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"British Intervention in the ACW." Topic


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21 Mar 2018 7:22 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from 19th Century Discussion board


1,090 hits since 17 Mar 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

"During the American Civil War the prospect of European intervention into the war was a reality, but a reality that in the event did not occur. Intervention was dreaded in Washington and was a glittering prize in Richmond. It perhaps offered the best chance for the Confederacy to ·win· the war and assert its· independence. The two nations that the South looked to for help were Britain and France. These nations were generally seen to be sympathetic to the Confederate cause and had economic reasons for supporting the South. In addition they possessed powerful armed forces with which to intervene decisively into the war. They would perhaps be able to sweep aside the Union blockade of the South and allow much need equipment and supplies into the Confederacy. The British army perhaps could operate from Canada and invade the United States, while the French advanced from their bases in Mexico to intervene in the West. Perhaps instead they could use their naval mobility to join the Confederate field armies or attack the Unions· coastal enclaves?

In this article I will look at how the forces of Britain and France could be represented using the excellent ·Fire and Fury· rules. Hopefully I will provide enough information to represent these forces using other rules, but unfortunately I am not familiar enough with other rules to provide a detailed breakdown. In addition I will provide some scenarios for using these forces. I have largely based the organisation and forces of the intervention on the historical forces these countries used at around this time. Therefore the French forces are based on those that they sent to the Crimea in 1854 · 55 and Italy in 1859, while the British forces are also based on those sent to the Crimea. Later similar expeditions and wars, such as the Franco Prussian war of 1870 · 71, saw this nations deploy similar forces although with different tactics and weapons. But first of all a little explanation about how my interest in this theme came about…"
Main page

link

Amicalement
Armand

Blutarski17 Mar 2018 6:14 p.m. PST

Oh boy, this has all the makings!

….. But it's a British horse, hence +9 lives, +5 in melee, and status as an "Elite" equestrian mount. And, oh yes, special post-charge automatic-rally capability.

B

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2018 7:32 p.m. PST

Come now Lets weigh the facts. Britain was stocked with cheap us cotton and was starting to produce it in Egypt.

Britain was Import huge amounts of US Grain from the Midwest. So Food is always going to trump Cotton.

67thtigers18 Mar 2018 7:36 a.m. PST

If all US imports were removed in 1861-3 then the amount of grain per head is the same as 1859.

In 1862 the UK imported 45% of wheat consumed (after seed crop accounted for) with a consumption of 5.6 bushels per head, of which 1 bushel per head was US imports.

The loss of US wheat simply pushes the price up to the 60-70 shilling/ qr range in the mid-term as more expensive home production is encouraged and areas of fallow land are placed under wheat.

The effect of reducing consumption to 4.6 bushels a head is easy to work out. That was average consumption in 1852, 1853, 1855, 1859 and 1868. Now if there were famines and a collapse of society in those years I'd like to see it.

donlowry20 Mar 2018 9:27 a.m. PST

IIRC, the British and French were worried at the time about Russia getting up to something in Europe, and so could not afford to be committed elsewhere.

Trajanus20 Mar 2018 10:18 a.m. PST

Some things never change Don. :o)

Truth to tell the British were more worried by the French than the Russians:

link

But as always on these "British Intervention in the ACW." runarounds I'll just trot out my lame old reference to

"A World on Fire" by Amanda Foreman all 900+ pages of it!
(that woman owes me!) Which shows how close (or not) it came to being and all the complex interacting reasons why it wasn't going to happen, in an entertaining and informative manner.

corzin20 Mar 2018 5:09 p.m. PST

just a reminder, the link is from a guy who has used Prussian forces to boost the union…he is not worried about why the intervention happened, he just wants to play fire and fury

Charlie 12 Inactive Member20 Mar 2018 6:54 p.m. PST

A World on Fire…. A very good (and looong) read.

Yeah, it must be that time again. Time for the annual "Britain Intervention in the ACW" run around.

while the French advanced from their bases in Mexico to intervene in the West.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the French up to their pretty little butts with Mexican insurgents? Kinda hard to launch a war against the US when you're fighting one in Mexico. And the author has never been to northern Mexico. Or he wouldn't be so confident of that statement. That's NOT the most hospitable territory; the Arizona desert can swallow up any size army in no time and leaves its bones as a reminder…

Trajanus21 Mar 2018 11:17 a.m. PST

And just for the record, in spite of getting Spain interested, the French couldn't shift Lord John Russell, the British Foreign Secretary, on British involvement in Mexico.

Which, as Ms Foreman points out, was the same with the Civil War. France would only support the Confederacy if Britain did, so ultimately neither happened.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2018 11:21 a.m. PST

DELETED

huevans01123 Mar 2018 2:03 p.m. PST

IIRC, GB was worrying itself silly about how defensible Canada was if the USA got aggressive. The Brits weren't looking for trouble. What did they have to gain from fighting with the USA?…. Nothing.

And the anti slavery movement in the UK would have lambasted any administration silly enough to declare for the CSA!

British Intervention was a ludicrous pipe dream of the Confederacy!

Tyler32631 Mar 2018 5:18 a.m. PST

US Navy might have had a say in GB getting troops to places in the USA. Also by 1863 the Union Army was HUGE really HUGE and GB would have been crushed in the end. If they thought they had a rough time before fighting US army.. imagine that in 1863.

67thtigers31 Mar 2018 8:03 a.m. PST

If the US Army was so huge then when didn't it rapidly overrun the CSA?

Please demonstrate with removing troops from existing formations to invade Canada, and then estimating how badly this would compromise the war effort against the CSA.

Please demonstrate how the USN could have raided a single convoy.

Trajanus31 Mar 2018 2:32 p.m. PST

As much as I hate to get involved in these theoretical dalances I do have to point out (as per 67th's post) there was no US Navy to speak of.

At the start of the War the Federal Government couldn't even enforce its own blockade, never mind fight the actions that would have been required to lift the counter blockade the Royal Navy would have placed on them.

The USN has undoubtedly been the Worlds premier naval force for the past seventy years, as result it's tempting to think that's always been so.

It Ain't.

huevans01131 Mar 2018 4:59 p.m. PST

US Navy might have had a say in GB getting troops to places in the USA. Also by 1863 the Union Army was HUGE really HUGE and GB would have been crushed in the end. If they thought they had a rough time before fighting US army.. imagine that in 1863.

The RN was far larger than the USN in the 1800's. It wouldn't even have been a stand-up fight.

But the RN couldn't have done much against an invasion of Ontario from Cleveland or Detroit or Buffalo. Ontario wasn't defensible.

steve186501 Apr 2018 9:43 a.m. PST

In an article in British History Magazine test run by the British Navy on British Armor VS American navel guns showed American shells would sink RNS .

Charlie 12 Inactive Member01 Apr 2018 3:50 p.m. PST

True, the USN's guns were as capable of defeating the RN's armor on a purely tactical basis. But that's only a small part of the picture. The RN of the time was a huge ocean spanning force; the USN, as developed during the war, was primarily a coastal defence force designed to implement a blockade (and well it should be since that's what its mission was). In the final analysis, the RN would prevail. The USN might get some good licks in, but the end game would be the same.

Not that it would've happened. The odds of a USN vs RN battle off Charleston are as likely as Martian flying saucers intervening on the CS side…

Trajanus02 Apr 2018 7:22 a.m. PST

These USN guns would have had to have been something special.

Not just to overcome the numbers advantage of one fleet but two!

At the time of the "Trent Affair" the French were keen to join in with theirs as well, to brake up the Union blockade which they found more annoying than the British.

Few people on the Union side were keen on a Naval war, or any other. On the seaborne side, too many remembered the War of 1812 where after the initial flourish of the Essex and Constitution etc. the US Navy ended up blockaded in port when the British eventually woke up to the task and sent sufficient strength to the area.

The USN wisely considered taking down sloops with oversized frigates a different matter to ships of the line.

Overall, winning on land and the Great Lakes being a better bet entirely.

There's always more than one way to skin a cat!

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP04 Apr 2018 4:39 p.m. PST

Since we're dealing in What-ifs, here's a side-step to get Great Britain involved:
Instead of parceling out their cotton crop to overseas purchasers, hoping for higher prices, the South runs as much cotton through the flimsy blockade and warehouses it in Europe, where it is not subject to Yankee delay or capture. With this "money in the bank", agents of the Confederacy set about purchasing as much machine tool equipment, high-quality steel stock, and other strategic materials (boilers, engines, propellor shafts) they can; also hiring as many engineers, mechanics, chemists, and others with vital skills. Then, the hiring of "mercenaries", or cadre-builders. who happen to be overwhelmingly British, will take place, with a great preponderance of NCO's to get the troops into fighting trim.

donlowry07 Apr 2018 10:06 a.m. PST

Lincoln pointed out to one of his generals that although the Confederates were only able to export about 1/6th as much cotton because of the blockade, the price had risen so much that they were bringing in about the same amount of money -- but that the blockade had to be continued for other reasons (presumably to interdict imports).

I wonder (and this is pure speculation), if the Confederates had shipped out all their cotton early and stashed it in Europe and/or Britain, would the British and/or French have felt compelled to grab it, thus putting them in conflict with the Confederacy, rather than complicit with it? (Wouldn't have been much the Confederates could have done about it, other than complain.)

Charlie 12 Inactive Member07 Apr 2018 3:24 p.m. PST

Seizing the accumulated cotton? Probably not. More likely, given the South's incredibly bad policies, the Southerners would have probably tried to jack the prices up causing their buyers to go elsewhere (which is what they did historically). Which would have left the South holding a glut of cotton in Europe (instead at home) worth much less than they thought. Oh, and the bill to store it.

Charlie 12 Inactive Member07 Apr 2018 3:30 p.m. PST

With this "money in the bank", agents of the Confederacy set about purchasing as much machine tool equipment, high quality steel stock, and other strategic materials…

No money in it. Blockade running was overwhelmingly a private enterprise operation. And the real money was in luxury goods. Some of the 'runners' would dock with only a very small percentage of their cargo as 'government goods'. It wasn't until the CS government starting running their own 'runners' that that changed. And that was way too late to have any impact.

huevans01107 Apr 2018 7:37 p.m. PST

With this "money in the bank", agents of the Confederacy set about purchasing as much machine tool equipment, high-quality steel stock, and other strategic materials (boilers, engines, propellor shafts) they can; also hiring as many engineers, mechanics, chemists, and others with vital skills. Then, the hiring of "mercenaries", or cadre-builders. who happen to be overwhelmingly British, will take place, with a great preponderance of NCO's to get the troops into fighting trim.

It would have taken the CSA a couple of years to have built the factories and by that time, the USA would have over-run them anyway. And the CSA had enough artillery and shells to fight the war very nicely already thanks!

Ditto NCO's and trained troops. Think Hood's Texas Brigade would have taken kindly to British NCO's drilling them??!!

huevans01107 Apr 2018 7:39 p.m. PST

And I am guessing HMG would have been most concerned if any of the Queen's subjects were to hire themselves out as mercs in the ACW. This is a war that Britain was trying to stay out of!

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