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|The War of Defense|
|Date||May 7, 1988 - November 11, 1991|
|Result||Alliance victory; fall of socialist ideologies and subjugation of former Confederacy members by the Alliance|
The War of Defense, or World War III (Latin: Bellum Aegidis) was the third and most recent global military conflict. In essence, the war was a conflict between Socialism and Imperialism, the desire for rule by the people versus rule by an autocrat. The Confederacy of United Platonists considered it the last step in a World Revolution that would bring about everlasting world peace and prosperity. Their ideology required nothing less than an absolute hegemony for socialism.
The Alliance of Earth saw nothing but the last straw in over half a century of rebellions in the name of some old philosophy. Both sides were absolutely certain they would win, and it wasn't until the Mongols' intervention that the balance finally tipped in the Alliance's favor.
Although the Bellum Aegidis lasted only three years it saw the complete collapse of global Socialism and subjugation of the supporting populaces by the victorious Foedus Terrae. Under terms of the Treaty of Carthage, the Confederacy's members were kept in this repressed state until their separate deadlines arrived (from 1996 to 2002). Today, the Majapahijan Republic remains under the jurisdiction of the Roman military and expectations are pointing to deadline extension.
The official start of the war is accepted as May 7, 1988 when the Danes fired a multi-megaton nuclear warhead at Rome itself. Fortunately, the Danes underestimated the capabilities of Roman satellite defenses and the city was spared. The Imperium and its allies immediately declared war. This event came at the time of a socialist revolt in Tawatinsuyu (the Inca Empire), in line with Confederate plans. Although the Alliance members were plagued by more rebellions for the duration of the war, forcing them to split their military forces, they emerged victorious on November 11, 1991 when the Confederacy issued its surrender in order to prevent the systematic destruction of all its member nations.
Fighting during the war characterizes modern techniques for warfare: space-to-ground weapons; satellite surveillance; integrated levels of strategy; and heavy use of armored vehicles and aircraft. The ability to counter an enemies technology - such as jamming to block radar or lasers to destroy incoming missiles - was valuable, particularly in catching the enemy off-guard. Were it not for the Alliance's unwillingness to attack civilian targets, their superior technology would have undoubtedly won the war sooner.
This entire conflict is a culmination of centuries of events that have leading up to the "World Revolution" that was predicted in the 1200's. Analysts of Roman Emperor Magnus II predicted that the perfect form of government, Platonism, where the state rules in the name of human truth and progression, would ultimately emerge in one country and then force a chain of events through which the world would become Platonist. The member nations of the Confoedera Unitae Platiorum staunchly believed in this doctrine, and by 1988 they already owned almost a third of the world's landmasses and only had two or three more steps to take until they would be unstoppable, even by Rome.
In truth, a good deal of history had been leading up to this point, but it really began with a series of revolutions in the Imperium of Danemarc. The first revolution removed the old monarchy and then a second in 1707 turned Scandinavia into a socialist nation ruled by the "imperium" (right) of the Danish people. This new nation claimed to be the herald of the coming age of Platonism and tried desperately to gain Platonist allies in other countries. Although they went through a few rough centuries, the 1930's following the Global War were marked by hatred towards imperialist nations. This sowed the seeds of rebellion in nearly all of the losing countries. For the rest of the 20th century more and more nations slowly joined the accelerating Platonist movement until only six other nations remained.
When the Ottomans went into isolation after their Civil War in the 80's, all the opposition to Platonism that remained was the "imperialist pigs" that all owned colonial empires outside of their home territory (ironically like the Danes do). These five nations were constant enemies of the Confederacy, and it had long been decided in its government that war was the only option against them. It was expected by the Confederate leadership that the Mongols would stay out of any fights the Alliance got involved in, due to their own antagonistic feelings towards one another. Therefore, once the Inca were under Platonist control following their revolution, the only opposition would be the three founding members of the Alliance. Unfortunately for the Confederacy, the rebellions in Tawatinsuyu started off poorly due to the quick response of the Alliance to the situation. Nevertheless, the Confederacy found a way to use this to their advantage.
Since a significant portion of their enemy's military was now focused in one country, their home territories were more vulnerable to a direct assault. Hence, on May 7, 1988, the Danes ordered for the Mjöllnir Nuclear Artillery Station to wipe out the city of Rome, followed by all other major Roman cities. Calculations had shown that within a week, over 300 million Roman citizens would be dead, crushing the country's resolve to fight. This would leave just the Japanese and the Maya for them to contend with. However, their plan was foiled when orbital Roman weaponry proved capable of destroying the artillery shells before they could reach their targets. Their only consolation was that the resulting EMPs of prematurely detonated warheads were enough to disable the firing mechanisms of Roman Kinetic Artillery satellites. Still, their failed act of war triggered an immediate response from the Alliance and the Confederacy now found itself in a straightforward war with a larger and much more advanced enemy.
1988: Outbreak of the War
The initial phase of the war showed a far less active and more overconfident response by Alliance forces. Their belief that their superior weapons technology was going to win the war for them within months kept them from making any concentrated assaults during the entire first year and led the leaders of all three countries to immediately promise the international community that they wouldn't hit civilian targets during the course of the war. That promise was absolutely crippling to the Alliance War effort, especially since the Confederacy had no qualms about doing it themselves.
Nuclear Weapons in the Early Years
Despite the failure of the Mjöllnir in its initial shots, the Danes did realize that using the weapon brought several advantages. For one, every nuclear explosion released a very powerful EMP which disabled the firing mechanisms of Roman kinetic artillery in space and blinded radar stations both on the ground and in space for several hours. Furthermore, all Roman Seraphim laser defense satellites within 2000 km of Greenland were now unavailable for anything other than preparing to stop the artillery shells. There was now way that the Roman government could risk having any warheads get through to populated cities. This rendered about 50 satellites useless in the rest of the war effort and protected the Danish territories from the laser satellites.
The Alliance on the other hand had already put itself into a tight situation, on May 14 the Roman and Maya governments had made a promise not to use nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the Japanese already had a policy of never using nuclear weapons unless there was a nuclear threat on their own soil, which in this war there was not. These policies also prohibited the famous Jason handheld nuclear launchers from being used, much to the dismay of many Roman officers.
To make matters worse, the Danes had another ace up their sleeves, regular nuclear artillery pieces. Hundreds of these small-scale nuclear launchers were spread out amongst Confederate bases, severely limiting the Alliance's ability to attack them since just one artillery piece could destroy entire an entire army in seconds. Nuclear artillery was employed everywhere across the Confederacy except in the Khmer Republic, where its use would give the Japanese good enough reason to deploy their own.
Preparations for War
On May 8, just a day after the outbreak, Emperor Cicero and the Imperial Senate declared Justitium (martial law), allowing the Emperor to move Legions to any province of his choosing without consulting the Senate beforehand. Several days later, it was voted that the Auxilaria Subito (Conscription) would not be put into effect given the low perceived threat posed by the platonic socialists. Exactly ten out of the 201 Roman Legions were brought to Cambria (Denmark) and Upper Muscovy to defend the border against the Danes. Five Legions were sent to Frigerra (Iceland) and another ten were sent to Alkonquia to defend the Romans' holdings in North Columbia. Finally, seven Legions were sent to supplement the Alliance forces already present in Tawatinsuyu; bringing the total number of deployed Legionaries to 210,000. Although the large number of soldiers being deployed at once made the Roman public uncomfortable, the Emperor defended his position, saying "the defense of the Senate and the People of Rome (SPQR) is worth a response of any magnitude."
To defend the North and Baltic Seas from a Confederate naval assault, several thousand ships from the Atlantic High Fleet were brought to reinforce the British High Fleet in its jurisdiction. The other half of the Atlantic High Fleet guarded the North Columbian coastline in case of an amphibious assault on those provinces. Meanwhile, large portions of both the Arabian and the Pacific High Fleets were brought over to the seas around Australis to prepare it for a potential invasion by the Khmer. The rest of the Pacific High Fleet, along with eight supercarriers and 200 battlecruisers from the Japanese Pacific Fleet, was readied for the invasion of the Khmer Isles in early June. Furthermore, the Aerial Defense Legion of the Romans was brought to bear against the Confederacy, and within the first month of the war a quarter of all its aircraft were brought to the frontlines.
The Maya meanwhile had 10 of their Generals (with a total of 120,000 infantrymen) command their forces towards the UCC; the only enemy who was close to the Maya States. The Maya Navy along with 4 more Generals established themselves across their Pacific Island territories in order to aid in the invasion of the Khmer Isles. The Conglomerate already had eight generals leading their troops in Tawatinsuyu to prevent a complete takeover of the country by the socialist rebels.
Meanwhile, the Confederacy, who had been preparing for this war for decades, had plans entirely of their own. The entire Khmer government had already been evacuated from the Isles and their military bases were widely spread out and camouflaged with the mountains and jungles. They hoped to keep warfare in the Isles exclusively to guerrilla fighting. This theater of war wasted a lot of the Alliance's troops and resources, and was intended to give the Confederacy a leg up in other theaters of the war. In Scandinavia the defenses were very heavy, with high concentrations of nuclear artillery and laser defenses to prevent assaults from the air and from space. In North Columbia preparations were made for large scale guerrilla warfare, with over ten million troops spread around the forests and in the cities to drive out the Alliance.
In Africa the Zulus had already established a huge defensive line along their border with Rome, and a non-aggression pact with the Inca, signed several decades ago, ensured them safety on that front as well. The Zulu defensive line consisted of hundreds of km of trenches, land mines and artillery. Along their coast, naval batteries kept the Alliance dissuaded from an amphibious assault for at least the beginning of the war.
Finally, the island of Vinland (Newfoundland) in Columbia was the most heavily defended location in the Confederacy. This was to protect the Confederate capital of Kallipolis. One of the most impressive naval defense arrays extended across Ericsson Bay (Conception Bay) to keep out enemy ships. These defenses were over 40 km deep and consisted of a dense field of naval mines, artillery batteries all along the surrounding coast and several layers of naval walls bristling with gun batteries. Amazingly, these defenses were more than enough to take even the most concentrated assault by the Alliance navies.
In total, the Confederacy had deployed around 22 million professional troops and 42 million militia from the start of the war. In comparison, the Alliance only began with about three million troops; though each of these was easily worth ten Confederate troops.
Whilst the nation-states of the Confederacy were completely devoting their efforts to the war, a state of "total war" if you will, the Romans, Maya and Japanese were a lot more relaxed about the conflict. Only a little more money was put towards the military than usual and aside from the threat of nuclear bombardment, most citizens were pretty lax about the whole thing. Although this had completely changed by the next year, civilian affairs continued as usual for the time being.
For instance, space travel actually accelerated in popularity in wartime. The city of Troy on Mars doubled in population (reaching over 400,000 people) and had its infrastructure substantially upgraded. The Octavian Electromagnet Belt (an artificial magnetosphere) covered half of the planet's surface and enough Martian regolith had already been processed to create a thin atmosphere around the planet (about 1/100th the density of Earth's). The surface temperature had increased to -10 degrees Celsius and the soil around the city had been terraformed to the extent that it was suitable for planting. At the time only two problems remained. First, the atmosphere and soil could not be terraformed sufficiently for plant life to thrive for at least another 15-20 years. Second, the composition of the atmosphere was well over 60% carbon compounds; not at all suitable for animal life. Scientists estimated that if a floral ecosystem could be started in 2005, the air would probably be breathable and the planet habitable sometime between 2120 and 2150. On the bright side, only breathing masks and goggles would be needed within 8 years, as the atmosphere would soon be half the density of Earth's. Martian living it seemed, was becoming quite comfortable.
The Japanese were especially pleased with these developments since it made their own colonization efforts significantly easier. The best part of the deal for them though was that for a fee of around 10 million Dn a year they were allowed unlimited use of Rome's Portantia Network, which saved them huge amounts of money on fuel and made the price tag for Martian colonization completely worthwhile. Literally any ship capable of making it into Earth's orbit (though most ships are already in orbit thanks to the space elevator) can use this network once a "coupling device" is added to allow the electromagnetic launchers to send the ship from one station in the system to another.
The Sahara irrigation program was also coming along nicely in 1988 (only a year after it was started) and already 10% of the former desert had been converted into arable land. The significance of this program can not be understated. Once it is complete, Roman agricultural production will actually double in quantity, something which has brought down the price of most foods in the present day by a huge margin. Even better, there were plans that once the war was over the Romans would buy genetically modified plants to bring to Africa for use exclusively by the newly opened up fields. These plants had been modified to return nutrients to the soil when not producing food in order to maintain the arability of the Sahara fields and keep them perpetually useful in the far future.
The province which has benefited the most from this today is Aegyptus, which even before the program was complete, produced nearly all agricultural goods for Italy and Greece, and served as the headquarters for most major food guilds. In 1988 it was estimated that the province's GDP would double once all its land was opened up for farming. Ultimately this has proven to be correct. Additionally, it was expected that the project would provide Rome with a lot more goods for export, as well as completely solve the problems of starvation that have been plaguing the natives of middle Africa. The Inca in particular were already in on a special deal with the Romans to buy their crops at half price for the next 50 years in return for supplying them with the genetically modified seeds.
As well, the ambitious Magneuropa Program was ahead of schedule in 1988 as two of the three major hydroelectric dams were already complete and more than half of the water level and quality sensors were in place around the Mediterranean. All that remained for the project was to complete the Gibraltar Dam, add the rest of the sensors, and modify the dams already on major rivers going into the Sea. However, this was already the largest project in human history. By 1988, the program had cost a total of 300 billion Dn and used up a volume of materials equivalent to about 20 Great Pyramids of Kheops.
War around the Baltic
With the failure of the Nuclear Station in Greenland to destroy Roman Europe, the Danes were forced to work their way to Rome on their own. They were however well aware of Roman military capabilities and so it was decided that the best way to achieve victory was through a war of attrition, as the Confederacy was doing elsewhere, and to just hold out in their fortifications and kill as many Romans as possible. However, they did have one other issue and that was defending themselves from the Romans at sea. For although the Romans promised not to harm civilians, that wouldn't stop them from occupying their cities. On August 18 the entire Danish fleet, consisting of almost 1000 ships, along with the entire Danish Air Force staged an attack in bulk on the main Baltic Fleet stationed in Durorium, Cambria.
Roman radar and sonar of course saw the attack coming and radioed for support aircraft from Germania. The Danish Fleet was too close however and the Roman fleet of a few hundred ships was forced to fight off the assault until reinforcements arrived. Within minutes, the smaller Roman cruisers and even most Destroyers (Vastatoris) were destroyed under the heavy assault. After the first ten minutes the only Roman ships remaining were: one Memphis-Class Carrier, one Rome-Class Battlecruiser, two Alexandria-Class Battleships and four Melita-Class Battlecruisers. These were the only classes of ship present that had tungsten-carbon nanotube hulls capable of resisting most naval guns.
The ships put up a valiant fight for three hours, but two ships were lost when they left the defensive formation to stage a valiant defense of the city when some Danish ships split off from the main force, and by the second hour the ventral lasers of both Alexandria ships were far too damaged from the pummeling to work anymore. Though the Romans thought they could keep going, it was at this point that the Danes pulled their trump card. On the southern Scandinavian coast they had been building huge 1000 mm conventional artillery pieces with enough range to cover the entire Baltic sea and most of the Roman coast. It was at about 3 hours and 14 minutes into the battle that they started firing and only a little while later that their shells arrived. As the artillery used the ships as spotters they were able to accurately enough take out the remaining Roman ships and assist their own Battleships in shelling the city of Durorium. Although most people had either evacuated or suck out shelter by this time, that only slightly lessened the blow that the battle was to the Empire. An entire city that had once housed 3 million people was smashed to ground and the blood of several thousand Roman citizens was on the Danes' hands.
Although the reinforcements arrived an hour too late they were instead given a different mission. The Roman Intelligence Service had knowledge of a major Danish military base several km north of Stakholm and the six DC-174s and 20 A-132s were to assist in its destruction alongside four Cherubim Missile satellites that were also in range. Only moments after the attack began the Romans soon learned that the Danes had point-defense lasers that created an anti-missile around the base. Once the aircraft had released all of their payload, to no avail, the attack was called off and labeled a failure.
Over the next few months, more Roman aircraft teams learned that the fort near Stakholm was not the only one with a point-defense system. In fact, Roman intelligence was now counting about 126 such bases, with an estimated 200-240 more that had not been verified yet. Although laser satellites would be capable of getting through the defenses, all Seraphim in range of those bases were dedicated to watching the Greenland Station. The only choice for the Romans it seemed was to make an assault over land (the Baltic was too dangerous) through Scandinavia and take the bases one by one until the Danes surrendered. It would be a difficult fight, with an estimated 16 million Danes in their way, but the Empire was left with no other choice. In the meantime though to really important Roman cities were in danger yet (Durorium ironically enough actually had more ethnically Danish people than Romans) and the coastline at the base of the Cambrian Peninsula was defended enough to discourage an amphibious assault.
The first fight in this campaign was the Battle of Fort Heinrich, just a few hundred km from the Rome-Dane border, in mid-September. To assist in the attack Roman bombers dropped flak bombs over the target base, which although they were blocked by the defense system as well, these bombs made it dangerous for Danish infantry to be out in the open, and so they served as a useful form of suppressive fire. Meanwhile, a line of Roman armor, spearheaded by the mighty T-146 Heavy Testudos, led the charge and tore through the enemy defenses whilst infantry came in and mopped up the stragglers. The battle seemed to be a success until the last moment, when the base was swarming with legionaries, there was huge (non-nuclear) explosion that ripped the base apart, killing several hundred troops and damaging several tanks. It turns out the entire battle was a trap set by the Danes. To make matters worse, the Romans had no idea how many other bases were rigged like this, and it was now dangerous for any infantry to even approach another base.
An attack on another base, several hundred km east of the last one was made in late-October. This time, at the Battle of Joggr, the Roman tank line was met with nuclear artillery. Despite the losses of over a dozen armored vehicles, the nearly invulnerable T-146's were able to get through the nuclear bombardment and destroy the point-defense system. At this point a SC-40 gunship was brought in to raze the building to the ground and wipe out all the underground bunkers. Once again it was another Pyrrhic victory for the Alliance. Another dozen or so battles went almost exactly like this, though only two had nuclear artillery, and by December the Romans were completely worn out from fighting like this. A new defensive line was set up over the territory they'd taken so far, and the soldiers sat down and prepared to hold their position against a possible attack. The worst was however yet to come.
On December 21, 1988, a squadron of several hundred Danish fighters made an attack towards Roman Cambria. To the horror of the defenders, the squadron was made up of well over 900 fighters, and just one bomber. It didn't take a genius to realize that this was something big and so all aircraft in the area were deployed to intercept. Within an hour it became apparent that their target was the Provincial capital, Wentria, population 3.5 million. Aircraft cannons around the city were on full alert and had all sights on the bomber to take it out before it could get over the city, all gunners had strict orders to ignore all other aircraft, this was probably a nuclear bombing run. But it was magnitudes worse than they could have ever anticipated.
The defending aircraft arrived with the enemy wing 30 km from the city. All sights were set on the bomber in a reckless dive to save the day. Although this put many aircraft which were normally impossible to hit, in harm's way, saving the lives of more than three million citizens was worthy of the highest imperial honors. At about 25 km from the city, to the shock of everyone watching, the bottom of the bomber opened dropped a huge missile, easily half the plane's length. Rockets lit up and, within mere seconds, the weapon achieved hypersonic velocities. Immediately, all Roman aircraft changed targets but at 2 km/s the missile was over its target before anyone could get it in their sights. The ten megaton yield device detonated over the city forum, wiping out almost three quarters of the city, and bathing the rest in lethal waves of radiation.
No one in the Confederacy had access to hypersonic missile technology. While the Mongols were suspected, their equally great hatred for platonic socialism made most officials assume the missile to be an experimental design, the first of its kind. Nevertheless, the state of war was quickly becoming intolerable. If they could build one, they could build another and now every city within range was vulnerable to attack like what hit Wentria. Tens of millions of lives were at stake. On Christmas Eve, the last Senate meeting of the year, Emperor Cicero declared that on New Years Day every major city was to hold a popular assembly to vote on repealing the previous promise not to use nuclear weapons. The Caesar for his part was going to visit the World Headquarters to bring up a similar vote in the Alliance, while ambassadors went to both Japan and the Conglomerate to urge them to do the same. Most importantly, another ambassador was sent to the Inca, who were staunch critics of nuclear arms, to apologize in case the treaty was annulled. Though the Sapa Inca was at first upset, he quickly changed his mind once he realized that the Romans too knew what it was like to be a victim of a nuclear bombing. The war was getting a whole lot uglier.
Early Guerrilla WarfareIn other parts of the world the Alliance was fairing marginally better. Within only a month the major Khmer cities were taken, but this meant nothing to the military effort and, if anything, it only made things harder. Nearly all Khmer forces were prepared for guerrilla warfare in the islands' extensive jungles and even in the cities. Literally anyone old enough or strong enough to carry a gun could be a potential insurgent. To make matters worse, the entire Confederacy was indiscriminate about who they let join their armed forces. The Alliance armies consisted entirely of young to middle aged men who had a citizenship, while the Confederates employed men, women, children, the disabled. If someone could hold a gun they could be a soldier.
The socialists had been stockpiling arms for decades and there were probably more guns than people in some of those countries. The weapon of choice, however, was the G-20 assault rifle. It was reliable under almost any condition and never jammed, had decently low recoil, good accuracy and came either with or without a stock. Better still, it could stand the test of time and guns that had been used for ten years worked almost as well as ones used for ten days. Since its invention by the Japanese in 1925 it has been copied and bought by both the reputable and the despicable. By 1990 an estimated 100 million G-20's and their copies were in use around the world, mostly by the Confederacy and minor insurgency groups.
In Vinland (Danish Columbia) and Western Columbia, the fighting was especially intense as it was easy for guerrillas to hide in the area's dense urban centers. In the forests the famous Loki stealth sniper rifle was the weapon of choice. Usually the Romans and Maya tried to avoid the forests, but whenever they were forced to pass through there was almost always guaranteed to be a Columbian or Danish sniper somewhere. The worst opponent for the Alliance in this part of the world was by far the Columbians, in spite of having inferior equipment. They were well trained in the art of hunting, something not too different from this, and were extremely well acquainted with the terrain. Their adaptation of old Columbian war methods, something known as a Gillie suit, was especially useful in situations just like the ones faced in this war.
The only disadvantage that the Columbians had was that the Legionaries all had infrared sensors built into their war suits, essentially rendering the camouflage of the Gillie suit absolutely worthless to them. Technology like this was usually used to clear the way before anyone or anything important came through the area. Nevertheless, improvised explosive devices, gas attacks and rocket propelled grenades continued to make things dangerous for any convoy passing through an enemy city or forest.
By the end of the first year of the war nearly all major cities in the New World and Khmer Isles were under the control of the Alliance. Only the massively fortified city of Kallipolis and the rest of its island were still free in Columbia while the Nords in Scandinavia were steadily losing ground. Despite the occupation, guerrilla rebels in the Inca Empire and guerrilla forces in the other countries were accelerating their attacks. As it seemed, the Alliance had brought itself into a long and costly war.