No GNW (or “Peter goes South”)

I feel we see another showdown soon, it feels a lot like the onramp to WW1.
The question is who will ally with the British?
The Spanish are on the French side, the Swedes are on the Russian side, the Ottomans are under Russian influence, Austria and Prussia maybe but they certainly don't want another round with Russia for now.
The question is who will ally with the British?
The Spanish are on the French side, the Swedes are on the Russian side, the Ottomans are under Russian influence, Austria and Prussia maybe but they certainly don't want another round with Russia for now.
That is a good point. I dont think there is an option right now.
Well it’s good to have more opportunities for the generalissimo to show his greatness to the world
The question is who will ally with the British?
The Spanish are on the French side, the Swedes are on the Russian side, the Ottomans are under Russian influence, Austria and Prussia maybe but they certainly don't want another round with Russia for now.
Prussia is aligned with Russia - besides the dynastic marriage there is a neighboring piece of a territory called “Electorate of Hanover” which still in a personal union with Britain and sticks between the Prussian possessions. On its own Prussia may not risk a war but if the framework is right…

Well, anyway, Britain has a problem with finding meaningful suckers on the continent.
Prussia is aligned with Russia - besides the dynastic marriage there is a neighboring piece of a territory called “Electorate of Hanover” which still in a personal union with Britain and sticks between the Prussian possessions. On its own Prussia may not risk a war but if the framework is right…
View attachment 773986
Well, anyway, Britain has a problem with finding meaningful suckers on the continent.

Quite ironical contrast to otl. After the Vienna congress and even before continental European powers were so busy being at each other's throats that they forgot to pay attention to the British, ITTL it seems that most powers prefer to avoid direct and expensive conflict with each other's and are focused on expansion elsewhere, or against minor powers.
Perhaps the British make a global move to distract Russia and their colonial opponents while trying to convince someone to switch to their side.
Perhaps the British make a global move to distract Russia and their colonial opponents while trying to convince someone to switch to their side.

That's kinda hard as only continental power that could legitimately stand up to Russia is France and they are rival as well, i would say even bigger rival than Russia. Otherwise from other great powers Prussia and Austria could potentially be trouble if they work together and are really dedicated, but as of now they are to weak and are more interested in getting an advantage against each other. Other powers of varying degrees can't stand up to Russia, or France and are more, or less under their influence.

Basically as long as there's understanding between France and Russia British can't do a lot on the continent.

But what they can do is influence countries with oversea colonies to more neutral and friendly position as British are still prime naval power and their friendship is valuable in that regard.

Edit: But generally British position isn't as bad and is still quite secure as no one ( if you disregard British paranoia) will not engage in expensive wars against them,or in Russian case they simply don't have broader conflict of interests. Otherwise rest of the conflict is more, or less guided by the British exceptionalism when it comes to trade and unwillingness to engage in fair trade with powers that are more, or less their equals and have ability to tell them off. So i don't really see the need for the British to take the rash action.
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Perhaps the British make a global move to distract Russia and their colonial opponents while trying to convince someone to switch to their side.
In OTL Britain had two main allies against Russia:
  • Nicholas I who managed to be boorish enough to align pretty much everybody who mattered against him.
  • Little Nappy who had a number of reasons, mostly silly, but nonetheless: conflict over the Holy Places (prestige and popular among the ultra-Catholics), imaginable Russian competition in Levant (not economic because Russia had nothing to export and not really military because Russia could not get there in force with the unconquered Caucasus and weak navy) and a personal insult caused by refusal of NI to grant him a proper addressing. Well, and a wish for military glory. Notice that as soon as NI died, the issues had been easily resolved with AII and Russia and France remained friendly until Little Nappy stuck his long nose into the Polish business.
ITTL there is no NIII, NI conducts a much more retrained foreign policy and Russia is much better off economically and in the terms of industrial development and France is much more aggressive in Egypt (vs. Brits) than in OTL.

As for the rest, it will be addressed in the following chapter(s).
I'm looking forward to it. Especially what will later become Germany will have some interesting years coming towards it. I can certainly see Prussia wanting to beat Austria and vice versa for Germanic dominance, but who will support them? The British might for an alliance vs Russia later? But some of the now German territory is French and British, so if they move vs the former theyll get their Prussian ass kicked, the latter will remove their only potential ally as neither Russia, Sweden or Denmark will support an aggressive Prussian war.

So maybe, very maybe Britian will support a German limited war to create one counterbalance / potential ally / distraction for both France and Russia. And perhaps they can find enough Orange supporters to have a revolt in NL, so France won't interfere since it will want to put that down first?

Looking forward to the next update.
It is complicated…
215. It is complicated…

“- Did he just call you a bunny?
- It is complicated”
«Я буду тебе обижен» [1]
“Alliance is an agreement between two thieves whose hands are so deeply tied in each other's pockets that they can no longer rob the third separately.”
Ambroz Beers
In difficult times, only the alliance that thinks strategically, shares a common vision and acts together is strong.”
Federica Mogherini
When a friendship suddenly arises between a dog and a cat, it's nothing but an alliance against a cook.”
Stefan Zweig
Nothing unites as much as a common threat and a common enemy”
V. Solovyev

When the Revolutionary Wars were over, the British government was caught between the Malthusian understanding of the relationship of wages, prices, and population, and the Ricardian model. On the one hand, adherents to the Malthusian model believed it was dangerous for Britain to rely on imported corn, because lower prices would reduce wages, and landlords and farmers would lose purchasing power. On the other hand, adherents to the Ricardian model thought that Britain could use its capital and population to advantage in a system of free trade. In at least one area the Maltusians won: the Corn Laws established a bottom price of the grain imports which was above the highest market price in Britain pretty much killing these imports while allowing to preserve demagoguery regarding the free trade (a “concession” to the Ricardian model). The landlords and farmers had been happy but the rest of the British population and traditional grain suppliers not too much so. For quite a while the British government(s) did not care.

In general, there was nothing to worry about (except for the Chinese savages who refused to buy British opium): Britain was still the #1 steel and textile manufacturer, its colonies still supplied most of the “colonial goods” consumed by Europe and it still had the biggest navy and merchant fleet. So why would anybody start paying a serious attention to these silly continentals? When and if the need arises, British navy will be able to protect the country’s interests anywhere in the world so the British merchants and politicians can keep acting with a complete impunity taking into a consideration only their own interests. “Rule Britannia, Britannia, rule the waves”.

Prussia (and Russia)
The problems in Britain established precedent for problems in the German states; the British limitation on grain imports, through the Corn Laws, blocked economic development in the German states, particularly in eastern Prussia, by limiting the amount of grain that could be imported into Britain. Not only did the Corn Laws keep the price of grain in Britain high, they undermined the viability of Junker producers in east Prussia, and limited their access to external markets.

To make things worse, the HRE in general and Prussia (which was a set of the territories separated from each other by various German states) specifically had been suffering from the numerous tariffs which had been greatly impeding the trade and industrial development while, OTOH, many of the smaller states depended on those customs as their primary source of income. Prussia abolished its own internal customs in 1818 but convincing other German states to drop their custom barriers was an uphill task: who an why will voluntarily agree to cut his own throat?

Fortunately, Prussia and other proponents of the custom reform, like the Duchy of Baden, had a reliable boogyman, Britain: the German tradesmen stood in direct conflict with the English industry and demanded protection from English exports. Expressing their feelings, the economist Friedrich List, wrote that the German people are risking to end up as "drawers of water and hewers of wood for Britain"

There were already small custom unions but some of them did not last long due to the conflicting interests of the more and less advanced members. However, there were some “survivors” including Bavaria–Württemberg Customs Union (BWCU) and the Prussia–Hesse-Darmstadt Customs Union (PHCU) which in 1829 formed a commercial alliance which was by 1833 joined by many other German states allowing to declare creation of Zollverein on January 1, 1834.

The Zollverein or German Customs Union, was a coalition of German states formed to manage tariffs and economic policies within their territories.”

Within the next few years it will be expanded to most of the HRE territories excluding the Hapsburg possessions. Metternich was strongly against it and the Hapsburg monarchy stuck to its own protectionism. Neither did Hanover because it was governed in personal union with England, which had no interest in a Prussian led customs union dominating the center of Europe. OTOH, countries of the Baltic League signed the trade agreement with the new custom union: with a dwindling British market, it looked as a promising option.

Most important factor for the states joining the union was the fact that membership gave them tariff-free access to the large market of Prussia, including the leading industrial areas of Germany. However, there were also reasons that were specific to the South for joining the Zollverein. Staying out implied that southern exports would have to pay hefty Zollverein tolls before reaching the Baltic or North Sea coast, which was important both for exporting their own goods and for buying the British machinery (while the German own was not available) and colonial goods.

In 1807 Friedrich Krupp, began his commercial career at age 19 when the Widow Krupp, his grand,other, appointed him manager of the forge … and quickly ran the formerly profitable forge into the ground. In 1810 the widow died, leaving virtually all the Krupp fortune and property to Friedrich who decided to discover the secret of cast (crucible) steel. The method was invented by Benjamin Huntsman, a clockmaker from Sheffield, in 1740 and since then the Brits tried to keep it secret. This worked for a while making Britain the main steel producer. In 1811 Frederich founded the Krupp Gusstahlfabrik (Cast Steel Works) and in 1816 he was able to produce smelted steel. He died in Essen, 8 October 1826 age 39 leaving business to his widow. The company at that time had only seven jobs and a debt of 10,000 thalers. His son, Alfried Felix Alwyn Krupp, dropped out of school and took over the firm, although the firm was officially owned by his mother. By 1830 the situation had changed. With the development of rail transport in Germany and Europe, the demand for steel for the production of rails and steam locomotive axles has greatly increased. On 26 August 1830, after overcoming some difficulties in steel production, Krupp supplied cast steel rolls for the first time to Hüseken in Hagen-Hohenlimburg.

The creation of Zollverein facilitated freight transport in Germany and the company was growing fast. As soon as its finances had been put on a solid foundation and the customers base was secure (mostly railway construction), Alfred enlarged the factory and fulfilled his long-cherished scheme to construct a breech-loading cannon of cast steel with the first such gun being produced in 1833 [2]. The idea did not win general acceptance among the Prussian military, who remained loyal to tried-and-true muzzle-loaded bronze cannon. Unable to sell his steel cannon, Krupp presented it to the King of Prussia, Frederick William III, who used it as a decorative piece or rather a curiosity that he was demonstrating to the visiting dignitaries.

One of these visitors was his son-in-law, Emperor Nicholas I, who came for a routine visit accompanied by an entourage, which included young lieutenant Paul Obukhov who just recently graduated from the Institute of the Mining Engineers and got an assignment to visit Germany and France (Belgium) to get familiar with the latest methods of work in mining and especially iron, copper and mechanical production. [3]

While the top ranks did not pay too much attention to the presented curiosity being too busy chatting with their equals, the young lieutenant was much less busy. After studying the gun he asked the Emperor’s aid to arrange an audience because he has something very important to report. Nicholas, pleased to see such a serious attitude to the duty, sent lieutenant to visit Krupp Gusstahlfabrik, interview the owner and present a detailed report. After report was written, and after the field tests had been conducted in the emperor’s presence, all collected information had been sent directly to the Generalissimo with “Come and see yourself” in Nicholas’ personal handwriting. He came, he saw, the lieutenant was promoted to a captain and Alfred Krupp got an order for a hundred 6 pounder guns with the understanding that more orders may follow if the further tests will be satisfactory.

Of course, a complete reliance upon the foreign production was not a good policy so Russian steel and weaponry plants got an order to get familiar with the bought samples and develop their own models based upon them. Obukhov, upon his return, developed a detailed project for the manufacture of steel guns directly on the territory of Russia, based on a full analysis of Krupp plant. Zlatoust steel was of a high quality and available in a big volume so he was sent to the area with a task to report his findings to the plant’s authorities and to help organize a guns production creating, if needed, a specialized plant. Some changed in steel production had to be made to adopt it to a new usage (obviously, there was no need in damask steel for that) so from now on it was referenced as “Obukhov” steel.

The project was under the Emperor’s and Generalissimo’s personal control. The first three guns were made within a year and delivered to Moscow for testing. Few guns were brought to the test site for comparison - made of Krupp , English and Obukhov steel. To maintain the purity of the experiment, the Zlatoust guns were drilled to the same depth as foreign ones. The tests consisted of counting the number of shots that the gun could withstand. As a result, no foreign gun crossed the line of two thousand shots, and Obukhov gun withstood twice as many - 4,017 shots were fired from this gun. On the day when the 4,000th shot was to take place, Nicholas himself visited the test site, and in response to the emperor's question whether he is confident in the strength of the gun, Obukhov offered to sit on it when the anniversary shot will be made. In addition, Obukhov steel guns were much cheaper: they cost the treasury 16 rubles per pood, while Krupp guns cost 45 rubles (not counting transportation costs); guns of the English steel were even more expensive. However, Krupp’s breech system was copied: it was reliable and easy to produce. Obukhov, speedily promoted to the colonel and awarded Vladimir 4th class, was trusted with creation of a new plant specialized on production of a gun steel and the barrels. The bigger plant was created in Perm.

Initially, only the army artillery had been involved but soon enough the Admiralty kicked in:

..We consider it an urgent necessity... to lay a new... plant near St. Petersburg capable of manufacturing Colonel Obukhov's large-caliber cast steel guns for the armament of the fleet and fortresses..." After the traditional paper pushing between the Ministry of Finances and Ministry of Navy, Obukhov was sent to St. Petersburg for the purpose of installing a newly steel plant at the expense of the Maritime Ministry. It was decided to attract private capital for the construction of the plant and Obukhov founded "companionship of P. M. Obukhov". The new Obukhov Plant got guaranteed order of 100,000 rubles to produce 42,000 puds of the steel naval cannons in 4 years.

France (Belgium). Belgium industrialized rapidly, with a focus on iron, coal and textile production. The Industrial Revolution is usually considered to have been spread from Britain to Belgium by two British industrialists, William and John Cockerill, who moved to Liège in 1807 and formed a company producing industrial machinery and iron. Industrial development was possible in Belgium because of large coal deposits located in the Sillon industriel along the Sambre-Meuse river valley and in Saar area. Although the town of Ghent, a centre of cotton production in Flanders, industrialised rapidly, the effects of the Industrial Revolution were most felt in Wallonia, particularly in the cities of Mons, Charleroi, Liège and Verviers. By the 1840s, Cockerill was the world's largest manufacturer of steel. To boost the local development, the Consulate actively supported construction of the railways envisaging a railway link between the industrial region of Mons and the port of Antwerp via Brussels. The regional firms initially copied and mass-produced British designs, but soon began specializing in railway materials, chemicals, weapons and raw materials all of which were all widely exported.

Outside Belgium the rest of France had been fast industrialized as well. There were already over 6,800 steam engines in use allowing raise of the textile and coal production. Some of the technologies, like use of the spindles adopted from Britain, allowed to increase productivity but there were local inventions as well. In 1830, Barthelemy Thimonnier invented a sewing machine that make chain stiches. It made cloth making faster. His ingenuity then got the attention of the French Army that contracted Thimonnier to build a factory for army uniforms with 80 of his machines.[4] Lyon continued to be known for its silk. Rouen in Normandy became known for its cotton. Lille and Roubaix along with the region of Alsace and Lorraine also became textile manufacturing hubs. The town of Mulhouse in the province of Alsace rose to prominence for its amazing dyes that brought many designers to it. And from this foundation, Mulhouse diversified into the growing heavy industry of the region and became also prominent as a maker of machines. Outside Belgium, Alsace and Lorraine hosted most of the industrial development using steam engines in coal mining and use of puddling kilns for iron smelting.

None of these countries was a sincere friend of Britain, to put it mildly, but the Brits did not care because how can they ever get together? …

[1] The hero, played by Bruce Willis, is supposed to say in Russian «Я буду тебе обязан» (“I’ll own you a favor”). But he mispronounces the last word making the sentence sounding as something like “I’ll be offended by you”. Strictly speaking, it does not sound exactly even like that but this is a meaning requiring the minimal creativity. The lapse was obviously lost on the English-speaking audience. This has nothing to do with a subject: I just liked it (and it took me watching this episode 3 times before I figured out what he was supposed to say). And he also speaks some Chinese…. 😂
[2] Actually, this was couple decades later but why not speed things up a little bit, just as everything else?
[3] Obukhov is real but his career started few decades later. However, he pioneered the industrial steel production in Russia and production of the steel artillery based upon analysis of the Krupp’s methods.
[4] In OTL destroyed by the mob of angry seamstress.
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I'm looking forward to it. Especially what will later become Germany will have some interesting years coming towards it. I can certainly see Prussia wanting to beat Austria and vice versa for Germanic dominance, but who will support them? The British might for an alliance vs Russia later? But some of the now German territory is French and British, so if they move vs the former theyll get their Prussian ass kicked, the latter will remove their only potential ally as neither Russia, Sweden or Denmark will support an aggressive Prussian war.

So maybe, very maybe Britian will support a German limited war to create one counterbalance / potential ally / distraction for both France and Russia. And perhaps they can find enough Orange supporters to have a revolt in NL, so France won't interfere since it will want to put that down first?

Looking forward to the next update.
I wrote “following”, not “next”. The countries are doing something besides fighting wars and that “something” defines how they are fighting them. Anyway, there are 2 OTL wars coming to satisfy your bloodthirstiness. 😂
Anyway, there are 2 OTL wars coming to satisfy your bloodthirstiness. 😂
My cynical side told me it can't keep going well. But as you know I'm very specific on what I like (e.g. Manchuria, Finland and the Baltic to Russia) but I am also a big fan of a British - Russian alliance & friendship and post WW1 a US - Russian alliance & friendship. But history has shown time and time again typically the two top dogs won't play well together. Which why I expect war, since pre WW1 the willingness to wage war was too big.
I guess the United States, this TL is more focused on the western hemisphere than the rest of the world as it is not the absolute lord and master of the Americas like in OTL with an intact Hispanic Empire/Union that can stand up to it.
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Problems on the Bosphorus and beyond
216. Problems on the Bosphorus and beyond

Unhappy, unhappy, very, very, very unhappy!
The Producers
“I will not talk of non-intervention, for it is not an English word”
“Now the English nation is able to make war, but it will only do so where its own interests are concerned. We are a simple and practical nation, a commercial nation; we do not go in for chivalrous enterprises or fight for others as the French do
The British politics always amounted to finding in Europe a fool ready to defend the British interests.”

Ottoman Empire. Constantinople

Sultan Mahmud II was unhappy. Very, very, very unhappy. Not just he lost a big territory to the Albanian upstart, which was bad, but he also lost a lot of prestige and the very fact that he was saved by the foreign intervention was humiliating. He wanted revenge and to get it he kept reforming his army. Which was a problem taking into an account the general framework of the Ottoman Empire and Sultan’s personality specifically.

The Austrian internuncio in Constantinople, Franz von Ottenfels, wrote in July 1832:
This is not at all the time when Sultan Mahmud can hope to realise the project [of reforms]. His intentions are certainly laudable and one cannot praise enough the determination and perseverance with which he pursues his goal. But this sovereign himself is largely inerudite and surrounded by advisers who are too ignorant and too interested in flattering him and hiding the truth to know which proper means he ought to choose for implementing his ideas.”
Of course, there was nothing unique in the fact that the monarch does not have a serious knowledge of a subject but it was expected that for achieving a success he needs the competent people. And this was the second problem.

Husrev Pasha was no supporter of radical changes in Ottoman society, but he did not oppose the reforms in the army of which he was in charge from 1827 to 1837 as its command- er-in-chief (serasker), and he was also able to influence its structure from March 1838 when he became president of the supreme counsel. The main reason for his active role in the military reforms seemed to be his unceas- ing desire to remain in his monarch’s favour, but, as well as his master, he lacked the relevant knowledge, and consequently he offered rather dubious assistance in the improvements in the Ottoman armed forces. The Prussian envoy in Constantinople since 1835, Baron von Königsmarck, described Husrev’s character and actions in these unflattering words:
“…he is everywhere and he meddles with everything. But with all this ac- tivity he only dabbles in matters without investigating any; he starts everything but he finishes nothing. A skilful courtier, he would always like to have something new and pleasant to tell his master, to propound several new inventions to him, to propose improvements in military organisation or civil ad- ministration, but he immediately abandons his projects, some of them even wise and beneficial, as soon as he notices that they no more amuse the fickle humour of His Highness. The serasker seriously cares only for topics that flatter the vanity of the sultan.”
Incompetence of the Sultan and his advisors and their desire to see the results immediately to the wrong implementation of Western patterns and entirely unnecessary and pointless measures like the orders concerning the implementation of European-style clothing or the shortening of traditional long male beards [1]. French General Lieutenant Count Osery, brother-in-law of Jean Victor Marie Moreau, who in 1820s stayed in Constantinople, could not understand why at that time the excellent Ottoman cavalry had been re- structured according to the European model and had thus lost many of the characteristics that had previously made this component of the sultan’s army a respected enemy even among the Cossacks:
The Turkish cavalry was one of the best units of the Otto- man Empire; it always was superior to the Russian cavalry; what it lacked was good direction and to be employed in an appropriate way effectively. Instead of leaving it as it was and adding brave and intelligent officers who would know how to lead it into combat where it could offer useful and de- cisive service, attempts have been made to transform it into a European cavalry and to replace their [the Ottomans’] tradi- tional Turkish or Cossack saddles to which they have been accustomed since their childhood with saddles of European style with stirrups in which they do not know how to remain seated.”
Russian diplomat Alexej Fedorovic Count Orlov who stayed in Constantinople in late 1829 and early 1830, after seeing a military parade of an Ottoman cavalry recently organised after the European fashion, told Ottenfels that several riders unable to remain in their new saddles had fallen off their horses:
I would desire to know the name of the foreign instructor who directs the exercises of these troops in order to be able to propose to the emperor [tsar] that he should decorate him with one of his medals because he taught the Turks to fall off their horses, which would not have happened if they had ridden on their traditional saddles.”

In late 1829, Mahmud II occupied himself with the project to send Ottoman students to France to obtain a technical and military education. He was influenced by news of Egyptian students having been successfully sent to France by his Egyptian Governor Mohammed Ali some years be- fore. But, to outdo Muhammed Ali, he also decided to sent students to Austria and Great Britain. The Viennese cabinet was more than willing to welcome Ottoman students. In Metternich’s and Ottenfels’ opinion, Vienna was an ideal place for the young Ottomans to obtain a solid education without the danger of being influenced by what they considered to be improper ideas and, anyway, this would provide an alternative to the French influence. Ottenfels managed to persuade the Sultan not to send students to France, for a while, but only five students had been sent to Austria for training in K. k. Ingenieurakademie and only in 1834. This was not a big Austrian diplomatic success because other groups were sent in 1835 to Great Britain, Prussia and France but the Austrian court hoped that the new groups of students not only will provide the Ottoman army with the cadres capable of instructing the Turkish officers but also will create a strong pro-Austrian party in the Ottoman military establishment.

According to Metternich and most of other involved Austrains, the Ottoman students’ studies abroad were much more useful than the employment of foreigners in the Ottoman army. Prince August of Prussia, who was staying in Constantinople for a while, also shared this view. Prince August stated in his essay on the Ottoman army written in late 1837 or early 1838 that the Prussian officers functioning in the sultan’s service at that time were entirely insufficient for the implementation of useful reforms, that increasing the number of foreign officers would not prove more successful due to the language barrier and other factors and that sending students abroad is much more sensible.
However, Mahmud II was of a different opinion and he also wished to improve his army through the knowledge and skills of European officers employed in his service. Metternich persuaded him not to use the French officers because they may have ideas dangerous for a monarchy.
In the mid-1830s, Metternich also supported the Russian effort against Palmerston’s attempt to deploy British officers in the Ottoman army and navy. As with the French military instructors and officers, Metternich was successful. [2] After that the Sultan decided to look for officers only in the conservative countries. And the best candidate was Prussia because it was not meddling in the Ottoman affairs.

There was an additional consideration. In 1835 Prussian captain Helmuth von Moltke obtained six months leave to travel in south-eastern Europe. After a short stay in Constantinople he was requested by the Sultan Mahmud II to help modernize the Ottoman Empire army, and being duly authorized from Berlin he accepted the offer. He remained two years at Constantinople, learned Turkish and surveyed the city of Constantinople, the Bosphorus, and the Dardanelles and made a great impression upon the Sultan and Ottoman military establishment. Also Prussia presented an example of the effective military reform carried out at minimum possible expenses and its military had a high reputation. Especially this applied to the artillerymen, Celui d’artilleurs. Last but not least, Husrev was after 1835 as much pro-Prussian as he had been earlier pro-French. “The demand for the Prussians is above all the work of the serasker, who … has always had a particular preference for the Prussian army.” Request for some military specialists was sent to Vienna as well and was immediately granted. Austria even, unlike Prussia, volunteered to pay all expenses of its officers. Why did the two German Powers agree to the sultan’s request? In fact there was no alternative for the cabinets in Berlin and Vienna in early 1836 other than to satisfy it. After Mahmud II had been prevented from employing French and British military advisers, it was no surprise that he would turn to other countries with the same demand. A refusal would un- doubtedly have moved him to turn again to the two liberal Powers, turning the victory of conservatism into defeat. Nicholas was strongly against Russian direct involvement both because it would produce unnecessary international noise and because he simply did not consider Mahmud a reliable partner. Prussia in Constantinople was OK but with Austria Nicholas had certain issues and there was a strong suspicion that Sultan’s final rejection of the Austrian military assistance was at least partially due to Russia’s secret opposition to the presence of Austrian officers in the Levant. Of course, there were no documents to confirm this suspicion [3] and moreover Nesselrode’s instruction to the Russian ambassador was saying: “Particularly in the matter of the choice of the Austrian officers, convey to the Porte that sending them will arouse neither the envy nor the suspicion of the emperor [tsar].”

The picture would be incomplete without Britain. British Ambassador in Constantinople, John Lord Ponsonby, was ordered to tell the Porte that the officers coming from Berlin (the whooping 4 of them [4] ) could be regarded “as sent by the Russian government, and for purposes unfriendly to England and injurious to Turkey.” However, when Lord Russel asked the Austrian envoy in Berlin, Joseph Count Trauttmannsdorff-Weinsberg, whether Austria did not fear that the Prussian officers could be the long arm of Russia, the latter did not hesitate to defend the usefulness of their presence in the Ottoman Empire.

Well, “usefulness” proved to be optimistic. The service of Moltke and his colleagues had no really positive effect on the army because the Ottomans simply did not know how to make the best of their qualities. Moreover, the Prussians exercised no real power or authority and the soldiers had no reason to listen to them. Moltke, Mühlbach and Vincke were finally deployed in 1838 at army headquarters, where military commanders were often deaf to their advice.

Egypt (still the Ottoman Empire)

Muhammed Ali also was not happy. Yes, he gained a considerable territory but he remained just a governor ruling it (in theory) at the Sultan’s pleasure. Then, while initially population of these new territories enthusiastically greeted him, there was uprising in Syria as early as in 1834. In 1838 there was an uprising in Lebanon which the Porte secretly supported.

Sultan kept demanding that Muhammed Ali reduced size of his army and paid tribute and Muhammed Ali kept demanding that his right to the controlled territories been made hereditary. The Sultan did not mind this for Egypt but demanded to return Syria in exchange.

On the top of the above, Britain, after failing to convince the Sultan to sign “a free trade” agreement, eventually managed to push through the right of the British unrestricted trade in all OE (against which Russia did not object too hard, already having the same right) and MA strongly objected to this because it was hurting his monopoly system). “Objected” as in “did not allow this to happen on his territories”.

The logical (from MA’s position) solution for all these problems was full independence from the OE.

MA fully expected that his army trained by the French will, again, defeat the Ottoman army.

On the other side of the equation Sultan Mahmud expected that his army trained by the Prussians (all 4 of them) will defeat the Egyptian army.

The Brits, who got a big part of what they wanted (freedom of trade throughout the OE, even if without MA’s territories), had been predictably unhappy with the fact that they did not get everything they wanted seeing a long hand of Russia pretty much everywhere, even in Egypt where the French had been acting as a proxies of that hand. Quite obviously, getting less than expected was hurting legitimate commercial interests and, as was clearly stated by Lord Palmerston, the commercial interests are something Britain is always ready to fight for.

Of course, it would be much better to get everything without fighting and for this purpose there was a well-tested tool, the international conference. In general, this tool required two main components:
(a) Designated bad guy (Egypt in this case)
(b) Enough suckers willing to listen the British demagoguery and agree with the “general principles”

After this, it was all technicalities backed up by the British superior oratory (only the French had a comparable school of producing unlimited volumes of the verbal manure) and recognition of the fact that Britain has the biggest navy.

In this specific case Palmerston’s plan looked as following:
  • Call conference in London (which, being the home field, will provide some additional advantages).
  • Invite France, Russia, Austria, Prussia and perhaps Spain as well, just for the decency sake.
  • Present MA with the ultimatum having strict time limits, each of them squeezing him harder.
  • Find an opening (when everybody is already half-dead from the endless talking) to push through a new agreement regarding the straits which is going to abolish the existing one.
  • Guarantee a military/naval action against the Bad Guy. Preferably under the British command.
The conference was duly called but there was a tiny problem: France and Russia refused to participate and in advance expressed a strong opposition to any third party military intervention in a coming conflict, especially without the Sultan’s explicit request for military help.

Prussia was more accommodating declaring that its officers [5] are already serving in the Ottoman army and it will be unfair to expect more taking into an account that Prussia has absolutely no interest in any of the involved countries.

Austria expressed willingness to participate with all its mighty Adriatic fleet: 2 corvettes, 2 brigs and 4 schooners [6].

Needless to say that the British government was very, very, very unhappy.

[1] Sounds weirdly familiar. Well, Mahmud was Peter’s admirer. 😉
[2] In this case the victory was helped first, by the Churchill affair from the late spring and summer of 1836 when the maltreatment of the British citizen by Ottoman officials led to the rather hostile and menacing conduct of the British ambassador, John Lord Ponsonby, towards the Porte, and, second, the tsar’s decision made in the same year to forgive a part of the sultan’s war indemnities from the last Russian-Ottoman war and evacuate Silistria occupied by Russian forces since 1829 as a surety of a payment.
[3] Some historians have problem understanding meaning of the word “secret”.
[4] One of them was Moltke.
[5] Who cares about specific numbers?
[6] In OTL it was considerably bigger but these extras, 3 ships of the line and 7 frigates were former French ships. Either received after Napoleonic wars or purchased later. ITTL neither option is likely.
The Ottoman gambit
217. The Ottoman gambit

“Gambit - a device, action, or opening remark, typically one entailing a degree of risk, that is calculated to gain an advantage.”
War is a failure of diplomacy
John Dingell
War is . . . an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will”
You English are like mad bulls… you see red everywhere! … You make it uncommonly difficult for a man to remain friendly to England.
Wilhelm II, interviewed by the Daily Telegraph, 1908
They [the French] every day betray an unceasing disposition to pick a quarrel, and to treat us in a manner to which we can never submit. Pray take care, in all your conversation with Sebastiani, to make him understand that our desire for peace will never lead us to submit to affront either in language or in act.”
To succeed in the world, it is much more necessary to possess the penetration to discern who is a fool than to discover who is a clever man..”
“Politics is the systematic cultivation of hatred.”

“Russia is a mighty and happy power in itself; it should never be a threat to other neighboring states or Europe. But it must occupy an impressive defensive position that can make any attack on her impossible.”
Nicholas I [1]
“I am glad that I was at war and saw myself all the horrors inevitably associated with war, and after that I think that every person with a heart cannot want war, and every ruler entrusted by God to the people must take all measures to avoid the horrors of war, of course, unless he (the ruler) is forced to war by his opponents.”
Alexander III

In 1838 Muhammed Ali, frustrated by an absence of any progress in his negotiations with the Sultan, let it be known that he is looking for a complete independence. In response, in the early 1839 Mahmud II, who was more than a little bit delusion regarding condition of his new army, ordered invasion of the territories ruled by Muhammed Ali.

On June 24, 1839 an invading Ottoman army, led by Hafiz Pasha, met the Egyptian army, commanded by Ibrahim Pasha (with French chief of staff [2] ), at Nezib close to the border between the Sultan’s and MA’s territories (South-Eastern part of Asia Minor). Both armies had the high numbers of the soldiers recruited in the last moment and their initial sizes were shrinking due to the massive desertions. At the point of contact each of them had 30 - 40,000.

The Egyptian army was better trained in the latest military methods in terms of organizing ranks, speed of movement and maneuvering. It also had as the bonuses the presence of Suleiman Pasha the French as chief of staff of the Egyptian army, and the leadership of Ibrahim Pasha, who became an expert on how to defeat the Ottoman armies years ago. All its officers had been promoted based on the merit, army had a strict discipline and was combat-oriented. Both Ibrahim and Suleiman had unquestionable authority among their subordinates and both of them had been looking for an offensive battle.

On the other hand, the Ottoman army enjoyed the preference in terms of preparation, as the Ottoman army was better provided with supplies and had rested for several weeks in its camp, unlike the Egyptian soldiers who were exhausted by the march to meet the Ottoman army under the heat of the sun at the beginning of the summer. Hafez Pasha, the commander of the Ottoman army, spent an entire month digging trenches and establishing strongholds. But in the terms of advantages that was all. Neither Hafiz Pasha nor his chief of staff could make their mind on what type of a battle they are planning to fight. Most of their officers got their ranks due to the links in a government, their camp (as a reflection of a general organization and discipline) reminded “pilgrims’ caravan” being filled with all types of the non-combatants and almost 60% of the army was composed from the recently subdued Kurds who did not have any enthusiasm.

Several hours prior to when the major combat began, von Moltke, who was in charge of the Ottoman artillery, advised Hafiz Pasha to withdraw to a more secure and fortified position near Birecik and to await expected reinforcements, as Hafiz Pasha's forces were outmatched in quality by the advancing Egyptians. Initially Hafiz acquiesced to Moltke, but not long after he decided to maintain his army's position. The Egyptians advanced and by the time their infantry had reached the Ottoman line, Hafiz's army was in complete rout, the Egyptian artillery having broken their morale.

The Ottoman army lost 4,000 dead (some drowned in the Euphrates during the flight) and 12,000 prisoners (of which 5,000 defected to the Egyptians). The Ottoman commander Hafyz Osman Pasha was also captured. Egyptian losses amounted to 3 thousand people. Among those escaping was von Moltke who was seriously wounded early in the battle and had to be transported all across the Asia Minor. [3]

The Turkish army was wiped out, the spoil of its weapons was almost complete, and thousands of prisoners agreed to transfer their allegiance to the Egyptian army, so they were dispatched to Egypt, and thus the road became open for Ibrahim Pasha to enter the Ottoman capital, and the Ottoman fleet learned of this matter, so he headed to Alexandria, Egypt, so that the fleet commander would hand over his entire fleet to Muhammad Ali to be under his command.

But Ibrahim did not march on Istanbul. As during the previous war, his army was exhausted, his logistics overstretched and there were rebellions in Syria and Lebanon so he had to attend to all these issues before moving anywhere. Well, of course, a truly great general could take a risk and to press his advantage (especially taking into an account that now the Ottoman fleet was on Egypt’s side and getting across Dardanelles should not be a problem) but Ibrahim was just better than his Ottoman counterparts and this did not require to be some kind of a military genius or even simply a capable European general. So he stood pretty much where he was wasting time, making a minimal progress and caring mostly about putting things in order. There was also a possibility that, as already happened in the last war, he was waiting for instructions from his father who always had been playing the complicated diplomatic games.

While he was waiting, the things had been happening in the fast rate. On July 1st Sultan Mahmud II died to be succeeded by his son Abdulmejid who was 16 years old. Abdulmejid received a European education, spoke fluent French and, like his father, was reform-minded. He ascended the throne just after the Ottoman army was whipped out and the fleet sailed to Alexandria where it was handed over to Muhammad Ali by its commander Ahmed Fevzi Pasha, on the pretext that the young sultan's advisers had sided with Russia. At any moment Ibrahim Pasha could start marching on Istanbul so something has to be done fast. The foreign ambassadors in Istanbul had been assuring him in support of their countries but so far this was just a moral support and promises subject to the decisions made in an international conference which will happen as soon as Lord Palmerston convinces France and Russia to participate. It all looked as a long story that may last longer than Ibrahim’s inaction.


At that point one of the Sultan’s advisors recommended him to summon the Russian ambassador Appolinary Butenyov and remind him about the Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi on which there was his signature. Butenyov pretended to be surprised by the Sultan’s erudition and asked for a written request for the Russian help which, immediately after being received, was expediently sent by a fast steam frigate which was, what a lucky coincidence (😉), staying in the Golden Horn fully ready for travel.

Russian Empire. Sevastopol. The Generalissimo was too old to lead the military adventures personally but this does not mean that he could not plan the complicated strategic operations including those involving more than one international player. The Ottoman defeat on land was easily predictable and so was a following action of Ahmed Fevzi Pasha: he was right, there were pro-Russian advisors as well as the well-paid people sending information about his plans in the case of the army defeat or the Sultan’s death (his very bad health was not a secret). The risky part was the Sultan himself: Mahmud was self-assured and stubborn as a mule but his successor by all accounts was at least a little bit more intelligent so he may listen to advice from a right person and invoke Treaty of Hünkâr İskelesi to request Russian help. In the worst case scenario, this will not happen giving the Brits opportunity to do Sultan a favor alone but even then the Black Sea Fleet would be able to sail/steam to the Med for the second part of the game involving the French as well. The Russian and French interests were not exactly the same except for the most important item and Bonaparte and Bernadotte had plenty of time to discuss scenarios during and after their meeting. Of course, consent of the Emperor was a precondition but Nicholas had a strong belief in the sanctity of the treaties and did not like the caricatures of himself published by the British press.


So far, the best case scenario had been working. The formal request for help from the Sultan reached Sevastopol and from there within few hours had been delivered to Simferopol where the Generalissimo and the Chief of the Russian General Staff, Antoine-Henry Jomini, established their headquarters.

An officer with the Sultan’s message continued his travel to Moscow but the pre-arranged cogs and wheels of a complicated machine started moving. 20,000 troops camped near Sevastopol and Feodosia started boarding the prepared transport steamers and the squadron of the new and converted steam warships was ready to accompany them. It included 8 screw-propelled 84 guns ships of the line, 10 screw-propelled 40 guns frigates and a number of smaller steamships, screw and paddlers. The task of this force was to get to Istanbul and then through the straits before the “dear friends” from Britain and Austria have time to react.

An additional squadron of the old sail ships was going to follow accompanied, if necessity arises, by more troops. This squadron consisted of 14 ships of the line, 7 frigates and 11 smaller ships, sail, paddle and screw. It’s main intended function was to replace the 1st squadron in guarding Istanbul and the straits allowing the steamers to proceed to the Med.

To gain time, the British ambassadors in Moscow and Paris had been informed that the French and Russian governments may be inclined to join the planned conference in London if its agenda is being defined to their satisfaction. Taking into an account that the stated French and Russian positions regarding Egypt had substantial differences, a few rounds of consultation were necessary. As a gesture of a good will, France eventually agreed upon sending a joined French-British observation fleet to the Dardanelles ahead of the planned conference.

France was supportive of Egypt but the consensus achieved during the Moscow meetings was that too strong Muhammed Ali will inevitably become too independent and too difficult to deal with (he already was not too accommodating to the French taste). So there should be a balance between Egypt and Ottoman Empire making both of them dependent upon the European powers and to achieve this some cooperation with Britain is going to be needed on the initial stage as a convenient tool for the procrastination but without any binding obligations. The direct military confrontation with the Brits is better to be avoided but not at the cost of giving them a free hand.

Before Ibrahim Pasha finally was ready to march forward (and before the observation fleet got anywhere close it destination), he got the news that the Russian navy passed the Bosphorus and the Russian troops are taking positions on the European side of the Straits. The news were conveyed by the Emperor’s adjutant-general, the same Muravyev who was sent to his father during the last war. The message was pretty much the same: make peace with the Sultan. However, there was an important addition: and your interests will not be forgotten. The same message had bee sent by a fast steamer to Alexandria but for a while Muhammed Ali was reluctant to give away anything that he “won by a sword”.

French Navy.
After the peace of Amiens was signed the Consulate did not consider a navy as its top priority: a need to restore economy and put financial system in order were on the top of the list. By late 1819 the French fleet had shrunk to 58 of the line and 34 frigates afloat or on the ways, most of the others having been found to be too rotten to be worth repairing. In 1817 the navy estimated that, at this rate of decay, the fleet would disappear completely in ten years. In response Pierre Barthelémy, Baron Portal, Minister of Marine from 1818 to 1821, developed the Programme of 1820, the first of the comprehensive plans that shaped the evolution of the navy during the next forty years. This programme defined the composition of a realistically attainable fleet, set a target date for its completion, and determined the amount of money required per year to meet the target. In its final form, promulgated in 1824, the programme provided for a fleet of 40 ships of the line and 50 frigates afloat. Portal calculated that this force could be created in ten years with an annual budget of 65 million francs (of which 6 million were for the colonies). Portal’s programme took advantage of the few weaknesses that could be seen in Britain’s naval position. It reversed the traditional relationship between battleships and cruising ships in the fleet. The new programme emphasised frigates to exploit the enormous problems that Britain would face in trying to defend worldwide trade and colonies. It retained a battle fleet, not to stand up to Britain alone, but to serve as a nucleus for an anti-British coalition fleet. This battle fleet was also designed to ensure that France would face no other maritime challenges: if she could not be number one, she could at least be an undisputed number two. The navy realised that ships left on the building ways, if properly ventilated and covered by a protective shed, would last almost indefinitely without decaying and would also have a longer service life after launching because their timbers would be better seasoned. Equally important, maintaining ships in this way was highly economical. [4] The navy eventually decided that a third of the planned 40 ships of the line and 50 frigates would not be launched but would be kept complete on the ways. An additional 13 battleships and 16 frigates would be on the ways at less advanced stages of construction. These decisions led to a large increase during the 1820s in the number of building ways in the dockyards and in the number of ships laid down on them. At the same time the navy’s ordinary budget slowly increased, finally reaching the 65 million franc goal in 1830. One reason the French navy survived the lean years after the Revolutionary Wars was the constant demand for its services. Within a few years naval stations were established in the Antilles, the Levant, and off the east coast of South America, and others were later created in the Pacific and in the Far East. A few small ships were assigned to each of the reoccupied colonies for local duties. Among these were the navy’s first two steamers, Voyageur and Africain, built for Senegal in 1819. The invasion force of Algiers included 11 ships of the line and 25 frigates. Exceeding the number planned in 1820, by 1828 the navy had 206 ships including many small steamers. The new Program of 1837 confirmed the navy’s need for two ship classes, the 74-gun ship of the line and the 3rd Class frigate. However, the total number of ships slightly declined and there were 46 battleships and 56 frigates.

By 1839 French Levant squadron had 16 ships, including 9 ships of the line (which put it at a disadvantage comparing to the British squadron in the Levant which had 14). What’s more important, Program of 1837 included construction of 40 combat steamers: five `steam frigates’ of 540nhp, fifteen of 450nhp, and twenty `steam corvettes’ of 220nhp. From that point all future naval developments had to be steam-based even if the steam was still considered an auxiliary method of the propulsion. At least two of the existing ships of the line had to be upgraded into the steamers.


British Navy. Without any question the British Navy remained, by far, as single biggest navy in the world most probably it was also the best trained and most experienced sail navy in the world. Recently, even its gunnery noticeably improved even if shooting at the point blank range remained thee main modus operandi . However, the British Admiralty being excessively conservative and self-assured, all British ships of the line were strictly sail and the smaller steamships were paddlers: advantages and disadvantages of a screw were still in a process of a thorough deliberation in the Admiralty and both parliamentary and public debates with the references to the unsuccessful British experiments in this area being the main argument against and the references to the French, Russian and American programs being the only feeble arguments in favor (what all these foreigners understand in the things naval? our navy is the best in the world and its officers witnessed twice failures of the screw-propelled boats in the coastal waters with their own eyes so whom should we trust?) . In its present state the RN already was a huge and expensive investment and to start a massive construction of even more expensive ships was not necessarily such a good idea, especially taking into an account that a prevailing opinion in the RN was that the ships of the line do not need steam at all. It just makes a ship more vulnerable and alleged advantages were not too big for the ships fighting in a line formation. The British sailors were experienced enough to win the battles under the sails and there was no urgent need to rush into anything untested and expensive just because somebody (with a questionable experience) else is doing this. Of course, the plans to convert some of the existing ships of the line into the sail-and-steam were under consideration but the funds for the project still were not approved by the Parliament.

Back to the story, it was felt in London that, in order to prevent Abdul from becoming a mere dependent of Russia, some countenance must be shown him in his misfortunes. English and French fleets under the command of Admiral of the Red Sir Robert Stopford and the French Rear Admiral Lalande had to sail to the Besik Bay (Beşik Koyu - a small bay on the Aegean shore of Troy, at the mouth of the Dardanelles) in order to support Turkey.

Here they had to wait for the Austrian squadron which meager size was compensated by the fact that it was led by a whole Archduke. Yes, Archduke Frederick, the third son of the famous Archduke Charles, was young, cute, energetic, fond of the naval service (which he started in 1837) and already in charge of the whole Austrian fleet, which consisted of 2 corvettes, 2 brigs and 4 schooners (all sail). However, the important thing was not actual strength but the fact of its presence that was underscoring the “international” character of the action.

Admiral Robert Stopford was 72 years old and quite experienced. He started his service in 1780 participating in a lot of the British naval operations all over the world (missing the most glorious Battle of the Nile) but never led a fleet in a naval battle. His present mission as a commander of the British Levant Squadron was as much political and diplomatic as it was military but it was fully expected that the opponent will not even risk a suicidal naval confrontation and that the whole thing will be resolved by a naval blockade and, if necessary, by bombardment of few ill-protected coastal cities and, in the worst case scenario, few landings. Of course, even on land these “Orientals” could not be a challenge to the European troops. By the virtue of his rank, he was going to be a top commander of the allied squadron.


The first stage, as planned in London, was to assemble the allied fleet near the mouth of Dardanelles to show the new Sultan who are his true friends preventing the Russians from beating Britain to playing this role and, preferably, from getting into the Med unless they are fully and officially committed to Palmerston’s plan of actions against Egypt. Actually, this scenario could create serious command problem if the allied Russian squadron is being led by vice-admiral Lazarev [5] but this possibility was overlooked.

But the whole brilliant plan started falling apart when the British-French fleet arrived to its destination and found that the Russian troops are already guarding Constantinople and the Russian fleet (led by Lazarev) is controlling Dardanelles at the Sultan’s explicit request. At that point the the Perfidious French, of whom Palmerston always was suspicious, demonstrated their true colors (red, white and blue?). Rear Admiral Julien Pierre Anne Lalande refused to remain under Stopford’s command because the highest ranking person present was Lazarev, who also happened to have authorization from the Sultan: surely, if someone is acting on the Sultan’s behalf he has as a minimum to get a permission from the intended beneficiary [6]. Besides, unlike Stopford, Lazarev had been a well-known figure on the Mediterranean Theater (for Navarrino he was awarded Order of the Bath and Legion of Honour).


It looked like Stopford was facing a very serious dilemma because this turn of the events was not anticipated by the government and he had no instructions on how to deal with it.
  • If he joined joined what now looked as the Russian-French fleet he has to go under Lazarev’s command without any pre-conditions defined by London which would be a gross violation of his instructions.
  • He could not prevent Russian fleet from getting out of the Dardanelles because it already was out and while by the number of the ships of the line both the 1st Russian squadron and the French squadron of Levant were inferior to the British squadron but together they’d have 17 ships of the line vs. 14 and an absolute advantage in the steamships. Besides, the British embassy in Istanbul informed him that a second Russian squadron of the sail ships passed through the Bosphorus making the numeric odds prohibitively high not in the British favor. Anyway, starting a war on his own initiative was not a good idea.
  • There was an option to abandon the Besik Bay and to sail to Alexandria trying to intimidate Muhammed Ali with the sight of the British squadron but what if he is not going to be easily intimidated?
  • There was an option to establish blockade of the Syrian ports and even to attack them but in the present scenario with the Russians and French posing as the Sultan’s official defenders, in which capacity he is going to do this? And what he is going to do if the “official defenders” are going to interfere with the blockade? Up to which degree can he rely upon the assumption that France and Russia are not going to go to war with Britain on Egypt’s behalf?
Being an intelligent person, Sir Robert decided to leave the Besik Bay in which he could be easily trapped and to sail to Malta informing London of the situation and waiting for the instructions… Few small paddlers had been left to watch for the Russian and French moves and to keep him updated.

[1] In a reality he managed to screw on all these points.
[2] Suleiman Pasha, born Joseph Anthelme Sève, travelled to Egypt, changed his name and converted to Islam. His task was to train a new model army of Sudanese slaves. When this did not work to plan, Muhammed Ali sent him other ethnicities to train as officers: Egypt-born Circassians, Albanians and Greeks.

[3] I did not decide, yet, if I want him alive. ITTL Prussia has to be seriously different from its OTL version and, honestly, what is a statistical probability of a rather obscure country getting two geniuses and a very capable military administrator at the same time, plus a monarch smart enough to put them into the right places against strong opposition from various corners? Anyway, the ITTL Austro-Prussian war may happen but its OTL scenario already had been plagiarized for the GPW so it has to be a much less brilliant affair and I’m not sure at all if there is going to be Franco-Prussian war with all different European alignments. So what is there to do for Moltke? However, I’m intentionally left him in a limbo: if there is a compelling argument for his survival, then he will live. 😉
[4] This idea was not too different from the old Swedish system of the early XVIII which put a great emphasis upon preserving the ships by a proper care. IIRC, it was discussed in the earlier chapters.
[5] Lazarev was vice admiral since 1833. Stopford, all these fancy white, blue, red thingies aside, was just a rear admiral since 1834 and in OTL became vice admiral of the UK only in 1847. So if the fleets join then by all existing rules command is going to him.
[6] In OTL Rear Admiral Lalande offered Prime minister Adolphe Thiers and King Louis Philippe I a plan to stop the Russian Black Sea fleet by occupying a few Dardanelles forts, to attack and capture or destroy the Royal Navy Levant Squadron and to use the Egypt-Ottoman fleet to transport French troops for an invasion in Ireland. Lalande was called back to Toulon and removed from his command. Not sure if the plan was realistic, taking into an account the British numeric advantage, but at least it was quite daring. 😂
Excellent chapter. What happened to the Spanish navy? It should not continue to be the third largest naval power in the world or they are already the most powerful navy and we are not here because they developed invisibility.
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Excellent chapter. What happened to the Spanish navy? It should not continue to be the third largest naval power in the world or they are already the most powerful navy and we are not here because they developed invisibility.
Spain, even before the OTL disasters, had its navy seriously neglected and even if a number of ships was significant, by the time o Trafalgar it was underfunded and undermanned. ITTL there is no Peninsula War and Spain may even preserve its colonies but there is no obvious way for it growing into the industrialized country by the 1840s. So, whatever navy it has, it is mostly busy on the wrong side of the Atlantic and Pacific helping to preserve its colonial empire. In OTL the first steam-driven vessel (Isabel II) was purchased from the United Kingdom in 1834 and it was a paddler.


Why complicate things unnecessary?
Spain, even before the OTL disasters, had its navy seriously neglected and even if a number of ships was significant, by the time o Trafalgar it was underfunded and undermanned. ITTL there is no Peninsula War and Spain may even preserve its colonies but there is no obvious way for it growing into the industrialized country by the 1840s. So, whatever navy it has, it is mostly busy on the wrong side of the Atlantic and Pacific helping to preserve its colonial empire. In OTL the first steam-driven vessel (Isabel II) was purchased from the United Kingdom in 1834 and it was a paddler.

View attachment 774802
Why complicate things unnecessary?
That is not entirely true, the Spanish army had a modernization program a decade before but definitely did not have enough trained officers, being realistic in this TL I could believe that they cut spending on the army to face reforms leaving them as 5th / 6th in naval power for a time. Spain is open to trade, which means that foreign investment, together with the Confiscation of Madoz and other policies occurring much earlier, should turn Spain into an industrial country by the mid-1840s. France is interested in having an ally that is still useful.

Why complicate things unnecessarily?

Well it's your story, if you want to leave one of the largest empires in the world in irrelevance, your decision.