World War III (often abbreviated to WWIII or WW3), also known as the Third World War, was a global war that started on 28 September 2016 and ended on 25 April 2017 with a NATO victory. The war started off with a Russian military invasion of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, followed by a full-scale invasion of Eastern Europe. North Korea also invaded South Korea and the Syrian Civil War had become a part of the global conflict. The Serbia and even former NATO member Turkey eventually joined the war on the side of Russia. The Russian Bloc maintained the offensive through the remainder of 2016 and into early 2017. Eventually the tide turned on all fronts. North Korea was pushed from South Korea and Kaesong was occupied. A Chinese sponsored coup against Kim Jong-un ended the war on the Korean Peninsula. The Russian forces occupying the US-Canadian Pacific Northwest coast successfully put down a major insurrection in Seattle but were eventually overwhelmed by a US-Canadian military counterattack and a full-blown revolution in the occupied zone. As for Europe, the Russians were unable to make any significant breakthrough beyond the Vistula River in Poland and eventually the Russians were driven from nearly all NATO territory while Serbia made peace following a coup. The Russians almost used tactical nuclear weapons against NATO forces in the Baltics only for a successful coup against the Russian government to prevent it. An armistice was signed on 25 April 2017, ending the combat phase of the war. The Paris Peace Treaties, 2017 were signed between the Allied Powers and nearly all CSTO-aligned countries except Russia. Russia and NATO were still technically at war while until the Treaty of Manteo was signed the following year.
- 1 Background
- 2 Pre-war events
- 2.1 Euromaiden and the Ukrainian Revolution (2013-14)
- 2.2 Operation Atlantic Resolve
- 2.3 2015 Military Exercises
- 2.4 Novorossiya War (2015)
- 2.5 Second Bosnian War (2016)
- 2.6 Creation of the All Russian Federation
- 2.7 Heightened Tensions
- 2.8 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt
- 2.9 Russo-American military standoff
- 3 Course of the War
- 3.1 World War III - Day One
- 3.2 North American Front (2016)
- 3.3 European Front (2016)
- 3.4 Asian Front (2016)
- 3.5 Naval Front (2016-2017)
- 3.6 North American Front (2017)
- 3.7 European Front Front (2017)
- 3.8 Asian Front (2017)
- 3.9 World War III - Last Days
- 4 Aftermath
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics broke apart by the end of 1991 which marked the end of the First Cold War. The Russian Federation and other former Soviet republics entered economic turmoil that lasted throughout the 1990's. Under Boris Yeltsin, the Russian Federation gradually had become friendlier with the West.
Kosovo War (1998-1999)
NATO bombing during the Kosovo War in 1999 led to heightened tensions between the West and Russia. Even after a treaty was signed with Yugoslavia, there was a short but tense standoff between Russian and NATO troops known as the Incident at Priština Airport which was resolved peacefully.
Rise of Vladimir Putin
Once Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, assumed the presidency following the retirement of Boris Yeltsin, the Russian Federation had slowly begun its recovery from economic turmoil the 1990's. Putin himself had stated that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a mistake.
South Ossetia War (2008)
In August 2008, the Russian military invaded the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. The war ended a few weeks later with South Ossetia and Abkhazia achieving de facto independence.
Euromaiden and the Ukrainian Revolution (2013-14)
The Euromaiden was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest which began on November 21, 2013 when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych chose to suspend the signing of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement in favor of maintaining closer ties with the Russian Federation. The movement was initially limited to minor protests until a police crackdown led to a full-scale riot.
The increasing unrest eventually led to the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution which ended with the ouster of President Yanukovych from power. Masked Russian soldiers without insignias took over the Supreme Council of Crimea and occupied strategic sites across Crimea. The Russian Federation annexed Crimea a few weeks later. In 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down after flying over separatist airspace in eastern Ukraine. It was alleged that Russian forces or pro-Russian separatists were responsible. In August 2014, Russian intervention in the War in Donbass became more visibly apparent due to numerous border crossings by Russian military forces into eastern Ukraine without permission from the Ukrainian government.
Operation Atlantic Resolve
Operation Atlantic Resolve was initiated by the United States in response to Russian intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine, mainly the War in Donbass as well as the annexation of Crimea. Additional US troops and equipment were deployed to the Baltic States and Poland, both to demonstrate solidarity with all members of NATO and as a message to the Russian Federation that attempting any military action to reclaim the Baltic region can only result in a far wider war.
2015 Military Exercises
On 16 March 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to go on full readiness alert in snap drills throughout Russia and the Arctic. This order was given just one day after Putin revealed in a Russian television documentary that he was prepared to order a full nuclear alert in the event of NATO intervention in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea the previous year. The Russian military snap drills including the deployment of bombers and ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad and Crimea.
Starting on May 4th, NATO commenced Operation Lightning Strike, a four-day military training mission designed to test troop readiness to react to a clandestine military incursion similar to the one the Russians used in Crimea in 2014. When the 2015 Moscow Victory Parade was held on May 9th to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany, the United States and the European Union refused to take part in the parade due to Russian intervention in the Ukrainian Revolution over the past year as well as the annexation of Crimea in 2014. On May 26th, NATO launched massive Arctic military drills in the Nordic countries; Russia responded by commencing its own Arctic war games.
Novorossiya War (2015)
Ukraine attacks Russian forces in Crimea (Point of Divergence)
Russia Day celebrations were held in Sevastopol, Crimea on 12 June 2015. When Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko learned of this the following day, he saw it as Russia further asserting dominance over Ukrainian territory. Angered by this, Poroshenko ordered an immediate air strike against Russian positions in the Crimea. Less then an hour later, Ukrainian warplanes bombed Russian military bases throughout Crimea, with the naval base at Sevastopol being hit hardest. The Novorossiya War had begun.
Russian Invasion of Ukraine
As a result of the Ukrainian air strikes against the Russians in the Crimea on June 13th, tensions throughout the region intensified greatly with Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring that the Ukraine had just committed an act of war against the Russian Federation and promised retaliation. This happened the following day with Russia invading Ukraine with thousands of Russian troops backed by armored vehicles, gunships, and fighter aircraft. The invasion forces quickly linked up with pro-Russian separatists already fighting government troops. While NATO and the EU didn't outright go to war with Russia, additional material support was sent to the Ukrainian government. The Novorossiya War lasted over two months with Russian military forces occupying all of "Novorossiya" which consisted of Ukraine's eastern and southern oblasts in July; Russian forces also took Kiev in August. The war finally ended in late August with Ukraine's unconditional surrender. All of Ukraine was under Russian military occupation and was eventually reorganized as the Novorossiyan Confederation. Transnistria also took control over all of Moldova with the help of Russia. Russia officially recognized the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic as the successor state to the Republic of Moldova.
Second Bosnian War (2016)
After the outbreak of the Novorossiya War, the ethnic tensions in the Balkans which had been presumably resolved following the conclusion of the Yugoslav Wars had begun to resurface over the following months mainly in the form of peaceful demonstration. The situation intensified in the first week of March, however, when the Bosnian Serb Republika Srpska declared independence from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Bosnian government responded by declaring martial law and sending in the military to reestablish control of Republika Srpska. The Bosnian Serbs fought back and the country quickly descended into civil war. The Battle of Sarajevo begun almost immediately with Bosnian Serb insurgents attacking Bosnian government forces.
While the Republic of Serbia was initially neutral in the Bosnia Civil War, they did supply Bosnian Serbs with weapons and offered statements of support for their cause. The conflict was eventually locked down in a nationwide stalemate through November and most of December with neither side gaining much ground. The Russian Federation also supported the Bosnian Serbs.
Creation of the All Russian Federation
During the Russia Day celebrations on 12 June 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the "All Russian Speech" in the Kremlin, stating that the Russian Federation wasn't just for Great Russia (Russia) but for Little Russia (Novorossiya) and White Russia (Belarus) as well. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Novorossiyan President Viktor Yanukovych, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed the Treaty on the Creation of the All Russian Federation which unified all three countries in a new union. The All Russian Federation also formally recognized Abkhazia, Artsakh, and South Ossetia as independent countries and directed the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to grant all three expedited full membership. Since the Russians already recognized Transnistria as the successor to Moldova, they already had CIS membership. Turkmenistan, under pressure from the new Russia, upgraded its associate status to full membership within the CIS.
Relations between Russia and the West further deteriorated following Russia's de facto annexation of Belarus and Ukraine. President Barack Obama condemned the move and announced that the United States was leveling a total economic embargo against the so-called All-Russian Federation. NATO aircraft and ships increased their patrols of the Baltic and Black Seas while the US deployed additional troops to Europe. The Russians also stepped up construction of their base in the Arctic as well as increased aerial and submarine patrols throughout the region. Russia's Airborne Troops and Spetsnaz ran additional series of drills. Russian bomber interceptions off the coasts of NATO countries became more frequent then ever.
North Korea also committed a number of additional missile tests plus the entire Korean People's Army (KPA) was being fully mobilized. As a response, the United States deployed additional forces to the Korean Peninsula. The People's Republic of China increased its forces along its border with North Korea.
2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt
A coup d'état against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government was attempted on 15 July 2016 by a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces calling themselves the Peace at Home Council. The Turkish government, however, was able to topple the attempt the following day and many conspirators were arrested. Erdoğan accused US General Joseph Votel, head of United States Central Command, of supporting the coup conspiracy and even called into question Turkey's future cooperation with the United States. External power was cut off to Incirlik Air Base and a no-fly zone for US military aircraft established. On 10 August 2016, the unexpected happened when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the unilateral withdrawal of Turkey from the NATO alliance and even credited Russia with warning him of the failed coup d'état attempt.
Russo-American military standoff
During counterinsurgency operations in Kiev against Ukrainian insurgents, a number of the rebels were captured. Among them were several US nationals, primarily ex-military personnel, who were working with the Ukrainian rebels through the American private military company Academi, formerly Blackwater. The FSB reported this to the Russian government and it was automatically assumed that the United States was conducting a number of "off-the-books" operations against Federation interests. Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the United States for its acts of aggression on Russian soil and warned America to "back off or else". The crisis worsened when Ukrainian separatists launched an attack on Red Square in Moscow, killings dozens of Russian troops, police officers, and civilians. Russian security forces were able to shoot all of the attackers, one of whom was discovered to be an American citizen working for Academi. In response to this latest attack, the All Russian Federation cut off all remaining diplomatic relations with the United States. Russia also placed its Northern Fleet on maximum alert and moved into the North Atlantic. President Putin declared that an exclusion zone was in full effect and that any US ships or aircraft which enters them do so at their own peril. Russian warplanes buzzed US warships on a daily basis and the same went for interception of nuclear-capable Russian bombers on the edge of US airspace. John McCain, the US Senator of Arizona and Republican Party presidential candidate, stated that the United States was already in a de facto state of war with Russia and asked the Obama Administration to take military action to stop Russian aggression. Tulsi Gabbard, the Democratic Party presidential candiate for the upcoming election and a member of the House of Representatives from Hawaii's second district, however called for President Obama to seek a dialogue with Russia and condemned the involvement of US citizens in a foreign conflict.
Course of the War
World War III - Day One
War breaks out in North America
During the afternoon of 28 September 2016, armed gunmen seized control of airports, seaports, and national guard armories in several cities in Washington State and Oregon. The gunmen were initially believed to be domestic militia likely affiliated with the Alternative Right Movement (Alt-Right) due to demonstrations held by that group the previous week during which Lana Lokteff announced that a message was about to be sent to the US federal government in exactly one week. The ATF and the FBI were sent in to deal with the problem. Shortly after, numerous cyber attacks disrupted communications throughout the Pacific Northwest and a number of widespread power outages were reported. The theory of domestic militia came into doubt due to the scope of the operation as well as observers hearing the gunmen speaking in Russian. This was difficult to confirm due to the communications disruption and the Kremlin offering no explanation when asked what was happening.
The situation spiraled out of control as the Russian military had begun a combined amphibious and airborne invasion of Seattle and the surrounding area. Additional troops and equipment arrived in the city through the airports and seaports; there was no doubt by this point that the "domestic militia" involved in the takeovers were in fact Russian Spetsnaz GRU. Russian warships simultaneously launched dozens of conventional Cruise Missiles at military installations throughout the Pacific Northwest as well as Alaska and northern California. Ten minutes following initial attacks, additional Russian forces landed in several coastal cities in Washington State (Olympia, Port Townsend, Raymond, etc.), Oregon (Portland, Astoria, Coos Bay, etc.), and California (Crescent City). Additionally, Russian paratroopers were dropped into several inland cities and towns in Washington State (Fork, Centrailia, Aberdeen, etc.) and Oregon (Eugene, Salem, Medford, etc.).
US President Barack Obama condemned the Russian invasion as a blatant act of war against the United States of America. In an emergency session, the United States Congress had declared a state of war with the All-Russian Federation in response to the invasion and President Obama had immediately signed said declaration. The United States also invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty which stated an attack on one or more members of NATO was an attack on all. The invocation was confirmed by NATO within hours and the Third World War had officially begun. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that the attack on the United States was an act of retaliation for secret military attacks carried out on Federation soil through the American private military company Academi which supported the Ukrainian insurgency since the Novorossiya War.
Heavy fighting took place all along the US Pacific Northwest coast. With the majority of US active duty personnel normally stationed in the Pacific Northwest currently deployed overseas and eventually facing combat over there, the National and State Guards were practically the only military opposition that the invaders initially encountered. Intense urban warfare took place in several towns and cities with National Guardsmen, law enforcement officers, and some armed civilians defending against the overwhelming Russian onslaught. Evacuations were attempted during the start of the war though most were stopped by roadblocks established by Russian paratroopers around the affected cities.
War breaks out in Europe
The Russian invasion of the Pacific Northwest turned out to be a diversion to their main objective. Within hours following the outbreak of hostilities in North America, the Russians launched numerous air and missile strikes against NATO military installations throughout Eastern Europe as well as Germany, Denmark, and Norway. While the Russians thus far refrained from the use of nuclear weapons, the devastation the attacks inflicted could not be denied. The Russians coordinated the air and missile strikes with a ground invasion of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Several hundred thousand Russian troops, backed by aircraft and armor support, were involved in this new offensive. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Transnistria also took part in the invasion.
The Russians concentrated a majority of their offensive operations in Europe on the Baltic States and Poland with several tank guards and motorized rifle divisions involved in the invasion. The Russians also employed the dreaded Iskander tactical ballistic missile system, targeting NATO positions throughout the Baltic States and Poland with conventional warheads. Russian paratroopers were also dropped into key areas throughout eastern Poland while naval infantry staged an amphibious landing near the Polish city of Gdansk. Additional naval infantry amphibious landings were made near the Estonian capital city of Tallinn, Latvian capital city of Riga, and the Lithuanian port city of Klaipėda. All four cities rapidly descended into heavy urban warfare.
War breaks out in Asia
With the outbreak of open warfare between Russia and NATO, North Korea launched a full-scale attack on South Korea. Heavy artillery and ground-to-ground missiles rained down on ROK fortifications along the southern side of the DMZ. The Korean People's Army Special Operation Force (NKSOF) attacked key military and civilian targets throughout South Korea. The Joint Security Area within the Demilitarized Zone was rapidly transformed into a battleground as the ROK garrison was attacked by KPA and NKSOF forces. Less then an hour after the initial attacks had begun, North Korean armored units crossed the DMZ into South Korea and heavy combat took place all along the border with heavy casualties on both sides. United States Forces Korea (USFK) was ordered into combat against the North Koreans.
The Syrian Civil War became part of World War III upon the outbreak of the global conflict. As such, fighting throughout Syria escalated with American, Israeli, and Syrian opposition forces facing off against Russian, Iranian, and Syrian government forces in heavy ground, air, and naval combat. Heavy fighting quickly spread into the surrounding countries including Iraq, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. Turkey, a former member of the NATO alliance, declared neutrality in the global conflict and expressly prohibited any NATO members from violating its territory.
North American Front (2016)
Pacific Northwest foothold
Heavy fighting continued within the Russian invasion zones along the Pacific Northwest coast as well as several inland cities where enemy paratroopers had been dropped in. Several smaller cities had already fallen to the invaders after only 24 hours of war including Raymond, Aberdeen, Astoria, Medford, Crescent City, etc. Most of the other cities were at least halfway under enemy control. Only Seattle and Portland remained largely still under American control though the Russians were still gaining ground in both cities. Fighting had also begun taking place in towns and cities outside the initial invasion and drop zones. Russian forces also landed in Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada in order to secure the northern flank as well as the passage into Puget Sound.
By the start of October, the Russians had successfully secured nearly all invasion and drop zones with the exception of Seattle and Portland plus roughly one-half of the Pacific Northwest coast was occupied. The Russians had one hundred thousand troops in the United States and Canada by that point. Russian ground forces continued gradually gaining control over more and more of the Pacific Northwest coast over the next several weeks. Intense urban warfare raged on in Seattle and Portland through most of October which devastated both cities as well as inflicted heavy military and civilian casualties. The Battle of Seattle was already the deadliest battle of the war with tens of thousands dead. On 24 October 2016, the Russians had finally secured both cities as well as link all invasion and drop zones.
The USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and Carrier Strike Group 11 (CSG-11 or CARSTRKGRU 11), which was on maneuvers in the North Pacific when the invasion had begun, were ordered to move to the Pacific Northwest coast and stop further Russian reinforcements from arriving in the United States. However, it took several days for CSG-11 to arrive and establish a naval blockade. By that point, the enemy had already brought in the necessary manpower and equipment to maintain the invasion for some time. The Nimitz Carrier Air Wing launched a number of air raids against the Russian forces on the ground and engaged in dogfighting with Russian fighters.
Russian occupational government
With their beachhead now secured and merged, Russian Colonel General Sergei Surovikin - the Commander of Russian Forces in North America - ordered the installation of the Federation Occupational Authority - North America on 25 October 2016 to govern the local population. General Sergei Surovikin declared himself Prefect of the new occupational government. Maria Butina was appointed Administrator and Lana Lokteff was appointed President. The presidency was mostly ceremonial and symbolic; the true executive power belonged to General Surovikin and Administrator Butina. Seattle was initially the de facto capital city of the FOA-NA and housed occupation headquarters. However, the growing threat of insurgency prompted General Surovikin and Administrator Butina to transfer their headquarters to the less populated city Astoria, Oregon. Lana Lokteff and her followers eventually declared formation of the Cascadian People's Republic which was recognized only by the Russians.
North American Resistance
While the Russians generally had control over the occupied territories, the American and Canadian resistance movements which was gradually formed since the invasion had begun launching guerilla attacks against Russian troops. The majority of these attacks were carried out in Seattle and Portland, indicating to Russian occupation commanders that the cities were not yet as pacified as they had originally thought. Hundreds of Russian soldiers were killed by resistance actions alone during the first months of the occupation leading to the Federation Occupational Authority taking further actions in attempt to quell the rebellion including longer curfews, further suspension of civil liberties among local citizens, full media blackout save for Russian propaganda, etc. FOA President Lana Lokteff, at the direction of the Russian Prefect, ordered the creation of a militia force consisting solely of Alt-Right members to help the Russians battle the rebels. This militia eventually became the Cascadian People's Guard. Guerilla warfare continued throughout the duration of the Russian occupation.
Pacific Northwest offensives
Due to the United States refusing to withdraw its forces from Europe or cancel the REFORGER convoys, President Vladimir Putin issued orders for a renewed offensive in the United States in the hope of forcing the Americans to change their minds. On 30 November 2016, Russian forces in western Washington State had begun a major ground offensive with the primary objective being the Columbia River. Russian forces in western Oregon also pushed into the mountains with the passes in central Oregon being the secondary objective. Russian paratroopers were also dropped into a few key locations ahead of the primary ground forces. While the first week of the newest offensive went according to plan, the Russians eventually faced numerous problems including the Air National Guard staging air strikes against advancing troops while the American Resistance frequently harassed logistical convoys. As December progressed, the Russians fell behind in their time table as it took them much longer to cover the same amount of ground. By the conclusion of the year, the Russians only managed to cover roughly one-third of the distance between the original beachhead and their primary objective points.
European Front (2016)
Baltic States Campaign
Russian forces continued their westward advance into Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Initially the Russian advancements were fast-paced and seemed unstoppable. By the start of October, the Russians had occupied nearly half of Estonia as well as a third of Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic Fleet Naval Infantry had also secured significant beachheads within Tallinn, Riga, and Klaipėda. Russian tanks had reached the Lithuanian capital city of Vilnius around this time. NATO resistance was becoming more and more fierce. The destruction of an important river crossing in Latvia by US Special Forces had greatly slowed down the Russian advance toward Riga plus NATO defense of Vilnius was proving more difficult to deal with then anticipated. NATO defenders in Riga and Klaipėda were able to contain the naval infantry beachheads. Despite the setbacks to the south, the Russians had won the Battle of Tallinn on 5 October 2016 and occupied the Estonian capital. Estonia formally surrendered shortly after.
Having fallen behind schedule, the Russians stepped up aerial, artillery, and missile attacks on NATO positions throughout Latvia and Lithuania. Having successfully occupied Estonia, Russian forces were eventually able to open up a second front in Latvia. Despite earlier successes, NATO defenders were rapidly losing ground. Furthermore, Russian marines in Riga were able to break out from their beachhead and advance deeper into the city. With the arrival of the primary ground force, the Battle of Riga had ended on 12 October 2016 with a Russian victory and Latvia surrendered the following day. With Latvia secured, the Russians were able to reinforce the marines fighting in the Battle of Klaipėda, resulting in the fall of the Lithuanian port city as well as the capture of the entire coastline of the country. Within days, the Russians secured nearly all of Lithuania. The Battle of Vilnius was the longest and most deadly battle in the Baltic States with much of the city decimated in the fighting as well as heavy casualties on both sides. The Russians finally won the battle by 20 October 2016 when the Lithuanian government and the surviving NATO forces in the city surrendered.
Eastern Poland Campaign
Heavy fighting took place all along the eastern Polish border between Russian-led CSTO ground forces and the NATO-backed Polish troops. While NATO defenders were able to hold back the enemy advance for several days due to their technological edge, the Russians were eventually able to break through their lines and begin a massive ground push toward Warsaw. After just over one week of war, the Russians had occupied several Polish cities close to the border including Suwałki, Białystok, Biała Podlaska, Chełm, Przemyśl, etc. The capture of the Suwałki Gap effectively closed off the ground route for NATO reinforcement of the Baltic States. As the Russians continued their westward offensive, additional urban battles were being fought in Elbląg, Olsztyn, Łomża, Siedlce, Rzeszów, etc. NATO defenders in those cities were more well dug in and put up more of a fight then they had at the border. Russian-led CSTO advancements had greatly slowed as a result and it remained that way for several weeks.
With the Baltic States occupied by late October, the Russians were able to gradually reinforce the frontlines over the following week. By the start of November, the Russians had managed to break through NATO defenses and drove further into the heart of Poland. Elbląg, Olsztyn, Łomża, Siedlce, Rzeszów, and several other cities were subsequently occupied. The Battles of Ciechanów, Tarnów, and Nowy Sącz began several days later and lasted just over a week before the cities in question were eventually overran. By 17 November 2016, Russian-led CSTO forces had overrun nearly all Polish territory east of the River Vistula.
During the Battle of Gdańsk, Polish-led NATO defenders held an advantage over the Russian Baltic Fleet Naval Infantry in terms of numbers, technology, and home field. Even with additional forces being brought into Gdańsk by ship and the Baltic Sea Fleet shelling NATO defenses in the city, the Russians hardly made much progress. As a result of the ongoing fighting, much of the Polish port city had been devastated with numerous buildings destroyed and tens of thousands driven from their homes. Even though the Russians had successfully taken Elbląg, they were too late to stop NATO from blowing the bridges across the Vistula and subsequently delaying ground forces from backing up the marines fighting in Gdańsk.
Russian tanks in Tbilisi
On 30 September 2016, Russia launched a ground invasion of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Russian ground forces attacked through South Ossetia and rapidly advanced toward Tbilisi. Abkhazia, Abkhazia, Artsakh, Azerbaijan, and South Ossetia also contributed troops in support of the Russian invasion of Georgia. Less then a week later, Russian armored units arrived at the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi and fought the remainder of the Georgian military. With Turkey neutral and prohibiting NATO from using its airspace, no help arrived for Georgia. The Battle of Tbilisi was over less then 24 hours with Russian troops in control of the city. Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili surrendered shortly after the Fall of Tbilisi. With Georgia taken and Turkey neutral, the Russians could now send additional forces into the Middle East virtually uninterrupted.
Since the start of World War III, the decades-long ethnic dispute Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots gradually worsened. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was seen as a potential co-belligerent due to the All Russian Federation officially recognizing them following Turkey's exit from the NATO alliance before the war. This was confirmed when Northern Cyprus, aided by Russian air and naval forces in the Mediterranean, launching a full-scale invasion of the Republic of Cyprus. In addition to Russian GRU, Turkish "volunteer" troops aided Northern Cyprus in the invasion. This began widespread speculation that the Republic of Turkey might be joining the war on the side of Russia. The speculation only increased when Turkey began allowing Russian forces to move through its territory while still prohibiting NATO from doing the same. NATO deployed additional troops to Northern and Western Thrace in addition to reinforcing Cyprus.
Following the outbreak of World War III, the Second Bosnian War quickly expanded with the Republic of Serbia officially joining in the conflict on 25 September 2016 and sending in ground troops to the reinforce the Bosnian Serb faction Republika Srpska and helping them in fighting the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbian aircraft also launched numerous air strikes against Bosnian forces and government buildings. The Battle of Sarajevo rapidly worsened and was already seen by many observers to be just as bad as the 1990s. The Russians also offered the Serbs statements of support. By the end of the October, nearly all of Bosnia and Herzegovina was occupied with the exception of Sarajevo which was under siege from Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska forces. Serbian forces also moved closer to the borders of Montenegro and Kosovo.
On 1 October 2016, Serbian warplanes entered Kosovo airspace and attacked several Kosovo Security Force positions throughout the self-proclaimed country. This was followed up by a Serbian ground assault. In response, all members of the NATO alliance declared war on the Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska. Macedonia and Montenegro quickly followed suit. The Second Bosnian War merged with World War III at that time. Immediately following the declaration, NATO began launch air strikes and cruise missile against the Republic of Serbia, Republika Srpska, and their military positions in occupied territories. The Russians provided some air support though NATO anti-air batteries and fighter squadrons made this difficult. The Battles of Pristina and Mitrovica began within 48 hours as Serbian forces fought their way into both cities. NATO and the newly re-established Kosovo Liberation Army fought side-by-side against the Serbian onslaught. Additional NATO troops were flown into Kosovo and neighbouring Macedonia in order to reinforce their forces already engaged in combat. Serbia invaded Montenegro around the same time as Kosovo with the goal being to end their historical link to the Adriatic Sea. On 5 October 2016, Serbia invaded Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria with their primary objective being to link up with Russian forces on the far side of each country so that relief support could be sent into the Balkans.
On 10 October 2016, the Republic of Turkey initiated an invasion of Bulgaria and Greece. All NATO countries promptly declared war on Turkey and US President Barack Obama stated that the former NATO ally had committed the ultimate betrayal. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan countered by stating America betrayed Turkey first by sponsoring the failed coup earlier that year and announced his country's intention to reclaim all of Thrace and occupy Greece. The unexpected entry of Turkey into the war on the side of Russia and Serbia placed a strain on the NATO defense of the Balkans. Turkish troops advanced roughly 150 kilometers into Bulgaria and Greece by 14 October 2016. Surrounded and cut off from the rest of NATO, Bulgaria and Romania had surrendered unconditionally the following day. Meanwhile Hungary prepared for a final stand in Budapest, promising to inflict unacceptable losses against any Russians or Serbs which enter the city.
Turkey attempted to make good on its intention to occupy Greece but was bogged down in Greek Macedonia by Greek and British-led NATO forces. With little progress by the start of November, Vladimir Putin ordered Russian forces in the Balkans to commence a full-scale of Greece. The attack came in the form of a ground assault from the north, an amphibious invasion from the Aegean Sea, and an airbourne invasion in multiple locations throughout Greece. The Battle of Athens began on the first day of the invasion and lasted throughout most of November with heavy casualities on both sides and heavy damage to the Greek capital city. By the last week of November, Athens had fallen and the Hellenic government fled to Crete where they vowed never to surrender. Meanwhile the Russian military had secured the Greek mainland and established a federation occupational authority to govern the occupied territory.
Vistula River Battlelines
While the Russians had secured the eastern side of the River Vistula, they were unable to prevent NATO from blowing all of the bridges outside the cities. As a result, the Russian offensive had slowed down greatly. To further complicate matters, NATO REFORGER convoys had also begun arriving along the coasts of Germany and western Poland in early. From there they had spent the next several weeks reinforcing NATO forces along the western side of the River Vistula. Spearheading the reinforcements was the III Corps (United States) which bewildered Russian commanders since they believed that the Americans would've focused on defending their homeland not fighting overseas.
Russian forces begun their attack on Tczew, Toruń, Płock, Warsaw, Tarnobrzeg, and Kraków on 19 November 2016, hoping for a major breakthrough before NATO had moved sufficient forces in for a counterattack. The majority of the Russian offensive was focused on the Polish capital city of Warsaw. Intense urban warfare between Russian and NATO forces quickly became worse then nearly all previous battles in Europe with the exception of Vilnius. Casualties on both sides continued to mount with tens of thousands dead on both sides by the end of November. All the cities along the Vistula also suffered significant damage not only from the ground combat itself but all by air strikes and artillery bombardment. Civilian death toll in each city was each estimated to be in the thousands while tens of thousands more were displaced as their homes were destroyed.
Heavy fighting continued through all of December with Russian forces gradually gaining ground in all of the cities. The Russian offensive was far behind schedule by this point due to NATO determination to hold the Vistula at all costs. The Russians were even forced to redirect combat units originally intended to reinforce Syria to be deployed into eastern Poland instead. The Russians were able to secure around one-half of each of the cities along the Vistula. By this point, the military death toll on both sides were over 50,000 each. The cities in question were hardly recognizable due to the extreme destruction caused by urban warfare as well as air strikes and artillery bombardment. Overall civilian death toll was well over 100,000 by this point and NATO leaders accused the Russians of war crimes. Warsaw suffered the most significant devastation in the fighting.
The only major Russian presence west of the Vistula was the Baltic Sea Naval Infantry foothold in Gdańsk and they only managed to occupy one-third of the city. The remainder of Gdańsk was still held by Polish-led NATO forces. To further complicate matters for the Russians, NATO reinforcements had begun arriving in Gdańsk through December.
Asian Front (2016)
South Korean Campaign
On 30 September 2016, South Korean defences along the DMZ had been overran and the North Koreans began their primary ground offensive south toward Seoul. The Eighth United States Army and the I Marine Expeditionary Force were moving as quickly as possible to fortify Seoul as well as staging hit-and-run attacks to delay the KPA advance toward the capital. While these attacks did inflict heavy losses against the enemy, the North Koreans considered their relentless push south without any regard whatsoever about casualties. The Battle of Munsan broke out on 1 October 2016 and lasted several days. The North Koreans were particularly brutal, showing no distinction between military and civilian personnel. Due to the numerical superiority of the KPA, the US/ROK could only delay the enemy advance while helping to evacuate as many civilians as possible. By 5 October, Munsan had been overrun and the North Koreans resumed their push toward Seoul.
The North Koreans had begun to move into the northern suburbs of Seoul by the third week of October. The Battle of Seoul began on 24 October 2016 as the Korean People's Army had begun pouring into the South Korean capital and US/ROK forces in the city fought back. By the start of November, much of Seoul had been transformed into a major urban battlefield with a large portion of the city devastated. Just like in Munsan, the North Koreans indiscriminately opened fire on anyone they caw regardless if they were military or civilian. As a result, the Battle of Seoul had quickly become one of the most deadliest battles of the Third World War with tens of thousands dead. ROK President Park Geun-hye officially denounced the KPA as a terrorist fighting force and stated that the Geneva Conventions could no longer apply to them. The Battle of Seoul continued through the remainder of 2016. By the conclusion of the year, the North Koreans had occupied one-quarter of Seoul. Military death toll was 100,000 among US/ROK defenders and 200,000 among the KPA. Infrastructure was virtually non-existent, most of the buildings had been turned to rubble, and the civilian death toll exceeded one-quarter million which made the Battle of Seoul the deadliest in the war.
Middle Eastern Conflict
Over the remainder of the year, war had spread throughout much of the Middle East as country after country in the region was being forced to choose a side in the global war. Due to Israeli alignment with the Americans, pro-Russian sentiment was high in Arab countries even among the population of those whose governments choose to side with the United States. From their point of view, the Third World War was just another Arab-Israeli War. Israel was forced to declare martial law in the face of worsening terrorism as well as the threat of Russian invasion. In early November, Iran launched a barrage of conventional ballistic missiles toward Israel. While the US Patriot missile batteries were able to intercept most missiles, several made it through, inflicting severe devastation and a death toll in the tens of thousands. US-Israeli aircraft retaliated by launching proportionate air and cruise missile strikes against Iran. Iran also launched missile strikes against US military bases throughout the Middle East as well as Saudi military targets and oilfields. The Syrian Opposition now had the full backing of the United States military and US President Barack Obama made clear that the goal was nothing less then a total regime change in Syria. The Russian naval base as Tartus was bombed by American and Israeli aircraft in December. By the end of the year, the Syrian opposition controlled roughly one-half of Syria.
Invasion of Afghanistan
In early-October, Iran launched a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan from the west. NATO and Afghan bases were also targeted by Iranian air and missile strikes. Simultaneously a Kazakh-led CSTO force as well as Turkmen and Uzbek troops invaded Afghanistan from the north with Russian aircraft supporting the attack. The Taliban coordinated with increased insurgent attacks throughout the country. By the end of October, the Iranians had occupied Herat, Ferah, and other cities in western Afghanistan while CSTO, Turkmen, and Uzbek forces occupied Kunduz, Mazar-e-Sharif, and other cities in northeastern Afghanistan. The Battles of Kabul and Kandahar began in mid-November as joint Iranian-CSTO forces entered both cities with Taliban insurgents backing the invaders. By the beginning of December, both cities fell and the Afghan government surrendered. Remnants of the Afghan military as well as surviving NATO forces in the country continued to wage a guerilla war against the occupational forces.
Battle of the Atlantic
The Russian Northern Fleet, which was already on maneuvers out in the North Atlantic when the war had begun, engaged in a naval and aerial campaign against the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1). While the Russians had sunk several NATO warships, the United States Atlantic Fleet, British Royal Navy, and the French Navy were able to quickly reinforce the NATO fleet. Due to the technological and numerical advantage of the NATO surface fleet, the Russians were forced to rely primarily on submarine and cyber warfare. Long-range anti-ship cruise missiles were the main weapon of choice which meant that most naval combat was waged as far as several hundred miles between fleets of opposing sides. The primary military goal for the Russians in the Atlantic was to disrupt the REFORGER convoys in order to prevent them from reaching Europe. NATO maritime forces of course made this very difficult. An failed attempt to blockade the North Atlantic resulted in the sinking of several warships including the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov.
Battle of the Pacific
Naval and aerial combat was fought between the Russian Pacific Fleet and the United States Pacific Fleet throughout much of the war. The first naval battles took place off the Pacific Northwest coast with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group attacking Russian submarines which were launching cruise missile attacks against US military targets throughout the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Northern California. While several Russian vessels were sunk, most of them had escaped either out into the North Pacific or into Russian-occupied Puget Sound. Most naval combat was fought with hundreds of miles between opposing fleets with anti-ship cruise missiles being used. The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers also ensured that the Americans had air superiority over much of the Pacific. Ground-based aircraft in the Russian Far East provided cover for Russian warships close to home.
Battle of the Arctic
Most naval combat in the Arctic was fought between American and Russian submarines with both sides sustaining losses. The United States Marine Corps and the Russian Naval Infantry also staged additional island campaigns throughout the Arctic Circle though the fighting in the region remained a stalemate due to the primary military ground fighitng taking place in Eastern Europe and the Pacific Northwest.
Battle of the Mediterranean
Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and the United States Sixth Fleet launched cruise missile attacks against Russian and Syrian naval forces. The Russian naval base at Tartus was hit in a joint US-Israeli attack. The Battle of the Mediterranean intensified when Turkey joined the war on the side of Russia, prompting SNMG2 to engage the Turkish Navy in combat. The Russian Black Sea Fleet also moved through the Turkish Straits into the Aegean Sea to support the Balkan Front.
Battle of the Persian Gulf
Iranian ships blockaded the Strait of Hormuz and attacked US naval forces in the Persian Gulf with land-based aircraft. Naval warfare was fought between the United States Fifth Fleet and the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy for several weeks. The Americans ultimately prevailed, breaking the Hormuz Blockade as well as sinking most of Iran's navy. Iran was blockaded throughout the remainder of the war.
North American Front (2017)
Russian offensive bogged down
Russian forces continued their offensive into January 2016 though at a much slower pace as the Army and Air National Guards fought back with increasing efficiency. The Battles of Okanogan, Yakima, Bend, Klamath Falls, Yreka, and Eureka were among the more fierce battles along the North American Front which lasted through the remainder of January and most of February. Ultimately due to the Russians having overextended themselves, the US National Guard was successfully able to defend all contested cities and push back the invaders. After having managed to advance roughly 100-125 miles inland, the Russian offensive throughout the entire North American Front had ground to a halt.
The insurgency in Seattle had escalated into a full-scale rebellion in January 2017 with many citizens rising up against the Russian occupation and fighting alongside the American Resistance. For a while it appeared that the Russians could lose its hold on Seattle and indeed did pull its forces out of the city. However, the successes of the American Resistance proved to be short-lived as the Russians began heavy bombardment of Seattle by aircraft and artillery for several weeks before moving back in to reassert control over the city in early February. By that point, most of the city was destroyed and the civilian death toll was at least 250,000 which made the Seattle Insurrection the second deadliest battle of the war and the deadliest attack in American history. US President Tulsi Gabbard condemned the Russian military crackdown of the Seattle Insurrection as crimes against humanity while declaring the Cascadian People's Republic to be a domestic terrorist organization. Just a few weeks later, the Russian Prefect was assassinated by a Resistance sniper with the American Resistance declaring that justice for Seattle was served. Colonel-General Alexander Zhuravlyov became the new Prefect of the occupational government.
By late February, the American Resistance had recovered from its defeat in Seattle and began a renewed guerilla campaign against the Russian occupation. On 1 March 2017, the US Army National Guard and the Canadian military launched a full-scale counterattack against Russian forces all along the North American Front. The American Resistance coordinated with this new offensive by attacking resupply lines and targeting key military bases throughout the occupied zone. Within two weeks, half of the occupied Pacific Northwest had been liberated.
On 16 March 2017, the American Resistance made a bold move by launching a full-scale assault on Russian occupational headquarters in Astoria, Oregon. While the Nimitz Carrier Air Wing played a supportive role, the attack on the ground was purely a partisan operation. The Resistance was ultimately able to not only take Russian occupational headquarters and capture several enemy commanders, they were also able to liberate the City of Astoria itself. The American Resistance leaders used Russia's own propaganda television and radio stations as well as the Cascadian Red Ice TV to call upon all Americans and Canadians to take up arms against the invaders.
The Russian occupation quickly unravelled in the face the US-Canadian military blitzkrieg at the frontlines plus a full-scale revolution behind the lines. Angered over Seattle, a number American commanders refused to take prisoners. Driven from the cities, the Russians fled to the coasts in the hope of boarding a submarine. Many were ambushed by the American Resistance and/or US-Canadian aircraft. Several Russian soldiers attempted to fly home via stolen passenger planes though most were shot down. By the Spring of 2017, the US-Canadian military forces and the American Resistance had liberated nearly all American and Canadian territory from Russian occupation.
Russian Forces in North America Surrender
On 24 March 2017, Colonel-General Alexander Zhuravlyov was taken to the USS Nimitz by helicopter where he met with the commanders of the US-Canadian military forces as well as the leaders of the American Resistance. After failing to reach a compromise due to the unwillingness of any of the Allied leaders to accept anything other then unconditional surrender, he agreed to their demands and signed the surrender order which was then conveyed to all surviving Russian soldiers on American and Canadian soil. The Russian Prefect also signed the order to formally dissolve the Federation Occupational Authority - North America. Lana Lokteff, however, refused to sign the order to dissolve the Cascadian People's Republic. However, since the American Resistance effectively overthrew Lokteff through her capture, the Partisan leadership eagerly signed the order for the dissolution of the Cascadian People's Republic with the United States and Canada regaining their respective territories.
European Front Front (2017)
Vistula River Stalemate
The Battle of the Vistula continued into January 2017 with the Russians still fighting NATO for control of Tczew, Toruń, Płock, Warsaw, Tarnobrzeg, and Kraków with the primary goal being to secure enough river crossings to be able to resume their push toward the Oder-Neisse line. However, NATO was able to hold back the Russian advance. Even with troops and equipment originally bound for the Middle East, the Russians could make no significant breakthroughs. As a result, the Vistula River Battlelines remained locked in a brutal stalemate with Russian and NATO forces engaged in heavy urban warfare in all contested cities. Warsaw especially suffered significant destruction with most buildings turned to rubble, infrastructure completely shot, over a million citizens losing their homes, and the civilian death toll exceeding 100,000. Military death toll in Warsaw exceeded 50,000 on each side. The Battle of Warsaw was already the deadliest battle in Europe and the third deadliest in the entire war behind the Seattle Insurrection and the Battle of Seoul.
On 5 February 2017, NATO forces launched a major counterattack against Russian forces in Gdańsk. First a combined NATO naval task force attacked the Russian Baltic Sea Fleet. The naval battle lasted several hours with both sides suffering losses though the Russians lost more ships then NATO. Eventually the Russians withdrew their Baltic Sea Fleet and cleared the way for the next phase of the operation. The II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) and the 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) launched an amphibious attack against the Russian beachhead. The 1st Panzer Division (Bundeswehr) and the 41st Panzergrenadier Brigade (Bundeswehr) spearheaded the NATO ground assault in coordination with the Marines. The Russian Naval Infantry fought back against the NATO assault for several more weeks, using the urban terrain to try to hold out longer in the hope ground relief can arrive. However, it never did since Russia's primary ground forces couldn't breakthrough the Vistula River Battlelines due to NATO bringing more and more reinforcements to the fighting there. Ultimately the Battle of Gdańsk ended with a decisive NATO victory on 22 February 2017 following the surrender of all surviving Russian forces in the city. The Battle of Gdańsk was Russia's first major defeat on the European Front and NATO commanders believed that the tide was turning in their favor. Indeed that did seem to be the case. With Gdańsk no longer contested, NATO was now able to safely bring supplies and replacements to within close proximity to the Vistula Battlelines by ship. By this point, NATO had also brought the bulk of its strength to the frontlines and the Russian troops in the contested cities were forced to assume a purely defensive stance.
Conventional bombing of Russia
In early February, the United States initiated a conventional bombing campaign against the Russian cities of Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Arkangelsk, and Vladivostok in retaliation for the virtual destruction of the US seaport city of Seattle during Russia's brutal crackdown of the insurrection there. The attacks were carried out by cruise missiles launched from US surface warships and submarines as well as bombs dropped by B-52 bombers and B-2 stealth bombers. The Russian Strategic Troops were placed on full alert when the incoming missiles were first detected though no nuclear missiles were launched once it was confirmed the attack didn't involve any weapons of mass destruction. The attacks lasted several days and inflicted severe devastation on all four cities as well as heavy civilian casualties. The Russian government imposed a media blackout of the events in order to prevent panic though leaks still happened which led to a gradual increase of anti-war demonstrations from some and calls for further attacks against the Americans by others.
While the Russians remained bogged down in Poland, they had been successful in occupying the majority of the Balkans. However the eventual turn of the tide in the north meant that Russia would no longer be able to reiforce the occupation. By the beginning of February, NATO had begun a major counteroffensive throughout the Balkans which began with a massive amphibious invasion of the Balkan coast through the Adratic Sea. A second invasion of Russian-occupied Greece began the following day with US, British, and Italian forces leading the liberation. Athens was liberated by the start of March and the Hellenic government
At this time, NATO air strikes, cruise missile attacks, and artillery bombardment against the Republic of Serbia and Republika Srpska intensified greatly at levels comparable to Operation Allied Force in '99. By late-February, the Republic of Serbia had withdrawn to prewar positions outside Kosovo and attempted to establish defensive line. The Serbians had also withdrawn from Montenegro at that time following a NATO-supported Montenegrin counterattack. On 19 February 2017, NATO forces in Croatia invaded Republika Srpska as well as Serb occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Battle of Banja Luka started the following day and lasted through the remainder of the month. By 28 February 2017, NATO had occupied nearly all of western Republika Srpska and liberated most of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well. Sarajevo was no longer under siege and NATO was reinforcing the Bosnian government forces there. The Bosnian Serb capital city of Banja Luka was now under siege and NATO forces had already managed to occupy one-third of the city by the end of the month.
The Battles of Sarajevo and Banja Luka continued into March with both sides fighting intense house-to-house fighting. By the second week of March, NATO forces also liberated the remainder of Bosnia and Herzegovina outside of Sarajevo and also occupied nearly all of eastern Republika Srpska. Civil unrest in Serbia greatly increased throughout the country. It was especially bad in the Serbian capital of Belgrade where people were holding demonstrations calling for an end to the war as well as the resignation of the Serbian President Vojislav Šešelj who now accused of being another Slobodan Milošević. US President Tulsi Gabbard announced that both Vojislav Šešelj and his Serbian Radical Party had to go if there was to be peace in the Balkans. By 15 March 2017 the rioting had escalated into full-blown revolution. Unwilling to fire on their own people, the Serbian military turned against President Šešelj and launched a successful coup d'état against his government. Tomislav Nikolić of the Serbian Progressive Party was released from prison and returned to the presidency while his cell was given to now ex-President Vojislav Šešelj. President Nikolić ordered an immediate withdrawal of all troops back to Serbian soil and negotiated an armistice with NATO. With their primary benefactor gone, Republika Srpska surrendered by 17 March 2017. The Second Bosnian War was now over and the Balkan Front of World War III closed.
NATO launched a full-scale counterattack against Russian-backed Turkish troops in North and West Trace in early February. By the end of the month, all Bulgarian and Greek territory was liberated. NATO forces then invaded East Thrace on 1 March 2017. The Battle of Istanbul (called the Battle of Constantinople by Greek leaders) began in mid-March and lasted just over one month with considerable damage inflicted on the city as well as heavy casualties on both sides. NATO won the battle and occupied the city by 21 April 2017. Less then 24 hours later, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was deposed in a successful coup d'état and the coup leaders contacted NATO to sue for peace. By this point, most of the Balkans had been liberated with the Russians only retaining northeastern Romania as well as the Bulgarian coast.
Liberation of eastern Poland
On 25 February 2017, NATO forces spearheaded by the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) and the III Corps had begun a counterattack against Russian forces in Tczew, Toruń, Płock, Warsaw, Tarnobrzeg, and Kraków. Urban warfare intensified greatly as the Russians attempted to hold back the NATO onslaught. However, with NATO now having both numerical and technological superiority on the frontlines, the Russian positions were eventually overrun in nearly all cities along the Vistula by the beginning of March. The Battle of Warsaw lasted longer due to the largest concentration of Russian forces being in the Polish capital. NATO established a defensive perimeter around Warsaw to prevent further reinforcements and resupply for the Russian garrison still in the capital battling US and Polish forces. Though cut off from all ground support, the Russians held out for another two weeks as they waged an urban defensive campaign using structures, alleyways, and rubble to provide cover. As NATO forces fought the Russians building-to-build and room-to-room, both sides sustained increasing losses. While the M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks were formidable, they required heavy infantry support when operating in an urban environment. A US Army Ranger squad had to move rapidly through enemy lines to rescue the crew of a Blackhawk helicopter that was taken down by an RPG. After many long days and nights of continuous urban warfare and little to no rest, US-led NATO troops were finally able to liberate Russian-occupied Warsaw after eliminate the final pockets of resistance. The Battle of Warsaw was finally over on 17 March 2017 after four weeks of brutal urban warfare. The Polish capital was severely devastated from the fighting with many buildings and historical structures destroyed. Civilian death toll was 150,000 while military death toll was 75,000 for NATO and 250,000 for Russia, making the Battle of Warsaw the second deadliest battle of the war exceeded only by the Battle of Seoul. The Seattle Insurrection remained the second deadliest for non-combatants.
Even while the Battle of Warsaw was still being fought, NATO forces had already begun the process of liberating eastern Poland. The Second Battles of Elbląg, Olsztyn, Łomża, Siedlce, and Rzeszów had begun several days into the NATO counteroffensive. The urban fighting in those cities were intense though not at the scale of Warsaw and were over within a matter of days. By the time NATO had, the Battle of Warsaw was won and US-led reinforcements were moving up rapidly to the frontlines. The Second Battles of Suwałki, Białystok, Biała Podlaska, Chełm, and Przemyśl around the beginning of Spring 2017. Though the Russians were better prepared then the earlier urban battles of eastern Poland, the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) and the III Corps had taken the lead in the NATO offensive. After several additional days of heavy fighting, NATO was eventually able to liberate all remaining Russian-occupied Polish cities. By 25 March 2017, all remaining Russian forces in Poland retreated back into across the border into the occupied Baltic States and the All Russian Federation. The Russian were also driven out of Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. By this point, the Baltic States were the only remaining NATO countries still under Russian occupation.
Baltic Liberation and Kaliningrad Invasion
Following the completion of the liberation of eastern Poland, NATO began moving troops towards Poland's border with Russian-occupied Lithuania and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. While ground forces weren't sent in for two weeks, NATO had already commenced an aerial and naval bombardment of Russian military positions throughout the Baltic States and Kaliningrad. The Commander of Russian Forces in the Baltic Region was killed in the attacks. On 8 April 2017, NATO ground forces had begun a full-scale invasion of Russian-occupied Lithuania and Kaliningrad. The US Army III Corps speared the advancement into Lithuania while the 1st Panzer Division (Bundeswehr) and the 41st Panzergrenadier Brigade (Bundeswehr) spearheaded the invasion of Kaliningrad. The II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF) and the 1 Assault Group Royal Marines (1AGRM) coordinated with amphibious assaults along with Baltic Sea coast with near the cities of Kaliningrad, Klaipeda, Riga, and Tallinn. The Second Battle of Vilnius began the following day as US-led NATO forces reached the occupied Lithuanian capital city. The Battle of Kaliningrad intensified as German-led ground forces reinforced the US Marines already fighting in the Russian port city.
The Second Battles of Klaipeda, Riga, and Tallinn had lasted just over one week before US Marines and UK Royal Marines were eventually able to liberate all three cities from Russian occupation. The Second Battle of Vilnius lasted several additional days with heavy urban warfare decimating the city even further and inflicted heavy losses on both sides. US-led NATO troops were ultimately able to liberate the war-torn Lithuanian capital city by 22 April 2017. The Battle of Kaliningrad ended with a clear NATO victory that very same day. One of the most memorable scenes was the raising of the flags of the Federal Republic of Germany (center), the European Union, and the United States of America on top of Kaliningrad City Hall building by German soldiers and United States Marines. With the capital cities of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania liberated as well as Kaliningrad occupied, NATO forces prepared for their final ground offensive to free all remaining Baltic States territory from Russian occupation.
Other NATO-EU offensives in Russia
During the NATO liberation campaign in the Baltic States, NATO and EU forces launched a limited ground incursion into the All Russian Federation. The Battles of Brest and Lviv lasted for over one week with both sides taking heavy losses. Eventually NATO was able to successfully occupy both cities. Rather then pushing further into Russia, NATO and EU troops instead focused on fortifying its holdings and creating a buffer zone to protect Poland from another ground attack.
Finland and Sweden declared war on the All Russian Federation on 10 April 2017. Almost immediately following the declaration, Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish forces hit Russia with numerous air and missile strikes. Limited ground incursions were carried out in Russia. Russian military targets in the City of Saint Petersburg were also attacked by NATO cruise missile strikes.
Asian Front (2017)
Tide turns in South Korea
The Battle of Seoul continued into 2017 with the Korean People's Army still holding a sizable portion of the city. The KPA forces while being numerically superior were effectively becoming bogged down as the technological superiority of the US-ROK offset their numbers. Unable to advance further, the North Koreans attempted to besiege the city by moving on Incheon to the west and through Gyeonggi Province to the east. While the North Koreans made some progress, they were ultimately unable to take Incheon nor secure enough of Gyeonggi Province to effectively surround Seoul. Furthermore the Americans, South Koreans, Japanese, and other Allied air forces had achieved air superiority and were continuously attacking KPA forces along the frontlines as well as throughout occupied South Korea. As the KPA was beginning to lose ground in Seoul, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un was becoming increasingly desperate and ordered all surviving artillery and missile batteries to commence full-scale bombardment of Seoul. Heavy damage was inflicted on Seoul with the death toll rabidly increasing. Despite the intense bombardment, the US-ROK combined forces had pushed the North Koreans from Seoul and Incheon by 22 January 2017. Furthermore ,Allied air forces had taken out most remaining KPA artillery and missile batteries. Still by that point, Seoul was nearly destroyed and the civilian death toll was at least one-half million. Military death toll was also very high with Allied casualties at one-quarter million and KPA death toll exceeding one million. As such, the Battle of Seoul was undeniably the worst battle of the Third World War.
With the Battles of Seoul and Incheon won, the US-ROK combined forces were now on the offensive and rapidly pushing north with the North Koreans now in full retreat. Munsan was liberated by the start of February following a brief but intense battle. By the conclusion of the first week of February, all of South Korea had been liberated and air attacks were being carried out north of the 38th Parallel. On 10 February 2017, the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), the III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), and the Republic of Korea Marine Corps (ROKMC) launched a massive amphibious assault on the Kaesong Industrial Region. Simultaneously, the Eighth United States Army and the Republic of Korea Army coordinated with a ground push through the DMZ into Kaesong from the south. Faced with a full-scale invasion, Kim Jung-un decided to utilize North Korea's nuclear arsenal and ordered attacks against the invasion forces in Kaesong as well as targets in South Korea, Japan, Guam, and Hawaii. However, before the order could be carried out, Kim Jong-un was overthrown in a coup d'état sponsored by the People's Republic of China which prevented the nuclear launches at the last moment. The following day, hundreds of thousands of troops of the newly re-established Chinese People's Volunteer Army (PVA) invaded North Korea and rapidly advanced throughout the country with minimal opposition. Ri Yong-Gil, the new North Korean leader, ordered the immediate cessation of hostilities and to not interfere with Chinese forces operating within the country. All Russian military were given 72 hours to leave the country. On 15 February 2017, new armistice was negotiated between North and South Korea with Kaesong Industrial Region being ceded to the Republic of Korea. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) was replaced by the Provisional Socialist Republic of Korea (PSRK) and had effectively become a Chinese protectorate in all but name. With hostilities on the Korean Peninsula over and all Russian forces out of North Korea, China disbanded the People's Volunteer Army and created the People's Expeditionary Force Korea (PEFK).
Operation Syrian Freedom
Fighting in Syria continued into 2017 with US-backed Opposition forces gaining more ground. The Syrian government forces were now practically on their own due to the Iranians busy defending its own territory from US and Israeli air strikes while the Russians had shifted nearly their entire focus to the war in Europe including rerouting reinforcements meant for Syria to Poland instead. After months of naval warfare with NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) and the United States Sixth Fleet battling the Syrian and Russian navies in the Mediterranean, the Americans had finally cleared the Syrian coast. US air strikes and cruise missile attacks were carried out against Syrian government forces throughout the country which greatly helped the Syrian Opposition greatly. By the start of March, the Syrian government only held one-quarter of the country while the Opposition held the rest. The fighting entered a new stage on 27 February 2017 when a US Marine expeditionary unit attached to the United States Sixth Fleet launched a successful amphibious assault on Tartus. US Army Rangers also attacked the Russian-operated Khmeimim Air Base. Within 24 hours, the Russian naval facility at Tartus and the Khmeimim Air Base were in American hands. Within an additional 48 hours, Tartus itself was occupied by US military forces. Additional US ground forces arrived in the city over the following weeks. By 19 March 2017, the Syrian Opposition controlled nearly the entire country while the government of President Bashar al-Assad's only held Damascus. And even in the Syrian capital, the popularity of the opposition was higher then ever. Fearing that Assad might resort to further use of his chemical weapons arsenal in the face of certain defeat and unwilling to take a chance that they might've been destroyed already due to precision bombings since the start of the war, the Delta Force and the British SAS were dropped into Syria for a night time raid on the Syrian leader's presidential palace. Bashar al-Assad and his top military leaders were targeted in the raid. The Syrian leader was captured alive and extracted from Damascus. A number of al-Assad's guards were killed in the attack. His top commanders were assassinated either by shooting them or calling in a precision air strike or two when deemed to hazardous to approach directly. The following morning, the Syrian Opposition seized control over Damascus and declared total victory. The new Syrian interim government ordered the detention of all Russian and Iranian military personnel in Syria and agreed to turn them over to the United States as prisoners of war. They also requested the return of al-Assad so that he might stand trial for his crimes against his own people.
Other Middle Eastern Battlefields
Houthi rebels in Yemen had been cut off from direct support from their primary benefactor as a result of the naval. Furthermore the United States and Saudi Arabia had begun to step up support for the Yemeni government with the former providing air and naval support while the latter sent in ground forces to fight the Houthi rebels. By the end of February 2017, the Houthi insurgency had all but been crushed and the Yemeni government remained in power.
Having lost its navy, the Islamic Republic of Iran was under a total naval blockade from the United States Fifth Fleet. US and Israeli air strikes were carried out against Iran almost everyday since its scud missile assault against Israel as well as US military installations throughout the Middle East. Much of the Iranian Air Force was destroyed and Iran's anti-aircraft capabilities were being systemically targeted in order to enforce a no-fly zone over the entire country. The government in Tehran was becoming increasingly unpopular as the citizenry accused them of bringing the wrath of the American-Zionist alliance down on them. With the overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by the Syrian Opposition and the United States, the Iranian government decided to seek a separate peace with the United States and its allies in order to avoid suffering the same fate. An armistice was signed on 23 March 2017 and Iran officially withdrew from the war.
The Republic of Iraq was in a state of increasing unrest since the start of the war. And it only got worse as the Syrian Opposition had gained the upper hand due to direct American involvement. By the time President Bashar al-Assad was ousted from power, the country was fractured when the Sunni territories seceded from the Republic of Iraq followed by Iraqi Kurdistan. The rump Republic of Iraq followed Iran's example and also signed an armistice with the United States and its allies to avoid further disintegration.
Invasion of Kuril Islands and Sakhalin
On 7 April 2017, the United States and other Allied countries had begun a full-scale amphibious invasion of Island of Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands in the Russian Far East. The invasion was carried out by I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), Special Forces from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. The United States Pacific Fleet, including USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), supported the attack. This marked the first time during the Third World War that the Russians were forced to fight on their own soil. The Kuril Islands had fallen within 72 hours. The Battle of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk began on the first day of the invasion and lasted nearly two weeks. This was so far the largest battle to take place in the Sakhalin Oblast. In addition to the Russian ground force garrisoning Sakhalinsk Oblast, the Russian Pacific Fleet and the 11th Air and Air Defence Forces Army also fought against the Allied invasion. While the invasion forces sustained over one thousand casualties, they were ultimately able win the Battle of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. By 21 April 2017, Sakhalin Oblast was under Allied occupation.
World War III - Last Days
Meeting at the National Defense Control Center
On 22 April 2017, Russian Colonel-General Vyacheslav Borisov - Commander of Russian Forces in the Baltic Region - was summoned to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the All Russian Federation. Upon arrival at the National Defense Control Center, the Russian military leaders discussed the latest failures in the war including the recent defeats in the Baltics as well as enemy incursions on Federation soil. Another pressing issue was increasing civil unrest in both Russia and the other CIS member countries. Faced with certain defeat, the General Staff recommended the use of tactical nuclear weapons on NATO forces in the Baltics in order to obliterate the bulk of the enemy force and to regain the initiative. Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed with the recommendation. Seeming to go along with the plan, Colonel-General Borisov requested that as the commander of the planned counterattack that he be given direct control over the nuclear warheads to be used in order to coordinate with his conventional forces. In truth Borisov was against the plan as he knew it would lead to a strategic nuclear exchange and only requested control of the nukes to ensure that they wouldn't be used. President Putin, however, didn't see through the ruse and personally approved to Borisov's proposal. General Borisov requested and was granted 72 hours to make the necessary preparations.
2017 Russian coup d'état
Knowing time is short, Colonel-General Borisov secretly met with a number of military officers he trusted and they mutually agreed that in order to prevent a global thermonuclear war that an immediate change in leadership was needed. On the morning of 25 April 2017, the 76th Guards Air Assault Division and other soldiers loyal to Colonel-General Vyacheslav Borisov seized control of Red Square, the Russian White House, the National Defense Control Center, and other key locations throughout Moscow. Borisov's forces then stormed the Kremlin, overpowered the Kremlin Guard, and detained several Russian leaders including President Vladimir Putin. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was also taken into custody. Similar operations were carried out in Minsk and Kiev with a number of key government officials including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Novorossiyan President Viktor Yanukovych being apprehended. Within hours from the start of the operation, the "April Coup" was a complete success and Colonel-General Vyacheslav Borisov was Acting President of Russia. The military was ordered to halt all offensive operations immediately.
Armistice of 25 April 2017
The evening following his seizure of control of the Russian government, Colonel-General Vyacheslav Borisov personally met with American General Curtis Scaparrotti - Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) - and other NATO military leaders under a flag of truce at Riga to negotiate a ceasefire. Among the terms pushed forward by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, the Russians would be required to withdraw from all occupied territory and to release all NATO prisoners of war, both without reciprocation. The Russians were also required to relocate their capital from Moscow to St. Petersburg until a permenant peace treaty was signed to ensure that the Russian government can easily be taken down by NATO should hositilies resume; all major policical parties, notably the Liberal Democrats and the Communists, were required to relocate their headquarters to St. Petersburg as well. The Armistice of 25 April 2017 was signed after one-half hour of negotiations and took effect ten minutes before midnight. This marked an end of the combat phase of the Third World War and was effectively a NATO victory over Russia.
Dissolution of the All Russian Federation
Acting President Vyacheslav Borisov declared that the All Russian Federation had ceased to exist as of the overthrow of ex-President Vladimir Putin with full independence was restored to Belarus and Ukraine. Even the Russian Federation itself was reorganized to become the Russian Confederation. A policy of De-Putinization was also implemented throughout Russia.
Dissolution of the CIS, CSTO, and EAEU
The Commonwealth of Independent States broke apart on 30 April 2017 when the Russian Confederation, the Republic of Belarus, and the Republic of Ukraine mutually agreed that the former All Russian Federation and ex-President Vladimir Putin had irreparably tainted the CIS by making by wielding it like a second Soviet Union. Furthermore, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) were both disbanded at that time. As a result, all last remnants of the former Soviet Union had been swept away.
Russian territory occupied by Allied forces
Kaliningrad and Sakhalin Oblasts were both under military occupation since April 2017. NATO and the EU also controlled a security zone 100 kilometers into Russia through the width of the border with the rest of Europe. NATO also established a second occupation zone which spanned nearly the entire North Caucasus with the exception of Volgograd Oblast. This effectively cut off Russia's access to the Azov, Black, and Caspian Seas. The Russians also had to turn their Black Sea Fleet over to the Republic of Ukraine and their Caspian Sea Flotilla over to NATO command both as demanded by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe in the Armistice of 25 April 2017. Ukraine also regained Crimea. North Ossetia–Alania being under military administration by the Republic of Georgia which was another one of the conditions included in the armistice. Chukotka Autonomous Okrug was occupied by the United States military to provide a buffer for the US State of Alaska and to deny Russia maritime access to the Bering Strait.
Chinese peacekeepers in Russian Far East
Due to heightened civil unrest in Vladivostok and other Russian cities in close proximity to the Sino-Russian border, the People's Republic of China deployed peacekeeping troops to the Russian Far East - specifically Outer Manchuria - to secure its own interests and to protect Chinese nationals. Unwilling to risk a war that couldn't be won, the Russian Confederation didn't stop them and the Chinese effectively remained in control of Vladivostok and the other cities in the region. Not only that, the United States and other Western countries supported the move since they were still technically at war with Russia. This marked the beginning of the Outer Manchurian Dispute.
2018 Russian presidential elections
The United States took a particular interest in the 2018 Russian presidential election as it approached. The two candidates that had NATO worried were the Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia and Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party of the Russian Confederation. The former caused the most concern due to the Ultranationalist ideology of the LDPR posing the biggest risk for the resumption of hostilities. The latter also caused concern but to a lesser extent. The belief was that a Communist victory might lead to a Sino-Russian alliance. Fortunately neither happened and Ksenia Sobchak of the Party of Changes had won the elections.
Paris Peace Treaties, 2017
A series of peace treaties were signed in Paris on 19 August 2017 between the Allied Powers and nearly all CSTO-aligned countries. The treaties ended hostilities and restored diplomatic relations between all countries involved. Most notable was the peace treaty signed between North and South Korea which ended their state of war that had begun in 1950. North Korea officially renounced all claim to South Korea, including the Kaesong Industrial Region. Serbia renounced its claim to Kosovo and declared that they would no longer be seeking European Union membership; instead they would be seeking to join the European Free Trade Association and adopting a policy of neutrality. Turkey was forced to renounce its claim to European Turkey which irrevocably disqualified them from European Union membership. Republic of East Thrace was created as a de facto Greek protectorate with Constantinople being the capital. Turkey also had to grant full independence to Turkish Kurdistan. As the primary belligerent in the Third World War, the Russian Confederation remained the only country still in a formal state of war with the NATO alliance and the other Allied Powers. Ongoing peace talks between the Allies and Russia would continue over the following year. The Republic of Serbia agreed to forfeit all claim over Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Montenegro. Republika Srpska was officially dissolved and its land annexed by the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, nullifying the Dayton Agreement and depriving the Bosnian Serbs of representation in the Bosnian government.
Though the Armistice of 25 April 2017 had ended all active combat and other military engagements, the fact remained that the Russian Confederation was still technically at war with the United States, the rest of NATO, and the other Allied countries. The United States especially showed no interest in signing any treaty with Russia due to feeling bitter over the virtual destruction of the City of Seattle during the occupation. Another major obstacle is Kaliningrad which is currently under German-led NATO occupation. Whether Kaliningrad will become an independent country or annexed back into Germany as Königsberg, NATO leaders have made clear that it will not be returned to the Russian Confederation regardless. Japan is also expressing a desire to reclaim Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands which have been under US-led Allied occupation since the final month of World War Three. The Republic of Georgia also indicated it wanted to annex North Ossetia-Alania and incorporate it into South Ossetia, renaming it Ossetia-Alania. Chechnya, Dagestan, and Kalmykia declared their intentions to break away from the Russian Confederation. With the Russian military unable to interfere, all three behaved as though they were already independent and were only waiting for the peace treaty to be signed to make it official. Severe war reparations are also being considered despite the fact that Russian economy is already at the breaking point. China was also demanding that the Russian Confederation renounce its claim to Outer Manchuria. Russian President Ksenia Sobchak and Russian Chancellor Alexei Navalny both desired a restoration of true peace at any cost however Ultranationalist leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky who is the president's biggest competitor within the Russian government wanted Russia's territorial integrity to be preserved.
Treaty of Manteo
Despite opposition from the Ultranationalists, Russian President Ksenia Sobchak and Russian Chancellor Alexei Navalny met with US President Tulsi Gabbard as well as other NATO and Allied leaders in Manteo, North Carolina on 14 November 2018 where the final peace treaty was signed, formally ending the Third World War. In addition to having to pay severe war reparitions, the Russian Confederation was required to forfeit much of its territory. The largest concession was the Southern Federal District (minus Volgograd Oblast) and the North Caucasian Federal District (minus North Ossetia-Alania Oblast) breaking off from Russia and becoming the newly created North Caucasian Republic. As such, Russia lost access to the Azov, Black, and Caspian Seas. The Republic of Karelia declared independence from Russia and was accepted into the Nordic Council. The Chukotka Autonomous Okrug also broke away from Russia to become the Chukotka Republic which was a de facto American protectorate thereby eliminating Russia's close proxiomity to the US State of Alaska. Other concessions were Kaliningrad Oblast to the European Union as a mandate, North Ossetia-Alania Oblast to the Republic of Georgia, and Sakhalin Oblast to Japan. The Treaty of Manteo however did not resolve the Outer Manchurian Dispute which NATO leaders believed was strictly a Sino-Russian affair which wasn't relevant to the war due to China's official neutrality in the conflict.