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Timeline (The Great White Lady)

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1916

November

  • After a close call, the H.M.H.S. Britannic survives a near devastating collision with a German naval mine during World War I. The ship is carefully towed to Athens by a British Destroyer for temporary repairs.

December

  • Temporary repairs are completed on Britannic, and the ship heads at full speed toward Belfast for permanent repairs.
  • Shipwrights in Belfast discover that the Britannic would have sunk had any of its portholes been open when it collided with the mine. Preparations are made to refit the Britannic to withstand any similar events.
  • Britannic's sister ship, Olympic, is ordered to undergo the same refit as Britannic in Belfast.

1917

January

  • Britannic re-emerges from Belfast with a concrete reinforced double hull and extra gantry lifeboat davits. Due to the American entry into World War I, Britannic is now a troop transport which carry American troops between New York and Europe.

March

  • Olympic's similar refit is completed. It has also been fitted with gantry davits and is also sent to transport American troops to Europe.
  • Britannic is torpedoed by a German U-boat in the English Channel. Due to its refit, the ship suffers little damage and is quickly repaired in Southampton.

April

  • After an encounter with two U-Boats, Olympic rams both U-boats and sinks them. This makes Olympic the only merchant ship in World War I to sink an enemy submarine just like the OLT.
  • White Star Line, the operators of both Olympic and Britannic, are given the operation of the troop transport Justicia. The ship is nearly sunk by enemy U-boats, but survives the ordeal and operates alongside Britannic and Titanic.

May

  • Olympic rams and sinks the German U-boat U-103. In revenge for sinking 3 U-boats successfully, the Imperial German Navy sends out the a destroyer, the S.M.S. Dresden to sink Olympic and to kill all possible survivors. Due to the earlier sinking of the Cunard Liner Lusitania, its sister ship Mauretania is fitted with large guns to protect itself in the case of an enemy attack. The Mauretania's crew intercepts the coded message from the Dresden relaying its gruesome task. When the Dresden passes close to the Mauretania on its way to destroy the Olympic, the Mauretania opens fire onto the Dresden without warning and sinks the destroyer sparing the Olympic from destruction.

1918

November

  • World War I officially ends with the signing of the treaty of Versailles. Britannic and Olympic will continue troop transport duties to bring American soldiers home.

1919

April

  • Britannic and Justicia complete their troop transport duties and are sent to Belfast to be refit to their original standards as Ocean Liners.

June

  • Olympic completes its wartime duties and heads to Belfast to be refit alongside Britannic and Justicia.
  • To keep up White Star Line tradition, the Justicia is renamed the Homeric.

1920

November

  • The Cunard Line is able to place their large four-stackers, Aquitania and Mauretania back into Transatlantic service two months ahead of Britannic, Olympic and Homeric. Threatened, White Star hastens the refit of Britannic and Homeric.

December

  • Britannic finishes its refit one month ahead of schedule, but keeps most of its white painted hull intact, which will later earn her the name of "The Great White Lady".
  • Homeric is finished three weeks after Britannic. The latter has been placed into Transatlantic operations for the first time and is an instant success thanks to it's over-luxurious accommodations and reliability. One such feature is a pipe organ installed on its Grand Staircase.

1921

January

  • Olympic joins Homeric and Britannic in Transatlantic service. With White Star's "Big Three" in service, Cunard's large duo now faces fierce competition.

February

  • Cunard takes delivery of two captured German liners, the Imperator and Bismarck. The Imperator is re-named Berengaria, while Bismarck is re-named Britannia. Cunard now operates the largest ship in the world. Britannia becomes an instant success and begins driving a large competition with White Star.

May

  • Still in possession of the captured German Liner Leviathan, the United States launches United States Lines to overpower Britain's near monopoly on transatlantic travel. The Leviathan begins a massive refit to become the flagship of U.S. Lines. U.S. Lines also orders a fourth Olympic-class ship from Harland and Wolff. Despite protests from White Star, the British Government allows U.S. Lines to be delivered an Olympic-class ship to help repay Britain's war debt to the United States.

1922

February

  • Leviathan enters service for the first time with brand new engines, allowing the ship to steal the Blue Riband from the Mauretania. The fourth Olympic-class ship, the United States, is launched. The United States is the last Olympic-class liner and the last four-stacker to ever be constructed. Unlike Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, the United States is designed with steam turbines instead of triple expansion engines making it the only Olympic-class liner designed for speed.
  • United States Lines becomes the third most popular shipping line on the North Atlantic. Thanks to Leviathan's capture of the Blue Riband, United States Lines was able to solidify itself in the Transatlantic market to become a fierce competitor of Cunard and White Star.

April

  • Britannic and Olympic stop over the spot where their sister ship, Titanic, sank to an iceberg exactly ten years earlier. All on board both ships hold a small memorial ceremony in respect to the lost White Star Liner and its victims. Both liners slowly steam toward New York together once the memorial service has ended.

September

  • Most ships in the transatlantic run lose large amounts of passengers due to anti-immigration laws passed in the United States. The White Star, United States and Cunard Liners are no exception.

1923

February

  • Britannic, Olympic and Homeric are refit at Harland and Wolff Shipyards in Belfast, Northern Ireland to become "Express Liners". Third class and second class accommodations in all three ships are replaced with "Tourist Class" accommodations.

March

  • White Star's "Big Three" re-enter service. Britannic will now serve as a cruise ship in the Caribbean during the summer. Olympic and Homeric will remain transatlantic ships.
  • The United States is completed at Harland and Wolff and enters service. The ship quickly takes the Blue Riband away from its running mate, the Leviathan. Both the Leviathan and the United States were converted into white-hulled "Express Liners". During the summer, the duo will be cruising in the Caribbean competing with the Britannic.

1924

June

  • Olympic collides with the Mauretania. Due to its re-enforced hull, the Olympic causes massive damage to the Mauretania. A long legal battle between Cunard and White Star ensues. Mauretania is eventually fixed, but loses one of its four funnels as a result to massive structural damage along with 50 feet of its hull. One passenger later described the Mauretania as being a symbol of faded glory. Olympic suffers minor damage, but is quickly repaired and placed back into service without any further trouble.

October

  • With the Mauretania out of service for a projected two years, United States Lines takes the opportunity to purchase a third ship to add to its duo from Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. The new liner will have three funnels and will dwarf Cunard's Britannia in size.
  • As part of a legal settlement with White Star, Cunard operates the Homeric as a temporary replacement for the Mauretania. White Star leases an unused captured German liner called the "Hindenburg" from the British government to fill in the void left by Homeric. White Star renames the ship Oceanic.

1925

March

  • Homeric is repainted in Cunard colors and temporarily renamed Justicia again.

June

  • Temporarily named Hull 507, the new United States Liner is launched in Newport News. The ship features four propellers; each powered by four powerful steam turbines.

September

  • United States Lines renames its Olympic-class giant the Independence and transfers the name United States to the new Hull 507. Meanwhile, Olympic is starting to show its age when a passenger complains about deck sagging.

1926

February

  • A bad North Atlantic storm delays the Olympic's 124th crossing to New York. It is the only time the ship has ever been late. Two days later, the United States is completed and finishes its sea trials. The maiden voyage is slated to begin the following month.

March

  • The United States sets sail on its maiden voyage. The ship takes the Blue Riband from the Indpendence. With all three of its vessels now being the fastest on the Atlantic, United States Lines becomes the premier shipping company on the North Atlantic, trumping both Cunard and White Star. Thanks to the durability and reliability of both Olympic and Britannic however, White Star is able to beat Cunard in overall quality and popularity.

June

  • The Mauretania finally re-enters service, but being 50 feet shorter, it carried less people than it used to. Due to recent events, Cunard is now below both United States Lines and White Star Line in quality. Determined to regain its stature, the Mauretania was completely retrofitted with brand new more powerful engines. The removal of its fourth funnel and after mast along with a new raked bow have given the ship not only a more modern appearance, but the ability to travel at a much faster speed than the United States. On its third voyage after returning to service, the Mauretania recaptures the Blue Riband from the United States, helping to bolster Cunard's popularity. A massive retrofit of Berengaria and Britannia to new luxury standards gives Cunard the second boost it needs to once again reach the top of the list in popularity.
  • The Justicia is returned to White Star and resumes its career as the Homeric. Oceanic is returned to the British government which quickly declares it surplus and scraps it.

1927

June

  • After fierce competition between the Americans and British, the French Line places the massive new Ile de France into transatlantic service to effectively compete with the big three shipping lines. The Ile de France becomes an instant success, adding a fourth gigantic competitor into the race.

November

  • Germany begins re-constructing its transatlantic trade, starting the massive three-stacked Cap Arcona. The Italians also launch a new liner, the twin-stacked Augustus. In light of the new competing vessels, Cunard and White Star begin preparations to replace their ageing vessels. White Star begins design studies for a new liner called the Oceanic, while Cunard begins designing a new ship to counter White Star's Oceanic. This is the beginning of the end for the Britannic.

1928

January

  • Work begins on Cunard's new ship, Hull 534. It will sport three mid-sized funnels and a curved superstructure with a raked bow. Cunard plans on later naming it the Victoria.

May

  • The keel of the new motorized Oceanic is laid at Harland and Wolff. Like most new motorized ships, it will feature three squat funnels instead of the classic "stovepipe" example. The new construction of Oceanic leads to the French, Germans, Americans and Italians feeling threatened.

June

  • The Germans begin construction on the large motorized ocean liners Bremen and Europa. Following this, the Italians start immediately on building the Rex and Conte di Savoia. The French respond by starting construction of the Normandie and Bretagne. All six of these new liners are bent on stealing the Blue Riband from Cunard's Mauretania.

July

  • On Independence Day, the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock company begins construction of a massive new vessel for United States Lines. The new ship will be called America and will feature new streamlined funnels painted in red, white and blue colors, along with a curved superstructure and raked bow. A sister ship called the Liberty is expected to begin construction the following year. Both ships will be constructed using a new technique called welding.

November

  • The Bremen is launched. It is scheduled to enter service the following year. Europa suffers a small fire during its construction and is therefore postponed to enter service in early 1930.

1929

July

  • The Bremen is completed and makes its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean two weeks later, stealing the Blue Riband from the ageing Mauretania.
  • Italy launches the Rex and launches the smaller Conte di Savoia three days later. The Italia Line, the owners of the Rex and Conte di Savoia, rush the shipyard to complete its liners by early 1930.

August

  • Because of a bad recession, the U.S. Government ends restrictions on immigration, privatizes United States Lines and ends prohibition in an effort to save the economy. Most of the world's corporations invest in the still thriving Transatlantic market in an effort to protect themselves. Private individuals start doing the same.

October

  • The stock market crashes on Wall Street. Because of the U.S. Government's actions as ell as the majority of investments and private stocks being owned in the massive shipping lines however, the crash triggers a bad recession that will only last until 1931. Transatlantic shipping oddly saved the world from depression (unlike the events in the OLT).

November

  • The America is launched at Newport News. The keel of the Liberty is laid three days later.

1930

January

  • The Normandie is finally launched at Chantiers de Penhoet after years of construction. The press immediately falls in love with the new French ship and its magnificent Art Deco design. The French are extra determined to complete the new ship by late 1930 or early 1931 to effectively compete with the Germans, Americans, Italians and the British.
  • Bretagne suffers a major fire on the slipway the day before its scheduled launch. The damage is so extensive that most of the ship's superstructure is decimated. The repairs are scheduled to take six months to complete.
  • Europa, Rex and the Conte di Savoia are all delivered at nearly the same time. All three steam at full speed across the Atlantic Ocean bent on taking the Blue Riband. Europa beats both the Rex and Conte di Savoia by one day solidifying the German claim on the Blue Riband.

February

  • The new Cunard Liner, Hull 534 is christened the Queen Mary during its launch. Due to a request by King George V to name the ship after his wife, the massive liner is not called Victoria as planned. As soon as the Queen Mary leaves the Launchpad, the keel for the much larger Queen Elizabeth is laid.
  • The Olympic suffers a massive engine failure at Southampton. The ship is sent to Belfast for repairs. Three days later the new Oceanic is launched. White Star decides to relegate the Olympic to cruising duties only due to its age and will replace Olympic with the Oceanic.
  • Construction starts on two new small motorized White Star Liners at Harland and Wolff. The keels of the Majestic (the third Britannic in the OLT) and Georgic are laid.

June

  • Mauretania suffers minor flooding due to structural damage caused by its collision with the Olympic six years earlier. Cunard decides to retire the ship immediately after the Queen Mary finishes construction.
  • Britannic suffers its first mechanical inconvenience. The ship suffers a engine room fire. The blaze is doused quickly and causes very little damage. Slight sagging is noted on Britannic's superstructure, but is not nearly as massive as the damage discovered on Olympic. Being slightly different from her sisters, the Britannic was constructed with a stronger skeletal frame allowing time to catch up more slowly with it than its older sister.

1931

February

  • The Queen Mary completes its sea trials and enters service soon afterward. On its maiden voyage, Queen Mary recaptures the Blue Riband for the Cunard Line. Mauretania is then sold for scrap in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Two weeks after the Queen Mary's record setting voyage, the Normandie enters service and takes the Blue Riband away from the Queen Mary, starting a bitter struggle between both vessels to capture the record.
  • The America is completed, but its maiden voyage is postponed until preparations for a record breaking voyage can be completed. The Liberty is launched two days after America's completion.
  • Majestic and Georgic are launched simultaneously.

March

  • Oceanic enters service and replaces the Olympic on the New York to Southampton route. The Olympic's hull is painted completely white and the ship is used for the sole purpose of Caribbean cruising. On her third voyage, Oceanic takes the Blue Riband right out from under the Queen Mary and the Normandie. While both the French Line and Cunard Line prepare to retake the record, the United States uses the opportunity to retake the Blue Riband with the America, sending the new ship on her long anticipated maiden voyage.

April

  • Queen Elizabeth is launched at John Brown and Company in Clydebank, Scotland. The uncompleted hull quickly takes the title of the world's largest ship from the Normandie.
  • The Leviathan is laid up after being replaced by America. United States Lines starts considering what to do with the mothballed vessel.
  • Independence undergoes a massive refit at Newport News. The four funnels are replaced by three mid-sized funnels, the superstructure is rounded out and the bow is replaced with a more raked version. Modern davits also replace the ageing gantry and wellin davits along the liner's boat deck. The lower hull above the waterline is painted jet black to go with the ship's new look. Lastly, the ship is renamed the California. It no longer represents the Olympic-class liner it once was.

August

  • The Leviathan catches fire at its dock. The smoldering blaze destroys the entire ship and causes it to sink at the spot. The ship is quickly refloated and sent to Charleston, South Carolina for demolition.
  • After many months of delays, the Bretagne is finally launched at Chantiers de Penhoet.

1932

February

  • In the midst of fierce competition between Normandie, Queen Mary, Oceanic and America for the Blue Riband, the Liberty enters service, but is unable to take the Blue Riband from its four competitors.

June

  • The Berengaria suffers a major fire while en-route to Southampton from New York. 529 people perish in the blaze. Berengaria sinks ten days later while under tow to a French scrapyard.
  • The twin-stacked Bretagne sets off on its maiden voyage from Le Havre to New York. The ship takes the Blue Riband at such a fast pace that it is impossible for the other five "greyhounds" to retake it. Bretagne's record will remain unbeaten for six years.
  • Cunard's Britannia, being the last of Albert Balin's trio, is not looked well upon due to the Berengaria disaster. Due to this, Cunard sells the Britannia for scrap in Nagasaki, Japan. Further financial and popularity troubles relating Cunard to the Berengaria disaster cause the shipping company to declare bankruptcy. White Star purchases Cunard and merges with the near-failed shipping company forming the Cunard-White Star Line.

July

  • Following the successful maiden voyage of the Queen Elizabeth, Cunard-White Star management decides to retire the Olympic and Homeric to the scrapyard by 1935. Although very much outdated, Aquitania and Britannic are still in good enough condition that both ships are set to serve until 1944.

1951

January

  • With the Aquitania gone due to its old age and deterioration, Britannic is found to be in similar condition. With its top decks succumbing to massive metal fatigue and with an injured keel from its latest wartime service, Britannic is sold to be scrapped in Taiwan. The ship will only serve the Cunard Line for three more months.

March

  • Britannic's aft mast collapses due to large deterioration. It will never be replaced. The ship's fore mast is cut down to size to prevent a similar occurrence.

April

  • Almost 40 years after the sinking of Titanic, the deteriorating Britannic makes its final Pacific crossing from San Francisco to Sydney via Honolulu. It sails directly from Sydney to Taiwan where it will be scrapped.

October

  • The last remnants of Britannic's hull are scrapped. The "Great White Lady" is no more.

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