Part 111: Rising of the EastChapter 6 The War Reaches the East January 1939 to August 1939
The new year began on a grim note as a tide of relentless war crashed into Europe and surged across Africa, with vicious clashes erupting between the Iberian Union, the Almoravid Sultanate, the Frankish Realm, the Russian Empire, the Communist States of Eurasia and a smattering of regional powers. Half the world was aflame, and the rest would soon follow.
For the Iberian Union, the immediate worry were in the enemies on their doorstep
Despite already being embroiled in conflict with Morocco and their League of Monarchies, the Socialist Shura of Iberia voted overwhelmingly to answer Provences call-to-arms and declare war on the Frankish Realm, bringing them into another two-front war.
Supreme Leader Mizanur, despite facing growing discontent amongst his own ranks, immediately ordered the Pyrenaic Army comprised of 21 divisions under the command of Walid al-Layun to garrison and fortify the Pyrenees, content with waiting for the inevitable Frankish attacks.
At the same time, 8 divisions under the command of Tiqnu al-Dhib were dispatched to Qartayannat and Gharnatah, where plans for a naval invasion into North Africa were being drawn up.
And finally, 7 divisions were still campaigning along the Kongo River, led by Aljadid Almiriykh. Putting his hard-earned experience in the Great War to good use, Aljadid managed to coordinate a series of bold forays eastward, seizing the strategic city of Wahbita and shelling the Khedivate's capital of Balbita in quick succession.
To the east, Egyptian troops had made good progress over the past month, pushing Moroccan lines southward and reaching Lake Zulfiqar by the 28th of January.
With sand storms sweeping across North Africa and Mesopotamia, the Egyptians had also managed to seize the Suez Canal in a hard-fought battle. And with CSE troops finally capturing Tsargrad at the turn of the month, the Russian Navy was trapped in the Black Sea, effectively neutering their naval prowess.
The Romanian and Caucasian fronts were still bloody stalemates, but with Tsargrad secured, the communists could turn their attention towards the Vali Emirate, which had just joined the war with the League of Monarchies. Clashes immediately erupted across their border, with Belgrade launching a relentless offensive towards Baghdad over the course of February.
Up until this point, the Far East had been relatively quiet on the international scene, but that quickly changed with the outbreak of war in the west.
The Treaty of Edo had little sway in the affairs of Japan in recent years, and it was completely repudiated when the Shushõ issued an ultimatum in the dying days of February, demanding that the Red Turban regime of Korea open their borders and surrender diplomatic sovereignty to Tokyo.
The Red Turbans, scarcely able to maintain order in their own peninsula, could only submit.
With most of the Great Powers already absorbed by their own conflicts, this aggression went largely unremarked, but the same couldnt be said of Manchuria and Mongolia to the west
Over a decade after their victory against the Chinese, the warlords of Manchuria and Mongolia revived their alliance and declared joint wars on the Empire of China, swarming across the border and crushing their disorganised and unprepared enemies in a series of decisive battles.
And with western powers preoccupied, there was nobody to stop them from finally dismembering and partitioning the empire amongst themselves, promising to irrevocably change the political landscape and balance of power in East Asia
Back in Europe, the Provencal were putting up a decent fight, even pushing a few miles into western Occitania. It wouldnt last, however, the only reason theyd advanced so far was because the vast majority of Frankish forces were focused on the greater threat Socialist Germany with Commandant Vernier determined to defeat them before the onset of winter.
The Germans didnt just roll over, making the Franks pay a heavy price in blood for every mile they marched, but they quickly reached the outskirts of Frankfurt all the same.
Once the Germans had capitulated, the Commandant would undoubtedly turn his war machine on Iberia, and the Supreme Leader couldnt just wait for that to happen. So deep into March, he finally gave the order to advance, with 200,000 Andalusi, Qattaluni, Portuguese, Castilian and Basque soldier pushing northwards in their first offensive of the war.
At the same time, the Red Navy was patrolling the coasts of the peninsula, with destroyer and submarine squadrons carrying out search-and-destroy missions whenever possible a strategy that yielded mixed results, with the occasional victory offset by costly sinkings.
On the African theatre, Aljadid Almiriykh had made brilliant progress in crossing the Kongo River and breaking enemy lines on a ruthless assault, with the commander marching into the Khedivates capital at Wahbita on the 2nd of April a devastating blow to the legitimacy and authority of the so-called Khedive.
Whilst the battle around Wahbita was still raging, a bloody exchange had erupted between Beninese and Khedivate soldiers along the Sanaga River, situated firmly within Kongolese territory. Benin City claimed that the incident was nothing more than a military exercise gone wrong, but they refused to withdraw from the Sanaga, instead intensifying their presence along the river over the next few weeks.
And when Wahbita fell to the Iberians, they finally struck, with the King of Benin formally declaring war on the Khedivate of the Kongo on the 5th of April. As expected, Almoravid Morocco promptly intervened in the conflict, with the rest of the League of Monarchies declaring war on Benin soon afterwards.
Keen to take advantage of this turn of events, General Almiriykh immediately launched another offensive, hoping to capture Madinat Balanabus and Kisangani before the Beninese.
The Egyptian advance into East Africa, meanwhile, had been brought to a screeching halt by an influx of Indian conscripts. Key towns in the region Machakos, Narok, Mombasa swapped hands several times over the next few weeks, but the Egyptians managed to retake the initiative when they surrounded and crushed five enemy divisions in the battle of Narok.
At the same time, the communist regime of the East was marching from one crushing victory to the next, capturing Mosul in early February and seizing Muscat just two months later in a stunningly-successful campaign. With his army annihilated and kingdom subjugated, the Vali Emir could only flee as communist rule was enforced in Mesopotamia and Arabia.
And even better, a combined effort between the CSE and Egypt had dealt the Almoravid Fleet a crushing defeat in the naval battle of Crete, with the Moroccans forced to withdraw from the Eastern Mediterranean in the dying days of April.
Needless to say, the war was going very well for Belgrade, very well indeed. So when a telegram arrived in Qadis from the Chairman of the CSE, expressing his hopes for an alliance, Supreme Leader Mizanur couldnt exactly turn him away not without inciting uproar from fringe factions in the Shura.
So diplomatic talks quickly followed, and before the end of May, the two leaders had agreed to establish an alliance of necessity between the regimes waging war against Morocco, Francia and Russia, an ad hoc alliance that would only end with the war.
Other socialist regimes were very receptive as Germany, Provence and Ibriz were inducted into the alliance over the next few weeks, but Crusader Egypt and Benin werent so eager, with both refusing to attend the diplomatic talks staged at Qadis. They would fight this war on their terms, and their terms alone.
Nonetheless, this pact with the eastern communists was quick to bear fruit, with the CSE lending their expertise against the Almoravid Fleet, which was still operating in the Western Mediterranean. The Iberians would never defeat Morocco without seizing control over their sea routes, and their opportunity to do just that finally arrived in early May, when Moroccan naval ciphers were decoded for the first time.
Quickly acting on the intelligence gained from these codes, the Red Navy intercepted and crushed a Moroccan fleet near the Straits of Gibraltar, sinking two battleships, three heavy cruisers and a light cruiser over the course of a few hours, seizing their first decisive victory of the war.
This was precisely what the Supreme Leader had been waiting for, and two naval invasions quickly followed the victory, one of which succeeded in landing three divisions in North Africa. The battle of the Maghreb had begun.
The Moroccan heartland seemed to be dangerously exposed, so the landing party quickly assaulted Ceuta and Tangier. Once secured, more troops were ferried across the Straits, and the push southwards was underway within the month.
And true enough, the Maghreb was very vulnerable, largely because the Almoravid army had been redeployed against the greater threat Benin. Led by their lightning lynx tank divisions, Beninese troops had surged across West Africa over the past two months, seizing the important economic centres of Timbuktu and Madinat Yahya on their very first offensive, with the rest of West Africa sure to follow before long.
At the same time, the Frankish Realm was sweeping across Europe with terrifying speed, capturing the capitals of Provence and Germany in the first week of June, quickly followed by Hanover and Nuremberg. With large parts of his army cornered and crushed against the Alps, the supreme leader of Provence capitulated to Paris that same week, but the leader of Germany vowed to continue fighting until every last city, town and village was utterly subdued.
As for the Pyrenaic front, theyd scarcely gained 30 miles in the past six months, a disgraceful return for the lives lost in that time. Growing increasingly irritated with his performance, Supreme Leader Mizanur finally relieved Walid al-Layub from his command in mid-June, replacing him with a close friend and political ally in Mahmud ibn Bibil.
And it immediately paid off, with Ibn Bibil launching diversionary attacks to the east and west to open the Frankish frontlines, allowing him to successfully assault and capture Toulouse before months end.
With some progress finally being made on the northern front, freshly-raised divisions were dispatched to reinforce the Pyrenaic and Maghrebi armies. At the same time, announcements were made in both Paris and Marrakesh, with the Occidental Dictatorship joining the Paris Pact and Hungarian Kingdom joining the League of Monarchies.
In the east, just six months after it was first launched, the Manchurian-Mongol invasion of China had come to an end. It had been brief and decisive, with the already-failing Chinese army crumbling as the war progressed, culminating in the Emperors surrender and the Treaty of Shanghai
The Revolutionary Republic of Japan the great power of Asia wasnt just watching as warlords rampaged across the continent, however. Instead, the Shushõ had spent the past few months negotiating his entry into the Pact of Paris, desperate for the backing of another Great Power. And it was finally achieved in the height of summer, with Japan inducted into the Paris Pact on the 25th of June.
Just mere weeks later, Tokyo issued a formal declaration of war against Manchuria and Mongolia, along with the League of Monarchies and Ad Hoc Alliance (thus bringing them into war with Morocco, Russia, Iberia and so on). The world war had finally reached the East.
The war in the east wouldnt affect Iberia, however, not for a long time yet. The Supreme Leader had more pressing enemies to contend with, closely observing the progress on the Maghrebi front, where the Iberians managed to seize Rabat and Fes before the Moroccans arrived in force. By the early days of July, the Iberians were outnumbered three-to-one, so commanding general Tiqnu al-Dhib resolved to dig in and wait for further reinforcements.
It would be some months before those reinforcements arrived, however, because Mizanur was directing the vast majority of fresh troops to the Pyrenaic front in preparation for a renewed offensive.
And that offensive was launched on the 10th of July, when general Ibn Bibil ordered three divisions to advance on Bordeaux, whilst concurrent attacks were launched on surrounding divisions to pin them down.
The breakthrough force made rapid progress, reaching the River Garrone on the 12th, defeating the meagre garrison by the 18th, and entering Bordeaux on the 21st of July. And with that, in just two weeks, thirteen Frankish divisions comprising some 120,000 soldiers, thousands of guns and hundreds of tanks were surrounded and encircled.
Over the next few weeks, dozens of counter-attacks attempted to break the encirclement, meeting with dozens of failures. Instead, Iberian divisions gradually squeezed the pocket close, relentlessly bombarding the trapped Franks as communications went down, as supplies were trapped dry, as food became scarce.
And on the 2nd of August, the last survivors surrendered and the battle of Bordeaux was won.
This victory earned Ibn Bibil enduring fame, but that came with the unenviable jealousy of the Supreme Leader, who promptly claimed the victory as his own (it was he, after all, who appointed Ibn Bibil to his position). Fortunately, Mizanurs attentions would soon be diverted eastward
Just days after the crushing victory at Bordeaux, King Apanoub delivered a speech in which he declared his entry into the Pact of Paris, confirming the fears and concerns held by senior Iberian politicians ever since their own offer of alliance was spurned.
That meant that Egypt was at war with the Ad Hoc Alliance and League of Monarchies, and sure enough, bloody clashes between Egyptians and Serbians began erupting in the Levant within hours.
And more bad news arrived soon afterwards, with Frankish armies capturing the last German holdout in Vienna and finally forcing the capitulation of the Socialist Republic of Germany.
The supreme leader of Germany refused to surrender, however, with Frederick Neumann escaping into Slovenia and crossing the border into Croatia, before being escorted to Belgrade and from there flown to Qadis. Communism was not defeat, not so long as Qadis and Belgrade were yet standing.
And not all was lost, because the last days of August brought an interesting turn of events, with the Commandant of the Frankish Realm declaring war on the League of Monarchies in solidarity with Egypt, thus bringing them into conflict with Russia and Morocco.
This Frankish-Egyptian alliance might just be a blessing in disguise, because it means that the three alliance blocs the Pact of Paris, the League of Monarchies and the Ad Hoc Alliance are now at war with each, and there will be no peace until only one remains.
Members of the Pact of Paris, and their enemies:
Members of the League of Monarchies, and their enemies:
Members of the Ad Hoc Alliance, and their enemies: