1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 33

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 33

Chapter 12

Magdeburg, capital of the United States of Europe

“No,” said Rebecca. “Not yet.”

Gunther Achterhof wasn’t quite glaring at her, but his look was far from friendly. For that matter, neither were the looks she was getting from many of the people gathered around the big conference table.

That table wasn’t quite as full as it had been on some occasions in the past, because none of the people from the State of Thuringia-Franconia were present except Kathe Scheiner — and she was purely a CoC organizer, not someone with a position in the provincial government. Ed Piazza and Helene Gundelfinger had planned to attend the meeting, but had decided they had to stay in Bamberg. Tensions with both the Bavarians and General Báner were now very high.

They were high in Báner’s case because the route his army had to take from the Upper Palatinate to Saxony crossed part of SoTF territory — and, one way or another, the provincial officials had managed to delay his march for at least a week. By the end, he was threatening to seize and burn Hof.

At that point, Ed Piazza had quietly instructed his subordinates to cease interfering with Báner’s army. The Swedish general now had to march his troops through the Vogtland, and the delay had given Georg Kresse and his irregulars the time they needed to sabotage the roads the Swedish army would have to take through the mountains.

The sabotage had been carefully done. There was nothing that could be proved to result from human action. Suspected to be, yes; darkly and angrily suspected, in fact. But not proved. Just… bridges somehow washed out by sluggish streams; roads running by other streams mysteriously caved in; other roads blocked by rockfalls and fallen timbers.

All of the obstacles could be cleared aside and the roads repaired, of course. But a march that should have taken no more than two weeks was taking well over a month. By the time Báner’s army finally entered the Saxon plain and reached Dresden, Gretchen and Tata and their Committee of Correspondence would have had the time to strengthen the city’s already-impressive fortifications, store food and supplies for a siege, and consolidate their political control.

As jury-rigged operations went, this one had been extremely successful. But time was now running out.

Báner was within sight of Dresden. And the gathering of reactionaries in Berlin was now public knowledge throughout the Germanies. A major pronouncement by the new prime minister and the chancellor of Sweden was expected at any moment.

Hence today’s dispute. It had been brewing for days and had now finally erupted.

“I have to say I agree with Gunther,” said Matthias Strigel.

Rebecca felt a spike of anxiety. The governor of Magdeburg province was normally one of the more judicious members of the emergency council. But he was under tremendous pressure from his constituents. For all practical purposes, Magdeburg — the whole province, not just the city — was now being governed by the Committees of Correspondence and the Fourth of July Party. That being so, why not acknowledge the fact openly and toss aside the pointless pretense that Wettin’s officials had any authority left?


The problem was not a new one. It had erupted before, most notably during the so-called “Magdeburg Crisis” that followed the battle of Wismar, when the capital city’s celebration of the victory began transforming itself into an insurrection. Only the quick and shrewd action of Mike Stearns and Spartacus averted a catastrophe, when they managed — just barely — to turn the uprising into a mass rally and celebration.

Even two years ago, with Torstensson and his troops camped just outside the city, the rebels might very well have managed to seize Magdeburg itself. The whole province would surely then have followed. It was conceivable, though not likely, that Thuringia and Franconia might have followed suit.

But the rest of the Germanies would not, as Mike had known very well. Soon enough, the traditional elites would have rallied most of the populace behind them — and they’d have the full backing of the Swedish army with Gustav Adolf at their head. He would view such an insurrection as treason and a personal betrayal, and conduct himself accordingly. The end result would have been a crushed rebellion and a monstrous setback for the democratic movement.

Most of the same factors were still in play two years later, although the variables had all changed. The greatest change of all, of course, was the incapacity of Gustav Adolf. With his heir a girl still just short of nine years old and an unsettled order of succession in two out of the three realms for which Gustav Adolf had a crown, legitimacy and legal authority had murky edges and lots of gray areas.

But for that very reason, Rebecca thought, the democratic movement had to avoid anything that clearly transgressed legality. Oxenstierna was driving this conflict, with Wilhelm Wettin trailing behind. That meant that it was the Swedish chancellor who, willy-nilly, had to make the first moves that would be clearly revolutionary. It was essential that the blame for upsetting the established order could be clearly and squarely placed on the forces of reaction. Clearly enough and squarely enough, furthermore, that most of the USE’s populace could see and understand what had happened.

The very worst mistake they could make was to launch their own offensive. As unpleasant and frustrating as it might be, they had to wait until the time was right — and if that meant giving Oxenstierna the first blows, so be it.

Her husband called it “counter-punching,” and he’d told her many times that the greatest danger an inexperienced boxer faced in the ring was being unable to control himself.

“You’re nervous, you’re excited, the adrenalin’s pumping — dammit, you came here to fight, not dance around. So you haul off and throw a haymaker, and the next thing you know the referee’s standing over you counting to ten. And it looks like there’s at least two of him, you’re so dizzy.”

She wished desperately that he was here. Michael could have kept control over the situation. Whether or not she could was still an open question.

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44 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 33

  1. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Yeah, it’s pretty simple if you understand the concept. First person to commit loses.

    Leaving aside the boxing example, it’s always the first person to actually strike a blow who’s seen as the aggressor in a conflict. Doesn’t matter what the rationale behind striking the blow was, doesn’t matter how justified it was. What matters is who threw the first punch.

  2. jeff bybee says:

    yes I’ve always wondered what would have happened if the yankeys in sumpter and pickins had just been idgnored insteed of fired on

    in this case is not time on the side of the cocs? they benifit more for every day than do the reactionarys and baner? even if they have gotten ready in the last month?

  3. dave o says:

    #2 For the record, Federal facilities in every seceding state had already been seized well before Sumpter was fired on. Read Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. “To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever … over all Places purchased with the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings” By consenting to the purchase, the states gave up all claim to sovereignty over these places. I see the actions of the states as either treason, or an act of war against the United States.

    If Rebecca can restrain her supporters, the crisis will happen at Dresden. Given the state of fortifications, there will be plenty of time for them to react. And if Kristin gets to Magdeburg, which she probably will, the murky edges and gray areas will work in their favor.

  4. Andrew Janssen says:

    #2, #3, for the record, the name of the fort was and is Fort Sumter, not Sumpter.

  5. Jeff Ehlers says:

    @3: Yes, the seizure of federal property in the South was technically treason. So what? It’s not the same situation as here at all. The South had presented the North with a series of fait accompli – they had, for all intents and purposes, already seceded. The North marching in and trying to retake those facilities by force would have given England and France all the excuse they needed to recognize the Confederacy and provide it with military support. Note also that there were a number of states which initially seceded all within a short time of each other.

    A more analogous situation to the one in this book would have been for South Carolina to secede basically on its own, without support from more than one or two other states. Even two or three states put together would never have been able to resist the North for any real length of time. And that’s the situation the CoCs will be facing if they revolt now.

  6. dave o says:

    #5 The position of France and England was not nearly as clear as you suggest. France (Napoleon III) was more willing but would not act without England. In England, opinion was split, Russell and Gladstone aside, most of the ruling Liberals had no enthusiasm for the idea.

    Did you read the 2nd paragraph of my comment?

  7. Robert H. Woodman says:

    #6 – dave o

    I agree epecially with your comments about Kristina getting there. If Rebecca can hold her people off long enough for Kristina to get there (even though AFAIK, Rebecca has no idea Kristina is coming), then the dynamics of the situation change radically, especially if Kristina trusts Ulrik enough to follow his lead in what I think he plans to do (which is, I think he plans to propose a Constitutional monarchy where the monarchy and the nobility have no or very little political power and the people have all or most of the political power). It would be nice if Admiral Simpson can contact Rebecca and tell her that Kristina is on her way with Ulrik to Magdeburg.

    The CoCs and FoJP cannot make the first move. It has to be Oxenstierna who moves first, because then the populace’s reaction to Oxenstierna will be legitimate rebellion rather than illegitimate, treasonous rebellion.

  8. dac says:

    I am a little disapointed there is nothing about Kresse’s action other than a bare reference. It seeems with the earlier back story that he was being set up for more involvement.

    Or perhaps that is fodder for yet another book I will have to buy…the fiendish mind of Eric Flint!

  9. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @8 Probably moe like a short story fill in for teh gazette. Seems more likely that Kresse’s further involvement as a character will be at Dresden.

    Generally, waiting for a good causus belli is high political art. Hope the CoCs have the sense and discipline to wiat for it.

    As Eric has foreshadowed, Kristina coming to Magdeburg does a lot more than shift the grey areas to the “Progressives” side.

    First, Magdeburg is the seat of government — like Rome, whoever holds it holds one of the elements of legitimacy in the USE (something Oxenstierna clearly hasn’t processed yet).

    Second, Magdeburg (not Berlin) is the legitimate meeting place of Parliament (Commons and Senate). The CoCs will clearly be able to provide a quorum of the Commons, and analyis in previous snippets shows that they will also be able to get a Quorum of the Senate — IF Kristina as the undisputed heir provides a center for the moderates like Amalie to cluster around.

    Third, Magdeburg can be defended against anything but a full out army. I’m not sure how much force Oxenstierna has with him but he has been careful to make sure all of the other military force is occupied and as far away as he can get them. It can’t be that much and by now (if the CoCs have been smart) they will have rotated at least some of their people out of the army and into militia formations, so they may have a better level of performance the Axel suspects.

    Fourth, if Oxenstierna does attack Magdeburg, he immediately evokes memories of the massacre in 1632 (OTL prior to Ring of Fire, not the book) and, associates himself in everyone’s psychology with going back to the worst days of the 30 years war.

    The CoC have are soooooo many advantages to letting Oxenstierna make the first move . . .

  10. Greg Eatroff says:

    @ 9: Kristina is the undisputed heir to Gustavus Adolphus’s territories, but GA isn’t dead yet. There’s some question as to whether she can assume his senatorial functions under these circumstances. That leaves Oxestierna and Wettin with room to challenge any legislative action taken in Magdeburg.

    Also, the Crown Loyalists have a majority in the lower house, so there’s also the question of how many of the more liberal CLs go to Magdeburg instead of Berlin, and how many just go home and keep their heads down for the time being. Might not be a quorum there either.

    As for the analogy to the events of 1861, I agree that Jeff Davis and company had already put themselves legally in the wrong (not that legality really concerned the CSA all that much — they accepted the “secession” of Kentucky and Missouri when legislative factions of those states too small to make a quorum fled their respective capitals and voted to withdraw from the Union), but the more important matter settled at Fort Sumter was that by shooting first the Confederates made themselves the clear aggressors in the eyes of the northern people and united the North behind a war to restore the Union. I haven’t seen much evidence that the “who shot first” question had a significant impact on European policy. Slavery and competing economic interests had more impact on British policy from what I’ve seen.

  11. Todd Bloss says:

    History tells us; the winners gets to write the History books.
    The CoC just needs to win -they can decide what the truth is later.

    All “counterpunch” arguments aside, odds are usually with the opponent that strikes first.

  12. ET1swaw says:

    @8 dac: IMO there’s a major point about Kresse in this snippet: HE DIDN’T ENGAGE!!!! Despite myriad and to his mind excellent reasons to conduct warfare against Baner with the same tactics used against Holk (and by proxy the Elector), he didn’t engage. His sabotage and delaying tactics can not be proven to be manmade. As far as legalities are concerned, he is among the angels on the side of the true government of Saxony and no longer a treasonous rebel. Baner has not yet crossed the line, but neither has Kresse, the CoCs, or Mike and 3rd USE Division. If Becky can restrain FoJPs and CoCs from overt legally actionable conduct until Axel, Wettin (PM not Ernst), or Baner act first, they still have their fig-leaf. Even if Kristina arrives in Magdeburg before Axel crosses the line, hopefully they’ll wait (giving them maximum political coverage). Even if SoTF forces manage to save Oberpfalz, FoJP/CoC rebellion at best would be supported by 6 Provinces (SoTF, Magdeburg, Mecklenburg, Wurttemberg, Saxony, and Oberpfalz). Pomerania and Brandenburg are solidly under Axel’s (not Wettin’s) control. General Horn might be Axel’s widowed son-in-law, but he seems to be staying neutral like the other G2A-appointed armies and administrators (and USE nobility not in Berlin (Brunswick, Hesse-Kassel, and Tyrol in particular)).

  13. robert says:

    Way off in the distance, very faintly, I hear chanting: UMW, UMW…

  14. KimS says:

    Gretchen and the others at Dresden will force Baner to act just because of their current actions in preparing for a siege. LOGISTICS! Baner will have limited foraging in the local environs. The local populace will have sold what they can instead of ‘letting’ the army take it. The damaged roads will cause him to use his supplies and not get new ones, limiting his ability to wait them out (not that he wants to wait). Even with the uptime knowledge on preserving and packing foods, feeding an army was a big priority as late as the Napoleonic Wars. A hungry army is not a happy army, or easily controlled. This is well planned and the hotheads need let Ox and Baner start the bloodshed. Wettin is just trying to hold onto the tiger’s tail.

  15. Alejo says:

    @11: Recent history proves otherwise:

    World war I: Germany was the aggressor and did not prove victorious
    World war II: Germany and Japan were aggressors and did not prove victorious
    In the middle east, in the different wars fought against Israel, the coalitions of Arab countries were the aggressors but did not prove victorious.

    There are more but I am going blank. How do the odds favor the aggressor?

    Not sure about this one but, I think

  16. dac says:

    @12. Yes, he was in it. But there was no dialog, no interaction, no story. Just a blurb to move the story along.

    I was just hoping for more exposition – at least a chapters worth

  17. @15

    Middle East/ That’s certainly not true of the 1967 war, in which the Isrealis attacked first and were the aggressor. “Aggressor” is insignificant as a question for the 1950s war, in which the British and French Air Forces created air supremacy from very early on. In the 1970s event, the Egyptians ended up recovering the bulk of the Sinai peninsula that they had lost in prior wars.

    For WW2 the Russian invasion of Latvia Lithuania and Estonia was successful.

  18. @5

    Given that Lincoln was willing to accept Senator Crittenden’s solution, which if it had passed meant we would probably still have slavery today in some states, what the South Carolinians did qualifies as … thank heavens, they’re idiots whose stupidity guarantees their defeat and the victory of freedom.

  19. Doug Lampert says:

    @17, the Arabs were REGULARLY bombarding Isreal prior to 1967. As in artillery incoming daily from Syria. How was Isreal the aggressor? Typically a side under daily attack is considered the defender when they FINALLY shoot back.

    And in 1973 the Egyptians did NOT recover the Sinai. Israel agreed to a cease fire on the same lines as prior to the war when the Soviets threatened to intervene on Egypt’s side if the Egyptian third army was destroyed (which since it was hopelessly cut off was inevitable if the fighting continued). The Egyptians got the Sinai back based on negotiations YEARS later.

    Get your history at least approximately right.

  20. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @11, 15, 17: The problem is not what happened in history, but what is likely to happen in this *specific* history. And the question is not whether winners write the history but *who* *will* *win* in the first place.

    In this specific history, the CoCs are widely seen as radical firebrands who want to collapse society. The gulf between them and the sensible people like Oxenstierna who want to restore stability is vast, and most people usually want stability. If the CoCs look like they are starting a civil war, everyone in the middle will favor Oxenstierna and *he* will win and write the history. OTAH if the CoCs keep their nerve and just defend their rightful liberties against rabid dogs like Baner, the progressives win.

  21. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @10 I never said she would act as heir — but simply from having that status she gives an awful lot of moral cover to anyone she is with. The helps Oxenstierna if she goes to Berlin, and helps the Parliament and /or CoC if she goes to Madgeburg.

    When Kristina asks why her dad isn’t under the best possible medical care, in public, in front of a rump Parliament and lots of reporters, every semi-intelligent person in Germany hears what they have probably been asking themselves in silence, afraid to be the first to stick their necks out.

    And then Axel Oxienstierna’s well ordered but tiny and narrow aristocratic world view pops like a soap bubble hitting a stick.

  22. VernonNemitz says:

    I’ve been away from snippet-reading for a long time, and over the past few days read all the snippets of “The Eastern Front” as well as these of “The Saxon Uprising”. I think there is a significant inconsistency in Snippet 21 here, where Kristina objects to crossing the Baltic on the ironclad. That’s because in the earlier book there was no fuss of any sort mentioned when she made the journey to Stockholm on the same ironclad. So, having done it already, without a fuss, why should she object now?

  23. Butch Clor says:

    With defended cities and weak supply tail, Baner will soon be in trouble. Either a quick victory or possibly lose control of his troops. Neither bner or Ox truly have the resources to besiege Dresden or Magdeburg; especially with hostiple populations in his rear.
    If I remember correct something not discussed in stories, but on the board, was the fortress Marienburg, in Wurzburg. It contained a full arsenal as well as a large number of firld and siege artillery, as well as over 5,000 stand of matchlocks and a 1,000 crossbows.This could give a marvelous edge to the SOTF militias.
    On the ACW discussion, one real candidate for treason wouldhave been the outgoing U.S. Secretary of War..Jefferson Davis. Davis had over the final years of his time in office, made sure manny of the arsenals and forts in the South were fully stocked with artillery and small arms.

  24. Bret Hooper says:

    @11 Todd: “History tells us; the winners gets [sic] to write the History books.” And @20: “And the question is not whether winners write the history but *who* *will* *win* in the first place. But not in this case: it is not the winner who determines the history, but the history which has already been written that determines the winner, written not by the winner but by Eric Flint! We’ll just have to wait to learn who he has made the winner, but I suspect the winning side will turn out to include Kristina, Mike, Rebecca, and Ulrik.

  25. G Bayrit says:

    OH my, Bret, You ACTUALLY had doubts???? lol!!!

  26. Chris says:

    @15 “He who strikes first” only applies if the aggressor wins right away, otherwise all bets are off. Instead of modern wars consider the 30 years war in the OTL. The imperials struck first and they certainly did not win the war. Even though militarily the war was at a stalemate in 1648, I would say the imperials lost big time, because the Hapsburgs lost their last realistic chance to establish any kind of meaningful political control over the Germanies. After 1648 the title of Holy Roman Emperor was a fiction since the Hapsburgs only retained effective control over Austria and Hungry.

  27. @19 The negotiations in the 1970s were determined by the outcome of the 1970s war. The shooting created a situation that in the end required the patrons of the two sides to bring about the final peace arrangement for the Sinai. And that is what winning wars is actually about as opposed to who shot up how many tanks or airplanes. The Russian invasion of Afghanistan was a blinding success in the late 1970s, except it did not stay that way. Ditto the NATO invasion of the same place more recently.

    On the ‘who launched the 1950s war’, try reading the accounts of the major Israeli military leaders of the time in terms of who launched the large scale events. You can trace the aggressi9on back to ‘who set up a new Europena country in the middle of Palestine’ or ‘who encouraged the Romans to occupy Judea’ or ‘why us the holy built-up place of the Star God Jeru under attack by monotheists’ but ‘war’ is well-defined, and the 1950 and 1967 events were not launched by the Egyptians.

  28. Drak Bibliophile says:

    VernonNemitz, Kristina may dislike the thought of traveling on the Ironclad *because* she traveled on it before.

    Earlier, she didn’t know what it would be like to travel on it.

    After that, she knows and doesn’t want to do so again. [Grin]

  29. Cynic says:

    28 &VernonNemitz – Yes, she did have a very negative view of traveling on them when she arrived in Stockholm in one (in the Eastern Front)

  30. robert says:

    @27 Maybe not the Egyptians, per se, but certainly the entity called the Arab League, and in the 1950’s the British armed and trained Jordanian army was very aggressive. As for the whole mess in the Middle East, the seeds of the disaster were sown by the Peace Conference after WWI. Everyone on the planet should read “A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East” by David Fromkin. The blindness and stupidity of the leaders of the western nations after WWI will make your blood boil–and what is amazing and delicious is how well Eric captures that same stupidity and imbues his characters with it. The British were the worst because they were sure that they knew what was best and they were so arrogantly wrong.

  31. @29 Jordan was not involved in the 1950s war, and the Jordanian Army has a long professional reputation.

    Returning to this period, several parties have doubtless noted that if Gustavus Adolphus dies and Kristina becomes queen life will be much simpler.

    I anticipate that Kristina will in the end agree that she should ride in the ironclad, especially since there is decent warning on weather thanks to Amsterdam, especially if she learn that if she goes quickly to Lubeck she and her husband to be will get airplane rides to Grantville or thereabouts.

    If Baner decided to try to loot Dresden on general principles, and is defeated or not, his side will look less well.

  32. Pul Ess says:

    @22 – Going up, they were hugging the Danish coastline, well protected where weather typically comes from the west. Going back, they have reason to avoid Danish waters – Ulrik would rather keep his old man out of the conflict – and thus they’re now instead looking at a route over open seas, possibly even rounding on the south of Bornholm.

  33. morgulknight says:

    @31, don’t the ironclads have some sort of means of extending their keels a bit (I seem to recall something like that from 1634: The Baltic War)? And anyway, won’t flooding down make them a bit more stable? If either or both of those are true, a quick dash across the Baltic between storm systems is probably safe enough (if the Polynesians could migrate across the distances and weather involved with Pacific island hopping in what amount to glorified canoes, surely a ship that can move faster and has much less distance to cover can manage it). Especially when the alternative is to leave Kristina in Stockholm, where Oxenstierna has more or less direct control, and there’s nothing under Oxenstierna’s direct control that can so much as slow down one of Simpson’s ironclads.
    From earlier snippets, it seems pretty clear that Gretchen and her people in Dresden are as aware of the advantages of letting the reactionaries strike first as the Stearnses. The question that keeps coming back to me is what percentage of Baner’s force is German mercenaries, and how much penetration do the CoCs have with them? It would be pretty embarrassing for Baner to form up his army to confront, say, the Hangman Regiment, only to have a good chunk of his army switch sides (hey, it happened plenty of times in Rome’s civil wars, so why not here?).

  34. dave o says:

    #23 I hate to raise the point, after all the irrelevant discussion about the middle east, but Jeff Davis was not Buchanan’s Secretary of War. He was a Senator. He had been SoW under Franklin Pierce. Buchanan’s Secretary of War was John Floyd, who later demonstrated his quality at Fort Donelson.

  35. Cynic says:

    @32 No reason not to go the same way. No risk at all C IV would fire on them (he is pretty much outgunned against a Ironclad anyway), just don’t go land then C IV could do something.

  36. ET1swaw says:

    @32: Ironclads could ballast down increasing keel depth but decreasing efficiency even more. As for German mercenaries, IMO most who were inclined to CoC went to the USE armed forces. With Baner’s opinion of CoCs, I’m sure any that were in the Oberpfalz forces (that Tortensson didn’t recall (i.e. Thorst Engler’s Flying Artillery)) were left behind in Tom Simpson’s regiment in the Oberpfalz. There was little or no ‘national consciencnous’ ATT, so the key word is mercenary, not German!

  37. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @30 – George

    In an earlier snippet in this series, Kristina had already agreed to ride the ironclad if Admiral Simpson agreed to her plan. In a subsequent snippet, Simpson did agree and secured Colonel Wood’s cooperation in protecting Kristina. Therefore, I anticipate that Kristina & Co. are already on the ironclad heading towards the USE.

  38. Why cant Mike and Becca lose?
    Stoner and sons flee to Italy.Simpison usees Iron clads to commandeer sea worthy ships.The much maligned good old boys fight a rear guard action to the death.The last of the uptimers and there down time hangers on flee to America.

  39. Mike says:

    @36 – From a in-story perspective, there isn’t a reason that ensures victory (of any sort) for Mike, Becky and their various allies. They very well could lose from the way things are currently depicted.

    From a narrative standpoint, it would upend the direction of pretty much all the written novels, Ring of Fire anthologies, and gazette stories. It also goes against quite a bit of the books that are planned but not yet written. The CoC/FoJP and supporters losing the looming civil war would likely involve reprisals against most of the created downtime characers in fiction – with more than a few deaths. That would more than likely disappoint if not outrage a large portion of the reader base. It would also upset quite a few of Eric’s various co-authors. Somehow I don’t see Eric Flint willingly choosing to do that. Baen Books probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about it either. Just a guess though.

    Taking it back one step further, if the series had ever intended to be about time-transplanted Americans being stuck in the middle of the 30YW and their attempted flight to North America – the best chance for that narrative direction would have been in the original book, not now.

  40. Mike says:

    39 is really @38, not @36. The site updated a few posts.

  41. @37 Good point. Could any of the list members who have a good sense of local geography beyond the straight-line distances estimate the sailing or steaming time in good weather? If unfortunate weather has just passed Amsterdam and gone beyond Germany, there is likely a break of several days before things become unfortunate again.

  42. tim says:

    1910- Japan attacked first and annexed Korea. (I ‘ll allow I don’t know much past the dates here, so if I’m wrong mea culpa!)

    1905- Russo-Japanese War, the Japanese struck first at Port Arthur and conclusively defeated the Russian Navy some months later. Point of Interest= in 1905 the Japanese attacked without warning as they would later in 1941; in 1905 the American press complimented the Japanese on their initiative. Of course, in 1905 the Russians were thoroughly detested for their pogroms; Japan was acclaimed for its modernization.

    1896 (I believe)- the American annexation of the Kingdom of Hawaii, the Americans struck first.

    1895- the Japanese attacked and took Formosa

  43. Cynic says:

    @42- Your first, third and fourth examples is all of situation where one strike can accomplish your goal and where uncommited forces\countries etc can’t act before your achieved your goal and then would have not just to stop but to reverse what happened, Tell me kow CoC and 4th July could achive there goals in one fast (first) strike and they have relevance.

    All four are examples of where the aggressor don’t needed the goodwill or support of any outside forces, they just staying away would be enough. That happening here would probably put CoC and USE 3rd against the ENTIRE Swedish army (yes it would must likley forec Horn and other “neutral” Swedish comamnders to help Axel supress the “rebellion”) and get Torstensson comitted to keep the 1st and 2nd USE out of it.

    The winner will write history but since both side have rather small part of the forces in play under their controll they must both be carefull to get as large part of the uncomitted to support them and as small part as possible to support their opposition.

  44. Jeff Ehlers says:

    @18: I’ve studied the Civil War in some depth. What South Carolina (and the other half-dozen or so states which immediately seceded) did, in and of itself, was neither stupid nor idiotic. A bloodless series of secessions, and a bloodless seizing of Federal arsenals and forts, leaving the North facing the situation of having to invade and being seen as drawing first blood. Even leaving aside the probability of European intervention, the simple fact was that there would not have been support on the ground by the average Northerner to invade the South over slavery.

    And then whoever it was who commanded at Ft. Sumter threw that away, gave the North a casus belli for invading which didn’t draw the immediate intervention of the European powers (which would have been more than happy to see the American republic divided against itself indefinitely), and gave Northerners a reason to support the war that didn’t involve slavery.


    The aggressor doesn’t always win. They have an advantage with the initiative, but that’s all they have. Hitler had basically won the war within months; the war started in September 1939, and English forces retreated from Dunkirk by about June 1940. Even the fighting against Britain wouldn’t have changed the situation on the ground in Europe. But then you have his subsequent invasion of Russia, which wasn’t resolved quickly, and probably would have been repulsed by the Russians regardless of anything else.

    Don’t mistake aggression for initiative. Someone who holds the initiative and can use it to quickly resolve a conflict will almost certainly win. But that isn’t always the aggressor.

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