2786-2793: The Simerian-Lacuna War
Geist troops landed in the Donau Republik to a rapturous welcome as all N'Chari property was declared property of the state and the Akatsu occupied An-Shi. The Geist signed mutual support agreements with Valentia, The Nuclear Pact, and the Kochevnik, The Kochevnik-Geist Non-Aggression Pact. Lawrence declared war, the LaVie quickly following suit, as Kochevnik and Geist forces invaded Leszek. The "Allies" developed new technologies and tactics forcing the Geist to abandon "Blitzkrieg" while the UCS stayed neutral but relaxed arms sales restrictions to allow the Skean and LaVie to buy munitions. The Geist Battlecruiser, GKV Maxim, was scuttled after being damaged by Skean cruisers. The Kochevnik invaded Uusi Suomi... progress was slow but, despite high casualties, their ability to continually refresh forces finally overwhelmed the defenders. As Gaylord Cartwright took over from Lawrence, Saxon marines in Ypres system were driven from Sartre and the LaVie surrendered under much harsher terms than the Treaty l'Vo. The Geist launched The Kinetic War against New Albion after which Cartwright delivered one of his best speeches. The Saxon successfully drove the Geist back, but their high losses, though much lower than the Geist, paled in comparison to the civilian death toll. In late 2792, Skean forces attacked the Valentian base on Vulcan, effectively destroying one battleship, heavily damaging two more and destroying many smaller ships and port facilities, at the cost of three orbital ground attack craft and two two-man crews. UCS First Cardinal, Douglas Fairchild, denied war preparation as he won a third term but agreed a materials/munitions supply pact with the Skean. In the Sea of Souls, much of the Valentian fleet was destroyed with thirty-seven battleships lost and little damage to the smaller Skean fleet. Following the destruction of IMS Lawrence, the "unsinkable" GKV Schwartz was hounded relentlessly and destroyed near Ayra by a Skean taskforce. Woodward's latest ultra-plasma test was successful and the new engines became high-priority for all new military ships. The Geist turned on their Kochevnik allies, a series of victories in a short space of time, but observer's predictions proved correct, with harsh Kochevnik conditions, "scorched earth" and sneak attacks causing serious problems. The Simerian Abyss Freedom Charter was agreed by the UCS and Skean as the Skean carrier IMS Oceanus was destroyed heading into Jebeltarek. In 2793, the Akatsu invaded Chinthe and Âu Cơ, the pro-Colonial government faction resigned and relations with the UCS deteriorated.
"Since accepting the role of Supreme Lord Chancellor from my esteemed colleague, Joshua Lawrence, nothing but ill has befallen our great nation. We have so far endured! We have armed and built! We have rearmed and rebuilt! Our defences against the evils of fascism are considerable, our forces are strong and the possibility of successfully invading us and defeating those forces seems small. The difficulties our enemies would have not only in mounting that expedition but in supplying it, even were they able to successfully create a beachhead, are huge. My military advisers assure me that our forces are far stronger than they were at the beginning of this war and that immense private and public effort is being put into the creation of more and better equipment, more and better training and those, along with the new tactics and plans of which I have been informed, is boosting our strength and our chances further still. "Why do I tell you this? To boast? No! To make us complacent? Absolutely not! The dangers this nation faces are immense but our own advantages and our own resources are also immense and, though we still face a long and hard battle, with our resolve, our fortitude and the help of our allies we will win through! I tell you this because our citizens have the right to know that we have reasons for optimism, reasons to believe that we are capable, that we have the resources and the ability to continue this war, alone if necessary, for many years. "The massive space battle that has been raging above as well as in our varied skies continues, it is too early to estimate either scale or duration and, while we expect the enemy to make greater efforts yet, it is plain that Kaiser cannot admit failure without most serious injury. If, after all his claims and threats, his screams for bloody vengeance and graphic accounts of what his Fascists will do to us if we do not come quietly into his perverted fold, his declarations of the vast numbers of our ships that he will destroy and promises of the devastation he will wreak on our fair cities ... if, after all this, his attack were forced to reduce, his forces to retire, their collective tails between their legs, his so-called reputation for veracity might have to be seriously questioned. We should be confident therefore that whilst he can keep this onslaught going, he will do so. "Many enemy ships and crew are destroyed, many are also damaged or captured but, whilst ours will often be repaired and rearmed with our pilots recovered and once again able to join the fray, enemy combatants can look forward to little but incarceration which, though entirely humane and in accord with Helvetik Protocols, denies Kaiser vital resources. So our confidence is great that we can continue the space struggle for as long as Kaiser pleases and from there more rapidly we will achieve parity, then superiority, then ultimately victory! "Our thanks, our appreciation, our immense gratitude, that of every home, every city, every state, every planet in our nation, our empire goes out to those pilots, those navigators, those gunnery officers that are turning the tide of this war, ably assisted by ground crew and volunteer citizens even as they come under ferocious fire from the enemy ships that manage to penetrate our defences. Our gratitude for their continued defence, their persistence, their refusal to give up in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds! Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few! Our hearts go out to those whose actions we hear of day after day! And yet we must never forget those brave crews who fly bombing sorties to the heart of the enemy, finding their targets and attacking them under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, inflicting shattering blows upon our foe and the evil machinations of the fascistic war-making ability. "We are in their debt! "In closing I wish to let you know that last year, at the behest of Her Imperial Majesty, Augusta I, I opened a dialogue with Douglas Fairchild, Colonial First Cardinal, when it became obvious that the interests of the UCS and the Skean Empire greatly coincided, spontaneously offering the use of facilities and resources in the Skean Empire to aid them in securing their nation against unknown future dangers. The UNS is politically democratic and, whilst in no way wishing to deny our monarchic heritage, year by year we move closer to that political state so that our great empire and their great nation can freely cooperate in future affairs for mutual and general advantage. "For my part, looking out upon that possible future, I have no fear, no misgivings ... as far as I am concerned, let it roll. Let it roll on full flood, inexorable and irresistible to broader lands and better days."In late 2792, Skean forces launched a spectacularly successful raid against a Valentian forward base on Vulcan in the Rĕmus system. One battleship was almost destroyed along with several cruisers and destroyers, two others were heavily damaged for the cost of three orbital ground attack craft and two OGAC crews. Valentia was fortunate that the Skean were unwilling or unable to follow the attack up. As the Valentians strengthened their hold on Menelik, the Geist launched The Kinetic War with huge waves of fighter escorted enemy cruise-bombers pounding Casston and Attlee on New Albion. With their bombers at risk from Skean fighters almost as soon as they cleared Geist space from very early on in the campaign Geist fighters were forced to deploy for long periods during the missions without resupply because the refuelling tankers couldn't keep up. That limited the Geist's ability to provide cover for their cruise-bombers and made them relatively easy targets for Saxon and their allied defenders. With the campaign effectively designed to terrorise the Skean public into cowering submission the Geist targeted populated zones rather than military resources which, despite being good news for Saxonia's military, put New Albion and Mercian citizens on the front line. Saxonian forces were not limited to defensive home front actions with carrier-launched "atmo-bombers" blitzing Valentian troops as they advanced on Babylon, Nubia in the Abu-Talib system. The Kinetic War lasted almost a year but, with help from the wider Skean Empire as well as Colonial and Konik volunteers, Saxonia won decisively but at terrible cost. The Skean lost some three and a half thousand ships, mainly atmosphere and short-range space defence fighters, with almost five thousand dead and two thousand injured. In comparison, the Geist lost over ten thousand ships, mainly atmosphere capable fighters as well escort carriers and cruise-bombers, over fifteen thousand aircrew killed as well as nearly three thousand captured and a further four thousand missing. Those figures paled into insignificance against the civilian toll, over a quarter of a million casualties of which nearly one hundred thousand were fatal. The Geist changed tactics and began to outfit merchant ships as armed raiders to supplement their depleted fleet of cruise-bombers. The merchant raiders were faster and more powerful than Saxon armed merchantmen and within a month ninety-three small military and merchant ships were lost. Valentian forces tried to force a beachhead on Piros in the New Athens system but with Saxon support the enemy was decisively routed leaving behind most of their arms and munitions. Aware the Geist had been targeting Athenian assets the nation's military issued arms to their civilians and trained small groups of civilians in guerrilla resistance tactics. Colonial First Cardinal, Douglas Fairchild, denied preparation for war as he won a record third term and Kaiser had little luck finding allies to support him. Though the Kinetic War itself was ended Josef Maher continued to press the Skean hitting Saxon provincial centres and industrial complexes as he sent cruise-bombers against Attlee and the city-state was once again devastated. Saxonia launched a series of attacks against Geist assets in Kusini space. Skean troops captured El Bahr on Nubia in the Abu-Talib system, the Darugan forces losing less than a thousand soldiers to capture nearly a quarter of a million Valentians. Neutral Ayra was hit by Geist kinetics in what was considered a warning against assisting Saxonia but, unbeknownst to the Geist, negotiations for full reintegration into the Skean commonwealth had recently been completed and several Ayran legions were already shipping out towards agreed Geist targets. Eva Schwarz's Kusini Legions arrived on Nubia as the Valentians faced defeat on Menelik. Nearly a million older children and adults physically fit but too old to fight were recruited into lighter Saxon industry and Fairchild signed a materials and munitions supply pact with the Skean. In the Sea of Souls, a tract of space between Pax and Kusini territories, a significant part of the Valentian fleet was destroyed with thirty-seven battleships lost and little more than minor damage to the much smaller Skean attack fleet. A joint Saxon-Berserker raid destroyed oil and munitions factories being used by the Geist to further their war aims including nearly thirty Geist ships. On Karel, the pro-Geist government was ousted and a pro-Skean one took up residence... Saxon, Skean and Karel flags were flown in the street as Karel troops took up anti-Geist defensive positions. The Geist started to bombard New Albion and Mercia again as Geist cruiser-bombers adopted new wolf-pack tactics and, with the permission of the Berserker government, the UCS put forces in the Jokul system in order to better protect their convoys. Karel fell to revamped Geist blitzkrieg tactics and Saxonian troops were pushed out of the New Athens system as the heaviest period of bombing was launched against Attlee with many thousands of deaths. Following the destruction of IMS Lawrence, the "unsinkable" GKV Schwartz was chased relentlessly and destroyed twenty million klicks system north of Ayra by the battleships IMS Ayra, Joel and Henriette and the carriers IMS Attlee and Heracles with the Ayra administering the coup-de-grace by launching a nuclear missile into the guts of the still fighting but stricken Geist battleship. The Geist launched an invasion of Sparta, a small moon and military outpost orbiting Piros. The Saxons launched their latest hunter-killer test ship using Woodward's newest high-power plasma engines ... the test was superbly successful and production of the new engines became a high priority for all new military ships. Aryana in the Magyar system fell from Geist hands after a Saxon supported coup, pro-Geist LaVie lost Asham on Akkadia and Valentian troops surrendered on Menelik. The Geist broke their pact with their former allies and, turning brutally on the Kochevnik taking Krivich on Albaruskaya in the Iaroslav system, scored a series of tremendous victories in a very short space of time. However, the Kochevnik nation was huge and the Geist supply line lengthening... military observers predicted there would be huge problems for the invaders. Geist armoured divisions, assisted by superior air and space forces, powered on towards Volgaskaya in the Katrina system whilst the Kochevnik fell back leaving suicide squads to harass the rear of Geist lines. As Chernakov ordered a "Scorched Earth" policy in front of the advancing Geist, UCS troops landed at Skúli on Althing in the Jokul system to prevent Geist incursions and the Simerian Abyss Freedom Charter was agreed by the UCS and Skean. As the Geist tightened their noose around Olgovich and the Kochevnik began blowing up vital resources to slow or halt them, the Skean, allying with the Kochevnik, attacked Al-Salaam in the Aryana system to dislodge Geist subversive forces in the region. As Geist N'Chari over the age of six were forced to wear Myelka's Pentagram (implicitly a sign of witchcraft), a Geist cruise-bomber destroyed a Colonial warship, the UCS Jemini, moving the Colonials away from their state of strict neutrality. Kaiser's forces continued to advance on Ologovich but many of the systems in Kochevnik space had been incompletely terraformed so conditions were much harsher than the Geist expected with conditions taking their toll and slowing the advance. The Skean carrier IMS Oceanus was struck by a Geist nuclear missile and destroyed making her run into the shelter of Jebeltarek. In 2793, the Akatsu began to move on Chinthe and Âu Cơ. As the pro-Colonial faction of their government resigned and relations with the UCS deteriorated.