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  1. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Conventional WW3 and the End of the World

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Kanine, Jan 15, 2017.

    In an alternate history where the Soviet Union never collapsed and America became totally ruled by the military, nuclear warfare has been rendered obsolete by a state of the art missile defense system that keeps the globe safe from the mutually assured destruction that kept America and Russia at peace in our timeline. A full scale war never occurred between America and Russia, there have been many Flashpoints throughout the aftermath of WW2 but nothing substantial enough to launch the superpowers into an all out war. The year is now 2033 and America has created the 'Coalition', an alliance including the US, UK, Germany, Isreal among traditional NATO members. Russia has joined forces with China and North Korea to create the 'Red Banner'. The two alliances battle for influence over smaller nations, resulting in endless proxy wars and the growing threat of an all out war.
    This is a very basic outline of the setting, thoughts?
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    So basically the Cold War just continued in perpetuity. It's interesting, I suppose, but I'd have to know how all this happened. Why did the US become militarized? How did the Soviet Union fail to collapse given all the inevitable factors that took it down? This isn't like the classic alt-history of Nazi's winning WWII for example. That is easily explained. D-Day fails, Germans develop nukes, etc.... Those are nice straight lines the reader can follow without a lot of explanation. Your idea is much more subtle and would have to be based, I imagine, on "softer" factors. Like a failure of liberalism within the Soviet Bloc and some kind of economic miracle that could have kept the Communists in power. Also, Russia feared China much more than they did the US, so you have to make an alliance between them plausible (and never mind that China has been obsessed with defense and stability for the last ten thousand years and has never shown much imperialistic ambition). Your idea is difficult but doable. Obviously a lot of it will depend on the characters and story.
     
  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Something Wicked this Way Comes. Contributor

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    I don't think anyone teaming up with NK, would be a good choice of allies. China would
    throw them under the bus if they act out in our time line, on top of the fact that NK
    can't feed it's army long enough to be threat of significance. China while superior to NK,
    has about the same problem. Doesn't matter how big your fighting force is, if you can't
    keep them fed.

    If Red Dawn was actually real, it would not last more than few years. Getting in a land war
    with the US, is not really a wise decision. But I think losing both costs due to all anti-gun
    people will not really be much of a land grab. Lets face it no one is going to win a land war
    in Kentucky.

    Since you have eliminated throwing ICBMs around, you could use the non-nuclear option:
    Fuel-Air Bombs. Just as powerful as a nuke, with none of the fallout. Couple that with the
    900+ bases the US has all over the planet, has a distinct advantage. Also they are one of a
    few that have a battle tested and hardened army. Exp. counts against numbers. So another
    strategy you could consider is drawing the Coalition into the Red Banner's home fronts, and
    bomb the hell out of the unprotected areas of the Coalition. Then it will just take time to wear
    down the Coalition forces into being demoralized into defeat. Though there is a long history
    of the UN/US taking the fight to the enemy, so it could go either way. While the Red Banner
    will have the numbers, they don't have the best equipment. All in all I think it would be the
    biggest and bloodiest campaign in the history of conventional warfare that will also be drawn
    into a-symmetric warfare. Just take into consideration that tactical nukes might be used at
    some point if the enemy feels like they need a game changer in their favor.

    The only question I have is what is the motivation to justify such a mass campaign?
     
  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    Line of the day so far... well done @Cave Troll
     
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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Something Wicked this Way Comes. Contributor

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  6. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    With the East and the West in a perpetual power struggle, what of the rest of the world? What of the tensions in the Middle East? After Viet Nam, would the superpowers fear getting ensnared in a desert war? What other alliances might arise to further threaten world peace?
     
  7. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    I understand where. lot of you are coming from and you can see why this setting is so hard to develope. So many small subtle things throughout history would have to be different in order to lead up to the all out conventional war. Perhaps an approach similar to the Road, where the exact cause of the end of the world was never really explained but the author more or less just dropped the reader right into the story. Trying to rewrite the history of the last 70 years is no easy task and I'm not sure if the reader would rather jump right in and get hints at why the world is the way it is or have a good understanding of the lore
     
  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    Careful! I've crashed and burned many times trying to be Cormac McCarthy lol!
     
  9. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    I know what you mean haha, but I'm thinking that maybe just diving into the war itself and having a few nods here and there as to what led to everything going to shit. Billboards, newspapers, things like that that could give the reader context on the dystopian future of 2033.
     
  10. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin Active Member

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    It all depends on the your main POVs, but usually it's better to be vague and let the reader fill in the gaps. If you think about the POV of the man in the Road, he's got bigger problems than dwelling on the nature of the apocalypse. Settings work best when they're just settings in my opinion. They shouldn't ever dominate the story.
     
  11. Kanine

    Kanine Member

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    Okay, so I take the vague approach. The first bit of the story takes place at the beginning of the actual war and to make a long story short. The story follows the main character as the world effectively ends, wether from fierce bombing campaigns, a pandemic, or even a solar storm that wipes out all electronics. The question is what could turn the world upside down in a matter of about 5 years?
     
  12. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think you're going to have to rethink a militant America. The USA is not powerful because of our current military, it's our future potential military. Our country, if forced into a self defense situation can direct all of our industrial might into creating a never ending supply of weapons faster than anyone else can.

    I'm also weary of anyone claiming a missile defense system is impeneratrable. The Israeli net is said to be impeneratrable. What they mean is that inpeneratable by their current enemies. It for some reason they got in a fight with the US or Russia or China, their net would be obliterated.
     
  13. QualityPen

    QualityPen Member

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    This. I appreciate where you are trying to go with the story, but it may make more sense if you state that both sides agreed to reduce their stockpiles. There is no way that any missile based anti-ICBM system would be effective enough to prevent absolute nuclear destruction if the Soviet Union or United States initiated MAD. The technology to detect, intercept, and destroy ICBMs consistently is just not there today, nor will it be by 2033 or even 2050. Russia's modern ICBMs are built to evade missile defense systems like Aegis. The ICBM shield being installed in Europe isn't there to save Europe or the US in case of a nuclear war, it's there (mostly) as a threatening gesture to Russia and would be of no use at all unless the US initiates a first strike (ie, the missile shield is there for offense, not defense). This is not to mention the fact that in any modern WWIII scenario the opening day would be several thousand cruise missiles leveling every military airstrip, missile defense vehicle, and army base in western Russia and Europe. The missile defense system would not just be ineffective, it would be ash. Laser based missile defense is more probable, but it's a massive stretch that we would have such technology by 2033. The US built one Boeing designed to intercept nuclear missiles... but it could only do so during their launch phase and was so short ranged that it had to be flying almost over Moscow to shoot the missile. The project was scrapped.

    I would advise to stay away from writing about a Soviet invasion of the US mainland. I know there's movies and books about that, but it is not a realistic scenario. The Soviet Union had a rather defensive posture during the Cold War.

    Russia would only accept North Korea as an ally if desperate, and may wish to replace the regime with someone more sane... Something the Spetsnaz had experience with in real life.

    Proxy wars are definitely the most likely way to result in an all out war. East Asia, the Middle East, and South America are all likely locations for a war to break out.
     

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