It seems that seemingly every time the Moltke puts to sea she receives a battering and has to limp home a cripple and spend extensive time undergoing serious repairs. First the damage she took at Dogger Bank then being crippled, grounded and nearly written off after Stravanger and now limping home without having even seen her assailant.

Sailors the world over are a superstitious lot and presumably the Moltke now has a reputation as an unlucky ship and not exactly beneficial to officer career prospects or crew life expectancy.
The resources spent on all of her repairs must by now be approaching the point where it would have been cheaper to just build a new ship.

Damned good time line by the way. Really enjoying it!
Glad you are enjoying it, thank you.

There's always someone in the wrong place at the wrong time... she'd certainly have a reputation by now.
Having been patched up after Stavanger, she wouldn't have been in prime condition anyway (hence her pairing with the slower Von der Tann). In peacetime, she probably would have been scrapped or reduced to lesser duties - perhaps a training or accommodation ship.
I doubt she'll have a long postwar career, and she might end up as this story's Rheinland - damaged late in the war and never repaired .
 
Just curious, at this point, who has more faith in winning the war, the average Russian soldier or the average French soldier?
 
[pedant]Occupying just Holland (Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland)? Well, there's the other Dutch provinces to deal with as well...[/pedant];)

They're actually tackling that problem now
You know, when they said Little Holland, that's exactly what I thought was meant. Until I read further.

That's why I always try to refer to it as the Netherlands in the story, although I find it one of the more endearing things about the Dutch that they can't even agree what other people should call their country ... as a Brit, I sympathise.
The trouble with rebranding exercises like that is that they're probably trying to change the name that is in common use, even if it isn't technically the correct one.
Going the other way is easier; look at Mexico, they changed their name a few years ago (to Mexico).
 
Just curious, at this point, who has more faith in winning the war, the average Russian soldier or the average French soldier?
The French.
It might just have been the Russians for a few days in early July, but not after their offensive failed.

As OTL, the French Army has suffered a series of mutinies over the spring-summer, but it isn't the entire Army, and even the mutinous troops are still at the front, mostly willing to defend the lines.
French soldiers' 'faith in winning the war' is probably not strong at this instant, but that could change with better pay and conditions, and new leadership.

In Russia, the average solider is beginning to wonder if he should keep fighting (and for whom?), or whether he should just go home.
 
Rescue and Retreat
Rescue and Retreat

Aboard the battlecruiser Hindenburg, Lt. Ernst Schroder could see the battle in perspective. Far ahead on the port bow, the British were engaging the Seydlitz and Goeben, and clearly the enemy were closing the range. Not even his ship, Germany’s newest battlecruiser, was as fast as the two Renown-class vessels he could see through the eyepiece of his director. Nor could she match their firepower, as her eight 12” guns were less than half as powerful as the eight 15” on each of the enemy ships. The two German ships that the British were currently shooting at were another generation behind, although for now he contented himself with the thought that they had made it this far. Nevertheless, he could see the Goeben was heavily on fire amidships and was clearly falling astern of the Seydlitz.

Almost three hours earlier they had abandoned their mission to attack shipping off Zeebrugge, when Admiral Scheer had signalled that the British were at sea and were alert to their presence. Schroder’s ship and the Lutzow had been steaming northeast at top speed since then, overtaking the slower Von der Tann, which now lay a few miles behind. It was clearly going to be a close-run thing if they were going to help their comrades aboard the Seydlitz and Goeben, who had been attempting to attack the English coast.
Two and a half years earlier, Schroder had been sitting in the Seydlitz’s fore-turret after a similar raid. At the Battle of the Dogger Bank, Admiral Hipper had been forced to withdraw at high speed, pursued by a British squadron. Today, they were a few miles further east, but Hipper was once again being forced to steam hard to escape being cut off by the British. However, that was where the similarities ended.

The British ships were more powerful than in 1915, but for some reason there were only two of them. Schroder knew that those were the fastest battlecruisers the British had, and he assumed that they had been detached to pursue Admiral Boedicker’s bombardment force. If the Lutzow and Hindenburg could join the battle, it would become four against two, and for once, Admiral Hipper’s ships might have an advantage.
Around him, the Hindenburg had some of the best fire-control systems in the fleet, with eight-metre rangefinders in all her turrets, and a pair of the latest telescopic directors. Even so, the enemy were still currently out of range. They could open fire at a gun range of 210hm, and so it would be another minute or two before it would be worth even trying a ranging salvo.

Schroder thought that their situation was worrying like the situation in Germany in general; currently struggling to respond to her powerful enemies.
Like millions of other fighting men across Europe, he kept a close correspondence with his family back home, in his case, at his father’s farm outside Horb-am-Neckar. Their letters to him had hinted at the ever-worsening situation. Naturally, on a farm, they had enough to eat, but that was because of what they grew and secretly bartered with their neighbours. In the town itself it was worse, and Ernst had seen for himself what it had been like in Hamburg during the winter. Many people were eating only thin soups and roots that would have been fed to cattle before the war. At least it seemed to be a little better now that the summer was here, but he tried not to think about what it would be like this winter … if the war lasted that long.
Most Germans were growing ever closer to starvation, and the whole economy was slowly grinding to a halt.

Such gloomy thoughts were temporarily driven from his mind as he glanced down at his Anzeiger instrument, which indicated range rates and the required gunnery deflections. The averaging device that took ranges from all the turrets had yet to produce any results, so he decided to open fire using an estimated range and the Anzeiger’s settings. His Layer had the periscope-director aimed at the second British ship, and the train and elevation angles for the guns were being transmitted to dials inside the turrets by a system of synchronous electric motors. SMS Hindenburg was ready to fire at the enemy for the first time.
He pressed the key for the firing gong, and a few moments later the gunners in the turrets obeyed his order, picking the right moment in the roll to fire their guns. There was a slightly staggered ‘boom-boom’ as each man fired at a slightly different time, but it was very close. A few hundred yards ahead to starboard, Lutzow had the new Petravic gyro-firing gear, and her salvoes thundered out in single ‘booms’, as the guns fired automatically at the correct point in the roll.


Hindenburg was supposed to have the system too, but she was still so new that it hadn’t been fully installed. Before the Battle of Stavanger, such important new equipment would have been fitted immediately. Now, there was often only ‘ersatz equipment’, and if they were lucky, the real thing would come later.
That too was true for Germany as a whole. Ersatz-coffee went with Ersatz-cake, and if you were lucky, bread, baked with ersatz-flour.
It had even become a sick joke; ‘What do we do when we run out of replacements?’
‘We use ersatz-replacements!’

Ernst could only hope that the same was happening to the English, but his colleagues in the U-boat service weren’t so cheerful as they had been a few months ago. The fact was that the enemy was on the offensive in Flanders, and the basics of war were the same on land or sea; you only launched an offensive when you had the resources to do so, and clearly the British did.
He knew the German Fleet did not. Even though this raid was called an ‘offensive’, it had failed before they even fired a shot. He suspected that this might be the last major operation the fleet would undertake, and he was certain that this fine ship would be the last that Germany would complete during the war. The Mackensen and her sisters were stuck in dock, or on the slips; victims of a lack of steel, and Copper, and Chrome, and Lead, and men.

Through his viewfinder, he saw the Hindenburg’s splashes fall short. Although they had cleared the Hook of Holland, they hadn’t yet turned home, and were still converging with the two British ships. Clearly, it was Admiral Hipper’s intention to attack, or at least to drive the enemy away from the hard-pressed Seydlitz and Goeben.
Moments later, he saw a glorious puff of smoke from a hit on their target. He couldn’t tell which of the ‘Renowns’ it was, as they appeared identical in the Imperial Navy’s recognition manuals. In fact his shell had plunged onto HMS Renown’s quarterdeck, before smashing through the upper deck and then exploding. However, it had hit one of the best-armoured areas of the ship, and the 3” armour deck over the engine room easily resisted the splinters.

Schroder had thought the enemy was still engaging the two older ships, but clearly Hipper’s charge towards them had done the job, as four columns of water exploded out of the sea around the flagship. Moments later, his magnified view of the target was obscured by a tumbling grey blur, as a pattern of four enemy shells hit the water a few hundred yards in front of his sights.
They had succeeded in diverting the enemy’s fire from the damaged Goeben, and the Admiral soon turned them away to the East to avoid closing the range with a pair of opponents whose guns were still more powerful than all four German battlecruisers put together.
 
To Fight Another Day?
To Fight Another Day?

Splashes hurtled into the air around the Hindenburg, drenching the decks, but leaving the ship untouched as she ploughed East at 27 knots.

However, it wasn’t long before Lt. Ernst Schroder felt a shudder as one of the enemy’s 15” shells finally connected with the ship. Even inside the director, he heard the whirr of a splinter as the shell exploded on the top of the belt. It had knocked one of the 5.9” guns off its cradle, but the tough German battlecruiser was otherwise little troubled.
They had turned in behind the Seydlitz, although it was clearly the Admiral’s intention to pass on the engaged side of the older ship, shielding her from the enemy’s fire and allowing the more modern German vessels to stay engaged. The Goeben was still falling further astern, but Hipper had successfully drawn the enemy’s fire and had sent a half-flotilla of his torpedo boats to escort her.

The battle rumbled on at long range, as the Captain kept altering course to avoid the enemy’s fire. That made Schroder’s gunnery job very difficult, and the Hindenburg only managed one more hit before the situation changed. Remarkably, that was a near-duplicate of the first, as the shell exploded on the deck that protected Renown’s engine room. The armour was dished and split along several seams, but the force of the blast was kept out of the vitals below. Nevertheless, smoke from the fires in the compartments above made its way down into the engine room, and the crew were forced to don respirators until it was extinguished a few minutes later.

Naturally, Schroder was unaware of all that; all he could see was a hazy trail of smoke coming from near the enemy ship’s stern. What he did notice was that the Captain’s evasive manoeuvring kept the British from finding the range too. A series of four, or eight, splashes would fall short of them, and no doubt on one of those British masts an officer would tell his gunners to increase the range. However, by the time they had reloaded and fired again, the Hindenburg had dodged towards or away by a point or two, spoiling the correction.
Nevertheless, they sometimes still connected, and two more shots clanged into his ship. A hit near C-turret put it out of action for several minutes as the crew worked to clear debris. Just as Schroder received word that the turret was ready to resume firing, he saw that the enemy battlecruisers were turning north.

He glanced away from the director and its view of the retreating enemy and saw the reason they had turned away. Black dots and columns of smoke were visible on the horizon to the East; Admiral Scheer’s High Seas Fleet. The English might be ready to trade blows with Hipper’s ships, but not even the most insanely aggressive commander would risk two battlecruisers against that force.
Schroder’s salvoes soon started to fall short of the enemy, and before long he confined his efforts to occasional range-finding shots. Nevertheless, the British hadn’t gone far; they had hauled away to open the range but had now turned back to the northeast, clearly to shadow and observe Scheer’s fleet. No doubt they were also signalling to guide a far greater force into position.

Damned Englanders, thought Schroder bitterly, as he continued to watch them twist and turn, and his most recent salvo splashed hundreds of metres short and to starboard. Grudgingly, he almost admired them for it; this was the arrogance … no, confidence would be a better word … of superiority.
They knew they didn't need to keep fighting us; they had superior speed and superior forces on the way.

That thought was confirmed in his mind when he moved away from the director for a moment to clear his vision. Behind them, there were plumes of smoke on the north-western horizon, with the burning Goeben between his ship and this new enemy force. Around her, splashes were already rising out of the water, and as he watched she turned towards the south, heavily down by the bow. A signal lamp flashed from near her bridge, but he didn’t stop to read it, he had his own job to do. She was turning, to bring her remaining guns to bear against an enemy who would soon overwhelm her.

He'd felt a momentary thrill when the main Fleet had been sighted, but now he realised that the English had won. Today, the German Fleet had been outmanoeuvred and overstretched. All they had to do was find us, he thought, and we had to beat a hasty retreat, leaving a damaged ship to the mercy of the enemy.
Behind the Hindenburg, he could see the four torpedo boats had left the Goeben and were now trying to catch up with the fleet. Behind them, he could see the Goeben was still firing from her fore-turret, but she was being surrounded by splashes and dotted with occasional bright sparkles as British shells slammed into her.

The enemy were no longer in range, and there was nothing he could do in his director. He called his men to attention, facing aft, to give a gallant ship and her crew a final salute.
As his arm fell back to his side, he was only grateful that they would live to fight another day, but at the same time, he wondered;

How many more days could there be?
 
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I have a feeling that this failure(although they did save the bulk of the fleet so far) combined with the Belgium adventure may have the Germans thinking about peace pretty soon. As usual, a very good update!
 
So the dispersed 1st Scouting Group ran into the BCF, interesting that the two Renowns are operating independently of the Big Cat's and Kongo's but it does make sense considering they're the fastest big ships around and are able to engage and disengage from anything afloat save Destroyers. And if Room 41 intercepted the German sortie then putting the fastest ships in the fleet in a position catch dispersed raiders and having the slower main body come up to support them makes a lot of sense.

And here they did catch them, catching the Seydlitz and Goben which is a nightmare scenario for the German ships as they now can't run from the British ships and they can't reliably range them with their guns, and are worryingly vulnerable to 15-inch rounds, especially if the R's keep the range open.

Now the Germans have probably lost the Goben and if they come around to try save her the R's can simply open the taps and run, possibly guiding any chasing ships towards the other Battlecruisers, or the Grand Fleet.

Now the High Seas fleets in view, but we've no idea where the Grand Fleet is, other than its probably sailing south east as fast as it can without disrupting its fleet formation.
 

Deleted member 94680

That too was true for Germany as a whole. Ersatz-coffee went with Ersatz-cake, and if you were lucky, bread, baked with ersatz-flour.
It had even become a sick joke; ‘What do we do when we run out of replacements?’
‘We use ersatz-replacements!’

“Was gibt's zum abendessen?”
“Brot”
“Ah, brot mit..?”
“Brot mit brot”


Two updates for the price of one, what a treat!

One feels the endgame is approaching for the Germans. I wonder if there will be one last twist yet..?
 

SsgtC

Banned
Now the High Seas fleets in view, but we've no idea where the Grand Fleet is, other than its probably sailing south east as fast as it can without disrupting its fleet formation.
I think the Grand Fleet is currently blowing the shit out of the Goeben.
 
So the dispersed 1st Scouting Group ran into the BCF, interesting that the two Renowns are operating independently of the Big Cat's and Kongo's but it does make sense considering they're the fastest big ships around and are able to engage and disengage from anything afloat save Destroyers. And if Room 41 intercepted the German sortie then putting the fastest ships in the fleet in a position catch dispersed raiders and having the slower main body come up to support them makes a lot of sense.

They all sailed together, but were detached once German ships were sighted heading east. A bit risky, creating an isolated force, given what nearly happened to the isolated BCF at Stavanger, but Sturdee would likely be prepared to take a risk like that, knowing that he would only be an hour or two behind.

And here they did catch them, catching the Seydlitz and Goben which is a nightmare scenario for the German ships as they now can't run from the British ships and they can't reliably range them with their guns, and are worryingly vulnerable to 15-inch rounds, especially if the R's keep the range open.

Now the Germans have probably lost the Goben and if they come around to try save her the R's can simply open the taps and run, possibly guiding any chasing ships towards the other Battlecruisers, or the Grand Fleet.

Now the High Seas fleets in view, but we've no idea where the Grand Fleet is, other than its probably sailing south east as fast as it can without disrupting its fleet formation.
Neat summary of why Scheer's 'covering force' is of limited use - it can't afford to come west to support anyone; they have to retreat east.

He also knows that the Grand Fleet could intercept him about 18-20 hours after it sailed, assuming it made full speed. Naturally, he doesn't know exactly when they sailed, or if they're following a perfect intercept course, but according to the intelligence he has, they might have sailed at roughly the same time he did - about 17 hours ago.
Worse, the GF might have detached the 5th BS, with the 24-knot(ish) QE's and 'Royals'. Theoretically, they could be intercepting him any second now...
 
“Was gibt's zum abendessen?”
“Brot”
“Ah, brot mit..?”
“Brot mit brot”


Two updates for the price of one, what a treat!

One feels the endgame is approaching for the Germans. I wonder if there will be one last twist yet..?
:)
Endgame, yes ... but a game it will be.
 
I think the Grand Fleet is currently blowing the shit out of the Goeben.
...and that's one of the better scenarios.
If the GF is that far behind, Scheer and Hipper are safe - the British can't overhaul them in a stern chase (or they can, but not quickly enough).

If on the other hand, it's the rest of the BCF having some target practice, the GF is likely still somewhere to the north and might still be able to intercept.
 
I have a feeling that this failure(although they did save the bulk of the fleet so far) combined with the Belgium adventure may have the Germans thinking about peace pretty soon. As usual, a very good update!
Certainly things are getting worse for them in Belgium ... if only the Russians would accept that they were beaten.
 
I wonder if the Germans would actually bother to repair their damaged ships?
This little escapade will have probably convinced them of the stratigic impotence of the high seas fleet.

Hindenburg and Lutzow have probably only taken light/superficial damage and so can return to service quickly with the minimum of effort. Possibly the same with Seydlitz just taking longer.
The big problems are Kronprinz and Moltke which would likely need to be dry docked for many weeks for extensive work.

The German government may decide that it is unlikely that the High Seas Fleet will sortie again and that the resources (especially steel) needed for repairs would be better being allocated to building more U Boats or artillery pieces for the army and the like.

In the case of Moltke given she is now likely a mess of repair jobs it wouldn't be surprising to perhaps see her scrapped with her crew plugging gaps elsewhere and the recovered steel perhaps used to finish off newer ships.
 

SsgtC

Banned
I wonder if the Germans would actually bother to repair their damaged ships?
This little escapade will have probably convinced them of the stratigic impotence of the high seas fleet.
It still has strategic value as a fleet in being. As long as the HSF exists and is in a combat ready state, the Entente has to respect it and it will serve to limit their options somewhat. It also forces them to tie up resources maintaining and manning the Grand Fleet. Resources that could otherwise be used on the Western Front
 
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