OK guys, this is turning out to be a monster, so I'll have to split it in three parts.
So here is the first part, still raw, with pimples, warts and all.
As usual, feedback is highly appreciated.
Fourth District: The War zone
Exploring the southern part of Québec was the most dangerous, but the most rewarding part of my assignment for this book. Since this region was invaded by the Maritime Provinces in 1934 it became almost impossible for outsiders to report on the situation there. There is no way of visiting the region unannounced if one values his life. Any visit needs to be coordinated with either Québec or the Maritime Provinces and the price for it is usually a visit that is choreographed to serve their needs. I was granted relatively good access to the warzone, although always chaperoned by a Quebec official. In consequence, I had to rely on Jim O’Brien for some of additional information about the parts that I was not allowed to see.
Even three years after the invasion the zone is still divided following the lines of invasions that were taken by the Maritime Provinces army. The West sector is centered around the towns of St-Hyacinte, Drummonville and Sheerbrooke. This big area of XXX square miles is always in flux with loyalties and villages changing sides daily. The Central sector is centered on the town of St-Georges were the largest battles on the North American continent since the Civil War took place. Then there is the East sector centered around Rivière du Loup and Kamouraska the only place where governments exercise control in that huge area that was named Indian Country by a Maritime Provinces general.
The reasons that no unified front was established even after three years of conflict are the lack of manpower, the lack of motorized and airborne forces and the lack roads and railways on the east to west axis. As Napoleon said: “An army marches on its stomach, so each army has to stay close to its supply lines to stay effective. This makes the situation of the in this war closer to the Civil War then to the Great War -L
Sheerbrooke after the invasion circa 1936. Note the building being rebuilt in the foreground
Because of its strategic location as an important rail and road link, the town of Sheerbrooke was a natural objective for the Maritime Provinces invaders. Using the two rails and road links that still linked the town to the former USA, the invaders marched almost unopposed in town. What happened next is still under contention today but the fact is that the troops remained X weeks in town, doing mostly nothing militarily useful and gave the Québec army the time to reorganise in front of the Yamaska river. When they decided to march on Montreal they were defeated by the small motorized force of the République.
What is not in contention is that there was a very high amount of partying going on in the Maritime Provinces army. Depending on the person telling the story, this partying was paid for or it was straight pillaging. - L
Since that defeat, the bulk of the Maritime Province forces have retreated to the safety of the hilly terrain of Sheerbrooke. A small contingent is dispatched regularly to Drummonville in order to keep this town under their control. The ATQ is still mainly based around St-Hyacinte and the along the Yamaska river. There are some occasional raids from each side, but nothing significant.
Because of the uncertainty of the support of the civilian population, a significant offensive could turn into a logistical nightmare for either army.
The West sector is usually restricted, in the mind of outsiders, to the town of Sheerbrooke, Drummonville and St-Hyacinte. But these are only three towns in a territory that comprise XX square miles. It includes most of the land enclosed west of the Champlain valley, south of the St-Lawrence and East of the Chaudière River. The Maritime Province army has a firm control on Sherbrooke, but the further north one goes, the less control it has. It is safe to say that anything north of Drummonville is firmly in the hands of Québec sympathisers. Both countries have not enough troops to effectively control this sector. History and strategical decisions made them concentrate their forces in the Central sector. To make sure to exert their influences both armies build up small motorised platoons that patrol the part of the territory they lay claim to on a regular basis. But even that are just symbolic gestures. The way both armies contest each other control on the sector is by the use of various proxy forces. Militias, mercenaries and various resistance or self-protection groups lay claim to some small parts of the sector.
Even for someone that follows the situation on a regular basis this makes for a very confusing situation. Villages, county and loyalties can change on a daily basis. The further one is from a regular army unit, from any side, the more chaotic the situation becomes. Militias are destroyed and created every day as they merge or split based on personal loyalties
Some of these groups are simply criminals trying to take advantage of the situation. Notorious pirates groups like the Mechanical Angels and the Hell Machines have their main bases in the sector. They like to stay neutral in any conflict since the current situation suit them best. The best known groups fighting for each side are L’Armée de Libération Patriote (Patriot liberation Army) and the East Townships Minutemen. They are both composed of fanatical fighters and have access the relatively good material since their loyalties are never questioned.-L
However, the ones that suffer the most from this situation are the normal civilians that must each day balance the pros and cons of each decision and make sure to hedge their bets in case their village should pass to the other side on the next week. So even if some of the land in that region is amongst the best in North East America, most of the farmers have fled for more stable places.
Since a lot of fighting has been left to the proxies, both armies have been farming the land themselves to support their troops. -L
Judging how has the upper hand and when is one of the most difficult tasks of the civilians living in that sector.
The AAQ has two mixed squadrons in the sector, 37th “1837”, 28th “Séraphim” and the Émérillon a patrol zeppelin carrying the 21st (I) “de Lorimier” squadron. These are mainly used to coordinate and support the numerous proxy forces that happen to fight for Québec at this moment. -L
Defenders of the Republic
Sherbrooke Fusilier Regiment
Moto: Droit au but. (Straight on target)
Even if not in Sherbrooke anymore, they are located at St-Hyacinte AFB, the militia kept the name of the city they were forced to flee. It is the oldest militia in the sector, the fusiliers are the only militia to have survived since the invasion in 1934. They mostly did so by absorbing other groups that were forced to disband and their fame helped attract new recruits. However, the main reason for that survival is probably the willpower of their leader Anita "Bloody Anny" Saint-Jacques
Pilots and there planes: The story of Anita St-Jacques is widely known in Québec. She has become one of the symbol of the resistance to the invaders. Anita was the daughter of a rich Sherbrooke merchant and happily married to the son of the mayor when the Maritime Provinces invaded Québec. Before the war she was one of the brightest star in the social life of the city. Not much of a house wife, she had taken up flying to fight boredom as her husband worked long hours or was travelling around the province. As the Maritime Provinces army marched into town, she got caught with most of her family in Sherbrooke. Her house, one of the nicest of the city, was amongst the first to be pillaged and burned down by the soldiers. At the same time, her father died in still unclear circumstances as his assets were seized by the Maritime Provinces.
The official Québec version is that he was executed, the Maritime Province one that he died of natural causes. -L
She found refuge with the family of her husband but, as he and his father were arrested for sabotaging a train junction and exiled to the Frederickton prison these assets were also seized. Isolated, homeless and without money she decided to flee the city. Using her own plane that she had kept hidden in a barn, she managed to make her way to Montreal. There she used her political connections to get the resources necessary to start her own militia. Her first companions were other refugees that also wanted to get even with the people that evicted them. With time and the successes that she had in her first missions, private sponsors, mainly refugees from the Sherbrooke region, added their resources to the ones given by the government.
The Fusilier are very well trained, equipped and founded. In fact they are well above the levels of the average AAQ squadron in all these aspects. -L
The three years of constant fighting gave numerous bruises to the Fusilier, but they somehow always manage to get through the though times because of the sheer determination St-Jacques. In the most difficult situation, she always manage to keep her sponsors, pilots and support crew together. Although still flying and technically militia leader, St-Jacques has recently transferred the tactical leader role to "Calamity" Jane O'Reilley, a young woman that was expelled from the Maritime Provinces in 1935 because her husband had a French name and that also have a score to settle with that government.
The paint job and marking of the SF is pretty simple, the plane is usually painted green with the tips of the wings, nose and tail bright yellow. The marking of the militia is a horse head painted on the tail.
Recent engagements: More and more, the AAQ commanders of the Yamaska region are starting to use the Fusiliers like a regular unit. Their knowledge of the terrain, discipline and their fanatical dedication make them a great asset . The Fusiliers are proud to serve the AAQ, but never seems to be satisfied, always asking for more assignments. Lately they have made a great number of sorties flying east in the general direction of Sheerbrooke but avoiding contact with the MPAF. This has left most observers puzzled about the goal of such sorties.
After the Sheerbrooke raid, the objective of these sorties became pretty clear, they were recon flights. -L
Special squadron rules – Fanatic
All pilots of the Fusilier have a very personal reason to fight the Maritime Provinces, the death of a comrade, the loss of a home or the disappearance of a family member, and are in consequence highly motivated to get even with anybody representing that country. When fighting against the Maritime Provinces, the player controlling the Sheerbrooke Fusilier can, once a turn, ignore “shock” for one of its pilot.
Scenario – Photo Safari
Most of the recon missions that the Fusilier did for the AAQ were unopposed. However, in one of these mission a flight of fusiliers found itself face to face with a MP patrol.
Set up: use de canyon map, the Fusiliers set up at X edge of the map, the MP at Y edge.
Rules of engagement: Each plane of The Fusiliers recon flight pilots is carrying photographic equipment that takes up 2 rockets HP. In order to take a picture of the plane, a plane with photographic equipment must either: End up in the bridge hex, after having done a maneuver of 1 G or less or fly over the bridge during an S maneuver of 2 Gs or less. Extreme Winter conditions are in force (see Winter Rules p.XX).
Victory condition: At least one plane with pictures of all the bridges on the map and undamaged photographic equipment must exit by X edge of the map. The Maritime Province player wins by preventing this
The Sherbrooke Fusiliers
Rogacien “La Bête” Tremblay 7-5-4-2-4-4
Nicole “La Belle” Binette 3-3-4-4-4-5
“Calamity” Jane O‘Reilley 6-4-5-6-5-6
Harphand Mk IIIB*
The 45th MPAF Squadron “The Coons”
Cpt. Jeremy “X Man” Xavier
Skylance * 5-5-5-3-4-5
Lt. Allison “Pow Pow” Pawlney
Lt. Peter “Giant” Cook
Lt. Jason “Crazy J” Monaan
* Winter Capable planes