In 1775, David Bushnell builds a very early, if not the first, battle submarine. In OTL, the submarine was unsuccessful because of reinforced steel plates in the British ships. But what if Ezra Lee, the Turtles captain, had chosen a lucky weak spot? The war submarine would prevail as a largely used weapon. Naval history would be drastically different.
Rise of the Turtle
September 7, 1776: Ezra Lee sweated in the damp, hot chamber of the machine. Through his porthole, Ezra could see the bulk of the massive warship. His tiny contraption, The Turtle, seemed to be no threat to the enormous ship Eagle. With the light of his foxfire fungus, Ezra spotted a good spot to lay explosives on the warships hull. After twenty five minutes drilling a hole, the bomb was placed. At fastest speed, Ezra and his submarine sped away from the soon-to-be-gone warship. The entire device shuddered as the Eagle's hull blew out and the ship fell in on itself. Somehow, the Turtle sustained this without leaking. When the soldiers pulled Ezra out of his submarine, he told them of the weapons efficiency. One complaint to the designer was the tedious and tiring hand crank.
October 3: Benjamin Franklin and David Bushnell get together to design a better war sub. The new design includes a medium-sized ram and a pedal-powered propeller. Three more Turtle Mk 2s are built by December. Washington is impressed, and declares that a new age of warfare has begun.
1777: Throughout the year, more and more Turtles are made. Gears and pulleys are used to make turning the crank easier. British supply ships begin to feel the burn. Transporting troops by sea begins to look unwise.
Effects of the Turtle
By 1778, a fleet of ten Turtles devastates British sea lanes. Many, many troop-carrying ships have been lost. The Continental Army has control of most of the 13 colonies. A renewed invasion of Canada begins. Many French still in the area help expel the British. In the South, many Loyalists are held in Georgia, not able to flee to Canada and blockaded from escaping to Britain. Some do escape into the Appalachians and set up small villages in the mountains.
Battle of Quebec
In Summer, 1778, the Continental Army invaded Canada anew. French still living in Quebec seize the chance to repel the British. The French King sends hundreds of troops to help free Canada. The Second Battle of Quebec ends when what few British there were left there surrendered. Conflict arose there after the battle when Americans and French commanders argued over whether Quebec would become and American state or a French Colony. A small battle ensued, and about twenty people on each side died. The French kept Quebec as a colony. New Brunswick became an American territory shortly after, though. Acadia and Newfoundland stay as British colonies.
French Fleet Expansion
After the American Revolution ended in 1781, the French were rivals with Americans. Only a few French Admirals knew of the existence of the American Turtle fleet. In 1783, a French spy stole blueprints from an American workshop. By 1786, the French had about half as many Turtles as the Americans. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot helped to install steam engines inside some of the larger Turtles. To go along with the secret naval project, many merchant ships made a living transporting food grown in Canada back to France. Because so much food was grown in Canada, many slave owners in Haiti and other Caribbean colonies abolished their harsh treatment of slaves and overworked them slightly less.
The Louisiana Pact
When Napoleon became emperor of France, Louisiana fell into his hands once again. He had planned to grow food in Louisiana and the Caribbean and send it to France to feed his citizens and army. But the Haitian Revolution threatened this plan. The revolution turned out to be more than a small-scale slave revolt. Sixty thousand soldiers landed in Haiti to quell the revolt. But this force seemed unsatisfactory. To win back the island, the Emperor needed to call on an unlikely ally. American President John Adams did not want to become involved in French or British affairs. But then it was revealed that France also had a Turtle armada. Rather than blackmailing Adams about the existence of the armadas, Napoleon proposed an alliance between the nations and a cooperation regarding innovations on the Turtle. To a tiny, newly formed nation, a secret super-weapon seemed a promising concept. Adams agreed. In exchange for sending soldiers and supplies to Haiti, Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot was sent to New York to help work on the steam-engine Turtle design. The Louisiana Pact was signed and formed.