Looks like cancer rates are going up all across the world.World War III- Part Two
"We Chinese have 600,000,000 people. Is sacrificing a few million of them so that the American genie may be released from its bottle a fair trade? I think so." Chiang Kai-shek to his son, upon hearing of the destruction of Beijing.
For the third time in forty-seven years, the United States Congress met in a joint session convened by the President. Mincing no words, Lyndon Johnson asked for a declaration of war on the Soviet Union, "for the good and freedom of all the peoples of Asia and the world." He was quickly granted the request, and on October 27, 1964, the United States declared war on the Soviet Union. Now, this raised an important dilemma: namely, that while the ROC was an American ally on decent terms with all of the West, it was not a NATO member, and as such, NATO was not bound by Article V to come to its defence. Many in Western Europe were adamantly opposed to joining an East Asian war on the other side of the planet just because the USA wanted to get involved- one commentator in Holland compared it to the idea of Sweden declaring war on Hitler after Pearl Harbour to keep relations with America good. It was pointed out by many that western Europe would have to face the Red Army and tactical nuclear weapons, and would be suffering civilian casualties. The first one to opt out was France. "We have no desire to bleed for the Chinaman.", declared Charles de Gaulle. While de Gaulle did not make any moves to leave NATO or expel foreign troops, he did make it clear that the Allies would be forbidden to use French ports or rail lines, for fear that such behaviour would invite pre-emptive Soviet nuclear strikes. Tiny Denmark, fearful of being conquered in a day, was on the verge of proclaiming neutrality when the Americans and British pledged to rush additional troops to the country to protect against the Red Army. In the Far East, the still unpopular (and not particularly trusted by the Americans) Japanese government refused to join the war, although it did permit the transit of US forces through its territory. Turkey and Italy also refrained from joining the war.
NATO (excluding France) had very approximately 2.5 million (1) forces ready in western Europe, including naval and air personnel, while the Warsaw Pact had roughly 3 million. (2) Brezhnev was aware that the commitment in China meant that there was simply no way for the Warsaw Pact to win an attritional war in Europe-- it just couldn't be done. Therefore, as he conferred with the Stavka, a new Soviet strategy took shape. The Red Army was to advance through the Fulda and Kassel gaps, aided by tactical nuclear weapons, and from there converge at Marburg. From Marburg, it was a straight shot to the French border. That was the essence of it. On October 28, 1964 (3), the defenders of Fulda and Kassel- including a young soldier by the name of Colin Powell (4)- were awoken by a terrific artillery bombardment, creating chaos as commanders attempted to co-ordinate a response. The panic only lasted for perhaps fifteen minutes, as first Kassel, then Fulda, felt the brunt of tactical nuclear weapons. As soon as it was safe to do so, Warsaw Pact troops- mostly Russians, with satellite states supplying cannon fodder- advanced west. The greatest gamble had begun.
October 28, 1964: All along the front line, the Soviet Union advances against the NATO armies, driving deep into West Germany. Two East German battalions, meanwhile, overwhelm West Berlin. Although many Western units fight long and hard, they are overwhelmed by the first shock of the Soviet offensive.
November 1, 1964: The last Chinese units in Beijing surrender to the Russians, who now begin planning for a drive south. However, their own casualties in the Battle of Beijing were not inconsiderable. Although the sheer size of Beijing meant that much of the city survived the initial blast, radiation now creeps through the city, infecting Soviet troops.
Chiang, meanwhile, is harbouring plans for an offensive of his own…
November 3, 1964: Running on a platform of patriotism and support for the new war, Lyndon Johnson is easily elected as President in his own right, defeating Barry Goldwater by an even larger margin than OTL
November 4, 1964: In a move designed to please the West, new Saudi king Faisal announces drastic cuts in the price of Saudi oil to neutral nations. The hope is that they will buy cheaper Saudi oil instead of Soviet supplies, which Moscow cannot afford to cut right now owing to the cost of maintaining the war effort.
November 4, 1964: The last pocket of South Korean troops surrender in Busan. General Park is found dead amongst the ruins of the city. The Korean Civil War- as it will come to be known- is now over. The outpost of Jeju Island surrenders upon hearing the news.
November 12, 1964: After a long fight, Soviet troops capture Wolfsburg from the West Germans. The city is largely in ruins, with its famed auto works no more.
That same day, the two Soviet armies which set out from Fulda and Kassel achieve their rendezvous at Marburg. Two West German divisions remain encircled at Alsfield, and will be mopped up by Polish troops over the next week.
November 15, 1964: The Soviet armies invading from Xinjiang and Mongolia link up at the Qinghai town of Hainan. In spite of the symbolism of this defeat for the Chinese, on one level it is a good thing for Nanjing: the Soviets are now in some places thirteen hundred kilometres from their supply bases, and that distance will only increase. (5) Nonetheless, the Chinese high command now realises that a threat to Xian exists, and that plans must be drawn up to defend the city.
November 19, 1964: Sun Lijen (6) is appointed commander of the forces in the Beijing theatre. Although he has previously had a rocky history with Chiang, the KMT army’s need for a good commander, plus Chiang’s vulnerability to bribes, mean that Sun now finds himself in Chiang’s graces. Sun has roughly a million men at his command, giving him a considerable numerical advantage over the Soviets. However, many of the best KMT troops have been chewed up and obliterated in the Beijing battle, and as such these units are of poorer quality.
November 24, 1964: The Battle of Frankfurt commences. Soviet armoured forces clash with American tanks. The first day ends in a draw, and only human wave attacks and massive air and artillery support- all accomplished at very high cost in Russian casualties- are sufficient to push the Americans out.
November 29, 1964: Operation Eagle Liberty is launched by the Americans. Commanded by General William Westmoreland, it incorporates two American corps and three British divisions, along with one regiment from both Holland and Belgium. Westmoreland's target is Magdeburg, which is to be liberated by means of a drive from the south-east. Eagle Liberty catches the Soviets off-guard, but they soon manage to draw the Allied forces into a stalemate battle inside Magdeburg itself. Fearful that his forces will fall victim to a Soviet tactical nuclear weapon, Westmoreland decides to cancel the operation on December 2, abandoning the ruins of Magdeburg to the Soviets once more.
December 5, 1964: Commanded by General Creighton Abrams, Jr, six US infantry divisions land in Nanjing harbour, the first of many. They will travel by rail to the Beijing theatre. Additionally, several squadrons of US B-52 bombers land in Nanjing, from where they will strategically bomb-- using only conventional weapons-- rail lines and infrastructure behind the Soviet lines.
December 12, 1964: After a long push forward, Soviet troops capture Karlsruhe, very close to the French border. West Germany is now almost completely divided in two. Brezhnev- running the war from Moscow and giving the Stavka limited freedom- now hopes to capture Hanover and Hamburg, and from there, overrun Denmark.
However, the strategic situation is slowly slipping out of Soviet control. Their advance into West Germany has more or less taken the shape of a salient 200 kilometres long, one which, though frightening on paper, is a logistical nightmare for supplies, given that the two largest cities at its base have been nuked. This congests the remaining roads, which are in turn prime targets for Allied conventional bombing. The Red Air Force can protect these roads, but only at the cost of sacrificing combat air superiority.
The body count is also piling up. The density of forces is much higher than in World War II, and weaponry all that much more advanced, meaning that combat is far more intense and casualties are much higher. (6) While this certainly generates a fair amount of resistance to the war in Western countries (7), they have the advantage of an almost bottomless reservoir of American men and industry to feed into Germany. Meanwhile, the Soviets are fighting a two-front war and are dependent in large part on their Warsaw Pact “allies” for cannon-fodder. In Warsaw, Bucharest, Sofia, Budapest, and even Berlin, there are whisperings of revolt, as the Russians send more and more of their young men to die while still finding the manpower to occupy their homelands…
December 19, 1964: In a telephone call between Lyndon Johnson and Chiang Kai-shek, the US President gives the Chinese his tacit permission to use tactical nuclear weapons, and hints that he may do the same himself…
December 25, 1964: In what will be dubbed “Santa’s gift to Chiang” by one New York Times columnist, a joint Sino-American offensive opens up against the Soviets in the city of Cangzhou. Although the Russian troops in the city fight hard, the Allies are surprised by the numbers of Polish and Hungarian troops who are all too eager to defect to the Americans.
However, in a harbinger of things to come, one ethnic Latvian regiment which defects en masse to the Chinese on the 27th, expecting to be treated well, is instead summarily massacred. General Sun manages to keep the incident hushed up, but word leaks to the Americans. After this, although Warsaw Pact troops are still willing to surrender to the USA, they almost universally fight to the death against the Chinese. Many put this down to the fury and hatred the Chinese feel for the Soviets after the nuclear attack on Beijing.
January 1, 1965: Assisted by several American divisions, the Pakistanis make a fresh attempt to achieve a breakthrough in Kashmir. The mountainous town of Leh is reduced to rubble, but little ground changes hands. America now begins to consider the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons of its own to achieve a breakthrough in the high mountains…
January 6, 1965: The Allies commence Operation Scorpion, a pincer attack on Mannheim designed to cut off the Soviet forces at the tip of their long salient. This time, their attack meets with success, as the poorly-supplied, tired Soviet forces- who are hindered, as always, by the willingness of the Warsaw Pact troops to go over to the Americans or British (8), give way. After ten days of heavy fighting, Mannheim falls, along with Heidelberg.
The news that tens of thousands of Soviet troops are now cut off sends Brezhnev into a fit of rage, and he decides to take the ultimate step, one from which he has until now refrained for fear of retaliation.
On January 7, 1965, Norwich, Ipswitch, Amsterdam, Brussels (9), and Suzhou joined the list of cities to meet nuclear death. The next day, a furious America, using its ICBMs stationed in England, added Kiev, Kharkov, Minsk, Leningrad, and Smolensk to the list, bringing the total to seventeen cities to meet firey nuclear death.
(1) Again, a very rough number. Bear in mind that this excludes French troops
(2) See above
(3) October 28 German time, October 27 US time
(4) No Vietnam War means that Powell would be stationed in Germany for longer
(5) For comparison purposes, just slightly over the distance between the current front in Europe and Minsk, Belarus
(6)This is not a guerilla war like Vietnam-- combat is direct, and out in the open, with no real places to hide on the flat North German Plain
(7) Although things like draft-card-burning have not come around yet, there are plenty of young hippies passionately opposed to this war. However, there are plenty more people who view this as a "good-vs-evil" fight, like WWII, and anti-war dissidents have a lot less respect amongst the mainstream of society, especially those who fought in WWII.
(8) Given that the war is being fought on their soil and that the Soviets have nuked two of their cities, the West Germans were not known for their kindness towards prisoners, either. This includes East Germans, who are typically sent to the Chinese front for fear that they will be disloyal.
(9) After this, the Americans were pretty much the only ones taking prisoners
Maybe after the commies are done in, the world will dispose of all their nukes.
And what are the final casualties of the nuke attacks? What was the size in KT/MT of the nukes used?
And it looks like the commies are getting the Japan treatment in WW2.
I wonder if my grandfather would be leading a Chinese army engineer battalion ITTL?
One last question: How big was the nuke that hit Suzhou?