Tensions were already high between the Russian Federation and NATO due to Russia's involvement in the Ukrainian War that started in 2014.
Continued support to Pro-Russian Separatists as well as the annexation of Crimea remained a big issue between the two power-blocs between much of 2014 and 2020.
Starting in 2021, the Russian Federation started applying more pressure onto Ukraine through various diplomatic and economic channels.
Combined with Belarus, the Russian Federation continuously increased its activities against Ukraine, culminating in a large build-up of Russian and CIS forces along the Ukrainian border at the end of 2021.
NATO and the EU, looking to incorporate Ukraine into both NATO and the European Union, sensed danger along its eastern borders. Both organisations decided to pursue a ''red-line'' doctrine that sought to prevent a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Ukraine was to be provided with significant amounts of Western high-grade weaponry, and to be militarily supported in the event of any Russian action against Ukraine.
As previous ''red-lines'' had been little more than a joke, few in the world took NATO's threats seriously. Unsurprisingly, therefore, Pro-Russian separatists launched a large-scale offensive in Ukraine with obvious backing from the regular Russian Armed Forces. Likely a ''compromise'' by Russia, Russia did not directly invade Ukraine in new areas and instead relied upon the existing separatists to attack Ukraine through. However, NATO still decided to come to Ukraine's aid. Various EU nations and NATO forces deployed combat troops to the region to combat these separatists. The separatists were inadequately backed by Russia to deal with these well trained and equipped western European troops, resulting in their offensive stalling rapidly. Because of this, a de-facto arms provision race started on both sides. The Russian Federation would equip the separatists with better equipment which would in turn cause NATO to deploy heavier assets.
Ultimately, it became clear that the separatists were increasingly being replaced by regular Russian and CIS troops along the lines of contact. When verifiable news of this broke, it ushered in a sense of panic within the European Union as the countries were quite literally engaged with Russian troops which likely meant that a direct war with the Russian Federation was likely.
With EU/NATO resolve shaken, as few people wanted to suffer a direct war with Russia and had not expected Russia to call their bluff, NATO troops rapidly switched from participation in combat to logistical support to the Ukrainian war effort. After this happened, the Ukrainian Army was routed within three months as Russia became less concerned with hiding its intentions and had started utilizing its entire military might against its former ally.
Combat operations in Ukraine ended in April 2022, when the last Ukrainian Forces surrendered or switched sides around Lviv. Over 55,000 people had died in a war that nearly lasted 5 months. NATO troops had already left the country at the end of March, leaving the Ukrainian Army to fend for itself.
The point had, however, been made. The Russians were a force to be reckoned with, and NATO was unwilling to risk its forces for non-NATO countries.
Russia, however, quite obviously took it as a sign of weakness of NATO. EU countries, disillusioned with the previous feeling of ''strength through unity'' concepts of NATO, felt that individual states should increase their defensive strength. Indirectly, this war led to growing division between NATO and EU countries.
Russia, Belarus and CIS countries, continued military operations along the borders of NATO that were in reality little more than bullying operations against the Baltic states. Hybrid warfare was common between April and May, resulting in Estonia suffering a civil war that eventually flowed over to Latvia and Lithuania.
These wars were very destructive, but were eventually resolved through the intervention of NATO forces spearheaded by Germany and France.
Finland, another country bordering the Russian Federation and serving as a NATO partner ended up being used as a staging area for NATO troops operating in the Baltic. From Finland, NATO battle-groups were easily assisted with Air power and a steady stream of supplies coming through the Baltic sea.
As this ''Baltic Civil War'' was more-or-less sponsored and started by the Russian Federation and the CIS, this war once more drew NATO into dangerous relations with the Russian Federation. Yet, this time the war centered around both NATO and EU countries, resulting in NATO being more serious this time around.
This conflict did, in fact, bring NATO forces in direct conflict with Russian troops on various occasions as Russian troops regularly transgressed the borders.
With Russian intentions in the Baltic frustrated: border violations, internal political strife orchestrated by the Russian Federation and its allies skyrocketed in all of Russia's neighbors aligned with NATO or the European Union. Poland fell victim to terrorism orchestrated by the Russians, and Finland surprisingly became the epicenter of ''anti-Russian'' violence. It being orchestrated by the Russians themselves is likely, as it ''caused'' Russians in Finland to take up arms the government in ''self defense''. These ''Russian Defence League'' paramilitaries were able to draw upon an unrealistic amount of Russian-speakers, as mustering 12,000 combatants against a Russian-speaking population of 50,000 was suspicious. NATO Intelligence quickly deduced that these combatants likely came from Russia, and were similar to the militants encountered in Eastern Ukraine throughout 2014-2015.
Intent on showcasing determination in the face of Russian expansionism, NATO sent a support mission named ''Stalwart Guardian'' to Finland.
Spearheaded by US Troops, with smaller French and Germaan units in tow, this force would be able to deal with the Russian militants.
Quickly involved in combat against Russian supplied militants throughout Finland, NATO troops were able to rapidly wipe-out the Pro-Russian forces.
Russia, apparently having obtained what it was looking for, launched a diplomatic campaign against NATO that focused on NATO's ''aggression against Russians''.
Clearly an attempt to whip up support for a war against NATO, it was widely successful throughout the former Soviet Republics linked to Russia through the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
NATO ignored Russian half-hearted attempts at diplomatic warfare, instead focusing on destroying Russian attempts to divide the European Union or NATO.
Surprisingly though, on June 21t 2022, Russian Airborne troops landed in Helsinki whilst Mechanized troops crossed the Finnish borders en-masse.
Whilst many NATO units in-country were located away from the border regions, Russian troops were able to easily overcome the ill-prepared Finnish forces.
US Army elements were deployed closest to the Russian advance from the border, and as such will likely be the first ones to directly engage the Russian mechanized forces whilst the French and Germans will end up engaging the Russian Airborne forces around Helsinki.
The war, is on.
EU and NATO Forces deployed to Finland:
- 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. [1AD]
- 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. [4ID]
- 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. [4ID]
- 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team. [10MD]
- 6th Light Armored Brigade.
- 21st Panzer Brigade.
- 41st Panzergrenadier Brigade.
Various NATO Air Force elements have been deployed to assist Combat Operations in Finland:
- 301st Fighter Squadron
- 112th Fighter Squadron
- 25th Fighter Squadron
- Tactical Air Force Wing 31
- 2nd Fighter Wing
1-32IN, as part of the 1st IBCT, is being deployed to the Coastal-Border region to stop the Russian offensive.
The 1st IBCT will be supported by the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, with which it will cooperate to stop the Russian advance and ultimately push them back towards the border.
In the Finnish Area of Operations, G-2 has identified the presence of elements of the following Divisions:
- 144th Guards Motor Rifle Division: A Mechanized Force, equipped with T-72/T-90 MBTs as well as BMP-2/BMP-3 IFVs and BTR-80 APCs.
- 4th Guards Tank Division: An Armored Force, equipped with T-80/T-14 MBTs as well as BMP-2/T-15 IFVs
- 76th Guards Air Assault Division: Russian VDV Airborne forces, equipped with light APCs, IFVs and Helicopters.
- Unknown amount of Russian Special Operations Forces (CCO).
- 6th Guards Mechanized Brigade: A Mechanized Force, equipped with T-72 MBTs as well as BMP-2 IFVs.
- 120th Guards Mechanized Brigade: A Mechanized Force, equipped with T-72 MBTs as well as BMP-2 IFVs.
These forces are a mix of heavily mechanized and light infantry forces. These units have previously fought in Ukraine, and are considered ''veteran''. They use modern Russian equipment, and should be considered a significant threat to our operations. They are used to fighting a highly mobile and offensive war, backed by significant fire-support. What they have in terms of equipment, they lack in local knowledge and support from the local population.
Prepare yourselves gentlemen, we will be fighting in a large country that is mainly rural with few paved roads. Combining open fields with large dense forests, our experience as light infantry will be paramount to our operations. We will also be liberating Finnish civilians from Russian occupation, so keep in mind to treat the local population with kindness. Whereas these Russians may use slightly outdated tactics, their vast amount of equipment will be serious danger to us and we should prepare ourselves for a long and bloody conflict. Become familiar with the forests and rural villages, as that's where we will mainly be fighting
I hope to see you on the field.
Captain T. Holtkamp