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Queen Maud Land War
As the sixties arrived it became increasingly hard for the Antarctic Germans to mask their location, with Norwegian settlers now inhabiting areas near many of their cities. The Fourth Reich now possessed a comparatively strong military in respect to other nations on the continent, and many Antarctic German officials believed the best course of action would be war, to secure the continent before other European nations began establishing claim to parts of it. Conflict was stalled however, as the Antarctic Germans awaited the reanimation of their leader Adolf Hitler.
On 7 March Adolf Hitler awoke from cyrosleep, having been transported and successfully arrived in Antarctica. Hitler was impressed by the progress that the Antarctic Germans had made, and was determined to begin his mission to rise to power as soon as he was healthy and able. On 20 March this announcement came, when Adolf Hitler announced his presence to the international community. Immediately the United Nations condemned Hitler's regime, and many nations called for immediate steps to be taken to contain the Antarctic Germans. The Antarctic German military was mobilized in case of attack, and these forces began patrols across Queen Maud Land, often coming under attack by Norwegian settlers.
This escalated in a skirmish between Antarctic German forces and a Norwegian garrison near the Torshavnfjellene. Known as the First Battle of the Torshavnfjellene, Norwegian colonial soldiers were pinned down for several days in the mountains, targeted by constant Antarctic German bombing and attack on the ground. At the same time a large Antarctic German force had been mobilized further to the west, which was prepared to target the coast, before cutting off this force in the mountains if necessary. Attempts to relieve these forces failed, and on 2 April the remaining 232 Norwegian soldiers in the mountains surrendered to German forces, having suffered more than 500 casualties.
On 1 May 1961 the Norwegian government authorized the mobilization of its fleet to assert its claim on Queen Maud Land, which is generally accepted as the official war of the conflict between the Fourth Reich and Norway. The main Norwegian Colonial Army was mobilized and stationed in cities around Queen Maud Land, in preparation for the coming attack. The Antarctic German forces continued from the mountains to the city of Halvøyaby on 5 May, laying siege to the city. As the Antarctic Germans approached the air force stationed in the city attempted to sortie against the approaching ground forces, which resulted in utter defeat. Finally the remaining planes fled east, carrying a large number of officers and other important people. The city itself surrendered soon after.
Having defeated the Norwegian forces at Halvøyaby and the Torshavnfjellene, the Antarctic Germans now controlled much of the northern coast, with the exception of northeast Queen Maud Land and the city of Polarburg. Since Polarburg was a primarily German settlement, Hitler declared that it was the responsibility of the Fourth Reich to liberate the city, and unite it with the nation proper. Polarburg however resisted annexation, prompting the Antarctic German military to invade on 11 May. The city possessed little to no military, and at this time what little force it had was consolidated with the Norwegian Colonial Army as a volunteer force. The Antarctic Germans were able to march through the city easily, arresting dissidents and establishing absolute control in the city without any major confrontation with an organized armed force.
The annexation of Polarburg was condemned by the international community, and prompted the Federal Republic of Germany to declare war on the Fourth Reich. The world now held its attention on Antarctica, and members of NATO prepared for a full scale invasion of the Fourth Reich to pacify Antarctica and defend the lands of alliance members Norway and West Germany.
With the northern coast of Queen Maud Land now secured by the Antarctic Germans, attention could be turned toward other major Norwegian settlements in the territory, particularly those in the central sections of the territory. The Antarctic Germans launched an operation across the territory to seize all Norwegian settlements and mining operations in their vicinity, experiencing low level fighting with Norwegian militia and armed settlers. By the end of May the Antarctic Germans had now seized much of the Valkyrie Dome, aside from the city of Fólkvangrbyen, located in the northeast section of the dome. The city had served as the central point for Norwegian settlement and mining in the south, and was a considerable stronghold against Antarctic German control in the south.
The Battle of Fólkvangrbyen became the first large-scale battle involving Aryan II's and Panzer IX's, becoming a trial for future battles involving new Antarctic German military units. Approximately 1,000 Norwegian colonial soldiers and militia guarded the city, but ultimately the city lacked the proper defenses to repel air attacks and mechanized infantry on the ground. The city was largely destroyed by bombing runs, with the local Norwegian air garrison unable to hold back against supersonic jets and more advanced aircraft.
The Norwegians were defeated at Fólkvangrbyen, and the remaining forces in the area began a retreat by land and air to defend the last major settlements in the northeast. From Fólkvangrbyen Antarctic German forces began a campaign across the surround territory in search of remaining Norwegian forces, culminating in the Battle of the Valkyrjedomen, a drawn out engagement and series of skirmishes between the fleeing Norwegian forces and German scouts and aircraft. The campaign would prove an Antarctic German victory, although a tactical Norwegian victory, as remnants of the Norwegian military in the region still managed to retreat to Håkonsbyen.
On 3 June the first Norwegian forces arrived in Queen Maud Land, garrisoning about 10,000 soldiers in the city of Håkonsbyen and the surrounding area. The Norwegians prepared to hold off against attack from the Antarctic Germans long enough for NATO forces to arrive and relieve the Norwegians, or until an evacuation could be mounted if necessary. Anti-air encampments were established, operated by the Norwegian Air Force, and several more advanced aircraft were stationed in the region from Norway.
Invasion of Berkner Island
With Norway now officially at war with the Fourth Reich, calling upon the members of NATO to support them in their defense, it was only a matter of time before the United States and its allies launched an attack against the Antarctic Germans. Berkner Island, located just outside Antarctic German territory and its major coastal cities, proved a crucial strategic point, and the Antarctic Germans sought to capture the island before the United States could begin targeting the Fourth Reich by air, or possibly use the island as a staging ground for a future invasion. At the time of the war's outbreak, Berkner Island was home to a large American military base and airfield, created in 1959 following the conclusion of the Antafrican Civil War. The island was an important piece in the American Antarctic Command, serving as a regional base near the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea.
After the successful battle at Halvøyaby, military assets were transferred from the city to the Antarctic German city of Küstefestung, located on the Weddell Sea, and within striking distance of Berkner Island. On 7 May the Antarctic Germans launched their attack, surrounding the major settlement of Fort McElroy with naval forces, and unleashing a heavy barrage. At the same time a detachment of the Antarctic German fleet traveled south and wrapped around the island, landing a large amount of soldiers in the south. The main Antarctic German force landed outside Fort McElroy and began slowly pushing into the settlement. Bombers managed to destroy several major defensive installations, but were also heavily targeted by the defending air force, causing numerous casualties.
Ground forces in the south moved across the island, covering areas that were largely rural, capturing several small towns. The Antarctic Germans encountered numerous bands of soldiers and militia, and were often targeted by smaller planes still airborne, slowing down the advance into 8 May. By the next morning the Antarctic Germans had seized the high points of the island, and had also surrounded Fort McElroy, prompting a surrender of the American garrison at noon on 8 May. The island was quickly fortified and a large Antarctic German garrison was positioned on the island. The warships gathered outside the settlement were tasked with hunting down any remaining American forces around the island, supported by the air force.
UN Invasion of the Fourth Reich
The Fourth Reich's invasion of Norway led to declarations of war from the nations of NATO soon after, followed by calls for a joint invasion led by the United Nations into Antarctica. Forces were prepared under the command of the United Nations Command, the same force which had fought in South Korea's defense during the Korean War.
Former United States president Dwight D. Eisenhower was appointed supreme commander of the UN invasion, his commission as General of the Army being reinstated upon leaving the office of president. Second in command of the invasion force, and supreme allied commander in Europe, was Lauris Norstad. The United States supplied the majority of soldiers and forces to the invasion of the Fourth Reich, followed closely by many other NATO members. Having learned from previous engagements against Communist forces in Korea and Antarctica, in the Antafrican Civil War, the United States was largely well prepared for operations in Antarctica. The sudden loss of Berkner Island however greatly set the United States back, and led to a full rethinking of the allied invasion plan.
The invasion plan became known as Operation Freedom I, and was to begin with a land invasion west of Norwegian held territory, in the north of Queen Maud Land. The operation was planned to begin on 1 June, designated "U-Day" by Allied forces. The United States was prepared to land twenty five divisions, numbering 375,000 soldiers, on the coast of Queen Maud Land, supported by a large armada of allied ships. At the same time an additional 200,000 soldiers were mobilized and moved to American protectorates bordering the Fourth Reich's territory. A large section of this force was also moved into the African Republic, especially past the Transantarctic Mountains and along the Weddell Sea. Large scale strategic bombing was ordered over the Fourth Reich at all hours, beginning the largest bombardment since the Second World War. Allied naval units were also moved into the region, carrying out a constant blockade, as well as a comprehensive monitoring of the entire continent.