This is the sequel to A Nation Divided: A Story of the Fall of the Union. The story begins in the year 1908, in an alternate history where the CSA won the Civil War and technology advanced a little more quickly than in real history, beginning with the introduction of automobiles, tanks, and "aeroplanes" in the 1890's. Unless you read A Nation Divided, this story won't really make sense, so, please, read it before starting this one.This story was done as filler to show what went on in the early 1900's, and I will lengthen it in the future.
Location: The World in the year 1908
Scandinavia was extremely powerful. The Scandinavian Empire was one of the most powerful nations in Europe, second only to France. Since the end of the Great War, the world had enjoyed relative peace. Scandinavia took advantage of the peace and built up its economy and military. Everyone knew that Scandinavia was not anyone to pick a fight with. It may have technically on the losing side of the Great War, but what little it paid for they had already gained back many times over. It also was one of the first countries to adopt tanks and aeroplanes.
The invention of tanks and aeroplanes in the late 1890's had scared nations into line. Tanks were being mass-produced and almost every large country in Europe and North America had thousands of the metal contraptions. Aeroplanes were slightly rarer, but major nations flaunted highly-trained aero forces, including Scandinavia, with its Valkyrie Squadron, and the Confederacy, with its Vicksburg Aero Regiment. So far, though, aero planes and tanks had only seen action in a mini war between Chile and Argentina - over some land disputes in 1900. But only a couple thousand had died, so it was not a good test of their combat potential, since it was more of a battle than a war- a battle that was quickly ended by diplomacy.
When Gordon died after serving as "president" for life, his hand-picked successor, Grover Cleveland, who was negatively nick-named "the Tyrant of of Caldwell, New Jersey," ruled only for a little while, dying in 1907. Cleveland's successor was Alton B. Parker, a New York lawyer. When the public became angry to the verge of rebellion over the absence of elections, the army was sent in. Those who resisted further were brought before the Congressional Committee on Unpatriotic Activities to be sentenced. The presidents, each time power changed, grew more powerful, especially when Parker attained absolute control over the Grand Army of the Republic. The GAR was a good army, but even in 1908, it had not fully recovered from the decades of devastation in the late 1800's.
The Confederate States of America was tied with Napoleon IV's Imperial France as the most powerful nation in the world. Its economy boomed and its army and navy was the envy of the world. Only the British Royal Fleet was superior as a naval force. The CSA never let its guard down on its borders; a huge fence was built along most of the border with the US and armored divisions and thousands of troops were stationed everywhere. If the US ever wanted to attack, the CSA would see it coming, scramble the defenses, and take the fight to the Union once again.
Along the border with Deseret, however, it was extremely open. The two countries had great respect for each other and there was not the remotest possibility either nation would consider attacking the other.
The borders with Catholic California and Mexique were also very friendly. Although California kept many of their burgundy-clad royal soldiers on the boundary, they acted more like park police and traffic cops than anything else.
The border with Colorado was far more unfriendly and was much more secure. The white-uniformed Colorado troopers patrolled regularly.
Colorado was growing very strong. When it talked Wyoming, Nebraska, and the remnants of Montana into joining it, some said it would become the new version of the United States. However, the continent was shocked when it annexed those regions as simply more Colorado, doing away with those three states entirely. It was one country, without states, in the manner of Europe.
While there was no real feud between the CSA and Colorado, Deseret and Colorado hated each other. Each had a state religion, unlike both the Confederate and United States: Mormonism for Deseret and Protestantism for Colorado.
The Episcopalian Republic of Idaho was more friendly with Britain than any of its other neighbors, and it always kept its small army on the border.
Canada still hated the United States and all it stood for. Shooting wars had almost broken out a number of times, most recently in Cleveland's administration, when a Mountie was shot by a Yankee soldier by "accident." Luckily, the Mountie survived and the US agreed to court-martial and dishonorably-discharge the shooter. Canada protected Idaho like a little brother, and they kept trying to get it to join Canada.
Mexique was becoming more and more French. Spanish was growing rarer, more French people moved there, and the government's official language was French. It was also not really a country, but a territory.
It all happened so quickly. The Colorado Republican Arm, completely unprovoked, had invaded Deseret, destroying all in their path. Starting April 5th, 1908, Colorado had used the momentum from their surprise attack to crush the various Deseret border towns. In a matter of weeks, the Mormons were on their knees. Now, in the bloody, shell-pocked streets of Salt Lake City, an epic battle was raging. This was the key moment and the best chance Deseret would have of pushing the invaders back. No turning back. Fight for Deseret or watch it fall. A line in the sand.
"In the name of the great Jehovah, forward, men of Deseret!"
"Hoo-rah! the mormon troops lifted their rifles in the air and roared their approval of their sergeant's battle-cry. "For the Lord of Hosts is with us!"
"Now, carry our blue standard to that enemy-held building and wave it on the rooftop when you capture it!"
"Hoo-rah!" At that, the orange-clad Deseret troopers charged down the street, scurrying over the piles of bombed-out rubble. With rifles blazing, they assaulted the building, an old warehouse being held by CRA troops. Outside the building was a machine gun nest, the main obstacle. Inside the building was one Colorado's Krupp guns, a surplus item from the Great War. Germany had been selling off its old military equipment since the Great War to recover the money it had before the war occurred. It had even been making new equipment specifically for sale. Examples of their widespread use? Union states' infantry regiments now were usually equipped with German stahlhelms. The CSA's biggest producer of guns and artillery was Germany, though the CSA units usually sported French-style Adrian helmets, which offered less protection, but the Southerners cared more about style than utility. All most all of Deseret's tanks were made by Germany, particularly the Eisenroß(Iron Steed) mini-tanks, which were now waiting to recapture Salt Lake City after the infantry knocked out the Krupp gun. From its vantage point, a wall that the Coloradans had cut to fit the cannon's muzzle through, it could easily have blown the small mini-tanks to bits and pieces.
The Colorado machine gun as mowing down the advancing Mormons in droves. Knowing he had to do something, a corporal, Ezekiel Williams, ran out into the open in a desperate attempt to storm the nest. Barely reaching it alive, he threw himself to the ground. After pulling the pin out of his grenade, he threw it inside the nest. With a loud boom, the nest's sandbag walls gave way, burying any occupants that might have survived the blast.
When the MG nest fell silent, the Mormons surged forward. Bashing down the warehouse doors, they fought the Coloradans in brutal hand-to-hand combat. At last, an infantryman waved the LDS banner on the rooftop.
"Long live Deseret! We have victory! Victory! Bring in the tanks!"
The tide of battle had turned.
Ezekiel waved his cap and hollered, "Down with Colorado!" when the flag was raised. The assault had cost 230 men their lives. But with the Krupp gun captured, they could now bring up the mini-tanks and plow over the barricades set up by the Coloradan soldiers. Zeke put his dust-colored cap back on, slung his rifle over his shoulder, and went to his sergeant. "Hey, Sarge! What's gonna happen now?"
The sergeant grinned and put on his sallet helmet. It was not an actual sallet from the Middle Ages, but rather a new design based on the old sallet helmets. Californian armor experts had developed the helmet in 1906, for their army. The Mormons took them and repainted them tan and dark orange. "Well, Corporal Williams, we bring in General Simpson's Eisenross tank division and finish our reconquista of Salt Lake City. It's gonna be bloody as Hades, a lotta lead flyin', but we'll do it! When General Simpson gets here, now that their artillery is down, we're gonna aim to recapture the government buildings.Whatever we do, we gonna kill us some Rockies!"
Before long, Simpson's German-made clanking metal contraptions were coming down the streets, or, at least, what used to be streets, but were now piles of mangled scrap, metal, and bodies.
General Andrew Simpson was one of the best commanders Deseret had. America had "Mad" Anthony Wayne, Deseret had "Fightin' Lightnin'" Andy Simpson. The flamboyant, middle-aged officer liked to make a show of everything, especially if it made it more glorious. Numerous times, he had risked his own life and those of his men simply because having a higher chance of death gave the attacks more bravado. In the first few days of the war, he had led his tanks in a massive cavalry-style attack across an open field, "just for the heck of it." However, his ability to win, especially when commanding his "chivalrous armored mechanized steeds," was unquestionable. As was typical of his style, he was standing something like Washington crossing the Delaware. Zeke thought it was deliberate. Simpson, sword in hand, screamed a battle-cry, "Victory, my brave soldiers! Victory!"
"Hoo-rah! Hoo-rah! Hoo-rah for Fightin' Lightnin'!"
"Go get 'em, General Simpson!"
"It's Simpson here to powder them Rockies!"
After the troops stopped cheering, Simpson delivered a line from one of his idols, Captain Oliver Perry, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours!" More cheering. "We showed them Rockies what happens to 'em when they pick on our Mormon Republic of Deseret. We're gonna chase 'em back to Denver, where they belong!"
Simpson then went into a purple prose-laced speech, talking about his "severe and unfathomable animosity toward the maniacal, drunken, and thoroughly un-noble Colorado rapscallions." Finally, his rant ended and he gave the order to move out. With pockets of infantry marching behind each of the battle machines, they rolled into the center of Salt Lake City, wiping out any CRA troops they found along the way.
All that night and the next day, intense fighting around the government buildings killed over 3000 men on both sides. After it became clear that they could not hold back the Mormon forces, the beaten and bloodied Colorado army pulled out of Salt Lake City and back to the Colorado border.
Britain, fearful that Colorado might attack Idaho or even the Canadian-owned Dakotas, told the "Rockie Republic" to knock off unprovoked violence. Colorado ignored it. Once again, Britain warned Colorado to stop shooting and being aggressive toward its neighbors, claiming it "threatened the delicate post-Great War peace."
On April 15th, an angry Governor Nelson sent an explosive, profanity-laced letter to the British embassy in Denver. In the letter, Nelson told the king, George V, who had just replaced Edward VII after his death of a heart attack , among other things, to go "mind his business and leave Colorado alone like a good little Sepoy-king should," contemptuously referencing the king's title of "Emperor of India." Further, he said "George should go jump in the Thames, and/or any nearby large body of water." The incendiary letter proved that Colorado did not fear Britain or its allies. The letter had Nelson's desired effect: Britain either had to do nothing and be made fun of by other countries for letting a "hilljack" nation deliberately insult the Empire and its king, or declare war, which Colorado was prepared for. Either way, Colorado was happy, but preferred war.
On May 1st, Britain declared war.
Colorado had a strategy they had devised by studying the Canadian-US conflict in the Great War. Its main ideas were these:
During the Great War, the USA had a huge, expansive border with Canada and the Confederacy at the same time. Colorado had a much smaller border with Canada and Idaho, an easily-defensible border with the second-class nation of Deseret, and was not at war with the CSA. The Deseret border was easily-defensible because Colorado always had a strong, large, fresh army to guard it from attack. It had been compared to the ancient Persian Immortal regiments; when one man falls, another takes his place, at least for the foreseeable future. That, the Colorado government decided, was the key: they had to execute their plans before the army was worn-down. The desire for war with England was not pointless or wanton; Dakota had been resisting British occupation since 1870. It would eagerly join Colorado and would even fight for Colorado if it meant kicking the English out. That was why the Redcoats ruled Dakota with an iron fist. But, with so much anti-British sentiment, just one teeny, tiny assault into Dakota and a little gun-running, would have the Dakotans foaming at the mouth and likely cause them to topple the imposed government. When that happened, a new, stronger Colorado would attack the rest of Canada and Deseret. With the possible, even likely, annexation of Idaho, Montana, Dakota, and maybe even Oregon and Washington within a year, if all went according to plan, Colorado would be a great power and ready to crush anyone who stood against them.
As you can imagine, this terrified the North American continent. The very idea of a loose-cannon nation dominating a full quarter of what used to be the greater United States disturbed even the European nations.
What was even more disturbing was how riots erupted in Gordon and Pierre. British soldiers had been killed in the ensuing mob rampages. Also, in the time it took Britain to mobilize, Colorado had already chopped off counties from Idaho.
In late May, General Simpson led the Mormon army in an attack on Grand Junction, only to be pushed back. Scandinavian-made tanks were starting to be used by the Colorado Republican Army that were far superior to the German Eisenross mini-tanks used by the Mormons. Using these large, expensive new tanks, Colorado held the border.
In the first week of June, a small force was sent into Dakota to further foment rebellion. The British army was now fully mobilized, however, and had finally met the CRA in battle alongside its Idahoan allies. At the Battle of Georgetown, Idaho, in Bear Lake County, Colorado met defeat. But, thanks to a fresh group of tanks, at the follow-up battle in Montpelier, the Coloradoans had their revenge, crushing both the Idahoans and British.
Britain's Royal Aero Force (RAF) had not participated in an actual war until the Western War. At the Battle over Bloomington, Idaho, RAF, Idahoan, and Mormon planes faced-off against the Colorado Republican Aero Division. This battle severely affected the outcome of the war. This was the first time in history that countries threw their aero might at one another in an air-only battle. Whoever could massacre the other's planes in this battle would have one-upmanship for the rest of the war.
Over eight hours of continuous plane-to-plane combat ensued, with Britain's pilot, Andrew Percy, leading the Allied kill total at 12 planes downed. Coloradoan captain Edward McGuffy blew 16 planes out of the air, leading both CRA kill totals and the Allies'. At the opening of the battle, a British aeroplane had shot down a Coloradan patrol plane. Within minutes, more planes were scrambled by Colorado. Despite the fact that they were in the air, the pilots of both sides used infantry and cavalry tactics: lightly-equipped planes attacked the Allied center while heavily-armed and armored Coloradoan aces attempted a flanking attack. The flanking maneuver succeeded in downing over thirty Allied aeroplanes, and killing British Aerocommandant Richard Barnes, commander of the Allied aerofleet. At last, the Allied planes fell back in disarray, many crashing by running out of fuel.
While the Coloradan invasion of Idaho was underway, Dakota rose up against Britain. The city of Gordon was the birthplace of the Great Rebellion of 1908.
Nathan Riley looked at the flag his wife held up; she had worked on it for weeks. "How does it look?" she asked.
The crimson banner had a two-headed eagle, sword in one talon, Bible in the other. Below the eagle were the words "Never Accept Subjugation." It made Nathan proud. "I love it. Exactly what our provisional government asked for! Thank you, my dear." Nathan clapped his hands together and rubbed them in anticipation of the uprising. "Now, if I don't come back back... well, take care of the family. But I think I'll be fine." He gave her a hug and grabbed his shotgun from over the fireplace. Then, with the now-folded flag under one arm, he headed down the street to a plaza of houses. Several of his neighbors were there waiting for him, as they had planned. Upon seeing Nathan, Pieter van Gent, a Dutch immigrant, waved to him. Putting the flag on a pole that another man had brought, they prepared themselves for the coming battle.
A dark-skinned man wearing dungarees, a buckskin shirt, and a mohawk walked up to the squad, "I've come back from my spying," the Sioux said with an adrenaline-filled expression. "The time is right, brothers! We must attack the British fort now. Half of them are asleep."
Immediately, a Civil War-era drum began to beat, calling the local militiamen from their homes. Over half of them were Indians. The British did not set up reservations the way the Americans did; they instead forced civilization on the natives, which added greatly to the number of natives joining the resistance.
When the militia had formed a quasi-organized formation, Nathan drew his father's old blade from its scabbard, "Forward... at the double-quick... march!"
As the minutes went by, the rebels grew closer to the targeted British fort.
Corporal Angus MacGregor paced up and down the fort wall. His kilt and pith helmet badge showed that he was a Scot belonging to the local garrison. He stopped pacing and peered through his binoculars at the streets below. He could have sworn he could hear marching. "Hmmm... Wot's this ah I see? Hoot, man, get over here, private! Ah think I've spotted an attack!" Another Scot, the private, raced over immediately. He grabbed the field glasses from the other clansman and scanned the area; the streets were lit, but it was very dark that night and street lanterns could only do so much. "Quick, sound the alarm! We are under attack!"
Corporal MacGregor rang the bell like Quasimodo in the Notre Dame Cathedral; he knew almost everyone was asleep. Immediately, the Redcoats all over the complex were scrambling to their positions.
In the base armory...
"Quick," said an Anglo trooper, "Help me get into this gas mask, Hobbes!"
Hobbes, another trooper, strapped on the gas mask and made sure the other man's filter was in the right position, "Aye! Now here be yer helmet. Gas 'em all, Sergeant Wilkes!"
Wilkes picked up his gas gun, "Aye, Hobbes. Wait till those rebels get a taste o' the New Age of Warfare!" At that, Wilkes charged outside, running up the stairs to the top of the fort walls. Taking careful aim, his gun sprayed a foul gas on the mob, causing lung failure and temporary blindness. "You want a war? The Empire will give ye a war ye'll never forget!" Wilkes shouted.
Within hours, Gordon was on fire, flames spreading from house to house. The smell of chemical weapons hung in the air, mixing with the gun smoke and the foul stench of dead bodies. The Rebellion of '08 had begun.
Soon, most British troops were being shipped to Dakota, rather than to the West. Coloradoan forces were rampaging through British territory. Deseret defended its borders the best it could against the numerous offensives, but it could only do so much.
Colorado was winning.
Dakota had caught the rebellion fever. Violence reigned supreme as they combated the British army. England put the new chemical weapons to good use, but still, resistance grew. When CRA troops crossed the border, all Hades broke loose.
Gordon is the same thing as the city of Bismarck, ND.
Location: The Rocky Mountain Line, a bloody trench line that snaked up the entire Deseret-Colorado border...
Since the war began, there had been trenches, and it was something everyone knew and accepted. Now, though, it was getting out of hand. For the last two years, war had raged on. Two whole years of warfare between Idaho, Britain, Colorado, and Deseret. After Britain deployed gas on the battlefield, it took no time at all before Colorado and Deseret had their own supplies. At the end of 1908, Dakota had received a huge amount of help from Colorado to push out the British with. The region was, at the start of 1909, divided into two sections-- British-controlled North Dakota and rebel-controlled South Dakota. The rebels were gaining ground all the time. Idaho was in a mess; Colorado controlled the entire south-east of the country. Deseret, with the brilliant General Simpson, was holding its own. Every day, after artillery barraged both sides' trenches, a wave of cavalry and tanks charged. Sometimes they made it to the opposite side, engaged the enemy, and drove them off, and other times they were slaughtered like targets at a shooting gallery. When the war was starting, people were questioning the usefulness of cavalry charges. But, generals still tried to follow J.E.B. Stuart's Manual of Horse. Revolutionary tactics were developed that used tanks and horses hand-in-hand. No more were cavalry packed together in a Napoleonic fashion, to be mowed down by Vickers and BAR's. They instead used Stuart tactics of harassment: gallop behind the tanks, the tanks put large horizontal metal "wings" on the side for the cavalry to use as shields, and infantry could also use them. With horses in tow, the tanks used their cannons and machine guns to target enemy artillery attempting to wipe out the cavalry. When the tank approached the enemy trench, the "wings" folded, allowing dragoons, rifle-equipped horse soldiers, to dash into the enemy trench. The cavalry proved much more effective at breaking the morale than infantry did. If you saw a big man on a big horse with a big rifle, you would probably run for the hills. Of course, the enemy sometimes deployed their own horse soldiers, which packed the trenches and turned them into frightening hell-holes with men being trampled, stabbed, and shot. But usually, the enemy kept their cavalry back. The Coloradans indisputably had the best cavalry: the Governor's Own Hussars. Unlike other regiments, the GO's Hussars were not centered in a hometown or city. Instead, they were the best-of-the-best from all over the country. The term "hussars," instead of light cavalry or dragoons, was used simply because it sounded romantic and old-fashioned. The fancier a regiment was, the more people wanted to join. The South and North had learned that at the beginning of the War for Southern Independence: the cavalry outfits were overrun with enlistees who craved to be like the Revolutionary and Napoleonic heroes of old, while groups such as artillery were looked down upon as demeaning labor fit only for hillbillies. Since then, armies made sure to stress the "romance of war" to keep enlistment up in such an uncertain era where things could be peaceful one day, bloody the next.
"Hup! Hup! Hup! Hup! Platoon, halt!" instructed Sergeant Bonds. The men who he was commanding were thirty Colorado soldiers, fresh from Denver. They were there to take the place of KIA artillerymen. "All right, ladies, man those guns!"
"Yessir!" the men bustled over the field guns, or, modern cannons, getting them into working order.
The sergeant used his field glasses to examine the Mormon defenses. "That's right, you danged scoundrels, right into our line of fire. Hah!" Were the Mormons across the field calling him a scoundrel? Probably. Bonds did mental math. "Men, shrapnel shell! 4-second fuse! Blast 'em!"
The soldiers put shrapnel shells into the field guns' breeches. Screwing the breeches back, they lit the fuses. With a mighty thundering explosion, the shrapnel shells shot through the air and exploded over the Deseret trench-line. With blood-curdling screams, dozens of Mormon soldiers went down. Within seconds, Mormon artillery opened up. Within minutes, over a hundred men on each side were down.
Bonds stared at the carnage as his men continued lobbing shells. His handlebar twitched. He thought he heard something. "What is that?" He kept observing. "Uh-oh. I'll bet my mustache that they're gonna go over the top." He was right. The noise he heard was a Mormon battle drum. A few minutes later, the dark orange-jacketed Deseret troops guided tanks up onto the field, infantry marching behind. A few cavalry soldiers accompanied them, but the Mormon cavalry had "gone over the top" two days before, and they still had not recovered from the losses.
"Forward, men! Show the Rockies what-for!" shouted an imposing man who was carrying the Deseret flag. He was standing atop a mini-tank, and he was wearing a bicorne. Most countries had long abandoned such headgear, but Deseret deliberately tried to be bring back the "glory days" of the Utah War and other, similar conflicts. But Bonds had heard that voice before.
"General Simpson!" thought Bonds. "Men, aim at that mini-tank! NOW! Take him down! Take him down!"
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A Mormon dragoon galloped up alongside General Simpson's tank. "General Simpson! Please, Your Excellency, step down off there! The country needs you!"
"Bah and humbug, soldier! I want to get to the action, guide the strategy myself." Simpson swore at a Mormon who was running away from the fight. "Filthy deserter" He drew his revolver and gunned the man down.
The dragoon kept insisting, "Sir! Please, step down!"
Before the General could refuse again, a shrapnel shell burst overhead. With a bone-cracking sound, the dragoon and his horse went down, not to rise till Judgment Day.
"Forward!" screamed Simpson at the top of his lungs. "Victory! Don't turn back!" With that, another shell exploded less than two feet away. Simpson looked at his body. He was riddled with shot. Blood escaping from the corner of his mouth, he released the flag and toppled from his tank. The Mormon army lost its leader.
Ezekiel loaded a cartridge into his Browning. After Simpson's death two months ago, the Mormon army met one disaster after another. Now, Colorado troops were in some parts of Salt Lake City itself. The Mormon government had fled to Smithburg, far out in the western regions. The Coloradans were hell-bent on subjugating the country.
Over Ezekiel's dead body.
He and a large force of Mormons were entrenched in Temple Square, the Mormon version of the Vatican. The Temple Square grounds contained the Salt Lake Temple, the Salt Lake Tabernacle, the Capitol Castle; a huge stone fortress, the Nauvoo Legion Monument, and the Salt Lake City Joseph Smith and Brigham Young Monument, featuring murals surrounding the lives of the two martyrs. It featured a painting of Smith receiving the Golden Plates and Urim and Thummim, his death at the hands of a mob in a prison in Carthage, Illinois, Brigham Young leading his people in rebellion against the USA, and his eventual execution for treason by then-president of the US, Noah Webster Gordon. Now, there were machine guns mounted from the Tabernacle's windows. Barbed wire surrounding the Nauvoo Legion statue, and blood spots on the streets.
Ezekiel's captain paced behind their sandbags barricade. "All right, 7:00. Turn on the spotlights. Don't want those sneaky Rockies creepin' up on us in the dark." The electric lights, blindingly bright, lit up the ravaged streets. Ford cars, a popular American company, and Stonewall Motors cars, a Confederate brand, were overturned and burning. Medics with crosses on their sallet helmets gathered the dead and wounded, Mormon and Coloradan alike, and put them on horse-drawn ambulances. It was a picture of misery. The Colorado troops were nowhere to be seen at the moment, but that didn't mean they weren't there. On the contrary, both sides knew exactly where the other was. The Colorado army was down the road, not yet having breached the Square defenses. The captain peered through his field glasses, "Danged smoke is keeping from seein' much. Point those lights down there, men!" The troops aimed the spotlights to where the captain wanted. "That's bet- Wait. Uh-oh. Tank! A Scandy tank and some infantry are coming down the road. Get ready!"
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Sergeant Bonds and his artillery crew hiked down the road in Salt Lake City. A Rockie Mountain Motors truck rushed by. The soldiers in the truck bed were waving their bush hats, "Yee-haw! We're gonna wup 'em, boys! Ha-ha! Chase the dastards down and kill 'em all!" roared one.
Bonds waved his fist, "Dang right, we'll wup 'em! Y'all can take that to the bank!"
A group of officers paraded by on horseback. At the front was General Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt was actually an American who had defected to Colorado. He was top-notch. Colorado's generals were known to be exceptional, especially 80 year-old four-star general Raymond W. van Dyke. Most of the generals were fat and elderly, however strategically-inclined, who stayed at a base far away with a map and a velvet chair, but not Roosevelt. He was always seen near the front lines; he was even wounded by shrapnel once. Now, he was in charge of bringing Salt Lake City to its knees. After Roosevelt passed, a huge group of Scandinavian-made tanks passed by. A pilot popped his head out of the turret and waved to Bonds, "Hey, fella, ain't this the cat's pajamas?! We're marchin' on Temple Square! Stick with my tank squadron, give us some support. Gotta MG?"
A private in Bonds group held up a hand-cranked machine gun, "Shore do!"
"Bee's knees!" exclaimed the tank pilot, "Don't take any wooden dimes and be a dumb Dora, and by that, I mean don't get shot like a goof. The last vanguards we had got toasted by a Mormon rifle platoon. Got it? Everything'll be Jake if you gimme a helping hand."
"You ain't from around here, are you?" asked Bonds. He could barely understand the pilot.
The pilot strapped on his helmet, "You're from nowhere's like, like my father. Oldies always seem to hate modern expressions."
Bonds made a face, "I'm 53 and proud of it. Now speak real English, if you please."
The pilot grinned slyly, "Yeah, 'shore thang, buddy,' " he said, mocking Colorado "mountain men" accents. "Now get some men in front of me. Don't wanna roll over any mines, dontcha know. I lost my cousin to one of those. Now get moving, sergeant!"
Bonds did as asked, but he had one more reason not to like the next generation of soldiers, "Honestly," he muttered, "His type will be the end of us, I swear it. This is just 1911... I shudder to think what the twenties will be like..."
18 minutes later...
Bonds and his fellows were nearing Temple Square. The houses lining the streets seemed deserted and, usually, burnt and shelled. Younger soldiers seemed horrified. Not Bonds. He had fought in the Colorado Indian Wars in the 1890's. He had seen blood. He had drawn it. He had seen families lose so many homes it barely fazed him anymore. Once, his division had wiped out a Ute village. He had not liked it, but, as the old story goes, he was just following orders. He was not afraid to face the Mormon soldiers. His men had once faced 10-to-1 odds with the Cheyenne. The Cheyenne were subjugated and conquered over a decade before. The Mormons would soon be, too. Then... Colorado would be a great power. A great power able to make war upon any nation it wanted, even the Confederacy and California. Bonds might be an old man by the time he saw it, or maybe even dead, but he knew the Colorado flag would fly in Southern territory one day. Colorado would be invincible. Once a lowly territory sparsely populated with Americans and heavily populated with Utes and Cheyenne, it would be an Empire of the West.
With these thoughts, he loaded his rifle and, without even thinking, charged ahead of his group, "Kill 'em all! Death to Deseret!"
"Hoo-rah! Hoo-rah!" cried to Colorado troops. Seconds before, they were terrified. Now, fueled by adrenaline and fanaticism, they sprinted behind Bonds, blasting away at anything that moved. The Mormons opened fire, downing five Coloradans. They surged forward again, leaping over the bodies. The Mormons fired another barrage of bullets, downing eight more. The Coloradans returned fire and set up their own machine gun, the hand-cranked one that the soldier had held up earlier. Bonds pushed away the current gunner and took personal control of the MG.The Mormons were startled; their men were going down, even with the protection of the sandbag wall. The Coloradan tank had also pulled up to the front and had blasted a gaping hole in their barricade.
The pilot roared his approval. "Yeah! Yeah! Now you're on the trolley, guys !"
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Ezekiel pulled a dead comrade away from the sandbag wall. "That's the twentieth one. Land o' Goshen, we're losing," he muttered, searching the casualty for ammunition and personal items, especially his boots. It was close to grave-robbing and quite barbaric, but Deseretians were desperate these days. The army even had conscription for all males over 13. Occasionally, even women had fired guns at the CRA. A little innocent looting of the deceased would not kill anyone, no pun intended. Besides, the soldiers wouldn't need the items where they were going, Up or Down. Grabbing his rifle again, he mounted his spot on the wall and peppered the Coloradans with gunfire. Suddenly, the CRA troops dashed forward and started to mount the barricade and go through the blasted-out hole. Ezekiel smacked a mustached man, who looked about 30 years his senior, with the butt of his rifle. The soldier took the blow and tackled him. The huge man got on top and knocked him out. Before he blacked out, Ezekiel heard his officer shout to retreat. A minute later, he woke up, to be greeted with dozens of Colorado reinforcements swarming after the remnants of the Deseret defenders. Immediately, a trooper fired several bullets into Ezekiel's chest. The CRA had taken Temple Square, the symbol of the Latter-Day Saints and of Deseret. The Colorado troops advanced into the capital....
Over Ezekiel's dead body.
ABOVE: Temple Square as photographed in 1897.
Bonds and his men advanced across the rubble of the Mormon capital. Everywhere, Colorado soldiers, wearing kepis, bush hats, and their Austrian-white uniforms were cheering and hooting. Shells and bullets littered the ground. A Colorado gas trooper entered a building and sprayed a cloud of death at the Deseret remainders.
A new group of Mormon infantry was advancing in their direction, intent on making the capture of the capital hell. The BAR's were spewing bullets in Bonds' direction, so he took cover behind some rubble. The Colorado tank caught up with the advancing army and blasted several shells at the enemy, taking out a group of mounted cavalry officers.
Bonds checked his gun. Empty. He grabbed a Thompson from a dead Mormon and gave the order to advance again. "Go! Go! Go! We got 'em on the run! The end is nigh!"
The troopers burst out cheering and laughing and raced out of their cover. More Mormons went down. The tank pilot followed the advance just yards behind. Finally, an explosive took off one of the treads. The pilot opened the hatch and scurried quickly down to the ground with a toolbox. "Hey, men, keep me covered while I fix this thing! The treads been broken. I know how to fix it, though!" He went to work.
Bonds wiped his forehead with his sleeve. "You heard him! Covering fire!"
"Covering fire! You heard the Sarge!" The Coloradans fired blindly into the oncoming Mormons. Both sides were suffering large casualties. One brave trooper tried to cross the street to get new ammunition, but he was immediately taken down by a sniper.
"We got a sniper! Where is he?" Bonds yelped.
"Can't see 'im, Sarge! We just need to get the tank fixed ASAP," replied a nearby soldier.
"We don't have time for that. Someone, get in contact with the officers and get reinforcements! Now!" Bonds' hat was shot off for the third time that day. He stood upright for a moment a fired an entire clip into the attackers.
He waited and waited. The numbers of his men were getting dangerously low. 10 had been shot by the sniper, and another 30 were either badly wounded or killed. At last, he heard something from behind. The Governor's Own Hussars. With flags waving in the wind, swords and revolvers pointed toward the enemies, the dashing horseman charged the Mormons, who became struck with fear. One after another, they were cut down, screaming for mercy, but receiving none. Finally, they fled. The Hussars did a u-turn and came back to Bonds. One of the men, wearing a European-style busby, saluted. "Well, Sergeant Bonds, can you handle it from here?"
Bonds checked his Thompson. "Yeah, 'believe so. Ya did a cracker-jack job, Major."
The horseman grinned. "Just doing my duty, Bonds. Hasten forward quickly, men! By jingo we'll wipe them out!" The Hussars galloped away, looking like a neo-classical painting.
Bonds put a cigar in his mouth. "All right, fellows. Let's move."
The tank roared back to life The pilot gave a thumbs-up. "Got her running, guys! Let's blow 'em to the Devil's Den!" He pulled the hatch down over him and targeted the tank's cannon at the Salt Lake Tabernacle. For a half-hour, he shelled the church. Finally, the domed building collapsed. A huge explosion followed. A large ball of red-hot debris shot up.
Then Bonds saw them. "Aeroplanes! Take cover, men!"
The dark orange-painted planes fired their machine guns at the Colorado infantry and the tank. Men were falling like flies, and the tank now had a column of pitch-black smoke coming out of the engine. Bonds did not know it, but the pilot was dead. The planes came swooping out of the sky like dragons, firing machine gun bullets as they made strafing runs on the streets of Temple Square. More Mormon troops marched willingly to their deaths, wanting to defend their sacred sites to the last man. Bonds stopped in the middle of the street, raised his Thompson, and fired. One of Mormon biplanes crashed to the ground, exploding just about thirty feet away.
More engines were heard.
A Coloradan gave a whoop. "Yes! It's our flyboys comin' to the rescue!"
Up in the sky...
Lucas Winters fingered his plane's joystick. As commander of Aeroregiment 16, he was tasked with directing his men in destroying the Mormon Aeroforce in the skies over Temple Square. His plane dipped for a moment and he decreased the speed for a moment. He waved his hand to Ernst von Eiffel, a German daredevil who had joined the Colorado Aeroforce for kicks. Ernst gave a thumbs up. Lucas looked to his left. Harry Robertson, one of Colorado's ace-of-aces. Harry pulled down his goggles and also thumbed up. Lucas got their attentions and pointed down, using his hand to make a machine gun sign. They dived. The other planes in the Aeroegiment followed suit. Within seconds, the Knights of the Air were blasting each other into tiny pieces. Lucas checked his plane's controls after a Mormon scored a direct hit just to the left of his wooden propeller. After he was sure it was safe, he attacked again. The machine gun blasted a Mormon's upper right wing off, sending it spiraling to the ground. Robertson was also scoring his first victim of the day. "Dang," Lucas muttered. "That'll be his 80th!"
Harry, known as the "White Knight," for his chivalry and plane color, raised his fist. He went for his 81st. He flew up behind a Mormon aerocaptain, a tri-winger. He squeezed the trigger. Bullets sprayed through the Deseret aeroman's wings, but the clever Mormon did a 360 roll, bringing himself up behind Robertson. Before he knew what had happened, Robertson's wings were on fire. He spiraled through the sky, trying to use the speed of the air to put it out. He knew it was hopeless. He brought himself back into the engagement, fire actually singeing his leather jacket. Parachutes would not be invented for another five years, so he went on one last glorious run. He squared off against the Mormon captain and two of his flankers. He immediately downed the two flankers, who plummeted to the streets below. Mono-a-mono, dueled with the Mormon captain. Five seconds later, the captain let out a scream and his plane exploded. It was done. Lucas watched the White Knight's plane make a suicide attack on the Capitol Castle. His plane exploded and the turret of the building that he had hit collapsed. He did not know it, but in the crash, he had killed the Mormon leader of Congress.
The White Knight had gone out with a bang.
Down on the streets below...
Bonds fired his Thompson at a window, taking out a Mormon sniper. His men had watched Robertson's horrific crash, and now they wanted to avenge him. The last of the Mormon pilots were dead men flying, so they no longer worried about an air attack. The last of the Mormons were held up inside Capitol Castle with several government leaders.
The Governor's Own Hussars were back with Bonds' men again. Bonds waved to major. "Major! Major! What are our orders?"
The Major acted as flamboyant as before. "Our orders are to take no prisoners. None. They are to be exterminated. Understood?"
"Yessir! My pleasure!" The Hussars trotted up the Capitol's marble stairs and planted a bomb at the door. When it went off, the doors flung open, killing several Republican Guards behind them. The infantry and Hussars charged inside, gutting and shooting all before them. Within ten minutes, it was over. The Western War was finished.