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Roleplay / Red Dawn +20

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In 1984, the quintessential Red Scare film Red Dawn came out and opened with a shocking invasion of the American heartland. It covered a small band of Resistance fighters in the opening months of World War III as they attacked the Dirty Communists that invaded their homeland and were gradually destroying their town, until eventually, only two of them survived to escape to American lines.

Someone, however, was intrigued by Colonel Andrew Tanner's review of the War in North America by November 1985. With vague talk of things such as The Siege of Denver, unspecified horrors being inflicted on the population of Texas, and the Mississippi River becoming a frontline, John Milius's take on the Third World War had rich potential for expansion...


And so they did...

Red Dawn +20 originally started as a thread on an Alternate History message board that ran 335 pages before relocating to this members only message board dedicated to organizing the available information and subject matter. (The Wiki Rule is also enforced.) After some considerable Retconning to separate some wheat from the chaff, a coherent, believable timeline for World War III emerged. A bloody conflict lasting from September 3, 1985, to October 14, 1989.

This extended story, told from the points-of-view of posters roleplaying as veterans of the war, covers every facet of the fight imaginable.


This thread provides examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Several tell their stories, including one who enlisted with the Canadians as a teenager lying about his age, got found out after scoring several kills, joined the Marines (where they didn't care how old you were as long as you could fly), shot down quite a few more Commies, then, after turning 18, joined the Kentucky Air National Guard to score still more kills flying with the Kentucky ANG... winding up with a confirmed score of 70.
  • Allohistorical Allusion: Many Real Life contemporary figures played a big part in the war.
    • Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell led the defense and offenses that saved America. The latter would become President of the US in 2004.
    • George H. W. Bush becomes President "early" as Ronald Reagan was killed when Washington, D.C. got nuked.
    • National Security Advisor and retired General H.R. McMaster distinguished himself as a young lieutenant in charge of a scout platoon in the 1st Armored Division.
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    • Gus Hall is made the president of the American puppet government.
    • Former musician, record producer, and Lieutenant Governor of California Mike Curb is mentioned; he served as an appointed Senator from 1985-1989, and played a USO-recruited has-been singer in the remake of Kelly's Heroes.
    • Sandra Bullock served in World War III, flying F-15s and scoring 22 kills. Anne Hathaway and Anna Kendrick have made cameos as Air Force Reserve officers.
    • Bill Clinton is elected President in 1996; Hillary Clinton serves as a Senator from 1985 to 2012, when she is elected President.
    • Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden is embedded with the 7th Light Infantry when they relieve the Siege of Denver. His book Mile-High MOUT receives the same accolades as the real-life book, hailed as "a masterpiece of modern war."
    • An F-4 pilot recounts hitting a Russian/Cuban armored column retreating from Stillwater, Oklahoma. A reporter later dubs it the “Highway of Death” in a news story that is evidently sympathetic to the Cubans and Russians. The F-4 pilot says, “Oh yeah? Where the hell was that guy on Invasion Day?”
    • Heath Ledger plays Captain America in a movie directed by Steven Spielberg that shifts the title character into WWIII. Saving Private Ryan is set during the Battle of Houston.
    • Marvel and DC Comics are both victims of the nuclear strike on New York. However, Stan Lee survives by virtue of having been in Los Angeles on a business trip. He promptly sets up a new publishing concern with some local publishers and is soon turning out new editions of Captain America, Iron Man, and The Avengers. These comics are not only distributed to the US military for morale purposes, but are also dropped by the Air Force on the occupied states, where they are incredibly popular, despite the KGB making their possession punishable by death.
    • An In-Universe Alternate History book titled With a Whimper, Not a Bang describes the "alternate" history of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain exactly as it happened in Real Life. The person who describes it dismisses it as as way too unlikely, even in retrospect.
  • Amazon Brigade: A very famous and successful US Army attack helicopter battalion nicknamed the Cobra Chicks has all-female flight crews flying AH-1 Cobra gunships. Multiple all-female B-52 crews are also mentioned. Many of them politely refuse modeling offers from Playboy after the war.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When a Marine unit shoots the hell out of an ALAnote  unit that committed an atrocity, one of the members of that unit gets arrested on charges of treason, murder, arson, unlawful destruction of personal and real property, violation of civil rights under color of law... and violating the Clean Air Act of 1970. (Those Soviet combat vehicles do NOT meet federal emissions regulations, particularly after they brew up.)note 
  • Badass Biker: Most biker gangs end up volunteering for the Army as light cavalry regiments. The Hell's Angels are especially famous as the 13th Irregular Light Motorized Cavalry. They trade in their Harleys for LAV-25s and gun jeeps, though. They also are known to have dispensed some biker justice to some high-profile ALA members caught trying to sneak back into the general populace at the war’s end, including a particularly vicious, sadistic, and notorious woman known as The Harpy.
  • Badass Native: In addition to American Indians serving in regular roles, the US Army establishes several "Indian Scout" units that serve in long-range reconnaissance, airbase security, and counterintelligence/counterinsurgency roles. The Apache Scouts quickly become the most feared, as they submit communist scalps as proof of their body count, collect body parts as trophies, and have close air support on speed-dial in the unlikely event that they actually get cornered. The Army also runs a campaign to convince the invaders’ grunts that the Indians are cannibals (which the Apache find funny as hell).
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In-Universe. A few bizarre and confusing moments during the war are mentioned. One poster, tells of a Vietnamese army marching band that surrenders by approaching his unit unarmed and playing "The Stars and Stripes Forever," adding, "Yeah, my War got weird at times."
  • Boarding Party: During the Battle of the Baltic Exits, HMS Yarmouth (the "Crazy Y") managed to board and capture a crippled Krivak class frigate, towing her prize into Rosyth Harbor two days later.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Happens a lot, as anything that can move, fly, and/or shoot gets pressed into service.
    • It starts with three of the four museum-ship battleships (and even Texas packs a HAWK surface-to-air missile battery), and goes on from there...
      • Old-school gunnery duels between warships are a thing, as the Soviet Navy starts the war with 14 operational Sverdlov-class cruisers. One of them, Admiral Lazarev, sinks the Chilean light cruiser ARC Almirante Latorrenote , but is sunk the next day by another Chilean light cruiser, ARC O’Higginsnote . Another, Aleksandr Suvorov loses a fight with the reactivated battleship USS North Carolina.
    • Lots of "vintage warbird" aircraft get a chance to see combat one last time. The "Boneyard" at Davis-Monthan Air Force Bass is rapidly stripped of every stored aircraft that even might still be able to fly, many of them dating as far back as Korea. These include, but are not limited to F-100 Super Sabres, F-105 Thunderchiefs, and C-119 Flying Boxcars.
      • A flight of World War II-vintage TBF Avengers is used in anti-submarine patrols in the Gulf early in the war, while all three surviving Martin Maulers form a flight for counter-insurgency work.
      • Taken Up to Eleven by a private pilot with a restored WWI-vintage Sopwith Camel biplane fighter. The Air Force appreciates his tenacity, but don’t let him anywhere near the front line, so he flies air support for Army units hunting Spetznaz in Kentucky and southern Ohio instead. Amazingly, he and his plane survive the war.
    • When the 14th Armored Division assaults a town southeast of Denver in 1986, they find the local Resistance fighters have already rolled up the defending Nicaraguan infantry using a fully-restored and armed WWII-era M4 Sherman tank (an M4A3E8, as seen in Fury, to be exact). The Abrams gunner telling the story wonders where they found ammo for the Sherman’s main gun—they did have some, and even had some left afterwards. It is recorded in the history books as one of the last combat engagements of a Sherman tank.
    • An enthusiast in Missouri donates his entire collection of restored American, British, and German WWII/Korean War armored vehicles to the Army. The sight of a crew of "black GIs riding an ex-SS Panther with a Confederate Battle Flag whipping from the aerial leading a column of Shermans, Centurions, and M36 Jackson tank destroyers against Ivan" turns quite a few heads. After the war, his collection is short a couple of destroyed vehicles, but the Army compensates him with a fleet of captured Soviet armor.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The ALA (American Liberation Army) is a military/security force raised in the occupied states. It's membership ranges from people who are forcibly conscripted, reluctantly join for free food, criminals looking for a reduced sentence and a lot of power, and of course, true-believers. While the conscripts are generally pitied, the rest are regarded as beneath contempt. One USAF veteran says that he still thinks it "would be worth ruining a perfectly-good million-dollar J-79 engine just to toss one of those scumbags down the intake."
  • Cool Boat: The U.S. Navy battleships Alabama, North Carolina and Massachusetts, all museum ships, were reactivated for the war and were fairly active. Texas was too old for reactivation, but did have a HAWK surface-to-air missile battery set up on her quarterdeck, becoming the only ship to see combat in all three world wars.
  • Cool Plane: Cool planes infest the series, but among the coolest of the cool mentioned are the SR-71E Blackbird (in Real Life, the SR-71 series only went up to C) and the TR-3B Black Manta.
    • Several posters note that while it was already old by the mid-80s, the F-4 Phantom still lives up to its reputation as "The Leading Distributor of MiG Parts."
    • An Army veteran fondly describes the reactivated Vietnam-era F-105 Thunderchief as “big, loud, and very accurate with the ordnance.”
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Several. The Soviet drive through Alaska, the initial attempt to halt the Combloc advance in Texas, and the first major American counteroffensive are all disasters. On the other hand, an attempted invasion of southern Arizona by the Mexicans on Day 1 gets routed in a matter of hours, US and allied combined naval and air forces rip apart an attempted Soviet amphibious landing at New Orleans (a USMC aviator says that the sharks ate well that day), and another attempted landing at Seattle is utterly slaughtered by the US Navy.
  • Deadly Gas: Chemical weapons are used on occasion by the combatants; one infamous example given is where a TV reporter, taking a firm grasp on the Idiot Ball, dismasked to prove that it was all just propaganda and there were no chemical weapons being used... as the unit she was embedded with was being nerve gassed. The Marines with her were frozen with shock, then horror at the act and its results, some of them becoming casualties when they had to dismask to vomit, and after the first few seconds the video of the event is classified at the highest level as too horrific to be viewed.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The US Air Force’s 999th Tactical Fighter Squadron (the "Triple Nines") flies Soviet-built aircraft helpfully supplied by the Israeli Mossad—don’t ask how they got their hands on them, especially the brand-new Mi-26 Halo helicopter with some highly-effective nonstandard ECM gear—for a variety of special missions.
  • Due to the Dead, in addition to many memorials to US servicemen and guerillas, several towns in west Texas fly the South Korean flag alongside the Stars & Stripes in honor of the ROK Expeditionary Force that fought in Operation Border Fury. The State of Texas also maintains a cemetery for South Korean soldiers who died helping to liberate the occupied states.
    • As of 2009, Russia and other ex-Soviet states are cooperating with the US and Canadian governments to identify and repatriate the remains of Red Army casualties in North America.
  • Elite Mooks: A KGB unit ends up holding off a Marine regiment for two days at an airport, the worst possible terrain for defense. Then again, they were guarding the TVD Amerika nuclear weapons stockpile.note 
  • Enemy Civil War: One starts to afflict the Soviet Union just before they sign a ceasefire with the allies.
  • Exact Words: It takes 22 years after the end of the war before the Veterans of Foreign Wars allows WWIII veterans to join. Needless to say this causes many hard feelings.
  • Expanded Universe: For Red Dawn
  • Full-Frontal Assault: A female USAF MP enjoying a weekend pass with some squadronmates chases down and captures a Cuban soldier who took her encampment by surprise while she's wearing combat boots... and only combat boots. She really didn’t appreciate having her weekend interrupted!
  • Great Escape:
    • The battleship Texas, a museum ship in its namesake state, is dragged off by tugboats to avoid it being captured.
    • NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston is also evacuated. And has everything inside taken along with the evacuees. Everything. To the bare walls.
  • Groin Attack: When a Libyan colonel with a pelvic wound captured by a Marine unit refuses to talk, his interrogators point to their Jewish battalion surgeon, who supposedly has already taken the liberty of castrating other Arab POWs. He becomes very cooperative. The surgeon (who didn’t actually cut anyone’s balls off) thinks it’s hilarious.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Chebrikov Ate Sugar.
  • Karma Houdini: The Cuban general who commanded the infamous Rape of Casper (an atrocity by Cuban and Nicaraguan forces following a major defeat by the US Army in northern Wyoming, likened to the Rape of Nanking) only got “10 years and a plane ticket home” from a war crimes tribunal, thanks to a few technicalities.
    • Some WWIII veterans feel this way about the fact that no attempt was made to hit Moscow with nukes, despite Washington DC and New York having been vaporized in the first hours of the war. While the fear of escalation is understood, many say that it would have been "only fair" to glass the Soviet capital as well.
    • Fidel Castro is tried in absentia and convicted of war crimes, but stays in Cuba and hides behind the ceasefire agreement. He still tries to hold American POWs hostage in violation of the ceasefire (no official peace treaty is signed), prompting a blockade by the US Navy (Castro loses), and shelters high-profile American collaborators. Almost every poster refers at some point to having a lot of unfinished business with Cuba in general and Fidel and Raoul in particular.
  • Klingon Promotion: Happens a couple of times to one Soviet officer mentioned by several, bumped up after being proven right for not toeing the party line, then again when his commanding officer orders a massacre and he objects strenuously. Lampshaded in that he's said to hate Klingon Promotion jokes.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: A Soviet air raid on Los Angeles makes the fatal mistake of crossing the Port of Long Beach, where the missile testing ship USS Norton Sound, testing the AEGIS radar and vertical-launch SM-2 missile system, was docked... and the officer in command of the ship put the system in 'Special Auto'. Missiles flew, every plane died.
  • Made of Explodium: The battleship Massachusetts manages to drop a 16" high-explosive shell into a group of fully-filled liquid natural gas tanks while bombarding the Port of Houston. Her captain's first reaction is that they'd accidentally fired a nuclear round; he wound up getting the nickname Marvin.
    • A Navy surgeon witnesses two American warships destroying a Soviet freighter packed with munitions on July 4th, 1987. "Best 4th of July show ever!"
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": A quadruple missile launcher salvaged from a Soviet cruiser sunk in the Battle of Puget Sound was mounted in front of an American Legion post in Washington state. Several years after the war, it was opened up for refurbishment... and found to still be loaded. A U.S. Navy EOD squad is called in... and discovers the loading is nuclear. Cue SPAZCON ONE.
  • The Mutiny: The Political Officer of K-236 decides to incite a mutiny at the end of the war against the... less-politically-enthusiastic... officers. He winds up being shot out of a torpedo tube.
  • Mutual Kill:
    • Following the war, Dr. Robert Ballard dove on the wreck of the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, which had been sunk by a submarine attack. Not too far away from the carrier he found the wreck of a Soviet "Victor II" sub.
    • Another Victor II scored a "tie" with the cruiser USS Yorktown.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The Soviet/Cuban/Nicaraguan invasion bogs down (get it?) in the Louisiana swamps, due to impassable terrain and blown bridges. The Cajun Guerillas keep it that way by attracting alligators to the bridge sites. The Soviet combat engineers are said to be too busy being a buffet table for the gators to repair any bridges.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Chernobyl Raid. Intel said the reactors were not yet completed, so an air strike was ordered to hit them before they were brought online. Turns out Intel was wrong. Oops.
  • Noble Demon: A captured Red Air Force fighter pilot named Igor Kantarev formed a network of informers among his fellow POWs dedicated to exposing Soviet war criminals hiding in captivity to their American captors. Kantarev is described as a true-believing communist and Russian patriot who was determined to see justice done against anyone who "sullied the name of the Soviet armed forces, no matter where the orders came from."
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The uprising on Jamaica and the Bermuda Insurrection.
    • One poster mentions a chapter (titled "Cheeseburger in Paradise") in Long Walk to Denver as being the funniest war story he's ever heard.
  • Nuclear Option: Although many details are classified, it's known that nuclear weapons were used to bring about the end of the rump states of the USSR fairly recently, not to mention the limited nuclear exchange at the start of the war.
  • Nuke 'em: Speaking of the above, Washington D.C., New York, Omaha, Kansas City, and various nuclear silos in the Dakotas and Wyoming are wiped out.
    • Most of China goes up in smoke as well, though duds spare Hong Kong, Macao, Fuzhou, and presumably a handful of other cities and military bases. The Chinese, likewise, manage to hinder Soviet air defenses by successfully firing a handful of nukes at Russia itself before they're destroyed, creating holes in its air defense shield, which the pilots of Operation EASTERN EXPRESS exploit over the next few years.
    • With the British having their hands full, Argentina sees an opportunity to grab the Falklands again. A single Polaris ICBM from HMS Revenge wipes out the Argentine fleet at Puerto Belgrano (and the adjacent city) before they can jump off. Other South American governments protest the action, and Chile helps themselves to some now-undefended Argentine territory.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Until recently, the Soviet Politburo fell under this, with none of their membership ever being referred to by name until the events of Operation ROYAL FLUSH were covered. Adolf Hitler in particular finds his Spiritual Successor and Communist Counterpart in an Alternate Universe version of Viktor Chebrikov, a Real Life KGB Chairman who ended up becoming the General Secretary of the Communist Party prior to the war instead of Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted and lampshaded with warships. USS Chicago (CG-11), built in WWII as a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser and rebuilt in the late 50s as an Albany-class guided missile cruiser, is pulled out of mothballs and reactivated, with nobody bothering to give her a new name. This is said to occasionally cause confusion when she operates alongside the submarine USS Chicago (SSN-721).
  • Power of Love: A series of stories tells the tale of how two veterans, who broke up the night before the war started, were reunited after the war, and ultimately reconciled by helping each other heal from their traumas. They marry and are now cheerfully living Happily Ever After.
  • Punny Name: After the invasion, Congress passes a Selective Service law that uses student loan data to find EVERYBODY of military age (including the ones who didn't—or, in the case of women, didn't have to—register for Selective Service). It's known as the Curb-Stomp Act.
  • Red Shirt Army: Aside from the obvious quip about the Dirty Communist armies, the ALA, the Mexicans, Libyan, and Angolan armies are described by their own allies as "Worse than useless."
  • Reformed Enemy:
    • Several mentions are made of ComBloc soldiers and pilots who, after the war, decide not to return to the Motherland upon their release from Prisoner of War status, instead remaining in America to become successful businessmen.
    • One poster mentions that piping C-SPAN with appropriate subtitles into EPW camps was very effective in convincing prisoners to flip sides; they got to see what a truly representative government looks like.
    • Token Evil Teammate: For a given value of evil, one of the posters was a Russian T-80 crewman who fought throughout the first half of the conflict before being captured alive at The Battle of Wichita and applying for citizenship after the war.
  • La Résistance: Quite a few. Some were heroic, some weren't.
  • Retcon: While many were inevitably made as part of an agreed-upon timeline, the most notable one is that initially, England submitted to a Quisling government that kept control of it until the war's end. This was changed to England successfully fending off Soviet air and naval attacks despite Colonel Tanner's thoughts to the contrary.
  • Rule of Cool: It's pointed out on occasion that some elements of the scenario (above and beyond the inhererent oddness of the movie's plot) are unlikely when looked at with a realistic eye; for instance, the reactivated battleshipsnote . A combination of inertia from having been around in the story so long and plain old Because It's Cool keeps them around despite this.
  • Semper Fi: The 5th Marine Division (the guys who raised the flag on Mount Suribachi) is reactivated using Marines from grounded West Coast helicopter units. (The definitive history of the division is titled Every Marine a Rifleman.)
  • Shout-Out: The series is full of them, including but not limited to:
    • One of the posters speaks highly of a USAF fighter pilot named 1st Lt. Kara Sackhoff, callsign "Starbuck," who habitually "drove her F-4 like she stole it" and was known for pulling high-G maneuvers in combat that nearly tore her Phantom's wings off; there's also a RAF exchange pilot named Kara Shaw, Athena flies a RF-4C Phantom II, and a Colonel Tigh is mentioned.
    • Doug Masters is stated as having received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the war, while Chappy Sinclair wound up with two stars, and eventually became Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
    • The 5th Marine Division Sniper School was run by Bob Lee Swagger, who had returned to active duty after a Spetnatz team attempting to kidnap then-Arkansas Governor Clinton and his family trespassed on his property and shot his dog when it began barking. That was a bad move on their part.
    • A DEMOCRAT-hating Senior Chief makes an appearance.
    • A Badass Biker named John Freeman and his son Henry Freeman prove pivotal in capturing Sergei Khvostov.
    • Vice Admiral Chegwidden is in charge of the JAG office after the war, investigating a Marine general's misconduct, with assistance from Jethro Gibbs and company. Hetty Lange also shows up. In World War III, Mike Franks and Leon Vance also turn up.
    • The Brits' Special Investigation Branch gets some work during the war, with both John Mann and Jo McDonagh being mentioned as involved in investigations.
    • A NSA hacker named Henry Dorsett Case is mentioned as being on a Soviet hit list.
    • Colonel Chang takes over a troubled Idaho National Guard attack helicopter unit postwar following a major cock-up, and very efficently cleans house.
    • A pilot of KC-135s and B-52s in Strategic Air Command happens to be named Buffy Somers. (The title of her autobiography? BUFFy the Communist Slayer).
    • Nancy Kozak commands a mechanized infantry combat team in south Texas, while Scott Dixon is an aide to General Powell at war's end.
    • The 5th Marine Division JAG tells an officer turning himself in for war crimes that writing the officer up for murder would be like "passing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500."
    • Brian Ash of the Royal Engineers is involved in post-war cleanup of unexploded ordnance. note 
    • The captain of a Soviet "Sierra" class submarine is the son of Admiral Yuri Padorin, while Chairman Kosov heads the KGB late in the war.
      • Jack Ryan gets around during the war, and afterwards, as well; so does Arnold Van Damm.
    • A man named Dimitri Volkov is a major figure during the final days of the Brownsville Pocket.
    • Chris Trager is a former Green Beret who earned the Silver Star, and attended the funeral of a recovered MIA.
    • Randall Flagg is a "Tier One" fugitive still being sought for war crimes in 2012. Some veterans muse on how he seems a bit beyond the mundane. In one story, a female soldier held prisoner by Flagg's people gets a literal Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? moment. note 
    • A post-war prank by appropriations officers results in File A56-7W and Blue Thunder being designated as prototypes for acquisiton.
    • 'Patch' Pacino, commander of the submarine Bremerton, scores a Medal of Honor for taking out a Red convoy on the first day of the war. All the way out, as it were.
    • Francis J. Underwood is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee circa 2013.
    • A Marine with the surname Dallas shoots a recalcitrant political officer in the head and asks "Anybody else want to negotiate?"
    • Colonel Jack O'Neil commands an Air Force Special Tactics Squadron during the first part of the war.
    • Meredith Grey-Shepard is an Air Force flight surgeon.
    • Ace Hunter commanded a battalion with the 9th Infantry Division (Motorized) during World War III, then retired after the High-Technology Testbed TOE was dropped.
    • Richard Kelp, formerly an Army enlisted man, is a reserve Marine officer with a tank unit, and mentions a former platoon sergeant named Polgar and works with the son of his old first sergeant. Sean Bannon also commanded a company-sized unit during the Battle of Wichita.
      • A comic book adaptation is also mentioned, and a former tank gunner mentions his loader having been a devoted fan.
    I used to ask him, "Why the hell do you read that, Frank? You live the fuckin' thing every day!"
    • Jed Bartlett is Vice President of the United States, while Josh Lyman is a Senator from Connecticut and C.J. Cregg is his chief of staff.
    • By Dawn’s Early Light gets one in the form of a B-52 copilot named Moreau, who is said to bear an uncanny resemblance to Rebecca De Mornay.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A U.S. Navy aviator, rolling in for a strafing run on a Soviet destroyer, suddenly finds himself having to dodge flying destroyer bits as an incoming battleship-caliber salvo blasts the ship to pieces in his face.
  • Tank Goodness: The Battle of Wichita is explicitly said to be the Spiritual Successor of the Battle of Kursk.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Mexican army is laughably incompetent and easily thwarted during the first half of the war. As the tide turns and America starts forcing the ComBloc forces back to the Rio Grande, though, they're consistently described as "fighting like demons."
  • Unusual Euphemism: The "Gold List" of high-value enemy personnel who were to be turned over to "OGA" (read: Central Intelligence Agency); the Marines referred to this document as the Special Human Intelligence Target List.
    • A former OGA operator who assisted the re-formed Wolverines mentions that General Bratchenko had been on his "to-do list" before the Eckert brothers took him out.
  • War Is Hell: Invoked in several pieces of fiction and many posts.
    • One character recalls being under chemical & high explosive artillery bombardment (where even a minor shrapnel wound can be a death sentence)
    • Many cases of witnessing (or, in one case, arguably committing) war crimes
    • There are multiple stories of veterans trying to come home
    • One story deals with a female POW's experience of torture (including rape).
  • Wartime Romance: Several examples.
    • One major example: a fighter pilot becomes romantically involved with his female back-seater; they marry after the war, and eventually command two different fighter wings (at the same time, no less) in the Air Force Reserve.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue:
    • From the original film, Colonel Ernesto Bella defected to the United States a few months after the events of the movie and testified at various war crimes trials. Likewise, Wolverine veteran Erica Mason writes a memoir titled Red Storm: A Young Guerilla’s View of the Third World War, serves as a Colorado state senator, and is elected Governor in 2010.
    • The other Wolverine survivor, Danny, is not mentioned by name, but indirectly referenced as having returned to Calumet with several Green Beret and OGA advisers to reform the Wolverines as part of Operation Long Arm.
    • Despite being an unwilling Quisling, Mayor Bates and an unspecified number of other collaborators native to Calumet were killed by Black Operatives. The posters, particularly one of the aforementioned black operatives, show him No Sympathy. Admittedly, they had no way of knowing his reasons for collaborating.
    • A Cuban officer nicknamed the Grim Reaper and heavily implied to be Bella’s aide from the movie (“Seems he was a combat officer early in the war, but somehow his face and an RPG backblast got acquainted”) is tried for war crimes and not only shows no remorse, but actually brags about torturing prisoners (and raping the female ones). There is discussion as to whether he was always such a nasty bastard or if his injury made him that way.
  • World of Badass
    • Considering they survived—AND WON—a war that started with a nuclear strike and reduced the American population by 13 million, yeah, they're going to be badasses.
    • Truth in Television: In the 1980s, some teenage punks decided to go over to a mostly-WW2-era VFW post with the avowed purpose of "beating up the geezers." The punks ended up in the hospital with broken limbs, missing teeth, and one eye gouged some guys who were collecting Social Security.
  • Wretched Hive: Most of China has become this, thanks to mass bombardment by nukes. Only Hong Kong, Macao, and two provinces across the sea from Taiwan are still ruled by any sort of authority, with the rest of the land under the control of bloodthirsty warlords and bandits ala Fallout. Strategic Air Command has a standing offer to the British forces in Hong Kong, just in case any of the warlords start getting uppity.


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