Thursday, July 14, 2011
Span Am War- Foreign Intervention part II
BlueBearJeff asked me to finish off this train of thought so here goes.
The Hapsburg empire had the closest ties to Spain (the Queen Regent was a Hapsburg Princess) and therefore was the most likely to back Spain for diplomatic reasons. However, in naval terms they basically had diddly-squat (to use a precise term) of use to Spain - old ironclads, coast defense ships and cruisers- and its difficult to see any of these having any impact on the war. The Austrian cruiser Maria Theresa did accidentally appear at the tail end of the battle of Santiago, and was nearly set upon by the US Navy before she was correctly identified. However, there might be the possibility of the Hapsburgs applying diplomatic ties to other European powers (e.g. Germany) especially if the US did fire on their ships.
Along with the French, the Germans represent the two best options for foreign intervention - both in real terms and game terms. Unlike other powers, the main interest for Germany would be acquiring an empire. Therefore it's likely that a Hispano-German alliance would be based on transfer of Spanish overseas possessions to German control.
Germany provides a useful battle fleet that could give the US a run for its money, with supporting cruisers and torpedo craft (but no U-boats yet). They would be involved on both the Caribbean and Philippine theatres, Admiral Dewey famously threatening to fire on a German cruiser flying the flag of a Crown Prince in Manila Bay.
The challenge for Germany would be to get their fleet into the Caribbean to provide active support. I suspect that this would involve transferring the fleet first to the Canaries and then across to Puerto Rico or Havana. However, it is also possible that they would pressure the Danes or Dutch to allow use of the Virgin Islands or Dutch Antilles respectively. However, this gives a very good campaign option sure to challenge both the US and German commands.
It's early days for a US-Japan naval rivalry, but the Japanese fleet was among the best in the world and hot off an overwhelming victory over China. Obviously Caribbean intervention is not practical but intervention in the Philippines was certainly possible. The Japanese couldn't match the US battle fleet but their cruisers could overwhelm Dewey's force and give the US a nasty shock. Also they had a very good torpedo arm. Now the US is faced with sending a large expedition across the Pacific to save face.
Oddly similar to the Japanese in this case - might intervene in Asia but not in the Caribbean. Again they couldn't math the whole fleet but could give a shock locally.