The Sons of Raghnall: Images of the Great War

I’ve just had a root canal and am still slightly loopy from painkillers, so no narrative today. Instead you get some screenshots from the Great War, by some called the War of North and South. The Northern powers are Russia, England, Rome, Norway, plucky little France, and perfidious Bavaria, ready as always to rush to the aid of the victors, especially in exchange for some long-coveted provinces. The Southern powers are led by the Caliphate of Spain, after four hundred years still not reconciled to the ending of the House of Submission at the border of France; but behind the straightforward enmity of Mussulman for Christian, Moor for Crusader, lie darker Powers and subtler motivations. Here is India, smarting from defeat in the Short Victorious War. Still the world’s foremost industrial power in the older technologies of textiles and metals, but beginning to wane, outstripped in the new wealth of chemicals and electrics, India seeks to restore its pre-eminence by victories in foreign lands. Here is poor Greece, seduced by bright promises of easy victory; alas for the small peoples that are ground between the millstones of the Great Powers. Here is dark Inca, the maws of its temples ever open for great sacrifices; the death of a million disposable peasants is of no moment to the ruling Jaguar Knights, who merely replace those conscripts that would in peacetime have gone directly to the obsidian knives, with prisoners brought in from overseas – or at a pinch, choose to regard the trenches as a suitable temple for Huitzilopochtli. And who can think them wrong in that?

And then there is China. Perhaps the Shadow knows the evil that moves in the hearts of men; but no living man knows the motives of the oldest of the world’s states.

Not technically the largest naval battle in this history, by number of hulls; but considering that each of the cruisers could individually blow away all 1800 ships and four navies of the Battle of the Cape, surely a contender. Unlike the Cape, though, the Battle of the Gibraltar Strait did not settle the war. Notice the lopsided casualty ratio; true, the Anglo-Norse fleet eventually retreated (having accomplished its strategic goal of disrupting Inca troop convoys to Iberia), but it remains a fleet in being and, if anything, it is the Incan navy which disputes control of the Atlantic, while the Northern powers move troops around with relative freedom.

Gibraltar

Earlier engagements, ending rather more disastrously for the Southern powers:

Quiberon Bay
Moroccan Coast
Canarian Sea

This, of course, is where a true naval nation’s emphasis on logistics, support, and depth of tradition will give a telling advantage over a flash johnny-come-lately’s hankering for throw weights, big hulls, and enormous yearly budgets. Norwegian shipyards are already making good the losses of Gibraltar; we shall see whether the Inca and the Spaniards can do the same.

Extensive land fighting in the initial stages of the war; la belle France bloodily demonstrates that you don’t need mountains to stop a 1920s offensive in its tracks, you just need machine guns, men, and the willingness to heap up enemy corpses by the thousands:

French Front

That does cut two ways. The Hungarian Holdouts, trapped at the beginning of the war in territory that was about to switch from allied to enemy, still have not been rooted out of their mountain fastnesses:

Holdouts

Spanish troops advancing into the hell of La Rochelle.

Somme

Death to Spain.

La Rochelle

For lack of progress on the Pyrenees front, the Middle East has become the theatre of possible decision:

Middle East

I was not fast enough to get a screenshot of the Greek army holed up in Tobruk, which had resonance; here they are after an attempted breakout and some Spanish reinforcements. (Spanish flag notwithstanding, this stack is basically what’s left of the Greek armed forces.)

Tobruk

There is heavy fighting along the Nile, where Indian troops have rushed to the rescue of their beleaguered ally.

Nile Fighting

Now, there are those who claim that the vastly larger resources of the Southern powers make their victory inevitable in the long run. Perhaps! Interior lines and control of the seas also count for something. But in any case, what can one say of a nation that, so late as 1925, still has not managed to supply its much-vaunted millions with gas masks?

Wheres The Gas?

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