The European and Asian theatres are considered to have two completely separate origins. In Europe, the Union of National Socialist Republics had aggressively expanded throughout the 30's, annexing one by one Moldova, Latland and Estland. For each of these the Central Powers had tried to appease the UNSR, but this only served to encourage it in its ambitions. However, the final straw was reached when the UNSR invaded Finland in 1939, and Albion and the Saxony declared war three days later.
In the east, the Ren empire of China had been following a similar course. In the chaos that followed the Xinhai Revolution China had lost many of its tributaries and much influence in Asia. The countries to the south were controlled by European colonial empires, and Korea and Japan to the east had begun to rapidly grow to fill the political void. In 1936 China occupied and annexed Tibet, in 1937 it invaded Korea, and on the same day in 1941 it launched surprise attacks on Kyushu, Hawaii, Siam and Malaya. This brought the European Central Powers into the war in the Pacific.
European Theatre - 1939-1948
On the 1st September, 1939, the White Army of the Union of National Socialist Republics invaded Finland. Three days later Albion and Saxony declared war on the UNSR, and immediately began sending massive amounts of material aid to the Finns.
The White Army had several early successes, quickly capturing much of Karelia and threatening Finland's second city of Viipuri. But by November the first shipments of tanks, heavy artillery and ammunition had begun reaching the front lines and the progress of the invaders slowed dramatically.
In January 1940 the invaders finally moved into Viipuri. However, by this time the Finnish army was as numerous and well-equipped as any in the west and was inflicting heavy casualties on the White Army at every step. On the 15th January Antanas Smetona gave orders to halt the advance and establish a zone of occupation, while the UNSR concentrated on the German states and the supply route through the Baltic.
Up till now Saxony had not made any offensive moves, other than occupying a few villages in western Poland and bombing the UNSR Baltic Fleet. The army was unprepared and many Saxon politicians only half-heartedly supported the war.
On the 10th May the White Army crossed the border near Danzig - but this proved to be a feint. The Saxon forces rushing to oppose the invasion were intercepted and surrounded by a second army group coming from Poznan, and a third army group entered Silesia and tied up the remaining Saxon troops in the area. The mass use of bombers and tanks allowed the White Army to quickly punch a hole through the Saxon lines while the infantry charged through to secure the gains. By mid-June the Royal Saxon Army was in full retreat.
Towards the end of May Lyonesse joined in the war on the UNSR's side and moved to invade the Rhineland. With the bulk of the Royal Saxon Army already committed to the eastern front the Lyonnaise faced little resistance, though the arrival of the Albic Expeditionary Force in Holland did serve to pin the left flank in place. Aachen surrendered on the 8th June, and Lyonnaise and Lithuanian forces linked up on the 23rd at the town of Marburg, in Hesse.
With Saxony cut in half, total defeat was only a matter of time. King Charles IX and the royal family escaped north to Hamburg, where they were evacuated to Albion. The Albic Expeditionary Force and several units of the Imperial Army held Jutland and the Frisian coast for a time, but eventually they too were forced to evacuate in what is commonly known as the Miracle of Oldenburg.
The government and most of the Reichstag managed to reassemble in Munich, where on the 11th July they signed an armistice. The King and the evacuated army units refused to recognise this and vowed to continue fighting until Lyonesse and the UNSR were utterly defeated.
On the 30th June 1940 a joint Lugduno-Italian expedition entered Aquitaine, which had been neutral until then. Seven days later a military coup d'etat led by fascist sympathisers overthrew the legitimate government and formally invited the Lyonnaise and Italians to occupy the country.
Nevertheless, much of the army was still determined to resist, and the arrival of assistance from Albion helped encourage the fainthearts. Albic troops were able to delay the Lyonnaise for long enough to allow the majority of the Aquitanian armed forces to evacuate and to establish a network of spies in the occupied territories.
Operation Rurik and the Battle of Skagen
After gaining control of Denmark, the UNSR planned a seaborne invasion of Norway. On the 8th July two thousand troopships, accompanied by over a hundred warships, departed from Kiel Harbour and headed for the Norwegian south coast.
Two days later the fleet was intercepted by the Albic Royal Navy just off Skagen. The resulting Battle of Skagen, the largest naval battle anywhere for over two hundred years, saw the total destruction of the UNSR Baltic Fleet and of the invasion force. Of the invaders, barely five thousand soldiers and sailors survived out of the eighty thousand who departed from Kiel.
After this catastrophe the UNSR High Command postponed indefinitely their plans for an invasion of Albion.
Romania declared war on the Axis powers on the 1st July and began to mobilise. Two weeks later the legions crossed the border into the Axis puppets of Albania and Bulgaria and quickly defeated their garrisons.
Hungary and Vlachia were still neutral at this time but were conveniently positioned to block the land route from northern Europe to the southern Balkans. On the 17th August the UNSR invaded Hungary which, divided and hampered by its efforts to put down a Serbian rebellion threatening the flank, surrendered after just eleven days.
The Battle of Belgrade was fought from the 5th to the 8th September between Romania and the UNSR in an effort to prevent the latter from crossing the River Danube, but ended in a Roman withdrawal. Over the next five months the front line steadily moved southwards through the Balkans, until in February 1941 it reached the Aegean Sea opposite Thasos.
The front then split into the separate Thracian and Thessalian fronts, which lasted for the next four years.
The Roman army continued to be pushed back through Thrace, but halted once it had reached pre-prepared defensive positions crossing the Kallipolis and Thracian Chersonese peninsulas. The high command ordered that they be held at all costs, in an effort to keep the straits blocked and prevent the UNSR Black Sea fleet from sailing into the Mediterranean and ravaging shipping.
And held they were, despite great losses on both sides. Eventually the UNSR simply tired of the whole affair and took to building new ships elsewhere instead.
After retreating from Macedonia the Roman army put up a heavy fight all the way whilst falling back through Thessaly. But despite several victories at Katerini, Larissa and Volos it failed to halt the Lithuanians until the Battle of Thermopylae on the 25th April.
This delayed the invaders for long enough for defensive fortifications to be set up all through Boeotia. A decisive victory at the Third Battle of Plataea brought an end to the long retreat, and the next year began the slow push back towards the north.
North Africa and Egypt
In 1924 the second son of King Fernando III of Italy had used bribes and threats to claim the throne of Africa, and ever since then Africa had been treated as little more than an Italian overseas province. With Italian troops based all along the coast, the Axis powers had a good base from which to invade neutral Egypt and seize control of the strategic Suez Canal. On the 18th June, 1941, after an ultimatum was rejected by Egypt, Italian forces crossed the border and headed for Alexandria.
On the 21st June Egypt formally joined the Central Powers and called upon Roman aid. By the end of the month six armoured and ten infantry divisions were making their way to Egypt, in time to halt the Italians at the Battle of Paraitonion. Units of the Albic army and Saxon army-in-exile under Feldmarschall Erwin Rommel arrived a few weeks later and over the next few months managed to push the front line all the way back to Cyrenaica.
In response, the UNSR reinforced the Italians with five White Army armoured divisions and Lithuanian agents tried to encourage discontent in Syria and Nubia. As the Axis army steadily began to advance back into Egypt a small rebellion broke out in Syria which threatened the supply route and forced the Romans to redirect units to reassert control. Unfortunately, this coincided with the arrival of yet more Axis reinforcements and the front surged forward almost to the Nile delta.
However, in two battles at the coastal city of Dysimaies, just 100km west of Alexandria, Rommel first halted and then encircled and destroyed the majority of the Axis forces. By late 1942 the remainder of the Axis were permanently on the retreat through the desert, and in May 1943 Carthage was taken and the last Italians surrendered themselves into captivity.
Asia and the Pacific - 1937-1948
All Korea had formerly been under Chinese rule, but following the collapse of the Gong Dynasty the southern half revolted and declared itself independent, but was before long occupied by Japan instead. The new Ren Dynasty, seeking a way to legitimise itself in the eyes of the people, desired to recover the region by any means necessary.
On the 17th June, 1937, China declared war on Japan and the Blue and Green Banner Armies crossed the border the next day...
Vanaheim - 1941-1947
Appalachian and Great Lakes Theatre
Ever since the beginning of the war negotiations had been ongoing between New Arvor and the Axis. On the 8th March, 1941, New Arvor declared war on the Central Powers and began the invasion of Vinland.
Most of the Vinnish armed forces were in Europe aiding the mother country, and initially New Arvor faced little resistance. At the Battle of Allentown, New Scilly, an entire tank battalion was ambushed and destroyed by provincial militia forces, prompting New Arvor to be more ruthless in its treatment of the Vinlanders. This seemed to work, and by the time regular Vinnish army units had returned from Albion the front had moved into New Ebrauc and fighting was ongoing for the city of Detroit.
New Arvor eventually claimed all the land south of the Great Lakes and the Canada River, but never actually controlled all of it. Its farthest advance was in the winter of 1942-1943, when it laid siege to the city of Portland - a long and bloody event that wasted the lives of thousands of soldiers and civilians, diverted thousands more from where they were needed elsewhere along the front, and ended in the encirclement and destruction of the Arvorian 6th Army. From then on New Arvor could only retreat, and it did so until its final surrender in May 1947.
Though Fusang had declared war on the Axis powers in 1941 at the same time as its neighbours, it did not initially expect to play a major role in the land fighting. It hoped to use its strong blue water navy to protect the trans-Pacific shipping lanes between Vanaheim, Japan and New Tigray, and to try to interrupt the enemy supply routes through the South China Sea.
However, at the Battle of the Visayan Sea in March 1942, the Fusang Overseas Fleet lost six aircraft carriers, twelve battleships, eighty lighter warships and nearly a thousand aircraft. Fusangese naval capabilities were shattered permanently, and in June of that year a daring Chinese joint operation launched an invasion of the Vanaheim mainland and successfully established a beachhead around the city of Zhengzhou.
A simultaneous operation had captured the Panama Canal Zone, giving the Chinese fleet almost uncontested naval superiority in the eastern Pacific for months. In this time, China was able to transport enough troops and materiel across the ocean to expand the front, and eventually occupied most of southern Fusang. The capital at Tianshi was held, but faced almost daily aerial and artillery bombardment.
The occupation lasted until 1950, when China and Fusang agreed peace terms in the middle of the Long Ceasefire. Fusang did not take part in the war once the ceasfire collapsed and the war resumed in 1961.
The Long Ceasefire - 1948-1961By 1948 all sides were exhausted by the conflict, with their economies in ruins and with millions of young men dead or wounded. When Albion and the UNSR each performed successful atomic bomb tests within a few weeks of each other, both country's politicians realised that to continue would mean the destruction of everything they held dear.
On June 8th representatives of Albion, Romania, Lyonesse, the UNSR and China agreed to an informal ceasefire to last for the forseeable future, though not to a formal peace treaty. Saxony, Japan and Fusang all boycotted the talks while their home territory was occupied.
However, even without their cooperation there would be little fighting for the next thirteen years and the front lines would remain largely static. Throughout this period the international situation would resemble a cold war more than a hot one, with threats and rhetoric from both sides but not much in the way of military conflict.
Nevertheless, there were still too many grievances and disagreements for either Central Powers or Axis to be able to coexist with the other. On the 14th January, 1961, a Lithuanian terrorist detonated a suitcase nuclear bomb in the centre of Smyrna, killing two million people including Emperor Michael VII along with most of the Senate. The UNSR disavowed all knowledge and refused to investigate, and on the 20th January the new Emperor Isaac II, acting as head of the emergency government, announced the restoration of hostilities. The war was on once more.