The Trans-Caucasus conflict of 2008 that saw a Georgian border dispute that initially appeared to be swiftly resolved with judicious use of Western Airpower left lingering embers in the region. It reignited in late 2008. During the preceding Georgian conflict, China had used the west’s distraction as an opportunity to build up forces and then promptly invaded Taiwan. Taipei’s fall took most observers by surprise and left ripple effects in chip production felt around the rest of the world. Shortly afterwards, Chinese forces seized Hanoi, rolling through Vietnam and conquering Cambodia and Laos at the same time. President Al Gore, the democrat who defeated one-term Bush, hesitated at the crucial moment. All that the United States managed was a blustered response that not only emboldened China, but also ignited a renewed interest in Russian imperial aspirations. Fearing the use of nuclear weapons, NATO sat still, its brain paralyzed, unable to choose a common path. Most Eastern NATO states mobilized in anticipation, but states like Germany and the United Kingdom did not.

The European Union was similarly caught by surprise as President Medvedev invaded Ukraine and Georgia simultaneously in early 2009. Kyiv fell in short order and Tbilisi was soon in tow. NATO’s inaction was finally solved when Russian Forces invaded Lithuania through Belarus in March 2009. This acceleration in the conflict did not only surprise NATO, but Russia itself. The Kremlin’s inability to control rogue elements in the Armed Forces and its decision to offload military duties to the Wagner PMC had created a situation where several rogue generals were able to force Russian decisionmakers to a conflict far beyond their initial intentions. Creating monsters unrestrainable by their leashes had come back to bite them one last time and in an attempt to save face, the Russian government was forced to back them.

On 15th March 2009, air raid sirens were heard around the world as it held its collective breath. At SHAPE, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO’s Article 5 was invoked. This was it, nuclear devastation would soon follow as the dreaded situation had now at last come to the unwanted climax: NATO had collectively declared war on Russia and another World War was at hand.

As world leaders cowered under their desks in anticipation of the hellfire, a young US Air Force pilot waiting for the President to board the doomsday plane E-4B managed to connect the staircase just in time for President Gore to step out of his motorcade. “Not to worry ladies and gentlemen, this war will be solved quickly. Ashes to ashes and dust to dust in one late afternoon!” the President muttered to the Secretary of Defense, unaware of the listeners.

As the plane took off to its relative safety and clocks ticked past the world’s slowest seconds, most people slowly started to crawl out of shelters and ditches. While still holding onto their loved ones, their gazes were filled with disbelief. No missiles were flying. No doomsday device was on their way and not a single city had been sent to oblivion. Against all odds and predictions, cooler heads prevailed. While there were several close calls with unclear alarm systems, nuclear missileer officers from several countries refused to believe alerts and waited for clearer commands. It saved the world. At least for now.

As Russia and China kept pushing into an ever-increasing number of their neighbors, the United States and its allies, some with more planning, others with less, initiated several counter-offensives. NATO forces somewhat forcibly positioned themselves in Finland and Sweden, Egypt, Morocco, and other countries they saw as advantageous for themselves. Australia took upon itself to create a buffer zone by forcing its northern neighbors to cooperate. As self-defense to this, China and Russia formed an alliance to protect their interests, with mutual understanding that they’d each secure their own buffer zones from their immediate neighbors to protect against possible NATO attacks.

The war raged on around the world, with the US, Australian, and South Korean forces attacking North Korea in hopes of deterring China. In only a few months it was apparent the plan had been too bold as the tide of the battle reversed. They were unable to hold the DPRK north of the Demilitarized Zone. South Korea’s capital fell, and casualties mounted as allied troops fought in every city and suburb. They manage to create a defensive line roughly at the 36th Parallel, holding onto Sejon. A plan “Fortress Korea” was implemented, with more troops flowing in from Singapore and Indonesia. In addition, Japan agreed to provide part of its Army to the Korean Peninsula.

This, and other setbacks slowly ceded ground. Most of the Western forces were in central Europe, a clear EU and NATO focus point, fighting on the European Theater of Operations. Egypt and Israel, as tenuous allies, waged their own conflict against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which had swiftly joined the Pan-Asian federation. Brazil, Argentina, and Peru, soon followed by Chile, started the Latin American Lend Lease. These South American nations mobilized their industries to provide NATO, Europe, and Oceanic nations with food, fuel, consumable medical and logistics items. It soon took its toll, with inflation setting in and the number of people in food assistance lines climbing from Buenos Aires to Lima. The countries began buckling under the pressure, but their leaders wished to continue to provide significant aid globally to avoid the need of troop deployment. Regardless, food must be bought by the average family, and hunger and the ever-falling number of consumer goods caused social turmoil and riots.

Each South American country lacked expeditionary capability, and as most are aware, Argentina’s last attempt at amphibious operations and fleet action did not bring the desired success. Peru elects its first female President, Lucia Aguila Gutierrez — a member of Free Peru, and a former Air Force Pilot — who institutes universal mobilization for all age groups. Chile purchases a large number of trainer aircraft from Venezuela and Uruguay, and in coordination with its neighbors, begins a mass train up of fresh pilots. Brazilian and Argentinian Navy cancel their plans to scrap their Colossus-class carriers and hastily refit them. In April of 2009, two Argentinian passenger ships carrying its citizens from South Africa and Europe are torpedoed near the Azores. No country accepts blame.

Eventually in late summer 2009, Chinese forces initiated a push towards eastern Africa through the Arabian Peninsula with its pre-existing naval bases north of Somalia serving as staging grounds. The east African nations begged for Western help, but the calls fell on deaf ears as NATO was bogged down in Europe and unwilling to help. The African Union’s Combat Command, led by South Africa, fought valiantly with forces mostly from Tanzania, Namibia and Kenya, but had to eventually perform a fighting retreat towards West Africa and the French possessions there to preserve the remaining combat forces. This now-exiled African force was still a formidable formation, but far from home. The refugees from Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Namibia continue to fill up camps in the western coast and overwhelm resources everywhere.

Through Madagascar, South Africa, and Namibia, the Chinese were able to support an expansive naval landing fleet. Reading the situation from afar, South American nations worried that it would eventually head there as a Chinese attempt to secure a foothold in the Americas. Requests for reinforcements and naval assets from the United States were once again met with difficulty, as the United States was fighting the war in the North Sea, Europe, and the Pacific. Not believing the Chinese to be willing to expand as rapidly, the United States Africa Command is too late to react as the People’s Liberation Army Navy lands on the islands of Saint Helena and Edinburgh of the Seven Seas.

Though British Overseas Territories were falling, the similarly over-extended Royal Navy was unable to respond fast enough. Port Stanley and RAF Mount Pleasant at Falklands Islands are feared to be next. The RN and RAF start a large-scale operation to evacuate, the only option left. Argentina and Brazil offer their navies to assist in a tremendous sealift that brings the 3000 civilian residents of Falklands and untold number of British materiel to Argentina. The Falklands become a ghost town, without a soul, waiting for invasion.

The British forces are scattered along the eastern seaboard of South America from one port city to the next, without cohesive structure. The HMS Invincible runs aground near the coast of Argentina, near Comodoro Rivadavia. At this moment, the once mighty Royal Navy is a practical joke, saved only by the swift action offered by Brazil and Argentina.

The nations of South America are now face to face with the inevitable reality: their territorial integrity, their homeland, and their democracy is threatened. Their admirals agree that they are unable to face the PLAN fleets on open seas. As such, the Council of South American Defense opts to face the PLA as it lands and then push it back to the sea.

On the 1st of February 2010, the PLAN fleet, now in control of the Falklands, launched toward the Tierra Del Fuego, and entered the Beagle Channel. The Argentinian and Chilean armies are caught with their pants down. The slow mobilization and logistics challenges meant that their armies had barely staged at Santa Cruz Province when the first Chinese troops disembarked at Puerto Williams and were not pushed back. The Chinese were able to consolidate forces, spread around the southern tip and establish a good foothold all the way to the Strait of Magellan, a significant natural barrier to the Chilean and Argentinian forces, even if not so much for the Chinese. Not only this, but the national disgrace in both countries forces resignations and sees new promotions to commands, creating even more confusion and further weakening an already struggling military forces.

Realizing that the whole continent is now in threat of becoming a battlefield, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru decide to immediately move to assist their neighbors. The Brazilian Navy steams south while Peruvian and Ecuadorian Air Forces are relocated to just north of the Strait of Magellan and to southern Santa Cruz province.

As it becomes clear that Chinese control of South America is becoming more and more of a real possibility and would threaten each of their homeland eventually, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia finally promise help. No definite inclusive or exclusive list of support is enumerated at this point, however.

While wars and crises have left their mark on South America and democracy itself has occasionally waned, never have its major players been as united and determined as today. The civilian population is steadfast, and all riots and labor strikes are halted. Each factory is working around the clock, producing supplies at blistering speeds. It is clear to everyone that the future of Latin America hangs in the balance and that a population of 400 million are under immediate threat.

It is now 10th of March, 2010. Ten days before the first real time gameday we have planned. Every single tarmac and landble surface in Chile and Argentina has become a transport and logistics hub. These airports are tiny regional airfields, often lacking dedicated taxi ways, but despite this daily miracles of organization, marshaling, and taxiing are performed as more and more air power arrives every day further south and each Air Force prepares for total war. The final preparations are being made to do whatever is necessary to buy enough time so that the promised help can arrive.

Seems like the war that was supposed to be over in one late afternoon is stretching on. South America must not fall. Nuestra supervivencia exige fidelidad. Buena suerte.

The player units that are in play

The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), located in Doral, Florida in Greater Miami. A unified combatant command, it is responsible for all of American interests in South America geographically, and will have a fictional liaison officer as the in-game manifestation that, with the USSOUTHCOM, commands the Council of South American Defense (Spanish: Consejo de Defensa Suramericano, Portuguese: Conselho de Defesa Sul-Americano), an irl-loose multinational cooperation that in our game universe has transformed into a unified combat command due to the necessities of the war. This Peruvian General player will make broad strokes decisions in this Let’s Play, have the ability to choose focus areas, and respond to challenges presented by the game masters. This player will not fly, and we encourage someone who is not a current active Air Goon to choose this role. It will be mostly a forums-based and discord-based administrative role, akin to playing a grog game. You’re encouraged and allowed to make your own backstory and lore.

Fuerza Aérea de Chile (FACh) has the most modern inventory, though not the largest. With recently acquired ex-RAF E-3 Sentries and its American F-16s, the FACh can punch far above its size class and offer immensely needed capabilities to the conflict zone. Comandante Armando Tola International Airport is an airport in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. This aviation brigade was previously at Punta Arenas, but has been forced to relocate farther and farther to avoid losing aircraft against the invading forces. Brazil has provided several aircraft, but due to disagreements with Argentina, has agreed to sub-ordinate its squadrons to the Chilean commander. The Brazilian Air Force, Força Aérea Brasileira, FAB, sends F-5 fighters and C-130 Hercules transports. They are not co-located, however, and hold their base currently at the city of Rio Gallegos, at Piloto Civil Norberto Fernández International Airport. This role can be filled by a non-flyer or someone who wishes to fly.

One of the better equipped Latin American air forces with a mix of ex-Soviet and western equipment, the Fuerza Aérea del Perú, FAP, is a formidable force in the South American theater. With the most interesting plane set, the Peruvian Air Force currently calls Puerto Natales, at Teniente Julio Gallardo Airport, home. The airport is too small for the current contingent, and there are significant ground taxi issues and rearming difficulties. This role can be filled by a non-flyer or someone who wishes to fly.

The Ecuadorian Air Force, Fuerza Aérea Ecuatoriana, FAE, is sub-ordinated to the Peruvian commander. They are currently at Rio Turbio, Aeropuerto de Río Turbio.

Argentinian Naval Command of the Argentinian Navy, ARA, Armada de la República Argentina. The most powerful naval force in the region, it is currently in command of the South American Combined Armada, divided into the Chilean, Argentinian, and Brazilian Fleets.

This SACA is commanded by a player who will not only task the carrier air wings, but also direct the fleets in how they proceed and what tasks they will attempt. This role can be filled by a non-flyer or someone who wishes to fly.

Argentinian Fleet, located at San Julian, at dock, in fitting

Chilean Fleet, located at 52nd parallel south currently, just west of the coast in the archipelago. Comprising several CNS Frigates and Destroyers, and most importantly, the Argentinian pride the ARA Veinticinco de Mayo. A colossus-class carrier now far beyond its time, but still capable of CATOBAR. It was unable to get to the Argentinian side before the invasion, and is now stuck with the Chilean Navy on the Chilean side as the head of the fleet there. The only battle-ready fleet, but positioned in an unfortunate location.

Brazilian Fleet — its flagship, NAeL Minas Gerais, is another Colossus-class carrier now living its retirement in a South American Navy. The Minais Gerais carries its own planes to battle. Furthermore, it is accompanied by Brazilian navy frigates and corvettes. The fleet is in urgent need of supplies.

Argentine Army, Ejército Argentino, EA, is assigned as the highest land combat command. Due to the main REDFOR presence on Argentinian soil, it is entrusted with the command of both Argentine and Chilean Armies. The land forces of this region are limited in scope and quantity, and prioritization will be required to succeed. This player will be one of the most low-intensity ones, essentially moving a few pawns on the map and doing their best to disagree with the Air Forces. If you have any interest and even a passing familiarity, try your hand here. You can expect M60 tanks, AMX-13s, and various second hand US stock.