2786-2789

Geist troops landed on Oest in the Donau Republik system to a rapturous welcome as the "Purification" pogrom was started and ninety-nine percent of Geist citizens were claimed to support the annexation. Geist children were forbidden to speak to N'Chari children and all N'Chari property was declared property of the state.

Despite Skean concerns for Karel in the Novy Morava system, an agreement was reached with the Geist over the regions of the planet where there were Geist migrants; that part of the planet was handed over to Geist administration. Within a month Geist troops were landing on Karel.

As tensions heightened, the Skean signed a non-aggression pact with Valentia in the hope of preventing a Geist-Valentian alliance and plans to partition Shalim were quietly dropped. The Akatsu bombed An-Shi in the Qing system mercilessly and, soon after, occupied it.

In 2789, with the Saxon Imperial Fleet taking over two thousand fighters each month to join the ten thousand existing ones, the Saxon government began to draw up plans for conscription and started to evacuate children to the farthest reaches of the empire. A Skean Woodward equipped experimental cruiser vanished near Elmet in the Brython system with over two hundred lost.

Kaiser extended his forces into other areas of Karel whilst Valentian stormtroopers occupied Menelik. The Skean and LaVie condemned the action promising aid to the Athenians and Carpathians if Valentia extended to those systems. As a result, Valentia and Geist signed a mutual support agreement, The Nuclear Pact. Savant Antonia I, the young Valentian priestess who succeeded the outspokenly anti-Fascistic Savant Calvi III, spoke strongly in favour of both Ferraro and Kaiser.

Abril Castillo took La Cruz and Baroque in the Caledonia system ending the Amigan civil war and there followed a series of uneasy military movements as Amigan ships conducted exercises near the Skean base on Jebeltarek, a satellite of La Cruz. Geist ships moved to nearby space sending Skean ships in the area to high alert.

The Saxons and LaVie continued attempts to negotiate an alliance with the Kochevnik whilst the latter, apparently cautiously welcoming the idea, secretly negotiated the Kochevnik-Geist Non-Aggression Pact and agreed not to war with each other. The Geist started to advance on the Leszek moon Kircholm in the Nowe Prusy system. Having apparently stolen the plans for Woodward's new engines, the Geist launched their first ultra-plasma experimental ship.

Lawrence declared war on The Geist, the LaVie quickly following suit, both Skean and Pax forces on high alert as Leszek prepared for invasion awaiting the seemingly inevitable aggressive moves by the Geist.

Both the Kochevnik and Geist invaded Leszek, the latter adapting from Akatsu strategies in the Amaranthine, to use a series of tactics that became known as Blitzkrieg or "Lightning War". Standard strategy involved using heavy stand-off forces bombarding the enemy from some distance before moving in to engage their weakened and demoralised forces later. Instead, Blitzkrieg tactics meant punching through the enemy lines with rapid moving, heavy offence units to form a breach through which more units could enter. Fleets of supporting atmospheric fighter/bombers as well as mechanised infantry units would rapidly spread out behind the defenders, obliterating the planet based forces. Many of the forward units were automated, punching through defensive lines in near "suicidal" fashion, saturating the defending fleet with high-yield nuclear missiles and the surface below with massive kinetics bombs. Within hours of the attack the first wave would create a beachhead on the planet and start launching nuclear missiles back up at the already disoriented defending forces crippling them to allow the second and third waves to wipe them out. No prisoners would be taken, no enemy ships left intact, no quarter asked or given, just pure obliteration.

2790-2793

Despite the effectiveness of Blitzkrieg, the "Allies" developed new technologies and tactics which forced the Geist to adapt and abandon it as their primary tactical strategy. One particularly effective counter strategy was the saturation kinetic bombing of the Blitzkrieg target zone immediately following enemy acquisition so wiping out the majority of Geist surface assets. Defensive forces started to adopt the strategy of holding their forces back and allowing automatics to defend the planet below, then hit the Geist attackers from the rear.

The Saxon liner, Thessia, was amongst thirty or more allied ships destroyed by Geist cruise-bombers and the battleship, Imperium, docked at Wolfpack, was destroyed shocking the Saxonia's Imperial Fleet High Command because Wolfpack was considered to be more or less impregnable to bomber attack and the battleship's armour easily adequate to take anything capable of getting through. As Gaylord Cartwright once again became Prime Lord Imperial and the Skean landed half a million troops on Sartre, both Zdarman and Berserkers brought their forces up the highest states of alert. Narrowly escaping an assassination attempt on his life and, regardless of reports of SSP cruelty to N'Chari citizens, Kaiser was reported to be furious that his "peaceful overtures" towards Skean and LaVie were rebuffed.

The UCS took the expected stance of neutrality but relaxed their restrictions on arms sales to allow the Skean and LaVie to buy munitions from them.

The Geist started to deploy semi-intelligent mines that were virtually indetectable and could slowly home in on shipping in the areas where they were deployed. The mines destroyed fifteen allied ships and others including the Dakari scientific explorer, New Vision. The Skean deployed minesweepers to control the mines in their own space but many drifted from expected areas to become a threat to ships of all nations including the Geist.

The Geist Battlecruiser, GKV Maxim, was scuttled after being damaged and forced to port at Chana on Charrua in the Sajama system by the Skean Sekwana class cruiser, IMS Kernow accompanied by the Lochness class light cruisers, IMS Logie and IMWS Orca.

The Kochevnik invaded Uusi Suomi in the Kalmar system.

A year later, in a lightening Special Forces strike, the Saxons liberated fifteen hundred prisoners from a tanker orbiting Uusi Suomi finding them kept in appalling conditions something of which supposedly neutral Berserkers were aware. The Saxon government made a formal protest.

The Kochevnik made slow progress on Uusi Suomi dropping nearly half a million surface troops and thousands of armoured units from freighters adapted as dropships. Despite high casualties, including the loss of nearly half their armed and armoured freighters, the number of soldiers at their disposal and their ability to continually refresh forces drove the Berserker defenders back and finally overwhelmed them.

As the Saxon space liner Emperor Vaughn I ended a secret voyage to Ganymede and docked there for the remainder of the war, Chancellor Joshua Lawrence negotiated a stronger alliance at Seine and the UCS attempts to negotiate peace in the Pax arena failed.

The Geist invaded Ahrens in advance of Saxon opposition but, as specialist marines attacked and destroyed a fleet of thirty Geist ships orbiting the planet, LaVie and Saxon stormtroopers landed at strategic locations on Ahrens and started to drive the Geist back. Lawrence claimed Kaiser was failing and the Geist economy was being strangled.

Dakar in the Hapsburg system fell to the Geist advance... the Dakari, trying not to aggravate the Geist, had been utterly unprepared for war.

Saxon Chancellor Lawrence handed over to Gaylord Cartwright who formed a coalition government and rushed the Space Warfare Act through giving the state power over all people and property. Saxon Fascists were imprisoned.

Maigret in the Hapsburg system and the planets in the Ypres system rapidly surrendered to the Geist as Saxon marines were surrounded and driven from Sartre, their final stronghold in LaVie territory. As the year came to a close the LaVie surrendered under much harsher terms than the Geist had at the end of The Amaranthine War and Geist troops paraded through Seine streets.

The Kochevnik landed forces, unopposed, on Mindaugas in the Caupo system and, while the Skean fought on alone, Valentia declared war on them and on the UCS.

With no easy network route to attack Saxonia, the Geist decided to attack across the Saxon Passage, a relatively narrow strip of space between conquered territories and New Albion, the Saxon homeworld. Following an ultimatum demanding LaVie ships head to Saxon or UCS territory a Saxonian fleet destroyed a large part of the LaVie fleet orbiting Al-Idrisi in the Dzayer system to prevent them falling into Geist hands. Over ten thousand LaVie crew were killed and the LaVie government was infuriated. In retaliation, as the Geist controlled LaVie puppet government took a fascist stance, the Geist took control of a small Saxon orbital defence port, Port McKenzie at Brelade in LaVie space.

The Geist launched a massive kinetic bombardment against Attlee on New Albion and its environs. In retaliation, the Saxons launched a massive kinetic bombing campaign on Kaiser Platz on Kaiser Welt in the Volks Platz system with all ships returning safely. Within weeks Geist space forces launched a series of bombing attacks on Saxon ports after which Cartwright delivered one of his most effective speeches of the war.

"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.

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