|Second Great War|
|Commanders and leaders|
| Al Smith†|| Jake Featherston†
The Second Great War was a major war fought worldwide beginning in 1941. The war began in Europe in June of that year when Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany died and the Entente states of Britain, France, and Russia, hoping to capitalize on the confusion of the ensuing change in German government and regain territory, money and prestige lost in the Great War, 24 years earlier, launched a series of coordinated assaults on Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Netherlands. A few days later, the war spread to North America when the Confederate States launched Operation Blackbeard against the United States without issuing a formal declaration of war. (Ironically, the CS had joined with the Entente in declaring war on Germany, in the hope that the US would side with its ally.) Japan attacked the US in Midway a short while later, and the war spread to the Pacific Ocean. As the war dragged on, many other countries became involved as alliances were invoked, neutralities violated and rebellions encouraged.
Countries that did not enter the Second Great War on one of the two sides and remained neutral territory included Italy, Quebec, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Colombia. While officially neutral, the Republic of Quebec sent troops to replace US troops who were garrisoning Canada prior to the war.
After losing the Great War, many Entente nations came under the sway of revanchist, militarist governments such as the Confederate Freedom Party, the British Conservative-Silver Shirts coalition, the French Action Francaise monarchist party, the Russian Tsar Mikhail II, the Spanish Nationalists, the Mexican Hapsburg dynasty, and a newly expansionist Japanese Empire. These governments co-operated to subvert arms restrictions imposed by the Central Powers after its victory. Meanwhile the Central Powers weakened: In the United States, the Remembrance era ended when the Socialist Party defeated the Democratic Party in five of the six Presidential elections between 1920 and 1940. In Germany, the relentless militarization which had marked the country since its unification under Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1870 also weakened, as German bureaucracy became more bloated and cumbersome and the German army found it difficult to administer occupied Belgium. The two major members of the alliance, Germany and the US, had several fallings out, first when Germany blocked US-led international pressure on the Ottoman Empire to halt its genocide against the Armenians and later when the two countries backed opposing sides in a border dispute between Colombia and Venezuela. Several other members of the alliance withdrew, including Brazil, Quebec, and Italy, which had remained neutral in the Great War.
After quietly rearming, the Entente was able to embarrass the Central Powers militarily on the European and North American continents by defeating Central Powers-backed factions in the Mexican and Spanish Civil Wars. Later, President Jake Featherston of the Confederate States met with President Al Smith of the United States and demanded plebiscites in the states of Kentucky, Houston, and Sequoyah to decide the question of whether those states should be returned to the Confederacy. Smith complied with Featherston's request under the Richmond Agreement, and two of the three states voted to return to the CS. Featherston contended fraud in Sequoyah and demanded that it be returned to the CS as well, along with territories in West Virginia, Missouri, and New Mexico that had also been signed over at the end of the Great War and even territories the CS had not claimed since the War of Secession. Smith refused these demands.
In June 1941, Kaiser Wilhelm II died and the German throne passed to Friedrich Wilhelm V. The European Entente members, sensing weakness, pressed the new Kaiser with ultimata similar to Featherston's, which he refused. They launched a series of coordinated attacks shortly after, which the CS supported by declaring war against Germany.
With these developments, Featherston restated his territorial demands as ultimata. Smith again refused, Featherston used this as a casus belli, and on June 22, 1941, he launched a surprise attack on US forces in Ohio as well as air raids all along the border without even the formality of a declaration of war.
Operation Blackbeard (Ohio 1941)
Operation Blackbeard was the code name for the invasion of the USA by the CSA. The plan was developed by Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest III, Chief of the Confederate States General Staff and main adviser to President Jake Featherston. Knowing that a long war of attrition could only be won in the end by the numerically and industrially superior USA, Forrest devised a plan to knock the USA out of the war as soon as possible by the easiest and shortest route: Ohio. Despite the fact that the United States General Staff had been expecting an invasion, almost none of the members expected the invasion route to be through Ohio. They instead believed that the Confederates would go for Maryland and eastern Pennsylvania, as in the last war. Consequently, the bulk of the US Army was positioned in Northern Virginia in front of Washington, DC, and the force left to defend the Midwest was considerably diminished. Forrest created Blackbeard to take advantage of these blindspots, sending a quick drive through the thin lines along the Ohio River and on to the Great Lakes as soon as possible, effectively cutting the USA in half. Thus the Confederate Army's objective was to reach Lake Erie as it launched its surprise attack on June 22, 1941.
After opening the war with bombing raids and artillery barrages, the CS Army of Kentucky crossed the Ohio River into the state of Ohio, with General George Patton's barrel forces in the lead. The outbreak of the War in North America took many in the U.S. by surprise as they were subjected to bombing attacks over major cities without the benefit of a formal declaration of war from the CSA.
Expecting a repeat of the 1914-17 conflict with its trench systems and set-piece engagements, the US Army under Brig. General Abner Dowling had set up lines of defense across southern Ohio, aiming to keep the CSA from Columbus and beyond. Using modern methods, Brig. General Patton's armor smashed through the lines and moved on, leaving the pockets of resistance to be mopped up by the second and third-wave infantry. The CS Air Force controlled the skies, bombing airfields and roads at will, tying down the US fighters and creating havoc on the roads by strafing columns of refugees. The Mule dive-bomber was a particularly feared weapon, as it screamed (using wind-powered sirens) down on its foes like a demon. In addition to dive-bombers and barrel attacks, the CS forces employed modern chemical weapons on soldiers as well as new automatic weapons such as automatic rifles and submachine guns.
Battle of Columbus
The US Army fought the CS Army foot for foot near Columbus, Ohio and in suburbs such as Grove City and West Jefferson, destroying much of the area and displacing thousands of civilians, who moved north away from the fighting. Fighting in the city itself didn't do as much damage, although the State Capitol took several direct hits by Mules (by now having earned the nickname of 'Asskickers' by soldiers on both sides), but remained standing, being used by artillery spotters for Confederate movements. To the west of Columbus, Patton's armor chased the US forces out of their positions along the Big Darby river and its tributaries. In a week of fighting, the Confederates pushed on, leaving the several trapped US divisions inside the capital of Ohio to wither until they surrendered.
The Drive to Lake Erie
Even before Columbus had fallen, General Patton had pushed on, toward the Great Lakes and Blackbeard's objective of carving a corridor through the narrowest part of the United States. Barrels tore US positions apart, Mules and Hound Dog fighters shot up anything that moved on the roads, and Confederate spies with near-perfect Yankee accents caused confusion behind the lines. General Dowling and his barrel commander, Colonel Irving Morrell, set up a last line of defense anchored between Findlay and Norwalk. The Confederates hit both towns with a heavy assault in late July, and rolled up the US defenders to either side of the corridor as it snaked its way toward Lake Erie. In the southeast part of the state, Confederate forces halted local counterattacks aimed at the base of the salient.
Fall of Sandusky
The Army of Kentucky reached Lake Erie at the lakeside town of Sandusky, about halfway between the cities of Cleveland and Toledo. Some of the worst fighting of the Ohio campaign was waged in the street fighting that tore the town apart, especially in the battle for the crayon factory. Nevertheless, the city fell after several days of battle, and Confederate guns now looked out over Lake Erie. With the United States cut in half from the Ohio River to Lake Erie, many people on both sides figured the war would be ending soon. Jake Featherston thought so as he made his Peace Broadcast in early August, but his offer, much to everyone's surprise, was rebuffed by Al Smith. No matter whose soldiers occupied Ohio, according to Smith, the war would be fought to a finish.
The Confederate Corridor had separated several US formations, causing some to find themselves west of the salient and others to the east. The stronger forces were all on the east side, and under Irving Morrell's command gathered themselves together for a strong counter-offensive aimed at driving west toward Columbus or Dayton. Featherston and his Intelligence chief, Brig. General Clarence Potter, had figured out the US' intentions, and ordered the several Confederate agents and sympathizers in the area to sabotage the area's roads and bridges. When Morrell struck in mid-August, in Monroe County, he found his force constantly held up by wrecked bridges, leading to his calling off the attack after several days. The first US response to the fall of Ohio got nowhere, and the US War Department began shifting forces on the east side of the salient to the build-up in Maryland and Northern Virginia, while US forces on the west side were dispatched to the new front opening up in Utah. As he had proved himself an annoyance to the officers of the General Staff, Morrell himself was relegated to the now-secondary Ohio front, and his valuable skills in armor warfare ignored.
Northern Virginia 1941-42
After the debacle of the Ohio campaign, the US Congress set up a new board to oversee the war effort: the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. The first soldier to come up under its scrutiny was Abner Dowling, the officer in charge of defending Ohio. After a brief tongue-lashing, the general was sent to the War Department to await further orders.
US forces were being shifted to the Northern Virginia front for an attack on Richmond, with no attempt being made to disguise the US intentions or plans. General Daniel MacArthur was put forward by the Joint Committee to head the attack, which would have to take place against several heavily-fortified Confederate positions along several river lines. MacArthur was confident about his chances against the Confederates, taking no account of their tenacity and will to win into his plans, and instead assumed that US soldiers would be marching into Richmond on a very short basis. The USA paid for his hubris dearly as the offensive opened in late October after several delays.
The Rappahannock and Rapidan
MacArthur launched his attack over the Rappahannock to the west of Fredericksburg. Entrenched Confederate guns and barrels cost his force several thousand casualties, but by nightfall the USA had a bridgehead on the south bank. The Americans battled their way across trench systems toward the Rapidan, where they were stopped by a fierce defense. The USA had intended to hit the CSA with a lightning strike of the sort that the Confederacy had used in Ohio, but was instead reduced to using Great War methods of offense, which was also the product of MacArthur's own lack of imagination and innovation. After several days of further attacking, a US force crossed the Rapidan river and established a bridgehead in a tangle of terrain and forest called The Wilderness.
In their drive to the south, the US Army had exposed their right flank as it brushed against the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. First Corps, under the command of Abner Dowling, was the unit in charge of watching the flank. Dowling made sure to watch the mountains for any sign, but MacArthur's orders were to advance south. Under Featherston's watch, General George Patton struck First Corps in a lightning counterattack and pushed the USA back several miles. Although Dowling recovered the situation and held off Patton from reaching the USA's rear, MacArthur was forced to call off the attack in The Wilderness, which was holding up the US bridgehead there.
While both sides of the line settled down for winter quarters, their respective high commands made plans for renewed assaults in the spring. The Confederate General Staff quietly began removing veteran units away from Northern Virginia and sending them northwest to Ohio for the renewal of their assault. General MacArthur also spent his winter making plans. Initially, he wanted to land a force on the Virginia Peninsula and march on Richmond from the east, a la George McClellan in 1862, even securing support from the US Navy's Rear Admiral William Halsey. The US General Staff, informed by Dowling that MacArthur had attempted to take a division from Dowling's First Corps to go into the landing force, quietly ordered him to scuttle the plan.
Undaunted and seemingly oblivious to being thwarted by the War Department, MacArthur began looking for new places to break through. After Dowling's intelligence reports inform him of the Confederates' clandestine troop withdrawals, MacArthur became confident that the CSA's line at the Rappahannock town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, was the perfect place to launch his spring offensive. Unfortunately for MacArthur and for the thousands of US soldiers preparing for the assault, Jake Featherston had also come across Fredericksburg as a likely flashpoint for a major engagement. Visiting the spot where he had spent the last hours of the Great War at Marye's Heights, which overlooks the town, Featherston wanted to draw the US forces into the open fields under the Heights, which would be covered by dug-in machine-guns and artillery.
MacArthur began his attack by sending in engineers to build pontoon bridges across the Rappahannock under artillery fire. The engineers were slaughtered, as were several regiments of soldiers waiting to cross from the far bank. After a lull in the fighting, during which re-inforcements were brought forward on both sides of the river, the USA attacked again, this time managing to secure a bridgehead inside Fredericksburg. Once the US force began advancing south, Confederate guns opened up again and pinned the force down, creating thousands of casualties. Several days later, MacArthur ordered the remaining troops to fall back across the river, never having advanced outside the town itself toward Marye's Heights. MacArthur and several US officers were criticized in the press and before the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. However, the senseless battle became almost instantly forgotten in the wake of the Confederate drive to Pittsburgh, which began not long after the Battle of Fredericksburg ended.
Operation Coalscuttle (Pennsylvania 1942-43)
The genesis for Operation Coalscuttle (so named because the objective of Pittsburgh lay in the middle of the USA's heavy industrial area) lay in the aftermath of Operation Blackbeard, when Confederate forces secured a corridor through the middle of the United States in the hope that a USA carved in two would sue for peace. Al Smith refused to negotiate with Featherston, and launched the USA's first great counter-offensive in Northern Virginia--which Featherston and Forrest had been preparing for. As soon as it was apparent that the US Army was not going to take Richmond anytime soon, the CS leadership began making plans to knock the United States of America out of the war - for good. Almost immediately following the success of Blackbeard, Featherston figured that the USA's steel-producing capability would be the last thing holding that country up. Once the steel-centers fell into Confederate hands, Featherston reasoned, the USA would have to sue for peace, since the country was still cut in half and the steel needed to make barrels and planes would be in enemy hands.
While General MacArthur kept himself and the USA busy in Northern Virginia, the Confederate Army began moving veteran units out of Virginia and back into Ohio. As they had done in 1941, the Confederates in their 1942 offensive would employ modern tactics in their push to Pittsburgh, but this time adding a special force of Confederate soldiers in US uniforms with US accents sewing confusion behind the lines. On the diplomatic front, Featherston secured from the Emperor Francisco Jose three Mexican divisions to guard the flanks of the CS advance. The Confederate President had to put "pressure" on the Mexican Emperor to get his divisions, but rewarded his counterpart by allowing Mexican immigrants to pour into the CSA and take over the jobs formerly belonging to the country's blacks. Featherston was gambling all on this great offensive.
US Intelligence had been figuring out that the Confederates were moving forces somewhere, but no one was expecting an attack in northeastern Ohio in late June 1942 when the Confederates burst from Sandusky and Columbus and launched their great drive to the east.
Battle of Cleveland
Confederate forces deployed along the shore of Lake Erie reached the outskirts of Cleveland on the first day of Coalscuttle, catching the US soldiers on the west side by surprise before they could react to the new offensive. Scattered US units were overwhelmed, and the Confederates crossed the Cuyahoga River while meeting minimal resistance, which was bombed into submission by massed Mule formations, allowing the CS forces to advance past the Flats and fan out into downtown Cleveland. Within a week of Coal-scuttle's start, the biggest city on the way to Pittsburgh had fallen.
Drive to the East
The Confederate Army under George Patton (who had returned to Ohio from the Virginia front) pushed to the east even while the battle for Cleveland raged. With the majority of the prime US units still in Northern Virginia under MacArthur's command, the US Army under Br. General Irving Morrell withdrew to the Pennsylvania border region, while supplying the garrisons of Akron, Canton, and Youngstown. Morrell led small-scale counterattacks that halted and forced back some CS units, but failed to prevent Patton from crossing into Pennsylvania. By that time, it was obvious that Pittsburgh was Featherston's ultimate objective, and Morrell ordered his command to prepare for the defense of the region.
Meanwhile, the Confederate northern force that had seized Cleveland had reached the small town of Beaver, Pennsylvania before halting. The special unit of Confederate soldiers with US uniforms and accents had been deployed at the front in Beaver and proceeded to wreak havoc behind the US lines, causing confusion and terror amongst the green US soldiers, civilians and refugees from Ohio.
Featherston and Forrest had originally planned to surround Pittsburgh and incapacitate the USA's steel industry with a siege, but several blunt counterattacks from Morrell had forced Patton to redirect his offensive into the city itself.
Patton unleashed his armor into the city of Pittsburgh, hoping to reach the Allegheny River and the downtown area before the USA could put up a proper defense. In every battle before Pittsburgh, Patton had avoided sending barrels into cities, which made horrible conditions for barrel warfare. Not wishing to give up the USA's steel center without a fight, Morrell turned every inch of the city into a fortress. US and CS soldiers and barrels fought over every block and sector of the outer neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, actions that caused thousands of casualties for both sides. Inch by inch, the Confederates pressed toward the city center at the junction of the Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela rivers.
After several weeks of brutal urban fighting, Forrest was convinced that the objectives of Operation Coalscuttle had been met: the industries in and around Pittsburgh had been wrecked, while several US divisions had been mauled. He made his presentation to Featherston, who was following the battle from his large Presidential-Bunker underneath Shockoe Hill (he did pay a visit to the Pennsylvania front while Patton was making his approach to Pittsburgh), but was sucked into a debate with Featherston, who wanted to occupy the area as well as wreck it, if for nothing more than to prove to the United States that he could win any battle on any site he chose. Featherston flew into a rage when Forrest made a comparison to the Great War, (the Confederate President, who was only a sergeant in that conflict, thought of himself as a better strategist than Forrest, who had matured after the Great War had ended), kicking the Confederate Army Chief of Staff out. Pittsburgh, Featherston declared, would fall--at all costs.
On the US side, Morrell had been bugging the War Department for weeks on end, even prompting its trouble-shooter Br. General John Abell to make a personal visit. In the middle of October, as the Confederacy was on the verge of reaching the Allegheny, Morrell finally got leeway and re-inforcements to fight the battle the way he thought it should be fought. His Intelligence reports indicated weak flanks along both sides of the Confederate salient in Pennsylvania, manned by the three Mexican divisions that Featherston had taken from Francisco Jose. The Mexicans had no armor or machine guns, and weak artillery, which made soft targets for the great counter-offensive Morrell was planning to unleash. By mid-November, he was ready--but for a snowstorm that he needed to launch his attack during. It came three days after the date his attack had originally been scheduled to take place.
Morrell led the pincer force from the north while another US force pushed from West Virginia. The Mexican divisions that had been guarding the flanks to the Confederate army in Pittsburgh were annihilated. In a week, the US pincers met at the small Ohio town of Lafayette, just south of Canton. The Confederates in Pittsburgh were now trapped in a pocket.
In addition to the Pittsburgh Counteroffensive, the USA launched several sideshow attacks all along the American-Confederate border to draw CS re-inforcements from the Midwest and stretch the frontier thin. In Virginia, MacArthur engaged the Army of Northern Virginia in several local battles; in Arkansas another US force pushed south from Missouri. Arms shipments to black rebels in the Deep South increased, but only by a little bit; even with people such as Flora Blackford bringing the "Population Reduction" to the attention of the world, public opinion continued to show little support for the blacks' cause.
Nathan Bedford Forrest III had returned to Jake Featherston's office after the Confederates in Pittsburgh were surrounded and reiterated his point about the necessity of withdrawal from the city, this time adding that Patton needed to do so before his barrels and trucks ran out of fuel. The President overruled him with his point that Confederate Alligator air force transports could make an air-bridge to Pittsburgh and keep Patton supplied to continue wrecking the city, ignoring the simple fact that there were not enough transports to keep an entire army supplied. In the meantime, enough spare Confederate forces could be scraped up and mount a counterattack to break through and relieve Patton. Where the President could come up with the number needed to make the attack possible, Forrest didn't know. Nevertheless, Confederate Army supply and clerk soldiers were drafted into infantry formations and rushed into an attack in mid-December, at one point nearly making it to within twenty miles of Patton's lines.
Irving Morrell had figured that the CSA would attempt such a move. Just when the Confederates were about to relieve Pittsburgh, using up the last of their reserves, he ordered a collection of US units in northwestern Ohio and Indiana to strike the Confederate Corridor on its west side: the operation being named "Rosebud." The Confederate push to relieve Pittsburgh was stopped dead, as Forrest was forced to move units back and forth across the Corridor to contain the US attack in the west. With no spare CS Army units anywhere in the CSA, the Confederate Army was stretched extremely thin.
Jake Featherston thought differently. He ordered the Mexican Emperor (through his Secretary of State, Herbert Walker) to hand over another five divisions, although this time they were to replace Confederate Army divisions fighting black rebels in the Deep South. For the same purpose, Featherston ordered his Attorney General, Ferdinand Koenig, to increase the "population reductions" at Camp Determination (which was being threatened by Dowling's Eleventh Army) and elsewhere, annihilating the CSA's black population and releasing precious CS Army and Freedom Party guard formations for service at the front. However, these extra Army forces relieved by the Mexicans arrived too late to save the Pittsburgh Pocket.
The Crushing of the Pittsburgh Pocket
The Confederate Army in Pittsburgh was slowly destroyed in winter actions up to the end of January 1943. With the air-bridge failing and Irving Morrell's Rosebud attack preventing rescue from the outside, Patton's soldiers started to fall apart--even being forced to resort to stealing US cigarettes (universally considered to be inferior to Southern tobacco) and US bolt-action rifles. One by one, the CSA's positions collapsed; Jake Featherston personally ordered General Patton to board the last transport plane out of the Pocket before the airfield was captured. On February 2, 1943, the remaining CS soldiers surrendered the last holdout positions and went into captivity. From this point in the Second Great War, the United States had the initiative.
Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia 1943
Collapse of the Ohio Corridor
Following the surrender of the Army of Kentucky in Pittsburgh in early February, the US Army continued its push into Ohio. Instead of heading toward the more populated stretch of the state along the lake shore and in the west, Brigadier General Irving Morrell attacked the CS Army along several points in the southern part of the state, shattering the Confederates and forcing them to retreat across the Ohio River to Kentucky. Although several occupied towns held out against Morrell’s push, the remnants of the Confederate Army in Ohio had no cohesion, and by mid-March, US soil was totally free of Confederate soldiers, save for the ones in POW camps.
Morrell devised a plan to slash a line across the Confederate States in the same way that the CSA had cut the USA in half two years before in Blackbeard. He was optimistic that his campaign could end the war before the end of 1943, but conservative estimates by the War Department concluded that Morrell’s plan was a two-year campaign.
Troops, barrels, aerial units and supplies were stocked along the northern bank of the Ohio River in preparation for the assault. To keep Confederate Intelligence guessing, Morrell transported units back and forth in an effort to disguise the true focus of his crossing: the stretch of Kentucky between Louisville and Paducah. When the attack finally began in May, barrages and air raids (along with dummy balloon barrels and landing craft, gunfire played on loudspeakers and empty gas shells to trick the Confederates) on several locations in northern Kentucky prevented the CSA from figuring out where the real attack was. By the end of the first week, Morrell’s army was well within central Kentucky, capturing Bowling Green at the end of the month and by the first of June the state line was crossed and Tennessee invaded.
The retreating CS Army, its air cover virtually annihilated by the overwhelming air superiority of the USA, was harried by fighter-bombers interdicting supply lines and dumps while constantly attacked with bombs and rockets. In an effort to slow down Morrell, the CSA blew up the Featherston Dams along the Cumberland River; not bothered at all by the rising waters, Morrell pressed on toward Chattanooga. Nashville and Memphis, both to the west, and Knoxville to the east were ignored and left to wither on the vine. It was in the latter city, protected by the Great Smoky Mountains, that Jake Featherston prepared for the Confederacy’s first great response to Morrell’s offensive.
The Battle of Pikeville
Major General George Patton was to lead the counteroffensive. His orders, delivered orally by Featherston in the Presidential bunker in Richmond, were to cut off Morrell in south-central Tennessee and roll the US forces in the rear back to the Ohio, irrespective of the massive US air superiority. The counteroffensive began in early July and forced Morrell to halt the drive to Chattanooga by diverting the USA to respond to its left flank. Despite the ferocity of the Confederates’ attack, US air power shattered Confederate buildups around Knoxville and lines of communication through the mountain passes, while dealing a heavy blow to the Army of Tennessee around the city of Pikeville. Defeated, Patton went back to Featherston and was dealt a harsh verbal reprimand before being given the task of defending Chattanooga the same way Morrell defended Pittsburgh the autumn before. Meanwhile, Morrell resumed his offensive, and although fighting a partisan war with bushwhackers in his rear, he finally arrived at the Tennessee River.
The Battle of Chattanooga
Morrell was forced to replenish his depleted stocks and units used up in the push through Kentucky and Tennessee. On the other side of the Tennessee, Patton used the lull to heavily fortify Chattanooga and the heights surrounding the city – Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. Seeing as such, Morrell turned to subterfuge and surprise to assist in his mission to take the city. Copying Patton’s tactic of the year before of using raiders disguised in the enemy’s uniform, he dressed up a unit of US soldiers with Southern accents in CS uniform and secured a bridgehead on the southern bank. In early August, Morrell used paratroopers for the first time in warfare to take Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, compromising Patton’s defenses and forcing a CS retreat into Georgia. With minimal cost to his own side, Morrell had taken the last city in the CSA before the vital linchpin of Atlanta.
The Drive to Atlanta
The US Army continued the assault, driving the Confederacy from town after town in northwestern Georgia as summer turned to autumn. Strong defenses of Dalton and Kennesaw Mountain, combined with autumnal rains turning the terrain into fields of muck, had the effect of only slowing Morrell’s offensive.
In Richmond, Featherston engaged in shouting matches with Generals Nathan Bedford Forrest III and Patton about how to handle Morrell. Finally recognizing that a great danger to the CSA existed, Featherston ordered almost the entire Army of Northern Virginia, sitting in quiet trenches on the Rappahannock Line, to head to Atlanta, leaving only a skeleton force to deal with General Daniel MacArthur’s US Army. The President of the CSA also made plans to move the seat of government from Richmond to Atlanta in the event that MacArthur attacked.
In Georgia, Morrell pressed forward, taking Marietta in October and placing Atlanta under artillery fire. With Marietta occupied by the USA and the newly constituted Army of Georgia only beginning to build defenses around the transportation hub, Atlanta seemed destined to fall.
Conquest of Baja California
The American conquest of Baja California was undertaken soon after the lull in Pacific operations began. Marines landed midway down the peninsula and took Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip, while the US Army pushed from San Diego deep into the territory, seizing control of the remainder of Baja. Harassment operations soon began against the Confederate forces in Guaymas and the Sonoran coast.
The Texas Front
The main sideshow event took place in western Texas (formerly the US state of Houston between July 4, 1918-January 7, 1941). In November 1942, Major General Abner Dowling found himself redeployed to Clovis, New Mexico, in order to spearhead a diversionary attack into the Confederate periphery and forestall any enemy ambitions. Although skeptical of the worth of the attack other than to take the attention away from Pittsburgh, Dowling's Eleventh Army was forty miles inside Texas by mid-month, advancing along Confederate Highway 84 via Sudan and Amherst toward Lubbock - a similar penetration to that accomplished in the Great War. As yet unbeknown to the US forces, just one hundred miles farther to the south-east was Camp Determination, whose guards were eying the US push with some nervousness, and preparing to blow up the camp's installations if necessary.
General Dowling's Eleventh Army continued its pressure on Lubbock, Texas, the linchpin of the Confederate defenses in the west. After the capture of Lubbock, and revival of the state of Houston, Brigade Leader Jefferson Pinkard destroyed records and gas chambers at Camp Determination before the Yankees broke through. Freedom Party Guard Units were deployed to slow down the US advance, which delayed the capture of Camp Determination for a time. Pinkard was put in charge of Camp Humble, not far from Houston, Texas to continue population reductions. The United States used the mass graves at Camp Determination as a propaganda theme.
Road to War
The State of Utah had been placed under Army occupation for twenty years, from the Great War to the Smith Administration. As a measure of goodwill and conciliation, Al Smith's first act as president in February 1937, was to release Utah from martial law. In the gubernatorial and congressional elections that followed almost immediately, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (known as the LDS Church or the Mormons) took control of the apparatus of government. Moderate Heber Young counseled a return to normalcy in Utah's relations with the rest of the Union, but hardliners in the US Congress and elsewhere constantly fulminated about US policies toward the Mormon Church. With the relations between the USA and the CSA worsening, Mormon agents made contact with Confederate government officials and Freedom Party supporters and received promises of support in the event of a general war between the Union and the Confederacy, the expectation being that the Mormons would rise up and hamper the USA's war effort.
Jake Featherston unleashed the Confederate Army into the USA on June 22, 1941. As the US Army reeled backward in disarray in the face of the Confederate onslaught in Ohio, Governor Young publicly warned the Smith Administration that transportation of US military goods and personnel across the Transcontinental Railroad in Utah would not be tolerated. Privately, a Mormon agent contacted Congresswoman Flora Blackford (S-NY) and asked her to convince President Smith to let Utah off. Al Smith reacted strongly against these Mormon ultimatums, which, along with the fall of Columbus in the middle of July, compelled the Mormon hardliners to take action. They launched their coup, seized power in Salt Lake City, and assassinated several moderates and Gentiles. Heber Young was forced to flee into Colorado along with his entourage as the hardliners renamed Utah the “Nation of Deseret” and declared war on the United States.
Battle of Provo
The Mormons blew up the Transcontinental Railroad line running through the state, seized federal installations and weapons compounds, and occupied the major towns and cities, killing or dispersing the non-conformists. Armed with Confederate weapons and funds, Mormon soldiers mined the roads and regions around the cities, and fortified strong points guarding access into the populated areas. They were prepared when, in the aftermath of the CSA’s Operation Blackbeard in Ohio, US Army units to the west of the Confederate Corridor were shipped west to deal with the uprising.
Upon entering Utah from Colorado, the US Army disembarked from the trains and set up base camp, being attacked almost immediately by makeshift Mormon bombers. Pushing west, the Americans hit a stone wall in Provo, being forced to fight street by street into the center of town under constant attacks by Mormon soldiers and civilian insurgents armed with Featherston Fizzes and homemade grenades. Confederate anti-barrel mines destroyed entire columns of Great War-vintage barrels. (All the available modern armor was facing the Confederacy in the East.) Meanwhile, Spigot mortars rained down hard on the infantry.
The fighting raged well into the winter and spring of 1942, when the USA finally cleared the city of remaining insurgents. When the fighting petered out in the spring of 1942, President Charles W. La Follette (Al Smith was killed in a bombing raid in February, 1942) sent out peace feelers to the LDS Church on a basis of a status quo ante bellum. Represented by Hyrum Rush, the Mormon hardliners rejected La Follette’s offer and pressed for independence, which in turn was rejected by the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War and Secretary of the Interior Harry Hopkins. The Utah War would continue.
The End of the Utah War
Almost as soon as Hyrum Rush was back in Mormon-held territory, car bombings took place all over the USA, from the State House in Boston to Wall Street and Times Square in New York City to the Congress hall in Philadelphia, and in other places as well. On the front lines, US soldiers listened to Confederate Connie - the CS propaganda voice aimed at lowering US morale - cheer on the Mormons and reminded the USA about how their funding Red black uprisings in the CSA caused similar havoc.
Then Mormon "people bombs" started targeting urban centers and mass transit networks as well as soldiers in Utah. Unlike the car bombs, the Confederacy's radio and news networks acted as if the people bombs never happened, being ordered to do so by Jake Featherston, who feared the news would give his own black rebels ideas he would rather they not have. Nevertheless, for all of Saul Goldman's attempts to suppress news of the people bombs from the CS people, a black people bomb destroyed a white restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi in October 1942, prompting Featherston to order the entire black population of the city to be sent to an extermination camp (more on the Confederate Population Reduction Program below).
By 1943, the Mormon rebellion in Utah was finally suppressed. Mormons outside of the ruins of Salt Lake City surrendered to occupying US troops. These same soldiers were sent to put down the flames of revolt in Canada.
Shortly before the outbreak of war, the US Army reassigned its occupation forces to postings further south. Their posts were manned by Quebecois conscripts, whose French language and customs only infuriated the English-speaking Canadians.
Canada, nonetheless, remained quiet throughout the first twelve months of the war. Confederate attempts to provoke a rising were met with scorn; the Canadians saw them as tyrants in the same vein as the Americans. Eventually, the CS government persuaded Prime Minister Winston Churchill to add British weight to their efforts, and soon Entente agents met with more success.
The Canadian revolt erupted in the Autumn of 1942, just as the Confederate Army of Kentucky was beginning its offensive into Pennsylvania. The Quebecois garrisons proved unable to resist many of the Canadian forces, and by the end of the year Winnipeg was in rebel hands. The US Army had to divert critical resources from Utah and the eastern fronts; accordingly Philadelphia pressured Quebec City to conscript more of its youth for service in Canada. By mid-1943, Winnipeg was surrounded and under siege by the US and Quebecois armies.
The Atlantic Campaign
The naval war in the Atlantic (the American and German navies battling their Confederate, British, and French counterparts) saw early victories for the Entente before settling into a stalemate. The US carrier Remembrance fired the opening shots of the Atlantic campaign when its aircraft bombed Charleston in response to the Confederacy's surprise attack on Philadelphia.
Shortly thereafter, the British carrier Ark Royal lured the Remembrance and Sandwich Islands away from American-controlled Bermuda, allowing a joint Anglo-CS task force to capture the strategically-placed island. The Confederate reduction of the US-ruled Bahamas began soon afterward. The islands were conquered by the end of autumn.
Thereafter, the naval war settled down into a long period of isolated duels between Entente and Central Powers vessels. The US Navy was occupied with coastal raids upon the Confederacy and preventing the shipment of arms by British vessels to Canadian rebels in Newfoundland.
In late 1942, a major sea battle was fought between the Royal Navy and German High Seas Fleet. Confusion existed in North America over which side was victorious. The BBC claimed British victory, German Imperial Wireless denied it but did not counterclaim German victory.
After defeating the High Seas Fleet decisively, the Royal Navy sent a major fleet into the western Atlantic to challenge the US Navy for supremacy in the area. The British were defeated, and the US Navy pressed its advantage by retaking Bermuda and sending warships to supply Irish rebels with weapons
In 1943, a seaborne operation to re-recapture Bermuda from British and CS forces succeeded in seizing control of the island for the United States. The United States began running guns to Irish rebels in their fight against the British occupiers.
The Pacific Campaign
Japan bided its time during the first weeks of the war, allowing the Confederate army to deal the US a major blow before Tokyo committed its forces against America. As in the Pacific War ten years earlier, Japan's objective was control of the Sandwich Islands.
Early skirmishing was followed by triumph for Japan when America's sole carrier in the Pacific, the Remembrance, was sunk in December 1941, while protecting Midway Island. Though Japan also lost one carrier and suffered damage to another, the island fell to the Japanese, leaving them in a position to further threaten the Sandwiches.
1942 began with the same long calm that had characterized most of the previous year. With only one Japanese carrier operational near Midway, neither side was capable of offensive moves, until the newly-built escort carriers USS Trenton and USS Chapultepec reached Pearl Harbor. In the second Battle of Midway, planes from the Trenton sank Japan's only carrier near Midway while suffering little damage herself. By early 1943, the Pacific was mired in stalemate.
To the surprise of the US Navy, assaults on Midway Island and Wake Island revealed the Japanese had completely abandoned their garrisons there as Japan withdrew from the eastern Pacific to begin an invasion of British territories in Asia and the Pacific. The Japanese had taken the British colony Malaya, and seemed to have turned their eyes towards Britain's other Asian holdings. Many suspected the Japanese were concentrating their resources for an invasion of India. The US Navy's Pacific fleet, with little else to do, began operating against Confederate and Mexican interests on North America's west coast.
Note: some of the following is informed speculation, as Harry Turtledove provides very few hard facts about events outside North America
Opening Moves (1941)
The war in Europe began a few weeks earlier than the North American conflict. The ascension of Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm V following Wilhelm II's death prompted demands from Action Francaise for the return of Alsace-Lorraine. Wilhelm's refusal led to a new round of fighting between the Entente and the German bloc.
France and Britain were the first to declare war upon Germany (the CS joined them in the declaration in a failed gambit to draw the US into the war). French tanks and infantry began the liberation/conquest of Alsace-Lorraine and the Rhineland, while the RAF's bombers started pounding on north German cities. Tsar Mikhail II of Russia recalled his ambassadors from Berlin, Vienna, and Istanbul, joining his western allies in the war shortly afterward.
Events in western Europe during the summer and autumn of 1941 seemed to favor the Entente powers. French forces soon recovered the objectives in Alsace-Lorraine and stood upon the Rhine. The Anglo-French thrust through the Low Countries met with enormous success; the Belgians welcomed the Entente soldiers as liberators, while the more pro-German Dutch were unable to resist the occupation of Holland.
Before long, Entente forces were driving into the North German Plain and got almost as far as Hamburg but their advance was stopped along the Rhine river. Britain also occupied Ireland.
But already the Entente's advance seemed to be slowing down. Hamburg was threatened but did not fall, ensuring that the German High Seas Fleet remained a viable force. Farther south, France was unable to force a crossing of the Rhine, as the Germans swiftly rallied to repel the invaders. Winston Churchill's invasion of Norway was a bloody fiasco; whether he was after Norway's strategic location and ports or access to Swedish iron ore, all Churchill succeeded in doing was driving Norway into Germany's camp.
With some cajoling, the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers again. Though Bulgaria toyed with the idea of deserting Germany, the presence of the Ottoman Empire on her southern border eventually persuaded the Bulgarians to remain on the Kaiser's side.
Russia was able to drive Austro-German forces from most of the Ukraine, albeit thanks to Ukrainian support for their Russian liberators. Further north, however, Russia's manpower swarming tactics, unchanged since the Great War, resulted in heavy losses to German panzers and 88 mm flak guns for no appreciable gains.
By the end of 1941 it was clear that although the Central Powers had suffered enormous blows, the Entente had failed to drive either Germany or Austria-Hungary from the war. By the winter of 1941-42 Germany was strong enough to launch counter-attacks against Britain outside Hamburg, and throw Austro-German forces against the Russians in the east.
Throughout 1942 the lines remained more or less stable. Anglo-French soldiers fought hard to retain the territory they had taken during the previous year, but no real gains seem to have been made by either side. Tsarist armies may have fared better, as Confederate newspapers reported on Russian advances toward Warsaw in German-ally Poland.
Partisans proved to be a sizable problem for all sides. Britain contended with Irish rebels and the Tsar fought Jewish, Finnish, Chechen and Azeri partisans. For its part, Austria-Hungary battled Serbs, Bosnians and Romanians, amongst others.
The Ukraine was a hornet's nest of Russian, German, and nationalist factions fighting fierce guerrilla warfare against each other. Each major alliance funded certain groups.
Italy remained neutral as in the Great War, to the chagrin of all.
By the summer of 1943, the German Army had driven Anglo/French forces out of their territory and over the Dutch border. Subsequent operations were undertaken to free the Netherlands and "liberate" Belgium from Franco-British forces. In the east, German armored units dealt a decisive blow to Russian forces outside of Kiev, tightening German control in the area. Another thrust was aimed at the capital of Petrograd, which the Russians tried unsuccessfully to turn back. Russia was no longer able to mount offensive operations, now trying to defend their Motherland with a battered and wounded army. Austria-Hungary was wracked by terrorist attacks but continued reprisals against the Serbians. The United States began running guns to Irish rebels in their fight against the British occupiers.
The Population Reduction
The Black Rebellion of the 1930s
Negroes fought back against the oppressive Freedom Party regime under President Jake Featherston. Featherston often provoked them into fighting the Confederate army, and used this as an excuse to get US President Herbert Hoover (president from 1933-1937) to let the Freedom Party build up the Confederate Army. The black rebellions in the 30's failed miserably, and those who weren't killed by the CS Army were taken away to the concentration camps to be murdered there. In retrospect, these rebellions only cemented Freedom Party control of the South and let Featherston unleash his war machine on the world in 1941.
From Discrimination to Deportation (1934-1941)
For decades the black population of the CSA languished under a system of strict racial control: blacks were considered to be residents of the CS but not citizens like the whites. The blacks would take the work that not even the bottom rung of white society would do (the so-called "po' buckra" or "white trash"), such as plantation work. Blacks also got more severe sentences for crime compared to a white individual who committed the same crime. Additionally, blacks couldn't leave their respective towns, parishes, or counties without having their passbook authorized by the state government. To travel from Jackson to Vicksburg, Mississippi for instance, would require at least a two-weeks wait for approval from the state.
For a while after the Great War the system was let up but under increasing Freedom control of the halls of power in the late 1920s and early 30s strict control was re-enacted. After Jake Featherston became president in early 1934, there was nothing to prevent white confederates from directing their full fury upon the blacks living in the Confederacy now that the highest law in the land endorsed it. And endorse it the Freedom Party did; several times in 1934 race riots destroyed the black districts of several Confederate cities. The Confederate government, which was slowly being interconnected with the Freedom Party during the Freedomization of the mid-1930s, passed it off as a simple "internal affair." The blacks became more militarized, and, armed with Red rhetoric and weapons that had been hidden since 1916, prepared to hit back at their white oppressors. The day after Election Day in the midterm elections of 1935 (which were clearly rigged by the Freedom Party, ensuring complete Freedom domination of the state legislatures which picked the national Senators) the blacks struck at the whites. While not as racially-charged as 1915, the rebellion still caused alarm in the white population. And some Confederates took advantage of the new revolt; Featherston asked his US counterpart, Herbert Hoover to allow him to increase the CS Army to a size larger than that allowed by the 1917 Armistice. Hoover agreed, believing that Featherston's requests would not pose a risk to the United States, because these additional forces would likely be committed to anti-guerrilla operations. At this point Featherston's plans for rebuilding the military began in earnest.
The Freedom Party's policy of neutralizing its political rivals by any means necessary resulted in thousands of arrests which had the effect of filling many southern jails beyond their limit. In response to this development, the Freedom Party oversaw the construction of several concentration camps in 1934 to house people who might cause trouble for the Freedom regime, like Radical Liberal leaders and Whig politicians. Confederate propaganda also blamed the USA for the unrest, and even went as far as to replace Confederate weapons with US weapons in the hands of dead blacks and photograph them for "evidence." By 1940-41, the white "politicals" had been largely eliminated through the brutal attrition of poor diet and overwork that characterized the camps. The racial policies of the Freedom Party ensured that the camps received a steadily increasing flow of black prisoners. The new problem was that there were too many black men in these camps and not much being done to properly take care of them.
The Population Reductions Begin (1941-1942)
The world began dissolving into a state of war in 1941 as Featherston and his Attorney General, Ferdinand Koenig, made the decision to destroy the black race in North America. With the eyes of the world turned toward the developing wars in Europe and Ohio, the commandants of several concentration camps in Louisiana began "population reductions"; i.e.: the murder of thousands of prisoners in order to make room for a replacement batch, which in turn would have their "populations reduced." (This became a slang term that popped into mainstream Confederate vocabulary.) Throughout 1941, men like Jefferson Pinkard and Mercer Scott at Camp Dependable, and others at other places, led groups of a couple thousand blacks to the bayou or woods and forced them to dig graves, then shot them with submachine gun fire. The strain of mass executions took their toll on the Freedom Party guards carrying out the death sentences, and several committed suicide. In one such suicide, guard Chick Blades killed himself with carbon monoxide from his automobile exhaust. This gave Pinkard the idea of execution by gas chamber. He configured a truck to pump its carbon monoxide into the transport area, sealed off to be a mobile gas chamber, killing everyone inside. Featherston and Koenig were pleased by this more efficient way of murder, and took several units of trucks from the Army for this purpose. They also ordered architects and scientists to develop a blueprint for the greatest prison camp ever built, which would open up for business on an empty stretch of prairie in western Texas. Hundreds of "transport trucks" were requisitioned for use there, while whole cities' worth of prisoners would be brought in by a rail spur. And "cities' worth" was exactly the idea for the camp. The Freedom Party was extending the black genocide to women and children.
Camps Determination and Humble (1942-1944)
Camp Determination was an extermination camp built in western Texas and headed by Group Leader Pinkard. It was built in a secluded area in the middle of the vast Texan prairie, with a rail spur leading away from the main east-west line to Abilene and beyond. Built from scratch by labor-gangs of black prisoners under white supervision, Determination had over a hundred barrack-halls stretching for several thousand yards. Surrounded by multiple lines of barbed wire and guard towers, escape from the camp was almost impossible, with every foot of land personally supervised by Pinkard himself. Beyond the sight (and smell) of the camp lay enormous stretches of mass graves, serviced by a paved road.
The first trainloads of inmates arrived in April 1942 and began taking residence in the barracks. Every time a new train arrived from the east, a corresponding barracks-hall of prisoners were led into gassing trucks and executed. In this industrial-like method, massive numbers of blacks had their "populations reduced," while their fellow inmates not yet marked for destruction were none the wiser. In May 1942, Pinkard was instructed by Attorney General Koenig to make room for a women-and-children's camp, nicknamed Camp Undecided. This camp was built from scratch on the opposite side of the rail spur and was serviced by female Freedom Party Guards.
During a routine bug extermination of the guards' barracks, Pinkard came across the idea of using insecticide as a way to dispose of mass numbers of prisoners. With the help of Cullen Beauregard Slattery, Vice President of Cyclone Chemicals Company, Pinkard developed the concept of using gas chambers (already used in various state prisons across the United States) to exterminate people. The first "bathhouse" went into operation in August 1942, with the murder of 100 blacks (far less than the maximum room for a thousand inmates) personally witnessed by Pinkard, Koenig and other Justice Department and Freedom Party Guard leaders. The bathhouses, gassing trucks, and mental strain of the FPGs were put to the test when, in a fit of rage, Featherston sent the entire black population of Jackson, Mississippi to be gassed in October 1942. In less than a week, Pinkard and his crew murdered 30,000 blacks -- the victims being marched straight to their deaths as soon as each train was unloaded.
Trouble was on the horizon for Pinkard and his camp. General Abner Dowling's Eleventh Army was advancing on Lubbock, Texas, the linchpin of the Confederate defenses in the west, finally capturing the city in the spring of 1943 and re-establishing the state of Houston. Soon after the capture of Lubbock, the camp and the nearby town of Snyder (home to Pinkard's family and several of the Guardsmen) came under constant aerial assault, while the rail line to Abilene was continuously put out of action, forcing shipments to the camp to halt. Pinkard and Koenig argued over how to solve the problem before Featherston finally ordered Pinkard to begin construction on a new camp in eastern Texas. The Guards and records were sent ahead to the new Camp Humble, just north of the city of Houston, while the gas chambers were blown up -- but not before every remaining black prisoner was gassed. While Dowling and the 11th Army displayed the atrocities and mass graves of Determination to the world, Humble received its first shipment of prisoners and prepared its newly-constructed crematoria for the bodies of its victims.
The Twilight of the Confederacy (1943-44)
The Drive to Savannah
Instead of pushing right into the city of Atlanta, Morrell's army pushed south and east past the metropolis in the direction of the Atlantic. Patton saw another opportunity to counter-attack, and launched a corps-level assault on Morrell's right flank at Lawrenceville, but, consisting of exhausted Army formations and ill-trained National Assault Force units consisting of teenage boys and old men, the attack failed. Patton called off the counter-attacks and settled down to defend each town as the USA passed through them.
However, the CSA proved incapable of defending its own towns. A company of US soldiers, nicknamed Lavochkin's Looters, rampaged east through Georgia and wrecked several towns, killing hundreds of civilians. Morrell drove toward the Savannah River with ease, pushing aside Confederate and Freedom Party defenders. Augusta was captured, and a few weeks later Savannah was taken. The Confederate States of America was cut into two, such as the United States had been in 1941.
Atlanta, Birmingham, and Huntsville Fall
General Morrell also oversaw the capture of Atlanta. A couple corps, detached from Morrell's main army, swung past Atlanta from the west and severed the city's links to Alabama. In his bunker in Richmond, President Featherston finally realized that the city could no longer be held, and ordered Patton to destroy the city and pull out; he also ordered Saul Goldman to stop mentioning Atlanta at all in his propaganda, hoping that by neglecting to mention the city he wouldn't have to continue making up lies about how Atlanta was holding out.
Morrell toured the fallen capital of Georgia on New Years' Day 1944. He appointed General Ironhewer to command the detached corps in the western suburbs and went back to the Savannah front to oversee the drive into the Carolinas. Ironhewer in turn attacked into Alabama, pushing steadily toward Birmingham, while sending a force to join in the attack on Huntsville, already in progress by a unit coming down from Tennessee.
Patton barricaded himself in Birmingham, and made attacks on the chief city of Alabama expensive. However, his defense of Birmingham, ably assisted by new heavy barrels coming off the line from assembly lines in the city itself, could not hold off massive air raids on the factories and industrial plants. In late June, living under the dire threat of atomic annihilation and the impending collapse of the CSA, Patton surrendered his Army of Kentucky.
The USA settled down for a siege of Huntsville as well. On its outskirts, thousands of starving political prisoners were released from rocket-production facilities, while US armor pushed toward the Tennessee River. Around the same time as Birmingham, the Confederate commander in Huntsville surrendered. The next major cities in the Confederacy were New Orleans and Little Rock, but the Confederacy surrendered before Ironhewer could begin the offensive.
As soon as Savannah fell, Morrell planned to drive north and further split the CSA. Thus, US forces crossed the Savannah River into South Carolina. The US moved swiftly, easily brushing aside whatever resistance the Confederate defenders could offer. US forces were indeed quite determined to break South Carolina, as many perceived the state to be the "birthplace" of the Confederacy, and thus 80 years of misery to that end. This was emphasized with the massacre of the town of Hardeeville by US forces.
Morrell pushed north towards North Carolina, capturing the state capital of Columbia, and east towards the Atlantic. It was at Charleston, the city where secession began, that the US made clear its intention to completely crush the Confederacy. Just as US forces were about to take the city, they annihilated it with a superbomb. By early July, US forces were outside Spartanburg.
The Battle of Richmond
Even while fighting farther south and out west raged, the USA made plans to resume the war on the Virginia front. Abner Dowling was ordered to take command of an army in General MacArthur's army group, and in February the offensive opened with a massive artillery barrage. The Rappahannock was crossed to the east of Fredericksburg, scene of so much slaughter in 1942, as well as to the west. The US pushed south out of its salient in The Wilderness and drove for Spotsylvania. In a few days, the USA had reached the North Anna River line, and pushed the few Confederate defenders aside. The din of artillery fire grew steadily louder in Richmond.
In his bunker, Featherston raged at Nathan Bedford Forrest III to pull soldiers from other areas for the defense of the CSA's capital. The chief of the General Staff replied that he could not comply with the President's demands, and started asking his commander-in-chief if he felt that it was time to step down, all the while waiting for his own soldiers to come to the bunker office. Featherston called in Freedom Party Guards and crushed Forrest's coup before it could fully get off the ground. Forrest was tortured and then shot. A few days later, Featherston and his Cabinet fled the capital of the Confederate States, setting up Petersburg to be the temporary seat of government.
US soldiers battled street by street through Richmond, pushing south across the James River. The city fell not long afterward, and President La Follette toured the captured site a few days later. The USA continued pushing past Richmond, driving east and west, toward Hampton Roads and Appomattox respectively. Featherston fled Petersburg for Portsmouth, where he ordered the CSA's superbomb to be deployed against Philadelphia. A few days later, after broadcasting a defiant speech filled with lies and hate against the USA, Featherston witnessed the detonation of the USA's superbomb, dropped by aircraft over the city of Newport News. With US forces pushing steadily toward Hampton Roads, the Confederate President evacuated the region and headed for North Carolina.
Featherston and his Cabinet fled south across North Carolina, broadcasting speeches from Goldsboro and Charlotte to keep the Confederate people appraised of the ongoing struggle. In response to the continuation of the war, as well as revenge for the Confederacy's secession in 1860-61, the USA destroyed Charleston, South Carolina with an atomic bomb. La Follette demanded Featherston surrender and stop the bloodshed, but the Confederate President responded with a fiery, profane "No!"
When the Confederate government reached the town of Spartanburg, South Carolina, they came to the realization that it would be almost impossible for them to cross US lines on foot or by automobile. Featherston, wishing to continue the fight from the Deep South, even in guerrilla form, ordered the general in charge of Charlotte's defenses to fly a transport down to Spartanburg and pick them up. Early the next morning, the transport took off and flew into Georgia, hoping to bypass the USA by avoiding Atlanta.
It was not to be. The transport was identified as a hostile plane and shot down. Featherston and most of his followers got out, but they quickly realized that they were behind the lines in unfamiliar territory. Walking down the Athens highway toward the small town of Madison, not realizing that the place was occupied by the USA and its black allies, the party was spotted by a black auxiliary named Cassius, who fired upon them. Featherston was shot in the chest and face, and was dead before his body hit the road.
The CSA Surrenders
With Jake Featherston's body bleeding on the side of the Athens highway, his followers gave themselves up. Ferdinand Koenig, Saul Goldman, Clarence Potter, and several high-ranking members of the armed forces were arrested and held for possible war crimes charges.
Don Partridge, the man ridiculed in both CSA and USA as a nobody, a lightweight, a man to make fun of, was now President of the Confederate States. Not possessing the demonic hatred and charisma held by Featherston that would keep the conflict going, Partridge reached an agreement for a ceasefire on all fronts in the second week of July. The President met with General Morrell at Pineville, North Carolina, the birthplace of James K. Polk, on the outskirts of Charlotte, and ended the North American half of the Second World War with the CSA's unconditional surrender. At one minute past six on the evening of July 14, 1944, the Confederate States of America ceased to exist. It had been independent for 83 years.
The End of the War and the Reduction
Due to the pressure of the losing war, Texas seceded from the CSA and arrested Jefferson Pinkard. The US also arrested Saul Goldman, Ferdinand Koenig. These key Freedom Party officials were charged with crimes against humanity, and executed.
Those blacks who had survived found their stature in the former Confederate society lifted at the discretion of the US. However, it was clear to most that should the US ever leave, they'd be facing the wrath of white Confederates.
For the US, the mass murders were a sort of wake-up call, as many in the country were astonished at how easily the majority of Confederates went along with Featherston's program. The US grew introspective, and came to view the reductions as a cautionary tale.
In contrast, the vast majority of Confederate whites were either quite pleased at the "success" of the program, or were at least indifferent to what had happened, with most simply viewing the victims as "just n*ggers", and outraged at concern the US showed.
The Nuclear Race
By 1943 both the United States and the Confederacy, along with other countries, had initiated programs to develop atomic weapons. While no power had developed a weapon yet, it appeared that the United States and German programs were ahead of the Confederate one, with Germany the closest to completion. Around the turn of the New Year in 1943, the US achieved its first sustained chain reaction at its plant in Hanford, Washington. The British and the French were also rumored to be working on atomic weapons.
President Featherston demanded more production from the Confederate nuclear program, fearing that the US would develop the weapon first. In an attempt to slow down the US nuclear program, CS bombers flew a long-range mission to bomb the "uranium works" in Hanford, Washington. No serious damage was incurred, and the program continued under heightened security. A later US bombing raid on the Confederate atomic program in Lexington, Virginia, killed several prominent Confederate nuclear physicists.
As 1943 drew to a close, the Kaiser broadcast a warning to Russia and her western allies to surrender or face "unprecedented destruction," an oblique reference to the German superbomb program, by far the most advanced in the world. It was able to draw upon the talents of Albert Einstein and Denmark's Niels Bohr, as well as the cream of the German and Austro-Hungarian physics community. Their skill was confirmed in the spring of 1944 with the destruction of Petrograd, the Russian capital, the first use of a superbomb in warfare. Their efforts also produced a secret dossier transported across the Atlantic by U-boat in November 1943 to a waiting US destroyer escort. This jump-started the lagging US superbomb program, although not by enough to beat the Confederates to first use in North America.
Following Petrograd's destruction, the Kaiser again broadcast a surrender demand. Despite the loss of his capital, Tsar Mikhail II again refused, backed by Britain and France. Though initially reluctant to drop a bomb in the west (where prevailing winds would blow radioactive fallout back into Germany), the German air force bombed Paris, killing King Charles XI of France and effectively knocking France out of the war. The Russian government, its capital lost, its armies disintegrating, and under pressure from a Japanese ultimatum to evacuate several of its Siberian provinces, realized that no more help would be forthcoming from its Western allies on the continent. After dithering for several weeks, the Tsar asked the Kaiser for an armistice. The collapse of both France and Russia provoked the British, whose own uranium program had finally borne fruit (embarrassingly, their Confederate clients had built and used a superbomb before them) to destroy Hamburg.
The German response would wait until June, when three superbombs were dropped near-simultaneously on London, Brighton, and Norwich, along with a broadcast warning that Germany had more bombs and would use them. Churchill, who had fled London along with the British royal family after the Hamburg bomb, boasted that Britain would take immediate vengeance. He sent Britain's second superbomb on its way into Germany, but the plane was shot down over Belgium by German turbo-powered night fighters. Having no more bombs in its arsenal, the Churchill government fell and Britain sued for peace, as did France in turn.
- Petrograd, Russia (Germany)
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (Confederate States of America)
- Newport News, Virginia, CSA (United States of America)
- Paris, France (Germany)
- Charleston, South Carolina, CSA (USA)
- Hamburg, Germany (Great Britain)
- Norwich, England (Germany)
- London, England (Germany)
- Brighton, England (Germany)
- Between Bruges and Ghent, Belgium (failed attack by Great Britain)
The war depicted in the Settling Accounts series is never actually given a name. Several characters propose informal names, including "the Even Greater War" and "the Second Great War." The latter is most often used by readers for convenience.
- War of the 1930s, a briefly referenced war in the Curious Notions alternate, involving a revanchist Great Britain and France challenging a Germany which had won the Great War.
- Return Engagement, pgs. 206-211, hc.
- Ibid., pgs. 233-235.
- Ibid., pgs. 265-269.