The Great Game: Overview 1949

A full timeline of the wars up to 1949.

Let me do a brief recap of the diplomatic maneuverings so far:

1936: The world is, hah, at peace:

Europe 1936

Observe that Persia and Italy are major powers, or at any rate they exist. That’s about to end. The initial skirmishes of the Final Conflict end with Italy under the Belgian boot, and Persia divided between Poland, China, and Greece. At this stage, the alliances are :

Axis: Norway, England, Poland
Allies: Belgium, Spain, Greece
Comintern: China – all by itself!

1937: After the initial skirmishing, this is a quiet year as the powers seek to increase their armies and absorb their conquests.

1938: It begins… On July 1st, Belgium declares war on Norway. Massed panzers cross the German border; the Yngling forces are driven back in disarray. In the middle of reorganising its strategic doctrines, the Ynglinga Hird is neither fish nor fowl: Counterattacks do not flow with the smooth, well-practiced precision of the Belgian blitzkrieg, but at the same time, attempts to use the older style of linear warfare are un-coordinated. By September, Belgian forces have reached Trondhjem, isolating Bergen from the empire:

Bad Moment

At the same time, Poland proper is occupied as far east as Novgorod. Although China has joined the war as a co-belligerent of the Axis, they are unable to effectively project any force into distant Europe, and will remain so for some time.

1939: The tide turns. In January, a guerrilla rising in Malmö, organised by Yngling stay-behinds, blocks the flow of supplies to the Belgian frontline troops in Norway. The Ynglinga Hird takes instant advantage, counterattacking all along the line and rolling the invaders back into Sweden; the hard lessons of the last six months have been well learned. Two months of hard winter fighting sees the relief of the much-battered Malmö militia; the destruction of the Belgian spearheads in Sweden is now only a matter of time. On the other hand, the near collapse of the Russian front threatens to bring Belgian reinforcements to Sweden the long way – through Finland. However, the wooded terrain, combined with a desperate defense by Yngling and Polish troops, keeps Finland in Axis hands and seals the fate of the Swedish front. By June the last pockets of Belgian resistance in Sweden have been mopped up, and Yngling armour is sweeping almost unopposed into Germany. Greece’s defection from the Allies in July merely caps the disaster; in August, Norway grants Belgium a victor’s peace, with large swathes of Germany and Brazil changing hands. This separate peace, although driven by the shattered internal state of Norway, is considered a betrayal by the Comintern.

1940: With the full strength of Belgium freed from the Polish front, Greek and Chinese troops are driven back through the Balkans; only Norwegian diplomatic intervention (or as the Ynglings more succinctly put it, “threats of war”) prevents the annexation of Greece. The resulting peace, however, is regarded by all parties as a mere cease-fire; fevered preparations for renewed war continue everywhere.

Europe May 1941

1941-42: These are years of retrenchment; Norway and Belgium are absorbing their conquests and licking their wounds. China completes its domination of East Asia with the conquest of Laos and Cambodia, old Norwegian colonial territory. Belgium reannexes briefly-independent France; the Middle East is reorganised to maximise its oil output, as all parties’ armies are becoming desperately oil-thirsty.

1943: Gambling on the ability of the retooled Ynglinga Hird to win a swift victory, Norway attacks Belgium. The heavily fortified border is swiftly overrun, and I Ynglinga Panserarme charges towards the Adriatic while English troops land in Normandy. However, the Belgians recover swiftly; their submarine force interdicts English supply, while a counterattack along the German border cuts off the Norwegian spearheads, in a mirror image of the Malmö Rising. From there, the war grinds into a slow stalemate; accepting that the Belgians with their larger industries will eventually win this struggle, the Overkommando Ynglinga Hird cold-bloodedly cuts its losses. The German border moves back northward; however, as compensation Norway gains the American eastern seaboard.

1944: A temporary alliance of convenience is formed between Axis and Allies; Poland wants to regain its territory in the Ukraine, while Belgium wants revenge for the Greek change of sides in 1940. Attacked on three fronts, and with Chinese aid a long way off, Greek resistance collapses on the Ukraine and the Caucasus. The well-fortified Balkan front against Belgium, where their main effort is committed, holds for a while, but is slowly pressed back the weight of metal. In May, a Communist coup in Spain leads to that nation quitting the Allies; its entry into the war on the Comintern side, early in 1945, comes too late to save the Greeks, who are pushed back into Byzantium alone.

1945: Greek resistance continues until June, when a Byzantium reduced to rubble by bombing and artillery is finally entered by exhausted Belgian troops. The Roman Empire’s final struggle has cost Belgium half a million lives; even to the end, the legions have sold their lives dearly.

1946: With Greece gone, the war continues desultorily until March, when China finally agrees to sign over a vast swathe of Siberia and the Trans-Caucasus to the Axis nations. However, India, overrun in the early stages, proves impossible for the returned British to govern, and it eventually has to be granted independence. The new government naturally leans strongly towards China. Disgusted, and unwilling to spend more British lives for Norwegian and Polish causes, the British government leaves the Axis, joining the Allies instead. The Norwegian position in North America, in the event of war with Belgium, thus goes at a stroke from secure to untenable. OYH, accepting that it will be unable to maintain regular resistance in North America for more than a few months, but insisting that nothing decisive can in any case be done in that theater, makes preparations for a vast guerrilla campaign to tie down British forces. Rifles and grenades are stockpiled, stay-behind cadres formed, and talks with the remaining Indian nations of the Rocky Mountains begun. (*)

The alliances are now:

Axis: Norway, Poland, Kazakhstan.
Allies: Belgium, England.
Comintern: China, India, Spain.

1947: Another quiet year; the major powers glare at each other, but the need to rebuild stockpiles, reorganise armies, and pacify rebellious territories prevents any major breaches of the truce. Nonetheless, it is clear to all that this is a truce of exhaustion, not a peace.

1948: Having built up a nuclear stockpile, China finally unleashes the demons of war in February, with simultaneous attacks in Italy, France, and the Balkans. Demoralised by the vast mushroom clouds, the Belgian troops nonetheless retreat in good order. Norway, having made promises to both sides beforehand, now declares war on China; this, however, is a decoy, and although triumphant communiques are issued, the troops in Siberia advance not a centimeter. In actual fact, there are no troops in Siberia; they have been brought in secret to Germany. In March, when OYH believes that the Burgundian troops on the German border will have reached the southern fronts, the Ynglinga Hird is unleashed. Almost unopposed, they slash effortlessly through the remaining Belgian defenses, reaching positions outside Brussel in early April. With the knife so plainly on their throat, the Belgian government is forced to make crippling concessions. France and Greece become Norwegian puppet-states; the German border moves a long distance south; Romania and Turkey are signed over to Poland; Italy is granted self-government; and the remaining North American possessions, including the vital Texas oilfields, are given to Norway. This last, however, proves only a paper settlement, as the English government, victorious in North America and secure behind the Royal Navy, repudiates the peace and continues its occupation of Yngling America. Spain and China, meanwhile, are in considerable difficulty, as nuclear-supported Belgian counterattacks slice through the Pyrenees and crush the Italian bridgehead; bitterness at this second Norwegian betrayal is widespread.

1949: London is reduced to radioactive slag by a Chinese nuclear attack. Europe erupts in outrage. OYH, having spent the past year secretly moving troops to Siberia, takes this as its signal to destroy the Chinese Empire. War is declared on the ninth of April; the panzers slash south towards Beijing across completely undefended steppes.

(*) In this timeline, North America was not so heavily settled as in ours. The Yngling Empire, oddly enough, was never able to attract immigrants from all over Europe in the way that the American Republic could! Thus, there is still a definite frontier of settlement in the Midwest, even in the late forties; and the Ynglings have never bothered to exterminate the independent Indian tribes, which – much like in Africa – maintain a precarious independence and low-intensity warfare, partly supplied by the other powers. The Ynglings regard this as a combination of good training for the troops, and a dangerous-but-fun hunting preserve. There are occasional kill-sweeps through the Rockies, and the rail lines are heavily patrolled, but otherwise there is no real attempt to pacify the tribes.

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