Sunday, February 6, 2011

Two Interesting Alternate History Scenarios

I just found on my alternate-history forum a timeline that has been going since last fall that, since it's in the Post-1900 forum, is available for my loyal readers to see without joining the web-site.

Behold, Protect and Survive by Macragge1.

The scenario depicts the effects of a mid-1980s nuclear war on Great Britain.  It's not as awful as the film Threads, which has been posted in pieces on YouTube but isn't available on DVD apparently, but it's a lot more brutal than The Day AfterThreads' American counterpart.  The titles of each chapter come from "Protect and Survive" British Civil Defense instructions about what to do after a nuclear war.

Things aren't as horrific as Threads because central authority in Britain survives (the Soviet bomb intended for Portsmouth, a major Royal Navy base, malfunctions, and the city becomes the de facto national capital), so the country doesn't break down into feudalism (complete with urban refugees planting potatoes by hand under the guns of the surviving soldiers), nuclear winter is more "the year without a summer" than "a new Ice Age," and enough of the North Sea oil fields survive that mechanical agriculture can continue.  However, the story extends into the months following the war, unlike TDA, which ended with the announcement of a cease-fire between the U.S. and the Soviet Union a few days after the primary nuclear exchange.

The story contains moments of both brutality and heartwarming. 

The former includes a civil servant in Newcastle or thereabouts denying rations to infants because they cannot work in reconstruction efforts and being overthrown by a soldier whose son died in Northern Ireland who distributes food to infants but also puts Irish nationals or those with Irish names in a soccer stadium with no food until they confess to being in the Irish Republican Army and being involved with some incidents of civil unrest.  There's also a scene of 14-15-year-old girls (some of whom are still wearing their school uniforms) offering themselves sexually to soldiers outside of Portsmouth in exchange for food. 

The heartwarming bits includes a young British girl offering what little food she has to a starving sailor from a Typhoon-class Soviet submarine that ran itself aground at Whitby, prompting nearby adults to do the same and possibly averting the lynching of the submarine crew, and a British exploratory team that crossed the Atlantic in one of Britain's last surviving nuclear bombers conversing with the dying President Ronald Reagan in Columbine, Colorado.

Overall, I think it's very good--a very interesting scenario with a lot of technical detail.  However, one board member who claims to have worked with the Strategic Air Command said the scenario was entirely too optimistic and that in real life, Britain would be totally leveled.  I will defend Macragge1 on the grounds that the projections from the time might not have included high numbers of Soviet missile malfunctions--apparently a lot of them weren't well-built and had a significant failure rate.

Some board members recommend this be published as a book.  Given how easily and cheaply Ebooks can be done, I think that would be a good idea.  The scenario is still ongoing, so publishing can wait until it's done.

Here's another scenario, one that actually caused several people to join the site just to comment on it.

Behold, The Anglo/American-Nazi War by the illustrious CalBear.  The premise is that the Nazis take Stalingrad, Stalin has a paranoid fit and kills off his best generals (including Zhukov, the one who broke the Germans in the East in our history), and the Germans defeat the Soviets in the East.  Although Britain is protected by the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the U.S. Army Air Corps, and the U.S. Navy--forces that contain the Germans and Italians in Europe and destroy Japan--the Germans have mastery of Continental Europe and an invasion is not possible until the 1950s.

CalBear is a major gearhead and it shows.  The description of all the technologies used, including tactical nuclear air-to-air missiles used to scupper a Nazi bombing raid on New York City, is well-done.  The geopolitical situation is also well-plotted.

The timeline also has its moments of horror.  During a less nasty phase of the war, the Allies make a deal with the Germans--rubber for Jews.  The Germans provide 1,500 decorated Jewish veterans of WWI (who I think might have been exempted from German racial laws) and said they were all that were available.  The Poles as an ethnic group in Europe have been rendered extinct and I think the Ukrainians are hard on their heels.  The Nazis extort a labor tribute from Molotov's puppet Soviet regime, most of whom never come home.

CalBear said the point of the timeline was to show what evils the Nazis would have perpetrated if they'd won and it is most horrid.  Of course, then everyone can cheer when the Nazis--technologically behind the Allies with their sciences poisoned by Nazi politicization to make that worse--get blasted by superior Allied weaponry.  Most awesome is when D-Day finally comes, a major role is played by Polish exile units and the Indian Army (both viewed as inferior races by the Nazis) and the SS get mashed.

Plus India in this timeline is not partitioned, which is great.  In my opinion, the partition of India was one of the greatest mistakes of the 20th Century, one whose bad consequences echo to this day (al-Qaeda, the threat of an Indo-Pakistani nuclear war, etc).

The second scenario can also be viewed by non-members.  Y'all enjoy!


  1. Threads is available on dvd because I have it!

    1. And I come from Sheffield, England btw :-)


    Looks like it's available for British DVDs only. :(

    As a Sheffielder, what're your thoughts on THREADS? IIRC it's Sheffield that gets nuked.