CDZ Outside of my Circle of Competence

Discussion in 'Clean Debate Zone' started by william the wie, May 2, 2017.

  1. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    OK, I set out to write an alternative history of the Civil War book based on the following premises:

    That heavier than air manned kite flying was a thousand year old technology at the start of the Civil War. That it could also be stabilized for safer flight with off the shelf equipment that was available at the time was also well within the state of the art. Going further with a ramp launch was also obvious.

    Gun cotton was known and stabilization could be achieved with prize money in the $1,000 range.

    Bulk transport for the north went through three chokepoints that would require @83,600 specialty guns: coffee grinders and Gatling guns, to defend against low level air attack. But the south did not have such vulnerabilities and if the south gained gun cotton propellant and air power destroying enemy infrastructure would be relatively easy.

    I heard from friends that I should make a game and not finish the book. I am in the process of doing so. hopefully I will have a lawyer soon to handle the rough spots at a reasonable price.

    What tricks might I have missed?
     
  2. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    I think the bigger opportunities re Civil War alternate tech lines would be in the naval war; it would have shortened the war considerablely if the South could have offset their inferior naval numbers with a couple of breakthroughs in naval operations.It was their 'main chokepoint' and what crippled their capacities everywhere else. There are lot of maritime inventions that got 'forgotten' and could be revived with tech available in that era, most likely.

    Bulk transport for the north went through three chokepoints that would require @83,600 specialty guns

    Don't know what that means or what it's referring to.
     
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  3. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    the Michigan-Illinois canal was the connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio barge network. without the canal nothing can ship in either direction, if canal defenses are adequate then either the Detroit or St. Clair rivers can be used to block shipments east from Chicago. as to ocean fighting long range naval air would be possible and possibly hovercraft but wind tunnels were invented about 40 years too late for the civil war. So, it would take a lot of expensive test modelling to create militarily useful sea planes or fast gun boats that would use wings as a spoiler.
     
  4. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    They had railroads then, and they can ship around Michigan on the Great Lakes, so blocking canals wouldn't stop shipping on the Great Lakes; canals froze over in winter time anyway. Even with WW I era planes they wouldn't be able to stop shipping, and the northern industrial capacity would have far out built them in any arms race; they would still also outgun them in numbers of troops. You would have to figure out how they would keep all this tech out of the hands of the northern states. With advanced submarines, the South could shut down the ports and the Union Navy, and free up their own ports. I don't see the South winning a land war, even in an alternate timeline.
     
  5. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    That all depends on value density, time sensitivity and substitutability. Since Chicago was where the food and futures markets were. Reducing supply and increasing costs to the main basic foods market in the western hemisphere will have very large knock on effects.

    Mines tend to be cheaper and more effective than subs. But who is proposing ground offensives except by proxy? Bombing canals, rail lines, bridges, ports, shipyards and other infrastructure destroys the armies they supply why kill when provoking mutiny and desertion is cheaper, simpler, and more effective. Training and equipping the Souix and Metis, provide them with air support and turn them loose as the Confederacy attempted to do in the actual Civil War is also effective.
     
  6. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    You might try to find the data on grain and food shipments being shipped through the St. Louis and Chicago markets, and compare that to Union exports to Europe and South America. You're going to find that almost all of it was exported, and not necessary for the Union to survive. This is only if you want to try and hew as close to probable in your book without going too far out. The Union was exporting more than just food; the brand new oil fields around Titusville, Penn, were also just then being drilled and producing relatively huge quantities of crude, and the foreign markets, especially England, were absorbing much of that, along with the usual quantities of the normal stuff. The war didn't put much of a dent in Union production and export revenues.Shutting off their merchant marine and Navy would have been the best Southern strategy, especially since a Navy force would have been able to work on the rivers as well.

    According to the alternative tech lines you posted before, your air force wouldn't be able to that for any great distance behind the lines, and the South wouldn't have been able to produce that large an air force.

    Just playing Devil's Advocate here. I'm a science fiction and alternative history fan myself.
     
  7. william the wie
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    william the wie Gold Member

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    And thank you for being that. But other than fans like us who knows that Palmerston and Gladstone were dependent on the anti-slavery crusade and the corn laws and that is just one issue. That American Abolishionists received massive direct and indirect support from Britain and the union war effort got most of its net loan revenues from London. Getting that across in game form strikes me as difficult.

    In book form I assumed the following:

    That the creation of an aircraft hotspot in the Gulf prior to the 1860 election would create British attempts to assassinate the members and leaders of the hotspot and that this would lead to pre-election secession.

    Sardinia and Prussia would recognize the new Confederation in order to get better weapons for their wars of unification and would aid the south with export revenues.

    The border states preferring not to be the test bed for more deadly weapons join the Confederation.

    The South's attempt to minimize boots on the ground would produce the usual refugee crisis and a British backed coup by Hamlin, Seward and Stanton. This will not prevent a worsening flight to safety.

    However I don't know how to put that in game form.
     
  8. Moonglow
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    Moonglow Diamond Member

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    Is that why England was chastised by the North for building iron ships for the south?
     
  9. Picaro
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    Picaro Gold Member

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    They didn't stop trade over it. England traded with both sides; it was their 'Free Trade' era.
     
  10. Moonglow
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    Moonglow Diamond Member

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    They had to trade with anyone at that time, since they threw off the Corn Law and tried free trade,all it got them was a 20 year recession...But England never built another iron ship for the South...
     

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