The Rainbow. A World War One on Canada's West Coast Timeline

If you get it published, I am a guaranteed customer. Recently, while planning a vacation to BC, I was laying out how I could hit as many of the sites of Leipzig's and Nurnberg's actions as possible before I remembered they did not actually occur in our timeline.
I sometimes fall into that way of thinking too.
Here are some of the tourist hotspots you could visit:
Anyox
Swanson Bay
Ocean Falls
 
Afterwards: Voyage of SMS Niagara. Part One.
Aug 22, 1400 hours. Barclay Sound.

NEW SHIP IS IZUMO WILL DRAW OFF TO THE WEST IF WE ARE ABLE GOD SAVE THE KAISER, had been the last message Haun had sent before Leipzig disappeared westward.

Niagara left Barclay Sound when Von Schönberg was satisfied that Haun had enough time to lure Izumo away and over the horizon. The wireless operator was keeping track of the interference caused by Leipzig’s jamming. The signal gradually faded, and continued to do so. The last sight the crew had of Canada, at around 1700 hours, was the cloud that gathered around the highest peaks of Vancouver Island. Niagara travelled in company with the tanker Desalba and collier Bengrove.

Von Schönberg was irritated at having to remain in convoy with these slow ships, and wished to detach them as soon as possible. Desalba and Bengrove were capable of dashes of up to 13 knots, when required, but for regular operations were best limited to 10 knots. Niagara was designed as a fast Trans-Pacific liner, and could maintain 18 knots for weeks at a time, and often had when plying her pre-war route of Sydney-Aukland-Vancouver. When the sunset and then complete darkness arrived on the August 22, and the Izumo had not appeared, Von Schönberg breathed a sigh of relief.

Aug 26, 300 Nautical Miles off Oregon

Von Schönberg kept his convoy well off shore, and only crossed shipping lanes in a perpendicular track. They had gotten some rain on the 23rd, and the sky had been overcast at times, as summer in the norther hemisphere faded into autumn. Once well away from shipping lanes, the crew was set to work building a wood and canvas target. When finished, the target was towed behind Bengrove.

The gunners of the East Asiatic Squadron knew their trade, but Von Schönberg wanted to familiarize the men with the characteristics of the guns on their new mounts on Niagara’s deck. Still he allowed only 5 rounds of practice per gun, for a total of 30 shells. Even this expenditure of ammunition agonized him, as he counted down towards zero their remaining supply. As it turned out, the gun in P1 position, the forwardmost gun on Niagara’s port foc’sle, was found to have a damaged breech block that jammed in the open position after the first shot and refused to budge. Consequently, only 26 shells ended up being fired that day. The shooting was satisfactory, but suffered from not having a central rangefinder.

“I intend to vanish for a while,” Von Schönberg told his officers. “And reappear again where not expected. In the meantime, we will practice some guile. We can build a false funnel or two with the hardware we loaded in Ucluelet, and take on the guise of an Entente liner.”

“You can,” observed Saxonia’s former captain wryly, “but I don’t know what good it will do you. Half of the 4 funnel liners in the world are German. Of the rest, they are Cunard and White Star giants, dwarfing even this ship. And they all operate exclusively in the Atlantic.”

“Hmm,” considered Von Schönberg, slightly deflated. “Apparently I do not know my merchant vessels. What about three funnel liners?”

“Most of those are German as well,” said Saxonia’s former captain, “like the Imperator and the Bismark.” The Hamburg Amerika captain considered the question for a moment. “There are the French Gallia and Lutetia. Of the Sud-Atlantique Line. They do the Buenos Aires run, so with wartime disruptions could conceivably round the Horn and end up in the Pacific. Sud-Atlantique also has the Burdigala as well, with three funnels. That’s what the Frogs renamed the Kaiser Freidrich when they bought her from HAPAG. That ship was a great disappointment, I can tell you. Gallia and Lutetia are funny looking ships. The number one funnel sits almost on top of the bridge.”

“Then the Anchor Line has the Columbia,” Saxonia’s former captain continued. “The Brits will probably turn her into an armed merchant cruiser when they get around to it.”

“I know the Russian navy has a training ship Okean, with 3 funnels, sir,” said Lieutenant Riediger. “I saw her in the Baltic. She looks like a liner. Somewhat smaller than Niagara.”

“There are scores if not hundreds of liners from all nations with two funnels,” said Saxonia’s former captain.

Aug 27-29, 300 NM off Oregon, and Northern California.

Niagara’s crew spent the days of calm bright weather building a secure area of the accommodations to contain interned crews, repainting the ship in the livery of Compagnie de Navigation Sud-Atlantique, and building a false funnel directly on top of the wheelhouse. The upperworks were painted white one deck lower than The Union Steamship Line colours, and a large red cockerel was painted on each funnel, and the Tricolore was raised.

September 2. 300 NM and Northern California.

Niagara detaches Desalba and Bengrove to linger to her north, and heads for the San Francisco-Honolulu shipping lane.

September 4. 400 NM off San Francisco.

Niagara encounters a storm that knocks over her false funnel.

September 6-8, 400 NM off San Francisco.

Niagara’s crew rebuilds the false funnel and returns to the San Francisco-Honolulu shipping lane.

September 12, 500 NM off San Francisco.

Niagara encountered and boarded the 1900 ton Australian steamer SS Urilla, of the Adelaide Steamship Company, carrying a cargo of wool and bully beef. Her log indicated that she had been bound for the Panama Canal, but had redirected to San Francisco to avoid the reported position of Leipzig off the Mexican coast. Niagara took her crew of 28, ships papers and newspapers, and Afghan hound mascot aboard, and sank Urilla with demolition charges. As the scuttling was irrevocably underway, another steamship arrived on the scene.

The SS Minnesotan, a 6600 GRT freighter of Hawaiian-American Steamship Company, intervened in what her captain thought was a fire and rescue at sea. Too late he realized the actual situation, but by then was only a mile away from Niagara and the foundering Urilla. Minnesotan was a neutral, and an American at that, the very kind of meeting that Von Schönberg was most seeking to avoid. Still, now that there was no choice in the matter, Von Schönberg took decisive action, jammed the airwaves, and ordered Minnesotan to stop and receive boarders. He went along with the boarding party himself.

The Minnesotan’s captain protested that he was a neutral ship with a neutral cargo. Von Schönberg apologized. “I am truly not any happier about this than you, captain,” said the German. “I have no quarrel with our friends the United Sates of America. But I cannot allow my position to be reported. I must purchase your wireless set, at market value, so that you will not be tempted to give our location and description once we pass over the horizon.” A negotiation ensued, and Von Schönberg was shocked at what he ended up paying to relieve the American of his wireless, but he shook hands with the Minnesotan’s captain paid promptly and in full, in crisp Canadian dollars from the Anyox strongbox. The boarding party reported that Minnesotan was carrying a cargo of sugar and pineapples from Honolulu to San Francisco, confirming that the cargo as well as the ships flag was neutral and in no way contraband. The German sailors transferred the Australian crew and their dog to the American ship, and bid them good day.

From the Minnesotan’s officers, Von Schönberg learned that there was an Entente shipping stop on the west coast of the Americas, due to the proximity of Leipzig. From the newspapers and wireless logs from Urilla, he learned that SMS Geier had captured a British freighter SS Southport off the German island colony of Kosrae, on September 4th, but the Brit had somehow managed to get away and report the old gunboat. He also learned that the German wireless station at Yap and the colony of German Samoa had fallen to a mixed force of Australians and New Zealanders, their troop ships escorted by most of the Royal Navy and French warships in the Pacific theatre.

Von Schönberg watched the Minnesotan depart. He figured that at 10 knots the American freighter would take at least 50 hours to reach San Francisco and tell their story, but at the rate that Minnesotan reached the horizon the navigator figured she was making at least 15 knots.

“This area is not going to be profitable to us,” Von Schönberg concluded. He set a course to the south and west, and called by wireless for the Desalba and Bengrove to follow, at a distance. His transmissions in German merchant code must have carried some distance, for he received a wireless message in similar code shortly after.

HAPAG SS ALEXANDRIA IN SAN FRANCISCO HARBOUR REPORTS HMS NEWCASTLE HIJMS IZUMO AND COLLIER AT PORT SAN BARTOLOME MEXICO

“Unprofitable, and too hot as well,” said Von Schönberg. “Onward.”

SS Urilla

SS Minnesotan
 
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One lucrative target would be harrasing Santiago de Chile to reduce phosphate shippings to Europe. Another if very far away but nobody would expect a German raider to turn up there would be French Indochina.
 
There are various targets. Chile for phospate and nitratine (once largely used for fertilizers, synthesis of industrial acids and potassium nitrate), Australia (raw metals like iron and copper), Strait of Malacca (very heavy maritime trade), Burma (Burmah Oil refineries in Rangoon), India (mainly generic supplies, animals) and so on. It all depends on one resuorcefulness, audacity and in the general occasions.
 
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Afterwards: Splendor Sine Ocasu
1100 hours, August 25, HIJMS Izumo, Esquimalt Naval Dockyard

“Civilian Death Toll in Vancouver Rises to 6 as Bodies of Drover and Pipe Fitter Discovered among Ruins of Lonsdale Shipyard. Provincial Total of Civilian Dead Reaches 18. Swanson Bay Hit Hardest With 4 Confirmed and 7 Presumed Dead.”

“Military Casualties Censored, But Expected to Number Well Over 100. Militia and Navy Suffer in Fierce Fighting. Russian Allies Also Pay High Price with Over 100 Dead in Prince Rupert Battle.”

“Rolling Blackouts and Streetcar Closures expected until at least the New Year, Says BC Electric Railway Spokesman. Buntzen Lake Power Plants Beyond Repair.”

“It’s a Miracle! Distraught North Vancouver Family Overjoyed as Missing Toddler Returns Unharmed. 2 Year Old Reportedly Spent 3 Days Hiding in Woods With Family Dog.”

Headlines. Vancouver Sun, August 24 afternoon edition.

“Granby Mining and Smelting Company Announces that Anyox mill will be rebuilt. Until Facilities Operational, Ore from Hidden Creek and Bonanza mines will be Shipped by Barge and Rail to the Company’s Smelter in Grand Forks.”

“Steamship Travel to Vancouver and Beyond Sporadic as CPR, GTP Lines deal with Shortage of Vessels.”

“Britain’s Army in Strong Position, Withstands Attack of Enemy. Forts at Liege Still Defended. Begin Blockade of Tsingtao—British French and Russian War Vessels taking Part, German Garrison Makes Defensive Preparations.

Headlines. Victoria Daily Colonist, August 25 morning edition.

The yard launch approached the recently arrived giant armoured cruiser His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Izumo. The cruiser sat anchored in the middle of Esquimalt harbour. Around her, steam tugs of all shapes and sizes were busy working. To the south, the requisitioned steam tug SS Lorne was spraying her fire hoses on the collapsed wreck of the Naval Coal wharf. Steam still rose from the mounds of coal piled on the shoreline, 4 days after they had first been set alight.

A crane was clearing wreckage from the Yarrows Shipyard on the east shore. At the Graving Dock, portable pumps landed from half a dozen salvage tugs, the main pumps of the tug SS Madge, and a steam powered fire pump engine were dewatering the dock, in lieu of the drydock pumphouse, which had taken a direct hit. The wreck of SS Prince Albert sat on the bottom of the dock. Workers were cutting down her masts to reduce topweight.

The tall sides of the Japanese cruiser loomed above the oily debris strewn water, as the yard launch approached. Turrets and casemates bristled with guns over the heads of the Canadian delegation.

“Just as soon as this war ends,” Premier McBride said in an aside to Captain Trousdale, “we shall find Japan in complete control of the Pacific.”

“And at the moment,” replied Trousdale, “They seem to have saved our bacon.”

Captain Walter Hose ran his eyes over the Japanese ship and made difficult to interpret grunting noises. “Rainbow had two 6 inch guns as her main armament,” he said. “This ship has seven per broadside, and that is only her secondaries.”

“Built in Newcastle-upon-Tyne,” said Trousdale.

The yard launch bumped up against Izumo’s landing stage, and the men were greeted by Japanese sailors arranging to tie the boat alongside, and a tall Japanese officer.

“You are early,” said the Japanese officer.

The Canadian officers and McBride climbed up onto the landing stage. Hose was walking with a cane, but refused any help. When the Canadians arrived at deck level, it was clear they had indeed arrived early. Japanese sailors were rushing to erect an awning over the afterdeck, but were waved away by an officer and quickly concealed the canvas and rigging. Members of Izumo’s ship’s band appeared, with their instruments, in ones and twos.

The first notes of collected brass instruments sounded from behind the Canadian delegation. A Canadian band was assembled on the deck of the steam tug SS Maud, their tunics a splash of red on the blue-grey harbour. Ready-or-not, the Japanese sailors sprang to attention. The strains of Kimigayo, the Japanese National Anthem, carried across the waters of Esquimalt. Bagpipes added an otherworldly quality to the already foreign sounding composition.

“The Dockyard’s own Naden Band is busy at the hospital helping with Rainbow’s wounded,” whispered Trousdale to McBride. “This is the Band of the 50th Gordons… Highlanders,” he offered by way of explanation. The Japanese captain appeared on Izumo’s after bridge, still doing up the top buttons on his dress uniform jacket. He quickly pulled on white gloves, and stood at attention. When the anthem was finished, the Gordons’ Band struck up with Gunkan koshinkyoku, the march of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The Gordons handled this conventional military march capably.

The members of Izumo’s band continued to file on to the deck and assemble, such that by the time the last chorus of the Gunkan machi trailed off, the Japanese band struck up with God Save the King. The standing at attention continued all around, save for a few stragglers from Izumo’s band arriving and taking their places. Izumo’s band followed the anthem with Heart of Oak, the Royal Canadian Navy (and Royal Navy) March. McBride noticed that Hose was singling along quietly to himself, “We are always ready, steady, boys, steady.”

Once the musical introduction was finished, bowing, saluting, and hand shaking commenced. Captain Moriyama Keizaburo, greeted the Canadian officers and McBride. Immediately the naval officers began to exchange intelligence.

“You are a politician, premier of a Prefecture?” Moriyama asked, wondering why McBride remained at the meeting after the formalities were completed.

“Of the province, yes,” answered McBride.

“He is a very hands-on premier,” offered Trousdale. “He took complete charge of Canadian Defence on the Pacific Coast just after the war started.” Moriyama looked at McBride, curiously.

We were stretched to the breaking point, thought McBride, someone had to step up. And conscious of not wanting to give too much to the Japanese ally he was not inclined to trust, he said, “I just did my bit.”

“The good news is we have coal for you,” said Trousdale. “We are working on getting the graving dock functional again, but that will take several days at least.” As the meeting commenced, the steam tug SS Pilot brought a coal scow alongside Izumo. Once the scow was tied up the Japanese sailors prepared a coaling operation.

"So,” began Moriyama, “my ship chased the Leipzig from Canadian waters on August 22nd, and still had her in sight on the morning of the 23rd, heading south. We have searched for her since then, but were forced to break off and come to Esquimalt for want of coal.”

“We believe Leipzig deliberately led you away,” said Trousdale, “so that their prize supply ships and an armed merchant cruiser could escape.”

“Why was I not told of this?” asked Moriyama.

“You did not communicate with us until this morning,” said Trousdale. “And in any case, we only found out the story half a day after they sailed, when we were interviewing witnesses who were held prisoner at the time. The British Consul in San Francisco inforems us that the steamer SS Mazatlan has been released by American customs after the German Legation payed a bond. Mazatlan is understood by all to be functioning as a collier for German commerce raiders, most likely headed to refuel Leipzig.”

The Canadians and Japanese exchanged intelligence. McBride worried they shared too much. “HMS Newcastle should be arriving August 30,” said Trousdale. “You two will be the Entente squadron on the West Coast of Canada.”

“Five days. Awkward timing,” said Moriyama. “I would prefer to sail earlier, but having a squadron rather than a single ship is advantageous. I will have to consider.”

The Canadians returned to Esquimalt Dockyard. Some surviving buildings had been re-allotted as command offices, tents had been erected, and the banging of hammers announced that temporary huts were under construction. Izumo coaled until 1900 hours, loading the entire contents of the coal scow. Another was brought alongside, but bunkering did not recommence until 0700 the following morning.

Aug 26

By 1400 hours Izumo had finished coaling to her 1500 ton capacity. At the same time, the gates of the graving dock opened, and the blacked hull of SS Prince Albert, showing a number of patches, was towed out of the dock by SS Maud and taken over to Victoria’s Inner Harbour to be scrapped. Captain Moriyama was offered space in the graving dock to care for Izumo’s hull after 10 months at sea. Moriyama did not like that the slow operation of the improvised pump system would keep him captive in the dock, when he was the only Entente warship on the coast. He opted to patrol off Cape Flattery, and Izumo left Esquimalt at 2000 hours.

Aug 30

HMS Newcastle arrived off Esquimalt to much fanfare, and entered the harbour at 1400 hours. Captain Powlett accepted the offer of the graving dock. A better improvised pumping system had reduced the draw down time.

Aug 31

Izumo arrived back from her patrol. Newcastle left the graving dock at 0900 hours, and Izumo took a turn having her hull cleaned, while Newcastle coaled from a scow. A collier SS Aid that had somehow escaped the destruction on the coast, brought a fresh load of coal from a surviving facility in Nanaimo, and joined the squadron as an auxiliary.

Sept 3

Newcastle, Izumo, and SS Aid left Esquimalt for Port San Bartolome, Mexico. As they passed by Royal Roads, the squadron saw on their starboard a barge and tug performing a salvage operation on the shallow wreck of HMCS Rainbow. A 4.7 inch gun was being lowered by an A-frame derrick onto the deck of the barge.

HMS Newcastle
 
HMS Newcastle is historically scrapped in '21, could the Town-class Light Cruiser get a new lease of life post-war in the Royal Canadian Navy and possibly as a member of the Royal Canadian Navy's Pacific Squadron?
 
Much better to give the Canadians a C or D class cruiser if possible. The difference between a cruiser designed before 1910 and one designed and built after 1914 is huge.
Also by 1918 Newcastle would have been worked to death.
 
I would actually suggest maybe 3-4 Hawkins Class heavy cruisers. Well armed and armored, and perfectly viable for when Austrian mustache man decides to turn the world upside down 21 years later. Throw in 3-5 Emerald or Danae class light cruisers and that should be enough stop any attempted German raiding along the Canadian coast.
 
Afterwards: Voyage of SMS Niagara Part 2
Sept 21, 1914, 150 NM off Manzanillo Mexico.

HAPAG SS ALLEMANIA IN SAN DIEGO REPORTS HMS NEWCASTLE AND HIJMS IZUMO LEFT PORT 1530 HOURS AND STEAMED NORTH

SMS Niagara was painted in the livery of the Union-Castle Steamship line SS Kildonen Castle, with her false funnel dismounted and stowed away, and her two legitimate funnels painted red with a black stripe on top. After receiving the report that Newcastle and Izumo had left the area, Von Schönberg placed Niagara astride the Honolulu-Acapulco shipping lane for 7 days, but sighted no ships.

Sept 28, 1914, 150 NM west of Acapulco, Mexico.

Niagara moved south, and in the evening chased and stopped the 2000 ton French 4-masted steel barque Wulfran Puget, carrying a load of copra from the Marquesa Islands to Acapulco. The ship had no wireless. The crew was taken aboard along with all useful provisions, and the Puget was sunk with demolition charges. After 3 more days without spotting any ships, Niagara headed south again, to interdict the western approach to the Panama Canal.

Oct 1, 1914. 200 NM south of Costa Rica.

Niagara saw many neutral ships approaching Panama, including a good number of American vessels, but none of belligerent powers. Von Schönberg declined to stop any of the neutral ships to check for contraband cargo, and kept a distance of at least 10 nautical miles from any ship. Niagara stayed in the shipping lanes off Panama for a week without success, until she had run her oil tanks down to their lowest reserves. October 8 Von Schönberg arranged, by wireless using naval code, to meet Desalba and Bengrove at the remote Mexican island of Socorro.

While Niagara’s wireless operator was working his long-distance magic, he received a faint message in clear.

ALL SHIPS ALL SHIPS WARNING GERMAN CRUISER LEIPZIG REPORTED CAPTURING MERCHANT VESSELS IN GULF OF GUAYAQUIL STOP

“Aha!” said Von Schönberg.

Oct 11, 1914, Socorro Island, 370 NM west of Manzanillo, Mexico.

“This is the most desolate place I have ever seen,” said Von Schönberg, regarding the beige volcanic cone of Soccoro, baking under the tropical autumn sun. The island’s geographical features seemed limited to cliffs, arroyos, and bald patches in the scrub vegetation. Desalba came alongside Niagara in the lee of the barren island, rigged her hoses, and began pumping fuel oil. Transferring Desalba’s entire load of 3000 tons of oil took 18 hours. Slowly the tanker rose higher and higher out of the sea. The crew had to ballast Desalba to keep her from bobbing like a cork. The oil tanker, which perhaps ironically burned coal as fuel, was almost empty of coal as well, and so was very light. Von Schönberg had Bengrove standing off at the horizon to act as a watch picket, but no vessels showed themselves.

A shore party sent to gather supplies returned with 4 dozen rather skinny feral sheep. “There is nothing else any sane person would want to eat on that rock, unless you were castaway and starving,” reported the petty officer who led the expedition. “And there is no water, either. Or shade. There are iguanas napping on every other rock, shy when they bother to wake up, and whole battalions of some kind of land crab. I can’t tell if the crabs are stupid, or friendly, or hungry, but they tried to mob us if we stood still for too long. The birds are small, and clueless, and somewhere between curious and indifferent to people. After we spent the day stumbling up and down cliffs hunting those sheep and looking for water, one of the species of birds following us around had learned how to say ‘Scheisse!’”

The following day, Von Schönberg reversed the positions of his auxiliaries, and had Desalba outlying as a picket, while he had a work partly load 1000 tons of coal from Bengrove into Niagara’s coal bunkers. The work was exceptionally unpleasant in the hot sun. Another work party was climbing over the liner topside changing her appearance, again. A third funnel was erected evenly spaced behind the first two, and all three funnels were painted black such that the ship resembled the Anchor Line SS Columbia. The painting crew was annoyed by the airborne dust of the coaling operation, but the disguise did not suffer.

Oct 14, Socorro Island, 370 NM west of Manzanillo, Mexico.

Bengrove cast off from Niagara, having just less that 1000 tons of coal remaining in her holds. The three German ships moved offshore, back towards the coast of the Americas. Everything of value was brought over from Desalba to Niagara, the prize crew of 40 rejoined their compatriots aboard the big liner, and Desalba slowly sank into the open Pacific until her bow lifted high in the air and she disappeared, stern first.

“We are at a juncture now,” said Von Schönberg, “where we could strike South West, at French Polynesia, or we could return to the approaches to the Panama Canal, or try and interdict the Nitrate trade from Chile.”

“I can’t think of what attacking French Polynesia would accomplish, Sir,” responded Lieutenant Reideger. “Other than scaring the living daylights out of the Frogs.”

“From an economic perspective,” said the former captain of Saxonia, “the Canal or the Nitrite trade is the clear winner.”

“Much of the effect we are having on Entente trade seems to be from scaring merchant ships into staying in port,” said Von Schönberg. “We could not damage the Panama Canal ourselves, but Leipzig seems to have shut down all Entente trade through the Canal, just by showing up. Which creates a paradox. The more Leipzig forces the belligerent merchant fleets to shelter in port, the less opportunity we have to take any as prizes. I say we go as far south as we can, and go hunting for the Chilean Nitrite trade.”

Oct 19, off the Gulf of Panama.

Niagara captured the 1800 ton French steel-hulled barque Montmorency, carrying a cargo of sugar, coffee, and copra. From her crew Von Schönberg learned that Admiral Von Spee had bombarded Papeete on September 22, burned down 4 blocks of the downtown, sunk the gunboat Zélée, and had been frustrated from taking the coal stocks when the French garrison set them alight. Montmorency’s crew was taken aboard, along with provisions and several hundred pounds of sugar. The French barque was sunk with demolition charges.

“Such a shame that cargo of coffee was not roasted,” lamented Von Schönberg.

In the following days, Niagara encountered a few neutral ships, but kept her distance.

Oct 23, off the Gulf of Guayaquil.

Niagara took the 4000 GRT steam freighter Normanby, of the Pyman Brothers Steamship Company, London. Niagara’s wireless operator was forced to jam an attempted SOS, and the German ship had to fire a warning shot across Normanby’s bow before she hove-to and received the boarding party. The British freighter was carrying a full cargo of saltpeter from the mines of Antofagasta. Niagara took her crew on board, as well as a substantial amount of canned food. Normanby was sunk with demolition charges, and her cargo burned fiercely before the flames were doused by the consuming ocean.

Oct 26, off Callao Peru.

Niagara caught the 6000 ton steam freighter Crown of Seville, of the Crown Line, Glasgow, heading North for the Panama Canal. Crown of Seville also had a full cargo of saltpeter. After taking her crew on board, Niagara had 185 French and British crew onboard as prisoners. Taking note that the British freighter had over 1100 tons of coal in her bunkers, Von Schönberg put a prize crew aboard, took her as an auxiliary, and sent her north to wait for him at the Galapagos Islands

Oct 27, off Iquique, Chile.

Niagara made wireless contact with SMS Prinz Eitel Friedrich, a Norddeutcher Lloyd liner acting as an armed merchant cruiser, detached from Admiral Von Spee’s squadron.

Oct 31, San Felix Island, 500 NM west of Antofagasta, Chile.

Niagara met with SMS Prinz Eitel Friedrich in the lee of San Felix Island, another small remote barren Pacific rock. Von Schönberg entertained the other liner’s commander, Korvettenkapitän Max Therichens, and some of his officers in Niagara’s dining room.

“Alas, we have this floating palace,” said Therichens, “but the larders are mostly empty. We rarely serve any award-winning meals these days.”

“Yes, things are much the same with us,” confessed Von Schönberg. “I expect the great hotels of Europe are in a similar predicament, after 3 months of the war.”

“But this meal is exceptional,” replied Therichens, digging in. Von Schönberg noted that the chefs had done a wonderful job of making the Socorro Island mutton palatable.

The men exchanged news about their respective voyages, and Therichens’s eyes almost bugged out of his head when Von Schönberg reeled off the high points of the prizes he had sunk, and industrial targets Nürnberg had attacked.

“I, on the other hand,” said Therichens, “have accomplished very little. We burned a French sailing ship 2 nights ago at Juan Fernandez Island, but even then it was Haun who captured her. I am considering going round the Horn, and trying my luck off Argentina and Brazil. The Entente shipping here is too spooked by Haun and Von Spee, and I suppose by you as well. They are mostly remaining in port.”

“I have noticed that as well,” agreed Von Schönberg. “Some freighters carrying nitrate were out this week, but I expect that will stop again. I will remain in this region, as long as I can. As I have discussed with my own officers, creating a panic among Entente shipping may be our greatest contribution to the war effort.” Over cigars, Von Schönberg learned that Kaiser Wilhelm’s Land and the Bismark Archipelago had fallen to the Kiwis and Australians. In fact all of the German Pacific colonies were occupied, with the possible exception of Tsingtao itself. Therichens apologized for not having current information on the siege of their former home port.

After learning that Prinz Eitel Friedrich’s improvised magazines had been well stocked when the liner was being fitted out as an armed cruiser in Tsingtao, Von Schönberg asked for and received another 100 rounds of 10.5 cm High Explosive Shells for Niagara.

That night, and all the next day, Niagara and Prinz Eitel Friedrich received faint but frequent wireless messages from the south, all using Leipzig’s call sign, yet seeming to be a conversation between multiple vessels. A naval engagement was being prepared, then engaged in. The captains bid adieu and Niagara raised anchor and steamed north, while Prinz Eitel Friedrich set a course to the south west. As Niagara steamed north, the wireless operator eventually lost the signals.

SS Normanby
File:Norwich City (Courtesy Janet Powell).jpg


SS Crown of Seville
201308102212240.Collegian%20ex%20Crown%20of%20Seville%201912%20OSPG.jpg



 
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Is the Battle of Coronel still going to go down as in OTL? With the rampant raiding up and down the Canadian pacific northwest and a very legitimate threat posed by the German East Asia Squadron, will the RN reinforce Craddocks squadron so that he won't be outgunned?
 
Is the Battle of Coronel still going to go down as in OTL? With the rampant raiding up and down the Canadian pacific northwest and a very legitimate threat posed by the German East Asia Squadron, will the RN reinforce Craddocks squadron so that he won't be outgunned?
As recounted in the chapter entitled Afterwards: Voyage of the Leipzig, Coronel happened pretty much identically to OTL, except for the absence of Nurnberg. The RN seems to have made the same call as OTL, cast a wide net rather than concentrate forces.
 
Is the Battle of Coronel still going to go down as in OTL? With the rampant raiding up and down the Canadian pacific northwest and a very legitimate threat posed by the German East Asia Squadron, will the RN reinforce Craddocks squadron so that he won't be outgunned?
The wireless traffic Niagara and Prinz Eitel Freidrich are hearing at the end of the last chapter is the lead-up to Coronel.
 
As recounted in the chapter entitled Afterwards: Voyage of the Leipzig, Coronel happened pretty much identically to OTL, except for the absence of Nurnberg. The RN seems to have made the same call as OTL, cast a wide net rather than concentrate forces.
To be fair to the RN it only had so many decent armored cruisers and modern light cruisers and most of them were in either the Med and North Sea. And Craddock should have been fine had Canopus not had a mad chief engineer who basically said his ship was only able to go 5 knots slower than she actually was capable of
 
To be fair to the RN it only had so many decent armored cruisers and modern light cruisers and most of them were in either the Med and North Sea. And Craddock should have been fine had Canopus not had a mad chief engineer who basically said his ship was only able to go 5 knots slower than she actually was capable of
Well, both of them were museum pieces that had no business being pulled out.
 
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