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Old 11-29-2009, 08:06 AM
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Mohoender Mohoender is offline
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Wink A USSR for the fun (niet cannon, davay Tavarichyy)

U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics)
C.C.C.P. (Союз Советских Суверенных Республик)


Late Soviet Union:
After 70 years in existence, the old style Soviet Union started to crumble in 1989 to ultimately collapse on Christmas Eve 1991. The soviet grip starts to loosen in Eastern Europe at first but this quickly spreads to the Soviet mainland and, throughout 1989, internal unrest slowly appears everywhere while several movements for independence lets hear their voice in 1990. While the first riots of 1989 (Azerbaijan and Georgia) and the ensuing ones (Uzbek, Kazakh…) are met with brutal force, the Soviets appear to be more moderate in 1990. On one side, states of emergency decrees are issued, allowing the Red Army to move in the Caucasus and Central Asia to meet several unrests and restore order. On the other side, on March 11, Lithuania becomes the first republic to declare independence and Moscow doesn’t take any real action. That remains true when, on May 4, it is followed by Latvia. Later in 1990, the various Soviet republics, including Russia, claim sovereignty.

The situation continues to decay in 1991 as the Red Army fails to stop the independence process in Latvia and Lithuania. Despite this, a referendum, held on March 17 1991 but boycotted by several republics (Armenia, Baltic States, Georgia and Moldova), results in a vote in favor of the retention of the Soviet Union in a reformed form. In the meantime, while ethnic and religious violence in Central Asian republics dries up it continues to escalate in the Caucasus. Tensions are particularly heavy between Armenians and Azeri over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and the situation, favored by Moscow’s lack of attention, slowly evolves toward open conflict. On April 9, Georgia declares independence, becoming the first republic outside of the Baltic area to take that path. In the meantime, as an accelerated withdrawal of troops toward Soviet mainland is underway, Gorbachev continues to vacillate between an all-out drive for reform and an all-out commitment to a strong central government in the old style and the result is increasing distrust. In the middle of this growing chaos, the only bright point seems to be the signing, in May, of a Sino-Russian Border Agreement that settles all former disputes between both countries. However, on July 1, the dissolution of old Warsaw Pact is seen as the last straw for many Moscow hardliners and, in August, these hardliners seize power in a bloody coup.

On August 19, elements of the Taman Guards and Kantemir Motor Rifle Divisions move into the center of Moscow and seize important public buildings and radio stations. An eight-member Emergency Committee deposes Gorbachev (for "reasons of health") and bans strikes, protests, or public assemblies. Defiant protesters gather at the Soviet Parliament building, along with a few dissident military units and a cadre of armed Afghan War veterans, to defend Yeltsin and the Parliament. On August 20, elements of the Kantemir Division, spearheaded by the elite KGB "Alfa Team," storm the Parliament building and scatter the protesters. Russian President Yeltsin, along with an estimated 800 others, die in the assault.

With Yeltsin dead and Gorbachev imprisoned in the Crimea, acting Soviet President Yanayev declares the establishment of a "renewal government." The governments of Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) denounce the new government as illegal and declare the Soviet Union to be dissolved. However, Azerbaijan, Belarus and the republics of Central Asia grant their support while everyone in the West, expressing concern, formally condemns the Coup. As a result, several republics, supportive and unsupportive of the coup, declare independence: Armenia (August 23), Azerbaijan (October 18), Belarus (August 25), Estonia (August 20), Moldova (August 27) and Ukraine (August 24). As many join with the three republics that had already declare independence, this evolves into a very tense situation and people fear for a civil war.

The Path Toward Warsaw Pact 2:
The situation improves slightly toward the end of 1991, however, when Russia recognizes the independence of the Baltic States, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Moldova. Then, the situation improves even further as all the Central Asian republics declare that they will remain faithful to the union, asking for a new treaty to be signed. Consequently, toward Christmas Eve, tensions remain only with Belarus and Ukraine. If the situation with Ukraine is in no way surprising the one with Belarus is unexpected as the republic was openly supportive of the August Putsch. This is explained by the fact that Stanisłaŭ S. *uškievič has become head of state on September 28, quickly taking distances from Moscow.

With the political change in the Soviet Union, history is switching its path again and the world slowly engages itself toward what many already describe as the Neo-Cold War. The August Coup doesn’t come with any consequences and relations with the West have been severed. The coup itself has brought fear among NATO members and militaries are brought to a higher level of readiness and remains so for some months. Protests take place worldwide and the West threatens Moscow of hard economical retaliation. However, this doesn’t last and, by December 1991, verbal attacks are all that is left of the official protests from most Western governments. Private investments drop dramatically and the slowly growing technological collaboration with the West comes to an end. Nevertheless, commercial exchanges continue and increase again for some times up to the beginning of 1992. This is the result of a surprising policy implemented by the Neo-Communists who, despite maintaining price controls, don’t put a ban on western products and promote more, however limited, private businesses.

The situation could have kept improving in 1992 but tensions slowly rise again instead, starting in January when most troops in Ukraine refuse to take an oath to Kiev and withdraw to Russia. Following this, in February, Moscow renews its support to several governments and revolutionary movements abroad: in Africa, Afghanistan, Cuba and Mongolia. This brings a strong reaction from President Bush (USA) who makes clear that such an attitude could only lead to a new Cold War. This slowly becomes true in May when President Yanayev meets with the leaders of the Central Asian republics at Tashkent and establishes the Union of Soviet Sovereign Republics. This is not taking lightly by the West but tensions really go one step further when, following the establishment of the new treaty, Crimea proclaims self-government on May 5 and receives full support from Moscow. On the next day, it establishes its own constitution and on May 8 several Russian units move into Crimea through the Kerch Strait. During the following week, more troops take position on the border with Ukraine. The government in Kiev, left with little in term of army, is helpless and Crimea becomes de facto and again a part of USSR on May 19. The West for its part remains almost silent but takes several actions. In the US and in many western countries a hold is put on Military Budget reduction while Germany, more worried, launches an ambitious military expansion program.

Things change a month later, in June 1992, when Abkhazia and South Ossetia secede from Georgia. Once more, Moscow sends troops in support of the seceding provinces but this time the West reacts. US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and all NATO members issue a common declaration stating that USSR is going too far and, blocked in the UN, they declare that all Russian assets are to be frozen. In addition, Germany states that given the new situation it cannot currently comply with the border treaty to be signed with Poland. The Kremlin answer is almost immediate and President Yanayev declares publicly that all western assets in Russia are to be taken over while his government refuses to assume any longer the Soviet debt, stating that it grew as a result of the insane policy conducted by Gorbachev. During the following week most businessmen from the west are expelled while all goods imported from the West are confiscated. This decision has a tremendous effect on the Soviet economy which avoids bankruptcy and initiates a quick rebuilding of the state.

Two month later, worried respectively by the German attitude and by the Turkish military posture Bulgaria and Poland call for a meeting to take place with USSR at Warsaw on September 3 1992. This meeting is agreed upon by President Yanayev and Prime Minister Pavlov and attended by all members in the new USSR. It last for three weeks and, when discussions are over, the various states have agreed on a new defense pact to be called WARSAW PACT 2. However, this new defensive pact is not as binding as the previous one and bears more resemblance to NATO. In addition, a new COMECON is established but along the lines implemented in the initial agreement of 1950. It implies coordination of national economic plans but with no coercive authority from COMECON itself. All decisions require unanimous ratification, and even then governments would separately translate these into policy. As a result, members in the new treaty remain free to engage in trade with countries outside of COMECON. USSR itself does so and, while reviving talks on a border agreement, turns to China. Trade with that neighbor increase slightly but remains limited as the Chinese are unwilling to severe their growing commercial relations with the West. At last, the fast recovering Mongolia joins with Warsaw Pact 2 before year’s end, becoming the first element of the pact in Asia. After this, there is no way back and it can be considered that the Neo-Cold War has truly started.

The Neo-Cold War:
Much shorter than the previous one, the Neo-Cold War lasts only about eight years, coming to an end when the Twilight War starts in the year 2000. Nevertheless, during this relatively short period, the Soviet Union experiences changes that will prove essential in the conduct of the war. These are implemented by two men: Marshal Dmitry T. Yazov and Physician Oleg D. Baklanov. Weapon stockpiles increase dramatically and weapon systems are greatly modernized, reducing the gap that existed with the West. More units are formed while new alliances are made and Russia progressively becomes again a super power to account for, first matching the power of the previous pact and then surpassing it.

One such alliance comes to existence in the first months of 1993 and concerns Venezuela. After the successful coup of 1992, that country has been left alone for some times but the new Clinton’s administration is now increasingly offensive and Venezuela’s new leader, Hugo Chavez, is constantly targeted by the USA. As a result, in April, he turns toward the newly formed Warsaw Pact 2 for support. On March 8, Vladimir A. Kryuchkov land at Caracas and an agreement is signed on March 10. By this agreement, Venezuela gets the full military support of the new Soviet Union in return for a naval base to be built south of Maracaibo. In addition, Venezuela agrees to facilitate the trading of western goods. Tow months later, on May 10, the same Kryuchkov travels to Pyongyang and new military ties are established with North Korea. As this is taking place at a strictly diplomatic level, Warsaw Pact 2 is joined by a new member: Slovakia.

In addition, 1993 is characterized by a renewal of the arm race when the new Soviet government design a 5 years plan that give priority to weapon programs. As this is revealed into the West experts advocate that USSR will not be capable of keeping up with that and they add that the population will most certainly rise up because of the ensuing privations. Their prediction doesn’t come true, however, as the new government proves capable of preventing this. When the new plan is announced to the public, non-fighting units of the army are ordered out of cantonment by Marshall Yazov and deployed all over Russia to check upon factories and make sure that supplies reach the cities. Before year’s end and all over the country corruption drops, the situation improves greatly and shops are soon filled with a fair supply of goods. The population has not known such a good situation in years and the government draws a wider support. Outside of the army, the pursuing of two other major policies reinforces that support even further: more private businesses are allowed and peasants are permitted to farm more lands for themselves. In the meantime, KGB falls harder on dissidents and corrupt officials, convicting more people of crimes and sending many of them to gulags in Siberia. As a majority of the population benefit from the new situation, thousands of thinkers and scholars disappear in the East.

For the military, this translates in an acceleration of a deep reform program that will end only with the war. New equipments are being designed, projects that had been slow down are revived and more units are slowly created. First to benefit from this is the navy which is soon to receive a new aircraft carrier while another one is already being built. In addition, works resume on several ships that were to be cancelled and various new programs (light surface ships and submarines) are accelerated again. Second, the air force is also well placed on the list and many aircrafts (including older models such as the Mig-21) and equipments (radar set…) are to be modernized as this appears to be the easiest way to keep up with the West. Existing models are further developed to meet the actual requirements of the air forces (Su-30, Su-34…), priority is given to the production of the most recent aircrafts (Yak-141…) and new prototypes are quickly leaving the drawing boards for operational testing (Yak-130…). However, the most modern project (Berkut and PAK-FA) are postpone as they quickly prove not to be immediately cost worthy. The army is not forgotten of course and it quickly follows the same path but new models will take some times before being ready, and the newest tank is not expected to be ready before late 1998.

This quick remilitarization of the Soviet Union is confirmed in 1994 when Marshall Yazov is replaced by Marshall Yuri N. Baluyevsky. The new chief of the general Staff asks for more founding and military programs grow again. This continues to bring back tensions between the East and the West but these are nothing if you compare them to tensions brought by political events over the late spring and summer of 1994.

First of all, there is Hungary which reverts to communism and joins Warsaw Pact 2 in May, becoming the fifth country to join. As Hungary is the country that triggered the fall of the Wall, this move bears a significant political weight and marks the failure of the democratic opening of the East toward the West.

Second, a civil war appears over Yemen and the South secedes again on May 21, establishing the Democratic Republic of Yemen. For some weeks Moscow is reluctant to grant support to that new state but the new Chief of the KGB, Vladimir V. Putin, points out that neutrality by the Kremlin might weaken the new USSR. Finally, Warsaw Pact 2 recognizes the new state on June 1 and sends weapons and supplies. This brings quite some cash to Moscow which is paid in full by the new government which received an important financial backing from Saudi Arabia. Washington condemns this secession but actions don’t go beyond verbal condemnation.

Third, USSR keeps growing as two republics join the union: Azerbaijan and Belarus. In June, Azerbaijan joins after the end of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh in which it loses 16% of its territory. Until the end, Moscow has shown no interest in that conflict but the Azeri feels that the OSCE (the main peace talk mediator) favors Armenia and the population supports President Aliyev when he chooses to join the new Soviet Union. A few weeks later, in July, the politically unknown Alexander Lukashenko is elected as president of Belarus with 80% of the expressed votes and the republic joins also with the USSR. Despite an obvious popular support, the West claims that these two events were monitored from Moscow. President Yanayev immediately declares that such an accusation is outrageous and, at the end of August, three western ambassadors (Germany, Japan and UK) and no less than fifty diplomats (including 12 Americans) are expelled on charge of spying. In turn, several Soviet diplomats are also expelled from the West but this doesn’t go any further.

A last event of 1994 will prove important in the years to come. While tensions are rising with the West, the Soviet Union successfully improves its relations with China and the Sino-Russian Border Agreement first negotiated in 1991 is finally ratified. In addition, a military agreement is reached and the two countries de-target their nuclear weapons against each other. Nevertheless, this improvement still remains strictly diplomatic and there is little increase in the amount of exchange between China and Warsaw Pact 2.

As 1992, 1993 and 1994 have been rich in events and tensions between the East and the West, 1995 seems to take a stand and the situation seems to ease a little. The world situation seems to reach some kind of equilibrium and Warsaw Pact 2, under the leadership of the Russian Politburo, cease expending its influence during that year. Military productions remain important and new designs are now reaching the production line but, for the first time in three years, no new units are created. In addition, President Yanayev even engages in a series of visit to the West that starts with US in October 1995 and should have ended with a visit to Germany in July 1996.

Sadly, things change over 1996 after the Third Taiwan Crisis reaches its peak over March and April. As this is going on over Asia and as China progressively turns to the Soviet Union, President Yanayev declares that the American intervention is unbearable and cancels his planned visits to UK and Germany. Verbal attacks on NATO, conducted by Kryuchkov, build up again and the optimistic declarations of the previous year are quickly forgotten.

These continue to grow during the first half of the year and dissentions are only silenced over summer when USSR attends the Olympic Games at Atlanta. However, tensions rise again in September when the Czech Republic, worried by Germany’s attitude, is the last East European country to join with Warsaw Pact 2. More importantly, a few weeks later, the crew of a North Korean submarine is executed by Seoul and North Korea applies to Warsaw Pact 2, being accepted before the end of November. Despite an obvious mistake on the part of the South Korean and despite previous anonymous condemnation, the US administration and NATO accuse Moscow of treachery.

These verbal attacks continue in early 1997 after the successes of the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. On this occasion, the new US administration, referring to the renewal of several terrorist organizations, launches an even more aggressive verbal attack and Moscow reacts by suspending its gas and oil exports to Europe for three months. Soon after that, Kryuchkov accelerates his negotiation with China and both Prime Ministers (Valentin S. Pavlov and Li Peng) sign the “Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation” in June. This adds one more tension between East and West as article 9 of the treaty is understood for what it is: a defense pact involving China and Russia.

ARTICLE 9: When a situation arises in which one of the contracting parties deems that peace is being threatened and undermined or its security interests are involved or when it is confronted with the threat of aggression, the contracting parties shall immediately hold contacts and consultations in order to reduce and answer such threats.

Again the US administration and NATO react, increasing their military spending and accusing China and Russia to further weakening world peace. Among the consequences of this treaty, there is a first, also limited, reduction of the amount of trade between the West and China. As an answer to this, exchanges increase rapidly between Warsaw Pact 2 members and China with Warsaw Pact 2 trading raw materials (gas and oil being in a good place) and military technologies for manufactured goods. Finally, the situation becomes even more complicated and tense in the fall of 1997 when Ukraine renounces its claims on Crimea. In exchange that country receives full recognition from all Warsaw Pact 2 members but it is well known that Kiev only accepted under pressures from Moscow and this is harshly condemned by Washington.

1998 is another year of tensions between the East and the West. There is no real improvement in the relations between Beijing/Moscow and Washington as both sides go further in their attacks toward each other. As it quickly becomes obvious that NATO might intervene in Serbia without approval from the UN, Moscow accuses Washington of endangering world peace and betraying its own engagement. The Kremlin states that, by planning an attack on Serbia, NATO betrays its own rules and especially:

ARTICLE 1
The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.


Taking advantage of UN indecision and despite continuous condemnations by China and Moscow, the attack is finally launched in March 1999, becoming the first step of a process that will bring the world to the Twilight War. Unlike what is feared by many, Moscow doesn’t actively support the Serbs and during the first two months of the conflict, it limits its action to sending supplies to the Serbian Army. Things change; however, after the bombing of the Chinese Embassy on May 7 and, a week later, volunteer brigades are assembled to be sent in Serbia. Another major step is taken when Germany and Poland start a war of their own on July 27. Moscow, as expected, gives full support to Poland but, in a last attempt at saving the peace, the Polish administration doesn’t call for help and the Warsaw Pact doesn’t get militarily involved. In fact, the only foreign units fighting along the Poles are the few Soviet units stationed in Poland. However, Moscow does react and after July 28 all gas and oil exports to Western Europe and to countries supporting the West are suspended, triggering a major economical crisis. As this is happening in Europe, tensions are also rising elsewhere: in Asia and South America. Kryuchkov is more active than ever and signs several contract with China, making Russia and Warsaw Pact 2 the prime trade partners of China. While the political situation on the international scene continues to decay, the Soviet society experiences a short lived golden age. Increasingly involved on the political scene Moscow is everywhere, increasing military support to Serbia, backing China, sending military aid to Poland and approving the formation of the Social Union of Latin America.

The Twilight War:
The last step is reached on March 2000 when a German units massacre a Czech border patrol. On March 5, the Czech Republic joins the German-Polish War and call upon the other Warsaw Pact 2 members. Russia is the first one to answer and several units are sent to the front. Over the following two months the Russians are increasingly involved and their units are spearheading various counter-attacks while their air force gains supremacy over the Luftwaffe. When, they reach Germany, they are joined by former East German soldiers and the KGB forms a special division known as “Karl Marx Division”. Victory is at hand and the Soviet administration doesn’t make any mystery around the fact that it plans to occupy the Eastern part of Germany again. On June 1, NATO, answering the call from Germany, gets into the war and the Russian units are the first to reach contact with US and UK troops. Almost immediately, a new front is open in southern Russia as Ukraine and Romania immediately join the Canadian, UK and US forces. Moscow has been preparing for that eventuality over the past months and the Red Army is ready to send more troops to these fronts. In addition, NATO finally attacks in the Balkans and the Greek army forces the Macedonian border in early June. Moscow reacts by offering membership in Warsaw Pact 2 to Macedonia and Serbia and both countries accept. Finally, as NATO is not yet fully involved, Russia opens a new front in the Far North and attempt to gain supremacy before US and its allies can gather enough forces to seriously tip the Balance.

The land component quickly pushes over northern Norway, rapidly seizing one after another Kirkenes, Vardo, Honningsvag and Hammerfest. The Soviet troops push toward Tromso but they are met with increasing resistance by the Norwegian army and they have to slow down. When Russian troops gets stuck 11 km north of Tromso, Marshall Baluyevsky orders to launch a landing operation in order to break the Norwegian resistance. Elite Naval Troops are landing north of Finnsnes while their airborne counterparts are dropped in several locations behind NATO lines. For 26 hours it seems that they will succeed. However, the Norwegians resist long enough to allow for NATO reinforcements to arrive: US Marines, Royal Marines, French Foreign Legion and Special Forces of all kinds. To note, France which has not been party to the war until two days before, proves capable of bringing two of its REP on the battlefield. The French Foreign Legion has been dropped almost on top of the Soviet Air Assault units and wreaks havoc among them. Closer to the sea, the Russian Naval Brigades are now fighting on two fronts and are slowly pushed to the coast. Moscow plans on sending more troops but, this time, the invasion fleet is intercepted, suffers heavy losses and withdraws. After 20 more hours of a desperate fight, the Soviet Navy gather enough transports to evacuate part of the survivors but it is now obvious to the Russians that Norway will not fall. Worse, NATO is able to launch a counter-attack and their troops quickly fall back toward their northern border. NATO progression is only stopped when quickly assembled category C division are rushed to the Front. NATO units have reached the Pechenga River and Kirkenes remain the only Norwegian city under Russian occupation.

At sea, Moscow activated both Baltic and North Fleet and ships are sailing out of their homeport, the Soviets scoring their most impressive success in the Baltic where they have launched a successful hit and fade attack on Rostock. Finally, the Baltic fleet, despite some losses, gets to the North Sea, on November 13, after sinking and disabling several German and Norwegian vessels. At that time, serious engagements are starting. Their fleet finally gets in contact with NATO battle groups and the oponents start to hammer each other. For some days again, beside ever growing numbers of engagements, majors units remain intact and the serious fight starts only on November 17. Ultimately, The Soviet Navy is defeated but it has proved more than a match as Soviet Naval Command was inventive, surprising NATO and inflicting substantial losses to allied naval forces in the Atlantic.

As their surviving ships withdraw to Murmansk on November 26, defeated but still representing a serious threat, Moscow has succeeded in getting several surface ships and submarines to the main Atlantic. Many engage in attacks on supply and commercial ships inflicting substantial losses on NATO trans-Atlantic shipping. As a result, major NATO units are diverted from their original mission to chase and destroy these Soviet raiders. In addition, a fair number of SSBN remain unaccounted for and are now in advantageous position if a nuclear attack is to be launched.

NATO is well aware of that fact and keeps tracking these subs but remain unable to locate most of them. Before the war, military analysts from the West had pointed out that this situation couldn’t occur as the US had enough satellites to monitor any Soviet move anywhere on the Planet. However, this prediction is now proving inaccurate as Moscow was prepared and largely reduced that advantage of the West. Before the war, new types of anti-satellite missiles had been developed, a fact that has gone unnoticed, and an ASAT campaign is launched not long after the beginning of the war. Special squadrons of Mig-31 are deployed over the battle areas and over Russia, shooting down a fair number of western satellites. As a result, Moscow is able to reduce and largely disrupt NATO surveillance capability especially over its territory, over Europe and over the Atlantic. Surprisingly, Moscow doesn’t targets satellites from the GPS system and, when US also engages attacks on Soviet satellites, they spare GLONASS in fear of Soviet retaliation.

As most action takes place over Europe, another war erupts in the Caucasus when Chechens rebels, backed by Armenia and Georgia launch a new attack on Chechnya. Moscow, obviously busy elsewhere and having insufficient troops to launch a counter attack immediately, orders its troops to withdraw, abandoning Groznyy and concentrating on securing Azerbaijan and the Caucasian borders.

As 2000 ends, replaced by 2001, Russia and Warsaw Pact 2 are far from achieving victory and they are now facing a fully dedicated NATO. Fighting is harsh on all fronts and it quickly becomes obvious that more troops are needed. Entire units are switched from the eastern border to the West and to the Caucasus while many, if not most, Category C divisions are upgraded to category B and mobilized. Even several of the low readiness units are starting to mobilize as they are joined by civilian volunteers answering the call to defend Mother Russia (Na Rodinia). For a time, Russia experiences difficulties to properly supply these units and turns to China for help in order to make all these units combat worthy. Another call for China’s industrial support is issued after mid-year and before the end of 2001, several Russian units receive a fair number of Chinese equipments.

The Caucasus is the first region to benefit from these reinforcements and, on February 7, the Soviet Army and the MVD launch a major offensive in Chechnya, also attacking Armenia and Georgia without any declaration of war. The attack on Groznyy is particularly bloody and the city is almost leveled. After, three weeks, only token resistance remains and Chechnya has lost two-third of its original population. First, Chechens who could not prove their loyalty to Moscow are deported to Siberia. Second, any Chechens captured holding a weapon is executed and many are tortured during days before being hang or shot, their injured body thrown in one of the flowering common grave or left rotting behind trees. Third and last, the Soviets use chemical weapons on several occasions and thousand of innocent people, kids and elders alike, are killed consequently. The attack on Armenia and Georgia, coming from the North and from the East, surprises these two countries. Their aviations are grounded and silenced in two days, the few ships held by Georgia are sunk while still in harbors and the first units to meet the Soviets are overran. Progression of the Soviet troops is fast and their trail is bloody again with mass execution conducted occasionally. However, unlike Chechnya, most civilians are left alone and only villages where resistance was particularly heavy are entirely destroyed. As in Chechnya, all resistance is crushed in three weeks and the two countries are forced back into the USSR under the leadership of puppet communist governments. At last, a consequence of that short “Caucasian War” is an incident between Turkey and NATO that results in the closing of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to any NATO shipping. As this is occurring, Russia increases its pressure on Ukraine and Romania and these two countries, forced to fall back entirely on their own, stop most of their action in the Balkans to concentrate on their fight with the Soviets.

As more Russian’s mobilization-only divisions enter the fight, the Romanian and Ukrainian switch their efforts. All operations toward Serbia are suspended and more units are sent east, tipping the balance and resulting in the fact that Soviets don’t make any significant gains before mid-April. By that time, increasing supply problems and the difference in manpower change the situation. For two months, Romanians and Ukrainians have proved much better soldiers than the over-aged and ill trained Russian recruits manning the poorly equipped Soviet divisions but that comes to an end. Moscow has received more equipment from its manufactures and from China and its division’s level of readiness increases rapidly as its opponents get closer to exhaustion. The Soviet Navy has entirely destroyed the Romanian and Ukrainian navies and their ships are constantly shelling the coastal areas. The Russian air force has hit hard its opponents and the few Romanian and Ukrainian surviving aircrafts are seldom seen in the sky when the sun is shining. The situation is slightly more complicated on the ground as volunteers keep enrolling in Romanian and Ukrainian units. However, equipment is lacking, ammunition’s supply is increasingly limited and, on May 10, the front is broken and Soviet troops cut Ukraine in two, soon progressing in what was Moldova toward the heart of Romania. In addition, other units are now slowly progressing in southern Ukraine under protection of the Soviet Air Force and Navy. Despite this Romania and Ukraine remain in the war, their units fighting with bravery, holding the line and still inflicting severe casualties to Russia.

If the war had only concerned these two countries there is no doubt that they would have been forced to capitulation but that is not the case. The Soviets are successful in the Caucasus, they make significant gains in Ukraine and, until June, their situation in the Far North is stable but things are not going well in Germany and later Poland. In January, the combined command in Moscow ordered Warsaw Pact units to return to the offensive in Germany but the troops fail to break NATO lines. On March 5, before major reinforcement can reach the battlefield, the entire front comes under a general counter-attack by NATO. The situation remains indecisive for a few days but, on March 11, Moscow orders its troops to slowly fall back. This retreat, however, doesn’t turn into general panic and the ground forces inflict heavy casualties to advancing NATO corps. Nevertheless, they continue to be pushed back and NATO units cross the border into Poland by mid-April. They fail to achieve the same success in the Czech Republic, however, as Czech and Slovak reinforced by Russians hold the front on the mountainous border with Germany and Poland. Warsaw is surrounded on June 17 but the defenders (Poles and Russians) refuse to capitulate and the city prepares for a siege. On that same day, the Soviet High Command in Moscow issues an order that forbid all commanders to retreat any further. Fighting intensity increases again as a result and by June 25 the front is stretched on a line that runs west of the following cities and towns: Gdynia, Danzig, Torun, Mlawa, Mazowiecka, Luków, Deblin, Radom, Czestochowa, Opole and Nysa. Then, Category C and mobilization-only divisions are finally reaching the front, equipped with a mix of Russian and Chinese equipments. Heavy fighting continues during the next three weeks but Soviet troops now hold their ground and NATO progression has becoming extremely slow.

As their troops are closing on Warsaw, NATO launches an attack in the Far North on June 7 and several divisions cross the Finnish border in an attempt to outflank the soviet defenders. Unlike what was expected, the Finnish army fights tenaciously and NATO troops are stopped and pushed back. Moscow proposes its help to Helsinki but the Finnish government refuses and asks only for more supplies to be delivered. The Soviet authority accepts and, announcing that it respects Finland sovereignty, no Russian troops are allowed to cross the border. However, as NATO faces increasing difficulties in Finland and before the signing of the armistice on June 20, Moscow launches a counter attack of its own and Soviet forces progress again in Norway, reoccupying Vardo and Honningsvag. Isolated NATO forces attempt to retreat through Sweden but they are stopped by the Swedes, disarmed and soldiers are taken into custody before being sent back to Norway three months later.

On land but also at sea, Moscow is able to retake the upper hand on that front. The Mig-31s are again used in ASAT missions destroying more European and US surveillance satellites. As the threat on land is being reduced, more land-based anti-ship missiles are deployed to strengthen the defensive capability at sea. The KGB was successful in conning the CIA and Western intelligence services remain unaware that the major Soviet units damaged 7 months earlier are fully serviceable again. After NATO’s naval forces reach the Barents Sea, the Soviet Naval Air Forces launch the first attack on the Wisconsin Battle Group (Charged with attacking the Soviets harbors and covered by US carriers) and this is repelled with heavy casualties for the Russians. However, these aircrafts have played their role and, as most carriers’ fighter groups engage in pursuit, reports of another attack gets in. Soviet Naval Forces have hit the aircraft carriers themselves and, this time, news is not good. Fighter groups are called back as NATO high command realizes that its information was wrong: the Soviet Units have been repaired and attack. Indeed, aware that NATO plans another attack in the Far North, the Northern Fleet commander has positioned many of its assets outside of the regular harbors. As the battle quickly builds up, the Soviets are launching multiple attacks and are capable of gaining supremacy on several occasions. Despite heavy losses for themselves, they sink a very large part of the NATO attacking force, eliminating any further threat on the Barents Sea and their northern ports.

In January 2002, the war in Europe has reached a stalemate and the fronts are almost static. Then, the situation immediately starts to worsen in Asia as Washington sends an ultimatum on Beijing on January 4, giving China two days to stop all military aid to Moscow. On the evening of that same day the Chinese Ambassador at Moscow and Valentin S. Pavlov, Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, sign China’s adhesion to Warsaw Pact 2. Then, on January 5 at sunrise, surprise attacks are launched by Chinese and Russian air units on Hong Kong, over Japan and in Korea. On January 6, the first Russian units cross the border into Northern Korea while Chinese units follow path and join in the offensive already launched by North Korean forces over South Korean territory.

As Russian units join the attack over South Korea, Moscow starts another attack of its own. The landing fleet of the Pacific is quickly assembled and steam to Hokkaido under the protection of the Pacific Fleet. To the surprise of the Russian command, the Japanese navy doesn’t react and land units arrive safely in Hokkaido. Difficulties don’t start as soon as they get on the Japanese soil and the Soviet invasion force conquers a large part of the island with ease and closes on Sapporo by January 9. Things change on that day’s evening, however, and the Japanese army launches a large scale counter-attack. Due to the quick progression, the supply line are overstretched, poorly organized and remain vulnerable. Then, in order to protect these supply lines, the Soviet air force is heavily engaged but it is largely countered by Japanese and US aircrafts operating from the other islands and the pressure on the land component quickly builds up. After four more days of very harsh fighting the landing force has been pushed back toward Cape Soya and it has become obvious that their situation is now desperate. Finally, on the following sunrise, the troops are evacuated, having lost half of their manpower and most of their heavy equipments.

In Asia, the following three weeks are quite and the various fronts are now stable. The Russian landing in Japan has failed and the last isolated units are surrendering one after another. Moscow is heavily involved in South Korea and it seems that the allied troops surrounded around Pusan are on the verge of defeat. In this region, the Soviet high command is so confident that it evens divert a few units and send them to mainland China where they are to participate on the final drive to Hong Kong. Things change, however, on February 10 when the allied fleets (US, Taiwanese, Philippians, Japanese and Australians) deploy to the Chinese and Russian coastal areas. At first, the Soviet Naval Command, with Chinese and North Korean units under its command, uses a strategy similar to the one that was so successful in the Atlantic. However, this time it doesn’t work as plan and the strategy quickly proves to be a failure.

First, the Soviet and Chinese naval aviations are deployed to the North and over the Sea of Japan in order to attack the still deploying allied fleets. They are met by a large allied air component, operating from Japan, that wreaks havoc among them and they achieve only very limited success. The situation could have changed if squadrons deployed in support of the ground operations had been diverted but it was understood that this would jeopardize the corresponding operations. In the end, most of the Chinese and Russian naval aviation in the Far East is decimated with the loss of only two major units for the opposing forces.

Second, Naval command deploys its large submarine forces with three different orders to be carried out. Most SSBN are to sail to the high seas where they are to disappear for sometimes. Similarly, most attack submarines are to reach the same high sea where they are to hunt and destroy US SSBN operating in the Pacific. Finally, the anti-fleet operations are to be carried out by the very large conventional submarine force reinforced by the less valuable nuclear submarines. As soon as these orders get in, they are carried out but they also meet with more limited successes than the Atlantic. Various Asian naval forces, sustained by substantial air forces including aircrafts and helicopters, have deployed a wide anti-submarine screen that proves quite efficient. Nevertheless, despite an odd that is clearly not to the advantage of Warsaw Pact 2, several nuclear submarines escape to the high seas while the forces that were to engage US and Asian fleets inflict them some damages.

Third, the Pact’s surface fleets are also deployed and several task forces are steaming toward the Allies. They comprise four aircraft carriers (Deng Xiao Ping, Mao Zedong, Minsk and Varyag) but prove unable to break through the allied lines despite numerous attempts. Severely outgunned and quickly outnumbered, facing attacks from the sea and from land-based aircrafts, the Russian and Chinese sailors fight with bravery but, after two weeks, most surface combatant have been sunk or damaged beyond repair. In the outcome, despite some serious losses for the Allied navies (including a US aircraft carrier put out of commission), the Warsaw Pact’s surface groups are decimated and the Battle ends in a defeat resembling that of Tsushima almost a century before.

After two weeks of naval battle, the few surviving major surface units are withdrawn and naval operations revert to coastal fights. Large formations of fast attack boats, supported by land-based missiles are deployed for almost a month and a half. Again, this doesn’t meet with success as US forces don’t fall to the overconfidence that led to their doom a few months earlier in the Atlantic. Missiles sites on the coasts are constantly hammered by air strikes and rely on hit and fade tactics that dramatically reduce their efficiency. In the meantime, the US aircraft carriers remain out of reach, providing some subsequent air cover, and the few air attack still ordered by Moscow have all to be aborted. Coastal ships are slightly more successful but they are largely outgunned and losses are huge. In fact, these losses are so important, that Moscow orders all maritime operations to end by April 18.

In the meantime, despite the fact that Russian command orders more troops to the fronts, Warsaw Pacts units are back on retreat everywhere. This is true of China but also of Korea where the Soviets, quite heavily involved, and their allies are pushed back to the 38th Parallel toward Pyongyang and Wonsan. Moscow orders its units engaged in China to withdraw and they are quickly brought to Korea for reinforcement. Fighting has been really heavy around Pyongyang but the arriving troops finally tip the balance. As fall is coming, the Allies fall back slightly in the Pyongyang area and they continuously fail to take Wonsan. Worse for them, as the year of 2002 is ending, two divisions and a brigade are isolated in Songnim. A new series of ground attack fail to break their encirclement and, on Christmas Eve 2002, these units are solely supplied, at great cost, by airlift.

2002 sees more extension of the conflict and fighting is also starting in the Middle-East. At first, only a few countries are involved: Iranian backed Iraq, Lebanon and Syria opposing Israel, Free Kurdistan and US-backed Sunni of Iraq. Combats are heavy but, for months and despite the slow extension of that conflict (Increased involvement of Iran and Turkey), the Russian don’t get directly involved sending substantial amount of supplies instead of troops. Things changes only after most US-allied Arabs and several US, UK and French units get involved. Facing more difficulties, Iran legalizes the Tudeh (Iranian Communist Party) and joins Warsaw Pact 2 along with Shia Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. In May Moscow orders many units still in Central Asia (mostly Category C) to move to the Middle-East. Then, NATO assembles an important task force and troops are landed in Iran. After a swift but short progression, they are stopped by Soviet troops and the Middle-East front enters a period of attrition that will never stop.

In Europe, winter condition in January 2003 have been awful and allowed the Soviets to stop NATO progression in Poland. In addition, the bad weather allowed the Russians to slip through NATO lines, bringing much needed supplies to the defenders of Warsaw. As a warmer climate gets to the region, NATO finds itself again on the offensive. However, progression is slow and, by October 3, few Western troops are closing on the Polish-Russian frontier. In addition, with the return of snow, the Soviets repeat their success of the previous winter, bringing supplies and hope to the people and troops still holding Warsaw.

This hope could have faded away in early 2003 when NATO launches a large offensive on a front running from Brest-Litovsk to Grodno. For a time, this is highly successful and the Russians quickly withdraw toward Minsk. However, Moscow orders that the front to the south should be held at all cost and the army defending the Oblast of Kaliningrad remains in place. Finally, on March 20, the Red Army puts an end to its withdrawal and gets to the offensive. Fresh units enter the line around Minsk and the counter-attack progressively builds up in Belarus. On March 22, Soviet troops enter neutral Latvia and Lithuania, quickly crushing their meager defenses and link with the troops located in Kaliningrad on March 24. Then, on March 25, as both Latvia and Lithuania are reincorporated by force, two offensives are launched from the North and from the South. After their quick advance, NATO supply lines are still overstretched and units in Belarus find themselves in a very bad situation. Moscow constantly increases the pressure and, despite a fierce resistance by NATO forces, its troops are progressing everywhere. Finally, by June 6, the siege of Warsaw is lifted and NATO accelerates its withdrawal.
With these successes in Poland, the Soviets increase their pressure on Ukraine and Romania. Increasingly isolated these two countries are also extremely exhausted with part of their territories under Soviet occupation and no hope of getting immediate outside help. Finally, on June 28, Romanian and Ukrainian authorities meet with the Russians at Kursk and sign their capitulation. Immediately, several Russian units are taken from that front and rushed to Poland. However, this capitulation is not widely accepted by the population and brings upon a weird situation. As Romania is occupied and as several Ukrainians are enlisted in the Red Army, several units refuse to put their weapons down and form the core of several resistance movements.
In the meantime, Moscow and Warsaw Pact 2 are equally successful in Asia and their forces are progressing everywhere. On August 17, as Soviet troops already occupy half of Austria and fight in the eastern suburbs of Berlin, an unexpected event occurs. An official delegation made of four people (2 French, 1 Belgian and 1 Luxembourgian) land at Bern in Switzerland and meet with the ambassadors of China and Russia. On the next day, Belgium, Luxembourg and France announce that they have signed a peace treaty with Warsaw Pact 2 and their troops are ordered back to their base. On the same day, the Russian ambassador in Ravenna is informed by the Padanian government that all fighting has ceased on their border with France. Moscow immediately realizes that this gives it a tremendous advantage and orders the Red Army to push forward. During the following weeks, the Russians and their allies progress almost everywhere. In Europe, they are threatening Munich from the south, they are closing on Kiel and Hamburg and they surround Berlin.

On September 15, victory seems at hand when two nuclear devices are dropped on the Soviet rear areas in Germany (Frankfurt an Oder) and Poland (Szczecin). Casualties are heavy among civilian and military alike but, most importantly, the supply lines are cut and units that have been advancing in Germany find themselves short in fuel and ammunitions. In the meantime, NATO launches a counter-attack and the Soviets start to slowly fall back. Within a week, NATO drops a few more nuclear devices and the Soviets still hold their ground but they start to answer with nuclear attack of their own. Nevertheless, Moscow orders that these nuclear attacks should remain limited and the situation doesn’t worsen really until late October. At that time, the situation is slowly becoming unbearable for Red Army units in Germany and the high command orders a general withdrawal. This is explained by the continuing use of tactical nuclear devices but also by the need that has risen for more troops on other theaters. The situation is particularly confused in the Balkan and in the Eastern Mediterranean where the Soviets need reinforcement if they don’t want that front to collapse. Troops are transferred to these areas and rushed to help Macedonia and Serbia. They arrive too late for Macedonia and the country surrenders to the Greek but Russian troops arriving in Belfast allow for a Serbian offensive to build up toward the end of 2003. Several units are also reinforcing the Bulgarian army and participate in the attack that stop the Greek drive toward Istanbul. In the meantime, a naval Battle is taking place in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea Fleet is sent to the help of the Padanian and Turkish navies. They arrive toward the end of the battle but the Russian vessels take NATO units by surprise and wreak havoc among them. In the outcome, that naval battle becomes the sole Warsaw Pact full victory at sea and seriously hampered NATO naval shipping in the Mediterranean. In fact, NATO naval forces for that area are so badly mauled that they cannot anymore provide adequate protection for regular shipping in the Mediterranean.

The situation is also really bad in China where the nukes are used on a much wider scale. China answers but many of its missiles are intercepted and their nuclear attacks are solely successful on their immediate neighbors: Japan, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. As this is taking place and as signs of growing unrest appear in China, Moscow orders its troops to withdraw toward its borders, Manchuria and Mongolia. The only active front that continues to receive reinforcements is that in Korea where surprisingly little nuclear attacks are conducted. At last, when China, suffering general uprising and very heavy casualties, is forced out of the war, the Russians have left its mainland and are holding positions in Manchuria and Korea.
In the beginning of 2004, the sending of military goods from China has ceased almost entirely and Warsaw Pact 2 is facing supply difficulties again. In addition, more nuclear devices are used in Europe. Again, NATO is the first to move one step further and launches deep penetration strikes on Belarus. The answer from the Kremlin is almost immediate and similar strikes are conducted over Germany and the Netherlands. In addition, within days of the first tactical attack hitting Belarus, Moscow responds with SRBM and IRBM strikes targeted at various industrial and population centers all over Europe. Civilian and military casualties increase rapidly as a result of this but to neutral observers that exchange, also more important, remains limited.

Things change on July 4 when the Kremlin orders a strike on the ICBM bases in the USA and on several targets of strategic importance. In the early morning that day, the USA identify several SS-18 Satan launch and it is quickly determined that they are to hit the national territory, Australia and Canada. Everyone would have expected an immediate response from the US ICBM force but that doesn’t come. A few months earlier, the US ABM system has proved capable of intercepting all incoming Chinese ICBM and Washington has grown confident in that system. In addition, strategists in the Pentagon have argued that a demonstration of US invincibility to Russian strikes before any retaliation would bring Russia to its knees in a matter of days. These ideas have prevailed and they have been integrated in the response process of the USA. However, the Soviets deploy more advanced missiles than the Chinese, they have worked extensively on the decoy systems and things don’t turn as plan. As the ABM system is activated, it misses most SS-18, destroying only two, and Moscow is pleased to witness the success of its attack. A dozen military sites are destroyed by the 20Mt warheads carried by the Satan: Colorado Springs (Colorado), Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado), Malmstrom AFB (Montana), Minot AFB (North Dakota), Offutt AFB (Nebraska), Vandenberg AFB (California), Warren AFB (Wyoming), Whiteman AFB (Missouri), CFB North Bay (Ontario), US NCS Harold E. Holt (Australia), Pine Gap (Australia) and Nurrungar (Australia).

US high command is astonished but the President reacts and orders the submarine force to launch a counter-strike. In turn, the Soviet ICBM bases (including all bases holding SS-18s) are hit and destroyed. Moscow is also targeted but, unlike the US ABM system, the more modest Soviet system designed to protect local areas instead of the entire country, prove to be more efficient. A single MIRV gets through at Moscow and most of the Russian capital city is spared. This, however, trigger the following actions and Washington D.C. is the next target to be destroyed. In addition, the Kremlin has ordered the Strategic Rocket Forces (most mobile launchers survived) and the Navy to conduct more attacks on the allied countries. Over the following three months the exchange continues and escalates gradually but also irregularly. Military targets are attacked in Northern America along several industrial centers and some minor targets understood to be of strategic importance. The oil refinery network is particularly hard hit and, before the end of September, US fuel production capability has been dramatically reduced. Outside of the USA, several allied countries are also very hard hit as it is the case for Canada, Egypt, the Netherlands and the UK. Most other countries engaged in the conflict are also targeted but more lightly and a few escape untouched. Norway, for example, is entirely spared as ordered by the Soviet Politburo. Australia and New Zealand, however, are to be targeted again and two nuclear submarines are diverted to attack them but both are intercepted and destroyed before they can launch their missiles. Finally, following the strike ordered by Washington on Belgium and France, Moscow orders a limited number of targets located in neutral countries to be destroyed as well.

As the winter of 2004-2005 gets in, the exchange is suspended and what remains of the various commands try to organize what is left. Russia is no exception and the Kremlin orders most Red Army units to remain where they are and to organize strong defensive position. On this occasion, several units refuse to obey and the military is confronted to its first massive desertions. In the meantime, rear units are sent out of their cantonments to bring some kind of relief to the civilian populations of the USSR. These units do their best to carry out that mission but they are lacking about everything and the relief operations meet with very limited success.

When the harsh winter finally ends in late April 2005, casualties in Russia are heavy. Ice and snow are replaced by severe epidemics and the country’s situation worsens. The remaining authorities (local and national) issue orders confirming that the military units have to remain where they are. In addition, what little reserve is still available is taken from the front and directed to rear areas in a hope to slow down the spread of diseases and unrest. For some times, only limited military operations are allowed in the Balkans and in Ukraine where small scale offensive are conducted against partisan activity. All of these fail, essentially because of a lack of strength, and partisans in Romania and Ukraine organize even further. A free Romania is established in the Carpathian, an independent Lvov now represents a threat in Western Ukraine and a Free Ukraine asserts its control over the eastern part of the country. Despite these difficulties, an ambitious military operation is authorized in late June. It is to take place in Europe with the objective of entering Germany again and seizing the surviving industries of the South. This operation fails also and the Russians face a harsh counter-attack by NATO. They are capable to rebuild a front again and the NATO offensive is itself stopped in early September. Elsewhere, in Asia, in the Far North and in the Middle-East, the Soviets only engage in small operations that rarely go further than local skirmishes.

During all this time, there have been a few nuclear strikes but nothing close to these of the previous year. Finally, it appears simultaneously to NATO and Warsaw Pact 2 that a new strategy must be designed if the war is to be ended. As a result, a series of high altitude strikes are initiated by both sides in a hope of taking the other by surprise. The war is not ended but the situation runs out of hand because of the massive EMPs that have been released. In Russia, the electrical distribution network is extensively damaged and local authorities often lack what is needed to repair it. Civilian and military facilities are disrupted and most have to be closed down. Security systems in a dozen nuclear plants don’t respond adequately and half of them results in massive: contaminations largely surpass that of Chernobyl. Many satellites are destroyed and what was left of the communication and global positioning system is largely shot down. The only good news comes from the military in the field and from the industry. Many military types of equipment survive and remain operational while some industrial plants remain functional, if electricity can be provided. At last, Russia gets some benefit from the outdated but sturdy factories that were not shot down before the war.

The End:
Despite, these potential advantages, Moscow cannot prevent the slow decay of Russia. The huge size of the country and the still huge disruptions touching the society take a heavy toll. Most of the country remains out of reach. Many commanders refuse to obey orders and the number of marauders is increasing fast. Entire region, especially in Central Asia, secede from central rule. As a result, at the end of 2006, Moscow exerts its authority on limited lands only and the Politburo has to divert some very important resources to maintain an uncertain control over these lands. The Red Army doesn’t engage anymore in any ambitious operations and the last front where it remains active is the Middle East. Early this year, even before the end of winter, it had launched an attack on Scandinavia but that was short lived. Casualties were heavy and the gains were marginal with the only substantial gain being the occupation of the Island of Gotland. An armistice was soon signed with the new Kalmar Union and the island was given back to the Swedes in return for the suspension of all military operations to the North and the resigning of Norway from NATO. Despite these obvious gains, it appears to the Red Army that it now lacks the power to return to the offensive.

The year 2007 is quite and doesn’t bring much change for Russia. The war is still technically going on but the Kremlin is not fueling it anymore. Now, as 2008 is starting, Russia finds itself increasingly weak and Moscow is turning all its remaining capabilities toward slowly rebuilding the state. However, this rebuilding process is far from being even slightly successful. So far, no attempts to negotiate with Civgov and Milgov have been made but some voices favoring such a path of action are now being heard in the Kremlin and among the new political leadership of the USSR.

Enjoy friends.
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Old 12-01-2009, 07:31 PM
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That's a lot of work, Mo! This must have taken a sizeable chunk of your free time. Thanks for making the effort and sharing.

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Old 12-01-2009, 10:13 PM
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Thanks. It took me about a month to finalize it. However, work on it has been irregular.
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Old 12-02-2009, 04:30 PM
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I understand completely. I've been trying to get to my next follow-on to Defense of MG Thomason for a couple of weeks. With the semester winding down, though, I'm finding making the time very difficult.

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