A month or so back Tony from Brigade provided me with some detailed feedback on an introductory Iron Cow game he'd run at his local club. Whilst everyone appeared to have enjoyed the rules there were a number of questions and clarifications requested which led me to conclude that it would be a good idea to take this feedback on board with the planned PDF edition of Iron Cow. Whilst this will delay the release of the PDF to sometime next year I feel that this will be for the betterment of the game.
"Although the Pacific Federation was formed out of the South Pacific Treaty Organisation, itself created in the 21st Century in response to the threat posed by the expansionist Indonesian Republic, it must be confessed that the attack by Indonesian Armed Forces on the Federation and the invasion of Papua New Guinea came somewhat as a surprise.
"Our complacency had arisen out of nearly a century of peace and the switch in emphasis in Indonesia's expansion to the west following the seizure of the Phillipines in 2037. We had watched as the leaders of the Indonesian Republic in Djakarta clashed heads with the Chinese Democratic Socialist Union in Vietnam and the South China Sea, rolled up Thailand and Burma and finally carved a chunk out of the Indian sub-continent. Yet despite this we felt that their designs of empire did not include Micronesia or Melanesia, and certainly not Australia or Papua New Guinea.
"However we were caught cold when on Friday, 8th May 2099 when Indonesian Aerospace Forces launched a preemptive strike on our facilities at Darwin and Port Moresby. They rapidly followed up these airstrikes with a major ground offensive along both the northern and southern coasts of Papua catching our forces cold and easily rolling them up.
"The first month of the war was one of near unmitigated disaster with the Indonesians maintaining the initiative in the war and our own forces showing a naivety of thought that in retrospect beggars belief. May 25th saw our 6th Infantry Brigade decisively beaten at Aitape by Indonesian forces who used the sea going capabilities of their GEV and Grav vehicles to outflank a force still fighting a war along twentieth century lines! Much has been made of the reluctance of Indonesian forces to operate over water, but as can been seen in the early stages of the war that they were more than willing to bypass PacFed strongpoints on land by moving their forces over the Bismarck and Coral Seas.
"Following the disaster at Aitape, further reverses followed in the north as the Indonesians overran the Admiralty Islands and landed Naval Infantry on New Hanover and New Ireland having outflanked our 12th Infantry and 3rd Armoured Brigades. However these gains were soon offset as our military started to come to grips with the nature of the conflict and on 16th June PacFed grav tanks and patrol boats smashed an Indonesian Armoured Brigade in an two pronged attack in Southern Papua at the Battle of the Mouths of the Fly River.
"Bolstered by the success in the south, PacFed forces then caught the Indonesians cold on 29/30th June at the Battle of the Vitiaz Straights, hammering two Indonesian Armoured Brigades attempting to capture our listening post on Long Island.
"From this point the war took on a quiet phase as both sides took stock of the situation and although major actions took place in the Saint George Channel during the week beginning 15th August when the Indonesians attempted to invade New Britain and throughout all of October in the Ramu Marshes in Northern Papua, neither side seemed willing to launch any form of major offensive action.
"This was all to change on 5th January 2100 when the PacFed military took the war to the territory of the Indonesian Republic itself. Launched from North West Australia across the Timor and Arafura Sea, PacFed forces launched assaults on Trangan, Jamdena and Timor, as well as attacking Indonesian facilities on Irian Jaya at Merauke and Wanapiri. Within weeks PacFed forces had successfully accomplished their aims having captured a number of the Maluka and Flores Islands notably Tragan and Timor.
"Following these successes, the war concentrated by and large in and around the Banda and Flores Seas as Indonesian forces fought tooth and nail to hold back further PacFed thrusts into the Republic. Over the next six months some of the largest battles of the war were fought in this region notably the Battle of Kepulauan Banda on 26th May as the Indonesians successfully beat of a concerted attempt by PacFed 15th & 21st Armoured and 1st Airmobile Brigades to seize the strategically important island of Seram the capture of which could have meant that Indonesian forces in New Guinea were cut off from the rest of the Republic. Following this the war went into a second quiet phase as both sides took stock of their positions.
"The last major action of the war took place over the week 16th to 23rd September as the Indonesian Republic launched a succession of attacks on PacFed positions on Timor suffering heavy casualties for no discernible gain. Their failure to regain the initiative in the war following the Battle of Timor led the Indonesian Republic to the negotiating table with the Pacific Federation and following three months of hard bargaining and pointless debate over territory lost and taken, the Osaka Accord signed on 2nd January 2102 brought the war to an end.
"In retrospect, although the war seems to have had little point to it with no clear winner, the PacFed military learnt a lot of valuable lessons at the hands of the Indonesians and these led to changes in attitudes unchanged in nearly a century, changes which were to serve us so well at a later date..."
Condensed from The Pacific Territories in the 22nd Century - Volume Three: Australasia by Lt. Col. F.D.Stuckey D.S.O, Oceanic University Press, Wauchope, Van Diemen 20.04.2143
I've written a set of spaceship combat rules, Iron Fist, using the Aeronef mechanisms as a starting point which have been published in Ragnarok 57. If there is enough interest, Wessex Games will publish them. If you are not a member of the SFSFW you can purchase a PDF edition of Ragnarok 57 at Wargame Vault.
The problems faced by the American Republic regarding population are not unique and most of the major power blocs are looking for ways to increase the size of their armies despite limited population resource. Cloning has been regarded as the answer in Europe with both ONESS and EuroFed using clones to supplement their troop numbers, vital in a theatre were war of some scale is a day-to-day occurrence.
Initially clones were just standard human copies, albeit with an accelerated initial growth pattern, but more recently technology has allowed enhancements of the basic human model with variants grown that have increased stamina and enhanced abilities, beyond even the best special forces soldier. These super-soldiers are still quite rare but are becoming an increasingly used commodity on the 22nd century battlefield.
The concept of the space elevator, a fixed structure which allows the transportation of materials into space along it, rather than by using rocket technology was envisaged as far back as C19th but it was not until the second half of the 21st century that the major powers began to utilise carbon naontube technology to make the construction of space elevators a reality.
Obviously the need for the base station to be at high altitude and on or near the equator resulted in a series of land grabs by the likes of the European Federation and American Republic in Africa and Latin America. These areas are now heavily guarded and the advantages in the low cost access given to AmRep and EuroFed by their elevators is such that they tend to adopt a shoot first and don't bother asking questions with anyone who gets too near.
Other powers have ploughed their efforts into space elevators with mobile base stations carried on large oceangoing craft. ONESS and the Pacfic Federation operate two elevators of this type.
Space elevators are not the only means of access to space and both the CDSU and Neo-Soviet Republic continue to operate successful rocket launching facilities, allowing access to the Solar System and the resources of Mars and the Asteroid Belt.
The American Republic (AmRep) is a military dictatorship that arose out of the Second Secessionist War of 2047 and controls most of the eastern seaboard of North America.
The military controls every aspect of day-to-day life and citizenship, and its accordant benefits, can only be gained by serving a five-year period in the armed forces, with a minimum two-year requirement of frontline service.
Access to resources are limited, especially food following the ecological disaster which turned the central plains of the continent into a huge dustbowl. Consequently there are strict controls on population which does limit the available manpower for the AmRep military. This has led to great emphasis being placed on technological development and robotics with the AmRep military being the first power to deploy robotic infantry (A.I.'s) on the 22nd century battlefield. The AmRep military further supplements its miltary strenght by employing the armies of private military contractors when necessary.
In the mid 22nd century the Solar System has been carved up between various power blocs who, by various means, both diplomatic and military, attempt to gain the upper hand.
Earth itself has been ravaged by the effects of nuclear war in Central Asia, the Middle East and Siberia, as well as by ecological disasters across much of the globe.
Colonies have been founded on a number of planets and moons of the Solar System and whilst colonisation is still in its early stages, it has not prevented man's greed following him from Earth and already battles and wars have polluted these new worlds...