Paragon City: The War Continued
America's super powered elite forces, the First Hero Brigade, saw their first action overseas in the deserts of North Africa. Tragically, it became immediately apparent that heroes could die in war almost as easily as normal soldiers. In the first engagement, the Hero Brigade took the German panzers head on and got the worst of it. Costume clad men and women who were used to dodging through street toughs and gangsters found that an exploding tank shell was often much tougher to dodge. Even the more powerful heroes, those capable of taking on a tank or two on their own, found that three or four panzers often proved two too many. Scores died in those early battles, but the Hero Brigade's leaders learned much from those costly mistakes.
The Americans decided that heroes could better serve the cause by performing special operations and surgical strikes rather than working in large, military style units. The First Hero Brigade separated into dozens of small strike teams and spread out across North Africa. Among the most successful of these new teams was a group that called itself the Sand Kings. Made up entirely of heroes from Paragon City, the Sand Kings were street level heroes headed by the mysterious Dream Doctor. With the help of the Doctor's mind control and illusion powers they became the new model for how heroes could be most effective in the war.
The Sand Kings lived and fought behind enemy lines, operating totally free from the normal chain of command. They specialized in sabotaging Axis equipment and kidnapping high-ranking Nazi soldiers. Allied watchmen would routinely stumble across sedated and bound German officers, delivered like Christmas presents to American intelligence. The Sand Kings caused so much disruption and chaos that the German High Command was forced to divert much of its own super powered resources to the North African front, providing relief for the besieged Britain.
In the British Isles things were desperate. The Dawn Patrol had originally opposed war with Germany and was still reeling from the public relations backlash that came with the war's outbreak. They fought bravely alongside the RAF during the Battle of Britain and escorted Royal Navy and American convoys across the Atlantic, taking terrible losses in the process. However, they found their greatest challenge in fighting off the Storm Korps, Germany's elite super soldier cadre. After the fall of France, The Storm Korps began a prolonged series of raids into the British Isles. Their super powers allowed them to cause tremendous damage, much more than normal Special Forces operations could ever hope to accomplish.
The most daring Storm Korps raid came within a hair's breadth of striking a tremendous blow against British morale. Three Storm Korps super soldiers, led by the nefarious Eisensturm, managed to breach Buckingham Palace's defenses and kidnap his royal highness the King of England. Alistair Sutton, leader of the Dawn Patrol, chased the kidnappers down and fought Eisensturm to a standstill in the Scottish Highlands. He bought enough time for the rest of the Dawn Patrol to arrive and help rescue the captured monarch from the hands of fascist villainy. It was shortly after this that American victories in Africa drew off much of the Storm Korps' resources and many credit Sutton's victory over Eisensturm as the turning point of the war for Great Britain and the Dawn Patrol.
On the Asian front, the fire wielding Captain Volcano led America's heroes in their drive across the Pacific. Japan had unleashed its own super powered strike force, the Imperial Wind shortly after Pearl Harbor. The Wind sat atop the Japanese military as the best and brightest the empire had to offer. In the otherwise regimented army culture, the members of the Wind each maintained his own individual flair and personality, many of them ruling over occupied territories in the Philippines and China like medieval lords. Much like the western heroes, they operated according to their own plans and desires and were universally formidable foes. The deadliest of all was of course the Wind's leader: The Lord of Frosts, who commanded the Imperial Wind in the south pacific and had his sights set firmly on the American West Coast.
The island hopping battles in the Pacific theater had a very different character from the massive land engagements tearing across Europe. This was nowhere more true than in the battle between opposing super powered soldiers. The bitter war between the Imperial Wind and America's heroes quickly became very personal. Captain Volcano and The Lord of Frosts clashed again and again and each became utterly obsessed with defeating the other. The maelstrom of their enmity drew in the rest of the heroes from both sides, effectively creating a separate war from the main conflict that raged around them. While Navy fighter planes and carriers fought at Midway and US marines stormed Iwo Jima, the super powered rivals fought epic but strategically pointless battles over desert islands and empty expanses of ocean.
Back in Europe, the Allies were massing in Britain for D-Day. When invasion came, the Freedom Phalanx and Dawn Patrol were part of the first wave to enter France. Many dropped in the night before with the airborne troops, providing protection against Storm Korps jet pack troops. Both sides took horrendous casualties in those first bloody hours, with the super powered soldiers on both sides fighting in the vanguard. Late on the first day the Storm Korps launched a massive counteroffensive in an effort to drive the Allies back into the English Channel. Fought largely in the air above Normandy's beaches, this was one of the most spectacular hero battles of the war. Statesman himself was in the forefront, powering through hundreds of enemy super soldiers. The Allies repulsed the counterattack and the armies pushed on into France. Victory did not come without a terrible cost. Scores of heroes lost their lives and Statesman suffered critical wounds that left him crippled for the rest of the war.
During the following year of savage and costly battles across Europe, heroes served much as they had in North Africa: as aides and adjuncts to the main job being done by the soldiers. The Storm Korps took too long to recover from the blow they'd been dealt on D-Day. By the time the dread Nazi hero legion had reformed the war was all but over. The Storm Korps retreated to its secret Black Forest fastness, hoping to negotiate their freedom and escape to South America. The surviving members of the First Hero Brigade would have none of that. Although too injured to fight, Statesman planned the final assault against the Storm Korps stronghold. Hitler had shot himself the night before, but for the First Hero Brigade, there was one last battle.
The Battle of the Black Forest was a dirty, nasty, brutal conflict, fought over five days and almost entirely within the sprawling underground labyrinth the Storm Korps called home. The remaining super powered Nazis had holed up behind reinforced steel doors, maniacal deathtraps, and cunningly designed fortifications. Each fought to the last breath as the Allied heroes dug them out of the ground with pure force and tenacity. In the final showdown the last few Storm Korps members suffered their final humiliating defeat by being captured alive. They later stood trial at Nuremberg and all five were found guilty of war crimes. Their trial was a legal landmark of sorts, in which the world court agreed that super powered individuals must be held to a higher standard of behavior than normal soldiers.
The last act of the war should have been the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan, and for most of the world this was the end. Not however, for the Lord of Frosts and Captain Volcano. The surviving members of the Imperial Wind refused to accept Japan's surrender and continued to fight on for several more months. Captain Volcano and company kept after the rogue Japanese super men and fought a series of battles across the South Pacific. The years of dueling between the two finally came to a tragic end in the far off island of New Ireland. There the Lord of Frosts finally overcame Captain Volcano, killing the American hero and snatching some small personal victory out of the jaws of his nation and empire's defeat. The US mourned their hero's passing and a worldwide manhunt for the missing Lord of Frosts was launched. Unfortunately the villain escaped when the United States suddenly had much more serious matters to worry about: Washington DC was under attack.