Author Harry Turtledove
Cover artist George Pratt
Language English
Series Southern Victory
Genre(s) Alternate History
Publisher Del Rey
Publication date August 1, 2000
Preceded by Walk in Hell
Followed by Blood and Iron

The Great War: Breakthroughs is a novel by Harry Turtledove published by Del Rey in 2000. It is the third novel of The Great War trilogy from the Southern Victory series.


The Great War continues into its third year. The United States are advancing on almost all fronts, but the Confederate States and Canada continue to fight for every inch of their territory. On the eastern front the U.S. Army is beginning to gain footholds in Virginia after being forced to fight on their own soil for much of the war. In Tennessee the US First Army has also advanced through the northern section of the state and is driving toward Nashville. However the US First Army has already taken heavy losses and the CS Army troops there continue to inflict more. Hoping for a breakthrough, General George Custer begins to secretly plan an attack concentrating all his barrels in one area. The attack would be against doctrine, so plans for the attack must be kept secret from the War Department.

In Arkansas, US troops also hope to advance through the northwestern part of the state and capture Memphis in Tennessee. However they are also taking heavy casualties which keeps the advance at a slow pace. In the West the US Army continues to move forward in Sequoyah and west Texas. In Canada the US troops face the same problems there as their comrades further south as they make slow advances toward Quebec City, Toronto, and Winnipeg.

In the Atlantic Ocean, the U.S. Navy begins to attack convoys from Argentina to try to prevent food from coming to England. Despite their efforts, food continues to come through the blockade.

The CSA is still fighting hard in the war, but it continues to lose ground and out of desperation begins to train black soldiers, despite the recent Red Rebellion, which continues in the swamps in the deep South. The added help of black soldiers does nothing to halt the US attackers. The recapture of Washington, DC, which had been held since the beginning of the war by the CS Army comes as another blow toward the weakening nation.

In an effort to please the citizens of occupied Quebec the Republic of Quebec is created by the US, encompassing all of occupied Quebec. The new country is immediately recognized by many of the nations of the Quadruple Alliance.

In Tennessee planning continues for what is hoped to be the breakthrough for the US in the campaign. The Barrel Roll Offensive takes place on Remembrance Day, April 22, 1917 and it is an immediate success. The barrels break through the lines that were giving the US First Army so much trouble and start a long advance. This offensive results in a change of procedure throughout the US Army and the tactic of concentrating barrels in one area is copied on the other main fronts.

In Virginia the Confederates are pushed back from positions that they had fought stubbornly for. The Confederates cannot respond as they have few barrels and their troops are forced to retreat.

Finally in Tennessee the US troops take Nashville after another barrel assault, achieving their main objective. The Entente becomes even weaker as Russia is forced to take men off the fight against the Germans because of a Red revolt there. Germany is also having victories in France and continuing an advance there as well.

Despite all of this the Entente powers continue on with the fight making the war that much bloodier. Even through their desperate attempts to continue the war, US troops advance in Virginia and they also get closer to the CS capital, Richmond. The CSA begins to seek for a fair peace while they can still gain one, but US president Theodore Roosevelt refuses to negotiate.

In Canada US troops have now taken Winnipeg thanks to a large barrel attack there as well. The US' good fortunes also continue in Texas as the new state of Houston is formed from captured land in west Texas. The Entente war effort suffers another blow when Brazil enters the war on the side of the Quadruple Alliance, making it much harder for Argentina to ship vital goods to England.

Finally relenting under the pressure France asks Germany for a cease-fire, a crucial move toward ending the war. Another ceasefire is negotiated in Tennessee, but the Confederates continue to fight on all other fronts. In Virginia the CS continues to do nothing, but lose ground. Then, after being forced back to Fredericksburg, Virginia, the CSA negotiates a cease-fire on the entire front with the United States. More good news for the United States comes when Quebec City is finally captured.

England surrendered and peace finally reigned on the world. The Confederate States are forced with an unconditional surrender and are left with little military to speak of. Reparations saddle the country and CS soldiers are forced to come home to a very different country than they had left.