|Battle of Cascade Falls|
|United States of America||Soviet Union|
|*Col. Jeremiah Sawyer||Unknown|
| U.S. Army
U.S. Air Force
| Soviet Army
Soviet Air Force
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Cascade Falls was a major engagement in the America Theatre of World War III, taking place in the mountain town of Cascade Falls, Washington, a few miles from the military base at Fort Teller, Washington. The battle was significant for the use of a tactical nuclear weapon on American soil to halt the advance of the attacking Soviet forces, as well as being the turning point on the American Front.
With the Soviet invasion and conquest of Seattle, the tide of the war had begun to turn against America and its allies. With most of their military forces present fighting in Europe, the United States was left vulnerable to the Soviet attack, and now entire divisions of the Red Army were pouring into the Pacific Northwest, steadily advancing through Washington State. The situation was poor; if NATO withdrew their armies in Europe to repel this fresh invasion, then their already shaky defense of the continent would crumble, but nor could they simply abandon the Contiguous United States to Soviet hands. The successful American defense of Pine Valley had halted the Soviet juggernaut for the moment, and bought time for additional forces to be drawn from around the country and sent westward. Unfortunately, it would not be enough.
Pausing only to call in additional troops and supplies from Seattle, the Soviets began to advance eastwards to the Idaho border, heading for Fort Teller, Washington, location of the US Strategic Defense Initiative that commanded the country's system of countermeasures against nuclear attack. With SDI disabled, the Soviets hoped that they would be free to launch nuclear weapons against the United States, and/or use the threat of such an attack to force America to surrender.
Unfortunately for the Soviets, they did not realize that they had been duped; SDI was a practical failure and had never gotten off the ground, its only true purpose now was as a bluff. That being said, its exposure as a shame would be just as bad; the Soviets would know that nothing could prevent them from launching nuclear missiles at the US, and could lead to a world-ending nuclear exchange.
As such, a desperate defense of the fort was established, cobbled together by the battalions of Colonel Sawyer and his National Guard counterpart Colonel Wilkins. Their units were tired, weakened and overstretched, yet were the only forces in position to halt the Soviet attack and end the threat of nuclear Armageddon. Rather than fight the Soviets on Fort Teller's doorstep, they instead elected to secure and hold the snowy mountain passes leading to the fort, hoping the narrow the enemy's approach and make them more manageable. Wilkin's battalion, some two under-strength companies, held the southern approach, while the 5th Battalion made its stand at the garrison town of Cascade Falls several miles away. With so much at stake, the Americans had only two real options: fight or die.
Determined to win, Sawyer nevertheless understood that his exhausted battalion could not hope to succeed in a straight-up fight against the numerically superior Soviets. Thus, he devised a strategy to buy his forces time and take advantage of the terrain as much as possible. First, the Americans would secure the western and eastern bridges leading into the town, hoping to stall the enemy vanguard and force the enemy to concentrate their assault down the town centre. At which point, Sawyer intended to pull his troops back to the north bridge leading towards Fort Teller, cut the other two approaches, and hoped that their massed firepower concentrated on one flank could crush the Soviet assault once and for all. Alpha Company, commanded by Captain James Webb, secured the eastern bridge, while Charlie Company, led by Captain Mark Bannon, held the other bridge. Bravo Company, under the command of Lieutenant Parker, initially began on the eastern flank, but acted as a reserve force to bolster the defenses where needed.
The initial attack came swiftly, and despite the ferocity of the Soviets, the Americans held on quite well, ignoring all losses and inflicting a terrible toll on the attackers. Assisting with Webb's defense of the eastern bridge, Parker was forced to split his company and send a platoon to the aid of Bannon, reinforcing the western defense in the face of a heavy Soviet attack. Eventually, however, as the main Soviet force began to arrive and head for the town centre, Sawyer ordered the withdrawal the north bridge. Alpha and Charlie Companies began a fighting retreat, buying enough time for Bravo to establish defenses at the bridge. Brutal house-to-house fighting resulted as the Soviet infantry attempted to clear the way for their armoured units, while the small-town roads quickly become jammed with wrecked Soviet and American tanks. Bravo Company secured the bridge, and began to clear the skies of the numerous Soviet attack helicopters, as well as crush a unit of amphibious vehicles attempting to scope out Fort Teller's defenses. The concentrated American defense took a considerable pounding during this phase of the battle, but inflicted tremendous damage on the attackers and succeeded in luring their main force into the confines of the town itself.
Eventually, the sheer weight of the Soviet assault forced 5th Battalion back to the bridge. With the enemy closing in, Sawyer unleashed his trump card, a massive carpet bombing from a B-52 that laid waste to the centre of the town, killing thousands of the enemy and wrecking dozens of vehicles. The Soviets were so tightly packed together within Cascade Falls that the effect of the bombing was only further magnified, and the heart of their advance was torn out. Immediately, Sawyer ordered a counterattack. Inspired by the sight of their enemies crushed by the bombing, the battalion struck at the still-reeling Soviets, catching up off-guard and scattering them to the outskirts of town. The presence of newly-arrived Soviet units slowed their counterattack, but desperate taking considerable losses, the Americans managed to secure the town and establish a strong defensive line on its outskirts.
That was when the news hit; at least three more fresh Soviet armoured battalions were pouring into the area, and would soon be in Cascade Falls. Already exhausted from the battle, their ammunition supplies nearly depleted and having taken significant losses, the battalion would be unable to repel them for long. With no other options, the highest echelons of the US military gave Sawyer authorization to deploy their last-ditch countermeasure; a tactical nuclear strike on Cascade Falls. It would be the first time a nuclear weapon had been deployed on American soil outside of weapons tests, and the combined blast and fallout would render the region uninhabitable in the years to come, but it was deemed the only means of stopping the Soviet attack.
Bannon, however, brought up that if all of what remained of the 5th Battalion retreated, the Soviets would become reasonably suspicious. As such, some of the battalion would have to remain behind to ensure that the Soviets were unaware of the nuclear strike. Volunteering himself and his company for the task, Bannon led his troops right into the heart of the Soviet formation, drawing their fire while the rest of the battalion escaped the battlefield. Once outside the minimum safe distance, the Americans called in the strike, but not before Sawyer and Bannon made their peace. Despite nearly being overrun, Charlie Company managed to hold the line long enough for the missile to strike Cascade Falls, obliterating the town and the Soviet invaders.
The Battle of Cascade Falls was a strategic victory for the United States, but a costly one. The use of nuclear weapons against the Soviets had proven a dangerous precedent, and much of the region would remain scarred with radiation and uninhabitable in the years to come. In addition, the residents of Cascade Falls (the town was evacuated before the battle) were now homeless. Fort Teller had been saved and the threat of a full-scale nuclear war averted, but numerous American lives had been lost and the 5th Battalion found itself scattered and dangerously understrength in the immediate wake of the battle. Still, Cascade Falls would be the furthest the Soviets would advance into the United States; aside from a desperate attempt by survivors of the nuclear strike to regroup and attack Fort Teller shortly after the blast, the Soviets would be on the defensive for the rest of the campaign.