PART IV: 1927-1933
The Navy begins expansion on the Long Branch Naval Base in New Jersey with the intent of building runways at the base to allow for aircraft construction. New aircraft designs, known for featuring odd, swept wings and an innovative rear-mounted propeller, are the first deliveries to be received at Long Branch.
By the terms of the Soviet Harbin Pact, factories in eastern coastal China have been producing the Type One tank. A shipment of nearly a full regiment of tanks is ready by early 1927, and tanks, nicknamed Engels by the Soviet troops, enter service as soon as personnel can be trained to use them. The Confederates begin sending the first shipments of planes to Czarist Russia; though grateful for air power, the Russians receive older biplanes now retired from service, and which may not stand against more modern aircraft. On March 1, the HMS Dreadnought enters Mexican waters to receive the Mexican president.
On March 14, 1927, the Mexican president is assassinated while visiting London in an historic occasion. The US immediately denounces Britain, first claiming their security measures were not strong enough, but later, in a more slanderous statement, accusing the Brits themselves of murdering the leader of a just and right government. The US demands the British pay for their actions, and a month later, take the law into their own hands with the capture of a British cargo vessel.
Within days of the capture, the US and Britain declare war on one another. The CSA then declares war on the US; Mexico declares war on the CS; France declares on the US and Mexico; Germany and Sweden declare on France, the UK and CS; Russia and the USSR declare war on one another, but remain otherwise removed from the conflict, none too surprising to other world leaders.
On May 8 Ludendorff executes the first battle of the war in a blitzkrieg that takes nearly two-thirds of Belgium (and plows its way through Luxembourg), on their way to France. German zeppelins, including the von Schlieffen, harass French troops trying to cross the Maginot Line.
Union troops enter Kentucky and Arkansas Territory as Confederate zeppelins begin dropping bombs on southern Colorado, threatening the capitol. Mexico employs its biplanes for the first time in an attack on a CSA fleet off Nayarit, sinking two frigates in the first aerial-to-naval battle of history.
On May 26, the People's Republic of Moscow invades the Volga and North Ukraine regions of the USSR, moving through the Fulda Gap for the Baltic Sea. Seeing the advantages to be gained by the use of the Baltic, Sweden begins to mobilize its state-of-the-art air force and begins deploying from the Gotland Naval Air Force Base to increase its coverage of the Baltic and Finland Seas. Dissent rises in western Sweden, where rebels begin spreading a plan to create a new nation called Norway to split away from Sweden proper.
On June 4, the Spanish Navy carries out a bombardment of the Biscay coast, devastating the French shore defenses and naval bases there. Spanish ground forces cross the border, heading along the Garonne toward Toulouse.
The German Air Force, now able to launch from runways in Belgium, begins crossing the English Channel, and eventually encounters the first air-to-air battles over the Channel and areas of Great Britain. The Kaiser Wilhelm is initially stationed to defend the French coastline and later ordered to carry out extended bombardments on British ground positions and ambush fleet elements attempting to clear the Channel.
In the Battle of Key West on June 14, US and CS fleet elements devastate each other for nearly three hours before a US carrier arrives and concludes the battle. Mexican vessels in the Gulf shell Biloxi, Mississippi, devastating the Confederate fleet base there.
On June 20, Stalin executes his own blitz, taking the East Prussian coast in just a day with a combination zeppelin air strike and tank attack. The blitz serves to gain Moscow control of the ports and any ships there intact, therefore saving Stalin the trouble of building a new fleet there. Sweden responds quickly, sending its powerful biplanes and zeppelins to scout out the Baltic and intercept any vessels headed for the vital island of Gotland.
In early July 1927, the PRM begins its Baltic campaign in earnest, sending fleet units across the Poland coastline toward Denmark, and increasing attempts on the Gotland base, but the latter to no avail. The Muscovites' use of German waters infuriates the Kaiser greatly and Stalin receives regular threats and "advice" to leave German waters alone; he ignores them.
July 12 sees the Battle of Manassas, in which the Confederate troops are surprised and almost entirely wiped out by the last of the Union airships in service. The zepplins employ a new weapon, the chlorine gas bomb, nearly unstoppable, as there is not yet a remedy for the gas.
On July 15 the Confederates spark the Battle of Jamaica, in which a CSA fleet attempts to level the Spanish naval base there, but is repelled by a combination Spanish/Mexican fleet. It is also at this time the Mexicans' Gulf campaign is initiated. US biplanes drop gas bombs on the known bases throughout Arkansas Territory; their effect is unknown, as all but two bombers are shot down by enemy counter fire.
On August 3, Ludendorff's forces push into France through Alsace and Lorraine, as tank divisions enter through Belgium. The Alsace-Lorraine group is merely a diversion; the tank regiments in the north of France are preparing to swing around and attack Paris from behind, following a Hindenburg variation on Lee's attack on Philadelphia sixty years earlier.
Confederate forces take control of southern Colorado; the Union Congress relocates to Philadelphia while the military command post remains in Denver. Spain reaches Toulouse in France not long after and halts its ground campaign for the time being.
Stalin begins daring attacks on German naval ships in the Baltic and North Seas; the Kaiser sends a final ultimatum to Stalin and prepares his troops to repel the Muscovite invasion.
The Battle of Oak Island is fought on September 15 in the Lake of the Woods between Ontario and Minnesota. British troops begin massing near Namakan Lake in Ontario, preparing to cross into Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. The US Navy finalizes plans to build revolutionary new submarines, to be produced at Acadia Naval Base in Maine. The base enters early construction and has a projected completion of 1935; it is the first base in North America designed specifically to build submarines.
Russian ships hijacked by Stalin's forces reach the island of Gotland on September 27. They probe the island's defenses, firing ranging shots into the base, but Swedish aircraft chase them off quickly.
British ships challenge the Great Lakes Fleet at Cleveland, where a stalemate is drawn after four hours of brutal bombardments. The battle, fought half a mile offshore, leaves the lakefront of Cleveland and the base there in flames, though no serious damage is sustained.
Uprisings occur throughout west-coastal Sweden and the minimal Swedish army is relegated to holding the peace. The Swedish Air Force, stressed by King Gustavus to defend the nation against the Stalinist military, begins pressing prototypical and experimental aircraft into service.
Germany declares war on Moscow on October 14, and the German Army begins crossing into Stalin-held Germany, as the Baltic Fleet moves to intercept Stalin's forces heading for Swedish waters. The next day, Austria-Hungary declares war on Germany and begins mobilizing to invade the Rhineland. The Austrian navy, however, encounters strong resistance from their stubborn rivals, the Italians and Turks, who have the majority of Austria-Hungary's ports blockaded. Stalin nearly declares war on these two nations as well, but is urged by his staff to avoid what would be a war on every possible front.
After several political battles, Denmark decides to join the British in late October, an important move--whoever controls the Jutland controls passage through the Oresund, and thus holds sway over a vast portion of the North and Baltic Seas. The Germans declare war on Denmark and within the week, border skirmishes are seen in the once-peaceful peninsula.
Confederate and Mexican vessels clash in the Battle of Guaymas on November 3. After two hours of naval battle, the Mexicans launch a surprise attack with the first-ever aerial-torpedo tactic. A number of Confederate vessels sink from the torpedoes, and the Mexicans manage to land a small force near the city. In a matter of hours, a beachhead is established, setting the stage for the next part of the Mexican counterassault.
On the morning of November 9, 1927, the Swedish airship Nacka sees foam on the horizon, in the Baltic Sea off the shore of Gotland. By noon, the Swedish Royal Air Force has engaged Stalin's vessels, and the Battle of Gotland has begun. Though the battle does not go badly for the Swedes, the Nacka calls for assistance, and the German fleet makes full steam, arriving at the island at roughly 2 PM. After a brief collision of forces, the Stalinists retreat, and both fleets wait, repairing their vessels and preparing countertactics.
The war in Asia goes very differently. This time around, the Czarist Russian Empire is prepared, utilizing newly-developed tanks, the C-25 model, nicknamed the Czarist. Trotsky promises victory to the Soviet people, but morale slips as towns and villages fall to the Imperialists. Trotsky's only defenses are old Union airships retired after the Russian Civil War; all the Soviet Type One tanks are occupied with the Muscovite invasions to the west.
The month of December sees two great battles. The first occurs on December 10, as the Mexican army launches their first and only blitz on the Confederacy. Using small beachheads established on the Pacific coast of Confederate states, Mexican tanks blast their way all the way to southern Sonora in just five days. An unshakeable foothold has now been established in Confederate territory for the first time since 1862.
On December 16 the British, German, Stalinist and Swedish forces smash into each other in the Second Battle of Gotland, the greatest battle yet in the War. In a battle that lasts the better part of a day, British and Stalinist forces land on--and are repelled from--Gotland countless times. The SRAF suffers its greatest losses yet: nearly 80 percent. In the end, the mighty Stalinist fleet is entirely destroyed, and the British and German elements are nearly reduced to nonexistence.
Pershing's army marches from Vancouver, preparing to invade Alberta and Saskatchewan and cut off the British invaders. Two more armies, these Union and Confederate, clash along the border of the Arkansas Territory; the battle is inconclusive. A Union fleet challenges Confederate zeppelins along the coast near Kitty Hawk, and the Confederates respond with a few of their prototype airships.
The Central and Allied forces call an unofficial cease-fire for Christmas 1927. Stalin, however, sees a chance to get ahead and charges far north, through Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, up just past the Gulf of Finland before being stopped by Trotsky's army, as well as a blizzard.
Even fierce French resistance cannot stop German forces from reaching the lower Seine by January 10, and on January 15 the Battle of Paris begins. Nearly a quarter million men comprise the combined armies in the beginning of the battle; by the end two days later, the battle has become the largest to use such a number of tanks, airships, aircraft, artillery, and even beached destroyers, up to that point in history. The battle is lost, as the French cannot bring in more support after the Germans cut off Paris from the rest of the country per the Schlieffen Plan. The French retreat what little is left of their forces into central and southern France, but refuse to surrender. On January 17 Ludendorff enters the capitol to great fanfare.
Leninist forces strike back at the Czarist empire, achieving a breakthrough at the Yenisey borderline and creating a ten-mile pocket, where they begin to plant artillery pieces, gaining a foothold in enemy territory.
The Mexican beachhead in the Lower Confederacy expands eastward, but collapses in its northern tip due to a heavy interest of the Zeppelin Force. The US Navy launches the operation known as OMICRON, of which the first step involves US submarine George Custer probing the defenses of Houston Bay in South Baja. Though nearly detected and sunk outside the bay, the Custer is able to locate two lines leading into the bay toward the base itself which are open to infiltration. The US Navy begins plans to modify another sub for use in the final phase of OMICRON.
Zhukov's army slowly becomes cut off from the northern front by the German offensive. Austrian forces enter southern Germany, but the withering empire cannot afford more than a regiment of tanks, and their infantry-based assault breaks on Hindenburg's defenses. Trotsky's Red Army takes the initiative, beginning to cut off Stalin's forces from the east.
With Trotsky distracted, Russia launches a new campaign to liberate western Asia from the communist powers-that-be. Czarist forces cross the frozen Yenisey on January 23, assisted by Chinese tanks and Confederate zeppelins. Only American biplanes stand in their way; though effective against airships, the bombers are armed only with chlorine gas, and the fighters' medium-caliber guns cannot penetrate the Chinese armor fast enough to provide a tactical advantage.
British special forces reach the front lines in time for the Second Battle of the Seine on February 14, 1928. With the advantages of spies, agents and operatives, the British manage to finally turn back the German invasion force, albeit after a staggering 40,000 men are lost to both side, prompting an enormous celebration in Paris the next day.
Kaiser Wilhelm orders the airship program reinstated; Germany is now the only Allied nation other than Sweden with an active airship program. Work begins, on March 2, on the largest military airship yet designed, the Hindenburg.
The newly-formed US Army Rangers execute their first mission on March 10, 1928. In the Battle of Toronto, the British garrisons within the city are infiltrated, ambushed and nearly leveled before the battle has even begun. The Great Lakes Fleet launches its follow-up to the Lake of the Woods battle, its Lake Superior campaign. The Army and Navy pull a blitz of their own, taking Sault Saint Marie and Thunder Bay on March 18 in a brilliant maneuver suggested by General Pershing, using destroyers frozen to the surface as mobile artillery and blasting the British garrisons from a safe distance.
28,000 men clash on March 25 in the Battle of Villa Union on the Durango border. After two full days of trench warfare, the Mexican Air Force is able to suppress the Confederate troops long enough for an advance, but the two armies again are bogged down after the biplanes are forced to leave and refuel. Mexican General Huerta orders a tactical retreat when four Confederate airships, launched from Houston Bay, arrive and kill two-thirds of the Mexican army; the Confederate Commander E. Porter Alexander III gives chase and the fourth day of the battle occurs inside Mexican-occupied CSA, where the battle ends in a draw after Huerta is killed. Commander Alexander is promoted to Captain a week later in a ceremony in Montgomery.
The first Leninist troops reach the front lines to combat the Czarist invasion. In the Battle of Kolpashevo on April 15, 20,000 Soviets and 15,000 Russians meet each other just miles from the Yenisey River and battle for three days with no air support over control of the Ob' River. Eventually is is the arrival of the Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin that turns the tide in favor of the Soviets, and by April 25 the two dreadnoughts are holding the Russians back easily, earning a place as the most honored and decorated vessels yet in the Red Fleet.
Zhukov's army crawls further north, taking control of the Gulf of Finland and presenting a grave threat to the ability of Sweden's fleet and air force to hold the sea separating them. Stalin plans to advance further yet, right to the border of Sweden, which begins mobilizing its ground forces in anticipation of the Muscovites. Germany commences its invasion of Denmark on May 18; without control of the Jutland there will be no way to move ships from the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean, cutting off every German port.
Sweden launches its own Denmark campaign, harassing Central fleets parked in the far north of the peninsula as a prelude to an operation referred to as Market Garden. Conceived by Swedish General Valborg, Market Garden plans to use Sweden's massive airship force to land thousands of Allied ground troops throughout the Jutland; the strategy is projected to capture all of Denmark within a month of execution.
Stalinist forces, completely pushed out of German territory, hold only a thin corridor of Soviet ground, their only way to channel more forces into the Finland invasion. The Germans see this and on May 30 invade and cut off General Zhukov's army, now forced to hold the Gulf of Finland with no supply line. He decides to move his men further north and take Finland, rather than wait for reinforcements.
In his new assignment to defend the border, E. Porter Alexander III prevents and brilliantly routs a Union attack on Arkansas Territory. With the commissioning of a few new airship designs in the Zeppelin Force, the Confederacy launches a daring new type of blitzkrieg, a massive airborne invasion of New York City. Unwittingly, the plan is strikingly similar to Valborg's Market Garden plan, but the concept of capturing New York is simply to deal a morale blow to the Union military, and not to gain any real tactical or strategic advantages over their forces.
On August 4, Union and British ships clash in the First Battle of the St. Lawrence; after a three-hour display of withering fire from both sides, the British retreat, heading far toward sea and the mouth of the St. Lawrence in an attempt to stave defeat until reinforcements arrive. General Pershing advises Union command that the St. Lawrence cannot be lost, lest the British hold key territory to invade the US with, and suggests that the Rangers cut off the enemy fleet at the mouth of the waterway.
Pershing's plan is rejected immediately; the Rangers are not capable of such a mission, but a select number of Navy personnel are chosen for the mission instead. The Shadow, the Navy's quietest and stealthiest sub, is designated for the mission. On August 12, the British fleet, still being trailed by the US Navy, arrives at the delta of St. Lawrence. Nearly half the battle group is lost to mines at the mouth, and even more lost when the Shadow fires a quartet of torpedoes at the Royal Navy vessels. Navy personnel move in afterwards and secure the wreckage, including a number of intact British vessels. The Great Lakes Fleet is redeployed to cover the St. Lawrence, and the British lose much of their offensive options without the ability to covertly sneak into the US via the river.
Becoming desperate, the CSZF launches Operation High Tower on August 28. At about 7 AM, people headed for work in New York face their greatest fear--Confederate airships, invading New York City. After a ten-hour battle and a week's worth of guerrilla warfare and constant firefights, New York City is securely under Confederate control. The Union command is both devastated and infuriated by this development.
The German army trades broadsides with the Muscovites over the Koenigsburg area over the next month, and in November holds the Third Battle of the Seine, which ends inconclusively a day after its ignition.
Again, December proves to be the month of many battles. The Union launches the final phase of OMICRON, designating three submarines. The first, George Custer, is the first sub to be modified to carry ballistic missiles. The other two are new sub designs, based on the experimental German U-Boat design. On December 3 the Custer fires its payload of six missiles straight up--and into Houston, devastating not the base, but the civilian population of the area. The other two boats, mounting deck guns instead of rockets, are able to deliver a much more precise bombardment on the base itself. In all, 8,000 civilians are killed, and 15,000 military personnel in the base, by the attacks. Houston's ability to fabricate both airships and naval vessels is severely impaired.
The Centrals retaliate on December 8 with the invasion of northern Minnesota. Caught completely off-guard, the troops there are unable to prevent the British Royal Marines from gaining a considerable foothold in Minnesota, as well as gaining control over a swath of Lake Superior.
On December 12 the Swedes challenge the Central navy in the Battle of the Oresund; on December 15 they launch Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne invasion in history, utilizing over 75 airships of varying design and nationality to land 15,000 paratroopers in the Jutland Peninsula. In four days the troops have secured most of the region, but they are unable to celebrate Christmas, as they are forced to fight rebel forces for the next two months continuously. They do, however, make the German advance exponentially easier, and 1928 comes to a close with the Allies' triumphant conquest of Denmark. The sea lanes from the Baltic to the North Sea are now open for German and Swedish vessels alike. Christmas celebrations in Britain and the CSA are grim, and far from cheery.
Captain Alexander is inserted into the battleground of New York City On January 12. In a desperate attempt to turn the war around, Alexander is ordered to take control of the area surrounding New York City. Coastal New York, New Jersey and southern Connecticut are high on the list; taking these areas will prevent a preemptive Union attack on the captured island. An invasion of southern California is planned--if the ports there can be taken, the Union Pacific Fleet would be devastated. Union command, in seeing this, begins plans to build new bases in Hawaii, but none will be ready for years at the least.
The Spanish Navy, after more than a year of downtime, is ready for a new French campaign. Destroyers arrive off the southern shore and pound Nice and Marseille for two days. The French army begins to suffer mass desertions as men attempt to return to their homes and families now under bombardment.
Three Union subs arrive just outside Houston Bay on February 13. Three days later, Confederate Commandant Davis Stewart of Houston Base witnesses, during a morning drill, four enormous rockets rising from the water in the bay and crossing the beach into the base. Over two hundred men are killed in the first-ever ballistic missile attack on Confederate soil. Moments later, the Custer retreats to its home base in California as its two escort subs open fire on Confederate vessels both in the bay and in the docks. Eight ships, seven of them destroyers, are sunk, creating the highest noncombatant casualty count in any battle ever up to that point.
Ludendorff, having switched strategies, seizes control of the upper Seine on March 9, 1929, preventing the Centrals from sending reinforcements down toward Paris.
A Union fleet challenges the defenses of lower Florida, waging the Battle of Miami on March 30. The Confederates lose the tip of the Florida peninsula. Mexican and Spanish ships bombard and achieve landings in New Orleans and Biloxi. By July, the only good news for the Confederate military is their capture of southern California.
Zhukov's army reaches the border of Sweden, and even continues to expand toward Murmansk. After a few small firefights inside Sweden, Stalinist forces invade unabated by the remnants of resistance called the Swedish Army.
Austrian forces manage to hold a small pocket of German territory, albeit only through luck, good timing, and the skill of Franz Ferdinand. With Germany occupied in France, the Austrians plan to invade southern Germany and gain a foothold with which to mount a full-scale invasion. In the meantime, Germany expands its air control further north and begins to hold small areas of British territory, though the German fleet is unable to make landings in southern England.
The Great Lakes Fleet performs another set of bombardments along the Canadian coastline, and the Army Rangers, launching three missions in three weeks, take three small areas of Canada bordering the Great Lakes. The Atlantic fleet and the Air Corps hit Nova Scotia and take the island within a week; all four of these battles takes place in September of 1929.
As the first order of business in October, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines that are left in Lower Canada mount an assault against the fortressed upper peninsula of Michigan. In a week and a half, the Brits have established a toehold in the area, cutting off the Rangers' main supply line to occupied Canada. Pershing's forces are halted by exceptional resistance in central Manitoba, where he decides to pause and take advantage of his supply line from Vancouver.
The Stalinist invasion of Sweden hits a snag as the formidable Swedish Air Force turns to bear on his army. The remnants of the Swedish Army are also present, but nowhere near powerful or charismatic enough to provide significant counterforce. General Valborg begins making his way toward the occupied area.
Confederate forces begin entering Potomac and Maryland in early November, aided by the diversion Alexander's invasion of the east coast. Trenton, New Jersey, falls to Alexander's forces on November 14; Sherman Military Base is attacked four days later. Union forces are slowly pushed out of Florida by a strong Confederate counterattack; the Mexicans lose their foothold in Mississippi and Alabama, but manage to hold their ground in Louisiana.
The Muscovites are slowly losing ground in Soviet Russia, in the south to Trotsky's army, in the west to the German fleet and in the north to the Swedish Air Force. Stalin, seeing a direct counterattack on Germany impossible, begins sending army units though Austria-Hungary.
The tide begins to turn in the south, as French resistance around Nice and Toulouse becomes fierce, and the Central forces take advantage, using their airships and aircraft to litter the areas of France near or under enemy control with pamphlets and propaganda of all sorts, inflaming the locals and exponentially increasing the Allies' difficulty of maintaining control over the area.
The numerous firefights and battles between Mexico and the CSA form constant stalemates, resulting in miles of no man's land and trenches dug into the Mexican desert. The Confederate military creates a think tank to come up with a way to turn the war in Mexico around and win them some victories.
The CS Army of the Arkansas makes an attempt to liberate Arkansas Territory, but is routed in the battle, and circles around through Tennessee and Kentucky into Illinois, taking Carbondale and Vandalia before sending a detachment to capture the southern tip of Indiana and the nearby portion of Arkansas Territory. At the same time, a CS army out of New Mexico assaults and successfully captures southern Colorado and part of the opposite end of the Territory.
Swedish zeppelins and German dreadnoughts cut down the Muscovites' numbers with a heavy coastal bombardment, but it is not enough to prevent Zhukov from continuing his invasion of Sweden. Zhukov prepares a second arm of his forces to cut off the peninsula around Murmansk and complete Stalin's plan to conquer a port in the north.
The line in Asia between Russia and the USSR fluctuates wildly, giving way to numerous breakthroughs and pockets along the Yenisey; territory changes sides so often that citizens and civilians caught in the conflict often do not know who is in control of a given area. The Russians grow desperate, as their contingent of aircraft is running thin.
Alexander takes control of the northern half of New Jersey and focuses his attention on Connecticut and Rhode Island; both states are captured by August of 1930. By early September, Alexander has managed to move farther inland into New York state when he is recalled to Mexico. He leaves garrisons behind to hold the areas under control before returning.
By splitting his army and sending waves of troops throughout Manitoba, Pershing manages to brilliantly capture over half the province with few casualties, but he is still unable to reach any other US forces. He decides to gather his troops and march for southern Ontario, where he hopes to contact US forces.
With the German military held up in France, Russia and on the Baltic Sea, the Austrians finally seize the moment and break through into southern Germany. Before the end of the year, Austrian & Muscovite forces have pushed over fifty miles into enemy territory.
Throughout early 1931, the Stalinists continue to push further into Sweden, and prepare for a permanent occupation of Finland and its surrounding area. Though tempted to take Murmansk and the Karelian Peninsula, Zhukov decides to hold back, as taking the area would leave the army open to bombardment from the Allied Arctic Fleet.
The CSZF begins concentrating airships in and around New York to build up a defense (as well as prepare for an offense) of the area. The Union capitalizes, sending division after division into Kentucky and Virginia, no longer defended by the formidable Zeppelin Force.
The Germans and French become bogged down in simultaneous offensives, and eventually all offense breaks down entirely. Both sides settle into position and begin fortifying defenses, creating what becomes known as the Seine Line; one French commander refers to this development as "a phony war." Germany begins concentrating its ground forces to the south to counter the Austrian/Muscovite invasion.
In a stunning victory, an Austrian division conquers Silesia before Stalinist support can arrive. Thought to be greatly outdated in its technology and military tactics, the Austrian armed forces are elated at the capture of the province and begin mounting for another assault. Muscovite tanks fight the Second Battle of Volgograd, nearly smashing a Leninist division of special forces troops. The Soviet military begins concentrating on aircraft, now known to be Stalin's greatest weakness, and their only hope of surviving an all-out Muscovite assault.
In May of 1931, the Austrians succeed in taking control of Bavaria, though this time with assistance from Stalin's tank regiments. Franz Ferdinand takes command of the Austrian forces in Bavaria and plans for a stunning maneuver: the capture of the Rhineland, the industrial heart of Germany.
American forces reach the southern borders of Kentucky and Virginia in late June. Pausing there to rebuild their shattered regiments and to reel in their supply line, the Union forces begin ambitiously planning to attack Atlanta. The plan remains on the drawing board, however, as sufficient forces cannot be allocated to the front for the assault, with forces elsewhere in Canada, Mexico and New York under heavy enemy fire.
Stalin's forces break through from Kazakhstan and begin to march for Novosibirsk. Trotsky panics, ordering all Soviet troops back to defend the capitol. Stalin's forces immediately ambush and destroy several divisions attempting to break out from Murmansk; within the Baltic States all order collapses, causing Stalin to first gain ground along the coast, then lose it to widespread anarchy as revolutions and new governments spring up along the Baltic.
In August Alexander's troops halt their offensive after taking Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey, and the southeastern areas of New York state. Though Alexander has now cut off Union reinforcements, his troops are likewise cut off from any Confederate relief that might have been moving north towards New Jersey. His only choice now is to stop and build up defenses against any possible Union counterattack from Maine.
Pershing manages to evade capture in Manitoba and smashes his way into Ontario in September. Canadian troops in America now face severe danger of loss of their supply lines, and begin to withdraw from the US, leaving Army Rangers free to advance yet further into Canada.
Austrian, Muscovite and German troops clash in the massive Battle of the Rhineland on December 4, 1931. Innumerable troops from either side are involved in the battle, which pits Austrian infantry, Muscovite artillery and German tanks against each other. Though the infantry are slaughtered by the German Panzers, their numbers only grow as reinforcements arrive. After two weeks of fighting, both sides withdraw. Germany's industrial heart is now ravaged, only the northern half of the Rhineland remains intact after the battle.
In early 1932, Germany begins to draw elements from the Seine Line to defend the Rhineland and Brandenburg. Though the line falters, the absence of hostilities in the area prevents any real gains or losses from happening. The Swedes begin to battle back the Stalinists from the border of their lands, and the controlled borders in Asia begin to return to their original borderlines.
Union troops push further into North Carolina and Tennessee; by the end of March, they are within artillery range of Atlanta. Pershing's troops make contact with the Union military in southern Canada, and with fresh troops, Pershing heads for Alabama.
With Paris under constant siege, the French, surprisingly, call for a truce, and the "phony war" ends. On June 9, 1932, France surrenders unconditionally to Germany; immediately German forces are removed from the Seine Line and sent to combat Austrian forces in the south.
Swedish forces pull back from the now-pacified Jutland and prepare to board airships which will insert them into the lands south of the Barents Sea, hopefully encircle and trap Zhukov's army still moving north. On June 22, the operation begins, and by the 25th all troops have been dropped into the area. Swedish forces, both air and land, begin moving north from Stockholm into the northern quarter of the country, to finish the maneuver.
A major Union offensive, coupled with a heavy submarine presence within the Gulf of Mexico, severely impairs the Confederate army and navy. All that is left is the vaunted Zeppelin Force. The Union pushes into South Carolina in July of 1932, destroying several key airfields and a zeppelin plant in the area. Though this means that Southern forces break through into Denver, this news is meaningless as the Union has already planned to relocate to a secret location elsewhere. By early September, Union forces pass the Alabama border nearly unimpeded. The major Union coup comes with the second phase of their plan, however, as from the south, in the Gulf of Mexico, four Union submarines, again retrofitted with V-1 rockets, open fire on Atlanta, devastating the capitol before the Confederate command can anticipate an attack. Pershing's troops arrive in Colorado later that month, spelling doom for the only Confederate offensive and sealing their fate.
On October 1, the Confederate States of America, as well as the British Dominion of Canada, surrenders to the United States.
Swedish paratroops, bolstered by Union armor arriving daily along the Swedish coast, are able to form a "ring of steel" around the Muscovite army and begin chipping away at the edges. Though retreat offers better tactical options to the Stalinist commanders, they are forced to realize that they are slowly being compressed, further and further.
A mighty Stalinist fleet breaks the Turkish blockade and sails for the North Sea; its objective, however, is unclear.
In the south, the Germans have pulled most all of their manpower from the western front and have successfully blunted the Austrian advance, but the Stalinist-supported armor spearhead on Silesia remains unhindered. Hindenburg and Ludendorff begin drawing forces into central Germany to stage for a massive offensive to hit Budapest and pass through Vienna on the way--and to force the Austrians out of the war.
Pershing arrives in Trondheim on February 12, and immediately begins fortifying upper Sweden, even as he travels to the front lines. Heavy bombardments along the coast force the Muscovites back even further, and as a secondary objective liberates Helinski, allowing even more Allied armor to land in Soviet territory and close the noose around Stalin's invasion force.
The Austrians are finally forced out of most of Bavaria by early March, and Hindenburg's force is sent to continue to push them out. Ludendorff, meanwhile, heads for Silesia to set the stage for the assault on Vienna and Budapest.
The Battle of Munich takes place on April 30, and in it the Germans decimate an Austrian/Stalinist regiment. Just three days later, German and Allied armor blasts through Salzburg, heading for Linz, but they are only the distraction. On May 6 Ludendorff crosses the border and defeats the Muscovites at Prague; he pauses only shortly as he continues his extended blitzkrieg.
The ring of steel closes around Muscovite forces in Finland, forcing them to move west toward the coast. After a week of holding out, Zhukov's army is saved by amphibious troopships sailing into the coastline. In the Battle of Bothnia, the Stalinists make their move, sailing across the Gulf of Bothnia and landing regiment after regiment on the shores of Sweden, just north of Stockholm. Pershing is taken by surprise and begins to revolve his forces to counter the new invasion.
Ludendorff's men begin to close on Vienna at the end of May. Hindenburg continues to harass and distract the rest of the Austrian army farther east.
In early July the Battle of Stockholm breaks out among the invading Muscovites and Pershing's own garrisons. The Swedes are forced to defend themselves alone for four days before Pershing's main force can arrive on the battlefield. Even as the battle rages, Pershing's armor in Finland is destroying the retreating remnants of the Stalinists, and the Allied fleet and Swedish Royal Air Force are decimating their fleet in Bothnia. Britain no longer has the reserves to fight a naval war against either Sweden or Germany, and German U-Boats, along with the Union blockade slowly forming, are sealing England and Ireland from the rest of the war.
Ludendorff hits Vienna on July 13, nearly leveling the capitol, and not even pausing before rushing on to attack Budapest. A great battle is fought for Vienna, in which Ferdinand gains much attention for his heroics and several brilliant tactics, but is unable to save the city.
The next day, the Union's blockade enters its second phase as US vessels begin to land troops on heavily-defended Ireland. Within the week, Cork and Dublin are secured, and the Union begins placing experimental rocket artillery on the island to bombard England with.
The fighting in Stockholm breaks down to street level, with men moving from one house to another in firefight after firefight. The Swedish Air Force, though still mighty, is busy combating the Stalinist fleet offshore and trying to prevent more troops from landing. With the arrival of a squadron of U-Boats, however, the situation in Bothnia takes a turn for the better.
Ludendorff takes Budapest on August 2. Combined with Hindenburg's forces, all of northern Austria-Hungary is now conquered by German forces. Ludendorff begins prevailing upon the Austrians to surrender before the Kaiser can bring more power to bear against them.
In the second wave of attack on Sweden, the Stalinist fleet has lost the element of surprise, and so ultimately loses over ninety percent of the invading forces at sea. The Allied fleet now concentrates its attacks on the Swedish coast, bombarding the remnants of the army there, and cutting off their only line of retreat.
Union artillery begins falling in Manchester and Liverpool in the third week of August. Though not much of the cities' industry is affected, the morale blow is immeasurable, and British troops are soon crying to be sent home to assist with the recovery and defense efforts. Revolutions and revolts spring up all around Ireland and Scotland, throwing the British military into disarray and threatening the safety of England itself.
After three weeks of fighting, Zhukov surrenders to Pershing in central Stockholm. On September 1, 1933, Austria-Hungary surrenders and all hostilities in Germany and Austria are ceased. Russia, Moscow and the Soviet Union settle their war with a mere treaty that restores the boundaries to prewar conditions. The vaunted Great War is over.
The Treaty of Bern is drawn up on September 15, formally ending the war. As a result of changing military-political control in the region, the border between Germany and the USSR is redrawn, held at the 20th latitude down to Czechoslovakia. Germany occupies France to the Seine, along with Czechoslovakia and northern Austria to Slovenia. Spain holds French territory as far north as Toulouse, Germany occupies Iceland, and the United States takes control of Ireland indefinitely. Though the US also takes control of Hong Kong and Kowloon Peninsula, the CSA's Formosa territory is left undisturbed.
Sweden occupies Denmark, as well as the Kareliyan Peninsula, holding the Trotsky government responsible for the massive Stalinist invasion from the south. Conflict, terrorist attacks and guerrilla warfare committed by both sides continues for several years, unabated, in K
Under the Treaty of Quebec, the new Republic of Quebec is created; on either side of it is the Republic of Canada. On the northern tip of the mainland and also spanning the northern islands is British Canada, the remaining British influence in America. Mexico regains some of its territory from the Confederacy. Ludendorff is catapulted through the ranks to General, second in command only to Field Marshal von Hindenburg. Pershing, for his exemplary work in Europe and Asia, receives similar praise, and becomes the first-ever Union militant to reach the rank of six-star general; he is given command of all Union military forces. E. Porter Alexander III and Franz Ferdinand, though having fought a losing war, both are highly awarded for their uses of brilliant military tactics; where Ferdinand is already on the path to power, Alexander is granted command of his own battalion.
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