An Empire Reborn
December 10th 1974
The New Roman Empire and Republic of Turkey sign the Treaty of Athens promising friendship and mutual support between the nations. For the first time since the taking of Constantinople Turkish merchant ships will be allowed to traverse the Bosphorus. Additionally, both sides officially absolve the other of any blame for the Third Balkan War.
December 11th 1974
The OVRA is put on alert in Greece and Constantinople to monitor the populace’s reaction to the treaty and prevent any uprisings.
December 13th 1974
North Vietnam launches a large scale invasion of the south known as the Ho Chi Minh campaign.
December 14th 1974
Paris calls the Treaty of Athens a disgrace and a betrayal of principle.
January 2nd 1975
Rome announces that it will begin construction of a bridge to span the Bosphorus straits in response to the treaty of friendship between the Empire and Turkey.
January 20th 1975
South Africa conducts their first nuclear test with the detonation of a bomb in an old mine shaft.
February 13th 1975
Turkey declares the formation of the “Turkish Federated State of North Cyprus” a quasi independent nation consisting the lands seized in the invasion.
February 20th 1975
Ambassador Freda reports to Rome that the situation in South Vietnam is critical and Imperial intervention is needed immediately.
February 22nd 1975
Medici meets with the Comando Supremo to go over plans for operations in South Vietnam. Without the bases in Burma operational their options were very limited. Even a nuclear or chemical weapons attack would still require a vast amount of ground troops in the aftermath to make a difference. For now they would have to make due with what is available and hope the South Vietnamese can hold until construction in Burma is completed.
February 24th 1975
A squadron of Mercury bombers is redeployed to bases in Iraq to get them as close as possible to Vietnam. Ambassadors work hurriedly to get fly over permission from the nations in a direct path to Vietnam to avoid costly and long round about routes.
Viceroy Borghese orders the Italian East Africa Squadron to make all due haste to the coast of Vietnam. Leaving port, they race eastwards stretching their supply lines to the absolute limit. Leading the squadron is the Aquila in what will most likely be its last military operation.
March 3rd 1975
The Imperial Army introduces the P. 75, the slated replacement to the aging P. 60. The new tank follows in the tradition of the P.60 and P. 46 will be a heavily armed and armored tank, though the P. 75 will be fitted with a state of the art electronics suite.
March 10th 1975
The first bombing raids by Mercury bombers occur against North Vietnamese positions. The attacks do little to stop the Communist advance.
March 25th 1975
The Aquila and the East Africa Squadron are on station off the coast of South Vietnam.
April 4th 1975
The United States starts Operation Babylift in South Vietnam. An evacuation of children from the country.
April 5th 1975
Chiang Kai-shek dies at the age of 87 in Taiwan.
April 10th 1975
In face of advancing communist forces. Ambassador Freda orders all non-vital personnel to be evacuated to Burma. Freda remains behind with a handful of high ranking officials, OVRA agents and the embassy guard.
April 15th 1975
Privately the Comando Supremo informs the Consul that South Vietnam is lost.
April 25th 1975
Italian military units are quietly pulled out of South Vietnam leaving only a token force of advisors. Freda orders the last of his advisors to depart for Burma but refuses to leave himself saying he will leave with the last Italian soldier.
April 29th 1975
North Vietnamese troops begin their assault against Saigon. The United States initiates Operation Frequent Wind, the plan to evacuate civilians and foreigners from South Vietnam. Freda orders his own evacuation, its only goal to evacuate vital equipment and Italian personnel.
Hundreds of civilians rush the Italian embassy and Italian runways at the airport desperately trying to board one of the planes or helicopters leaving only to get pushed back from the gates by soldiers. Graham Martin, the American Ambassador to Vietnam contacts Freda on the radio begging him to allow civilians on the evacuation flights. Freda refuses, his first duty is to secure the safety of the soldiers under his command.
Major Medici is tasked with raiding the South Vietnamese Independence Palace to “liberate” American electronics equipment in the bunker complex beneath the building.
April 30th 1975
Fighting still continues in Saigon. Jets from the Aquila do battle with communist Migs as they try to keep the air space free for the string of helicopters arriving at the embassy. With most vital equipment airlifted out only a handful of Italian troops left within the city Freda opens the gates of the embassy for Vietmanese refuges.
The Italians desperately try to close the gates of the compound after several hundred refugees storm it moments after the gates are opened. Unable to hold the tide of people back, the soldiers flee into the embassy locking themselves inside abandoning the courtyard to the masses. Barricading the entrances, they force the few lucky Vietnamese inside to the roof as they destroy the staircases and soak the floors in gasoline.
Honoring his pledge, Freda boards the last helicopter leaving the embattled city with the last soldier to board throwing a flaming rag down the stairwell setting the building alight. The flames quickly spread making sure that the building would not become a trophy of the communist victory over fascism.
*Note: In this timeline the airlift out of Saigon is less successful than it was historically. With Italian forces fighting the North Vietnamese to the very end leading the NVA to open fire on helicopters attempting the airlift.*
May 1st 1975
Consul Medici delivers what will become known as the “abandoned but not forgotten” speech where he informs the Empire on the fall of Saigon.
The refugees picked up by the NRE are delivered to Burma where the Burmese government has agreed to grant them political asylum.
May 2nd 1975
In the American papers a picture of Major Medici and two fellow soldiers crossing a street guns raised engaging an unseen enemy in Saigon is published. The photo will earn photographer Michael Smith a pulitzer prize.
Smith would not learn that he captured the Consul’s son in the picture until weeks later after the photo started appearing in the NRE.
End of Part 21.
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