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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 7th, 2017, 10:45 pm
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Colosseum wrote: *
Quote:
Note again on the battleship Texas. That earlier example is a greenhouse atop a open piped tower amidships. Uncomfortable is a charitable word to describe the situation the chart and track parties endured.
The fire control station in the after fire control tower on BB-35 is below the top of the stack, so I doubt smoke would be that big of an issue.
Heat still might be. And who knows about the funnel smoke?

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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 8th, 2017, 3:37 pm
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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 15th, 2017, 4:11 am
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THE SANTIAGO CAMPAIGN:

The Santiago Campaign is perhaps the weirdest campaign so far, of this AU Spanish American War. For one thing, a random event generator produced the surprise result in the wargame that William Shafter dies of malaria at Tampa Bay in May. That could either be a good result or a terrible result; an umpired decision to postpone the May offensive to September; which was hopefully beyond the season for yellow fever in Cuba, results. The US Army is not an army experienced in fighting in tropical climates, but it does have doctors who pay attention to noted Spanish researchers who deal with the subject of communicable tropical diseases. Doctor Carlos Finley of Cuba points out that the mosquito is a perfect disease vector for malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever and American army medical doctors such as Captain Walter Reed read his work. Look then at what happens to Shafter and the 5th Corps sitting in the swamps around Tampa, Florida.

It is no wonder after Colonel Charles Greenleaf, chief of the US Army Medical Corps, sees what Lieutenant colonel. B. F. Pope chief surgeon of Fifth Corps fails to do and thus cashiers the man. We can proceed from that factoid and assume in the AU a complete total command dislocation and thus induce a confusion result that will have 5th Corps not only delay until September, but delay clear into October. Again, this can have positive results or negative results. Accordingly, some of the good results:

a. The Tenerife Campaign results and news get back to the US of what works and what does not work on the battlefield becomes evident. Thirty days is not long to evaluate such items as smokeless powder and redress the inferiority of the American soldier’s standard Model 1885 and 1895 Springfield rifles versus the Spanish Mausers, but Hotchkiss machine guns and the Navy Lee rifle do make their mark, the effectiveness of the Lee 6 x 60 mm as a killing round is properly understood and in 30 days, American sergeants can do physical troop conditioning and teach some basic man versus man fighting techniques, so that American soldiers can at least hold their own in the trench fighting that can now be expected when Spanish positions are assaulted.
b. Fast action is better than no action. If the American army learns one thing in combat against the courageous and competent Spanish Tercios, it is that American violent aggressive action against this essentially defensive minded enemy pays dividends during the exploitation phase. The Spanish soldier has decent small unit leaders and field grade officers. But the senior Esercito generals do not seem to understand maneuver warfare too well, and once a defensive position is carried, the Spanish generals never seem to have any reserves positioned to counterattack the exhausted attackers. These lessons will stand the 5th Corps in good stead when Kettledrum Hill falls to a bum’s rush suicide charge. Say what you want about the inept Sumner, but at least he understands that when he is on top of Kettledrum, the thing to do is head south to help out Kent who is hung up on barbed wire, and fast firing Spanish fusiliers at San Juan heights. That little extra shove by the exhausted 2nd Division is the difference that saves a 1st Division repulse and otherwise pre-occupies Linares long enough to allow Wilson and Garcia to descend in force on Cuabitas, seize the fresh water reservoir and cut off Santiago’s water supply from the unexpected northern direction.
c. Artillery + machine guns = victory against a colonial army. Despite the obvious superiority of the Spanish Mauser and the better marksmanship the Tercio exhibits over the Yankee trooper, the bullet and shell storm Wheeler employs at Tenerife at Mount Mercedes and Mount English gets his men through and over the saddleback in front of La Laguna allowing him to take Santa Cruz from an unexpected direction. Part of that shell storm is naval gunfire. This is not well understood especially by Americans, but inaccurate, loud, 25 and 30 cm shells falling in and around Spanish trench lines will faze even the hardened Tercios to the point that American bayonet charges will carry a position. Do not expect much tactical innovation as a result of Tenerife, These guys, 34 years after, still don’t understand how they bungle Cold Harbor after Emory Upton shows them how to carry a position with a three echelon assault column.
d. Seapower theories, at least the Mahanic ones seem to work exceedingly well. Just do not believe the one big battle yields command of the sea hype. Here Crowninshield is profoundly correct and Mahan is profoundly wrong. NAVAL WARS are sieges on the trade lanes and blockade is the siege line that must be maintained or broken.

Want proof in this AU?

As long as Camara's fleet remains at Cartagena and the raiders out of Bilboa remain a possibility, Sigsbee and Schley under Watson are stuck like flies to spilled maple syrup at Tenerife, where a US fleet forward presence is necessary to blockade the surviving Spanish navy in their home ports. That is also why Erben requests and is given the recently completed USS Montana; which conducts an epic speed run direct from the builder's yard at the Union Iron Works located at San Francisco, through the brand new Lincoln Canal in Nicaragua to reach the Caribbean theater of operations. It is a dicey and risky venture since, that battleship crew has not trained up to standard and the ship is virtually manned by "volunteers" from various west coast shipping companies to make sure the USS Montana makes it to Cuba.

If Sampson and Schley had not bungled the naval Battle of Tenerife, there would not be a five-some of Spanish cruisers to worry about as commerce raiders. The supposed American fleet superiority, on paper, in practical matters, has the US Navy ad hocking a Cuba blockade with its submersibles, and throwing together a fleet built around the USS Montana, three torpedo rams and Civilian Armed Merchantmen (CAM ships, three of them, the USS Pawnee, the USS Bannock, and the USS Shoshone.). And 30 days is not enough time to learn lessons from the Sampson/Schley mistakes made off Santa Cruz de Tenerife; especially as Sampson is still being court-martialed for that debacle.

So the September invasion slips another month while the American navy digests the lessons learned... right into the middle of the the Hurricane season the USN wants to avoid in Cuban waters.

OOPS.

It is going to be rough on the subs.


Last edited by Tobius on March 18th, 2017, 1:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 16th, 2017, 1:03 am
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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 16th, 2017, 3:11 pm
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The USS Michigan was started first in 1895, followed quickly by the USS Montana at the Union Iron Works San Francisco yards. The USS Michigan was originally a speculative venture, much as the Garibaldi class cruisers were being built in Italy by Ansaldo. The market customer was Argentina.

There are considerable differences to the two ships although they are generally considered to be M-2 class battleships. The Michigan was originally scheduled to be delivered as the ARA Belgrano in 1898. Her specifications as planned were as follows

General characteristics
Type:
Battleship
Displacement:
15,000.25 t (13,393 long tons)
Length:126 m (413 ft 4 in)
Beam:19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)
Draft:7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)
Propulsion:2 shafts triple expansion steam-electric final drive 15,000 ihp (11,250 kW)
Speed: 17 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Range: 4,500 nmi (8,300 km; 5,200 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 600
Armament:
3 × 2 30 cm (11.8 in) KB series BLNR L/40 guns
6 × 2 15 cm (5.9 in) DS series BLNR / 40 caliber guns
14 × 1 12 cm (4.7 in) ROQF guns
8 × 1 9 cm (3.55 in) QF guns
4 × 1 45 cm (18 in) torpedo tubes (bow submerged)
Armor:
Belt: 30 cm (11.8 in)
Barbettes: 30 cm (11.8 in)
Deck: 8 cm (3.15 in)

Except for the Royal Ordnance Factory 12 cm secondary battery of hull mounted QF guns, her armament would have been all American made, either 30 cm Krupp Beauregard breech loading naval rifles, or Driggs Schroeder 15 cm or Driggs Seabury 9 cm guns. Armor was "thin" for the type vessel and her engines were "underpowered". She was short ranged and slow.

In short, she was an export battleship; a definite second rater. Come the Spanish American War and the sudden South American solidarity with the "mother country" and Union Iron Works had a white elephant abuilding with nowhere to park her. The USN bought her on the stocks incomplete, and demanded changes to bring her more in line with American practices. This included Fiske Bushnell observatory towers instead of the military pole masts originally intended and a re-arranged and reduced boat stowage. This introduced a huge program delay in the ship's construction to address added topweight issues and postponed delivery to the new customer by a year. The ship when she was delivered was trialed and found to be a horrible seaboat. She rolled like a drunk in the slightest cross swell. The topweight distribution was such that she was found to ride stern heavy as if her aft main gun battery was set too far aft. the H and I 15 cm batteries were awkwardly placed and interfered with the C 30 cm battery when trained outboard or aft to engage. All in all it was a compromised design.

The other Argentine order, the prospective ARA Moreno was just at the point of build progress where radical interior reframing and hull adjustments could be retried into the final design. The C turret could be moved further forward to more properly distribute weight, the bandstand was eliminated, an aft control platform substituted and the armor scheme rearranged to make a more sensible and shorter protection scheme. The TOP HAT type of armor belt was replaced with the more effective DERBY scheme and the double hull was extended up well above the waterline to provide a more robust torpedo defense. Engine spaces wqere rationalized and armament rearranged to add more fuel bunkerage. As she emerged, the USS Montana was a different ship from USS Michigan and could be delivered sooner as she was less delayed by her modifications.

USS Montana as delivered:

General characteristics
Type: Battleship
Displacement: 15,000.25 t (13,393 long tons)
Length:127 m (416 ft 7 in)
Beam:19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)
Draft:7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)
Propulsion:2 shafts triple expansion steam-electric final drive 15,000 ihp (11,250 kW)
Speed: 19 knots (31 km/h; 20 mph)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,260 km; 5,753.9 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph)
Complement: 550
Armament:
3 × 2 30 cm (11.8 in) KB series BLNR L/40 guns
6 × 2 15 cm (5.9 in) DS series BLNR / 40 caliber guns
12 × 1 11 cm (4.3 in) NGFQF guns
8 × 1 9 cm (3.55 in) QF guns
4 × 1 45 cm (18 in) torpedo tubes (bow submerged)
Armor:
Belt: 30 cm (11.8 in)
Barbettes: 30 cm (11.8 in)
Deck: 9 cm (3.55 in)

The armament changes were mainly in the hull mounted anti-torpedo guns, with a modified 11 cm Naval Gun Factory Dahlgren coke bottle gun made in sliding wedge breech block and steel sleeve and wrought iron liner barrel being substituted for the British 12 cm all steel gun interrupted screw breech block gun. It made little difference as far as rate of fire and effective range is concerned, but it eliminated British Sheffield as a supply bottleneck for both shells and bag charges and conformed to USN unit round stowage and practice.

The USS Montana still suffers from a thin armor belt, but it is fast and the redistribution of weight seems to help the rolling drunk problem. Aside from the after bandstand and observatory being combined into an after control platform, and the rearranged aft armament, there is little to visually distinguish it from the USS Michigan. Nevertheless, the USS Montana is generally considered a far superior end result of the shipbuilder's art.


Last edited by Tobius on March 17th, 2017, 11:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 17th, 2017, 7:51 pm
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Just some more artillery.


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Krakatoa
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 17th, 2017, 10:11 pm
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You have left some floating windows on the Montana drawing aft of the rear funnel.


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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 17th, 2017, 11:49 pm
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:lol:

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Ghosts.


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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 18th, 2017, 4:30 am
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So, let’s look at look at the Mad Admiral and see how Henry Erben (and Gertrude his imaginary parrot), defines the American navy in the Santiago campaign. Henry Erben in this AU writes the doctrine for the USN in the 1880s and in the early 1890s. He is an enthusiastic advocate for the coast defense role for the USN and is an early champion of the torpedo ram, since as a realist he knows the isolationist Congress will never fund a real ocean going navy. Under his influence, the American government builds two experiments to test his ideas: the USS Princeton (1874) and the USS Katahdin (1894). This is the RTL influence he has: ideas and notions; not a grand strategic vision such as Rear Admiral Stephen Luce will engender in his own prize pupil, Alfred Mahan. In the RTL the American navy has no real doctrine per se or anyone who can generate one until the Spanish American War. We of the RTL make the mistake of assuming that Alfred Thayer Mahan is the author of the New Steel Navy’s doctrine before that war. But he did not publish his seminal work until 1890 and he did not really teach it until 1895. The RTL USN doctrine we find in 1895, if we can call it such, is thus a combination of purely imitative (British) practice and intuitive American civil war experience. And what does this mean in terms of how the RTL USN fights in 1898? They try to blockade Cuba and fail miserably, as they attempted blockade of the Confederacy in the civil war 34 years previous.

Why does the RTL USN fail in blockade at Cuba? Too few ships, wrong kind of ships and the ships used, are either too slow or armed with the wrong kind of weapons. If the Armada had been on the ball and if an ally would have helped with local support such as coal and a friendly neutral port, and if Cervera had not conveniently stranded himself at Santiago, then…

In 1963, the Russians ran into an effective blockade. They are not impressed by US carriers. Carriers they thought then (and still do think) they can handle. What turned them back was submarines. They were terrified of US submarines. And well they should have been. While Germans may bristle at the boast of the American navy, that they are the only navy that has ever strangled a nation with submarines, it is a true boast. Not even the British can make the claim. American submarines had help of course. The Japanese had not suffered an u-boat campaign and were rank amateurs at commerce defense. It would take the Americans two years (1944) to become as competent as 1916 WW I Germans in use of the sub. The Japanese struggled with the same steep learning curve. One could peg their progress to about mid 1916 British competence to about March 1945 for the IJN. And that 1916 date is historically significant and interesting in its own right for it is when Admiral Sims, USN, told the British navy something to the effect, “Convoy, you idiots!” Astonishing that Admiral King would forget that Sims maxim 24 years later, is it not?

One can rub one’s hands with glee then, with Cuba as a test case for 1898 semi-submersible torpedo rams in use as a terror weapon for American blockade purposes.

USS Intrepid

1874 is the start point in the tactical idea:
Quote:
The torpedo ram, like most of the early torpedo-carrying warship designs, is intended to attack enemy warships while they were still at anchor in harbor. The torpedo ram's low profile and high speed were to make discovery and interception harder, as was the commonly stated intent for their attacks to take place at night. Once it reaches the harbor, the torpedo ram is to smash its way through any seaward harbor defenses and make straight for the ships lying at anchor, firing its torpedoes before they can get underway. Once this is done, the torpedo ram will exit the harbor and make a high-speed escape to waiting friendly forces.
USS Intrepid does not work. Fenian Rams I, II, and III do work, and in the RTL the USS Katahdin works, but they are ambush weapons. Maybe the torpedo ram cannot storm into a harbor? Maybe it can lie off a harbor and ambush ships that go in and come out instead?

So enter Rear Admiral Daniel Ammen , USN. Blame him as the author for the AU Cuba blockade submarine campaign, and for inspiring Henry Erben to also urtilize the new fangled submarine as an ambush close blockade weapon when General James Wilson has his surface ships shelling Cuban hamlets instead of watching Santiago harbor like a good Mad Admiral who talks to imaginary Gertrude the Parrot should do.

That is why Caldwell and Hoffman arrive off Santiago to patrol near Santiago Bay and shelter in Cuban renegado controlled Cabanas Bay, where they ride out two tropical storms and a hurricane. Where their crews of the USS Carp and the USS Cisco; respectively curse the lousy weather, the rotten food, both local Cuban cuisine and what they have loaded aboard (Army tinned beef scandal), the cranky Brayton engine complexes, the extremely dangerous electrical plants (Two sailors die from sulfur dioxide fumes aboard the USS Cisco.), and they have to put to sea to patrol and blockade an enemy of unknown (to them at least) naval strength who is inside Santiago harbor. Caldwell and Hoffman should be flattered. They are about to perform twenty years earlier in this AU, what three British cruisers will discover and demonstrate on 22 September 1914. In particular, Caldwell will imitate or should that read premitate Kapitanleutnant Otto Wedegen's astonishing feat of arms

You would think that all those blockade runners sunk since USS Chubb clobbers the Alfonso XII off Havana on 1 August 1898 would be a warning to Eyermann? Nope. Not really his fault though. General Toral, commanding the city garrison, orders him out before Wilson and 5th Corps blasts Eyermann to bits at anchor. In Eyermann’s defense, he is fully aware that the Mad Admiral and his imaginary parrot are waiting for him to push out past the Socapa fort and El Morro gun batteries so that Erben’s ships can practice their gunnery on him. Daylight would be suicide. So it will be a sneak-out at night Eyermann decides. October 2-3, 1898 is the night Eyermann selects. Rain and overcast skies should mask the breakout by the Reina Mercedes, Gravina, Isabella II and the gunboat Concho. It will be a near full moon but that cannot be helped. The Americans are at Sibourney and Cuban loyalists out of there who flee to Spanish lines, report that the Gringos have brought enormous cannons with them and that they are building a railroad. That can only mean one thing to Toral, Linares and Eyermann. Siege mortars. Delay means that the Spanish ships will be lost to American Endicott howitzers. Besides, the Americans have shied away from the Socapa and El Morro. The Ordunez guns in those batteries frighten off the Americans, or so the Spanish commanders mistakenly and confidently believe.

The reality for why the Coast Protection Squadron has not blasted El Morro into rubble yet; is that Admiral Erben has had to settle a few issues with General Wilson. There are no siege mortars yet because the train ferry that was supposed to ferry them, sank off Tampa, Florida. The Americans are building a railroad, but that is so supplies can be moved from Daiquiri to Sibourney without having to import a thousand mules and 250 wagons for 5th Corps. Wilson hopes to capture the American Sugar Enterprises train that runs between Guantanamo and Santiago. Nobody pays attention to the news of the train ferry disaster, because the Navy suppresses the news for security purposes. In the meantime, the USS Montana and her accompanying cruisers serve in the place of the missing mortars, providing naval gunfire as far as five kilometers inland, while Wilson methodically unloads 5th Corps one regiment per day onto the one dinky pier at Daiquiri. He is not going to make a shambles of it, like Wheeler did at the Tocoronta landings at Tenerife. 5th Corps is not going to lose ½ its supplies in the surf. Take it slowly and methodically, Wilson reasons. Build a beachhead, corduroy a road, move inland. Use the navy to cover the advance upon the San Juan heights. Then dig in and conduct a proper siege.

Wilson thus keeps Erben on a short leash. That supposedly is another Tenerife Campaign Lesson. Generals need to watch the admirals and keep the navy focused on the (army) mission. Wilson, the Union American civil war general, justifies his meddling in naval affairs as the Ulysses Grant Lesson. Hug the navy's gunboats tight and no enemy land army can beat you. He has Erben’s squadron almost in a bear-hug , he stays so close to Erben’s guns. And since Erben is supposed to protect Wilson, according to Wilson, he is not in position to cover the harbor mouth at Santiago. Not enough ships. Therein lies a narrow but manageable open escape route and chance for Eyermann to run to Cienfuegos to the west, or so it seems.

So what is Erben and Eyermann, each handicapped and subject to the whims of an incompetent army general, supposed to do? Eyermann will make his escape attempt. Erben has two “submersible torpedo rams” that cannot provide naval gunfire support to the army that he can use without asking Wilson's permission, and a not entirely secret plan of his own to thwart Eyermann. He moves his ships west each night to be closer to the El Morro in case the Spaniards come out. Let the subs ambush Eyermann as he sorties, where the shallow draft Spanish ships will no doubt hug the coastal gun batteries of the Socapa for protection, before breaking for open ocean to avoid the deeper draft American cruisers. If the subs get one of Eyermann’s cruisers, it may panic the others back into Santiago or might invoke an attempted stop and rescue in which case, Erben will rally into the area and give chase to the fugitives.

And that, surprisingly, is about what happens in the misnamed Battle of Santiago Bay. At 12:45 local time USS Carp is deck awash and toddling along when the sail lookout, standing on top of the periscope mast, telephone lineman/lumberjack fashion, sights strange silhouettes, lighted up by moonlight through a break in the overcast. He guesses they are about five kilometers distant. By the time Caldwell puts binoculars on them, he can tell that they are headed straight toward him. The USS Carp has just cleared Canapas Bay to relieve USS Cisco which is to the east on pre-midnight patrol. Hoffman has missed Eyermann’s breakout. Not that it matters as subsequent events quickly prove. When USS Carp’s silent and wakeless torpedo hits the Reina Mercedes at 01:17 AM, that produces instant confusion in the neat and ordered Spanish line. The explosion is bright and LOUD enough to attract Hoffman’s immediate attention. It is then a rather short 2 ½ kilometer run at high speed by the USS Cisco to arrive and torpedo the Gravina which foolishly stops to render the Reina Mercedes assistance. Capitán de Fregatte Estevan Digamma of Gravina thinks the Reina Mercedes hits a mine and Spanish doctrine is to tow the struck ship out away from the edge of the minefields. This allows the USS Cisco to approach almost unnoticed to within 450 meters. That is a long range shot for 1898 torpedoes, even for the remarkable Howell Mark IIs. The USS Cisco's periscope is finally noticed. "Torpedero Yankee a puerto adelante cuarto unos cinco estadios de distancia. a lookout announces from the forward lookout perch atop Gravina's military mast". Nordenfelds open up immediately. The Spanish 6 pounder and 3 pounder shots skips off the water long and narrowly right of the USS Cisco's periscope feather. Jig is up, but Hoffman is a cool customer. He lines up and takes a shot at Gravina, ignoring the bigger Reina Mercedes that he wanted to finish off. Torpedo away. Now if only the cable does not kink, the flywheels work, nothing short circuits and the Gravina does not do something smart, like turn toward the USS Cisco and gets moving to ram the American sub. The torpedo, hot and true, hits the immobile Gravina just forward of her funnel. Impact successful! That results in an even bigger explosion at 01:25 AM. The Gravina breaks in two and sinks with 147 men drowned.

That attracts Erben’s attention. He is seven kilometers away, has further to go, and it takes him some 20 minutes to cover that distance with the USS Montana, the USS Shoshone and the USS Montgomery. The gunboat, Concha, in a typically Spanish act of desperate gallantry immediately turns and fights with all of Admiral Erben’s ships for about a half hour before USS Montgomery finally sinks her. This earns rueful admiration from the Americans and the Spanish Cross for Capitán de Corbeta Don Estamos Castaño Hernández. This action allows the Isabella II to escape to the west. As for the Reina Mercedes, Eyermann’s flagship? She has a gaping hole in her starboard side just ahead of her engine room and below her flying bridge. She could try to escape, be sunk and have her crew drown as had the Gravina an hour ago. Eyermann, seeing the USS Montana turn toward his ship after the Concha goes down, chooses to beach his ship, run Reina Mercedes aground and save his men.

It is about as lopsided a victory as the AU Battle of Manila Bay and definitely decisive as far as the Santiago Campaign and Cuba is concerned. This is the only organized Spanish naval presence left to threaten the US in the Caribbean Sea. Now the USN can heave a collective sigh of relief, huddle in American controlled ports nearby, and not have to worry about Caribbean hurricanes and wait for the army to take Santiago. Once that is accomplished, Cuba will fall like a ripe apple. It will not matter what Spain tries at the Paris talks after that fact, because a fait accompli is a bird in the Americans’ hands. Nobody in Europe will step up to fight for Cuba, just as nobody will step up to aid Spain to fight for the Philippines. It is not worth a major war to either France or Austria, who lack the means. Britain has no vital interest and Germany is still trying to unglue herself from the ongoing von Dederichs diplomatic debacle with Dewey. The land fighting after the Battle of Santiago Bay will be interesting and complex, but with the naval questions settled, Linares, Toral and Wilson know how that one inevitably ends, and so it does on 10 December 1898. Cuba falls; at least that part of it south of the Nuestra Madres mountain range does.

The rest of it is signed away at the Treaty of Paris three days later.

=====================================================

Next up is the finito at Manila, some interesting Russia, Japan, US diplomacy in the November Interlude and then a brief discussion of the antics of Captain José Ferrándiz and whatever happens to Admiral Manuel de la Cámara y Libermoore? Then what about that last guy, Captain José Barrasa? Some strange AU happenings are involved in those three characters during the November Interlude.

Stay tuned.


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Tobius
Post subject: Re: Mister McKinley's Navy.Posted: March 18th, 2017, 10:30 pm
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November Interlude: How Does the War Go Mister McKinley?

A. The Canary Islands? Those still mostly belong to Spain at the moment, subject to forfeiture by right of conquestr in any post-war treaty with the Spanish and it would be a place for forward basing a US Mediterranean fleet that would need a place of its own independent of leasing arrangements with a host nation. It sits athwart trade routes from Europe to Africa.
B. Cuba, another Spanish colony geographically dominates the Caribbean and acts as gatekeeper between the US and South America trade routes from southern US ports to northeastern and eastern South American ports. For the moment it looks like the US sugar interestrs will have at least part of their satrapy.
C. Ditto for Puerto Rico. Take Cuba and Puerto Rico together and the British and French are finished in the New World and in South America, since it is their hitherto dominant geographic presences in the Caribbean that has throttled American trade to South America. Besides, Nelson Miles, that apple polisher, needs something like Puerto Rico to distract him while the professionals run the real war.
D. Isthmus canal needs testing. The Nicaragua filibuster is finally settled. If Suez cuts the time to India for Britain, what does the new Isthmus canal mean for American Atlantic ports and their access to East Asia? This is the exact time to see if the mostly dug Lincoln Canal works.
E. Hawaii is the first link in the Greart Pacific chain. (Taken.)
F. Carolines/Gilberts (Taken.)
G. Marianas Islands (Taken.)
H. One of the Volcano Islands: Shiki Kima is in possession. (Taken; but Tokyo is furious about it and it looks like a major diplomatic crisis is afoot. Damn Ramsey. Could he not wait until the Philippines are in hand?)
I. Philippine Islands. In progress. (Whole archipeligo is in an uproar. The Germans sniff about and it appears dicey as to who will prevail at the moment; von Dederichs or Dewey.)
J. Western Solomons group. (Not snapped up yet. Another Ramsey mistake.)
K. Assorted islands in the South China Sea. (That has to wait on the Luzon Campaign.)
L. The Sulu Sultanate is in rebellion, now. (Great, another item on the to-do list.)

¿Inquieto encuentra en la parte trasera que soporta al jefe, no es, Señor Presidente?

===================================================

OTHER ODDS AND ENDS:

Moving chess pieces around.

Whatever Crowninshield and Mahan cook up at this stage of the war, "ad hoc" seems to be the word for it. Otherwise how explain the roundabout routes the USS Montana and the USS Kansas take to get to where they wind up? Would it not make sense to send the USS Kansas to reinforce Erben at Santiago, while the USS Montana went on to Dewey at Manila? It might if there were not other issues at work. Merritt screams for more troops to reinforce his garrison at Cavite in Manila Bay. The only trained American troops, immediately equipped and ready, are Lawton's brigade of Pennsylvanians. Those troops are in... Pennsylvania. They leave through Philadelphia and board the transports. They need escort, because there are Spanish commerce raiders loose in the North Atlantic. And here is the new USS Kansas, ready to run trials and undergo the year long process to train up out of Norfolk and become an active commissioned ship in the USN to join the North Atlantic Squadron. Nuts to that idea. She will be sent, as is, to reinforce Dewey. He can whip her into shape.

As for the USS Montana, the planters rebellion and filibuster in Hawaii is not going too well. Even with a couple of hundred eager raw recruit sailors the USS Oneida ferried over from California to help the planters out before they started the rucxkus. Queen Liliuokalani, with Japanese help, is proving to be more stubborn than anticipated. So, the (ex prospective ARA Moreno) USS Montana loads up some 200 marine raw recruits and makes a training shakedown cruise to Hawaii. Off embark the bewildered marines, and Captain Robert Moorehead learns he is supposed to abort the return to San Francisco and instead head for Cuba to join Erben's squadron immediately. Off he goes. But what makes his trip memorable is that the Lincoln Canal which is supposedly not safe and ready for ship transit, yet, and not supposed to be until the year 1901, is opened up just for him to transit. It is an extremely dangerous passage, with the Escondido/Bluefields eastern section of the canal being the most shallow, muddy and unready segment. The US Army Corps of Engineers has to blast open temporary channels to get the USS Montana through Rama and then onto Bluefield. The USS Montana, after a month of blasting, finally squeezes her way through the muck after several grounding accidents to break out into the Caribbean on 15 September 1898. Once there, she cannot go back, now, can she? On to Santiago!

===================================================

WHAT ABOUT US MARITIME COMMERCE, MR. MCKINLEY?

Camara:

The Sagasta government is not unmindful of the molasses pit into which Dewey sticks. The Madrid government plans to send Manuel de la Cámara y Libermoore on an expedition to the Philippines. That is not a raid; it is actually a relief action to eventually eject the Americans from their precarious hold on Manila Bay; specifically the Cavite naval base.

I had to research this one. American accounts do not give a good detail of what the Spanish think they are doing, and even the Spanish accounts are a bit confusing. But as I eventually figured it out, by cross referencing with events happening in the Sulu Sultanate, which is a quasi-independent kingdom, recognized by the Dutch, English and most importantly the Spanish at this RTL moment in history, Camara's mission is to establish a Spanish base of resistance in Mindanao that could be garrisoned and reinforced over time in co-operation with the Sulu Sultan to operate against the Americans. With what the Sagasta government knows in May 1898, this "insane expedition" actually makes a lot more military sense than at first it superficially appears. Spanish reinforcements through the Suez Canal can get to the Philippines faster than American forces can ready up and deploy from California. Someone at the Esercito actually thought this one through. (Weyler? He would be good enough.). Why it does not work in the RTL and as in this AU, is simple. The Americans get to the Sulu Sultan through the Ottoman Caliph for starters. he switches sides. This happens while Camara passes Sicily. Then the Americans pressur the British for a favor just to hedge their bets. The British in turn put the screws to their puppet government in Egypt to close the Suez Canal to Camara. Well, not actually close the canal, just forbid him to coal his ships in a safe anchorage in "Egyptian waters". it is plainly a dirty chicane British trick to aid their Yankee cousins, but it also reveals an astonishingly astute piece of American diplomacy to play the Europeans off against each other like a point-counterpoint melody on the glass harmonica.

In the AU, the American Tenerife expedition is laid on in addition to the above actions. The Sagasta government is forced by domestic politics to recall the Camara squadron back from the Suez to defend Spanish home waters against Watson;.instead of working diplomacy with the British led and controlled Cairo government to obtain the needed permission to coal ships and then to pass through the Suez Canal.


Barrasa

A small squadron of commerce raiders is to steam from Spain under Captain José Barrasa into the North Atlantic. With his aged iron clad cruiser Méndez Nunez, and the obsolete Zaragoza; plus the auxiliary cruisers Antonio López and Buenos Aires, he is to sail just outside the American patrols off their North Atlantic coastline to attack any American flagged opportunity merchant ship targets his little fleet encounters, working his way south just outside the windward islands and then make landfall near Brazil’s Cape San Roque, then prey upon the busy American ship lanes rounding South America. These plans went awry when two of his colliers break down and have to be cut loose. The nearest friendly ports to Barrasa now that he is short of fuel in American infested waters, is Cayenne, so there he heads to French Guiana in hopes of procuring coal.

His fleet is promptly interned. OOPS. So much for Barrasa. His squadron only bags two American ships, the SS Wassussett and the SS Winifred, both small tramp steamers of 2,500 GWT. Wassussett was delivering Kansas wheat to Great Britain, while SS Winifred was loaded down with kerosene for parts unknown. One suspects that the SS Winifred was a disguised tender for some US submersibles that might have been detailed to rendezvous with her for some shenanigans near Spain. If such was the Yankee plan, then that plan was scuttled when she was. Otherwise Barrasa's mission is a total bust. The brisk North Atlantic trade between Europe and America hardly notices his activities. Credit US censorship for that one.

Eventually, though, long after it is too late to affect the war, in late November 1898, the French release Barrasa's ships. The French are even gracious enough to supply Barrasa enough coal to reach the old Cape Verde anchorage where Cervera's fleet was at the time this war started. So in a sense, the war's futility begins and ends in the same place for the Armada.

Ferrándiz,

In this AU, Captain José Ferrándiz is ordered to prepare to strike out in the direction of the Caribbean with his aged battleship Numancia plus the even older coast guard vessel, Vitoria, and the obsolete destroyers Osado, Audaz, and Proserpina. This sortie originally is to be merely a feint, though, as all five are to suddenly quickly reverse course and return to Spanish waters: once they receive news in the Azores that the Americans are in the Canaries in force and that they've just defeated Cervera's 1st Cruiser Squadron in a widely reported spectacular battle off Santa Cruz de Tenerife. In the confusion Ferrándiz's squadron creates, those two Spanish cruiser survivors from the Tenerife Massacre, trapped at Sidi Ifni, the Oquendo and the Colon escape back to Spain. This is a serious faux pas that is kind of hard for Watson to explain to Secretary Long, but as circumstances go, it turns out not to be very important as Ferrándiz's retreat back to Bilboa seems to confirm that the Americans now have the firm upper hand in the naval war ongoing.


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