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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
1936 overview.

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The last year of the post-weltkrieg consensus.

A great unraveling.

The Black Year.

The 2nd Weltkrieg’s Prologue.

All these terms and more have been used to describe 1936, and while the American Presidential election was a highlight of the year, the moment of truth was still 11 months away. Until then, vigilant Americans would find their attention stolen by a series of eye-catching headlines, all of which hinted at a very different year from 1935.

If one cared enough to pay attention, the first unfortunate omen would’ve originated in China. Specifically, the vast governing entity known as the league of 8 Provinces. An intricate hierarchy tied together by German economic strength and the ostensible control of a reformed Qing Empire was about to face it’s first major crisis. It would be found lacking.


Uninitiated gawkers would find the situation in China incomprehensible at a glance. Knowledgeable observers equally so, but at least with enough understanding to see countless lit fuses.

The Zhegan Railway. To outsiders, the name might evoke scenes out of a science fiction novella. For Sun Chuanfang and his cabinet, it was a crowning achievement. A first-class railway linking Shanghai to Nanchang, the product of Chinese effort and funding from Germany’s AOG. From this railway, further collaboration between Germany and China, two equal partners, was assured. Or so the promise went.

A few days came the announcement that the German conglomerate would be purchasing several railways in Southeastern China as part of a projected Central China railway. The Zhegan railway was one of them. Outside observers might shrug their shoulders at the news, but whispers of concern in Germany indicated that those familiar with arrangements in China had reached a conclusion that seemed obvious in hindsight:

AOG had overplayed its hand. Badly.

The ensuing protests were just receiving attention in American newspapers when a far more sudden disruption caught the world’s eye. On January 18th, the vast, bleak nation of Russia had its fragile Democracy thrown into chaos by the assassination of Alexander Kerensky.

While the Duma struggled to assert control and nominate an interim president, true control of Russia would be seized by General Peter Wrangel. It would remain to be seen what his intentions were as weeks of unrest went by.


Wrangel was known as a skilled disciplinarian, and his sympathies for Authoritarian circles in Russia's elite left supporters of Democracy sweating bullets.

Affairs in Russia understandably receive more attention given its border with German satellite states, but the Chinese weren’t going to halt their rage. From the factory workers going on strike at the bottom to the intellectuals proposing boycotts of German products at the top, revolution was in the air. Inaction from police and military forces in some cities only added to the fervor.

Next came the bombing of railways, too coordinated and effective for mere rowdy peasants.

Amidst various contradictory rumors, an infamous telegram was sent to the central government in Beijing by Sun Chuanfang, ruler of the League. The “discontent”, he wrote, was “fully under control”.

One week later, Wuhu was burning.

Protestors from the factories united with remarkable cohesion to bring the city toa halt. Unlike in other cities, the military garrison of Wuhu had been meticulously trained directly by German advisors, many of whom remained in command positions. When called out to halt the protests, they did their job-too well, in fact. Over one hundred protestors were dead in the first clash alone. A key contributor to outrage over the massacre was the presence of a foreign settlement in Wuhu. Undoubtedly, it was claimed, the army’s overzealous conduct was aimed at protecting the foreigners by any means.

The unrest was fueled by a source both surprising to some and expected to others when Anqing’s anti-concession governor, Chen Tiaouyan, mobilized the troops under his command for the purpose of restoring order and conveniently declared de facto independence from the League of 8 Provinces.

At this point, world attention was drawn back to China again, and not even an ill-conceived declaration of war by Afghanistan against its neighboring Indian sub-state could distract most people. The economic strangulation of German investments combined with Russia’s newfound reluctance to repay German debts forced upon it by the Brest-Litovsk treaty sent the German stock exchange crashing and burning on February 10th, “Black Monday”.

By the time the full effects of the crash hit China, entire provinces were paralyzed by existing dissent. Workers now had no jobs to return to even if they did stop striking, and those that weren’t already doing so eagerly joined in. German advisors and officers in the League military often ditched their posts for the Legation cities or the nearest international concessions to avoid the wrath that left Sun Chuanfang in a coma two weeks after black Monday.

But further chaos in China was the last thing on American’s minds when their own depression was exacerbated by Black Monday’s effects stateside. It was enough for Herbert Hoover to almost desperately announce his willingness to sign a relief bill...if congress could pass one. Not so simple a hurdle in the fractured party system of 1936.

Four years was enough time for the Socialist Party to secure a foothold in Congress, while the America First Party gained momentum thanks to defections of a few Southern politicians such as Huey Long’s ally John Overton. The GOP also took advantage of the political chaos to retain a modest presence in the senate. Thus, what should’ve been a massive Democratic majority in the senate became a mere plurality.

The initial bill was introduced by Senator Robert Wagner and House Speaker John Nance Garner. It was a source of frustration hours after the first debates began. The question of where any sum of cash would come from when America was in the middle of a depression was raised, only to be shouted down by claims that it didn’t go far enough. The socialists demanded protections for factory workers and recognition of unions. Huey Long thundered that the needs of American farmers mattered the most, and that social security was a must.

The problem for both parties was that neither of them were strong enough to influence the combined vote of the established order. Democrat and Republican leadership understood this, and went about trying to thread the needle for an ideal relief bill without risking the political cost of empowering the newcomers.

This collaboration had the expected effect of leaving Reed and Long Chagrined, and they led their respective parties in protesting accordingly. Long declared a plot was afoot on the part of the corrupt old order in American politics, with the goal of hollow placation for the American people if they were gullible enough to accept it.

Of course, if that had really been the case, the Garner-Wagner bill might still have been passed without a hitch. Instead, the usual misgivings persisted, and the question of expense remained. It would take events outside of Washington to hasten the bill’s passage.

March 21st saw what would be known as “the battle of the overpass”. Detroit auto workers clashed with the private security forces of Henry Ford outside one of his car factories, and the hired goons resorted to gunfire more quickly than the police or national guard had in past fights. 11 strikers were killed, including a black labor organizer by the name of Oliver Law (memorialized as “a modern day Crispus Attucks” by Socialist newspapers).

As national outrage grew, Democrat and Republican lawmakers were frightened into action. One week after the killings, a condensed relief bill was scraped together, shoved through the House, and passed by a margin of one vote in the Senate. Among the “no” votes was a concerned Senator Wagner, who expressed doubt that the final bill contained the necessary reforms he himself wanted. Huey Long mockingly declared in response that Congress would just have to “pass it to see what’s really in it”.

Several Republican Senators helped get the bill through, thinking that being seen as joining in the relief effort would help their party's chances in November.

What was now just the Garner act fell flat on its face. The farmer relief was aptly summed up by Huey Long as “an extra quarter to get you through the week”. Social security was “empowered to be taken up by the states...at their discretion”. Unions had their right to exist affirmed with no concrete guarantees beyond that.

The only thing the bill succeeded at was making accusations of an establishment hoodwink sound accurate, and the accusers look more appealing. The SPA and AFP both made up for their smaller membership with robust infrastructure. Socialists in the Industrial areas organized volunteer soup kitchens to aid the unemployed, while AFP put a more limited version of the Share Our Wealth program into practice in the form of relief charities.

At the same time as they were extending a helping hand, both Parties were also sharpening their knives. When the time came to strike, Unions organized into Red Guards, and accepted volunteers for training in street brawls.

The AFP had the Minutemen, a more organized militia with it’s own uniforms and ranks. This militaristic side emerged thanks to the influence of veterans and contemporary officers. The former dedicated their time training and drilling recruits, the latter provided more implicit support by granting assignments to AFP-sympathetic officers and promising to mobilize their units “when we know the time is right”.


Huey Long speaking before a camera while Minutemen move out behind him. Most of them were not nearly as well-dressed.

The primaries for all major parties were merely foregone conclusions. Vice President Charles Curtis would make the longshot attempt to succeed Hoover, and “Cactus Jack” John Garner was seen as the best Democrat for the job: a conservative Texan who could appeal to the Parties’ Southern base and pull in dissatisfied Republican voters.

As Spring arrived, the Hoover Administration attempted to brush aside the smoldering remains of the Garner-Wagner bill by taking a more assertive stance towards America’s Northern neighbor.

Canada had now served as the seat of the English Monarchy for 11 years, and the final resting place of King George V. Now that his young and inexperienced successor Edward VIII was on the throne, it would be the perfect chance for past war debts from the Weltkrieg to be repaid.

But Edward was no pushover. Canada could count on the still-substantial resources and manpower of other British Dominions, supported by loyal entente partners. Their Alliance was diligently planning the grand return to Europe, and the destruction of the Syndicalist pretenders. The future was sure to contain great things for them. The United States was an ailing nation with no international pull outside of the Philippines and their spot on the legation council. They’d clearly confused who would be making requests of the other.

Faced with this refusal, Hoover fell back on the old response of tariffs. The Smith-Lea tariff act was unsurprisingly met with retaliatory measures from Canada, and now America was in a trade war with one of the major importers of their products.

In the backdrop of this chaos, the Republicans suffered another defeat when a special election in New Jersey resulted in a victory for AFP candidate Charles Lindbergh (which put him in a peculiar spot next to socialist Senator Ben Gitlow). Weeks later, AFP fighters took the opportunity afforded by May Day rallies to brawl with Socialist marchers.

President Hoover’s speech in response to the violence called for calm and reconciliation. Unfortunately, his comments were seen by the Socialists as placing the blame on their shoulders, even when fights broke out in cities where their support was strongest. Sympathetic observers began casting their lot in with the SPA more and more. Progressives and DFL loyalists in the upper midwest embraced the party.

In the South, it was Huey Long whose message resonated with Democratic voters more than John Nance Garner. The AFP counted as it’s supporters an odd array of Southerners and Midwesterners. Politicians like “Alfalfa Bill” Murray, Lee Phillips, William Lemke, David Walsh, and Eugene Talmadge offered their endorsements, joined by activists Francis Townsend, Jacob Coxey, and the controversial “radio priest” Charles Coughlin, who was on a roll after a request by the Papacy to shut down his radio show was refused by the Hoover administration. Other supporters included veteran aviator Edward Rickenbacher, who viewed the AFP as the strongest anti-syndicalist force in America. Having resigned from his largely ceremonial post as commander of the Army Air Service a year earlier, he took Charles Lindbergh’s place as the iconic pilot who advocated for Long when the other man entered the Senate.

By the time Spring had turned to Summer, all of these endorsements were mere distractions from the violence that came to characterize the election. “Red Summer”, people called those months, when every week brought chaos that matched the May Day riots. The highlights included race riots in Charleston, tanks in the streets of St. Louis, and a sniper attack on police in San Francisco. Violence in the South highlighted how badly race relations had deteriorated there, and accelerated a gradual trend of black migration that started during the 20’s depression. The midwest, where the anti-segregationist Socialists were strongest, was just one potential place to go. Destinations for those fearful that the entire country was unsafe included Liberia, with it’s close ties to the United States, Ethiopia, the sole truly independent African nation, the Caribbean, and even Canada.

For the rest of the country, all eyes were on the Election, and the unprecedented wave of political violence the accompanied it. Now the question wasn’t when the clashes would end, but if whoever occupied the White House could stifle them. Incidents such as the armed man who was caught pushing through the crowds towards the front row seats of a Huey Long rally hinted that some people wouldn’t be satisfied with defeat. This was an all or nothing contest, and ensuring victory took on a highly personal meaning for them.

All extreme actions were condemned much less aggressively than they were even months earlier, a subtly dangerous trend that indicated how much perceptions had shifted. Loyalists of all parties understood that the costs of defeat would be high on both a political and personal level. Either the old order would cling desperately to power, or it would finally be swept away.

America knew for sure on November 3rd...

With 218 electoral votes for John Nance Garner (blue), 136 for Reed (bright red), 90 for long, and 87 for Curtis, the election was over...and so was America.

A/N: Yes, I'm adding aspects of HOI4 Lore into this story. I definitely see the China rework as an improvement.
 
Last edited:

Crimson Lionheart

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Long performed well even despite this defeat. While he failed to win Washington, he has won the hearts of the South
 

Specialist290

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I definitely agree that the China rework has made a much more interesting and dynamic situation in the Far East, though a small part of me is going to miss the Mad Baron and his insane ambitions of being Genghis Khan Reborn. It'll be interesting to see how much of that is ported over to the DH version in the long run.

If I've done my math right, there's no majority in the Electoral College, which means a contingent election and all the headaches that brings. This will be one messy election...
 

stnylan

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America is ripe to break apart.
 

stevefitz744

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No doubt it is an interesting time to be living in America to say the least...this election is sure to cause more political problems than it causes.

By the way, great job with implementing elements of the China rework from KR4, it puts an interesting and fresh spin on events for this AAR :)
 
Garner's Folly

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When the full results were in after election day, there was not even an hour of collective resignation across the country before protests began anew (if they weren’t smoldering overnight). Nowhere was the aggravation more evident than among the socialists, and for one simple reason: the final tally put them at least a million votes ahead of John Garner. But several factors were in play to deny the SPA this apparent victory. Vote-splitting emerged as an expected consequence of four major parties being on the ballot. As a result, the two newcomer parties remained locked inside the regions that supported them the most. Combined with the expected rumors of ballot destruction, this made the AFP’s slim defeats in Minnesota and New York-the two states that could’ve lifted John Reed to first place-a source of discontent that would be referenced long after it should’ve mattered.

But the election was over, and neither the Socialist voters nor their politicians could do anything to stop it. With no party winning the majority of electoral votes, the democratic-controlled house swiftly voted to confirm Garner’s victory, joined by several republicans. Al Smith was also voted Vice-President by the Senate.

Not that this was much of a pleasure for the Democrats. If they’d won the white house, they’d lost the American people. In almost every senate election held in the former CSA, the AFP successfully flipped the seat. Those states that voted for Huey Long were also home almost exclusively to AFP congressmen. The main exceptions to this were in Texas, Garner’s home state. Several close races had seen the Democrats retain a senate seat and three-fourths of the delegation.

The socialists only had a chance of winning in fewer senate elections, but they won in 4 more states, and expanded their section of the house. The democrats were down to a plurality yet again.

Weeks passed, and the national tension waned without leaving. There were no more assassination attempts or massive rallies, but people kept their guard up. John Reed mentioned the hollowness of the Democrat’s victory on the Senate floor and to newspapers. Huey Long vowed no compromise with the new Administration, not after his party had “swept the feet out from under them” in the South and was on track to supplant the Democratic party entirely.

Faced with such a volatile reception in Congress, Garner entered the White House with an authoritative, resolute message for the American people. He spoke of dedication in the face of hardship, and faith as a weapon against any uncertainty.

President John “Cactus Jack” Garner is remembered for his uncompromising attitude, low tolerance for radical antics, spendthrift inclinations, and willingness to castigate anyone he deemed worthy of criticism.

Definitely not the traits one desires from a man tasked with keeping a divided nation together.

His long term agenda for getting out of the depression exemplified this character. There would be no inclusion of radical demands from the new parties, not when Democrats and Republicans were still strong enough to pass bills on their own. With the relief bill passed in his name a disappointing wreck, President Garner took no chances this time around. Austerity would be the government’s approach.

Unsurprisingly, the already-scornful Socialists were not pleased by the news. While not outright calling for party members to declare the national general strike that had been predicted in fearful or excited tones depending on who spoke of it, the rapid (by 1930’s standards) mobilization of the unions left little doubt that they’d merely been waiting for the right time.

As cities across the Great Lakes region turned chaotic, Huey Long wasn’t about to stand idly by. In a speech delivered as part of his “Great Southern Rally” in New Orleans, Long warned that a Syndicalist takeover was underway. A nationwide shutdown of all factories was only the first step in the plot. The Minutemen would have to take up arms, he proclaimed, and be vigilant for any hints of rebellion. They couldn’t confront the Red Guards in their core territory, but they could keep the South free of trouble.

Between drafting an austerity bill and dealing with indignant Republican Senators who were even then trying to extract concessions, Garner had less time than he would’ve liked to deal with the array of dissent-related problems that festered with each passing day. Unruly Socialist Governors in Michigan and Illinois would grouse about “Federal overreach” when Garner tried to send the National Guard into their major cities. When they finally relented, the true extent of Socialist infiltration into the guard was often revealed when troops merely stood on the sidelines, not joining the protestors, but not impeding them either.

Garner’s crackdown on the AFP faced similar obstacles. Local police in Southern States deflected requests from Governors to investigate suspected training camp locations with a wink and a smile. Police in Louisiana didn’t even bother making an effort. The most notable success occurred on February 26th, when a frustrated J. Edgar Hoover personally oversaw a raid on “Camp Forrest” near Somerset Tennessee. Several newly manufactured BARs and Springfield rifles were seized, and a few former Soldiers serving as trainers were arrested alongside many recruits. Huey Long brazenly responded with a promise of “War against Tyranny”. No “traitor Democrats” would extinguish their flame, so he swore.

Where Federal authorities had more consistent success against both groups was far beyond their respective cores of support. Without sympathetic support on at least a Mayoral level, anyone trying to organize a militia needed to maintain utmost caution. So it’s fortunate for these people, at least, that events further to the East prevented Federal authorities from hunting them down.

Dividing the core of states won by the Socialists and the AFP were the traditional “border states” of the First Civil War Era: Missouri, Kentucky,Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. These states had already seen the worst instances of resistance against the government during the first decades of the 20th Century. Thousands of Miners gathered around Blair mountain and faced bombers in 1920. Starting in 1931 sporadic violence in Harlan County Kentucky finally bled into the wider unrest by 1937, with a cumulative body count in the dozens at least.

Missouri, at the crossroads of the South and the Great Plains, had been hotly contested before. Confederate troops were always active there during the first Civil War. The 1936 Presidential Elections featured strong campaigns from both new parties: The AFP in the countryside, and the SPA based out of Kansas City and St. Louis.

Socialists in the latter city had followed along with the national trend in declaring a general strike with the help of agitators from Chicago. Police tried to block off bridges on the Mississippi river, but the strikers successfully drove them away. Alarmed by this and other reports of armed protestors surrounding key sections of the city, Governor Stark ordered Officers in the area to retain control by any means necessary.

At this point, Huey Long stepped in, offering to send in local Minutemen battalions to help keep order. President Garner himself intervened and sternly told the Democratic Governor to refuse. The National Guard would be called up, he later declared, as news of the Missouri riots spread nationwide.

While troops were on the way, Garner and his cabinet had yet another worry to occupy their time. The strong emphasis on “battalions” in Long’s request had a variety of implications. Never before had the Minutemen been referred to in terms more specific than “a group”. Even their usage of ranks was assumed to be a simple formality. As more public references to military hierarchy among the minutemen emerged, some in the Army cautioned that the “War against tyranny” might just take on a more literal meaning.

Surviving documents from the time point to the President being urged to send Federal troops into Louisiana and the surrounding states for the purpose of disarming any organized militia. But at this critical moment, Garner hesitated. The modest expansion of the Regular Army he’d authorized via executive order was still in the planning phase. How many available troops would be needed to secure the South, he asked, and what was the risk that their deployment would result in vulnerabilities elsewhere? Army Chief of staff Marlin Craig could not provide a clear answer before national attention was drawn elsewhere.

By early March, the Missouri National Guard had reached St Louis and regained control of the bridges. Protestors in the rest of the city wouldn’t budge, though. From their fortified strongpoints, Socialist rioters were in a tense standoff with the troops.

Upon getting the news, an exasperated Garner called Governor Stark and reminded him that the soldiers were there for a reason. Understanding the implication, Stark gave the fateful order to secure the city “thoroughly.”

The events of March 12th have been retold in films and autobiographies with a dozen different twists and turns. Multiple testimonies given even at the time remain overlooked by sympathetic sources.

What we do know from those testimonies is so simple it almost begs exaggeration: with no suggestions regarding advance warnings, a National Guard column was advancing on a crossroads barricade before gunfire broke out. Claims that a guardsmen was the first to fall over dead outnumber those saying the Socialists were fired on first.

The echo of firing was enough to convince skittish Red Guards members manning several nearby barricades that a full-scale attack was underway. In fact, the soldiers weren’t much more confident, being tasked with capturing fortified positions from open streets. When the first shots landed among them, they responded with their main advantage over the red militias: firepower. Socialist sources will assert that the barricades were fired on directly, but this claim is highly dubious; the Red Guard were still viewed as protestors rather than enemy combatants. The real answer is, again, much less dramatic: Machine guns fired just above the barricades, and the almost-universally green Red Guards ditched their positions in fear. Furthermore, only a few chose to outright surrender. Many more took potshots at police and soldiers from alleys and rooftops.


Chaos in St. Louis:The officer lying on the ground was shot by a sniper in the aftermath of the main confrontation.

But the battle was already decided. Once the first few positions were abandoned in rapid succession, the entire defensive scheme started to unravel. The leaders of the strike had no clear picture of how lethally resistance was being dealt with, so they sent out messengers in commandeered cars to order a withdrawal. In the ensuing panic, Red Guard commanders in the Eastern part of the city gathered their forces and tried to seize the bridges. Orders for the Platoons guarding them made it clear that no-one was to get across, and they had three light machines at every road to make sure of that. When it became clear that a force numbering in the several hundreds was advancing on their positions, the Captain in charge didn’t waste time with warning shots.

By the time the attempt ended, one Police Officer joked darkly that there were enough shell casings on the ground to risk slipping on. The degree of killing intent or panic that motivated the bridge defenders varies depending on the source, as does the number of Red Guard deaths. 2 dozen is the most likely estimate. There were no casualties among the defenders.

“MASSACRE,” “MERCILESS”, newspapers across the country soon blared on their front pages. Socialist papers in particular claimed that hundreds were now dead. “Your city,” one article warned at the end, “could be next”. Socialist Senators took turns launching filibusters that consisted of describing past major strikes for a week, and they would’ve done so more if not for events in Pittsburgh. A “solidarity march” had been underway for several days, and the nervous Democratic Governor had yielded to President Garner’s request to send in the National Guard. But Pittsburgh was a bulwark of Socialist support rather than a city on their periphery. Rather than back down, the organizers of the strike were convinced, mainly by the strong appeal of the local Vanguardist chapter, that the strength of their resolve needed to be made clear. On March 21st, a group of heavily-armed strikers outside one factory were taunting the soldiers when, according to many sources, one man was making a gun gesture with his hand. Meanwhile, a scuffle at another nearby factory resulted in one officer firing his gun into the ground close to the brawlers. At this point, a few daydreaming soldiers outside the first factory thought they were being shot at and opened fire at the joking man and his fellow marchers. The ensuing gunfight spread across the city and included Police officers unloading into a group of nonviolent marchers protesting the St. Louis crackdown. It was another week of gun battles in the streets before the city returned to relative peace. Among the strikers alone, 200 deaths have been confirmed. 58 National Guardsmen were killed by gunfire, and dozens of bystanders died.


A crowd watches Weltkrieg-era tanks of the PNG drive into Pittsburgh. One was destroyed by a firebomb during the first day of clashes.

The “Pittsburgh Massacre” further inflamed tensions nationwide. Jack Reed now labeled John Nance Garner a “sham president” who ruled through “force first”. He led a walkout of the Socialist delegation in Congress and embarked on a speaking tour at other renewed protests.

With cities across America frozen by strikes, Garner’s Administration was now assailed by criticism from all sides. Newspapers of all political leanings derided him.Even Herbert Hoover publicly declared his lack of confidence. As America’s few trading partners warned that they would be seeking alternate partnerships for more stable sources of goods, Garner was faced with the very real threat of complete economic paralysis.

A solution emerged from an unlikely source: Douglas MacArthur, who’d returned to the states from his position as Commanding General of the Far Eastern Forces. He and J. Edgar Hoover approached Garner in early April with a plan: Federal agents would assassinate Jack Reed, leaving the socialists leaderless. Striking quickly while they were still shocked, Federal troops and National Guardsmen would move into major industrial zones to restore order, arrest most high-ranking socialists, and oversee admittance of loyal workers into factories from the unemployed population. Garner found such a course of action shocking. It was simply unprecedented, the kind of event that only transpired in divided China or South America. He also expressed his doubt that every Socialist in America would merely be frozen by shock and allow themselves to be subjugated.

But with Hoover and MacArthur always finding opportunities to meet with the President and warn him that time was running out, the pressure finally overwhelmed old Cactus Jack.

On April 15th, Senator Reed was giving a speech in Central Park in support of the Socialist mayoral candidate when he collapsed from a gunshot. Socialist leaders nearby rushed to his aid and were relieved to see that the bullet had only grazed his shoulder.

By the time a gobsmacked Garner was given the news, Reed was on a plane to Detroit. Speaking outside the city hill to a crowd of cheering protestors, he gave one of the most (in)famous speeches in American history. This attempt on his life was the final straw, proof that Garner was a thug, not a President. There would be no reform by working peacefully within the system with men like him in charge. A revolution was already underway, the workers just needed to stand up and join it as part of the Combined Syndicates of America.

Multiple cities in those states won by Reed were already under the control of Red Guards, some with the consent of Socialist Mayors. All of them pledged allegiance to the new Syndicalist nation.


Initial extent of CSA control after Reed's "Declaration of Revolution". Michigan went along fully, Illinois was split in half after the Democrat-controlled legislature voted to impeach the Socialist Governor and continue leading the state from Springfield, New York City was taken over by the Socialists right after Reed left, and the remaining states were only nominally controlled from beyond certain cities.


At this point, Huey Long made his move. Having quietly left Washington after the Pittsburgh chaos, he’d carefully awaited a moment like this before making his first public appearance in New Orleans on April 17th.

Calling Garner an “incompetent, yellow-bellied wimp”, Long accused him of practically welcoming Syndicalist revolution into the nation. If entire states could free themselves from Federal control, what legitimacy did the government have? None, Long warned. The United States was practically dead. It was time for the American Union State to take it’s place.


Initial land controlled by the AUS. Governors aligned with the AFP willingly joined the new nation in a much more orderly secession.

As the American people were absorbing this news, yet another twist caught their attention. From Washington DC, they were addressed on the radio by an unfamiliar voice. General Douglas Macarthur informed them that President John Nance Garner had granted him “emergency authority” to take full control of the United State Government during this “unprecedented national emergency”.

In reality, Garner had suffered a massive heart attack after learning of two different secessions in as many days, and wasn’t even fully aware of what he’d agreed to when McArthur confronted him at his bedside.

Staged photo for Newspaper use of Douglas MacArthur and his former aide Dwight Eisenhower outside of the White House.

Many state-level politicians reacted with disbelief to this suspicious change of leadership, none more strongly than on America’s West Coast. Frank Merriam, governor of California, took a rather similar stance to Huey Long when he stated that the Federal government was illegitimate. He chose to invite the states of Oregon and Washington into the new “Pacific States of America” on April 29th, with the intent of avoiding the worst of the nation’s collapse.

The 3 Governors were disappointed to learn that their act of secession had been labeled tantamount to an act of war by MacArthur. He promised that they too would face his wrath for choosing to abandon the Union.

Given that he was on the other side of the country, it would at least be some time before the new American offshoot was threatened by anything. With his authority as leader of the most populous state, Merriam chose to put his trust in General Henry Arnold to lead the PSA, who called up the National Guard and planned their first move.

The United States of America had now lost half its population-over 60 million people-to these breakaway states. And it was about to lose a lot more soon enough.

State of the USA by May Day, with initial advances into already sympathetic territories marked. An overview of the equipment and formations involved at the start will be covered next, so don't touch that remote!
 
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stnylan

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The die is cast
 

Maciej-Kamil

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So it begins... It will be interesting to see how Long will deal with the reds, once the CSA and AUS frontlines meet.
 

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The founding fathers must be spinning in their graves right now. :p
 

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It's happening boys. Strap in.
 
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Following the successive revolts of all three breakaway regions, there came a kind of grace period lasting through most of May. During this interval, the ruling cabinets on each side of the developing conflict would hastily attempt to assess their current industrial and military capabilities, followed by a marshaling of the latter for the first steps of their advance. This part in and of itself would be a sluggish process as the organized units slowly absorbed their orders and finally headed towards the boundaries of their territory as marked by conflicting reports. While enthusiastic recruits were not in short supply, every new nation would be saddled with hindrances. A few were unique to one particular state, but most were shared as a result of the mediocre force they were inheriting pieces of.

Even by the modest standards of a large, yet isolationist nation, the American Military of 1937 was in a sorry state. The ongoing depression kept any overhaul schemes bound to the realm of fantasy. Development of new weapons involved a limited production run and planned expansion of manufacturing later. The Organized Reserve that was in place provided merely a uniform and trained less than the National Guard. Furthermore, any request to expand the Regular Army was denied. Some Officers hoped that the threat of Socialist Mexico on the border might scare Congress into acquiescence until the revolutionary state’s focus on reforms and managing the internal strife that followed made it clear that there would be no border war. In 1936 America’s Army was rated the 19th largest in the world, behind The Two Sicilies, Argentina, White Ruthenia, and, by a thin margin, the Yunnan Clique.

In 1936, American soldiers looked ready to win the Weltkrieg.

Only after John Garner’s inauguration did prospects start to brighten for the Army at least. As it turned out, this would be far too late. Garner was expecting the unrest that would accompany his Austerity agenda. He would have unrelated justification for calling up more troops thanks to growing international tensions, too.

Under Garner’s mobilization executive order, 4 Army divisions would be trained from scratch, and funding for another Air Service Composite group (a few squadrons of each plane type) would be granted. From getting the cobweb-covered army bureaucracy moving, to gathering enough equipment, to recruiting and training enough men from the phantasmal reserves left in place after years of neglect, the whole process for getting those divisions ready was predicted to take at least half a year. As it turned out, the nationwide unrest that accompanied Garner’s short time as President would produce all manner of delays, until MacArthur's “emergency provisional government” found itself with only the three infantry divisions and one cavalry division that were already mobilized at their disposal. While the Army did have at least 700 tanks available in 1936, they were either dispersed between Infantry divisions at the Company level or lying forgotten in warehouses. A limited number of experimental tanks were operated by “testing companies”, but production would not be revived for weeks.

MacArthur was fortunate that the Army had already implemented a defense plan with revolts in the South and Upper Midwest in mind. Headquartered in major cities from Wilmington, Delaware to Louisville, Kentucky, elements of the 4 divisions were dispersed along key points and ready to intercept hostile forays at their most likely routes. Ideally, the corridor might’ve been secured further to the West, but the Army was working with what it had on hand. Regular Army forces were also supposed to be supplemented by Organized reserve formations and National Guard that would both reinforce existing defensive positions and keep the Federal-controlled corridor connected with the rest of the country. They might even, ideally, be able to keep breakaway states out of enemy hands.

The reality of the situation will be covered as it relates to the various successor states. For now, we’ll note that MacArthur still felt confident in his ability to hold Washington DC.

The Army’s Air Service was even more neglected. On paper, there were 1500 warplanes in service. Among those that could be counted on to fly without mechanical trouble, most were at least a decade old. Newer aircraft dripped into service at the squadron level and were distributed to larger Air Groups across the nation. Knowing how obsolescent and poorly-maintained the Air service was, most Generals completely ignored it in their plans for domestic rebellion. As a result more than half of all American warplanes fell into secessionist hands before the first shots were even fired.

The one Branch of the US military that commanded some respect abroad and at home was the Navy. During the Weltkrieg, President Wilson had prudently signed the 1916 “Big Navy Act” to maintain parity with the major European powers. Construction of the 16 Capital ships authorized by the act took up the remainder of the Weltkrieg.



When the “peace with honor” was signed in 1921, it was clear that a defeated Britain was in shape to pursue any kind of arms race. This combined with the general easing of tensions that came following the war’s end led to the US Navy cancelling several planned ships.

Further reductions in spending following the 1925 depression led to every pre-dreadnought and several newer destroyers being scrapped. The Navy was only successful in prying out the funds for Carriers, Destroyers and Submarines.

Thus, by 1937, the US Navy was still a formidable force, comprised of:

4 South Dakota-class battleships

4 Colorado-class battleships

2 Tennessee-class battleships

3 New Mexico-class battleships

2 Pennsylvania-class battleships

2 Nevada-class battleships

2 New York-class battleships

2 Wyoming-class battleships

2 Florida-class battleships

2 Delaware-class battleships

4 Lexington-class battlecruisers

2 Concord-class Carriers

The Carrier USS Langley

6 Pittsburgh-class armored cruisers

3 Tennessee-class-armored cruisers

10 Omaha class cruisers

The St. Louis-class armored cruiser USS Charleston

The Armored Cruisers USS Rochester

8 new Destroyers of the Hazelwood class

8 Destroyer leaders of the Porter class

At least 90 Four-stacker destroyers of the Tucker, Sampson, Caldwell, Wickes, and Clemson classes, a few of which were saved from scrapping by being transferred to the Coast Guard. (The latter two had been significantly trimmed from their total numbers of 54 and 78 each)

USS Wilkes as CG-21, conveniently retaining her primary weapons.

A dozen Four-stackers that were converted to either Minesweepers or Minelayers

USS Brooks as DMS-7

70 Submarines

And a few other gunboats.

The Navy would find itself split as the civil war kicked off, and MacArthur's power-grab did not help matters. Much of the pacific fleet surrendered itself to the PSA, including the experimental carrier Langley. One exception was the battleship Montana, which was stuck in Pearl Harbor due to engine trouble and seized by irregulars of the newly-independent Hawaiian nation.

The rest of the Navy fared little better. Agitators from the Socialists and AFP had been working their way through the demobilized crews with much success. Many otherwise Loyal Sailors and Captains were also pushed over the edge by MacArthur’s coup. After the time the General made his “emergency” speech, the first response he received came in the form of several mutinies and defections. Among other losses, the new Combined Syndicates Navy swiped the Carrier Yorktown, while the AUS nabbed the Battlecruisers Lexington and Constellation. Like with the first advances, the whole process of organizing these new Navies and filling out their undermanned crews with new sailors took weeks. Those Loyalist ships that were still on the West Coast also made a mad dash for the Panama Canal.

Lastly, the United States Marines proved to be the most loyal branch of the Military. MacArthur could count on 3 available regiments to strengthen his defenses. As for the regiment that had been sent to help garrison the Legation cities, they found themselves isolated in the midst of an entirely different national breakdown with no apparent way to get back home. Only the need for anyone who could maintain order kept them from being disarmed. A strong contrast to the 31st infantry Regiment in the Philippines, which was de facto dissolved by the Philippine government. Subsequently, the men were given a choice to either find their own way back home or join the Constabulary as trainers.


Union State Military overview:


The efforts of officers with Pro-AFP sympathies finally came to fruition when Huey Long declared that the old United States was dead. National Guard forces in the South were already deployed to restore order when Governors declared their allegiance to the AUS...or ensure that reluctant politicians went along. Immediately, Long had at least two divisions worth of National Guard units at his command. Shortly thereafter, Regular Army Officers and their reserve troops within AFP territory conveniently defected almost in unison. This added another 3 divisions, 1 brigade, and at least 2 Cavalry Brigades.

Now that the AFP was on a war footing, the Minutemen were free to bring their full might to bear. Each state won by Huey Long had at least one Minuteman “division” reporting for duty when the rebellion began, and Louisiana had 3. None were larger than an overgrown brigade with no heavy weapons support in size. Other irregular formations came from Long’s heavily-armed State Police force, state-level groups, and more fringe sources.


For aerial support, A fighter group and Attack group constituted the bulk of the new Union air force.


Combined Syndicates forces, aka “The Red Army”:


The contrasts between the Union State Army and the Red Army are usually summed up this way: The former was a top-down revolt, the latter was bottom-up. If the lax behavior of National Guardsmen in most Socialist-dominated cities wasn’t enough of a hint, the mass defections that coincided with Reed’s speech was the wake-up call. In Michigan, almost every soldier switched sides; other states won by Reed saw the loyalists more evenly matched, part of the reason why those states were split. As a result, the CSA was left with one intact division and several fragmented units. Where the Red Army drew most of its strength was in irregular forces. By this point, every CSA-aligned Union had undergone some form of Red Guard training. The same fighters who’d seized control of major industrial cities from the Government often went right back to work in their factories-to produce weapons from then on. Red Guard columns were usually closer to divisions in size, and there were at least two each for every initial state in the CSA. Officers did not follow their men in joining the revolution, with one exception. In a highly ironic turn of events, Smedley Butler, the man who’d once been named by Huey Long as his first choice for Secretary of war, confirmed many suspicions and volunteered to lead the Red Army.


"I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we'll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag."


The CSA managed to capture one Air Group and one Bombardment group for their Air Force


Pacific States of America:


All military personnel in the West Coast states maintained their usual positions, just as part of a united army rather than the old National Guard. This left the PSA with 5 full divisions and many willing volunteers. A Pursuit, Bombardment, and Attack group were all captured.



US Military weaponry review:


Infantry weapons:


M1903 Springfield


M1917 Enfield


Pattern 1914 Enfield


M1892 Springfield

M1897 Shotgun

M1912 Shotgun


M1928 Thompson


M1918 BAR


M1919 Browning MG


M1917 Browning MG


M1895 Colt MG


M2 HMG (Extremely limited numbers)



Heavy weapons:


M116 3-inch gun

M1918 GPF

M1917 Schneider

M1916 3-inch gun

M1906 4.7-inch gun

M1897 3-inch gun

M3 AA gun

Various Coastal emplacements and Railway guns.



Armored Cars:


M2 Scout Car


M1 Armored Car


M1917 King


M1916 Mack


Tanks:


M1929 Kovats (extremely limited numbers)

M2 Light Tank

Marmon-Herrington CTLS


M1 Combat Car


T1E4 Light tank


M1918 Mk8


Renault M1917



Warplanes:


Fighters:


Consolidated P30

Boeing P26


Grumman F2F


Curtiss Hawk Mk. 1 and 2

Curtiss P6


Curtiss Falcon

Boeing P12


Vought FU


Boeing F2B and F3B


Bombers:


Douglas B16


Great Lakes TBG Annihilator


Martin B10


Great Lakes BG


Curtiss T32


Douglas Y1B8


Martin BM


Boeing YB9


Martin TM



Keystone B5


Douglas TD



Attack Bombers:


Curtiss A17 Shrike


Northrop A15 Havoc



Vultee V11


Consolidated A10


Curtis YA9 Shrike


Vought SBU


Patrol and scout planes:



Douglas YOA


Curtiss OC1



Hall P2H


Martin P2M


Douglas T3D


Curtiss CT




Next up: the Louisiana offensive leaves Long scrambling, and MacArthur is faced with enemies from without as well as within...


A/N: My in-depth overview of the US Military, free from the restrictions of HOI's model system.
Yet more incorporation of HOI4 elements with their vision of a world without the Washington Naval treaty. I've added my own twists to it. For one, there's no way Britain's getting into a Dreadnought race after being on the losing side of the Great War. Secondly, I removed two each of the Lexington Class Battlecruisers and South Dakota class battleships, because the US in this setting chose to cancel them before they were laid down (lack of wartime urgency delayed the construction efforts). They're also definitely not devoting time to another 4, even heavier Battleships afterwards, so those ships are gone. In exchange, America keeps almost all of their early dreadnoughts, more destroyers, more subs, and two older cruisers.
Wickes and Clemson-class destroyers were both produced in half the number as they were historically, and more are retained here, including all the ships lost in the Honda Point accident historically. So we end up with DD 75 through 227 before reaching newer classes instead of DD-347.
Concord-class carriers are basically slimmed-down Yorktowns, or USS Wasp if she were designed as a lighter carrier and not a desperate attempt to squeeze out a ship with leftover tonnage from a naval treated that resulted in an unprotected target. The light cruisers USS Concord is instead named USS Burlington here. The Hazelwood class is equivalent to the Farragut class, because here the earlier Farragut is still in service. USS Rochester was abandoned in Cavite until the Japanese bombed her historically. Here she's just in reserve on the mainland along with USS Charleston. I imagine most aircraft models should look the same as they do in the linked pictures except for a few cosmetic changes and alternate model names.
The M1929 is obviously the Christie Tank prototype accepted for production. Named after this guy because he was a Cavalry officer.
Figuring out the available Regular forces for every side in the Civil war was done with the help of this book about the US Army OOB.
The other volumes are right on google.
 
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stnylan

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Time to fight over the eagle's carcass
 

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An excellent update. Nice to see the capabilities of the AUS and her enemies
 
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Specialist290

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Definitely appreciating the level of effort that went into this post. I've been doing a lot of reading on the interwar navies of various powers lately myself, and I can well imagine that a world with no Washington Naval Treaty would look quite different from the one we got -- though, considering the troubles the US has encountered in this timeline, perhaps not all that drastically different from what we ended up with IRL.
 
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Interlude-cutting the cake.

SgtGranite

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How the world map doing ?
The international situation will be expanded upon shortly. Starting off with this...

June 10th, 1937. Utulei, American Samoa…


As he floated towards consciousness, Captain Lou Diamond wasn’t sure which was worse: the pounding on the door to his office, or the one that reverberated through his skull. He hadn’t been shooting for this kind of hangover, dammit. Just a glass of wine to put him at ease while he contemplated the latest reports from back home. When one hand groggily brushed against an upturned bottle while he pushed himself upward, it became evident that his mere one glass had grown far beyond that.

More importantly, that damned beating on his door just wouldn’t stop.

“I’m right here,” the Captain bellowed after rising to his feet. Blessed silence returned instantaneously after the first word. Good, he thought, the men still understood who was in charge here.

After a tenuous walk towards the door, Diamond grasped the handle for stability, then slid the lock open and pushed it down.

Standing in the doorway were two Marines: a short Corporal and a tall Samoan PFC. He immediately recognized both from their postings here at the Marine HQ. The Corporal was Vorozhekov, and the Samoan’s name would’ve been incomprehensible right then if his hazy mind could remember it, but he did know that the man just went by Ralph.

The pair saluted right when his gaze was in the open.

“Well, get on with it,” Diamond sighed.

Both men exchanged looks. The Captain’s headache wasn’t getting any less brutal.

Vorozhekov, being the NCO, spoke first.

“Sir, there’s a serious matter that requires the highest-ranking authority on the island.”

“Then why didn’t you just call Governor Milne?”

“He’s gone, Sir,” Ralph chimed in.

Now Lou’s aching brain remembered. The Captain was recalled back to the mainland after the whole Red tantrum in Pittsburgh. In other words, he had total authority over the American Samoa.

For the hill of beans that’s worth, he thought, and he must’ve started grimacing, because the already-nervous Marines both recoiled before him.

“At ease,” Diamond barreled past them without waiting for a response. “Just let me at the trouble and I’ll leave ‘em licked-”

He paused outside the main entrance to the HQ, taking a whiff of the salty South Pacific air.

“Where should we be heading?”

“Just straight ahead to the beach,” Vorozhekov pointed, staying well behind the Captain.

With one hand up to block out the painful daylight, Diamond lurched outside and towards the beach. A new buzzing noise joined the humming inside his brain; an airplane, or maybe more, but he just couldn’t tell.

“Don’t think I haven’t noticed how tight-lipped you’re acting, Corporal,” he turned over his shoulder to fix the thin man with a glare. “Unless the Holy ghost himself is out here demanding an audience, you’ll have to reserve your fear for me.”

“With respect sir, that’s the trouble right there…” Vorozhekov paused while they strolled past the line of trees that separated them from the beach.

“You wouldn’t believe us if we told you,” Ralph finished for him.

“How the hell-”

The Captain turned back in annoyance, and the sight that awaited him froze his words.

In hindsight, the pole masts had been visible over the trees right after he left HQ. Only the lingering effects of chugging so much Wine had prevented him from noticing them until now, when he had a full view of what they were connected to.

Anchored at the closest possible point to shore without risk of grounding was a monstrous blue-gray warship. Near it’s gently tilted bow was a Coat of arms, far less discernible than the 4 main turrets that were all pointed in Diamond’s direction. But most prominent of all was the ceremonial Naval ensign affixed to the front mast, Black, White, and Red stripes clearly visible in the upper-left corner, and a black seahorse rearing to strike in a central diamond.

Another ship lay at anchor further out, but it was not half as large as the gray titan directly ahead-neither were its main guns.

Faced with this inexplicable display of Naval might, Captain Diamond’s strained mind could manage just one statement.

“What the hell is that?”

“Why, it's the Battlecruiser Derfflinger.”

The voice was in English, but that tone-that name-explained everything.

Standing under a conveniently placed beach umbrella was the source of the voice: two men dressed in dark green uniforms. The peaked cap and decorative silver insignias on his jacket marked the man of the left as an officer. The enclosed motorboat that had delivered them here lay on the beach.

Noting that he’d snagged the men’s attention, the man on the right went on.

“You are the High Commander of all forces here, yes?”

“Captain Lou Diamond, USMC, that’s me. Now tell me what you’re doing on this beach, with that monster parked in our harbor.”

The Officer gave the other man a nod.

“I’m the interpreter for Major August Krakau of the 15th Jager Battalion, and the official representative for Rear Admiral Bruno Heinemann. We’re here to oversee the occupation of this island on behalf of the German East Asian territories. The Derfflinger is here to ensure that the transition of authority proceeds peacefully.”

Captain Diamond wasn’t sure how long it took him to process this information-there was something insufferably serene about the look on both Germans’ faces. Waiting would not be a nuisance for them, he could tell.

Being in the shade probably helped.

Something in Diamond psyche roared to life, spurred on by his raging headache. This posting had also felt like some dark twist of fate. All he’d had to do was wait another six months in Shanghai for the League to shatter. That would’ve given him all the battles he’d wanted and more. But his usual impatience combined with no way of seeing the future had seen that chance squandered. By the time the opportunity to transfer came up, the government wouldn’t dare send people to Shanghai by boat. Too much risk of getting sunk “by accident”. Then Garner came along, and his requests for a transfer stateside went unanswered until it was too late.

Now the Germans were here, acting like they could peel off whatever suited them every time another country went to hell.

In that moment, Diamond made up his mind. They’d tried to intimidate the wrong marine.

“What gives you the right to come and take this island over? You’re on sovereign American land, buster!”

The translator raised an eyebrow.

“We allotted your government ample time to restore order after the first uprisings. Even when your General MacArthur lost control of the West Coast, leniency was given by the Kaiser and Admiral Mucke. The deadline has now been reached, and the American Government is no closer to reestablishing it’s supposed authority over the secessionist states. Reports even show to us that the fighting has only grown worse. Now it is our responsibility to restore order to those territories we can reach-”

Order? That’s what I’m supposed to believe this is about?” Diamond took a hard step forward.

“Did this city look like it was on fire on the way in? I’ve been maintaining order well enough by myself here, and I’ll keep holding down the fort for as long as it takes MacArthur to hang every traitor between San Francisco and New York!”

With each breath coming louder and more raggedly as his vision reddened, Diamond took another step forward.

“Now get off my island.”

The German soldier bit his lip, then started to translate before Major Krakau gave an exaggerated roll of his eyes and held up a hand. He then pointed back towards the Marines.

“You have no choice in the matter,” the translator replied in an obviously rehearsed response. “Our battalion numbers 1000 men, and we can call upon the Marine compliments of each ship for support. The Naval Squadron itself has a scout cruiser and four destroyers in addition to what you see laid out before you. We have no Carriers, but our scout planes should be more than enough air support. This island can hardly sustain itself in a prolonged blockade. Your fellow Marines in Guam are being confronted by this truth right now as well. Captain, you have no chance.”

Diamond glared at the man all through his cold, clinical, and almost imperceptibly smug speech. When he was finished, the Captain strutted forward.

“Why you-you listen carefully, and take this one back to your Rear Admiral, if you-HRRAGH!”

Something snagged his left foot, and in his furious state, Captain Lou Diamond couldn’t even think to halt his fall towards the sand…

---

Each second Corporal Vorozhkov took to pull back his foot took on the feeling of an hour’s worth in his mind. He expected a muffled roar to erupt from the sand moments after the Captain hit the ground.

But his hopes proved true. The hangover was just too much even for a man like Diamond. He and Ralph both watched the man in shared disbelief before looking back up at the Germans.

Neither were truly surprised, but the younger man was more obviously amused by the mutiny that had just played out before him. What Vorozhkov didn’t like was how no immediate response came to the action. The Corporal didn’t like it. He didn’t expect a thank you, but he was ready to get this occupation matter over with soon...while the Captain was still out.

The anxiety of tripping a superior officer finally became too much for him, and he did the first thing that came to mind with no real knowledge of Imperial German practices: he clicked his boots together and shouted “God save the Kaiser!” while giving a Bellamy salute. Ralph followed up right afterwards.

The Germans looked shocked for a few seconds, then burst out laughing. In the distance, chuckling echoed out from the crew of the motorboat.

Below the two marines, Diamond groaned for a moment then fell silent.

If they were going to be laughed at, this was a harmless reason for it, the pair decided.

A/N: A one-shot I had the idea for in the past week, part of the move towards more firsthand stories.
For this version of the setting, I figure the German Empire would have an Alpenkorps regiment or two on hand in East Asia for fighting in Vietnam or holding the Kokoda trail.
 
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