The war with Marocco from 1851 to 1852.
In order to provide our army with the chance to gain some practical experiences, we decided to get a first foothold outside of Europe. Our options to gain political influence are reduced, and we yet don't want to declare formal colonies like some other powers. But we can send merchants and build trade posts and missions, which may serve as a first base for our military operations.
So we decided to start a small colonial adventure in Marocco. It is not too far, and unclaimed by others. Hopefully it will be successful, so that public opinon will slowly shift towards investing more money into colonial affaires. Anyway, in the middle and long perpective, a base in Marocco could be useful if a war with France emerges, in order to gain some advantage over her in Algeria. And people in Marocco cultivate some exotic fruits which we have never seen nor tasted before.
The tiny beginnings: All initiated with merchants whom we landed on the shores of three Maroccan provinces:
Later, trade posts and missions were constructed, and we built a small harbour in Rabat. After our local influence had risen a bit (I didn't pay attention how many CPs are necessary), we constructed a coaling station to provide shelter for our ships, a depot to provide supplies for our troops, and a small fortress to provide protection for everything. We extended our influence inland to Marrekesh. The sultan of Marroco sat in Fez and watched.
To protect our harbour at Rabat, we raised a brigade of colonial infantry as garrison, and sent our 9th infantry corps with one brigade of dashing hussars to Africa. They were commanded by general von der Gröben. This general is of fond of scorched earth tactics, and we don't want him to be in command in Europe, in case a war breaks out there. In the undeveloped North African countries, he can't do much harm.
October 1851: rebels captured Marrakesh. Our first war ! Great ! We sent the colonial brigade and the hussars to take the province. It was done quickly, but the rebels had time to burn our trade post and the mission to the ground. A positive side effect was that somehow a production site of Maroccan dyes fell into our hand. Gröben gained some seniority for this action.
This was easy and made us believe we could easily conquer the rest of Marocco. Our spies informed us the the army of the sultan of Marocco was about twenty infantry regiments strong, therefore we reinforced our Maroccan force with 10th infantry corps, and raised three more colonial brigades in order to protect the structures we had built in some provinces, and to gain military control. General von Pfuel, our best strategist (4-2-1) commanded these troops, in the hope that he would gain some anciennity.
In November 1851, we declared war on Marocco. Our first invasion, with two infantry corps, was repulsed. What ?
The enemy troops were entrenched, mustered more units than we did, and we had lost some cohesion during our advance. We retreated to Rabat to regain strength, and decided to send another corps from Germany, the 11th infantry corps.
A month later, an intrusion of a Maroccan cavary brigade in Marrakesch was repulsed by our two brigades stationed there and the Maroccan cavalry annihilated. For this action von der Gröben was promoted again.
In March 1852, we again advanced on Fez, with three infantry corps, and were repulsed again:
Just bad luck ? We recovered and regained our strength, and attacked the entrenched Maroccans at Fez again:
A change of strategy seemed necessary. For a couple of months, we sat in the open outside of Fez, in defensive mode, hoping that this would encourage the garrison of Fez to leave their entrenchments and attack us. They were not so silly.
Supplying our small army blocking Fez was not easy. Three train regiments were involved, and our fleet was transporting them in turn back to Hamburg for replenishing, as overeas supplies through our harbour in Rabat did not arrive in sufficient quantities. Finally, to faciliate our supply, we withdrew our army to Rabat and left only a small brigade under von der Gröben before Fez, hoping that his inclination to pillaging would do harm to the supplies and cohesion of the sultan's forces. Our spies reported that they already had a lot of deserters:
This decision was the turning point of the war, but in another way than planned.