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Alternate Background for Sweden-based Campaign

Mon 18 Mar 2024, 19:28

What follows is an addendum to v1 canon (to bring Sweden into the war on behalf of NATO), for the niche crowd that would like to campaign in Sweden, but prefer the v1 timeline. For the sake of edition synergy, I used a bit of the 4e background- namely the primary Soviet units involved in the invasion of Sweden and their respective landing sites. For ease of reference, v1 canon is italicized.

Northern Front, Winter 1996 - Autumn 1997

By the closing weeks of 1996, the Baltic Sea is essentially a Soviet Lake. Pact Naval [air and sea] forces have been able to sweep the Baltic of NATO naval forces. Only land-based NATO air forces and a handful of diesel submarines limit PACT freedom of navigation.

To avoid NATO air power, Pact naval vessels and aircraft routinely enter Swedish territorial waters. Stockholm protests vociferously via diplomatic channels, to no avail. Incidents occur, a few desultory shots are exchanged in the air and at sea. On DATE, Swedish ASW helicopters depth charge a Soviet Tango Class diesel submarine, damaging it and forcing it to surface. Survivors are rescued and interned by the Swedes. Tension builds, but Stockholm refuses to order full mobilization of its military forces in order to avoid further provocation.

By Spring 1997, most Soviet Forces have been pushed out of Northern Norway (isolated pockets left behind continue to resist, as best they can). NATO attempts to advance on Murmansk through northern Finland, without first securing permission from the Finns. Finland strongly asserts its neutrality by attacking the NATO spearhead, stopping it cold (this abrupt halt was more a result of surprise at Finland’s sanguine response, than due to the casualties that it inflicted). Remnants of the Soviet North Sea Fleet destroy a NATO flotilla closing on the Kola Peninsula but suffer crippling losses in turn. Despite its use of force against NATO forces in the north of the country, Finland refuses to ally with the PACT.

Facilitated by numerous tactical nuclear strikes, and reinforcements transferred from the Far Eastern Front, a summer 1997 land offensive in Poland pushes NATO forces back towards the German border, increasing Pact control of the Baltic by making it more difficult for land-based NATO air forces to operate over the region.

Stymied in the far north, Moscow makes the fateful decision to invade Sweden. Long-laid contingency plans for such an operation are dusted off and the Soviet’s last strategic reserve force in Northwestern Europe* (1 VDV airborne division, 1 Naval Infantry Brigade, and 2 recently rebuilt Motor Rifles divisions), are allocated to the task. By invading Sweden, Moscow hopes to knock a troublesome, only nominally-neutral nation out of the war and, more importantly, allow Soviet forces to outflank the NATO units holding firm in northern Norway. The conquest of southern Sweden would also strengthen PACT control of the Baltic Sea, and pose an increased threat to Denmark and NATO’s long left flank in Central Europe.

Mustering its remaining naval and air assets in the region, the PACT launches a large-scale amphibious and airborne invasion- the last of its kind in WWIII- of southeast Sweden. The invasion force is preceded by half-a-dozen precision tactical nuclear strikes (mostly aimed at neutralizing the Swedish air force and navy). Following supplemental conventional airstrikes and a fighter sweep, a Soviet parachute division seizes Arlanda Airport north of Stockholm, while PACT naval infantry battalions land north and south of the capital. Beachheads secured, two motorized rifle divisions arrive by sea over the next few days, and PACT forces begin marching on Stockholm. The Swedish government appeals to NATO for help.

NATO is surprised by this unexpected development, but the alliance immediately susses out the strategic threat to Norway and Denmark. Preparations for a counter-invasion of Sweden begin.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s Total Defense strategy is belatedly put into full gear. The Swedish army rallies and puts up fierce resistance to the Pact advance, buying time for outside assistance to arrive. Swedish defense forces outnumber the Soviet invaders on the ground, but the latter have the advantage of being able to use tactical nuclear weapons without worrying about the Swedes answering in-kind. Large Swedish mechanized formations are decimated before they can mount large-scale counterattacks. The surviving Swedish military is forced to fight a guerilla campaign…

*Pre-war strategic plans called for this force to mount an airborne and amphibious invasion of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula.

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