The War of Empires was the largest war in the history of the world.
On August 9th, 1852, a bomb ripped through a central market in Madrid. Blamed on Aragonese terrorists, it was a not-too-clever ploy to justify an invasion into neighboring countries, including protectorates and colonies of the ailing Srivijaya. Unclever though it was, it inspired a nationalistic fervor in Spain that fortified the dictator's government - which was previously in danger of collapsing. Of course, dissidents did not get a chance to voice their opinions. On August 14th, in "retaliation", Spain invaded Aragon and started the "War of Empires".
1852: Spanish Expansion
The war for Aragon was short. After three weeks, the Spanish forces had gotten Aragon to surrender. Aragon was outmatched in every way, and had historically depended on Srivijaya for military aid, which did not come this time. At this point, Tolosa sent frantic messages to Srivijaya's main governments (which were still battling each other), declaring that they would be Spain's next target, and that they could only hold them off for a short while before help from abroad arrived. The Srivijayan governments promised to send soldiers, but none arrived. Instead, Srivijaya, as well as most other nations, sent a letter of reprobation, demanding that Spain not attack Tolosa, and that it retreat from Aragon. But there was only bluster, and no muster, as no troops arrived from any countries. China was one of the countries that condemned the attack on Aragon, yet its condemnation was weak, as it still thought that Spain could aid it in any possible fight with Japan. Indeed, China's warships were not sent to the region. They were all protecting China from Japan, along with a contingent around the Trans-Yodderick Canal and Seagate Island (OTL Martinique).
Seeing how easy it was to completely overcome Aragon, dictator Alfonso Lopez ordered a brazen invasion of Tolosa on October 26th. With a small fleet of airplanes 20 years old, no Juggernaut battleships, and a small standing army...and with the Asian powers either forsaking them or not being able to help them, the Tolosan assembly voted to not put up a fight, and to go into exile while the Spanish easily took over. Although the quick surrender undoubtedly saved the lives of the many troops that would have died in vain - protecting what could not be protected - this moment would be remembered after the war as a particularly defeatist moment, and the resident Muslims, in particular, would come to criticize this response.
1853: The Byzantine Invasions
Spain's quick victory in Tolosa was shocking to the whole world. Aragon and Tolosa had been Srivijayan protectorates, and not truly Srivijayan territory, so it remained to be seen whether Spain could - or would even dare to - overcome a major Asian power on the European continent. The conquering of these countries outraged most of the Asian world. Srivijayan governments sent messages to Spain that declared that any more attacks against other countries would mean war with Srivijaya. China and Japan condemned the assaults - while at the same time, Alfonso Lopez told Japan that he wouldn't attack Japan's territories if they would stay out of the fight. He hoped to now have both China and Japan out of the fight for the time being (until the Bomb was in working condition) so that it would only have to deal with the severely weakened Srivijaya - still in the midst of civil war.
On January 22nd, Operation "Mediterráneo Liberación" commenced. Spain brought its power to bear, including ground, sea, and air power in a full scale invasion of Srivijayan (SV) Italy, Tuscany, Genoa, Lombardy, Venice, SV Gibraltar, SV Ceuta, and SV Tangier. The early morning, brought a co-ordinated attack of multiple SV naval ports. A rain of bombs fell simultaneously on ports as distant as Tangier and Fiumicio (the port of Rome). In Fiumicio, the naval base and air base were neighbors, which made them easier targets. At the time of the attack, most of the airplanes there were grounded, and some of the warships were docked (although Srivijaya now made it mandatory to always keep some out at sea in case of an attack such as this). Spanish planes flew over the harbors, and when their bombs ran out, they machine gunned what they could. Anti-air batteries opened up, tossing fire into the air. This couldn't stop the dive bombers from hitting the SVS Napoli, the second largest aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. It exploded into a rage of smoke, bellowing black in to the sky. Still, the burst of guns from it still erupted skyward, and this wouldn't end until it started rocking over to its port side. Men filled the waters of the harbor, swimming towards shore, or lying motionlessly in the crimson water. At this point, a few of the aces had made it into the sky. Giovanni Carulli was one of these, and he was able to score 12 enemy kills in the day. His quick maneuvering and spiffy moves kept him safe from the enemies, while helping him to line up his prey with his six 13mm machine guns. This was an exception to the rule, however. The day was a near-complete tragedy for Srivijaya. By the end of it, Genoa had surrendered, and the SV cities of Gibraltar and Tangier would be captured. The Srivijayan military had to either guide their airplanes and ships to Ceuta, Italy, and West Africa, or destroy them so that the enemy couldn't gain them for use. By the end of February, SV Ceuta, SV Italy, Lombardy, and Venice were also under Spanish control. The Srivijayans had been completely pushed out of Europe in a matter of two months, and Spain was the new superpower on the continent.
The world public was taken aback by the recent happenings. Supposedly a world power, Srivijaya was falling apart, both from internal and external strife. The world began to wonder if the great Asian empires were still so great...or if maybe they had never been so great. After all, in recent centuries, they gained their land little by little, mostly against enemies with insignificant military capacity and a very low population density - like steppe peoples, Africans, and the natives of Yodderick. Moreover, when these empires chose to attack a country, they could commit all of their resources to it, because there were no internal stresses. If they had to fight on more than one front, or if their country were fractured in any way, it seemed that they might be defeated after all. They might not be all-powerful, like they had claimed. After centuries of a powerful reputation, might countries only believe in their power based on the past and not the present? Srivijaya just lost Europe in less than two months!
Srivijaya immediately appealed to the Byzantine Empire, asking for use of its military bases so that it could attack back at Spanish possessions from nearby. However, the Byzantine Empire declined. Not originally wanting to have anything to do with the war, it instead closed its airspace to all military aircraft. Ostensibly claiming neutrality, this put Srivijaya at a great disadvantage, and so the Byzantine's rules were regularly flouted. Vijayan air fleets continued to scream overhead - even over Constantinople - on their way to Spanish Europe. At this time, Spain started appealing to Byzantium. Spanish ambassadors used the idea of a "Liberated Europe". Europe had been under control by outsiders for too long, and now it was time to claim it back for Europeans. Also, there was some underlying idea of the old Roman Empire, with its Eastern and Western parts. The Byzantine Empire was still the unconquered Eastern Empire, while Spain suggested that it had reunited the Western Roman Empire. According to them, a new classical era of cooperation between the Two Romes - between the Latins and the Greeks - would dawn as soon as the Asians were run out of the continent. Since the most-accepted Pope of the most-accepted Catholic Church was Spanish (remember, after the Srivijayan conquering of Italy, there was a Papal crisis), Spain also put forward the hope of reunion of the Catholic and Orthodox churches. The Spanish government was, for the most part, in charge of the Catholic Church, and most patriotic Catholics would agree to any changes the Spanish government initiated - including the end of the Great Schism, even if the Pope (who was by now only as powerful as the Spanish let him be) was downgraded. These ideas were incredibly appealing to the Byzantine Empire, but the government was still initially reticent to join the Spanish cause and expose itself to all-out war.
In May, the Vijayan military destroyed an oil pipeline feeding Spanish Europe, as well as two oil tankers on their way to Spain. Over 100 Byzantines were killed in these attacks. The Srivijayans claimed that any aid to the enemy would be taken as a declaration of war. The Byzantines tried to protest that they were actually trading with the Asian powers more than with Spain. They said that they would continue trade with any and all countries, unperturbed. Trade was especially important now, as the world had entered a major recession. Two months later, in July, another Byzantine oil tanker was torpedoed by a Vijayan submarine, and talks broke down. On July 18th, the Byzantine Empire entered the war, opening fire on any Srivijayan aircraft, and starting a march into SV Arabia.
The Srivijayans were shocked that things had broken down this fast. Now, their recently discovered oil fields like the behemoth "Ghawar", as well as the oil infrastructure, were at risk. Ghawar was the largest field discovered in the world, and Srivijaya relied on it to fuel the war effort - although more local oil was sufficient to run the country under most situations. An attempt was made to mend relations with the Greeks, but it was not to be. Now, the Greeks were at the door of Ras Tanura.
Battle of Ras Tanura
The Battle of Ras Tanura would turn into a huge fight, spanning land, air, and water. This engagement would also be the largest engagement between battleships up until this point in history, and would be one of the largest in history. All together, the Byzantines had 16 Juggernaut battleships (including four "Sophia class" vessels with a 55,000 tonne displacement and 9x400mm guns), while the Srivijayans had 12 (including six "Harapan class" vessels with a 50,000 tonne displacement and 9x400mm guns). They also had ten battle cruisers each, and scores of smaller vessels. Aircraft carriers didn't play much of a role, since air force bases of both powers were within striking distance of each other - the Srivijayan base being at Ras Tanura, and the Byzantine base located in Kuwait city.
The battle began with Byzantine warships moving into SV Arabian waters. The first hit was when the BZ submarine "Eustatius" fired two torpedoes at the SV battleship Jawa, sinking it. Around the same time, an air power assault by the Byzantines took place, trying to bomb the Srivijayan airfields before the planes could get into the air. However, the Srivijayans had prepared for this, and were able to get many of the planes in the air before the runway was destroyed. The Srivijayans had built smaller airports that could be used for further refueling and landing, and as they were farther behind the front, it would be harder for the Byzantines to reach them. Clouds of black smoke appeared in the air, as the anti-aircraft batteries, on land, and at sea, opened up on the attackers. BZ Dive bombers fell upon the SV battleships, as the BZ battleships sped towards the SV line. Blasts from lines of 400mm cannons struck through both lines, as tracers gleamed overhead, up towards the heavens, as dawn came. Throughout the day, there was massive carnage, much of which was caught on film. The battle encompassed air-to-air dog-fighting, surface to surface tank, battleship, and infantry attacks, submarine underwater warfare, with of course these parts coming together with devastating ferocity. Heroes were made in the battle. At the end of the day, 4 Byzantine and 5 Juggernaut Srivijayan battleships had been sunk. Srivijaya was reeling, but not yet ready to give up.
A second day dawned. One main SV objective was to prevent the BZ ships from assuming a "shore bombardment" role. They needed to keep the BZ ships busy, or hopefully sink them, so that the fortifications and troops on land would be safe from the big guns - which were also the most accurate guns so far in history. They also wanted to take out the BZ landing craft, which shuttled troops to the coast near Ras Tanura, opening up other fronts. Another bloody day fell upon the Persian Gulf coast.
Although it seemed that the Greeks were unstoppable, they themselves knew that they would either have to win the battle (and war) quickly or ultimately lose. The Greeks had some major disadvantages. Firstly, the force sent to the Persian Gulf battle represented more than 1/3rd of their naval force, whereas they were fighting against less than 1/9th of the complete Srivijayan naval force. This made Srivijaya's forces around three times the size, although it was scattered around the globe. Also, Srivijaya was merely protecting a colony, whereas the Byzantine Empire was fighting much closer to home.
One of the greatest naval battles took place on the third day of battle, when a previously undetected BZ battleship battle group led by the "Pera" appeared in the northwestern Indian Ocean, heading for the Persian Gulf, in order to surprise the SV navy and inflict heavy damages. It was found by a SV battleship battle group led by the "Bengkulu". Before the Pera was able to reach the Persian Gulf, it was intercepted by the Bengkulu. The fight was long and hard. The constant booming of the 400mm cannons on both sides deafened the crews of the capital ships. In the end, the Pera was the one to burn. Still with its sights on the Bengkulu, the fires reached the magazines and the great battleship burst in half, with plumes of fire screaming in all directions and churned, and a shock wave of white water growing outward, culminating with a rain of metal shards tearing the ocean surface, on their way to the ocean bottom. It was a grand sight, instantly killing 2,000 souls. The Bengkulu group, heavily damaged, could not give chase to the fleeing destroyers and light cruisers, which headed back to Stinboli/Constantinople for repairs, or to meet up with other ships. The potential disaster was averted. However, the Bengkulu - suffering substantial hull damage - had to head back to the Penang Dry dock. It would, however, continue its illustrious career after repairs.
Eventually, after six days of fighting, the Srivijayans still had to pull back, and the Greeks took Ras Tanura. It was a major defeat, and one of a string of stinging losses, but the "Pera - Bengkulu" battle gave the Srivijayans something to be proud of, and some hope in these desperate times.
On the Home Front - Reunification
A major problem during the early battles of the war was that there was not one Srivijaya, but two...and a Bugis state. On July 29th, this came to an end, as a truce was made between the powers, and a decision of at least temporary reunification was reached. All of the powers agreed to cooperate and become one government again, and then after the war, to have a referendum to decide how or if the nation would be split. Also, democracy (with universal suffrage) was agreed upon as the next step of government after the war. Each group would be a political party, and others could form. This satisfied the people of the country, and they rejoiced that the civil war was over, and now all available might could be directed towards the fight in Europe. Of course, there were some that outspokenly criticized attempts to exercise dominion over Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as after all, the subjects in those regions were not about to get voting rights, and would in essence continue to be second-class citizens under the Nusantarans (Austronesians). However, these critics were swept aside and public opinion rightly wanted vengeance against Spain and the Byzantine Empire.
Battle of Ghawar
The Battle of Ghawar was a continuation of the battle of Ras Tanura. However, this one was land- and air-based, as it wasn't on the coast. After two weeks of heavy resistance, the Srivijayans retreated, as the back-up promised hadn't arrived and there was no way to hold them off for longer. An order was given to set the oil fields on fire, and this was done, sending huge plumes of smoke sullying the air and turning the battlefield into a postcard picture of Hell. After Ghawar, the whole Arabian peninsula soon fell.
China and Japan in 1853
China and Japan in 1853 had a "wait and see" attitude. They wanted to see what would happen to Srivijaya, and whether the Spanish and Byzantines would be content with what they'd won. The reunification of Srivijaya was proof to its cohorts that it was still a nation to be reckoned with. With the end of the civil war, China and Japan were more likely to help the struggling superpower. However, this help wouldn't come yet. The other Asian powers still hesitated to stick their noses where they didn't belong and provoke some sort of backlash that was better avoided. As long as none of their territory was attacked, they would stay out of the war. That was their thinking of the time.
La Reconquista Definitiva Commences - The Muslim Ghettos
Back in Spain, in September, a new law was instituted, which expelled all Muslims from Europe. This was the beginning of "La Reconquista Final" or "La Reconquista Definitiva" (The Final Reconquest). By November, a series of cities acting as concentration camps were established. These cities included Kairouan, and Rabat - by far, the largest two. Marrakech was eyed as a concentration camp city, but was rejected, as it was by now mostly Christian Berber, while Kairouan and Rabat were still majority Muslim. Christians in these cities were evacuated out, as Muslims filed in. Muslims all throughout the Spanish holdings were given a year's notice to move (the deadline being November 1854), or face death or incarceration. These concentration camp cities were officially labeled "Muslim Autonomous Zones", but were anything but. Spanish troops surrounded the camps and allowed no one to leave. Still, the Muslims were treated well, for the time being, and when the international press heard of this, they were invited (on a guided tour) to see some of the better sections of the towns. Most left without major misgivings, besides the general unfair requirement to move whole minority populations.
1854: The Mini-Pushback
By the dawn of 1854, the Byzantines had secured all of the Arabian Peninsula, and had even crossed over into the Horn of Africa and were in control of parts of Somalia. The Srivijayans had been pushed back to more more southern reaches. The Serengeti was still under Srivijayan control. However, through the year, as new carriers and battleships were put to sea, and as Srivijaya mended from its civil war, its power began to grow. Also, the recruiting and training efforts in Africa were paying off. Many Africans volunteered to defend what they had come to see as their homeland, while there was also forced recruitment through a new draft. These forces - again, composed mostly of Africans - were able to hold the frontline.
In February, there was a major landing of troops in Somalia, and they fought bravely to push the frontline back to the Red Sea. These soldiers came from many places, with 57% being Africans, 31% Nusantarans (Austronesians), 6% displaced Arabians, 4% displaced Europeans, 1% Gurun Selatanese (Australians), and 1% others. The navy offshore commenced heavy bombardment at the same time coastal towns were taken. Finally, there was a reprieve for the ailing superpower.
As the year dragged on, the Srivijayans made more gains and by July, they had retaken all of Africa. The Greeks were now on the defensive, and tried as hard as they could to flex their military might. They also appealed to the Spanish to open another front by pushing down into Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently, the border between Spain and Srivijaya was cut through the desert, and nobody so far had managed to get across to attack the other side. Of course, the easiest routes were all mined at this point, and reconnaissance planes on both sides were sent to look for any troop movements of the enemy. The battle was hardly lost for the Byzantines, however, as they had heavily fortified Arabia by mid-1854, and new classes of warships and models of planes were being cranked out of factories at the fastest pace since the war began.
For a while, it seemed that the war was nearing an end. The fighting started to taper off during the year, and both sides became more defensive. The aggressors were heavily fortifying their gains, and the defenders were creating new fortifications along the changed borders. The Chinese and Japanese, not in the war yet, decided to spend more on defense, just in case the war started to escalate again and poured over into their empires as well. In 1855, that's exactly what happened.
Uncontested since it took Srivijayan possessions, Spain saw peace throughout most of 1854. In secret, it had plans for something big - the first nuclear weapon. The dictator, Alfonso Lopez wasn't happy with what he'd gained. On top of that, most in the government believed that as Srivijaya strengthened again, it would attack Spain with a vengeance. The Byzantine Empire bought the Spanish time, but they were sure that without a super-weapon, there was a good chance of defeat down the road. To make Spain the preeminent power in the world, huge sums of money were dedicated to the pursuit of "la bomba". In February, the waiting was over, and the scientists had in their hands the first prototype. It was a fission device, packing the equivalent of 12 kilotons of TNT. It was named "Trinidad" in order to pay homage to Christianity and its final conquest over Islam, which had once invaded the homeland. The second prototype, "Maria", came one month later. Now, it was time to see what they could do.
The Muslim ghettos of Kairouan (the holiest city to Muslims) and Rabat were now teeming with people. The rules forcing them to leave continental Europe and settle in these towns had gotten them this far. Of course, nearly half of the Muslims of Europe had been secretly scuttled away to live with families in the conquered European countries. In fact, in most of these countries, like Aragon and Tolosa, there was no record of what religion people belonged to, and by this time, the Muslims were so integrated into their societies, that it was hard to tell who was or wasn't a Muslim, aside from seeing who attended the mosques. (Most lists of worshippers of a Mosque were destroyed.) Even so, over the past year, the North African Muslim towns had swelled to unprecedented levels, with now more than a million people each. Guards usually took positions around the perimeters of the cities, but on Easter Sunday, they were gone. An order had come from the top to withdraw back out into the desert, though nobody on the ground in Africa knew why. Their orders were to shoot at anyone who tried to leave the cities.
Then, nearly simultaneously, bombers released "Trinidad" and "Maria" over the two cities, and in the blink of an eye, hundreds of thousands of people were dead, with hundreds of thousands more on their way. The survivors who were still able to run tried to flee into the desert, but most were shot down. One of the Spanish troop leaders outside Kairouan, after seeing the grotesque spectacle that had befallen the populace, disobeyed orders and ordered his troops to stand by and let people escape. However, by the end of the day, it was apparent that the majority had been killed. These tests were not publicized, but over the next few weeks, the Asian powers started hearing reports of this terrible genocide. The Byzantines, too, received a number of Muslim refugees. Spain's secret was gradually becoming common knowledge, and no doubt, the other powers would know what had produced these bombs and would be working on their own soon, if they weren't in the middle of it already.
Attack on Guilian
Thankfully, Spain's newest fleet of aircraft carriers and escorts was headed to the Caribbean with another nuclear warhead. It would attack Seaton (OTL Fort-de-France, Martinique), the capital and largest city of the Guilian Islands (瓌恋群岛; OTL Lesser Antilles), China's second-most important base in the Taino (OTL Caribbean) Sea, and the point in which China's power projection ability in to the Atlantic could be cut off. At the moment, the static Chinese ships were sitting ducks.
Spanish bombers took off from aircraft carriers and dropped their devastating payload over the anchored warships stationed on the bay abutting the City of Seaton. The Chinese hadn't been expecting anything. Spain had not declared war on them, and the Chinese, like the other nations, were still ignorant regarding "Trinidad" and "Maria". They were taken by surprise. However, after the first wave (which sank two carriers and multiple destroyers), the second and third waves were far less successful, as the glowing embers of tracer bullets lit up the sky and penetrated into the dense clouds of warplanes. After all was said and done, however, the Chinese had lost the two aforementioned carriers and multiple destroyers, as well as two cruisers and two battleships. The defense of Chinese Yodderick had been cut to shreds, and now the whole Taino Sea lay unprotected. Immediately after the attacks commenced, the Chinese radioed the Japanese a warning, and asked for Japan to declare war on Spain. Japan was put on alert, but the higher-ups wanted more evidence that the Spanish were trying to encroach on their colonies before ultimately deciding what to do.
The Spanish had brought one nuclear warhead with them into the Taino area but had not deemed it necessary to use it. The only other nuclear warhead they had was back in Spain, to be used as an emergency defense tool if something went wrong. It was difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to produce nuclear warheads, so they couldn't be used willy nilly. They had to be conserved.
The attack on Seaton was not an outlier. It was the start of an invasion, and the invasion commenced shortly after the bombing. More waves of planes, now half the numbers they started with, pounded installations and took on what was left of the Chinese Navy of Guilian. Some of the Spanish battleships and destroyers defended the carriers from Chinese planes, while the rest were set after the struggling Chinese fleet. Landing boats hit the shore of Seaton Island and troops disembarked. There would be a ground war, too. Seaton was to be taken.
The battle was fierce. However, without backup forthcoming, there was little hope for a Chinese victory. The Chinese vessels in other ports (such as in South Yodderick and the northern Taino Sea) were set out to sea, but only to patrol nearby waters, for fear of an attack elsewhere. Only a small fleet was sent to help Seaton Island. Within three days of fighting the towns of Marine Parade, Somerset, and Alexandra were taken.
Shan Dun Tuo (珊顿托), the governor of Seaton, as well as the colonial administrator of Chinese Guilian, Yeo Teck Swee (杨德瑞), called on the Chinese Colonial Authority to either give them enough troops to fight, or to order a surrender. There was no way to win, and to fight further would just end in unnecessary bloodshed. However, China's leaders knew that a surrender would not play well back at home, and that there was something glorious about fighting to the last man. Thus, they ordered the army to stand their ground.
The Spanish soon had full air superiority over the island and had taken over a major airfield. Then, little by little over the next few days, Seaton fell. The rest of Guilian followed soon after, as Seaton was the main fort. The army retreated. Shan Dun Tuo and Yeo Teck Swee were taken as captives, along with many others. The Spanish had taken Guilian. Now, the Chinese were virtually defenseless on the American mainland. To keep Chinese reinforcements from arriving, a large bomber was equipped with an atomic bomb and took off from Toa Payoh (大巴窑) airfield.
The detonation of the atomic bomb had the Trans-Yodderick Canal as ground zero. The first atomic bomb in the new world had gone off, and this would halt all passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic oceans for the most part. The only way through now was around the chilly cape of South Yodderick. Thankfully, thought the Chinese, they still had control of that. It was nowhere near safe, however.
Japan, throughout all this, remained neutral. Some Japanese officials secretly met with the Srivijayan and Chinese governments and promised that if they could come up with an atomic bomb themselves, then the Japanese would join the alliance. However, it would not put its empire and itself at risk by poking a stick at the venomous snake that was Spain.
Over the next few months, Spain beefed up its defenses in Seaton, and around the out-of-use Trans-Yodderick Canal. In Seaton, a campaign of fear began. It started up slowly. At first, the Spanish paraded the Chinese officials in front of the Europeans. The Chinese were made to sweep the streets and polish the shoes of the Spanish. It was quite a reversal. Although the Chinese administration was fair enough, most Europeans had never seen Chinese doing hard work - indeed working for Europeans. At first, a small percentage of Europeans thought that liberation had come, and Europe would now become a dominant power. Most, however, were saddened by the reversal and thought of the spectacle as extremely degrading to the generally nice Chinese who ruled over them. They had also heard of the atomic bombings in North Africa, though they hadn't learned the full extent of the genocide committed. Most had also heard that an atomic bomb was used against the Chinese, though newspapers had ceased to be published anymore until the propaganda machine could start up. To those doubters of Spanish cruelty, the coming months were eye-openers. To the Spanish, there was no favoritism towards the Europeans of their new domain. In fact, many of the Europeans had relatives who lived in the conquered European lands and had been helping the fight against Spain by means of money contributions. Also, the majority of the residents of Seaton were Cathars while the Spanish were generally Catholics. The Cathar population of Europe and the world was much larger than the Muslim population, so a complete holocaust wasn't an option, but they were fiercely persecuted and prominent members of Cathar society were beaten until they claimed to be converted or they were killed. Seaton descended into horror as heads on pikes of "the enemies of Europe" started appearing all over. Those few who at first thought they had been liberated by Spain soon found out that they were instead in Hell.
Further Extensions of the Spanish and Byzantine Empires
Spain seemed unstoppable in late 1855. In November, days after it atomically bombed the Trans-Yodderick canal, Spain announced its intentions to take control of France and put forward a deal with Japan to lease the Netherlands for the duration of the war. Spain also signaled its intentions to invade Ireland and promised to give it to Japan at the end of the war. It supposedly just needed these lands as strategic bases from which to defend itself against aggression. Nevertheless, it was no secret that once dominant in the world, Spain would be able to do whatever it wanted, and Japan was under no illusions that it would ever regain the Netherlands or gain Ireland. Japan declined the offer, and called the suggestion an offense against the Japanese Empire. Still, after Spain's show of force in Central Yodderick, the Japanese were in no position to resist. Japan was afraid to mass troops in any area because a single bomb could now take out a whole battalion, and unwilling to send British troops to help; so the Spanish were able to take these areas in a short time. Japan was forced to sign a peace treaty acknowledging Spain's sovereignty over those areas. Behind closed doors, though, the Japanese continued to meet with Spain's enemies. It secretly yearned to destroy Spain for making it lose face in the world, and among its previous subjects (Some of Japan's Dutch subjects fled to England and Japanese Yodderick, but were unable to gain passage to Japan proper because of strict immigration policies).
Over in Central and Southern Yodderick, the Chinese were having no luck. The government of China was preparing to defend the mainland, and it wasn't sending any reinforcements over to the New World. These actions, plus the fact that large armies were possible targets for atomic weapons, as well as the sparsity of settlement in many regions, let the Spanish take Chinese areas with relative ease. By 1856, Spain was thought to be firmly in charge.
Taking advantage of the chaos and fear among the allies, the Byzantine Empire made one more push into Somalia, retaking it over the course of two months (mid-September to mid-November).
1856: Keep Away1856 started off on about the worst note possible. Spain had an unbeatable weapon and had gained land from all three of the major Asian empires. The Byzantine Empire was still holding its own, although without a super weapon. Even so, a silver lining was starting to slowly appear. A ray of hope pierced the clouds and shone upon the land.
In February, the allies received reports from spies that Spain most likely only had one nuclear warhead left, and it would take months to manufacture another. Apparently, Spanish atomic bombs had not reached the stage of being produced on assembly-lines. Maybe it was that the project was too secretive to make into an industry, or maybe the process was too difficult. At any rate, that was a blessing. On top of that, there was only one type of military bomber that was able to drop an atomic bomb. The thinking went, if the allies could build up their air power enough and keep away the large bombers - hopefully downing them in the process - the allied territories would be more or less safe. The prospect of being able to fight a fair war - taken for granted just a year prior - was uplifting. Another potential boon was that China and Srivijaya had already started work on nuclear weapons of their own. In fact, China had begun work before Spain showed off its might and was the farthest along with the process. Spies had uncovered some tantalizing information which further sped up the process. There could just be hope!
Work began on small fighter aircraft that could outmaneuver and outrun any Spanish competitors. This would let swarms of them battle bombers. They could buzz into and out of battle and not have to deal so much with the Spanish fighter escorts. Although still at a severe disadvantage, a game plan had finally formed. Indeed, since Spain had taken Seaton and bombed the canal, there was very little offensive fighting at all. To Spain, the war was becoming a cakewalk. It would soon realize that it couldn't take victory for granted.
Campaigns around Somalia, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden
After it became well-known that Spain didn't have the capacity to create atomic bombs at will, and definitely couldn't afford to give the Byzantine Empire any help on that front, the Srivijayans gained confidence. They had been building up their naval capabilities, but did not want to lose them all to a single bomb, so they had stayed around Nusantara (the home islands). Without this fear lingering, the Srivijayans were eager to take Somalia once more. To the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, they sent the new SV Sunda-class battleships (60,000 tonne displacement and 9x440mm guns) "Sunda", "Surabaya", "Penang", "Temasek", and "Maluku", along with a substantial number of Harapan-class battleships, including the "Bengkulu", which had fought gloriously three years earlier during the battle of Ras Tanura. However, perhaps the most awaited ships were 3 of the new Srivijaya-class aircraft carriers, the "Srivijaya", "Italia", and "Tolosa". Of course, all of these were joined by support ships.
The plan was to have an immense show of force and cut the Greeks in Somalia off from Arabia, so that they couldn't get resupplied while the African soldiers took them on. On the early morning of March 4th, airplanes launched from the three aircraft carriers pounded Greek targets in Aden and Jibuti (Djibouti) and tried to sink as many Greek ships at harbor as possible. After the smoke cleared, it became clear that this was a substantial loss for the Byzantine forces. Then, with the planes back to protect the fleet, the Srivijayan Navy entered the Gulf of Aden.
The aircraft carriers stayed in the somewhat open waters in the Gulf of Aden, while sending new waves of planes to bomb the Byzantine naval targets that had gotten away. Meanwhile, the main battleships formed up and rushed to the Strait of Jibuti, leading into the Red Sea. Struggling Byzantine battleships were found by the SV's ships. They had been located and hampered by air raids, and now they were at the mercy of 440mm big guns. Of the six Byzantine battleships in the area at the start of the hostilities, two were sunk by planes, with a further three sunk by a combination of planes and battleships. One escaped back to Constantinople. The Bengkulu was able to add another battleship kill to its record, while all the rest also chipped in for this and the other kills. The SV military made a landing in both Djibuti and Aden, and within the week, were able to take both cities. Victory in Jibuti practically gave the Srivijayans Somalia. With further invasions, the remaining Greeks in Africa were cut off, and most chose to surrender instead of fight. The Byzantine Empire was out of Africa for good. The next target was Arabia.
The Preparation for the Emperor's Big Sacrifice
Meanwhile, Japan's emperor Kohken/光剣 learned that he was dying of cancer. Refusing treatment, this inspired in him a plan to repay Spain and have Japan as the supreme defender of stability in the world by ending the war sooner than imagined. Japan had been furiously working on an atomic bomb, and it was said that the first prototype would be ready by year end. Japan was still the only power that had not fought Spain. Yet Spain had taken the Japanese Netherlands by the threat of force. This never sat well with the emperor, who called it a defeat without a fight. He wanted to rally his troops around the world and prepare for battle...but not yet. He would prove that he wouldn't send men to war without a good reason. And the news reports that continually came out of occupied areas of Greater Spain told a story of suffering and oppression. And the emperor also decided that he wouldn't expect casualties to be taken lightly - but he did expect casualties - and to show his loyalty to the cause, he decided that he would be the first one.
Persian Coup, the Push into China, and India and Vijayanagar Enter the War
On June 12th, there was a successful Byzantine-backed coup d’état against the Persian king. Whereas Persia was once technically neutral yet donating to the Asian cause, after the coup, a military dictatorship allied itself with the Greeks and immediately started drafting civilians into its military. Already boasting a large military, it suddenly gained a huge infantry and by late July had already started deploying it. Some divisions joined with the Byzantine Army in Arabia, while others were sent north into China.
The Chinese were unprepared. Also, although on maps, the Chinese area north of Persia looks huge, the demographics told another story. While Peria had a population of over 25 million people, the much larger region of China directly north of Persia, and up to the Arctic Ocean, only contained a total of fewer than eight million people, with most of them of Turkic extraction and lacking military training. The only stronghold on the Caspian/Khazar Sea was Eminonu (near OTL Astrakhan), on the delta of the Volga River. The largest city in the region, "Sari Su" (OTL Volgograd) was not on the Caspian, but close. With their might, the Persians were able to push up the Caspian Sea and surround the Volga River. Seeing this, the Spanish took the opportunity to invade Germany. Immediately, the Spanish ran into steep resistance (as Germany was much more prepared and populated than the Turkic lands).
Throughout the war, India and Vijayanagar had been supporting the Asian allies with food, clothing, and other supplies, but had not declared war on Spain and the Byzantine Empire. They had not wanted to enter a war that had nothing to do with them. However, more and more stories of oppression, and the fear of a Hispano-Byzantine victory prompted them to rethink their avowed neutrality. The last straw was the Persian coup with easily-detectable Byzantine traces. Now, India was sitting next to an enemy that was already in the process of invading another country. It would only be time until India was next. On the same day, September 1st, the two countries declared war on the Western powers and prepared to invade Persia.
Now, China had to defend its empire more than ever before. The Spaniards were encroaching on all of its Yodderick (American) territories, and - for the first time - its Eurasian territories. South Yodderick and Germany were under pressure, and Persia had taken most of the Caspian, leaving Eminonu as the last Chinese settlement on the Caspian. Baku (of the independent Azerbaijan) was the only other city on the Caspian able to put up any struggle. Chinese troops were immediately dispatched from their homelands (in the orient) while locals were hurriedly trained at a faster pace than they had been.
The Germans held out very well. Spain's invasion without the ability to drop another atomic bomb at the moment proved to be a misstep. Spain had already overreached its bounds, and could not protect all of the land that it owned without atomic weapons. The idea that they could invade new territories without the bomb - most of all Germany - seemed ludicrous. But their self-esteem had gotten the best of them. With the ease of fighting so far, and the specter of atomic obliteration for Spain's enemies, they expected a cakewalk. Also, Germany was not an incorporated territory of China, but a semi-free protectorate, so the Spanish had tried to get the Germans to turn on the Chinese out of pan-European fervor. This did not happen, and the Germans continued to back the Chinese. With Chinese aid, including a few military divisions, the Germans gave nothing to the Spaniards.
Out in South Yodderick, things were a little easier for the Spanish, but they also faced heavy resistance. While the northern part of the continent was very scarcely-inhabited. The occupied Canal Zone and Seaton were by far the largest cities all the way south to (and past) the Equator. The dense tropical rainforest at the center of the continent proved not only impossible to penetrate, but also a waste of resources to even try. There was no strategic reason to even be there. South, however - on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts - the population density increased quickly.
On the Pacific coast were the Kichwas (Quechuas) and Aymaras, among groups of lesser power. China had been somewhat oppressive before the war towards them, though generally noninvasive. It favored trade more than domination. But these native groups had grown unhappy with the growing Chinese presence on the borders of their lands and their treatment of the local people. Small skirmishes had broken out over the past century, and China recognized this region as one of its least loyal in the world. Upon the attack of the Spanish on Yodderick, a good number of Kichwa and Aymara radicals openly showed support for Spain and advised that they should welcome the Spanish into their lands in exchange for a promise of freedom after the war. This represented a minority opinion overall, but it was growing. At any rate, most of the inhabitants didn't want to fight...no matter for who. This war was not their problem. Since China was in such dire straits, it made a momentous promise to them - that they would have full independence within five years after the war if they would fight with China. To show a united front one last time was all that was needed, and then they'd be completely free. Kichwa and Aymara leaders accepted this proposal and readied their troops. The Pacific coast was not to be taken.
The Atlantic Coast was composed mainly of ethnic Han people - mostly Yuts (Cantonese) and Hoklos. In fact, this large diaspora of Chinese extended south even to the Gin River (Gingawa/銀川), in areas loosely under Japanese jurisdiction (but into which the Chinese had heavily invested, and had major political sway - China had for all intents and purposes leased the area). Immigration was messy around the Japanese borders, with many people fleeing into nominally Japanese areas (OTL Rio Grande do Sul and Uruguay) and others willing to fight crossing in the opposite direction.
A major Spanish contingent continued to push down the Atlantic coast until they hit Guanabara (颳納馛辣/刮纳馛辣/Guā'nàbálà; OTL Rio De Janeiro), where massive fighting broke out.
Battle of Guanabara
Although the Chinese knew that the Spanish would try to push down the coasts, they didn't have enough weapons. Since the beginning of the war, they tried to fortify their major cities more, but the Spanish success was so blinding that most fortifications were still works in progress. Most of the Chinese battalion was off the coast of the major Chinese cities, to protect them from nuclear-armed bombers that might have somehow made their way there. It was of utmost importance that the homeland not be touched. When forced to choose where to place their remaining warships, they chose the Atlantic coast. This was because it was populated by ethnic Chinese people instead of natives who wanted independence, and because the Atlantic coast was flat and fertile, while much of the Pacific coast was mountainous, with deserts and jungles making up most of the flat areas. Also, since the Yodderick Canal was in Spanish hands, sending more ships to the Pacific Coast was far less time-consuming than sending more ships to the Atlantic coast.
The Chinese warships stayed south of Guanabara until it was clear that it was being attacked. Then, they moved. The Spanish first arrived unopposed and commenced shore bombardment on September 23rd. Propaganda posters were also dropped, which read "Surrender now or face the bomb." Guanabara could scramble a significant number of fighter planes, which matched the number of Spanish ones, but were still outmatched in overall firepower. After a few hours of destruction, the Chinese warships arrived. More planes showed up - from Chinese carriers which the Spanish hadn't bargained on. Fierce fighting ensued, and while the Spanish were able to sink more Chinese ships than viceversa, the Spanish landing party had to turn back after a day and a half of fighting. The Spanish were in no position to take the beach. Suffering significant losses, the Spanish turned back to regroup. It was the first Spanish retreat in the New World.
Indian Invasion of Persia
After Persia's June coup d’état and invasion of China, India and Vijayanagar felt threatened. Instability seemed to be on the march east, and since Persia invaded China without warning, it there was no guarantee that the same wouldn't happen to India. So, they felt that they had to make a preemptive strike on Persia. Also, concerning the moral side of the war, Spain proved to be merciless. India realized that it had to throw in its lot with the Asian colonizers because a victorious Spain would be much more destructive. So, in early September, Indian troops crossed Persia's border and started a new front. This action split the opinions of the Persians. Although a minority of Persians supported the current regime, the incursion by an outside force galvanized more Persians towards their government. However, at least a third of Persians were happy to welcome the Indians and saw them as liberators.
Two waves of Indians entered Persia, with the first city reached being Dozz-App (Zahedan) by the southern contingent. It was taken without incident, as the military commanders guarding the town surrendered immediately. The northern contingent trekked through the desert before arriving outside Tus, where they met heavy resistance. The northern contingent (informally known as "The Gurkhas") was supposed to cut off the Persian invading force to the north from resupply from the south, thus starving the army until surrender. As soon as word reached the capital of Persia that they were under attack, forces in China were diverted south to fight the Indians.
Tolosan Freedom Fighters
For much of the occupation of Tolosa, an insurgency had been active, but in late 1856, these grew in intensity. Throughout the Spanish realm, non-Christians experienced prejudice. This ranged from the attempted (and somewhat successful) annihilation of Muslims, to forced conversion of Cathars. The latter was more difficult, as Cathars made up a majority of the population in Tolosa and France. Tolosa, in particular, was thought to be the heart of Catharism, and some of the oldest and most important Cathar churches were defaced or converted into Catholic churches. One man, Ramon Alfonzenc (AKA "Granda Arma" - Great Soul) was a man of peace and led nonviolent protests against the Spanish. He urged the community to stop work, and to not help the Spanish war machine...instead helping those in need, including minorities. He was incarcerated numerous times. Finally, on October 23rd, he was sentenced to death, and the next day, in a ceremonial execution, he was shot in the head in a public square. His followers split on their reaction. Some continued to try to take out the Spanish Empire from the inside, without causing violence. However, the majority were resigned to the fact that nonviolent movements would not faze the Spanish, and so decided to gather armaments and join the resistance. By the end of the year, Tolosan cities had become very dangerous places for Spanish troops.
Germany Unfazed after Nukes
Since June, the Spanish army hadn't been able to make any progress in Germany. They were forever stuck on the western bank of the Rhine. Alphonso Lopez realized that he had to shock the Germans into submission. Late in December, to open up the stagnant front, he ordered four nuclear warheads to be dropped on four German cities - Cologne, Duisberg, Dusseldorf, and Essen. Because of the need for these warheads, resources needed to be stretched, and each bomb was made to produce an explosion equal to "only" around 8 kilotons of TNT (as opposed to the 20 kiloton average for the previously-dropped bombs). It was now thought that the number of atomic bombs produced and dropped was more important than the power of each bomb, and this was their chance to try out that concept. Number of bombs was especially important in Germany, as the Spanish still hadn't gained full air superiority over German lands.
On December 19th, fission bombs were successfully dropped on Duisberg, Dusseldorf, and Essen. The would-be bombers of Cologne were shot down before they could get to the city. (The bombers of Essen were also shot down, but after the warhead had been dropped.) Immediately, three cities evaporated and nearly four hundred thousand people lost their lives on the first day alone. The Spanish troops expected to starve the Germans on the border of supplies, and demoralize them. The Germans still on the border hadn't been directly hit by the bombs, and some were able to regroup. Even at this point, the Spanish could have invaded successfully, but they were told to wait for 48 hours - for good reason. If they'd invaded earlier, they would have suffered the worst effects of fallout. This gave Germany some ability to evacuate the remaining residents of the devastated cities. Unfortunately for the Spanish troops, after finally crossing the Rhine River and fighting their way into the broken cities, they were forced to live there. Many got sick and their fighting ability decreased. On top of that, the atrocities marshaled Germans together. Instead of being frightened, they vowed to never give up. Some remaining German troops were able to fight from the outskirts of the cities. Cologne was not successfully invaded. Officials in Cologne decided to try polluting the downstream Rhine with feces, pesticides, and other pollutants.
1857: The Turnaround
1857 started with the Spanish Empire at its peak of power, and ended with it in tatters. Although fighting would continue into 1858, the writing was on the wall for the aggressors of the "War of Empires". Already, by late 1857, there was intense speculation about how the post-war era might be.
Indian gains in Persia
By the end of January, India had made significant gains in Persia. Tus had been taken, and the Chinese military around Eminonu had been freed up by the retreat of Persian soldiers south to fight the Indians. The Chinese were soon able to reclaim most of the gains made by Persia around the Caspian Sea. On top of that, there were riots on the streets of major Persian cities - particularly in Shiraz and Esfahan, the two largest cities - in opposition to the military government who had started the war. By March, most of the Persian lands located east of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea had been taken by Indian and Vijayanagaran troops.
The Emperor's Final Sacrifice and the Destruction of Madrid
Over the course of late 1856 and early 1857, the Japanese Emperor Kohken appeared to be making certain back-door deals with the Spanish government. However, behind the scenes, he was secretly preparing for his sacrifice. To bring the Spanish to the table, he promised a pull-out of Britain, in exchange for a large payment after the war was over. This supposed negotiation was kept completely confidential. Very few were let in on it, and most of those Japanese who were believed it to be true.
On February 19th, the sickened emperor took off from London along with another plane. These planes were expected to land at Madrid Airport, so that the handover of Britain would be complete. Madrid's guns were silent. In fact, Madrid had never been attacked up until this point in the war. Orders were for the Japanese planes to be allowed near-free reign above Spanish skies. But some aircraft control tower attendants noticed that the planes were a bit off course, and were veering more towards downtown Madrid than was expected. Orders were sent for the airplanes to get back on course and set up for landing. The Japanese planes affirmed the orders, but kept on their way.
Then, two minutes later, they both exploded with a combined 50 kilotons of TNT force. Immediately, the greater part of Madrid was annihilated. Seeing as the planes had some distance between them, they wiped out a larger portion of Madrid than any single plane would have. Alfonso Lopez, the supreme dictator, was vaporized, along with hundreds of thousands of civilians. Chaos fell upon the remaining part of Madrid. Nobody knew what to do, but most suspected that what they had come to fear more than anything else had happened: another nation had developed the Bomb and used it on them.
Back in Japan, word of the success was broadcast to the public. It was said that the Emperor (secretly dying of cancer) had sacrificed himself so that Japan would be a great country and cleanse the world of the evil that Spain had let loose upon the world. He, and a special selection of people who were completely loyal to him and that he completely trusted, laid down their lives for a sneak attack right at the heart of Spain. It worked better than it could have ever been imagined. The atomic bombs had been secured onto the planes, and both had detonated at the right moment. The reason for two planes was to make sure that there would be at least one detonation — and that any possible interceptors who got wary (which were not there at any rate) would have to get to two targets instead of one. Immediately, Japanese men joined the army and dedicated their service to the late emperor who had turned around the war.
Aftermath of the Blasts
The blow to Madrid was a shock to the Spanish Empire. Many of the highest officials in the empire were dead. The new dictator, Diego Gonzales was fourth-highest ranked official before the detonations, but the top three had been killed. He lacked name recognition among the populace, and his strength was much weaker because other officials were also vying for increased power.
After the blasts, forces from around the empire were called back to protect Spain. This left some areas (especially in Yodderick) either unoccupied or not well guarded, and made the job of re-conquering those lands easier. Locals started rising up in the Spanish lands. Besides that, the Quechua and Aymara immediately helped the Chinese push the dwindling Spanish force in western South Yodderick back while the Chinese chased the Spanish up the east coast.
On February 21st, after word came that Madrid had been extirpated from the map, crowds in Constantinople started forming, and chanting to end the war. The crowd grew over the next few days to over 100,000. On February 25th, there was a crackdown, and police shot rubber bullets and cast tear gas into the crowd to scatter the masses. However, this just riled them up more, and they started trying to get through the gates to the imperial palace and key government buildings. One group managed to burst through the gates of the imperial palace all the while being warned by police to desist. Police opened fire, and chaos erupted. The police were able to secure the palace, but 32 protesters ended up dead, along with 2 police officers.
Japanese March towards Paris
On in the early hours of February 28th, Japanese troops landed at Calais and Dunkirk, on the French coast. They fought a pitched battle against Spanish troops. However, with a combination of air power, sea power, massive infantry landings, and paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines, the Japanese were able to take both beaches by March 6th. After that, the Japanese maintained two groups, with the larger one marching south towards Paris and the smaller one marching northeast towards to free the Netherlands. At this point, the Spanish were abandoning Yodderick in even greater numbers because they had to protect the mainland more than raid another continent. The plan to colonize Yodderick was called off, but the government told its troops to hold the Trans-Yodderick Canal and Guilian as until they were annihilated. Only this could slow the Chinese from sending more ships from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans. Over March, more Spanish troops arrived in Spain and France to protect the motherland.
Chinese Victory in Yodderick
By May, the post-Madrid situation was easily discernible. The Spanish were running from their newly-acquired lands so that they could protect Spain Proper (Spain, Portugal and the uppermost part of Northwest Africa). The Japanese were on their way to Paris, and the Srivijayans were heaping up victories against the Byzantine Empire. A turmoil-stricken Persia had nearly been completely taken by India and Vijayanagar. Things had completely turned around since the start of the year.
The Chinese now had help from Meixikou. They had been able to persuade Meixikouans to militarily join in the war effort, though it had already been supporting China with money, oil, and armaments. The Meixikouans poured south over the little-defended border, while the Chinese came north up South Yodderick. By late May, they had successfully taken all areas on Yodderick except for the Canal Zone. By early June, Chinese aircraft carriers on the Pacific side were launching multiple bombing runs daily, while troops massed on both sides. The Spanish knew that there was no way they could win, but they were under orders to keep fighting. Finally, the command came from Spain to try to destroy as much of the canal as possible, to prevent the Chinese from using it. However, it was too late to do much, and the Chinese and Meixikouan forces were able to take the area before too much damage was done. Though under orders to fight to the last man, most Spanish troops surrendered when they felt they could hold out no more. The canal was now in Chinese hands.
By late June, the canal was up and running again, and Chinese battleships were passing from the Pacific to the Atlantic towards Seaton in the Guilian islands (the Lesser Antilles). On July 1st, the battle to retake Seaton would commence. This battle was unlike many others in that Seaton was a rather densely populated area that had been part of the Chinese Empire. As such, its populace consisted of friendlies while at the same time, Spanish troops were dug in and ready to fight. The city could not simply be bombed to oblivion like other Spanish bases in Yodderick. Also, to complicate things, Europeans (mostly of British ancestry) made up 86% of the population of Seaton at the time of attack, and so the locals were hard to distinguish from the soldier. Still, there were Spanish naval batteries which were destroyed on the first day. Over the ensuing days, battle raged in the city as Spanish snipers and small bands of soldiers targeted the incoming Chinese troops. Utmost care was taken not to harm the locals, but this sometimes had devastating consequences on the Chinese. Chinese gained a lot of information from the locals, who supported them. Weapons were handed to British that could be trusted, and many British joined the fight against the Spanish...sometimes for revenge for the death of a loved one. The Spanish had made many enemies among the populace during their short-lived occupation. Finally, on July 7th, the Spanish troops were by and large pushed out of the city of Seaton and they surrendered, against Spanish orders.
As the Chinese flag was raised once again over the capitol, the tears of the locals couldn't be held back. "Long live China!" was chanted again and again by the large crowds who had gathered to greet the incoming troops. British locals and Chinese soldiers greeted each other and mingled in the streets. Hundreds of British volunteered to fight with in the Chinese military, to beat Spain once and for all. The atmosphere that night, and for the next few days was festive. "We're proud to be Chinese!" the locals intoned again and again. But after that incredible week, some of the Chinese soldiers would face more ordeals in Europe. Still, they were buzzed by their complete victory in Yodderick, as well as their delightful reception from the thankful locals.
1858: Invasion of Europe and fall of the Roman EmpireSpain and Byzantium had lost their newly taken lands in Yodderick and Africa, yet their main empires remained intact. This would end in 1858, as would the thousands of years of the Roman Empire.
Indian forces moved further and further into Persian territory, winning victory after victory against the Persians. The unstable Byzantine-controlled Persian government attempted to control the populace, but the morale of the Persians was down, as they had no true reason to fight in the war. The Indian navy scored big at the battle of Bandar-e-Beylam, taking the last seaport of Persia. The Byzantine Navy was unable to save their allies. After the low-lying areas north of Bandar-e-Beylam were quickly taken, the Vijayanagaran and Sri Vijayans turned west to attack the Byzantine Empire, while the Indian forces moved into the center of Persia. After so many defeats, riots occurred throughout the Persian cities, weakening the government's hold. After the fall of Esfahan to Indian troops in October, the Persians surrendered.
The Arabian war was more difficult than the Persian war at first, due to the harsher terrain. The Sri Vijayan and Vijiayanagaran troops also faced another enemy in this region: the Arabs. Initially, the Arabs thought that they would simply be losing one oppressive government for another, and aided the Byzantine troops. Desperate for a victory to hold the nation together, Sri Vijaya promised Arabic independence in return for aid in the war.
The Leader of the Arab resistance was a man by the name of Ullar al-Za, the son of one of the prominent leaders of the Arab resistance movements against Sri Vijayan rule several decades prior. While the Vijiayanagaran and Sri Vijayan troops focused on taking out the Byzantines, the Arabic troops used their kinship with the common people of the area to keep revolts from occurring. The loss of Arabia spelled the end of Byzantine power, and became yet another grievance against the empire.
Fall of the Roman Empire
The riots in the city of Constantinople were only the beginning of the anti-government motions in the Byzantine Empire. The war became increasingly unpopular throughout the empire, and many began to think that massive changes to the government were in order. Meanwhile, Libya, the only colony of the Byzantines, revolted on July 30, with thousands of rioters taking control of major cities within the nation. Meanwhile, various rural people, given secret weapons by the Sri Vijayan government, began attacking Byzantine military bases. Due to the war in Arabia going so badly, the Empire abandoned Libya to independence to redirect their forces to defend the heartland. Other ethnic groups, such as the Croats, Serbs, and Kurds all began revolting against the government as well, and Romania attempted to sever their bonds with the Empire as well.
The government began a massive crack-down on the revolts and protests, but after losing several more victories against the Sri Vijayan and Vijiayanagaran troops, who by seizing the Sinai Peninsula now had a way to access the Mediterranean sea, many soldiers began to desert and join the rebellion. Eventually, the revolts evolved into full-on revolution, and by the end of the summer, the majority of the Empire was in revolt, although the different revolutionary forces were not united. Finally, on October 29, 1858, the Emperor attempted to flee Constantinople, but his convoy was captured and the imperial family was killed by the revolutionary forces, and the Roman Empire fell at last. Exactly what government would replace the Empire remained to be seen.
Diego Gonzales knew that Spain could not stand against the Japanese, Chinese and Meixikoun forces combined, so he decided to concentrate his defenses on the Spanish heartland, leaving the African Empire and conquered European territories with fewer defenses. When the Freedom Fighters in the occupied Cathar areas joined forces with the invading Japanese, the small Spanish armies that remained were driven out within a couple months of Japanese arrival. Japan occupied the European territories, but vowed to grant them independence once the Spanish were defeated.
Meanwhile, the Chinese launched a major attack on the Spanish African territory. The majority of the population here was Berber-Arab in ethnicity, not European, and about half, despite all of the discrimination, remained Muslim. Thus, many greeted the Chinese as liberators. The Chinese forces, tired after the constant battles in Yodderick, still managed to conquer vast swathes of land in the Sahara region. With the Mediterranean route secured, they launched a massive assault on Tunis. The Spanish were defeated soundly, and abandoned all of Africa except for OTL Spanish Morocco.
The Spanish now were all alone, restricted to Catholic Iberia, and they knew that the end was coming. This would be the final year of the most devastating war in history, the War of Empires.
Fall of Spain
The Spanish empire was crushed during the early months of 1859. China managed to drive them out of Africa by March, while Japan took southern Italy and Basque from the Spanish as well. On April 3, the two powerful Eastern Nations invaded the nation of Spain itself. The Spanish had concentrated their forces on defending their nation, so this invasion was much more difficult than the others, and the Spanish managed to last through the summer, slowly retreating mile by mile further into Spain.
The Basque people, although Catholic like the Spaniards, still wanted independence, and it was easy for the Japanese forces to take that area of land and then move further into Spain. The Chinese, tired after such a long war (they had fought longer than the Japanese), moved slower, and Japan had taken half of Spain before the Chinese could finish their conquest of Granada.
After Toledo, the new capital, fell in early September to Japanese forces, the Spanish government fell into chaos. Dictator Diego Gonzales fled into the Sierra Morena mountains, while the military launched one last attack against the Japanese forces. After another devastating defeat, the Spanish government surrendered on April 21, and Gonzales committed suicide the next day. The war was over.
The New Peace
The Spanish were defeated and the war was over, and it was up to the victors to create a new world. India had successfully stabilized Persia, creating a republican government in the nation modelled after the Indian government. Vijiayanagara would attempt to create a republic in Arabia, but the Arabs distrusted the foreign idea and returned to a monarchy headed by a sultan. Libya would become its own independent nation. All of the European territory taken from Sri Vijaya was given back to them, yet the Sri Vijayan government was strained to the maximum and could barely retain control. Japan and China had all territory the Spaniards had taken from them returned as well. Spain lost control of Basque, and came under Japanese military occupation.
The main question was what to do with Spanish Africa. There were some Chinese who believed that as the conquerors of this land, they should rule over it, but fears of conflict dissuaded most, as China's economy had been strained to the limits by the war. A few Sri Vijayans thought that as it was an African territory, it should become part of their empire, yet at this point they did not even possess the strength to occupy the area. In the end it was decided that the Berber-Arab dominated Spanish Africa would become the independent nation of Sahara, the only area where Muslims made up a plurality.
The Chinese had promised their South American territories independence after the war. However, backlash from the war had resulted in a shuffling and replacement of much of the Chinese government. The new government did not like the idea of losing their colonies, and its creation of "Transition Authorities" to oversee the path to independence was merely for show. They intended for the transition to last for decades.
The Byzantine Empire had fallen, ending almost two thousand years of the Roman Empire. Exactly which faction would take control was not obvious. The three main divisions in the empire were the Army of God, which sought to establish an Eastern Orthodox theocracy, the Liberal Republicans, who wanted a free republic like India, and finally, the Byzantine Workers United, who had been inspired by a radical ideology imported from Persia, known as Levelism. Meanwhile, many small micronationalist groups, after seeing what occurred in Arabia and Libya, fought for independence from the empire.