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Author Topic: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]  (Read 45148 times)

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Offline Torchwood

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
You just KNOW Mister Fisher's response to this will be the HMS Dreadnought: A 30 knot battleship with 4 inches of belt armour. SPEED IS ARMOUR

Isn't that called battlecruiser?

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
That's actually called HMS Dreadeverything.

Or maybe HMS Badaboom
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

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

 
Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Alliance with France! How the hell did the Kaiser manage to **** upforeign relations so much that this happened? I mean around that time wasn't it the god-given destiny of Germany to do war with France whenever the oportunity arises?  ;)

It seems the technology leader perk is already starting to come into play with all these technologies you are getting at a fast rate.
Here goes scripting and copy paste coding
Freespace RTS Mod
Checkpoint/Shipsaveload script

 

Offline Spoon

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Those -2 quality guns though
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 Enioch

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"The Charming Officer"; a 1903 political cartoon depicting the "dashing" Kaiser seducing Marianne (the personification of the French Republic) away from John Bull's arms

"The 1903 Treaty of Köln was a breakthrough that forever cemented His Excellency as a diplomatic genius to rival Bismarck in German politics. Some territorial concessions in Lothringen were made to the French, which helped considerably in smoothing out tensions; but the regions surrendered had always been problematic for the German administration and the autonomy-supporting elements there were particularly active. No great loss for the Reich.

"In return, Germany acquired a much needed ally in the European stage; His Excellency liked to refer to the ensuing alliance as the 'Kerneuropa': the true core of Europe, finally working together against the perfidious British politics. France would prove an invaluable friend over the upcoming years and I deeply regret the events that followed His Excellency's death [...]"

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



The treaty of Köln definitely stirred up the waters of European diplomacy. For the first time in forever, France and Germany were presenting a united front against the other colonial powers. France's eastern borders were secured; and any attempt by perfidious Albion to blockade her ports would have to first go through the veteran German Navy. Germany was secure in the west; and her armies were now a near-impenetrable bulwark against the Russians. Not to mention that, essentially overnight, two of the largest land armies in Europe had become officially allies.

Not even a Defense Pact, mind you - but a full-blown Alliance. And all that France requested was the return of the most linguistically 'grey' areas of Lorraine, a condition to which von Mecklenburg was more than eager to agree, if it meant closing the deal.

Great Britain's Foreign Ministry raged; Berlin and Paris tentatively (but hopefully) celebrated at the apparent cessation of century-long hostilities.







Meanwhile, the Navy focused on defensive tactics and doctrines. Plans were drawn for extensive minefields, covering strategic points of the German and French northern coastlines. New patrol boats and Zerstörer were commissioned.



And, more significantly, the Admiralität gambled, with the most extensive submarine-building program the world had ever seen. Galster lobbied tirelessly for further experimentation, improvement and implementation of this new weapon. By the end of 1904, Germany would have a fleet of more than seventy coastal Unterseebooten, the crews of which Galster trained mercilessly in raiding, scouting and ambush scenarios.

Through it all, now-Vize-Admiral Galster couldn't help but notice that the coastal patrol and minesweeping fleets of Germany's enemies were...woefully lacking.





In September, R & D delivers again with massive improvements in shell and torpedo performance. And the celebratory beer flowed in the Admiralität (after working hours, of course; the French might be our new allies, but that doesn't mean we need to imitate them. No Fritz, put the roquefort away, that's disgusting.)



Unfortunately, on the 26th of the month, a Russian trawler approached the German minesweeper Henriette as she was laying one of the new minefields in the Baltic. Hails were unanswered; warning shots were fired to no avail; and the German ship finally fired for effect, with fatal consequences. The Admiralty presented a full report to the Government; and it was decided that an unapologetic stance was the best option. Cousin Nicky wasn't very happy, but the Kaiser very much approved of what he perceived as "von Mecklenburg's true German pride, verd---t nochmal!".





Mein Gott das ist ja wunderbar.



The Schwabens immediately hit the drydocks for a 4-month refit that will massively overhaul their fire-control systems. The dockyard hands descend upon the German battlewagons with gusto.



Among them, agents of the French military intelligence, who want to keep a closer eye that strictly warranted on their new ally. The Germans laugh, show them around, and deem that serving them beer is punishment enough.



In February, the Kaiser and von Mecklenburg are approached by representatives of the Navy League and the more nationalistic parties, who are lobbying hard for an increase of the Naval budget. Von Mecklenburg is not averse to the idea; and the Kaiser doesn't take much persuading. New funds were released; and von Tirpitz was asked to compose a new Naval Bill in collaboration with a committee composed of the most influential members of the Admiralität. The Bill was to outline the doctrine and direction the Admiralität would pursue over the following years and suggest the number and types of ships that needed to be produced.



By the end of the month, the refitting of the Schwabens was complete and the battlewagons sailed once more, with sharper eyes and stronger fists.



And in March, German submarine designs received further upgrades with the addition of hydrodynamic diving planes.



Galster immediately asked for ten new Unterseebooten and got them. Eighty-one and counting, by the way.



By April, the Russian war reparations had truly made an impact in the German economy. With new resources and raw materials available, the German industries were booming and, thankfully, the tensions with the other European nations were falling. Von Mecklenburg was the industrialists' darling.



And then, of course, Hela had to run aground in Norway, during a sounding mission of questionable international legality. The Norwegians made angry noises; von Mecklenburg prepared to dance the usual dance; and the Kaiser, of course, charged in like a raging bull in a china shop and demanded the immediate release of the cruiser in less than diplomatic terms.



[facepalm.gif]



Ninety-one and counting, by the way. For those of our readers who are interested in such things.



What?

Have...have the Germans been Decima'd?



Von Mecklenburg urges patience and caution; the Kaiser is frothing at the mouth.

Preliminary investigations discover part of a tattered diving suit in the harbor of Saipan, bearing Italian markings.

Von Mecklenburg is not fooled. Why would the Italians do this? In Saipan of all places? This is clearly a false flag operation and it reeks of tea and biscuits.

But Germany cannot yet afford to fight Great Britain. And Germany cannot appear to be indecisive, or weak.

And Germany just so happens to have a new ally with extensive naval bases in the Mediterranean. And Germany is ambitious and von Mecklenburg thinks of his inner Bismarck.

So, the Brits have pursued their usual divide-and-conquer strategies, have they? Making the Italians their scapegoats? Fine then. They can't very well defend the Spaghettis, when they've painted them so clearly as the aggressors. Poor Italy is in the spotlight, alone. This is not Germany being deceived - this is Germany seizing an opportunity

Eisen und Blut it is, then. Challenge accepted, Engländer.



« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 10:24:24 am by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

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

 

Offline Torchwood

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
If my limited knowledge of the game serves me right, Italy is really ****ed in the naval budget department if you're using historical budgets. I expect them to drop faster than their soccer team.

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
If my limited knowledge of the game serves me right, Italy is really ****ed in the naval budget department if you're using historical budgets. I expect them to drop faster than their soccer team.

Your knowledge of the game serves you right. You'd still be surprised.
'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!]
The pastalovers haven't quite managed to obtain their previous record submarine count from the other timeline.
This germany on the other hand.
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 Enioch

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The battleship SMS Zähringen, departing Wilhelmshaven for the Mediterranean on the 30th of June 1904

"The Staff and most senior officers were, of course, suspecting that the Italians were innocent of the calumny that they were accused of; and we all, likewise, suspected whose work the sinking of the V1 was. But the idea of turning the presumed English plot on its head - of using this war to further bolster our power in Europe rather than wasting our strength away was very appealing.

"Also, better to test our new designs and weapons on an opponent like Italy first than to have them break in our hands when dealing with the Royal Navy."

-Großadmiral v. Tirpitz 1920, My Memoirs, London: Hurst & Blackett.



First things first: infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure. Von Mecklenburg might still have been blocking the construction of new battleships, but the Admiralität could still channel resources into the expansion of the idle dockyards. This was important - Germany needed to be able to build big and powerful when the time came.



Especially since Intelligence reported that the British were now building what they called a 'Battlecruiser': a strange capital ship with three centreline turrets. Apparently, the new First Lord of the Admiralty was throwing some strange ideas around...



Look at that smug motherf***er. Don't you just want to shoot him with a 12-inch rifle?



Also - the Germans had to settle on a strategic plan. Under the prompting of von Mecklenburg, the French were only requested to bottle up the Italian forces in the Alps - a purely defensive war. They were also asked to grant the German battle-line access to their naval bases in the Mediterranean, a request that was readily granted by the French High Command. The primary offensive arm of Kerneuropa would be the German Hochseeflotte...



...and her sneaky, sneaky cousins. Upon declaration of war, the German U-boote snuck into the Mediterranean in twos and threes and began their campaign of terror. They would prove to be nuisances first and effective weapons second; but they were operating away from their dedicated bases and against an opponent whose maritime sea traffic would shortly present them with a rather target-poor environment. Still, the Kaleuns of the Unterseeflotte acquired valuable experience during this war, experience that they would put to good use later.



Galster's cruisers were the second to arrive in the Med, long before the German battle-line; and in early July, with the first skirmishes breaking out in the Alps, Galster sailed out from Mers el Kebir on a daring raid near Messena.



His forces rendezvous'd west of Corfu, shortly after noon and proceeded in good order toward the gulf of Taranto. They consisted of the three Victoria Louise-class cruisers (Hertha, Victoria Louise and Vineta), escorted by the light cruiser Hela. The plan called for a night-time raid, to cripple merchant traffic under the cover of darkness. Galster, on board his flagship Hertha (as usual), expected little resistance. He would prove to be both wrong and right.





Shortly after nightfall, the lookouts from Hertha (who was sailing at the rear of the formation), spotted a ship sailing with extinguished navigation lights a short distance behind the German flotilla. Recognition signals were flashed, with no response. Hertha immediately went to battle stations; and the entirety of the German cruiser line turned to engage the presumed enemy.



What follows is the epitome of a chaotic night battle. All combatants are shooting blind; frantically trying to identify their friendlies and enemies; and amidst the chaos, Victoria Louise is hit in her bow armor by a shell that penetrates and causes limited flooding to her front compartments. Fregattenkapitän Mayer cracks down mercilessly on the ensuing panic; and Victoria Louise stays in the battle-line.



And then, finally a whole hour after the first shot was fired, Mayer has had enough of firing at ghosts. He orders the Victoria Louise's searchlights to be used; and the Germans get their first clear view of their target.

She's a Marco Polo-class, escorted by a couple of DDs, who immediately turn tail and run under heavy secondary fire. The italian cruiser is heavily armored; but she's four thousand tons lighter than the three German cruisers she's facing and it shows in her armament. Her 8'' rifles simply can't compare to the German 11-inchers; and she's 2 knots slower. "This will be easy," declares Galster, "if we've learned anything from Bornholm. Kapitän, take us out of her torpedo arcs!"



The German ships cut their speed and slot onto the Italian's tail, where her torpedo tubes are useless. Six 'fore' 11-inch rifles bark for every shot of the Italian's rear twin 8-inch turret and the damage is quick to add up.



At 21:59, the Italian's bow slips beneath the waves. Hela stops to pick up survivors; and the Germans receive the Italians on board with full honours. Outnumbered and outgunned as they were, the Spaghettis gave a spectacular showing.

The German ships make steam towards the north...





...and then, out of the darkness, a dark shape emerges, moving at great speed. Alarms blare; the Germans scramble to avoid a collision.



She's an Ancona-class light cruiser and she's just performed a textbook nighttime torpedo run. Galster can feel the cold sweat running down his back as the German cruisers take her under fire. He has only his luck to thank for still having all his ships floating.



The Italian makes flank and tries to slip into the darkness again; but this time, it's 'little' Hela that shows her mettle. She's almost double the Italian's tonnage, she's got two knots on her and her stokers are fresh. Hela slips out of the battleline like a hound slips its leash and charges, as she's designed to do.



At a range of under a thousand yards, her captain turns her smoothly to port and unshadows his starboard broadside. Her six 6-inchers bark in unison and the Ancona is riddled with holes.



Having crippled the enemy, the Hela disengages; every moment she spends inside the Ancona's range is another opportunity for her to take damage that could have been avoided. The heavy cruisers are now closing in; and the Ancona cannot run.



Galster maneuvers his force outside of the Ancona's estimated torpedo range and opens up with his entire broadside. The Ancona just...ceases to exist.



The butcher's bill only became known to the Germans two days later, when the Italians officially announced their losses. In addition to the Marco Polo and the Ancona the Regia Marina had also lost two of their destroyers to flooding inflicted by the Hertha's secondaries and tertiaries. The Italians had protected their merchant ships, but they had suffered grievous losses in doing so.





« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 10:23:53 am 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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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
That went well. Every ship you can avoid losing is one more you'll have ready for the day of reckoning against this obvious British plot.

 

Offline Col. Fishguts

  • voodoo doll
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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Good showing of the cruisers.

Btw, are these battle events randomly generated and you can just accept/decline?
Or can you manually order your ships/fleets to specific spots on the map (and lets say park a fleet in front of an enemy harbor)?
"I don't think that people accept the fact that life doesn't make sense. I think it makes people terribly uncomfortable. It seems like religion and myth were invented against that, trying to make sense out of it." - D. Lynch

Visit The Babylon Project, now also with HTL flavour  ¦ GTB Rhea

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Good showing of the cruisers.

Btw, are these battle events randomly generated and you can just accept/decline?
Or can you manually order your ships/fleets to specific spots on the map (and lets say park a fleet in front of an enemy harbor)?

Randomly generated based on a) the forces you have in a region (obviously) b) the forces your opponent has in a region (obviously) c) the presence or not of a blockade (a blockade assures that you'll have either a running cruiser battle as raiders / blockade runners try to break through the blockading lines or a fleet battle) d) your submarine doctrine ("fleet support" kills your performance versus merchant ships, but encourages skirmishes closer to enemy ports as your submarines are now actively scouting / engaging enemy forces as they leave their safe havens)
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

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

 

Offline Mika

  • 28
Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Do you actually roll the dice for the Wilhelm, or is the decision based on the maximum lulz?
Relaxed movement is always more effective than forced movement.

 

Offline Enioch

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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Do you actually roll the dice for the Wilhelm, or is the decision based on the maximum lulz?

I usually pick what will get me in the most trouble. :p Seems par for the course with Willie...
'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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  • Alternative History Word Writer


The German cruiser SMS Hertha sailing out of Mers-el-Kébir in August 1904

"The Taranto raid taught me to respect the Italians, perhaps more than I had ever respected the Russians; they were a people with a long naval tradition and their bravery and seamanship was beyond reproach. They were constantly let down by their equipment, however: their ships were inferior to ours in nearly every respect and they were heavily outnumbered and outgunned. With Vizeadmiral Büchsel's battle-line ready to establish a blockade and the French holding the northern line, they would be very hard pressed to mount any kind of effective response to our presence.

"Which is why I thought it best to maximise our presence in the Mediterranean and why I dispatched my heavy cruisers to long patrols, to actively scout out the enemy and seek out his merchant shipping. It was this decision which led to the well-known Battle of Sardinia. I am willing to accept the credit (and the blame) for sparking off this, so widely discussed, skirmish; but I cannot, in good faith, claim any credit for its results. That must go to its entirety to Fregattenkapitän Rheinhard Sheer and the crew of the Hertha, who proved their mettle above and beyond my expectations."

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



August dawned rather well for the German Navy. Firstly - Büchsel's battlefleet had reached the Mediterranean and was now ready to establish a blockade on the Italians. Secondly, the cruiser forces in the Mediterranean were finally ready to stretch their legs and go after the Italian light forces, their merchantmen and coastal targets of opportunity. Thirdly, the R & D department reported that they had ready air pre-heater designs for implementation in future ship construction.



And, finally, the U-boote reported the sinking of two Italian merchantmen, without suffering any losses themselves. This was much more significant than one would think. For better or worse, these early submarines were deathtraps and this war was their baptism in fire. The blockade had pinned most of the Italian sea traffic in their harbors and the submariners performed daring night-time raids in their leaking steel coffins, to chase down that one elusive torpedo strike. In a way, the success of the surface fleet sabotaged the efforts of the submariners; but that also benefited the Unterseeflotte in the long term. For the world was completely and utterly unprepared for the havoc the U-boote could wreak on a merchant marine that judged their efficiency based on their early-20th-century performance.



The Italians struck back with the sinking of the collier Lorelei near Tanga; the Germans couldn't help but applaud the Taranto's masterfully executed escape.



Finally, the French Army proved its mettle by pushing into the Italian defenses through the Venadio pass and along the coastline towards Genoa. Nevertheless, the Italians put up a spirited defense and the French assault eventually stalled, having only barely achieved its goals and with none of the significant breakthroughs the French had hoped for.



On the 26th of August, the Hertha, operating independently, spotted a massive Italian convoy traveling from Sicily to Sardinia, to reinforce and resupply the island's garrison troops. The silhouettes of the Italian ships were clearly visible in the breaking dawn; and, seeing an excellent opportunity to disrupt the Italian defenses in Sardinia, Galster instructed Fregattenkapitän Rheinhard Sheer of the Hertha to engage as he saw fit.



Originally, the German lookouts only identified a few light ships as escorts: a protected Bari-class cruiser and a few destroyers. Sheer knew that there was nothing the Italians could realistically do to harm his ship, except engage with torpedoes; and so he continued with his attack, taking the Bari under long-range fire.



Unfortunately, less than half an hour after first contact, the lookouts identified two more Italian warships steaming at flank speed towards the Hertha. They were both, clearly armored cruisers; and one of them was easily identifiable as a Carlo Alberto-class. Sheer immediately turned to Galster.

"Herr Admiral," he said, "am I still free to engage as I see fit?"

Upon Galster's confirmation, Sheer ordered an immediate about-turn; and trained his guns on the Alberto



A bit of background, for the naval enthusiast: the Albertos were universally considered to be excellent ships for their intended roles (i.e. anti-cruiser duties). They were exceptionally heavily armored for their size, with a main belt thicker than that of the Victoria Louise-class ships. They were also quite fast, being only a knot slower than the German ships. They paid for this with a considerably reduced broadside: they only mounted 7-inch guns as their main battery, where the German cruisers were armed with 11-inch, capital-ship rifles.

This is not as significant a difference as one might think. While it is true that the German guns packed a significantly stronger punch, the Italian 7-inchers could still reliably penetrate the extended belt and deck of the German ships, that were built to resist gun calibers of up to 6 inches. Furthermore, the Italians reloaded much faster than the Germans and could still easily match every two of Hertha's salvos with three of their own.



Five minutes after Sheer's order to reverse course, the lookouts get enough light to identify the second heavy cruiser. It's a Vettor Pisani and that immediately seals the deal. Sheer had made the right choice.

The Pisanis were massive ships, bigger than the Hertha. They, too, were only capable of 21 knots but that made them no less capable. Their armor was thick - thicker than the Hertha's in places and, more significantly, they had a completely splinter-proof deck, with armor up to 2 inches thick. This also made them very resistant to plunging fire at longer ranges. Their main turrets may have only housed single, 10'' rifles, but they were tough, with an aromor of 5.5 inches that could reliably bounce enemy fire. And, more significantly, they had a secondary broadside of eight 7-inch rifles per side, the same that the Albertos used as their main armament.

Hertha could, under no circumstances, be drawn into a close-range fight, or her fore and aft compartments would be smashed to scrap. By forcing the Italians into a running / chasing duel, Sheer leveraged his ship's speed as well as possible, while also denying the Italians the chance to use their massive secondary broadsides. He could train two of his 11'' rifles towards the enemy; and, in return, he limited the Italian's ability to fire back to only two 7'' and one 10'' gun.



The Hertha rushes towards the south-east, the Italians hot on her tail. Fire is exchanged, but no hits are scored. The Bari turns to rejoin the convoy (any followup German attack with Zerstörer, Galster notes grimly, would have failed spectacularly) but the two armored cruisers and their destroyer escorts doggedly stay on Hertha's shapely aft.



Twenty minutes into the fight, Sheer decides to gamble. He turns the Hertha on a slow, gentle turn towards the north, unshadowing his forward gun at a range of around 6,000 yards. The Italians follow him into the turn - and bring their own main batteries to bear.



Several broadsides are exchanged - and then the worst fears of Sheer come true, as a 7-inch shell from the Pisani's secondaries strikes Hertha's aft turret and jams the bearings. In a single moment, Hertha loses half of her anti-capital capability.





Sheer has lost his aft turret; and he may now choose whether he wants to turn away and seek to disengage or continue a broadside engagement. He chooses the latter,trusting in his damcon crews to get the aft turret operational again.



And, again, he is proven right. Thirty minutes of frantic maneuvering later, the damcon crews report that Hertha is fully battle-ready again.



Sheer serpentines to throw off the Italians' aim, while keeping his aft guns on target; he scores some success, but it's primarily his broadside secondaries that pepper the enemy cruisers' superstructure.



Hertha, in return, suffers a penetrating hit in her extended belt but flooding is minimal. Then, her lookouts note something important...



Look at the Pisani. His aft turret is still tracking the Hertha, but his forward turret is at a neutral position and is not firing.



And, just like that, the heaviest chase weaponry the Italians have is out of the picture.



This changes things significantly. Sheer turns to starboard and unshadows his entire broadside. The entirety of the Hertha's armament focuses on the Alberto - Sheer is looking to knock out some of her guns as well.



This happens. Hertha's secondaries pummel the Italian, who had seriously overextended. The Alberto takes the punishment for nearly half an hour, but eventurally staggers and falls back, leaving the Pisani to take point again. To Sheer's chagrin, Hertha's main battery had repeatedly straddled the Alberto, but only scored one confirmed hit.



However, by the end of the gun duel, the Alberto's front turret had also fallen silent (note the small inset window at the bottom left and how the front turret is 'neutral', while the aft is still tracking the Hertha).



Frankly, the Hertha was not that much better off. By this time, her front magazine had only six AP shells left; and her aft turret 25. Her superstructure had been riddled with 7-inch shells; but , thankfully, nothing important had been damaged and she had barely taken on any water.



Also, she still had more than 300 rounds left in her secondary magazines and she was continuously peppering the Pisani with high-explosive fire. Sadly, while her main batteries were consistently straddling the Italian, she still scored no hits with her precious last 11-inch shells.



The running battle takes the opposing forces less than 5,000 yards from the coastline of Sardinia. The thunder of the guns brings curious onlookers to the scene.



At 12:45, Hertha's guns fall silent. She has fully expended her main and secondary gun magazines, in what, at the time, was the longest, most drawn-out naval engagement of the century. She has suffered 27 hits from 7-inch rifles, which have caused only light damage to her superstructure and dented her waterline armor; in return, she has scored 12 hits with her main, 11-inch guns and another 38 with her 6-inch secondaries alone. Her stokers are exhausted; her grates fouled; she is completely and utterly spent. And the Italian convoy has escaped to safety.



But there is nobody who thinks that the Italians came out on top on this one. 2-on-1 odds, and the Hertha still kicked arse and took names, causing significant damage to the Alberto and giving as good as she took back to the Pisani - not to mention the damage she caused to the Italian destroyers and the transport ship Vesuvio in the early stages of the engagement.



So, on the 29th of August, the Italians sued for peace.

« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 10:23:05 am 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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Re: Enioch's naval shenanigans - RTW as Germany - [Image Heavy!]
Good show, you made a single-cruiser skirmish look spectular. I'm sure the Hertha's exploits will make for wonderful war propaganda - so many hits taken and only light damage, now that's a vote of confidence for the strength of German steel! If I recall, there was a propaganda tidbit about armor toughness in an old WWII tank manual.

As for the peace offer, I'm not sure if it's better to bleed the Italians a bit more or refocus on the actual threats, but I'm very sure what Willy would do.

 

Offline Enioch

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The First Christmas Truce


"Hertha erschlägt den Feind": a propaganda gravure published shortly after the Battle of Sardinia. Hertha is depicted as an iron-clad Valkyrie, slaying the two-headed dragon representing the Vittor Pisani and the Carlo Alberto.

"The first time the Italians sued for peace, it caught us by surprise. It was certainly a pleasant surprise, as it served as a clear acknowledgment by the enemy of our military superiority in the Mediterranean. Opinions were divided on how to proceed. On the one hand, we were aware that the Italians were not our true enemies. Pursuing this war risked bleeding us out, more than we could afford given the spectre of the eventual wars to come. Peace was a possibility now - a good peace. The war had been a relatively chivalrous affair so far; a skilled negotiator could resolve this situation with a minimum of resentment from both sides. His Excellency would certainly have been up to the task"

"On the other hand, it was tempting to pursue the war further. Completely eliminating Italy's potential as a future adversary in the unavoidable war against Great Britain would be a considerable accomplishment and it would greatly shift the balance of power in Europe in favour of the Kerneuropa block. The French were also eager to achieve some measure of war gains and we were not averse to helping them in this - a decisive joint victory would help further smooth the relations between the allies. And, of course, His Majesty was insistant that Germany should press her advantage until it had thoroughly demonstrated her superiority as a land and naval Power.

"It was finally decided to pursue negotiations with the Italians but to present them with a list of rather harsh demands. It was deemed the best way to judge the situation and study their response. Unsurprisingly, the negotiations foundered relatively quickly."

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




Under pressure from the Kaiser and the French, Germany presented the Italians with a rather harsh set of terms for peace. The negotiations led to nothing - but there were negotiations. This would be a hallmark of what would eventually came to be known as the Long War: short periods of fighting, punctuated by ineffectual negotiations. Perhaps surprisingly, this maintained a climate of perceived good faith between the combatants; unlike the wars to come, the Long War stretched out over several years but was a gentlemen's war, characterised by good treatment of prisoners and civilians and several acts of chivalry from both sides (the 'Christmas Truces' of the Alpine Front being but the most well-known examples).



Meanwhile, the R & D department began experimenting with high tensile steel in shipbuilding, a development that could, arguably, contribute to significant weight savings in future warships.



They also reported considerable progress in their attempts to somehow counter the English three-centreline-turret capital ships. While adding to the centreline armament of German ships was still beyond the capabilities of the German shipbuilders, it should, theoretically, be possible to mount heavy batteries on the sides of the ship, in 'wing' turrets.



The submarines...well, in all honesty, their kill-counts were disappointing for the losses they suffered. However, with the blockade in place, there was simply no Italian merchant traffic for them to go after; the Kaleuns of the Unterseeflotte had to brave shore defenses, minefields and patrol boats to achieve any results.



Some excitement was had in early September, when the Gazelle-class cruiser Bremen encountered the Italian Bari-class raider Brindisi



The two ships engaged in a running battle that lasted over five hours, with the Brindisi eventually managing to escape under cover of darkness, near the Spanish coast.





She had been heavily damaged in action, while the Bremen had emerged unscathed from the fight.



The German cruisers were beginning to build a certain...reputation for themselves.



Especially since, at the end of the month, Gazelle intercepted the infamous Italian raider Taranto and thwarted her planned attack on German shipping. Nevertheless, the Italian managed to escape without suffering any damage (another testament to the skill of her crew).



During the course of the month, more submarines left their slipways and made their way into the Mediterranean; Galster and Tirpitz also ordered a significant change in submarine doctrine. Instead of risking their boats by attacking into guarded harbors, the German submariners were now instructed to attack only targets of opportunity and to, otherwise, provide scouting and support for the fleet.




Artist's depiction: Ariadne in Marseilles.

The fleet also redeployed a small cruiser squadron to the French coast, to support land action there. Ariadne and Amazone took up the slack.





October was a calm month for the Admiralität - the Italians stayed in their ports and the cold weather stalled the land offensive. The Admiralität found the opportunity to fund the further expansion of the harbor installations in their Pacific holdings.



November, on the other hand, was a good month. First and foremost - the R & D department began installing new pneumatic recuperators in capital ship turrets, greatly improving their rate of fire. Also...



...Sheer did it again. This time, it was Hertha who was ready and waiting as the Taranto tried to slip by the blockade; and Hertha does not fool around.



*Emphatic German Swearing* Yep, on hindsight, Galster and Tirpitz both agree that active submarine warfare while a blockade is in effect was a bad idea. Back to scouting and fleet support, lads.









The Italians, on the other hand, did not seem to have had problems this time around.





The obvious answer from the Gaermans? More cruisers. Good cruisers. The Medusas were upgraded Gefions, built from the keel up with central firing and for long-range colonial service. They were faster than their predecessors, with relatively good deck protection and a five-gun broadside of 6'' rifles. The class of three ships (Medusa, Arcona and Hamburg) was planned to enter service in less than two years - and the Kaiser was very pleased at the news. The continued success of the cruiser fleet had changed Wilhelm's stance toward naval warfare; he is said to have "waited for news from Mers-el-Kebir like a schoolboy, laughing in delight at every report of cruisers thwarting enemy blockade runners".



And, finally, to round up the year, the French coastal offensive proved to be reasonably successful, capturing several Italian fortified positions and, further to the north, even pushing a fair distance into the Alpine passes. Both armies were spent, however; and the first semi-official 'Christmas Truce' came into effect, from the 23rd of December, until the 3rd of January. During that time, the Germans even selectively lifted their blockade, allowing for a limited number of neutral cargo ships, carrying foodstuffs and medical supplies to reach the Italian harbors. In the north, soldiers from both armies mingled in the no-man's land between their entrenched positions; and, in one remarkable occasion, French and Italian officers jointly set up a Christmas dinner in the snow.


French, Italian and German troops and officers mingling in the no-man's-land of the Alpine front, during Christmas 1904

Seven months in - and the Long War is just getting started. Brace yourselves, it's gonna be a boring ride (with a few memorable moments of utter, pants-wetting terror).

« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 10:22:35 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!]
Is there actually a downside in a situation like this?  Obviously there is the possibility that you might lose an engagement or the merchant raiding might hurt but a protracted low risk war seems like an opportune scenario to leverage your increased budget to build and blood your forces.  Are their negatives that we are not seeing?
“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!]
You mean apart from the fact that there are people dying in the trenches and the cold sea, year after year, you callous, heartless bastard?  :p

Yes.

Some, but not all negative aspects of a long war are the following:
  • The longer a war draws on, the more time you lose not assimilating territories / raking in war reparations. It's ALWAYS better to fight two small wars than one long one (unless you are specifically aiming to collapse the opponent's government, with all the insane booty that this entails) because, assuming you win in both cases, you'll get war reparations TWICE in the first scenario and ONCE in the second.
  • Your budget doesn't appear out of nowhere. It is a part of the resources that your empire rakes in annually. The various events (including war) that affect your budget, only increase the percentage of your NATION'S budget that becomes available to you. If you stay at a war footing for too long, more money finds its way to the Navy and less money finds its way back to the people. This causes social unrest. You can decrease social unrest by scoring major victories, but in a war like this, where the enemy refuses to commit their fleet, major victories are hard to come by. A high budget might help in the short-term, but war weariness is modelled into the game and strikes and protests will ruin your day (or force a peace that is less optimal than you'd like)
  • The longer a war goes on, the higher the chances a random event might hit your ships. It's always annoying when that one enemy sub manages to sneak into your harbor and get your new 30k+ ton BC, or when that same BC strikes a mine in a routine patrol. Murphy adores long wars.
  • Tensions with other nations aren't reset until the end of the war; and tensions may still increase while a war is going on. A long war means that there are more chances you will end up in a 2v1 scenario (including the dreaded 'VPs reset to zero to reflect the new situation' message), especially when you take into account events such as the infamous 'Your sub has sunk a neutral liner! event

That said, there is also a positive aspect to a long war and you've identified the benefits of one perfectly. It's all a matter of weighing the alternatives. You can always tap out with the 'let's make peace now' option in the diplomatic events, if the situation gets too nasty.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 12:10:17 pm by Enioch »
'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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The new docks in Kiel shortly before the end of their construction

"[...] it became increasingly clear to me that the future lay with Galster's cruisers, but we couldn't just ignore the need for a competitive battle-line. Therefore, after long meetings with out engineer department, we decided to compromise.

"His Excellency studied the proposed designs shortly after the turn of the year and released the funds for the Von der Tann and the Goeben on the 28th of January. I had rarely seen him so satisfied before."

-Großadmiral v. Tirpitz 1920, My Memoirs, London: Hurst & Blackett.



It is the 5h of January, 1905. A select few engineers and members of the Naval Staff, escorted by Admirals Tirpitz and Galster enter the office of Reichskanzler von Mecklenburg. Perhaps aware of the gravity and momentousness of the situation, they present their work in something like religious silence.

Large blueprints are unrolled on the Chancellor's desk. Two engineers quietly and efficiently set up a tripod stand and suspend from it a large, complex and extremely detailed plan of a ship unlike anything the world had seen before.

The meeting draws on; von Mecklenburg shuttles between desk and stand, compares plans and drawings, asks for clarifications. Then, a change in atmosphere; the door opens. The men stiffen up.

The Kaiser walks in.

He briefly and impatiently greets his Staff and von Mecklenburg - but his eyes dart to the plans and blueprints scattered all over the office. After a brief introduction of the engineers present, the Reichskanzler escorts His Majesty to the stand and speaks a few words - then stands a step behind Wilhelm in silence.

The Kaiser stares at the design. He takes in the predatory bow; the massive gun batteries; the gargantuan size of the ship. He draws himeslf up.

"Großer Gott im Himmel," he sighs under his breath. "And it can be done? You are sure?"

His tone is almost accusatory; but von Mecklenburg, Tirpitz and Galster do not flinch. They inform the Kaiser that indeed, Your Majesty, the engineers are confident that the design is viable.

The Kaiser turns to von Mecklenburg; his hand reaches for Tirpitz's shoulder and clamps on it like a vice. His face is pale but his eyes are burning.

"By God," he cries, "By God, build them."


OOC: Forgot to screenshot the original design again. The design originally left me with less than 100 tons of wiggle room...





(OOC:...And the minute I lay down the keels, private shipbuilding gives me 1k more tons to play with and I want to scream)

*Ahem*

MEANWHILE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN:



It is the 1st of February and SMS Hela is on her way to Napoli, there to bombard a pasta factory coastal observation facility.



Her approach is unscouted and, at 11:00 she identifies an Italian freighter making her best speed towards the port. The German ship opens fire; the Italians abandon their vessel almost immediately.



Unfortunately, the gunfire alerts an Italian light cruiser squadron that was originally sailing south, toward Sicily. The Italians turn and make full speed back toward Napoli; Hela's lookouts spot them shortly after 11:20.



First, a small La Spezia-class is identified and Korvettenkapitän Heinrich von Görtz vaccillates. He is certain that his ship can handle this Italian: the La Spezia is woefully slow and is only armed with 5'' rifles.



But then, the second cruiser slips into view and she's a Taranto. And no, von Görtz has no intention of trying to repeat Hertha's exploits in his little scout cruiser and no desire to go against the Italian's 6-inchers.



So, he just runs - and the Italians can do little but glare at his rapidly retreating smoke. Hela has two knots on them and von Görtz makes good use of them.



Even better, his retreat draws the Italians away from the harbor; and U-36 just so happens to be in the area, providing fleet support. An opportunistic torpedo accounts for Adelina, one of the Italian patrol vessels.





Von Görtz is by no means hailed as a hero, but he does receive a private missive from Galster congratulating him on his wise choice not to risk his ship.





February - and the engineers pump out the new designs like nobody's business. "War is the father and king of all," as was once said by Heraclitus; it certainly lit a fire under the seat of the German R & D department. Testing began on new range calculators, meant to be fitted to the Von der Tanns upon their completion; and the Zerstörer and U-boote receive improved torpedoes.





How the **** do you run out of fuel in the Mediterranean? Unless, of course, you were trying to sneak out (say from the British-controlled Suez), in which case I have no sympathy for you.



And then this happens. Oh-ho-ho. The Amazone is a Gefion - a small, raider design herself and not as heavily armed as the Gazelles, but she should be able to deal with the raider.



Lookouts identify a cruiser silhouette. They tentatively suggest that it may be a heavy cruiser - but surely the Italians aren't using their heavies for raid-





HOLY CRAP IT'S THE PISANI







NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

« Last Edit: May 31, 2018, 10:22:11 am by Enioch »
'Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent'  -Salvor Hardin, "Foundation"

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