Discussion:
Franco-Prussian armies & American Civil War armies
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alo
2020-07-20 18:41:29 UTC
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If say sometime after 1870 a Prussian army (German) met in the field a
similar army from the American civil war (either from the north or
from the south or even a combined army)...what would the tactics
be... similar? A one sided clash?

Who would have stood on the field triumphant at the end of the day?
Rich Rostrom
2020-07-21 19:52:25 UTC
Permalink
Post by alo
If say sometime after 1870 a Prussian army (German) met in the field a
similar army from the American civil war (either from the north or
from the south or even a combined army)...what would the tactics
be... similar? A one sided clash?
Who would have stood on the field triumphant at the end of the day?
Phil Sheridan observed the Franco-Prussian War, and
was not impressed by either side.
--
Nous sommes dans une pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.
--- General Auguste-Alexandre Ducrot at Sedan, 1870.
Chrysi Cat
2020-07-21 20:16:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by alo
If say sometime after 1870 a Prussian army (German) met in the field a
similar army from the American civil war (either from the north or
from the south or even a combined army)...what would the tactics
be... similar? A one sided clash?
Who would have stood on the field triumphant at the end of the day?
I'm not sure if the field artillery is that different due to the 5-year
difference or not, but the Union Army fielded almost no breechloading
rifles and yet still put more in the field than the various States of
the Confederacy (also, and this is very important, THE ENTIRETY OF NORTH
AMERICA WAS STILL A BACKWATER AND MOST OF EUROPE WOULD HAVE SEEN
AMERICAN TACTICS AS INFERIOR TO EUROPEAN ONES).

The North German Confederation (or by some arguments already the German
Empire) won the Franco-Prussian War despite having the /inferior/ small
arms (the Chassepot far outranged the Dreyse and matched in rate of
fire, so unless the American artillery is vastly superior...
...
...can you say "curb-stomp"?

OTOH, the last ACW battles had deteriorated into Great War-style trench
warfare, so that /might/ make up for the lack in rate-of-fire. Neither
side should be fielding too many of the automatic firearms that make
crossing no-man's-land somewhat workable either--the Gatling Gun
/EXISTS/ but isn't being fielded enough for the Americans, the Germans
have nothing of the sort even held back in reserve--

--but I still hold that the Germans/Prussians/North Germans, whichever
you want to call them; would have DESTROYED an ACW-era American army and
that even a clash between the post-reconstruction Americans and the
German Empire would have been ugly for the Yanks without Anglo-French help.
--
Chrysi Cat
1/2 anthrocat, nearly 1/2 anthrofox, all magical
Transgoddess, quick to anger.
Call me Chrysi or call me Kat, I'll respond to either!
Troll
2020-07-31 14:05:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Chrysi Cat
Post by alo
If say sometime after 1870 a Prussian army (German) met in the field a
similar army from the American civil war (either from the north or
from the south or even a combined army)...what would the tactics
be... similar? A one sided clash?
Who would have stood on the field triumphant at the end of the day?
I'm not sure if the field artillery is that different due to the 5-year
difference or not, but the Union Army fielded almost no breechloading
rifles and yet still put more in the field than the various States of
the Confederacy (also, and this is very important, THE ENTIRETY OF NORTH
AMERICA WAS STILL A BACKWATER AND MOST OF EUROPE WOULD HAVE SEEN
AMERICAN TACTICS AS INFERIOR TO EUROPEAN ONES).
The North German Confederation (or by some arguments already the German
Empire) won the Franco-Prussian War despite having the /inferior/ small
arms (the Chassepot far outranged the Dreyse and matched in rate of
fire, so unless the American artillery is vastly superior...
...
...can you say "curb-stomp"?
OTOH, the last ACW battles had deteriorated into Great War-style trench
warfare, so that /might/ make up for the lack in rate-of-fire. Neither
side should be fielding too many of the automatic firearms that make
crossing no-man's-land somewhat workable either--the Gatling Gun
/EXISTS/ but isn't being fielded enough for the Americans, the Germans
have nothing of the sort even held back in reserve--
--but I still hold that the Germans/Prussians/North Germans, whichever
you want to call them; would have DESTROYED an ACW-era American army and
that even a clash between the post-reconstruction Americans and the
German Empire would have been ugly for the Yanks without Anglo-French help.
The American Civil War had a lot of calvary engagements and
still had some mobility with some long distance raiding.

Is it reasonable to say that in the Franco-Prussian war any
attempts to get horses to swim across the Rhine and conduct
long distance raids into Germany would have met with a total
inability to ride past a line ultimately resulting in dead
horses? Or were the weapons of the Franco-Prussian war still
unable to produce something like the dead horses of Poland in
WWI?

Based upon the tactics throughout most of the ACW I could see
nearly all of both Confederate and Union Calvary asking the
French were the gaps in the lines are and what are the best
railroads and bridges to destroy behind the German lines.
Whether they would all get killed trying to ride through and
around them in the middle of the night is another matter.


Was calvary in effect under-utilized in our time line's
Franco-Prussian War? Could calvary raids in the Rhineland
or even through the forests to Berlin have had any effect?
How about dynamite blowing up the railroads and raiders
cutting the telegraph lines? Destroying telegraph lines and attempting
to destroy and
take over rail lines as a result of calvary raids was
pretty common during the American Civil War, but if a
line's firepower is effective enough to result in dead
horses then that becomes much less possible.

Is it reasonable to say that the distance between Germany
and France was so small that almost no transport was needed
to get to France from Germany? They could simply walk, and
no railroads were needed. There were so many people involved
that there were no gaps to ride around, even in the middle of
the night, to get behind the lines to blow up the bridges
and cut the telegraph lines. So in effect, those types of
tactics would not have worked because of the differing nature
of the logistics of the different wars.

Or could calvary raids have weakened the German invasion
rather severely, and they were not used because the French
were unfamiliar with them?

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