiers. But not just yet. And I'm sure Germany is vulnerable to massive amphibious invasions supported by Battleships.

My, that Queen Victoria sure knows how to keep abreast of the latest technology! And how to connect from the afterlife! Fancy that, posting her own speech, a mere 103 years after she passed away!
Well, the speech was of course posted throughout the empire by the Imperial postal service. That's of course what I meant by posted. ;)

TreizeV said:
Great speech by victoria but it seems she has a whole lot of work ahead of her.

Great cliffhanger too, and i can only comment by saying, GIVE US MORE!

There will be more cliffhangers. This historic mission is not without risk. The forces of tyranny are always waiting... the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Baneslave said:
Take full america to yours.

In time. I was actually rather shocked that America reunited after the Civil war. Cunning.

Pax Britannia said:
I agree. Keep an eye on Germany!
The ambitions of the second Reich are always of great concern to the Foreign office. Steps are being taken. Memos written. The wheels are in motion.

coz1 said:
Huzzah! Victoria has regained her wits. Man, German IS huge! You really mus step in there and do something about that!

Thanks Coz! Victoria will humble Germany when the time is right.

To all those who have responded, thanks very much. :)

Your next update is now...
 

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The restoration of Imperial Power in Japan

Victoria’s speech changed everything. The first effect was the end of the war in Japan, which had been dragging on for ages. The corrupt and despotic shogunate was swept away and a new British government installed. Some conspiracy theorists and apologists for dictators have suggested that given another month the Japanese Emperor Meiji would have staged some kind of Imperial restoration and gone from being a complete backwater to an advanced industrial nation, and further suggested that Queen Victoria had access to a mysterious bank of knowledge known as the “Event Files”. Such theories are of course, preposterous, and normally the work of Socialists, Capitalists, fallen aristocrats and agents of foreign powers. It was Britain that drew Japan out of the middle ages, and allowed its citizens to know the proper value of hard work and discipline. Indeed, a large part of Japan’s educated population immediately emigrated to Canada, the British Philippines and Europe following the Japan’s liberation, as educated workers and craftsmen were free to leave their native land to seek their trade in the service of the British Empire.

The Dragon Throne

However, Japan was small fry compared to Victoria’s next target- the Shogunate, although corrupt and unstable, could never compare to the appalling depths that Qing China had reached under the brutal rule of the Empress Dowager Cixi.

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Cixi, the corrupt dictatress of Qing China

Cixi had seized power following the death of her husband. She ruled China indirectly, dominating the child emperor, playing off reformers against conservatives, and destroyed any who stood in her way by beheading and the hideous “death by a thousand cuts”. Opposition to Cixi’s rule was strong- the Taping and Muslim rebellions had led to the deaths of over 20 million Chinese, but not even this river of blood caused Cixi to flinch. Despite widespread unemployment and famine, Cixi lived in luxury. Cixi had recently supported the establishment of an violent reactionary group, “The Righteous and Harmonious fists”, who aimed at the eradication of all foreign influence and all foreigners in the Middle kingdom. Cixi controlled the most populous country on the earth. There was only one force capable of ending her tyranny- The British army.

An ultimatum was presented to the Empress Dowager in mid 1870 calling for China to implement democratic elections and institute a free press and other reforms. No reply came fron the Qing, and so reluctantly on July 1st 1870, a Declaration of War was issued, and operation “Paper Tiger” began.

Operation Paper Tiger

The British campaign would be spearheaded by two commanders who had shown exceptional skill in the Japanese campaign, and who both had personal experience in China. They were both veterans of the Russian wars, and had both served in the “Ever victorious Army”, an expeditionary force sent to China during the Taiping rebellion in the mistaken belief that it was still possible for order and justice to be restored whilst the Manchu still ruled.

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General Sir Garnet Joseph Wolseley, the innovative and brilliant tactician, and arguably the finest commander of the era

The overall commander was Sir Garnet Wolseley K.C.M.G., a commander known for his brilliance and innovative tactics- during the defeat of the Metis rebellion of Louis Riel, Wolseley had organised supplied over 600 miles of lakes and rivers to central Canada and personally captured Riel. His troops were the first into St Petersburg. His methods were brilliant, yet dogmatic and thorough. Wolseley was the meticulous planner, who ensured that no outcome was left to chance and that every man under his command was well equipped and well supplied.

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General Charles “Chinese” Gordon, eccentric genius and glory hound, soldier of Christ and ardent opponent of slavery


General Charles “Chinese” Gordon was a far more colourful character, admired for his genius yet sometimes scorned for his recklessness. Gordon showed enormous daring and pluck, and was never found far from the front line. He considered himself a soldier of Christ, and quoted Isiah in his speeches to his men. He was always ready to take advantage of an opportunity, and though accused of being reckless had an almost unmatched battle record. Gordon was also a noted humanitarian, and had used a large part of his personal wealth to fund missionary work and anti-slavery political groups.

Wolseley and Gordon could count on significant numbers of troops for the campaign. British forces at the start of the invasion included approximately 60 divisions of infantry, mostly regulars, and 30 divisions cavalry, mostly trained as hussars. Also, 10 divisions of dragoons were present, most of whom were assigned the menial task of protecting artillery from attack, although one corps fought alongside the 24th of foot infantry regulars in an offensive mode. Some reinforcements were also added during the course of the war. Some members of the War Office were criticized however, by not including any guards or engineer units as support, as it was though that these units would not be needed. The vast majority of the troops were recruited from the Andaman Islands of Bengal.

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Brave Andaman Islanders who fought for Queen and Country

The quality of the British army had improved enormously over the last ten years, both in terms of training, doctrine and equipment, largely due to the military prowess shown by the Second Reich. Indeed, owing to large investment, particularly in the area of iron breech loaded artillery, it is no exaggeration to say that by 1870 the British army was at least equal to, and possibly even superior to the military of any other nation. This was important, as the manpower available to the Qing far exceeded the resources of the empire. However, the once famed Manchu banners were far inferior in quality to British forces.

The plan of attack

The British invasion plan was kept top secret from most commanders until a day before the war began, and consisted of 4 phases.

In phase I, Infantry would march inland from Hong Kong and Assam and engage Qing border forces. Multiple amphibious landings would take place on the Chinese coast, which naval patrols had indicated was very poorly garrisoned.

In phase II, After the Qing border forces had been defeated, fast cavalry units would break through the front line, capturing as much territory as possible whilst avoiding conflict with large enemy forces as far as possible, although isolated Chinese units would be engaged and eliminated.

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A Bengali hussar, part of a Calcutta regiment. Men like these were the backbone of Britain’s cavalry forces


After a month, most of the Chinese forces would have been driven into various pockets - In Phase III these pockets would then be eliminated by Infantry supported by artillery and prevented from retreat by fast cavalry units.

Phase IV would be a mopping up operation, defeating any enemy troops and completely occupying all Chinese population centres.

All told, the beginning of the invasion went of with few problems. The Chinese coastline was practically undefended, allowing Wolseley to personally lead a force to capture Tianjin. The advance from Hong Kong encountered minor Qing resistance which was soon forced back by troops under the command of General price, and all of Guandog was in British hands in less than a week. Only the advance from Assam encountered difficulties. Owing to the mountainous terrain, the Qing were able to put up a stout defense to the advancing forces of Major General Shaw. By the end of the month they were defeated when General Gordon personally led the 3rd Bengali Hussars in a thrilling charge, turning the enemy flank and forcing the mass surrender of the defenders of Dali. Phase I had been completed, although the casualties in the Assamese border region were higher than expected.

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The Invasion of China begins

Phase II then began. British forces quickly fanned out to occupy much of Southern China, as well as the coastal regions. However, it was soon obvious that Cixi was far from beaten. By November 12th, most of Southern China had fallen to British forces, but the Qing showed they possessed enormous reserves of conscipts to throw into the fight. A vast force of over a quarter of a million men was assembled in Chengdu. The Emperor of the Qing exhorted his men to fight for his mother.

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UK Progress as of November 12th.

Even worse, by November 23rd the Chinese forces in Chengdu had swelled to 440,000 men, far outnumbering British forces in the region. Though most of them lacked training and discipline, a few divisions were apparently trained by German and French instructors, and were almost equal to the British in quality. On December 31st, Major General Shaw, an artillery officer even more reckless than Gordon, made the fateful decision to attack the Chinese before even more reinforcements arrived, apparently disbelieving the size of the Chinese forces. Casualties of the campaign rose- had Victoria bitten off more than she could chew?
 
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