This article originally appeared in Pyramid #6

The Protectorate-American War

Campaign Notes for Car Wars
By Tim Jacques and Craig Sheeley


As of 4-11-44, the formal conflict between the United States of America and the Japanese Protectorate is ended. Peace accords have been signed aboard the U.S. Navy flagship, the U.S.S. Missouri, by United States President M. Culkin (2) and the new Japanese Prime Minister Saburo Arisaka. The accords pledge a cessation of hostilities on land, sea, air, and space, withdrawal of recognition and supply of irregular forces (with hefty economic penalties levied for being caught supporting irregular operations), withdrawal of Protectorate forces from American soil (Hawaii and Alaska), and repatriation of prisoners of war. Witnessing the signing were representatives from the SUSSR, the Brazilian Empire, the European Economic Community, and the Warlord's Coalition government Republic of China.

Results were immediate. Orbital assaults on Protectorate holdings were suspended, U.S. and Protectorate surface fleets set course for widely-separated friendly bases, and Protectorate regulars on U.S. soil surrendered to await repatriation to their homeland.

The peace accords have been hailed by world political observers as the most positive effort of Protectorate and U.S. diplomacy in decades. The agreement demilitarizes the Pacific Rim, limiting the amount of troops, ships, subs, and orbital assets that any one country, be it Japan, the United States, Australia, Peru, Mexico, or China, can deploy in the Pacific (an area defined as being more than three miles from a country's shores and containing all islands more than three miles from any country).

How It Happened

In the final analysis of the war, it became apparent that the Protectorate's defeat came just as the Japanese had feared it would -- they lost too much economically to support even the modest war effort on North America. The war was hardly swift; once the initial impetus of terrorist confusion was lost, the war settled down to a contest of attrition, both on land and at sea. As Protectorate generals well knew, there was not much chance of success if the war went that direction; the United States had won in both military and economic conflicts (World War II and the Cold War) by simply out-producing its opponents, a strategy that was very likely to work again.

The Protectorate attempted to "hedgehog," drawing in on itself and depending upon "neutral" nations that had been economically pressured into joining forces with the Protectorate for supply, hoping that the U.S. would not fire on neutral vessels. When the U.S. completely blockaded the islands, the end of the war was in sight. The Protectorate had hoped to have depleted U.S. submarine and airpower to the point of rendering a complete blockade impossible, but U.S. production and complete control of the High Frontier defeated Protectorate efforts.

Historically speaking, the High Frontier campaign proved to be the most unusual and significant part of the war. For decades, critics had held that using space-mounted artillery to influence ground actions was a waste of time and effort; the problem of supplying the artillery meant that the satellites would soon run out of ammunition and become useless. Since they were thinking of kinetic-kill satellites such as the Thor concept, they were largely correct: given the relatively small ammunition load of the average Thor satellite, only prime targets would be worth shooting, and then the problem of identifying those prime targets would arise.

The USAF bypassed this problem by deploying huge particle beam cannons in medium orbit, beyond the range of simple anti-sat weapons. The cannons didn't need ammunition -- solar arrays provided the necessary power -- and could remain in space unsupplied for long periods (though eventually the crew would need resupply).

Faced with this new technology, experts are now predicting that without some way to neutralize or match beam cannons, surface warfare becomes much more difficult. It is predicted that every nation on the planet will begin researching or reviving their own space programs (long the focus of budget cutbacks).

Complete Timeline of the Protectorate-American War

(Author's Note: The timeline presented in Pyramid #1 is off by a year! This error is corrected in the timeline below -- CS.)

8-24-42: Suicide car-bombing of the President's Box at the 2042 AADA Duelling Nationals. President Culkin and Vice-President Carter among those killed. The bombing is the signal for general insurgency and sabotage operations to begin.

8-25-42: Congress declares formal war on the Japanese Protectorate. Protectorate killsats attack U.S. SDI satellites over the Pacific. USAF begins Operation Clean Sweep, an indiscriminate attack on every orbital object suspected of being Japanese.

8-26-42: Federal Government issues a blanket letter of marque against Protectorate holdings in and out of the United States.

8-27-42: Canada declares its neutrality and closes its borders, shutting off the Trans-Canadian Pipeline. First Japanese merchant ship sunk by U.S.S. Batfish, an attack submarine.

8-28-42: EDSEL volunteers to be nationalized as a "home guard."

8-29-42: Israel declares neutrality and closes the Suez to ships from either side. A Japanese freighter attempts to sneak through under false colors and is seized.

8-30-42: Protectorate troops occupy Hawaii and Alaska. U.S. troops in those states go underground.

9-1-42: U.S. moves additional armored division into Arkansas to guard against possible Texan intervention into the war. Oklahoma and Louisiana mobilize their armies as well, just in case.

9-3-42: Japanese Protectorate signs non-aggression pacts with SUSSR and Brazilian Empire.

9-10-42: Crack Protectorate naval troops seize Panama Canal and turn it over to the Brazilian Empire.

9-18-42: Deseret closes its borders, but remains friendly with Federal government and allows U.S. military convoys and aircraft to pass freely over and through the territory.

9-20-42: Gold Cross reports a viral infection present in clones grown from 8-27-42 to the present. It reports that all clones grown after 10-1-42 will be free of the virus and recalls all clones grown between 8-27-42 and 9-20-42.

9-29-42: "Uncle Al" Stoliczynyski is appointed head of Federal War Production Board in hopes that he will streamline and improve military procurement.

10-5-42: ASP destroys a Protectorate stockpile in Alaska. Unfortunately, the exploding ammo dump destroys the town of New Juneau as well. "Fortunes of war," Black Asp explains.

10-11-42: U.S. letter of marque on Protectorate holdings withdrawn; AADA recommends that if its members want to fight the Protectorate, they should join the AADA Army Reserves.

10-13-42: U.S. bombs Japan using submarine-carried Stealth planes. Operation Dolittle lives up to its name as half the planes are shot down and one submarine is lost.

10-18-42: Federal intelligence, aided by ASP finks, uncover plans for Operation Gold Rush, a military thrust by Protectorate-loyal corporate forces and the state forces of Montana, aimed as seizing gold mines in South Dakota.

10-22-42: Aging veteran General Eddington leads an ad-hoc kampfgruppe of the 3rd Armored, the ASP Spitting Cobra Legion, and AADA volunteers into action against the Gold Rush army, ambushing them in the South Dakota Badlands. The Montana army routs, leaving the steadier Protectorate forces to be defeated.

11-11-42: Deseret offers the use of its armed forces to the Federal government. American corps move into the desert, joined by elements of the Deseret army in anticipation of moving into Montana in the spring.

8-27-42 through 12-20-42: Insurgent actions continue inside America. At times it is unclear as to whether damage is done by Protectorate forces, marauding AADA members laboring under the assumption that they are attacking Protectorate holdings, or just looters. Martial law is imposed in a number of cities, including New York, Chicago, Los Disneys, Kansas City, and Salt Lake City. Martial law predominates along the West Coast, and Dallas declares a curfew when bounty hunters attack suspected Protectorate holdings in northern Texas.

1-5-43: SDI war takes a new turn when the USAF reveals a number of high-orbit particle-gun battlestations. At least two are observed in the northwestern hemisphere when they fire at night to destroy a Protectorate mass-killsat launch.

1-30-43: U.S. Navy vessels clash with Protectorate patrols off Wake Island. The battle is soon joined by aircraft and submarines, and both patrol groups are sunk.

2-10-43: Bad weather, bringing heavy snow to most parts of the U.S., puts a damper on insurgency and counter-insurgency activity.

2-28-43: Operation Clean Sweep over. Every satellite remaining over the Pacific quadrant is either U.S., or it's space debris. USAF details shuttles to start cleaning up the debris belts, which constitute a very real hazard to any orbital operations.

3-15-43: The Protectorate begins running merchant convoys from Japan to Hawaii. U.S. subs, working from orbital intelligence, worry convoys, often destroying one ship out of two by the time they reach Hawaii. Convoys from Hawaii to the mainland suffer even greater losses. Ground activity still stymied by heavy snow.

4-21-43: Protectorate convoy #52 en route to Hawaii completely wiped out by U.S. sub pack, but U.S. loses four subs in process. Protectorate decides against surface travel for now and concentrates on cargo submarine resupply.

5-3-43: USAF Operation Cleanup, the task of removing orbital junk, achieves 50% success, enough to allow orbital operations again. USAF begins Operation Long Bomb, a series of scramjet sub-orbital toss-bombings to precision-bomb Protectorate holdings around the world.

5-9-43: Federal and Deseret forces move into Montana. Protectorate forces do not engage, going underground and waging guerrilla war. Invaders begin practical house-to-house campaign to weed out Protectorates.

3-22-43 through 3-3-44: Protectorate forces go completely underground, concentrating their efforts on destroying American economic targets. U.S. forces are detached to perform counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist missions. AADA volunteers cooperate with EDSEL militia in performing citywide patrols and acting as military police deputies.

6-4-43: U.S. Navy decides on different tactic to deal with Protectorate submarine transports. U.S. submarines are dispatched to encircle the islands and cut them off from all inbound transport. Having already exhausted their pre-war surplus, the Japanese begin to feel the pinch immediately.

6-30-43: Brazilian Empire ships hold exercises near the Caribbean. U.S. Navy ships scrambled from the East Coast to make sure exercises remain exercises.

7-43 through 12-43: The ground war turns into a nasty game of hide-and-seek as Protectorate forces turn terrorist, trying to do as much damage as they can before they are located by Federal or local authorities. Massive rationing hits Japan as U.S. submarines sink most of the country's supplies, U.S. aircraft working from Australia destroy Protectorate holdings in Malaysia, and USAF toss-bombings wipe out Protectorate factory after factory.

1-21-44: Desperate, the Protectorate navy starts an all-out anti-sub campaign and tries to sneak a vital convoy into Japan under the cover of the winter storms. A momentary break in the weather proves fatal; the USAF beam battlestations irradiate the convoy from orbit. No real physical damage is done, and the surface radiation is not much more than a chest X-ray, but the EMP cripples the electronics of nearly every ship. EMP-shielded escorts are in better shape, good enough to bring the crews home.

4-1-44: The Protectorate is beaten. It no longer has enough ships to supply the islands of Japan, even if there was no submarine blockade. New ships cannot be built, since shipyards have been bombed from orbit. There is a major change in government; a new Prime Minister takes over, and contacts the U.S. government to negotiate terms of peace.

4-11-44: 2044 Peace Accords signed aboard the U.S.S. Missouri. The Protectorate-American War is over.

Land Actions

Following the Protectorate defeat in Operation Gold Rush on 10-22-42, Protectorate forces adopted an evasive pattern of non-engagement, large units breaking into smaller formations and scattering throughout the countryside in order to avoid being found and destroyed by U.S. air power. At the same time, these forces began to wage a guerrilla war against U.S. forces and resources, destroying roads, poisoning water tables, setting prairie fires, and committing wanton destruction whenever possible. In response, U.S. units went to ground for the winter, splitting off fast response forces to deal with Protectorate actions whenever the Protectorate forces could be found.

This pattern persisted and intensified following the Spring '43 offensive into Montana. When the Federal and Deseret corps entered the state, they found that the Protectorate "scorched earth" policy had already been enacted, and that the only Protectorate forces to be found were operating as guerrilla bands, striking without warning and leaving before they could be caught.

This turned into a frighteningly effective way to fight. When the Protectorate guerrillas ran out of material, they stole it from their enemies. A justifiable paranoia settled over the country, as the security of major industrial and economic assets became paramount. Despite the amazing amounts of security, Protectorate guerrillas still managed to destroy a great number of valuable installations, including several dams, the New Omaha water treatment plant (a major blow, for New Omaha was a major staging area for Federal forces), the Edwards AFB control tower, numerous railroad tracks and depots, and almost every bridge over the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Experts estimate that this style of warfare would have been ultimately triumphant for the Protectorate -- the only sort of enemy the U.S. had never been able to defeat being guerrillas -- except for the fact that the guerrillas had little or no political support in the States. They fought for the Protectorate, not a cause, so when the Protectorate sued for peace, they stopped fighting.


The only major surface battle of the entire war took place around Wake Island on 1-30-43. The rest of the naval war was a submarine affair, with U.S. submarines preying on Protectorate shipping, and Protectorate submarines used either as cargo-carriers or retained to hunt U.S. subs. The shift from the wolf-pack strategy to the blockade strategy in mid-'43 was the result of a shift in CINCSUBPAC (Commander-in-Chief, Submarines, Pacific), when Admiral Brightwell replaced Admiral Shefter. Shefter had long been enamored of the wolf-pack principle, and held that the most effective way to stop the Protectorate war was to block their supplies to the States. Brightwell changed this to the classic World War II plan of resource denial that had worked so well a hundred years before, and was vindicated by success.

Both sides suffered losses to their naval strength over the course of the war. The Protectorate lost about 4% of their surface navy, but lost over 50% of their submarines and nearly 90% of their merchant marine. The U.S. Navy also lost about 4% of its surface ships, and lost another 30% of its submarine forces.


From the beginning of the war, the USAF dominated the High Frontier. At the start of hostilities, it ran Operation Clean Sweep, an effort to clear the skies of all Protectorate satellites. This operation continued until it achieved total success in late February, 2043. Unfortunately, that success rendered U.S. orbital operations hazardous due to the large amount a orbital debris left by the process. Operation Cleanup, a reclamation project, took months to clear enough junk to allow further orbital operations.

Once this was done, USAF scramjets began toss-bombing missions to destroy Protectorate targets without danger. Toss-bombing is a tactic developed nearly a century ago for aircraft delivery of nuclear weapons from over the horizon. In scramjet terms, a scramjet carrying a smart bomb would achieve low orbit and release the bomb in a high trajectory, where it would fall back to earth precisely. These bombs often were coated with Stealth materials, as well as carrying their own decoys and countermeasures (even anti-missile missiles), and were "smart" enough to guide themselves in to the pre-programmed target. As such, they were massively expensive, and huge, but since they had a 96% success rate and a 79% kill rate (96 bombs out of 100 hit their targets, and 79 out of every hundred hits destroyed their targets), they were seen as a militarily viable option.

The particle-cannon battlestations also proved to be militarily viable. One of the USAF's most secret and most expensive operations, the 5+ stations were set in orbits too distant to hit with surface-launched munitions, and could destroy launches of orbital weapons long before those weapons could be deployed. In addition, they had uses in ground attack, practically destroying the last Protectorate convoy with a concerted 5-cannon EMP attack.


The outcome of the war and the defeat of the Protectorate has reached farther than the shores of North America. It has, in effect, completely rewritten the balance of power, politically, economically, and militarily, in the Pacific. The terms of the peace accords saw to that. Under these terms, the Japanese Protectorate is almost officially disbanded -- Protectorate forces must be reduced by two-thirds, down to two million men instead of the over 6 million that began the war. The Protectorate Navy must be reduced to 250 vessels; considering the attrition during the war, this is an easy goal. And while the Japanese may rebuild their SDI network to 50% of its original status, that task would be prohibitively expensive.

The American/Australian ad hoc alliance has emerged the real winners. Under the terms of the 2044 accords, no power may field more than 2 million men, 250 ships, and 50 satellites in the Pacific hemisphere. The terms were carefully written, however, to exclude any mention of tonnage or size when measuring ships and satellites. This is a blatant stroke on the U.S.'s part, since the U.S. Navy has larger and stronger ships than any other navy in the world -- on the average, a U.S. Navy task force has 33% more tonnage than a similar task force of any other nation (largely due to the largest number of nuclear carriers, cruisers, and the last four superdreadnoughts in the world). The American navy is, therefore, the heaviest navy in the Rim. In addition, in time of war, most of the U.S. naval assets (submarines, for the most part) that were transferred to the Atlantic and other oceans can be rapidly moved back to the Pacific. The Japanese, on the other hand, had no other theatres in which to redeploy its surplus forces.

Alone, the American Pacific forces are still defeatable. Adding the Australian army and navy to the equation, which is likely to happen in any conflict, overbalances the situation in favor to the Anglo alliance. This could be matched only by an alliance between the Protectorate and two other major Pacific Rim players -- the SUSSR (unlikely), the coastal warlords of China (also unlikely), and the Brazilian Empire.

The lesser lights of the Pacific won, too, in different ways. The Brazilian Empire acquired a firm hold on the Panama Canal for nothing more than a pledge to assist the Protectorate in the war, something which the Empire never got around to doing. Oh, the Empire did make noises, and succeeded in pulling away submarines from the blockade of Japan by threatening to make a naval move against the Caribbean, but nothing really came of it. In the meantime, the U.S. is negotiating with Brazil for lease rights on the Panama Canal.

The warlords of China won in that the 2044 accords mean that the Protectorate has to withdraw their forces from Chinese installations, and release Chinese troops demanded for Protectorate service. In addition, the coastal warlords stand to be able to increase their power by purchasing surplus warships from Japan.

The SUSSR won, too. Obviously, there could be nothing more pleasant to them than to see a vast and potential enemy set down. The downsizing of the Protectorate army might well leave Manchuria undefended enough for the SUSSR to seize it.

Next Time:
The Aftermath of the War, at Home and Abroad." Until then, Drive Offensively!

Article publication date: April 1, 1994

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