Post by EwellHolmes on Apr 27, 2020 6:11:40 GMT
jjohnson , EwellHolmes ,
I think your both underestimating how heavily the US was outclassed in naval terms at this point. Its not 1898 when the Spanish navy had declined considerable and the US had built a number of new ships.
The US can definitely win, at least in the Caribbean but unless the Spanish screw things up very badly in naval terms especially it would probably take at least a year to build ships that could actually contest the Caribbean with the Spanish fleet. Then probably another year for the actual conquest of Cuba and Puerto Rico. IIRC the latter was strongly loyalist in 1898 and was only taken over as part of the peace treaty so having to fight for it might be markedly more difficult.
The Philippines would be far more difficult because of its isolation from the US and the lack of any fleet base in the region. OTL in 1898 the US Asiatic fleet that won control of the waters around the Philippines was based at Hong Kong and had to leave because Britain was neutral in the conflict. Here if the same applies their probably not going to be able to go straight to the islands, assuming that the US even has ships based in the area at this point, which they might not. Plus its still ~20 years before the coup by American planters that seizes control of Hawaii so they don't have that as a stepping stone either.
The US can copy its OTL 1898 conquests if its prepared to fight for several years as it needs to build up the forces for such actions 1st and that will take some time. This could be something that its government and population decides isn't worth the effort depending on the circumstances. Also it assumes that, as I suspect would be likely, other powers try and mediate and at least one of the powers refuses such efforts.
The Spanish Fleet is, essentially, a non-entity at this time; not only is the Third Carlist War being waged in Spain herself, but so too is the Cantonal Rebellion. The Fleet hadn't escaped said disorder, with numerous mutinies and revolts taking place, with what is left focused on dealing with the situation at home first and foremost. The Ironclad Teutan, for example, was captured by the rebels and used in the Cantonal Revolt; she and the Resolution were the only 40 gun ironclads in the entire Spanish Fleet. Numancia, the third best armed warship in the entire Navy with 34 guns, was also seized by rebels.
"On 12 July 1873, the crew of a dozen warships – the very best of the Spanish fleet – mutinied in Cartagena against a republic that had belied its promise of freedom. Navy crew soldiers revolted against their officers who quickly fled from the Canton: this mutiny of gigantic proportions25 made it possible for the Cartagena Canton to last for so long."
Because the best the Spanish Navy has to offer is unavailable, while the U.S. has far better logistics and an overwhelming numerically superiority aided by local support, I think it's unquestionable that the U.S. can and will rapidly defeat the Spanish in and around Cuba. I do agree that anything beyond such is out of the question, such as the Philippines or even Puerto Rico.