No GNW (or “Peter goes South”)

No, but I've been killed a couple times when I was sleeping, it just happens that I tend to wake up~

This is a very healthy habit.
I did also feel myself stopping existing that one time due to blood loss, you know sometimes the doctors overdo it :p but I got better!

How progressive of you, have you been in touch with Umbrella recently?

Look, I live in one of the most progressive states of the US (we are in a tight competition with the CA in a race to a honorary title “the stupidest one”) so I have to be progressive and so I am. Within the reasonable limits. Not too difficult being from a country with a slogan “Our paralysis is the most progressive in the world!” 😜
Then again I cant say I do behave

That’s good: don’t say anything that can be used against you. 🤭
I prefer to call it "non-consensual adoption"
Good. Sounds quite wokish.

But sure! Just wait till I have the money for it!
I mean I cant guarantee it will be this century but Im sure I'll come around to it eventually
Century here, century there, who cares….
Really? Mine is tomorrow, at the 19th
Huh, thats genuinely nice

Happy birthday to you, friend
And the same to you!
Excellent chapter! It was very interesting to See all exhibiciones and the polítics!
Thanks. In OTL AII visited it and returned seriously pissed off: there was an assassination attempt by a Polish immigrant and the French jury acquitted him (there was a general pro-Polish sentiment after rebellion; the grand prix in the arts got one of the hideous “historic” paintings of Matejko, the Parisian whores did not appreciate the Russian tourists, etc.) not sure if he got fully acquitted or just did not get a death sentence but AII was pissed off because he was deprived of an opportunity to demonstrate his open-mindedness by asking NIII to pardon the assassin. The logic, as usually, was absent: why wasn’t he letting free Karakozov and others? Anyway, I scaled the whole thing down and now have no idea how to use this in a future. 😉
Happy birthday!

(And I've got about 33 years of dabling with PCs, but I started at 8)
This reminds me an old “historic anecdote” from the late XIX:

Some elderly person (don’t remember the name and it is irrelevant anyway) was bragging: “Yesterday I had a very good time with the telegraph girls”. To which his vis-a-vis answered: “When you could have a good time with the girls, telegraph did not exist.” The same goes about me and PCs. 😢
Making the guns
267. Making the guns
“War is not only a matter of equipment, artillery, group troops or air force; it is largely a matter of spirit, or morale.”
Chiang Kai-shek [1]
Artillerymen believe the world consist of two types of people; other Artillerymen and targets.”
CANNON, n. An instrument employed in the rectification of national boundaries.
Ambrose Bierce
“God fights on the side with the best artillery.”
Napoleon Bonaparte​

1867. Russia.

Sticking to your guns?

The huge cannon exhibited by Krupp in the Paris Exhibition did attract a lot of attention by two reasons:
  • It was the biggest cannon in the world and as such demonstration of a remarkable achievement in metallurgy : the barrel weighted 240,000 pounds, 46 feet long and had a caliber of 16.54 inches.
  • With its ability to fire 2,000 pound projectile over a distance of 5.5 miles (Krupp’s representative bragged about 13 miles), and advertised usage as a coastal defense gun, it could be interpreted as a clear signal to the Naval Power #1: “don’t try funny stuff near our coast”.
Well, of course, practicality was a different issue. It cost Krupp $200,000 to produce it with the additional coast for the mountings. After the exhibition Krupp offered it to the US military for $223,000 (with a cost of transportation being $80,000, he was ready to sell at a loss) and the offer was promptly rejected: it was considered too dangerous in operation and paying $1,500 per shot too expensive. [2]

However, the important aspect was that the coastal defense cannons, perhaps of a more practical size, can address the issue of “invulnerability” of the modern ironclads thus depriving Britain of its main blackmail tool: threat of the British navy bombarding one’s ports. Taking into an account historically ambivalent Russian-British relations, the coastal and naval artillery always remained an important item of a military agenda and, as of right now, situation was not too rosy with the main bright spot being the news that the British Admiralty, after some serious issues being found with its most modern naval guns, is getting back to the old muzzle loaders thus giving Russia time to fix its own problems. And the problems were quite serious as far as all types of the guns, army, naval and coastal, had been involved.

Since the 1850s Russian artillery adopted Krupp’s artillery system improved by adopting breech mechanism of the Swedish inventor Martin von Wahrendorff, which was more effective in preventing escape of the gases than Krupp’s own sliding wedge breech block.

There was Krupp’s gun factory functioning in the Southern Russia but it was only a part of the Russian armaments industry and some other parts of it, with a switch from the bronze and cast-iron to steel guns, proved to be problematic. By the early 1850s the bronze guns of field and siege artillery were manufactured by St. Petersburg, Bryansk and Kiev arsenals; cast iron guns of marine, fortress and coastal artillery were produced by state mining plants: Alexandrovsky Olonets Mountain District and two Ural - Verkhneturinsky and Kamensky.

The general dilemma looked as following: to spend big amounts of money and considerable technological effort on switching existing armaments industry to the new technologies or to speed things up by buying the modern guns abroad from (at the moment) friendly countries (Prussia, Sweden and France)? There were arguments for and against either option but an argument in favor of being independent prevailed. However, the drawback was obvious: for the next few years Russian army and navy will be in a rather precarious state, which was going to determine a relatively low profile international policy. This was one of the reasons why for the exhibition in Paris AIII ordered emphasis upon the natural resources and crafts rather than industrial achievements.

At that time according to the existing law, state-owned mining plants controlled by the Mining Ministry were the only manufacturers of cast iron guns and shells, bladed weapons and the only suppliers of iron, cast iron and copper for enterprises of the Ministry of War and Maritime. Their activities were regulated in detail by the "States” [3], the purpose of which was to minimize production costs ("The states" were introduced in the late 1820s after unsuccessful experiments to transfer industrial plants to "commercial grounds"; in 1847, in connection with monetary reform, new "States and Basic Provisions" were approved). Together, the monopoly position and the general attitude to the economical expenditure of budget funds have formed a set of reasons why the fulfillment of a significant part of orders for metal and "armaments" was periodically disrupted or threatened with disruption. One of the most problematic areas was the production of artillery guns.

While in some branches of military production the problem of quality and timeliness of execution of orders was solved by transferring production to the enterprises of the War and Maritime Ministries or by accessing a free market, this path was closed for the production of artillery guns. In addition to organizational restrictions (the ability to order cast iron tools only at mining plants was fixed by law), in the middle of the XIX century there were a number of problems of the technical, technological, research and development plan, which required a comprehensive solution and the Mining Ministry was not up to the task. For the starters, its plants could not produce the needed volume of a metal, and when the issue had been dealt with, their guns had been plagued by an inadequate steel quality. Their guns were considered unreliable even after requirements for the test trials had been somewhat relaxed. In 1857, experiments began on improving the technology. In 1859, they gave some effect, but the main problem - the casting of homogeneous solid large pieces of cast iron was not solved. For comparison, the steel guns could do at least 1,000 shots while a cast iron gun was considered acceptable if it could do 500.

Domestic production of the high quality steel started in mid-1850s on Zlatoustov plant and by 1857 its quality was not inferior to Krupp’s steel. In 1864 a steel field gun made there successfully passed through the test of 4,000 shots. At that point it was ordered to stop production of the cast iron guns and to switch exclusively to the steel ones. As far as the state production goes, Zlatoustov plant was not easily expandable and located in place that was making transportation of the finished artillery pieces expensive. Its director, Obukhov, offered to create a new gun manufacturing plant near St-Petersburg to concentrate on the naval guns. The proposal was backed by the Maritime Ministry and a private plant was opened on St-Petersburg’s outskirts.

The Ministry of War, seeing that the initiative goes to the Navy, requested funds for expanding the steel production on state-owned Ural plants and to do something about the state-owned mining enterprises, which could not fulfill requests of the army and navy. The Mining Ministry, being pushed from all sides, finally got out of its comfortable slumber and started introducing the Bessemer technology on its plants.

Most of the privately held metallurgic enterprises had been already switching to the new methods of a mass cast iron and steel production but, with the few exceptions (like Krupp and Obukhov), they were mostly held out of the military weaponry area due to the bureaucratic regulations. Taking into an account that a domestic market for non-military metal production was huge, there was no serious incentive for them to deal with the state military orders with their strict acceptance rules and cumbersome bureaucracy. For example, most of the major private Ural producers (Demidov, Yakovlev, etc.) simply declined a not too profitable honor of participating in production of the new steel guns: needed research and changes in technology could take 5-6 years while profitable production of the rails, locomotives and all types of the civic products (all the way to the popular cast iron statuary and decorative pavilions) was already going on at the full speed.

Faced with the strong private competition the Mining Ministry finally came to a conclusion that “… it is necessary, first of all, to expand the activities of our state-owned mining plants and teach them all the necessary means for this purpose”.

The first step was construction of a new plant (“Perm steel guns plant”) on a site of abandoned copper manufacture. Construction started in 1863 with the first steel 12-pounder made in 1864 passing the test of 4,000 shots and a mass production in full swing by the 1865. Production cost (13 rubles for pud) was cheaper not only that for the Krupp’s guns imported from Germany (27 rubles per pud) but even slightly lower than for those produced by Krupp’s plant in Russia.
However, the euphoria was over quite soon because the guns began exploding during the tests due to the low viscosity of a metal. Production had been temporarily stopped in 1866 and a serious research was financed by 413,700 rubles. It was going on in 1866-67 and finally the proper combination of a material, casting regime and processing had been established. In 1868 the Perm plant manufactured an 8-inch coastal gun, which successfully withstood the tests, and began mass production of guns. In 1868, engineer of the Obukhov plant D. K Chernov determined critical temperatures - the so-called "Chernov points", at which changes in the structure of steel begin. These discoveries not only made it possible to bring a solid theoretical basis for solving the problem of the strength of guns, they formed the basis of modern metal science. Thus, "the rocky for the factories of 1866 was a new era for them, with which Russian mass steel production began."

The problem with producing reliable big caliber cast iron guns for the coastal defenses and the navy was solved due to the adoption of the American technology invented by Rodman during the ACW. There were usual quality and transportation problems with the production of the existing plants of the Mining Ministry and a new plant had to be built in Perm near one making the steel guns. In 1866 it started production of 12- and 24-pounder guns and 5-pud mortars. There were experiments with the increasing caliber of the smoothbore guns (one of the trends of that time) with a resulting implementation of the huge smoothbore 20-inch iron-cast gun. It passed the tests successfully in 1869: 313 combat shots with a charge of 130 pounds of gunpowder and a shell of 28 puds but it was found that the comparable results can be obtained by the steel rifled 9 inch guns and the monster remained a museum piece.

The cast iron guns remained somewhat of a problem in the terms of being effective against the ironclads but as soon as the French experiments in strengthening cast iron guns with the steel rings produced some success, an order to start production of the similar guns for a coastal defense had been given to the Mining Ministry. Its experiments had been going on for few years, even after the steel plants started production of the big caliber steel guns: without a big volume of the cast iron guns production it would be impossible to get numbers needed for rearming. In 1865 Obukhov plant, which was mostly oriented toward the needs of Maritime Ministry, started production of the 9 inch steel guns for the Russian Navy.

To cope with the fast happening changes in the artillery, the private Krupp and Obukhov plants proved to be much more flexible that the state owned ones and in 1867 the War and Maritime Ministries demanded that they be exempted from the obligation to supply Mining Ministry plants with orders. The usual bureaucratic tug of war took place between these two seemingly powerful ministries and Taxation Commission and the ministries did not end up as the clear cut victors: at least part of the obligations related to the orders on state owned plants remained in force. “Salvation” came from the intended beneficiaries: most of the plants of Mining Ministry, which cost many millions to create, had been closed one buy one because they could not compete with the Obukhov and Krupp plants and arsenals of the Ministry of War. Only Perm steel and cast iron plants, merged into a single Perm Guns Plant, proved to be successful and survived, even if not as the major competitor: transportation costs had been high and bureaucratic organization was a serious handicap.


Ability to produce high quality guns was only a part of the ongoing problem. As far as the field artillery was involved, the ongoing debate was about what to produce. Based upon the recent experience of 1866 an influential faction, led by colonel Dragomirov, insisted that this war (in which Dragomirov was attached to the headquarters of the Second Prussian army and of which he produced a detailed report with some rather questionable conclusions) there was no noticeable difference in effectiveness between the 4 pounder rifled guns and the heavier calibers and that there is no need whatsoever in so-called “battery artillery”.

The term "battery" was adopted in 1805, when the division of foot artillery companies, depending on weapons, into “battery” and “light” was introduced. Battery companies were armed with bronze 12-pounder guns and 1/2-pud unicorns, and light companies were armed with bronze 6-pounder guns. In 1867 with introduction of the rifled artillery the battery gun was 9-pound (107 mm) and light 4-pound (87 mm) guns.

At least for a while, the common sense prevailed and the army retained both types of the guns.

Learning upon the mistakes?
In 1866 Russian Empire was in the process of a massive military reform and in 1867 the experience of the Austro-Prussian war had been documented by the Russian officers present in the Prussian army and available for the analysis. The main Russian source of this analysis was supposed to be a detailed report about the war presented by colonel Dragomirov who, as was said, was present in staff of the 2nd Prussian Army. And the problems started there. Dragomirov was a very intelligent, observant and competent staff and field officer and a talented military writer. However, he had the IDEAS and analytical part of his report was heavily impacted by his preconceived ideas rather than the ideas being produced based upon the facts he was analyzed.

  • The fundamental idea which he emphasized was that physical and mental preparation of the troops is of a primary importance. Who would argue? But the conclusion was that the technical means are almost immaterial in gaining advantage over the opponent (of course, providing they are more or less comparable). His supporting arguments were quite convincing. For example, he pointed out that the breechloading rifles did not provide the Prussians with any practical advantage because an average Prussian soldier fired only 7 shots during the whole war. The winning factor was preparing the infantry for making well timed and well aimed salvos followed by the bayonet charge as opposite to the Austrian infantry starting engagement with making the bayonet charges. The bayonet charge was, in his opinion, an absolute necessity because a tactical success can’t be reached without it. The ideal was a rather peculiar mix of Suvorov’s slogans and practices of the well-drilled British infantry of the early XIX century. An infantryman has to be taught to make the tough marches, aim well and fire in an organized fashion when his officer commands. He also has to be patriotic, understand his mission and do not panic. Literacy would not hurt and the officers have to treat soldiers as the human beings.
  • Artillery, as a potentially critical winning factor was simply shrugged off. To be objective, it was not during the Austro-Prussian War. Anyway, the conclusion made was that there is no practical difference in the terms of efficiency between 4- and 9-pounder field guns and, because the 4-pounder is obviously lighter and cheaper, only it has to be left to the field troops. Conclusion was, obviously, superficial because APW did not involve any serious attack on the field fortifications (lazy shooting by both sides across the Elba hardly could be defined as one) and the data simply were insufficient for any meaningful conclusion.
  • The railroads are useful strategically but after arrival to the theater the troops have to use the roads. Experience of the ACW does not apply because this conflict had too many specifics.
  • Role of the officers is, on one hand, to be competent in handling their troops but OTOH, to show example of a personal bravery (aka, being killed). Pretty much the only good thing he wrote about the Austrian officers was “The terrible loss of officers shows that if they did not quite deftly perform their combat duties, but did not think about the opportunity to honestly lie in battle. For people who were indifferent to mental work in their specialty in peacetime, but for whom duty and honor are not empty words, this is the only outcome that reconciles with them for the previous mistake. They did not follow the wise advice of the instruction writer of not risking themselves unnecessary.” Actually, the officers corps of the Russian army already suffered from the “bravery disease” with the resulting foolish losses of the experienced officers.
General (quite deserved) admiration of the Prussian military organization resulted in glossing over the badly organized functioning of supply system and the terrible idea of sticking to the old practices of concentrating the big masses of troops before the battle and marching in huge columns did not get any criticism at all.

To support abolishment of a peacetime corps and army structures in the Russian Army, he stressed the fact that Prussians had to create two army corps when the war started. Well, how about other 8?

In other words, the report, while containing very useful information, especially regarding proper training of the troops, was a mixed blessing as a source material with the gaps on some very important issues and quite a few questionable conclusions but, fortunately, not everybody took it as a Gospel. At least the Minister of War, Pyotr Vannovsky, was fully intended to figure out what is and what is not useful and act accordingly.

[1] And he lost …
[2] So far, I could not find anything on post-exhibition fate of that cannon. Strange how this monstrosity could simply disappear.
[3] In Russian, «штат» means not only an administrative entity (state) but also standardized arrangement of something. In this case, a detailed description of the allowed procedures.
Being fair to Chiang he lost but he didnt exactly have good morale either~

The leadership of his allies for one certainly didnt like him and werent willing to risk their nuk-I mean, necks, for him :openedeyewink:
And if spirit was a factor I dont think he had enough of them to go possess Mao and make him jump out of a bridge or something

So hey maybe he didnt try hard enough, anyone willing to send good prayers and a Ouija tabletop for comrade Marshall?
Im sure this time it'll work :p

Besides Napoleon "Artillery" Bonaparte also ended up losing, I mean having a winning streak by throwing your civilian population and shells at the enemy can only take you so far and his enemy was using a far more powerful cheat code called "infinite money"
Being fair to Chiang he lost but he didnt exactly have good morale either~

The leadership of his allies for one certainly didnt like him and werent willing to risk their nuk-I mean, necks, for him :openedeyewink:
And if spirit was a factor I dont think he had enough of them to go possess Mao and make him jump out of a bridge or something

So hey maybe he didnt try hard enough, anyone willing to send good prayers and a Ouija tabletop for comrade Marshall?
Im sure this time it'll work :p

Besides Napoleon "Artillery" Bonaparte also ended up losing, I mean having a winning streak by throwing your civilian population and shells at the enemy can only take you so far and his enemy was using a far more powerful cheat code called "infinite money"
You missed the point: emphasizing single component is usually not a winning formula.

A possible exception from this rule is scenario “when I press this button, the life on Earth will cease to exist but I and few of my cronies are going to survive for a while in our underground bunker.” 😜

Well, at least in the XIX century while you were not necessarily going to win with the guns only, without it you’d definitely lose.
Time of learning (or Time of confusion?)
268. Time of learning (or Time of confusion?)

The fact that you were doing something in a wrong way is not a reason for keep doing it this way.”
‘The Opening of Misty Beethoven’ [1]
“Excessive speed of shooting is not necessary at all to shoot after a person who is fleeing away, it is enough to shoot him once.”
general Dragomirov about machine-gun Maxim
Every country has the best army in the world because otherwise its army is, by definition, going to be defeated by the world’s best army.”
Anatole France, ‘Penguin island’

The recent war provided a lot of experience in a new style of a warfare and now there was a time to figure out what this experience amounts to. And because the experience was available both on a land and the sea, it opened the wide opportunity, both for the armies and the navies, to get creative. It should come as not a big surprise that a big part of this creativity had been going the wrong ways [2].

On the seas. Everybody already had the ironclads and the first European experience of their battle usage convincingly proved that in the terms of sinking each other they are not very good, to put it mildly. The broadsides exchanged by the Austrian and Italian ironclads proved to be ineffective and success had been scored by getting to the Ancient World method, the ramming. The ram was believed to be an essential part of a naval warfare and the ships were designed accordingly. Below is a cartoon from Punch. Note the ram sticking out of Britannia's breast plate. The caption reads: OVER-WEIGHTED. Britannia. "Look here, Father Nep! I can't stand it much longer! Who's to 'rule the waves' in this sort of thing?"

Nobody could tell for sure how the new naval tactics is going to look like but it was clear that the traditional line of battle formation is not applicable and, as a result, the traditional placement of the naval guns (which already proved to be useless) does not make sense anymore. Which brought two obvious questions:
  • What type of the guns should be used.
  • How to place them.
What. As the leading naval power Britain led the charge and, not the first time, in a wrong direction. The armament of ironclads tended to become concentrated in a small number of powerful guns capable of penetrating the armor of enemy ships at range; calibre and weight of guns increased markedly to achieve greater penetration. Throughout the ironclad era navies also grappled with the complexities of rifled versus smoothbore guns and breech-loading versus muzzle-loading. The Brits started with the right idea of using the rifled breech-loaded guns but due to the technical problems with the Armstrong system went all the way back to the smooth-bore muzzle-loading guns, which created a brand new set of the technical problems. To break a thick armor the guns had to be powerful and their caliber was steadily growing all the way to 16 inches making reloading a rather entertaining process. With guns of such size there was no prospect of hauling in the gun for reloading, or even reloading by hand, and complicated hydraulic systems were required for reloading the gun outside the turret without exposing the crew to enemy fire.

As a result, all these guns, British and not, had been extremely slow: the British 16 inch guns were taking 11 minutes per shot and the Italian 450 mm guns 15 minutes. The final straw for the Brits was Thunderer incident of 1879 when the left 12-inch 38 ton gun in the forward turret exploded during gunnery practice in the Sea of Marmora, killing 11 and injuring a further 35. The muzzle-loading gun had been double-loaded following a misfire

After this even the British Admiralty was forced to pay attention to the fact that de Bange obturator system providing fast and efficient breech sealing was available since 1872 (and adopted by the French Navy since 1875) and to get back to what it started with, the rifled breech-loading cannons. And, of course, size of the guns could not just keep growing: the increased calibers made reloading slower, increasing the stresses on the ship's hull and impacting ship’s stability. Italian Caio Duilio class had 450 mm (17.72 inch) muzzle-loading guns (notice that they were quite short).

While all that “get them bigger” craze was going on, somehow the important point was missing: range and hitting power far exceeded simple accuracy, especially at sea where the slightest roll or pitch of the vessel as 'floating weapons-platform' could negate the advantage of rifling. The additional factors were confusion of a melee and a smoke obscuring the vision (as was the case at Lissa). In other words, the effective range of the new monsters (in the terms of being able to hit the enemy) was almost the same as in the Age of Sail and the ironclads would have to fight within few hundred meters from each other.

How. Both Britain and France kept building the broadside ironclads throughout the 1860s but Italy, Austria, Russia and the US started switching to the different options:
  • The ‘centre-battery’ in which the guns were placed in an armored casemate amidships.
  • turret (or barbette if not fully armored) in which the guns could be placed on a rotating platform to give them a broad field of fire.
In the 1860s -70s the first option was more popular because it was simpler.

The first turrets had been already used on the river monitors during the Hungarian War of Independence and then there were few coastal defense ships of that type operating on the Baltic and Black Seas and later more of those had been used during the ACW. But for a while all these ships had a relatively short range: their heavy turrets dictated low freeboards to provide ship’s stability bit this meant a smaller hull and therefore a smaller capacity for coal storage. The lighter option of the turret, the barbette, fixed armored towers which held a gun on a turntable, provided protection against the direct hits but not the plunging fire.

By the 1860s the full-iron armored ships became common (the French reason for use of wooden hulls for the ironclad fleet built in the 1860s was that the French iron industry could not supply enough). However, the wooden hulls continued to be used for long-range and smaller ironclads, because iron had a significant disadvantage. Iron hulls suffered quick fouling by marine life, slowing the ships down—manageable for a European battlefleet close to dry docks, but a difficulty for long-range ships. At least the first iron-built ships still had been using wood as a part of their protection. For example, HMS Warrior was protected by 4.5 in (114 mm) of wrought iron backed by 15 in (381 mm) of teak, the strongest shipbuilding wood. In the 1860s the steel of the time was too brittle and disintegrated when struck by shells. It would became practical only in the 1870s invention of the compound armor will make it practical. As the thickness of armor grew to protect ships from the increasingly heavy guns, the area of the ship which could be fully protected diminished and as a result, the ship could be disabled by hits on the bow and stern. This situation prefigured the later debate in battleship design between tapering and 'all-or-nothing' armor design.

The side effect of all these developments was in a changed power balance between the ironclads and coastal fortifications. On one hand, the old style fortifications in the form of the exposed stone or brick towers or forts with the numerous relatively small caliber cannons became vulnerable to the naval power (even if just because the new naval artillery was outranging their own and, given enough time and ammunition, the ironclads would eventually be able to hit a big static target from more than few hundred meters) and a new approach to their construction had been required but, OTOH, the new ironclads, had a lot of the unprotected areas, which made them quite vulnerable for the explosive shells even of the relatively small caliber coastal guns protected by the earthworks, not to mention the bigger coastal guns operating from the modern fortifications. After all, even the best of the ironclads had very few big guns with the serious limitations to their deployment (in the casemates at best half of them could be used against any target and the same goes for some of the popular turret configurations).

In practical terms it meant that the old fortifications protecting St-Petersburg and the Dardanelles has to be augmented by more modern ones with the new artillery.

But situation on the Med was much more complicated because the British government was seriously considering scenario by which its Mediterranean fleet may be caught between the French fleet based on Toulon and the Russian Black Sea Fleet getting out of the Straits with the additional complication being the Russian-Ottoman naval bases on the Septinsular Republic which still existed to the Greek, Italian, Austrian and British irritation. Neither of the co-protectors of the republic did not hold a powerful squadron here on a permanent base but the fortifications had been regularly modernized, properly garrisoned, the distance from the Ottoman naval base on Crete was rather short and the Ottoman navy had quite a few mdern warships including the ironclads. The Russia Black Sea fleet was further away but not prohibitively so. What’s more important, neither Russia nor Ottoman Empire demonstrated any intention to …er… “withheld protection” and none of the irritated states was ready to start a major war over this issue.

Of course, an idea of the coordinated French, Russian and Ottoman attack on the British Mediterranean squadron was on a paranoid side, the countries were friendly but there was no formal alliance between Russia and the Ottomans on one side and France on another and no cooperation between their navies was established but the British politicians were not going to take a risk and there was an ongoing diplomatic exchange with Italy and Austria regarding potential answers to such a hypothetical scenario.

The practical aspect of this paranoia was that, while being inferior in numbers, the French navy had been ahead of the British in the terms of armor, guns, shells, tactics and general preparedness. The Russian Black Sea Fleet was not too big but it also was quite modern and the Ottomans (quality of their crews aside) also had the modern ships, some of them made in Britain. OTOH, so far the British naval policy was, as soon as there was some new type of a foreign ship, to build its bigger version. As a result, the British navy was an assorted collection of the numerous types of the ironclads rather than a fleet built upon a single meaningful plan. And the worst thing was that Britain and France had the coinciding interests: both of them wanted more colonies. And this meant not only competition between the ironclads but also between the fast and powerful long-range cruisers capable of acting on the trade routes.
While not being too much into the colonial acquisitions, Russia was also engaged in the long distance trade and idea of acting on the communication of a potential enemy (who could it be?) was there with the obvious conclusions being made. The most influential Russian publicist, M.N.Katkov, editor of the “Moscow News”, got himself deeply involved in the issues of the Russian naval development and gradually shifted from being an admirer of the ironclads to the advocacy of the cruisers getting a little bit overboard in assessment of their potential usefulness. But, with all the exaggerations, he was making a very important point: “… the navy will never be on a solid foundation if in parallel with its development there is no development of the merchant fleet.”

On land. The Austro-Prussian war caught Russia in the midst of a major military reform and, logically, its experience has to be incorporated. The problem, as with the naval experience, was in the question: what this experience amounts to?

  • Obviously, the Prussian system of mobilization proved to be superior to the Austrian but to which degree it should be copied? For the war Prussia mobilized practically all its war capable reserves. What if the war was not as short as it was and required a steady influx of the well-prepared troops? The army did not have structure allowing a fast creation of the new division- or corps-level units both because there were no command cadres of all levels and because all reasonably trained troops had been already mobilized and engaged. Landwehr was not considered a fighting force by the Prussian command. So, if the Russian military reform is going to prepare the empire to a large-scale long war (not clear against whom but who can guarantee anything?), a system allowing a massive creation of the new formations during the war must be created.
  • While the Prussian baggage train was well organized in the terms of regulating amount of the personal belongings and having standardized wagons, it noticeably failed in the area of provision supplies forcing each corps and even regiment to supply itself by looting the area and confiscating the locally available carts and wagons of all types. An idea of the supplies coming from the corps formation region proved to be untenable and was simply inapplicable to the Russian much greater distances. And this was just a matter of food and forage: the Prussian army did not even use the whole supply of the shells it was carrying with it. How the distributed regional supply system was supposed to function in this area?
  • Of course, the Prussian infantry tactics produced the remarkable results but what is the sense in having the rifles shooting 3 tikes faster than those of an enemy if the shooting was reduced to a bare minimum?
  • Speaking of the fire, the soldiers on both sides still were using the dense formations suffering as a result from the infantry and artillery fire of the opponent. Only a fraction of the Prussian infantry had a chance to fire at all. Then, while the needle gun was allowing to shoot and reload while laying on a ground, neither tactics, nor carried equipment allowed individual infantryman to made his position more secure by digging a little bit of an individual breastwork.
  • Prussian system of a “decentralized” military district based usage of the railroads had its good points but how to adopt it to the Russian geographic conditions: in the case of a major war the mobilized troops would be inevitably moving through the numerous military districts.
  • Artillery was numerous on both sides but it looked like it was effectively used mostly by the Austrians in the defensive purposes and without a proper protection by the infantry with a resulted loss of a big numbers of guns.
  • The strong points like a descent treatment of the soldiers had been obvious (and Dragomirov’s report greatly emphasized this factor) but it was not yet clear how to adopt the part involving the educated classes: while in Prussia the educational system had been emphasizing the patriotism since the early XIX, in Russia the educated classes during the reign of AII adopted a more critical attitude to the government and it was not clear if a mandatory service Prussian style will change their attitudes. The existing practice of sending them to serve as the soldiers was a punishment for some serious misdemeanor, not a duty, and so far the ongoing reform was exempting people with the university diploma from service depriving army of the potential pool of the officer cadres for a big war.
  • Role of a General Staff remained unclear. On the Austrian side it was generally destructive and on Prussian it did not play any noticeable role during the war: for all practical purposes it was run by the Ministry of War and the army commanders and opinions of General Blumenthal were as often as not simply ignored [4].
  • How to force the Russian officers to be like their Prussian colleagues and not like the Austrians to whom they were much closer in their general unwillingness to study their profession and to threat their soldiers as descent human beings?
So the Russian military officials could not make their work easier by a witless copying of the existing experience, as Peter I did in the early XVIII. Which was quite frustrating. Of course, there was always an option of dumping the annoying task upon the eager younger officers and then, after due pontification and criticism, adopt it. But there was one more problem: whom to trust? Of course, Dragomirov was quite eager to see his ideas implemented and two factors were talking in his favor: (a) he participated in the recent war and (b) he was emphasizing Suvorov’s teachings as a source of his theories claiming that he was the first one to explain their true meaning. Who in the Russian military establishment would dare to argue against Suvorov’s authority? 😉

However, there was a counter-balance in a person of general Obruchev, the secretary of the Military Academic Committee of the Main Staff.
Of course, Obruchev did not have the first hand experience in the last war but he was the right hand of retired Milutin and, while being considered somewhat of a liberal, never let his personal feelings to interfere into his job. And his analytical works on the recent wars had been very good [5] and he was already holding important position in the General Staff. There was one more thing going in his favor. While AIII was, following the established tradition, brought up as a military person, unlike his father and grandfather, he was not a dedicated martinet and definitely not a militarist. The army for him was, of course, one of the “true friends” of Russia (the Navy being the second one) but it was subject to the general approach: everything must be practical and efficient. As a result, he did not really like the flamboyant military types and references to the military icons of the past tended not impress him. Obruchev was already deeply involved in the ongoing reform and proved to be quite reasonable. Vannovskiy, the Minister of War, also had a high opinion of him so it looked reasonable to make him the main “mover” with a caveat that he should analyze opinions of others and adopt the meaningful ones. Ideologically, he was in a full agreement with Dragomirov in a part related to the soldiers’ training and treatment and Vannovskiy was fully on board with this as well. The rest can be figured out.

As far as the foreign affairs were involved, AIII was intended to screw up the Brits (a little bit) in Persia without getting into a direct confrontation…

In a meantime.
, Archduke Albrecht (who skillfully channelled all the blame on Benedek) remained Oberkommandeur until 1869; when Kaiser Franz Josef I assumed the title that year, Albrecht became Generalinspekteur (Inspector General), the post he occupied until his death. In 1869 he published Über die Verantwortlichkeit im Kriege (On Responsibility in War). His reform of the Austro-Hungarian Army was based on the Prussian model: development of railways and manufacturing, adoption of short-service conscription, procurement of modern weapons and reform of the General Staff.

France Emperor Charles kept continuing his policies combining colonial expansion with the social reforms at home. Opposition on both right and left kept being active but by the appeal to French peasantry and some modest labor laws he was managing to keep support of a majority pf population while still being a darling of the industrialists and financiers. Both army and navy became quite prominent in the number and speed of the technological advances including de Bange obturator, which finally allowed to solve an ongoing problem with the breech sealing of the breech-loading guns.

However, the military system itself remained unchanged with its stress on a relatively small professional army and inadequate attention to preparation of the big trained reserves.

Colonial expansion, so far, did not cause the major conflicts with Britain even if the British attempt to regain influence in Egypt was dwarfed by the French diplomacy.

A major visible success was a discovery of the diamonds in Namibia: France became a strong competitor of Britain in this market. French possessions in the Guinea Gulf had been steadily consolidated with the deeper penetrations inland. In Indochina the effort so far was limited to Cohinchina.

Britain was in a rather rare period of minding its own business minimizing interference into the European affairs, trying to modernize its navy in a rather expensive way and concentrating on the colonial expansion. It was quite successful in Malaya but somewhat stalled at Madagascar forcing to use more military and naval resources than initially anticipated. To simplify the operations, Britain squeezed its old ally, Portugal, out of a chunk of its coastal holdings at Mozambique (then one thing led to another and to secure the coast there was a need to expand deeper inland and then even deeper, etc. eventually leading to the British possession of a big central part of the continent but this will take a considerable time).

In India the British control was pretty much stabilized. However, the government in Delhi was much more adventurous than one in London with the resulting expeditions into the mountain areas to the North and not clearly formulated ideas regarding “exploration” as far as the Russian-controlled territories of the Central Asia. With the whole border region not being fully studied it still was not 100% clear what belongs to whom so the …er… “geographic expeditions” had been routinely run by both sides. However, the British “explorers” reaching the Khanates was a somewhat different issue. If they were clearly explorers, they were usually passing through the Khanates without the problems to be greeted and feted on the Russian territory as befitting the brave travelers and then given a free passage through the empire. But there was a couple of occasions when these travelers tried to remain on the Khanates territories acting as the political agents. Rather conveniently, the rulers of Bukhara and Khiva had been retaining certain degree of, shall we say, “judicial independence”, and the Russian authorities were not always capable of interfering fast enough to get the unfortunate travelers from the local zindan before they were executed (quite regrettably, but what dan you do, this is Asia and these people are not fully civilized, yet).

Spanish Empire Isabella II was overthrown by la Gloriosa (the Glorious Revolution) in September of 1868. The naval forces in Cadiz mutinied, the exiled generals Prim and Francisco Serrano denounced the government, and much of the army defected to the revolutionary generals on their arrival in Spain. The queen made a brief show of force at the Battle of Alcolea, where her loyal moderado generals under Manuel Pavia were defeated by General Serrano. The Queen crossed the French border and lived the rest of her life in exile. General Serrano was declared a regent and the Cortes started looking for a suitable new monarch who would agree to comply with a new liberal constitution. After prolonged discussions and quite a few candidates being rejected by one reason or another, in August 1870, they selected an Italian prince, Amadeo of Savoy, a younger son of VE, due to his total political insignificance. He landed in Cartagena on November 27, the same day that Juan Prim (who became a regent in 1869) was assassinated while leaving the Cortes. Amadeo swore upon the general's corpse that he would uphold Spain's constitution. He lasted two years, after which the parties formed the first Spanish Republic. That in turn lasted two years.
The remaining Spanish colonies viewed these developments with the remarkable indifference: for them the mother-country was important mostly as a stabilizing factor helping to resolve their quarrels by moderation and allowing to form something of an united front against the potential political and economic pressure from Britain and the United States. Who is in charge in Spain did not really matter as ling as the system worked.

  • In the united Northern Germany the idea of declaring it German Empire kept gaining the growing support with Bismarck being the main pushing force domestically and internationally. Reputation of the military remained extremely high and the nation was enjoying the countless military parades, the bands playing the military marches, the writers publishing articles and the books proving that the Germans always possessed the superior military spirit and capacities since they got down from the trees [6]. Krupp got pretty much carte blanche on producing as many cannons as he can and was now expanding his production to a brand new area of development steel armor for the new-born German navy.
  • States of the Southern Germany had been putting a lot of effort into remaining neutral by looking for support of this position in France, Britain and Russia. So far, Bismarck did not have any plans regarding absorbing them: his vision of Germany did not include what he was considered rather decadent Catholic states.

[1] It should not come as a surprise that a whore figured this much faster than the military: she was not on a government’s payroll.
[2] While a non-military professional mentioned in [1] had to learn and to make the right conclusions fast and at her own risk, the military & naval decision makers of a peace time not only had the other people money but seemingly unlimited time for their experiments and risked pretty much nothing in the terms of a personal well-being when their experiments proved to be the costly failures.
[3] Their screw-based locking mechanism was making an effective sealing of the breech quite difficult which was reducing the shell’s velocity and endangering the crews.
[4] In OTL it was almost the same but Moltke was prevailing due to his close connection to the royal family and personal respect of the King.
[5] In OTL he pissed off quite a few important people with his analysis of the CW but this did not hurt his career.
[6] Engels was seemingly quite supportive of that idea and even such a serious military historian as Delbruck dedicated a whole volume to pushing it, often disregarding his own proof of a contrary.
Interesting times in Russia
269. Interesting times in Russia
“Let you live in the interesting times”
Chinese curse.
«Мы все терпеньем запаслись:
Вот-вот пойдут у нас реформы.
И в самом деле дождались…
Городовые новой формы»
Epigram of the time of AIII
«… нет ничего слюнявее и плюгавее
Русского безбожия и православия.»
«Я не знаю, что значит какой-то прогресс,
Но до здравого русского веча
Вам еще, государи, далече!
» [3]
А.К. Толстой
“Each species needs a sex that's fated
to be highly decorated!
That is why the Lord created men!

‘Scarlet Pimpernel’

AIII inherited Russian Empire in a state of the ideological confusion, which was quite understandable: all the way to the reign of AII the “ideology” usually amounted to the emperor’s latest order, which was, of course, convenient in the terms of saving the subjects’ time an energy that could be wasted on absolutely unnecessary processes of contemplating the orders which they should be implementing without any thinking; or, even worse, expressing their own unsolicited opinions on these issues. The state, as established by Peter the Great had to function as a clock: the imperial order is winding a mechanism and all cogs and wheels start doing whatever they are intended to do. Of course, after more than a century of functioning some details of a mechanism had been worn out and had to be replaced but there was no need to run in the circles shouting “the clock is broken!” and causing a general confusion. At least, this was an opinion of the distinguished retired statesman of the English Club.

Well, what was done was done and AIII had to figure out how to deal with the situation. To the better or worse, with genie being legally out of a bottle, there was a lively and rather heated public discussion that was, seemingly, producing little in the terms of a meaningful program besides “let’s break everything” from the radicals on one side and “push genie back into the bottle” from the conservatives. The “center” was not capable of coming with something coherent because, unlike the extremists on both sides, it was too busy arguing about details to develop a general framework.

The old formula “Orthodoxy, Absolutism and populism” formulated during the reign of NI sounded nice but its creator never bothered to explain how it is supposed to work and now neither could Pobedonostsev, who was its ardent supporter. While energetically and convincingly discussing the flaws of the elective system Pobedonostsev could not come with any positive alternative except preserving the status quo, aka unlimited dominance of the bureaucracy. In a somewhat strange twist of his logic, he was making an exception for Academia insisting that the universities can flourish only in the atmosphere of a free discussion and that their freedoms must be protected. In other words, the least prepared part of a society, the youngsters with no life experience, should be allowed the freedom which will be taken away as soon as they start getting in touch with real life. Then, it would mean that the same youngsters should have a say in who is going to teach them and how. Based upon which qualifications? How the state would benefit from implementation of such a schema?


The only seemingly reasonable course was, rather paradoxically, outlined by a close friend of his father, count A.K.Tolstoy, recently retired master of ceremonies of the Imperial Court, who was not a politician at all but “just a poet”. Of course, his advice to neutralize the leading liberals by giving them state awards was given in a satiric poem but it worked. So did his poetic message to the Chairman of the Printing Committee mocking his decision to forbade publishing Darwin’s book - the addressee understood that he is just embarrassing himself and a government and retracted his decision. On a balance, he rarely missed an occasion to mock the Russian lefties. Of course, he was idealizing the Old Rus but the practical part was doable: choosing a middle course taking initiative instead of just following the flow.

The obvious point to start with was to consider a proposal formulated in 1863 by Pyotr Valuyev, Minister of Interior who retained his position. He was proposing a reform of a top layer of the Russian government that would provide some elective representation without limiting government's real power. He recommended that representatives of the population elected by zemstvo assemblies (2-4 delegates to the gubernia), as well as city councils of larger cities, be invited to the State Council, but not permanently, just for some specific discussions. AII tabled this proposal but AIII, after he was informed about its existence (his father kept him completely out of the state business), took a more pragmatic approach.

Of course, as formulated, this proposal was an attempt to be a little big pregnant typical for his father’s reign and Valuyev’s own activities as Minister of Interior (just as his reforms of zemstvo and censorship). To elect people just for discussion of some special cases would not satisfy them and their electorate and wouldn’t these delegates be tempted to prolong the discussions just to retain their positions for as long as possible? Anyway, by 1868 Valuyev became quite unpopular figure both for the right and the left and AIII kicked him upstairs to the State Council appointing to his position Alexander Timashev, Minister of Post and Telegraph (this ministry was incorporated into Ministry of Interior). While being a staunch conservative, Timashev was a capable administrator and also was expected to do what he is ordered even if it was not fully to his political taste.

State Council. Valuyev project was revived and modified to provide a big carrot to the liberals and to make a practical sense. Besides the members appointed (for life) there are going to be the elected ones for 4 years:
  • Representatives from zemstvos and city dumas.
  • In addition, there were special “professional” elections (for 4 years) by the following groups: (a) Orthodox Church, (b) Academy of Science and universities, (c) the Trade Council and regional trade and manufactory committees, exchange committees and merchant associations. These people were expected to provide a needed expertise in special areas.
It was promised that, if within the next 4 years the system proves to be productive, then the status of State Council is going to be upgraded from “law advisory” to “law making”. The carrot was really big, even if the monarchy retained its rights to all state appointments, and an outlined perspective of making it even bigger solidly put all “educated classes” except for the extreme radicals into the government’s camp.

The peasantry, as a general mass, did not care too much about the politics but it did care about the taxes, land and various tangible benefits like medical and veterinary services and, to a lesser degree, education of their children. The poll tax had been abolished with a lot of fanfare and so was the salt tax. The sneaky introduction of various excise taxes past almost unnoticed and, unlike the old poll tax, the new ones had been covering everybody so the government was not actually as generous as advertised.

On a practical side, the peasants started getting passports, which meant that they could travel freely and to settle in the cities becoming entrepreneurs or joining the working class.

As far as various services were involved, zemstvo proved to be an extremely valuable …scapegoat. As an institution, it was responsible for the local education, medical and veterinary services, improvements of infrastructure, etc. And, with few exceptions here and there, it was failing everywhere.

The hospitals and medical offices run by the zemstvos were few and routinely ill funded so that the peasants would be lucky if nearby was a major landowner with the philanthropic (or not quite philanthropic) inclinations establishing some medical services for his/her employees (the local peasants) and allowing other neighbors to use them. The big cities could have the proper adequately staffed hospitals but the villages were far away so there were 3 types of the medical services:


  • Traveling (the doctor, in the absence of a hospital, spends all the time traveling around the site, visiting all villages or certain assembly points where paramedic stations were located, and also goes to the village for anti-epidemic measures). In 1860s it was still prevailing and it was rather impractical: zemstvo of Serpukhov uezd computed that even a daily visit to 3-4 villages would take 43 days per month. However, the Zemstvo authorities were in no hurry to part with the traveling system not only for reasons of economy. The traveling system created the illusion of full provision of medical care to the population.

  • Inpatient (the doctor is in charge of the district hospital and conducts an outpatient appointment, leaving only in emergency cases - to serious patients, to epidemics and for vaccination). This system was on the first stages of its development;
  • Mixed (the doctor, head of the hospital, goes to paramedic stations to receive outpatients);

The same goes for the zemsky veterinarians: quite often the only office was in uezd city and veterinarian rarely, if ever, was traveling to the countryside. Taking into an account that all these people had been paid out of the taxes collected by zemstvo for this purpose, there was catch 22 situation: zemstvo was reluctant to tax more while the peasants and newspapers were complaining that the services were inadequate. The government was out of the loop with a wide field open for demagoguery about inefficiency of this institution.

Labor laws. The first labor law was introduced in 1869 [4] regulating the working hours for the teenagers employeed in the industrial plants.
  • The working hours for the ages 12-15 were limited to 8 per day with a mandatory break (so that it could be more than 4 hours in a row) with the night shifts forbidden as well as work in the dangerous for health conditions, works on Sundays and official holidays.
  • Owners of factories and manufactories are obliged to those among minors working in their institutions who do not have a certificate of completion of the course at least in a one-class folk or equal school to provide the opportunity to visit these educational institutions for at least 3 hours daily, or 18 hours a week.
  • To supervise the implementation of work orders and training of young workers, establish a special inspection.
This, of course, did not resolve all labor-related problems and was only the first step in a long process. But some of the problems had been resolved the natural way: the industrial boom made plant owners, who wanted to expand their production, interested in retaining the experienced workers and attracting the inexperienced ones to be trained. Which led to the raising salaries and efforts to improve workers’ living conditions. Some entrepreneurs even had been building the whole settlements with the individual houses or apartments, schools, kindergartens and hospitals. Anyway, salary of a trained professional worker usually allowed to comfortably support family of four renting apartment or a house.

Army. While the debates regarding the better organization of the Russian army were going on, Alexander decided to take care of its well-being.

Traditionally, providing soldiers with the uniforms was a regimental responsibility with the predictable patchy results. AIII centralized supply system so that the army units was getting the ready uniforms and the boots being free of a need to do this themselves. Seemingly, everybody should be happy but this was not the case because, with a laudable intention to make uniforms more practical and less expensive, AIII changed the fanciful uniforms of the previous reign to the much simpler ones designed along the lines of the Russian national dress.

And the army, from top to bottom, hated them.

Which was quite predictable because all these colored thingies were a part of the “military pride” and what was a point in a military service if, instead of looking as a peacock (which was especially the case in cavalry and Guards units), you are looking almost as a peasant. In the army infantry, the heavy inconvenient backpacks were abolished and cloth bags were introduced instead. Happiness? Anyone? Nope: “these bags make soldiers look like the beggars”. Even extending permission to wear during the summer the light white shirts from the troops located in the CA to the whole infantry did not help too much: a true military man would rather suffer from a heat that allow to be deprived of his favorite adornments.

Even worse things were in the army cavalry where the cuirassiers, uhlans and hussars had been turned into the mere dragoons. “Our precious lances are gone,” Well, statistics of the fatalities caused by this glorious weapon in the hands of a regular cavalry was depressingly low even in the early XIX and, with a now short term of the service, a chance to learn how to use it effectively was extremely low. The Cossacks were a different story because they were trained to use their lances since childhood. The hussar uniforms were, indeed fancy but what were they adding to the fighting ability? Nothing. And these uniforms had been quite expensive and hard to keep presentable during a serious campaign.


The cuirasses were not protecting from rifle’s bullet and, anyway, there was the whole cuirassier division left. But what, where and when had the cavalry to do with the reason? It was “unhappy, unhappy, very, very, very unhappy” being turned into the colorless mass of the dragoons.


Another blow to the military morale was decreasing a number of the military parades and massive ceremonial changes of the guards. This was plain cruel and one may wonder how the Russian army managed to survive.

Quite a few officers were unhappy enough to quit the army, which was probably a positive effect because they were probably on a far end of stupidity even by the military standards. [5] To at least partially compensate for a grave shock to the tender military egos, AIII increased officers’ salary.

[1] “We had been waiting patiently for the coming reforms and the patience was rewarded… police got the new uniforms”.
[2] “There's nothing more drooling and shabby than Russian atheism and Orthodoxy.”
[3] “I don't know what ‘progress’ means but you have a long way to go to the common-sense Russian veche!”
[4] In OTL in 1882, the next year after AIIIs accession, so in a shifted time table I’m even behind the schedule.
[5] No recorded cases of the suicides so probably even military stupidity had some limitations.
“Let you live in the interesting times”
Chinese curse​
Only if I'm the interesting part about it
producing little in the terms of a meaningful program besides “let’s break everything” from the radicals on one side and “push genie back into the bottle”
Why not both?
-Tolstoy probably
In a somewhat strange twist of his logic, he was making an exception for Academia insisting that the universities can flourish only in the atmosphere of a free discussion and that their freedoms must be protected. In other words, the least prepared part of a society, the youngsters with no life experience, should be allowed the freedom
Remember when the Academia was frequented by erudite and experienced (wo)men? Me neither

But yeah lets give the kids some fun ideas
The only seemingly reasonable course was, rather paradoxically, outlined by a close friend of his father, count A.K.Tolstoy
I cant believe I got it right!
I mean wrong Tolstoy but still!
Of course, he was idealizing the Old Rus but the practical part was doable: choosing a middle course taking initiative instead of just following the flow.
And with the same solution! Glorious!
In the army infantry, the heavy inconvenient backpacks were abolished and cloth bags were introduced instead. Happiness? Anyone? Nope: “these bags make soldiers look like the beggars”.
So long they look pretty~
Even worse things were in the army cavalry where the cuirassiers, uhlans and hussars had been turned into the mere dragoons.
They should be thankful to be turned into glorious dragons!
Oh wait an extra O
This is why we cant have nice things :cryingface:
“Our precious lances are gone,”
Well, statistics of the fatalities caused by this glorious weapon in the hands of a regular cavalry was depressingly low even in the early XIX
To be fair I think they're more effective at keeping the enemy at a distance before you can confortably engage them

Not sure if that goes on the statistics though
The Cossacks were a different story because they were trained to use their lances since childhood.
Then train them all from childhood!
Kidnap them from their mothers, raise them into true saiyan warriors- wait wrong planet
The hussar uniforms were, indeed fancy but what were they adding to the fighting ability? Nothing
I mean if its flashy enough it might hurt the enemy's eyes :p
Another blow to the military morale was decreasing a number of the military parades and massive ceremonial changes of the guards. This was plain cruel and one may wonder how the Russian army managed to survive.
How dare

Truly a tragedy
Quite a few officers were unhappy enough to quit the army, which was probably a positive effect because they were probably on a far end of stupidity even by the military standards
Wow, I wasnt expecting fashion darwinism!
Shows the russian army is really evolving :openedeyewink:
To at least partially compensate for a grave shock to the tender military egos, AIII increased officers’ salary

With monies they can buy fancier clothes anyway
Only if I'm the interesting part about it

Why not both?
-Tolstoy probably

See below
Remember when the Academia was frequented by erudite and experienced (wo)men? Me neither

But yeah lets give the kids some fun ideas

I cant believe I got it right!
I mean wrong Tolstoy but still!

FYI, there was more than one Tolstoy at a time and, while all of them had the “count” title, they belonged to the substantially different subclasses of the nobility. This one, unlike Lev, belonged to the upper class. His mother was routinely irritating wife of NI by wearing the same hats in which she looked better than the Empress. Alexey belonged to the senior branch of the family, was one of the future AII’s childhood friends and this friendship turned into a life long one. His education and the following career were on the corresponding level. The same goes for his connections: for him Chairman of the Printing Committee was just “Misha”, etc.
Lev was a titled provincial noble never anywhere close to the court.
And with the same solution! Glorious!

Giving state decorations to the “noisy ones” would be a much better solution than the OTL inept activities of AIIs government.

So long they look pretty~
Actually, these absurd noises did happen in OTL. NII rolled back part of his father’s changes but all that colorful paradeground crap proved to be useless at the time of the RJW .

They should be thankful to be turned into glorious dragons!

FYI, the dragoons were not glorious. And, in general, you can’t be glorious in a shabby uniform.
Oh wait an extra O
This is why we cant have nice things :cryingface:


To be fair I think they're more effective at keeping the enemy at a distance before you can confortably engage them

Not sure if that goes on the statistics though

Then train them all from childhood!
Kidnap them from their mothers, raise them into true saiyan warriors- wait wrong planet

Yep. With the space travel being underdeveloped, schema you are proposing would be problematic.
I mean if its flashy enough it might hurt the enemy's eyes :p
Only if the sun is shining in a right direction and this may make tactics very complicated. Imagine two hussar regiments maneuvering against each other trying to get sun shining on their uniforms… 😢
How dare

Truly a tragedy

Wow, I wasnt expecting fashion darwinism!
Shows the russian army is really evolving :openedeyewink:
Was this darwinism or lamarckism?


With monies they can buy fancier clothes anyway
Yeah, some of them got really creative with their uniforms. List of the various ways of tucking their trousers into the boots shows that there were huge untapped resources of creativity and brainpower in the officers corps. Unfortunately, the Ministry of War missed a chance to channel this resource into some productive area. 😜