Soviet Domination (story only)

Discussion in 'Finished Timelines and Scenarios' started by James G, Dec 10, 2017.

  1. James G writing Red Dawn isn't easy Donor

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Hull: where that culture has departed from
    Part VI – Red dawn


    One Hundred & Twenty–Two

    A Japanese-built motorcycle raced across eastern Nebraska after coming out of the small city of Omaha. Its driver, Ivan Nikolayevich, came off Highway-75 at the Fort Crook interchange to make a gentle left turn and then a sharp turn to the right moments later. The motorcycle went south again, whizzing past a long stretch of guard fence towards where the side road he followed rose in height up an artificial hill to reach a bridge over the little river ahead.

    Ivan Nikolayevich stopped the motorcycle right there at the top and jumped off. There were some trees and bushes which he stepped into. He swung the heavy satchel he carried on his back towards the ground below in one swift, practised move. There was a handle on the top which he turned. That was an anti-tamper device but he had no control over the armament of the weapon inside the satchel as it was already activated and impossible to stop.

    Local time was a quarter to nine in the morning.

    Back on the motorcycle he went as Ivan Nikolayevich revved the engine and pulled away. He caught sight of a woman civilian in a passing car who was looking at him in his helmet & leathers and had seen what he had done but there was no time to do anything about that. It wouldn’t matter anyway.

    The highway was re-joined just over the bridge. Ivan Nikolayevich broke the speed limit again and he darted in and out of passing traffic. Cars and trucks honked their horns at him as he shot towards southern Nebraska. He covered two miles every minute once he was going at full speed.

    When the time reached 0900 (US Central Time), there was a nuclear detonation behind him. It was a ground burst and the weapon yield was that of sixteen kilotons.

    The target sufficiently destroyed behind the still speeding motorcycle with Ivan Nikolayevich getting away safely was Offutt Air Force Base.


    Another motorcyclist, Pavel Sergeyevich, was in neighbouring South Dakota. He placed his satchel on the very edges of Ellsworth Air Force Base and raced away while forgetting to activate that anti-tamper device: what would be an instant cloud of nerve gas if deployed.

    His motorcycle headed for Interstate-90 and Pavel Sergeyevich was intending to go eastwards at lightning speed. He wasn’t the most-confidant driver of the high-powered vehicle which he rode and nearly crashed getting through the interchange when a truck came very close to sideswiping his motorcycle.

    Inside the gloves he wore, the hands of Pavel Sergeyevich were still shaking like they had done all morning. It occurred to him once he picked up speed that he hadn’t completed that final task when delivering his weapon. The GRU officer muttered foul curses and tried to imagine the reaction of his controlling officer at that failing.

    He pondered over what would happen if someone moved the satchel with the bomb inside during that short time between placement and detonation.

    His eyes were open but he wasn’t using them properly.

    Pavel Sergeyevich didn’t see the piece of a broken rear bumper laying in the road ahead until the very last moment. He didn’t freeze in panic. Instead, he swerved to avoid it. The motorcycle had a mind of its own though and didn’t respond as its driver wanted. Control was lost, the motorcycle skidded and Pavel Sergeyevich came off.

    A trio of civilians and a highway patrol officer were fast with the injured motorcyclist. They tried to help him though one of the civilians recoiled in horror after taking in the sight of the left leg of the man on the tarmac: the blood and gore were a bit much for this time of the morning.

    The others, a truck driver and his hitchhiker plus the officer from the South Dakota Highway Patrol, tried to stop the motorcyclist crawling away despite his terrible injury. Their eyes caught sight of a flash on the distant sky away to the south though there was no time to recognise that for what it was.

    Pavel Sergeyevich shouted a warning in his native tongue at the same time.

    Then a thermonuclear blast occurred nearby. It was another ground burst with the same yield as at Offutt. The resulting fireball from the destruction of Ellsworth didn’t kill those beside the freeway but the flash radiation which they received fast would… if they survived the blast-wave that was.


    Offutt and Ellsworth were each hit by those blasts which occurred on the edges of their guard fences. There was no warning at all.

    Craters were dug in the ground and fireballs rose. Blast-waves raced outwards following that deployed lethal radiation. A lot of fallout was instantly created and in the case of the Offutt blast, that would rapidly descend upon Omaha as the local weather conditions were dominated by the blast-waves: a strong wind blew a lot of it there with haste. The nearest major town to Ellsworth was Rapid City though most of the fallout was blown away from there out into rural areas.

    The pair of airbases deep in the American heartland were operating stations of Strategic Air Command (SAC). SAC had a command bunker beneath Offutt which was sealed as standard and was undamaged from the explosion aboveground. The rest of that airbase and the other one was open and exposed to the nuclear attack unleashed upon them.

    Neither that bunker nor the wing of B-1A Raider strategic bombers which flew from Ellsworth were the direct targets of the motorcycle attacks: those bombers in South Dakota, oft referred to as ‘Rumsfeld’s Folly’, were a secondary target. Instead, it was other aircraft which flew from them both in the form of the aircraft assigned to the Looking Glass mission at Offutt and the Airborne Launch Control Centre tasking from Ellsworth. These were EC-135s (different, mission-specific variants), big aircraft either inside hangars or out on the flight ramp. They were what the nuclear blasts sought to destroy, along with associated flight crews not inside protected shelters on a sunny September morning when the airbases weren’t on full wartime alert.

    One of the Looking Glass aircraft was airborne and far away from Offutt though. That was always the case as the SAC mission demanded one of them to be in the sky twenty-four hours a day.

    The Soviets knew that and also knew it was invulnerable to attack. No others were going to be joining it though, not today nor in the future.





    One Hundred & Twenty–Three

    There were simultaneous nuclear detonations in the shallow harbour waters at Bangor, Charleston and Groton.

    In Washington state, South Carolina and Connecticut, the outer defences of the naval bases on the two opposite coasts of the United States were penetrated by commandos riding outside submersible vehicles while they themselves wore scuba gear. Waterproof and pressure-resistance charges were laid in the inland waterways with timers already set before those who laid them had left their mother-ships which were disguised civilian vessels some distance away.

    Those who placed the bombs got away clean – they had an hour to escape – and were witness to the extraordinary sights that came with fifty kiloton thermonuclear blasts occurring in shallow water. The vapour clouds which followed the flashes and then the huge giant bubbles were rather alarming to them and those aboard the small mother-ships despite all of them being inside sealed compartments when the distant explosions happened. Their concern was for their own safety: they thought nothing of what happened to those present when the blasts occurred.


    There were US Navy strategic missile submarines at the trio of naval bases. Polaris- & Trident-armed vessels used the naval stations on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts as their homeports where crews were changed, routine maintenance was carried out and those submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) which they carried were loaded & unloaded between patrols.

    Many submarines were in port when the detonations happened yet, of course, there were others out on patrol and escaped the blast effects.

    Outright destruction of the submarines which were at Bangor, Charleston and Groton was a difficult thing to do with the bombs planted. The naval commandoes got close, very close, but they couldn’t get all the way up to the quaysides where the missile boats were docked. There was security netting and sensors on the bottom. The special charges were large and heavy to move about. In addition, the submersible vehicles which transported personnel and cargo had to be carefully manoeuvred.

    It was left to the water to do most of the work, that water violently disturbed as it was by the nuclear explosions.


    Partially submerged submarines were thrown about where they lay tied up to the quayside. Internal damage was done and leaks were sprung. Some submarines had crews aboard, others didn’t. If the submarines weren’t outright destroyed or sunk at their moorings, then they weren’t going to be putting to sea for some time to come.

    The bombs had used a specially-designed enhanced radiation casing. Far more radiation was released than would have been the case had they been ordinary bombs. That radiation mixed with the water through about on the surface and up into the air: steam radiation followed the bombings.

    Damaging or destroying submarines was the primary but not the only purpose of the attacks. The intention was to kill those working at the naval bases and make the whole area hazardous to use afterwards in the short- & long-term. The submarines wouldn’t be able to be immediately repaired nor could others use the extensive facilities at these sites to load SLBMs.


    There should have been a fourth blast.

    A bomb was placed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii as well, where more strategic missile submarines were based. This was the other Pacific station along with Bangor.

    The commandos put the bomb where it was meant to be, made their escape and cowered in their hide waiting for the big bang. It would have taken out of action many submarines as well as a significant portion of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet too: two for the price of one!

    There was no nuclear blast in Hawaii. The bomb didn’t go off for reasons unknown. That would have an unforeseen long-term affect through the conventional conflict which would soon follow across the Pacific Ocean.

    Pearl Harbor didn’t get Pearl Harbor-ed.





    One Hundred & Twenty–Four

    Two regiments of missiles serving with the Strategic Rocket Forces had been transferred from Eastern Europe to Cuba and then onto Mexico via Honduras in the past couple of months. The missiles, their launch vehicles, the whole mobile support network for them to operate plus all of the personnel involved had meant a major undertaking to move halfway across the globe. It had been a repeat of the 1962 Operation Anadyr though on a smaller but more difficult scale.

    Those missiles sent ultimately to Mexico were those which the Soviets called the RSD-10 Pioneer.

    NATO called them the SS-20 Saber.


    When such missiles had been introduced into service and placed in East Germany, Western Europe had collectively messed their underwear in fright. They’d planned to deploy similar missiles of their own, pointing back at the Soviet Union. However, in an apparent vindication of his success in dealing with the Soviets, President Kennedy had (unilaterally) cancelled the GLCM and Pershing-2 deployments before going to East Berlin – having a little fun when he was there – and getting General Secretary Andropov to agree to removing the SS-20s from East Germany.

    Those missiles had only gone to Poland. From there, the whole of Western Europe had still been in range. Such a small thing was beside the point though in terms of diplomacy and politics.

    The SS-20s had caused all of the terror which they did because they were something so new and revolutionary in capability for the Soviets. They were intermediate-range ballistic missiles which were fully mobile and contained solid fuel leading to a very quick firing on command from a cold start. Their accuracy and range were far beyond anything which had come before them.

    Early versions of the SS-20 had a massive one megaton warhead: a beast of a weapon. The latest versions carried a trio of warheads each with a blast yield far smaller, that being one hundred and seventy-five kilotons. However, accuracy was improved along with the ability to have those warheads independently targeted when deploying from the missile body up in space. The SS-20 was a weapon which there were improvements and modifications constantly ongoing. Camouflage was upgraded to disguise the launch vehicle with its payload on the back to make it took like something else and there was also work on ‘nose-caps’ for the warheads to make them able to penetrate through the ground and explode at depth.

    The SS-20 had before been a semi-strategic weapon but became fully strategic with the improvements made. The regiments which went to Mexico were those which fielded the most recent upgrades with those improved warheads.


    SS-20s were fired from Mexico northwards.

    Eighteen missiles were shot into the sky from isolated sites among the valleys hidden in the mountains of Durango. From there, the whole of the mainland United States was within range.

    There were American radars and satellites pointed towards the Soviet Union itself looking for a bolt from the blue (bolt from the red?) missile attack. More radars covered the seas off the coasts of the United States including most of the Caribbean to guard against a SLBM strike. An extension to the PAVE PAWS network was planned with a station in Texas which would give complete coverage over the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific coast of Central America too.

    But there was a gap in coverage over Mexico. There was nothing to spot the launch of those missiles during their boost period and before the re-entry vehicles started dispensing their carried warheads from in space high above the United States.

    Fifty-four warheads rained down on a cluster of sixteen targets across the northwestern part of North Dakota.


    The 91st Strategic Missile Wing had one hundred and fifty Minuteman missiles – the LGM-30G version, the most-advanced ICBM operated by SAC – in individual silos spread far away from the wing’s base of operations at Minot Air Force Base. Ten missiles were under the control of each of the deep-buried launch control centres (LCCs) from where they would be fired on orders from the national command authority.

    The warheads from the SS-20s were targeted in a manner which no more than two warheads from each missile, and in most cases just one, fell upon an individual target. The aim was to make sure that any failure with a particular missile wouldn’t leave a target un-attacked. The target plot was complicated but doable: it was a complicated bit of mathematics including (the horror!) trigonometry.

    The fifteen LCCs and the airbase itself where the 91st Wing headquarters organisation was, plus a whole wing of B-52H Stratofortress’ too, were those targets.

    The Minuteman silos themselves were left alone.

    Sirens wailed across Minot minutes before the attack by the SS-20s reached fruition. There was a race to get B-52s which were on peacetime ground alert into the sky. Other personnel raced for shelters yet many did silently believe this was one of the regular test drills ran at Minot.

    Those in the LCCs got the same warning that NORAD was calling out inbound warheads falling towards North Dakota. Procedures to prepare the missiles for launch were undertaken: there was yet to come the order to fire the Minutemen ICBMs. They were still waiting for that when the nuclear explosions occurred above them.

    That attack warning had come from the US Navy. They had a system of radars based on land called the Space Surveillance System (SPASUR) which wasn’t in-place to detect missile launches but rather to monitor space itself on guard for warning of a previously-undetected attack as well as other tasks such as monitoring satellites. The SPASUR site at Laredo in Texas made the emergency call. A series of flash messages were sent to NORAD who passed them on to Minot and other places.

    The warning had come very late though.

    Straight afterwards, nuclear fire rained down on the United States with the explosions in North Dakota making a mockery of those which had occurred elsewhere in the scale and intensity of the blasts which occurred… plus the amount of fallout created.





    One Hundred & Twenty–Five

    Commando teams raided selected airbases home to aircraft operated by SAC at the same time as the nuclear strikes took place. Eight actions were planned though only six of these saw any measure of success.

    In Texas, Carswell and Dyess Air Force Bases (AFBs) were attacked. Spetsnaz detachments joined with larger Cubans strike teams to make multiple silent penetrations of the guard fences and then pour forward into the facilities. There were B-52s at each airbase, aircraft which had the task of flying towards the Soviet Union or Cuba and blasting them with nuclear weapons which the Stratofortress’ carried.

    Eaker AFB in Arkansas was home to more B-52s while there were KC-135 Stratotankers airborne refuelling aircraft stationed at McConnell AFB in Kansas. Further B-52s were at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, at Grand Forks AFB in North Dakota (not that far from the destroyed Minot AFB) and across Michigan at both Sawyer and Wurtsmith AFBs. It was Cubans who again formed the bulk of the attack forces at these sites too though there were again some Soviet commandos with them.

    Some of those Spetsnaz had to wonder how soon nuclear warheads would fall down atop of them as they went into action…


    The strike teams blasted their way into action using assault rifles, grenade-launchers and satchel charges. Much training had been given to the Cubans chosen for this task though there was far too much eagerness in them for the Soviet’s liking. Most of their ammunition was fired off first, allowing the men to move quicker, but in the wrong fashion. Targeted aircraft were hit once then twice and even three times when just the once would have done the job of knocking them out of action. As they went forwards with the (conventional) back-pack charges to blow up more aircraft, they often couldn’t defend themselves enough against a fast-recovering enemy.

    The firepower unleashed upon the B-52s and KC-135s damaged and destroyed plenty of aircraft. Some blew up, others burnt while more were riddled with bullet-holes. Aircrews and ground personnel joined the effort in fighting back led by Air Force Security Police units yet the attackers were running around everywhere. There were many instances of friendly fire on both sides.

    The Cubans were worn down soon enough and not many were able to join the Soviets who had fast began to depart each attacked site. There were distant rally points to reach and the Spetsnaz led the way towards them. If the Cubans couldn’t keep up, that was too bad.

    Airbases were littered with dead men – Americans, Cubans and some Soviets – and a lot of aircraft were out of action. There was chaos and confusion when the attacks came to an end with efforts made to chase after those fleeing. There were also fast moves made to get what undamaged aircraft there were ready to fly. What bombers and tankers could get up in the sky would do so, then they would find out what was going on.


    Carswell, Dyess, Grand Forks, McConnell, Sawyer and Wurtsmith were where the Cubans had their successes. Nearly fifty B-52s were in temporary or permanent non-flying condition along with more than a dozen tankers.

    The strike force for the Eaker mission was cut to ribbons by the defenders with the Security Police alerted the very last minute by a mistake made during the infiltration. Those Cubans were bunched up and shot up at their main cut in the wire and while there were smaller infiltrations elsewhere, the attackers had none of their planned surprise. A trio of B-52s were hit regardless by RPGs which were fired from distance, but Eaker was a failure overall with immediate mass flight operations of the rest of the wing of bombers taking place.

    As to Barksdale, no attack was made. There was a detailed plan for the strike team to assault the facility and blow up the bombers there as well as killing whomever they could, but in the early hours of the morning, two of the safehouses being used by the Cubans in Bossier City were raided by the FBI. They were looking for armed robbers who surveillance on the Cubans had thought them to be. The Cubans fought back with deaths and injuries occurring among them along with the FBI and local police. There were a few live prisoners taken yet they weren’t revealed as being Cuban military personnel in the short time available. There were other Cubans not caught up in that and neither had been the Soviets, but with so many men (and so many weapons) lost, the Barksdale strike was called off.


    Those SAC aircraft which were knocked out of action from those airbases joined more from further sites across the nation in receiving emergency go-orders. There were plenty of undamaged elements of America’s airborne strike arm left after the commando attacks plus those lost at Ellsworth and Minot in the nuclear attacks there as SAC had a lot of operating stations.

    The B-1A Raiders were atomised but there were B-52s (the G & H versions) up along with the FB-111As as well. All had short-range nuclear missiles, long-range conventional-armed cruise missiles – what good were they? – and free-fall bombs.

    Holding stations were reached quickly when the aircraft were in the sky.

    They awaited attack orders.





    One Hundred & Twenty–Six

    President Ted Kennedy was in the White House and at work in the Oval Office on the behalf of the American people when the United States suffered the Soviet nuclear strike on September 17th, 1984. He died there, one of so many innocent victims of the deceitful, sneak attack unleashed on one country by another when neither were officially at war.

    That was the historically correct version and it was generally true.

    Kennedy was in his official residence and place of work when the nuclear attack was made against Washington. He was meeting with the leadership of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at the time when the fall-out from the newspaper leaks several days before were being discussed rather than matters of state. The DNC was trying to talk through a solution to his woes in his election campaign as they pledged to support him: they hadn’t told him they expected to lose the White House to the Republicans and were so concerned about other Congressional races they were telling candidates to distance themselves from Kennedy or face a loss too.

    None of that mattered when the thermonuclear blasts occurred in and around Washington DC.


    There had been regular flights of Soviet military aircraft between Cuba and the Soviet Union which took place long before the build-up ready for the attack, going back decades in fact. Aircraft flew both ways from transports to maritime patrol aircraft to giant bombers. No regular pattern was followed in this. Quite often, those Soviet aircraft especially in the form of those which were warplanes, flew close to the United States when they didn’t have to either heading to Cuba or home. The Americans would watch them and on the majority of occasions send up fighters to give a friendly escort or run a mock attack.

    The Tupolev-95 Bear which had left Cuba earlier in the morning and headed north had been met in the sky by a pair of F-16s from Florida. The US Air Force came to say hello to the transiting aircraft. They flew close by and made a pleasant radio call which was strangely left unanswered. Eyes were all over the Bear and there was no sign of any weapons carried under the wings. The bomb-bay was closed though – as standard – and no look could be gained inside there.

    Shadowing continued for some time as the Bear then moved far out over the North Atlantic heading away from the United States. The F-16s made another unanswered radio call, just saying hello, before they turned back for Florida. Other radars continued to track the Bear.

    The world was still at peace at that point.

    Southeast of Bermuda, more than a thousand miles away from Washington, the bomb-bay opened up. This Bear was the new Tu-95MS6 version of the long-serving bomber and half a dozen cruise missiles were deployed from the internal rotary launcher, one after the other. Those six missiles were what the Soviets called the Kh-55: NATO knew such a weapon as the AS-15 Kent.

    The Bear stayed on course. It didn’t need to make a turn on a dramatic attack mission.

    The missiles had gone low over the water once their rocket-motors kicked in with the AS-15s heading northwest, their destination being the Washington area. They arrived at 1000hrs local time, as the other strategic attacks took place elsewhere in the country in different time zones.


    One AS-15 with its two hundred kiloton warhead exploded directly above Andrews AFB in Maryland.

    Another blew up in the sky just short of Camp David also in Maryland: it too had streaked in low and under radar cover until the very last moment.

    The third cruise missile failed to detonate properly above Fort Meade with the warhead not arming and thus there was no nuclear explosion, sparing Maryland a third nuclear hit.

    Virginia was struck by a AS-15 when the CIA headquarters at Langley was blown to smithereens.

    Washington was targeted by two more missiles fired from that Bear which was long gone. Congress was one target in the city and the White House the other: one AS-15 with a warhead of the size used would have done the job alone but two made certain of the destruction wished for. Both exploded low over the city which was the United States’ capital with no warning preceding them in terms of sirens nor attempts at evacuation. Kennedy, much of the government and Congress (both houses were in session), plus all those civilians, were below the twin detonations above them.

    *​

    The Soviets tried to get Lloyd Bentsen as well.

    The Vice President was in the Mid-West, visiting Kansas City in Missouri among other places. He was on the campaign trail with other cities to make stops in for speeches, fundraisers and other events. It just so happened that Kansas City is where he was at the time allotted for the attack: otherwise it could have been St. Louis, Cincinnati or Lexington which was destroyed.

    There was the use of a nuclear-armed man-portable weapon again and it blew up right in the heart of Kansas City. The GRU officer tasked with its detonation set his bomb to explode before fleeing and with the knowledge that there was another one put in-place by another GRU officer a few streets away. The first bomb eliminated the second one but the lone blast of sixteen kilotons was more than enough to turn much of Kansas City into a field of glass.

    However, the bomb missed Bentsen.


    The exact information on where the vice president was at the detonation time was incorrect. Bentsen was running late to get to a televised event that morning and was outside of the city. It was his advance team which was hit. The two undercover agents working inside the United States and shadowing their target had been given the run-around all morning by a Secret Service detachment with the vice president who disguised the movements of their principle. There years beforehand, Jerry Brown had been ‘lost’ by the Secret Service and they feared another gunman taking shots at Kennedy or Bentsen.

    In trying to confuse would-be domestic gunman, they unintentionally fooled a pair of Soviet nationals with their nuclear bombs.

    Those who lived in Kansas City paid the price for that though.


    Bentsen was whisked away from the edges of the destroyed city ahead of his small convoy of vehicles. There was a rapid return to Kansas City International Airport and a dash to where Air Force Two was located.

    That aircraft was sitting in an isolated part of the airport with the engines running as the vice president was helped aboard rather abruptly by the agents with him. He, like everyone else, couldn’t help but take a glance while doing so down towards where Kansas City had once been. There was a hurried call to get moving and a polite shove, but Bentsen saw where he should have been and what had happened to that place.

    In record time, Air Force Two – today a VC-140B, a converted Lockheed Jet Star used for the short hops in the Mid-West – was airborne. Onboard, the vice president who’d soon become the president instead, was told one piece of shocking news after another. Air Force Two had communications links but they weren’t the best. News came through in bits and the full weight of the world was soon on Bentsen’s shoulders. Once Washington was confirmed as being hit, meaning Kennedy was dead, there was even more urgency with the flight being made as Bentsen needed to change aircraft as the little biz-jet didn’t have the command-&-control facilities which others did.

    One of those horrific incoming pieces of news came from the Pentagon. It was still standing, left unmolested by nuclear attacks which had hit elsewhere. The Hot Line was active ten minutes after the first bombs had gone off. The Soviets weren’t trying to talk to Kennedy nor Bentsen, but ‘President O’Neill’.

    The Speaker of the House was dead though, killed in Washington. The Soviets would instead be dealing with Bentsen, a man who they’d just come very close to murdering.
     
  2. James G writing Red Dawn isn't easy Donor

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Hull: where that culture has departed from
    One Hundred & Twenty–Seven

    Lloyd Bentsen was sworn in as the forty-first president by Ken Rothman, the lieutenant governor of Missouri. Rothman, a Democrat while his governor was a Republican, had been at the airport outside of Kansas City to meet with the then vice president for his campaigning and shoved into Air Force Two with him during the emergency lift-off. There had been a strong protest from Rothman, but the agent-in-charge of Bentsen’s Secret Service detail had had the presence of mind to force him aboard because he was an elected official and just might be needed after a nuclear blast destroyed Kansas City. That was a snap decision but showed excellent judgement as far as everyone else was concerned.

    All Rothman wanted to do afterwards was return to his native Missouri to help those back there who would need it. He was a passenger aboard what became Air Force One afterwards as it headed towards Illinois with no choice in that matter for him.


    The Jet Star had taken off without waiting for clearance from the tower crew to be fully sent. The pilot and co-pilot of the little VC-140B had already been rolling and shot away as fast as possible when the tower started replying to their message to ask if the sky was clear of incoming aircraft. No flight-plan had been filed: they had decided to go northwards because it was the opposite way from where Kansas City had once been.

    Once airborne, Air Force Two had received multiple messages from several sources. The aircraft was outfitted with an effective communications system which – like the aircraft’s flight systems – was protected against the electromagnetic effects of a small nuclear blast like which the aircraft had been near too (especially a ground burst one). NORAD inside Cheyenne Mountain, the SAC bunker underneath the destroyed Offutt AFB, the watch centre within the Pentagon and the airborne Looking Glass nuclear control aircraft were fast all seeking to gain the full attention of Bentsen after they had no contact with Washington. The White House Military Office was silent and the reports from the damaged Pentagon spoke of detonations across the river.

    They told Bentsen that Kansas City wasn’t alone and that the United States had suffered a surprise nuclear attack. The culprit was the Soviet Union.


    NORAD had watched those warheads fall across North Dakota without seeing a series of missile launches that should have come with them. Offutt had been blown apart with no one in the bunker there knowing what exactly had happened above them. Defence Secretary John Glenn was in the National Military Command Centre, known as The Tank, saying he was alive but so many there at the Pentagon weren’t while DC was gone. From the Looking Glass, the general aboard there was marshalling United States nuclear strike assets and asking for orders.

    The vice commander of SAC (his superior had been above ground) was the first one to call Bentsen ‘Mister President’ before Glenn asked Bentsen if there was someone who could swear him in: when that was confirmed, Glenn said that all indications were that Kennedy was certainly dead and he needed to take the oath of office now.

    With the image of what he’d left behind at Kansas City still in his mind, Bentsen had done so. He hadn’t shrunk from the duty which had fallen on him but he truly hadn’t wanted it.


    The whole sequence of events with the attack wasn’t exactly clear.

    Nuclear blasts had taken place over the period of two minutes at the most and there had been no more since. Offutt was reporting that there were reports coming in from several SAC airbases nationwide of firefights on the ground at them consistent with commando attacks yet that still needed confirming.

    Once he was holding the office of president officially, Bentsen was told that there were no missiles in the sky that could be seen on radar screens coming towards the United States. However, NORAD hadn’t seen the others, those which had struck Minot and the surrounding area. The immediate thinking with the majority of the nuclear attacks was that they had come from man-portable devices: that included what had hit Washington.

    SAC headquarters at once wanted to send American aircraft and missiles towards the Soviet Union in retaliatory strike straight away with the impatient general on the line saying that valuable time was being wasted! His fellow general aboard the Looking Glass said more or less the same thing. There would be more attacks coming, this strike had only just begun, and now was the time to fire back. The third general, the one inside Cheyenne Mountain, wanted a little time for confirmation of what had hit the United States including the reported blasts at Charleston and Groton (the report from Bangor had yet to come in) and reminded everyone on the line that no missile tracks were being detected: the moment they were, there could be a return of fire then. However, he suggested to the new president that they really should wait to get Bentsen somewhere far more secure too. There was a VC-137C – one of the aircraft usually used as Air Force One – at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio (there to support Bentsen while he was using the smaller jet for local flights) and that was getting airborne ready to link up with Bentsen in Illinois: the VC-140B carrying the president should connect with it at Peoria. The wait would also allow for more of the US strategic arsenal to move from peacetime alert to wartime readiness than it already was. Then would be the time to strike, if the president chose to.

    The two other generals argued with the third. There was no time to waste! Feeling he was getting nowhere listening to them, Bentsen contacted Glenn.

    The defence secretary said that with Washington gone, killed with Kennedy was most of the cabinet – Secretary of State Mondale among them – and much of Congress with Tip O’Neill and the president pro tempore there when the city was blown apart. The Supreme Court, government departments, the FBI headquarters… the list was endless of what had been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands would be dead or soon to be when the fallout from there and other nearby nuclear strikes – Andrews, Camp David and Langley – settled across Maryland, Virginia and further. The Soviets were sending messages over the Hot Line into the Pentagon addressed to the deceased speaker of the house requesting contact to be made with him, clearly believing they had assassinated Bentsen too and not realising they had gotten O’Neill.

    With what had been done to Washington and the assassination of the country’s president, let alone everything else, a response had to be made. Glenn expressed the view that there was no time to wait for a counterstrike which the Soviet attack demanded. More attacks made with undetectable means of delivery could come and the Soviets had to be stopped from making any more by the only means necessary: that being to send the Politburo an unmistakeable message to cease them.

    Glenn only recommended what exactly should be done. It was up to Bentsen to make the actual decision as he was now the president and had ultimate authority.


    Bentsen gave the order for an Ohio-class submarine which was in the Bering Sea to launch a Trident strike on the Soviet Union.

    USS Florida would target Leningrad and military sites around it in a direct reply to what had happened to Washington. Then, only then, would Bentsen have responses sent over the Hot Line the other way.

    Once that order was confirmed, Bentsen said a silent prayer. He prayed for all of the dead, including his family which had been in Washington, and for this all to end.





    One Hundred & Twenty–Eight

    The Florida launched its Trident missile from beneath the cold waters of the Bering Sea.

    Rising upwards after being ejected by compressed air from the launch tube, the Trident broke the surface and the rocket motor kicked-in. Its speed was dramatically increased and it climbed higher and higher into the sky before leaving the earth’s atmosphere. The missile was soon no longer above the Bering Sea but the Arctic Ocean instead as it tipped over. The lower missile body, which had given the boost to reach such heights, had long fallen away leaving the missile bus which was on a sub-orbital trajectory taking it above the top of the globe. Minute course corrections were made before the nose cone of the Trident was detached.

    Eight bullet-shaped re-entry vehicles were exposed. They were pointed at the correct destinations as they were set to hit and then the remains of the missile started firing them one after another towards those. Once finished with those, the Trident was now useless and what was left of the missile started the process of de-orbiting.

    Those re-entry vehicles were individually targeted at locations in and around the Soviet city of Leningrad. They each carried a W76 warhead with a blast yield of one hundred kilotons.

    From the Florida, which was awaiting the order to launch the other twenty-three Tridents carried, those falling re-entry vehicles couldn’t be seen. They were seen by multiple radar platforms though: those of the United States and the Soviet Union plus several of their allies. The Soviets knew they were coming and the Americans didn’t need to send the order to the Florida to fire another missile; others watched in absolute horror.

    Across Leningrad – known as Saint Petersburg and Petrograd before being named after the USSR’s founder –, emergency sirens wailed in the last seconds that the city had of existence.


    It was twenty-one minutes before seven o’clock in the evening when instant sunshine came to the Leningrad Oblast.

    The airbase at Lodeynoye Pole located east of the city near the shores of Lake Lagoda was hit first. Lodeynoye Pole airbase was home to a regiment of MiG-23 interceptors while the town right beside it was a transport hub for rail & canal traffic. Then the nuclear detonation occurred to put an end to all of that.

    Three targets for the Trident’s warheads were on the Karelian Peninsula, right next to Finland. Those were the army base at Kamenka which was home to a division of troops, the extensive garrison for air defence missile systems & associated support at Zelengorsk and the shipyards at Primorsk which were on the Gulf of Finland. The strikes on Kamenka and Zelengorsk were wholly successful though the attack on Primorsk was a failure with the incoming warhead smashing into the water a dozen or so miles off and no nuclear explosion occurring.

    Much closer to Leningrad itself, the barracks complexes at Pushkin and the famous Kronstadt naval base were targeted. The first was a complete success with Pushkin destroyed. Kronstadt wasn’t directly hit were it was meant to be with the nuclear explosion taking place a mile and a half away from where it should have been (at the wrong end of the little island) and much lower in altitude as well. Still, Kronstadt was just as much of a ruin as Pushkin was with the fireball and blast effects.

    Leningrad itself was hit by the final two warheads of the eight deployed. This was meant to be a military attack, a counter-value strike, so the actual targets were military installations… those being inside the city. One W76 exploded above the headquarters building for the Leningrad Military District; the over in the sky over what was identified as the city’s KGB headquarters where their paramilitary force was housed. This little bit of legal fiction was there to justify the extermination of three quarters of a million of Leningrad’s citizens.


    Infrared sensors aboard a DSP satellite detected the particular flashes from the seven blasts over the Soviet Union and confirmation was sent to NORAD where the satellite’s equipment was being monitored from.

    NORAD passed that confirmation of success onwards to Bentsen.

    Only now was he ready to respond to Soviet attempts at communication over the Hot Line.





    One Hundred & Twenty–Nine

    The Hot Line wasn’t a red telephone so beloved of the movies.

    There was a teletype system in-place to connect the Kremlin with the Pentagon using a satellite link-up. At each end, teleprinters were used to compose and receive messages sent from one end to the other. The system was in regular use with hourly tests run and greetings exchanged at the new year. Staffs working at each end translated written messages sent in the native tongue of those sending them. It was a relatively fast means of communication between the two superpowers and was designed to lower the risk of a nuclear war ever breaking out through an accident or misunderstanding.

    There were, of course, other means of communication between the leaders of the two superpowers: they could just speak to each other directly in person or over a telephone link. However, the Hot Line was in operation because it was thought to be the best way to reduce tensions in a crisis so that direct shouting matches couldn’t commence nor could there be hasty mistranslations done with verbal communications.

    The Hot Line was meant to slow things down, to get people to think before they acted.


    Fifteen minutes after the Soviet attack had commenced, the Soviets had sent a message over the Hot Line addressed to ‘President O’Neill’. They asked him to reply and stated an intention to talk on how to end the conflict which had begun the two of them so as to spare the ‘unnecessary loss of any more innocent lives’. The Pentagon hadn’t suffered a nuclear attack like Washington had and therefore allowing for the delivery of that communication sent in the name of General Secretary Aliyev. They expected that the speaker of the house of representatives would be elsewhere when the attack came, not in Washington where Congress was in session because they had intelligence to say he wouldn’t be, and that the message would be fast delivered to him wherever he had been whisked to safety. They wanted to get him talking and have him think before he acted. Killing Tip O’Neill wasn’t what they had intended.

    When John Glenn read that opening message and then a second identical one repeated a few minutes later, he understood what the Soviets were up to. He was with the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in The Tank – the chairman had been quite ill for the past week; that was now seen for what it was as he wasn’t the only one in Washington on death’s door with ‘the flu’ before the attack – and both agreed that the survival of Bentsen wasn’t part of the Soviet plan. When in contact with the new president, Glenn said that the first reply sent over the Hot Line back to the Kremlin should openly state that they were dealing with Bentsen and not O’Neill. Another recommended course of action from the defence secretary was that the reply should be sent the moment that the retaliatory strike against Leningrad was confirmed to have been successful.

    *​

    Bentsen’s reply was crafted by him and Glenn.

    Aboard (what was now) Air Force One with him, the new president only had one political aide, a small army of Secret Service men, the military officer with the nuclear briefcase and the distraught lieutenant governor of Missouri present. There was no one else on-hand to assist him there as would usually be the case with the president and conditions aboard the little Jet Star were quite cramped. Glenn’s input from the Pentagon was vital as far as Bentsen was concerned. Bentsen spoke through the radio link which connected him from the VC-140 to the VC-137 on the way to meet him in Illinois, with the latter aircraft then relaying that directly onto the Pentagon. From inside The Tank, sealed against the outside world, Glenn made suggestions to improve the wording & intent of what Bentsen wanted to say while the president listened and either agreed or disagreed with those. The message to be then transcribed into the teleprinters was done so by the enlisted personnel with Glenn and sent on command when the confirmation from Leningrad came.

    The Soviets were told they were in contact with President Lloyd Bentsen. Their attack nuclear against the United States had been met with an appropriate response to that and conducted in the same manner as theirs had been: without warning and with the use of thermonuclear weapons against a major city. Bentsen informed Aliyev that the United States had no wish for any further conflict between the two countries to occur. If the Soviet Union wanted to talk about a mutual nuclear ceasefire, the United States was willing to do so… only now after Aliyev could understand how the United States would respond to nuclear attacks made against it and its people.


    The Soviets hadn’t expected the United States to return fire. Their strikes were designed to cripple (not outright destroy) command-&-control of the Americans nuclear capability by focusing on people control rather than the systems designed with multiple back-ups to ensure that no attack would disable everything. The Americans had nuclear weapons all over the world yet their use was centralised among people at the very top: all of whom were civilians. There had been a warning that might not work but even then, if the United States made a counterattack, a limited and localised strike was thought to be the most that would happen, one which would be unauthorised too. The belief was that the Americans relied upon their deterrent value of their weapons and would never make the decision to really use them with thought put into that.

    The thinking was shown to be quite mistaken when Leningrad was eliminated.

    The Politburo wasn’t in the Kremlin. They (plus their immediate families) had departed from the city in the hours leading up to the attack and assembled at a military command bunker beneath the Ural Mountains. The evacuation wasn’t because they feared a return nuclear strike… no, or course not: it was just the sensible thing to do. When there, the Defence Council only – a sub-committee of the Politburo itself – received the message sent first to the Kremlin and onwards to them. What at first seemed like a lie about Leningrad was within seconds confirmed to be true: the Americans had known first about the destruction of a Soviet city. Major parts of the plan here had gone wrong but there was no acceptance of those facts such as they were dealing with Bentsen and that the Americans had retaliated with a major counterstrike.

    An argument over what to do was stopped in its tracked by Aliyev, urged on by Chebrikov and Ustinov who said that there was no time for this, and the pre-drafted message which the Defence Council planned to send was dispatched with only cosmetic changes. All of that well-crafted work to push the right psychological buttons couldn’t be thrown away regardless of what had changed. The plan was the plan.


    Now it was ‘President Bentsen’ who the return message was sent to.

    General Secretary Aliyev was informing the United States’ new leadership that nuclear weapons had been used because it was a necessary defensive measure to counter the aggressive intentions of the previous leadership in Washington. The United States had been openly planning to destroy the ‘Mexican Revolution’ and attack ‘fraternal, independent countries’ assisting that sovereign country dealing with an internal counter-revolution. This action had been taken because there was no other choice in the matter.

    There was no wish on the part of the Soviet Union for any further nuclear weapons to be used anywhere in the world by any nation. The Soviet Union would though, once again, if the United States saw fit to use theirs. The United States should be aware that there were further missiles in-place in Mexico along with more in ‘other places’. Furthermore, the Soviet Union had man-portable nuclear weapons at their disposal too.

    Bentsen and Glenn again crafted a reply between them to send to this series of outrageous excuses and thinly-veiled threats.


    The Defence Council was told in the American reply that the United States would retaliate in kind to any more nuclear attacks. Bentsen was saying too that he reserved the right to make a disproportionate response as well against the Soviet Union or its allies if that was necessary. There was a desire for a nuclear ceasefire, a mutual agreement not to attack each other once again with nuclear weapons.

    What the Americans then wanted was a public concession of fault on behalf of the Soviet Union for instigating a nuclear conflict which had killed countless innocent Americans. There would be compensation paid for public and private property damage with the ‘unprovoked’ Soviet attack as well, set at a fair amount by an international body which both sides could agree to supervise that. There would then be, the safe return from inside Soviet borders of United States diplomatic personnel and any civilians which might be present; the Americans would try to locate the bodies of the Soviet Union’s own diplomats, if they could find them among the ruins of the Soviet Embassy.

    Some tinkering was done with the pre-written response to this, but it generally remained the same as drafted. Bentsen – who should have been dead! – made threats yet the same had been expected from O’Neill too. It was human nature to try to lash out in such a manner, especially from a position of weakness. The Defence Council was still busy trying to make some sense of the reports from Leningrad at this time because what had happened there couldn’t be that bad, could it? They had their reply sent off.


    Glenn expressed shock at the speed which the Soviets replied. He read out the message which had been sent to Bentsen and it was the president who said it sounded as if it had been pre-written… that was probably the case with the others too. That aside, the gist of the last communication sent over the Hot Line left them (any others listening in) quite stunned by what the Soviets were saying.

    The Soviets had previously mentioned Kennedy’s planned intervention in Mexico with the call for a security zone in that nation. They were now saying that they intended to do just that on the other side of the US-Mexican border. Soviet forces were ‘moving forward’ to establish a ‘pro-active rampart against aggression’. There would be other security zones established in other unspecified areas. American forces could fight and be defeated where they stood or withdraw ahead of advancing Soviet and ‘other fraternal forces’. The Mexican Revolution would be defended.

    An invasion was what they were talking about! An invasion! Really?

    There were so many questions that both the president and the defence secretary had. With him inside The Tank, those military officers with Glenn at once fast moved to make contact with other elements of the US military which weren’t on nuclear alert but on general alert as per standing orders.

    Bentsen tried to push the images out of his mind of his native Texas and focus on the big picture of what was happening to the country. Glenn was from Ohio but he was an American foremost and his mind was too filled with ideas over what would happen when the Soviet Army rolled into the Border States. The vice chairman questioned what army were the Soviets talking about: there wasn’t meant to be one there otherwise this war would have commenced some time ago and in a very different manner.

    A further reply was dictated and sent.


    The Americans said that they would fight to defend every inch of their territory from any and all invaders. They would repel an attempt to infringe upon the sovereign territory of their country and that of their allies.

    Nothing in that communication was unexpected by the Defence Council. Chebrikov told Aliyev and the others that O’Neill would have said the same thing. It didn’t matter what they said: the reality was going to be different.

    Off to the Pentagon was sent the final reply.


    Bentsen was told that the Soviets declared that the United States would find that it had very few allies to fight with and wouldn’t be able to defend them let alone themselves. The United States could fight if it wished to make that foolish error and the only result would be total defeat of such efforts. In addition, those forces establishing the security zone inside America would be fast among American civilians: the United States should take care to consider this if it choose to use nuclear weapons because their safety would be dependent upon that.

    Finally, Aliyev informed Bentsen at the end of his message that Soviet and Soviet-allied forces were already moving into the United States.

    Bentsen, Glenn and everyone else at the various ends of the line saw everything now in a whole new light. There was no determination to do anything but fight though.

    What else could be done?





    One Hundred & Thirty

    A conflict has arisen between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States.

    We have used nuclear weapons to pre-emptively defend ourselves. We have no wish for a conflict with you, one which see the same fate befall your cities and your people. We have deployed our nuclear weapons though undetectable means in the conflict we have with the Americans.

    Our armies are entering the United States now to secure our security. We urge you not to ally yourselves with the Americans. Communicate to us your intention of full neutrality and do so soonest.

    Any misunderstanding on this manner could see a repeat of the use of nuclear weapons.


    Different variants of this communique were delivered in far more diplomatic language across the world to governments upon the opening of the Soviet strike against the United States, those which weren’t direct allies of the Soviet Union.

    That was the basic message of them though.

    The threats were there as clear as day to countries from Western Europe, to South America, across the Middle East, through Africa, all around Asia and down to Australasia. Some countries which received this message were those that the Soviets were soon about to directly attack too: there would be other nations which a ‘conflict would arise with’ as the Soviet Union chose to put it.

    No regrets were spoken of and nor were there any expressions made of a desire for peace. Instead, sovereign nation states were being threatened with war – a nuclear war at that – if they didn’t declare their neutrality.

    Something else which was missing was the Big Lie. The Soviet Union didn’t claim it had been attacked: it said it had struck first. The thinking was that to say such a thing would be to admit weakness. Propaganda 101 was being re-written.


    Those countries which received those threats and demands were those which had embassies in Washington. They had citizens of theirs there and others inside the United States too. A very few governments knew at once that Washington was gone and while the others in the majority of cases didn’t, they were told by the Soviets that nuclear weapons had been used and had to presume only the worst for their citizens.

    This came atop of the refusal to blame the Americans and the threats of nuclear attacks being made against them if they didn’t do as the Soviets wished them to. The time demand was something else which caused instant hostility to those treated to such a method of diplomacy.

    No friends were won with this approach. It was almost as if the Soviets wanted the world to turn against them…

    …but if much of the world might have been of mind to, the American homeland had just been attacked like it had with nuclear strikes and an invasion was said to be taking place. The Soviets were saying that they were next if they didn’t do as demanded and declare that the fight had nothing to do with them. The Soviets didn’t tell those other countries to join them in the fight, just that they stepped away from conflict.

    Fear, pure terror in fact, was at once in the minds of national governments worldwide. Delusion set in among many leaders with the belief that if they did as was demanded of them and looked the other way, everything would all be alright in the end.


    The country-specific communiques were either delivered by government-to-government official telex links or in person with specifically-chosen diplomats dispatched ready to verbally give such message at a certain time. The latter option was used with important countries, ones which the Soviet Union didn’t want to go to war with unless it really had to. The language used in dealing with their leaders was not too threatening, but the intent remained in what was said.

    We will fight you all if we have to wasn’t what was said in those specific cases. There was an attempt in said to make those countries feel like they were the only ones who might be considered standing with the United States and therefore that would be the worst thing to do. There had been thought put into the approaches made and sometimes direct action taken as well with relatives of some important people – not national leaders themselves – taken hostage beforehand and mention made of their immediate freedom upon the neutrality of the nation concerned.

    It was all a brilliant plan meant to work.


    The countries which the Soviet Union didn’t wish to fight but still threatened action against and went to lengths to try to intimidate into inaction varied greatly.

    In Western Europe, there was France and West Germany considered important enough for special attention. Egypt, Israel and Turkey through the Middle East joined them. In Asia, it was only China, India and Japan which the Soviets considered to really matter. South America, Africa and Australasia weren’t approached in this manner either.

    Those countries which the Soviets were going to fight as well as the Americans, to attack them first regardless of the brisk, un-diplomatic communications made with them demanding their neutrality anyway, were another five around the world. Canada, Norway, Portugal, South Korea and the United Kingdom were going to be attacked… though not with nuclear weapons unless there was a later need to.


    This novel approach to international diplomacy was going to work in a lot of cases and fail miserably in many other instances.
     
  3. James G writing Red Dawn isn't easy Donor

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2012
    Location:
    Hull: where that culture has departed from
    One Hundred & Thirty–One

    There had been pathfinders and commandos active inside the United States since the first nuclear detonations had taken place. They had gone into action while the messages over the Hot Line were being sent back-and-forth. Advantage was taken of the peacetime alert status of the Americans and then the general confusion of the selective strategic strikes. Much of their activities were unnoticed away from the tactical level, even not noticed at all in other instances, and while some of the major operations underway were reported up the chain-of-command, they were at first thought to be related to that attempt to partially cripple the United States’ strategic offensive capabilities despite being in the wrong places.

    Then, the Soviets had declared that they were instead part of the establishing of their ‘security zone’ inside America to protect the Mexico Revolution from ‘aggression’.

    Preparing the ground ahead for the entry into the United States of a significant number of Soviet, Cuban and LACOM troops, boots on the ground as the Americans would say, was what those already inside America were doing. They weren’t saboteurs to knock the country off balance for any further nuclear attacks but the vanguard of an outright invasion. Their missions were high risk and casualties anticipated to be heavy, but they were to prise open the door… ready for the entrance to be then kicked in soon afterwards.

    *​

    The Soviet pathfinders dispatched came from the lone guards reconnaissance companies of three airborne divisions. These units had been significantly reinforced in number with the addition of another two platoons of men attached to each, almost doubling their strength. In the case of all of the officers and the vast majority of the non-commissioned officers, these men had all seen action before in either the wars in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq or Poland: plenty had seen action in more than one theatre of recent Soviet military activity. Those conscripts which they led were some of the very best men who wore the blue beret and the telnyashka. The missions assigned weren’t ones for those who didn’t know what they were doing nor could execute the demanding tasks set.

    Two more company-sized units of Cuban and Nicaraguan pathfinders (under Cuban control) were allotted landing tasks for an oversized brigade which would follow their lead. These men weren’t as highly-trained as the Soviet Desant units, but they were some of the best troops available. They’d seen action beforehand across Central America and up into Mexico as well.

    Upon command, the pathfinders descended from aircraft in selected regions of the United States: the Alaskan Panhandle, Colorado, New Mexico and South Texas.

    Civilian aircraft were used to make the assaults from. They were on cleared flights into the United States from Japan, South America and the Caribbean. The aircraft turned back after those men completed their jumps from them. The pathfinders undertook HALO parachute drops and fell through the skies towards the ground while nuclear explosions were going off very far away from where they were: the flashes in the sky were visible though, across the horizon. There were less than seven hundred men in total, clearing the way for a force of over twenty thousand from their parent divisions & brigades coming in over the next few days into the airheads which they established.


    The company from the Soviet 106th Guards Airborne Division which landed in the Alaskan Panhandle dropped near to the civilian airports at Haines and Skagway. The men opened their ‘chutes low and glided down to the ground outside of both small facilities. Some of them proceeded to drop radar & infrared beacons to guide in more men who would follow them; others moved against the airports to cut communications first before then taking over the control towers and civilian security offices. It was seven in the morning and the pair of airports were in use with flights expected to arrive and depart, small aircraft on local trips. They were both the scenes of sudden and brutal fire-fights between armed soldiers and anyone who was foolish enough to try to resist. Each was taken with the runaways themselves ready to receive some aircraft while the immediate surrounding areas were set to see the arrival of further paratroopers coming in soon afterwards.

    Cubans and Nicaraguans landed in Colorado. They set down in the central part of the state, among the Rocky Mountains to the west of Denver. Interstate-70 ran through the middle of Colorado as it went east-west and through the mountain passes at Floyd Hill and the Loveland Pass / Eisenhower Tunnel. Around the town of Floyd Hill after which the nearby pass through the mountains was named, the Cubans landed: there was some open ground around a school and its athletics ground where the invaders touched down. Nicaraguan pathfinders arrived at the ski resort which was on the eastern side of the continental divide and they fast established control around the whole area above & below ground. The Cubans and the Nicaraguans were soon in control of the immediate area though they were few in number and separated by some distance. There was a brigade of paratroopers & airmobile troops to follow them in because the Americans had a major garrison of troops also in Colorado. Their position was that which rested between the West Coast of the United States and the Great Plains and was sure to attract heavy enemy opposition fast enough. They were quick to set up their beacons around selected areas for that reinforcement... when it came.

    Away to the south, pathfinders from the Soviet 76th Guards Airborne Division landed in New Mexico near to the city of Albuquerque. Kirtland Air Force Base and Albuquerque International Airport shared the same runways though with separated areas for everything else. The pathfinders dropped all around the area. They set up beacons for the safe arrival of more men and also assaulted selected facilities ahead aiming to knock out communications and security. They fast got into one hell of a series of firefights from which they weren’t always emerging the winners. There was surprise as a big factor in their assault but Kirtland had been sent the emergency alert for wartime operations when the Soviets attacked the country. The security team there was fast rushing to combat posts as standing policy. They hadn’t expected Soviet paratroopers to be present yet they sure fought back where they could. The Desant troops had to withdraw from Kirtland’s facilities and to where the civilian airport was. A hurry with the incoming airdrop of more men was needed otherwise there was a good chance that taking ultimate control of the Albuquerque area, through which the east-west Interstate-40 ran, again linking two parts of the United States together, would be at risk.

    San Antonio was where more pathfinders arrived at, assaulting the air facilities which were located on the edge of the city ahead of incoming far numerous forces from the Soviet 103rd Guards Airborne Division. Kelly AFB, Randolph AFB and San Antonio International Airport were all prize targets for the incoming airborne assault which would follow the pathfinders. Those latter troops would fan out from San Antonio’s airheads ahead of ground forces which would follow them into South Texas. The pathfinders needed to open the way first. The airport was taken with ease and there was little resistance at Kelly; that wasn’t the case at Randolph. The aim was for a silent assault but it went wrong and the airbase came alive with gunfire. Few of the US Air Force personnel on-site had access to weapons at once, thankfully, but the Soviets present were shot-up and not in control of Randolph like their comrades at the two other sites were.

    *​

    The GRU controlled Soviet military Spetsnaz units. Those were lent to the Army and the Navy for operational taskings but still answered in the end to the GRU. Where they would operate in the United States in the commando role to open up the way ahead was something that they could veto and they did so with some of the initial planned tasks. Plenty of direct attacks were refused to be carried out as they were suicide missions and in addition, many flanking strikes to secure outlying targets were cancelled as well. The GRU expected to lose many men in what they were sent against yet there was so much else that could and therefore was to be done using aircraft and missiles rather than highly-trained and valuable men.

    Spetsnaz were active in Alaska, the eastern edges of California, through Arizona & New Mexico and across Texas. They were given strike missions which they were to stay in-place and hold what they took until the planned rapid arrival of ground forces or from where they could quickly withdraw from after they had done what they had come to do.


    In Alaska, there were naval Spetsnaz units which knocked out radar and radio stations in a few places but mainly secured the way for naval infantry units to arrive in the coming days. Kodiak on the island after which that town was named saw the place cut off from the outside world ahead of the soon-to-arrive civilian ship that was bringing in Soviet naval infantry. The same was done in Juneau where another method of disguise of a ship would bring in the first wave of men to be joined. Kodiak and Juneau were where the Spetsnaz would hold their ground awaiting immediate reinforcement whereas everywhere else in Alaska they conducted raiding missions before pulling out.

    Where the Colorado River was crossed by bridges along the state borders between California and Arizona, down between Yuma and San Luis, an area which straddled the US-Mexican border but where it ran horizontal not vertical, there were Spetsnaz units at those bridges. They took them ahead of incoming numbers of airmobile soldiers being brought up by troop transport helicopters. The Spetsnaz active here had made undetected crossings of the border long beforehand and hit from the American side, not the Mexican side. There were national guardsmen from California and Arizona in the area who resisted but this wasn’t a fight which they were ready for. The bridges were snatched and held ready to be used.

    Arizona and New Mexico were where the Spetsnaz conducted multiple raiding operations. They knocked out communications and conducted kill missions. At Davis-Monthan AFB, the US Air Force’s famous ‘Boneyard’, the security detachment there was killed. The local command posts for the US Border Force’s operations along the border with Mexico were hit as well, with operations mounted from inside the United States. National Guard command-&-control for their detachments near to the border were taken out too, though at quite the cost in a few places where intelligence upon the opposition’s ability to fight against a sudden assault had been wrong.

    And then there was Texas. They would call it ‘Spetsnaz Texas’ afterwards: or ‘Spetz-Tex’. There were a hell of a lot of operations undertaken across the state. Two attacking field armies, one Cuban and one Soviet, were moving across northern Mexico towards the border with Texas and were still some time off from reaching there, let alone crossing. The Spetsnaz in Texas focused on raids instead. They blew up bridges deep inside Texas to delay the movement of American troops. There were kill missions against civilian and military officials to cause command problems. Ammunition dumps exploded and so too did radio relay stations. At several airbases, the Spetsnaz teams there made stealth assaults to hit some aircraft with satchel charges and then get out fast.

    Texas erupted in gunfights. Texans from the national guard and the civilian State Guard fought back, on occasion putting to shame the resistance offered by stunned troops and airmen from the US Army and the US Air Force. Spetz-Tex would be a graveyard for plenty of Soviet commandos: so many died here without getting to their rally points and post-mission hides. Those few that did would have to wait some time for the invading forces to show up first.

    *​

    Red Dawn was underway but it was certainly not going to be a lightning invasion to get into the United States.

    Northern parts of Mexico were still the scene of continued fighting with the civil war there. Soviet, Cuban and LACOM forces hadn’t staged close to the US-Mexican Border and had to move up first.

    Soviet paratroopers were flying from Cuba, Guatemala and the Soviet Far East. The distances meant that those aircraft would take some time to arrive and needed to get through defences as well.

    There were also Soviet naval infantry units not on a few ships out ahead but mainly still waiting to sail from the Soviet Far East as well for voyages across the North Pacific.


    These attacks in America came alongside those which took place elsewhere, outside of the United States. The door was prised open in other places as well by men dispatched ahead to do their worst.





    One Hundred & Thirty–Two

    North Korea – personified by its leader Kim Il-sung – had no qualms about making extensive use of all of its special forces at once in highly-dangerous missions where their loss was almost certainly guaranteed without immediate support. Conservation of force for later missions, as had been the thinking on the part of the GRU, didn’t come into consideration when there was only one real mission.

    That was the liberation of the southern part of the Fatherland.

    North Korea’s commandos were thrown en mass in one giant assault into South Korea. Tens upon tens of thousands of them entered South Korea via air, sea and ground infiltration.


    American and South Korean military forces, plus South Korean civilians too, suffered under the wave of attacks which commenced an hour before the main North Korean assault went across the DMZ. Light aircraft deposited infiltrators and so did small boats and midget submarines along the coastlines. Tunnels which ran under the DMZ were exposed on the southern side when the first men poured out of them and into the attack.

    Raids commenced against military garrisons and airbases. Radar stations and signals posts were hit. Attacks struck naval stations with warships struck at when tied alongside piers. Command posts saw a flood of men enter them and start shooting everyone present. The civilian authorities were targeted too by the North Koreans who killed politicians and officials.

    They kept on coming, regardless of casualties inflicted upon them. American and South Korean servicemen gunned down many of these so-called elite commandos yet more showed up to take over the assault. The defenders of South Korea were left pinned down and in-place in the face of such a continued barrage of firepower directed against them from inside their own bases.

    The rest of the North Korea assault, the massed tank attack and an artillery barrage to end all artillery barrages, was coming soon enough.

    *​

    Keflavik on Iceland was the scene of a Spetsnaz attack to cripple the defensive capabilities of those there to defend themselves and Iceland too.

    Keflavik was a combined international airport as well as an airbase shared by the US Air Force operating F-4 Phantoms and the US Navy flying P-3 Orions. Soviet war-plans called for the use of Keflavik for their own purposes and the intention was to fly in a regiment of paratroopers from the 7th Guards Airborne Division (the rest of the division was split up to be used elsewhere) to secure it properly. Transport aircraft with the lead units of that regiment were on their way, though those ahead of them had to keep the Americans busy. There were more than a thousand American servicemen at Keflavik including a company of US Marines tasked with base defence.

    The Americans wouldn’t be pinned down and left inactive. They’d been taken by surprise and not everyone had immediate access to firearms, but those who could get to those, or fight with improvised weapons, did so. The Spetsnaz team was savaged by the fightback which took place. They fell backwards towards the aircraft shelters with the trapped F-4s inside with destruction caused to those fighters after seeing their line of retreat cut by US Marines. There’d been some hostages grabbed by the Spetsnaz during their retreat, wounded American airmen. Shouts were made that if those hostages were to be allowed to live, the Spetsnaz had to be allowed to leave.

    Expletives came back from the Americans to that.

    A stand-off commenced. Parts of Keflavik were in ruins but a lot wasn’t. The airbase was still usable and there were those transport aircraft coming in with a lot more Soviet troops ready to save the day.


    Along the coast of Norway, Soviet naval infantry was due to land at Andoya soon enough. The Norwegian airbase was identified as a key forward airhead for air warfare efforts over the North Atlantic just as Keflavik was. Naval Spetsnaz had been infiltrated first by submarine and they attacked Andoya aiming to allow for its seizure by the larger incoming forces behind them.

    The Norwegians were taken by complete surprise. They wanted to fight and win but just couldn’t. Most of their officers were dead and the invading soldiers attacking this afternoon had planned their assault well. They were inside the defences and eliminating them from within rather than striking from outside.

    Andoya was going to be lost once the first of the naval infantry proper showed up. The Spetsnaz not had the airbase effectively under their control but shut off connection from the island on which it sat to the outside too making sure that those very few who were still capable of fighting back were wholly on their own.


    Lajes Field in the Azores, which lay on the island of Terceira, was another airbase out in the North Atlantic which the Soviets aimed to seize. Like Iceland, it was somewhere that in American or American-friendly hands denied Soviet access to the ocean to send convoys across to the Western Hemisphere. Once they took Lajes Field, and flew their own aircraft from there, then it could be a different matter of whom would control the ocean. There were Portuguese defenders to be fought and they were rather highly as an opponent even if taken by surprise, but the Soviets really wanted control of Lajes Field and so took them on.

    A regiment of paratroopers – comrades of those sent to Iceland – would later be sent to join the Spetsnaz sent to take Lajes Field but those commandos would be on their own for some time first.

    They came out of a ship in the harbour nearby at Praia da Vitoria and also from a supposedly civilian aircraft coming up from Madeira, another Portuguese island in the North Atlantic. The small security force was attacked and the overrun in a vicious firefight before the assault team established control over the airport and set up blocking positions between Lajes Field and the local garrison. They didn’t have the numbers to last long in a fair fight but it wasn’t a fair fight which they intended to have. Those paratroopers were soon to join them. Before then though it was going to be a terribly lonely wait.





    One Hundred & Thirty–Three

    The Soviet Navy was ordered to take out the at-sea carrier groups of the US Navy at the commencement of the conflict. Instructions were sent that they were to be eliminated and sunk in deep water to strike an immediate and fatal blow to the United States. Practical considerations such as actual ability to do that, to take on and destroy such weapons of war in multiple parts of the world at the same time… well they didn’t matter.

    Sink them regardless, came the reply to protests: they are the capital ships of the Americans and there was a need to put them on the bottom of the ocean.

    Therefore, the Soviet Navy attempted to hit the five aircraft carriers which were on operational deployments using various means to do so. Aircraft and submarines would use missiles and torpedoes to try to knock them all out, in one swoop getting rid of more than a third of the fleet of carriers which the US Navy operated.


    In the Norwegian Sea, the Sierra-class submarine which had been tracking the carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower undertook what should have been a textbook attack to sink that warship. The Sierra sped ahead and in front of the course which the target was on before setting up ready for a barrage of torpedoes coming from her forward tubes. The manoeuvre was delayed due to the presence of the escorting warships with the Eisenhower sweeping the depths with their sonars though and the timeframe slipped slightly. The Sierra wasn’t ready in time to open fire exactly on H-Hour and the submarine’s captain could only hope that the message hadn’t been passed onto the Americans yet that the war had started. But it had. When the Sierra flooded her tubes, the Americans pounced the moment which they heard those unmistaken sounds. Depth charges and torpedoes targeted on the Sierra entered the water. The captain still gave the order to fire: he knew he would have one perfect shot and this was it. Four Type-65 torpedoes were ripple fired before the Sierra dived deep and started ejecting noisemakers as countermeasures.

    Two of those torpedoes hit the Eisenhower and two missed. The damage done was to the stern of the carrier. She had turned rapidly away when the submarine was detected but the range of the incoming torpedoes allowed them to catch up with her and strike her in the rear where her propellers were. Two more had been decoyed away but the two that hit did a heck of a lot of damage. The Eisenhower wasn’t going to sink with the damage done though there was an urgent need to reach a port once ad hoc temporary emergency repairs inside the ship were done. Bergen in Norway was chosen: it was close enough and a NATO country which the messages which came to the Eisenhower told the commanding admiral was going to be in this war and not declaring neutrality. Slow progress was then made towards Bergen with the time spent worrying whether the Soviets would attack again.

    As to that Sierra, it got away from the first American attack but only just. There was shock damage done from a blast from a nearby depth charge and the Sierra came back upwards to lessen the strain on the hull. The target had yet to be destroyed and the captain was trying to work out how to finish off the American carrier when everyone was now alerted. He didn’t need to worry about that. An escorting submarine with the Eisenhower had gotten a track on the Sierra and lined-up its shot carefully with a well-timed engagement. The Sierra defeated one torpedo with another fast-ejected noisemaker yet the other one got her. There was an explosion far beneath the surface and that was the end of the Sierra and all who sailed inside her.


    USS John F. Kennedy was in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, south of Cyprus and west of Israel. There were Soviet warships in their flotilla from the Black Sea nearby with which the US Navy had been playing shadow games with for weeks before the war started. The Kennedy had a big escort group and plenty of aircraft with here yet there really was a need for a second carrier to join her. Other crisis’ elsewhere in the world had delayed that though and it would prove fatal for the US Navy.

    The Soviets launched an immense missile attack from their warships.

    It was attack made with cruisers and destroyers firing their missiles the moment which they were in range of the Americans as their whole force turned and charged upon the Kennedy and those with her. There were large and small missiles coming in from the north and the east as the Soviets had moved their ships about fast right before they struck. Cruise missiles came first and then they were followed by shorter-range surface-to-surface versions: all carried anti-ship warheads. The Kennedy had some aircraft up on patrol and more were launched to put a return strike in, but the incoming barrage was something that couldn’t be stopped by getting a few warships in return: those were defended warships too, with barrages of SAMs lofted by them at their attackers.

    The Kennedy was hit more than half a dozen times. She burned fiercely. Multiple other warships with her were soon alight too, the rest had no choice but to take flight and live to fight another day. The Soviets lost three of their own ships with damage to another trio but they had achieved an almighty victory. The Mediterranean was no longer home to the US Navy. It would now be a Soviet lake with all of the implications which would come with that.


    Land-based missile-carrying aircraft – raketonosets – serving with Soviet Naval Aviation went after the pair of US Navy carrier groups near to the Korean Peninsula. There were Tu-16 Badgers, Tu-22 Blinders and Tu-22M Backfires carrying cruise missiles guided towards their targets by reconnaissance-rolled Tu-95 Bears.

    The USS Midway was in the Sea of Japan and in position pre-war to intimidate the North Koreans. She was not that far away from the Soviet coast and within reach of the Badgers and Blinders sent against her where they could carry many missiles for the short flight. Wave after wave of missiles were launched. The Midway had some of her F-4 Phantom fighters up and they tried to bring down the numbers of incoming missiles but there were far too many for them to go after: the raketonosets were all over the sky when they launched too, spreading out the targets for the Phantoms.

    Cruise missiles slammed into the Midway and many of her escorts. What few the Phantoms had got had been joined by some more hit with warship-launched SAMs but there had been far too many to intercept. The carrier went up in flames.

    As to the USS Carl Vinson, the Soviets weren’t successful. The bigger, newer carrier was in the East China Sea on its way to the Tsushima Straits. There were Bears out there looking for her, some of which had flown over North Korea and then come down the Yellow Sea. When the Vinson got the message that open warfare had commenced, her admiral instantly ordered the destruction of several Bears being tracked by radar at distance using F-14 Tomcats firing Phoenix missiles. The Vinson then took evasive action by reversing direction to head back south, making rapid course changes and filling the sky with electronic noise. What Bears were left couldn’t find her and were unable to guide in the Backfires that had come tearing across the sky to blow her apart like had been done to the Midway.

    The Vinson escaped.


    Two days out of Alameda in California, USS Enterprise was crossing the Pacific heading for the waters around the Korean Peninsula too. The carrier was moving at a good speed through the water and in the middle of early morning flight operations for standard air patrols. There had been the overnight detection of the echoes of a submarine nearby which the commanding admiral had made sure that those under his command were aware that he wanted tracked and given the rough treatment should it show its face.

    It did so. The Charlie-II-class missile submarine came almost to the surface and started firing off her arsenal of anti-ship missiles. Six of the eight carried were lofted (the other two had nuclear warheads and there were no orders to fire them) as the submarine dropped back down. The Charlie-II was very close to where her target was and in perfect shooting range. Helicopters from escorting warships with the Enterprise raced to drop torpedoes on the submarine before it got too deep. Meanwhile, there were those six missiles in the sky.

    One didn’t fully complete its firing sequence and fell to the surface of the Pacific. Another two were downed by SAMs with a fourth hit by shells from an anti-missile gun. The two others ignored all the other targets around as the brain in their computers focused solely on the one big target ahead: they struck the Enterprise.

    The carrier was hit hard but not fatally so. The explosions caused fires which damage-control parties were all over in record time. Part of the bow on the starboard side was destroyed and the other hit amidships also on the same side. There was internal damage done and some aircraft destroyed. The Enterprise would trail smoke behind her for some time as she headed in the other direction from where the Charlie-II avoided the torpedoes chasing it as it fled. While wounded, the Enterprise could still fight.


    The Soviet Navy had taken out two carriers, damaged two more and missed the fifth one. With other successes made against escorts, it was quite a victory when such a difficult challenge had been set to hit all of them at the same time when they were all over the globe.

    The Defence Council wouldn’t see it that way. Two successes weren’t five successes, were they?

    The Americans had more carriers. There were several at Pearl Harbor and San Diego in the Pacific while across in the Atlantic ports of Mayport and Norfolk there were more. When they came out to fight, the Soviets intended to engage them and throw everything that they had at them in attacks using as much of their warfighting assets as possible, especially using combinations of raketonosets and submarines in pitched battles.

    One of those engagements already being planned with only the waiting left. There were Blinders in Cuba waiting for the USS Saratoga to leave her Florida base of Mayport. The Saratoga had been being readied right before the war commenced to go down to the Caribbean; the Soviets hadn’t known what the hold-up was but it did give them more time to get ready. Those aircraft would be joined in the attack by a pair of submarines lying in wait to strike as well: an Akula-class attack submarine and an Oscar-class missile submarine too.

    There would be many more naval engagements in the war which had just started and certainly not restricted to Soviet anti-carrier operations. They had their own navy that wanted to use the world’s oceans and seas: while doing so, their opponents would be gunning for them too.





    One Hundred & Thirty–Four

    Transport aircraft were tasked to fly Cuban and Nicaraguan paratroopers from Mexico to Colorado. They would use a swathe of small airstrips where the brigade was staging from across northern Mexico and go up to Colorado, drop those men, fly back and repeat the process. There would be two big lifts of men and then a series of landings made as equipment & supplies was brought into little airheads where the transports – rough-field capable aircraft – could use. It was supposed to be easy and not too costly.

    How is ‘not too costly’ defined for those involved when their lives are at stake?

    An-12s made those flights. The propeller-driven Cubs were laden with men and sent northwards to air-drop their human cargoes over the Rocky Mountains west of Denver. There were radar beacons to assist the aircrews and infrared beacons for the paratroopers to use for their own guidance. There was no great fleet of aircraft all gathered together flying high in the sky but rather individual aircraft on separate courses flying at medium altitude and going pretty damn fast. They went through the sky tearing towards Colorado after crossing the US-Mexico Border over New Mexico. There were other aircraft in the sky in the form of bigger transports carrying Soviet paratroopers towards Albuquerque, a small number of Soviet fighters operating at the extreme ends of their range and a lot of American aircraft given orders for an emergency lift-off should their home stations be hit with nuclear weapons. Those flying the Cubs were told that the danger to them was minimal and they had the element of surprise… which was true for the first flight north, but not the return back to Mexico nor those flights both ways afterwards. They wanted to get this over and done with fast enough, especially in dropping the men they carried so their return could be made quicker. Some of those aircrews – Cuban, Nicaraguans and Guatemalans – never got to make that return journey let alone ever fly again.

    American aircraft engaged some of the Cubs. It was all quite the mess in the skies where the one-sided fights were. Those US Air Force and US Navy up came from bases across a wide part of the country and not many of them were carrying much armament. Suddenly the skies were full of targets though. There was much confusion over identification and also the interference from some Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat interceptors, but where they could, the Americans attacked the helpless transports. A few American pilots were caught by gunfire from the rear guns of the Cubs – twin-23mm weapons – but those were only in the most exceptional of cases. Transports were shot out of the sky by air-to-air missiles and cannon fire: the Americans only wished they had been carrying more ammunition and that their own fuel loads hadn’t been so low by the time that the Cubs showed up to be shot down.

    One sixth of the transports didn’t make it to the drop-zones in Colorado. Those which had gone down had taken their passengers with them. Once where they were supposed to be, there was a rush from the aircrews, plus the paratroopers too, to get the cargoes off these aircraft and get off now! Cubans and Nicaraguans poured out of them and fell towards the ground while the Cubs turned back for home. These paratroopers dropped among the mountains towards open areas marked out for them. Not all of them glided down perfect and they learnt what happens when you parachute into such terrain. The rest, those who had been through one hell of an ordeal this morning, waiting to die aboard those transports up in the skies and then not all dropped where they were meant to due to navigation errors, were not in the best of moods when they came down. Officers shouted for the weapons cannisters to be located and also for crews to race towards the small number of airborne fighting vehicles which had been parachuted in as well… if those vehicles hadn’t been smashed to pieces landing against the mountains. The first wave was in, the second and third waves were expected to follow. Casualties could be counted later and revenge sought against those aircrews. For now, the men were formed up and sent off to fight anyone who wanted to oppose them. This was Colorado, enemy territory, and the occupation of the ‘security zone’ was underway.


    Soviet aircraft taking paratroopers into the Alaskan Panhandle had far more success in getting there unmolested. These were bigger aircraft, Il-76 Candids, with greater range and payload. They flew from the Kamchatka Peninsula across to the United States and avoided the main part of Alaska, especially where the Americans had fighters in the air looking for bombers coming across on attack missions. A few were lost over the water in worrying incidents but most reached the northern part of the Panhandle and started dropping those men from the 106 GAD near to Haines and Skagway.

    One regiment went in on the first flight, a second was to come in later: the division’s third was held back for the time being. There were beacons on the ground there though where the paratroopers were dropped was near to a lot of cold water. Some men, carrying a lot of gear on their backs, went into the water and didn’t come out of it alive. Those on the ground raced for weapons containers and light armoured vehicles. They linked up successfully with the pathfinders ahead of them. The lead regiment commander was a demanding officer who was at once all over the battalion commanders to get their units sorted out and ready to start moving the moment that the second regiment arrived.

    Those following the first regiment would find that once they arrived, their predecessors into Alaska would already be moving. The Canadian border was some distance off and there was a schedule to keep. After that border had been reached – it wasn’t expected to take too long, not with more transport ‘liberated’ from the local areas – then it would be to Whitehorse in Yukon where the paratroopers would be going: the nexus of connections with the rest of Alaska and the remainder of North America. Apparently, the Candids which brought them to Alaska were going to be needed elsewhere after the second drop… so it would be a hard slog over the rough terrain for the paratroopers instead of an air assault to where they were going. The general who led the division – a man who didn’t come in with the first wave – was sure that his men would be able to get to Whitehorse, on foot if necessary. They were elite soldiers! They were Soviet Airborne!

    They would also do as they were told.


    Paratroopers with the 76 GAD and the 103 GAD – the two other airborne divisions tasked to drop into the United States – flew from Cuba to New Mexico and Texas. That was a long flight and more Candids were used along with quite a few An-22 Cocks as well.

    The jets and the turboprops had been aircraft used extensively in Iran and then Iraq. Marshal Ustinov, beholden to the military-industrial complex as he was, had convinced Andropov to spend more oil rubles on such useful and proven transport aircraft as them for use in the future. The Cocks especially – NATO gave them such a name, not the Soviet Union – had seen apparent improvements made in the design yet along with the Candids there had been a lot of corners cut in the manufacturing process. Crashes were quite common upon take-offs & landing and there were always the unexplained power losses during long flights as well which occurred. Such safety issues should have seen someone scream ‘STOP!’ but lies had been told and figures massaged. Payoffs had taken place as well to silence those in the know.

    The end result was that a lot of the paratroopers send from Cuba in aircraft on a roundabout route over the Gulf of Mexico to avoid Texas at first didn’t make to neither Texas nor New Mexico. Candids and Cocks fell out of the sky over the water or from above Mexico. They were heavily-loaded and rushed into the sky from dispersal airstrips where the paratroopers were spread across Cuba. Several went down, with hundreds of men or many BMD-1 / BMD-2 armoured vehicles in each. Those which didn’t crash (the vast majority it must be said), still had to get past roving American fighters like the ones carrying the Cubans and Nicaraguans did. The drop-zones over Albuquerque and San Antonio weren’t thankfully too far inside the United States and the aircraft were fast, but more loses came.

    A regiment each went in on the first wave to establish the airheads for the pair of airborne divisions with a second to follow at each later and a third regiment held back.

    Kirtland AFB / Albuquerque International Airport was a brutal engagement. The Americans which had resisted the pathfinders put up a fierce fight against the hundreds of paratroopers which descended all around the area but were overrun soon enough by such numbers. It seemed like every building was fought over and there was immense damage done. The Americans tried to blow up a lot of the facilities using improvised techniques – it wasn’t like Kirtland was rigged for demolition – and while they didn’t succeed before they were defeated, they caused a lot of damage. Prisoners were taken soon enough and there were some very vengeful paratroopers whose activities their officers looked the other way towards. Disciplined men they were meant to be, but their blood was up and what they did was regarded by them as justified because the Americans hadn’t fought fair.

    The runways at Kirtland were undamaged though. The following regiment could fly in here and there was work fast underway to turn this into a Soviet airbase as select personnel had been dropped in with the paratroopers whose task that would be. Other men were given their duty: form up a small convoy with the armoured vehicles (and some civilian vehicles too) and race into Albuquerque itself. There was the crossroads where Interstate-40 and Interstate-25 meet. So too were the men sent towards the bridges over the Rio Grande plus the rail infrastructure present. There was a reason that the 76 GAD had been sent to Albuquerque. That was to open up New Mexico to the coming ground invasion.

    Around San Antonio, the lead regiment of the 103 GAD dropped over Kelly AFB and San Antonio International Airport; those pathfinders at Randolph AFB had failed in their mission and wouldn’t be reinforced. As was always the case with a big parachute drop, plenty of men didn’t land where they were meant to. Around Albuquerque, that often meant in open ground outside of the urban area due to where the drop-zones were. With San Antonio, it was mostly in the city where those who missed their exact landing points ended up.

    Soviet paratroopers had come down all over San Antonio. There had been unexpected low crosswinds over the city and that spread these invaders everywhere in defiance of the beacons which they were meant to converge upon. Chaos ensued when they landed. They were lost and trying to form-up before reaching their rally points at the airbase in the west and the airport to the north. In the meantime, anyone who crossed them – policemen and civilians alike with guns or just in sight – was in the way of that and dealt with.

    The Battle of San Antonio wasn’t meant to take place like it did. There was soon death and destruction seemingly everywhere. Civilians lost their lives and so too did a large number of the paratroopers. The second regiment would fly direct into the airheads established and the aircraft carrying them would go through the smoke which rose from a burning San Antonio as countless small fires started to merge into bigger ones with no one putting them out. The city was going to burn because firefighters had been shot or chased off by Soviet paratroopers. That whole operation was a mess. Kelly should have been avoided because it was close to the heart of the city and more attention paid to securing Randolph along with the civilian airport as they were further out. The mistake had been made though and those who lived in San Antonio paid a terrible price for such an error.

    As to the mission, the reason for coming to San Antonio, it wasn’t to destroy it nor kill those who lived here. There were extensive road and rail links around it which the Soviets wanted. San Antonio was just back from the border… over which a Soviet field army was soon to come storming and would be using San Antonio’s transportation links to transit through as they kept on moving through Texas. When they got here that was.





    One Hundred & Thirty–Five

    Backfire bombers had failed to locate one of the US Navy’s carriers in the East China Sea yet they had no problem locating Britain. Four pairs of Tu-22Ms, carrying their payloads in their internal bomb-bays, came racing towards Britain from the northeast after flying with apparent arrogance across Sweden and Norway as if neither country mattered. They went above the top of the North Sea and towards the UK.

    RAF Lightning and Phantom interceptors rose to meet them.

    The RAF got one pair before they could reach their targets in Scotland and brought down the two Backfires over the open water. The Lightnings in that instance used their cannons and scored tail-end kills behind each bomber to ‘splash’ them. The newer Phantoms had been out-manoeuvred when they went for more of those bombers and couldn’t get a secure lock-on with the Backfires before they reached land and dropped down low. In their wake, these bombers left a cloud of electronic jamming which wholly frustrated those trying to bring them down. The Backfires had their wings swept back and flew dangerously low: watching them was a wonder even if those chasing them wouldn’t want to admit that. They were inside Scotland and chased by Phantoms pursuing them with an aim to bring down the bombers before they could hit where they were going for.

    The first pair had been heading for Faslane naval base; the other six bombers went for the naval dockyard at Rosyth, the frontline airbase at RAF Leuchars and RAF Stornoway which was a stand-by facility for fighter operations.

    A Phantom got one of the Backfires short of Stornoway but the other dropped its payload over there and escaped northwards. As to the other bombers, they hit Leuchars and Rosyth. Rapier air defence missiles at Leuchars failed to hit the incoming bombers as they flashed overhead and the RAF could only afterwards curse whatever jamming equipment the Soviets were using yet also question the training of their Rapier operators who were meant to visually aim-&-fire their missiles. The alert had gone out with sufficient time to be ready and the Soviets had come in daylight. Still, the Rapiers had had no success.

    Five of the eight bombers got away. They left a lot of destruction behind.


    From inside the bomb-bays of each, only a few bombs had fallen from the Backfires. What bombs they had been though. The Soviets dropped thermobaric bombs on Britain and the resulting fuel-air explosions were very costly in terms of lives taken and the devastation caused.

    Stornoway had taken a lighter hit that the other two targets and the damage there wasn’t that bad. However, there was a still plenty of carnage caused and a lot of casualties, especially among the civilians who were present at the airport which was meant for RAF use in wartime. Air operations would be able to take place afterwards though once the bodies of the dead were removed as well as the fires which had been started were put out. Stornoway was left operational.

    At Leuchars, the incoming air raid meant that everyone present who wasn’t assigned to shoot upwards at the bombers had taken cover. No one who survived the bombing saw the aircraft above nor the parachute-retarded bombs left in their wake. When the fuel-air explosions took place, those not in true shelter were killed. Others who had taken proper cover still lost their lives or were terribly injured though. There was destruction to buildings but it was people damage done in the main.

    Rosyth was missed by the falling bombs. Wind over the Firth of Forth blew the bombs off target and away from the Royal Navy facility. There were explosions above the waters in the estuary yet those could be classed as misfires for the thermobaric bombs hadn’t preformed as expected with the wind the way it was at the moment of detonation.

    These specific weapons which the Soviets deployed against Britain, the fuel-air bombs, were terribly effective if used correctly: as was the case at Stornoway and Leuchars. They worked by the use of a first explosion of the bomb to spread its fuel contents across the sky and then a second explosion of that fuel as it formed into clouds. The strength of the blasts was quite something and they went on and on depending upon local weather conditions when fed by more surrounding air. The weather really mattered though: if it wasn’t perfect, the fuel wouldn’t be concentrated or potent enough to detonate as it was meant to. Those not killed directly in the fireballs created, either suffered terrible internal burns (their mouths, throats and lungs) or suffocated to death when the explosions sucked in all available air nearby to continue the process of further blasts occurring.

    Fuel-air bombs were a horrible weapon to have unleashed against those in their path.


    The attack on Scotland came just before the Raid on Dover.

    Soviet naval Spetsnaz came from a disguised mothership in the English Channel in speedboats and undertook an assault upon the English port. There were over seventy men, all of whom had been preparing for this mission for some time. They were to be on British soil for less than half an hour. There was an army base in the town and they could be soon outnumbered and defeated if they tried to make any sort of stand.

    Dover was a civilian port. Britain was on partial wartime alert due to the Grey Terror and the intelligence indictors telling Britain – just like France too: two countries among several – that there was conflict coming somewhere and soon… just not like this. Dover was meant to be protected by a small Royal Navy Reserve (RNR) presence with lightly-armed men there, including a small boat, but they were brushed aside and slain like anyone else who got in the way of the Spetsnaz assault team.

    Using RPGs and satchel charges, the assailants tried to destroy as much as possible. Civilian ferries. The passenger and vehicle terminals. The rail link straight into the port. Power and communications. Some explosions occurred at once: more were designed to go off after a delay.

    The Spetsnaz killed more than three hundred souls. Those they fought and killed had no idea of what hit them. The RNR men got half a dozen of the attackers but were overwhelmed and crushed: the destruction of their patrol boat with an RPG strike had been particularly effective in seeing them fail to stop the assault.

    When the Soviets left, they raced away ahead of the troops coming from Connaught Barracks responding to the sudden emergency at Dover’s harbour. They got there fast but, to be honest, were lucky that the Soviets had departed. They would have won a fight with the Spetsnaz but they would have paid a heavy price doing so as they blundered into the harbour area with no real idea as to what they could have faced. Their commander had rushed them forward ill-equipped. Now, once there and after the Soviets had gone, they found fires and dead bodies. And the screams of the injured too. Then, plenty of those satchel charges started going off.

    The Soviets got away from Dover and back to their ship. That ship hoped to get away without being recognised as being the vessel from where the Dover Raid had been launched. A lot of subterfuge was used and the GRU had been prepared to be patting themselves on the back afterwards. They weren’t as clever as they thought.

    A Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft flying from RAF St. Mawgan put two Harpoon missiles into the ship a few hours later when it was heading west across the English Channel. The ship burnt and so too did all of those inside of her.





    One Hundred & Thirty–Six

    Britain had been sent a huffy diplomatic note from the Soviets demanding that the UK declare its neutrality and do so soonest or risk a nuclear attack. That note had come with the attacks made over Scotland and into Dover: further military actions were soon to be underway to strike at Britain’s military forces. It wasn’t a real attempt, not even a partial try, to keep the country out of the war.

    The Soviets always planned to fight the UK and didn’t delude themselves into thinking that they would be able to avoid such a conflict. They did believe that they could get a lot of Western Europe to not fight them though and had plenty of success in intimidating many nations to declare their neutrality. For several, there would later come a turn around with that, yet at the beginning of the Third World War, much of Western Europe went neutral in defiance of their NATO obligations as well as other international defence treaties.

    It must be said though that there was neutrality and then there was neutrality.

    That was for another day. On the war’s first day, in its first few hours while it was evening across Western Europe, the leaders of several countries made the decision that this war wasn’t for them. Two times this century, they said, was too much: not a third time. There was a shamefull abandonment of allies. It was all about fear for them.

    Fear of nuclear war. Fear of invasion. Fear of the destruction of the continent.

    For everyone else, it was about betrayal.


    West Germany’s defence minister was hated by his NATO colleagues. It was a personal issue towards his recent behaviour through 1984 and he was often called their ‘disarmament minister’. The long-serving Bundestag member had been for so long a nobody with unpopular views among his party, as well as the West German people as a whole, with those ideas the subject of mockery… which he knew all about. When the chancellor made him the defence minister, NATO had taken notice. This was a man who wanted the country to abandon its standing military forces for a system wholly of reservists. Anything he deemed offensive in terms of military equipment was to be scrapped for pure defensive missions: his definition on offensive included tanks and strike aircraft. He wanted rid of all NATO troops from West Germany as well as for the country to leave NATO. Entering government, his position hadn’t softened though he had reigned in the outbursts in public and kept them private as that outlook wasn’t the policy of his government. In private though, he would express these views, even to his fellow defence ministers across NATO, often in undiplomatic terms too where he called NATO troops ‘occupiers’.

    He bypassed NATO’s secretary general and spoke directly to General Vessey, the American officer who served as SACEUR (the supreme commander in Europe) at Mons to tell him that West Germany was unable to uphold its treaty obligations and therefore wouldn’t be able to engage in warfare with the Soviet Union. Vessey took that call from the defence minister while he was in the process of having NATO forces under command respond to urgent orders to assume defensive position once the conflict had opened. That process had been fraught with difficulties as there had been replies that subordinates from many countries were waiting for a political decision: which wasn’t the way which NATO was meant to work. SACEUR was stunned at what was said yet was fast to understand what it meant. No wonder the West Germans were taking so long!

    NATO’s frontline was in West Germany. Despite the recent partial American pull-outs from there, the country was still full of NATO forces. It was those there and those meant to be heading there when the alert button was hit which would be in position to defend Western Europe against a Soviet attack. All NATO forces were ultimately answerable to Vessey as per NATO policy. The West German defence minister was the voice stating why that standing policy was being rendered moot when others were being cagey about their motives. His country was going to be a neutral in this war… and others were too.

    West Germany would defend its soil against an invader but wouldn’t fight in a war against the Soviets. There would be no offensive attacks made from bases in West Germany against the Soviets nor their allies nor would any strikes come against NATO forces in West Germany if the country maintained this position. The defence minister told Vessey this in his usual brisk manner and kept on talking through every attempt at interruption. In addition, West Germany was offering NATO forces the opportunity to leave the country and would give them time to do so: there was no desire to intern them but West Germany would if need be. This was what was being done and there was no compromise to be reached.

    Vessey asked if that meant that West German forces would attack those of their NATO allies? The defence minister didn’t say. He had no response for a question, one which seemed to be wholly unexpected to his ears. He ended up repeating himself with what he had said before about neutrality and that West German soil couldn’t be used to launch offensive military action from. Vessey was too much of the professional to tell him where to stick that. He called the Pentagon. Yes, the United States was under attack and that was the most urgent priority at the moment but this was then a close second!

    When he spoke with Glenn, Vessey found out that the West German chancellor had joined other leaders from NATO countries in sending their own urgent messages to the United States. Theirs weren’t as arrogant as that delivered by the defence minister but they were of the same result. These were countries which weren’t going to fight against the Soviet Union. They had been threatened with nuclear war, something that was certainly no bluff after earlier events in the United States, and couldn’t play a part in this war. They too would like to see the removal of United States military forces from their soil as well as requesting that no offensive missions take place from those bases before then: interment wasn’t mentioned but it didn’t have to be as everyone understood what neutrality meant.

    Their countries would be suffer a nuclear attack if the Soviets were attacked from their soil.

    Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy and Turkey all joined with West Germany in declaring their neutrality. Soviet threats, and some other unseen actions, had achieved the goals set for leaving the US & the UK – joined by only a few other countries – isolated and alone.

    *​

    And then there was France.

    President Mitterrand responded to the Soviet threats by reminding them that his country had nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them wherever the need was to. A nuclear attack on France, any of its territories or its military forces wherever they might be – yes, that included West Berlin where there were American and British troops too – would mean a French nuclear response. There were no ifs or buts about it. The Soviets might destroy France but they would be destroyed too in what would be an overwhelming response.

    Paris to Moscow: go ahead, make my day.

    Was it a bluff? Would France really do it? No one was going to have to discover that terrible truth.

    France had been for some time now playing a bigger role in NATO since Kennedy’s presidency had seen the worry in Western Europe that in a war, the United States wouldn’t defend them. There was that feeling shared with Britain that during this year a crisis would lead to war breaking out. While Bentsen had come to the UK when he was vice president and assured the UK that the US would stand with them in any fight, American overtures via Mondale to France along the same lines hadn’t been convincing enough. France had been engaged in a stand-off with Libya over Libyan aggression towards Chad and Gaddafi had been backed by the Soviets: the United States had given almost zero support to France on that matter as Kennedy was strung along for so long by Andropov into ‘reducing tensions’. France had no faith in Kennedy’s leadership of the West nor the assurance made by others – never him – that his administration was committed to the defence of Western Europe.


    When the attacks went in against the Americans, the French knew straight away. Mitterrand was evacuated from Paris and the French military went to full alert, including its nuclear forces. Mitterrand tried in vain to contact first Kennedy and then Mondale. They were gone though, killed in the twin nuclear detonations which destroyed Washington. He spoke with Thatcher – the British were fast to evacuate their government too; the rest of those in London weren’t able to flee ahead of expected nuclear weapons – and through the British he was able to speak with Bentsen. Mitterrand said what he had told the Soviets and also fast passed on word about signs of Soviet successes against the West Germans too in frightening them into neutrality. He cursed the name of the chancellor and called him a traitor to Europe.

    France was ready to stand with the United States, Britain, Canada and hopefully more countries together to fight the Soviets. Bentsen welcomed this but then said about the beginning of the invasion of his country. The United States would unfortunately have to focus most attention on defeating that before it could fight in Europe. The line would have to be held there rather than any offensive operations mounted. The United States thanked France for its support and together, they would defend Western Europe while the invasion from Mexico was driven back.

    A disconnect happened in how both parties saw what was being said. Bentsen was hurried and there was so much going on which needed his urgent focus. Mitterrand didn’t like the way in which Europe was being spoken of as secondary, as unimportant in a manner which Bentsen didn’t mean. They misunderstood each other.

    Mitterrand asked if the United States was prepared to fight from West Germany, West German protests aside, against the Soviets. Bentsen said that that could only be done with the whole of Western Europe fighting as one. The West Germans had betrayed his country and was kicking the United States out while an invasion was coming from Mexico. Mitterrand realised that the new American president was wholly focused on his own country, understandable, and in doing so France would have to fight itself for Western Europe.

    And that couldn’t be done. It could be bluffed by actions in West Germany, which Mitterrand’s advisers were saying had to be done right away, but for France to fight they needed the Americans with them. Bentsen spoke further about bringing US forces home to defend his country and with haste. With that, France couldn’t play a part in this war.

    The split happened like that. There was no argument. Each saw a different priority and reacted accordingly. They put their country’s first with no intention to hurt the other, but because they had to.


    Mitterrand said that French forces would be mobilised and move urgently into West Germany. France would act outside its NATO agreements on that matter and ‘deal appropriately’ with West German protests to that. As France’s president, Mitterrand couldn’t see that country fall under the Soviet’s influence for that would be the end of France. While that was done, American withdrawals from West Germany would be under France’s protection.

    Bentsen agreed to this and thanked France again for standing with the United States at its time of need. Now, as to joint US-French military actions…

    Ah, that wasn’t what he meant, Mitterrand said. In light of the American focus on dealing with the threat to itself, France would defend Western Europe. That defence meant just that though. France wouldn’t be commencing offensive action against the Soviets, not with the situation as it currently was where they would have to do alone.

    Bentsen then understood: France was doing what was best for France.

    Mitterrand told him that that was the only course of action which could be done: France had to do what was best for France.


    No argument ended their conversation. The American and French presidents left their relationship cordial. But there was the split there.

    When the British Government found out, they would fume. How could Bentsen have messed that up? That ultimately didn’t matter though: France had gone neutral like the others.

    And now what would soon be called the Allies were really in trouble.





    One Hundred & Thirty–Seven

    The Mexican Revolution was to be defended by the invasion of the establishment of a security zone inside the United States.

    At the beginning of that process, tens of thousands of Mexican civilians counterrevolutionaries were deliberately slaughtered with chemical weapons.


    The Soviets deployed immense quantities of a nerve agent known to them as Novichok-14 and used it in powdered form rather than as a gas as initially planned. Heavy artillery, rocket-launchers and aircraft were used to fire the canisters which exploded in the air above selected areas of northern Mexico near to the border. The powder was released in those explosions and mixed with a secondary agent (it was a binary weapon and needed to be activated like this) to make it lethal as it concentrated in the air. It then fell to the ground to be breathed in by those below.

    The Mexican state of Sonora in the west saw the use of Novichok-14 against isolated towns along roads that traversed the region which lay to the south of Arizona. Those were hotbeds of rebel activity where they denied the area to Mexican government forces trying to force their way forward. Those fighting for the regime in Mexico City weren’t given a warning of what was coming nor any protection. They died just like everyone else who got a fatal dose when the nerve agent entered their airways and shut down the ability of their lungs to work. It was a painful but thankfully short death for those whom Novichok-14 killed. Those who it didn’t kill… for the rest of their lives – for most that would be very short – they would suffer terribly with the damage done to their ability to breath properly.

    At the other end of the border, down near to Texas and the Gulf of Mexico coast, more of the nerve agents were dispersed. Again, the strikes came in the late morning and were delivered by the Soviet military with absolutely no warning given. North and west of where the city of Monterrey lay, but not the city itself as that was in government hands, Mexican civilians, rebels and government soldiers were all in the way of the Novichok-14 dispersed like it was. Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros, the biggest towns, were scenes of a vast slaughter of those who stood in the way of the Soviet field army approaching the US-Mexican border behind them. There were the dead and oh so many injured left when the powder lost its concentration and potency.

    Novichok-14 was a non-persistent weapon. It was specifically chosen here and used in the manner which it was after Soviet experience of other chemical weapons in Poland. This wouldn’t poison the land nor the water afterwards but, more-importantly, it wouldn’t harm their own troops moving forwards soon after the strikes went in unless an extreme quantity was breathed in or ingested. The nerve agent was something unknown as well: unknown as in the West should know nothing about it nor how to defend against its use… should anyway.


    Cuban and Soviet chemical reconnaissance units waited two hours before they moved forwards. Tracked and wheeled armoured vehicles with overpressure systems active and with the men inside wearing protective suits themselves travelled forwards: the Cubans across Sonora and the Soviets in the states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. These men had been given a cocktail of injections – there was no choice in that matter – but told nothing more than they needed to know when driving into a death zone.

    A death zone it really was for those involved. There were bodies everywhere. Some moved. Most didn’t. They saw people crawling on the ground or running around in maddened terror. There was a mission to do, the officers repeated what they had been told themselves by superiors who weren’t coming forward, and no notice was to be taken of what was seen with regards to the counterrevolutionaries present: no help was to be given to them either.

    The vehicles had all sorts of detection equipment in addition to their multiple radios and reports were sent back. Teams of men left the vehicles, wearing the chemical warfare suits which they were told would protect them from a weapon which was no longer dangerous. There were a few incidents were shots were taken by soldiers at civilians to put them out of their misery, but in the main those who left their vehicles did nothing else but get on with their job. Lightweight equipment was used to take air samples at various locations. Reports were sent back and the next site was reached.

    All clear. The way ahead is safe. The poison has dissipated.


    That message was sent to two Cuban field armies, another with Guatemalans & Nicaraguans (plus plenty of Honduran and Salvadoran forced conscripts) and a fourth with Soviet soldiers already edging forwards from their hidden staging sites.

    The way ahead is clear: advance up to the border.

    *​

    The nuclear attack earlier in the day had seen mass casualties inflicted upon the United States in terms of those killed by the Soviet strikes. Guestimates were saying that between half and three-quarters of million civilians were dead or soon to be from the blasts and the immediate radiation release. There were going to be many, many more deaths from fall-out as well: two, three, four even five times as many – millions of Americans – could be killed by the fall-out. This was a terrible blow, an unprecedented tragedy like the country had never before been struck with.

    However… while that was something absolutely horrendous, the governance of the country had to continue and come first as there was a war to fight. Immediate effort was going to be directed towards helping those who needed medical attention and getting more people out of the way of fall-out coming their way. Such a thing was important and couldn’t be ignored. Yet ahead of that need was the even more pressing need to be able to fight off the invasion which had started to take place and prosecute the war which had been launched.

    There was priority number one and there was priority number two.

    It had to be that way.


    The federal government had been near-eliminated in the strikes on DC. Washington was a radioactive ruin along with certain parts of neighbouring Maryland and a smaller area of Virginia as well. The nuclear attack had come in the middle of the day when the city was going about the business of government. President Ted Kennedy was killed and so too were cabinet members and their staffs in the government departments. Congress had been in session as well with all of those elected officials also within the blast zones.

    Bentsen was alive and so was Glenn though. News came in that the secretary of transportation had been in New York at the moment of the attacks and taken to a secure location afterwards: there was a line of succession functioning should anything happen to President Bentsen following the failed attempt to assassinate him in Kansas City with that nuclear blast. There were a small number of senators and representatives located, those who for various reasons hadn’t been in Washington. Putting together a government was possible even if far more damage had been done to the country and many more killed. There were plans for these things.

    There were also plans for a lot more things too.

    With the Pentagon still standing and the nuclear bunkers at Mount Weather and Raven Rock, plus the Greenbrier facility, all untouched too, the United States would soon have a working government. There were those contingency plans to follow in a post-attack scenario such as the country was in now. State governments and the military would work to ensure that the country could be run and fight a war too. The financial markets were closed and martial law was declared in multiple areas; the upcoming elections in November (including the presidential race) were postponed… yes, there was going to be some drama with that.

    The invasion would complicate matters – to put it mildly – though on the war’s first day there was still a belief that what was underway was an incursion and nothing on the scale of what was coming: not all of the paratroopers already inside the country were known about nor their numbers either. Those at the CIA who had said that there were no Cuban nor Soviet troops in Mexico might be dead, but their information was still there and the legacy of that false information may not last for very long when the invasion turned to the ground stage yet for every minute which it was treated as accurate, damage was done.

    Bentsen spoke with several world leaders and there were those who would fight alongside the United States, most of whom had been attacked by the Soviets too, and then those which were seen as betraying the US at this darkest of hours with their neutrality. The new president went aboard what became Air Force One when he met up with that aircraft in Illinois though he couldn’t run a country from an aircraft. He’d have to be on the ground.

    There was so much to do. Bentsen nor no one else was truly prepared for any of it.

    *​

    The United States wasn’t alone in suffering the very beginnings of a foreign invasion. This was a world war.


    The North Koreans went across the DMZ. They would fight the South Koreans and the American forces there in position to defend the invasion. The massed special forces attacks were followed by an artillery barrage like no other and then an onrush of both tanks and dismounted infantry aiming to ‘liberate’ the country. The North Koreas also used chemical weapons and used them in abundance. They were heading for Seoul first then Pusan with a belief in Pyongyang from Kim Il-sung that, this time, the Americans wouldn’t be able to save their southern puppets.

    President Torrijos had his Panamanian soldiers assault the Canal Zone and its American defenders. There was also an invitation sent to Soviet troops from Cuba to come to help in that effort to regain what Panama viewed as rightfully its… those troops were already on their way by air. Torrijos believed that once the liberation of the Canal Zone had been achieved, the Soviets would leave and all that they would want was military access to the Panama Canal for their ships. What a fool he was.

    Guatemalan troops went into Belize. They would fight the Belizeans and the few Britons in the little neighbouring country. Once that fight was complete, Belize would be incorporated into Guatemala and the historic injustice there righted. There would also have to be post-victory pacification done too. That was being planned by the communist leadership of Guatemala long before their troops went over the border with the smallest details covered when it came to filling the many graves.

    Guantanamo Bay was attacked by the Cubans. Artillery first, then a ground assault with tanks and mechanised infantry was how their operation was to proceed. There were US Marines there guarding the territory and also US Navy personnel too. All would be helpless and alone with no rescue forthcoming. Guantanamo Bay would be returned to Cuba.

    Cuban and Soviet naval infantry, using civilian boats mainly as well as aircraft for later troop-lift, moved against several islands in the Caribbean. There was no real opposition to them in doing so from those in their way. They went into the Cayman Islands and the Turks & Caicos Islands near to Cuba, British crown possessions. More ships went to the independent nations of Antigua and St. Vincent: there were airports and harbours which were wanted in both for the trans-Atlantic supply line being established. In addition, the Virgin Islands, those two separate territories of Britain and the United States, were taken as well.

    Out in the North Atlantic, the Soviets started flying their troops to Keflavik, Andoya and Lajes Field. Those airheads again for the supply route from Eurasia to North America – with the Lajes operation part of a planned supply route running through the Mediterranean (Gibraltar stood in the way though) – were inside the NATO countries of Iceland, Norway and Portugal. All were now in this war whether they wanted to be or not just like Canada, the UK and the US were too.


    The Soviets were on the attack all over the world though not everywhere. They weren’t fighting the majority of Western Europe nor going to war in the Middle East. China and Japan were both countries which they sought to keep neutral in the war. Should either of them turn on the Soviet Union, a terrible fate would await them.

    A terrible fate had already befallen their own country though with the destruction of Leningrad. The reports were slow to come into the sheltering Defence Council and not believed at first by men who were so sure that such a thing couldn’t and wouldn’t happen.

    Well, it did. Leningrad was no more.

    A lot of things would be affected by Leningrad’s destruction, including a bigger invasion of northern Norway than just Andoya. There were airmobile troops and naval infantry units prepared to follow the paratroopers sent to Andoya with further operations ready to go to take Bardufoss and Tromso. The weather and Norwegian resistance were all expected to be overcome. Finland was to be intimidated into opening air space and rail access. Leningrad’s destruction would now put a lot of that on-hold. In addition, Finland was about to suffer from the fall-out from those seven thermonuclear detonations so near to its borders as well: an unintended consequence on the part of the Americans.

    *​

    The use of nerve agents in northern Mexico allowed the way ahead to be opened for those attacking ground units to approach the US-Mexican border. Far ahead of them there were already those paratroopers and smaller numbers of Spetsnaz forces as well. Between the two (the armies and the paratroopers), the evening of the 17th of September saw the arrival onto American soil of Soviet airmobile forces again at both ends of the border, rather in the middle where there was a clear way ahead.

    One Soviet airmobile brigade landed along the state line between California and Arizona in the southeastern corner. Another landed in South Texas, across the Rio Grande from Tamaulipas.


    Soviet troops with the 38th Guards Brigade were flown to the crossings over the Colorado River by transport helicopters and aircraft. They linked up with the Spetsnaz there and at once went into combat with the enemy. There were US Marines from their base at Yuma and also men from the Arizona Army National Guard as the landing sites stretched down to the Mexican border. Several helicopters were taken down including one of the new heavy-lift Mil-26s. More Soviet soldiers kept coming though as they opened the door for the Cuban Second Army which was coming this way through the death zones in Sonora. The crossings were held open for them by light infantry units who soon had their field artillery and armoured vehicles brought into the marine air station at Yuma with An-24s and An-26s operating from there after it had been taken from its remarkably stubborn defenders. When the Cubans arrived, they would be heading for Mexicali and then California’s Imperial Valley.

    The 39th Brigade went over the Rio Grande. There were fleets of Mil-6 and Mil-8 transport helicopters ferrying men forward. Some landed just on the other side of the riverbank to take crossing points there at Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville while others went ahead to hit the US Navy air station at Kingsville. These invading soldiers had a tough fight for them which would go on through the night and still be taking place when the Eighth Tank Army showed up in the early hours. They engaged Texan national guardsmen as well as US Border Patrol agents working with DEA & FBI agents along the border. The refugee camps where those Mexican civilians were located also saw fighting come from those inside them. Kingsville refused to fall to the battalion sent there (US Navy personnel were on alert and joined by a company of national guardsmen) and the 39th Brigade suffered a major failure to open that up for exploitation. Still, the border was held open elsewhere for the oncoming tanks.

    Those which the Soviet airmobile troops fought were the enemy. They were told to engage them with everything that they had and not to hold back. That was unnecessary for once the first shots were fired, that was done regardless. The Soviets weren’t expecting the armed civilians which they encountered to fight like they did but they too were also taken on and beaten with fury. There were bodies left everywhere. As to prisoners taken… those who survived the post-shooting slaughter from men with their blood up faced the attention of GRU & KGB operatives coming in behind the assaulting troops.

    What went on next was just what could be expected from an invading Soviet army followed by such people from those organisations: the terrors of occupation started early in this part of Texas but would soon spread far and wide.


    There were aircraft in the skies while all of this was going on below.

    The Cubans and the Soviets had only a few combat aircraft in Mexico though what there were had been tasked many missions. They flew from improvised bases, using their rough-field capabilities, and northwards on escort and attack missions. In those skies, they were met by the Americans… and the Americans had the advantage in numbers very quickly.

    The intention was that Kirtland outside Albuquerque, Kelly in San Antonio and Kingsville would fast become forward airbases for support of the invasion; they would be joined by Laughlin AFB in Texas as well when the Cuban Army rolled into there from their crossing sites on the Rio Grande at Acuna and Piedras Negras. More aircraft staging from Cuba and Guatemala would move up while extra facilities would come alive in Mexico. There was a structured plan, one which was meant to be followed. American resistance on the ground messed the timeframe up first. Then the Americans didn’t do as they were supposed to in the skies.

    Passive defence of American skies from the US Air Force? Not likely.

    American fighters and reconnaissance jets flew southwards. They engaged hostile fighters and undertook urgent surveillance missions. They won control of the air though had air superiority not complete air dominance. Soviet SAM detachments had come forward to help secure the skies… yet those could be dangerous to friendly aircraft too.

    Air engagements went on all night. Cuban and Soviet losses mounted and there was little consolation in the fact that they also took down some American aircraft. Furthermore, the Americans made some air-to-ground strikes too. Not many and those they did were often improvised attacks, but none of that was supposed to happen in The Plan.

    But it did.


    In the early hours, despite everything else, The Plan set into motion the ground invasion of the United States. Attacking troops organised in those four field armies – multi-divisional formations with full supporting assets – closed-up with the border and kept on going.

    What the Soviets deemed Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) would follow what Americans afterwards called Red Dawn.


    End of Part VI
     
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