German victory at Jutland

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IronDuke
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by IronDuke » Thu Apr 08, 2010 1:47 am

RF wrote:
IronDuke wrote:
With hindsight, the best moves for the Germans would have been to have built up their Fleet only so far as they needed to to counter France and to have accepted a British Alliance, when it was on offer in the late 1890's. Had the German Kaiser had the wit to do that world history would probably have been greatly different...
Ted
I did propose an alternative WW1 based on this premise a couple of years ago, in which Britain, Belguim, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Japan lined up against France, Russia, USA and Italy. Unfortunately nobody responded......

If Germany had Allied with Britain in the 1890's, lots of things change: Japan had an alliance with Britain from 1902, that required either nations Navy to go to the aid of the other, if they were involved in a war with more than one other nation. Italy had an Alliance with Geramny and Austro-Hungary, that in fact they did not stand by, but instead joined the Allies. Turkey had long had a traditional Alliance with Britain and only ceased to have when Britain became involved with France, and her ally -and traditional enemy- Russia.

Thus you might have ended up with Britain, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Italy and Turkey against France and Russia (I think in those circumstance the USA would have stayed neutral, since the Russian Navy was nothing much to write home about and the French Navy would hardly have lasted very long ...

On the other hand, in that situation, you might not have had a big war at all...
Ted
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by RF » Thu Apr 08, 2010 7:48 am

Ted, the main premise in that thread was naval rivalry between Britain and the USA, exacerbated by a British naval blockade of France resultring in British seizure of US merchant ships trading with France. Prior to WW1 the US Navy had considered the possibilty of a naval war with Britain caused by British interference with US trade on the high seas. In reality it was German interference with US trading commerce that forced the US into WW1 as an ally of Britain.

The other aspects of this were that a conflict between the British and Americans creates a front on the US-Canadian border, so the main areas of US heavy industry are in the front line. Mexico is induced into declaring war on the US to reverse the defeats of the 1840's, by the Germans and British so the US has a land war on two fronts, while the Japanese threaten Hawaii.

A sequence of events such as this is unlikely to prevent war, as the US atitude would be very robust.

Another aspect is Panama - of great strategic importance to whoever controls the Panama Canal. And if Colombia is induced into declaring war on the US to recover Panama (originally part of Colombia until 1903 when separtatists backed by the US broke away, after Colombia refused the US permission to build the Panama Canal) by the Germans then another threat to the US is created. Incidently in the spring of 1914 the Kaiser did ask the German Naval Staff about the possibility of the High Seas Fleet leading a German expedition to Panama to seize the Canal. This didn't go very far before other events closer to home refocussed the Kaiser's attention.
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by Djoser » Sat Apr 10, 2010 4:53 pm

The Germans actually once came quite close to obtaining the paring down of the British superiority, as they intended, before Jutland. It is my understanding that during one of the battlecruiser forays against the British coast, the German fleet in support nearly came up against a few battle squadrons of the British (and not the Grand Fleet) who surely would have been overwhelmed. I need to check that source, but after winning a battle like that, we could have seen a very different Jutland.

But the Germans would never have pulled off a blockade. Not with the ships they had as planned and built, to contest supremacy in the North Sea, far more than to conduct strategic operations over long distances--which is what a blockade of the the British Isles would have entailed. But they could have gone a long way toward relieving the British blockade, at least. It also would have dealt an incredible blow to British morale, if her fleet was bested in a series of engagements. And pumped up that of the Germans.

I don't think we should underestimate the consequences of a British defeat or two shattering that supremacy. They didn't say of Jellicoe that he was the only man who 'could lose the war in an afternoon' for nothing!

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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by Djoser » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:01 pm

In the interest of objectivity, those British squadrons also came quite close to catching the German battlecruisers isolated at one point, as well, and would have overwhelmed them as readily, no doubt..

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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by Bgile » Sat Apr 10, 2010 9:40 pm

Djoser wrote:In the interest of objectivity, those British squadrons also came quite close to catching the German battlecruisers isolated at one point, as well, and would have overwhelmed them as readily, no doubt..
Perhaps, but that wasn't the point. We were looking for possible ways to achieve a German victory, not a better British one.

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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by IronDuke » Sun Apr 11, 2010 2:38 am

RF wrote:Ted, the main premise in that thread was naval rivalry between Britain and the USA, exacerbated by a British naval blockade of France resultring in British seizure of US merchant ships trading with France. Prior to WW1 the US Navy had considered the possibilty of a naval war with Britain caused by British interference with US trade on the high seas. In reality it was German interference with US trading commerce that forced the US into WW1 as an ally of Britain.

The other aspects of this were that a conflict between the British and Americans creates a front on the US-Canadian border, so the main areas of US heavy industry are in the front line. Mexico is induced into declaring war on the US to reverse the defeats of the 1840's, by the Germans and British so the US has a land war on two fronts, while the Japanese threaten Hawaii.

A sequence of events such as this is unlikely to prevent war, as the US atitude would be very robust.

Another aspect is Panama - of great strategic importance to whoever controls the Panama Canal. And if Colombia is induced into declaring war on the US to recover Panama (originally part of Colombia until 1903 when separtatists backed by the US broke away, after Colombia refused the US permission to build the Panama Canal) by the Germans then another threat to the US is created. Incidently in the spring of 1914 the Kaiser did ask the German Naval Staff about the possibility of the High Seas Fleet leading a German expedition to Panama to seize the Canal. This didn't go very far before other events closer to home refocussed the Kaiser's attention.


And of course the USA had 'Plan Red', updated as late as 1935, to invade Canada in case of a war with Britain and the Commonwealth. However the point I was making was not about a war on the USA, but what might have changed if Britain and Imperial Germany had had an alliance at the end of the 19th Century and not Britain and France. Of course such a Anglo-German Alliance could probably only have endured so long as Germany did not try to build a huge fleet, but then if she was in an alliance with Britain why would she need one?

In that situation I don't see why there would have been a war at all, since Russia was far from robust and France could have seen no prospect of victory at all against both Germany and Britain and in the event of one, would have faced defeat in Europe and the loss of most of her Colonies.

The problem with any scenario of a war between Britain and the USA from C.1870-1930 is neither side would, in the end, have gained very much by it, while both would have lost a good deal by it. The USA might have captured Canada, or parts of it -although the US regular Army for most of that period was tiny even by British standards- but would there be much point if the population had no desire to belong to the US? Likewise the British could raid parts of the US coast or, more easily, island bases, but again to what end?
Ted
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by Djoser » Sun Apr 11, 2010 11:58 am

Well two things strike me as being somewhat relevant to this latest speculation. One was that the Kaiser didn't really want to fight the British. He was after all the nephew of the Queen, wasn't he? Grandson? I forget which, but despite the fact that the Queen found him to be annoying, embarrassing, and a little repulsive--on a good day--old Willie was oblivious to her true feelings. And where do you think he got the idea to build the big navy? He grew up visiting the British fleet on a regular basis, and anyone who has been around the sea and big ships will know it can get into your blood. If I'd been Willie (thank all the gods I wasn't), I'd have wanted a fleet of Derfflingers and Mackensens as well.

The other thing was a couple of references I have seen in naval literature, to some animosity towards the British, especially from the US Navy. One wonders where this came from. Roots way the hell back from 1776 and 1812? Resentment at British aid to the South during the Civil War, which after all directly involved the US Navy?

I suspect more to it than that.

Another interesting thing that came up in my reading, was that the British were apparently not too impressed with the US Navy's gunnery in 1917-18.

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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by hammy » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:13 pm

I love the idea of the Kaisers Legions landing at Cromer , half an hour up the road from me ..

You cant get big ships close in because the beach is as gentle a gradient as Normandy , except its covered with bloody great flint rocks about the size of footballs when the tide is out , and the beach above that is all big flint pebbles like giant ball bearings , you can hardly walk across it , let alone get army baggage and artillery over it .

There are sandy cliffs behind that which it would be an interesting job even today to get a gun up .

And when you do get up there you would have found the roads and railways as vestigal as some colony , half the country impassable swamp .

Most of eastern England is like that . There really are no ports worth a damn between Harwich and the Humber , both fortified during WW1 .

You could get a raid ashore all right , but an infantry brigade would struggle to do it in a day at most places .
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by RF » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:49 am

IronDuke wrote: but what might have changed if Britain and Imperial Germany had had an alliance at the end of the 19th Century and not Britain and France. Of course such a Anglo-German Alliance could probably only have endured so long as Germany did not try to build a huge fleet, but then if she was in an alliance with Britain why would she need one?

In that situation I don't see why there would have been a war at all, since Russia was far from robust and France could have seen no prospect of victory at all against both Germany and Britain and in the event of one, would have faced defeat in Europe and the loss of most of her Colonies.

Ted
Agreed completely Ted. Britain's King Edward VII did personally offer the Kaiser a ''gentlemans agreement'' to limit the size of the German Navy to a still fairly substantial fleet, and the Kaiser could have had the sort of agreement that Ribbentropp obtained in 1934, where it was agreed Germany could have up to 35% the size of the British fleet. And Britain in alliance with Germany and not France.

France as you say would be very marginalised in Europe as a result. Its only possible allies would have been Russia and Italy, and neither of them would have been much help.

In that scenario the USA is left as the only serious rival to Britain at sea - and as such an ally for France.
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by RF » Mon Apr 12, 2010 8:56 am

Djoser wrote: The other thing was a couple of references I have seen in naval literature, to some animosity towards the British, especially from the US Navy. One wonders where this came from. Roots way the hell back from 1776 and 1812? Resentment at British aid to the South during the Civil War, which after all directly involved the US Navy?

I suspect more to it than that.

Another interesting thing that came up in my reading, was that the British were apparently not too impressed with the US Navy's gunnery in 1917-18.
The main reason for the US to consider possible hostilities with Britain post 1820 was that the British didn't fully agree with the American idea of the freedom of the seas, which incidently Woodrow Wilson tried to get the British and French to include in the First World War peace settlement, and failed. The British believed in maritime blockade as a weapon - and the Americans believed that could threaten American seaborne trade and commerce, and thus threaten American interests. Particulary if the British were still in Canada....
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by RF » Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:00 am

hammy wrote:I love the idea of the Kaisers Legions landing at Cromer , half an hour up the road from me ..
Had the Germans been more serious in their planning then I think the coastlines of Lincolnshire and Yorkshire would have been targeted, probably on either side of Hull to effect its capture.

Cromer could still have been used as a diversionery raid - its closer to London, and small landing ships would be sufficient.......
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by IronDuke » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:06 am

Agreed completely Ted. Britain's King Edward VII did personally offer the Kaiser a ''gentlemans agreement'' to limit the size of the German Navy to a still fairly substantial fleet, and the Kaiser could have had the sort of agreement that Ribbentropp obtained in 1934, where it was agreed Germany could have up to 35% the size of the British fleet. And Britain in alliance with Germany and not France.

France as you say would be very marginalised in Europe as a result. Its only possible allies would have been Russia and Italy, and neither of them would have been much help.

In that scenario the USA is left as the only serious rival to Britain at sea - and as such an ally for France.[/quote]


Perhaps, although, the US was extremely unwilling, in that era, to have an actual alliance with any other nation...
Ted
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Re: German victory at Jutland

Post by RF » Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:20 am

That was largely because the US homeland was not under serious threat, in those days with slower and more primitive communications and no air power
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