Mexican Intervention Part III
THE FINAL WAR
[The War: 2061, May-June]
The CoN had an early advantage here, as their strategic assets were all closer to the border than their PAC counterparts. Strategic bombers were already fuelled and in the air in seconds, both manned and unmanned versions with pre-programmed strike missions. Flying low and fast, they launched primarily cruise missiles at PAC positions within 2,000 miles of the combat area.
Unfortunately for the US, once the missiles managed to cross the initial threshold of the border defenses, there was little left to stop them. For all the SDI style programs that put gigawatt laser towers and missile sites on borders, only a few locations were able to effectively intercept the cruise missiles in the numbers that they were launched. The initial CoN launch also marked the beginning in a new technological era in missile warfare: each cruise missile, whether it was a low-flying transonic weapon or a hypersonic, high-altitude system, was fitted with a 'cyberbrain', a dense carbon computer that had become commonplace among 'smart weapons' in the 2050. Each cruise missile was given 'hunting grounds' where it would search for an optimum point to detonate, based on strategic parameters preset into the weapon upon launch, and data gathered from its own sensors and the CoN data sharing networks. Many Canadian and US soldiers on the border tell stories of the transonic cruise missiles circling like vultures, waiting for a more favorable target to enter their 'hunting grounds'.
However, for the most part the cruise missiles struck quickly, making their decisions faster than any human could react. Over civilian cities, EMP warheads were used to disable civilian equipment, with only certain 'hardened' installations like strategic infrastructure surviving the initial blast. Submunitions were liberally showered over vast expanses of the PAC front lines, and even a few US bomber airfields in the US heartland had their defenses penetrated by the cruise missile pattern.
The Quebecois forces began their push towards the Canadian capital during the largest artillery exchange of the century. Modern artillery systems showered hundreds of square miles with smart munitions that turned into mines when they could not find a target to expend themselves on. Civilian evacuations of massive cities within days simply did not happen in time, and within a week many were simply told to try and remain in their homes and accept supplies at designated 'safe points' when available. The permeation of mines and artillery fire in the suburbanized zones made the war truly hellish for civilians.
Nowhere else was this more apparent in Ottawa, which had bridges blown by the Royal Horses as soon as news of the war reached the capital. What resulted was a creeping war across the waterways as the Canadians tried to hold back the Quebecois Army, reinforced by units from the United States of Europe. The new course of small arms was radically reflected in this urban war, as well. Snipers were more deadly than ever, using networked spotters and EM rifles, they could acquire and engage targets inside buildings from miles away. Heavy machine guns incorporated similar technology, and for those unfortunate enough not to be protected by the jamming or defenses of a powered armor suit, the war was quite difficult to fight in the early stages of urban warfare or the rural areas throughout the war.
EMP weapons were prevalent, though the problem was how to use one big enough to penetrate shielding. In late June, PACDEFCOM finally had a breakthrough. The US Aerospace Force had finally worn down their Quebecois opponents enough to allow the passage of several of their heavier bombers to break into the combat area without the threat of UCAV high-Mach interceptors or Quebec's regional air defenses. The heavy bombers dropped a massive pattern of high-yield EMP gravity bombs, which utterly devastated the Quebecois electronics from the front lines to the reserves.
After pulling back initially, Canadian troops, assisted by US deployments in the Great Lakes region, lead a Thunder Run directly through Quebecois forces in Canada, devastating them. Without their sensors, PAC air power especially was able to inflict a heavy blow on forces in the city. With their front lines battered and their logistical train cut off (the EMP blast destroyed the electric systems of most vehicles), the forces advancing on Ottawa were routed, hastily moving back into Quebec before CoN engineers destroyed them, leaving some of the men behind.
The US had been fighting a particularly nasty conflict along the banks of the St. Lawrence River, basically exchanging gunfire with the Quebecois forces as the Americans struggled to find a bridge the Quebecois had not destroyed yet. Efforts to construct a bridge all faced massive setbacks, mainly due to the fact that neither side could achieve air superiority.
[Latin American Front]
Far from the clear-cut war of attrition of the conflict in Canada, Latin America erupted into chaos as the war broke out.
Due to their CoN obligations, the South Americans were bound to enter the fight. However, there was little resistance to entering the new conflict. Latin America had over one hundred and fifty years of being kicked around by the US, and was eager to retaliate. Even Colombia, once America's sole ally on the continent, had been publishing history books that blamed Americans for the atrocities of the civil war with FARC and the DEA's devastation of their economy. The only nation that was still behind the US seemed to be Chile; which had started a war with Bolivia and Peru in mid-May. However, it was not enough to save Panama. A CoN coup in Costa Rica against a government that was considered 'too pro-PAC' combined with Colombia had surrounded Panama with several divisions of troops, which began a massive assault on the strategically located nation.
However, there was still one obstacle, and that was a US fleet on the Pacific side of the nation. Providing massive amounts of rail gun and missile support to the embattled Panamanians, a force was organized to dislodge it. Unfortunately for the CoN though, the Pacific fleets of Colombia and Peru were easily put on the bottom by the American ships. The better equipped navies of Argentina and Brazil would take some time moving around the Cape to engage the US vessels.
However, with American Atlantic fleets tied up against the USE vessels in the North Atlantic, America was slow in stopping the CoN in their march through Central America, a wave of coups and civil wars sweeping over any nation not in line with the CoN agenda.
The People's Republic of Chiapas, as declared by several radicals who revolted with the aid of the Latin American governments, was established again, and soon bloody guerilla fighting began as the US forces attempted to remove them from the nation throughout June.
After the devastating strike against the US South Atlantic fleets due to USE missile strikes against their home ports on June 22nd, the PAC began gearing up for what it believed would be a massive push by the CoN to capture the lower Mexican states.
Another problem plaguing the US in Mexico was the advent of 'smart warfare' computer viruses, designed by AI's themselves. Targeted against the computerized infrastructure of the 21st Century, the viral attacks against the more developed areas were devastating, interfering with power, water, communications, and business throughout the area. Combined with the guerilla attacks into the southernmost Mexican states, the situation down south looked dire as the South African and other ACSU fleets moved into the theater.
Europe was thrust into the war only a week after its beginning, when US hypersonic strike UCAVs, launched from air bases in Iceland and the UK, launched an air assault directly into the heart of the United States of Europe. The New European Initiative was bound by alliance to respond to the conflict, but had been slow to mobilize politically or militarily. But when the USE retaliatory orbital KKM strike devastated British air defenses and military facilities, the NEI responded in kind.
On May 27th, the Scandinavian countries launched an all-out assault on Germany, with SSKHs (fuel cell powered submarines) in Danish littoral waters moving to devastate the USE Baltic Fleet using supercavitating torpedoes directly on the ports, with the ships at sea mopped up by other subs or stealthy missile corvettes and frigates. EM and rocket assisted artillery began a full pounding on German forces in the area from Denmark and the Baltics, and cleared 'Air Corridors' where the overlapping defense grids of the USE had been disabled. Through these corridors were launched cruise missiles and strike UCAVs that destroyed several major plants, and disabling the largest Heckler and Koch factory in Europe (At the time, HK was the main producer of the USE's standard-issue small arms).
Unable to push effectively into the Scandinavian territories, even Denmark after the disastrous Battle of Harrislee, the USE throughout June began wearing down Poland for a land invasion, where the USE found markedly more success, some attributing it to the lack of strong air forces to oppose the USE in that area.
With the outbreak of the war, Ayatollah Manouchehr (or his hyper-militaristic Cabinet, depending on who you believe), decided that the End Times were approaching, and through some insane analysis of the previous takeover of Syria and the pro-Persian government in Palestine, figured that the Koran already had given him his next target: India, conveniently also a CoN nation, possibly opening him to some form of aid from the forces fighting against them or SEATO. In fact, it is now believed that the Iranian government set up a task force for instigating a SEATO-Indian conflict, though the exact accomplishments of this group are up to debate by modern historians.
In any case, Persia launched their 'Final War' against the nation of India on June 4th, 2062 with a massive hypersonic missile pattern and by detonating high-yield EMP devices over Indian lines and major cities.
Unfortunately, and Indian commander on the front interpreted the blast as that of a tactical nuclear weapon of some sort, and retaliated by dropping neutron bombs over the initial Persian advances, with the Persians then retaliating with their own neutron weapons. Through some miracle, pressure by the CoN on India and the desire to capture, not irradiate India by Persia prevented larger exchanges from taking place earlier than they did. But already, with the largest nation on the planet going up against the most militarized nation on Earth (Persia had 150 soldiers per 1000 citizens and an economy based around conquest and military production), the West Asian theater seemed to be set up for the bloodiest conflict during the Many Wars.
Israel simply responded as it always did, by going on full alert. However, the two nations seemed far from conflict, as Israel was more concerned with maintaining peace than maintaining dominance of Western Asia.
This would be the first war where space was a major, contested theater of operations, not just a position from which a dominant Western power used the Earth's surface as a high-tech shooting gallery.
The first thing the US did when attacked was train its West Coast Strategic Defenses and orbital SDI against every CoN satellite they could find. Said one Aerospace Force commander, the sheer number of satellites in orbit meant that they could kill targets as fast as his weapons could fire.
The USE, of course, retaliated, launching EMP devices and high-energy lasers at the Fury class space-warships fielded by PAC through the US Aerospace Force. One Fury was destroyed, but they soon retaliated by firing KKMs directly into the offending USE space-warfare centers in the Guyanas and the ACSU complexes in Tanzania. The heavily defended Angolan launch centers, however, managed to sustain over minor damage. This was particularly worrying to the PAC and allies, due to the largest Earth-to-Orbit mass driver being situated there.
In an 'I-told-you-so' moment, the speculations of the anti-US UN lobby were proven correct when the Lunar Mass Driver began powering up for use. The CoN responded with the first land warfare off of Earth, a detachment of the CoN 'Space Peacekeepers' launched an assault on the complex in mid-June. Power-suited troops on both sides exchanged coilgun and gyrojet fire, and while the complex was not taken (thanks to the intervention of a Fury fresh from rearming at a US orbital factory. However, the Mass Driver was disabled and plans to use it were put on hold, for after the use of nuclear arms by the Persians and Indians, both sides of the conflict were fearful of a nuclear exchange between them.
More than anything that occurred on land during this time, a massive naval engagement in the North Atlantic turned the tide in this theater of the war.
The USE 'Expeditionary Fleet', the only effective counter to the PAC naval forces in the ocean, was a dominant force as the US Navy struggled to meet the challenges of combined CoN forces in the South and North of the Atlantic. However, that all changed in early August, when the US Submarine Baja California sunk the USE supercarrier 'Strength in Unity' and several escort ships after lurking over a mile under the surface for weeks.
Like piranhas to blood, the USN surface fleet converged on the European vessels and sunk or crippled 70%, leaving the rest to limp back to port. And while US vessels had been sustaining significant casualties, the heavily defended US shipyards in the Virginia and New England areas allowed US ships to return to the fight much more quickly.
The consequences of the naval battle would be felt a few months later, when the planned arrival of fresh troops from Europe to Quebec never came. Combined with the increasingly intense combat on USE borders, Quebec found itself running out of materiel and men. For example, the USE-manufactured EMBT-8C main battle tank had a notoriously high-maintenance rail gun as its primary armament, with the barrels manufactured by Rhinemetall Group SSC (State Sponsored Consortium) in Germany. Without new shipments of these barrels, many CoN troops in Quebec found themselves in a particularly nasty situation, especially when the US and Canada could drive new tanks directly to the battlefield from the Midwest if they so desired.
However, the lack of supplies and men had much broader implications when PAC forces achieved a 'corridor of superiority' that covered Quebec City and Montreal.
Unfortunately for Quebec, December brought with it an Emergency Joint Session of Congress, populated with reinvigorated Congressmen disgusted with the damage that fighting had done to the Canadian capital and the idea of missiles impacting on New York of all places, with serious damage to Wall Street and the Trade Center Complex.
The EJSCs became common, this being the second, and is remembered as the infamous 'Total War Congress' for remarks by Speaker of the House Carlos Alejandro, UP-CA before passing the 'Resolution to Defend Liberty'.
And within a week, the largest US bombing campaign in history began. Low flying, supersonic aircraft, assisted by a Fury spacecraft providing active defense and targeting telemetry, began pounding Quebecois forces around Montreal, and later certain areas of the city itself.
Millions were refugees were generated as the US attacked virtually all manufacturing and infrastructure that could benefit the Quebecois war effort. And there was very little the Quebecois were able to do about it. >From the Furies in orbit, rail guns and 'Rods from God' vaporized Quebecois aircraft and air defense on the ground, while killer satellites cleared Quebecois air defense from orbit.
A Fury also destroyed two CoN 'orbital defense stations', giant fortress-like space-stations that provided much of the strategic anti-air and anti-missile defense for the Americas. But even while the PAC space forces were 'controlling the night' from Orbit, the Brazilian Space Elevator continued to pump up new war material from around a shroud of defensive platforms in orbit and on the ground in South America.
It was the largest structure ever constructed by man. And as the New Year approached, the US Aerospace Force dedicated itself to destroying it.
Back on Earth, things couldn't have been worse in Montreal. Black smoke hung over the city like a funeral veil as millions fled the urban sprawl, some soldiers, some civilians, all fearing for their lives.
About three million people were estimated to have died in the Siege of Montreal from destruction and the diseases that followed without the infrastructure, half of them military. Thousands of people vanished in clouds of debris and vaporized tungsten, and years later the effects of the carcinogen found in the tips of the 'Rods from God' and bunker-buster weapons were still apparent.
American and Canadian armor from the West and South moved around the city, encircling the remaining military units and destroying them in the brutal combat that would mark major engagements in the 'open field'. The shockwaves of rail gun projectiles from tanks and the sheer amount of munitions and artillery involved reduced healthy summer woods into dusty moonscapes covered with rusted hulks. Field reporters often remarked the aftermaths of engagements like the Battle of Autoroute 15 seemed to have pieces of vehicles and the shells of powered armor strewn about like toy soldiers thrown by a child. The machines that survived long after bodies rotted or were burned out remained were the only things that came close to immortality in the war.
The winter did little to slow the fighting, only to accelerate the casualties among the displaced population of Montreal and other towns being overtaken by combat. The PAC was determinedly grinding along to what seemed like victory in Quebec.
But if the PAC had anything to cheer about up north, it was outweighed by the South. While the Quebec front created its body counts in massive bombings and colossal engagements at the division level, Latin America, Central America especially, accumulated them in high-tech guerilla warfare.
Major ports in Southern Mexico and Central America speeded the advance of CoN forces into PAC territory, as guerillas gave way to paratroopers, marines, and then whole divisions of troops. Those who were pro-PAC were killed by CoN backed 'death squads', and the CIA did exactly the same thing to those who supported the CoN. The advance of troops in Southern Mexico was slow at best, but it was preceded by a wave of social instability that brought on violent unrest, and the PAC forces were choked like hounds straining against their leash. One of the great failures of the PAC defensive strategy, many would remark, is that the same logistical trains established to fight Quebec were never put into place in Mexico. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and can see in the dark, and to previous strategists, the nearest real threat was in Colombia or Venezuela, which could have been held off at sea, had the US not fought so many engagements against the USE. Nor was the US expecting the Latin American nations the CIA had spent so much time and money shoring up to fall so easily.
By Christmas, missiles were landing in Mexico City and Oaxca was being engulfed by fighting, with the PAC planning to make their 'stand' on a line crossing the historic city of Puebla, where the lack of mountains would allow the force of US armor to dominate. In theory, of course.
Denmark is devastated by the war, as the USE begins sweeping up the peninsula. Never heavily in favor of the war as the British or Eastern Europeans were, Denmark descended into chaos when the USE dropped herbicides and incendiary bombs Danish fields. A USE assisted month of rioting in 'Bloody October' combined with a strategic cruise missile strike against Danish officials; Denmark declared neutrality in the war.
In the United Kingdom, however, there were signs of hope. Despite near-daily bombardment and heavy losses by the British Continental Detachment in Poland, the sight of the USE fleets limping home brought hopes of the re-establishment of trade, bringing in goods, and perhaps fighting men later, from the PAC.
But while this was hoped for, it would not happen in 2062.
Instead, British submarines launched an all-out attack on the USE fleet as they attempted to make it to home port, putting a USE carrier and several cruisers on the seabed of the English Channel. But the Mediterranean remained under USE control, ensuring that supplies would continue to flow in some form.
The German-Polish border soon became a hellish landscape, similar to Quebec, but without any chance of decisive airpower. Or space power, for that matter. While Quebec had comparatively weak defensive infrastructure, both the NEI and USE had excellent home defense capabilities and space warfare infrastructure. Going back to a modified version of Soviet general strategy, the NEI decided that a major offensive would need to be taken into Central Germany.
From missile bases in Russia and the Ukraines, hypersonic missiles were launched against eastern Germany, followed up by similar launches from SSGNs the British had sequestered in the North Sea. Loaded with EMP warheads and bunker buster munitions, they landed heavy blows to critical infrastructure around the German border. Then, Polish and other Eastern European soldiers charged towards Frankfurt an der Ober and the E36 outside the town of Klein Bademeusel, spearheaded by tank-heavy forces.
The advance at Klein Bademeusel broke through in November, but the advance in Frankfurt an der Ober was crippled when Brussels authorized limited nuclear arms to keep the NEI from reaching Berlin. Neutron and high-altitude nuclear EMP weapons were launched over NEI advances. Instantly, dozens of thousands of NEI soldiers were killed, and most of Poland was in a blackout or had its electronics destroyed utterly.
The British were quick to respond, having revived their Rifkind styled limited nuclear launch policy. The retaliatory 'Continental Pattern' destroyed German forces rallied around Berlin without hitting the city itself. As the radiation faded, the two Europes entered a nuclear duel for supremacy.
Behind the lines, the use of nuclear weapons only worsened the situation. 'Refugee Flu' broke out in the cities outside Berlin, in Slubice, Eisenhuttenstadt, Poznan and Lodz. Most scientists today agree that the various strains of Refugee Flu were so devastating because of weakened immune systems and lack of working infrastructure for treatment, but at the time, both sides blamed the flu on bioweapons developed by the other. With nuclear weapons in play and herbicides in use, it was not unreasonable to assume that such viruses would have been deployed. However, at this point in the war, no biological weapons were in use as far as historical records can show.
Meanwhile, secret negotiations began between the governments of Turkey and the NEI, hoping to forge an alliance that would open the Mediterranean to larger amounts of troops and arms from Russia and the Ukrainian nations without having to fight for footholds in the CoN dominated Balkans. What had started as a Monroe Doctrine dispute for the USE had evolved into a battle for survival and total war.
Despite their massive military, the Persians simply could not stand up to the superior training and equipment of the Indian forces. By early November of 2062, Pakistan was under Indian control and Indian air superiority was complete. However, it came at a massive cost. Over 550 nuclear weapons, mostly sub 10kt tactical devices and neutron or enhanced EMP bombs, had been detonated. Though both nations stopped short of hitting each others cities directly, in the more remote areas of India and Persia, power was cut off completely and a humanitarian crisis was mounting.
Even more disturbing were stories by the Pacific News Corporation (now one of the largest news organizations ever in terms of readership) that Indian soldiers had been cracking down on Pakistanis and Muslims who expressed anger over Indian conduct. Indian soldiers were also reported to have gunned down masses of surrendering Persians. Of course, the Indians lacked the accommodations for the likely radiation-poisoned and sickened troops, and the Persians did not take prisoners under any conditions (and killed those who they found attempting to surrender), but few reporters risked reporting anywhere near the Persian lines or inside Persia itself.
Farther west, events were unfolding that would draw SEATO into a state of war. In the nation of Arabia, the once glorious oil capital of the world, now a despot-ruled wasteland, the 'President' Mahmoud (really more of a monarch, for his family had ruled the nation through nepotism and brute force since the country's inception) began negotiations with the USE and ACSU to launch a joint invasion of Egypt, which had decidedly anti-CoN politics and significant support from SEATO fiscally and in terms of arms and aid. It was the hub of SEATO's 'African Market', and it controlled the Suez Canal, which SEATO used to access the lucrative trading zone of Eastern Europe.
However, not all were interested in entering the war. Japan, the Philippines, and many of the smaller states wanted a more subtle approach to ending the crisis.
Unfortunately, subtlety never fared well in the Middle East.
In early September, the CIA assassinated President Mahmoud using UCAV launched missiles deployed from a submarine in the Persian Gulf that destroyed the Presidential motorcade completely. In a fit of rage, his nephew, the highest 'ranking' relative/official left in the government, another Mahmoud, blamed the act on Egyptian forces, and declared the Red Sea 'Arabian waters' and launched a massive assault on the Suez while dropping a pair of tactical nuclear weapons on Suez, where the majority of Egyptian ships were based. The combined nuclear blasts would kill the Egyptian crews and incapacitate their vessels. And soon the Arabian armies were marching on the Suez, only to be counter-hit by an Egyptian SSN armed with neutron weapons in the Mediterranean.
SEATO now had the perfect excuse to intervene. After negotiations with Israel, Indonesia, China, Australia and New Zealand prepped forces for deployment to the 'Suez Crisis Zone', where they would work with Egypt and Israel to 're-establish order'.
A declaration of war by Arabia soon followed, and while the USE condemned foreign intervention in the area in the harshest of words, there was little they could do to stop it.
India, however, was preparing to declare outright war on SEATO, for Arabia itself was an Indian client state and ally against Persia.
But what scared India, and indeed the world the most was that SEATO was finally taking on its position as one of the world's superpower blocs in terms of hard power projection. With some of the most technologically advanced and well trained militaries, nobody was sure just how this woken giant would assert itself during the war.
The CoN was strongest here, with the lone effective opposition consisting primarily of Egypt (which was more active in the Mideast and Mediterranean zone anyway) and the US/PAC presence of Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, the PAC was determined not to let that last. The CIA provided heavy backing to anti-CoN regimes in Chad and Somalia, and used unmanned vehicles and teams of heavily enhanced 'supersoldiers' (more on this later) to disrupt ACSU peacekeeping operations in the Congo, which by now many believed were foreign-instigated.
And with the ACSU formally at war, when Liberia requested a commonwealth status or at least an observing-member position with the US/PAC, the ACSU responded by pumping troops into neighboring nations and attempting to instigate a coup in the country. Unfortunately for their efforts, most Liberians were happy with the progress their nation had made with US help in the past 20 years, neo-colonial policy aside. And thus began the West African theater of the War. Far from the mythical proportions of carnage found in Quebec and Europe, the West African War, like the one going on in Central America, was an extremely high-tech bush war. With the prevalence of powered armor and 'transhuman' enhancements for elite units, small, highly mobile groups of infantry, light vehicles, and aircraft with massive amounts of firepower waged war throughout the area, with a blatant disregard for national borders. It is for this reason that these historians will not go in depth, battle by battle, for no convenient lines can be drawn. Those looking for further information should reference the document 'Fury in the Sahel: The African theater in the 'Final' War'.
However, the conflict in Africa, while confusing, did have serious influence on the course of events on the continent. While never reaching deep into the ACSU the way the war would on other continents, it set up sub-Saharan Africa as a battle-tested but relatively intact power. But of course, in the short term, Saharan Africa suffered greatly. Despite the huge progress beginning to occur in the 2050s and 2060s on reducing carbon emissions, droughts were still at their crippling level that the world had come to know. Another major problem was the reliance on foreign facilities and technology for power generation, which the CIA and the USMC were quick to destroy whenever a country seemed to lead too far towards the CoN. In the former nation of Somalia, there was a coup and an attempted secession, followed by a return of CoN martial law, with many similar events to come as the war dragged on.
[Biotechnology, Nanotechnology, and Posthumanism]
While technology had certainly been a deciding factor in previous 21st century conflict, no previous engagement employed it in such numbers and on such a radical scale. The most obvious change in warfare was the advent of 'transhuman' and 'posthuman' technologies in warfare on a scale never before seen.
In the late 2050s, major US and USE corporations developed the first nanotech based neural receptors, basically backups to the human brain. Inserted via injection to the bloodstream, the nanites self-assembled at key locations on the human brain, forming processing and transmitting stations that could transmit a few centimeters away from the body. The information gathered from these transmitters could be further processed by onboard computers in the user's vehicle or powered armor, or even personal computers connected to major networks. The revolution in affairs was obvious.
For the first time, large scale network centric warfare was truly possible. The most inefficient component in such networks previously was the ability of the human brain to process this information; now any military with the money and technology could eliminate that to an extent never before seen. However, this itself did not necessarily make the scale of conflict smaller, in fact, in many cases where both sides had access, conflicts became massive (mainly the American and European theaters) as both sides used their new technology to coordinate titanic amounts of weaponry and vehicles. But it also, in conjunction with high-mobility forces, made warfare far more chaotic in some regions when the opposing side didn't have similarly equipped units in theater. CIA and US Special Forces units equipped with high-performance power armor wrought havoc on less advanced ACSU units in the CoN satellite states in Africa, with often entire battalions of armies from nations like Niger and Chad being eliminated by a few dozen, power-armor equipped 'supermen', as they became known.
Development of other new 'transhuman' technology was also occurring, though not all of it would be in use early in the war. Other self-assembling nanites could be used to create a human-weapon interface, where transponders linked to the nervous system in the palms of the hand could interact with special electronic grips on weapons, improving accuracy. Medics would later use nanites to help treat wounds that were difficult to operate on in a battlefield situation. And of course, nanotechnology continued to be key to the development of armor that could withstand the ever-increasing destructive power of modern weaponry.
Biotech was also quite important in the mid-late 21st century battlefield. Both sides would employ laboratory tailored herbicides to decrease the other's capacity for warfare, and although still hotly debated today, there is evidence that could point to tailored biotech viruses that could have caused the various outbreaks of Refugee Flu or the Mumbai Virus. In the case of the latter, it is more than probable that the Persian government, which acted completely without restraint in later stages of the war, may have tried to use the Mumbai Virus as a last-ditch effort to blackmail the Indians into peace. Instead, when it was finally released, it merely enflamed conflict as most weapons did.
Of course, there were far more productive uses of biotechnology developed and refined during the war. Universities and labs in the PAC, SEATO, and USE all were able to produce new organs and limbs for those wounded using a variety of different means, and new strains of pathogen-resistant plants ultimately prevented starvation on a Malthusian scale in the developed world, except when destruction of infrastructure prevented proper distribution.
In Quebec, the nation that was once a proud, independent republic is reduced to masses of refugees and a third-world standard of living in most areas. The US and Canada quickly occupy the country and put it under martial law, with a pending Canadian annexation. Canadians, of course, are not quite eager to take Quebec 'back', as that would mean providing massive amounts of aid money to areas within their own border, and giving Quebecois the right to vote.
By 2065, the Quebecois front is over in terms of major conventional engagements. A few guerilla pockets remain inside the cities, mostly, but any relief provided by PAC is carefully set up in 'secure' areas beyond them, as the absolute destruction has made the construction of modern cities too much of a hindrance for military operations.
For the US, though, there are far more tasks ahead.
In Southern Mexico, the new battle line is drawn, with conventional land forces fighting it out in south-central Mexico and a variety of aerial and irregular units fighting behind the lines. Martial law is declared as far north as Mexico City, and anyone who shows any sign of support for the so-called 'Latin American Brethren-Liberators' disappears at the hands of local militias and the CIA. On the other side of the border, the CIA funds resistance groups in the Mexican Commonwealth and Chiapas Commonwealth that perform what many call terror raids (and with good reason) on collaborators with the CoN occupation governments.
During 2064, the first of a new weapon begin to arrive in Mexico, the 'Wolverine' SuperHeavy Battle Tank, or SHBT. Powered by a small nuclear reactor, managed by a nanointegrated human crew and carbon computer 'AI', the Wolverine is used as hammer to the regular military's anvil, smashing through whatever conventional forces the CoN could field in Mexico. Though some CoN-backed resistance remained in the Commonwealth of Chiapas by 2065, the US had managed to purge its Mexican lands of any major resistance by the end of the year. When put on the field in a combined-arms doctrine, the tank-heavy US forces were able to finally 'take back the continent' to a reasonable degree. And despite terrain that was traditionally harmful to tanks, the rate of advance wasn't hindered by the massive Wolverines. After breaking through at Puebla, the PAC would inevitably have to face another mass of regrouping CoN troops, with the communication brought by better NCW also accelerating the ability of the enemy to respond. The advanced PDS of the Wolverines could also provide a certain level of protection for nearby units, so it even saw action in some of the less-dense urban areas, or areas where the conditions of the city were so bad the Wolverine's ability to drive through anything was an actual advantage.
Under the cover of the US Atlantic Fleet, which broke through to the Yucatan in the spring of 2065, the PAC pounded the coasts of Mexico and landed a joint Cuban-USMC invasion force into the Commonwealth of Chiapas. But no matter how much land the US retook, the spectre of South America remained relatively unmolested. And so early on, both sides committed themselves to space superiority.
The Atlantic Space Elevator was the pride of the CoN, the largest man made structure created so far. But it was also far from being a mere testament to human ingenuity; it was also the primary means of earth-to-orbit space freight for South America. Even before the war, it had been one of the primary means for constructing the Community Space Peace Force, and its schedule had only been accelerated as the war broke out.
So in late 2063, the US blew it completely off the map. The Atlantic Alliance (former ANG) controlled Lunar Mass Driver launched a full freight load of lunarcrete inside a reinforced casing directly at the base of the Atlantic Space elevator, causing it to impact with 250 kilotons of force due to its heavy, protective shell. Striking directly at the base of the Space Elevator and placed in a TOT attack with a missile detonating at roughly 20,000 km, the entire structure was completely destroyed, and the results of the shockwave threw Sao Luis into chaos. A second projectile was fired into the Kenyan Space Elevators within two hours, and by then the CoN issued a statement saying that the use of the Lunar Mass Driver against Earth was '… just as illegal and immoral as the nuclear weapons it is in substitution for…'. In 2064, the CoN bloc decided to remove the veto power of the permanent UNSC seats. Despite the UN's apparent uselessness in the conflict, the US decided that without their veto power, the numerical superiority of CoN membership would make their presence useless. Already full of 'Gadsen Flag Fervor', the US withdrew from the United Nations after the legislation was passed, followed by the United Kingdom and PAC members.
Rather than attempting to restore the UN to the 'international forum' role it had earlier served, the CoN capitalized on its earlier success and essentially took over the organization, with the non-CoN nations hoping whatever policies they had wouldn't be penalized for following the 'moral and just' path of the CoN.
Earlier, the CoN threatened to use nuclear weapons if the Lunar Mass Driver was ever used again. More out of fear of losing its valuable space infrastructure than out of the CoN nuclear arsenal on Earth (for the extensive network of 'Star Wars' technology was what had kept extra-regional strategic weapons from being used against the US), the stators calmed and the reactors cooled on Earth's natural satellite.
Domestically, great changes were happening within the PAC and the US. The US government passed the National Service Act, which required several years of service in a specified 'national service' after turning 18 and kept on a reserve warning until 40. Though volunteer rates were already high, it ensured that less 'enthusiastic' Americans could be put in rear line jobs, keeping the more spirited men on the front. It also set up important frameworks for US home defense that had been strained and broken during the conflict in Mexico.
Within the PAC, with the walk out from the UN came a new attitude about the 'social democratic' ideals the CoN had espoused. Though hardly new, propaganda circulated by non-governmental, 'non-partisan' research groups talked about how quasi-socialism pervaded CoN governments, and that the market was so regulated that it forced people to revert to old socialist methods of commerce. While this is to some extent true (in many parts of the CoN, like parts of the USE and Argentina especially, the public sector or private jobs that relied 'heavily' on the public sector were as high as 60% before the war (Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom, 2061), the CoN was more similar to the old Cold War 'social market' ideals than socialist stereotypes.
Using various UN charters and resolutions (proposed or passed) that talked about social markets, global resource management and conservation, and the demilitarization and re-internationalization of space, many radical authors had convinced Americans that the CoN had been planning their takeover of the UN and the formation of World Government for years, and the war had given them an excuse to accelerate their changes. This was, to some degree true, though how much the CoN actually planned this is a matter of historic contention. But about this time, the phrase 'War for Sovereignty' came into full force, becoming popular in editorials in 2063 onward, though globally the more politically correct term has of course been the 'Final War' or 'World War IV', much to the chagrin of Americans.
The war had not been started over these issues, but by now, it had manifested them. Just as World War II had started out as a war over the ownership of various territories in Europe and balance of power and ended as a conflict over the future of the world's political systems and the survival of democracy, this war had gone from a realist-based spat over strategic basing and instead become the violent expression of clashing economics, politics, cultures, and ideas on a truly global scale.
As the bloody years marched on, Europe became more and more disorganized. With 2063 brought the arrival of more troops from Russia, and the turning point in the battle in Europe.
Sparing no time to rebuild anything but logistical infrastructure in Poland, fresh Russian troops and the remnants of the British and Scandinavian air forces broke through the remaining USE defenses after heavy use of high-altitude EMP detonations and neutron bombs. Pushing through the old Fulda Gap, a smaller force was detached to 'liberate' Denmark, which was accomplished by 2064. When it looked as if the USE was going to lose France and the Benelux area, they rallied around Cologne and evacuated Brussels, moving the government to Italy. Deciding that their nation was doomed without them, the USE authorized use of its full nuclear arsenal against the encroaching threat.
Simultaneously launching missiles from SSGNs and bases in unoccupied Europe with a declaration of intent, the USE detonated strategic-level neutron bombs over the NEI forces outside Cologne on November 3rd of 2064, and then full-grade hydrogen bombs against the British ships supporting the assault in the English Channel. The USE also detonated strategic-level, enhanced-EMP nukes over the UK and Scandinavia, hoping to convince the NEI that victory would only lead to complete destruction, and that a compromise had to be made.
But the NEI merely responded in proportion, putting Europe under a nuclear-initiated blackout and destroying most major concentrations of USE troops in Western and Central Europe. Looking at what happened to Germany; Austria seceded as NEI troops prepared to invade to create a corridor to Italy, along with Holland, both nations declaring themselves neutral rather than throwing their reserves into the fight against the NEI or supporting them and risking a nuclear attack by the USE.
As 2065 dawned, the war ground to a halt on both sides. Despite having finally taken Brussels, many nations of the NEI were disaster areas. The UK still experienced a lack of power in most areas, and PAC relief there was simply not enough to keep the war effort going so strongly. Poland was a functioning country only in name, Russian peacekeepers kept it from descending into complete anarchy, but just barely. Food riots were devastating Central Europe, and in the hot summer of 2065, the USE simply stopped existing. Italy seceded as part of a peace deal with the NEI, so did Luxembourg. Spain and Portugal quietly left, and the former set about attempting to keep the Basques and Catalan as part of their country. As fall came and the food shortages worsened, the USE government (which had moved to France) threw in the towel. The great experiment in quasifederal social democracy had succumbed to the sort of war that had created it in the first place.
A similar situation coming about in the NEI was only averted due to the presence of foreign troops from Russia and Eastern Europe. The victory against the USE had come about at the expense of all of Europe itself, and most were unsure it was worth it.
But some response did come. The Irish, of all nations, intervened in the UK to help keep the country together. Finland deployed troops to Eastern and Central Europe, while Russia continued to bear the brunt of peacekeeping tasks. But it was too early to see any kind of major improvement in the devastated continent of Europe.
While in some areas of the world, the war was coming to an end, in Asia, things were only starting to heat up.
Persian soldiers rallied in former Pakistan to hold off the advance of the Indian forces, and a cease-fire was put into effect, albeit briefly.
Arabia, after watching Israeli troops deployed to the Suez Peninsula and the SEATO carrier battle groups now deployed in the Arabian and Red Seas, followed through on its declaration of war and threw its ill-trained and ill-equipped military, much of it still armed with retrofitted surplus weapons from the Caliphate glory years, against Israeli forces. They were basically slaughtered by the IAF and the IDF Armored Corps, and as a result, in early February, Arabia prepared to launch a good portion of its nuclear arsenal at Israel.
SEATO, detecting the preparations for launch and responding as the first missiles went into the air, called down a 'rain of fire and steel', as one Arabian Strategic Missile Force commander described it, within seconds of their launch. Anticipating such a tactic by the volatile Arabian military-nepotist government, EM accelerated KE weapons bombarded Arabia from the SEATO Orbital Defense Platforms, virtually eliminating the Arabian Air Force and the ASMF within a few minutes. The Israeli Missile Defense system handled the few nukes that were launched before SEATO's orbital strike, and as SEATO troops landed in Arabia, they found a nation in chaos. When the SEATO CBGs sailed into the Red Sea and landed troops, one Australian commander reported watching a mass of regular Arabian army remnants and militia forces massing outside their landing area in the suburbs of Jizan, he simply called down an ODP strike on them, and when his mobile infantry detachment arrived, resistance had melted. Especially in the heavily Shi'a regions of Arabia, where anti-Persian propaganda had stirred Sunnis into violence, Arabians were more interested in killing each other than the SEATO forces. Local Arabian leaders blamed them for being Persian collaborators who wanted to use SEATO and Israel as allies in their takeover of the Holy Land.
By April of 2063, SEATO had taken the decaying capital of the Arabian nation, and the 'war' on that little bit of Asia seemed over. Conventionally, that is. SEATO had to balance their policy of 'respecting Mecca' with fighting insurgents, and in the most holy of Arabian provinces, insurgents used their monuments as shields against even the orbital attacks of the SEATO ODP.
India did not sit idly by, though. In 2064 the ceasefire ended when Indian vessels engaged SEATO and US fleets in the battle for Diego Garcia, which SEATO was using as a segment in their logistical tail from East Asia to Arabia. No nukes were exchanged, but the battle was essentially a stalemate. Though SEATO and US forces lost a few more ships than India did, Persia's constant bombardment of many Indian ports meant India had fewer ships to spare. And SEATO, with the world's biggest and arguably best navy, had plenty more where their first expeditionary forces came from. The Battles of Sri Lanka in early 2065, where SEATO attempted to use the island as a springboard onto the subcontinent, resulted in India's rebuffing of SEATO invasion forces at the expense of much of their remaining navy. But in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Indian commanders were outclassing their SEATO counterparts, who had focused far less on engagements of those scales.
As the war broke out, Burma was a de facto SEATO member, as India was planning to go through it to strike at South East Asia whether the Burmese liked that or not. As in Central America and Africa, the conventional forces of both sides quickly bogged down and lost momentum, and the war along the SEATO-India land border became a high-tech guerilla war against infrastructure and morale by both sides. And nestled deep within each side's borders were heavy strategic defenses that made major aerial strikes virtually impossible. Most attacks were done by surgical UCAV or cruise missile launches that were small, fast, or stealthy enough to evade the other's detection.
Meanwhile, the US, drawn into the conflict via Diego Garcia, quickly steps up arms shipments to SEATO of certain weaponry. Wolverine SHBTs are sent, along with advanced space weaponry to be used against CoN and Indian assets during the conflict. Despite being a smaller power, the US had an advantage in weapons technology in many areas due to highly advanced sentinent AIs like the 'Henry' series industrial engineering analysts, which were put into work with R&D teams earlier in the war.
SEATO, in turn, began shipping weapons through Central Asia and Afghanistan into Persia, which was losing industrial capacity to the Indian military juggernaut. And of course, India was pushing Kurdistan to step up attacks against Persia and US ally Turkey.
From Kirkuk to Kyaukpyu, war and violence had enveloped Asia in 2065.
The 2065 Special Forces deployment into Panama had helped push out the CoN, but now the PAC was dedicated on completely destroying their power in South America, not just pushing it back to the original borders. With the destruction of the USE as a polity, Lundberg delivers his 'Rising Tide' speech in New York in 2066, coinciding with the USMC push into Colombia. Army forces bypass Central America and land in Panama, preparing for a truly devastating push into the Andean nations.
However, the bottleneck does not lend itself to an effective advance. So in fall 2066, what the PACDEFCOM referred to as the 'Hard Rain' began, with the ANG Lunar Mass Driver reactivated and annihilating not only many CoN forces in the Darien Gap, but most of the city of Turbo as well. The PAC also stepped up air attacks on major cities and industrial complexes throughout the Andean nations, and a second landing force was prepared to land in Caracas after another season of 'Hard Rain' in 2067, followed by a pattern of EMP devices launched from orbit that devastated the region. In the bloodiest battles of the wars for the PAC yet, the Caracas Front was opened up and, ironically, the PAC was pushing down the old 'Pan-American Highway' through Venezuela. Other forces split off and moved to destroy the regions of Colombia and Venezuela that had been cut off by the advance.
The embedded media that the PAC viewers had come to love was now heavily regulated, watching events only from a distance. Relatively few in the US saw what their soldiers had to do. Adopting what the military had learned from the African conflict, a 'mobile infantry' doctrine sent power-armored raiding units with UCAV support to destroy CoN supply lines and infrastructure. Whenever guerilla resistance was encountered, it was destroyed. Colombia especially incurred a huge combatant body count on both sides, as CoN counter-advances broke down into guerilla units. Brazilian troops were streaming to the front by the end of 2068, and soon the highlands were a battle zone.
Neil Lundberg's legacy fought on as the EP retained the Presidency. Simon Echevarria of California vows to end the war on US terms. But the CoN does not go any easier on him. When the 'Hard Rain' returns again after new EMP munitions were lifted up, Brazil launches a tactical nuclear pattern over the border, directed at the forces
concentrated near Santa Elena de Uarien. The US responds by launching mass driver rounds over major Brazilian military and industrial sites. The war continued, for the nations of South America refused to accept an unconditional surrender. The mass driver was limited by ammunition, and Brazil and Argentina still had some capacity to fight.
On the Chilean front, the PAC had ensured the survival of the smaller nation against overwhelming odds. Chile's natural geographic defenses had helped sabotage major offensives, and a well-trained army and PAC technology kept the Chilean force on par with anything the CoN threw at them. In 2067 with CIA backing, right-wing rebels in Santa Cruz split from the decaying government. But by 2070, the PACDEFCOM decided to finish the war. The ACSU was mobilizing ships with fresh troops to the fight, something the US would be hard pressed to repel if they reached land.
The demands were simple. Unconditional surrender; or the PACDEFCOM will eliminate the capitals and major commercial and population centers of the Latin American nations, one by one. When the ACSU launches missiles at the Lunar complex, the PAC demonstrates their willingness to carry out their threat by launching tactical yields at the offending ACSU bases, and the ports they were mobilizing men to.
And one by one, the nations of Latin America capitulated. Whether or not the PAC would have followed through with their doomsday threat remains a matter of debate to this day. A truce was negotiated at the end of the year in Geneva and signed the next. For the Americas, the war was over.