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The Day After: WWIII Goes Nuclear
post 11 Feb 2023, 14:58
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The recent release of Nuclear War Simulator on Steam has filled my head with ideas regarding the ROTR universe. Namely the state of nuclear arsenals in 2049, and how I think the war with Russia could end (but probably won't in canon).

This also serves as my ROTR headcanon.

The Day After

Chapter 1: The Global War on Terror and Aftermath

Historians often date the start of the Global War on Terror to October 5, 2019, when the Global Liberation Army, a terrorist group created from the merger of multiple Islamic extremist groups with identical goals such as al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, ISIS, the Brotherhood of the White Falcon, and Boko Haram, detonated a five-kiloton nuclear device in the heart of Beijing during a military parade celebrating the 70th anniversary of the de facto end of the Chinese Civil War. In truth, the war actually began eighteen years earlier, on September 11, 2001, when four commercial airliners were hijacked in the United States and turned into missiles; two flew in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City (one for each tower), one flew into the Pentagon, and a fourth was crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania after the passengers revolted (it is accepted that the fourth plane was intended to be used against either the White House or the United States Capitol). President George W. Bush publicly declared a "War on Terror", and in October, launched Operation Enduring Freedom along with a United Nations coalition, mainly in Afghanistan, but also in the Philippines, Somalia, the Horn of Africa, among other areas where terrorist groups were thought to be fighting.

The main catalyst for the Global War on Terror as we know it came in 2017, when Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan united into a single state known as "Aldastan". The GLA was formed by Kazakh warlord "Deathstrike", as he viewed the creation of Aldastan as the product of foreign imperialism. By 2019, the GLA had absorbed the above-mentioned terrorist groups, becoming the largest terrorist group in history. Deathstrike's ire was directed at China the most, as not only was the PRC a major supporter of Aldastan, but had also been persecuting the Uyghurs and other Muslims as part of a "people's war on terror".

On October 5, 2019, the GLA made the first move, detonating at five-kiloton nuclear device in the midst of a Chinese military parade. The attack had multiple repercussions:

1. It revealed massive lapses in Chinese security, as the nuclear warhead used had been stolen from a storage bunker outside Beijing
2. It broke the "nuclear taboo" that had been in place since the end of World War II, being the first time a nuclear weapon had been used in combat since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945
3. Much of the CCP was killed, including president Xi Jinping
4. It destroyed several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Forbidden Palace
5. It triggered China's "no first use" policy, causing China to deploy innumerable nuclear weapon systems against the GLA

International reactions were mixed. While many countries rushed to send aid to the affected area, the United States was conspicuously absent from the list. A White House whistleblower stated in November that President Donald Trump had specifically forbade any aid to China, saying "they deserved it". It was par for the course, given Trump's hawkish attitude towards the PRC, as was his Twitter post denying he had said anything of the sort while at the same time blaming China, but it still caused outrage among Democrats and moderate Republicans.

In the aftermath of the October 5 attack (a day now known as "Black Saturday" in China), the CCP moved quickly to shore up its power, as with most of the top leadership dead, other factions or possibly even Taiwan could move to take power in Beijing. In the end, a moderate clique that had quietly formed in 1976 after Mao's death, ended up ousting the hardliners. Zhao Wei was named the new Chairman, and, in addition to enacting emergency measures to effectively prosecute the war against the GLA, also began the "Modern Way" program to reform the entire government and Chinese society in general. While the country was still authoritarian, the country was heavily liberalized, with moderate free press, open elections for Party positions, the abolition of the One-Child Policy, more transparency from the government on an international level, and most important of all, recognizing the independence of Taiwan. The Modern Way program led to a massive thaw in relations with the west, but President Trump remained steadfast in his hawkish attitude towards China.

Chinese nuclear weapon systems of the Global War on Terror

With the breaking of the "no first use" policy by the GLA using a nuclear weapon first, China deployed a variety of nuclear weapon systems. While the large strategic weapons (including ICBMs and SLBMs) were on full alert for the duration of the war, they were ultimately never used. Instead, the Chinese used numerous tactical weapon systems that had been developed in anticipation of a war with Russia or India, or to stop the US from invading Mainland China or North Korea. Chief among these weapons was the DF-21 (NATO reporting name CSS-5), a solid-fueled tactical nuclear missile. Touted as a "carrier killer", the DF-21 would normally be launched from a TEL, but these were vulnerable to GLA ambushes (particularly the so-called "rocket buggies"), so Chinese FOBs, in keeping with the new doctrine of quickly building these bases with prefabricated structures, would deploy the DF-21 in above-ground silos. This had both advantages and disadvantages, the advantage being they could be quickly reloaded (typically, a DF-21 could be launched every six minutes), and were hardened against attack, including the GLA's dreaded Scud Storm. However, them being above ground made them vulnerable, and if the local GLA FOB had two Scud Storms (which was very common), they could take out the silo, causing a nuclear explosion in addition to the chemicals and anthrax released around the blast radius. All Chinese generals had full authority to deploy the DF-21, though General Leang, head of the Special Weapons Division, chose to use a weapon she had personally developed known as the "Earth Shaker" (a weapon that caused strong earthquakes; Leang had vowed to never use nuclear weapons after her sister was killed in the October 5 attack, and became a prominent spokesperson for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament).

Another major part of the Chinese tactical nuclear arsenal was the "Meteor" 280mm atomic cannon. Initially derided as a cheap knockoff of the American M65 atomic cannon (AKA "Atomic Annie"), the Meteor quickly became the most-used nuclear weapon in history. The low-yield shells were capable of destroying entire GLA FOBs (provided they had escort from anti-infantry tanks), and they quickly became a symbol of China's collective revenge against the barbaric invaders.

General Tsing Shi Tao was heavily involved in the creation of the DF-21 and Meteor, and deployed additional nuclear weaponry no other general had access to. This included tactical missiles launched from the ZTZ200 Overlord and Chengdu J-20, tactical bombs dropped from the Helix helicopter and H-6 bomber (the H-6 would drop these bombs like a normal carpet bombing), nuclear cluster munitions also dropped from the H-6, and, perhaps most infamously, the Devastator, a twin-barrelled tank that could fire tactical nuclear shells (the Devastator also had no shielding for its crew; as of 2049, there are no surviving Devastator crews); allegedly, Tao also deployed the so-called "R.A.D. Tank", a bizarre contraption that fired focused beams of gamma radiation in such high amounts that human DNA would be mutated to the point of melting into a pile of flesh (the existence of the R.A.D. Tank has never been confirmed).

GLA nuclear weapons

Without a solid manufacturing base or means of enriching uranium, any nuclear weapons that the GLA used were stolen. The first weapon used by the GLA in the war was a five-kiloton tactical warhead stolen from a storage bunker outside Beijing, a bunker that was destroyed by a group of soldiers dressed in period uniforms and armed with archaic bolt-action rifles, alongside tanks from the regular army that had survived the attack.

Several years into the war, in 2023, the GLA hijacked three trucks carrying tactical nuclear warheads, and used them to destroy the base of a GLA commander who had defected to the Chinese, positioning the trucks in such a way that the entire base was destroyed in one fell swoop, and the GLA commander in charge of the operation quickly pulled out before Chinese reinforcements arrived.

The GLA heavily used ex-Soviet Scud missiles during the war, but these never carried nuclear warheads, only explosive warheads and warheads filled with liquid anthrax (as a side-note, the widespread use of anthrax-based weaponry by the GLA caused initial fears that this was the origin of the SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, but this was quickly debunked by both the Chinese government and World Health Organization, who traced the origin of the virus to bats).

When the GLA attacked the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2025, rather than destroying all defenses, they instead captured the joint Sino-American base at the facility. In addition to getting their hands on American and Chinese technology, the GLA also came into possession of countless nuclear warheads, as a fully-stocked DF-21 launch facility was on the base. Although the GLA used Baikonur to launch numerous Soyuz-2 rockets as ICBMs (ironic, considering that the Soyuz-2 traces its ancestry back to the R-7 Semyorka, the world's first ICBM), these used chemical warheads, as the GLA still lacked any high-yield strategic warheads that would make the use of nuclear-armed Soyuz rockets worthwhile.

GLA demolitions expert Rodall Juhziz was crafty, and able to get his hands on more nuclear warheads than was thought possible by western intelligence. He used these warheads on his bomb trucks. As the GLA Insurrection in Germany came to an end, Juhziz, through means that are still unknown to this day, had smuggled a decommissioned American B53 nuclear bomb into Hamburg, using it to destroy the city and advancing Chinese military units (plus General Shin Fai), at the cost of his own life.

Prior to the Germany Insurrection, the GLA had used the Particle Cannon at Crete Naval Base in Germany to sink the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76). While this didn't cause a nuclear explosion due to how well-armored the ship's reactor was, it still released radiation that forced all residents in Crete to shelter in place (fortunately, nobody developed radiation sickness, as most of the radiation released by the carrier leaked underwater, though this did create a major dead zone that, as of 2049, was still uninhabitable for any marine life).

Political changes during and after the Global War on Terror

The political upheaval during and after the Global War on Terror cannot be understated.

The first was the changes in China after Black Saturday, as the newly-liberalized China went from "uneasy coexistence" with the west to effectively joining it. It was also for this reason that, when North Korea invaded South Korea in July 2029, China did nothing other than stop the flow of refugees from North Korea, willingly cutting the Kim dynasty loose; this didn't stop Russia from assisting the North, as they didn't want a traditionally western-aligned country on their border, forcing Japan to repeal Article 9 of their postwar constitution; the intervention of Japan in the Second Korean War not only led to a South Korean victory, but also allowed Japan to retake Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands, serving as a major black eye for Russia.

Russia itself had also undergone major political upheaval during the war, though most of it wasn't a direct result of GLA actions. After Joe Biden won the 2020 US Presidential Election (and after rabid supporters of Trump attempted to overturn the election results on January 6, 2021), Russian president Vladimir Putin initiated a "special military operation" in neighboring Ukraine. Officially, the reason was the "demilitarize" and "denazify" the country, but in truth, it was a land grab, as Putin, a former KGB officer, was stuck in the mindset of Soviet imperialism and paranoia. He wanted a buffer against the west, and, believing the United States to be distracted by the GLA, thought he could get away with it. He grossly underestimated the United States' ability to multitask, as well as how willing the west was to supply Ukraine with weapons, while not putting boots on the ground.

The entire invasion ended up being a fiasco, and Russian forces were kicked out of Ukraine by late 2023. In early 2024, American special forces discovered exactly where the GLA was getting ex-Soviet equipment such as Scud missiles and ZSU-23-4 "Shilka" quad cannons mounted on half-tracks: Russia itself. Putin had gotten desperate to fund his vanity war, and to that end, began selling equipment that was of no use in Ukraine. Putin immediately went on damage control, and ordered a military operation to recapture Baikonur from the GLA; this operation was a miserable failure, not the least because the Russian military had become a third-rate force after their unexpected defeat in Ukraine. For four years, Russia's political parties were in a "cold civil war", until 2028, when the New Russia Party (or Novorossiya Party) led an armed insurrection on the Kremlin, with the full support of the local military garrison.

The world watched as the leader of the New Russia Party, Nikolai Suvorov, rode atop a BMP-3 Mauler and, with his suporters, stormed the barricades at the Kremlin, slipping into the Kremlin with special forces while a firefight broke out outside. Putin was ordered to stand down, but he was defiant, pulling a gun and reaching for the telephone to order a full nuclear launch. If he couldn't have the world, no one could. Putin was shot dead before he could do so. In the following hours, Putin's cronies were arrested, including Dmitry Medvedev, Sergei Lavrov, Sergei Shoigu, and Dmitry Rogozin. Many high-ranking military officials refused to recognize the new government, and were also arrested, in a period known as the "Second Great Purge" (though the terminology was controversial, as it was nowhere near the scale of Stalin's purges). Putin's critics were granted full pardons and released, chief among them Alexei Navalny, who was offered Lavrov's job, but declined. Open elections were held in October 2028, without the United Russia party, as it had been deemed an extremist group and illegalized. Everyone thought this would usher in a new era of peace, until Suvorov revealed his true colors and publicly announced his goal of creating a "Eurasian Empire" with Moscow as the capital, by any means necessary. Suvorov, it seemed, was just a Putin 2.0 (without the megalomania or KGB-influenced paranoia), but with Russia's military in a woeful state following the failed invasion of Ukraine, nobody took him seriously.

Even before the Germany Insurrection, Europe had already seen much change. In 2023, the Treaty of Vienna was signed, uniting all members of the European Union into a single entity by the same name; the only holdout was the United Kingdom, which had left the EU in 2020 (Brexit), and had its own problems, including rising prices on everyday items, a high turnover rate on prime ministers, and the imminent coronation of Charles III. Instead, the UK sought closer cooperation with Commonwealth countries, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as maintaining its strong relationship with the United States. The formation of the united EU led to the disbandment of NATO, but this did nothing to stop the flow of arms into Ukraine. The cracks in the united EU didn't take long to form, as the Free Republic of Bavaria declared independence in 2024. The foundations of the united EU were VERY fragile to begin with, and the Germany Insurrection completely destroyed those foundations. Across Europe, monarchies returned to power, and military dictatorships overthrew governments to stabilize the situation. With cheap Chinese credit, the EU was able to temporarily arrest the collapse, purchasing fossil fuels and raw materials from Russia (the united EU nullified the sanctions imposed during the invasion of Ukraine out of sheer necessity). This sudden influx of money allowed Suvorov to invest in infastructure, mainly in Siberia, which was an untapped treasure trove of natural resources. With the new resources flowing out of Siberia, Russia rapidly modernized its military, with new weapons, tanks, and even building a navy with which to rival the US Navy, including ten nuclear-powered aircraft carriers to match the United States' own Gerald R. Ford-class carriers.

The collapse of the EU began anew in 2030, when the government of Serbia was removed by a group of irredentist military officers who formed a strategic alliance with Russia, and proceeded to annex large parts of former Yugoslavia into a new federal state. This move totally blindsided the western world; the last thing anyone expected was the reformation of Yugoslavia. As speculation ran rampant about which nation from the pages of history would rise from the dead next (many Redditors put their money on Turkey using the global chaos to rebuild the Ottoman Empire), Eastern European nations were the next to break away from the EU, including Hungary, Romania, and, most surprising of all, Greece. None of the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) had been considered for the united EU, and merged to form the Baltic Commonwealth, eagerly joining Russia's sphere.

By 2034, the situation in Europe had stabilized. The EU was disbanded back into independent countries, and a new military alliance, the European Continental Army (ECA), was founded to fill the void left by the disbandment of NATO.

Throughout the Global War on Terror, everything seemed to have been going the way of the United States. Then they suffered a series of defeats, including the sinking of the USS Ronald Reagan. But it was an attack on American soil that really did it. In August 2027, the GLA launched a raid on the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. GLA sympathizers from across California snuck whatever they could into the area, including cars and pickup trucks to be used as technicals, tractors to be converted into "toxin tractors", and anything they could get their hands on to convert into Scorpion Tanks, plus any arms they could get their hands on. The goal of the operation was to steal toxins recovered from the lab of the infamous "Dr. Thrax" in Iran (the joint Saudi-US invasion of Iran also led to the dissolution of the government that had come to power in the 1979 Iran Revolution, as well as a permanent end to Iran's nuclear weapons program).

The GLA managed to steal at least 20 truckloads of toxins, completely destroying the lab complex in the process. They then turned to the nearby town of Livermore, and began destroying everything and killing everyone in sight. The destruction of Livermore was livestreamed on social media, much to the horror of everyone unlucky enough to click on the links that were spammed to everyone's email inbox and encoded in a way to bypass even the best filters. The GLA moved along Interstate 580 with their ill-gotten toxins and everything they had looted from Livermore, with the sackings spilling over into nearby Pleasanton. After the last truck had cleared Livermore, the 580-680 interchange was blown up, and the nearby Stoneridge Shopping Center was looted and burned to the ground. The GLA then did the same thing to Castro Valley, Ashland, and San Leandro, before reaching their destination: Oakland International Airport. The GLA had hijacked a UPS 747 to transport the toxins and ill-gotten loot back to GLA headquarters in Central Africa, making a daring escape while hastily-erected Stinger Sites kept fighter jets deployed from Travis Air Force Base near Fairfield away from the 747.

When news of the attack reached Washington, President Biden, who had won reelection in 2024, suffered a fatal heart attack, becoming the first president to die in office since John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Vice President Kamala Harris was quickly sworn in as the 47th President of the United States (and first female president), and was whisked away to Mount Weather, where she spoke to the nation via the Emergency Alert System (the first time an actual, non-test National Emergency Message had been issued). After the GLA destroyed the EUCOM base in Stuttgart, Germany, Harris made the decision to withdraw most military forces stationed overseas (bases in the UK and in US overseas territories remained open). Once the last servicemember was home and the last piece of equipment was unloaded onto American soil, Harris proceeded to turn the United States into a fortress, while taking care not to crack down on civil liberties. The majority of this involved massive cuts in defense spending, and cutting troubled projects such as the FB-40 Aurora, as well as decommissioning the oldest ships in the navy such as the Flight I Arleigh Burke-class destroyers; at no point was any consideration given to the retirement of the six Atlanta-class battleships built between 2013 and 2019 (the Atlanta-class being a product of the naval gunfire support debate; the class are considered "pocket battleships" due to only having two main guns, and were initially designed solely as floating artillery platforms), and they were placed in "warm layup". Procurement of the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers and Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines would continue, however, as would work on the DDG(X) project.

In the 2028 election, Harris ran for a full term, but the country blamed the Democrats for losing to the GLA and forcing the country back into isolationism, and so the Republican candidate, the controversial Ron DeSantis, was elected. DeSantis continued Harris' policies of turning the United States into a fortress, but took a much more openly-bellicose tone. One of his most-worrying reforms was massively expanding the nuclear arsenal. With the expiration of the New START treaty in 2026, and the repealment of the INF Treaty by Trump in 2018, DeSantis gave the Department of Defense free reign to modernize the stockpile.

One project started before the Global War on Terror was the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which had been given the official designation of LGM-35A Sentinel in 2022. This next-generation ICBM had been intended to fully replace the aging LGM-30G Minuteman III, but budget cuts meant that it would be cheaper to carry out a life-extension program on the older missiles. Still, DeSantis didn't want to work done on the Sentinel to go to waste, and therefore, made the controversial decision in 2030 to reactivate the 351st Missile Wing at Whiteman AFB in Missouri, followed by the 44th Missile Wing at Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota; consideration was given to also reactivating the 321st Missile Wing at Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota, but this would be cost-prohibitive. The existing missile wings at F.E. Warren AFB, Minot AFB, and Malmstrom AFB would continue hosting Minuteman III missiles, now newly-modernized, while the reactivated wings at Whiteman and Ellsworth would have the new Sentinel missiles.

Another major nuclear modernization project was one meant for use against the GLA. The DoD had determined that the US could not rely on FOBs solely using Particle Cannons, and so petitioned DeSantis to create a new-generation MRBM. DeSantis quickly gave approval, and Lockheed Martin was commissioned to create a new missile system. The design phase was described as long and arduous, and at the end of the day, all they could come up with was described as a "Pershing III"; all Lockheed Martin had done was take the blueprints from predecessor Martin Marietta for the infamous Pershing II, and modernized it with increased range and MIRV capacity. In the end, though, the DoD accepted this design.

One of the big losses of the postwar budget cuts was the B-21 Raider. The Raider had been intended to replace the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit as the primary strategic bomber of the Air Force, with the hope that it could eventually replace the venerable B-52 Stratofortress. Several B-52s had been been shot down by the GLA during the Global War on Terror, and the survivors were now solely being used for nuclear weapons delivery.

Perhaps the biggest project undertaken by the DoD when modernizing the American nuclear arsenal was Project Big Stick. President DeSantis desired a missile with such a large warhead that nobody would ever consider attacking the United States, specifically alluding to the Titan II missile, a liquid-fueled ICBM that stayed in service longer than anyone expected due to being able to loft a nine-megaton warhead. DeSantis desired something like this, and ordered the DoD to begin work. The DoD ultimately made an unusual choice: the United Launch Alliance's Vulcan Centaur rocket that had replaced the reliable Delta IV and Atlas V in the mid-2020s. The rocket was powerful enough to lift the kind of large warhead DeSantis desired. The new missile would be a liquid-fueled missile (a rarity in the modern day), designated as the LGM-185 Vulcan, carrying a 20 MT warhead. Production on the new missiles was carried out concurrently with the civilian Vulcan Centaur rockets, being based on the VC0 variant without the SRBs. The Vulcan silos would be deeper than the Minuteman and Sentinel silos, so that a counterforce strike couldn't take them out. As for location, the old Titan II missile wings at Little Rock AFB in Arkansas, McConnell AFB in Kansas, and Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona were reactivated, and the old Titan II silos were dug out and refurbished (the Titan Missile Museum was excluded from this, with a new silo being built for a Vulcan instead).

Other minor projects included resurrecting and modernizing the BGM-109A Tomahawk, and creating the BGM-109M Tomahawk, both equipped with nuclear warheads. The BGM-109A was intended for use with the Tomahawk Launchers introduced at the beginning of the Global War on Terror, while the BGM-109M was the naval variant.

The modernization of the American nuclear arsenal did not escape the notice of Russia, who also moved to enlarge their nuclear arsenal to match the United States'. It was the perfect nightmare for the CND; without any new arms control legislation, American and Russian nuclear stockpiles were quickly ballooning back to 1980s levels.

Other cases of political upheaval included Israel coming under the rule of a militant regime after the GLA launched a Soyuz-2 at Tel Aviv, the formation of the Middle Eastern Council (consisting of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, the newly-secularized Persia, Iraq, and Kurdistan; Israel was intentionally excluded due to its continued refusal to recognize Palestine), and the creation of the Greater Asian People's Alliance (GAPA), consisting of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, with Myanmar joining after China invaded in 2032 to end the civil war that had started in 2021 when the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup.

Back in the United States, DeSantis lost reelection in the 2032 election to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose economic policies produced a rapid turnaround for the American economy. Among these policies included the nationalization of the railroads, power grid, and water systems, and increasing the tax rate for the wealthy by a huge margin, which she managed by convincing the Republicans that, without that extra tax revenue, the GLA would come back and kill everyone. She had intended to put an end to DeSantis' expansion of the nuclear arsenal, but Russia's own expansion of its arsenal forced Ocasia-Cortez to stay the course, though she did manage to placate anti-nuclear activists by creating the Civil Reconstruction Administration, intended to mobilize after a nuclear war. The origin of CRA can be traced to the ambulances deployed by the US Army during the Global War on Terror. These ambulances, based on the Humvee chassis, were equipped with a revolution in decontamination: the CBRN Foam created by California-based tech company Genentech. The foam is formulated to bind itself to harmful agents, such as anthrax and nuclear fallout, and neutralize it, rendering it harmless. The CBRN Foam saw heavy use in battles where the GLA deployed large amounts of chemical and biological weapons.

The CRA's main goal was to ensure that the survivors of a nuclear war could quickly restart society. CRA activities included:

* Stockpiling massive amounts of medical supplies, including iodine, anaesthetic, bandages, and NIOSH-certified N95 masks (of which there was a surplus after the COVID-19 pandemic)
* Stockpiling industrial machinery to expedite rebuilding
* Stockpiling prefabricated housing to accomodate those whose homes were destroyed
* Building massive underground greenhouses to ensure a stable food supply
* Hardening the power grid against EMP, and ensuring all electronics meet new FCC standards for EMP-proofing, up to and including retrofitting older electronics for free
* Stockpiling Humvee-derived ambulances equipped with the CBRN Foam

All stockpiled equipment was stored in massive underground warehouses, whose locations were all strictly-classified so that enemies couldn't find them with satellites and then target them. CRA reforms were extended to Canada and Mexico (both members of the North American Union), and the UK (who gladly welcomed any help to overhaul its woefully-outdated civil defense planning, which still included airing 1970s-vintage Protect & Survive public information films).

By 2038, with the advent of the African Resource Rush, the world could be reliably divided into multiple spheres:

* European Continental Army, consisting of Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Bavaria, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Ukraine (Slovakia was invited to join, but chose to remain neutral; Switzerland immediately chose to retain its traditional neutrality)
* The Global Defense Initiative (GDI), consisting of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South Africa, and Israel, plus all other members of the Commonwealth of Nations, and the American-created Free African Union (the UK was also part of the ECA, and served as a go-between for the ECA and GDI)
* The New Collective Security Treaty Organization (New Col-Sec), consisting of Russia, Belarus, the Baltic Commonwealth (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), Greece, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Romania, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India (which had left the Commonwealth of Nations after a far-right coup, and made a grand spectacle of it), Pakistan, the East African Federation (created from the merger of Kenya and Tanzinia at the behest of Russia), Madagascar, Cuba, and the entirety of South America (except for French Guiana, which remained in ECA hands)
* The Greater Asian People's Alliance (GAPA), consisting of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia Myanmar, and Aldastan (the latter is a sore point between the GAPA and New Col-Sec)
* The Middle Eastern Council (MEC), consisting of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Persia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Kurdistan, Yemen, and Bahrain
* The Global Liberation Army (GLA), while not formally recognized by the UN, is still considered one of the "Great Powers" by pundits; GLA territory, known as "The Zone", primarily consists of what was once the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic; GLA activity is suspected in Somalia, Great Baluchistan, Borneo, Malawi, Mozambique, Chad, Cameroon, and by 2048, the CIA had even uncovered possible GLA activity in Mexico, possibly through cutting deals with the Mexican cartels that still ran rampant

By the start of the 2040s, the age of the superpowers was over. Now, the main players were so-called "hyperpowers". Depending on who you asked, these hyperpowers were the above-mentioned spheres.

Each sphere, except the MEC, had at least one nuclear-armed state. The ECA had France, the GDI had the US, UK, Korea, and Israel, the New Col-Sec had Russia and India (Pakistan voluntarily destroyed its entire nuclear arsenal, as it had been designed specifically to destroy India), and the GAPA had China.

The early 2040s was marked by a worrying trend: nations obtaining nuclear weapons. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons effectively died after the Global War on Terror. Signatories left en masse, until the only nation left by 2040 was Switzerland. By 2043, quite a few nations had joined the "nuclear club", including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, and Yugoslavia. By 2044, even Japan, the first country to be attacked with nuclear weapons at the end of World War II in 1945, had joined the "nuclear club", and had a sizeable stockpile, at that (to no one's surprise, Japan's nuclear missiles were all named after notable Japanese characters, with their main ICBM being named the Gojira, the Japanese name for Godzilla; other missiles including an IRBM named the Mazinger, an SRBM named the Goku, and an SLBM named the Midoriya).

By the end of the decade, global nuclear stockpiles were quadruple what they were at the height of the Cold War, but at the same time, nobody seemed willing to really use them. When the GDI intervened in the Russo-European War in 2048, thus turning the war into World War III, US President William Bradford and Russian President Nikolai Suvorov immediately called each other and agreed to withhold their nuclear arsenals, even though France had already deployed the Pandora, and Russia was poised to use VERY low-yield tactical nuclear weapons (lower than the DF-21 deployed by China). World War III, it seemed, just might end without a nuclear holocaust.

And it would have, had it not been for one Nikita Ivanovich Aleksandr...
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post 12 Feb 2023, 14:19
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Chapter 2: The Weapons of World War III, Part 1

Historians often debate the factors that led to the Third World War, but many agree that it started when Nikolai Suvorov overthrew Vladimir Putin in 2028. Suvorov wasn't an ex-KGB officer ruled by paranoia, but was something much worse: an irredentist. He was six years old when the Soviet Union collapsed, and hardly understood what was going on, but as he grew up, he came to see the collapse of the Soviet Union as a great tragedy. Even so, he didn't agree with Putin's foreign policies, believing his rationale for invading neighboring countries to be flimsy. He found the "denazification" justification for the invasion of Ukraine to be insane, as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy himself was Jewish, so he rightfully reasoned, why would a Jew, the one group the Nazis hated most of all, be a Nazi himself? At the end of the day, "Nazi" was Putin's catch-all term for "enemies of Russia".

When he overthrew Putin in 2028, many believed Suvorov would be a moderate who would reform Russian society along western lines; US president Kamala Harris even hoped that, once the united EU experiment failed, this new Russia could join a reformed NATO. Instead, Suvorov began making fiery, unhinged speeches about creating a "Eurasian Empire", with Moscow as the capital, to consist of all of Europe and the former Soviet Union, and that he would create this new superstate "by any means necessary". At the time, nobody took him seriously. Russia's military was impotent after the ill-advised invasion of Ukraine, and couldn't even kick the GLA out of Baikonur. With only an aging, dubiously-reliable nuclear arsenal to actually back up his threats, the west dismissed Suvorov as a tin-pot dictator.

The reconstruction of Europe after the GLA's insurrection in Germany changed all that. The united EU used cheap Chinese credit to purchase fossil fuels and raw materials from Russia, having to lift the sanctions imposed when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. The Russian economy underwent a miraculous rebirth, returning to the glory days of the Soviet Union, just like Suvorov wanted. With this influx of cash, Russia was able to tap the natural resources of Siberia, giving them the resources to rapidly modernize their military.

The new naval arms race

In the previous chapter, we mentioned that the Russian Navy was modernized and expanded to match the US Navy. What we didn't mention, however, was the Soyuz-class battleship. These were built in response to the United States' Atlanta-class battleships built between 2013 and 2019, but the real impetus was the total overhaul the Atlantas received in 2033. The two main guns were removed, and replaced by multiple VLS cells, as well as turreted missile launchers; pretty much the only pre-overhaul weapon that remained was the Phalanx CIWS system, these having been the same Phalanx guns used on the Iowa-class battleships in the 1980s and 1990s. The diesel engines were also replaced by nuclear reactors, giving the Atlantas unlimited range, and allowing them to keep up with carriers. There were six Atlanta-class battleships, all named after cities (since the states were taken by attack submarines):

* USS Atlanta (BB-67/BBGN-1)
* USS Rochester (BB-68/BBGN-2)
* USS Northampton (BB-69/BBGN-3)
* USS Baltimore (BB-70/BBGN-4)
* USS Columbus (BB-71/BBGN-5)
* USS San Jose (BB-72/BBGN-6)

The Soyuz-class was built so the Russians would have their own battleships, as well as to replace the aging Kirov-class battlecruisers. There were eight battleships built, all named after Russian spacecraft and rockets:

* Soyuz
* Vostok
* Voskhod
* Orel
* Salyut
* Buran
* Proton
* Angara

Like their American counterparts, the Soyuz-class battleships were guided missile nuclear ships.

In addition to battleships, Russia also finally managed to obtain a fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, of which ten were built, one for each Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier the United States had. This was the Peter the Great-class, with each carrier being named for a notable Russian leader:

* Peter the Great
* Catherine the Great
* Ivan the Terrible
* Nicholas II
* Alexander the Liberator
* Vladimir Lenin
* Joseph V. Stalin
* Nikita Khrushchev
* Mikhail Gorbachev
* Boris Yeltsin

There was much controversy over whether or not the tenth carrier would be named after Vladimir Putin, but Suvorov refused to pay his predecessor any tribute.

It should be noted that Russia also maintained the troubled Admiral Kuznetsov, the end result of a sad attempt by the Soviet Union to build aircraft carriers; the other two carriers in the class ended up being finished by China, who would go on to use them against the Russians in WWIII.

Other nations noticed the new naval arms race between the United States and Russia, and wanted in. Soon, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Korea, and Australia all had guided-missile nuclear battleships:

* UK: Brunel-class (four ships)
* France: Paris-class (three ships)
* Germany: Bismarck-class (three ships)
* Turkey: Mustafa K. Atatürk-class (two ships)
* Argentina: Juan Perón-class (three ships)
* Brazil: Bolsonaro-class (four ships)
* Japan: Yamato-class (six ships)
* Korea: Seoul-class (four ships)
* Australia: Brisbane-class (five ships)

The construction of so many battleships made internet forums cream themselves (and made naval warfare theorists question everything they thought they knew), and made the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament very concerned, as these new-generation dreadnoughts had enough VLS cells to carry the payload of four missile submarines; it was alleged that the VLS cells on GDI battleships were standardized to be big enough to hold Pershing III missiles, which each carried three variable-yield warheads, the largest yield being one megaton; it shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that GDI battleships now carried more theoretical nuclear megatonnage than the combined ballistic missile submarine fleets of the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Israel.

This sudden boom in dreadnough construction started in 2038 after the African Resource Rush, and continued in the early 2040s, when China and India both began building guided-missile nuclear battleships, the Qin Shi Huang-class, and the Mahatma Gandhi-class, respectively, both classes consisting of six ships each.

The tank race

The race for bigger and better weapons also took place on land, as nations sought new generations of tanks, primarily a "Marauder Killer", referencing the infamous cobbled-together tanks the GLA had deployed during the Global War on Terror; CIA reports had indicated that the turrets on new-build Marauders could now rotate, turning what was once an assault gun into a genuine, bonafide tank.


Prior to the Global War on Terror, the United States had introduced two brand-new models of tank, these being the M5A1 Crusader and M1A4 Paladin. The Crusader I, as it's know nowadays, wasn't anything special at first glance, but in truth, it was actually a revolution in rapid deployment, light enough to be airlifted by a CH-47 Chinook, and still packing enough firepower to take on anything the GLA could throw at it. The underlying chassis for the Crusader I was also used as the basis for the TEL used by the BGM-109M Tomahawk cruise missile (which was a failure for many reasons). The Paladin, meanwhile, was an upgrade of the venerable M1 Abrams, with one difference: a point-defense laser. DARPA had been experimenting with laser-based weaponry, this particular project being headed by General "Pinpoint" Townes.

Townes was a major proponent of the widespread adoption of lasers, and thus, when he was deployed overseas to fight the GLA, he deployed an arsenal of laser-based weaponry, from laser rifles carried by frontline infantry, to lasers on RAH-66 Comanche helicopters (more on that later), and using a Laser Cannon as opposed to a Particle Cannon. Unfortunately, postwar budget cuts saw this entire project shut down; Townes went mad with grief, and locked down his base in Redwood City, California; General Alexis Alexander, who had been at the head of another DARPA project to develop new classes of non-nuclear superweapons (this project was shut down by the DeSantis Administration's push to expand and modernize the nuclear arsenal), quickly built an FOB near Townes' base, then stormed it with her own weapons systems and arrested Townes, who was sentenced to life in prison for treason; it was Alexander's last hurrah, as she was forced into retirement by DeSantis, who supposedly did it as petty retaliation for her criticisms of the nuclear modernization projects.

Getting back to the Paladin, what set it apart from the Crusader was its point-defense laser, which could shoot down missiles and inflict lethal burns on infantry at close range. It was also equipped with a ramjet-assisted cannon that could shoot 120mm rounds at a higher velocity than any other tank.

After the Harris adminstration withdrew all overseas forces (except in US overseas territories and the United Kingdom), the Paladin was largely confined to the homeland. When the Second Korean War broke out in 2029, many in Congress wanted to send some Paladins to South Korea, but DeSantis, paranoid that it could send a message to the GLA that their defenses were weakened, chose not to do so, though he did send some Crusader I tanks to Japan, which Japan then used against North Korea when they intervened, so in a way, the United States did provide support.

In 2038, the United States introduced perhaps the biggest advancement in tank technology: the M5A2 Crusader II. The new chassis design (also adopted by the second-generation BGM-109M TEL) was designed with a new innovation in mind: a hover-drive. While General Alexander had deployed Robot Tanks that could hover, these saw very limited service due to a litany of issues. For the first ten years of its service life, the Crusader II could switch between treads and hovering, though in the latter mode, it couldn't fire its gun due to fact it would cause catastrophic destabilization, but by 2048, this issue was rectified using two additional gyroscopes, turning the already outstanding Crusader II into perhaps one of the most versatile war machines ever conceived, capable of traversing any terrain and striking the enemy from the direction they least expected and leave them paranoid, wondering from where the Crusader will strike next. This came at the cost of some of its armor, though.

By the early 2040s, the United States had developed a third tank: the M8A1 Acolyte. This light tank was just that, light enough to be airdropped by a C-17 Globemaster III. When the GDI entered the Third World War in 2048, Acolytes would usually be dropped in groups of three.


The majority of Chinese land-based vehicles deployed during the Global War on Terror were tanks of some kind. The main tank was the ZTZ88 Battlemaster. Although not as powerful as the Crusader, the Battlemaster made up for this with cheaper production costs, allowing it to be deployed in massive numbers. The refurbished Type 88G model was introduced in time for the African Resource Rush. Another mainstay of Chinese armored divisions was the ZTZ150 Gattling Tank (the word "gatling" having two t's in it was chalked up to typical Chinese copyright shenanigans). The Gattling Tank was a dual-purpose tank, able to take out enemy aircraft and shred through infantry. Probably the most-infamous of the Chinese tanks was so-called Dragon Tank. As its name implies, the Dragon Tank fired streams of napalm, immolating infantry and lighter vehicles such as GLA technicals (there were even stories of fully-upgraded Scorpion tanks being melted by regular, un-upgraded Dragon Tanks), and burning buildings in GLA FOBs to the ground, not to mention quickly clearing out any buildings occupied by enemy infantry.

Perhaps the biggest tank of them all was the ZTZ200 Overlord, a twin-barreled monstrosity of a super-heavy tank. Not only was it large, not only were its twin cannons powerful, not only was it big enough to crush smaller vehicles simply by driving over them, they could also be equipped with modular addons. One of these was a bunker that could hold five infantry, from which they could fire out of. Another was a speaker tower broadcasting propaganda to keep morale up. And finally, there was the Gattling Cannon, which made the Overlord able to deal with infantry and aircraft, turning it into a very versatile tank.

After the Global War on Terror, China developed a new model of tank: the Hopper. Clocking in at a mere 6 tons in weight, this light scout tank is oddly reminiscent of the historical tankette vehicles that were developed between the First and Second World War, when the true military role of armored vehicles was yet to take shape. Affectionately called the 'Hopper' by the PLA for its amazing agility and comical shape, the new vehicle entered service very recently.

While American military experts were quick to dismiss it for its anachronistic role and "ridiculous" design, the Chinese liked to point out that a single one of these vehicles is still more resource-efficient and quick to produce than a Humvee, to the point where Hopper Tanks are always built in twos. This allowed China to complete 10.000 units in a single year, which are now serving in the ranks of the PLA and a number of domestic police units, with plenty left over to be exported to Chinese allies in the GAPA and Africa (though China had to screen these customers very carefully, as several who claimed to be government representatives turned out to be with the GLA).

Late in the Global War on Terror, the Chinese introduced the ECM Tank, a support tank that was unarmed (though this didn't stop ECM Tank crews from using it to crush GLA infantry under the treads, a tactic that was a favorite of tank crews on all sides of the war), but made up for it by being able to deflect missiles and disrupt enemy communications. Unfortunately, the jammer array was unable to distinguish between friendly and enemy missiles, leading to many accidents that could have been avoided; this caused the PLA to largely phase out the use of missiles (except for the Chengdu J-20 and its entire nuclear arsenal), and re-equip its "Tank Hunters" with flak guns.

By the early 2040s, Hu Tan Mau, an aspiring general in the PLA, had created a new tank on the Overlord chassis: the ZTZ202 Shenlong. Described as "the Dragon Tank on steroids", the Shenlong shared the Overlord's modular add-on weapon capabilities, including mounting a second flamethrower, an EMP missile launcher, and even a mortar launcher firing low-yield nuclear warheads. Every military analyst labeled the Shenlong "pure overkill", with Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg calling for the tank to be scrapped, and the CND expressing concern about the nuclear mortar launcher.


When Russia was modernizing its military, the decision was made early on to completely modernize the tank division. Chief among these was the Kodiak Tank. The stagnation of the Russian economy in the first two decades of the 21st century turned the introduction of the much touted T-14 Armata into a difficult endeavour, which is why Suvorov decided to scale down the project and re-adapt some of its state-of-the-art technologies into the vast fleet of existing vehicles to save costs, for he preferred to improve the nation's crumbling infrastructure, industry, education and healthcare system during the early years of his reign. The result was an upgraded version of their previous generations, including the T-90A, the T80U, the T72B Rogatka and the T-64UD Bereza. These updates where easy to implement, costing only a fraction of the cost of the Armata program. A fairly conservative design, which sported an entirely new 125mm smoothbore cannon with advanced optics and stabilisation, an improved 1300 hp diesel engine and a turret section that was controlled entirely from within the chassis. The advanced integrated tactical system, Catherine-FC thermal imaging sensor, and GLONASS navigation system on the Kodiak in addition to more effective type of explosive reactive armour, ERA and composite plates give it more combat effectiveness than the earlier generation of Russian tanks.

First shown to the public during the May 9 victory parade of 2026 amidst growing opposition against President Vladimir Putin, the now-famous НТ-28M3 Sentinel started out as the ugly duckling of the Russian Army which regarded the new tank as an overpriced, overengineered outgrowth of the Armata programme, armed with a dual 160mm cannon to rival the Chinese ZTZ200 Overlord on the export market.

Due to its perceived incompatibility with the established Russian armor doctrine, the new tank was derisively designated as the HT-28, with the Cyrillic acronym HT standing for 'novyy tank' or 'novelty tank'. After the downfall of the corrupt Putin regime in 2028, the Sentinel was redesigned from scratch but retained its original designation as a symbol of transition between the old and the new Russia. The HT-28M1 was equipped with a sturdy, heavily motorized chassis and its signature 220mm cannon, which turned the vehicle into a distinct mix between a tank destroyer and an assault gun. The M1 model was well received during its service in the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Africa and became the baseline for all future modifications: The improved M2 variant which entered service just prior to the outbreak of the Russo-European War and the most recent M3 variant, which was the final production model of a unique prototype version that was field tested by the famous "Black Bears", the single most successful tank crew of the entire war.

Most noticeably, the HT-28M3 sported a pair of bulldozer blades, an improved cannon and a more streamlined appearance. During the ECA's return to Russian-occupied Belgium in December 2048, the new Sentinel distinguished itself in the climactic battle of Liege, where an outnumbered contingent of Russians defended a vital salient against a combined force of the 1st Panzerdivision, the Royal Dragoon Guards and the 7e Brigade Blindée for eight days in a massive mechanized confrontation that was later dubbed 'the Belgian Prokhorovka'. Ever since then, the HT-28M3 forced the European and American troops to pay dearly for every step of their way towards Berlin, where General Aleksandr was preparing his troops for the mother of all battles.

Speaking of Aleksandr, his innovations in Russian tank technology cannot be understated. Case-in-point: the T-279 Golem. Originally designed to survive on a nuclear battlefield but scrapped upon orders of Nikita Khrushchev in 1960, the experimental heavy tank 'Obyekt 279' was given a new life as the T-279 'Golem' by General Aleksandr. During World War III, the Golem tanks of the Shock Divisions attained a reputation that even rivaled the mighty Sentinel tanks of the Russian Army. Some of the war's most notorious Russian tank aces such as Anatoliy Kovalenko, who was the first to force a Manticore tank to retreat with severe turret damage, or Polina Novikova, who stalled the advance of ECA Battlegroup Boudica for an entire day outside Amsterdam, commanded a Golem tank and as the front shifted back to Russian-held Germany in early 2049, many of these elite veterans were granted access to the new T-279M variant as a last ditch effort to turn the tide of war in Aleksandr's favor once again.

The already massive 130mm cannon of the original tank was replaced by an excessive 152mm gun and the turret was equipped with two heavy 14.5mm KPV machine guns for anti-aircraft duty. In addition to its updated weaponry, the new model was also outfitted with the Shtora-2 active protection system, which consisted of two components: An array of powerful electro-optical jammers that prevent any missile or rangefinder from getting a clear lock on the tank and a battery of extremely powerful flash grenades which blinded infantry. This combined effect of jamming, confusion and sheer terror made it momentarily impossible to attack the Golem. However, even the new Golem only managed to delay what many already regarded as inevitable - including President Suvorov himself.

But Aleksandr wasn't done, oh no. He had one more tank in him: the TT-2 Tesla Tank. Described as bizarre, even by Aleksandr himself, the TT-2 Tesla tank was the successor of the original TT-1 testbed vehicle. Despite the impressive lethality of its experimental electrolaser weapon, the first model was marred by early design flaws due to its lightweight construction as it was merely a tank in name only. Taking these issues into account, General Aleksandr had chosen the BMPT combat vehicle as the basic platform for the new model. The chassis had been extensively modified to accommodate for a high-voltage power capacitor and the single 'embedded' Tesla coil of the original vehicle was replaced by a set of two smaller coils mounted on a rotating turret. Prior to seeing service at the frontline of the Third World War in late 2048, the new Tesla tanks were spontaneously redeployed to Slovakia, where they put a definitive end to the famed Bratislava uprising within only three days.


When the ECA was formed in 2034, most of the tanks inherited from the armies of the pre-union nations had been sold either for export or scrap just to make ends meet. For the new alliance, a single, unified MBT was needed. ECA command quickly turned to German manufacturer KraussMaffei. Despite the shared name, the new Leopard III continued the tradition of its previous iterations from the 1960s and 80s and bore very few similarities with its famous predecessors. One of the core principles of the ECA was its strict decision to limit its offensive deployability to Europe's immediate sphere of influence - which at the same time was conveniently extended to include the strategically important region of North Africa; if the ECA ever needed to deploy further afield, they had to rely on the UK to use American-made equipment.

As such, the task force's tank divisions were organized and equipped under a classic defensive mindset reminiscent of the Cold War with the new Leopard being the most iconic product of this shift in priorities: Wrapped in several layers of highly advanced armor, the tank mounted a powerful 120mm smoothbore cannon that made it ideal for duel situations against other tanks, especially thanks to its superior range - a trait that is shared by many ECA vehicles and could be further improved via the installation of a new gun that allowed the use of a more efficient gas-based propellant.

This emphasis on anti-tank capabilities did not mean that the Leopard fell short in urban combat where infantry was regarded as a greater threat though: As with many other ECA vehicles, the machine gun mounted next to the top hatch could be manned, and the main cannon was compatible with a feared anti-personnel canister round dubbed the 'Shredder' by ECA tank crews. In addition, both the Leopard and the Gepard Flakpanzer were equipped with automatic close area defense systems that unleashed a deadly hail of shrapnel towards enemy assailants that got too close for comfort.

Ultimately, the Leopard represented the limit of ECA armored forces (not counting the Jagdmammut, which was classified as a tank destroy, and the Manticore, which is a story for another day), with most of their vehicles being of lighter construction and designed for defense. The British Army had introduced the Challenger 3 in 2027, but chose to use these in service of the GDI; the Challenger 3 was overhauled in 2030 with American technologies, and is now virtually indistinguishable from the Paladin, one having to look at the markings to know which country it originates from.


GLA tanks were never anything to write home about, aside from the fact GLA tank crews would frequently salvage equipment from destroyed enemy vehicles to upgrade their tanks (though this applied to most GLA vehicles, including technicals, quad cannons, toxin tractors, and Scud launchers). GLA tank crews all agreed that the best way to go about upgrading their tanks was with dual-barreled cannons.

Victory Through Air Power

Rounding out the "military triad" was air power. Every side made great strides to upgrade their air forces following the Global War on Terror.


It was in the United States that the airplane was created, so it should come as no surprise that they would have the largest and most-powerful air force. Throughout the Global War on Terror, they enjoyed a monopoly on air superiority over the GLA, who had no air force to speak of besides a small fleet of ramshackle Tupolev Tu-4 planes, itself an unlicensed, reverse-engineered version of the American B-29 Superfortress.

The key component of American air power was the F-22 Raptor. The original Raptor had been an expensive endeavor, with procurement ending at 187 fighters (not counting prototypes and testers). Lockheed Martin was called upon to create a new version of the fighter, coming up with the F-22B. Though with a much larger radar cross section and slightly reduced performance in some other areas, the new Raptor still retained most of its capability. Trial by fire would come for the Air Force's new Raptors in the 2020s, when they were deployed in engagements against the forces of the Global Liberation Army, proving their effectiveness in hunting down and destroying insurgent forces with lethal precision. Even today, in areas rebuilt by the Civil Reconstruction Authority, the Raptor remains the undisputed king of the skies, and the United States Air Force has no plans to retire it any time soon; on the contrary, the F-22B allowed the USAF to finally retire the aging F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon.

Even so, development on the F-35 Lightning II continued. Although a highly-capable fighter, the United States never deployed it during the Global War on Terror, instead being exported to numerous countries, these being Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Korea (and later just Korea), Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (orders by Turkey and the UAE were cancelled). In the Third World War, the F-35 saw widespread use by GDI nations, proving to be more than a match for anything the Russians could throw at it.

During the period of rearmament of the US Armed Forces, in response to a growing global presence of near-peer military adversaries, and the threat posed by ever more sophisticated low-frequency radars and tracking systems, the US military requested a design for a new optionally manned strike bomber. The demands were that the new aircraft would be at least as stealthy as Northrop Grumman's B-21 Raider and less expensive than the F/B-40 Aurora, and would be capable for aircraft carrier deployment. Lockheed Martin and Boeing submitted two final designs, a less expensive but slower variant for the US Air Force and a higher speed penetration bomber for the US Navy. The first model was named the A-19 Nighthawk II. Its blended wing body design and advanced jamming devices make it extremely difficult to detect with nearly any radar or infrared system, and the Nighthawk II in both variants is capable of carrying up to the heaviest forms of JDAMs, missiles, and laser-guided munitions. To save costs, both variants of the Nighthawk II use off-the-shelf avionics from the F-35, and the A-19 variant uses high-bypass versions of the F/A-18E's F414 engine.

The A-19 was immediately compared to the F-117 Nighthawk that had been relegated to use as trainers in 2008, but were quickly pressed back into combat during the Global War on Terror, where they proved to be incredibly useful in destroying GLA Stinger Sites. The F-117 was retired for the last time during postwar defense spending cuts, with many ending up in museums, while just as many went to Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona to become part of the famed "aircraft boneyard".

Speaking of the B-21 Raider, this was, as mentioned in the previous chapter, a victim of postwar defense spending cuts. The B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit were instead subjected to a life-extension program to bring them up to modern standards. The B-2 saw use against the GLA, primarily for delivery of the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB, or "Mother of All Bombs"). The venerable B-52 Stratofortress had seen widespread service during the Global War on Terror, mainly used in carpet bombings and dropping thermobaric weaponry; while some had been shot down by GLA Stinger Sites, most returned to base successfully. A few B-52s returned with heavy damage, but were still somehow airworthy, with one particular B-52 being named Old Ironsides by her crew.

The FB-40 Aurora was the one USAF project that came under intense scrutiny after the Global War on Terror. A supersonic bomber, the Aurora was too fast for any anti-air weapon systems to reliably track, but only when it was carrying its payload of a small thermobaric weapon; after delivering its payload, it would fly at subsonic speeds, making it highly-vulnerable to anti-air fire. Although designed as a hypersonic bomber with terrible dogfighting capabilities, the Air Force gave it an F-designation because they wanted aggressive fighter pilots to fly the thing to its limits. An outgrowth of the secret 80's era Aurora program, the FB-40 was rushed into service during the Global War on Terror, and suffered terrible losses due to its ill-conceived role and incoherent design. The Joint Chiefs of Staff wanted answers as to the terrible performance of the aircraft, with General Malcolm Granger, who had personally developed and deployed specialized aircraft during the war, taking the fall and being forced into retirement. In his place, General Eugene "Guile" Griffon took charge, and he set about reforming the Air Force as best he could.

In regards to helicopters, this was where the United States initially had a total monopoly until the Chinese introduced the Helix later in the war. Perhaps the most-used helicopter was the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche. The helicopter's development cycle was long and marred by cost overflows, so much so that the entire project was actually cancelled in 2004. In 2014, though, development on the project resumed, and this time bore results, with the Comanche seeing widespread introduction into service in 2018; this was accomplished by stripping away its stealth systems, much like what had been done with the F-22B Raptor. What was supposed to be a reconnaissance helicopter meant to designate targets for the Apache AH-64, the Comanche ended up replacing the aging Cold War-era helicopter, and allowed the Department of Defense to forego the "Future Vertical Lift" program. The Comanche served with distinction during the Global War on Terror, quickly gaining a reputation for being able to destroy entire GLA bases with ease (even Stinger Sites had a hard time shooting down Comanches, and Quad Cannons, even though they shot down quite a few Comanches, were still lightly-armored). Their triple-barreled gatling cannons shredded infantry and light vehicles, and their AGM-114 Hellfire missiles made short work of tanks and buildings. Modifications made during the 2030s only increased its lethality.

One of General Griffon's major achievements was completely modernizing the Army's helicopter forces. The Comanche had already replaced the Apache, but there were still plenty of aging Cold War-era helicopters that needed replacement, and thus, he requested the DoD to review options for replacements. Immediately, the Sikorsky UH-60 Blackhawk was ruled out for replacement, with many in the military pointing to the fact the CH-47 Chinook had been used in roles better suited for the Blackhawk. A few minor modifications were made to the Blackhawk, and it became a common sight during the Third World War.

Speaking of the Chinook, after the Global War on Terror, it was retired in favor of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor aircraft. The Army also accepted an updated version of the Bell AH-1 Cobra, the Bell AH-2 Viper. The main selling point of the Viper was its AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, allowing it to shoot down enemy helicopters and even slower bombers and transports.

Finally, the Bell OH-58 Kiowa, another Cold War relic, was replaced by the Sikorsky AH-6 Little Bird, serving basically the same function.

During the mid 2030s, the Department of the Army tried to catch up with these developments by throwing its weight behind a new Air Force project that eventually produced the V-44 Starlifter, an enormous quadrotor VTOL aircraft with enough internal space and engine power to carry multiple combat vehicles, including tanks, as well as a sizable detachment of infantry or drones (the latter being a topic for the next chapter). While the Ospreys and a number of other medium helicopters are still used for the more discrete 'high speed, low drag' style insertions, the Starlifters can move enough man- and firepower to the frontline to sustain an entire invasion on their own as evidenced by their performance in the Third World War, but also during a disaster relief operation in Puerto Rico, where a wing of USAF Starlifters delivered tons of medical supplies, food and other vital goods after Hurricane Xander had swept across the Caribbeans in 2047.

A review of transport aircraft was also conducted, but was relatively minor. The main takeaway was that the Lockheed C-130 Hercules design was life-expired, as hundreds of C-130s had been shot down by the GLA. The review board's recommendation was that the C-130 be retired, and for Boeing to restart production of the C-17 Globemaster III. The restart of the C-17 production line also allowed for the replacement of the aging AC-130 Spectre, which had been in service longer than it should have thanks to the GLA; the carrier-capable Spectre II had been a failure, but the new AC-17 Spectre III proved itself during the African Resource Rush.

Finally, the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II, a golden oldie, was modernized and remained in service.


At the outset of the Global War on Terror, most of the People's Liberation Army Air Force was grounded when GLA saboteurs infiltrated airbases and destroyed aircraft. The only aircraft that survived in sufficient numbers was the Chengdu J-20, colloquially known as the "MiG Fighter" (even though there was little, if any, Mikoyan ancenstry in this model). The J-20 primarily employed low-yield thermobaric weaponry that created firestorms in groups, a notable example being when "Tiger Wing" (actual squadron designation unknown) destroyed a GLA column advancing on the response force that had just left Beijing following the October 5 nuclear attack. These napalm missiles also made them a serious threat to the infamous Stinger Sites.

Late in the conflict, the Chinese began using the Kamov Ka-29 (NATO reporting name Helix) against the GLA. In addition to being an attack gunship, the Helix also doubled as a transport, being strong enough to lift even an Overlord, of which it was often considered the aerial version, as it could equip the same modular weapon addons (bunker, speaker, and gattling cannon), and could also drop thermobaric bombs (General Tao's Helix's instead dropped low-yield tactical nuclear bombs, which made them a target of criticism from the CND). Alas, they were large, slow, unwieldy, and yet another tired relic of the Cold War. After the Global War on Terror, China promptly retired the Ka-29 in favor of developing a domestically-designed gunship. This bore fruit in the form of the Type-102 Han, introduced in 2034. Like the Helix, the Han could equip modular weapon addons, but of a much different nature. One addon gave it EMP rounds, and allowed it to drop EMP bombs. Another replaced its 100mm cannons with a pair of flamethrowers derived from those on the Dragon Tank, and allowed it to drop the same napalm bombs the Helix once had. Finally, it could be equipped with low-yield nuclear missiles and drop the same low-yield nuclear bomb Tao's Helix's once had; this project was met with a fiery social media campaign by former General Leang, who by this time was a prominent member of the CND, and disapproved of the PLA introducing even more nuclear weapons; she disappeared without a trace several days after her campaign began, later turning up in the aftermath of World War III as one of the few survivors of a Wuhan prison destroyed by an Indian nuclear attack.

After the war, the PLAAF began reorganizing itself, and quickly identified the need for a CAS aircraft. At first, the plan was to refit the J-20 into a less costly GLA-hunter, but the removal of its fire control system stalled progress, as engineers and test pilots regarded it as a waste of the fighter’s aerodynamic design. The PLAAF and Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group began a process of rediscovering older aircraft designs, finally settling for the J-7 (NATO reporting name Fishcan), a branch of MiG-21 with over 1000 units produced between 1966 and 2008, which had proved worthy by serving in extreme environments from the deserts of Pakistan to the sub-zero northeastern border. These J-7s were mostly mothballed after the 2010s and kept in underground facilities or cave hangars, awaiting reactivation in last-ditch situations such as an American invasion.

Most of the preserved airframes had their wings taken off to reduce physical strain, so Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group gave them a delta wing design more similar to the original MiG-21’s for higher linear speed. Furthermore, the air intake was modified to have a larger nacelle, and the engine was replaced with a single WS-15 engine, same as that on the J-20. It became China’s first choice of a quick-strike bomber, while maintaining the original fighter’s speed and maneuverability.

China also had several bombers that received minor modernizations, but were otherwise largely unchanged. The Xian H-6 was designated for delivering thermobaric weapons, and the Xian H-8 for delivering parabombs and EMP bombs. It also kept the KJ-2000 AEW&C in service for reconnaissance, the Xian Y-7 for dropping air-deployed mines, and the Xian Y-8 for logistics and transport.


Rather than try to standarize their aircraft like they had with their tanks, the ECA allowed all members to contribute aircraft to the alliance. Notable types included the Panavia Tornado, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Mirage 2000, AMX International AMX, and Saab JAS 39 Gripen, with over half of the ECA using imported American fighters, including the F-16, F-18, and F-35.

In 2031, the Royal Air Force solicited BAE Systems to create a new domestic fighter. BAE wasted no time in producing a new aircraft design that looked similar to a modernization of the 20th century Harrier. The Harrier III variant featured omnidirectional LIDAR sensors and a CAPTOR-X AESA radar. It was powered by a Pegasus engine rebuilt with the latest materials, and had a maximum speed of Mach 0.8. Additionally, the hull had a radar signature reducing shape, although not to the extent of the F-22 or F-35. Since VTOL aircraft need to keep their weight down, the Harrier III was not nearly as well armored as an A-10, but had lightweight ceramic plating around the engine and other critical areas of the airframe, in addition to a heavy array of chaff/flares/decoys and standard IR and radio-band jammers. The Harrier III entered service just in time for Operation Nemesis, where it proved to an efficient strike bomber when deployed from Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean. Standard loadout consisted of Brimstone air-to-ground missiles and two Mauser 27mm autocannons.

When the Third World War began, Russia launched massive air and missile strikes against ECA airfields, crippling ECA airpower. Only the UK and Spain had any combat-capable aircraft left, with the UK having F-35s, and Spain having the Harrier IIIs (after the UK sold them to the Armada Española). The United States also brought their own F-35s, and the F-22B, to bear against the Russian onslaught when it intervened in 2048.

The Eurocopter Tiger was first conceived as a joint venture between France and West Germany in the early 1980s. However, when the new helicopter started to see action during NATO operations in Afghanistan, a series of problems became apparent: The German UHT variant was designed as a missile-armed support helicopter for use against Soviet era tank armies and had to make do with a static 12.7mm gunpod rather than a proper autocannon turret, making it unsuitable for counter-insurgency operations. In addition, the wiring in these early models was flawed, forcing the Tigers to remain on the ground for most of the time. Whilst the French HAP variant fared better in combat and was used as the basis for additional export versions, the German Tigers would not receive the necessary upgrades for years due to a general neglect of military matters by the government and thus delivered an abysmal performance during the GLA's incursion into Central Europe in 2028.

After the civilian governments of Europe had collapsed in the wake of the attack, the Bundeswehr assumed temporary control of Germany and proceeded to develop a new version to iron out these critical flaws: Commonly dubbed the 'Koenigstiger' by the Germans, the updated model was armed with two chin-mounted, high-capacity rocket pods linked to the pilot's HUD that could be aimed in the same way as a turret, allowing the Tiger to lay down a deadly accurate barrage of high-explosive/armor-piercing rockets in addition to taking on flying targets with Starstreak anti-air missiles. Further adding to the gunship's versatility, it was also able to deploy the Icarus balloon mine to lock down down the airspace above an area of operations. The new Tiger showed its superiority during Operation Nemesis, and was soon adopted by both the ECA and, somewhat ironically, the French Army as well.

The Marksman FAC was introduced in 2046 as the newest modernisation of the venerable Westland Lynx, a multi-purpose helicopter of British design that served in a variety of different roles in many European militaries, including the armed forces of Portugal, Denmark and Norway. The ECA made prominent use of it as a forward air controller and artillery observer. Its precision target designator allowed friendly units to bring the full weight of their firepower to bear on anyone unfortunate enough to be marked by the beam.

In addition, most Marksman FACs operated in constant coordination with the nearest European artillery detachment, allowing them to place a target marker on a structure which could then be bombarded by all available howitzers for a short period of time. Despite not having any weaponry of its own, a lone Marksman snooping around the base perimeter could never be dismissed as a non-threat, for its appearance may very well have been the only warning prior to a devastating rain of shells.

ECA transport aircraft was limited after the initial wave of bombings against airfields. The Airbus 400M Atlas became a rare sight during the war, mainly due to its primary production centers in Gothenburg and Košice being captured early in the conflict. The CL250 Airlifter was a heavy-duty transport airship capable of carrying approx. 250 tons of cargo. It was the spiritual successor to an ambitious project from the late 1990s when a German company came forth with its plan for an entire fleet of efficient point-to-point transport airships. Unfortunately, the project failed to take off (pun entirely intended), the company went bankrupt, and the enormous assembly hangar built on a decommissioned airfield in Brandenburg was converted into an indoor water park. A few decades later, a new generation of these airships was roaming the skies above Europe in service of several logistics companies.

Some of the airships had also been refitted into large luxury skyliners, and the sultan of Oman reportedly tried to purchase one to turn it into a literal flying palace. Due to the airship's amazing freight capabilities (which caused a ton of protest from rail freight companies such as DB Cargo, and seaborne shipping companies such as Maersk, who feared they would be rendered obsolete), it came as no surprise that it proved to be a valuable logistics asset for the Continental Army as well, which used the Airlifter to rapidly deploy standardized, role-specific battlegroups to the battlefield. This allowed the ECA to build up a task force more quickly than via on-site assembly at FOBs.

The Eurocopter EC640 was a light-weight helicopter primarily designed by French engineers. Specifically conceived as a patrol reconnaissance and AWACS aircraft, it was equipped with a sophisticated sensor pod that housed a variety of passive and active radar systems and infra-red cameras. There were two variants of the EC640: the Radar Helicopter and the Cheetah Attack Helicopter.

With most of the continental airbases destroyed in the initial strategic bombing campaign launched by the Russian Federation, fixed-wing aircraft such as the Eurofighter Typhoon became a rare commodity for the ECA. Most of the remaining planes operated from converted motorways, as well as distant, still intact bases in Britain, Ireland, Spain or Portugal, and could only be called upon under unique circumstances. ECA commanders with the necessary clearance could call in cluster strikes that saturated large areas thanks to the use of a unique munitions dispenser pod mounted underneath the aircraft. However due to equipment shortages, Eurofighters that operated from a civilian airstrip had to make do with ordinary free-fall bombs for their strike missions.

The NH40 Pegasus utility helicopter was the flying workhorse of the European Continental Army, as well as many of its member nation's armed forces. It was reliable, all-weather capable, and could be used in a variety of roles. Some NH40 were outfitted with external munitions dispersal pods in order to create minefields by simply flying over an area, while others were designated as medical search and rescue helicopters that were called upon by combat physicians to extract incapacitated comrades from the field of battle on short notice.

Out of pure desperation, the RAF was forced to seek out old Handley Page Victor and Avro Vulcan airframes, and press them back into service. The Victor was assigned to deliver the powerful Grand Slam Bomb, a massive free-falling gravity bomb with enough explosive force to create short, localised seismic events that sever power lines and break vehicle suspensions; the British developed the Grand Slam Bomb in cooperation with China, using research notes from the development of the Earth Shaker. The Vulcan, meanwhile, was assigned to drop the Smart Bomb, a proximity munition that could also be manually detonated by the local ECA commander; Vulcans were also used to deploy neutron bombs, and several were kept in Britain as part of the reformed "V bomber" force, ready to deliver American-made B95 nuclear bombs (more on them next chapter).


At the outset of World War III, Russia had a near-monopoly on air superiority. This mainly came in the form of the Sukhoi Su-47 Berkut (NATO reporting name Firkin). The Berkut started off as a prototype for many further Russian fighter designs. However, the general ineffectiveness of the actual production units forced Russia to adopt the Su-47 Berkut design as the production unit. Although having reservations at first at the effectiveness of a prototypical plane working at the frontlines, many commanders then praised the Berkut for its ability to destroy their objectives and return to the base in one whole piece, more or less. Having a relaxed stability system, it could do extreme evasive maneuvers that could easily mean life or death for a Berkut pilot.

Early in the conflict, Russia deployed the Sukhoi Su-25 Grach (NATO reporting name Frogfoot). Yet another aging relic of the Cold War, the Frogfoot suffered such heavy losses to the Raptor that Russia completely retired it in favor of another Sukhoi product, the Su-57 Sokol (NATO reporting name Felon), a much more modern CAS aircraft that had entered service in 2020, but only now was production being ramped up.

In terms of helicopters, Russia had quite a few at its disposal. Chief among them was the Kamov Ka-68 (GDI reporting name Hellion), which replaced yet another Cold War relic, the Kamov Ka-50 Blackshark (NATO reporting name Hokum). Chieftly fielded by the helicopter detachments of the Russian Air-Landing Forces, its function and combat performance appeared largely similar, however unlike its predecessor, the Hellion could also be equipped with a new type of unguided 80mm rocket which contained a thermobaric charge. This allowed the new helicopter to lay down a devastating barrage of incendiary rockets alongside its standard armament of Vikhr anti-tank missiles and two semi-rigid 30mm cannons.

Originally conceived as a medium-lift cargo helicopter for the navy in the 2030s, the the Mil Mi-40 (GDI reporting name Hunchback) – its avionics co-designed by a private Kazakh company – served in a variety of combat roles. This advanced twin rotor helicopter was refitted to perform in the role of an attack helicopter as well. The VDV's version of the Hunchback was equipped with an armored cargo container that had enough internal space for up to eight fully equipped infantrymen. In order to provide immediate and decisive fire support to the ground troops after their deployment, this "assault transport" version was also armed with a powerful twin-barrel 23mm auto-cannon, and had two weapon hardpoints that can be loaded with free-falling thermobaric bombs, capable of causing havoc to large groups of infantry and light vehicles.

The biggest helicopter of them all was the Mil Mi-24D (NATO reporting name Hind). Though old (probably the oldest piece of ex-Soviet equipment in the war), it was a well proven design that had been through many conflicts of the days gone by, with almost three consecutive generations. It was armed with rocket pods to tear up armored columns, and a Gatling gun to deal with infantry. It also carried Igla air-to-air missiles for use against enemy helicopters. The Hind was an absolute nightmare for any ground target. Its near legendary toughness earned it the title 'letayushchiy tank', or flying tank among its pilots, while victims of its wrath nicknamed it the "Crocodile" for its ferocity. Being very deadly, the Hind was also very versatile, able to transport up to 6 troops on the battlefield, making it both a transport and an attack helicopter. However this versatility and firepower came at the price of slow turning speed and acceleration.

By the start of WWIII, the Hind was a dying breed, given its age and complex chassis. Only less than 500 were in Russian service, slowly to be supplanted by the heavier Hunchback.

In terms of strategic bombers, quite a few were also used by Russia. The Tupolev Tu-22M3 (NATO reporting name Backfire) had the dual purpose of launching tactical cruise missile strikes, with most sitting at airbases in the Motherland, loaded with nuclear weaponry just in case. The Tu-160 (NATO reporting name Blackjack), also designated for nuclear weapon delivery, was used on the front to deliver the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (AKA Father of all Bombs, created in response to the American MOAB). The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name Candid), the umpteenth Cold War relic seemingly seeing its last hurrah, was used for logistics, as were the Antonov An-124 Ruslan (NATO reporting name Condor) and Mil Mi-26 (NATO reporting name Halo).

As the air war got underway in Europe, a major question came up: where were the MiGs? Russia had introduced the MiG-35 in 2019, and yet Russia was using the Berkut instead. Kremlin insiders later leaked information to the west that the MiG-35 was a victim of Suvorov's "De-Putinization" policies, wanting his own stamp on the Russian Air Force. All existing MiG-35s were unceremoniously scrapped, all further orders were cancelled, and Suvorov even went as far as to order the United Aircraft Corporation to shut down the Mikoyan division, wanting all future Russian fighter jets to be made by Sukhoi.


At no point did anyone ever think we would be having this discussion, that of a GLA Air Force, and yet, here we are. In the Global War on Terror, GLA "air power" consisted solely of the above-mentioned wooden Tu-4 copies that were held together by Flex Seal and sheer willpower. By the 2040s, though, they had assembled an air force comprised of ex-Soviet aircraft.

The GLA's main fighter is the Sukhoi Su-17 (NATO reporting name Fitter), which the GLA acquired through contacts in Syria and Peru. Internally, the GLA gave its aircraft colorful names, with the Fitter being called the "Hyena Interceptor". With two externally mounted 30mm autocannons and UB-32 rocket pods, the "Hyena" was more capable than many give it credit, as countermeasures were useless against said autocannons.

The MiG-15 (NATO reporting name Fagot) and MiG-17 (NATO reporting name Fresco) also fell into GLA hands, these being converted into tactical bombers internally referred to as the "Vulture Bomber". These were always equipped with 250kg high-explosive bombs.

In addition to their two fighter types, the GLA also had two types of helicopters. The smaller of the two was the "Plague Duster", converted from a Bell 47 (AKA the first helicopter certified for civilian use in 1946, making the Plague Dusters undoubtedly the oldest hardware in the GLA arsenal). As its name implies, the Plague Duster's main purpose was spraying anthrax over an area, and was also equipped with Stinger missiles.

The bigger of the helicopters was the Mil Mi-6 (NATO reporting name Hook). These large helicopters had been designed by the Soviets as a heavy transport, but the GLA did Mil one better, and armed it to the teeth, making it a heavy gunship, as well. A variety of anti-tank missiles and rockets of former Soviet and Chinese were mounted on pylons under the helicopter's wings, and auto cannons were mounted on each side of the fuselage near the fore. The jury-rigged conversion had a significant negative effect on the helicopter's manoeuvrability and acceleration, but its firepower was very considerable and it retained a degree of transport capability. According to intercepted transmissions, Hook pilots would often brag "Nobody expects the GLA Air Force!", and indeed, foreign military forces in Africa were often shocked to see such a heavily-armed helicopter in GLA use.
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Chapter 3: The Weapons of World War III, Part 2, and the Eve of War

The Wunderwaffes

The Global War on Terror and World War III saw all parties involved deploying experimental weapon systems for the first time. Yes, even the GLA had Wunderwaffes developed through sheer ingenuity.


Last chapter, we mentioned the United States' use of laser weaponry, but this is a subject that bears closer investigation.

The first laser-based weaponry deployed by the United States was aboard the M1A4 Paladin, an updated version of the venerable M1 Abrams design. On top of the tank was a PDL that could destroy incoming missiles and inflict lethal burns on infantry that got too close. Later in the war, another major laser-based weapon was rolled out, in the form of an updated version of the M1097 Avenger. First fielded in the early 1990s, the Avenger was conceived as a light-weight, short-range anti-air system based on a modified Humvee. However, the missiles that acted as the vehicle's primary armament for almost three decades started to show their age in the later stages of the Global War on Terror, often proving wholly inadequate when it came to defeating the infamous Scud missiles launched by the GLA.

It was at this time when General Gregory 'Pinpoint' Townes, the head of the Army's R&D branch for laser technologies, came up with a quick and efficient solution in the form of the 'Avenger-L', which replaced the aging missile system with a powerful high-energy laser, supported by a rangefinder and protected by a more powerful version of the same point-defense lasers that were successfully introduced by the Paladin tank. The new platform proved to be effective in combat, and what was initially meant to be an interim solution until the full-scale deployment of dedicated tactical lasers quickly became a mainstay weapon system of the US military, which received further performance upgrades as the years went by. The Avenger-L also had a non-lethal targeting laser that could "paint" targets, increasing the accuracy of other nearby American units.

In addition to anti-missile defense, the Avenger-L was also designed for anti-air. This was rarely seen in action during the Global War on Terror (unless the GLA managed to get its hands on Raptors or J-20s), but after the GLA acquired an air force, and the GDI intervened in the Third World War, the Avenger-L quickly became perhaps the greatest anti-air system ever conceived, as the lasers could take out enemy aircraft and helicopters quicker and more efficiently than bullets, flak, or missiles. The Avenger-L gained a fearsome reputation among Russian pilots, who would refuse to fly if it was known Avengers had been deployed; in many cases, Russian pilots had to be dragged kicking and screaming to their planes and helicopters, with any further refusal being met with summary execution.

Another American innovation later in the Global War on Terror was the Microwave Tank. As Tomahawk missiles and Nighthawks could be shot down by enemy base defenses, Microwave Tanks were designed to help by shutting down base defenses and structures from a safe distance. They also excelled at keeping American armored columns safe against rampaging Angry Mobs and clearing occupied structures. With the passage of time, it only improved. New signal processors and advances in on-board power sources allowed the Microwave Tank to direct its attacks toward enemy vehicles as well. This deactivated their engines and power systems, leaving them open for the kill by other forces. The new equipment resulted in a slight price increase, but almost everyone agreed it was well worth it.

Probably the biggest innovation in the war was the widespread introduction of drones. UAVs were nothing new, but DARPA really hit it out of the park with the drone technologies they introduced in 2020. When the US military finally took interest in automated ground forces, they first tested it as nothing more than recon and quick close air support units that could barely hit the broadside of a barn, though this didn't stop the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator from becoming rather famous. But when domestic civilian unrest reached it peek, due to many servicemembers being killed overseas in what the public increasingly saw as "wars for the benefit of Big Oil", the Pentagon and DARPA forced the US Army to adopt drones into their doctrines. It wasn't long before the military solicited contractors to design and build unmanned combat vehicles. Originally, these contracts were only to upgrade existing drones, until the manufacturers started submitting designs to the Pentagon and DARPA, at which point the industry for private military drone contractors was discovered. One of the first designs was the Rottweiler Drone series, which was highly favored the Army and Marine Corps. When the Armored Corps requested drone concepts for their tanks, hundreds flooded in, but only three were selected. One, designed by a recent graduate in engineering from Harvard, and a major in robotics, was a simple hover drone compact enough to hold an electric motor, stable gyroscope, and run on a motorcycle battery. DARPA bought and revised this concept, and released an upgraded variant which includes a shortened .30 cal machine gun and mini-repair equipment. First tested on light vehicles deployed in Afghanistan, the repair rate of the drones were so effective that every dent and hole was patch up in minutes, and it was as if it had just rolled off the assembly line. This made field engineers redundant, forcing most of them to either resign/retire, or be transferred to maintenance crews.

When the US intervened in the Global War on Terror, the drones were fully adopted, and quickly proved their worth. However, the drone operator inside the vehicle abused the machine guns; a postwar review board found that drone operators tended to have a concerning amount of egotism, and focused more on securing kills to stroke their egos, rather than repair their parent vehicle, leading to losses that could have been avoided. After the "Zero Hour", all branches of the United States military were ordered to adopt drone warfare into their doctrines, a moved aimed at reducing casualties and reducing the need for humans in the field.

Under an upgrade program initiated by General Griffon, the battle drones now have AI subroutines programmed into them. They will now stay near their parent vehicle, and now have onboard self-repair systems, reducing their chances of being shot down, and eliminating the need for an extra crew member to be onboard the parent vehicle, thus reducing operating costs.

The other drone that vehicles could deploy was the RQ-16 Targeteer Drone (colloquially referred to as the "Scout Drone"). It was a pusher-propeller-driven unmanned aerial vehicle whose primary function was intelligence-gathering and detecting stealth units. Once launched from its parent vehicle, it would fly in random patterns (which could not be directly altered by the battlefield command) not far from the parent vehicle. The US decided to upgrade its vehicle fleets with this particular drone option after bitter experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, when American cavalry forces simply found themselves blinded by a lack of direct support when handling threats like Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and sniper ambush. After the Global War on Terror, the Scout Drone was retired and replaced by the upgraded RQ-32, a more advanced model with an all-new quadrotor design which quickly replaced the original Targeteer, thanks to its more efficient build. Its function remained unchanged.

One drone model that didn't survive the postwar defense spending cuts was the Hellfire Drone. This was a simple delta-winged drone that would fire, as its name implies, an AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missile. Of the three drones, this was the least-used, and its performance left much to be desired, making it a no-brainer to be cut after the war; all but one of the survivng Hellfire Drones were scrapped after the war, the sole survivor being put on display at the National Air & Space Museum.

The Rottweiler Sentry Drone came from a long line of failed prototypes. Billions of dollars were pumped into the development of the perfect scout. The first prototypes produced used to be as expensive as a tank and used to break down often. The second line were cheaper, however they had to be remote controlled by somebody within a hundred miles. The third and final version was cheaper, was capable of accomplishing its mission even without supervision, and could operate for over a week without maintenance. Decades have passed, and the model we see today is a distant cousin of the first crude unmanned ground vehicles fielded after the turn of the millennium, usually by police as bomb-disposal robots. The Rottweiler has been a workhorse of the United States military since the Global War on Terror, and has been given another systems upgrade to keep up with the times. Recent problems with manufacturing Sentry Drones in bulk have resulted in them no longer being invisible to enemy radar, though.

By the time of the African Resource Rush, the United States had teamed up with Japan to develop an entire arsenal of military drones, all with different functions, and all revolutionary in their departments.

Introduced in late 2044, the "Oracle" Forward Reconnaissance Drone (Recon Drone for short) is the result of the United States Marine Corps requiring a fast, easily-deployable eye on the ground for special operations teams. Airborne drones have the disadvantage of being easy prey for anti-aircraft fire, and Recon Drones can be deployed en masse to frontlines to provide crystal-clear reconnaissance for ground teams. Furthermore, Recon Drones are equipped with a targeting laser that can relay information to distant strike bombers and artillery crews. Its sensors can also detect mines hidden in the soil, and a robotic arm can extend and disable them. Recon Drones played a very important role with the Civil Reconstruction Authority after WWIII went nuclear in 2052 (more on that unfortunate business later), mainly for scouting affected areas until CBRN Foam-equipped Ambulances could be deployed.

Other drones used by the United States during the African Resource Rush and WWIII included:

* Guardian Drone (anti-tank)
* Mule Ammunition Drone (infantry logistics/anti-infantry)
* Repair Drone (drone and vehicle repair/anti-missile support)
* AQ-360 UCAV "Hunter Killer" Drone (anti-ground, deployed from airfields as a substitute for the A-10 or A-19)
* AT Drone (anti-tank)
* Termite Drone (microwave-based area denial)
* Drone Airlifter (infantry transport)

In addition, the above-mentioned Predator also remained in service for scouting roles.

In terms of "superweapons", we touched upon the Particle Cannon, but not the entire history of the system. While the Chinese mobilised themselves for a massive campaign of retaliation against the Global Liberation Army after the October 5 attack, protests by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament around the world more than doubled, and fears of nuclear war spiked to all high levels (even though Russian president Vladimir Putin was said to have been perturbed by the GLA's use of a nuclear warhead, and both India and Pakistan immediately stood down their nuclear arsenals to prevent any mistakes).

In most of the world, the response to this by governments was to promise to make several small reductions to their nuclear arsenal and tighten security procedures for them, while outright rejecting the possibility of completely phasing out nuclear weapons.

In the United States, however, things were somewhat different. While the Chinese started employing nuclear weapons liberally in its campaign against the GLA, and Donald Trump remained mum on the issue, after Joe Biden was inaugurated, he promised to greatly reduce the American nuclear arsenal over the next few years (reductions that never took place due to constant Republican fillibusters; if anything, the US nuclear arsenal ballooned to ludicrous levels under
Ron DeSantis). The reason for him doing so was revealed a few months later, when the United States publicly unveiled the newly revitalised Strategic Defense Initiative (initially the brainchild of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to put an end to the MAD doctrine and trick the Soviet Union into bankrupting itself trying to match the project), which had been in development for several years.

The new SDI was a multi-layered system, employing ground-based Patriot missiles, orbital kinetic interceptors, and airborne, and surface based chemical lasers to intercept any ballistic missiles calculated to be on a trajectory bound for the continental United States. The centrepiece of the new SDI was the "Particle Cannon Uplink Network"; a system of surface based installations and orbit based reflector satellites, to be the first line of defence against any ICBM attack.

In 2025, however, the Strategic Defense Initiative proved to be far more than just a defensive system, when Chinese general Ismail Khan defected to the GLA. The United States subsequently responded by employing a Particle Cannon installation to wipe out the rogue general's forces and his stockpile of nuclear weaponry. Subsequently, the US military would go on to employ the Particle Cannon network against the GLA on several occasions, though the system would be turned against them in 2027, when the GLA managed to hijack a supposedly secure Particle Cannon installation and use it to destroy the USS "Ronald Reagan" (ironic, considering Reagan had planted the seeds for the Particle Cannon project).

While nowhere nearly as destructive as the nuclear weapons that it replaces, the Particle Cannon is a precise and powerful system, capable of efficiently eliminating high value targets with a minimum collateral damage. Unfortunately, the DeSantis adminstration saw the use of Particle Cannons for attacking terrestrial targets as "new-fangled nonsense", and an ineffective deterrent compared to nuclear weapons, which was part of the rationale to expand and modernize the US nuclear arsenal. Despite this, though, the Particle Cannons remained in operation up to the bitter end of WWIII.


Chinese experimental weaponry wasn't anything special. The dual-barreled Overlords were considered a "logical evolution" in tank design, and the Black Lotus agents used existing cyber-warfare capabilities. Later in the war, the Chinese began using neutron weaponry, mainly neutron warheads launched from the Meteor cannons. These could kill infantry and vehicle crews, while leaving the vehicles themselves unharmed, which was how the PLA was able to capture and study GLA tank technology.

China's "superweapon", the DF-21, was discussed in the first chapter, as was General Leang's Earth Shaker.


As the Third World War went pear-shaped for the ECA, the decision was made to deploy numerous experimental weapon systems in an attempt to stem the "maroon tide". These were in the form of a trio of "protocols" that high-ranking commanders in the field could request.

The first of these was the "Manticore Protocol", which authorized the deployment of the Manticore Tank and Anvil Bots, as well as the equipping of hydrogen fuel cells and nano shock absorbers to heavier ECA vehicles. The 100 ton experimental Manticore tank (developed under the working title "Mammoth", until it was found out that an American general known only as "Ironsides" had deployed a tank by that name during the Global War on Terror) was the most technologically advanced tank ever deployed. It sported dual 155mm cannons to fend off lesser tanks, a dual 30mm auto-cannon turret to dispatch any infantry and aircraft that venture into its sights, and a set of rocket launchers to seal the deal. Deployed relatively early in the war, these rare tanks were usually seen leading entire ECA armor divisions into the fray against their Russian counterparts. The Manticore was infamous for being one of the only tanks, alongside the Overlord, that was able to beat the Sentinel in a one-on-one duel. This was not due to standard merits such as the plating of its armor, or the parameters of its guns, but rather because of nanite technology that could repair any damage done to the tank almost instantly. Several small, orb-shaped bots actively hovered around the Manticore and dispense a regenerative, self-hardening nano-foam that quickly solidified inside any holes in the hull, thus filling out missing chunks of the tank's structure. There were even reported cases of the tank being fully repaired before its enemies could fire their second volley. This same nanite technology was widely deployed across Europe after "The Sundering" (the most-frequent name for the global nuclear exchange that concluded World War III).

The orbs not only repaired their parent vehicle, but also any friendly vehicles within range. This made the Manticore fearsome not only by itself, but also in a tandem with friendly units. ECA Generals were only authorized to field one Manticore at a time, so utmost care with this beast was necessary.

The second of the protocols was the "Pandora Protocol", which authorized deployment of the Pandora and Fenris Cryo-Tank, replaced the Vulcan-deployed Smart Bomb with the Neutron Bomb, replaced tear gas with nerve gas, among other highly-lethal weaponry.

One of the most feared albeit decisive weapons deployed in the Third World War War, the Pandora was a military refit of a European Space Agency payload delivery mechanism that used an electromagnetic railgun to fire small satellites and Solaris maintenance equipment into orbit. By the time Russian forces found themselves at the verge of victory in southern France, ECA high command made a controversial decision to avert its defeat: Despite the official ban on neutron weapons that had been imposed on behalf of China after the Global War on Terror, France had modified some of their regular nuclear weapons into so-called 'enhanced radiation warheads'. While just as devastating as any other tactical nuclear weapon, these neutron bombs were designed to emit an extreme magnitude of radiation during the explosion, which is strong enough to penetrate the armour of even the most heavily protected vehicles, leaving them intact for capture by anyone willing and desperate enough to stomach the sight of what remained inside after the crew members have succumbed to the neutrons. The Pandora was capable of launching these terrifying warheads over long distances, letting them detonate right upon impact or upon delayed proximity activation after they have hit the ground.

While the United States made extensive use of lasers as point-defense and anti-aircraft weapons, the nations of Europe concentrated their research efforts on the civilian utilities of the technology. One of their most promising discoveries was the possibility of using special frequency lasers to slow the motion of atoms to a near standstill, resulting in a focused freezing effect. Ideally, the technology could be used as a more eco-friendly alternative to bulky cooling machinery and aggressive chemicals. A team of Scandinavian scientists even explored the idea of using this remarkable technology to revert the effects of global warming by restoring the Arctic ice, or use it to freeze nuclear fallout in areas where American ambulances equipped with the CBRN Foam couldn't reach in time to stop large portions of the populace from receiving lethal doses of radiation. Unfortunately, these so-called 'cryo lasers' also presented a considerable destructive potential, which was exploited during WWIII. Named after a monstrous wolf from Norse mythology, the Fenris was an elaborate modification of a conventional Lynx APC which had been outfitted with a freezing laser that proved extremely lethal against enemy infantry and even vehicles, which not only took damage, but also ended up immobilised due to deformed machinery and severly reduced crew performance after prolonged cooling. The Fenris could also fire a high energy shot which froze the vehicle to the point where parts of its armour become so brittle that even its own idle engine vibrations or weapon recoil are enough to shatter it open, thus directly exposing the crew to the freezing ray, killing them instantly and leaving the vehicle empty for recovery. Unlike the dreaded Pandora cannon, the Fenris could be deployed in numbers upon activating the eponymous protocol, but commanders were advised to treat their expensive and fragile technology with utmost care.

The third (and most meme-worthy) protocol was the "Venom Protocol".

Deveolped in close cooperation with the United States and Japan, and fielded relatively late in the war, the Venom is a prototype powered armor which significantly increases the strength, speed and durability of its human operator. Originally designed as a revolutionary hazardous environment suit for ESA astronauts in preparation of a future European colony on the Moon, the military model was significantly enlarged in order to accommodate heavy composite armor hardened against EMP as well as an assortment of heavy weapons.

For added mobility, the suit comes equipped with a set of boosters that are strong enough to provide aerodynamic lift within atmospheric conditions, allowing the operator close a considerable distance with a rocket-assisted jump. The few Russian survivors that lived to tell their stories described the Venom as an unstoppable juggernaut, a machine of sheer terror that even surpassed the Shock Troopers due to its imposing, inhuman physique and overwhelming firepower. As a result, Russian propagandists have spread slanderous rumors which painted the Venoms as soulless cyborgs, biomechanical abominations who had been subjected to genetic manipulations and forced limb amputations by sinister European scientists in an effort to create the ultimate killer. Contrary to these baseless claims, the Venom suits are operated by healthy, fully conscious human volunteers. Whilst many of the Venom's internal workings remain a well-preserved secret, it is speculated that the operator resides in an internal suspension pod while controlling the machine through a sophisticated neural interface, allowing the mechanical limbs of the suit can be manipulated through natural brain impulses as if they were part of the operator's own body. When the Venom became public knowledge, the internet was quick to christen them as "Gundams", after the famed giant robots of Japanese pop culture. Venom operators were known to customize their suits, and plenty ran afoul of lawyers for painting them in the colors of fictional characters, including Iron Man, Optimus Prime, and Evangelion Unit-01.

Similar, albeit noticeably less refined versions of this technology is already used as a modern alternative to wheelchairs and limb prostheses around the world, while some of the Nordic European states even sponsor these medical exoskeleton as part of their elaborate healthcare systems. The technology proved invaluable to the post-Sundering recovery, as those who lost limbs became able-bodied again, and even Category 3 survivors were encased in Venom suits as mobile life-support units (one Category 3 survivor requested this his suit be painted all-black and have a black cape, trying to cope with his life-changing injuries by turning it into the opportunity to create the ultimate Darth Vader cosplay; this individual became an international celebrity, appearing on talk shows and having his own YouTube channel where he recreated moments from the Star Wars movies with the aid of an AI-generated version of the late, great James Earl Jones; it was probably fortunate for him that Disney's entire legal department was killed in the Sundering).

Due to the technical complexity of the suit and the shortage of advanced materials, it is expected that the total number of operators does not exceed the mark of a hundred. The men and women inside the suits are exclusively recruited from the cream of Europe's large special forces community, including the French 1er RPIMa and Poland's famous GROM.

Upon selection of the Venom protocol, ECA battlefield commanders can choose to deploy operators from two distinct variations: The CQC (close-quarters combat) assault specialists of Team Valkyrie, whose suits are equipped with shoulder-mounted anti-tank missiles and a heavy assault weapon that combines a 10-guage (20mm) smooth-bore cannon typically firing canister rounds with a 40mm grenade launcher, and the elite sharpshooters of Team Viking whose suits come with a miniaturized version of the Starstreak anti-air missile and the Longbow, an anti-materiel rifle that fires 65mm HEAP (high-explosive armor-piercing) tungsten-graphene rounds at 4,000 feet per second capable of penetrating up to 6 inches of steel alloy at 3,600 yards.

The jetpack has been a popular icon of pulp science fiction stories ever since the early years of aviation, and during the first half of the 21st century, a number of companies managed to design and produce the first truly reliable and practical models for commercial purposes, advertising their jetpacks as a modern alternative to individual transport vehicles or high-tech sports equipment. One of the first military units to adopt their own version of the jetpack was the Italian Folgore Parachute Brigade. Having seen action in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, Somalia, the Balkan, Iraq and Afghanistan, these elite paratroopers quickly became one of the most rapidly deployable unit of the ECA, thanks in no small part to their purpose-built Jupiter jetpacks which turned them into an entirely new kind of airborne infantry. Armed with a pair of automatic grenade launchers mounted directly on their flying suits, the Jumpjet Troopers quickly attained a fierce reputation among the Russian forces who learned to fear their lightning fast airborne raids on several occasions. They are also exceptionally nimble and fly under the radar of heavy air defenses, whilst lighter anti-air guns can still engage them by eyeballing it. The Jupiter jetpacks were used as part of the post-Sundering recovery to pass impassible areas with safe levels of radiation.

In terms of "superweapons", the ECA had a rather unique one. Since the inception of the European Space Agency's famous Solaris energy project, high-ranking Russian officials have heavily criticised it for its possible use as a highly devastating orbital weapon and missile defence. While much of the criticism at the time was in no small part motivated by the fact that a self-sufficient Europe put an end to the long-standing fossil fuel deals that kept the Russian economy going, the alleged military potential of Solaris turned out to be more than just a slanderous conspiracy theory as early as 2046, when the Russian aircraft carrier Peter the Great got melted to slag by a pillar of sunlight striking down from the sky without warning in the Baltic Sea. In addition to these short, concentrated bursts, European commanders also experimented with a longer, broader solar saturation to turn entire areas into cooking wastelands for extended periods, namely after activating the Pandora Protocol, which turned the Solaris Relay into the so-called "Solar Apocalypse". While the weaponization of the Solaris system was effective, it didn't stop Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg from posting a 45 minute video on YouTube speaking out against the military applications; as she was in the UK when she made this video, she was deemed a "subversive" and arrested under the Emergency Powers Act 2045.

As of 2058, all Solaris Relays that survived the Sundering have been dismantled, though the Solaris system remains online, as the expected "nuclear winter" turned out to be more of a "nuclear autumn" that wasn't the climate catastrophe predicted by Carl Sagan.


Much of Russia's experimental weaponry can be attributed to Nikita Ivanovich Aleksandr. His main innovation was weaponry based on the technology of Nikola Tesla. The basic crux of Aleksandr's Tesla coil technology was the weaponization of electricity, elecrocuting enemy infantry and overloading the circuits of enemy ground vehicles until they exploded.

The TT-2 Tesla Tank was discussed last chapter, but wasn't the only Tesla-based weapon deployed by Russia. Shock Troopers could also be equipped with Tesla guns, and the modular Component Towers could be equipped with stationary Tesla coils to zap anyone who came too close.

The Russian "superweapon" was the Tremor AGAS. Allegedly developed from blueprints for Leang's Earth Shaker stolen in a Spetznaz operation, the Tremor was designed as a long range ballistic cannon - basically a super-sized stationary version of the Soviet Pion/Malka or WW2 era railway guns - that was used for massed bombardment in preparation of a ground assault. The system was capable of firing HE, nuclear, and chemical shells but the Russian army refrained from using unconventional payloads for political reasons, and because they do not want to pollute the land they would be trying to capture moments after the barrage is over.

The effective range of this weapon was believed to rival that of even the most advanced short range ballistic missiles, and the loading mechanism could feed shells into the system at such a rapid rate that an entire city block could be levelled within seconds. During the first years of WWIII, the Tremor cannons saw extensive use as a politically sensitive alternative to tactical nuclear weapons, even though the system would have been perfectly capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction as well. No Tremors are believed to have survived the Sundering, and if any did, GDI, ECA, and GAPA forces have long since discovered and destroyed them.


The GLA's experimenting was less "how can we innovate" and more "how can we improvise". Improvisation was basically their M.O.

Many examples of GLA ingenuity were criminally-simple. The "technical" was not a new concept, being a car or pickup truck with a .50 cal machine gun bolted on, though technicals would upgrade their weapons with equipment salvaged from destroyed enemy vehicles. Many would replace the .50 caliber with a DShK machine gun, and just as many would use a recoilless rifle.

The GLA was also predisposed to using motorcycles (snowmobiles in snowy environments), arming them with a variety of weapons such as machine guns, rocket pods, dual bolt-action rifles, and suicide packs; infamous GLA hitman Jarmen Kell was even known to equip his own motorcycle with dual sniper rifles.

One of the more-bizarre improvised weapons used by the GLA were the so-called "toxin tractors". These were created by taking a farm tractor (John Deere, New Holland, and Fendt tractors were a favorite), and equipping them with biochemical weapons that was incredibly deadly. The toxins used a mixture of various chemicals and biological agents, including anthrax, oil, acid, and crushed-up deadly plants. In addition to spraying liquid biochemicals, toxin tractors were also equipped with "sprinklers" that could spray anthrax all around and contaminate an area (though the anthrax strains used were very-short lived and would become harmless after awhile, if a US ambulance equipped with CBRN foam didn't show up beforehand).

The shower of anthrax melted the skin of anyone who came in contact with it, and was capable of corroding metal, since the mixture also contained acid. The operator of these machines also tended to be borderline insane. Whether they were mentally ill before they started operating these machines of toxic terror, or they developed psychosis by seeing their victims die horrible deaths at their hands, will forever remain a mystery.

The history of the GLA's technical achievements had always been one of trial and error: the lack of advanced technology and an actual industrial basis called for a greater emphasis on improvisation, as evidenced by the organization's arsenal of combat vehicles, some of which, such as the Marauder tank, were literally designed and manufactured from scratch using construction vehicles as the basic platform for heavy weapon carriers and a jury-rigged combination of television screens, consumer-grade cameras, and game pads as fire control systems for guns that were often little more than metal pipes.

Despite being one of the personal creations of White Falcon Cell's leader Abdul bin Yusuuf, the Demo Track trap-laying vehicle proved to be less successful due to its lack of agility and reliance on heavy machinery which was often hard to come by. As a result, the vehicle eventually disappeared from service in favor of the Demo Truck, which was essentially just a civilian pickup truck that was not converted into a technical for once, but a bomb carrier. The Demo Truck sacrificed the mine clearing plows of its heavier predecessor for a greater level of mobility, while its function remained the same: assembling high-explosive barrel bombs while on the move and quickly deploying them wherever an enemy patrol might be expected to pass through.

Not much was known about the history of the deadly "rocket buggy", except that most likely, this project was one of the so many civilian-to-military refits that the GLA had done in its history, which explained why it lived through generations and generation's worth of warfare. By the time of the African Resource Rush, its previous load of rockets was retrofitted with a medium mortar to engage targets with far more damage, but less accuracy and frequency. There was also some disagreement by western analysts regarding the role of the rocket buggy, whether it was a fast-attack vehicle, or a light artillery vehicle.

One of the different tactics the GLA used during their days of warmongering was the use of heavy anti-Western and anti-capitalist propaganda in major population centers. The poor, the workers, the homeless and the local dissidents picked up arms for the GLA's cause and fought for them all over Central Asia. The most prominent fighting were the infamous "Astana Riots", where the city was practically reduced to rubble thanks to the fanatical Abdul bin Yusuuf's propaganda. One of the ways the angry rioteers were so successful was because they hijacked local transportation and used them as makeshift infantry fighting vehicles, with rugged armor plating and reinforced windows attached.

One of the interesting things discovered during the later years of the war was that these so-called "battle buses" didn't just serve as great transportation but also as a very good makeshift defense. When a Battle Bus' wheels were destroyed, they were simply immobilized and turned into bunkers. The GLA raiders inside kept on fighting even though their transportation was dead. Later the next decade, when Anwar Sulaymaan came to power in the GLA, he believed the Battle Buses were hawkish and rubbish at best. But, Yusuuf was still positive as it was a much more economical and a better answer to Sulaymaan's proposition to purchase real IFVs.

"Wreck, recycle, revenge" was a common motto within the GLA ranks. It meant that whatever scrap they could find, they could reuse it, and kill the person who destroyed it. One such mechanical construct was the so-called Bomb Truck. Literally just a truck with tons of explosives packed in the rear, these rides to hell are driven by some of the most fanatical and willing people in the GLA, whose visions of a better future has been programmed into their minds by the charismatic leader of the Brotherhood of the White Falcon, Abdul bin Yusuuf. While still under command of Warlord Mohmar, Yusuuf had much control over his followers. He guided them to their targets, disguised as civilian transport trucks, and when the time comes, they would push the detonator and send whatever poor building they ran into flying in thousands of different directions.

The illusive chemist Dr. Thrax and fanatical bombmaker Rodall Juhziz managed to create 'improvements' for the Bomb Truck. A mixture of different biological weapons packed underneath a secured tarp - nicknamed 'tents of doom' by American soldiers - could release a giant cloud of deadly neurotoxins into an area. Gasoline canisters and oil barrels were used by Juhziz to create an even more powerful fireball, one that could even send a Paladin Tank flying. When the two weapon makers worked together they were capable of mixing these two deadly upgrades and create Bomb Trucks that would create immensly powerful chemical blasts. Juhziz's own Bomb Trucks could even be equipped with nuclear warheads; how he managed this is, as of 2058, still unknown, whether he stole decommissioned Soviet nuclear weapons, or came into possession of enough highly-enriched uranium to manufacture them himself.

However, when Anwar Sulaymaan came into power, his new chemist Tahar Ibrahiim and aforementioned Yusuuf had a shortage of chemical weapons and high explosives. Sulaymaan decided that a mixture between the two weapons is useless, and as such, Bomb Trucks can no longer release both chemical and HE blasts. When the GLA rose again in the early 2040s, Ibrahiim refused to use these weapons, so Sulaymaan gave Yusuuf all rights to do so, and he became the only common user of the truck.

General Anwar Sulaymaan, the Warlord General, was easily the most resourceful general of the GLA. Once Deathstrike's lieutenant during the Global War on Terror, he moved upward in the ranks of the GLA command structure. From this, he was given access to many scrapyards and weapons seen in the last few conflicts, alongside some of his own contraptions. The BM-21 was such weapons, able to fire successive shots in a large radius, pelting it with High Explosive missiles, and then move along to another location within seconds. Just like any other GLA unit, this unit could pack a bang for its buck - which happens to be on sale these days.

What looked like an unsuspecting supply truck from the outside, the Ural Truck could turn into a stealthy anti-air weapon once deployed. The Stinger troopers that emerged from the back of the vehicle were veterans of countless conflicts, and their proficiency with their launchers even rivaled the effectiveness of more sophisticated heavy AA systems.

Widely exported by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the infamous Scud missile found its way into many arsenals in Central Asia and the Middle East. During the Global War on Terror and its aftermath, the GLA swept up many of these missiles from the stockpiles of countless failed states. Although quite outdated and often badly maintained, the Scud missiles were perfect for annihilating the enemies of the GLA, which absorbed everything from the common R-300 Elbrus model over the Iranian Shahab variant to the North Korean Hwasong family. However, the GLA went even further and created small but reliable compounds that were able to store, arm and launch Scud missiles with deadly toxin warheads whenever needed, this being the GLA "superweapon" (it should be noted that Juhziz's Scud missiles launched in this fashion had high-explosive warheads, and Deathstrike used old Soyuz missiles).

After the GLA Insurrection in Europe in 2028, most of these facilities, dubbed the Scud Storms, were destroyed by the Chinese. The GLA however still had plenty of missiles left in storage around pro-GLA countries such as Libya and Algeria. When Anwar Sulaymaan took power in the GLA, he fitted these missiles on more makeshift launch facilities, held together by scrap and other means of construction materials. Although old and anachronistic in this modern age, the Scud Storm was still a credible threat to any force in the field. During the Sundering, the United States assigned many destroyers to launch nuclear-armed BGM-109A missiles into "The Zone" to ensure the GLA couldn't take advantage of the aftermath, and the GLA responded by counterfiring its Scud Storms at these destroyers, managing to sink at least four (out of seventeen deployed).

The Eve of Destruction

There's no easy answer to exactly what led to World War III. Like World War I, it was a combination of factors.

One of these was the ECA Solaris project. In 2039, the European Space Agency launched the first Solaris satellite into orbit, and brought their first Solar Reactor in Spain online. This bypassed the ECA's need to import foreign fuel to power their cities, as a single reactor could light up a county, and a dozen an entire country. For the alliance's smallest member states, whose gross domestic product were only a fraction of their larger neighbors, this technology was a godsend. Suddenly freed from their dependence on resources from countries with whom relations had been cool at best, Europe elected to discontinue all purchase of Russian coal and the Middle Eastern oil, which until then had been those countries' most lucrative exports.

This triggered an economic recession in Russia as the exports of coal to European cities was suddenly and indefinitely suspended. The standard of living began to slump as the price of everyday items rose. Things like scooters and bicycles, which had been within the common man's financial reach, became luxury items. Personal vehicles once more became a symbol of the wealthy and connected. Additionally, the summer of 2044 was one of the driest and warmest in the region's history. The spring rain had been abnormally light, and by July the major water sources were dangerously depleted from near constant use, which led to stringent restrictions. Suvorov outright blamed the ECA for using the Solaris technology to manipulate weather patterns, and hostilities between the two superpowers intensified.

Another major factor was the Middle Eastern Council, and its campaign of pressuring Israel to recognize the independence of Palestine. Official GDI policy was that Palestine was not a real country, but a GLA front. This led to fears that the MEC was secretly being controlled by the GLA.

The South American Pact was aligned with Russia, but not a part of the New Col-Sec Treaty (this was an error in the first chapter that was not caught before this book went to press, and for that, we apologize). The entirety of South America was part of this alliance, except for French Guiana and the Falkland Islands. Guyana desired for French Guiana to be returned to them, while Argentina made threatening gestures towards the UK over the Falklands. The SAU also sought to expand its influence into Central America, blocked only by Panama being a GDI member.

Military analysts all over the world began wargaming a Third World War as early as 2039, after the African Resource Rush calmed down. By 2041, the Institute for the Study of War released a report on how the war could look, and concluded that these would be the two sides:

* Side A: GDI, ECA, GAPA
* Side B: New Col-Sec, SAU, MEC

A revision of the report in 2043 included the GLA as "Side C".

Historians tend to place the beginning of World War III in 2041. After almost a decade in hiding, the re-armed, reunited and re-organised GLA rose in Central Africa under the leadership of Anwar Sulaymaan. What started out as a series of attacks on Russian forces in South Sudan soon escalated into a theater-wide insurrection. Elements of the German 10th Panzerdivision mounted an unauthorized diversionary attack to relieve the Russians, but were called back by high command for acting without official orders. The Federation, still weakened by its costly victory over a combined GDI-GAPA attack at Kurmunk, suffered heavy losses, and was forced to hurriedly abandon its African territories. Russian national pride took a major blow, and economic development came to a crashing halt. For the first time in his extended presidency, Suvorov saw himself threatened by dissent and opposition, his dreams of a "Eurasian Empire" threatened. Thinking quickly, Suvorov decided to use the playbook of Donald Trump, and deflected blame onto the ECA. The Russian people, desperate for a scapegoat, began calling for invasion, completely blind to the world's swollen nuclear arsenals, and Aleksandr's loose grasp on reality, the latter of which would become a huge problem down the road.

In 2044, Russia went through one of the hottest, dryest summers in its recent history, resulting in large forest fires and a near-total country-wide crop failure. Government officials openly blamed European Solaris satellites, calling them "a nefarious weapon of mass destruction in the guise of a power source to destroy and carve up the Motherland, and foist their Satanic ways on the Russian people". European politicians dismissed the claims as "completely insane and lacking any scientific evidence", and blamed Russia’s rejection of green energy as a major contributor to climate change (in 2035, Suvorov had claimed that windmills caused AIDS, with zero empirical or scientific evidence, and also shut down every nuclear power plant in Russia to use their enriched uranium in the production of nuclear warheads). Meanwhile, SAP cooperation failed to revitalize the Russian economy. Hunger revolts and violent clashes between Russians and Chinese immigrants in the Far East threatened national unity, and led to tensions with China. There was also a strong desire to retake Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands from Japan, which would mean having to go up against GDI. Surrounded on three sides by three military alliances (GDI, ECA, and GAPA), who were all on the same page regarding Russia, Suvorov ordered preparations for "national self-defence" (a thinly-veiled way of saying "preparations for war"), boosting armor and aircraft reserves to several thousand, and putting Russian industry on war footing. State propaganda put the population into a fighting frenzy, while the military was ordered on high-alert. Suvorov declared that the coming events would either make or break the future of the Russian nation.

In truth, the coming events would make or break the future of mankind.

"Side B" in 2041 ISW report had been drawn, each with their own geopolitical objectives:

* New Col-Sec: Conquer Europe to create a "Eurasian Empire", stop any Chinese incursions, and retake Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands from Japan (secondary objectives: conquer all GAPA members, conquer Japan and Korea, retake Guantanamo Bay and Alaska, economically isolate what remains of GDI)
* Middle Eastern Council: Install a new, pro-Ankara government in Israel, and liberate Northern Africa from the European and Asian occupiers (secondary objective: liberate all of Africa from the the foreign occupiers)
* South American Pact: Retake French Guiana and the Falkland Islands, conquer Panama, and install pro-Russian governments in Central America (secondary objectives: conquer the Caribbean, except Cuba)

On December 31, 2044, Europe was preparing for the New Year, ringing in 2045 to the sound of fireworks and drunken parties. When they awoke, it would be to the sound of missiles and air raid sirens...
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Chapter 4: World War III: 2045-2047

Correcting Errors

Before we continue, we understand that there were some errors in prior chapters.

First and foremost, the idea that this is a book. It's not. This is a blog that is being posted to BlogSpot. The first three chapters were written by someone who didn't know he was writing for an online blog and not a book.

As for some of the factual errors, keep in mind that our access to Wikipedia has been spotty, as internet infrastructure in our area is still unreliable. While our internet connection holds out, we will now correct some of the mistakes we've made:

* While its origin may never be truly known, we found out during research for this chapter that SARS-COV-2 may have actually been accidentally leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, according to the FBI; we were unable to find any corroborating evidence, but if this theory is true, it is likely that it was an incomplete bioweapon created under the Xinping regime to hold the world hostage until the world surrendered to his rule; the October 5 attack stopped this plan, and it is known that the WIV was raided by the GLA early in the war, so it stands to reason that SARS-COV-2 was an ingredient in the GLA's biochemical weapons
* Speaking of, we previously referred to the GLA using either chemical or biological warfare; they actually used biochemical weaponry, as their toxic weapons systems used both biological and chemical agents in the same mixture
* We had said that the United States recommissioned and rebuilt the old Titan II silos for the Vulcan; brand-new silos were actually built; this also applies to the Sentinel silos built at Whiteman and Ellis
* We had said that the New START treaty had expired in 2026; in truth, Vladimir Putin had actually pulled out of the treaty in February 2023
* We had said that the VLS cells on the Atlanta-class battleships were big enough to hold Pershing III missiles; they weren't, but the next battleship class was (more on that later)

We will do our level best to ensure there are no further factual errors.

Zero Hour

At midnight, British Standard Time, on January 1, 2045, Russia made its move. Hundreds of thousands of cruise missiles were suddenly and without warning launched at airbases in Europe. While these didn't have the range to reach the British Isles or the Iberian Peninsula, for every other member of the ECA, their air forces were wiped out. After the bombardment subsided, New Col-Sec forces crossed the border into Poland, Ukraine, and Finland. The ECA, caught off-guard, quickly scrambled to put up a defense.

On January 9, Brazilian forces invaded French Guyana, while Argentina blockaded the Falklands, demanding that the British return them. The UK immediately activated Article 5 of the Global Defense Charter, and the United States declared war on the South American Pact, calling the rest of GDI into the war.

Up to this point, the war had been confined to Europe, with the media calling it either the Russo-European War, or the War of the Eighth Coalition. Now, however, with the fighting having spread to South America, it was now World War III.

The South American Theatre was expected to be intense, but the conviction of most of the SAP was grossly-overestimated. Hours after GDI operations in South America began, Peru surrendered when the United States parked a Carrier Strike Group near Lima. Ecuador followed minutes later when two Atlanta-class battleships were parked near Manta and fired a Tomahawk at an unoccupied area as a warning shot. This same strategy of scaring the enemy with carriers and battleships was repeated with Colombia and Chile to the same success, but Venezuela wouldn't be cowed. On January 13, the United States initiated an amphibious invasion originating from Puerto Rico, with landings at Maracaibo, Caracas, and Cumana, after a three-day bombing campaign carried out by the battleship USS San Jose against transportation infrastructure to hinder enemy resupply. The landings at all three sites were considered "perfect", with minimal GDI casualties, while SAP forces were decimated. The Venezuelan government fled south to San Fernando de Apure, but were intercepted by American special forces and captured. Brazilian forces were also quickly repulsed from French Guyana by GDI forces, and Uruguay surrendered after an American carrier strike group was spotted approaching. In March, GDI forces crossed into Bolivia from occupied Chile and Peru, meeting heavy resistance from Brazilian and Argentine forces. This remained an unmoving stalemate for several years.

Meanwhile in Europe, New Col-Sec forces took Kyiv by February 21; Suvorov bragged that he had succeeded where Putin had failed in taking Ukraine. Fighting continued on the borders, as New Col-Sec forces attempted to break through the fortified borders. At the Polish front, several sections of the blockade were breached by Russian armor, backed by artillery fire. However, the Poles continued to stand their ground in their fortified posts hidden in extensive forests for over a month, laying low until the Russian forces came near, and then attacking them. Soon however, Russian army was able to overcome them, particularly at a front where a Siberian Sergeant Boris Bikov’s inspirational and brave offense allowed his battalion to annihilate a Polish outpost. On April 2, Russian forces entered Warsaw, and captured the Polish government.

With the fortified border breached, New Col-Sec forces entered Europe en masse. Austria and the Czech Republic were quickly as General Nikita Ivanovich Aleksandr continued his traditional approach of using regular Russian army to keep European forces contained, before his Shock Divisions dealt a deadly final blow, getting all the fame for the offense.

At the German-Austrian and Southern German-Polish border, where ECA’s top class forces were stationed, Russians continued to advance with their super-heavy tanks and advanced weapons, while General Leonid Zhukov’s 20th Army was ordered to rush through the Russian-Polish border, pass through Low countries of Benelux (which according to him were “small and unimportant countries easy to overwhelm”), before attacking France from the northeast, diverting French troops from Alsace-Lorraine so that the Shock Divisions could break through and capture Aleksandr’s main goal, Paris by Christmas 2046.

Aleksandr’s plan didn’t succeed however, as after New Col-Sec forces marched through Northern Germany, ECA General Willem van der Meer’s forces evacuated all civilians in Netherlands, and flooded the whole Dutch countryside by opening the northern floodgates, and turning the whole area into a huge swamp. As a result, Russian advance came to a slow pace upon reaching the Netherlands in August 2046.

While all of this was happening, the United States attempted to facilitate diplomatic negotiations between the ECA and Russia. It became clear very early on, however, that there would be no negotiating with Suvorov. He addressed the United Nations via Zoom on June 6, 2045, stating that the war would end on his terms alone, nobody else's. His demands were:

* All of Europe be surrendered to Russia
* The dissolution of GDI
* The total disarmament of the United States

Everyone at the UN from non-New Col-Sec nations laughed at Suvorov's demands, to which he responded with a highly-unhinged rant, in which he stated he would have his Eurasian Empire, and eventually, his New World Order, and he would remove the decadence and corruption inherent in both capitalism and communism, before announcing that he was completely willing to destroy the world with nuclear weapons if he didn't get his way.

Several days after this show of insanity, a Russian carrier strike group was spotted on satellite near Hawaii. The United States, believing the Russians were planning to repeat Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor nearly 104 years prior, deployed aircraft to intercept. The Russian CSG withdrew, its purpose of testing American response times seemingly completed. It should be noted that, at this point in the war, the United States was not at war with Russia yet, as while the UK was at war with Russia to fulfill its ECA obligations, it had yet to be directly attacked by New Col-Sec, so it had not yet invoked Article 5 of the Global Defense Charter (the Global Defense Charter was basically identical to the North Atlantic Charter); there also seemed to be some fear regarding involving the United States in the war in Europe, as American and Russian nuclear arsenals had ballooned to nearly triple their Cold War peak by 2045.

Fall of Berlin

The Polish-German border was the site of some of the fiercest battles of the war up to that point, with top ECA and Russian forces clashing in trench warfare that recalled World War I. In November 2045, Germany deployed the prototype Manticore Super-heavy tank against Russian Sentinels and Golems at Swiebodzin, Poland, to very satisfying results.

However, despite experiencing some losses against German forces, Aleksandr’s shock divisions were able to advance across the border, and reach Berlin in February 2046. An extremely fierce battle took place, where Germans fought fanatically for their city. Although much of the city fell against Russian army, German forces were able to hold up Mitte, the central government district for five days, until Lieutenant Boris Bikov was able to spot an exploitable breach, allowing Russian soldiers to rush the German Reichstag and capture it (the German government had long since evacuated, but the sight of the Russian tricolor being hoisted over the Reichstag, just as the Soviets had a century ago, haunted the free world).

After the fall of Berlin, Aleksandr made it his forces’ headquarters, from where he coordinated the attacks on France. The Russians took control of major German assets, particularly the ECAN Media Centre, which was forcibly taken off the net by a Russian Spetsnaz team during a live broadcast, all personnel inside being slaughtered. With the ECAN branch in their control, the Russian Army was able to spread its propaganda throughout Europe, further damaging the morale of remaining European forces and civilians.

Life in Russian-occupied areas was rather mild. Suvorov had very progressive views regarding race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, the latter being a sharp contrast to Putin's homophobic policies. The Russian Army was given strict orders not to interfere in the lives of civilians in occupied areas, and civilians were, in turn, told to go about their normal lives as if nothing had changed. Many Russian soldiers engaged in looting, pillaging, and rape, regardless, these bad actors being swiftly and publicly executed. The Russians took great pains to present themselves as benevolent liberators seeking to show them a better way of life, not malevolent conquerors seeking to take over the world and kick puppies.

In April of same year, General Orlov’s 106th Guards Airborne Division was able to capture and establish a stable beachhead in Koblenz, securing vital bridges for Russian advance through the GLA-polluted Rhine and into France. In Berlin, retired Captain Frank Jaeger organized a resistance against the occupying Russian forces, particularly General Aleksandr.

The French Stalemate

While Orlov’s and Aleksandr’s forces advanced through Southern Germany, Zhukov’s 20th Army faced major causalities as they passed through flooded Dutch countryside littered with hidden traps, including robotic Bulldog turrets and land mines that the united EU had purchased from China while recovering from the GLA Insurrection. After four months, Zhukov’s forces were able to enter Belgium in early 2047, with most elements of 20th Army evacuated. Later that year, Russian suspicions of Solaris technology being weaponized were confirmed when Russian Aircraft carrier Peter the Great was destroyed by a pillar of focused Solar energy, via one of ECA’s Solaris satellites.

New Col-Sec continued advancing through Germany, with Paris as their main focus. Eventually, they entered Paris in the summer of 2047, half a year later than originally planned, after much of the city was left in ruins by Russian air raids. The Russian tricolor was hoisted over the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre was looted (though Suvorov had the offending soldiers executed and the artworks returned unharmed). With Paris occupied, the Russian army began advancing through France, until they reached a stalemate in central France for over a year.

The Battle of Britain

After Northern France fell to New Col-Sec, the UK was now in direct line of fire. Russian submarines had already been a major threat to the British war effort (we shall be discussing the naval war next chapter), but thus far, the Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier had stood firm. But for Ol' Blighty, the battle was just beginning.

From captured airbases in Northern France, Russia launched nightly air raids on the British Isles. These bombings would come in three waves:

* Wave 1: Cruise missiles would be launched at anything that could threaten bombers; primary targets included Skyshield Battery installations, airfields, radar sites, and command centers
* Wave 2: Bombers and cruise missiles would be launched at strategic targets, including naval bases, air bases, motorway interchanges, railway junctions, factories, and government buildings
* Wave 3: Bombers would hit civilian targets, aimed at sowing terror and attempting to make the British government surrender

Whenever an attack was detected, the National Siren System (reestablished in 2029 after the GLA Insurrection) and the National Emergency Warning System (more on that in a later chapter) would be activated. All civilians were expected to go to the nearest fallout shelter, as nobody knew when the Russians might decide to say "fuck it" and use nuclear weapons. Very early on, methods for intercepting cruise missiles were developed, and the Skyshield system was able to shoot down 65% of incoming cruise missiles. During the second and third waves, the Royal Air Force would be launched to shoot down enemy bombers, doing so with ruthless efficiency. By the second week of the Battle of Britain, Russia began deploying Su-47 fighters as escorts, leading to large dogfights over British cities that caused large amounts of damage from planes crashing into buildings.

The Royal Air Force wasn't constantly on the defensive, though. British bombers sortied to the continent to attack Russian FOBs, transportation infrastructure, and captured industry. And just like in WWII, bomber crews would know they had made it home when they saw the White Cliffs of Dover.

Like in WWII, the British people were subjected to nightly air raids. Unlike in WWII, though, they also faced invasion.

With no success in Southern France, Aleksandr turned his attention towards the UK. Coastal areas were already evacuated as the Royal Observer Corps rightfully suspected they would see heavy bombardment. On September 8, 2047, elements of 2nd and 3rd Shock Divisions, accompanied by the 13th Guards Army, invaded the British coast. The British 8th Home Guard, spread across the coast, was concentrated by high command on the coastal towns of Kingston and Ramsgate, as the British believed the Russian Army would try to capture these harbours first. Unexpectedly, however, Russian forces landed on beaches between the cities, while Russian VDV troopers were paradropped further inland, completely distracting British forces while the main invasion force marched on the target cities. Russian forces were able to completely overwhelm the British defenders after a fierce fight of two hours, before the Royal Lancers, sent by General Charles Cutting, along with fire support from the Royal Navy, were able to turn the tide of battle. Russian forces quickly collapsed when their scheduled resupply failed to arrive, a victim of British attack submarines.

Article 5

The British were willing to suffer nightly air raids without invoking Article 5 of the Global Defense Charter. A direct naval invasion, however, was a different matter altogether. Ultimately, though, it was not the British who would invoke Article 5.

On September 14, 2047, Russia launched large air raids on Northern Korea and Sakhalin, followed closely by a massive ground invasion of Korea. It was no secret Suvorov wanted Sakhalin and the Kurill Islands back, and that he was cagey about having an American ally bordering his country, but it was believed that the majority of his forces were committed to invading Europe, with the remaining being kept on rear-guard duty to deter China. Suvorov, however, realized that Britain could invoke Article 5 at any moment, thus bringing Russia into direct conflict with the United States. Knowing that this was inevitable, he decided that if he had to fight the Americans, he would force them to fight a two-front war.

Hours after the invasion began, Korea invoked Article 5. American president William Bradford wanted to avoid fighting the Russians at all costs, and on September 15, set an ultimatum of noon the next day for Russia to withdraw from Korea. No such undertaking was received, so at noon, Eastern Daylight Time, on September 16, the United States formally declared war on Russia, the first time the country had formally declared war on another nation since 1941. All other GDI nations followed suit in the hours after this declaration.

The immediate fallout of the United States' declaration of war against Russia will be discussed next chapter, as will civil defense around the world.
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Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 31 March 2023 - 14:02