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  • 1903 USA vs 1800 world

    Based on a thread I saw on another forum...

    The USA as of January 1903 suddenly finds it self in a world that is basically at 1800 (i.e. Napoleon is in Italy at this time, second coalition). Citizens and ships that are out side of the country find them selves in the states or nearest possessions. (Occupants of 1800s America who are not citizens have been relocated to nearest non USA location and are none the wiser, 1800s American citizens are no where to be found).

    For the sake of the debate, the USA at the same time it gets transported becomes preoccupied with the idea of taking over the world or as much of as possible. Note the USA is not inherently at war with every one at the git go.

    How would try try to accomplish it? What kind of issues would the USA face? How would the rest of the world react? How would they try to stop it (once it becomes obvious...)?


    Some issues: lack of coaling stations, while the "modern" USN is powerful, the rest of the worlds navy's vastly out number it. And supposedly the Gunnery of the USN at the time sucked big time...

  • #2
    US wins:

    1.) Gatling gun / Maxim gun
    2.) Explosive shell
    3.) Battleships and "iron clad" warships
    4.) Telegraph
    5.) Smokeless powder
    6.) Bullet cartridge
    7.) Rifling
    8.) Steampower and industrialization
    9.) Trains and railroad
    10.) Breachloading rifles and artillery
    11.) superior in infantry tactics
    12.) Steamships

    The only difficulty is an administrative one: to aquire coaling stations. Once this is achieved, USN rules the waves. There is no way the largest a ship of the line can threaten even a torpedo boat destroyer.

    Once the seas are cleared of enemy ships, land the US expeditionary force and fight the enemy. In a land war, use artillery and exploading shell to destroy enemy army as it forms up and finish with an infantry assault supported by machine guns. Once beaten in the field, a country usually will ask for terms.

    Take Europe first, then India, then China.

    Comment


    • #3
      You left off airplane. The Wright Brothers fly in December 1903....

      Comment


      • #4
        That plane was how good?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by IDonT4 View Post
          US wins:

          1.) Gatling gun / Maxim gun
          2.) Explosive shell
          3.) Battleships and "iron clad" warships
          4.) Telegraph
          5.) Smokeless powder
          6.) Bullet cartridge
          7.) Rifling
          8.) Steampower and industrialization
          9.) Trains and railroad
          10.) Breachloading rifles and artillery
          11.) superior in infantry tactics
          12.) Steamships
          Maybe. I assume the OP means that the USA was "transported" along with all the economy and infastructure that was in place in 1903? If not, the Ironclad battleships would be useless when their onboard stock of shells ran out.

          Steampower and rifling was already in use in Europe by 1800, granted on a much smaller scale then in a 1903 US. Additionally, the telegraph would only work in the US, not the rest of the world.

          An interesting pic here showing HMS Vicotry firing a salute in honor of the visit by ships of the U.S. European Squadron to Portsmouth in July 1903.
          Photographed from just beyond the stern of the visiting squadron's flagship, USS Kearsarge, whose National Ensign is in the upper foreground. The print has been signed by Prince George (later King George V). Would be very close to what would have happened in this what if.



          Not sure how well the USN would do against some of the other great naval powers. This site give some good info on USN strength at the time: http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org9-4.htm#1898
          Attached Files
          www.13thfoot.co.uk

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by IDonT4 View Post
            US wins:

            1.) Gatling gun / Maxim gun
            2.) Explosive shell
            3.) Battleships and "iron clad" warships
            4.) Telegraph
            5.) Smokeless powder
            6.) Bullet cartridge
            7.) Rifling
            8.) Steampower and industrialization
            9.) Trains and railroad
            10.) Breachloading rifles and artillery
            11.) superior in infantry tactics
            12.) Steamships

            The only difficulty is an administrative one: to aquire coaling stations. Once this is achieved, USN rules the waves. There is no way the largest a ship of the line can threaten even a torpedo boat destroyer.

            Once the seas are cleared of enemy ships, land the US expeditionary force and fight the enemy. In a land war, use artillery and exploading shell to destroy enemy army as it forms up and finish with an infantry assault supported by machine guns. Once beaten in the field, a country usually will ask for terms.

            Take Europe first, then India, then China.
            Coaling stations rely on coal able to get there in theory given that the USN at the time is fairly small or at least small enough that they cant be everywere at once all people have to do is wait for the USN to leave and brace themselves for a big butchers bill to capture the coaling station?

            Given the criteria you have set though its a fairly easy seal club for the US.

            If you want to be pedantic you could argue that there's always the chance that some of the technology falls into other peoples hands but i doubt if it could be copied given that in the 1800's they were still cutting screws by hand.

            To the OP, What had you been eating to come up with that day dream?
            "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

            Comment


            • #7
              You forgot the submarine. The first successful modern sub was the USS Holland built in 1897.With a fleet of subs you could practically starve Europe into submission.

              Submarines worked with an internal combustion engine on the surface and a electric motor when running underwater. So no coaling stations needed.

              Comment


              • #8
                Ehh.. maybe if the kept developing the submarine until '1816-1820' or something, but probably not even then. Other than not even being able take up stations around Europe without a tender, and even then the journey across the Atlantic would be rough, the ends wouldn't justify the means, especially when you don't need it. Wooden ships and iron men just don't stack up against iron ships.
                Кто там?
                Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
                Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

                Comment


                • #9
                  One only needs to look at the Spanish American War to see just how well the Spanish fleet fared in battle. Most were destroyed when the American fleet was able to shell their fleet just out of the range of the Spanish Dreadnaughts main guns.
                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish...93American_War

                  And, there was concern about supplies and being outnumbered by the naval fleets of other countries that had interests in the Spanish territories.
                  “Breaking News,”

                  “Something irrelevant in your life just happened and now we are going to blow it all out of proportion for days to keep you distracted from what's really going on.”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Everyone would catch up lightning fast.

                    Look at how fast Japan jumped into the modern world after Perry Visited. In 1852, Japan was in the middle ages. By 1900 with the boxer Rebellion they were a modernized nation with a modernized military.

                    Initially no contest. With in 20 years most of the advantages go away. Look how fast American Airplanes were taken by Europe.

                    Look at the Civil war, Ironclads were invincible compared with traditional Line ships of the 1860s. Compare the vastly superior

                    In 1800 Napoleon is involved in a war in Europe. Spain is under Napoleon. This gives the US a free hand to establish bases in Latin America, since USA 1903 comes with Cuba/Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Philippines.

                    Now the USA of 1903 was no more adapt at politics than the USA of 1800. Any local insurrections such as in Philippines where they had not even 1800s technology except that they stole would still be as brutal.

                    Overall, the key would be allying with Britain or Napoleon.

                    In terms of buying power and cash 1903 USA probably has $20 Billion in GDP with the entire worlds GPD in 1800 being 180 Billion or so. Canada could have been purchased from Britain, or Mexico from Napoleon/Spain.

                    The US would have to insert itself into the Napoleon conflict at the end. Africa (Other than South Africa and Liberia as Coaling Stations) should be avoided like the Plague since it is just a drain on resources. Latin America could provide troops if a peaceful capture and intigration into the United States could be achieved.

                    The US has at least 15 years to get ready in Europe, since they will want the Napoleon conflict to play out which does nothing but weaken Europe. So no involvement in Europe until at least 1814. This would keep much of the technology under wraps. Entering Europe Via Greece to help the Greek Rebels of the pre 1820 era would be safe, as well as 1800s egypt ala Britain.

                    Russia is still untakeable in thie time frame due to the winter and logistics issues of the 1900s. Britain may be wise to take into a political Union, or side with Napoleon and go for the heart of Europe.

                    Assuming they take the slow route in Europe, they will progress to 1918 type technology while taking key coal areas in the world, and opening footholds.

                    I would Expect Europe to start producing repeating rifles within 6 months of seeing one on the high side, considering how fast poison gas went from being used by the Germans in the West to being used by the British in the west (5 months). It took 2 days for the British to work on countermeasures for Respiration.

                    Any full scale attack in Europe would be bogged down by putting a small American Army of 2 million or so (After that Internal US Riots would cripple the government) to control all of Europe. Absolute squandering of the technological advantage by exposing it so soon to nations that could copy it quickly.

                    European machinery in 1800 was easily capable of reporducing repeating rifles.

                    So I would reccomend following the British strategy on a wider scale. Exploit politcal openings grab small spots around the globe, forment rebellion then send the troops in. Client states in Israel/Lebanon/Greece/Serbia/Antolia/Armenia/Kurdistan/Egypt/Syria could all be created out of the corpse of the Ottoman Empire, followed by a strong Protestant Missionary effort. Japan would be ripe for the picking, again Union with Britain would add a serious foothold in Europe at little cost after 1815.

                    Still the gap between 1903 and 1945 is drastically wider than between 1800 and 1903.

                    1945 US vs 1800s world would be a romp in the park. The sheer fact of sending a rocket loaded P-51 Mustang against a block of Republic Guard Infantry would make any effort to catch up techology wise huge.

                    So I would advise getting a good foothold in the world and advancing to 1945 asap.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This sounds like a novel I read years ago titled " The First of October is Too Late. " but the US at that time was in it's present day state . While the world was all in diffrent ages. But here we go I can see the US Fleet doing quite well with it Iron clad ships while the rest had old wooden ones. It might even help Britian out aginst Napoleon . And the solders would all be useing the new bolt action Springfeild rifles ( I asume ) . So take it from there friends.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by niikeb View Post
                        Everyone would catch up lightning fast.

                        Look at how fast Japan jumped into the modern world after Perry Visited. In 1852, Japan was in the middle ages. By 1900 with the boxer Rebellion they were a modernized nation with a modernized military.

                        Initially no contest. With in 20 years most of the advantages go away. Look how fast American Airplanes were taken by Europe.

                        Look at the Civil war, Ironclads were invincible compared with traditional Line ships of the 1860s. Compare the vastly superior

                        In 1800 Napoleon is involved in a war in Europe. Spain is under Napoleon. This gives the US a free hand to establish bases in Latin America, since USA 1903 comes with Cuba/Puerto Rico, Panama, and the Philippines.

                        Now the USA of 1903 was no more adapt at politics than the USA of 1800. Any local insurrections such as in Philippines where they had not even 1800s technology except that they stole would still be as brutal.

                        Overall, the key would be allying with Britain or Napoleon.

                        In terms of buying power and cash 1903 USA probably has $20 Billion in GDP with the entire worlds GPD in 1800 being 180 Billion or so. Canada could have been purchased from Britain, or Mexico from Napoleon/Spain.

                        The US would have to insert itself into the Napoleon conflict at the end. Africa (Other than South Africa and Liberia as Coaling Stations) should be avoided like the Plague since it is just a drain on resources. Latin America could provide troops if a peaceful capture and intigration into the United States could be achieved.

                        The US has at least 15 years to get ready in Europe, since they will want the Napoleon conflict to play out which does nothing but weaken Europe. So no involvement in Europe until at least 1814. This would keep much of the technology under wraps. Entering Europe Via Greece to help the Greek Rebels of the pre 1820 era would be safe, as well as 1800s egypt ala Britain.

                        Russia is still untakeable in thie time frame due to the winter and logistics issues of the 1900s. Britain may be wise to take into a political Union, or side with Napoleon and go for the heart of Europe.

                        Assuming they take the slow route in Europe, they will progress to 1918 type technology while taking key coal areas in the world, and opening footholds.

                        I would Expect Europe to start producing repeating rifles within 6 months of seeing one on the high side, considering how fast poison gas went from being used by the Germans in the West to being used by the British in the west (5 months). It took 2 days for the British to work on countermeasures for Respiration.

                        Any full scale attack in Europe would be bogged down by putting a small American Army of 2 million or so (After that Internal US Riots would cripple the government) to control all of Europe. Absolute squandering of the technological advantage by exposing it so soon to nations that could copy it quickly.

                        European machinery in 1800 was easily capable of reporducing repeating rifles.

                        So I would reccomend following the British strategy on a wider scale. Exploit politcal openings grab small spots around the globe, forment rebellion then send the troops in. Client states in Israel/Lebanon/Greece/Serbia/Antolia/Armenia/Kurdistan/Egypt/Syria could all be created out of the corpse of the Ottoman Empire, followed by a strong Protestant Missionary effort. Japan would be ripe for the picking, again Union with Britain would add a serious foothold in Europe at little cost after 1815.

                        Still the gap between 1903 and 1945 is drastically wider than between 1800 and 1903.

                        1945 US vs 1800s world would be a romp in the park. The sheer fact of sending a rocket loaded P-51 Mustang against a block of Republic Guard Infantry would make any effort to catch up techology wise huge.

                        So I would advise getting a good foothold in the world and advancing to 1945 asap.

                        Sure, the rest of the world would catch up, but not before its too late. In 20 years, it will be over.
                        The First Amendment applies to SMS, Emails, Blogs, online news, the Fourth applies to your cell phone, computer, and your car, but the Second only applies to muskets?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by niikeb View Post
                          Everyone would catch up lightning fast.

                          Look at how fast Japan jumped into the modern world after Perry Visited. In 1852, Japan was in the middle ages. By 1900 with the boxer Rebellion they were a modernized nation with a modernized military.
                          That was under peace time conditions with actual technology transfer from European powers. Japan also imported European advisors to teach them how to build up and industrial and scientific base. In addition, they also sent their best and brightest around the world.

                          In such a clash, a hundred year technology lead would be a closely guarded secret.

                          European machinery in 1800 was easily capable of reproducing repeating rifles.
                          How about bullets? You can't have one without the other.

                          Tooling technology of early 1800 is not mature enough to make uniform bullet calibers and cartriges and small parts (like the firing pin and percussion caps) required in a repeater.

                          What about breach loading artillery and the explosive shell?
                          Last edited by IDonT4; 26 Apr 12, 08:42.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ensign Elliott View Post
                            Maybe. I assume the OP means that the USA was "transported" along with all the economy and infastructure that was in place in 1903? If not, the Ironclad battleships would be useless when their onboard stock of shells ran out.
                            A single armored cruiser would sink Nelson's entire fleet just by ramming. The only damage it would incur are dents from the solid shot.

                            Steampower and rifling was already in use in Europe by 1800, granted on a much smaller scale then in a 1903 US.
                            That is like saying the internal combustion engine and aircraft are already in use in 1912. So they have a chance against an army from 2012.

                            Additionally, the telegraph would only work in the US, not the rest of the world.
                            It is standard procedure of advancing US armies to put telegraph lines and railroads behind them for supply and communications since the Civil War.

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                            • #15
                              I'm trying to wrap my head around the reasoning for an attempt at world conquest however.. Maybe ejecting the British completely from the New World, but other than that why not just keep advancing?
                              Кто там?
                              Это я - Почтальон Печкин!
                              Tunis is a Carthigenian city!

                              Comment

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