Dixieland: The Country of Tomorrow, Everyday (yet another Confederate TL)

Chapter 103 - The Battle of Manila
The Battle of Manila

In many ways, Japan was widely expected to lose the Spanish-Japanese War fairly quickly. Once the Spanish Fleet from Europe and the Caribbean arrived, the general belief would be that the Japanese would be defeated at sea and blockaded in the same way that the Confederate States was. Japan in particular was also a food importer, predominantly from French Formosa and East Korea. An end to naval trade would prove disastrous for the Japanese. However, the Japanese has one tremendous advantage - they were much closer to the Philippines than Spain was. The Spanish Caribbean Fleet was to arrive in Europe, link up with the European Fleet, sail through Gibraltar and the Suez, and then travel to the Philippines. This was a critical aspect of Spanish war strategy, which is why Spanish battleships were just small enough to fit through the Suez Canal. However, the Suez Canal was in theory shared by the British and French. And although the Suez Agreement guaranteed free passage to both nations - it didn't stop either nation from vetoing fleets from other nations. In this case, the French declined Spanish access to the Suez and Panama, which necessitated going around the Cape of Africa. This was estimated to almost take half-a-year. In that time, Japan was in the driver's seat.

Although the Japanese government and the Tokonami cabinet had hoped to avoid the war, feeling they were unlikely to win, they realized that they had several months. The initial phase of the Spanish-Japanese War was marked by very aggressive advances by the Japanese, who went on the all-out offense. The entire Imperial Japanese Navy under Admiral Togo Heihachiro was sent straight to Manila, where they overwhelmingly outnumbered the Spanish Pacific Squadron. While some of the Spanish Pacific Squadron decided to make a last stand in Manila, the bulk of their forces were able to escape to North Borneo. Easily mopping up the Spanish Navy that chose not to flee, the Spanish garrison soon saw it flanked between members of the Philippine Revolutionary Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy. Japanese officials had ferried Emilio Aguinaldo from exile in Macau, promising him Filipino independence upon the defeat of the Spanish. With the long history of Japanese mercenaries and adventurers aiding Filipino independence fighters, Aguinaldo saw no reason to distrust the Japanese offer. The Imperial Japanese Army would land directly north of Manila and join in the Siege of Manila.

The Spanish Fleet hoped to arrive before the fall of Manila. That would not happen. The Spanish were wildly outnumbered and surrounded, on both land and sea. The formidable fortifications in Manila were unable to hold up again Japanese human wave attacks, who simply realized they could attack faster than the smaller Spanish garrison could shoot. The surrender of the Spanish garrison cut much of Spain's chain of command, especially as Governor-General Weyler died after refusing to surrender and charging Filipino-Japanese forces. The still de facto independent Republic of Zamboanga (largely run by more radical nationalists, often allied with radical Japanese pan-Asianists) took advantage of the chaos, seizing control of most of the Zamboanga Peninsula and even pushing into the rest of Mindanao. All this notably happened before the Spanish fleet had even gotten into Asia. The Spanish Army in the Pacific desperately regrouped, evading the Imperial Japanese Navy to either escape to the Visayas or North Borneo.

Most of the rest of the Spanish Army, facing insurmountable odds against a feared enemy, simply chose to desert en masse. Although some in the Japanese Army wanted to "pursue" them, orders from Tokyo did not believe they could hold onto the Philippines. As a result, instead of taking control of the Philippines directly like many more imperialist-minded Japanese thought (and that the government itself did in fact prefer), they simply turned over control to the Philippine Revolutionary Army, figuring they could delay the Spanish. The Japanese had seriously studied what had happened to the Confederate States of America in their war against Spain - and they believed that although the Confederates won on land in Cuba, they overcommitted to winning in Cuba and neglected defending the Home Country. Rather than further support an offensive into the Philippines, the Japanese Army was given only basic supplies (food?), with the rest of the Japanese war industry almost entirely dedicated to getting more ships into fighting action. Several not-entirely completed warships to rushed to the sea far earlier than planned. When the Spanish fleet arrived, ready to fight the Japanese fleet, the Japanese fleet simply ran away - back to their ally in Ryukyu.

Japan believed that the Spanish would basically spend time and effort retaking the Philippines - which was the rationale behind turning control over to the Philippine Revolutionary Army. The Imperial Japanese Army was pulled back to the Home Islands and to a smaller extent, the Ryukyu Islands (in compliance with the maximum garrison allowed under the Qing-Japanese Peace Treaty." Shocking the Japanese, the Spanish Fleet completely ignored the Philippines. Unsurprisingly, they had also studied the Spanish-Confederate War and believed that they could not retake the Philippines unless the Imperial Japanese Navy was as conclusively defeated as the Confederate Fleet was. The Japanese also believed that the Ryukyu Kingdom being a technical tributary of the Qing Empire would prevent a Spanish attack on Japan - but the Qing Empire had secretly given the Spanish the go-ahead on attacking Ryukyu. As a result, the Spanish Navy steamed directly towards the Japanese Fleet north of Okinawa, ready to fight the decisive confrontation of the Spanish-Japanese War and the largest clash of battleships until that point in history, the Battle of Miyako.
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Interesting chapter! And in the next one, perhaps a battle not unlike OTL Tsushima... It is a long way from Spain.

However, the Suez (and the Panama Canal) was in theory shared by the British and French. And although the Suez Agreement guaranteed free passage to both nations - it didn't stop either nation from vetoing fleets from other nations. In this case, the French declined Spanish access to the Suez and Panama
If this was Telltale Games:
"Spain will remember this."

At least relations with China seem somewhat friendly!
Recently read this TL. I was surprised that the Confederates bought Bosnia and Teddy becomes the governor. This TL is soooooooooooooo different
Chapter 104 - The Canals
The Canals

The first decade of the United Provinces of Central America was an era of bloody change. The dictator of the United Provinces, Justo Rufino Barrios, did not see his ambitions quenched by his successful "unification" of Centroamerico. On one hand, peasants greatly suffered as peasant communal lands were consolidated under the control of elite landowners. However, the great wealth of the military allowed the central government to educate more children than ever, with literacy (though not infant mortality) significantly down in the upcoming years. Notably, as the political situation collapsed in the Confederate States in the aftermath of the Confederate-Spanish War, Confederate aristocrats, especially many with sympathies towards the increasingly proscribed "Redeemer" movement chose to make their fortunes instead in Central America, bringing a surprising amount of human capital to the small nation. Some of the most competent Confederate officers of the War of Southern Independence lent their services instead to the United Provinces. They were soon followed by many of the defeated Provos in the First Confederate Civil War.

The great industrialization hopes of Barrios was tightly connected to Central America's geographic position - namely what would become known as the Nicaragua Canal. Contracting with primarily British and North German investors, Barrios found an almost unlimited supply of capital to help construct what was an increasingly costly project. The Nicaragua Canal was an infamous bungle of a project, costing far more than anyone initially believed and nearly bankrupting hundreds of investors. It was largely only due to the refusal of the Central American government, repeatedly bailing out the project with low-interest loans (often extracted from poorer peasants) that allowed the project to continue. In 1897, the Nicaragua Canal officially opened, bringing a flood of trade goods and funds to Central America, which charged a relatively small fee on trade.

Although the Nicaraguan Government had ludicrously inflated the currency to subsidize the canal, instead of paying off debts, the government immediately plunged newfound funds into army-run industrial projects, particularly in shipbuilding, that eventually trickled down to light industry, with most exports going towards Mexico, a huge market with relatively pro-consumption policies (low tariffs). Barrios was to pass away in 1900, but he was to leave a nation that although divided, with an impoverished countryside, and kept stable only through the tight-fisted military dictatorship, had managed to become somewhat of a small export powerhouse, albeit not one where most citizens reaped the benefits.

However, the Nicaragua Canal was not welcomed by all. The Nicaragua Canal, largely seen as a British project, was to be matched by untold French investment in Colombia. When rebels in Panama captured the local Colombian garrison and called on American intervention to protect them, the Chileans immediately were alerted, viewing the whole scheme as a Peruvian-Bolivian-American plot. When Britain refused to intervene, the Chileans called upon their next-choice power, France, which immediately deployed significant amounts of aid to Colombia to quell the rebellion. Indeed, French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps, who had properly developed the Suez Canal, immediately embarked on constructing a similar canal in Panama. Amazingly, the project was even more of a disaster than the Nicaragua Canal - and the French Imperial Monarchy outraged many when instead of arresting de Lesseps for clear financial fraud - bailed him out instead, allowing him to finish the project. In 1903, the Panama Canal would also finish.

Immediately, the Central American-Colombian border would become one of the most heavily militarized in the world, as both nations eyed each other warily, believing that the other would try to sabotage the other canal in order to rout more global shipping through their own canal. Indeed, both nations would also plunge a significant share of their military budgets into naval forces, expecting an assault on each other, joining the already quite large American Naval Arms Race that seemed to be consuming the entire continent (both North and South).
Chapter 105: World War I (Wikibox)
Chapter 105: World War I (Wikibox)

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The world’s going to be in for a shock when the total casualties of individual battles in the Second World War are going to rival those of the entire First World War, aren’t they?
The world’s going to be in for a shock when the total casualties of individual battles in the Second World War are going to rival those of the entire First World War, aren’t they?

One good thing about World War I is that calmer heads prevailed and a negotiated peace was struck before things got too bad.

One bad thing about World War I is that the lesson some people got from it is "World Wars are good and easy to win!"
Chapter 106 - The Battle of Miyako
The Battle of Miyako
Imperial Japan was notoriously cash-strapped. The conservative landlords who dominated the Imperial Diet were loathe to actually expend large amounts of funding for the military. The Imperial Japanese Army was notoriously funded with almost entirely outdated weaponry, usually surplus weaponry from the Great Powers. Japanese victory in the invasion of the Philippines was largely a result of massive numerical superiority, combined with an alliance with the Filipino revolutionaries. After all, Japanese high command did not view the army as their shield - they viewed the Imperial Japanese Navy as their main defense force. The IJN was also somewhat underfunded, but to a far less degree than the Army. Eventually, the IJN was able to purchase two battleships in the 1890's from the cheapest option available. While the French and British were building 15,000 ton monstrosities in an increasing naval arms race, the Japanese were forced to find bargain bin options.

The cheapest option quickly became the Italians, generally not known for their naval prowess, who were willing to construct an even cheaper version of the Ammiraglio di Saint Bon-class battleship. Nevertheless, the 10,000 ton battleships were some of the largest in East Asia, prompting the Qing Dynasty to immediately procure additional battleship orders from their naval patron, North Germany. Building two, these ships formed the nucleus of the Imperial Japanese Navy. With four 10 in guns, 250mm of belt armor, and a top speed of 18.5 knots, they were the most modern ships in the IJN.

In contrast, the Spanish had built their own ships. Their two newest ships, the Pelayo and Carlos V, probably outclassed the Japanese. The Pelayo was also 10,000 tons, but had 300mm of armor, two 12.6 in guns, two 11 in guns, 300mm of belt armor, and a top speed of 16.5 knots. The Carlos V (technically an armored cruiser, but generally considered a battleship) was 9,000 tons, had a top speed of 19 knots, two 11 in guns, and 510 mm of belt armor. Moreover, the Spanish had all of their earlier battleships from the victorious Spanish-Confederate War, namely the Cortes and Colon, which both traveled at 15.5 knots, had around 360mm in belt armor, and had four 12 in guns.

On paper, the Japanese looked doomed, but they had some advantages. Namely, the home ground advantage. The Spanish navy had sailed across the entire world, taking months to get to the Pacific. The Spanish ships were heavily fouled by months of travel and were still carrying significant coal for much of their return trip, both of which slowed some of the ships down a bit more than their model top speed. Furthermore, Japanese chemists had invented a new model of naval artillery powder in 1893, Shimose powder, which was kept a top-secret. Finally, the Spanish had grown complacent on long-distance rangefinding. Their triumph in the Spanish-Confederate War was partly based on the heavily outmatched Confederate Navy intentionally trying to get closer to the Spanish Navy. IJA doctrine, knowing the disparity in firepower, taught their officers to keep their distance. Finally, the Japanese had invested more heavily in destroyers and torpedo boats, with the understanding that any naval conflicts would be relatively close to Japan (allowing the use of more short-range ships).

The Spanish, distinctly seeking a battle of annihilation against Japan, were largely sailing to a location pre-emptively understood by the Japanese. The Japanese got the first volley off against the Spanish, which damaged but did not cripple or sink any of the Spanish ships. The IJN attempted to keep their distance, but unfortunately for them, the Carlos V was simply faster than any of the IJN ships, which allowed it to remain in shelling range of the IJN. Trading shots with the IJN, the Carlos V's armor deflected most of the shots from long distance. Breaking IJN protocol, after some period of shelling - and some distance had been inadvertently created between the Carlos V and the rest of the Spanish fleet, Admiral Ito Sukeyuki ordered the IJN to reverse course and attempt to swarm the Carlos V. This was generally pre-empted by the Spanish Navy. As the Carlos V reached into close range with the IJN, the rest of the Spanish Fleet began to catch up and shell the IJN from long-distance. The Spanish fleet largely focused on Admiral Ito's flagship, the Fuji, which took severe damage, alongside the Carlos V. Surprising the Spanish, the IJN then sailed towards the rest of the Spanish fleet, more or less ignoring the seriously damaged Carlos V (whose engines had been struck). The Fuji took the brunt of the fire and it was too late for the Spanish when they realized that the Fuji was on a suicide attack against the Pelayo. Firing against the screen ships around it instead of the Pelayo itself, the Fuji smashed into the slower Pelayo, causing its own magazine to explode, killing Admiral Ito and almost the entire crew. Amazingly, the Pelayo actually survived the suicide attack, though it was effectively out of combat.

Ito's second-in-command, Admiral Togo, took over fleet command as anticipated, rallying the IJN and pushing through to exit range of both the crippled Pelayo and Carlos V. Relentless Japanese torpedo boat attacks, supported by the IJN's last battleship, the Yashima, harried both the Cortes and Colon. Although Japanese torpedo boats took horrible losses, a torpedo eventually struck home on the Cortes, causing the ship to list. Japan's destroyers, vastly superior in numbers, more or less were able to neutralize Spain's destroyers, despite the severe damage they took from Spain's generally superior firepower. At each point when the Spanish expected the IJN to disengage, the IJN simply chose to engage again, causing losses on both sides to pile up. Eventually, it was the Spanish who would disengage. With the Cortes sunk, the Colon and Spain's remaining destroyers and cruisers left the field - though due to the relatively slow speed of the Colon, the IJN was able to continue to harrass the Spanish fleet, forcing the Colon to ultimately surrender. Interesitngly, the Yashima was simply too damaged to make it to any port and was abandoned. The Pelayo and Carlos V, both essentially crippled, scuttled themselves to avoid Japanese capture. At the end of the battle, both Spain and Japan had lost all of their flagships. Japan had also lost 14 torpedo boats, 9 destroyers, and 8 cruisers, compared to 3 Spanish destroyers and 4 cruisers.

By almost every standards, the Spanish had won. The IJN ceased to exist as a serious blue-water force. Spain's remaining cruisers significantly outnumbered Japan's remaining cruisers, expanding the naval power deficit between the two nations. Although Japan retained enough cruisers, destroyers, and torpedo boats to seriously disincentivize a blockade of Japan proper, they had lost almost meaningful ability to exert naval power in the Philippines. However, the Japanese public treated it as a tremendous victory - it was the first time Japan had fought another nation to a stand-still - and the first time a non-Western nation had, with no outside support, fought a Western nation to a standstill with no outside assistance. Although the Qing won certain battles against the Russians in the First World War, that took place with heavy British intervention/assistance. Moreover, Spain was humiliated. The vastly superior Spanish Navy was expected to roll over the Japanese, as Spain had rolled over the Confederate States. Instead, the combined Spanish navy was shredded. At every moment, conventional naval strategy would have advised the IJN to withdraw, but Admiral Ito, in his last words, described that the Battle of Miyako was not just a battle in the Spanish-Japanese War, but it was a battle of the IJN's honor and status in Japanese society. Lauding the late Ito and Togo as heroes, the Imperial Diet immediately greenlit a massive naval expansion program in a wave of patriotic fervor. In contrast, Spanish writers bemoaned Spain's "humiliation."

The Spanish sued for peace first. Seeing that Japan had no meaningful way to intervene in the Philippines - and that Spain didn't have the naval capability to enact a blockade against Japan proper, the war seemed pointless. Better to negotiate a white peace, focus on preserving Spain's empire, and begin to rebuild Spain's navy. However, the Spanish were shocked when the answer came back - and it was a simple "no."
I mean, bombardment of cities and beach raids must have flown over the Japanese government's head. The level of damage that can be inflicted on them and the circling vultures should have being a no brainer.