Sunday 7 June 2009

"Some Damned Affair in the Balkans" Part 2

After having read "The Mediterranean Naval Situation 1908 - 1914" as well as "The Ottoman Steam Navy 1828 to 1912" I was struck by the number of warships that were either ordered, built, paid for, requisitioned or merely planned by both the Greek and Turkish navy. With this is mind I have decided to expand both fleets to include those vessels that fell into any of the above categories. My trusty copy of "Jane's Fighting Ships of WW1" also yielded much information on the types that were taken over. For the Turks this was fairly straightforward and the tale of HMS Agincourt and Erin needs no retelling. The Italians were building a cruiser for Turkey that they took over as the Libia - in Turkey this would have been called, with a tremendous amount of irony, the Drama. Also, four destroyers ordered by Turkey were taken over by the RN - the so called Talisman class. As a design these were so successful they were used as the basis for the later V and W types.

For the Greeks the Germans were to build a battle cruiser - the Salamis whilst France was to construct a Bretagne class dreadnought. Four destroyers and a light cruiser were ordered from the UK and then taken over - these were known as the Medea, Melpomene, Melampus and Medusa (destroyers) in RN service whilst the cruiser was HMS Birkenhead.

With all this potential hardware heading towards the Aegean it certainly raises that staple of the war gamers diet - the 'what if?' scenario. Certainly it gives me a great excuse to expand the fleets into the dreadnought era without stretching the credibility too much. Besides, any navy with a battleship that has 14 x 12" guns and is fairly lightly armoured to boot has a lot going for it!

I will check my sources to see what other ships were on the go in various quarters for my selected protagonists - certainly the use of the 'never was-ers' adds an extra dimension to the theatre in question.

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