The conflict which started in Oregon and spread as far as Posen was given many different names by historians, ranging from the rather inaccurate to the sheer fantasy terms born from bitterness or triumph. Such names were the ‘Global War’, the ‘War of Polish Ascendancy’, the ‘War of Oregon’ and even the ‘War of Dolchstoß’. Although many of these names overestimate one part of the War or underestimate the others to the extent of forgetting other theatres the largely accepted name to avoid repetitive arguments is the ‘Four Years War’. Although this name is not without some controversy as it has been pointed out that the name it tries to lump all the conflicts into one instead of treating them as they were, several different conflicts which happened at the same time with the connection simply of the various Alliances which gave the Casus Belli needed for their Wars to take place. Certainly, the Shawnee Nation never fought Austria as much as Prussia never fought Brazil. The name of the Four Year War has stuck however as it wasn’t until 1846 that all the combatants finally knew peace.
The outbreak of War finally came when, in response to the British occupation of North-East Oregon, Congress gave the go ahead for a Declaration of War on the 8th. This was greeted with a huge amount of public support by the American Nation, revenge for 1812 was the key motivation for many and a mass swelling of recruits was recorded throughout the country. Once the American Declaration was known, New England declared War on America on the 12th and followed the Shawnee Nation a few short hours after on the same day, both citing their Alliance with Britain as their cause. New England saw an uprising of nationalism as the Army also experienced a huge number of new recruits. The Shawnee Nation greeted the declaration with a grim resolve, hoping to finally gain their complete independence from any outside interference.
The Imperial Federacion followed with their own declaration of War on the 20th once the news reached Havana although it took several weeks for the message to reach Madrid. The entire Federacion geared up for War, hoping that this would end British interference in the region. Brazil was the final nation to declare War on the 28th as per the Alliance with Britain. Every nation apart on the American Continent from Mexico was now at War with each other and as February came, the first shots would be fired.
Just before the Shawnee Army began its first march against the Americans on the 5th, one final recruit appeared, Tecumseh. The aging man had heard of the War and ended his self imposed exile in order to join the Army. Joining a cavalry regiment, Tecumseh took on the role of an ordinary soldier despite the fact he was well past his prime. Despite his low rank, his status as the original leader of the Shawnee Nation gave him much respect and various officers actually asked him to take on a higher role, only to be refused. Tecumseh was determined to fight as an ordinary man, his failure to save his ideals warranted nothing more.
The strategy of the Shawnee Army was to sweep away any opposition in the West by the Americans before focusing for an assault on the East, particularly the Great Lakes region. They would then group with the New England Republic Army and head south to Washington with aid from Britain. The plan however was almost fatally flawed as New England had grossly overestimated its Military capabilities. Along the NER/USA border, both sides had built a series of forts meant to stop either nation from attacking the other directly. The US forts were more formidable than New England had believed and their first assault on the 18th against the first fort failed. With their forces deployed solely on the border with the US, New England was unable to contribute to a joint attack. The Shawnee Parliament actually erupted into outrage when informed by the New England Ambassador regarding this. Had not New England made repeated promises regarding their Military? It was an outrage for them to have deceived their Allies in such a way.
The strategy of the Americans was quite different. Largely depending on Spain to distract the British Navy from sending reinforcements, the focus would be on eliminating New England from the War before moving north to British held territory. The Western Front would be merely a defensive sideshow as resources were pumped against the Eastern threat. At least that had been the plan; the gross underestimation of the Shawnee Nation would be the greatest mistake by the American Army as they had believed that the Shawnee Army would be a band of untrained savages instead of the highly disciplined and determined Army they really were.
The Imperial Federacion began its campaign fairly early with the attempted capture of Jamaica by the Federacion Navy on the 21st. Twelve ships tried a landing against the island only to be repulsed by a concentrated attack from eight ships of the Royal Navy. Three ships were lost to the RN’s one but it wasn’t the only strike against British power. The British soon found themselves on the defensive throughout the Atlantic Ocean as their ships came under attack. The Federacion had seen a great expansion in its naval capabilities throughout the years and were putting it to great use. Not since Trafalgar had British supremacy on the seas been so challenged.
The first American offensive of the War took place with a concentrated attack upon the New England forces around the besieged forts in New York. The assault went according to plan with the New England Army being forced to retreat after several skirmishes. The American Army then crossed the border and on the 21st, was besieging the forces built by New England to stop the American Army. To several clear thinkers, it was soon apparent that the Eastern Front would be a stalemate for some time as neither side could claim an advantage over the other. New England was able to rush reinforcements to the area quicker thanks to the railroads but the US had the numerical superiority. One factor which would later prove decisive was the artillery used by the Armies, New England had become the best nation for developing new standards in weaponry and their artillery was superior to the American’s. Although it wasn’t obvious at the time, it did play a great role in the outcome of the Eastern Front.
The Shawnee march through American soil was checked finally as a small American Army met the spearhead Shawnee force outside of Peoria, Illinois. Against 20,000 Shawnee, the American Army had sent 16,000 troops to fight the threat, believing that it was sufficient against a group of ‘Tribal savages’. The Shawnee Army was far better than the Americans had believed however. Twelve miles north of Peoria, both sides lined up for battle. The battle started at 1:30 PM with the American commander ordering a cavalry attack against the Shawnee left flank, believing their ranks would break easily enough.
The cavalry charge was met in turn by the Shawnee deploying their own cavalry, all 8000 of it to meet the attack. The American charge was checked and then completely routed before the ferocity of the Shawnee. The American cavalry fled back to their own lines, only to be pursued by the enemy who struck the American right flank as the chaotic retreat had left them confused. The entire American flank began to turn and their lines crumbled. The following infantry charge destroyed the American lines and they fell into a rout, many dying in the wake. Before 5:00 PM that very day, the Shawnee had won the field and had made the Americans suffer over 6000 casualties. Unsure of how the Americans would react, and not wanting to over extend themselves, the Shawnee War Council decided to secure their position in Northern Illinois, preparing their supplies for any further movement.
The disaster at Peoria was the worst military disaster ever suffered by the Americans and many excuses were made for it with many pointing out that the American Army was largely made out of raw recruits, the weight of numbers on the side of the Shawnee and even that the Commander at the battle was severely incompetent. The battle itself struck the American command to the core however. The idea that the Shawnee could be a serious threat began to be realised and the American Command began to shift their troops west to protect the nation. The effect on the Shawnee was near delirium as the news of the victory was greeted by cheering in the Shawnee Parliament. They had proven that they were a force to be reckoned with and as good as any ‘civilised’ nation.
As an American Army finally reached Illinois, the Shawnee went into a forced march in order to surprise their enemy. Within three days, the Shawnee Army had reached the American camp at Danville and launched a surprise attack. Upon realising the scale of the attack, the American Commander instantly ordered a retreat and took part in the rear guard himself. Although the attack wasn’t as damaging as it could have been (Out of 22,000 troops, 2200 were casualties), the American Army was forced to retreat to Indiana to recuperate and it was a blow to the Army’s morale. Illinois was also left wide open to the Shawnee although beyond securing supply routes and preventing any insurrection, they left the state largely to its own devices. It wasn’t Illinois the Shawnee were interested in, but the Great Plains. They wanted victory and they wanted it fast.
In the Caribbean, the greatest naval battle in American waters for the War was about to take place as the combined American and Spanish Navy forces in the region attacked the British off the Southern coast of Jamaica. The strategy of luring out the British from the port with a weak American contingent before ambushing them worked. A combined fleet of twelve American ships and fourteen Federacion ships faced off against fifteen British ships. The battle came off with a bad start as the British force managed to sink two of the American ships which had lured them out.
With the appearance of the other ships however, the battle turned as the twenty-four combined ships struck at the fifteen of the British. For six hours the battle raged back and forth as the ships pounded each other. The British ships, although outnumbered, managed to put up a valiant fight before being forced into retreat after losing seven ships to the enemy’s six (Four Federacion and two American). The defeat changed the balance of power in the Caribbean to the Spanish having firm control over the region and British colonies were now under threat. Although the eight ships stationed at Jamaica guaranteed some safety for that colony, they were in a battered condition and sorely in need for reinforcements.
Two American Armies (Both numbering 40,000) marched from Indiana into Illinois to take back the state from Shawnee control. The Shawnee Army retreated back to their defences in Central Illinois in order to avoid being outflanked. With reinforcements arriving from the Sioux Nation, the two opposing forces were equally matched. With the American Army momentarily concentrating on a New England offensive (Which finally saw them driven back to New York), no reinforcements were forthcoming and the decision to settle down in defence for the winter was taken while also training the troops (Many of who were raw recruits, the Eastern Front was the location of many of the veterans). The Shawnee Army was grateful for the break as the troops had become exhausted in the fighting. A new offensive was planned by both sides however, to make the New Year a good start for either force.
As all sides quietened down with the onset of winter, the Brazilian High Command had finally prepared all their forces. Their Army was now in peak fighting condition and their strategy meticulous. The War had been unpopular with many in Federacion nations, their authoritarian Governments simply siding with Spain on the issue. South America had become a boiling point for Revolution and Brazil was going to exploit it for everything they could. Although the South American Front had been quiet up until this point due to the concentration on the Caribbean, it would soon explode.