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Prologue : Northern Scotland, 1943

The moon is a high white disk, dusting the quiet waves of the Cromarty Firth with silver as they slap against the small submarine tied up in the shallows. The foreign crew babble in whispers, cigarette tips glowing in the dark. They’re nervous. Too much light. Any second, and a Royalist plane could appear over the craggy hills and spot their silhouette, raining down the bombs and bullets monarchist Canada produces with such relentless efficiency.

The Chairman of the Union of Britain, Oswald Mosley, kicks at the pebble beach. Of course, there is no Union of Britain left to speak of, but still he wears his title as a mantle against the cold night. To the west, the sky lights up with silent flashes, explosions and the glow of fire marking the doomed defence of Inverness. The People’s Army has bled away under the relentless Royalist advance. Nine months since the enemy came aground on the Welsh beaches, seven since the fall of London. The People’s Navy lies at the bottom of the North Sea, and the Royalist planes prowl the skies with impunity. A muffled detonation in the distance startles the night birds over the water. His wife sobs as the Brazilians tell her she can only take aboard so many of the crates of jewels and furs she carts along with them. It will be a long undersea voyage, cramped and tense, until they reach the ship waiting in the unmonitored vastness of the mid-Atlantic to take them to Syndicalist Brazil.

Britain is lost. There are many to blame, and history will have its reckoning, but really, he blames himself. He was too kind. Too gentle. He should have pressed the people harder. Should have been harsher wielding the righteous sword. As soon as the troops of the bastard King came ashore, the reactionaries crawled out of their holes and hiding places. He should have purged the weaknesses of his colleagues. The politburo is scattered. Joyce is already captured, intercepted in his escape attempt. The last he heard, Niclas y Glais was planning some romantic last-stand somewhere in the highlands, the old fool. If he wants to die with his pistol in his hand, the colonial lackeys will be happy to indulge him. Still, better than being strung up by some monarchist kangaroo court, the Chairman supposes. He will find another way.

The Chairman knows he is too important. Too valuable. Just because the people of Britain have failed him, does not mean Totalism has failed. If they want it so much, let them bow and scrape to the restored royals, let them slave for the Canadian capitalists, and scrub floors for the lords returned to their manors. The comrades in South America have a whole continent of possibilities, ignored by the petty fights of the old world. Let the Kaiser and the King-Emperor go at each other’s throats, as they now surely must. The triumph of Totalism shall be soon, and his exile will be temporary.

He gathers his splendid uniform around him, and takes his last breath of the cold, Scottish air. Let Edward have the country. He still has the future.


=================================================================

Welcome to The Crown Atomic, my first attempt at an AAR. This arose from 'completing' a game of KR as Canada, defeating the Union of Britain and wondering what next? This is my story for my particular version of the Kaiserreich world going forward into an alternate Cold War. I altered various events to get to this position and would freely admit to being somewhat 'gamey' in areas, so if you're looking for complete verisimilitude to a played game then this may not be for you. What it will be (hopefully) is a compelling narrative, using new, custom events tied to my scenario and leaving myself room for surprises whenever possible...

I'll be doing it mostly in report-style posts, with the occasional 'character' perspective, as above, thrown in. I hope it is of interest :)


====================================================

Contents

Prologue: The World In 1943

The Beginning: Syndicalist War & The Liberation (Part One) (Part Two)

Chapter 1: The Once & Future Kingdom (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three)

Chapter 2: The Birth of Brasília (Part One) (Part Two)

Chapter 3: The Summer of Tigers (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three)

Chapter 4: The Paltry Peace (Part One) (Part Two)

Chapter 5: The Dueling Eagles (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three)

Chaper 6: The Brave New Day (Part One) (Part Two)

Chapter 7: The Shifting Sands (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three) (Part Four)

Interlude: Edward VIII Biography

Chapter 8: The Changing Guard (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three) (Part Four) (Part Five)

Interlude: The World in 1946 (Thanks @StormSaxon)

Interlude: Canada and the New Imperial Economy

Chapter 9: The Suffering East (Part One) (Part Two)

Chapter 10: The Stranger's Banner (Part One) (Part Two)

Interlude: Billy

Chapter 11: The New Regime (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three) (Part Four)

Interlude: The Andersons


Chapter 12: The World of Tomorrow (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three) (Part Four)

Summer 2016 Interludes: (London) (The Inquisition) (Crime Report) (Summer Vacation)

Chapter 13: The Sovereign Line (Part One)

### My laptop was lost in a theft, so after here updates become narrative only (no gameplay!) ###

Chapter 14: 1953: The New Old War

Chapter 15: 1954: The Costs Amount

Chapter 16: 1955: The Responsibility

Interlude: Consort

Chapter 17: 1956: The Threat We Face

Chapter 18: 1957: The Woman I Love

Chapter 19: 1958: The Unknown Citizen

Chapter 20: 1959: The Good Neighbor

Interlude: Thanksgiving Break

Interlude: Flotsam and Jetsam

Chapter 21: 1960: The Treaty of Zurich

Chapter 22: 1960: The Smoldering Days

Chapter 23: 1961: The Friend and the Foe

Chapter 24: 1962: The Man Who Is Beast

Epilogues:

Epilogue 1: The Afrika War: 1963-1974 (Part One) (Part Two)

Epilogue 2: The Late British Empire (Part One) (Part Two)

Epilogue 3: The Succession (Part One)

Epilogue 4: The American Wars (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three)

Epilogue 5: The Continuity (Part One) (Part Two)


 
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The World in 1943
The bloody Syndicalist War in Europe is over, but the world is a precarious jumble of competing alliances and irreconcilable ideologies. On every continent, tensions fester. In places, 'minor' conflicts continue, as of yet unnoticed by the great powers in their constant dance of shifting advantage.


North America. Shattered by civil war, the old United States is gone for good. Though the Syndicalists were defeated, their legacy lingers in new borders and old wounds.

Imperial Canada, newly confident, rules pre-eminent from the icy shores of Alaska to the glaciers of Greenland. The old parliamentary system, weak, imperilled from within by the constant threat of Syndicalism, is increasingly sidelined by a new form of 'managed' democracy. Integration with the exiles from pre-Syndicalist Britain has produced a merged people, pacified by the riches of victory, conditioned by the propaganda of a glorious past and bright future for the reborn British empire.

In the rump America, the regressive American Union State is turned inward, fulminating against grievances real and imagined. Its economy is hobbled by the disjointed and sometimes contradictory ideologies of its populist leaders, and its international clout by their inclination to isolationism. Still, if Long or Coughlin ever turn their demagogic anger outward, the world will hear them.


Pre-emptive 'protective' invasion by Canada spared New England from the worst ravages of the Second American Civil War, and its inheritance of New York and New Jersey in the ensuing settlement gives it an economic clout beyond its small size. Unlike Michigan, it was not integrated as a province of Canada, but developed an identity of its own, further shaped by an influx of refugees from Long's Union State - intellectuals, minorities, 'undesirables'. Within the Entente it is both banker and resort. Under Canada's protective watch, it lives on like a frozen snapshot of Jazz Age America, where great dynasties direct economics and politics from their estates on Cape Cod and Long Island, and the cities thrum with corruption and hedonism in equal measure. Time will tell if the outside world will interrupt this reverie.


To the West, the Pacific States separated themselves early from the blood-letting that consumed the old USA. Since, they have enjoyed quiet years of development under the careful watch of a military regime. Though Huey Long may fulminate against the morals of Hollywoodland, and covet its resources, alliance with the Entente has kept the peace for now. Still, while their partners have been focused on the conflicts of old Europe, the generals in San Francisco look to the East and the growing assertiveness of Japan with wary eyes. While they do so, they neglect their southern frontier where new borders sit uneasily with old allegiances. If there is a spark-point in North America, it is in these dusty lands of the displaced and resentful.


Europe. The Syndicalist nightmare is over. In France, Britain and Italy, Totalism has been defeated. But yesterday's victories set the stage for tomorrow's tensions. Germany still reigns pre-eminent on the Continent, but it is not the unassailable empire it once was. The ferocity of the Commune of France took the complacent Reich by almost-lethal surprise. In the dark days of 1940, the Syndicalists overran the Low Countries and pushed as far as Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Düsseldorf before they were stopped. Long months of costly and demoralising scorched-earth warfare pushed them out, but left Germany's industrial heartland in ruins and its people exhausted by war. Meanwhile, the Entente invaded both Italy and France, seizing half the country before Germany could establish its own puppet kingdom in the North. Its prize seems increasingly hollow.


Spain joined the Entente in the aftermath of its own war against Syndicalism, and the allegiance of Italy was the price extracted for the return of her southern provinces. Suddenly, Germany finds the Mediterranean has become an Entente pond, and Europe is divided into armed camps again. Moribund Austria abandoned Germany in its hour of need: today, the new rulers of Europe may be congratulating each other on defeating their common enemy, but when the smiles fade, Germany may find herself with few friends and many obligations.


The world's recent conflicts have largely bypassed Africa. Enlarged by the acquisition of Portuguese colonies, Mittelafrika remains the continent's pre-eminent power, with few in Berlin having the will or the stomach to to look too closely into the dealings of their putative vassal. South Africa, long threatened by Goering's empire, may seek to reassert itself now the Union of Britain has been defeated and metropolitan France is partly reclaimed. Weak Libya and Egypt may make more tempting targets, but if the Entente remembers that they were once the masters here, Mittelafrika may find its hegemony over the sub-Sahara threatened.


Asia is a febrile place of competing empires, rich resources, and fermenting insurrections. In one of the first expressions of their growing international confidence, the Entente bounded together to drive the Syndicalists out of India and Burma, but Delhi remains the weak link in their alliance.


Russia's fragile democracy survived a second Civil War, but precariously swings from one war against a breakaway region to another. Its Syndicalists bide their time. In Indochina, Germany fights a losing conflict against left-wing revolutionaries. China's long civil war between empire and republic drags on, and Japan increasingly sees itself as the answer to the sclerotic European empires and their Asian imitators.


South America. Syndicalist Brazil wages war against La Plata and its allies, and the tide seems to be turning in the Syndicalist's favour. The regime in Brazil has been energized by an influx of Syndicalist exiles from elsewhere.


The north of the continent and Central America is a patchwork of weak democracies and tinpot dictatorships where Syndicalism may flourish. It has already taken root in Centromerica, largely ignored by everyone else. Though the Entente intervened to prevent a syndicalist uprising in Venezuela in the 30s, their attention is now elsewhere. It will take more than the fall of Peru or La Plata to wake the sleepy Caribbean Federation from its sunny slumber, by which time Brazil may have established itself as the new leader of the Internationale.

Time will tell how the world is re-shaped in the coming years...
 
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A little bit of prologue for how the Entente returned to Britain. Bear with me. Unfortunately as I didn't have an AAR in mind at the time, I didn't screenshot anything, so this part will have to be completely imaginative.
============================
The Beginning: The Syndicalist War & The Liberation
Sparked by the Alsace-Lorraine Crisis, the Syndicalist War broke out in June of 1940, pitching Europe and the world into a Weltkrieg once more. Despite decades of continuous military build-up, a massive industrialization programme in the 1930s, and increasingly successful foreign excursion in the Americas and Asia, Entente leaders were initially divided about entering the war. The Syndicalists were strong, and the perils in launching trans-oceanic assaults numerous. Events, however, would force the Entente’s hand. Abandoned by its Austrian allies, Germany faltered in the first year of the war, as the Commune pressed deep into the Rhineland, even threatening Munich for a time. Mosley's Union of Britain, meanwhile, launched successful overseas assaults, first against Morocco, and then Denmark, annexing the country and pressing Germany from the north. Fearing Germany might fall to Totalism, and with it Europe and any hopes of return, with perhaps even their distant exile safe-havens being threatened in time, the Entente felt compelled to open a second front.
g5MPe2S.png

Frankfurt following the city's liberation from the Commune of France. Siege and battle devastated the German Rhineland.

Troops and aircraft from across the British Empire were hastily transported to North Africa to join up with their French and Spanish allies for a Mediterranean assault on the underbelly of the Commune of France and its partner, the Italian Socialist Republic. Meanwhile, after its long build-up, the new Canadian Royal Navy sailed from its Atlantic ports for its inevitable confrontation with the People’s Fleet. The ensuing months saw fierce fighting across the Pyrenees and the Strait of Messina, while the Canadian and Union fleets did running battle through the Bay of Biscay, and the Irish and North Seas, with heavy losses on both sides. Ultimately, as the Germans regrouped, the Commune could not withstand war on two fronts, and was soon driven back. The decision of the Pope to join the war sealed the fate of the ISR, and brought the Italian Federation into the Entente in return for the restoration of its southern provinces.

It was a similar story at sea for the Union. The great People’s Fleet could match the Kaiserliche Marine or the Royal Navy head-to-head, but not both at once. As its losses mounted, it found itself increasingly forced back to port. On land, Germany drove the Union out of Schleswig-Holstein and liberated Denmark, while in North Africa French troops took the justification of Union invasion to reoccupy their former colony of Morocco.
BmpeLSq.png

The Queen Elizabeth-class battleship HMS Valiant under Syndicalist aerial attack in the Celtic Sea. Despite Canada's frantic naval construction programme, the Royal Navy was still reliant in many places on ships that had seen service in the Weltkrieg.

The Commune of France surrendered to Germany in October of 1941. Already effectively partitioned by the advance of the Entente in the South, the Kaiser and French Emperor negotiated a formal division between the German-controlled North, and Nationalist France in the South. The former was soon reconstituted as the ‘Kingdom of France’, while the latter declared itself ‘Imperial France’. The final annexation of the ISR a few weeks later marked the effective defeat of Syndicalism on the European mainland.

At the end of 1941, despite setbacks, the Union of Britain still stood largely secure on its fortress island, where Chairman Mosley could prepare at leisure to repel the enemies of Totalism. The Germans had little appetite for an amphibious invasion, even if they had the capacity. Sitting in the South of France, the longed-for goal of return to Mother Britain seemed tantalising close for the Entente’s high command. Still, they knew this was a confrontation the Union had been preparing for practically every day of its existence. The British coast was heavily fortified, and defensive paranoia had only increased under Mosley’s tyrannous regime. The Republican Air Force was still a potent obstacle, and armies of fanatical Totalist apparatchiks stood ready to resist invaders in every field and town. Nothing but overwhelming force could return the King to Britain.
WXr7TtA.png

Mosley's Totalist regime accelerated sea-fortification efforts that had been ongoing since the Revolution, turning great stretches of the British coastline into veritable death-traps.

Fortunately, for the Entente, the Totalists had made a long-term strategic error. In 1938, the Union of Britain had outraged world opinion by invading neutral Ireland and installing a new Syndicalist regime. Under Chairman Jim Larkin, Ireland was a servile partner in the Internationale, but unlike Britain, its coast was largely unfortified, and the population had little love for their hated government of collaboration. In June 1941, Entente fleets sailing from ports on the Bay of Biscay landed a massive amphibious invasion on the beaches of Galway. The token resistance of the Irish Syndicalist army and the Union of Britain forces present in Northern Ireland was quickly crushed, and Ireland brought under Entente control. For the next six months, it served as a landing strip for the air forces of the Entente as they battled for air supremacy over the British Isles and launched punishing bombing campaign against Union forces and industry. Meanwhile, troops and equipment from as far afield as the Pacific States, India and Australasia poured into Irish ports, as it became a staging ground for the largest invasion force ever assembled. The nightmare that had kept Entente strategists awake for two decades - the prospect of their troops being driven from the beaches back into the unforgiving Atlantic - had been bypassed. At the narrowest stretch of the Irish Sea, Entente forces were now only 50 miles from their goal. In the Union, Mosley gave apocalyptic speeches demanding every Briton become a citizen-soldier ready to lay down their life for the Totalist cause. His forces dug themselves into their mighty fortifications, and held their breath.
nBJfdVK.png

D-Day began the liberation of Britain, and saw scenes of carnage and heroism as Entente troops came ashore on four famous beaches: Destiny, Deliverance, Dominion & Danger.

D-Day, the 12th February, 1942, broke over South West England and Wales as a grey, rainy morning. In their leaky bunkers, the defenders of the beaches stayed dry as best they could, and stamped their feet against the coldness of the dawn. Suddenly, a little after 7am, the misty horizon lit up with fire as the combined guns of the Entente fleets unleashed a bombardment unprecedented in the history of warfare. The landing craft sailed in from the mist and into a hell of bullets and shellfire. History well-records the carnage of those scenes, as over the next hours 40,000 men attempted to take four selected beaches along the Bristol Channel: Destiny, Deliverance, Danger and Dominion. Knowing that raw power was the only way to smash Mosley’s coastal wall, the Entente planners unleashed everything in their arsenal: rolling naval bombardment, dive bombing, flamethrowers and worse. Friendly fire was inevitable. Still, at great cost, a beachhead was established. It is said that after anxiously waiting back in Canada, King Edward, on receiving the news, broke down and wept. There was much struggle ahead, but the long exile was finally over.
MKVpjua.png

The beaches of the Gower Peninsula (AKA. 'Deliverance') were the sites of some of the fiercest D-Day fighting.
=======================


Actual AAR stuff to come soon!​
 
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Thanks guys!

I found an old screenshot after all to illustrate the Syndicalist War:



Dark days for Germany: in 1940, at its greatest extent, the Commune had completely overrun the Low Countries, the Netherlands, the Rhineland and threatened Bavaria. Here, German counter-attacks have started to turn back the Totalist tide.




 
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Metroid17

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France was in a reverse situation for me in my last game as CSA - I had to bail them out in a rather climatic fashion, of course :p
 

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The Beginning: The Liberation of Britain (Cont.)

A widely produced Entente propaganda poster found in schools, workplaces and public buildings from Sydney to Halifax warned of ‘Miles of Hell to London’. As the Monarchist forces poured off the D-Day transports and onto their fragile beachhead, the phrase had never seemed more apt. The war for the liberation of Britain lay ahead, an exhausting and bloody struggle. Though a hole had successfully been punched through Mosley’s coastal wall, the fanatical forces of Totalism would fight tooth-and-nail for every inch of ground. Civilians would inevitably be in the way in the small and crowded country. As the Exiles felt British ground beneath their feet for the first time in two decades, there was a certain sad irony in the fact reclaiming the land they loved so deeply would in many places mean laying it to waste.



Pacific States heavy vehicles coming ashore shortly after D-Day. Choppy February seas and cold made unloading bulky cargo a hair-raising experience.


The immediate priority for the invasion force was the capture of heavy ports to permit the free-flow of reinforcements and materiel across the Atlantic and Bay of Biscay to support further operations. For the ‘Northern’ invasion group that had landed in Wales, this meant securing the docks of Cardiff and Swansea. General Harold Alexander, architect of the Entente campaign in Italy, and a British exile, commanded this Northern group. The Southern group, commanded by Canadian General Georges Vanier, was tasked with capturing Plymouth. Overseeing both as Supreme Commander of the Liberation was Field Marshall Claude Auchinleck, a confidante of the King, veteran of the Entente campaign in India, and the Imperial Chief of Staff.



The chief Entente commanders of the Liberation: Vanier (R), Alexander (C) and Supreme Commander Auchinleck (L)

The Southern group progress rapidly, aided in many placed by an acquiescent local population that greeted the retuning Exiles as liberators. Progress in the Syndicalist industrial heartlands of Wales was considerably slower, but the Northern group eventually broke through and captured Cardiff after fierce fighting. With their supply ports thus secured, the two groups began their slow march on London.


Civilians flee the fighting around Cardiff, February 1942.




Key Campaign Stages of the Liberation of Britain:
1. (Yellow) Initial Invasion and Beachhead Actions (February 1942)
2. (Orange) The March on London (February-April 1942)
3. (Red) Auchinleck's Northern Assault (April 1942 - February 1943)
4. (Blue) The Lowlands Campaign (February - May 1943)
5. (Purple) The Highlands Retreat (May - July 1943)

The Entente forces encroached swiftly on the Union's fortified citadel of London. Imperial Intelligence, which had been assessing various degree of support for the Syndicalists regime around Britain for years, had correctly predicted a popular rising against Mosley in suburban and rural England. Much to his disgust, the Chairman's armies of partisans did not materialise. Much of the 'popular' militia army bled away in the face of Canadian armour and air support, leaving only the crack regiments of Totalist diehards defending London. The battle for the city was fierce and destructive, raging for weeks, with the encircled Syndicalists fighting for every street and building. Ultimately, however, Mosley's commanders advised him to retreat to the more defensible North, where popular support was stronger, to make his stand. London, or what was left to it, fell to the Entente in late April.



Entente troops entering London, April 1942.

The most difficult part of the campaign was to follow, the long Northern Assault through the Syndicalist heartlands, battling the crack regiments of the Union army and pacifying the great industrial cities where Totalist propaganda and brainwashing had firmly taken hold. Field Marshall Auchinleck adopted a city-hopping strategy, 'bouncing' first to Birmingham, and then to Manchester, and on to Newcastle. Naturally, the Syndicalists did not surrender their prized heartlands easily.




Civilians survey damage after the Siege of Birmingham, June 1943.



An Imperial Avro 'Albion', the premier fighter aircraft of the Entente air forces during the Liberation. Air superiority was a key asset to the invaders. After the fall of London, fuel shortages meant the Union's feared Syndicalist Spitfires were rarely seen.



A pair of Imperial Avro 'Avengers' in operation over Northern England, 1943. With Entente air superiority, tactical bombers like these exacted a heavy toll on Union forces.

Meanwhile, in Canada and the other Dominions, the war was a paradoxical mixture of the immediate and the remote. Newspapers and the wireless talked of little else, and anxious families listened carefully for the progress of their sons. Propaganda was now a fact of everyday life in the Authoritarian Democracies of the Entente, and the people were assured of glorious victory. Still, casualties were heavy, as were the demands on industry and the economy. The diet of consumerism, prosperity, propaganda and success that had kept the British Empire anaesthetized through the transformations of the previous decade did not seem as certain a strategy as before. The government worried: about unity, about relations between the Exiles, Natives, and growing third constituency of the merged Anglo-Canadians, about Huey Long. Quietly, imprisonments and suppressions of Syndicalists and other 'anti-democratic' forces increased. Various carefully stage-managed appearances by members of the Royal Family kept the Home Front spirit alive with a certain kind of rictus predictability.




Entente Propaganda, 1943. The prevailing themes of propaganda at any given moment often reflected the government's anxieties as much as its ideals.



Queen Barbara plants a tree on the Home Front during the Liberation, 1943. Edward's marriage to the glamorous Canadian actress, and her common touch, had done much to endear him to his people.

Auchinleck's Northern Assault ground on with grim inexorability. Increasingly pressed, the Union army had started to collapse by the time it was pushed out of England. The Lowlands Campaign was in some ways the most difficult part of the War, as the desperate Totalists conscripted practically anyone available to throw at the Entente armies, and completed increasingly desperate and atrocious gambits. Moving from bunker to bunker with a loyal entourage of fanatics, some said Mosley had gone completely mad. He ranted and raved, and demanded nonsensical or suicidal actions. With the Chairman's power slipping away as fast as his armies, he no longer instilled the old dread in his colleagues in the Politburo, and in May 1943 a message arrived at his hideout informing him he had been removed from power. Niclas y Glais would replace him as Chairman, and attempt to negotiate surrender with the King. Naturally, Mosley did not accept such a decision.




Niclas y Glais, the last chairman of the Union of Britain. Appointed to negotiate surrender, he found the Entente in no mood for compromise. He was last seen fighting with a pistol in his hand at the Battle of Aberdeen.

The Politburo and their remaining army made their doomed last stand at the Battle of Aberdeen. Those who were not captured were presumed killed, Mosley among them, though some undoubtedly succeeded in fleeing to the world's remaining Syndicalist states. With the news of the death of Chairman y Glais, remaining Union forces began to lay down their weapons. The war, and the revolution, was over.
 
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Chapter 1: The Once and Future Kingdom



Britain under Canadian occupation, July 1943. By the end of the Liberation, Britain was crowded with occupying armies. Encountering the different cultures and nationalities among their new overlords was just one more shock for the people of the former Union of Britain after their long isolation.


============

Illfracombe, South West England, April 1942


A convoy of prisoner trucks bumped and jostled through the cramped country lanes curving down toward the seaside town of Illfracombe. Don Atkins’ head lolled against his shoulder, swaying with the movement of the vehicle. Sweat poured from his filthy head, soaking into the filthier remnants of his uniform. He’d been separated from his unit before he’d been captured. He didn’t know any of the men cramped in around him. Even with its canvas covering half-open, the back of the truck stank, an overpowering milieu of unwashed bodies, festering wounds and defeat.

The Quebecois driver of the truck cursed ornately in French, grinding the gears as he tried to navigate the oversized vehicle round the unforgiving curves. These Canadian trucks were giant, roaring beasts, nothing like the compact lorries turned out by the Union’s automotive cooperatives. The Monarchists must have forgotten the scale of their lost homeland during their long exile. Don briefly made eye contact with one of the guards in the back. He looked away. They watched over them perfunctorily, and tried to keep their faces to the wind. They knew the prisoners weren’t going anywhere.

The truck jolted, sending Don momentarily upwards, his skinny rump connecting painfully hard again with the wooden bench. A flash of blue caught his eye, and he looked up to see the sea had come into view, sparkling blue between the gently curving green hills. It was turning into a beautiful, unseasonably warm spring. Apart from the steel grey warships and landing craft floating out there beneath their shepherding barrage balloons, it could have been a postcard scene. The remains of bunkers still smouldered under the cliffs, raising a thin smudge of whitish smoke into the azure sky like nothing at all.

Illfracombe was a genteel place, picture-book cottages and a handsome square-towered church. Don knew the words for places like this: reactionary, counter-revolutionary. They floated mechanically into his brain, instilled by his Comrade-Teachers and the pronouncements of the Chairman. No doubt the locals had been closet-monarchists all along. Certainly, a suspicious multitude of the old, Union Jack had spontaneously appeared to decorate windows and storefronts. The treachery made him angry, in an automatic way he didn’t really feel. He didn’t really know what to feel anymore. The Union of Britain was invincible. They were still fighting in the North, and they would win. That’s what their political officers and the wireless had said. But here the Monarchists were, and they didn't look like they were going anywhere. More importantly, neither did he. He didn't doubt he was soon to die. He drank in the sun.

The convoy growled into the town square, by the Weltkrieg memorial and a butchery that had had its second floor blown off by an errant shell. The local Syndicalist Union offices across the street were all burned out, the symbols of the party torn down and lying in the street. The town bustled with activity: motorbikes, trucks, and tanks all rolling by as they unloaded off the ships at the beach and harbour. He could hear the laughter and banter of passing soldiers, and their strange accents. The tailgates on the leading trucks rattled as they started to unload. Don knew what would happen next. What they said happened to everyone who fell into the hands of the Monarchists. He thought of his mother and father at home. He hoped they were all right.

A turbaned Sikh appeared at the bottom of the truck, pulling down the tailgate.
“All of you, out!” he instructed with exotic vowels. Don gawped at the soldier of Delhi. He’d never seen an Indian outside of a book. Someone pushed him from behind. He shuffled down, and stepped out, blinking into the sun. A flight of aircraft purred overhead. Avro Albions. The Canadians’ answer to their Spitfires. He’d been given a spotting book when they’d trained him on the AA gun. It had jammed permanently during the battle for London.

They were putting them into lines. The Canadians pointed their machine guns, marshalling them into rows. Would they gun them down here, in the open, or take them somewhere else? Don wasn’t afraid anymore. He'd seen too many of his mates die, the perfunctory normality of it. If anything he was tired. He didn’t notice the man coming down the line until he was asking him a question.

“Name?” the officer repeated. Don didn’t know their strange blue uniforms, but he knew he was an officer by the way the guard with him gave Don an encouraging jab with his weapon to get him to answer quicker.
“Donald Atkins,” he said, with a mouth dry from days’ silence.
The officer made a note in his ledger. “Unit?” he asked. When he spoke, Don saw he had gleaming white teeth, perfectly spaced. All of them did, the invaders, even when they were caked in the mud and filth. The wireless always said you had to be a lord or lady to get to the dentist in Canada - made the four-month waiting list for an appointment on the the People's Health Service not seem so bad. For the first time ever, Don considered that it might have been a lie.
“Hampshire Popular,” he replied.

The officer looked up for the first time, and Don saw he was younger than he’d assumed. Young enough to have been a babe-in-arms, carried onto one of those crowded, panicked ships fleeing for Canada.

“These men aren’t your unit.”
“I was separated. In London.”
He was inspected more closely, his slight frame taken in. “How old are you?” the exile asked suspiciously.
“17,” Don lied.

The officer frowned, and made a note in his ledger. He wrote something on a tearable blotter, ripping it off and handing it to Don. “This is your Red Cross prisoner number,” he said. “Keep hold of it.”

He moved along. The line shifted down. Ahead, there was a place to eat, and a place to wash. There were new prisoner clothes, which looked like heaven compared to their lousy, filthy uniforms. Don clung on to the crumpled piece of paper in his hand like a holy talisman. A work detail were putting up a sign with an unfamiliar multi-coloured flag on it, announcing that he was now under the jurisdiction of the BRITISH RECONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY. He didn’t know what that was, but he supposed he'd be hearing more about it soon enough.



============


Scene setting for the next part. I'll leave it there for now as I don't want to post too many images to the forum at once.

 
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Syndicalism defeated almost everywhere? Dark times indeed.
 
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Metroid17

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Syndicalism defeated almost everywhere? Dark times indeed.
Eh, I wouldn't shed tears for Totalism - especially Mosley's brand. One of the beauties of Kaiserreich is that literally any of the three competing alliances can end up as the bad guy (quite possibly all of them.)
 
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After looking at Frankfurt I'm sure the sight of Paris is anything but pretty.
 

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Eh, I wouldn't shed tears for Totalism - especially Mosley's brand. One of the beauties of Kaiserreich is that literally any of the three competing alliances can end up as the bad guy (quite possibly all of them.)
Mosley has his charm. :D
 
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Teivel

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That was well written, really drew me into the scene of what an Entente army looks like occupying Mosley's Union.

Interesting to see what comes next for the people of the liberated British Isles.