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Author Topic: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]  (Read 38608 times)

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Offline Enioch

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Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]

Image by Claus Bergen

Table of Contents: (WORK IN PROGRESS - Might not include the most recent chapters)


This is a work of fiction, presenting an alternative timeline to our own. Delicate, potentially offensive topics are discussed and presented here, including murder and war crimes. The names of real-world persons are occasionally used, but it is not proposed or implied that the original timeline (OTL) persons acted (or would have acted, in reality) in the same way as depicted here, even under the circumstances shown here. These are alternative, fictional characters, meant to serve the purpose of a fictional storyline, and any similarity to people, alive or dead, is coincidental.


Hello again, everyone.

This is a sequel to my Japan RTW playthrough, featured here. By popular vote, I will be taking up the metaphorical reins of the German Imperial Navy from 1900 to the mid-20th century, in an alternative universe where things might follow new, interesting and 'fun' courses.

Shout-out to NGTM-1R and his ramblings

A short introduction is in order:

The game starts at 1900, during a time of uncertainty and quick developments in the European theatre. Germany is a rising power, with an autocratic, capricious and 'hands-on' Kaiser at the helm; the times of Bismarck and his chessmaster diplomacy of bluff, appeasement and active jockeying for optimal alliances and the best deal for Germany are (sadly) long past. We are called upon to guide the naval forces of this nation to victory - but our true opponent will often be in Berlin and not on the High Seas.



A bried overview of the German faction. Note that we are a 'Limited democracy'. This means that we can...creatively interpret the terms of any naval treaty. We can build ships that surpass treaty limitations by 10% in tonnage, although we must keep to any gun caliber limits. We are also 'Cautious' which means that our Kaiser / diplomats do not like long wars and will tend to settle for less than ideal peace treaties so as not to risk a defeat. This comes in addition to the 'Bombastic Head of State' trait, which means that the Kaiser will often say stupid, stupid things that we'll need to deal with, either by being boot-licking sycophants or by falling into disfavour. We also lack oil in our holdings; and start behind the Brits in dock size (although the difference is a mere 2,000 tons). Finally, we have no viable designs for guns larger than 11'' in caliber, while the Brits are building 12''-gun ships and the French can even start with (admittedly abysmal) 13-inchers.

That said, we do have some interesting positive traits. Firstly, we are a 'Technology Leader', meaning that we get a bonus to research and are likely to discover key designs and achieve scientific breakthroughs before our adversaries. Secondly, we get massive bonuses to specific fields of research. Our AP projectiles are second to none; our armor and damcon are likewise top-notch and we are almost certain to develop cross-deck firing before any other nation.



Some setup. Note that I am choosing 'Very Large' as my fleet size option this time: this will boost the AIs' and my budget by a considerable degree, allowing for larger fleets. It will also allow for larger fleet battles than in my Japan playthrough. Note that a lot of the fighting will take place in the European theatre of operation, such as the North Atlantic, the North Sea, the Baltic and the Med - that's where the big boys keep their fleets (including the Royal Navy) and where the big, no-holds-barred-brawls take place.

I am also choosing 'Historical Resources' (which effectively more than halves my initial budget with respect to the Brits). I am doing this to strategically handicap myself; this is, essentially, me choosing 'hard mode'. To counteract this, I am choosing to manually design the ships that I will be starting with. I am also disallowing 'varied technologies', which randomly makes specific techs perform better or worse than their Original Timeline (henceforth OTL) analogues.

Here are our starting designs:



Firstly, our Battleships. We are Germans; and therefore we build based on the principle of 'more'. More armor; more gun; more speed.

The Schwaben-class battleships displace 15,9k tons and barely fit the British drydocks where they were built, as part of Alfred von Tirpitz's First Naval Bill. They are the fastest battlewagons in the world, capable of reaching 21 knots when sailing at flank. They are armed with two main double 12-inch turrets and also mount a secondary broadside of five 6-inchers. They are also heavily armored, with a main belt and turret armor of 10 inches and an 1.5 inch deck.



The Victoria Louise-class were homebuilt; and they are, arguably, small battleships in their own right. They displace 12,000 tons; can reach 22 knots; and bear one of the heaviest secondary and tertiary broadsides in the world. Their main battery comprises of four 11'' rifles, in double turrets fore and aft - these guns can't penetrate battleship belt armor, but can easily punch through extended bow and stern armor and can easily defeat the armor of any armored cruiser in existence. The Victoria Louise-class ships bear a 4.5-inch belt and heavily armored (5.5-inch) turrets. They were designed primarily as escorts and supporting gun platforms - they would either engage the enemy screening elements during a battle, or add their weight of fire to the battle-line.



The 'little' Gefions were raiders and ships meant for colonial service. At 6.1k tons, they were quite heavy for their intended task, but they were reasonably fast, at 23 knots, with sturdy engines and large coal bunkers. They bore a 5-gun 6'' broadside, in shielded mounts and a decent belt armor of 2.5 inches.



The Gazelle-class scout cruisers were bigger and badder versions; meant to scout and screen the fleet against enemy torpedo boats. They carried one more gun per broadside and could hit 24 knots.



The V2-class torpedo-boats were, in fact gunships. They carried only one centreline torpedo mount, but also mounted 4 76mm guns as their main armament and 2 50mm rapid-firing pom-poms as a close-range final defense. They could hit 27 knots and were, frankly, stepping-stone designs and not particularly successful.



The fleet was complemented by the August Pieper patrol boats, meant for minesweeping and coastal defense roles.



The fleet in early 1900: Three Schwaben-class battlewagons (the Schwaben, Wettin and Zähringen) form the backbone of the Home Fleet. Victoria Louise and Hertha serve as second-rate and support core elements. Gefion and Niobe were colonial assets; Gazelle, Hela and Thetis serve as DD-squadron leaders, training ships and scouting elements. Eight torpedo-boats and seven patrol boats serve as coastal defense assets.



Thanks to Bismarck's shift to colonialism during the last years of his service, we have a colonial empire to deal with. The fleet needs to show the flag in our holdings in West- and East Africa; in the Pacific Ocean; and in Kiaouchou Bay.



Gefion and Niobe are deployed to the Far East and the Pacific, respectively; Gazelle and Thetis are stationed in West- and East Africa.



This leaves the home waters rather undefended, but there are reinforcements arriving soon. The Brits are reporting that the Braunschweig will be complete within the year, with her sister, Meckleburg following up; Vineta and Freya (two more Victoria Louises) should be done within the year; and five more light cruisers are well underway and nearing completion.



Now, regarding the Admiralty's doctrine...

 

The official policy is Navy Minister Tirpitz's plan to counter the British Royal Navy; and the Staff were very much aware that the Kaiser was a proponent of the battleship. However, there were some dissenting voices among the Staff: innovators and adherents to the 'obsolete' von Hollmann cruiser doctrine. Konteradmiral Karl Galster was the most militantly active of those 'troublesome elements'; and he managed to secure funding for research on submarine vessels quite early on (thankfully)

But most of the research budget was poured on the development of better machinery (more speed); fire control and naval gun designs (more gun); and ship design (more everything).

Time to see if the Navy can maneuver the dangerous waters of Imperial international politics... Let's secure ourselves some Lebensraum!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:46:36 pm by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Mika

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
The image links seem to be broken for the moment

Otherwise somewhat stoked to see what's going on with Germany.

EDIT: Ah, it actually might be my browser. I switched to Vivaldi a couple of days ago and I may have gone a bit overboard with the privacy settings.

EDIT^2: And yes, this was browser related. Actually browser extension related, I had to allow Adblock to accept the images from this site.

What is it with Germans and "V2"?  :lol:

Zucht und Ordnung!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 03:08:30 pm by Mika »
Relaxed movement is always more effective than forced movement.

 

Offline Droid803

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
IT BEGINS
(´・ω・`)
=============================================================

 
Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Yes, time for German engineering to dominate the seas :D
Here goes scripting and copy paste coding
Freespace RTS Mod
Checkpoint/Shipsaveload script

 

Offline niffiwan

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
So - Kaiser Wilhelm was a bit of a juvenile loose cannon IRL, and it seems that you're not just killing him off retiring him; should be interesting  :D
Creating a fs2_open.log | Red Alert Bug = Hex Edit | MediaVPs 2014: Bigger HUD gauges | 32bit libs for 64bit Ubuntu
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Debian Packages (testing/unstable): Freespace2 | wxLauncher
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m|m: I think I'm suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Bmpman is starting to make sense and it's actually written reasonably well...

 

Offline Commander Zane

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
What is it with Germans and "V2"?  :lol:
An inevitability. While I don't know about a historic V2-class, there is the V1-class. Since they were built as V1 to V6 (which the last two went to Greece), then G7 to G12, there'll naturally be a V2.

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Is the "Bombastic Head of State" a permanent trait or only applies to the initial Kaiser?
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
So - Kaiser Wilhelm was a bit of a juvenile loose cannon IRL, and it seems that you're not just killing him off retiring him; should be interesting  :D

Is the "Bombastic Head of State" a permanent trait or only applies to the initial Kaiser?

Retiring the Kaiser? Surely you jest.

And it's a permanent negative trait, I'm afraid.

What is it with Germans and "V2"?  :lol:
An inevitability. While I don't know about a historic V2-class, there is the V1-class. Since they were built as V1 to V6 (which the last two went to Greece), then G7 to G12, there'll naturally be a V2.

In this universe, V1 was the prototype, which was pushed to complete breakdown during her trial runs. She was never commissioned.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 06:45:37 pm by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
"Every time a new Kaiser is born, he said, the gods toss the coin in the air and the world holds its breath to see how it will land."
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Submitted my Thesis for examination today. I am a happy man.

Still need to defend it, sometime around the end of May, and there's still applications for research postings that I need to put together, but my work is done for now.



Yes, this means regular updates. And more writing of another nature that you might have the chance to see in the near-ish future
« Last Edit: October 01, 2018, 07:49:24 am by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Congrats man!
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline Enioch

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The Leipzigplatz and the Kaiserliche Admiralität

"The early months of 1900 served as a rude awakening for all of us. We were all aware of His Majesty's impulsiveness and near-rash action in matters of state policy; and yet we allowed the developments that threatened to cast all of Europe into a disastrous war to surprise us. In my defense, having followed His Majesty's embracing of Herr von Tirpitz's battleship-focused strategy (with some dismay, I must admit), it was inconceivable to me that he should so antagonise the Russians without having first seen the completion of at least the first stage of the plan through. While my personal disagreement with the von Tirpitz plan is well-documented, I must at least grant Herr von Tirpitz that he was as horrified as I (if not more) upon following the political developments. The Eel's constant presence at His Majesty's side and his infernal sycophantic manners must surely have majorly influenced His Majesty's actions.

"Thankfully, the disaster that may have been was averted, thanks, in no small degree, to the unified front presented by the Admiralität throughout this difficult period. But of equal importance, in my mind, was the contribution of the Herzog zu Mecklenburg who would play such a major part in the German political scene during the following years"

-Vizeadm. Galster K (post mort.) 1956, The Naval Question: Collected Papers and Letters, edited by Dr. Ernst Jablonka, Universitätsverlag Heidelberg.




The early months of 1900 began with relative good news for the German Admiralty. The Tirpitz plan called for increased capital ship production and it had the full backing of the Kaiser Wilhelm II. Private shipbuilders were not averse to investing in improved shipbilding infrastructure and, by the end of March, the German docks in Wilhelmshaven were considerably expanded. Conservative estimates let the Admiralty to the conclusion that, if their own investments were taken into account, Germany would be able to manufacture 17k-ton capital ships by the end of the year. Von Tirpitz was ecstatic.



Sadly, his good mood did not last long. On the 15th of May, the Kaiser made an ill-advised comment regarding the 'meddling tendencies' of 'those insufferable Russians'; and the comment was allowed to reach the press. Those in Berlin that still remembered the days of Bismarck felt the Iron Chancellor's shadow loom over them; and cold sweat running down their backs. Had not Bismarck warned them?

"That young man wants war with Russia," Bismarck had once said,"and would like to draw his sword straight away if he could. I shall not be a party to it."

But Bismarck was no longer the Chancellor. The 'Eel' was the Chancellor.



Bernhard von Bülow: one of the most opportunistic and sycophantic statesmen of the early 20th century. He had connived, lied and flattered his way into the Kaiser's good graces; and while he fancied himself an equal to Bismarck in statecraft, he had been described as "having read more Machiavelli than he could digest".

Allowing the Kaiser's statement to reach the press certainly did not earn him many favour points. Wilhelm was, reportedly, 'furious' about the public condemnation his comment had produced.



(Un)fortunately, von Bülow managed to redirect attention away from the Kaiser and onto the colonial crisis taking place in the Far East. Germany, France and Great Britain joined together to somewhat curb Japanese expansion in Northern Korea; and, while the Japanese certainly did not appreciate Germany's involvement, von Bülow's rhetoric was enough to divert attention away from the Russia gaffe.



In September, the Gazelle-class Frauenlob was commissioned into the Kaiserliche Marine; while Galster's group rejoiced, the Kaiser expressed his displeasure to Tirpitz.

"Why are the battleships so much delayed?" he is said to have ranted during a closed meeting. "Has the devil Edward been working against their construction?"



His mood was not improved when the German engineers reported problems in the development of hydraulic recoil systems for the naval guns.



But, at last, by November, the Admiralty had some good news. Improved condenser designs could now be employed for the manufacture of lighter, more reliable engines. The new generation of battleships could be more compact and more effective.



Not to mention the wealth of information German agents recovered from Japan. The Japanese were expanding their docks; they were building heavy and fast armored cruisers and, destroyer-killing light cruisers. More importantly, German agents had gotten their hands on the firing test results for the English 9-inch guns. Wilhelm's mood skyrocketed when Tirpitz reported to him that the German analogues outperformed the English rifles in every way.



And more good news: Braunschweig joined the fleet, on the 24th of November. Only Mecklenburg was now under construction and, upon its completion, the battle-line envisioned by Tirpitz would be complete.



In early December, new rangefinding technology was introduced. Integrating the new coincidence systems into the fleet was an easy matter, hardly requiring drydock time; and improvements in accuracy were immediately evident.



And, as if for a New Year's gift, Krupp presented the Admiralty with new steel formulas for stronger and lighter armor alloys.



By this time, the Kaiser's confidence in Tirpitz was completely restored. Tirpitz was already laying the groundwork for a second naval bill, that would see at least four more battleships laid down: heavier, better-armored designs, built entirely in German yards. The Kaiser was all too happy to agree; and funds were set aside for the further expansion of the German docks, for a planned maximum of 19k-ton ships.



Freya joined the fleet by the end of the month. Her launching was not a particularly grand event (cruisers did not rate as high in Wilhelm's esteem as battlewagons, after all) but Tirpitz could appreciate the significance of having yet another heavy-hitter in a support role and even Galster could not deny the utility and plethora of options one more armored cruiser could bring to the table.



And then Somalia erupted in bloody revolt, with several German nationals (including several industrialists and their families) being stranded in the African country.

The Kaiser immediately ordered that the West African squadron should engage Somali ground targets until the Germans were released, after a typical rant. And there were many faces that met desks, or palms; and the Auswärtiges Amt could do little but pull their hairs out at this new pickle their Kaiser had landed them in.

At this time, a new player enters the stage.



With his young nephew only months away from adulthood, the regent of the Herzogtum of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Johann Albrecht zu Mecklenburg arrived in Berlin. His intentions were to re-familiarise himself with the political background in the capital and to respond in person to several letters from his extended family and associates, who were getting increasingly concerned and frustrated by the Kaiser's political acumen (or, rather, lack thereof). One of these men was Galster.

Johann Albert was to stay in Berlin for much longer than he had originally intended...

« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:47:44 pm by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Oooh, the deutschland über alles saga begins! Loving all the political intrique so far.

Submitted my Thesis for examination today. I am a happy man.

Still need to defend it, sometime around the end of May, and there's still applications for research postings that I need to put together, but my work is done for now.
Congrats!

Yes, this means regular updates. And more writing of another nature that you might have the chance to see in the near-ish future
  ;7
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them

 

Offline StarSlayer

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Signal to flag, Dank German Memes in sight!
“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”

 

Offline The E

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
But Bismarck was no longer the Chancellor. The 'Eel' was the Chancellor.

Let there be light
Let there be moon
Let there be stars and let there be you
Let there be monsters and let there be pain
Let us begin to feel again
--Devin Townsend, Genesis

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
*snip*

 :lol:

*snip*

Terconia is a 'go', although it's gonna take some time.

Also, many thanks to all for your kind wishes!  :D
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Enioch

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Herzog Johann Albert von Mecklenburg and his wife, Prinzessin Elisabeth Sybille von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach

"It was with great joy that I received the news of the Herzog's arrival in Berlin. His Excellency was well known to me ever since the years he had spent in the African colonies and for his stint as the Chair of the Kolonialgesellschaft. I knew him as a man who embodied the very best Germany had to offer: he was skilled in administration and possessed a keen political mind; he was diligent in his work, frugal, devoted to his wife and family and a fervent patriot. I do not shy from admitting that, when I first approached him, it was in search of an influential patron of my "Kleinkrieg" plan. I hoped that his experience with the necessities of colonial service would make him see the benefits of my proposed fleet structure.

"However, during our first meeting, he was quick to take over the initiative and, instead of promoting my theories, I found myself defending them from a fair and yet absolutely merciless attack. I was flattered that His Excellency had, apparently, taken the time to study my proposals to such a degree; and it became clear to me that he was eager to be well-informed and form his own opinions on the state of our naval forces."

"It was telling that, three days after our meeting, I received an invitation from His Excellency for a joint meeting with Großadmiral von Tirpitz in His Excellency's Berlin lodgings. I was apprehensive at first, not knowing what such a meeting would portend..."

-Vizeadm. Galster K (post mort.) 1956, The Naval Question: Collected Papers and Letters, edited by Dr. Ernst Jablonka, Universitätsverlag Heidelberg.




In February 1901, the newly arrived Herzog von Mecklenburg invited Großadmiral von Tirpitz, Konteadmiral Galster and select members of the Navy Staff in his Berlin lodgings, in what would come to be known as the Sankt Blasius meeting. He expressed great interest in joining the Flottenverein and made known his desire for the rift between the two schools of thought (the Tirpitz battle-line and the Galster 'running war') to be bridged, in the interest of the State. Could a compromise, perhaps, be achieved? Could the Reichsmarineamt not present a unified front in this time of uncertainty? The Admiralität was to submit their budget for training exercices, shortly - could an arrangement between the two parties not be achieved?

Such was the force of von Mecklenburg's personality, that a sort of agreement was reached between the two parties. The meeting stretched on, for more than fifteen exhausting hours but, by its end, the core of a new training regimen was laid down. The capital-ship heavy doctrine of Tirpitz was evident in the focus on gunnery; but Galster was also satisfied to some degree thanks to the focus on night fighting. This would, hopefully, allow the German Zerstörer-flotillas to close to torpedo ranges undetected under the cover of darkness.

More importantly, the Sankt Blasius meeting established von Mecklenburg as a new major player among the Naval Staff and in the Flottenverein, to the degree that von Tirpitz spoke very highly of him during his meetings with the Kaiser.

Wilhelm had known von Mecklenburg in the past; they had both attended Bonn University and they were members of the same club: the Borussia Bonn society. But they had drifted apart, during von Mecklenburg's stint as the regent of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.



So, when SMS Braunschweig returned from her shakedown cruise and stood by for inspection by the Kaiser, Wilhelm saw an opportunity to re-connect with his former acquaintence. Following a small party after the inspection of the ship, Wilhelm invited von Mecklenburg to comment on what he thought on the final ship of the class, which would be, coincidentally, named after the Herzog's home Duchy.

Once again, von Mecklenburg's force of personality (and rhetoric) proved overwhelming. He proceeded to monopolise the Kaiser's attention for several hours, with jokes, banter and witty comments, while interspersing insightful commentary on the state of the Navy; von Tirpitz and Galster, also present in the scene, were quick to stand behind their new patron. Von Mecklenburg took great care not to directly criticise any of Wilhelm's policies; and, as the party drew on, he and von Tirpitz discreetly brought the discussion to Russian matters. They commented most unfavourably on how von Bülow had handled the Russian fiasco (taking advantage of the latter's uncharacteristic absence and the Kaiser's still-simmering anger) and expressed their concerns on how the Franco-Russian Defensive Pact might be an insurmountable obstacle for Germany.

Seeing Wilhelm's mood darken, von Mecklenburg suggested that the Franco-Russian Pact could be sabotaged; and that Russia, isolated, would be a much more manageable opponent. This cheered Wilhelm up immensely. Turning to von Tirpitz, he asked him directly: "Should war come, can you promise me victory against the Russians?"



In response to which, Tirpitz drew himself up, his impressive beard flaring out, and proclaimed that, with the new training regimen, the Admiralität in its entirety could guarantee that the Russians could, in short order, be brought to the negotiating table in disgrace - provided France could be kept out of the war "as His Excellency, the Herzog, had so insightfully remarked".

The evening proved to be a massive success for the Admiralty - and von Mecklenburg personally. The Kaiser's support had been achieved; and the immediate threat of a Franco-Russian alliance was being addressed, for Wilhelm near-immediately appointed von Mecklenburg his personal envoy to Paris, with instructions to delay or outright sabotage the Paris / Moscow rapprochement.

"What a fellow!" Wilhelm is said to have remarked after the meeting. "A battleship might be too little for me to name after him."



The situation in late February. Note the crushing numerical superiority of the Royal Navy in capital ships; but also note the near-equivalency between the Russian and German fleets. Also note that Galster's cruiser doctrine is steadily paying dividents - the German cruiser fleet is considerably heavier than their Russian analogues, but Russia leads in DDs.



In March, news arrived that Russia was mobilising her fleet and engaging in extended maneuvers in the Baltic. Germany tensed up in response. The Auswärtiges Amt worked overtime to prevent a war, von Bülow finding an opportunity to get back into the Kaiser's good graces. But von Mecklenburg wasn't idle either. In Paris, he brought up the Russian saber-rattling and questioned whether the French were willing to get drawn into a war simply because of Russia's ruffled pride. Germany had no objection to Russia and France establishing a defensive alliance (he assured them), for Germany would never attack any of her neighbours unprovoked; but what if the Russians attacked first?



By the end of the month, the Russians had promised to place most of their ships in reserve after the end of the maneuvers; and von Mecklenburg had returned to Berlin with the assurance of the French  ministre des Affaires étrangères Théophile Delcassé that, if Russia were to be the aggressor in a war, France would remain neutral but, if Germany were to precipitate a war, France would honour her defensive pact with Russia.

Von Tirpitz and Galster rejoiced; and Wilhelm was ecstatic.



More good news - private shipbuilding contributed to the further expansion of the German shipyards. In less than ten months, Germany would be able to build 20k ton ships!



And then, in early April, news arrived from Moscow. The Russians were channeling more funds into their navy, followed by more saber-rattling. Von Bülow suggested a strong, no-nonsense (even military) response by the Germans and Wilhelm, originally, was inclined to agree. But then a missive from von Mecklenburg arrived, begging the Kaiser to assume a more restrained stance. Russia had to be maneuvered into declaring war - and Germany should not be perceived as the aggressor, come what may.

"This is the greatest opportunity for Your Majesty to forever be remembered as one of the shrewdest statesmen of Europe," von Mecklenburg wrote, playing on Wilhelm's deepest desires and underlying insecurities.

And Wilhelm vaccillated - and finally decided to follow von Mecklenburg's advice. His change of heart can easily be seen in what came to be known as the Willy-Nicky correspondence, with his final letters to the Czar Nicholas II reading as cold, diplomatic statements rather than personal missives. War was now inevitable - it was all about who would break first.



In April, with war imminent, Galster rejoiced when the R & D department reported that manufacture of new torpedoes, with a maximum range of two thousand yards was now possible.



And intriguing developments in the field of submarine warfare also took place.



In early May, SMS Freya completed her shakedown cruise just in time to join the battle-line...



And new hydraulic-recoil systems were integrated into the German naval gun mountings. Von Tirpitz was near-leaping for joy.





« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:48:34 pm by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Torchwood

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  • Mechanical Templar
Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
You've certainly got an interesting international challenge ahead of you. Under Kaiser Wilhelm rule, Germany managed to piss off every major power in Europe, coming from a state of making everyone hate France thanks to Bismarck.

I look forward to seeing how you'll handle the Royal Navy.

 

Offline Enioch

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  • Alternative History Word Writer



In the early morning of the 15th of May, the German Fleet offered battle off the coast of Finland. The armies of the two nations were already engaged across the border areas, with no territorial gains as of yet; the Admiralty sought to score an early success.



First contact took place shortly after daybreak, at 9:49, when the scouting force of the German fleet encountered their Russian counterparts.



The German fleet was arranged in three separate task forces:



The forward scouting force was comprised of the three heavy cruisers Hertha, Victoria Louise and Freya, under the overall command of Konteradmiral Galster, who had chosen Hertha as his flag.

Following this force, was a screening element of three light cruisers: Hela, Nymphe and Frauenlob, under the command of Kapitän zur See Henning von Holtzendorff.



Bringing up the rear was the German battle-fleet: the four Schwaben-class battleships and their destroyer escorts. SMS Braunschweig served as the flagship of Vize-Admiral Wilhelm Büchsel, one of von Tirpitz's protégés.



Upon confirming contact with the enemy, Galster ordered a turn to port, with the intention of offering battle and delaying the enemy forces until a) their exact composition could be verified and b) Büchsel's battle-line could join him. The Russian ships mirrored his maneuver and the range started slowly closing. The breeze favoured the Russians, as the southern wind blew the Germans' smoke into their own rangefinders.



Twenty minutes after first contact, Galster ordered his ships to turn sharply toward the north, to close the range and get a better look at the enemy force composition. His lookouts reported at least one capital ship in the lead, with a truly massive escorting force. Galster was unshaken and continued to close - he considered it highly unlikely that the Russians would lead with one of their battleships.



Five minutes later, his prediction proved true, as the lookouts identified the enemy flagship as a Rossiya-class armored cruiser.



The Rossiyas were very good ships: a knot faster than the Victoria Louises, they mounted a heavier secondary broadside, but were more lightly armored and they only mounted 10'' main armament, in contrast to the German 11'' rifles.



Having confirmed that he was dealing with a Russian scouting / cruiser force, Galster ordered his force to turn away under flank, just out of the Russians' range. As he steamed toward the south-east, he identified several more cruisers, including a second Rossiya and many lighter ships.



As the Russians pursued, Galster led them directly towards Büchsel's battleships. At 10:30, the Braunschweig spotted the enemy and started training her guns to engage. Büchsel signalled Galster to "maneuver independently and provide supporting fire"; the heavy cruisers immediately changed their course once again, to flank the enemy force.



The first shots were fired at 10:38; shortly afterwards, the Russian ships reversed course and steamed north in full retreat. Büchsel pursued at flank; Galster maneuvered further to the north, to scout out any potential Russian reinforcements. The Russian battlefleet was suspiciously absent and Galster wanted to make sure that the Russians were not trying to repeat his own baiting operation.



The wild evasive maneuvers of the Russians cost them considerably in speed; meanwhile, the Schwaben's high speed proved to be a valuable asset. With the Germans catching up, the Russians proceeded to desperately turn towards the south. Büchsel had managed to turn the tables; now it was the Russians who struggled to fire through their own smoke. They still managed to score a hit on Braunschweig, but the battlewagon's armor was not penetrated.



At 11:20, Wettin and Zähringen score their first hits on the Rossiyas. The German battleships engage in a running battle with the Russian cruiser fleet; disappointingly, very few hits are scored. The volume of fire the Russians are receiving makes it impossible to distinguish between shell splashes and to adjust fire.



At 11:33, Galster changes course and cuts through the German battle-line, in hot pursuit of the Russian light cruisers, that are outright fleeing toward the south. As his ships pass between the battlewagons, he signals to Büchsel "ENEMY CONTACT : ABS-BEAR 355 : CLOSING".

The Russian battle-fleet has deigned to make an appearance at last.



And they're not a minute too soon. The Russian scouting task force has disintegrated completely. Galster is doggedly hunting down two Diana-class cruisers towards the south, while the German battlewagons are still duelling the Rossiyas, who are proving to be particularly hard nuts to crack. Highly conscious of the potential torpedo danger, Büchsel is not willing to close the range beyond 5,000 yards.

Eventually, Büchsel decides to abandon pursuit and focus on the light cruiser force as well - perhaps they can be destroyed completely before the Russian battleships can shift the balance?



He turns south, allowing the Rossiyas to esccape, and engages the Dianas. Galster, further to the south, shifts his fire to a squadron of Pallada and Vesta-class cruisers.



The German light cruisers join their fire to the fray, and prove to be more successful than the battleships. Their rapid-firing 6-inchers score several hits on the Dianas



Unfortunately, the Russians utilise their speed and maneuverability and drag the German fleet into a large 'hook', back towards the north...



...where enemy contacts are now clearly visible.



Then - more contacts, from an unanticipated direction. Enemy capital ships are silhouetted against the sky, closing in from the west.



Büchsel immediately shifts his battleships to intercept. His light cruisers dart in and identify the incoming battlewagons, before peeling off to a safer distance.



All four known Russian battleships are here!



The Petr Veliki is an older design: she's only armed with 10-inch guns and she's relatively lightly armored, but she carries a truly heavy secondary armament. Nothing that can truly threaten the Schwabens, but no light cruiser or destroyer should enter her engagement range.



The two Pavel I-class ships, on the other hand, are as modern as they come. Again, their secondary armament puts the Schwabens to shame, their armor is nothing to sneeze at and their guns are massive 12-inchers. They are, however, slower than her German analogues, by a significant 3 knots.





And then there's this...thing. Somebody's been at the vodka again, I see.



The Germans form line of battle. The Russians form...a blob of battle?





Meanwhile, Galster scrapes the paint off one of the Dianas, at under a thousand yards. No hits. Exasperated, he turns to Kapitän zur See Markus Geier and exclaims "I should have listened to Tirpitz and asked for more gunnery training. Our men couldn't hit the enemy if they were dancing the Hopak in front of our guns!"



Büchsel's not doing any better. He's crossed the Russians' T in a textbook maneuver; and yet the Schwabens' guns refuse to behave. Thankfully, the Russians are once again firing into their own smoke; the German battleline is likewise unharmed.



Von Holtzendorff, similarly exasperated, brings his own cruisers into a knife-fight against the panicking Russian light ships, as light rain begins to fall. At a range of less than 1,000 yards, he scores no hits. By now, the German commanders are close to pulling their beards off in impotent rage.





And then, a shell penetrates the Nymphe's engineering, kills thirty crewmen, floods her feed tanks with seawater and drops her speed to five knots. As the other German cruisers cluster around her, the Russians fade into the rain.



The battlewagons are finally having some more luck. For once, they are not concentrating several ships' worth of firepower onto a single target and their firing control can get clear solutions. Zähringen and Braunschweig are duelling the Petr Veliki and the Pamyat Azova and score several hits.



Braunschweig takes some damage in return, but her damcon crews patch her up relatively quickly.



At this point, visibility has fallen to under 5,000 yards. Büchsel decides that continuing the fight is nonsensical, especially given that there are over a dozen unspotted Russian torpedo boats in the area. He signals the fleet to return to base.



The mood is sullen and resentful. The fleet operated by the book; and yet results were disappointing. True, the Russians had been beaten back by what, in paper, was an inferior force; but the Germans had hoped for a decisive victory (especially given the inferior quality of the Russian ships) and they had been denied that.



The Kaiser was not happy.

NOTE: As you may have noticed, I have slightly edited the screenshots, with ship 'trails', to make following the ship movements easier. This takes some time and effort and I want to make sure it's time and effort well-invested. Please let me know what you think; is this noticeably better for you, or confusing?

« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 02:51:14 pm by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

So don't take a hammer to your computer. ;-)

 

Offline Spoon

  • 212
  • ヾ(´︶`♡)ノ
Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a cripple fight.
Starting off with the biggest fleet engagement we've seen yet, and end an amazing number of zero ships sunk  :lol:

The ship trails do make it a bit easier to see what's going on.
Urutorahappī!!

[02:42] <@Axem> spoon somethings wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> critically wrong
[02:42] <@Axem> im happy with these missions now
[02:44] <@Axem> well
[02:44] <@Axem> with 2 of them