The Great Crusade (Reds! Part 3)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Aelita, Feb 18, 2013.

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  1. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    OTL there was a weird de facto quasi truce between the Soviets and Japanese until the end of the war and I think this inhibited the Japanese from going all out against American ships operating near Soviet waters, which made Vladivostok and other Soviet Pacific ports semi-safe, nothing like the gauntlet the passage north of Norway was to the White Sea. I suppose some IJN subs lurked but the crazy thing about Japanese submariners was they took the whole notion of commerce raiding with a lot of disdain; the ambition of an IJN sub commander was to sink USN ships, serious capital ships if they could get them; sinking transports lacked honor. Surely they did it I suppose but they were nothing like either German or American (or British) submariners who would cheerfully sink anything associated with the enemy and who knew that they were much more effective draining the enemy's lifeblood logistically than going head to head in honorable combat with destroyers and carriers that could actually sink them. And Japan's carrier groups had better things to do than loiter around icy stormy NW Pacific waters in danger of accidentally triggering some incident with the Soviets.

    Now here I suppose Japan has been dragged reluctantly into serious hot war directly with the USSR, but that war is more a favor to Hitler than anything in their own playbook. Surely they know that the Reds are behind the Chinese they fight, and any time the Soviets could turn their attention eastward and seriously attack in that theater, Manchukuo and Korea are done for and the whole position on the mainland collapses to defending their more southerly conquests, assuming other Allies aren't coming up from the south to aid the Chinese there. But in fact at this phase, even if Japan is interpreting an ATL Anti-Comintern Pact as actively making war on the USSR and taking the gloves off in the northward waters, surely they were crossing their fingers and hoping the Russians would be too busy in the west, and poking the Bear as little as they could get away with to try to consolidate their hold everywhere to dig in against the eventual mauling. Time was not really on their side but the temptation to play for it anyway, to put off the inevitable in the hope the Germans would take the Bear down for them must be pretty compelling to Japan. Nor did they have the resources to seriously interdict the approaches to the Soviet Maritimes. Again they benefit somewhat from the fact that the Red Americans too are prioritizing the Atlantic over the Pacific so it's not like huge carrier task forces are pouring into those brutal waters either. They do have bases on the island north of Hokkaido I suppose, from which airborne strikes at UASR convoys could be made, though in terrible flying weather.

    The Arctic waters north of Norway were no doubt terrible flying zones as they were nasty waters for the ships bound for the White Sea, but Hitler was determined to cut the lines connecting the Comintern Allies and he holds in this ATL not just Norway as a conquest but Sweden as an ally, which makes any possibility of the Allies taking Norway back significantly more difficult than OTL. As long as the Axis holds northern Norway, Hitler will prioritize heavy commitments of anti-shipping air strikes from those bases, and this is what turned the run to Murmansk and Arkhangel into such a bloody mauling of Allied transport. In theory, if Japan had the overall manufacturing and manpower to divert, their ability to decimate the north Pacific route would be comparable, but they are lacking in all of that plus the imponderable and author-dependent political/strategic incentive to go soft against provoking the Allies to commit to serious action earlier rather than later in the northeast of Asia all work to make this route more permeable. But of course more costly and limited logistically by the nature of the situation, with only the TSR's limited capacity trickling the aid in. Given the willingness of American Reds to send troops as opposed to just stuff into the discretion of Soviet Red Army commanders, and the willingness of Moscow to tolerate millions of grunts from rich North America to roam around among suggestible Soviet citizens giving them political ideas, sending in those troops instead of another load of Lend Lease goods is cost-effective, but for those Americans to be much use on the front, their logistic train must follow them and catch up too.

    Breaking the logistic logjams is a priority then, but trying to secure the shortest is a really tough problem. Churchill was an enthusiast for securing Norway, or the north of it anyway, again, but it was one of those ideas brass in Britain had to sit on him to shut him up about--and that was OTL with Sweden neutral and presumably liable to swing pro-Allied should someone neutralize the Nazis in Norway. Invading Norway would involve some assets, such as a very well organized Resistance, which was in fact organized as a division of Norway's regular military, taking orders from the King via the military command in exile. But OTL this Resistance was able to use Sweden as a refuge of sorts, darting over the border for cover and mysteriously failing to be interned by the "neutrals" even at the height of their veering Reichward-which was measured more in terms of Germans being also able to take short cuts and safe routes through Sweden rather than vigor or enthusiasm among Swedish officials in intercepting Norwegian "outlaws." Here once Sweden goes fascist, you can bet the weight of central authority at any rate in Sweden is leaning on seriously capturing any Norwegian fighters and treating them none too gently if caught. I have enough respect for the Scandinavians in general to suppose that even in Sweden large numbers resist via sullen sluggishness and lack of vigor no matter how much people in Stockholm scream at them on the phone-but they have duties and overt dereliction of them is a one way ticket to Dachau, if the Swedish regime has not set up camps nearly as bad locally...or just perhaps a quick bullet for race-treason. The Swedes most likely to try to slip any Allies any subtle breaks are presumably under scrutiny as suspicious types already anyway, and the ones most hyped up against the subhuman Slav and their Jewish puppetmasters and shameless degenerate race mixing and slutty Yank mongrels, all in cahoots to subjugate the admirably white if still somewhat inferior Finns and of course with wicked designs on the pure womanhood of Nordic Sweden, are the ones put in charge of the hot zones.

    We can then expect that Norwegian Resistance is a shadow of what it was OTL and the notion of liberating even just the north to free up the shortest and most logistically efficient White Sea route is one of those things you really want to do at the start of the war but cannot accomplish until it is just about over--which was true even OTL, and was done by Soviet forces coming around on the northern shore to secure just the far north and nothing more--in the last half year or so.

    Besides Soviet Pacific ports feeding into the TSR, the remaining alternative is to ship stuff to Iranian ports and thence up through Allied dominated Iran to the Caspian or flanking Soviet rail lines. Which of course involves shipping from North American or British ports to practically the antipodes through waters choked with U-boats off Africa and Japanese holding essentially all of the former Dutch East Indies and roaming all over the southwest Pacific and eastern Indian Ocean. Then too the existing rail or road routes through Iran were none too developed and the whole route was worse than useless to the Soviets if the Reich contested control of the region around the Caspian! Nor is delivery to Soviet Central Asia at all the same thing as delivery to the developed fallback industrial zones east of the Urals, let alone the gradually westering front on the other side of the European Russian heartland.

    Overall then, it is true that the logistics of shipping stuff from American far Western Pacific ports to Soviet far Eastern ports and thence over the TSR to the active theaters quite sucks. But does it suck more than the alternatives? And it is less bad for shipping troops, even by the millions, than their supply train. Which I gather Americans on the front against the Reich had to adapt to having in Russian rather than American accustomed quantities.
     
  2. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    I am not much of a war nerd, @Aelita, and tend to gloss over blow by blow combat action. But Janey remains such an engaging character even in her bleakness that even I catch some of that, it being interwoven with her own personal story, and I love how you write her and always hope to see more of her. Naturally I understand writing her has a tough side and am therefore inured to the idea it will be years between her appearances. Thank you for this!

    Would Janey take any comfort in knowing that in all probability, if she could see nothing but contempt and hate on the German officer faces (and I daresay the men generally) they are successfully masking sheer terror and dismay too? It won't save her or any other Yankee woman they catch, it will make it all the worse for them--but these Red Witches are truly unmanning for these reactionary goons to face. If the Red Allies lost a lot, it would be one thing--perhaps then Reichies might develop a truly nauseating kind of "chivalry." But the Reds may take losses worse than the Master Race, but they do keep coming don't they?

    And as you show, Janey and her fellow women soldiers are bucked up by something as steely as Japanese no-surrender Bushido, only tougher because it is not based on mysticism but on grim ugly facts--she's flexible; if some Germans were to surrender--well she did take their surrender did she not? She can use it, it won't mystify her. But she knows she can't surrender, her back is against that wall and the wall for her is not composed of mythology but plain terror based on plain fact. Surely this must bleed over into understandable ruthlessness of her own, but if given an order to rein it in she may resent it, coming from some man of a general who does not face her own potential fate, but she can comply especially if she sees the winning reason in it.

    Given that the Red women, American and Soviet, are not going to be a bunch of whining losers on the whole but are going to be downright scary in battle, and quite immune to offers of chocolate (I hope people know I am not making that up, the Germans tried it) the Reich forces are going to accumulate a dread of them they may be able to mask with bravado, though that is going to erode fast, but will have them quaking inside. And screwing up and doing something stupid as a result. Their stupid may cost Janey some loved comrades, but it will cost the Axis side more.

    Janey is going to win. It will blast and chill her soul, but she will win. And she will know, to the marrow of her chilled bones, that it was absolutely necessary her side did win.

    That's as much as any American citizen soldier who ever saw real war knows they can ask. And better than many have gotten.
     
  3. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    You make an interesting point on the inherent hypocrisy and contradictions of reactionary figures.

    The Nazis, the most reactionary force imaginable, must proclaim themselves to be "pure" and "the strongest force on Earth," and are quick to label their opponents "degenerates" and "effeminate". Yet, they feel so threatened by things they don't like, they must act with tremendous savagery toward those things.

    The Nazis mistreat and look their noses down on these "Red whores," largely because, deep down, they know their whole philosophy is horseshit, since they feel so menaced by what they don't understand.

    The more they brutalized female Red soldiers, the more they reveal themselves to be scared wimps-aside from the occasional fearless fanatic who is devoted to his twisted cause.

    In the words of one of the defendants at Sophie Scholl's trial, paraphrased from the movie, "if you didn't fear our existence, you would not feel the need to persecute us."

    And also, as you point out, the Nazis only embolden their opponents with this barbarity.
     
  4. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    Japan has a neutrality agreement with the USSR, which lets ships flying the Soviet flag pass the IJN unmolested. Japan agrees to this as long as none of those troops are due to fronts east of the Urals after Japan's attempt to seize the Soviet far east in a half year long undeclared war ends up being a bust. This agreement isn't all bad for Japan, as it removes a significant threat to Japan's forces in China, and also lets Japan have some degree of say in what gets shipped to China. At least through the channels close enough for Japan to monitor.
     
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  5. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

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  6. Arcvalons The internationale unites the world in song.

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    What would have happened ITTL if the British had joined the Axis?
     
  7. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    It likely ends in a few nukes being dropped on both sides.
     
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  8. Arcvalons The internationale unites the world in song.

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    Another thing, how is it that the U.S. government folded so easily during the Revolution? Wouldn't it have devolved into a drawn out conflict like the original Civil War?
     
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  9. Aelita In ur means of production...

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    It wasn't a war between states with strong local power centers and production at hand. One side was a reactionary military junta that overthrew the government to prevent a brewing revolution. The other was a communist-led coalition of everyone opposed to this. Because they lost the morale battle very quickly, and were militarily defeated when they tried to take control of major centers of industrial production, the junta rapidly lost credibility. They had to deal with resistance everywhere, and by the time Washington was taken they really only controlled the soil under the boots of the remaining loyal soldiers and paramilitaries.
     
  10. Shevek23 Spherical Cow-poke

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    I'd add, for the benefit of any followers of this thread who happen not to be deeply familiar with Marx's thesis of general proletarianizing alienation laying the groundwork for revolution, that Marx predicted, accurately, that the routine scut work of managing industrial enterprises would pass from actual owners to hired managerial and technical experts. These people make up what we now call "the middle class" for the most part. The classic liberal 19th century middle classes were people who had independent means--not sufficient wealth to invest and live off of profits alone, but neither were they employees of other people. (They also would typically employ servants--just a few, one or two housekeeper-maids, maybe a nanny--but you have to get pretty high up the professional ladder nowadays to be able to afford to do that, whereas if you read many a book from the 19th or early 20th century, having some kind of hired help was just plain normal for the middle classes). All that changes when society gets thoroughly industrial-capitalist; objectively speaking our modern "middle classes" are in fact glorified proletarians, utterly dependent on salaries to survive year after year. Their resumes might get them another well paying job pretty quick and their savings might last them a few years between such gigs, but they are dependent.

    In the 1930s OTL, the transition was not quite as far along as it has been in the past generation or so, which have witnessed such traditional middle class professions as medicine or lawyers being proletarianized too, drawn into hand to mouth dependency on HMOs and big law firms, the lawyers also undermined by legal software, but aside from such professionals persisting in the older model of independent real middle class status, the transition to a professionalized and dependent middle management of firms, along with cartelizing a lot of nominally independent businessmen into franchised chains where their independence was largely a paper fiction, was well along.

    In real life OTL, there are mechanisms aplenty to coopt such objectively proletarian strata into loyally taking the property owners' point of view; at a certain limited rate, at high enough levels they even accumulate enough property to start objectively transitioning them to small-fry capitalists in their own right, and the prospect of such rewards is good enough to keep most toeing the line pretty effectively. I daresay these mechanisms are pretty effective even in the ATL. But there is a world of difference between a society in which essentially everyone who rises to the level of managing a plant is reliably anti-Communist, and one where even only a minority, but not a vanishingly tiny one, has at least some Red sympathies.

    Meanwhile we have examples such as Patton and Eisenhower being secretly radicalized party comrades subverting the high officer ranks of the Army to show how far the "rot" of subversion has spread upward.

    The ATL has the actual proletarians very heavily radicalized, so that the number of conscious socialist or outright communist revolutionaries are comparable to the numbers of proto-Patriots in the American Revolution of the 1770s--somewhere approaching a quarter the population or so are some kind of leftist radical. Now as we rise above that level, to white collar executives going places, normally those numbers would drop precipitously even in a society with such a reddish base. Still, it makes a difference that they don't drop to vanishing one part in 100,000 or so levels, but to say one percent or even more.

    Part of the Marxist prediction is that management itself is proletarianized in that much of the scutwork can be delegated very far down the ladder to people paid not a lot more that shop floor workers. Given that, with absolutely no help from people with managerial titles, they can in the context of a general socialist paradigm, muddle through pretty well to keep the factory wheels turning under worker control. But in Reds! America, they can readily get the help of people who do have managerial titles, insofar as some pro tips from them are helpful.

    Throw in the fact that the crisis breaks in 1933, a year where even OTL a return to pre-Crash prosperity was hardly around the corner and the desperate attempts of Herbert Hoover and others in his circles to try and jump start it earlier had failed so sweepingly that the claim it might ever return was starting to look like a sick joke. Millions of people who otherwise might be staunchly against Red revolution were down on their luck, turned out as redundant or having seen the entire corporate structure they worked for go under and lock its doors pending better times.

    Thus--once, as our author has said, the Reds begin to win the morale battle, all across the nation (more or less, less so in some pockets of reaction) business switches over to worker-managed bases pretty quickly and smoothly, and at least a few high level managers would throw in with them pretty quick, and some with some enthusiasm. Then a bandwagon effect builds up whereby the majority of skilled managers and engineers who might have been leery of being leveled down with the mob they'd worked hard to elevate themselves above start to reflect on the probable prospects for the last old regime manager types to get any kind of respectable position and the stampede to rally to the Red flag among them begins in earnest. So the revolutionaries can manage pretty well without the "middle class" middle managers, but also can get their services well enough and with some desperation on their part too. At least a few will have been known comrades from before, many more will impress with their diligence, leaving the rest to figure out how to parley their skill set into winning over the worker's councils as best they can.

    The majority of working people who might not have thought of themselves as revolutionaries at all will find it easy to go along with the new order, which is authentically run by their peers. As long as the workers can keep the lights on and the essential commodities flowing, and with some considerable margin for forgiveness of temporary shortfalls due to ongoing civil war, the hold of Red revolutionaries on the infrastructure machinery of society is pretty acceptable and pretty pervasive right from the start. Few of the kinds of disruptions Russia suffered in their Civil War will apply. There, the cadres of old Bolshevik workers were the ones most immediately decimated as they were the first volunteers for Red militias and the Red Army; here too that is true, but there are lots of highly skilled workers with a pretty good grasp on how to keep the wheels turning, enough that substantial numbers can be killed off but leaving still plenty to keep the infrastructure rolling along.

    And it is precisely per Marx that the most developed, intensely industrialized zones have the most intensively alienated and organized workers, and they are situated right at the nerve centers and main muscle of the national industries. Reactionary regions are almost by definition peripheral and relatively deindustrialized, separated from each other, their former channels of communication seized by the rebels--who let us recall, were also the legitimate winners of a properly bourgeois rules conducted election which had its outcome nullified by reactionary violence. They hold the moral high ground as well as command of the industrial core.

    One could have the luck turn on the rebels, have some centers of reaction seize key centers of communication and industry, and have the revolution turn into a destructive knock out fight. But these revolutionaries have been preparing for some time; this does not make them infallible but does mean they have fair odds of relatively quick success, and once they start succeeding it tends to snowball for them, and against their foes, who are driven into increasingly peripheral zones as the most crucial are seized by Reds who follow through going down the priority ladder. Since many secondary and tertiary targets would have been spontaneously lost to the reactionary side early on, this process of consolidating victory has a leg up and only proceeds the faster as people caught in reaction-controlled territory can foresee victory for the proletarian side, which will embolden them to commit acts of sabotage, whereas reactionaries will be demoralized and reflecting more and more on which is less bad for them, to lose and be driven into exile if not shot outright, versus trying to cut a deal with the rebels before their leverage dissolves out from under them completely.

    I imagine part of the power base of the right parties in the new order will be individuals who gave in only reluctantly on the basis of concrete promises made for a less bloody takeover of specific bits of territory that the Reds are honor bound to keep faith on. It buys some tolerance they might prefer not to have to extend. But this is discussion of the longer term dynamic, right now the question is about the initial civil war.

    And it is no minor point that Patton and maybe some others have contingency plans in place to hamstring the military elements they cannot win over right away. It won't take followers of Marshall and MacArthur long to realize they've been hacked and start doing ad hoc end runs around the standard machinery, but that too sows confusion regarding the actual chain of command. The initial confusion and demoralization buys the Reds time to take power directly and also to pitch appeals to military forces that might otherwise follow orders and come in to fight them; with so many soldiers recruited from such a reddish population, it is a good bet that many a massacre which would have gone "well" on paper was preempted by commanders either surrendering or switching sides actively. This in addition to sleeper cadres Patton had been cultivating!
     
  11. Knightmare Well-Known Member

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    Plus, it didn't help that the junta overthrew it in a immensely shady manner- I mean, the Commies had won, legally, and in a fair election at that. And in response, a junta forms?

    Seems to validate a lot of their claims about the managers and power brokers in DC. Their actions in Louisiana and allying with the Klan also kills off more of their support....

    For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
    Hoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hard
    — Hamlet,
     
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  12. teg The Worst Unionist

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    I also think you have to consider the actual counter-revolutionaries themselves. I mean in the grand scheme of things there wasn't really much difference between the white armies of Russia and the Francoist armies of Spain but one was routed totally while the other managed to crush the revolution and even when it collapsed was able to a very significant degree dictate the terms of the transfer of power. I'm not even sure the famed fragmentation of the Spanish left was responsible for their defeat, there were pretty big fissures between the Bolsheviks and their various allies during the Russian Civil War and if the Nationalists had been crushed early on it likely wouldn't have mattered all that much.

    When you get down to it, MacArthur's plan just outright sucks and probably partially the result of the right buying its own propaganda about the Reds. While the Red victory in 1932 is impressive, being slightly more than Roosevelt's margin of victory in OTL, it isn't that overwhelming and partially relies on the Democratic Farmer-Laborer Party who might not play along with everything the Socialists want to do. And that is without considering the divisions among the party itself, which are only going to widen with the exercise of power. But I doubt MacArthur and his allies even recognize this is a thing and even if they do, their conduct in the actual story suggests they don't have the political savvy to do anything with that. Plus the very secretive nature of the coup means that there is no time to actually build a plausible counter-narrative or build much of a movement. In the reworked version on Sufficient Velocity, Pelley barely wins 1% of the vote in 1928. The smart thing, with the benefit of hindsight, would have been to wait. Unlike Roosevelt, the Socialists don't have unrestricted access to the levers of the American state - the courts are sure to cause them more problems than they did Roosevelt and look how that turned out. Trying to force the issue outside a revolutionary situation is very likely to split the party, either forcing them to back down or leaving them much weaker if it comes to an actual fight. Without the civil war, the most likely outcome is probably American style Labourism which was no more invincible at the polls than any other party/movement.

    But the fundamental problem is that by 1933, the American elites are probably already past the point where a compromise with the moderate section of the left is possible. The American state ITTL is more authoritarian than in OTL and even in the good times of the 1920s, had a more antagonistic relationship with the labour movement. It is similar to what happened in Russia after 1905 as both the tsarist regime and the right Liberals turned to authoritarianism after the experience of 1905-6. Another example would be Germany in 1932-3.* So in short the reason why the civil war is so rapid is that by the early 1930s, the American establishment has lost any ability to lead a popular movement and their only option is conspiracy, which hardly ever works either for revolution or counter-revolution.

    teg

    *One interesting theory one of my lecturers at university had was that the German conservatives broke hard for the Nazis less because they were scared of civil war or a communist revolution, which were pretty unlikely, but because of the danger that the SPD was going to find its footing and the Weimar Republic was going to actually start functioning as a parliamentary democracy rather than as a presidential dictatorship.
     
  13. Bookmark1995 Bookmark95 Reborn!

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    Not to mention, 1919 saw extra-legal political violence (not merely the arrest of political dissidents), with a state government deliberately trying to bloc the election of a mayor.

    So yeah, ITTL American establishment is less likely to protect civil liberties.
     
  14. Arcvalons The internationale unites the world in song.

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    Hmm, thinking ahead to the Cold War, probably "the West" as a concept will not arise, instead it might be "The Centre" and "The Edges".
     
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  15. Magnimik Honorary Judeo-Bolshevik

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    It will be probably more revised in an interesting manner rather than completely replaced, since the very concept of "the West" predates the Cold War.
     
  16. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    It's worth noting that cold war era Capitalist Europe overlaps heavily with the territory of the western Roman Empire with the addition of the Nordic countries.
     
  17. Fred Guo Texan Pride

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    Hey, longtime lurker here. How is Aussie doing? I hope Japan isn't much of a threat...
     
  18. The_Red_Star_Rising Homestuck Trash

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    No land invasion but Darwin was bombed a lot harder.
     
  19. CountDVB Well-Known Member

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    Happy New Year! How is Mexico doing?
     
  20. generalurist Map Staring Expert

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    Is the main TL on hiatus? There hasn't been an update in the story only thread for months.
     
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