The Germans play WW 1 differently.

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maltesefalcon
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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by maltesefalcon » 23 Jun 2020 21:23

But in this case there is no blockade anyway so we will need to adapt our thinking to that situation.
Last edited by maltesefalcon on 23 Jun 2020 21:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by maltesefalcon » 23 Jun 2020 21:23

Double post. Man I am having a bad day lol.

glenn239
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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by glenn239 » 23 Jun 2020 21:26

T. A. Gardner wrote:
23 Jun 2020 21:19
But, this does nothing for the French if the shipping carrying goods to Germany are US or other foreign flagged vessels. That doesn't violate the British blockade of German warships nor would it allow the French to board and intern foreign vessels.
The Royal Navy blockades the German fleet and the French navy blockades Germany from behind that screen. Good cop, bad cop, 1914 style.
Also, given the short legs of the French fleet, and a need to keep a good chunk of it in the Med to counter the Austro-Hungarian fleet, it wouldn't leave them much to use against German merchant traffic in any case.
Seems like child's play for the French to have manipulated a British naval pledge against the Austrians too, and keep them quiet, even assuming the Austrians would for some reason want to even be at war with the French.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by T. A. Gardner » 24 Jun 2020 00:28

glenn239 wrote:
23 Jun 2020 21:26
T. A. Gardner wrote:
23 Jun 2020 21:19
But, this does nothing for the French if the shipping carrying goods to Germany are US or other foreign flagged vessels. That doesn't violate the British blockade of German warships nor would it allow the French to board and intern foreign vessels.
The Royal Navy blockades the German fleet and the French navy blockades Germany from behind that screen. Good cop, bad cop, 1914 style.
Also, given the short legs of the French fleet, and a need to keep a good chunk of it in the Med to counter the Austro-Hungarian fleet, it wouldn't leave them much to use against German merchant traffic in any case.
Seems like child's play for the French to have manipulated a British naval pledge against the Austrians too, and keep them quiet, even assuming the Austrians would for some reason want to even be at war with the French.
The French don't have the navy for a blockade. They have only about a dozen cruisers in commission in 1914, all coal fired, most with a steaming range of 6000 miles or less at 10 knots. If you assume a relatively equal distribution between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the French could have something like 4 or so cruisers at sea for their "blockade" at any given time. That would render their version of it pretty much a joke.

On the other hand, if the British start stopping foreign merchant shipping heading to Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc., as a matter of routine they are likely to drive the US into supporting Germany more and more. Stopping or blocking warships is one thing, stopping a ship loaded with say grain or steel flying a US flag, is completely another. This is particularly true if Britain is a supposed neutral.
Historically, since Britain and France were both engaged in the war with Germany, US trade stopped to Germany and went to Britain and France. Here, Britain is still running a peacetime economy so they would have little incentive to increase trade with the US at the expense of Germany. The French have no real means to force the US to trade more with them and stop trade with Germany.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Jun 2020 06:24

I've always thought that Gardner's ATL, generally, is the best ATL for German WW1 victory. The Kaiser himself thought so... had he been a stronger monarch so much would have changed... no Hitler, Lenin/Stalin, etc.

The one hang up is British neutrality in the naval war. Is there any indication that Britain would have proposed - and Germany/France accepted - a neutral zone in the English Channel?

I find it likely that Britain would get dragged into the war eventually.

If that doesn't happen until, say, 1916, then there's no prospect of the mass mobilization of Imperial manpower to field 50 divisions in France.

In which case the ATL Kaiserschlacht rolls over the French Army in 1917/18.

OTOH, if the British start shooting in early 1915 then there might be enough time for their army to prevent France's defeat, even if on a line farther west than OTL.

We should also factor in France retaining its northeast industrial areas and perhaps its military recruiting base there (any research on soldiers lost to the French Army via German occupation?).

--------------------

The other aspect is the Austro-Hungarian war effort.

With a big 1914 German offensive in the East, the early Russian successes in Galicia probably don't occur. Italy almost certainly doesn't join up. The Austro-Hungarian state has a great deal more legitimacy.

Do the Habsburgs take Ukraine in 1915, imposing a more Slavically-inflected and therefore acceptable admin than OTL's 1917-18 Germanic occupation? Does a reformist Habsburg model attract sufficient support in Eastern Europe for a productive and stable equilibrium along quasi-Federalist lines? Does Habsburg Europe become something like a nascent EU?

...probably not to the more outlandish of the foregoing questions... But not my area of expertise.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by Futurist » 24 Jun 2020 21:14

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Jun 2020 06:24
I've always thought that Gardner's ATL, generally, is the best ATL for German WW1 victory. The Kaiser himself thought so... had he been a stronger monarch so much would have changed... no Hitler, Lenin/Stalin, etc.

The one hang up is British neutrality in the naval war. Is there any indication that Britain would have proposed - and Germany/France accepted - a neutral zone in the English Channel?

I find it likely that Britain would get dragged into the war eventually.

If that doesn't happen until, say, 1916, then there's no prospect of the mass mobilization of Imperial manpower to field 50 divisions in France.

In which case the ATL Kaiserschlacht rolls over the French Army in 1917/18.

OTOH, if the British start shooting in early 1915 then there might be enough time for their army to prevent France's defeat, even if on a line farther west than OTL.

We should also factor in France retaining its northeast industrial areas and perhaps its military recruiting base there (any research on soldiers lost to the French Army via German occupation?).

--------------------

The other aspect is the Austro-Hungarian war effort.

With a big 1914 German offensive in the East, the early Russian successes in Galicia probably don't occur. Italy almost certainly doesn't join up. The Austro-Hungarian state has a great deal more legitimacy.

Do the Habsburgs take Ukraine in 1915, imposing a more Slavically-inflected and therefore acceptable admin than OTL's 1917-18 Germanic occupation? Does a reformist Habsburg model attract sufficient support in Eastern Europe for a productive and stable equilibrium along quasi-Federalist lines? Does Habsburg Europe become something like a nascent EU?

...probably not to the more outlandish of the foregoing questions... But not my area of expertise.
Wasn't southern Ukraine occupied by the Austrians in 1918 in real life?

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by glenn239 » 25 Jun 2020 18:37

T. A. Gardner wrote:
24 Jun 2020 00:28
The French don't have the navy for a blockade. They have only about a dozen cruisers in commission in 1914, all coal fired, most with a steaming range of 6000 miles or less at 10 knots. If you assume a relatively equal distribution between the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the French could have something like 4 or so cruisers at sea for their "blockade" at any given time. That would render their version of it pretty much a joke.
French navy in 1914 is here,

https://www.naval-history.net/xGW-Frenc ... 4-1918.htm

The British rapidly converted over civilian liners and such to armed merchant cruisers to enforce the blockade. French merchant marine is here,

https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/files/doc ... 0-1924.pdf

1,900,000 tons. Between the French navy, conversions in the French merchant marine, and ships sold to France by the British at friendly rates, I don't see any problem with the French navy closing the GIUK gap. The occupation of Iceland might be necessary.
On the other hand, if the British start stopping foreign merchant shipping heading to Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc., as a matter of routine they are likely to drive the US into supporting Germany more and more. Stopping or blocking warships is one thing, stopping a ship loaded with say grain or steel flying a US flag, is completely another. This is particularly true if Britain is a supposed neutral.
Agreed that any blockade of Germany couldn't be as effective with Britain neutral as with Britain in. But with the British naval pledge to France forcing the High Seas Fleet to stay in port, the blockade would exist.
Historically, since Britain and France were both engaged in the war with Germany, US trade stopped to Germany and went to Britain and France. Here, Britain is still running a peacetime economy so they would have little incentive to increase trade with the US at the expense of Germany. The French have no real means to force the US to trade more with them and stop trade with Germany.
Looks like the broad picture of what you are proposing is that the British will intensely anger the Germans by forcing upon them a humiliating blockade of their fleet that violated international law, (a neutral power can't tell Germany that its fleet can't sail in international waters). And also, intensely anger the French by providing support far short of what France would require. They will also enrage the Russians because the neutrality of Belgium forces much of the French army into inaction. You do see how there was the danger in all of this offending the continentals that France and Russia may emerge on Germany's side and Britain would stand alone?

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by T. A. Gardner » 25 Jun 2020 19:57

glenn239 wrote:
25 Jun 2020 18:37
French navy in 1914 is here,

https://www.naval-history.net/xGW-Frenc ... 4-1918.htm
Which confirms what I stated earlier. The French have just a few armored cruisers available for blockade duty and those are relatively short-ranged and coal fired. Worse, the French Navy has no capacity for coaling at sea, and doesn't even have any coalers in service.

The British rapidly converted over civilian liners and such to armed merchant cruisers to enforce the blockade. French merchant marine is here,
https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/files/doc ... 0-1924.pdf

1,900,000 tons. Between the French navy, conversions in the French merchant marine, and ships sold to France by the British at friendly rates, I don't see any problem with the French navy closing the GIUK gap. The occupation of Iceland might be necessary.
I don't know how much of that is ocean going and of what is ocean going, how much is readily convertible. The British and US both required builders to put in design features, particularly the British, to allow a quick conversion. This included things like foundations that strengthened the deck in spots to take gun mounts, spaces that could be quickly converted to magazines, and design features like passageways to move ammunition to the guns, among other things. I'm not sure the French were doing any of that.
But, it still leaves France with few ships to patrol a pretty vast swath of ocean. Occupying Iceland could be problematic too.
On the other hand, if the British start stopping foreign merchant shipping heading to Norway, Sweden, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, etc., as a matter of routine they are likely to drive the US into supporting Germany more and more. Stopping or blocking warships is one thing, stopping a ship loaded with say grain or steel flying a US flag, is completely another. This is particularly true if Britain is a supposed neutral.
Agreed that any blockade of Germany couldn't be as effective with Britain neutral as with Britain in. But with the British naval pledge to France forcing the High Seas Fleet to stay in port, the blockade would exist.
If that were the case, France would have to embark on a crash program to build cruisers to enforce it. What they had in 1914 was totally inadequate. Another problem they would face is that their existing armored cruisers really aren't built for N. Atlantic sea duty as it is. That would probably entail major refits to improve their sea handling.
Looks like the broad picture of what you are proposing is that the British will intensely anger the Germans by forcing upon them a humiliating blockade of their fleet that violated international law, (a neutral power can't tell Germany that its fleet can't sail in international waters). And also, intensely anger the French by providing support far short of what France would require. They will also enrage the Russians because the neutrality of Belgium forces much of the French army into inaction. You do see how there was the danger in all of this offending the continentals that France and Russia may emerge on Germany's side and Britain would stand alone?
That might happen. The British might be satisfied as neutrals that the Germans and French stay in port with their navies, and really don't care who wins on the continent so long as they're fighting each other and not Britain. Think of this as another Franco-Prussian war scenario. I could see the British sending lots of military aid to Russia and France profiteering off the war.

As for a French blockade at sea in the Atlantic, the problem becomes what they do when faced with neutral foreign flagged vessels. All it takes is them stopping and boarding a few British ships--even by mistake-- for the British to get peeved and start shadowing the French ships on the blockade, raising tensions between the two. Then you might get the US deciding to play that game too. France doesn't have the fleet to take on the Royal Navy or the US Navy in the Atlantic and if and when they anger either, their blockade just becomes a focal point for potential war.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by maltesefalcon » 27 Jun 2020 14:30

The OP states "There is no blockade of Germany."
It's easy to miss-did so myself originally, but I realized my error and pointed it out June 23.

So-why are people still talking about a blockade and naval strategy on this thread?

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by glenn239 » 27 Jun 2020 15:34

T. A. Gardner wrote:
25 Jun 2020 19:57
I don't know how much of that is ocean going and of what is ocean going, how much is readily convertible.
IMO, the logic of geography says that the Germans will have to rely on neutral hulls on account of the actions of the Royal Navy. Whatever shortfalls France had in its own naval material, there were ample British ships and warships that could be made available for purchase. Not like the British didn't have literally hundreds of idled ocean liners and armored cruisers in 1914 that could be sold to France.
Occupying Iceland could be problematic too.
Insofar as sending 10,000 troops in a convoy covered by French battleships and armored cruisers to land in a harbor that was near to totally defenseless and only a short cruise from major French naval bases in the Atlantic could qualify as "problematic"? On the contrary, from a military standpoint, the outcome would be completely one-sided. Would Denmark declare war on France? I think not. Would the British, whose navy would be then patrolling the exits to North Sea looking for German warships to blow out of the water, switch sides and tell the French they can't do it? I think not.
That might happen. The British might be satisfied as neutrals that the Germans and French stay in port with their navies, and really don't care who wins on the continent so long as they're fighting each other and not Britain. Think of this as another Franco-Prussian war scenario. I could see the British sending lots of military aid to Russia and France profiteering off the war.
But this isn't another Franco-Prussian 1870 scenario. At that time, Britain was stronger industrially than France and Prussia combined. In 1914, Germany was stronger industrially and militarily than Britain. Comparing the situation in 1870 to 1914 would be like comparing 1941 Germany to 2020 China.
As for a French blockade at sea in the Atlantic, the problem becomes what they do when faced with neutral foreign flagged vessels. All it takes is them stopping and boarding a few British ships--even by mistake-- for the British to get peeved and start shadowing the French ships on the blockade, raising tensions between the two. Then you might get the US deciding to play that game too. France doesn't have the fleet to take on the Royal Navy or the US Navy in the Atlantic and if and when they anger either, their blockade just becomes a focal point for potential war.
I recall discussing this before some years back WRT Britain and the US Civil War. Digging up citations would be chore, so this is from memory. The Union blockade of the Confederacy succeeded. The reason why this was so is because the British cooperated with American government in Washington to allow the Union navy to implement a blockade against British trade, both directly into the Confederate ports as well as indirectly through 3rd party ports. The reason why London permitted this to occur - at some great pain to its own textile industries - is because British leaders judged the legal precedent of upholding the right of blockade in war to be the most important factor. Ergo, in 1914 the British will allow the French to do the same thing because the British viewed blockade as their primary instrument of economic warfare and would never undermine its legal status by contradicting its own position on the matter.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by Peter89 » 30 Jun 2020 15:25

The traditional British doctrine indicated that mainland Europe should never unite against them, so they will always have a seat at the peacemaking tables. And British peacemaking usually revolves around the "divide and conquer" concept (Ireland, India, etc.).

They would have joined the French against the Central powers, that is for sure.

Also, they'd do anything to prevent the merger of the A-H and German fleets (not to mention the possible join of the Italian fleet). That would have been their undoing.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by paulrward » 30 Jun 2020 18:10

Hello All :

Mr. Peter88 stated :
The traditional British doctrine indicated that mainland Europe should never
unite against them, so they will always have a seat at the peacemaking tables. And
British peacemaking usually revolves around the "divide and conquer" concept
(Ireland, India, etc.).

This might be of some informational value :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVYqB0uTKlE


Respectfully :

Paul R. Ward
Information not shared, is information lost
Voices banned, are voices who cannot share information....

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by T. A. Gardner » 30 Jun 2020 18:47

That is why I don't think the British would side with the French and let them blockade Germany or occupy Iceland. Instead, they play both sides off and tell them to keep their fleets in harbor and out of the Channel.
So long as both nations are deadlocked in a costly war (from Britain's perspective) all the better for the British. They can sell to the highest bidder or to the nation they think will benefit most from their weapons in keeping the deadlock in place. In Russia, so long as the Germans / Austrians don't end up with large industrial or population centers (as they existed at the time), the British are likely to broker a peace if both sides agree and then rearm Russia. That keeps Russia in the game and Germany gains little of short-term value other than dirt and peasants.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 01 Jul 2020 04:36

Peter89 wrote:The traditional British doctrine indicated that mainland Europe should never unite against them, so they will always have a seat at the peacemaking tables. And British peacemaking usually revolves around the "divide and conquer" concept (Ireland, India, etc.).

They would have joined the French against the Central powers, that is for sure.
The problem with invoking British doctrine is that it isn't self-executing in a parliamentary democracy. Sure, a British dictator would probably act as you describe. But a British government needing to mollify diverse constituencies not necessarily so.

I'm not deeply read on this topic but then again the archival material behind Britain's decision for war seems pretty thin. I can recommend "Decisions for War, 1914-1917" by Hamilton and Herwig (Cambridge Press), chapter on Britain. Of course Niall Fergusson gives the most glitzy alternate history of Britain staying out.

Asquith and Grey eventually got a majority of the cabinet to stand behind Belgium. Absent that reason - pretext or not - it isn't clear to me that a cabinet majority would have agreed to war.

Had the government fallen over the question a new government would probably have joined the war sooner or later, for the structural reasons you describe (British fears of a continental hegemon). But delay in British joining means fewer soldiers on the Somme in 1916, meaning more Germans at Third Ypres, etc. Italy almost certainly doesn't join the Entente in 1915 and, with sufficient British delay, may be enticed to the other side. A-H is stronger on the Eastern Front, probably meaning no/unsuccessful Brusilov Offensive, probably meaning no Romanian campaign, meaning hundreds of thousands more Germans/Austrians in Russia/France.

If the war works out that way, is Germany desperate enough in early 1917 to gamble on unrestricted sub warfare that caused U.S. entry?

WW1 was pretty close-run. IMO if Britain waits another year I'd bet on the Central Powers.

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Re: The Germans play WW 1 differently.

Post by Peter89 » 01 Jul 2020 16:54

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
01 Jul 2020 04:36

I'm not deeply read on this topic but then again the archival material behind Britain's decision for war seems pretty thin.

WW1 was pretty close-run. IMO if Britain waits another year I'd bet on the Central Powers.
It always seems so, the British have entered into mainland European wars for no apparent reason. They were interested in the power balance of the mainland, because if the mainland unites, Britain might fall. This seems to be a pretty thin motivation, but they have been doing this all the time since the 100 years war.

If - for any reason - the European mainland was united, the traditional British answer is to exercise naval power and search for allies on the mainland.

And that is what they have done in the Napoleonic wars, in WW2, etc. so they can't lose, and it is just a matter of time until they win. If the Germans are more effective in the unification of the mainland, the British are more keen to enter into the war - against Germany.

So in WW1, even if Russia and France got defeated, it didn't matter as long as the British could take advantage of their naval supremacy. The only real game changer cards were the fleets: the Italian and the A-H fleets might be big enough complements to the HSF to effectively fight against the RN. But given their OTL performance, I seriously doubt that the British had a lot to be afraid of. The Admirality was clever enough to face their enemies with proper concentration of forces, with only a very few exceptions.

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