WHAT PRICE VICTORY?
PART III: 1960-1978
As the 1960's open, the fledgling GLU has built up a small army. Though hard up for space, the GLU makes good use of what it has, creating a mighty air force with major airbases in far-east Superior, northern Michigan, southeastern Chicago and far-west Erie. Recognizing the advantages of air power over ground troops, President Daley dumps heavy funds into the development of heavy long-range bombers.
The Pacific and Texas both realize that the Great Lakes wield enormous economic power as well, with the majority of the Great Lakes under their control. The US, stubbornly, does not. Through the degrading economic relations of the past four years Eisenhower's popularity sharply declines, and in the 1960 elections Thomas Dewey is voted into office on the platform of better relations with the Union's surrounding neighbors.
In 1958 Richard Nixon entered the office of the President of the American Pacific Republic. The next year, Daley's five-year term expires and he is reelected by a landslide.
In late '62 the situation in western Japan has grown dire. Mao Tse-Tung, having fled into far east Russia, enters Manchuko and begins great revolts--mostly military--and Chiang Kai-shek, the regional governor of Vietnam, begins rising up against Japanese rule. For the second time in as many decades, Korea revolts, and the for the second time is put down quickly, but not before drawing massive reinforcements from the rest of Asia and Oceana. With little defensive placements, Mao is able to overthrow the local garrisons, and Kai-shek executes a massive political revolt in Vietnam, Hainan and Formosa.
When Tojo takes martial control of southern Asia and begins military actions against the rebels, a small base in Luzon, the token piece of land still under APR control, is attacked when a Japanese squadron chases rebels near (and supposedly into) the base. Nixon, furious over the loss of Pacificans and property, orders the deployment of troops in Vietnam. Though Japan still possesses a mighty navy, it is currently fighting the Russian navy in the Arctic Ocean, as well as the English in the Indian Sea. Nixon hopes to defeat the Japanese not by sea, but by land.
In February of 1963, after much political turmoil and debate in the APR Congress, APR forces effect a massive beachhead operation in central Vietnam to supplement Kai-shek. Paratrooper landings occur in former Indonesia as well; an operation against Singapore is considered, but abandoned as too costly.
Vietnamese/Pacifican troops fall victim to Japan's fabled "steel trap" method, and though the controlled area soon expands to cover the Cantonese coast north to Formosa, the limited supply lines provided in the area constantly strain the army. Yakamoto's air force carries out heavy strikes, armed with new napalm weaponry, in the urban-and-jungle terrain of Manchuko, forcing Mao to hide near the disputed Russian border.
By late April, the Vietnamese/Pacificans are totally isolated on the coast of the Formosa Strait. With diminishing artillery and almost no anti-air support, the troops are saved at the last moment, on April 27, by the appearance of General Erwin Rommel, who beats back the Japanese attackers and leads the survivors to the safety of his now-fortified island of Formosa, where the armies regroup and recover for the next two weeks under the heavy defenses of an APR carrier fleet.
The Empire of Japan formally declares war on the APR on May 1, but is unable to bring its fleet to bear as virtually every ship is currently in the Arctic Ocean; only the Home Fleet can render any support, and even then its ability is severely impaired, as its ships are limited to the distance from the home islands.
Rommel calls in naval support for a massive amphibious invasion through the Strait of Formosa to be executed on May 12. The strategy calls for a heavy coastal bombardment, accompanied by an equally massive bombing raid, to soften enemy defenses just hours before the ground forces arrive, themselves defended by low-flying fighters and bombers. Halsey's fleet is responsible for carrying out the shelling of the Chinese coast. In the meantime, Mao's makeshift army marches east toward the Korean Peninsula, and to within striking distance of both the Home Islands and Peking; if both areas can be captured or neutralized, the Japanese will be exponentially more vulnerable against the combined forces of Mao, Kai-shek and Rommel.
Rommel plans to move north, using secret vessels in the APR fleet at Formosa, and to land divisions in the province of Zhejiang, and from there move north to Shanghai, where he can capture a major Japanese port. Mao, meanwhile, aims to take control of Pyongyang and move south through Korea from there, gaining a similar strategic advantage.
On July 8, 1962, Halsey's North Pacific Fleet bombards the western coast of Zhejiang in preparation of a landing; two days later, Rommel arrives with his troops in tow, and lastly, Kai-shek's men hit the beach in the early dawn hours of July 11. Even under fire of heavy Japanese air support, Rommel has captured the province within the week, and begins to mass his remaining forces in the north, pointing them toward Shanghai. All he awaits is reinforcement garrisons with which to hold Zhejiang.
After considerable strain, Mao reaches the coastline north of Korea on July 19. He is desperate to take strategic control of the situation, as the Japanese are closing in on him from the north and his only line of supply is being stretched all the way from the Russian-Mongolian border. Mao knows he must take control of a port and contact US forces if his rebellion is to survive. After a four-day siege, his men capture Slavyanka on July 28 with a number of small vessels intact. Though most of the larger ships were scrapped during the battle, his men have recovered enough munitions to build small torpedo boats, and immediately begin harassing Japanese naval elements, as well as softening up the defenses around Vladivostok.
Under heavy enemy retaliation, Rommel is able to do little more than hold his ground. Halsey informs him that his reinforcements are to arrive on August 3, but he ignores the information, instead making a strong suggestion to Halsey to move the North Pacific Fleet to blockade the mouth of the Yangtze.
When Rommel makes his move on August 5, Halsey's fleet has blocked the Yangtze, preventing the launch of over a dozen vessels from a small port southwest of Shanghai, and winning the Vietnamese/Pacificans an easy victory, taking Shanghai in just three days, almost fully intact, and now leaving a direct line of fire open to the Japanese Home Islands.
On August 12, Mao wins the Vladivostok shipyards after a long campaign of attrition, starving the Japanese troops until they are unable to defend themselves or replenish their weaponry. Mao sends a small ship to contact the North Pacific Fleet, and on August 25 an agreement is reached between the American Pacific Republic and the rebellious forces of Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-Tung to ally against Japan and hopefully create a new, free republic in Asia.
But the problem of Japan must first be handled. Even with Vladivostok and Shanghai in Rebel/Pacifican hands, Japan is more than capable of retaliating with incredible force in the Pacific theater.
The Pacific Intelligence Office hatches the plan. As Rommel, Kai-shek and Mao hold stalemates throughout Asia, the PIO Director speaks with the Pacific President, telling him of the plan, known as Shuriken.
On September 3, Halsey's fleet initiates the Battle of the Yellow Sea, in which Pacifican warplanes "stray" over the Home Islands, and several such planes crash in the mountains. When Japanese troops arrive, no survivors are found, but a few bodies, those of confirmed Pacifican airmen, are located. In truth, PIO agents survived the "crash landings" and insert themselves seamlessly into Japan's infrastructure.
It is at this time the Pacific President declares all-out war with Japan. Activating a military draft and placing several large shipyards under martial law, the president intends to pound Japan until they surrender--and take revenge for the humiliation of the Second World War.
The Japanese and Rebel fleets battle for the first time (formally) in the Battle of the Yellow Sea on September 17. Though the battle is inconclusive, Halsey's aircraft are able to bombard the southern coast of Korea and pave the way for Mao's advance. Rommel creeps further north along the Zhejiang coast as Kai-shek moves inland along the Yangtze.
As full-scale war breaks out in the South China Sea and the Sea of Japan, the PIO's agents strike hard at the heart of Japan. In one week's time, nearly a dozen of Japan's most vital shipping centers, production plants and war factories are destroyed or otherwise rendered useless through complicated and meticulous means that are never made available to the general public.
Japan's sea campaign quickly falls apart with little fuel, munitions and replacement vessels to keep the Home Fleet prepared. In early December, Rommel sends his most promising general, Douglas MacArthur, to capture the Korean Peninsula; within two months, all territory to the Yalu River is under Rebel control.
Japan quickly capitulates, seeing that it requires time to rebuild its crippled industry and knowing that a successful retaliation now would be impossible. Under the Treaty of Ceylon, the war now known (inaccurately) as the Yellow Sea War officially ends on February 20, 1963. Japan is forced to recognize the creation of Taiwan, Vietnam and Manchuria as independent nations, and the Philippines are annexed into the Pacific Republic as a territory, to be admitted into the Republic three years later as Luzon. Japan also formally recognizes a de facto border with Cambodia, ending hostilities there.
Rommel later resigns his post as General of the Pacific Army and recommends MacArthur be appointed in his place; he retires to a relatively peaceful life in southern Vietnam. Dwight Eisenhower rises to power in Washington, and begins his campaign for presidency.
Furious with the Republic over its glorious victory, the American President issues numerous slanderous statements regarding Nixon and his administration. Calling the Pacificans "oppressive," among others, he claims the war in Asia was to gain a foothold and to tip the balance of power unfairly. Inflaming the American people greatly, he manages to obtain a declaration of war from Congress which he signs on June 19, 1963.
Americans everywhere oppose the new war, and they line up, almost immediately, behind Eisenhower and his platform of "Common Sense." Though Eisenhower does not enjoy the existence of the APR and GLU, he certainly does not prefer a pointless war such as the country is now committed to.
Those few who commit themselves to the war are doomed in their attempts; though heavily fortified, the states of Minnesota, Iowa and Mississippi are ill-prepared to repel an invasion by the Republic; in this case, Texas and the Great Lakes Union have decided to honor historic obligations, and Texas invades Mississippi with its venerable ground force. The North declares similar war on the Union and positions in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Vandalia come under heavy bomber attack as the North mobilizes its massive air force.