SteamedSpy4 Oct 19th, 2019 88 Never
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- ###February 4th, 2029: White Army
- The aftermath of the successful Dnieper campaign left Union State forces on the brink of logistical disaster. Russian logistics since the Soviet era have not been particularly impressive; while the US retained and practiced the capacity to shuttle entire field armies around on short notice, Russia’s conflicts generally required nothing more than a few thousand troops. A sudden 200,000 man offensive stretched these support systems to the breaking point; partisan resistance threatened to finish the job. As Union State forces regrouped, the task of securing the critical supply lines fell to Novorossiyan forces, reinforced by Russian special forces and paramilitaries. The fighting has proven extremely bloody; lacking the equipment and training of Union State regulars, the Novorossiyans have fallen prey time and time again to ambushes by Ukrainian Army forces. It has become clear to Union State commanders that, in an ironic twist of fate, their encirclement actions did not quite have the intended effect; thousands of Ukrainian regulars simply faded into the woodwork upon realizing the hopelessness of their position, the same tactic used by Soviet Red Army forces during the catastrophe of 1941. These forces have now formed the core of an organized resistance calling itself the Ukrainian Liberation Front; estimates from Union State intelligence indicate a strength numbering in the tens of thousands.
- Despite the best efforts of the ULF, Novorossiyan forces and Union State paramilitaries were able to substantially alleviate the supply problems. The only problem was that, as the saying goes, the enemy gets a vote too.
- ###February 10th, 2029: Wild Weasels
- As both sides consolidated in preparation for renewed offensives, the Americans were the first to strike. Squadrons of stealth bombers and fighters sortied from Ramstein Air Base in German with the aim of comprehensively dismantling the protective bubble of air defense systems securing Ukrainian airspace. Union State commanders had established total coverage over Ukraine, but against the stealthy American jets the effective range of the S-4/500 systems deployed was dramatically reduced. Filling in the gaps as the first strike packages sortied against air defenses in Belarus and Ukraine were squadrons of Su-35s and Su-57s. Not only were these fighters outgunned against the technologically superior American aircraft, they were also outnumbered; the Union State’s decision not to dispatch more reinforcements to its air contingent would appear to be a major blunder in hindsight. These aircraft were forced to rely upon the layers of air defenses to funnel their targets into the SAM systems’ blind spots. Without a comprehensive networked targeting capability, Union State air defenses were unable to engage, but they were able to track the progress of American strike packages with low-band early warning radar, operating on frequencies that fighter-sized stealth aircraft are simply too small to evade and vectoring in defending fighter squadrons.
- The air battles that would result in these corridors would be brutal, with fire control computers and electronic warfare systems exchanging attack and counterattack faster than pilots could react. American technological superiority carried the day, with the F-35’s capable electronic warfare systems and the B-21’s long-range standoff antiradiation missiles disabling SAM systems, while F-35s and F-22s tore through enemy fighter wings from unexpected angles, even as cyberattacks knocked out critical systems at the worst possible moment. This would not be without its losses, however; as the stealth jets drove closer to strike range S-4- and 500 systems were able to break up formations with long range shots and render the carefully coordinated strike packages vulnerable for a brief instant, sometimes all that was needed for a Vympel or Buk to find its target.
- Within a few days American air forces had- nominally- cleared the skies as far as Kiev, but difficulties remained. With short range systems and interceptors still operational it remained untenable to operate unstealthed aircraft forward, restricting sortie rates as tankers were forced to remain at the far reaches of Ukrainian airspace. More problematically, American strike aircraft issued with directives to hunt down Iskander systems found themselves locked in an attrition campaign reminiscent of the wildly unsuccessful Scud hunts over Iraq. With essentially the whole landmass of Belarus and Ukraine to search, it proved nearly impossible to track down and eliminate mobile Iskander systems; if the Russians were to throw even a little bit of effort into hiding their systems and using decoys it may well be *actually* impossible. American fighters sweeping for Iskanders often found themselves engaged by opportunistic Union State air defense forces, and a significant number of them did not survive the experience.
- ###February 14th: Night Raiders
- More problematically for the Americans, every sortie launched against an Iskander battery was a sortie not launched against a Union State logistics depot. The Americans did, nevertheless, eliminate several crucial targets with penetrating B-21 strikes; the larger bombers, unlike their smaller cousins, were more than capable of evading Union State early warning systems. Several critical highways and supply depots were destroyed, but with priority targeting applied to the Iskander hunt these proved more of an annoyance rather than the knockout blow they could have delivered. These also resulted in significant civilian casualties, as a result of both the inherent realities of targeting logistics and the Union State’s intermingling of military logistics and civilian relief. Accusations of war crimes were levelled after several Russian Red Cross personnel were killed during a strike on a military supply convoy; the US government has pushed back, alleging Russian foul play by placing civilian medics dangerously close to legitimate military targets.
- Union State commanders would also note what appeared to be cargo aircraft crossing the line of control in the middle of the night on multiple occasions. Several of these were shot down by short range air defenses, but upon vectoring in fighters it was discovered that these were in fact special mission variants of the AC-130, used to deliver and support infiltration forces. As ULF attacks intensified, it became clear that the Americans had been delivering intelligence operatives and weapons to the Ukrainian resistance.
- ###February 17th: Ghosts of the Somme
- As air offensive proceeded, both sides would complete their efforts to consolidate their forces and launch major ground operations. The battles that have resulted have proven nigh-on apocalyptic; by the 2010s it had become clear that networked warfare and missile technology had shifted the balance of warfare from maneuver back to firepower, but no one imagined the sheer devastation that would result. As both sides seek to launch major strategic offensives into their opponents’ rear areas, the casualties have been horrific, with entire brigades being chewed up and spat out.
- The Russians made the first move in the south, with American commanders receiving their first notice of the coming battle when forward positions around Odessa suddenly exploded. There was an eerie silence before ear-splitting thunder followed seconds later; it was then that it became clear the Union State was engaging with hypersonic munitions fired from its naval forces in the Black Sea. Although the Americans held the skies, heavy artillery and electronic warfare would serve to even the odds quite a bit, more than enough for the Russians to make their assault on the Lviv Line, albeit with heavy losses. Odessa was extremely vulnerable to this sort of attack, with the key logistics route connecting it to Lviv placed at the very edges of the line, and the US did not make significant efforts to reinforce it. VDV airborne shock troops placed at the tip of the spear were decimated; no amount of elite training can make up for the fact that a tank capable of being dropped out of a plane is by definition not a very good tank. Nevertheless, Union State forces were able to break into the suburbs of Odessa by late March. The city has become an urban hellscape reminiscent of Damascus or Stalingrad, with American and Ukrainian regulars fighting side by side with ULF partisans as Union State forces pushed ever deeper into the city’s core, electronic warfare jamming communications and intermittent missile and heavy artillery strikes devastating defensive positions. America’s vaunted technological superiority has not proven entirely helpful here; used to electronic superiority, US forces were not prepared when it was suddenly kicked out from under them, and access to fire support to counter Russian strikes has been limited.
- It soon became clear *why* the Americans had not particularly reinforced Odessa. On March 8th, the US launched a major offensive in the vicinity of Rivne, fast moving mechanized forces operating in seamless tandem with strike aircraft and precision strike systems to break out of the Lviv Line. It initially appeared to Union State commanders that the Americans were aiming for a fast knockout blow at Kiev; reclaiming the city would be a major propaganda coup. As the Union State prepared for a clash on the Dnieper, however, the American force turned south. A flanking attack along the river’s east bank cut deep into the Russian rear area; by early July, the Union State forces engaged in Odessa were in very real danger of being trapped behind American lines. In yet another twist of fate, the Russians find themselves facing a situation resembling that the Germans were presented with at Stalingrad. The American offensive did, however, begin losing momentum around Kryivyi Rivh, with the need to leave a blocking force on the Belarussian border and the horrific casualties both taking their toll.
- The Americans began the war far better off, logistically speaking, than the Union State, but that advantage too is threatened. Modern warfare is an incredibly hungry beast; JDAMs and Iskanders cannot be replaced at the same rate as the dumb shells and bombs of ages past. As both offensives ground down, commanders on both sides found themselves facing an increasingly depleted arsenal. Another intensive round of combat may well leave PGM stocks cleaned out entirely.
- ###October 8th, 2029: Cold Waters
- While sporadic fighting continued in Ukraine, political intrigue in the Americas brought Cuba into focus. Union State leadership interpreted the massive redeployment of American forces south as a threat against their allies in Cuba, and reacted harshly. Several nuclear submarines, armed with strategic nuclear weapons, made their way south from Murmansk. As these submarines crossed the SOSUS line at the GIUK gap, NATO analysts were immediately alerted to the distinctive acoustic signatures. In response, the US immediately moved to impose a blockade on foreign military assets entering the Caribbean.
- At about this time, the UK and Canada, having recently established the United Commonwealth Realms and in the process of finishing up the integration of their naval forces, coincidentally happened to be dispatching several dozen warships to their new homes on either side of the Atlantic. These forces were immediately placed on alert and rerouted to intercept the Union State submarine group. Surface groups searched with active sonar to attempt to get a fix on the position of the submarine group, while UCR submarines quietly skulked through the depths of the Atlantic hoping to catch a lucky sonar transient giving away the position of their targets. Aboard the Russian missile submarines, distant sonar pings were cause for concern, but the sound of sonobouys dropping overhead was extremely alarming. Recognizing that enemy submarines were very probably inbound on their position, they have alerted Moscow of their likely detection and ‘gone to ground,’ aiming to evade their targets in the mid-Atlantic. UCR forces do not currently have a fix on their targets, having elected to take a reserved approach and try to avoid detection in turn by the Russians, but depending on how aggressively they decide to prosecute the contact this may not be the case for long.
- ###October 21st, 2029: Red Scare
- The war in Ukraine has proven the most polarizing conflict in America since Vietnam. Horrific casualties on a scale not seen since the Second World War have driven a strong backlash; constant protests calling for President Sanders to “bring our boys back home,” drawing a constant crowd outside the White House. Top advisors warn that if this keeps going it will almost certainly provide an opening for the separatist movement to open a new front against the federal government. .
- The events of early October have, however, put a new spin on things. As rumors spread of Russian submarines lurking in the Atlantic, aiming to visit nuclear hellfire on the United States, the Russian embassy, too, has drawn a regular crowd. Combined with the recent revelation of Russian agents in California infiltrating the State Department, anti-Russian hysteria in the US has reached a level not seen since the red scares of the 60s. Much like in the red scares of the 60s, the collateral damage has been significant. A Russian immigrant was left hospitalized after being attacked by a mob in DC, as was a separatist state legislator in California.
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