United States Independent Military Forces (USIMF aka “The American Legion”)

 

 

Original artwork by Eliott Johnson Lilly permission pending

Warhounds © Eliott Lilly

Background:

The American Legion is the nom-de-guerre given by the public to the USIMF (United States Independent Military Forces) formed shortly after the USA devolved into civil war.

When considering the origins of The Legion the global situation as well as that in the oUSA must be taken into consideration: Widespread food shortages in many countries had led to food riots even in the prosperous western nations. Africa and Asia were both suffering serious famines.  A long and deep global recession, bought about by a collapse of faith in the banking system in Europe, was in progress. The first of three major “plagues” had occurred and, whilst controlled, raised concerns about bio-warfare, border controls and illegal immigration. Finally there was a serious resurrection of the Cold War as nations factionalised in attempts to protect their economies and natural reserves.

Interventions by UN “Peacekeepers” had occurred in dozens of smaller nations in attempts to avoid authoritative collapse and the so-called “Afghan-Wars” were undergoing one of their periodic expansions; resulting in more and more US troops being placed around the globe under UN or ISAF/NATO control.

The world as a whole was in a very poor shape and civilian populations were both nervous and fractious even in the more stable West.

This was the background from which the Second American Civil War occurred and whilst discussing the American Civil War in detail is not necessary in understanding the formative reasons behind The Legion, knowing the rough outline is.

 

 

The ‘Second American Civil War’ made the first Civil War look like a lovers’ spat and remains the bloodiest conflict in human history amongst any “developed” nation in human history. It was interspersed with numerous civilian and military atrocities, ethnic cleansings and battles that stretched for months and, in the case of Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland; years. 43 million people are believed to have died during the decades-long war and another 15 million in the Reunification War that followed it.

During this time the United States of America ceased to exist, not only as a sovereign nation but also as a political and social ideal; abandoning many of its long-held ideals and beliefs as it transformed from the leading-light of democracy into an authoritative theocracy.

 

The breakup of the USA also introduced a new term into the military lexicon: “Fracture”.

 

Fracture:

The origins of Fracture have been widely discussed elsewhere and so we will not go into great detail on it: what is important is that the US military suddenly and dramatically broke up into many pieces over an incredibly short period of time.

Key factors were:

1)      Impeachment of upper-tier command, corruption charges and food-hoarding outside of the military system and within it.

2)      Rise of theocratic elements within civilian and military society

3)      Eradication of high-Command and confusion over succession (the VP in a coma from a horse-riding accident and the assassination of the President)

4)      Geographic sympathy for civilian areas at heart of civil unrest (tendency for locally-raised troops to favour the local citizenry over “the nation” as a whole)

5)      Isolation of overseas troops

6)      Dissent in the ranks from long-term pay freezes and concern over equipment

7)      Length of active service tours

8)      Degree to which the US military had been stretched over the previous decade

9)      High number of urban combat environments in those postings resulting in persistent & high body counts.

 

When the “Mall Wars” kicked off in continental America the fracturing of civilian society was mirrored by a fracturing within the Military, effective command ceased to exist at many levels and this breakdown signalled the start of the Second Civil War.

 

Overseas Troops:

Overseas US units comprised of soldiers originating from different geographical areas settled into lines of conflict mirroring those back at home in the USA; fire-fights and deaths were not uncommon and forward bases started to resemble hostile armed-camps as lines were drawn between troops from one area, unit or belief, against those from others.

US troops had generally formed the backbone of military Peacekeeping forces in the majority of the global conflict areas and the effect upon UN operations was catastrophic. The forces of other nations could no longer rely upon US units and military operations were cancelled en-mass. In many cases effective UN/ISAF peacekeeping operations completely collapsed.

Eventually US forces were ordered into their camps and off operational duties whilst the UN and ISAF searched desperately for other troops to shore-up operations. This included a request for all US naval units to return to designated UN-controlled ports and air units to cease operations and fly to UN controlled bases.

As the situation in the USA continued its descent into all-out civil-war many overseas US personnel tried to get home as quickly as possible and by any means; preferably with their weapons. This happened at the individual level, small-unit level and all the way up major operational forces, abandoning their UN or ISAF roles and arranging transportation back to the USA via whatever military or civilian means they could: often, but not always, utilising US military transportation & networks that were supportive of that unit’s actions or intent.

The 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade returned of its own volition (but in disregard to orders not to) to California from the Middle East packed full with additional troops abandoning their ISAF/UN roles there and heading home as fast as possible. With it went a rag-tag fleet of other vessels including civilian cruise liners, some of which had been “appropriated by force” along the way as the MEB travelled home. Many European-based troops took civilian planes home (abandoning their weapons) or jumped on the nearest military transport that would take them.

However finding transportation home was not always that simple; Naval and Air Force units were suffering similar “fracture” with troops abandoning units and heading home by any means necessary including mutinying, seizing transports and heading home unilaterally. Most transport units, having arrived back in the US, would not leave again; planes were grounded there or, if they did try to return to collect more troops, were refused landing permission or entry into non-US airspace.

Command breakdown was not total though and localised command often remained effective, indeed some units suffered virtually no disruption or desertions and maintained full military effectiveness, however the overall result was a rapid and total collapse of the service & supply network for overseas troops

Naval forces were perhaps the most consistent in avoiding Fracture, often staying together as unified forces, although whose command they followed was a different matter entirely: 2 US Carrier Strike Groups mauled each other in fighting off the East Coast upon their return to the USA, neither of them following high-command, both operating under their own orders.

In another case a Carrier Group “surrendered” to UN peacekeepers in Italy, whilst in other places ships returned to port at US overseas bases after which their sailors went AWOL to return home on their own volition, leaving ships without effective crews and unable to sail.
In some cases the crews of ships fought one another for control; the case of the USS Boxer being the most notorious where bloody gunfights swept the ship for 3 days as rival groups fought for control of the ship as helpless port authorities (and the world’s media) watched on in amazement and despair.

 

The US itself had, by this time, fractured into five major factions. Each of those factions attempted to claim command authority of the overall Armed Forces, or the significant portions of it that remained “loyal to the system” and those factions ordered ‘their’ forces to return to the US by whatever means, with their equipment or without, and to join the fight back home.

Central command of the world’s most powerful military machine was a thing of the past.

 

Troops that remained overseas, mostly those that could not get home, were confined to their camps by the UN and ISAF forces, who largely refused to allow the US troops to leave their camps unless searched and disarmed first.

However fire-fights commonly broke out in the US camps and often over spilled into neighbouring areas. The very presence of so-many well-armed personnel in such sensitive areas was a liability that the world could not afford: The UN decided that all overseas US troops should be disarmed and transported to “holding camps” in neutral countries where they would be disarmed and repatriated to the USA by force if necessary.

Anticipating significant resistance to these orders the UN troops were given the command to use lethal force if necessary. The UN believed that by issuing the order publicly the US troops would “see reason” and disarm without any trouble arising.

The decision was stupid, short-sighted and foolish in the extreme and the results were inevitable: open conflict between UN forces and US forces.

In a week of intense combat UN forces suffered 344 deaths and 1608 injured, mostly from AU (Africa Union) and European units, but also Chinese and UNASUR troops.
US casualties are unknown but thought to be over 100 dead and 400 injured, although that does not include the 157 deaths at Mombasa where unarmed US sailors were gunned down by AU troops after refusing to board a “prison ship”.

It must be remembered that at this point the Fracture of the US military was complete: the supply of these overseas US troops was non-existent, the entire military supply system, as well as the command system, haven broken down. Thus many units found themselves without effective command and operating almost individually in what they saw as their best interests.
Many overseas US troops still wanted to return home but did not trust the UN to repatriate them with or without their weapons; and they all felt that their future was significantly weaker without arms than with. Meekly surrendering their arms and putting their faith in the UN was not a choice many would make.

 

These “Remnant” US forces were not totally forgotten by the factions back in the USA though.
Significant political pressure was applied on them to return home by the five warring US factions. The problem for everybody was to determine which faction (if any) was legally representative of the USA and could exercise legitimate command of those troops and show legitimate ownership of their military hardware. Even after which the question of whether Remnant forces would follow those commands.

It was exceptionally unlikely that Remnant troops would now be allowed to ship back home with any of their equipment without having to fight their way past UN Peacekeepers and as such many small overseas US units were “written off” by the warring factions back home:  Those small units which had not returned back home by this point in time were unlikely to do so as effective military units (although many individuals would still find their way back to the US by one mean or another) and were thus left to “wither on the vine”.

Without supply and cut-off from home the larger Remnant forces found themselves in besieged camps or ports, surrounded by hostile UN troops, with the UN refusing to move or feed them unless they disarmed, something that practically none of them would do.

In the end it took the intervention of the then “pariah-state” of the United Kingdom to produce a change of heart: The British would transport the US forces to either the UK or one of its dependencies without requiring the US forces to be disarmed at the individual weapon level: their other equipment would go into “long term storage” at UK locations, to be returned to the US once the legal issues were settled at the World Court, but meanwhile kept under the eye of UN Observers at UK locations. The UK would also house and supply the US troops so long as the UN paid for the costs.
It was seen as an ideal solution by the UN; anything that went wrong could be blamed on the British (who were reviled at that time across almost the entire globe, being blamed as the major cause of the banking collapse that caused the Great Depression).

Remnant troops were relatively happy to deal with UK forces with whom they had held good relations for many years and despite the recent troubles the UK had experienced… but particularly because the UK despised the UN (having had its security council chair revoked years previously).

Many in the Remnant forces also supposed that the “storage” of their equipment would, in fact, be “very temporary” and would be handed back to them as soon as UN Observers turned their backs. Either way most of the Remnant troops felt that heading home from the UK would be far easier then heading home from besieged camps in other nations where local populations were extremely hostile, who generally spoke a different language and were often of an antagonistic religion…not to mention that the Remnant supply situation was drastic leaving them with few other choices.

 

 

USIMF:

Over a period of months, as the Second Civil War became deeper and bloodier, the majority of the Remnant US troops and materiel were transported to the UK (or its dependencies) and placed under UN observation. Much military hardware, from Jeeps to Marine Heli-carriers, an entire super-carrier and LHAs with much equipment on-board, US jets and helicopters, drones and bots; all were mothballed at UK installations around the world under the eye of the UN.

A formal chain-of-command was then created amongst the Remnant US troops as, by now, those able and willing to return home individually, had largely already done so. The remaining personnel realised their best options going forward was as a united entity.

The USIMF (US Independent Military Forces) was thus created;  an organisation whose aim was to keep itself extant with the intention of returning to the USA as a significant operational military force that could decisively intervene in the Civil War. It meanwhile sought to keep its troops supplied and fed and, wherever possible, to reunite its troops with their families by relocating those families to the USIMF camps from the USA.

As the USIMF formalised its structure and organised itself it became clear that they had the potential to form a very significant fighting force. By utilising much of the abandoned or seized equipment that was now present in UK storage they could easily form the equivalent of a Marine Expeditionary Force with an expanded naval detachment including an (aging but functional) Super-Carrier, an extra Amphibious Ready Group (all minus the submarines all of which had returned to the USA) and various additional land forces from a very wide variety of backgrounds and skills.

So many troops had abandoned equipment to return home at the start of the civil war that the USIMF had far more equipment than personnel, and much of that equipment was state-of-the-art. There was more than enough equipment to support the 37,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen that formed the USIMF and the list of “abandoned” equipment was both surprising and rather staggering as more and more of it entered UK storage facilities and was catalogued, the world and UN watched in surprise as the sheer haul of equipment became evident as it was moved to the UK.

For the USIMF getting the UN to authorise the release of that equipment to them was always going to be difficult. This was made even more difficult because the (by now) three-remaining factions in the Civil War were all eyeing the growing mountain of military materiel with the intent of claiming the equipment as legally belonging to them.

The three US factions went to the World Court, to “legally” exercise their rights to ownership of the equipment and, as a consequence, the USIMF were forced to do the same.

Adding to the confusion was the action of the UN which, as a body (and now without any USA representation in it at all) decided that it would seek to seize the equipment itself, to offset its costs in supplying the USIMF (via the UK), previously incurred peacekeeping operations, significant damages being claimed by other nations against the USA and, in secret, to be used to establish an independent UN Military force (or, as cynics thought more likely, to be divided up amongst the UN Council members to steal the technologies).

Up until this time there had still been an underground movement of Remnant troops back to the USA however as the civil war deepened and became more bloody that flow had dried up to be replaced by the reverse: US citizens fleeing the fighting to go abroad. Whilst most displaced in the Civil War headed for the rural hinterlands or “neutral cities” many chose to leave and head overseas instead.  Their problem was finding a country willing to take them in the current global situation of mass food shortages, nobody wanted hundreds of thousands of extra mouths to feed.

The USIMF however took time and effort to organise an underground railroad of US citizens, mostly centred on getting the families of its own troops over to them in the UK, but also key personnel it thought would prove useful to it, even including some politicians.

The three civil war factions were aware of the growing stature of the USIMF in both military potential and political terms and they decided the USIMF would become a big problem to them all had to be dealt with: the three factions held secret talks where they agreed to take a universal approach toward the USIMF: as a result the USIMF was put on military trial (in abesntia) and was declared, by all three factions militaries, to be deserters on and all.

The effect of the desertion declaration was a hammer-blow to the USIMF their dream of returning home to restore order was shattered and their chances of returning home at all was cast into serious doubt now that every “authority” in the US considered them as deserters to be shot on sight.

It was at this point that a number of significant events took place:

1)      The UN gave the UK notice that it would suspend its payments to support the upkeep of the USIMF.

2)      The UN gave the USIMF notice that the World Court had authorised the UN to seize all of the ex-USA materiel.

3)      Greater California was formed as a legally independent sovereign nation; no longer a part of the USA (effectively giving notice that the “old” USA no longer existed.)

4)      UNASUR invaded the British South Atlantic Territories.

 

 

 

Falklands War II

The UNASUR invasion of the South-Atlantic Territories was, for the UK, a potential death-blow.

In recent years it had been blamed for the Great Depression, been expelled from Federal Europe (this costing them huge amounts of money it did not have), the almost complete collapse of its economy and suffering one of the highest degrees of food rationing as it struggled desperately to feed its hungry and poor people. Civil disorder had been rife and for years ineffective governments had produced catastrophe on top of catastrophe trying to bring order back to its cities and some measure of economic future to its industry. They had all failed. Then “Unity Party” had finally produced a majority win in Parliament and taken a firm grip on the country and started to begin a crawl back toward prosperity.

In hindsight, and just like the first Falklands War, the Second Falklands War was a blessing in disguise for a UK government: The Unity Party had restored social control to the UK after its seemingly unending rioting and food shortages, however its economic and agricultural situation remained dire.

It seemed inevitable that the people’s patience with the Unity Party was running out after 3 years of severe austerity and social clampdown with little to show for it other than “Community Action” campaigns that, whilst they had helped clean up some of the riot damage and produce some food, had not created any long-term jobs.

Significantly the Falkland’s and its associated territories were, without doubt, the last remaining jewel in the crown of the United Kingdom: it not only accounted for a large percentage of foreign income through its oil and gas exports but its fisheries helped feed the nation. A nation that had been experiencing borderline starvation for almost 7 years. No squid or fish from the South Atlantic meant UK citizens went hungry and foreign income would dry-up completely.

The sums of money the UK had been claiming from the UN had helped feed a portion of its own citizens as well as the USIMF personnel on its territories, but with that now gone the UK was left with a serious problem of how to feed the USIMF and the USIMF unsure how it could pay the UK for supplies: The USIMF seemed to have little to offer the UK: they had lots of troops with personal weapons, but little ammunition for them and the World Court had just ordered the UK to hand over “their” other equipment to the UN. They had no legal rights to the mass of state-of-the art planes, tanks, ships and ‘bots in storage and, as such, nothing to bargain with or offer. They were no longer a military fighting force but simply a drain on the already stretched and fragile UK economy.

 

However, the British military itself had been severely weakened by years of cuts in the various crises in the UKs’ recent past; a UK military with somewhat-dated weaponry and no spare cash to buy new equipment was a poor deterrent to a UNASUR force “food wealthy”, relatively rich and with a desire to flex its military muscles.
Politically, the Brazilian domination of UNASUR had been recently called into doubt by the expansion of Venezuelan authority within the alliance, however capturing the South Atlantic Territories, where most of the military muscle was supplied by Brazil, would significantly bolster its position in UNASUR and gain it valuable portions of the Territories itself as a base with which to expand into Antarctica.

Lions & Eagles:

“… knackered Lions and crippled Eagles should not to be underestimated.” – unknown

The British were, by this point in time, a rather desperate people having a bleak future on top of a very violent recent past, ostracised and treated with contempt by almost all of Federal Europe and much of the world for its part in the Great Depression. It had very, very few friends and few options which, in hindsight, made it decisions very easy.

In defiance of the World Court the UK ejected the UN observers and seized all of the Remnant-US equipment for itself.

However, lacking the personnel and training to use much of the equipment itself it promptly handed it all over to the USIMF who had both the knowledge and personnel to use it.

In return the USIMF then signed itself over to the UK Armed Forces as a mercenary “unit”: The precedents were already there and the UK were no strangers to hiring mercenary forces; the Ghurkhas had been globally admired, honourable mercenaries for centuries and thus the USIMF became the latest mercenary unit of the British Armed Forces.

The USIMF declared they would fight to retake the South Atlantic Territories for the UK and the UK public promptly re-branded “The American Legion” amidst significant public celebrations.

The UN was, however, outraged to such an extent that the UK’s position at the UN was suspended indefinitely. At this point in time the British didn’t care, they had been at the end of a very shitty-stick from the UN for a long time now and they had far more serious issues than worrying about their political standing (that already being so low in any case).

An ad-hoc but very capable armada therefore left British bases to head down to the Falklands, the USIMF taking the form of an expanded Marine Expeditionary Force escorted by a pair of rusty out-dated UK ‘super-carriers’ from yesteryear and a rag-tag fleet of American Legion ships and units eager to show their gratitude to the UK for housing them in their hour of need.

 

The very presence of “The Legion” caused consternation amongst UNASUR forces and some elements of the invasion forces packed up and took their toys home immediately; fighting the Brits and their out-dated equipment was one thing, fighting modern US forces was something altogether different.

It is untrue, but nonetheless commonly said; that the UK did not retake the Falklands, The Legion did it for them.

It is true that UK loses would have been significantly higher had it not been for the presence of the well-armed and highly-motivated American troops. Most importantly if it had not been for the resident USIMF forces who defended Ascension Island the UK/Legion task-force would never had reached the South Atlantic at all.

Without going in to the detail of the various battles then fought by the UK and The Legion in the  campaign to liberate the Islands (and the two Antarctic Wars that followed in subsequent years) the sometimes crushing victories attained by the smaller UK/Legion forces were enough to generate the legend that “The Legion Never Loses”.

The Legion became a unified fighting force operating “legally” under the wing of the UK and the bonds formed at that time endure to today and are why, despite massive political pressure from the Unified States of America and Earth-Gov, the UK will never stop supporting The Legion: for the third time in its history the UK had very good reason to thank US troops for their aid in their hour of need and the British were not going to forget that.

At the same time the UN, UNASUR and the Unified States of America were not going to forget or forgive The Legion either and that legacy also remains with us today.

Original artwork by Eliott Johnson Lilly permission pending

Warhounds © Eliott Lilly

“The American Legion”.

The Legion operates under its own commanders in most circumstances and despite propaganda to the contrary has never been totally subservient to UK military commanders; essentially the UK command “asks” it to do things and The Legion goes and does it “by consent”… there is, obviously, a much higher degree of cooperation than this but a façade of The Legion being completely independent has always been maintained by both the Legion and the UK.

The Legion always operates under the Legion Eagles with the Stars and Stripes (the old USA flag) flying over them; its’ air units are formed into Eagle squadrons and The Legion takes every opportunity to remind the world that the USA was once a proud and decent nation…and can be again.
The decades of horror stories emanating from the North American continent during the US Civil War would tarnish the reputations of North Americans for years, but countering that the eventual reputation and integrity of The Legion showed the world that American troops were not the butchers that the media portrayed them from the Civil War and the Reunification War that followed it.

Honour, integrity, devotion to duty, protecting civilians and the constitution remain their stated goals.

Latter in its evolution the growing Legion felt it needed to operate partly as a civilian organisation; the Legion command felt that the best way to maintain its principles and history was to “fix” the old US constitution in time and not allow it to be amended until the “old” USA was fully reconstituted.

Over time the Legion came to be regarded as a somewhat archaic organisation and as the US civil war continued form decade to decade and, after a short period of peace, devolved into the semi-religious Reunification war, The Legion was regarded by many as little more than a living anachronism whose existence was only guaranteed by the constant support of the UK.

Despite the many years that have passed since then the Legion has, however, maintained within itself the “true” American Constitution and become a miniature version of that old and prestigious nation. It’s only source of economic income was in military service to the United Kingdom however that has gradually changed as its non-military population has grown and it has developed its own armaments and hi-tech industries from within its various camps, camps that are legally regarded (by the UK at least) as being sovereign territory of the (old) United States of America.

As such, to some tiny extent, The Legion maintains the existence of that old nation and what it stood for, a slice of 20th century America alive decades after the actual death of that once proud nation.
The Legion has grown in numbers to over 1.5 million citizens, mostly through integration of emigrants from the old USA, some war refugees, some attracted to their standard of living and some because of what they stand for.

The Unified States of American still regard the Legion as traitors, cowards and (most recently) terrorists and maintains an open bounty on any and all Legion members, military or civilian.
This has soured its relations with the UK and UKS and when the UKS granted the Legion 3 Habitat leases on its planets the Unified States of America were apoplectic (they having, at that time, no access to off-world colonies at all). Those land-grants now gives The Legion significant areas of prime land into which it can expand and grow rich; a total area of land greater than that of the oUSA in fact.

Politics:

The American Legion effectively began as a Military Dictatorship but is now a full Constitutional Republic in an exact recreation of the oUSA from pre-Intervention times, whilst its population within the Technosphere is insignificant in relative terms, its political “punch” is far greater, particularly with the massive land areas that it now has access to and with which it can expand into. It’s military power remains significant due to its dedication to aspect of itself: it has its own high-tech orbital factories and now constitutes the equivalent of six Marine Expeditionary Groups. It has no star-lift capability however and relies upon the UKS for that functionality. With its new Habitats the Legion is effectively an independent “state” once again, no longer subservient in any fashion to the UK, although remaining a part of the UKS political faction. The Legion now hires it services to other Habitats as well as maintaining its bases on Earth where it keeps a significant portion of its troops within UK territories (including the Falklands and Antarctica) .

With the Unified States of America now starting to dominate proceedings in Earth-Gov the Legion finds itself forced into political opposition to both the Unified States and Earth-Gov.
The nature of Earth-Gov and the Unified States of Americas theocratic government, and how that government treats some of its own citizens, produces a great contrast to the freedoms & lifestyle enjoyed by Legion service-people and their families within the USIMF/Legion.

Despite its foothold off-world The Legion still regards the “liberation” of the oUSA on Earth as its ultimate goal.

The American Legion can call on 3 Senators.