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As the Cold War heats up between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, attempts to keep the peace break down as the fight between the West and the East begin soon spreading across the globe.
1967 - Israel defeats its Arab neighbors in a failed attempt to wipe the small nation off the map. As a result the Israelis gain control over the west bank, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula.
1970 - Reformist members of the South African government supported by a regiment of troops from the South African Defense Force overthrow the apartheid government. Apartheid and the infamous "petty apartheid" are abolished and the new President Jan Van Zyl rules over the newly democratic South Africa. As a result the Nixon Administration facilitates closer relations with South Africa, a close alliance forms between the two nations. With the support of the US and Great Britain South Africa along with Egypt, Kenya, and Morocco from the African Union, a military alliance between the aforementioned nations and NATO. In support of their new ally the US posted the 1st Armored Cavalry Regiment to South Africa's nothern border, staring down the large Cuban presence in Angola.
1977 - SEATO breaks up and dissolves the massive alliance of nations. Several nations like Chad and Algeria become members of the African Union.
1978 - With the help of American support the Israeli Defense Force beats back the combined arms of Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the PLO in an abortive attempt to crush the nation. At the request of the United States the African Union deploys troops in support of Israel, including Egypt, one of Israel's former enemies.
1979 - Three Soviet MiG-25s enter Japanese airspace and are promptly shot down by Japanese F-15s of the Air Self-Defense Force. Tensions run high between Japan and the USSR for several weeks.
1980 - China and the USSR hold the first joint training exercise in years, signaling an improvement in Sino-Soviet relations.
1982 - Through a long and tedious peace process the UK and Ireland co-operate in crushing the attacks from the Provisional IRA. Ireland joins NATO and opens Shannon International Airport to NATO military flights as a squadron of American F-15s and French maritime patrol aircraft are based there. The newly reactivated 26th Marine Regiment is posted to former British army barracks in Derry.
1983 - The United States increase its troop levels in the Korean Peninsula, supplementing the 2nd Infantry Division with the 85th Armored Regiment, along with deployment of a tactical nuclear weapons unit.
1985 - The worst grain harvest hits the Soviet Union, food riots occur in Moscow, Leningrad and Minsk. The Soviets are forced to buy grain from the United States. In late 1985, anger over this supposed groveling to the west triggers a swift coup from party hardliners, unseating Mikhail Gorbachev and replacing him with hardline Communist Lev Shilko, tensions with the west begin to rise as a result.
May 3-10, 1986
After a breakdown of negotiations between the US and the USSR over grain prices the USSR determined to gain some leverage against the US invades Iran and Iraq in hopes of gaining control of the vast oil fields. The US Central Command jumps into action and President Reagan gives the order for offensive operations to commence on the attacking Soviet formations. In the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean US submarines fire dozens on non-nuclear ballistic missiles at various targets in Southern Russia. The strike destroys or damages dozens of Soviet military bases, crippling the Soviet supply network. To add the US 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions land in Iran, supported by 1st Marine Division, these formations push inland and quickly setup defensive positions protecting the vital oil refineries and fields.
In Europe, NATO forces are on high alert and soon Soviet aircraft cross the inter-German border. what follows is a bloody and fast air battle over the skies of West Germany as the various NATO air units in the area scramble to defend their air space, After the Soviet fighters are beaten off the NATO aircraft launch a counterattack, quickly fighting their way through Warsaw Pact air defenses and strike air bases and installations across East Germany. The air battle ends with both sides badly blooded and several air bases on both sides damaged. Within three hours Soviet ground forces attack into West Germany as a fresh air battle commences. As to plan NATO aircraft are able to a limited extent, fly into Soviet territory and bomb Soviet troop formations, bridges, supply dumps and other targets hampering the Soviet advance. In the Northern sector of German, Warsaw Pact's initial gains are substantial as the combined forces of NORTHAG are pushed backward from the border as fighting spreads across the Northern German plain. In the south the Soviet gains are far less impressive as SOUTHAG forces, manage to hold back Soviet forces for the most part in their sectors, even managing a few minor counter attacks.
In the United States the Federal Government nationalizes 120,000 National Guardsmen and Reservists. The Air Force with the support of the Civil Reserve Air Fleet begin to fly troop reinforcements and supplies to Europe. While equipment and vehicles are loaded onto merchant ships and start for Europe.
In the North Atlantic the US 2nd Fleet, supported by the Royal, and Norwegian navies battle against singular Soviet subs and fend off air attacks by Soviet Naval Aviation. Unlike what was predicted the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom communication line isn't broken. on the 7th of May the NATO air base at Keflavik is struck by ballistic missiles from three Soviet submarines, damaging the base. Despite the damage to the base, NATO officials say that the damage is repairable.
May 10-20, 1986
In Europe the Soviet armies near the city of Bremen as one Soviet army: the 1st Shock Army comes within three km of the outer limits of the city. Denmark becomes increasingly isolated as the Soviet 1st Guards Tank Army roles through the region of Schleswig-Holstein. Danish forces along with the West German and American units trapped on the Peninsula harden their defenses as the East German 9th Panzer division along with the 1st and 8th Motor Rifle Divisions are tasked with the taking of the entire peninsula. However, the East German advance up the peninsula quickly stalls as determined Danish, West German and American defenders hold the line. Frustrated by this delay the Polish 1st, 2nd and 3rd Airborne Divisions land on the Jutland peninsula. However, their LZs are quickly isolated by the quick actions of the Danish Home Guard soon reinforced by units of the regular Danish army.
However, in Southern Europe, the war went against NATO quickly as Greece was invaded by the combined armies of Hungary, Rumania and Albania driving the brave Greek defenders to a defensive line just 13 km north of Sparta within the first week of the war. In Turkey the Turkish army was far more successful in holding the line against the Pact offensive along with keeping the Soviet Black Sea fleet bottled up in the Black Sea. However, the Soviets were able to slip a few subs through to meet up with the subs already in the Mediterranean. The US 6th Fleet supported by the British Royal squadron in the region began to hunt down the Soviet subs, sinking several.
On the far Northern front in Scandinavia the Soviet Union's Frontal Aviation air forces fought day and night over the skies of Norway and the North Atlantic. Their main competitor was the now badly blooded Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Royal Air Force (currently fighting in two directions), the small but determined Irish Air Corps and the squadrons of the US Navy. However, the Soviets, not wanting to create another enemy, had their pilots fly over the ocean in order to strike Norwegian and NATO air bases throughout Norway. Frustrated over their losses due to the distance and vigilance of the Norwegian air force the Soviet high command ordered its pilots to take the shorter, overland route to hit targets within Norway. This decision was done in an attempt by the USSR to finish off the Norwegian Air force and create a clear path for Tu-22M Backfires to attack Britain itself, along with the massive and heavily populated shipping lanes crisscrossing the Northern Atlantic. However, as the operations began and the Norwegian air force fought its last stand, the fly-over nations began to make their presence in the air known, especially Finland. The Finns: a long time enemy of the Soviets began to mobilise its air force in an effort to enforce its air space. As an added precaution the calling up of the reserves came into effect as the Finnish army prepared for possible hostilities with the Soviets. On May 15th, the Soviets had just launched a fresh series of attacks over Norway and the returning aircraft, conserving fuel flew slowly over Finland feeling safe that no harm would come to them. The group, made up of four MiG-31s and 12 Tu-16s, were soon joined in the sky by three Finnish Saab Draken fighters. The pilots of the Drakens ordered the Soviet pilots to land at a nearby airfield. When the Soviets didn't comply the lead pilot fired a burst from his Draken's gun. This only served to send the MiG-31 escorts into action as they quickly swung back to engage the Drakens, the result was a quick but vicious air battle that sent two Drakens spiraling into the ground along with one MiG-31. The final Draken having flown off radioed for support and soon a flight of six Drakens and even two Finnish MiG-21s were in pursuit of the Soviet flight, the Soviets were intercepted and the fighters shot down along with all but three of the Tu-16s. This was the initiation of one of the many sideshows of the Third World War, the Second Northern War. Meanwhile, seeing how her neighbors were now at war with the Soviets the Swedes, summoning their old dislike for the Russians sided with NATO and declared war on the Soviet Union.
On the international stage the Soviet Union's ambassadors were hard at work garnering support for their war on the West. Soon the Soviets had Cuba, China and North Korea voicing their support for USSR and the Warsaw Pact. Thus on the 18th of May, North Korean troops supported by Chinese air forces invaded the South. Using Chemical weapons and massive human wave attacks the North Koreans were soon able to wear down the South Korean and American defenders. However, the line held as the South Korean and American troops stood firm, supported by the 85th Armored Regiment. Elsewhere, the PLA invaded the British mandate of Hong Kong. However, since the wars started the British government had transported a full regiment of mechanized infantry to the city and a regiment of Canadian infantry on call in their homeland. The PLA attacks cover little ground as British defenders hold the line against the PLA armored and mechanized advances, causing large amounts of casualties among the Chinese troops. In Australia the age old allegiance to Britain and the Commonwealth the famous ANZAC corp was reformed and soon being deployed to Hong Kong to help bolster the defenses and give the defenders some counter attack capability. To add more Australian and New Zealand units were deployed to the Korean peninsula in support of the US and South Korean defenders there.
May 20-31, 1986
In one of the most well known air offensives of the war, whose name has been immortalized with those like Rolling Thunder and Linebacker I and II, operation Hail Mary was the United States' near insane idea for bombing the Soviet heartland. Created as a response to the increased air attacks of the Soviet Frontal Aviation on Norway and the various US naval forces in the region, the operation called for a squadron of B-52Gs based at Keflavik to fly around the Scandinavian peninsula and down on Archangel and the Soviet depots and bases on the Kola Peninsula. The Operation kicked off on May 21st with the 93rd bombardment Squadron lifting off from Keflavik airfield fully protected by six F-15s, flying to the end of their fuel supplies, the F-15s turned around as Navy F-14s and Royal Navy F-4s. Ahead of the airstrikes a flight of F-4G Wild Weasels searched out and engaged Soviet SAM and radar sites, creating a window for the American B-52s and their escorts to fly through. The bombers quickly arrived over their targets and dropped their payloads, devastating the Soviet bases and depots below. The strike completely broke the Soviet's supply lines for troops currently fighting in Finland and wiped out massive stockpiles of equipment, meant to replace damaged or destroyed vehicles serving on the front. However, the strike was not all a success, Soviet air defense units had quickly mobilised and three B-52s and four escorts were shot down with most of their crews perishing in the crashes. However, the Soviets were essentially halted in their efforts to invade Scandinavia, at least for the time being.In the South, Soviet and Warsaw Pact units continued to role across the Northern German plain, onward toward the Rhine river. NATO Corp commanders asked repeatedly for the release of tactical nuclear weapons but SACEUR and most of NATO high command simply weren't willing to allow the war to spiral into a slugging match with nuclear arms. However, Pact forces continued to push across the plain with Hannover now on the front line. In the South the NATO armies continued to fare better than their Northern counterparts as the tough 8th Guards Army's attacks were held time and time again by the resolute American and West German defenders. In Denmark the NATO defenses continued to hold back the East German offensive, while the Polish airborne divisions fought day and night to try to break out of their pockets and seize their objectives, but the tough defenses setup by the Danish Home Guard refused to budge as the Poles were slowly crushed. In Turkey, the Turkish army, much to the chagrin of its commanders, were slowly rolled backward by the advancing Soviet armies. Further East the US forces posted in Iran fought a hard battle against both the hostile Iranians and the advancing Soviet forces. However, the American forces, spread thin by the fighting were able to hold the line against the various odds arrayed against them. To help the situation newly arrived forces from the African Union arrived to strengthen the US lines. The arriving forces from South Africa, Egypt and Kenya were a great assistance to the besieged American forces, also taking up the role of having to police the occupied areas.
Out in the Far East the North Korean and Chinese forces continued to attack into South Korea as ROK, American and ANZAC forces continued to try to hold back the combined invasion. However, despite being outnumbered by the North Korean and Chinese troops, the allied forces were able to use their command of the terrain and their superior equipment to beat back Chinese and North Korean attacks with the American 85th Armored Brigade acting as a mobile reserve, counter attacking where necessary and holding the line elsewhere. On the Hong Kong front the British continued to hold the line as fresh ANZAC and Canadian forces arrived to reinforce the defenders. The Chinese, however, were not discouraged by the reinforcement of Hong Kong and continued to throw heavy armor units and mechanized infantry at the defenses to no avail as the US 7th Fleet took post off the coast, supporting the Anglo defenders with air support. However, it was the Soviets who hit the allied nations next. Japan, whose only role in the war up to this point was giving support to the allied air forces dueling with the Chinese and North Korean air forces over the skies of the Sea of Japan. It was on May 25th that Soviet paratroopers, supported by a naval assault landed on Hokkaido. The Japanese Self-Defense Force jumped into action as reservists were called up all over the country and Japanese armored units made determined counterattacks against the Soviet beachheads. However, the Japanese attacks, laden with aging Type 74 tanks were quickly broken up by the Soviet defenders armed with modern T-80s and T-72s quickly broke up the Japanese counterattacks with only moderate losses. In response to the landings the US began transporting the 2nd Marine Division to the Japanese home islands, along with the recently reactivated 6th Armored Division. Made up of primarily National Guard and Reservists the 6th was flown en masse to Japan as a convoy of ships carrying its equipment left Hawaii. Meanwhile the 2nd Marine Division having completed its transit to Japan was deployed to Hokkaido where the Soviet troops were rapidly gaining the upper hand over the defending Japanese troops of the Northern Army. taking up defensive positions outside the city of Sapporo the 2nd Marines along with the Japanese 5th brigade held the line against several determined Soviet attacks. However, they too began to have to give ground as the Soviets continued to drive the Japanese forces backward. Desperate and out of options, the Japanese, seizing a shipment of Pershing II nuclear missiles, fired them at the advancing Soviet spearheads.
The immediate reaction to the use of the Pershing was one of shock. The US rushed a battalion of MPs out to the launcher site and retook the remaining stockpile without firing a shot. Meanwhile, the Soviets responded by dropping an atomic warhead on a pocket of Japanese resistance in the North-Eastern corner of Hokkaido. This, however, constituted the extent of nuclear weapon use in the theater, at least for the time being. However, the brief interlude in combat caused by the destruction of a full Soviet paratrooper Division allowed the US 6th Armored to form up in their staging areas in Tokyo and began to deploy to the front as a theater reserve formation. Using a mix of old M-60A3 Patton tanks along with fresh off the assembly line M1A1 Abrams the 6th Armored commenced a counterattack on the Soviets on May 31st, hitting the Soviets at midnight, quickly driving a wedge into the Soviet lines.
June 1-10, 1986With Operation Hail Mary in full-swing and the Soviet's offensive mired in Finland the war seemed to, at least in Scandinavia and thus NATO efforts there were greatly reduced as the Norwegian and Swedish armies began to fully mobilise against the Soviet attackers. Meanwhile on mainland Europe the fighting was still split, between a general stalemate in the South and in the North a massive Soviet advantage. To begin the US III Corp had been split in half as the Soviet offensive pushed the US 1st Cavalry Division and the 5th Mech Infantry back toward the Rhine as the 2nd Armored and 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were swept to the South in the Central Army Group's sector. Meanwhile the Dutch, West German and Belgians continued to fight for every square inch of Germany that was taken as they realised that their homelands were now threatened by the advancing Soviet offensive. SACEUR desperate to break up the Soviet advance ordered the remnants of the US III Corp with the support of the 5th Panzer Division and 2nd Panzer brigade to counter-attack into the underbelly of the advance. When these units stepped off they were stopped by well dug in elements of the Soviet 4th Guards Army. After several hours of fierce combat the Americans and West Germans fell back to regroup their shattered formations. This slight weakening of the CentAG's sector gave the Soviet 8th Guards Army the chance it needed to attack, quickly driving through the border defenses their advance was stopped just past the town of Fulda by a quick counterattack by the 11th Armored Cav. However, despite the efforts of the NATO defenders the Soviets took Hannover and soon were rolling onward toward the Rhine, with Oldenburg now on the front lines. On the 3rd of June as NATO forces were pulling into their prepared positions outside of Oldenburg they were hit by a full force attack from the fresh Soviet 3rd Shock Army. This attack surprised the mix of Dutch and German defenders but quickly drove the defenders back, after several hours of violent urban warfare within Oldenburg the city fell to Soviet troops. Defensive positions beyond Oldenburg hadn't been finished and the NATO Corps were soon being quickly rolled across the plain by the never slowing Soviet armies.
Elsewhere in Europe, the Pact advance up the Danish peninsula hadn't yielded anymore ground to the East German or Polish attackers as the combined West German, American and Danish formations held the East Germans just outside of Kiel while the Polish airborne divisions were crushed into their pockets, with many men starting to surrender to the Danish defenders. In Southern Europe, Turkish and Greek troops continued to hold the Pact advance on the European side of Turkey, while Turkish forces were again able to fight the advancing Soviet troops to a halt within their own country. It was on June 5th that the United States Air Force using their newest bomber the Rockwell B-1 Lancer, that the Soviet Naval Air base at Conkary, Guinea was bombed. The raid was a complete success with the Soviet bombers being mostly caught on the ground along with a few MiG-29s and MiG-31s. The raid cost the USAF nothing as all B-1 Lancers and their escorts made it back to their respective bases, leaving Conkary in a smoking ruin.
In the Far East the fighting on the Korean peninsula didn't slacken as North Korean and Chinese became more brazen with their attacks, willing to throw away whole regiments of men in order to gain a mile or two of land. However, Allied forces continued to maintain the advantage as time and time again Chinese and North Korean attacks were foiled by well timed spoiling attacks from the allied side or by the resilience of the defenders holding the line. Despite all the intense combat going on the line on the Korean peninsula hardly budged. On Hokkaido, the American 6th Armored and Japanese 5th Brigade continued to counter attack into the greatly weakened Soviet formations, collecting hundreds of prisoners as they went along. In Hong Kong the Chinese forces remained mired in the thick British and ANZAC defenses costing them dearly in manpower. Due to the way the British had positioned their defenses the Chinese could only commit one regiment at a time to attacking the British defenses and these avenues of attack were now choked with destroyed and disabled vehicles from previous Chinese attempts, not to mention the corpses of their crews and supporting infantry. On June 6th a Chinese attempt to try to land troops on the Hong Kong island went horribly awry when the US 7th Fleet caught the landing barges by surprise. The resulting battle sent 2000 Chinese troops to a watery grave along with two precious destroyers of the People's Liberation Army - Navy. That same day a armada of 250 Chinese transport planes, carrying two whole airborne divisions were ambushed by Royal Air Force and US Navy fighters again in the following aerial melee 45 of the transports were downed by fighters and another 56 were damaged not to mention their escorts. However, this particular air battle cost the Brits and Americans 14 aircraft that would be hard to replace. Despite the losses, the Chinese were once again confined to their current positions.
In the Caribbean the small nation of Cuba, having agreed to support the Soviets in their war against the NATO and the West had hardly done a thing up to this point. However, Castro had been preparing for his first move as the United States continued to fight its two front war. He had bought up several old container ships and promptly had them converted to carry troops and with the help of several mercenary engineers they managed to update and recommission Cuba's single Foxtrot-class submarine to support the single Soviet Victor class submarine posted to the Caribbean. On June 9th Cuban troops loaded into the container ships and supported by the Cuban Air Force and Navy landed on The Bahamas, landing without resistance. Further inland the Cubans received some attacks from the local police forces but for the most part the Royal Bahamas Defense Force failed to put up any significant resistance. Several hours into the invasion the ship HMBS Bahamas of the Royal Bahamas Defense Force attempted to interdict the landings by the Cubans but was sunk by the Cuban Air Force, her sister ship the HMBS Nassau was captured later that day by Cuban paratroopers landing on New Providence Island. In response to this sudden attack by the Cubans the US Navy dispatched the USS John F. Kennedy to the Caribbean with her battle group along with deploying the 3rd Marine Division to the Northern Bahamas. The US Navy and several Air National Guard units began airstrikes on the Cuban forces in the Bahamas and on Cuban bases in Cuba itself. The US Naval Base and prison at Guantanamo Bay was placed on high alert only to have a few scattered mortars land within the base, with Cuban regiments on the other side Cactus Curtain holding positions.
June 10-22, 1986I will take a brief minute to discuss the war at Sea, As was briefly mentioned earlier the US 2nd Fleet with the British and Norwegian Royal navies had been successful in keeping the Soviet navy, both its surface and submarine fleet in the Barents Sea. The northern Atlantic along with the Barents Sea was now wracked with violence as the two opposing sides attempted to maintain control over the approaches out of the area mainly fighting along the Greenland-Iceland-UK line. However, a few crucial positions were about to change. First off, since the start of the war the Norwegian Royal Air Force had maintained its Loran-C transmitter base on Jan Mayen island along with the government run meteorological station. However, the Soviet military had decided that the relaying station along with the island as a whole must be taken in order to support their current anti-shipping operations against the NATO shipping lanes crisscrossing the Northern Atlantic. So on the 13th of June the Soviet 63rd Guards Regiment with support of Soviet land based bombers and fighters invaded the island while under the cover of darkness. The 63rd took less than three hours to secure the island and soon a single company of engineers had moved in and began work on an airfield. The idea was to allow Soviet Strategic bombers such as the Tu-22M a base from which to strike NATO shipping and to interdict incoming B-52 raids. This development couldn't have come at a worse time as the United States along with its NATO allies was the largest reinforcement operation of the war. Cavalry was the official name of the convoy operation, it entailed three massive convoys carrying two newly formed US Corps to the front lines in Europe the US VIII Corp and the X Corp. Their divisions made up of federalized National Guardsmen and Reservists along with fresh faced recruits who had been enlisting in droves since the start of the war. Within the US X Corp was two Canadian Divisions along with a single Australian Infantry Brigade. These diverse corps were to be used to reverse the current Soviet advance in Northern Germany and begin the advance back to the border. Yet with the capture of Jan Mayen and the current construction by Soviet engineers (utilising POWs as a work force to prevent bombing) threw the whole reinforcement plan into disarray. At first NATO planners weren't concerned thinking the cold temperatures would hinder the construction. However, a recon run by an Irish Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft discovered that the Soviet progress was basically complete with the runway already finished and temporary shelters for Soviet aircraft were setup, to make matters worse the Irish crew confirmed that the waters around the Jan Mayen had been heavily mined by Soviet Maritime aircraft and subs. This bit of news sent SACEUR and his counterpart SACLANT into panicked flurries. They quickly ordered the US 4th Marine Division, which was on its way to Norway to turn and retake the island. The convoy escorting the 4th Marine's amphibious assault ships (the USS Wasp, Guam and Iwo Jima) turned and began to head toward the island. However, this is when disaster struck, The Soviets in the days that the Marines were redeploying had landed a squadron of Tu-16 badgers and Tu-22M Backfires along with two new experimental strategic bombers. Designated the Tu-160 Blackjacks these new bombers had a huge range and were capable of carrying a large amount of armaments. These formidable bombers were now arrayed against the Allied shipping lanes and the NATO fleets fighting in the North. On the 21st of June the Soviets attacked the convoy. The current fighters that were on patrol above the convoy were able to intercept some of the attacking aircraft, mostly the older Tu-16s but for the most part the bombers got through launching their deadly payloads of anti-ship missiles. The results of the strike were devastating, sending the USS Wasp and Guam to the bottom of the ocean, along with a majority of their crews and cargo. The USS Iwo Jima was also badly damaged but through the quick reaction of the crews were able to save the ship but not without losing 56 crewmen to fires and rushing water. The US 4th Marine had taken a great hit from the strike and was forced to land the remainder of the division on Iceland.
In Germany the Soviet armies continued to attack across the Northern German plain, pushing the NATO armies further and by the 12th of June the Soviets and their Pact allies were closing on the Dutch border, desperate and soon to be out of options SACEUR began to seriously consider allowing the use of Tactical Nuclear weapons. However, he in the end, refused to allow his forces to deploy nuclear weapons on the Soviet spearheads, instead placing his hope to stop the Soviet advance on the incoming Cavalry convoys. However, disaster was about to strike the forces and command of NORTHAG. on the 14th of June as depleted NATO units fought tooth and nail against equally depleted Pact units the command staff of NORTHAG was killed when a downed Soviet fighter, carrying a full payload of bombs and missiles crashed into their headquarters killing everyone within. With this crippling blow to NORTHAG the command structure essentially collapsed and soon the army group had broken with many of the Corp commanders ordering their respective commands to make a fighting retreat to the Rhine. On the other side of the fighting the Soviet and Pact units had finally been given the big break through they had been hoping for. The tired and depleted Pact front line units were ordered to halt as fresh formations charged forward hitting the worn and leaderless NATO corps. Although morale was at an all time low among NATO units there were no massed surrenders or collapse of divisions, this is mostly due to the abilities of the individual corps commanders who were able to rally their men enough to man the defenses now on the other side of the Rhine River. Further South to cover the massive gap created by the collapse of NorthAG the US III Corp along with the freshly arrived French I Corp. These units express purpose were to prevent the Soviet and Pact forces from flanking and surrounding CentAG who had for the most part had managed to hold the line that it had held at the start of the war.
Up in Scandinavia the Soviets were still held by resilient Finnish defenders with only minimal gains being made by the Soviets. However, this front was about to change as the Soviets looking to outflank the Finnish defenses landed the 1st Guards Airborne Army near Bodo, Norway. The Norwegians who had been for the longest time been fighting a war that consisted of beating of Soviet air raids and fighting the Soviet's navy along with some skirmishes with Soviet formations along their border with Russia. However, the Soviets, now using their base on Jan Mayen to interdict the Hail Mary raids had been able to build up the 1st Guards Airborne Army from the various airborne formations spread about the Soviet Union (including those recovered from Hokkaido). With this new army they launched it across the Scandinavian peninsula with plenty of air cover from the Soviet Air Force. Despite some losses to transports the 1st Guards Airborne Army was able to land around Bodo mostly intact and quickly surrounded the city and the small Norwegian force posted there. Surprised by the attack the Norwegians quickly begin to pull units from all over Norway to contain the Soviet army at Bodo. However, the lightly armed Norwegians simply weren't capable of holding back the Soviet paratroopers. The US rushed the 26th Marine Regiment from its posting in Derry to Norway, vacating the old barracks post within hours. The Irish deployed the 1st Brigade while the British flew the Royal Marine 3 Commando Brigade to help support the Norwegian defenders. This flurry of reinforcements was able to stem the attack of the Soviets but only for a brief time.
Meanwhile, in the small Soviet port-city of Archangel the Soviets who had for the longest time been developing a supercarrier of their own. Developed in the harsh hinterlands of the frozen wastes the Soviets unveiled their new massive supercarrier Ulyanovsk. This massive craft now constituted a massive threat on the allied Naval supply lines along with the now in transit Cavalry convoys. The Ulyanovsk now posed a serious threat to the allied supply lines, and likewise quickly became one of NATO's number one targets. However, the current strains upon allied air power to keep up the successful Hail Mary air raids (which were now costing the United States dearly) and to fight the now far flung Backfire raids proved that such a strike on the carrier was implausible. In desperation, with their forces being pulled in several different directions the NATO commanders looked for a way to alleviate their naval woes. CINCLANT suggested that NATO release the use of tactical nuclear weapons with their first target being Jan Mayen with other planned strikes on the Soviet ports of Murmansk, Archangel, and the strategically important city of Minsk in Russia. However, SACEUR and SACLANT (supreme allied commander, Atlantic) shot this idea down quickly. Instead they authorized a massive counterattack utilizing the USS Nimitz, America and Dwight D. Eisenhower to attack eliminate the Soviet airbase at Jan Mayen while having Allied submarines surround the island and cut it off from the sea. After the strike, allied air forces based in Iceland would then subject the island to continuous air attack. However, just as the forces were gathered together, the operation was called off as the Nimitz and Eisenhower were called away to help escort the Cavalry convoys. Yet NATO air forces did begin offensive operations on Jan Mayen from both Keflavik in Iceland and from Thule Air Base in Greenland.
In the Middle East the embattled US and African Union forces was finally given the reinforcements it needed in the form of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division. This unit having spent most of its time in transit between the Western United States and their staging area on Diego Garcia had finally collected itself by the time May 26th had rolled around, only to find the equipment it was to be issued on the island had been basically used up by the embattled forces in Iran. Thus causing the 24th Mech to wait around for another three weeks as the US Navy and Air Force flew M1A1 Abrams, Bradley IFVs and other heavy equipment out to them. When they had finally gotten their equipment they were transported to Iran and entered combat on the 21st of June. Giving the US and AU forces the heavy striking power that they needed to truly hold back the Soviet advance. Out at sea, the Soviet naval anchorage at Socotra was attacked by fighters and bombers from the USS Carl Vinson, despite not having any major ships in port beyond a few patrol vessels the anchorages installations, fuel depots and so on. The Carl Vinson, having completed its strike returned to its support position of the US forces in Iran. Meanwhile, from the air base on Diego Garcia, the highly advanced F-117 Nighthawks along with the new B-1 Lancers made a successful raid against the Soviet naval base at Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam, albeit with less results.
In the Far East, The fighting had moved into a lull. After the use of nuclear weapons on the Soviet formations on Hokkaido the Soviets had quickly withdrawn the remainder of their forces from the island. On the Korean Peninsula US, ROK and ANZAC forces had fought the North Korean and Chinese attackers to a standstill. The British and their Canadian, and ANZAC allies still managed to hold back the Chinese attackers as the Chinese found the fighting nearly impossible to sway in their favor. They quickly called a brief 73-hour halt to any further attacks on the Hong Kong defenses as they gathered their troops together fro a fresh series of attacks on the defenders.
June 23-30, 1986
The first counter-offensive measures made by the allies against the Soviet and Pact forces came on the morning of June 23. The attack was made by part of the shattered 1st British Armored Division to relieve the 33rd Brigade in the German town of Haren. The 33rd had stayed across the river when most of NorthAG was pulling back across it. The 33rd under the overall command of General Jordan S. Hummel was at one point an American mechanized Brigade assigned to the 5th Mechanized Infantry Division but after weeks of hard fighting the unit had been pulled off the line. It was just reaching its rallying point when the NorthAG HQ was hit by the Soviet missile strike. The undermanned Brigade was forced into the fighting once again as a rearguard, picking up stray German and English units in order to compensate their losses. By the time the 33rd reached the Rhine river, it had ceased to be a solely American unit and was now a mix of German, English and Dutch troops all with the duty of holding one of the few remaining bridges across the Rhine. The Soviets attacked them relentlessly but General Hummel and his men held despite the odds stacked against them. Earlier that week as NATO was throwing together a command staff for NorthAG reconnaissance satellites had shown that the Soviets were gearing up for a massive attack on the bridgehead. The attack by the 1st Armoured to spoil the Soviet's attack. The British 1st Armored itself had been thoroughly thrashed during the fighting and most of its brigades were less were far less then full strength. Yet they were still able to pull enough troops together to make the attack. Armed with the formidable Challenger and Chieftain main battle tanks the attacking Brits were understandably confident of their abilities and what they found facing them only supported that idea. Facing them was a warn down Polish armored division armed with ancient T-55s and T-62s hardly a threat for the modern British tanks. The attacking Battalion had quickly broken through the initial Polish defenses and were running amok in their rear when they fell back to their own lines. The apparent "attack" was clearly the result of some gross over estimations on the part of NATO's intelligence services. In reality the Soviet and Pact forces posed against the tired NorthAG were just as bad off. The constant combat had ground down many of their units, and forced them to turn to old equipment to replace that which was lost. Even worse was their supply situation, fresh formations and troops moving up to the front had to deal with NATO air attacks as far back as the Polish-East German border, bombed out bridges and rail lines made movement by rail next to impossible. Travel by road was equally unfavorable as NATO ground attack aircraft, notably the American A-10 Thunderbolt II could swoop in and destroy whole convoys of troops and equipment and be gone in the blink of an eye. It was a wonder how the Pact forces ever managed to advance at all, and yet they did. Further South, The troops on CentAG continued to hold the line, while the US III Corp and French I Corp held the southern most flank of the Soviet advance in the North keeping them hemmed to the North.
In the North Atlantic the Soviet air units posted to Jan Mayen continued to launch attacks across the Atlantic, utilizing their long ranged Tu-160 Blackjacks to strike targets as far south as Ascension Island, the NATO base at Lajes Field on the Azores was struck by a mix of Backfires and Badgers put the base out of commission for several months. To add to their woes the Soviets were now able to fly their Tu-95 Bear-H maritime patrol bombers, using them to vector aircraft in on the convoys traversing the ocean. As a result the USS California and Ticonderoga were both lost during air attacks along with countless transports sending men and material to sea floor below. However, the first attempt to strike the Soviet base at Jan Mayen had come and on June 25th a flight of FB-111s escorted by another flight of F-4 Phantoms overflew the airbase before making three passes over the runway and hangars dropping Rockeye cluster bombs severely damaging the runway. Of the several dozen aircraft on the runway about six were destroyed with at least twelve more being damaged. The airbase was closed for two weeks following the raid, allowing allied navies to slip the remainder of the Cavalry convoys across the ocean, depositing them safely in French ports. There they unloaded their precious cargo two mostly intact US and Canadian Corps sat prepared to deploy into the fighting in Northern Europe. However, SACEUR held them back using them as a theater reserve, instead of deploying for combat the troops sat in staging camps waiting as reinforcements arrived from the US to replace the losses sustained on the trip over. The newly arrived US VIII and X Corps wouldn't be deployed until almost a month later.
Another part of the European war started to take precedent as the actions there became more critical. The Baltic Sea had been since the start of the war a flurry of combat. The Soviet Baltic fleet, stripped of most its submarines to support the Soviet Northern Fleet was left with a few outdated November class attack subs and handful of surface ships. This small force was tasked with fighting its way through the NATO forces in the Western Baltic and seizing control of the Danish Straits, a daunting task indeed. To support their efforts the Polish and East German navies were tasked to support their operations. Along with this Soviet Naval Aviation was to provide the air cover for the combined naval forces. Facing off against them was the West German and Danish navies along with small supplemental forces from the UK and US. The West Germans were by far the most prepared for the conflict they were about to engage in. A navy consisting of modern destroyers and frigates supported by corvettes and a small force of submarines made the West German navy the biggest threat to the oncoming Soviet advance. Meanwhile the Danes had a smaller but no less formidable force of submarines, minelayers and light destroyers all poised to fill the Baltic with thousands of mines and take out surface ships from below should the need arise. However, it was a young rear admiral named John W. Blackburn who realised just how vulnerable NATO was in the Baltic. Admiral Blackburn held the title of Commander of Baltic Approaches, meaning that any naval, air or ground forces tasked with holding the Jutland Peninsula and Danish straits were under his overall command. However, the actual forces under his direct command were very slim, the fearsome West German and Danish Fleets were under the command of a German Commodore. This left a few patrol vessels, minelayers and a squadron of aircraft or two under Admiral Blackburn's command and a single battalion of Danish marines under his ground forces commander. These slim forces were hardly adequate to hold the area he had been given to command and despite his constant pestering to this end he couldn't obtain a single extra soldier for his command. When the war actually began the Soviets and East Germans struck out as hostilities began catching several West German ships in port and devastating the NATO forces in the Baltic. Attacks that followed from flights of aircraft or from Soviet submarines sunk several more individual ships out on patrol in effect removing a vast majority of West Germany's naval strength. On June 12th a flight of East German Su-17 Fitters bombed the major German naval base at Kiel, dropping a mix of high explosive bombs and chemical munitions killing dozens of support troops and killing the all important command staff of the German Navy. It was quickly apparent that the Pact naval forces were going to breakthrough the thin screen of ships and submarines currently holding the Western Baltic, in preparation for his command to go into action Blackburn had his men lace the various straits surrounding Denmark with naval mines, leaving only one strait; the Langeland Strait open to allow ships to fall back through. Finally when the Soviets cracked the NATO defenses and missiles began to slam into the defensive positions that laced the Danish coast the small force under the command of Admiral Blackburn went into action. As the Soviet naval forces attempted to traverse the straits they were assailed by a flurry of Harpoon launched from land based launchers, followed by fire from artillery batteries and much to the shock and awe of the Soviet naval commanders the USS New Jersey. The New Jersey an old Second World War era Battleship had been given a modern makeover and now was a floating nightmare for any Pact naval commander. The Soviets and their East German and Polish compatriots quickly withdrew. That night a flight of Tu-22M Backfires attacked the New Jersey's battle group, that next day much to the Chagrin of the Soviet naval commanders the New Jersey was still afloat, damaged but still able to fight. Realising the dangers of trying to traverse the straits the campaign from the point forward transitioned into an amphibious campaign to seize the Danish islands, one at a time.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, the Soviet nuclear Battlecruiser Kirov and her battle group, had torn a hole through the NATO naval cover of the Northern Atlantic. Since the start of the war Soviet submarines had always been an issue for NATO ships and convoys moving across the Atlantic but never had aircraft been an issue up until the fall of Jan Mayen, now the Kirov, a massive missile cruiser and her battle group which included the Soviet carrier Kiev was no traversing the Mid-Atlantic. Her killing spree of sending cargo ships and NATO destroyers to the bottom of the ocean had taken her from the GIUK Line to the Azores and she showed no signs of stopping as she linked up with a small group of tenders and supply ships as she continued her rampage. On June 27th the massive Kirov and her group circled the Azores, sending cruise missiles in on the NATO post at Lajes Field and sending two Spanish destroyers to an early grave. As she came about, her radar picked up a massive signature as a US Navy Alpha Strike from the USS Nimitz and America began their attack run on her group. The Kiev scrambled her aircraft (the less then venerable Forger VTOL aircraft, were a clunky, slow, day fighting knockoff of the British and American Harrier) and soon they had vectored in on the attacking Alpha Strike as Navy F-14 Tomcats flew to meet them head on. The in air melee kept the Soviets busy as the true attack sneaked up from the East. A flight of four A-10 Thunderbolt II's of the 104th Fighter Squadron (National Guard) coasted fast along the surface of the ocean, coming up upon the group of ships the four A-10s broke off into pairs with one going after the Kiev and the other the Kirov. Loaded with anti-tank missiles and Depleted Uranium rounds they popped up onto the Kirov's radar just long enough to let a burst from their cannons go into the Kirov's reactor sending the whole craft up into a massive fusion fueled explosion that literally sent several ships into 90 degree turns. The Kiev suffered a similar fate with the help of some well placed anti-tank missiles, the raid wasn't bloodless though one of the four A-10s was shot down by Soviet SAMs but the rest got to head home with one pilot Lieutenant Natalie Evans getting to add a ship to the side of her plane.
In the Caribbean, Castro's invasion of the Bahamas (all in the name of defeating the Imperialists) had gone very well up to this point. Having barely encountered any resistance from the small Bahamian military it seemed that the war with the fearsome US was going to be a rather easy cake walk for Castro. Despite the constant nuisance of the US Air Force and Navy attacking his bases he held faith that his air forces could easily defeat the US forces given enough time. When the final offensive was set to begin on the Northern Bahamian Islands it seemed to be a simple task. Castro's men had been through many such landings before and this one would be no different with the exception that they would be going up against US Marines. The island of their target was Andros Island, three Cuban infantry battalions had been gathered and were set to land on Andros following an air bombardment. The air bombardment hardly arrived, caught by patrolling F-14 Tomcats and Air Force F-16s the Cuban MiG-23 Floggers and their escorting MiG-21 Fishbeds were hardly a match for the supersonic F-14s. Despite the midair battle the surviving MiG-23s carried on and dropped their bombs amid a flurry of Hawk and Patriot missiles with one single MiG-23 limping back to Cuba. Despite the failure of the air attack the landings proceeded with Cuban troops rolling ashore in ancient landing craft, some dating back to those captured during the Bay of Pigs landing in 1961. Now it was the Marines' turn to harass the Cubans, as the landing craft, Amtracs and the single hovercraft roared onto shore the Marines let loose with a barrage of artillery from M109 Paladins and heavy mortars. Followed by a wing of SeaCobras swooping in on the exposed landing craft wrecking havoc on the Cuban troops. The Cubans, their units broken up and scattered, now simply looked to fall back to their transports. However, their safe haven on the transports had been destroyed as US Navy F-18 and SeaCobras had descended upon the exposed and unarmed cargo ships, sinking all but one of them. The Cubans with little choice left, either surrendered or attempted to land and keep up the fight. By the 28th, the Cuban advance had ceased and with the help of the USS Saipan and Tarawa the 3rd Marines began to retake the islands, pushing the Cuban troops further South. In an attempt to distract the US from his advances in the Bahamas and ordered his troops posted in Angola to move South into South African controlled Namibia.
In the Far East the British and Commonwealth defenders of Hong Kong finally went on the offensive, driving the shattered and disorganized Chinese units back from their positions they had held for months and driving a six-mile wide hole into the Chinese lines. The goal of this operation was to simply drive the Chinese back, allowing some breathing room for the defenders and also to maintain the sort of confusion that persisted in the Chinese rear. On the Korean peninsula the fighting had slowed to a crawl as the US-ROK-UN forces continued their counter-attack into the North Korean and Chinese lines, the hope now being that they could seize Pyongyang.
July 1-12, 1986
A brief aside about the events in the Middle East up to this point in the war. When the war began back in May, Iran and Iraq had been at each others throats, fighting over strips of land, canals and with hardly any give or take from either side. However, with Soviet armored and mechanized formations rolling down from the north, many Iranian army units found themselves fighting a two front war, with their supply lines cut; ammo became short along with spare parts and replacement vehicles. The already low morale among the various Iranian army units gave out and desertion and mass surrenders became common place, both to the Soviets and Iraqis alike. With the quick inclusion of the US forces invading from the South, what little control the Iranian government held over the territories left in their control collapsed and the Iranian government cease to exist. However, despite this, the Iranian military continued to resist both the Soviet and American invasions as individual units. As of July 4th there were still at least 302,000 Iranian soldiers, and paramilitaries fighting the combined invasions of Iraq, the Soviet Union and The US. As for Iraq, with the collapse of the Iranian military and government they quickly swept up the land they had sought to conquer with Kuzestan, llam, Kermanshah and Luristan all being annexed by Iraq and the Shat-al-Arab coming completely under Iraqi control. Iraq soon began the brutal process of putting down local rebellions and suppressing the populace, while Kurds, rallied by their leaders headed the now unclaimed Kurdistan where they promptly proclaimed it an independent state. As the war entered its second month, Saddam decided he would use the current war in Europe to solidify his control over the region, on June 30th he ordered his army into Kuwait. Kuwait itself had a majority Sunni population and only a relatively small military, while also controlling one of the world's largest oil supplies. The invasion was swift and brutal as Kuwait's small military was quickly overwhelmed by the massive Iraqi invasion. By the dawn on July 1st Iraq had complete control over Kuwait and immediately began to subjugate it, putting the royal family under arrest and either killing or imprisoning anyone they saw as a threat to Iraq's new rule. In the city of Beirut, the Soviet invasion of the Middle East seemed to act as a catalyst for the various Muslim and Christian Militias within the city to begin doing battle once more as age old hatred boiled over into armed conflict. In the weeks that followed the Christian militias quickly gained the upper hand over the Muslims and the city rapidly began to fall to their advances despite efforts by the Lebanese Army to quell the violence. Soon the fighting in Beirut spread across Lebanon until the cities of Tripoli and Tyre became engulfed in violence as Christians and Muslims fought each other in the streets.
On the Northern plains of Germany the Soviet 11th guards Army, recently brought up from the Ukraine goes enters the brutal combat that had been going on along the Rhine River. The 11th Guards Army despite being the only fresh unit the Soviets can throw at NorthAG was harassed by NATO air forces on their transit to West Germany and many of the army's units are undermanned and understrength thus their initial offensive operations are ineffective against the now solidified NATO positions. Meanwhile the Soviet 2nd and 4th Shock Armies begin operations to expand the front and to keep themselves from being hemmed in by the NATO forces to the South and West. However, the relatively unmolested French I Corp and veteran US III Corp manage to hold the line against Soviet advances. As NATO air power is brought to bear on the massive collection of Soviet and Pact forces within the newly dubbed "North German Bulge" the whole area rapidly turns into a cauldron of destruction as NATO air forces mercilessly bomb the Warsaw Pact forces causing casualties to rise to new highs for the attacking Pact forces. In the South the NATO forces that make up CentAG continue to hold the line and prevent any sort of advance by the Soviet 8th Guards Army and its supporting Czech and East German units. In Denmark the last of the Polish airborne units are overrun and with the East German advance having been completely halted by the efforts of the NATO forces they begin isolated counter-attacks against the tired East Germans. Up in Norway the Soviet 1st Airborne Army is able to slowly push its way out of the small pocket it was encompassed in and begins its advance on the city of Bodo. Knowing how crucial the city is to the NATO forces fighting further North the Soviets press hard against the tired NATO defenders. The fighting quickly moves to the streets of Bodo as Soviet and NATO troops engage in a brutal urban war with much of the fighting centered around the city's port where NATO continues to supply the cities defenders via the sea. The battle for Bodo rapidly turns into a Stalingrad style battle as troops fight for streets and homes, while fighters from England and Iceland fight in the skies above. On the far Southern flank, the Pact advance on the crucial city of Istanbul has all but slowed to a halt as the tough Greek troops, supported by their Turkish allies slow the advance of the Pact forces. Meanwhile in the interior of Turkey, Soviet troops continue their advance of Ankara only slowed by expertly timed spoiling attacks by the greatly diminished Turkish defenders. However, despite their best efforts, the Soviet advance cannot seem to be stopped by the Turkish forces.
At Sea, the loss of the Kirov and Kiev was a great loss to the Soviet surface forces as they lost a good amount of their projection power with those two ships. However, the Soviets continue to dominate the Barents Sea along with the North Atlantic. However, NATO finally got a look at their newest adversary the Tu-160 Blackjack. The two supersonic bombers deployed by the Soviets in anti-convoy operations throughout the North Atlantic had since proven to be more than effective in the few raids they'd partaken on. However, with the closing of Jan Mayen's airbase, the two Tu-160s had been relocated to airfields on the Kola Peninsula, this, however, didn't have much of an effect on their range. With the move came the removal of the two prototypes from convoy duty and instead were relegated to attacking British radar arrays located in Scotland. On July 5th one of the Tu-160s tagged along on a raid of an Shannon airport in an attempt to make Ireland reconsider their role in the war. However, unbeknownst to the Soviets the Americans had supplied the Irish with enough F-16s to fill out a whole squadron. This squadron of fighters had performed admirably up to this point in the war, with several pilots claiming kills of Soviet bombers and fighters. However, the raid was for most of the pilots their first test of action and despite this they performed well downing several Soviet MiG-31s and at least three Tu-16 Badgers while preventing any major damage coming to Shannon airport. While American F-15s and British Tornadoes chased down the fleeing flight group a lucky Irish aviator was able to down one of the Tu-160s. The aircraft crash landed amid the Irish countryside with its crew being quickly arrested by the local police. fire crews quickly doused the flames on the Blackjack and the remnants was taken back to Shannon for examination by NATO experts. On a completely different front the first appearance of Chinese submarine in the Indian Ocean was made public as a pair of patrolling cruisers the USS Reuben James and the HMS Battleaxe sunk the Chinese submarine Shang a Type 093 class attack sub. On July 11th another Chinese sub was sunk off the Australian coast by the HMAS Darwin after torpedoing two cargo ships and mining the entrance to Perth's harbor.
In an effort to support her Commonwealth allies defending Hong Kong the US 7th Fleet launches a massive airstrike against the Chinese naval base at Yantian. The strike manages to damage several ships sitting at their moorings along with destroying the concrete submarine pens that house China's fearsome nuclear missile boats. Meanwhile, along the coast of Australia and New Zealand an escalating number of attacks from Chinese submarines forces the US 7th Fleet and the respective commonwealth navies to pull ships back to help hunt down the marauding Chinese subs. On July 12th a Chinese nuclear attack submarine (another Type 093) manages to damage the HMS Ark Royal, causing the massive carrier to block the channel leading out of Darwin's harbor. The submarine is quickly located by a US Navy P-3 Orion and is sunk by airdropped torpedoes. The Ark Royal is towed into one of the dry docks in Darwin ans repairs begin on the stricken ship. The Ark Royal and her battle group had been on their way to Hong Kong with a task force of Royal Marines intended to be used as a raiding force against the Chinese coastline. In Korea the US-ROK-UN forces quickly push across the Korean border and into North Korea with the intent to destroy the unstable Communist dictatorship once and for all. However, the invasion triggers a series of protests and riots against the government of Chun Doo-hwan the current South Korean dictator. President Chun orders police and provisional military forces to put down the unrest, in the resulting clashes between police and rioters several dozen people are killed. This leads to more riots across the Korean peninsula leading to further destabilization of the South Korea.
July 13-20, 1986
On July 13th the Soviet 3rd Guards Tank arrived on the Northern German Front via rail adding to the increasing amount of fresh Soviet units being added into what all the newspapers were calling the "Cauldron of Fire". A total of 20 new Soviet armored, mechanized and motorized had been deployed to Northern Germany along with six new regiments of fighters, most containing the ultra-modern MiG-29 Fulcrum and MiG-31. These new units gave not just the NATO defenders a real headache to deal with but also added pressure to the just barely reformed NATO defenses. The Soviet troops slowly began to expand their pocket, pushing the US III Corp and French I Corp South. In CentAG's area the front continued to hold even with the added pressure from the North. In the Baltic as Admiral Blackburn with the USS New Jersey fought to hold back the Pact naval forces looking to make a run for the open waters of the Atlantic NATO naval command had prepared a new strike to chop the pact navies off at their necks, this operation, named Thanksgiving was simple enough. The French carrier Foch would sail into the Baltic on the heels of two American Battleship groups, one headed by the USS New Jersey and the second by the USS Missouri. Their combined battle groups would attack the Polish port of Gdansk in an attempt to destroy the Polish naval command structure headquartered in the city, and to draw Warsaw Pact forces away from the Foch which would promptly launch a massive airstrike on the Soviet Naval command post at Kaliningrad while a second smaller strike hit the Soviet naval academy at Leningrad. When put into effect the two battleships sufficiently-held Pact air and naval forces outside Gdansk, bombarding the port facilities and even launching a tomahawk missile at the Polish naval command post in the city. After the three days of bombardment that the battleships had been ordered to subject Gdansk to the Missouri and New Jersey quickly made themselves scarce. The three day attack had led to 12 Polish and Soviet aircraft being sunk by the battle group's AA defenses and 6 Polish ships from patrol boats to a small destroyer being sunk. However, the battle groups each came away scathed, three ships including one of the US' precious Ticonderoga-class missile cruisers making it the second lost during the conflict. To add most of the ships had sustained some kind of damage from air and missile attacks with the USS Caron limping back to the Thames with a heavy list to port. As for the Foch the strike went perfectly, the AA defenses around Kaliningrad were sufficiently suppressed by American "Wild Weasel" aircraft allowing French bombers and fighters to sweep in and wreck havoc on the Soviet naval forces with only minimal losses. On the strike on Leningrad things went slightly less to plan with the strike force running into Soviet Air Defense fighters. Despite the Soviet aircraft being the long since out of date Su-15 interceptor they still managed to claim three aircraft before the strike was over, again with most ground AA defenses being suppressed by American Wild Weasels.
Out on the choppy seas of the North Atlantic the Soviet carrier Ulyanovsk was sailing with more protection since the destruction of the Kirov and Kiev the Soviet navy had been protecting their carriers with far more forces. The Ulyanovsk being the largest carrier in the Soviet Navy now had two Kirov class carriers, multiple AA ships and more than enough escorts. The Ulyanovsk had been for the past three weeks been harassing the NATO base at Keflavik, interdicting the Hail Mary raids. Now with the Jan Mayen air base fully repaired she was open to new tasking and was thus sailing south to hit convoys traversing the Atlantic. Several attempts by NATO aircraft to keep an eye on carrier and her task force had ended in a lot of lost aircraft, this is due to the absence of the cruddy Forger VTOL aircraft and in their place were new MiG-29s fitted specially for carrier service. The response to the advance of the Ulyanovsk was Operation Poseidon. The operation was simple a strike on the carrier and her battle group with a flight of B-52Gs loaded with Harpoon Anti-Ship missiles supported by fighters and more bombers off the USS Dwight D Eisenhower and USS America. This combined strike force left their respective bases on July 15th, formed up and flew towards the Ulyanovsk. They approached the carrier and her group with the F-14s engaging the patrolling the MiG-29s while Intruders were sent against the two Kirov cruisers, the B-52s drifting behind the actual strike group fired their missiles from a distance. The Harpoons arced through the air with most finding their target killing the Ulyanovsk with the two Kirovs being badly damaged, at the cost of six American bombers and fighters.
When US Marines began their advance down the Bahamian Island chain Castro in an attempt to distract the US and her allies from the Caribbean ordered his troops in Angola to invade South African occupied Namibia. Despite the fall of the apartheid government in 1970 and the destruction of Apartheid the nation had still continued its war of imperialism in Namibia along with supporting the anti-Communist organization: UNITA. With the liberalizations also came the collapse of the UN arms embargo allowing the US and her allies to flood their renewed ally with modern arms and weapons. While the powerful Atlas corporation handled many aircraft designs prior to the inversion of western companies, they were now sidelined as the British, US and France all began to market fresh equipment to South Africa. The US sold South Africa a large shipment of M-60 TTS Pattons in order to replace the SADF's ancient Centurion variants. However it was the South African air force that received an overhaul. The air force having been stuck using old French Mirages now had access to new F-15s (modified by Atlas to allow for more versatile ground support abilities), OH-58 Kiowa attack choppers for ground support (again modified by Atlas to include a 20mm chain gun) and finally a full squadrons worth of A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. It was these A-10s that truly gave the South Africans their edge on the battlefield, the dangerous A-10s had the MPLA, SWAPO and the Cuban ground forces diving fro the ground every time they even lifted their heads. However, all that seemed to be no longer necessary as the Cubans along with their local allies had called for a truce with the South Africans. The truce had been called in response to many members of SWAPO and the MPLA refusing to go into battle against a "non-existent enemy". The way the fighters saw it they no longer had any reason to fight the South African government, the black majority in South Africa had been given equal rights, black politicians from both the Right and Left held seats in the Parliament (albeit the President was still an Afrikaner), the SADF itself was now intermixed with blacks, Indians and Afrikaners alike, many of the fighters were happy about this development and were willing to live in a capitalist society and wished for amnesty. As the talks had begun between the South African government and the various Communist forces the fighting had broken out in Europe and things only went down hill from there, then on June 28th the whole peace process had broken down as Cuban troops along with their remaining African allies attacked into Namibia, clashing with SADF forces. Despite superior equipment and training the Cubans and their allies were for the first three days able to make progress into Namibia. However by the fourth day the SADF was able to halt the Cuban advance. Then with the help of the US 1st Armored Cavalry Regiment they began to drive the Cubans and their allies back. The Cuban commander, General Diego Vega, desperate to halt the advance of the SADF, sent a panicked message to Havana and to Cuban troops in Ethiopia. In both he begged for whatever support the two could send. In Havana's case there was no support that could be spared. The troops in Ethiopia began to redeploy to Angola. Yet the fighting in Namibia had quickly gone in the favor of SADF and their American allies as the South African Air Force quickly took command of the air and began turning the Cuban supply lines into a mess of burning vehicles and dead corpses. The situation with each passing day became more and more dire as supplies on the front became increasingly scarce - so did Cuba's allies. SWAPO was the first to go, having suffered horrendous losses while fighting alongside the Cubans in the initial offensive. The organization finally collapsed on July 19th. The MPLA went next, on July 12th a South African Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attacked the MPLA's command post at Keetmanshoop. The result was most of the MPLA's command staff being killed in the flurry of explosives and depleted uranium rounds and a mass desertion and surrendering to the US and South African forces. With most of their allies out the Cubans became more and more desperate to hold what land they had taken and to restart their offensive. General Vega ordered all Cuban forces in Ethiopia to redeploy to Angola immediately. With this, the Cuban troops in Ethiopia commandeered any aircraft they could get their hands on and flew as fast as they could to Angola only to find the situation bleak and bordering on futility. The fighting in Angola and Namibia lasted until the 20th of July. With most of his forces exhausted, short on supplies and in low morale General Vega surrendered his whole command to the US-SADF Forces that faced him. In total 16,000 Cubans, 1200 East Germans and 130 various African guerrillas surrendered.
With rioting intensifying in South Korea, the ROK government quickly made an appeal for support to the US Government. As the US 85th Armored Regiment fights further north in the continuing push on North Korea, the US 2nd Infantry Division is delegated to riot duty as US personnel stand guard outside their posts and bases as South Korean Riot Police and territorial troops fight to break up protests. However the protests spread rapidly and increase in volatility until finally as US infantrymen and MPs are busy fighting to defend their bases from rioters the US Government asks South Korean dictator Chun Doo-hwan to step down. A request he reluctantly agrees to.