|War Plan Red|
The North American War, also knows as the Commonwealth - American War and the Six-Years War was a major armed conflict fought between the United Kingdom and its dominions on one side, and the United States of America on the other.
In the 1930's, during the Great Depression, the US military drew up plans for a possible war with the British Empire, code named, War Plan Red. US forces planned to invade Canada, advancing on Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax in the east, Winnipeg in the centre and Vancouver in the west. The opening stages of the invasion would involve an amphibious assault on the port of Halifax, which would be vital in preventing British forces from landing and reinforcing the Canadians. Likewise, Vancouver on the Pacific Coast had to be taken to prevent British and dominion forces from India and Australia from landing there. Instead of the "New Deal" plan initiated by President Roosevelt successfully leading to partial economic recovery as occurred in our timeline, the economy struggles along as it had been, Roosevelt and several cabinet members, as well as almost half of Congress, were killed when an anarchist set off several bombs in around the Capital Building as Roosevelt addressed Congress, this being the P.O.D. The military, under General MacArthur came to power, suspended the constitution and declared martial law, citing communist and anarchist activity and a growing problem with domestic terrorism. In an effort to reduce growing dissent against his semi-autocratic rule, he began to create tensions with the British Empire, such as fabricating border incidents or attacks on American citizens in Britain and Canada, which increased nationalistic sentiment, and as such, caused many in the population to direct their anger against "foreign agents" who were trying to bring down America. Canada began to increase its forces, bringing in a draft, and the US began construction of military air bases near the Canadian border, setting the stage for war.
US invasion of Canada
On the 14th July, 1934, three US Army groups, West, Central, and East, crossed the Canadian border without warning or declaration of war. US Army Air Force fighters and bombers struck Canadian military bases and government buildings in Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Vancouver, Thunder Bay and Winnipeg. Initial resistance to the invasion was met by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who made a brave but ultimately futile attempt to halt the invasion. However their sacrifice allowed some crucial extra time for Canadian army forces to be mobilised, and within an hour of the invasion, the Canadian army had engaged the advance forces of the Americans, only small skirmishes at first, as each side tried to gauge the strength of the other. About 30 minutes after the invasion began, news reached the general population that the Americans were invading. Citizens rushed home from work, some hiding in subway stations to fleeing to the relative safety of the countryside. The bombing of Canadian population centres was relatively light due to the US lacking a significant amount of bomber aircraft, such as Germany possessed. At least 200 Canadian civilians were killed in the first two hours during bombing raids. The city of Windsor fell to American forces without a shot being fired, as Canadian units had not been mobilised in time to reach the city. The Canadian government began a full military mobilisation, setting up defenses near Toronto and Vancouver, and began bombing advancing Americans with the relatively Royal Canadian Air Force, inflicting some casualties, but not enough to cause any real threat the invasion force.
The US Marines and Navy attempted an amphibious invasion in the port of Halifax, which was the main strategic goal of the Americans early in the conflict, as it would neutralise the Canadian Navy in the Atlantic, and prevent British forces landing by sea to reinforce the Canadians. However, the attack was a major disaster, with Canadian army units and some destroyers that had just arrived in the harbour making short work in the invasion force, killing over 1,000 men and capturing 2,000 others. Several thousand were able to flee back to the sea and back to the US.
State of War
6 hours after the invasion started, Canadian Prime Minister Richard Bennet, with the approval of Parliament, declared that a state of war existed between Canada and the United States of America, and condemned what he called a "blatant and barbaric act of aggression" by the Americans. The British government met in an emergency session in Downing Street, after which Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald sent a message to Washington, saying that if American forces did not withdraw from Canada within 24 hours, Britain would declare war on America. At the same time, 25,000 British troops embarked for the journey to Canada, as the government did not expect the Americans to withdraw. Likewise, many Royal Navy warships were also destined for Canada, and would be used for protecting troop transports, and if need be, blockading American ports.
On the front lines, American forces were meeting stiff resistance as they advanced on Toronto, and a Canadian counter attack forced them back from the town of Hamilton, just south of Toronto, with the town taking a pounding from both sides artillery that left hundreds of civilians dead and thousands of refugees fleeing northwards. American forces finally overcame resistance in Hamilton the next day, and took control of the city.
At 11:18 AM, GMT, Ramsay McDonald, spoke to the people of Britain over BBC radio: Yesterday, our ambassador in Washington informed the Americans that if they did not cease their illegal and unjustified invasion of Canada and withdraw within 24 hours, that our two countries would be in a state of war. The Americans did not reply, and, I regret now to inform you, that currently a state of war exists between the United Kingdom of Great Britain, and the United States of America."
In the hours that followed, the dominions of the British Empire, namely Australia, New Zealand and South Africa declared war on the USA, and soon thousands of troops from across the Empire, including India and the Pacific Islands, were on their way to Canada, to bolster the relatively small Canadian army, which despite its small size in comparison to the invaders, was putting up a tough resistance and inflicting heavy casualties on the Americans. However, by the 18th of July, four days after the war had started, Winnipeg had fallen, and Vancouver was besieged the next day.
Battle of Toronto
Advance elements of US Army Group East reached the southern outskirts of Toronto on 21st July, and began shelling the city, whilst waiting on the larger bulk of the army group reaching the area. Four days later, after heavy fighting the left hundreds dead on both sides, US army forces had surrounded Toronto from all sides, and were pounding it with heavy artillery and US Army Air Force B-29 bombers.
The Siege of Toronto was brutal, and within five days of the beginning of the battle, over 8000 Toronto citizens had been killed, with double that injured, and city hospitals run out of basic supplies rapidly.
Regular units of the Canadian Army put up a stiff resistance, holding off several major advances by the Americans, and by the 28th July, over 1800 US servicemen had been KIA in the battle.
The city itself finally surrendered on 1st August, having suffered 12,400 civilian fatalities and severe food and fuel shortages. Over 10,000 Canadian soldiers were taken into captivity and shipped to POW camps in the northern US.
The British Are Coming
The day after Toronto fell, the first British soldiers landed on Canadian soil to aid their allies. 25,000 soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force entered through the port of Halifax on Canada's eastern coast, where only weeks earlier an American plan to seize the port had failed. Some of British forces were ordered to defend the western town of St John, whilst 6000 others were sent to help defend Montreal and another 10,000 were to defend the capital Ottawa from the advancing Americans.