First I should preface this by informing all of you that the next chapter will be posted later today, but before I do I should tell that it will be shorter than originally intended.

Initially, I had planned on covering both the start of the Second Anglo-Persian War and the Sepoy Mutiny, as well as briefly cover the other fronts of the Great Eurasian War not mentioned in Part 78. Instead, I cut it in half as it was becoming rather long for my liking. As such, the chapter being posted today will cover the first half of the update featuring the start of the Anglo-Persian War and the Start of the Sepoy Mutiny and I'll have the second half (covering the Baltic front, the Central Asian Front, the Far East Front, and North American Front) posted either tomorrow or on Tuesday at the latest.


Wow Gian, this is truly amazing! Thank you so much for this.


Part of the treaty Greece signed with Great Britain involved a review of Greece's debts, which will more than likely result in the forgiveness or lowering of some of their current debts.


Yes, Elassona should now be a part of Greece as it is south of the Olympus Range.




I can confirm that Greek Congo isn't going to happen ITTL, but Greece might dabble in a little imperialism during the late 19th/early 20th Centuries if it plays its cards right. That said, it will be very limited (if it happens at all, I haven't decided on this yet) and would likely be limited to Cyrenaica or a few isolated islands to use as coaling stations for their merchant fleet.


Technically yes, as they are considered a part of the Ionian Islands, but in reality it will likely fall under the occupation of the Ottoman Empire as per OTL as it is still too far from Greece's holdings in Northern Epirus and too close to Ottoman Albania to be realistically held by Greece at this time.


Yes, there will be some interaction between Greece and Japan, but it will likely be limited to commerce and trade for the immediate future.



Yes, Greece will definitely make a good amount of money as it will essentially provide whatever the Ottomans and the British can't. While this may not seem like much on the surface, the British logistical network during the OTL Crimean War was an absolute nightmare of ineptitude and inefficiency especially during the first winter outside Sevastopol. The biggest issues for the British in OTL were a shortage of winter clothes, firewood/coal, medical supplies, food, and drink, all of which Greece can provide to varying degrees. That said, Greece's material support of the British won't fix all their issues, as most were a result of needless bureaucracy and poor planning (the use of Balaklava as Britain's main port in the Crimea was a terrible decision), but it should definitely help especially since the fighting is limited primarily to Bulgaria and Eastern Anatolia right now.


I'd say that's almost a certainty.


Glad to have you back Cmakk. Indeed, Greece got more than even I expected them to get initially, but in all honesty it was probably a fair deal for all involved, although I'm sure the Ottomans don't see it that way. Thessaly and Epirus were not exactly the most prosperous or populous provinces within the Ottoman Empire during the mid-19th Century and while their loss will certainly sting for the Sublime Porte, not having to fight a two front war is certainly worth it, provided they manage to survive relatively intact. That said, there will definitely be growing resentment towards Greece in the Ottoman Empire once the war is over.





Britain in general, will accept mollifying Greece as a necessary evil to keep them on side and out of the war, especially with said war not going in their favor right now. While they may not like the manner in which the Greeks acted during their negotiations (the sabre rattling didn't really help), they understand that the Greeks were playing the hand they were dealt to its best potential. The Ottomans will definitely have a harder time accepting territorial concessions to Greeks however, and will generally have poorer relations with the Kingdom of Greece going forward. That said, the Porte will recognize that they have underestimated Greece, and keep a closer eye on it going forward so as to prevent such a situation from happening again. There will definitely be long term ramifications for all involved which for better and for worse, will set the stage for events to come once the current conflict is concluded.


Not yet, but it probably will once the war is over and Greece formally annexes these new provinces.

As of now, I'm not really planning on doing anything different with the Irish language ITTL. The Famine was still rather devastating for Ireland and the language was slowly being replaced by English even before the Famine hit. The Dominion of Ireland may have some impact in saving the language, but I'm honestly undecided about it at this point.


Thank you for linking these, I will definitely put these to good use in the future.


That is Leopold's personal Coat of Arms. Whether it remains his family's Coat of Arms going forward will be determined by his son Prince Constantine.
I think it may be a bit late to completely revive gaelic but it can certainly fair a lot better than otl, maybe like welsh
 
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I don’t know why but when you say Isolated Coaling stations I have this image of Constantine deciding he needs a colony for prestiges sake, so he’s asking the bigger powers if they have any they wanna sell.

France: “Uhhh sure but it’s really only good for sealing it’s the “!
Constantine: “I don’t care I’ll take it”

And thus the Greek Desolation Islands are born.
 
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I don’t know why but when you say Isolated Coaling stations I have this image of Constantine deciding he needs a colony for prestiges sake, so he’s asking the bigger powers if they have any they wanna sell.

France: “Uhhh sure but it’s really only good sealing it’s the “!
Constantine: “I don’t care I’ll take it”

And thus the Greek Desolation Islands is born.
Colonising some random small islands would be a very Greek thing to do considering what they were up to for most of antiquity XD
 
I don’t know why but when you say Isolated Coaling stations I have this image of Constantine deciding he needs a colony for prestiges sake, so he’s asking the bigger powers if they have any they wanna sell.

France: “Uhhh sure but it’s really only good sealing it’s the “!
Constantine: “I don’t care I’ll take it”

And thus the Greek Desolation Islands is born.
x'D
 
Part 80: Swirling Sands
Part 80: Swirling Sands


British Cavalry Charge a Qajari Infantry Regiment
The peace between Great Britain and the Qajari Empire would be incredibly fragile after the volatile First Anglo-Persian War came to an end in mid-1848. The resulting peace treaty had seen Persia’s gains in Afghanistan returned, their grand army was reduced to a pittance, their navy surrendered to the British (or scuttled in defiance), and their Shah was forced to kowtow to London’s diktats. It was an utter humiliation that was not soon forgotten by the Qajari Empire, yet with British influence dominant in Tehran there was little they could do to oppose them. Naturally, resentment and animosity ran high in Tehran as the Qajari Military felt betrayed by their Government which had cravenly submitted to British demands despite their great successes on the battlefield. Many even blamed Muhammed Shah Qajar for the Empire’s surrender to Britain, while others blamed their perfidious ally France who had promised aid to Tehran in the war, only to abandon them in their moment of need.

The death of the old Shah in the Spring of 1849 would restore some semblance of balance to the Qajari Empire, as his son, the young Naser al-Din Shah Qajar quickly fell under the sway of his dynamic adviser Amir Kabir. Mirza Taghi Khan Farahani, better known by his title Amir Kabir (amir-e kabir) had been a member of the Qajari government for several decades by 1849, filling such roles as Military Registrar, Quartermaster, Diplomat, Chief Tutor of the Crown Prince, and Chief Minister of the Qajari Empire among others. Having spent several years in the service of the young Naser Shah, Amir Kabir enjoyed a close relationship with his sovereign and enjoyed the full confidence of his ruler. More than that, Amir Kabir was a consistent voice for modernization within the Qajari Government as well as a vocal advocate for the independence of the Qajari Empire from foreign influences, both of which were incredibly popular following the disasterous war with Britain.

Under the premise that corruption and malpractice had enabled the British to force degrading terms upon them, Amir Kabir embarked on an extensive campaign to root out bad actors and corrupt figures within the Qajari administration.[1] Proving this very point, several of Naser Shah’s relatives provoked an armed revolt by their supporters in early Summer 1852 when their estates came under investigation of the Prime Minister and his agents for tax evasion and duplicitous arrangements with foreign powers. With the backing of their retainers and a few of the tribes of Iran, the Rebels made moderate gains within the first few days of their revolt, gaining control over large swathes of Azerbaijan and Khorasan.

There successes would end there, however, as the Rebels failed to achieve significant support among the Qajari Army, the urban populace, or from the Clergy who generally supported the Shah, who in turn supported Amir Kabir. Within a matter of days, the rebel cause collapsed and they began losing ground to the Shah's loyalists and by the end of the Summer, they were defeated leading to the imprisonment or exile of numerous siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles of the Shah, along with the suspension of their pensions, and the seizure of their estates. Similarly, many of the tribes that had supported the rebels were finally subjugated to the will of the central government, their autonomy was significantly reduced, their armaments were seized, and their right to raise armies were formally abolished.

With his domestic adversaries largely defeated, Amir Kabir began an extensive modernization effort of the state bureaucracy and administration. The tax system was expanded and streamlined through the elimination of loopholes, new taxes were implemented, while old and ineffective taxes were abolished. The Persian postal service was established during this time, enhancing communication across the country. Numerous schools were established, and some industrialization was induced with the construction of several textile factories, plantations, and mines. More contentious, however were his policies towards the clergy, who saw their powers to intervene in secular matters gradually mitigated, but with the support of the Shah and the moderation of his policies, resistance was quelled.


Amir Kabir, Prime Minister of the Qajari Empire


When the war between Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain began in 1854, Amir Kabir used this opportunity to begin eroding Britain’s influence over the Empire. Anglophile ministers were removed from their posts and were replaced by Amir Kabir’s supporters. Tariffs were gradually reapplied to British goods and the Qajari government regained full control over the ports of Mohammerah, Bandar Shahpur, Bandar Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, and Abadan. The Qajari Military was also rebuilt rather quickly with the Army rapidly expanding to 24,000 soldiers by the start of 1855 (increasing to nearly 40,000 by the end of the year), while the navy had risen to 19 warships (most of which were small sailing ships or gunboats, although they did have two new screw-frigates and a single screw sloop).

Despite these provocations towards Great Britain, many within Tehran were still reluctant to openly declare war on them, remembering their recent defeat. Nor did they wish to aid Russia by attacking their adversary, as the Russians were still hated in large parts of the Qajari Empire for their previous hostilities and humiliations. Amir Kabir was also opposed to war with Britain for this very reason as fighting Britain would inevitably mean the ascendance of Russia. Yet circumstances beyond their control would soon force them to act as at this point that the Russian offensives of Spring 1855 began.

Seeking to break the stalemate of the previous year, the Russians pushed long and hard against the Ottoman Empire, plunging deep into Eastern Anatolia and bombarding their defenses all along the Danube. To combat these assaults, Britain would be forced to dispatch the 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions, and the 1st Cavalry Division to the Balkans joining the 1st Infantry Division and the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards, bringing British troop numbers to over 68,000 men in the Balkans. A further 8,000 soldiers and marines were dispatched to harass Russian ports and forts along the Black Sea coast, while another 4,000 were tasked with seizing the islands of the Baltic Sea.

This commitment of nearly 80,000 soldiers to the war with Russia represented roughly half of Britain’s Army in 1855, which along with the massive naval commitment in the Baltic and Black Seas (amounting to nearly 150 ships), left the British with very few reserves to retaliate against Persia with. Were they to go to war now, the British would likely be limited to those forces currently in India, which was still a very considerable force of 50,000 British soldiers and another 300,000 Indian Sepoys in 1855. Nevertheless, this was perhaps the best opportunity they would ever have to get revenge for their previous humiliation and to reclaim their place in the sun by reconquering Afghanistan.

Perhaps most pivotal in pushing Persia to war with Britain, however, was Naser al-Din Shah Qajar himself as he would experience a very sudden falling out with his Prime Minister Amir Kabir. Amir Kabir’s rise to power had been facilitated by the Shah’s youth and relative inexperience in 1851, with Amir Kabir serving as the tutor and protector of the young Naser Shah. But as the years progressed, the young king was now a grown man who had begun to chafe under the stifling control of his Prime Minister, who limited his authority and reduced his influence in favor of his own. More than that though, court intrigue and political machinations would see Amir Kabir's few remaining adversaries side with the Shah, driving a wedge between the two men. Now seeking to break out from underneath his overbearing teacher and reclaim his place in the Qajari Government, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar began beating the drums of war.

Taking notice of this growing rift between the Shah and his Chief Minister, the Russian ambassador to Tehran Prince Dmitry Ivanovich Dolgorukov quickly intervened in this internal affair and presented the Shah with a deal. With the full backing of St. Petersburg, Dolgorukov offered the full military, economic, and diplomatic support of his country to the Qajari Empire in its easterly ambitions in the hopes such a thrust against Afghanistan would eventually reach, or at least threaten British India. Even if Britain were not to respond to Persia's invasion of Afghanistan, which was incredibly unlikely, the very presence of Persian troops on the border of India would terrify Westminster and limit their capabilities elsewhere. Even so, many remained hesitant to antagonize Britain, and few if any wanted to admit Russian soldiers into their country.


Prince Dmitry Ivanovich Dolgorukov, Russian Ambassador to the Qajari Empire

Amir Kabir boisterously opposed such a proposition as it would make the Qajari Empire little more than a proxy of the Russians. But seeking to undermine his Prime Minister and assert himself once and for all, Naser Shah announced his approval of the Russian terms and his desire for war with Britain, effectively presenting Amir Kabir with a fait accompli. After further negotiation, it was decided that the Qajari Empire would make common cause with Russia in its fight against Great Britain, striking against Afghanistan and British India. Russia would be relegated primarily to a supporting role, providing men and material if necessary, to defend the territorial integrity of the Qajari Empire against British incursions. However, despite Russian efforts to the contrary, there would be no clause pertaining to a Qajari declaration of war against the Ottoman Empire, nor would Russian troops be permitted to fight the Ottomans from Persian territory, a likely concession to Amir Kabir and the Russophobes in Tehran who still wielded considerable influence.

With this alliance formalized, the Persian Government officially declared war on the Emirate of Afghanistan on the 10th of November, followed two days later by a declaration of war on the British Empire. Although the Afghans had made some preparations to oppose the Persians over the past 7 years, they would not be enough as Herat would fall within a month, followed quickly thereafter by Kabul before the end of the year. With the loss of both Herat and Kabul in such a short span of time, Afghan resistance effectively collapsed. Only a few small mountain holdouts in the Hindu Kush would remain in opposition to the Persians after the new year, but they too would fall one by one in the coming months. The British response to these developments would be surprisingly slow, however, as their primary focus would be directed towards Russia at this time.

In the eyes of many Members of Parliament, the Persians were certainly a threat, but not one that couldn’t be handled by the resources already in place especially following the passage of the General Services Act in 1855 which readied the Indian Sepoys for war. Based on this, many expected the Second Anglo-Persian War to go the same as the first; as the Army of the Presidency of Bombay was quickly mobilized for a campaign aimed at driving the Persians from Afghanistan yet again, while the East Indies and China Station Squadron would move to blockade and bombard the Persian Gulf ports. With its ports closed and its ambitions in Afghanistan crushed, the war against Persia would be over quickly, enabling London to turn its full attention to the war with Russia once more, or so they hoped. While this strategy could have worked under normal circumstances, growing unrest in India would greatly disrupt these plans, causing the Britain no shortage of frustration and pain, while providing the Persians time to tighten their grip on their ill gotten gains.


Sepoys and Civilians Rally for War with Britain

The events known as the Great Bengali Revolt or the Indian Rebellion of 1856 as it is more commonly known, have their roots in the growing problems with the British East India Company’s governorship of India, ranging from religion issues and politics to economics and inheritance. Newer generations who had not experienced the hardships of their predecessors, forsook their elder’s caution and slowly began challenging several aspects of Indian culture (particularly the Caste system) to better suit British norms. Under these new men, the Indian Subcontinent would see a rising number of missionaries arriving in India to begin proselytizing the local inhabitants. Such acts were contrary to earlier promises by officials of the Company who had pledged not to allow such practices to transpire, and yet transpire they now did. In many instances, these missionaries would receive the support of Company men in spreading the Christian faith among the Indian people.

While they may have had good intentions, their efforts would only succeed in upsetting the more conservative elements of Indian society who felt insulted by the broken promises of the British. While this was certainly a concern among many, a more recent development would be far more controversial. In 1855, numerous Sepoys would receive new Pattern 1852 Enfield Rifle-Muskets, replacing their older Brown Bess Muskets that many of the soldiers and Sepoys had still been using. While something like this shouldn't have been an issue under normal circumstances, rumors quickly emerged that the paper cartridges used to carry the rounds and powder were made with grease derived from pig fat and/or cows tallows, a facet that would be highly offensive to both Muslims and Hindus if true.[2]

What would have been a simple misunderstanding between the British and Indians, one that could have been easily resolved with a clarification or the use of a different cartridge was made worse by the growing estrangement between British officers and their Indian troops. Many Englishmen in India were the sons of aristocrats or wealthy businessmen who thought quite highly of themselves, and quite lowly of the Indian people. As such many Sepoys were treated as inferior to the British, who were often relegated to back breaking manual labor and requiring strict discipline to keep in line. As such many were unable, or rather unwilling to acknowledge the stigma that accepting the greased cartridges would cast upon them according to the tenants of their faith; leading many British officers to simply force the new weapon on their Indian soldiers.



The Pattern 1852 Enfield Rifle-Musket (top) and Cartridges (bottom)
Worsening relations even further was the great economic disparity between the British and Indians as most Sepoys went months without pay or received no pay at all forcing many to live in abject poverty, while their British counterparts lived in relative luxury and comfort. The end of the Sikh Wars and the Second Anglo-Burmese War would worsen this disparity as many Sepoys lost their lucrative wartime bonuses. While the new conflict with Persia would see the return of these bonuses, the Company was slow in doling it out and far more stringent in its criteria, only providing it to the Sepoys of the Bombay Presidency and select units of the Bengal Presidency near the border. Moreover, the bonuses themselves were greatly reduced, often amounting to little more than a few extra shillings each year.

Indian Sepoys also had few opportunities for advancement in the military or bureaucracy under the British East India Company, with most high positions and ranks being provided to British officers alone. Those that did advance through the ranks were few and far between and often treated poorly. Perhaps the worst offense was the Doctrine of Lapse, which enabled the British East India Company to assume control over property if an owner died without an heir.

While the Doctrine of Lapse was by no means a new phenomenon, it had been used sparingly in the past and had gradually expanded to even exclude adopted heirs from receiving their parent’s wealth and property. The Sepoys were not immune to the Doctrine either as many would find themselves being disinherited by the very Company they worked for. The Sepoys of the Bengal Presidency would be especially aggrieved by the Doctrine as many were from the land holding middle class of Indian society, putting many at risk of losing their castes should their inheritances be confiscated or their pensions ceased.

Moreover, the extent of the Doctrine had been expanded from monetary assets and humble farmsteads to entire countries as was such the case with the Princely states of Sambalpur (1849) and Nagpur (1854) among several others. Many Rajas, Nawabs, and Zamindars would lose their ancestral homes because of this practice, which was often times used in a corrupt and arbitrary manner by the Company to seize valuable lands for itself. Those that attempted to appeal the confiscation of their property, by negotiating with Parliament often met with harsh rebukes or disdain, furthering resentment across the Subcontinent.

The final straw would be the enactment of the General Service Act in the Summer of 1855, which made it so Indian Sepoys could be sent overseas to fight Britain's wars. While this was supposed to be limited purely to new recruits, many Sepoys feared that they would be grandfathered into serving overseas, away from their homes and their families. The war with Persia only heightened these emotions as many Sepoys from Bombay and Bengal were sent to fight on the front with the Qajari Empire. By the Fall of 1855, tensions in India were at such a height that armed revolt was simply a matter of time.

The spark itself would come on the 5th of February 1856 when the 67th Bengal Native Infantry Regiment was suddenly directed to assemble outside their barracks for roll call. Rumors quickly began to swirl that they would be sent to the Balkans to fight in the war against Russia, while in actuality they were likely going to be sent against the Persians who had begun launching raids into Punjab and Sindh.[3] Believing the rumors and not wanting to leave for a war they had little interest in, roughly 200 men of the regiment refused to join their comrades outside their barracks. Even when the British attempted to inform them that they had been misled by false rumors, the Sepoys still refused to leave the barracks, prompting their officers to resort to disciplinary measures.

The dissenting Sepoys were promptly arrested, imprisoned, and court martialed before being stripped of their uniforms and put in irons in a humiliating display.[4] Angered by the degrading spectacle, several rowdy troops stormed the stage attempting to free their comrades, only to be met with the butt of rifles and the crack of whips. Matters soon escalated as a few more Sepoys grabbed their guns and opened fire on their British counterparts, prompting the British to respond in kind with devastating effect compelling those Sepoys who had not fired upon the British to now do so. Soon, Agra became laden with blood and bodies as the battle between British soldiers and Indian sepoys raged through its streets. Over time, however, the superior numbers of the Mutineers wore down the British who were gradually slain where they stood, one by one until only a handful were left.


The Agra Mutiny
In the commotion, several British soldiers and loyal Sepoys had managed to escape to Agra’s fortress and barricaded themselves inside it while they sent riders to Delhi to inform them of the mutiny and request reinforcements. While several men would be captured and killed by the mutineers, a few would in fact reach Delhi, however they would arrive too late to save their compatriots at Agra who were massacred to a man when the Rebels attacked the fort the following day. Whether it had been their intent or not, the actions of the Sepoys of Agra had ignited a powder keg as a series of revolts and mutinies began taking place all across Northern and Central India; the Great Bengalese Revolt had begun.

In the span of a few days almost all the Army of the Presidency of Bengal was in revolt, which was a truly disastrous development for the British as it was the largest army in all of India, numbering over 130,000 fighters. The mutineers would find less support among the Sepoys of the Bombay and Madras Presidencies with the Army of the Madras Presidency siding almost entirely with the British. The Army of the Bombay Presidency, however, would see several of its regiments go over to the mutineers, but overall, they too would side overwhelmingly with the British, likely owing to mounting involvement in the ongoing war with Persia.

The Bengali Mutineers would be joined soon after by a number of opportunistic Rajas, Nawabs, and Zamindars including the rulers of Ballabhgarh, Banda, and Rewari among several others as they had grown tired of British suzerainty and now sought to drive them out of India. Joining their forces with the mutineers, the rebels’ ranks swelled to nearly half a million men at their peak in mid-1856. Most of the Princely States of India would stay neutral or side with British during the revolt, but overall it was an incredibly dire situation for London in 1856 who could only count on half that number to oppose the Rebels.

Next Time: A Global War
[1] Owing to the more tumultuous nature of the Qajari Empire ITTL, Amir Kabir finds more support for his endeavors than in OTL.

[2] The user had to bite the cartridge with their teeth to open it.

[3] Owing to its enhanced role in TTL’s Crimean War parallel, Britain is forced to transfer Sepoys from India to fight in the Crimea. As a result, this adds quite a bit of fuel to the already considerable fire brewing in British India.

[4] Based on the events of the OTL Meerut Mutiny, which was prompted by similar incident involving a Parade with the Enfield Rifle.
 
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When the war between Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain began in 1854, Amir Kabir used this opportunity to begin eroding Britain’s influence over the Empire. Anglophile ministers were removed from their posts and were replaced by Amir Kabir’s supporters. Tariffs were gradually reapplied to British goods and the Qajari government regained full control over the ports of Mohammerah, Bandar Shahpur, Bandar Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, and Abadan. The Qajari Military was also rebuilt rather quickly with the Army rapidly expanding to 24,000 soldiers by the start of 1855, while the navy had risen to 21 warships (most of which were outdated sailing ships, although they did have two powerful steam ships of the line and a single screw frigate).
The Nezam on paper contained 50 regiments of infantry with 55,000 men by the late 1830s in addition to artillery and cavalry. Of course that was very much theoretical. I'd say ~20,000 men may be closer to reality after all that's the European trained army Abas Mirza had managed to field. To that Amir Kadir in OTL added or at least ordered the addition of 16 new regimens as part of its reorganization while ordering 200,000 rifles from Britain and Russia (source of Farrokh's Iran at war. Were it says rifles I'm inclined to substitute musket after all the Russians adopted the Six Line rifle only in 1856). Still something about 35,000 Nezam troops following his reforms may well be practical. Not certain if I want to buy into Browne's claim that had Amir Kabir been left to continue his reforms Persia could have a modern army around 100,000 men. In the long term quite possibly. Within a few years? Much less so.

I'm rather less sanguine about the Iranian navy. Ok I'd buy maybe the steam frigate. But where did they get that pair of screw ships of the line... which is the third highest number of steam capital ships in the worlds in 1855? And where did the find the crews for them and the rest of the fleet? The Ottomans had none in OTL, being down to 7 sail ships of the line by 1860. The Italians, Danes and Austrians has a single ship each, the Swedes a pair by 1860. Russia had its first ship converted in 1855, and another 7 built of converted by 1860. Britain had her first converted in 1852, by 1855 they are up to 21 if I count right they'd reach 53 by 1860 , while France who invented it has 17 in 1855 and 38 in 1860. (source Conway's All the world's ships 1860-1905)
 
The Nezam on paper contained 50 regiments of infantry with 55,000 men by the late 1830s in addition to artillery and cavalry. Of course that was very much theoretical. I'd say ~20,000 men may be closer to reality after all that's the European trained army Abas Mirza had managed to field. To that Amir Kadir in OTL added or at least ordered the addition of 16 new regimens as part of its reorganization while ordering 200,000 rifles from Britain and Russia (source of Farrokh's Iran at war. Were it says rifles I'm inclined to substitute musket after all the Russians adopted the Six Line rifle only in 1856). Still something about 35,000 Nezam troops following his reforms may well be practical. Not certain if I want to buy into Browne's claim that had Amir Kabir been left to continue his reforms Persia could have a modern army around 100,000 men. In the long term quite possibly. Within a few years? Much less so.

I'm rather less sanguine about the Iranian navy. Ok I'd buy maybe the steam frigate. But where did they get that pair of screw ships of the line... which is the third highest number of steam capital ships in the worlds in 1855? And where did the find the crews for them and the rest of the fleet? The Ottomans had none in OTL, being down to 7 sail ships of the line by 1860. The Italians, Danes and Austrians has a single ship each, the Swedes a pair by 1860. Russia had its first ship converted in 1855, and another 7 built of converted by 1860. Britain had her first converted in 1852, by 1855 they are up to 21 if I count right they'd reach 53 by 1860 , while France who invented it has 17 in 1855 and 38 in 1860. (source Conway's All the world's ships 1860-1905)
The 24,000 Nezam figure mentioned for the Qajari Army was the number they were able to raise between May 1854 (when the War between Britain, Russia and the Ottomans began) and January 1855 which seems fair to me. By the time the Persians declared war on Afghanistan and Britain it would have likely increased to 35,000 or even 40,000, but definitely not the 100,000 men that Browne suggested.

I'll admit, I didn't do my due diligence when researching the ships for the Persian Navy. I knew that Britain and France had a couple steam powered Ships of the Line around this time, but I didn't really know that the Ottomans did not and the Russians wouldn't have theirs until 1855. I'll definitely revise that down to a pair of screw-frigates and a screw-sloop with a couple smaller sailing vessels to round it out.
 
In terms fo the new update, it is a rather interesting set of events that are ongoing.

The persian army seems a bit small for the task it has set itself upon, a mere 40k men when British India had over 300k? If that rebellion had not occured, I can't imagine things going well at all for them. Hopefully each of those men are well trained, or they are done for. The Mutiny will really hit the UK like a truck. After substantial effort they now have over 80k men facing against the russians, but I would imagine that it would be hard to maintain that number while india burns.

If the rebellion reaches almost half a million "soldiers", then I almost can't imagine the Britsh pulling ahead with the amount of men they currently have in India. It would be folly to remove men from the russian front to the indian one, while I doubt the wisdom of recruiting heavily among indians to put down other indians. In our history the sikh states played a crucial role in supporting the british, but now they are on the front line against the persians. Their troops are more likely to be lost to the persians than have any impact on the rebellion.

Additionally, due to the positioning of troops, and how the revolt consumed the bengali army, the mutineers are in between the border with persia and bengal proper, an area which avoided much of the fighting in our timeline. In this situation, I wouldn't be surprised if the rebellion spreads further east than it had a chance to.

Looking at the situation as a whole, almost the whole of the british army, less whatever forces remained stationed in Britain itself, is engaged in combat. I am not sure if they can call upon the "dominions" yet, but they desperetly need more troops. If they have to start drafting men in their tens or even over a hundred thousand, that will produce an immense amount of war weariness. In those circumstances, I wouldn't be shocked for britians to just leave the turks hanging.

Also, wow Greece has at most 25% the population of Iran, but an army twice the size? That's really impressive.
 
In the end, India is the “Crown Jewel” of the empire. Britain can and will abandon its other fronts to put down the rebellion if it must, so this likely means we will see the Ottomans get super duper screwed and Persia maybe possibly able to do well in Afghanistan. At least at first.

Eventually, though, the Brits will be back. They always are, somehow.
 
That's really a matter of the Persians doing worse than Europe not of the Greeks doing much better than the average European state.
Its Actually only Britain forcing Iran/Persia to reduce its Military,which Helps Britain Here to be truthful

Honestly I am picturing Napoleon II sitting in His Palace, Sipping his Wine and Deciding how to use this wonderful Geopolitical Advantage that has appeared
 
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Its Actually only Britain forcing Iran/Persia to reduce its Military,which Helps Britain Here to be truthful

Honestly I am picturing Napoleon II sitting in His Palace, Sipping his Wine and Deciding how to use this wonderful Geopolitical Advantage that has appeared
CANNING: "France! France!"
NAPOLEON II: Signs off on a shipment of old weapons to Persia. "Yes?"
CANNING: "We seek French assistance in containing the threat of Russian encroachment on Black Sea trade and protection over Eastern Christendom."
NAPOLEON II: "So you can focus more of your efforts on the Persians and keeping that revolt in India contained, I presume?" Sips wine. "How quaint. What are you willing to offer?"
 
In the end, India is the “Crown Jewel” of the empire. Britain can and will abandon its other fronts to put down the rebellion if it must, so this likely means we will see the Ottomans get super duper screwed and Persia maybe possibly able to do well in Afghanistan. At least at first.

Eventually, though, the Brits will be back. They always are, somehow.
Yeah ultimately if Britain has to choose between India and the Ottomans they will choose India every single time, after all the Great Game was a result of British fear of Russia invading or influencing India.
 

Gendarmerie

Banned
Wonder if the Russians can get at least a white peace from Britain TTL since it's busy with a major revolt and war with Persia
 
Wonder if the Russians can get at least a white peace from Britain TTL since it's busy with a major revolt and war with Persia
Hard to say. Remember, Ottomans aren't keen on it, especially since Russia keeps trying to push into their territory, and I damn well suspect there's more then a little suspicion among their ranks that the English would sell them out in a heartbeat. And they'll be leveraging pressure on the Brits, arguing that next time this happens, they might just let the Russians in, not like they gain anything from fighting them if they lose it all at the negotiating table.
 
Wonder how much the French and Austrian can get out the British and ottoman in return for supporting war or staying neutral🧐
If the British were smart they’d cut their loses in Eastern Europe with a white Peace and go sort out India right now. Sadly I doubt Eastern Europe will stop being a battle grounds that soon
 
Part 80: Swirling Sands


British Cavalry Charge a Qajari Infantry Regiment
The peace between Great Britain and the Qajari Empire would be incredibly fragile after the volatile First Anglo-Persian War came to an end in mid-1848. The resulting peace treaty had seen Persia’s gains in Afghanistan returned, their grand army was reduced to a pittance, their navy surrendered to the British (or scuttled in defiance), and their Shah was forced to kowtow to London’s diktats. It was an utter humiliation that was not soon forgotten by the Qajari Empire, yet with British influence dominant in Tehran there was little they could do to oppose them. Naturally, resentment and animosity ran high in Tehran as the Qajari Military felt betrayed by their Government which had cravenly submitted to British demands despite their great successes on the battlefield. Many even blamed Muhammed Shah Qajar for the Empire’s surrender to Britain, while others blamed their perfidious ally France who had promised aid to Tehran in the war, only to abandon them in their moment of need.

The death of the old Shah in the Spring of 1849 would restore some semblance of balance to the Qajari Empire, as his son, the young Naser al-Din Shah Qajar quickly fell under the sway of his dynamic adviser Amir Kabir. Mirza Taghi Khan Farahani, better known by his title Amir Kabir (amir-e kabir) had been a member of the Qajari government for several decades by 1849, filling such roles as Military Registrar, Quartermaster, Diplomat, Chief Tutor of the Crown Prince, and Chief Minister of the Qajari Empire among others. Having spent several years in the service of the young Naser Shah, Amir Kabir enjoyed a close relationship with his sovereign and enjoyed the full confidence of his ruler. More than that, Amir Kabir was a consistent voice for modernization within the Qajari Government as well as a vocal advocate for the independence of the Qajari Empire from foreign influences, both of which were incredibly popular following the disasterous war with Britain.

Under the premise that corruption and malpractice had enabled the British to force degrading terms upon them, Amir Kabir embarked on an extensive campaign to root out bad actors and corrupt figures within the Qajari administration.[1] Proving this very point, several of Naser Shah’s relatives provoked an armed revolt by their supporters in early Summer 1852 when their estates came under investigation of the Prime Minister and his agents for tax evasion and duplicitous arrangements with foreign powers. With the backing of their retainers and a few of the tribes of Iran, the Rebels made moderate gains within the first few days of their revolt, gaining control over large swathes of Azerbaijan and Khorasan.

There successes would end there, however, as the Rebels failed to achieve significant support among the Qajari Army, the urban populace, or from the Clergy who generally supported the Shah, who in turn supported Amir Kabir. Within a matter of days, the rebel cause collapsed and they began losing ground to the Shah's loyalists and by the end of the Summer, they were defeated leading to the imprisonment or exile of numerous siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles of the Shah, along with the suspension of their pensions, and the seizure of their estates. Similarly, many of the tribes that had supported the rebels were finally subjugated to the will of the central government, their autonomy was significantly reduced, their armaments were seized, and their right to raise armies were formally abolished.

With his domestic adversaries largely defeated, Amir Kabir began an extensive modernization effort of the state bureaucracy and administration. The tax system was expanded and streamlined through the elimination of loopholes, new taxes were implemented, while old and ineffective taxes were abolished. The Persian postal service was established during this time, enhancing communication across the country. Numerous schools were established, and some industrialization was induced with the construction of several textile factories, plantations, and mines. More contentious, however were his policies towards the clergy, who saw their powers to intervene in secular matters gradually mitigated, but with the support of the Shah and the moderation of his policies, resistance was quelled.


Amir Kabir, Prime Minister of the Qajari Empire


When the war between Russia, the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain began in 1854, Amir Kabir used this opportunity to begin eroding Britain’s influence over the Empire. Anglophile ministers were removed from their posts and were replaced by Amir Kabir’s supporters. Tariffs were gradually reapplied to British goods and the Qajari government regained full control over the ports of Mohammerah, Bandar Shahpur, Bandar Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, and Abadan. The Qajari Military was also rebuilt rather quickly with the Army rapidly expanding to 24,000 soldiers by the start of 1855 (increasing to nearly 40,000 by the end of the year), while the navy had risen to 19 warships (most of which were small sailing ships or gunboats, although they did have two new screw-frigates and a single screw sloop).

Despite these provocations towards Great Britain, many within Tehran were still reluctant to openly declare war on them, remembering their recent defeat. Nor did they wish to aid Russia by attacking their adversary, as the Russians were still hated in large parts of the Qajari Empire for their previous hostilities and humiliations. Amir Kabir was also opposed to war with Britain for this very reason as fighting Britain would inevitably mean the ascendance of Russia. Yet circumstances beyond their control would soon force them to act as at this point that the Russian offensives of Spring 1855 began.

Seeking to break the stalemate of the previous year, the Russians pushed long and hard against the Ottoman Empire, plunging deep into Eastern Anatolia and bombarding their defenses all along the Danube. To combat these assaults, Britain would be forced to dispatch the 2nd and 3rd Infantry Divisions, and the 1st Cavalry Division to the Balkans joining the 1st Infantry Division and the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards, bringing British troop numbers to over 68,000 men in the Balkans. A further 8,000 soldiers and marines were dispatched to harass Russian ports and forts along the Black Sea coast, while another 4,000 were tasked with seizing the islands of the Baltic Sea.

This commitment of nearly 80,000 soldiers to the war with Russia represented roughly half of Britain’s Army in 1855, which along with the massive naval commitment in the Baltic and Black Seas (amounting to nearly 150 ships), left the British with very few reserves to retaliate against Persia with. Were they to go to war now, the British would likely be limited to those forces currently in India, which was still a very considerable force of 50,000 British soldiers and another 300,000 Indian Sepoys in 1855. Nevertheless, this was perhaps the best opportunity they would ever have to get revenge for their previous humiliation and to reclaim their place in the sun by reconquering Afghanistan.

Perhaps most pivotal in pushing Persia to war with Britain, however, was Naser al-Din Shah Qajar himself as he would experience a very sudden falling out with his Prime Minister Amir Kabir. Amir Kabir’s rise to power had been facilitated by the Shah’s youth and relative inexperience in 1851, with Amir Kabir serving as the tutor and protector of the young Naser Shah. But as the years progressed, the young king was now a grown man who had begun to chafe under the stifling control of his Prime Minister, who limited his authority and reduced his influence in favor of his own. More than that though, court intrigue and political machinations would see Amir Kabir's few remaining adversaries side with the Shah, driving a wedge between the two men. Now seeking to break out from underneath his overbearing teacher and reclaim his place in the Qajari Government, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar began beating the drums of war.

Taking notice of this growing rift between the Shah and his Chief Minister, the Russian ambassador to Tehran Prince Dmitry Ivanovich Dolgorukov quickly intervened in this internal affair and presented the Shah with a deal. With the full backing of St. Petersburg, Dolgorukov offered the full military, economic, and diplomatic support of his country to the Qajari Empire in its easterly ambitions in the hopes such a thrust against Afghanistan would eventually reach, or at least threaten British India. Even if Britain were not to respond to Persia's invasion of Afghanistan, which was incredibly unlikely, the very presence of Persian troops on the border of India would terrify Westminster and limit their capabilities elsewhere. Even so, many remained hesitant to antagonize Britain, and few if any wanted to admit Russian soldiers into their country.


Prince Dmitry Ivanovich Dolgorukov, Russian Ambassador to the Qajari Empire

Amir Kabir boisterously opposed such a proposition as it would make the Qajari Empire little more than a proxy of the Russians. But seeking to undermine his Prime Minister and assert himself once and for all, Naser Shah announced his approval of the Russian terms and his desire for war with Britain, effectively presenting Amir Kabir with a fait accompli. After further negotiation, it was decided that the Qajari Empire would make common cause with Russia in its fight against Great Britain, striking against Afghanistan and British India. Russia would be relegated primarily to a supporting role, providing men and material if necessary, to defend the territorial integrity of the Qajari Empire against British incursions. However, despite Russian efforts to the contrary, there would be no clause pertaining to a Qajari declaration of war against the Ottoman Empire, nor would Russian troops be permitted to fight the Ottomans from Persian territory, a likely concession to Amir Kabir and the Russophobes in Tehran who still wielded considerable influence.

With this alliance formalized, the Persian Government officially declared war on the Emirate of Afghanistan on the 10th of November, followed two days later by a declaration of war on the British Empire. Although the Afghans had made some preparations to oppose the Persians over the past 7 years, they would not be enough as Herat would fall within a month, followed quickly thereafter by Kabul before the end of the year. With the loss of both Herat and Kabul in such a short span of time, Afghan resistance effectively collapsed. Only a few small mountain holdouts in the Hindu Kush would remain in opposition to the Persians after the new year, but they too would fall one by one in the coming months. The British response to these developments would be surprisingly slow, however, as their primary focus would be directed towards Russia at this time.

In the eyes of many Members of Parliament, the Persians were certainly a threat, but not one that couldn’t be handled by the resources already in place especially following the passage of the General Services Act in 1855 which readied the Indian Sepoys for war. Based on this, many expected the Second Anglo-Persian War to go the same as the first; as the Army of the Presidency of Bombay was quickly mobilized for a campaign aimed at driving the Persians from Afghanistan yet again, while the East Indies and China Station Squadron would move to blockade and bombard the Persian Gulf ports. With its ports closed and its ambitions in Afghanistan crushed, the war against Persia would be over quickly, enabling London to turn its full attention to the war with Russia once more, or so they hoped. While this strategy could have worked under normal circumstances, growing unrest in India would greatly disrupt these plans, causing the Britain no shortage of frustration and pain, while providing the Persians time to tighten their grip on their ill gotten gains.


Sepoys and Civilians Rally for War with Britain

The events known as the Great Bengali Revolt or the Indian Rebellion of 1856 as it is more commonly known, have their roots in the growing problems with the British East India Company’s governorship of India, ranging from religion issues and politics to economics and inheritance. Newer generations who had not experienced the hardships of their predecessors, forsook their elder’s caution and slowly began challenging several aspects of Indian culture (particularly the Caste system) to better suit British norms. Under these new men, the Indian Subcontinent would see a rising number of missionaries arriving in India to begin proselytizing the local inhabitants. Such acts were contrary to earlier promises by officials of the Company who had pledged not to allow such practices to transpire, and yet transpire they now did. In many instances, these missionaries would receive the support of Company men in spreading the Christian faith among the Indian people.

While they may have had good intentions, their efforts would only succeed in upsetting the more conservative elements of Indian society who felt insulted by the broken promises of the British. While this was certainly a concern among many, a more recent development would be far more controversial. In 1855, numerous Sepoys would receive new Pattern 1852 Enfield Rifle-Muskets, replacing their older Brown Bess Muskets that many of the soldiers and Sepoys had still been using. While something like this shouldn't have been an issue under normal circumstances, rumors quickly emerged that the paper cartridges used to carry the rounds and powder were made with grease derived from pig fat and/or cows tallows, a facet that would be highly offensive to both Muslims and Hindus if true.[2]

What would have been a simple misunderstanding between the British and Indians, one that could have been easily resolved with a clarification or the use of a different cartridge was made worse by the growing estrangement between British officers and their Indian troops. Many Englishmen in India were the sons of aristocrats or wealthy businessmen who thought quite highly of themselves, and quite lowly of the Indian people. As such many Sepoys were treated as inferior to the British, who were often relegated to back breaking manual labor and requiring strict discipline to keep in line. As such many were unable, or rather unwilling to acknowledge the stigma that accepting the greased cartridges would cast upon them according to the tenants of their faith; leading many British officers to simply force the new weapon on their Indian soldiers.



The Pattern 1852 Enfield Rifle-Musket (top) and Cartridges (bottom)
Worsening relations even further was the great economic disparity between the British and Indians as most Sepoys went months without pay or received no pay at all forcing many to live in abject poverty, while their British counterparts lived in relative luxury and comfort. The end of the Sikh Wars and the Second Anglo-Burmese War would worsen this disparity as many Sepoys lost their lucrative wartime bonuses. While the new conflict with Persia would see the return of these bonuses, the Company was slow in doling it out and far more stringent in its criteria, only providing it to the Sepoys of the Bombay Presidency and select units of the Bengal Presidency near the border. Moreover, the bonuses themselves were greatly reduced, often amounting to little more than a few extra shillings each year.

Indian Sepoys also had few opportunities for advancement in the military or bureaucracy under the British East India Company, with most high positions and ranks being provided to British officers alone. Those that did advance through the ranks were few and far between and often treated poorly. Perhaps the worst offense was the Doctrine of Lapse, which enabled the British East India Company to assume control over property if an owner died without an heir.

While the Doctrine of Lapse was by no means a new phenomenon, it had been used sparingly in the past and had gradually expanded to even exclude adopted heirs from receiving their parent’s wealth and property. The Sepoys were not immune to the Doctrine either as many would find themselves being disinherited by the very Company they worked for. The Sepoys of the Bengal Presidency would be especially aggrieved by the Doctrine as many were from the land holding middle class of Indian society, putting many at risk of losing their castes should their inheritances be confiscated or their pensions ceased.

Moreover, the extent of the Doctrine had been expanded from monetary assets and humble farmsteads to entire countries as was such the case with the Princely states of Sambalpur (1849) and Nagpur (1854) among several others. Many Rajas, Nawabs, and Zamindars would lose their ancestral homes because of this practice, which was often times used in a corrupt and arbitrary manner by the Company to seize valuable lands for itself. Those that attempted to appeal the confiscation of their property, by negotiating with Parliament often met with harsh rebukes or disdain, furthering resentment across the Subcontinent.

The final straw would be the enactment of the General Service Act in the Summer of 1855, which made it so Indian Sepoys could be sent overseas to fight Britain's wars. While this was supposed to be limited purely to new recruits, many Sepoys feared that they would be grandfathered into serving overseas, away from their homes and their families. The war with Persia only heightened these emotions as many Sepoys from Bombay and Bengal were sent to fight on the front with the Qajari Empire. By the Fall of 1855, tensions in India were at such a height that armed revolt was simply a matter of time.

The spark itself would come on the 5th of February 1856 when the 67th Bengal Native Infantry Regiment was suddenly directed to assemble outside their barracks for roll call. Rumors quickly began to swirl that they would be sent to the Balkans to fight in the war against Russia, while in actuality they were likely going to be sent against the Persians who had begun launching raids into Punjab and Sindh.[3] Believing the rumors and not wanting to leave for a war they had little interest in, roughly 200 men of the regiment refused to join their comrades outside their barracks. Even when the British attempted to inform them that they had been misled by false rumors, the Sepoys still refused to leave the barracks, prompting their officers to resort to disciplinary measures.

The dissenting Sepoys were promptly arrested, imprisoned, and court martialed before being stripped of their uniforms and put in irons in a humiliating display.[4] Angered by the degrading spectacle, several rowdy troops stormed the stage attempting to free their comrades, only to be met with the butt of rifles and the crack of whips. Matters soon escalated as a few more Sepoys grabbed their guns and opened fire on their British counterparts, prompting the British to respond in kind with devastating effect compelling those Sepoys who had not fired upon the British to now do so. Soon, Agra became laden with blood and bodies as the battle between British soldiers and Indian sepoys raged through its streets. Over time, however, the superior numbers of the Mutineers wore down the British who were gradually slain where they stood, one by one until only a handful were left.

In the commotion, several British soldiers and loyal Sepoys had managed to escape to Agra’s fortress and barricaded themselves inside it while they sent riders to Delhi to inform them of the mutiny and request reinforcements. While several men would be captured and killed by the mutineers, a few would in fact reach Delhi, however they would arrive too late to save their compatriots at Agra who were massacred to a man when the Rebels attacked the fort the following day. Whether it had been their intent or not, the actions of the Sepoys of Agra had ignited a powder keg as a series of revolts and mutinies began taking place all across Northern and Central India; the Great Bengalese Revolt had begun.

In the span of a few days almost all the Army of the Presidency of Bengal was in revolt, which was a truly disastrous development for the British as it was the largest army in all of India, numbering over 130,000 fighters. The mutineers would find less support among the Sepoys of the Bombay and Madras Presidencies with the Army of the Madras Presidency siding almost entirely with the British. The Army of the Bombay Presidency, however, would see several of its regiments go over to the mutineers, but overall, they too would side overwhelmingly with the British, likely owing to mounting involvement in the ongoing war with Persia.

The Bengali Mutineers would be joined soon after by a number of opportunistic Rajas, Nawabs, and Zamindars including the rulers of Ballabhgarh, Banda, and Rewari among several others as they had grown tired of British suzerainty and now sought to drive them out of India. Joining their forces with the mutineers, the rebels’ ranks swelled to nearly half a million men at their peak in mid-1856. Most of the Princely States would stay neutral or side with British during the revolt, but overall it was an incredibly dire situation for London in 1856 who could only count on half that number to oppose the Rebels.

Next Time: A Global War
[1] Owing to the more tumultuous nature of the Qajari Empire ITTL, Amir Kabir finds more support for his endeavors than in OTL.
[2] The user had to bite the cartridge with their teeth to open it.
[3] Owing to its enhanced role in TTL’s Crimean War parallel, Britain is forced to transfer Sepoys from India to fight in the Crimea. As a result, this adds quite a bit of fuel to the already considerable fire brewing in British India.
[4] Based on the events of the OTL Meerut Mutiny, which was prompted by similar incident involving a Parade with the Enfield Rifle.
wonderful update can't wait to read the Next one
 
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