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The nation of Pacific Orange has experienced a turbulent history of ups and downs filled with memories of authoritarian government, economic depression and spectres of national defeat and humiliation mixed with the joys of democratic reform, times of national prosperity and ultimate victory and national survival in both Great Patriotic Wars. Originally established on the 2nd March 1947, Pacific Orange has gone through four republics in its existence from the loose federation of the First Republic to the more federally oriented Fourth Republic.

Early Pacific Orange Edit

Whilst the Pacific Orange archipelago was known for a long time to Chinese fishermen and other mariners who frequented the area, the sheer distance of the islands from the Chinese mainland and the frequent occurence of tropical storms throughout the islands made permanent settlement of Pacific Orange difficult to sustain. Though archaeological findings suggest that human activity in Pacific Orange dates back 1000 years to the turn of the 11th century, evidence of continual human presence has been traced only to the mid 17th century leading many to conclude to that the opening of new trade routes to Japan and the lands further north was instrumental in encouraging the development of several fishing and trading communities on Lanyu and Matsu Islands. Local legend has it that some of these Chinese settlers ventured further and attempted to set up settlements on the main island of Xuanzang itself but evidence for such claims has been difficult to discern. For the large part, Xuanzang and the majority of islands which today make up the Pacific Orange state remained largely uninhabited throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.

By the beginning of the 19th century however, the British Empire had become heavily dependent upon the importation of tea from China and increasingly sought to establish coaling stations along the trade routes from China to India in an effort to consolidate her trading links with the fledgling Chinese state. Such demands soon escalated in the aftermath of China's defeat in the Opium Wars, as Britain found herself in need of providing adequate men, war material and other supplies in order to consolidate her new 'aquisitions' against the other Western powers vying for regional control. Thus following America's imposition of the Harris Treaty on Japan in 1858 and the continuing encroachment by the Russian Empire further north, the British turned their attention to the hitherto obscure islands of Pacific Orange spying an opportunity to expand their sphere of influence from Hong Kong eastwards across the Pacific. Using the 'gunboat diplomacy' which had so characterised European imperialism on the Asian continent thus far, Commodore Johnson Tymm of the British Royal Navy on the 5th August 1859 sailed into Matsu Harbour and backed by the weight of half a dozen British warships promptly announced the aquisition of the islands as part of the British empire, forcing the inhabitants to submit to a 'Treaty of Peace and Amity' which signed away their sovereignty to the English crown. This marked the beginning of the much debated colonial era of Pacific Orange.

Colonial Pacific Orange Era Edit

Federation and the First Republic Edit

A serious movement for a federation of the colonies arose in the aftermath of the Second World War, at a time when there was increasing nationalism amongst Pacific Orangers, the great majority of whom were native born and had served as part of the same units during the Allies' Pacific Campaigns. The idea of being "Pacific Orange" began to be celebrated in songs and poems. This was fostered by improvements in transport and communications, such as the creation of a Pacific Orange Customs Union in 1945 and the establishment of a railway network between the colonies in 1946 which did much to break down barriers and foster strong cultural links between the colonies.

The concept of federation however was not new. Ian W. Klinn, then the Colonial Secretary of Saint Victoria, had first proposed a federal council body from as early as 1937 but it had been rejected vigorously by representatives from other colonies who feared that federation would risk delegating power to a national government dominated by Saint Victoria - then the most populous and wealthiest out of all the colonies. Using the uproar of post war nationalist sentiment, Klinn brought up the issue again at an intercolonial conference in July 1945, calling to debate the strategies needed to counter the influences of the Americans and the Soviets expanding into the nearby regions. Richard I. Tadget-Wraine, the Premier of Saint Victoria, successfully petitioned the conference to accept a Bill to constitute the Federal Council.

As a result, a Federal Council of Pacific Orange was formed, to represent the affairs of the colonies in their relations with the Asia Pacific region. Under the Pacific Orange Intercolonial Act, the Federal Council had powers to legislate directly upon certain matters, such as in relation to extradition, regulation of fisheries and so on, but it did not have a permanent secretariat, executive powers or revenue of its own. Indeed interestingly considering the prominent role of Saint Victorians in brining about its creation, the colony of Saint Victoria refused to partake in the council and the absence of this powerful colony's support weakened the council's representative value. Nevertheless, it was the first major form of intercolonial cooperation and it provided an opportunity for federalists from around the country to meet and exchange ideas, paving the way for the eventual transition to a unified Pacific Orange state.

In early 1946, the National Pacific Orange convention was established to discern the need for federation and set the framework for this to occur. With its delegates voting overwhelmingly in favour of federation, the convention then proceeded to work out the mechanics with which to bring together the various colonies into a single national entity. But despite the support of the colonies for federation, problems soon arose: in particular with the relationship between federal and regional authority within the federal system. The main point of division centred around the contention of delegates from the Chinese territories that the rights and powers of individual regions should be preserved above that of a federal government as opposed to the views Tadget-Wraine and others that a strong federal government with co-ordinate powers was essential. Under the guidance of Klinn, a draft Constitution was produced.

The document in essence spelt out the constitutional landscape of Pacific Orange's First Republic. A federal government was to be created with control over all taxation, foreign policy and national security for Pacific Orange. But in the interests of protecting regional rights, representatives to the federal parliament would be selected by delegates from regional legislatures thus ensuring that a balance of power would be maintained. Even the position of President was dependent on the support of the regions since to remain in office, the President required the support of all six regional legislatures ( Rayong Saiyan at the time existing as a seperate entity outside of the Pacific Orange state ). Yet even this weakened form of federal government did not please the Chinese delegates many of whom continued to fear the subjugation of Chinese interests by the European majority.

Unable to make headway into convincing the delegates to change their position, it seemed that Klinn would once again be unsuccessful in his attempts at pursuing federation. Fortunately a last minute compromise brought pleasant reprieve. Under the amended constitution, the Chinese territories agreed to partially submit to a federal body, allowing the federal government to dicate foreign and economic policy. However in return, the territories were guaranteed a level of self autonomy, retaining substantial control over taxation, local security forces and domestic policy. Labelled as the 'one nation, two systems' approach, Klinn's compromise deal helped to persuade the majority of ethnic Chinese Pacific Orangers to vote yes on Federation Day on the 1st January 1947. Thus amidst a resounding roar of pride, euphoria and nationalism, the First Republic of Pacific Orange was brought officially into existence on the 2nd March 1947. Due to his widespread prominence and popularity, Pawws was elected as President to head the newly founded republic.

The First Great Patriotic War Edit

Postwar Instability and the Second Republic Edit

What followed however was a period of economic stagnation and political instability wherein the newly reformed federal authority proved unable to deal with the myriad of problems plaguing the reconstruction of the nation. An almost successful communist coup and the threat of secession by the northern states from the federation was in the end all it took for the Second Republic of Pacific Orange to be dissolved on the 15th October 1958 in favour of a federal government empowered with greater legislative and executive authority over the states. Under the new republic and constitution, Pacific Orange saw the first of its 'Golden eras' where stability at home and a boom in the international markets saw the nation soar to new heights throughout the 1960's.

The Second Patriotic War Edit

Prelude to WarEdit

But the Republic's recent stability and prosperity was to have powerful repercussions throughout the entire region. In late March 1967, attracted by the growing Pacific Orange, the small community of Macquarie Island located just off the northern tip of the Pacific Orange mainland entered into discussions aimed at joining the Federal Republic of Pacific Orange as part of the Barras region. Unfortunately, Macquarie Island at the time had remained under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Pub Republic, whose government demanded that all such talks immediately cease and despatched a marine contingent in order to enforce those demands.

Relations between the Pub Republic and Pacific Orange had long been tense and a source of concern for regional stability, particularly as both possessed similarly sized armed forces capable of inflicting considerable damage. Indeed for many observers, the diplomatic wrangle seemed to be a symbolic test of strength between both nations as each vied to dominate the other in this regional war of geopolitics. Unwilling to bow to Pub Republican pressure, particularly as additional marine contingents were brought in from the Pub Republic and stationed on Macquarie Island, the Pacific Orange government refused to permanently halt its talks with the Macquarian delegates; merely postponing them temporarily with the firm promise that Pacific Orange would do all it could to assist in meeting Macquarian demands.

Erstwhile, politicians within Pacific Orange looked to the growing developments up north with concern. Under the auspices of supposedly "preserving the integrity and sovereignty of the Pub Republic", some 15 000 troops had been positioned on Macquarie Island to police a population of only aroung 6000 people. In response, the Pacific Orange parliament on the 17th June 1967 passed a resolution authorising the deployment of the 4th and 7th Army of the Republic of Pacific Orange ( ARPO ) infantry corps along the Barras coastline in a forceful demonstration of Pacific Orange strength. Nevertheless, bowing to international pressure, both sides agreed to a conference held in the Pacific Green capital of Greentopia to peacefully resolve the growing tensions.

But with both sides now heavily involved in outdisplaying the other, moves were taken by the Pub Republic to apparently strengthen its negotiating position at Greentopia. Owing to concern regarding the rapid rate of Pacific Orange development to their influence over the region, the Pub Republic and the nation of King U had entered into a formal alliance a year earlier in which both countries pledged to mutually assist each other in times of need. Dubbed by the media as "the Coalition", this soon manifested itself in the form of the King U announcement on 21st August that it had signed an agreement guaranteeing "additional aid without reimbursement" in order to strengthen the defense of the Pub Republic.

Thus by the end of August, the 30 000 marines stationed on Macquarie Island soon began recieving arms and supplies unloaded directly from King U ships. Among these, undetected by Pacific Orange intelligence, were the pieces for long range artillery capable of being assembled within a short space of time and able to shell targets in Pacific Orange across the 50km of Channel that lay between the Republic and Macquaire Island. Though Pacific Orange was perhaps not aware of it, here were the first tangible sinews of a war threatening to break out.

September InvasionEdit

BattleofBryceHarbour1

Coalition paratroopers advance during the Battle of Bryce Harbour.

Whilst Pacific Orange defence analysts had a generally clear picture of what was occuring on Macquarie Island ( thanks to a largely sympathetic local population ), ARPO was not aware that an offensive from the north was in fact likely, if not imminent. With memories of the Rayong Saiyan fiasco in the First Great Patriotic War, both military and civilian officials expected that such a build up of force was merely a public show of strength as opposed to an actual buildup for an invasion. They made no secret of their expections and by the start of September,troops from the 4th Infantry Regiment were even allowed home for rest.

Seizing on the opportunity when its enemy would be the most unprepared, the Republic was attacked simultaneously on 9th September 1967 by the Coalition of the nations Pub Republic and King U. Supported by regiments of tanks and artillery, the Coalition troops flooded across the beaches of the north. Antiaircraft weapons, many of heavy caliber mounted on tracked vehicles, accompanied the Coalition aircraft streaming above, protecting the command posts, logsitics and fuel sites, and troop assembly areas hastily being constructed as Coalition forces advanced rapidly into Pacific Orange territory. Caught unawares, Pacific Orange tottered despairingly towards the brink of defeat, the Army of the Republic of Pacific Orange suffering humiliating reversals including a crippling route at the Battle of Bryce's Harbour where a force of little under 4000 Coalition paratroopers successfully dispersed some 7000 Pacific Orange defenders.

Under the pounding, sizable units of the mixed and disorganised regiments of the ARPO 4th and 7th Corps, driven from their positions within the first forty eight hours, began retreating from the Barras. As Pacific Orange troops, armoured personnel carriers, trucks and light tanks jammed the roads, Coalition units appeared in fields just beyond the range of ARPO small arms fire. During the next week, ARPO and Coalition forces conducted a desperate race south towards the mountains of the Central Highlands where lay the fresh reinforcements of ARPO 3rd Corps and safety. Gamely, ARPO officers attempted to halt the flight and put together a patchwork defense, contacting what units they could by radio or by driving across the landscape gathering stragglers and moving them into defensive positions.

BattleforSaintVictoria

ARPO troops take up hasty defensive positions in Huskisson.

But their efforts were in vain. When 400 men of the ARPO 2nd Ranger Corps and a handful of 4th Corps infantry assembled at Holcomb on 19th September, they managed to beat back the Coalition tanks on five occassions but in the end they were overwhelmed. By the morning of 20th September, all were dead, captured or escaping southwards with rest of the army. Unable to adequately resist the invading forces, the Pacific Orange military was forced steadily back towards the Central Highlands, surrendering control of the Capitol District and the Barras to Coalition forces whilst sustaining heavy casualties in the process. After military advisors declared defense of the city untenable, President Dzionarra on the 8th November ordered the evacuation of all government ministries and personnel from Saint Victoria to the new wartime capital at Gatenby in the Schauinsland.

Diplomacy and PoliticsEdit

Facing the nadir of Pacific Orange fortunes in the war, several vocal figures soon emerged calling for an end to the war and a negotiated peace settlement in order to avoid further bloodshed and defeat. Having endured over a month of little more than successive military humiliations, a substantial section of the Pacific Orange population was inclined to agree, particularly after Dzionara bowing to military pressure agreed to implement a national conscription service.
Dzionaral

Leonhard Dzionara : President of Pacific Orange during the Second Patriotic War

Soon the wartime government found itself having to suppress a series of anti war demonstrations in addition to stabilising the military situation in the north. In the northern city of Lauceston, two large anti war protests were mounted by over 10 000 demonstrators who attacked the police with fire bombs and were only finally dispersed when military police assisted by a barrage of tear gas canisters forcibly broke up the demonstration. By the end of September, riot police in combat uniforms were patrolling all the major cities that still remained under Pacific Orange control.

Nonetheless while the battles were still being fought across the cratered landscapes of the north, at the Saint Giles House on the Grand Avenue in Greentopia, Pacific Green, Dzionara authorised the commencement of peace talks with Coalition representatives. Proposals placed on the table included the immediate cessation of hostilities and disengagement of Coalition forces from Pacific Orange soil in exchange for an unspecified list of Coalition demands. Unfortunately, the failing Pacific Orange defences seemed to doom the talks. For Coalition leaders, the prospect of forcing Pacific Orange to acquiesce to their demands by force rather than a drawn out process of political haggling and intrigue seemed far more appealing given the circumstances. Having expected such an outcome, Dzionara lost no time in publicising the talks, helping to take much of the steam out of the anti war movement. Nonetheless, martial law remained instituted throughout the Republic.

Fight for the Central HighlandsEdit

ARPO TOW

ARPO anti tank team during the Central Highlands Campaign.

Encouraged by their initial success and the cracks in Pacific Orange morale which had begun to appear, the Coalition decided to continue with their offensive down the Xuanzang coast. At the time, the defensive line the Pacific Orange military had patched together along the Central Highlands was holding against continued Coalition attacks. The Pacific Orange 3rd Corps assigned to holding this northern defensive line had been stabilised and reinforced by more infantry and rangers. Furthermore,the Pacific Orange soldiers had learned to beat off the coalition armoured thrusts with their newly recieved light antitank weapons. ARPO resistance in the Central Higlands stiffened. For three weeks in October, the Pacific Orange 3rd corps and all its attached units battled the invading divisions to a standstill. By the end of October however, the Pacific Orange defenses began to unravel as the constant barrage of coalition artillery, aerial bombardment and armoured assaults hegan to take their toll.

Finally after a concerted thrust by Coalition forces at the Foster Valley which saw the last line of firebases and base camps along the eastern section of the Pacific Orange defense line fall to the Coalition, 3rd Corps headquarters ordered its units to begin pulling back southwards towards Franklin. Unfortunately, lacking proper radio communication as individual units began to withdraw, they left gaping holes in the line unnerving troops still manning sections of the line until they too began streaming to the south. The line that had held against enemy attack for almost a month now fell into chaos, confusion and disintegration.

Franklin BesiegedEdit

Battle of Franklin

ARPO defenders during the Battle of Franklin.

Fortunately the 3rd Corps command, still intact and operational despite having itself been attacked by Coalition forces, halted the flight and assisted by units of the 1st and 2nd Pacific Orange Ranger Corps recently brought up from the Schauinsland after refitting and resupply began sorting the retreating soldiers into units. They slipped the remnants of the Central Highlands defence into a new temporary line just north of Franklin and provided them with sufficient aerial and armour support to enable the beleaguered defenders to halt the coalition thrust.

For the next week, fierce fighting ranged around the regional capital as Coalition forces sought to seize Pacific Orange's most fertile wheat producing area and the gateway into the last remaining bastions of the Republic in the Schauinsland from her equally desperate defenders. Anticipating the significance of the city, Dzionara prompty ordered the regional capital "held at all costs". He was concerned that with the loss of Saint Victoria and Huskisson, the fall of another major city would irreversably destroy what support for the war Dzionara had painstakingly sought to salvage and force the republic to sue for peace under unfavourable conditions.

KaplanRothschild

Kaplan Rothschild : Commander of the Northern Tactical Army during the Second Great Patriotic War.

But as Dzionara looked despairingly at the situation unfolding beneath his eyes, events were beginning to take a more positive turn for the fledgling republic. The Pacific Orange airforce, back up to its pre war operational strength of 50 fighters, was finally beginning to reassert control over Pacific Orange airspace shooting down 34 coalition bombers and 22 fighters for the loss of only 17 fighters in the space of a dozen sorties fought across Franklin's skies. Such victories helped to shift the momentum of the attack decisively away from the Coalition forces, depriving them of the aerial support which had been a crucial factor in their military successes. Certainly General Kaplan Rothschild, recently promoted from 3rd Corps command to lead the newly formed Northern Tactical Army did not fail to notice the new opportunities opened up on the battlefield. Flying to Franklin to reorganise the shambles left in the wake of the latest coalition attack, he began to immediately plan a counteroffensive by Pacific Orange ground forces to regain control of the Central Highlands.

An Unlikely AllyEdit

Despite having fought on opposite sides in the last Great Patriotic War, the late 1950's and early 1960's had seen a distinct thawing in the previously icy relations between the Republic of Pacific Orange and the Constitutional Monarchy of Rayong Saiyan. Having agreed in the months immediately preceding the outbreak of the Second Great Patriotic War, to a definite territorial boundary between Pacific Orange and Rayong Saiyan secured with a promise by the Republic to refrain from attempting to annex the southern kindgom by military force, a detente of sorts had arisen betweeen the interests of both countries; helped in no small part by the conclusion of a trade and foreign aid program whereby Pacific Orange agreed to assist in the development and modernisation of Pacific Orange.

Whilst during the early months of the conflict, this earnest, conciliatory diplomacy had paid off solely in the pledge of neutrality by Rayong Saiyan ( guaranteeing that all ARPO troops could be diverted to fight on the northern front ), the Pacific Orange strategic victory at Franklin in halting the Coalition advance and the growing awareness within less reactionary Rayong Saiyan circles that the fates of both nations were increasingly intertwined, saw growing pressure emerge within Rayong Saiyan for a more supportive policy towards Pacific Orange in the Second Great Patriotic War.

By late October, the momentum of such sentiments had grown to the point that the monarchy and the royally appointed government could no longer afford to resist this political pressure and after much debate, a decisions was reached wherein the official policy of neutrality towards the present conflict would be preserved but a carefully disguised 'Free Thai Volunteer Corps' of some 10 000 men - in fact the crack 2nd Royal Infantry Corps - nevertheless dispatched to assist ARPO forces on the Pacific Orange mainland, with the option left open of committing more troops in the indefinite future. Eventually, by the time of the war's end, this 'Volunteer Corps' had been expanded into a 'Free Thai Volunteer Expeditionary Force' encompassing some 30 000 men and complete with its own air group and artillery support.

CounterattackEdit

Making most of the newly aquired control of the skies above Franklin, the first wave of attacks on the 3rd December employed helicopters to land two battalions from the 1st Ranger Corps six kilometers north of Franklin in order to overrun Coalition artillery positions in preparation for the main attack. That operation, on the 6th December was even more ambitious, with units from the 2nd Ranger Corps parachuting directly into the Coalition lines as reinforcements from Franklin fought their way out to meet them. In addition, the Pacific Orange efforts were also blessed with perfect weather that permitted air support. Pacific Orange tactical aircraft started a 'gun hunt' program to find and destroy coalition artillery and simulteanously begin striking at troop and vehicle movement on the roads from the north. In the course of less than a week, the Pacific Orange air force destroyed more than 100 tanks caught out in the open. When the Coalition switched to moving their tanks along the coast, the air force followed them making sure that daytime movement now carried a death warrant for Coalition vehicles.

ARPO rangers

ARPO rangers disembark quickly at their landing zones north of Franklin.

With the Coalition defensive line now cracked and Pacific Orange troops running through their rear areas and artillery positions, stitting aside their supply lines and preventing reinforcements from reaching the front, Coalition soldiers broke and ran for a new line of defense. The seige around Franklin was lifted and Dzionara could confidently announce that "Round 1 has been won by the Pacific Orange military." Audacity and suprise had for once become a weapon of the Pacific Orange army and for the first time Coalition forces suffered from the weaknesses and indecisiveness that had plagued their opponents earlier in the war.

By the end of December, Pacific Orange forces had successfully driven out the Coalition from the Central Highlands to a new defensive line formed around Saint Victoria, territory Pacific Orange had lost four months before. Although the Pacific Orange counteroffensive through the Central Highlands had been well executed, upon reaching the outskirts of Saint Victoria, the Ranger troops in the vanguard of the attack stopped. It is a maxim of war that once an enemy is routed the aggressor pursues him, allowing no opportunity for reorganisation; the enemy must be destroyed in small groups before he can rally. Ignoring this imperative, Rothschild allowed his senior officers to give their troops a few days to rest, resupply and celebrate their victory. Given such a respite, the Coalition was able to reform its units and man the formidable defense it had thrown up around Saint Victoria.

A Symbol And A ChallengeEdit

Saint Victoria

Infantry watch A1 Skyraiders pound Coalition defences outside Saint Victoria.

Saint Victoria, still a small city at the time of only 8000, was nonetheless well fortified. The Coalition had used the months since it captured the city to weave a system of bunkers and strong points around the occupied capital. Interlocking fields of fire for machine guns, mortars and artillery covered the Ranger and infantry troops' avenues of attack. As the lead Pacific Orange troops approached the outermost ring of defences, Coalition forces, regrouped and dug into the fortifications of the city, opened fire. At this crucial moment politics intruded on the battlefield. As he had during the Battle of Franklin when Coalition soldiers threatened to break into the city, President Dzionara made Saint Victoria into a national symbol.

"Dzionara demanded the city be seized" said Rothschild, "Pushed by public opinion on one side and faced with the enemy's determination to hold the city on the other, I was hard pressed to seek a satisfactory way out." Unfortunately with the city as the primary target, each day's delay gave the Coaltion more time to improve its defences in the city. The Pacific Orange forces after heavy fighting held only two sides of the city; through the other two sides Coalition troops and supplies continued to move in from the north. The reinforced enemy was not the only obstacle. The suburbs, honeycombed with bunkers, trenches and observation posts threatened a bloody prelude to any assault. Coalition artillery observers consistently called down mortar and howitzer fire on the advancing Pacific Orange infantry. Counting their progress house by house, the 1st and 2nd Ranger Corps battled toward the center of the town through an uninterrupted barrage.

With the mounting casualties, Rothschild soon found himself planning another dangerously audacious beind-the-enemy-lines attack to the north and west of Saint Victoria involving once again the 3rd infantry corps which had survived the retreat and counteroffensive during the Central Highlands Campaign. If successful, the raid would cut the remaining road into the city and with it the last life link between Coalition forces fighting in the city and their supply bases in the Barras. Thus at dawn on 11th February, the sun at their backs, the Pacific Orange helicopters flew with their loads of infantry into the territory behind enemy lines after two aerial strikes had prepared between the way. Coming under heavy anti aircraft fire, at least half a dozen helicopters were downed - including half of 3rd Corps operational command. Flying around the black plumes of smoke from the wreckage, the remaining helicopters of the attack force landed their cargo of infantry. For three days, 3rd Corps infantry battled towards Saint Victoria from their landing zones two kilometers north of the city with the Coalition counterattacking with tanks. But on the fourteenth day of February, with their main line of defence broken and the 3rd Corps moving behind them, Coaliton forces began to break up and withdraw. The Northern Tactical Army now occupied three sides of Saint Victoria nad had cut the last road to the north.

On the 16th February, Rothschild concentrated his forces for an assault on the city centre where the last remnants of Coalition forces held stubbornly to their positions arrayed around the bombed out town hall. Five battalions of Rangers from the 1st and 2nd Ranger Corps attacked from three sides behind tactical air and artillery support. 3rd Corps infantry, still resting from its operation three days before, were held as part of the fighint reserve. During the night and early morning of the seventeenth, a platoon ranger scrambled over the southern corner of the town hall. After the platoon gained the interior, more rangers follwoed to establish a foothold inside the fortress. As the air strikes and artillery continued to pound the Coalition lines the rangers carried their attack, killing and capturing most of the remaining Coalition defenders. The Pacific Orange flag was raised over the wreckage of the town hall at noon on the seventeenth and the capture of the rest of the city was completed the next day. In the final weeks of the fight, one of every five of the 4000 Pacific Orange rangers had been killed or wounded in their relentless attack. Coalition casualties were equally as severe; out of a pre battle force of 10 000 men, no more than 1200 made it back to the new Coalition defensive lines thrown up across the Barras.

Battle for BaileyEdit

As Coalition forces fell back from Saint Victoria in disarray, Pacific Orange planners looked for a way to consolidate their success in the nation's capital into a victory of a more decisive sort. Despite having inflicted much heavier casualties on the Coalition in the ARPO drive from the Central Highlands thus far, Coalition forces still retained a strategic numerical superiority over ARPO forces which it was feared would ultimately allow the Coalition to triumph should its troops be allowed to regroup and be rebuilt. To address this potential threat, Rothschild focused his attention on the small township of Bailey some 20km north of Saint Victoria. Bailey, settled only recently during the early 1950's, sat astride an intersection of some five different roads through which the bulk of retreating Coalition troops had to pass in order to withdraw to the new positions in the Barras. Capture of that township would thus do much in denying the Coalition its ability to retreat and regroup. Furthermore, a fact not lost on Rothschild, the township could conversely function equally as a springboard for future attacks against Pacific Orange: emphasised by the Coalition decision to construct an airfield to bring supplies and troops into the town.

Hence, despite the strain and fatigue of near constant fighting for the previous two months, ARPO units were once again directed into battle. This time however learning from his experiences in attacking Saint Victoria, Rothschild made the most of his armoured units sending the 5th Mechanised Corps directly after the Coalition columns in an attempt to overtake the retreating troops. To their surprise, stabbing attacks by the advancing ARPO units garnered scores of prisoners while hundreds of other coalition troops collapsed in exhaustation by the road side and waited for ARPO forces to pick them up. The fleeing Coalition troops, with all cohesion and leadership gone, could muster no organised defence. Abandoned and destroyed vehicles and equipment soon cloggered the main roads entering Bailey but still few troops escaped. Survivors of the 3rd Pub Republican Division which had seen action ever since the Central Highlands Counteroffensive yet somehow had managed to preserve its strength even after Saint Victoria now arrived at Bailey with only a tiny fraaction of its original troop.

Nevertheless, the defences at Bailey remained in good order. Fresh Coalition reinforcements brought in from Huskisson had brought the strength of the garrison at Bailey to just over 14 000 men. By contrast, the attacking armoured units of the ARPO 5th Corps numbered only 8 000 and remained at least a day's march away from the rest of the Northern Tactical Army still making its way through the carnage and pockets of Coalition resistance left in the wake of the 5th Corps advance. But the momentum of the attack still lay with the ARPO forces. Moreover, the victorious ARPO forces retained a decisive psychological edge over the Coalition. Radio intercepts had revealed that Coalition troops - even the fresh soldiers yet to have seen battle - suffered from a lack of supplies, bad morale, illness worsened by the deepening casualties as Pacific Orange bombardment of Bailey began to increase.

Flying personally ahead of the Northern Tactical Army to meet with ARPO tank commanders whose units now occupied positions overlooking Bailey, Rothschild decided to unleash his tanks on the Coalition forces before either side - ARPO or Coalition - had time to reinforce. Lacking adequate infantry support, ARPO armour found themselves easy targets to the Coalition's anti-tank weaponry. Nevertheless, through careful coordination between air and ground units and the cool and inspirational leadership of many ARPO officers that day,the 5th Armoured corps batted their way into the town and took the airfield, reducing the Coalition perimeter to about a square kilometre. But the weeks of fighting took their toll and the tenacious defense by the Coalition gradually stopped the ARPO advance. Nonetheless, a status report from the 3rd Pub Republican Division reflected how desperate the Coalition situation had become:

"The division is tired and worn out; supplies minimal, casualties continue to mount, medical supplies coverage low. Wounded a major problem. In spite of incurring heavy losses from our anti tank guns, the enemy continues to persist."
Yet ARPO casualties had been proportionally as heavy; only a handful of tanks had survived the major assault and the 5th Corps was down to just 25% of its normal operational strength. But as Rothschild wasted no time in claiming, his forces had nevertheless broken the last Coalition redoubt in central Pacific Orange and inflicted far heavier casualties on its opponents, trapping close to 4 000 troops in Bailey alone. Indeed the rapid advance of the rest of the Northern Tactical Army meant that only four days later, the 5th Corps was pulled from the front and peace negotiations, which had stalled until then, soon recommenced in earnest.

CeasefireEdit

ARPO celebration1

Pacific Orange troops celebrate the recapture of Saint Victoria on the remains of a Coalition tank.

With the recapture of Saint Victoria and the battle into Bailey, the Pacific Orange counteroffensive came to a halt. ARPO forces continued minor attacks to protect their flanks and destroy small Coalition units, but the battle lines became the effective boundaries of occupation for the two armies. Each side had fought with diminishing vigour and resources until neither was capable of budging the other. Both the Coalition and Pacific Orange armies were, General Rothschild said, like
"Two fighters in the 14th and 15th round; they could hardly do anything but hold on to each other."
On the 27th February, Pacific Orange and Coalition delegates agreed to meet at Saint Victoria to discuss a ceasfire agreement. Commanders on both sides received orders to stand down and avoid engagements with the enemy. In a symbolic gesture aimed at fostering reconciliation between both parties, the first batch of Pacific Orange and Coalition POWs were exchanged at an unofficial ceremony in the Barras. The Coalition's bold invasion of Pacific Orange was over. The rumble of war gave way to a rumor of peace.

With Coalition forces still holding on to much of the north of Pacific Orange, negotiations began in earnest in the hope of securing a return of the occupied territories to the republic's control. Certainly after sustaining horrendous casualties and the recent epic loss of Saint Victoria, the Coalition leadership desired little other than peace. But one obstacle still remained in the path towards a settlement. Faced with an impending Pacific Orange presidential election, negotiators on both sides could not at that time be sure of delivering bipartisan assent to any settlement.

In the end a compromise deal was reached. Coalition forces would be allowed to peacefully withdraw from Pacific Orange territory and all Coalition prisoners handed over in exchange for the peaceful return of all Pacific Orange territory and citizenry captured during the conflict. Furthermore, the great deep water harbour assembled by the Coalition at Huskisson was to be left intact and handed over to Pacific Orange authorities in return for six hundred tonnes of Pacific Orange wheat. Matters pertaining to the secession of Macquarie Island from the Pub Republic was to be determined by a plebiscite held on the 9th October 1968. The issue of reparations was left deliberately unadressed. Nonetheless, claiming themselves satisfied with the peace terms, both parties agreed to sign the Peace of Saint Victoria on the 31st May 1968 bringing the Second Great Patriotic War finally to a close.

EpilogueEdit

For the Republic, the results could not be harder to miss. Acquisition of the port facilities set up at Huskisson by Coalition forces under the terms of the Peace of Saint Victoria gave Pacific Orange a deep water port on the northern tip of the main island. As a result, the development of infrastructure and industry in the Barras boomed, sowing the seeds for the nation's postwar propserity. Furthmore, the offensive gave the government opportunities to replace many poor military leaders with young, battle tested soldiers. One of them, General Rothschild, had led his outnumbered units on to secure the Central Highlands and to even recapture Saint Victoria, thereby reversing a rout and gaining a measure of respect for the Pacific Orange armed forces. Few would have believed in September or October that ARPO forces, with only three corps against six would have recaptured Saint Victoria. As newly sworn in President Bell observed following the sudden death of Dzionara in May,

"After this war, we became masters of the situation again. The morale of all the Republic's citizens became high. We became confident in the fighting ability of the Pacific Orange armed forces - an in the strength of our Republic. We now know that we can defend a free Pacific Orange by ourselves."
But despite the euphoria and post war triumphalism which accompanied a nation savouring victory from the jaws of defeat, the grim costs of war soon became evident. But unlike in the First Great Patriotic War, hostile forces had penetrated much further into the nation with the result that the Republic suffered greater destruction and loss of life than before. Even though Pacific Orange losses - only 30 000 dead - were one third that of the Coalition, at least every one male in five perished in the conflict. Civilian losses, invariably harder to discern, is estimated close to the fifty thousand mark. Thus in terms of its terrible loss of life, the Second Great Patriotic War left an indelible mark unlike any other previous conflict.

The rise of the military and the dominance of the Nationalist Party Edit

Yet the massive increases in the power and prestige of the republic's armed forces accompanying victory in the Second Patriotic War was not without consequence. Riding upon an unprecendented wave of popularity in the immediate postwar period, the military soon became the dominant powerbloc in the Pacific Orange state with former members of its senior leadership enjoying prominent roles in Pacific Orange government. The effects of this on the political scene was soon not hard to miss. As the conservative elements in parliament found themselves at loggerheads with more liberal elements firmly opposed to the planned expansion of the armed forces as part of the nation's post war reconstruction, talks began between the ruling nationalist government of Pawws and certain sections of the military's senior leadership in an effort to break the constitutional deadlock. What emerged was the army's declaration of support on the 28th March 1969 wherein it pledged to back the decisions of the current nationalist presidency with force need be. With the weight of the military firmly behind them and playing upon fears of a possible repeat of the national destabilisation which had occured during the last reconstruction, the Nationalists enjoyed a crushing landslide victory in the elections of December 1969 gaining majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives. For the first time in the nation's history, a party had managed to singlehandedly gain a control of both houses of parliament, setting the stage for the onset of the Third Republic.

The Third Republic and the Pawws era Edit

Politically unchallengeable, the Nationalists soon set about transforming the country. Arguing that weak federal government had been the primary cause for the failings of the initial reconstruction effort during the 1950's, Pawws on the 3rd April 1970 announced the establishment of a federal Reconstruction Committee empowered to oversee all matters pertaining to the nation's postwar reconstruction. Whilst technically answerable to both parliament and the president, the committee was dominated by nationalists and former military elements leading to criticisms by many of cronyism and paternalism, particularly as Pawws began to increasingly use his presidential powers of veto to reject attempts by those within parliament to regulate the Committee's decisions. Thus for a period of three years, the committee - and through it Pawws - exercised considerable control over the workings of the nation, stripping much of what remained of the state's diminished power and carrying out a program of enforced privatisation throughout much of the country's industrial and financial sectors. Despite cries by many political opponents that such actions were unconstitutional and fundementally undemocratic, the early 1970's saw further increases in the nation's economic growth so that by late 1973, Pacific Orange had become the financial and industrial powerhouse of the region.

Indeed enjoying the fruits of Pacific Orange's continued prosperity, many in the population voted to continue the nationalists domination of parliament and in a national plebiscite held on the 5th January 1974, approved the inception of the Third Republic wherein federal authority was extended at the expense of state legislatures - now replaced by regional governors appointed directly by the Presidency itself. And in a gesture of support and goodwill, the military announced the creation of a new oath of allegiance in which loyalty was sworn not just to the state but to the President himself. Now reasonably confident in the solidarity of his position, Pawws on the 6th May 1974 publicly proclaimed his decision to pursue an extension of his term - the so called position of 'President for life' - which was passed in a referendum declared by many of the Nationalists' opponents as biased and rigged.

Four coups and a revolution Edit

Whilst the Nationalist government had taken considerable efforts to endear itself to the military establishment by both appropriating considerable amounts of revenue for the nation's military expenditure and substantial payments to senior individuals within the military establishment, the mid-1970's nonetheless saw an emerging rift between the Presidency and military as the Nationalists - facing drastic upturn in international oil prices and rate of stagflation - were forced to abort planned increases in the Pacific Orange armed forces. And adding salt to the wound, Pawws on the 15th September 1974 announced in an effort to reduce inflationary pressures, the abolition of all existing banking institutions - including the Pacific Orange Military Bank - in favour of a centrally operated, federal Reserve Bank with which to regulate the flow of money within the country. Angered by the decline in its influence within the current Nationalist government and now by the expected loss of revenue as well, disaffected elements within the military mounted a coup against the government in January 1974, forcing Pawws into exile and appointing a puppet caretaker government in his place.

However, the new military junta proved inept at handling the affairs of the nation and amidst spiralling inflation and unemployment as well as popular discontent, other more moderate sections of the military began brokering an agreement with the exiled former President in a bid to restore the Nationalist government and the military's prestige in Pacific Orange society. Thus after less than 6 months in office, the ruling military junta was overthrown in early December as military units loyal to Pawws gained swift and rapid control of the country, allowing the President to declare on the 12th December 1974 a general restoration of the Third Republic. In exchange, Pawws agreed to appoint several military figures to key positions within his reestablished government.

Spying an opportunity in the tumultous period accompanying Pawws' restoration to power, radical left wing elements within Pacific Orange sought to overthrow the predominantly conservative government by calling for a general revolution against the so called "Nationalist Regime." Beginning from the 20th December, armed uprisings swept the entire country plunging the country into essentially civil war as left wing paramilitary units battled Nationalist security forces and the military for control of Pacific Orange. Despite the scale upon which the 'revolution' was launched and certain military successes, the revolutionaries had by January of the following year been by and large defeated, confined to small pockets of resistance scattered throughout the country. Thus following the surrender and summary execution of certain revolutionary leaders on the 14th February 1975, Pawws could confidently assert that the "communist insurection has come to close. Order has been restored to the nation."

Nonetheless, Pawws' position as President was less than secure. Whilst he may have retained the backing of the military for the time being, Pawws was under no illusions regarding the reliance of his government on essentially the continued support of an every demanding military establishment, anxious to preserve its status as the powerbroker within Pacific Orange society. As the recent military coup had shown, in order to consolidate his Presidency Pawws needed to find a counterweight to the army's power and influence. Thus in pursuing this aim, the establishment of a Ministry of the Interior was announced on the 28th February 1975 supposedly for the protection of domestic security against certain - and conveniently ambiguous - subversive elements within society but in actuality for the protection of the Presidency against military intrigue. Staffed by individuals selected on the basis of their loyalty to the President, the Ministry was equipped with its own troops and material and thus could function as an organisation entirely separate from the influences of the military.

Furthermore, the rapid explosion in the size and capabilities of the Ministry of the Interior throughout 1975 meant that few within the military establishment could hardly ignore this new competition to the power of the military within the Pacific Orange state. Thus following the refusal by Pawws to appoint a military backed figure to the post of Minister of the Interior, a second military coup was carried out on the 15th December 1975. Unlike the first, Pawws using the newly commisioned Ministry of the Interior troops successfully suppressed the plotters' attempts, forcing its leaders into exile. However, the third abortive coup nontheless represented a considerable blow to Pawws' political fortunes. Whilst he may have successfully defended his position against military intrigue, the coup put to nought notions that he still retained the backing of the military, still seen by many as the most important powerbloc within Pacific Orange. Hence in an attempt to restore that image, Pawws orchestrated a fourth, supposed coup against his government on the 27th December 1975 using military units loyal to the Presidency to carry out both the 'coup' and 'counter-coup'. Safely insulated against the machinations of the military, there now seemed to little to undermine Pawws' presidency.

The 1979 energy crisis and the end of the Pawws era Edit

The last years of the Pawws era was marked by increasing authoritarianism as the Ministry of the Interior expanded rapidly in size to become a large and complex organisation focused primarily on suppressing opponents of the Third Republic. Popular protests coupled with harsh police crackdowns soon became the norm as a vocal civil society emerged to challenge authoritarian rule, particularly as the Third Republic failed to ameliorate the downwards spiral in the nation's economy and industry. Matters soon came to a head with the onset of the 1979 energy crisis as rocketing oil prices fed once again an explosion in unemployment. Unable to deal adequately with the economic recession, Pawws was forced to raise taxes in order to fund his Minister of the Interior troops. Such measures at a time of hardship and difficulty not surprisingly generated much public hostility, and a series of strong protests composed primarily of students and labor unions escalated following the imposition of martial law. On the 18th May 1979, a confrontation broke out in Saint Victoria between Ministry of the Interior troops and students of the Saint Victoria National University protesting against the closure of their university, a long time hotbed of anti-Pawws sentiment and activity. For a period of nine days, the rioters successfully resisted brutal suppression by the Ministry of the Interior but finally on the 27th May, weakened and starved, armed police backed by tanks and armoured personnel carriers successfully beat down the protesters and broke past the barricades to forcibly dismantle the demonstration. Immediate estimates of the civilian death toll ranged from a few dozen to 2000 ( though a later full investigation by the civilian government would find only 207 deaths ). Nonetheless public outrage over the killings consolidated nationwide support for a restoration of democracy, helping to trigger another wave of popular protests against the Third Republic. Ultimately too large for the Ministry of the Interior's security forces to handle, the demonstrations forced Pawws to step down on the 18th August 1979 announcing the dissolution of the Third Republic and the first democratic elections to be held since 1974.

The Fourth Republic and the period of Conservative Rule Edit

Following the transfer of power from the authoritarian Third Republic of Pawws in December 1979, the Fourth Republic was founded on 24th December 1979. Owing to the nature of Pacific Orange politics since 1974, the only party capable of mounting an effective electoral campaign in the elections of Jnauary 1980 was the Nationalist Party which was elected to majorities once again in both houses of parliament - albeit by a much diminished margin. However unlike before, more moderate elements within the party now triumphed and the new Nationalist government headed by ... ( Pawws having been forced into exile as per the ... Accords ) pursued a policy - which still nonetheless reactionary - respected individual freedoms and rights. Nonetheless, campaigning strongly on a platform of liberty and equality, a Labor / Socialist coalition gained a sufficient number of votes to form a promising counterweight to Nationalist power in both houses of parliament.

This new period of conservative rule saw s significant amount of reform being implemented within the Pacific Orange state. The Ministry of the Interior which had by the end of the 1970's come to employ close to a quarter of the population was stripped immediately of its security role with many former Ministry of the Interior personnel transferred to positions within the Pacific Orange police force. Laws such as the Enabling Law or Law for the Protection of the Welfare of the State - which had legitimised the suspension of civil liberties - were repealed, replaced by a new constitution enshrining a bill of rights approved via referendum by the population. And in the economic spheres of life, many of the companies and assets which had previously been owned by Pawws or his closest associates were liquidated or otherwise privatised, the revenue generated used to fund the economic restoration of the nation as the new Nationalist government sought under its "Four Year Economic Program" to mould Pacific Orange to fit with the new international financial climate.

Under this program , the Nationalist government implemented a process of semi-nationalisation wherein key areas of the Pacific Orange economy would be developed under initially government run firms, funded by a mixture of state revenue and private investment. After a period of four years, the government agreed to reduce its stake in each company first from 80% to 60%, and then from 60% to 40%, allowing private investors to gain increasing control over the company in turn. Ultimately, the companies to be born from this scheme were the Pacific Orange Utilities Company ( responsible for improving the nation's infrastructure ), the Pacific Orange Wheat Board ( to handle the development of the nation's agricultural sector ), the Vosges Lumber Company, the Lagrange Banking and Financial Group ( the investment arm of Pacific Orange ) and the Morgenroete Armaments Corporation ( overseeing the development of the nation's military capabilities ). Whilst such policies drew warnings by certain figures over the threat of cartelisation, the scheme nonetheless helped to sow the seeds for Pacific Orange's future prosperity, enabling the nation to undergo rapid modernisation and industrialisation throughout the 1980's.

The collapse of the Socialist Party Edit

Success with its "Four Year Economic Program" along with economic stability throughout the 1980's, bolstered the Nationalists' popularity and saw a subsequent downturn in the Socialist / Labor coalition's electoral fortunes. Despite mounting an intense and ... campaign which saw the coalition at one point holding a brief lead in the opinion polls, in the June 1983 elections, the Nationalists 47% of the vote and the Socialist / Labor coalition only 22%. Although the Nationalists' share of the vote had fallen slightly since the December 1979 elections, the Socialist / Labor coalition vote had fallen by far more with the result that the Nationalists won a landslide victory being returned once again to a majority in both Houses of Parliament. Unable to reconcile over the question of whether to continue the coalition's pledge for wholesale nationalisation in the aftermath of their crushing electoral defeat, the Socialist / Labor coalition soon fell apart with the Labor party repudiating the pledge whilst the Socialists continued to remain strongly in favour. Though the two parties were no longer formally associated with each other, members of both sides continued often to back similar positions in parliament leading many to question whether a real split had taken place.

Such queries were soon put to an end when in the 1986 elections, the Labor party campaigned on a program of semi-privatisation of certain national assets, vehemently opposed by their former Socialist allies. Whilst both parties were unable to unseat the Nationalists from government, it was ultimately the Labor party which triumphed: polling strongly to gain for the first time a majority in the Senate. By contrast, the Socialists suffered another devestating reversal of electoral fortunes and by the late 1980's the party was facing political oblivion. Debate soon arose over a possible reformation of the party's constitution away from a radical left wing program of nationalisation and equalisation of wealth to a more moderate platform focused on state funded social welfare and semi-nationalisation. The resultant party acrimony saw the collapse of the Socialist Party as a single political body by May 1988 as radical elements led by ... split to form the Socialist Progressive Party. In response, moderate factions under ... formally announced the dissolution of the Pacific Orange Socialist Party and the foundation of the present day Republican Party of Pacific Orange in its place.

Admission of the New Territories and the current Pacific Orange state Edit

Whilst the Thai populations of Rayong Saiyan to the south of Pacific Orange had enjoyed good relations and strong trade and cultural links with the mainland areas - in particular with the German communities of the Schauinsland - having fought also alongisde Pacific Orange forces in both Great Patriotic Wars, they had nonetheless remained an indepedent state outside the nationhood of Pacific Orange. However as the 1980's progressed and the years of economic prosperity saw Pacific Orange regain its former prominence as the regional economic and industrial powerhouse, many within the Thai communities began advocating for unification with the rest of Pacific Orange, particularly as the political and financial ineptitude of their leaders led to a downturn in living conditions and employment opportunities.

Thus following a military coup which saw an authoritarian and thorougly repressive dictatorship headed by ... established over Rayong Saiyan, several political movements in favour of unification were set up such as the Movement for Unity and Progress, if only as a means of ameliorating the present hardships and crisis. Taken by the ruling military junta as a sign of dissidence against the regime, ... on the 18th May 1991 forbade all public demonstrations in favour of unification and arrested several prominent figures associated with the unification movement. As the crackdowns within Rayong Saiyan began to gain momentum and severity, the influx of refugees into Pacific Orange increased drastically sparking off discussions within the Pacific Orange political establishment on the possibility of armed intervention into the affairs of its sister nation in a bid to avert a possible destabilisation of the region.

Whilst strongly opposed by the Nationalists who argued that the costs of such an operation along with the necessary deployment of troops overseas were too high to be worth pursuing, more liberal elements led by the Labor Party and their Republican allies successfully persuaded the general Pacific Orange population of the humanitarian necessity of such an intervention. Hence amidst widespread sympathy for the plight of the citizens of Rayong Saiyan, the Pacific Orange parliament overwhelming endorsed the proposed 'Declaration of Principles' which sanctioned use of military action against the ... regime.

Unable to simultaneously defend himself against both external and internal threats to his position, the declaration provided the catalyst to the collapse of ...'s dictatorship. Forced to concede defeat, ...'s announcement of his resignation on the 23rd June 1992 saw the return of democracy to Rayong Saiyan and on the 31st August 1992, the unificationist ... was elected to power. Under the new government, closer relationshsip between the two nations was pursued culminating in the October Accords of 1992 whereby the movement of peoples and goods unrestricted by tariffs or immigration laws was allowed between both nations. The agreement marked the beginning of Rayong Saiyan's merger with the Pacific Orange state. After a series of plebiscites held throughout the nation on the issue of unification and a pledge by the Pacific Orange government to assist in the development of Rayong Saiyan, the Thai populations voted by a 2 to 1 margin in favour of unification with Pacific Orange. Thus on 3rd October 1990, the nation of Rayong Saiyan was formally dissolved and the new Pacific Orange nation - bolstered by the admission of the New Territories - was declared.

The rise of New Labor Edit

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