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Big Trouble in New Vienna

Posted by Andy on April 2, 2012 at 6:20 PM

Austro-Hungary and the Caribbean

(Reprinted with kind permission from the March 19, 1892 edition of the Grosse Austrian Gazette)

 

By Gerd Maloins

 

Beginning with the Crimean War (1853-1856), a resurgent Austria-Hungary has enjoyed, first as just the Austrian Empire, and later with the dual monarchy, a larger role in the world.  No less so than in the Caribbean.  How did the Austrians and Hungarians come to these waters?

 

Having sided with Russia in the Crimean conflict, and subsequently having enjoyed victory in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Austria joined Hungary in 1867 to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire, joining two great powers into a stronger whole.

 

 

With the 1889 invention of R-Matter conversion, so important in today's lighter-than-air flight, and the subsequent rush to acquire raw materials to convert to R-Matter, the young and wealthy Austro-Hungarian Empire found an opportunity for geo-political expansion.

 

Great Britain had plenty of natural resources at its disposal, given its world-wide empire, but lacked the sizable capital assets needed to finance a rapid conversion of its powerful naval fleets to aero-capability.

 

The sometimes controversial 1889 Grenadine Purchase was the result, selling the British possessions of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to Austro-Hungary for an undisclosed amount.

 

   

In 1890 war came to Europe as France allied herself with Germany and the two prepared for an invasion of Great Britain. As a precursor to that conflict, however, the French lured Great Britain into a false sense of security when they collaborated together on the surprise attack on Perle Hafen, capital city of Neu Wien, in the renamed Szent Katerina Caribbean islands.

 

Soon after, France and Germany used Great Britain’s complicity in the Perle Hafen affair to accuse the British government of untrustworthiness, which gave them added justification in declariing war, and subsequently deprived Britain of an ally in Vienna.

 

The so-called 10-Month-War ended with the Treaty of St. Pertersburg in 1891, as France and Germany concluded that they could not secure air superiority over the British Isles, a necessary pre-requisite for invasion.

 

 HRH Prince George

  

Now, in what is believed to be an apparent move to restore friendly relations with Vienna, the British Government is sending its most able ambassador and agent of good will to visit Perle Hafen, HRH Prince George, grandson of Queen Victoria and eventual heir to the British throne.

 

The Prince, while visiting,  will no doubt speak to local government officials about Britain’s reluctant role in the attack two years ago, and will more than likely seek reconciliation and a closer relationship, on behalf of the British government, with Vienna.

 

On Monday night the 19th of March, with Rob commanding the British, Stephen directing the fate of the Austro-Hungarians (with Daniel's assistance later in the evening), and Gar making his first appearance at a B&P event overseeing his American fleet, the stage was set for an enjoyable, albeit smaller and simpler then I'd hoped, evening of fine beer and Wessex Games' Aeronef, with Brigade Models' finely cast vessels.

 

 

The scene was set off the northern coast of Neu Wien, near its coastal aerodrome.  There, a number of airship mooring towers and sheds rested, together with conventional airstrips and seaplane landing areas.  Approaching from the north of the island, the British royal aero-yacht BRITTANIA, with its small aeronef escort, flew towards land, bearing the royal party.  Moving seaward to meet it, the Austro-Hungarian royal aero-yacht MIRAMAR, together with its own limited escort of three DANUBE class gunboat aeronefs, prepared to guide the British in.

 

Amongst the merchant and civilian traffic present in the area for the historic occasion was the White Star Line's newest craft, RMS MAJESTIC, bearing dignitaries, luminaries, and the United States Vice-President, Levi P. Morton.  Also in the vicinity, no doubt because of the importance of the occasion and the presence on MAJESTIC of the Vice-President, the US Caribbean Aerofleet was represented by a token "diplomatic" squadron.

 

 Vice-President Morton

 

As the RMS MAJESTIC approached Perle Hafen's Aerodrome, and all eyes were riveted on the British and Austro-Hungarian diplomatic squadron rendezvous off the coast, panic aboard MAJESTIC ensued as shots were heard and reports were filed that Vice-President Morton had been killed by an unknown assailant.

 

US naval commander Jorge "Strong Arm" Cussler, commander of the US Caribbean squadron, responded to this alarming news by moving his capital ships, including the battleship MARYLAND, forward towards Perle Hafen, and called on the MAJESTIC to heave-to and prepare to receive an American boarding party.

 

 Admiral Cussler

 

Not taking too kindly to the forcefulness of Cussler's antics, British Admiral, the Right Honorable, Potty-Fartwell, felt obliged to protect MAJESTIC as she headed towards port, further setting the stage for the impending pandemonium.

 

Admiral Potty-Fartwell

 

The Americans exacerbated the situation by firing on the Austro-Hungarian escorts, apparently on the grounds that the Vice-President had been shot in Austro-Hungarian skies, (although some reporters have suggested the Monroe Doctrine as being of some significance in the matter), destroying two of the three DANUBES as the MIRAMAR made its escape.

 

Admiral Burgerbergen

 

Austro-Hungarian Admiral Burgerbergen responded to this US aggresion by callng for his own nearby reserves, including the battleships ERZHERZOG FREDERICK V and SZENT ISTVAN, as Potty-Fartwell moved the British reserves in to further protect the MAJESTIC and ensure the safety of the royal party.  Meanwhile, BRITTANIA had succeeded in mooring and disgorged her passengers, who hurriedly moved by motorcar to the safety of the cliff-side citadel of Die Felsen.

 

   

  

Additional highlights of the action included:

  • USS MARYLAND arrived on the scene and grappled with MAJESTIC.
  • HMS STEADFAST and HMS ZULU fired on MARYLAND but hit MAJESTIC instead.
  • HMS MAORI and HMS ZULU fired on MARYLAND and also grappled with MAJESTIC.
  • During the compound boarding action, US Marines located and secured the body of the Vice-President and evacuated it to the MARYLAND, before the grapple was broken.

 

 

With the recovery of the Vice-President's body, and facing a combined Austro-Hungarian and British battlefleet that outnumbered his own, Cussler ordered a withdrawl and was quoted as saying, "I came through and I shall return!".

 

 

In his speech the following day, before an emergency joint session of Congress, United States President Benjamin Harrison was quoted as saying,

"It has been far TOO long and the American people have been far TOO lax in enforcing President Monroe's doctrine!  NO MORE, I say!!  This dasterdly and cowardly act, the taking of OUR Vice-President and MY GOOD FRIEND, a servant of the people, SHALL NOT GO UNPUNISHED!!  I shall make it the FOCUS of my remaining time in office to rid the Western Hemisphere of foreign intervention, once and for ALL!!  SO HELP ME GOD!!!"

President Benjamin Harrison

Categories: Aeronef

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