France enters the 1866 Austro-Prussian War on the Austrian side

Futurist

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May 2014
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SoCal
What if France would have entered the 1866 Austro-Prussian War on the Austrian side? This does seem like the logical move for France to do if it wants to conquer some Prussian territory since there is no way in Hell that a victorious Prussia would voluntarily agree to give up any of its territory to France. So, the only way for France to win some Prussian spoils in this war is to enter and fight this war on the Austrian side.

To my knowledge, this war was a close-run thing as it was and thus I would think that French entry on the Austrian side would have decisively swung the war in Austria's favor. After all, even without France, the alliance situation in this war appeared relatively favorable for Austria:




In turn, this does raise an interesting question--if France, Austria, and their allies (Bavaria, Hanover, et cetera) win this war (as appears to be highly likely in this scenario), what exactly are their peace terms going to look like? Any thoughts on this?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,631
Las Vegas, NV USA
The 1866 war was short, about 7 weeks. Austria was still using muzzle loading rifles while the Prussian army was fully equipped with breech loading "Needle Nose" rifles. By not having to stop and load their rifles by the muzzle, the Prussians had a huge advantage. In 1866 the French had just acquired their breech loading Chassepot rifle and did not have many of them yet. For that reason they couldn't be that effective as allies and an Austrian-French alliance could not have likely defeated Prussia. By 1870 the French were much better equipped but they were stlll defeated.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,750
SoCal
The 1866 war was short, about 7 weeks. Austria was still using muzzle loading rifles while the Prussian army was fully equipped with breech loading "Needle Nose" rifles. By not having to stop and load their rifles by the muzzle, the Prussians had a huge advantage. In 1866 the French had just acquired their breech loading Chassepot rifle and did not have many of them yet. For that reason they couldn't be that effective as allies and an Austrian-French alliance could not have likely defeated Prussia in 1866. By 1870 the French were much better equipped but they were stlll defeated.
So, you don't think that even the fact that it would have to fight on two fronts in 1866 would have actually hurt Prussia that much?
 

stevev

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Apr 2017
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So, you don't think that even the fact that it would have to fight on two fronts in 1866 would have actually hurt Prussia that much?
It would be to Prussia's advantage to keep their two enemies separated. Prussian territory extended from France to Poland. They could quickly deal with Austria and then turn on France. However I don't think France would have entered the war until they were fully equipped with Chassepot rifles.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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It would be to Prussia's advantage to keep their two enemies separated. Prussian territory extended from France to Poland. They could quickly deal with Austria and then turn on France. However I don't think France would have entered the war until they were fully equipped with Chassepot rifles.
Interesting. Also, do you think that Germany could have successfully adopted a similar approach in 1914 in regards to France and Russia--as in, first successfully take out France and then take out Russia?
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,631
Las Vegas, NV USA
Interesting. Also, do you think that Germany could have successfully adopted a similar approach in 1914 in regards to France and Russia--as in, first successfully take out France and then take out Russia?
No. Russia was too big. Defeating Russia as Germany did in East Prussia was one thing."Taking Russia out" was something else. Germany was right to attack France first although they failed. Their situation between two major powers was a big problem. 1866 was different. Arms technology was advancing fast and both Austria and France were significantly behind Prussia. Pitting muzzle loading rifles against breech loading bolt action rifles was an invitation for disaster. By WWI technology favored defense.
 
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