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Author Topic: The Great War  (Read 6775 times)

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Offline LinnaTopic starter

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The Great War
« on: May 13, 2010, 07:46:13 AM »


Your old friend slaps you on the shoulder, "This is it, buddy.  The U.S. Army.  Go out, find some poor bastard, shoot him, then find some thankful girls who don't mind showing how much they appreciate you."  The grin on his face was too contagious to ignore.

"Yeah, and those venereal diseases will help you cherish the memory for a long time, huh?" you joke back, elbowing him in the ribs.

New York harbor was crowded with ships, though that was normal even without a war going on.  Steam and smoke billowed from stacks as they moved on their own power or were pushed by tugs to their appropriate tiers, mingling with the exhaust of countless others.  Flags of almost every nation were here, though most flew the stars and stripes or the union jack.

As you climb aboard, you find you're not the only one excited.  Almost everyone on the ship is in their fresh clean Army uniform, with a few bellowing orders here and there.  Mostly everyone was just trying to find their way aboard and mingle before they had to go down into the stuffy confines of the ship below.  And stuffy it was, since fresh recruits got 3rd class stowage on this ocean liner, pressed into service for the war.

As you look out over New York harbor, you're amazed by the brilliant, early morning sun.  So much so that it takes you a moment to spot the dark silhouette until it's directly between you and the sun.  You stare in concentration, trying to figure out what it is... before someone screams, "Torpedo!"  You look down and there are two long shapes moving through the water, fast, towards the ship.

You run from the railing, but don't make it far before the torpedoes hit.  The explosion sends you to the deck, temporarily making it impossible to hear.  As smoke and dust obscure your vision, and your hearing returns, you hear people screaming in agony.  In the distance, warships sound general quarters, but most are ambushed as they slumber in their berths.

The chaos is overwhelming, and somewhere in the confused mess is a sergeant bellowing orders to get up and fight.  You miss most of his orders, but one thing sends chills down your spine... "Hurry up with those rifles!  The Jerries will be on our ass in minutes!"


It's AD 1925, and the Great War has been on and off now for over 14 years.  The Central Powers of Europe got lucky in the opening days of the war with their successful use of the Shlieffen Plan, which called for an invasion of France through Belgium, looking to take Paris in six days.  The plan succeeded beyond their wildest hopes, with Allied resistance crumbling away in a matter of days.

As the war drug on, most of the fighting took place on the Eastern Front, with Germany fighting against Russia's massive armies.  The numerically superior Russians were fighting a holding action against the Germans while Britain tried to rally support from any nations it could, going so far as to pull troops from her faraway colonies and sending them straight to Russia.  The United States, weary of becoming involved, stayed neutral.

In 1919, the Bolsheviks in Russia began their revolution.  Fearing the loss of the last bastion in Europe, Britain helped quash the rebellion and keep Nicholas II in power, with power later falling to Czar Olga in 1921, since Alexei died from hemophilia in 1920.  Finally, after years of maintaining neutrality, the United States officially entered the war in August 1921, just seven days after Olga took the throne.

The U.S. response was ponderous at first, since the Army was tiny and the navy consisting of mostly of Roosevelt's famous Great White Fleet, though it was getting old by that point and no match for the German Armada.  With a promise of naval cover from Great Britain, the United States sent the First Expeditionary Force to Russia in November, 1922, consisting of 20,000 men.

Their arrival in St. Petersburg was joyful, and they deployed quickly along the Eastern Front.  The Russians used the American reinforcements to consolidate points that bad begun to weaken under withering German assault.  Most of the Russians wanted to try and hold the Germans at bay, but Army General Joseph Kershing urged otherwise, and used his 20,000 men to push forward into German held Poland.

The offensive was slow to get started, but soon picked up steam.  The Russians had to push forward to keep up with the Americans, but made decent progress in pushing forward.  Poland, which had been invaded as the Russians fell back, welcomed the Allies as liberators.  However, progress slowed on the other side of Warsaw in Spring, 1923, as the Germans formed a strong defensive line in the country.

As the war began to stall, President James Cox faced a Democratic Party eager to end the war and be done with it.  At the urging of his Vice President, Franklin Roosevelt, he kept the US involved in Europe, even reinforcing it with another 50,000 men, to join the ranks of General Kershing's men.

Unknown at the time, however, the German Navy was preparing to launch the largest ever invasion, across the Atlantic and into the United States.  The idea was that, since the United States was the cause for the recent problems facing the Germans in eastern Europe, a decisive strike to the industrial capabilities in New York, plus a devastating blow to the capital in Washington, would put the US out of action long enough to secure victory in Russia.

The German Navy left port on February 7, 1925, heading for New York City.  Sneaking through the Channel under cover of night, the Germans regrouped in the North Atlantic some 20 miles south of Iceland, letting the new dirigible fleet launching from France catch up.  Once the combined water and air fleet was assembled, the invasion was on.

On Wednesday, March 10, 1925, at 8:14 A.M., the first bombs fell on the unsuspecting New York City from the German super dreadnought Hohenzollern launching the first 16 inch shells.  The war had come to the United States.


The premise for this bleek alternative history is that Germany has done the unthinkable... invaded the US.  Their goal is to take out the American ability to fight a war, but if they can take Washington, they might try and just conquer America.  Most of the Army is in New York getting ready to head for Europe, while the Navy is scattered along the coast.  There's not much in the way to stop them, except ordinary citizens.

Anyone who wishes to play can be either an American or German.  Americans are allowed to be army or civilians, and civilians are allowed to get army weapons (since many are dead), but only those playing for the Army may have machine guns, and even then I must approve them.  Germans must be Army, and they must have their machine guns approved too.  Otherwise, a rifle must be bolt action.

For the army, you get a 1903 Springfield .30 bolt action with 5 round clip (American) or an 1898 Mauser 7.52mm (German).

I'll post a character sheet when I get back.  Please don't hesitate to ask questions.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2010, 12:37:27 PM by Linna »

Offline Haibane

Re: The Great War
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 09:16:49 AM »
Lovely setting, and well written. It reminds me of H.G.Wells' "The War In The Air".



Like your images, where did you find them?

Offline Travaius

Re: The Great War
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 10:31:46 AM »
Love this, and love the exactness of the history to be honest. I am definitely in for it.

Offline LinnaTopic starter

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Re: The Great War
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 12:09:25 PM »
Thank you everyone who has shown interest :) I will now try and add some more details.


American Weapons

.45 Thompson Sub-Machine Gun
.30 1903 Springfield Bolt-Action Rifle
.45 Colt M1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol
.30-06 M1918 Browning Machine Gun


German Weapons

7.65mm Luger P08 Semi-Automatic Pistol
9mm MP18 Sub-Machine gun
Model 24 Stick Grenade
7.92mm Gewehr 1898 G98 variant


British Weapons

.30-06 M1917 Enfield

The reason for including British weapons is because the M1917 Enfield was produced in the United States as well as Great Britain using the 1903 Springfield cartridge.  They'll be found near the docks to be loaded on freighters bound for England.

And after careful searching, I found maps!  Maps from the era no less!  These things were hard to find, but it'll make it easier to see where and how the invasion is progressing.  These maps are from 1916, but I don't think the landscape has changed that much between when these maps were used and 1925.



And as to where I got the images, Sketchbook on Deviantart

Offline Haibane

Re: The Great War
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 12:31:47 PM »
The Germans would have a machine gun of some kind wouldn't they? Quite useful in street fighting. And would the Americans have British Lewis guns?

Lovely maps.

I don't see much scope for female characters though in this. Or is there? Female crew or technicians on dirigibles?

Offline bigwad73

Re: The Great War
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 12:35:38 PM »
Wow.  Just simply... wow.  I could quibble with a few of your historical points, but who knows how events would play out in an alternate timeline.

American inventors should come out of the woodwork for this, sort of like the stories that were written after Wells released War of the Worlds that detailed Edison and Bell and Tesla mass producing futuristic weapons and vehicles to take the fight to Mars!

*Imagines a Matilda-type tank on the west bank of the Hudson firing its Tesla Gun (a railgun) at a Boche Battleship in the river below*

Offline Haibane

Re: The Great War
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 12:51:34 PM »
Mm, yeah, had you planned to keep this mostly alternate-historical, or go more steampunky with it?

I was a big reader of Wells in my youth, I loved 'The Land Ironclads' about early tanks, great stuff. Given that your history has no western front stalemate and given that tanks were designed solely to break through in trench warfare, would there be tanks at all? Or would cavalry in the 1920s still be used on the battlefield?

My only quibble with the history is there would quite likely be a second front/war in Persia/Iran and Syria with Britain and commonwealth troops fighting the Turks and trying to cut a communication path through to aid the Tsar(ina?) in the Caucasus. Or, as history went, through the Dardanelles.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 12:54:21 PM by Haibane »

Offline MagicalPen

Re: The Great War
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 01:13:25 PM »
It looks somewhat Steampunk (given the flying machines in the first picture) though that is left for the GM to decide.

I'd certainly say that the Germans would have LMG's while the disarrayed American Forces might have access to some of the older, watercooled variants (the historical WW I ones, while the Germans would be closer to MG42 style guns). Its possible to locate a typical squad load out if you'd like.

As a big WW2 Buff, I am certainly interested.

Offline bigwad73

Re: The Great War
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2010, 01:27:21 PM »
Isn't this more WW 1.5?  *flees, laughing maniacally*
 ;D

Offline Xiddeus

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Re: The Great War
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 02:00:20 PM »
So, like US citizens fighting against Nazi invaders?  Ooh, count me interested.

Offline Major Major

Re: The Great War
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2010, 02:07:39 PM »
Would the Canadians be involved here? After all, the Canadian Ross Rifle was considered a superlative Sniper's Rifle for the era, as long as it was properly maintained.

Offline MagicalPen

Re: The Great War
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2010, 02:12:54 PM »
I think the Ross Rifle was strictly Canadian in use - especially after it was phased out during the middle of WWI due to its unreliability in adverse conditions (amongst other issues)...I've never heard of it being the preferred Sniper Rifle either. Unless there was a Canadian Regiment in New York (in the game) I don't think anyone would have one.

Offline Major Major

Re: The Great War
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2010, 02:19:00 PM »
Well, maybe, but none the less, it's still worth considering.

Offline Haibane

Re: The Great War
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2010, 02:51:25 PM »
So, like US citizens fighting against Nazi invaders?  Ooh, count me interested.
Not Nazis, no. I think in this alternate history the Kaiser never lost the war, wasn't exiled and the German state didn't see the economic crash of the 20s that allowed the National Socialists to come to power.

It looks like it will be more a RP based on combat, so Doughboys versus the Wicked Hun, complete with pointy helmets and huge moustaches.

EDIT: As Major Major says, a Canadian presence in the war as a whole is probable. No doubt the British Empire (huzzah!) has sent Canadian regiments to help the Russians and with a German invasion of the American East Coast it would be logical to rush some Canadian troops south to assist.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 02:53:41 PM by Haibane »

Offline MagicalPen

Re: The Great War
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2010, 02:55:58 PM »
If we follow what the OP stated, I doubt there would be any Canadian Troops in NYC at the time of the surprise invasion (if we're playing as the Invasion happens, not a week or two after the Germans have landed).

Offline Haibane

Re: The Great War
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2010, 02:58:16 PM »
You're almost certainly correct. I was just frothing really.

Offline Xiddeus

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Re: The Great War
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2010, 03:03:54 PM »
Still, I am so reminded of Turning Point, Fall of Liberty and find this to be awesomesauce.  Thinking of being a NY cabbie.  Scotch or Irish in descent. 

Offline Major Major

Re: The Great War
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2010, 03:16:15 PM »
The reference to the Union Flag (it's only called the Union Jack when it's flying from the Jackstaff of a ship) makes me think that I could argue that there might be a few Royal Navy personnel around.

Offline bigwad73

Re: The Great War
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2010, 03:23:37 PM »
Maybe a RN Flying Boat or four has stopped by NYC to refuel/resupply between legs of their NY-Maritimes-GIUK antisubmarine patrol route?

Geez, it may be more fun to stay off to the side on this RP and kibbutz via PMs to the players.  (as Von Moltke the Elder's ghost!)

 
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 03:29:45 PM by bigwad73 »

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Re: The Great War
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2010, 03:40:25 PM »
*chortles* 

You mean, this didn't happen in real history because the French had too much spine too let the Germans just waltz over their country? 

*chuckles*

I really enjoyed your alternate history pitch.  Please forgive me for usurping your thread momentarily just too applaud you and thumb my nose at some local friends who think the French are yellow-bellies.  I may have seen some of their great grandfathers in the trenches, but said trenches were in France, not Texas. 

Offline Haibane

Re: The Great War
« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2010, 03:41:54 PM »
I assumed the Union Flag was there to mark the use of a British rifle. Though there might well be senior British military personnel around in NYC seeing as the US and UK are allies and this looks like a big convoy loading operation.

Offline LinnaTopic starter

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Re: The Great War
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2010, 04:44:39 PM »
I'm absolutely diggin the conversations back and forth.  Due to popular demand, I'll allow anyone to be German, British, Canadian, or American.  French characters will be refugees, fleeing their country.  British Navy boys and airmen will be present, and Canadians will be part of the Army.  The reason for this is because the Royal Navy was very involved in helping convoys across the Atlantic.

The question was asked earlier if I'd allow women, and I've decided that while at the time women weren't allowed in the armed forces, I'll allow women to serve in roles such as on the airships, pilots, navy, and a few other roles that are not directly combat oriented.

I'm glad someone mentioned tanks.  While the Western Front never bogged down, the Eastern Front has, and so both sides will be experimenting with armor designs to compliment their obsolete cavalry.  However, like in the Western Front of our own history, these designs are kept secret until their actual unveil.  So tanks exist, but they're a secret until enough can be produced to swing a battle.

Artillery will not be used in this RP because the US Army wouldn't fire on their own city with civilians there, and the Germans have their navy guns if they need to bombard a building.  And while aircraft will be in the skies, they'll mostly be used as observers and to fight off airships.  The Germans, having learned of the US experiments with aircraft carriers such as the Langley, have their own ships to let fighters take off and land at sea.

I'm glad for such a positive turn out!

Offline Haibane

Re: The Great War
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2010, 05:46:24 PM »
Yeah, I can see there's a lot of interest in this. Thanks for so much clarification, helps a lot.

*has a vision of a natty female airship crew uniform, mostly involving short skirts and boots something like an original series Trek uniform*

Or I could take a civilian role if there is scope for such things.

Wasn't Hitler developing an aircraft carrier in the 30s? Graf Zeppelin I think it was called but it never got finished. Could be used in this RP?

Oh, something no-one has asked yet - will this be system or freeform? If freeform how will you resolve fighting - or am I missing the point and it isn't going to involve much combat?

Offline LinnaTopic starter

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Re: The Great War
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2010, 09:06:21 PM »
The question on aircraft carriers is a valid one, and for the purposes of this RP, I'd like to explain a bit of my logic for the following decision.  In the 1920s, there were only three navies with ships built from the keel up as aircraft carriers, or were hastily modified designs from battlecruisers or battleships into aircraft carriers: The United Kingdom, the United States, and Japan.

However, seeing as most of these carriers came about around 1918, when Germany was defeated and forced to pay reparations to the allies, it's conceivable that they had the capacity, but not the money, to build their own carriers.  Since the High Seas Fleet was certainly a modern navy with ships similar to those being converted by the US and UK, we should see a few carriers in use by 1925.

Figure 1: HMS Hermes, commissioned 1918

Since the dirigibles don't require a carrier except possibly for extra munitions, most of the carrier deck can carry fighters.  And that's a good segway into my next point: Aircraft.  War makes it necessary to try and come up with newer, better designs, and so I'm going to allow modified designs.  The biplanes of WWI have given way to single wing aircraft similar to those used in WWII.  This will make the aircraft easier to take off and land from the aircraft decks.  They won't have the speed or maneuverability of their WWII originals, they're still meant to be good aircraft.

Figure 2: American Curtiss P-36 Hawk 1935

Figure 3: British Hawker Hurricane 1935

Figure 4: Heinkel He100 1938

The reason for these designs is that it's within 10 years between their first flight (Except the He100, but Germany's pre-war period is graded on a curve) and that's, to me, well within reason for designers being pushed by the constraints of war.  So these designs are totally aboveboard.  As far as the dirigibles go, they will serve as bombers.  While this may seem strange, bombers are very limited in range and load (It wasn't until the B-24 Liberator that the US had a decent bomber, in my mind), and also it's an American city.  Same reasoning as the artillery above.  The dirigibles can drop bombs straight down on a building, if necessary, and can serve as mobile gunships.


Offline Major Major

Re: The Great War
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2010, 09:14:11 PM »
Is there a Character Template?