During the four preceding years the Dominion of Canada prepared itself for war. It undertook a multi-year program of moving key industries away from the cities and into the north where they can be defended individually rather than the focus being made on defending the cities themselves. It was well known that the bulk of the Canadian cities would inevitably fall into American hands. The Northern railroad and highway were constructed in order to keep land communications open between east and west. Several missile sites were constructed with the sole purpose of denying the use of orbital space at least temporarily which would disable the US GPS system and cripple many of their GPS guided weapons and navigation systems.
Certain weapon systems were developed over the years to allow the Commonwealth Battleship fleet to remain competitive in a world were bombers could strike worldwide. The first was the most important and that was the laser guided rocket assisted projectile. The use of UAV's were largely undetectable to radar and visual scanning would sit dozens of kilometers off the enemy formation and lock a laser onto key targets. The battleship would then fire its main guns from many times over the horizon and shell the enemy fleet. The second important development was the large calibre auto-cannon. These guns could fire 10 times a minute rather than the old manual system were you could fire once a minute if you’re lucky. This also increased the effectiveness of the long range AA barrages as they could saturate a wider area with shells. At the time however Canada possessed no such battleships so they had to rely on other technologies such as the rotary auto-cannon. Built in calibres up to 8" the rotary auto-cannon worked on the same principle as the close in weapon systems.
Multiple barrels would facilitate faster loading and firing of the weapon. Canada possessed four submarines, two heavy cruisers, eight destroyers and twenty frigates along with two dozen coastal patrol craft divided between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts compared to the sizable US navy which possessed over eight times that number in destroyers alone. No single Commonwealth fleet could stand up to the might of the US navy but as a whole the Commonwealth was more than a match for America. The US navy would require the intervention of Japan and Indonesia to cut off the sizable Indian Navy from the rest of the pacific.
Canada abandoned the frontier posts and left only enough people to notify the rest of the Army when the US army crossed the border. Canada would focus on the principle of deep defense. Like the Russians before them the Canadians would trade territory for time. Reserves were shipped north for training and out fitting. Draftees were also shipped north as the draft was reintroduced in 2010. Aircraft were based in northern airstrips and AA defenses were scattered amongst these strips and the factories that had been repositioned in the Canadian Shield. This heavily forested and rocky terrain would be the backbone of Canadian defense. Only the island of Newfoundland had a more rigid defense and every effort to maintain a commonwealth hold on that province would be exercised in order to maintain maritime communications.
Great Britain possessed twelve capital ships during the opening phases of the war. Eight were of the old Lion and Vanguard class ships which had been heavily modernized including upgrading their old cannons with Auto-cannons. The other four ships were of the new Glory class Dreadnought, Dreadnought coming to symbolize the largest ship designs of the time. She possessed twelve 21" Auto cannons in four turrets as well as 10 8" Rotary auto-cannons and 20 5" rotary auto-cannons. An additional 20 CIWS 30mm cannons were positioned throughout the ship. It possessed an additional 16, 8 tube Anti-aircraft missile batteries along with several anti-ship missiles and cruise missiles. It was India that possessed the largest portion of the Commonwealth navy with 18 capital ships total. While some were the older Lion class ships the rest were a healthy mix of Glory class Dreadnoughts and Vikrant class battlecruisers. The Vikrant class battlecruisers represented the first design put forward by the Indian navy that was universally accepted by the rest of the Commonwealth.
The greater proportion of the US alliance decided to remain neutral. Only Brazil, Mexico, japan and Indonesia chose to join the USA in attacking the Commonwealth territories. Brazil and Mexico were both key to invading Belize and Guyana whereas Indonesia would be key in neutralizing Malaysia and Singapore as well as blocking reinforcements from India.
The Commonwealth approach to orbital control was simple and a touch childish. If they couldn't have it, no one could. They knew that any struggle to keep satellites in orbit would be won by the USA so they took the same approach as China supposedly would. They launched dozens of rockets from various sites around the world loaded with ball bearings and detonated them in such a fashion as to put most of the ball bearings into a retrograde orbit. This effectively swept the sky's clear of satellites and prevented anybody from launching more for the next five years. It would take decades to replace all of the satellites destroyed by the ball bearings. This, in the meantime, effectively leveled the playing field as far as photo reconnaissance was concerned. It was now limited to aircraft which could easily be countered. Ships now had to navigate by the stars and the position of the sun, aircraft would have a difficult time navigating by sea. There would be no more satellite guided bombs or GPS plotting for artillery.
The US army came across the border at highway 11, 13 and 99 along the coast. They quickly cut the Trans-Canada highway at Abbotsford preventing any reinforcements from being brought into Vancouver from that direction. They then traveled up the Trans-Canada highway and highway 1a to capture Langley and begin there two pronged attack against Surrey. Meanwhile the main force traveled up highway 99 capturing white Rock and bypassing Surrey to capture Ladner and Tsawwassen They found the bridge at Ladner destroyed and were forced to try and build a pontoon bridge. This was heavily resisted. Engineer’s casualties were high as snipers picked them off as they worked. The bridge had to be built twice because a Canadian airstrike that somehow got passed the US air cover destroyed the first one. All bridges across the Fraser river was destroyed for hundreds of Kilometers up the river and those that weren't could not carry the weight of an APC or and IFV and were booby trapped. Surrey was captured over the course of three months and Richmond was heavily contested. The total cost in lives was enormous and bode ill for the US as the campaign continued. An attempt to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca was resisted by both the Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Navy. Corvettes and gunboats came out of Esquimalt and intercepted the landing craft. The Landing was not covered by the USN because it was viewed the RCN would not leave any assets inside Esquimalt. The attempt to capture Victoria failed.
In the north four Canadian Infantry divisions crossed the Alaskan frontiers to capture Juneau. The city was lightly defended and this gave the RCN total control of the Pacific Coast as far north as Anchorage.
At sea the Royal Canadian Navy operated out of Prince Rupert and harassed the US navy at every turn. The first engagement was between the US Cruisers Cleveland and Ticonderoga vs. the HMCS Ontario which fired its auto cannons over the mountains and struck the Ticonderoga thirteen times before they spotted the UAV and shot it down. The Ontario continued to harass the US forces until it was finally cornered by aircraft from the USS Saratoga. They sunk the Ontario but lost 16 aircraft in the process.
The US began its campaign in the prairies with a mad dash to Calgary before the Canadian Army could fortify the city. To their dismay Calgary had been abandoned without a shot fired. The whole advance was unopposed. For the Canadians to abandon such an industrial center without a shot was baffling. A closer inspection of the city would reveal that all of the heavy industry had been moved out of the city, but the American's were left to wonder were in Canada could they find safe haven for anything. They did encounter massive resistance in the foot hills and the rocky terrain of the Rocky Mountains. This was also the first engagement with Indian troops which had been deployed to Canada as part of a training exercise. These rugged troops were tough to dislodge and did not surrender ground easily to the Americans. They stood their ground in the face of overwhelming fire power and bought precious time for the Canadians to finish mobilizing.
The advance north was contested from outside Calgary and up the main highway to Edmonton. City after city fell with moderate resistance until they reached either the Rocky Mountains or the Canadian Shield. Edmonton became a bloody battleground as the swamps to the north became a safe haven for Canadian and Indian troops. US vehicles were not designed for this kind of terrain and American Generals had no interest in following the Canadians into the sparsely populated north. They had their prize and that was where it would end, at least for them.
Saskatchewan was a different tail. The hilly country side made it easy to set up ambushes with Anti-Tank guns and infantry. These positions would not be given away to US drones before it was too late thanks to the need to keep the drones within line of sight because all satellite communication had been successfully disrupted by the Commonwealth. The Battle for Caramel Ridge would be particularly noteworthy as a company of Canadian troops held up an entire division of US forces advancing on the city of Humboldt. It wasn't until the position was about to be flanked that the Canadians abandoned there position and retreated to the north. Only 12 dead Canadians were found. As for Saskatoon, Saskatchewan's largest city, it was planned to turn that city into a smaller version of Stalingrad were the US forces would be bled dry. While initial ambushes were successful in causing high casualties the US forces captured the city and secured the roads leading north trapping an entire brigade within the University grounds, which made an excellent fortress with interlocking stone work buildings connected by underground tunnels. One did not even have to step outside. The bloody battle that the Canadians desired did not come however. The power plant was destroyed by aircraft and the water supply was cut off. In about 10 days of isolation the garrison surrendered. The battle for Prince Albert would be more what the Canadians were looking for. The city was located at the edge of the Canadian shield and while the city was captured it was hotly contested.
Meanwhile troops advanced up the open highways following the Red River and captured Winnipeg with little resistance. Once again the main resistance was reserved for the Canadian Shield where most of their military and industry lay. Brandon saw some bitter fighting when the army base there was not abandoned in time and the Canadian battalion was cut off. They held out for three weeks before the defenders surrendered.
American Troops entered Ontario at three points, Windsor and Sarnia in the west and Niagara in the east. Here the enemy was resisted more fervently. Four Canadian divisions were assigned to delay the enemy as much as possible. They were successful at delaying the Americans for almost a year as they fought their way to Toronto. The city was a wreck by that time and had been set on fire several times during the interim. The city was surrounded and a full division of Canadian troops were trapped. No attempt to break out was made. Efforts to resupply the trapped troops by air was met with little success, but efforts to resupply by sea was met with great success. The gunboats of the Royal Canadian Navy brought in enough supplies to stave off starvation of both men and equipment for months. It was a full year before the Americans secured the city. By the time they had reached Ottawa and the city had been abandoned. The Canadian government had relocated to Yellowknife in the North West Territories long before the Americans got there. They could not take Gatineau however. Canadian troops had blown the bridges up across the Ottawa River and hotly contested any attempt to cross. The line in the sand had become the Ottawa and St. Laurence rivers. No Americans would cross.
The war in Quebec was much different than in the rest of the country. Instead of retreating to the Canadian Shield the Quebecers and the Canadian Army resisted the invasion at the St. Laurence River and Sea Way. Six divisions of the Canadian Army, much of them French Canadian, were fed into the St. Laurence defense cordon. The Americans swept up the Gaspe Peninsula in a matter of days and the first attempt to cross the river was met with mortar, artillery and machine gun fire from Canadian positions. The Royal Canadian Air force came out in full force from day one were as Canadian fighter and strike aircraft had been scant below the Canadian Shield elsewhere. US troops found themselves bombed as much as the Canadian troops. Fully half of the RCAF was committed to the defence of Quebec, which was 150 fighters and 230 strike craft. They faced many many times there number in US aircraft but the US fighter pilots were not prepared to fight the fine quality of pilots that the RCAF put out. They had to be better because of the size of their enemy. RAF fighters were quick to redeploy by use of refueling aircraft. British and African troops flooded into the country within months of the opening of hostilities.
The Maritimes were more of a side show. With little hope of defense only two divisions were left to defend them all and most of those troops were retreated to Prince Edward Island. US forces had little desire to assault the island so they left it isolated with most of its main ports on the south side of the island there was little hope of resupply. The island held on however and would hold on and become the springboard for liberation of the other two provinces.
The Pacific war fell down on the shoulders of the Australians and the Indians. India was initially blocked by Indonesia and after a few 'demonstrations' the Indonesians agreed that they could not defend enough of the islands to effectively block India from moving through their territory and agreed to abandon the war and allow India free passage through their territories. With the bulk of the American fleet at Hawaii and Japan the high command agreed that the Indian and Australian navies should be intercepted before they link up in the central pacific. There for a serious attempt would be made to sink the Indian fleet before it could be reinforced and punch through to Western Canada. The Japanese fleet made contact and engaged the Indian Navy first. The small group of destroyers and frigates proved disastrously out matched by the battleships and battlecruisers of the Indian Navy. They were quickly eliminated but the damage was already done. The Indians had been located. Four carriers of the US pacific fleet out of Japan launched an air attack against the Indians. They managed to sink two transports, including one troop transport, and a pair of older Vanguard class battleships. The Indians inflicted serious damage on the American attack force. 103 aircraft were shot down with almost three times that in damaged aircraft. The entire attack force had been neutralized. They would have to wait for the US pacific fleet out of Hawaii to make another attempt. By that time the Australians had met up with the Indians and a reconnaissance drone had located the US Pacific fleet out of Hawaii before it would launch its strike force. They were out of gun range but well within cruise missile range. Every ship carrying cruiser missiles launched at the US ships targeting the carriers as priority. With 8 battleships, including the Australians, with upwards of 20 missiles each they fired a total of 172 missiles at the US fleet. Three carriers were sunk along with six cruisers and 13 destroyers and frigates. They had only 3 or 4 CIWS systems on each ship which was vastly inadequate to repel a missile attack of that magnitude. The US fleets turned away and made for Japan knowing full well that at that moment the Indian and Australian ships were reloading their launchers from supply ships they had brought along with them.
The Royal Navy based out of Bermuda was quick to action. They put to sea without waiting for orders to do so and began hunting for American ships. They were quick to find the US Atlantic fleet and engage them at long range with their guns. Airburst shells detonated over the decks of super carriers found there mark and kill hundreds of deck hands while damaging 1/4 of their aircraft that was on deck at the time. After losing the initiative USN launched an immediate counter attack with every available aircraft. RN Radar spotted the attack planes well out of range of their AA defences, all they could do was wait. The task force consisted of an older Vanguard class battleship and two of the newer Glory class Dreadnoughts. These dreadnoughts were the primary target for the American attack. Unfortunately the aircraft could not carry anything heavy enough to harm these massive ships and they lost 102 aircraft for the effort. The carriers did get away but without an operational strike force they would have to wait for reinforcements to make another attempt. The battle for the Atlantic went on like this for the next month when the US ran out of enough aircraft to supply their ships with.
The air war was comparatively short compared to the ground war or the war at sea. US aircraft production was not the same as it had been 70 years earlier when hundreds of aircraft could be produced each month. Now only 40 could be produced each month. Aircraft had grown complex and irreplaceable. To make matters worse the entire operational campaign for the Commonwealth was to cause as many air casualties as possible, both on the mainland and at sea. The RCAF was extremely skilled at this, including evading long range missile attacks by climbing as fast as possible when one was detected. A long range missile burns its fuel out in the first couple of seconds and then glides to its target. If it is forced to climb its operational range is limited. It did not take long for the US air force to adapt however and they launched them at shorter ranges making the Canadian technique useless. Standard methods of evading missiles were still valid, flares and chaff made missile locks unreliable at best as Canadian aircraft carried multiple charges of both. Once the missiles were expended then gun to gun action ensued and the Canadian forces were better trained. That’s not to say that the American forces weren't well trained, they just weren't as well trained in gun combat.
Primary targets during the early war was AWACS aircraft. These aircraft would not only control the manned aircraft but also the UAV's in a particular area. Canadian forces launched missions with the sole expressed purpose of wiping them out. These met with varied success rates. RAF bombers flew from there home bases using refueling aircraft and struck US land based targets. They then transferred to Canadian airfields in the north. Australian and Indian airbases were too far away for this tactic and had to rely on carrier transfers to Western Canadian airfields.
It did not take long for air battles to thin out. At first the loss rate was high between ground based missiles and guns to other aircraft. Both sides experienced a shortage of aircraft within two weeks of the outbreak of hostilities. Aircraft were transferred from abroad where they were needed for defence against the other alliances. Within a month aircraft were a non-issue. So many had been lost that they could no longer mount any kind of sizable strike force. The war for the air was largely over and neither side had won it. On land it was now up to the ground forces to win or lose the battles and at sea there was nothing left to keep the battleship in check and the Commonwealth forces found themselves in complete dominance of the sea. This is not to say that the USN was finished without aircraft carriers, just that their power was greatly reduced.
With only Mexico and Brazil joining the war the operations in the Caribbean would be severely limited. Brazil over ran the small army of Guyana and Mexico did the same to Belize. US marines and army ground units assaulted the Bahamas and other small islands in the Caribbean and conquered them with little effort. Jamaica was the only exception. In a new battle for Kingston they held up US ground forces for three weeks before breaking and being forced to the western tip of the island. From there they held out for three months before surrendering. The Kingston corps which did most of this miraculous and brave fighting would receive the honoured title "Royal" before being forced to surrender. Many of the soldiers that fought in that battle escaped in small boats to Cuba and European Union islands ready to fight another day. Cuba even spent money arming these troops and training them in the use of their weapons. They built them a small fleet of assault ships for the day that they would retake their island from the Americans, though not without Communist intentions.
The Commonwealth and American forces found themselves in a dead lock on Canadian soil. The US had expected that the Canadians would surrender with the bulk of their cities under US control but most of their industry had been relocated north to communities that were easier to defend from the air. The Canadian Shield formed an impenetrable barrier that foiled many American attempts to move north. Another factor was the Canadian armed forces. These fine troops presented a real threat to the American forces and kept them from advancing on the Northern Railroad and Highway. Most of the resources that Canada harvested were from the north and not the south.
Vancouver became a bloody battleground with the Americans slowly, and very painfully so, forcing the Canadians, Indians and Australians out of the city. What was left was nothing more than a pile of rubble and the grave yard of 2 million soldiers and civilians. The US forces could not advance further then the northern city limits due in part to the terrain, the exhaustion of the American troops and the continued fierce resistance of the Commonwealth forces. Fresh troops for the advance up the coast was out of the question. American reserves were beginning to bleed dry.
As time ground on it was becoming painfully apparent that the US forces could not take the northern territories from the Commonwealth and that Canada would not surrender. The US chiefs of staff urged the president to make peace while they were in the dominant position but the president insisted that "Canada must be at the breaking point, we just need to push them a little more." So the war went on.
In Europe the European Union took advantage of the weakened state of the US garrison in Western Italy and Sicily. They attacked on April 2nd, 2016. They overran the small puppet state and reunited the country of Italy for the first time in almost 3/4's of a century. Spain wanted help taking back Gibraltar but UK forces were not as diminished as those in the US. 43 countries were fighting with Canada and invading Gibraltar would have high casualties with little gain. It was rejected out of hand. The Commintern was more interested in retaking South Korea and Taiwan then invading India. They did this on the 7th of June 2016 and overran both countries in a matter of days. Other countries in the US alliance were crying for help, and fortunately there was still the militaries of Central and South America which had done little if any fighting up until now. Mexican and Brazilian troops were deployed to Japan and the Philippines.
South Africa was about to lead a massive invasion of the Caribbean and needed to know whether or not Brazil was out of the war. Mexico could be dealt with easily enough but Brazil had a sizable military and that needed to be neutralized. The South African Navy would undertake this operation. It consisted of a single battleship, old of course, and three heavy cruisers with several destroyers and Frigates as escort. The other African navies supplemented this force but not overly so. The Royal Navy complimented this force with a single aircraft carrier carrying the whole of the RAF at the time. The South African's bombarded the ports of Brazil and decreed that if Brazil formally exited the war the attacks would stop. Brazilian air attacks proved fruitless between the air defenses of the Commonwealth ships and the advanced Arrow VII fighters on board the carrier it was suicide to attempt an attack. With much of its troops abroad Brazil exited the war and withdrew its troops from Guyana. The operation to liberate the Caribbean could go forward.
The Royal Navy was busy during this period. With US forces continuing to decline at sea the British began launching commando raids against Atlantic holdings. This scared the public to death and forced the US armed forces to position a sizable amount of their reserves to protect the coasts. This pinned hundreds of thousands of troops and prevented them from fighting on the front.
The US forces reached the breaking point, they had no more reserves and those troops still fighting were tired and worn out. Commonwealth forces began to push back. Their first goal was to push the Americans out of Canadian territory and it took two years to accomplish this. Particularly in the Maritime Provinces this was difficult. The US marines would not give up ground easily. They were forced into Cape Breton Island and left there, isolated.
The African forces launched an all-out invasion of the Caribbean. The Royal Kingston Corps joined the forces liberating Jamaica. These forces performed well attacking a well-equipped and well rested garrison. On paper the African forces were not a match for the American's with outdated equipment. The reality was that these forces were tough, well trained forces. In particular the Algerian forces who had solely retaken the country of Belize and defeated the Mexicans and Americans without naval support. The Mexicans quickly sued for peace before the Algerians could break out into their country.
With every effort to end the war with the US alliance rebuffed the Commonwealth launched an invasion of the continental US. In 18 months the Commonwealth forces took 1/3 of the United States including Washington DC.
With the US army largely defeated and everything falling before the Commonwealth the US president rebuffed one final attempt to end the war and ordered the deployment of nuclear assets. There was a sharp objection to this from the chiefs of staff as the Commonwealth peace terms returned everything to the status quo. The president insisted on deploying the superior strength of US nuclear assets. They did this reluctantly and before the US alliance nuclear assets could strike their targets Commonwealth nuclear assets were launched against the United States. Both sides were decimated. The US president was killed by the use of a bunker busting nuclear missile. Most of the leaders of all the participating members of the war were killed. The peace negotiations were handled by surviving generals on both sides. A return to the status quo was initiated with no reparations to be paid by the US. The Commintern and European Union did not take advantage of the weakened state of the two combatants because both still had nuclear weapons left and had nothing to lose by using them. Instead they were forced to help with the cleanup. Radiation fall out spread across the globe. It took nearly 50 years to effectively clean up the radiation and new technologies had to be invented to do so.
In 2084 after several long term missions to mars and other moons in the solar system the four alliances decided to try and terraform Mars as a project to distract the populace from the tension that stood between the four alliances. After several mining colonies had been established on other planets the first plants began to grow on Mars in 2136 and the planet was settled by the first colonists in 2148. Titan, a large moon orbiting Saturn was settled in 2158 after a very arduous mission to balance the atmosphere for human life. The colonies thrived and tensions on Earth seemed to dwindle as time progressed.