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

It’s very interesting to see that so far, the general butterflies and results from this timeline have been fairly tame in regard to the grand scheme of the war. While the destroyed mines and smelters are definitely important and the people who have suffered very much would think the events were quite important, whatever happens in the obscure coasts of western Canada do not especially change anything in the greater scale of the war.

It’s very much a mark of good grounded writing to show restraint and the realism of the situation and how it effects everything else at this point in the war, it’s very easy to get bound up in self importance and start irreversibly changing timelines.

Another German raiders out in the surrounding oceans makes things interesting but in the end it’s very much already decided in regard to their fate as their enemies close in.
 
It's worth noting that the nitrates are far, far more important to the war effort then the copper and coal from BC. Not that ravaging West Canada wouldn't have helped, but the current prizes are really significant kills. If the Von man can shut down a week or two of Pacific south American nitrate shipping, it may have as much effect early war as everything he's done so far.

(Nitrates are crucial to explosives, and artillery needs lots of explosives. WW1 used lots and lots of artillery)
 
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On this day in Alt History: 107 years ago today, August 21, 1914, Nurnberg, Leipzig, and Princess Charlotte charged into Georgia Strait to bombard the ports and industry of the far flung western shores of the British Empire. (ITTL)
 
You know for being known as the most powerful and largest navy in the 19th- mid 20th century, the RN is doing a pretty piss poor job of protecting its dominions, even if its still early in the war. The admiralty needs to redeploy its more modern pre-dreadnoughts at least, since they are probably too weak to fight in the "post-dreadnought era" and too slow to run away. Although a redeployment of the numerous battlecruisers would be far more effective as Jutland would prove they are far too weak to fight in a major fleet action with enemy dreadnoughts.
 
You know for being known as the most powerful and largest navy in the 19th- mid 20th century, the RN is doing a pretty piss poor job of protecting its dominions, even if its still early in the war. The admiralty needs to redeploy its more modern pre-dreadnoughts at least, since they are probably too weak to fight in the "post-dreadnought era" and too slow to run away. Although a redeployment of the numerous battlecruisers would be far more effective as Jutland would prove they are far too weak to fight in a major fleet action with enemy dreadnoughts.
The Germans were generally chased from the seas in the first months of WW1 and their merchant fleets captured or interned and their successes few and far between

What this very nicely written TL is displaying is a subtle improvement in fortunes by 2 of the KMs light cruisers (now 1 CL and an Aux CL) that will have a negligible impact on the conduct of the war

OTL HMS defence was ordered to join Craddock 10th Sept and then was re-tasked to re-join the Mediterranean fleet on 14th Sept and then re-re-ordered to join Craddock in Oct.

This is one of the only changes I can see thus far - Defence not being recalled due to the destruction on the West coast and arriving in the Pacific to either join Craddock or act as guard ship for the Canadian coast.

If he joins Craddock before TTLs Coronel then Spee is significantly outmatched.

Also what about HMAS Australia?

ITTL several units of the KM are known to be off Canada (OTL the location of any of Spees ships was sketchy for much of Sept- Dec) so I can see Patey getting his way and deploying East earlier.

This the other change.
 
You know for being known as the most powerful and largest navy in the 19th- mid 20th century, the RN is doing a pretty piss poor job of protecting its dominions, even if its still early in the war. The admiralty needs to redeploy its more modern pre-dreadnoughts at least, since they are probably too weak to fight in the "post-dreadnought era" and too slow to run away. Although a redeployment of the numerous battlecruisers would be far more effective as Jutland would prove they are far too weak to fight in a major fleet action with enemy dreadnoughts.
If the Royal Navy had scattered its pre-dreadnoughts, even really old ones like Canopus, around the Empire as guard ships it important ports like Madras, and Penang, and Zanzibar, it would have reduced the German freedom of action.

I think at this point in the war OTL the pre-dreadnought were escorting troop convoys across the Channel.
 
The Germans were generally chased from the seas in the first months of WW1 and their merchant fleets captured or interned and their successes few and far between

What this very nicely written TL is displaying is a subtle improvement in fortunes by 2 of the KMs light cruisers (now 1 CL and an Aux CL) that will have a negligible impact on the conduct of the war

OTL HMS defence was ordered to join Craddock 10th Sept and then was re-tasked to re-join the Mediterranean fleet on 14th Sept and then re-re-ordered to join Craddock in Oct.

This is one of the only changes I can see thus far - Defence not being recalled due to the destruction on the West coast and arriving in the Pacific to either join Craddock or act as guard ship for the Canadian coast.

If he joins Craddock before TTLs Coronel then Spee is significantly outmatched.

Also what about HMAS Australia?

ITTL several units of the KM are known to be off Canada (OTL the location of any of Spees ships was sketchy for much of Sept- Dec) so I can see Patey getting his way and deploying East earlier.

This the other change.
In this time period HMAS Australia OTL was escorting troop convoys around the South Pacific, as the ANZAC forces rolled up the German colonies. The battle cruiser is unlikely to be detached, because the possibility of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau appearing and sinking a troop convoy was too frightening to contemplate.

OTL Patey was convinced that Von Spee had headed for South America, but the Admiralty ordered him to patrol around Fiji, and only allowed him to head east in early November, after Coronel.
 
In this time period HMAS Australia OTL was escorting troop convoys around the South Pacific, as the ANZAC forces rolled up the German colonies. The battle cruiser is unlikely to be detached, because the possibility of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau appearing and sinking a troop convoy was too frightening to contemplate.

OTL Patey was convinced that Von Spee had headed for South America, but the Admiralty ordered him to patrol around Fiji, and only allowed him to head east in early November, after Coronel.
Totally - but you have put the fox into the chicken coop much earlier - this would have major changes with deployments especially with Canada being attacked like it has been and a 'Royal Navy' ship being sunk in combat for the fist time in 100 years

Some of those 'hoovering up German colony' operations were not vital to the war effort so could be 'put off'

Defending Canada against a known threat on the other hand.........?

More RN assets would be sent earlier over OTL

I suspect that Defence is not recalled and reinforces Craddock or passes through the Canal and other units get sent earlier!

Australia is likely not sent before the Samoan ops are completed - but after that?
 

Driftless

Donor
One thing I have caught myself on a few times is how far removed much of that Cascadian coastline (Oregon to the Alaskan panhandle) was from redundant and wide-spread telecommunications. The German cut the telegraph lines in select spots and communication speed drops right off to pioneer technology. Wireless communication is weak and easily jammed.

Any opposing force (in this case the Germans) drops into a tree-lined fjord and they're effectively off the map.
 
Edit:
This sentence was added to the previous chapter

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.
 
Any plans to continue this timeline into the interwar and WW2 years?
I have been asked this question quite a lot. My stock answer is no, I am only writing about the events in TTL British Columbia in the first month of the war, and now I suppose a bit of tying up of loose ends with the participants.

But, totally independent of me, @RelativeGalaxy7 has been writing a timeline that could be the downstream consequences of events like these on the Canadian psyche, naval organization, and procurement. https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...edux-an-alternate-royal-canadian-navy.482322/

I hope he continues to write this excellent timeline.
 
I have been asked this question quite a lot. My stock answer is no, I am only writing about the events in TTL British Columbia in the first month of the war, and now I suppose a bit of tying up of loose ends with the participants.

But, totally independent of me, @RelativeGalaxy7 has been writing a timeline that could be the downstream consequences of events like these on the Canadian psyche, naval organization, and procurement. https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...edux-an-alternate-royal-canadian-navy.482322/

I hope he continues to write this excellent timeline.

As always, it's high praise to receive continued recommendations from yourself towards my own timeline and greatly appreciated. Its been rather embarrassing how long I've let the timeline slip due to some personal reasons and writers block but I plan on releasing the next chapter in the next day or two to finally get back onto track for any interested parties.

Please keep up these type of loose end chapters in the future, we've met plenty of interesting characters throughout the story who deserve a final shakeout on how their stories ended!
 
Afterwards: Voyage of SMS Niagara, and SS Bengrove, Part 3
Nov 9, 1914. Tagus Cove, Atternave Island, Galapagos Islands.

Niagara and SS Crown of Seville anchored side by side, and baked under the equatorial sun. Von Schönberg ordered the eleven-hour coaling operation to be carried out overnight, taking mercy on his crewmen. Every last piece of coal was taken from Crown of Seville’s bunkers, and the freighter was steamed several miles offshore to be scuttled with only the coal in her fireboxes slowly burning down. The prize crew rowed back in the ship’s lifeboats.

Next, on November 10th, Bengrove came alongside, and the following night was spent coaling from her. When the tropical dawn arrived, Niagara had a total of 1800 tons of coal in her bunkers. Bengrove was allowed to keep 200 tons for her own use.

“Those captured crew down below do not know the name of the ship they are being held on,” said Von Schönberg to the Saxonia’s former captain. “As far as the crew of the Wulfren Puget are concerned, they were captured by the SS Kildonen Castle. The rest saw their ships being taken by the Columbia. Do you suppose we could drop hints that we are actually the Prinz Eitel Friedrich, just to further confuse British intelligence?”

“Oh, I don’t think you are half so smart, or the Brits and Frogs half so foolish,” said the German merchant captain. “You built a nice secure and comfortable brig to keep those sailors penned up, but they have been looking at English writing on their prison walls for a month now. You are a bit late to start with that ruse. Plus, Niagara is a famous ship, and has distinctive lines, even with your extra funnels and paintjobs. The Friedrich is as well, with her raked masts and funnels. A proper German looking ship.”

“Yes, of course,” said Von Schönberg, disappointed.

Nov 12, Tagus Cove.

Von Schönberg had the captured British and French crewmen, all 185 of them, put aboard Bengrove. The freighter left with a prize crew of 27 German sailors, 24 merchantmen and 2 naval ratings, plus Saxonia’s former captain, who elected to take the ship in to be interned. One of the navy sailors was Nürnberg’s junior wireless operator, charged with sending messages in naval code should the situation warrant, and with destroying the code books if Bengrove was searched by the authorities.

After Bengrove disappeared over the horizon, Von Schönberg took down Niagara’s false third funnel, had the two true funnels lengthened with canvas and wood and painted buff so that the ship took on the role of the Orient Line cruise ship SS Arcadian.

Nov 19, Callao, Peru.

SS Bengrove arrived in the seaport serving Peru’s capital, Lima. She presented herself to the authorities, released the Entente prisoners, and announced the intention to Peruvian customs officials to remain in the neutral port for the duration of hostilities. Among other vessels taking refuge in Callao were the Kosmos liners and freighters Luxor, Anubis, Rhakotis, Uarda, and SS Marie, recently serving as a collier to SMS Leipzig. A number of Entente merchants also sat idle in the harbor. Watching over them all were the Peruvian cruisers Almirante Grau and Coronel Bolognesi, the armed merchant cruiser Constitucion, the gunboat Lima, the destroyer Teniente Rodriguez, and the submarines Ferro and Palacios.

It only took a couple of days for the British consul in Lima to initiate legal action against the Bengrove, claiming that the freighter was not a German merchant seeking shelter, but was instead a British flagged war prize taken by the Germans, and thus under the Hague 13 Convention of 1907, Article 21, was required to either leave port after 24 hours or have her crew interned by Peruvian authorities and the ship released back to her British owners, Joseph Hoult and Co, of Liverpool.

Saxonia’s former captain countered by saying that Bengrove was brought into the neutral port for want of fuel and provisions, which was explicitly allowed under Article 21, but would happily comply and leave port if he was sold coal to steam to the nearest German port, as also provided for under the Article. After reading the newspapers he determined the nearest German port not captured or besieged by Entente forces was Wilhelmshaven.

The British consul now realized his legal action was compelling a German naval auxiliary to take on a full load of coal for whatever raider she was supporting, and pivoted to attempting to keep Bengrove in port. Peruvian authorities were careful to avoid irritating either side in the European War, but allowed themselves to be bullied by the British into posting some armed guards on Bengrove’s deck to prevent her leaving port. Otherwise they left the British and German diplomatic and legal teams to argue amongst themselves.

“The Hague treaty is clear, within a certain range of interpretation,” said Saxonia’s former captain on the wharf to a Peruvian delegation of naval officers, customs officials and diplomats. “But the final disposition of these ships will depend on the outcome of the war, and the reparations contained in the final treaty.”

And locally, the war on the sea looked to be going very well for Germany.

“Naval Battle Off Chile Coast. Cruiser Monmouth Sunk and Good Hope Set on Fire in Conflict With German Squadron off Coronel,” read the headlines in the local newspaper.

“Valparaiso, Nov 3. — An official report issued later in the day by Admiral Graf von Spee said that the German Fleet engaged with the British squadron consisting of the cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Leipzig, and Dresden. The Britishers were the cruisers Glasgow, Good Hope, and Monmouth, and transport Otranto.

“The action lasted nearly one hour”, the report said, “and it was only discontinued by nightfall. The English were forced to give way. The Good Hope was so badly damaged that she was unable to resist, and could only make her escape by way of darkness. Between her funnels the result of the big explosion could be detected.

“The Monmouth, under identical conditions, tried to escape but was followed by a small cruiser and sunk with a few shots.

“Owing to the hurricane that was blowing, no boats could be lowered, and consequently there was terrible loss of life.

“It is supposed that the Glasgow and the Otranto, which was badly damaged, were able to make their escape owing to their speed and the darkness. The Germans suffered little or no damage.

“Only two men wounded were reported in Gneisenau’s crew.”

“Crews of Captured Ships
Liverpool, Nov 3. — Fourteen hundred and seventeen men, comprising the crews of the ships captured by the German cruiser Karlsrhue, landed here today.”

According to news reports, not only had the German East Asiatic Squadron swept the Royal Navy from the western coast of South America, but the British and their allies also had their hands full chasing the Karlsrhue and Kronprinz Wilhelm in the Atlantic, the Emden and Königsberg in the Indian Ocean, and had no idea of the whereabouts of the merchant raiders Prinz Eitel Friedrich, Kormoran, Prinz Rupert, or Niagara. The only German raiders the Royal Navy had managed to catch so far were the liners Cap Trafalgar and Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse. And of course the cruiser Nürnberg that had been damaged and scuttled in British Columbia.

After 2 weeks in Callao harbor, the German crew of Bengrove moved over to the much more comfortable Kosmos liner Luxor, leaving the Bengrove to her Peruvian guards, and the birds that had begun to build nests in the freighter’s rigging.

The wireless operator had attempted to update Captain Von Schönberg on the German victory at Coronel, the intelligence picture on the west coast of the continent, and most importantly, the fact that Entente shipping on the coast was staying in port to hide from the ravages of Von Spee’s squadron. He sent daily messages, first from Bengrove’s wireless, then after they switched vessels, from the powerful set on the Luxor. But if Von Schönberg received any of the messages, he did not give any acknowledgement.

SS Arcadian, as RMS Ortona
PC-OR03.jpg


SS Luxor, as SS Nicolau Zografia
WRECK ON THIS DAY - 6-April - WRECK WRAK EPAVE WRACK PECIO


SS Bengrove
BENGROVE CARGO SHIP 1910-1915 - WRECK WRAK EPAVE WRACK PECIO


Peruvian Navy 1914
 
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