The Second Great War:
Timeline, Part One

Our Second Great War alternative history is an ambitious attempt to tell the story, in game format, of an event that never actually happened. At the heart of it is our series “bible,” titled The Second Great War. The first of two volumes covers the war’s background, the participants, and the first two years of events. Here’s a look at the timeline of the first year of this mighty conflict:

August 1940: Russian armies invade Finland, the Baltic States, Poland and Austrian Ruthenia.

Autumn 1940: French and Russian surface raiders attack German convoys in the North Atlantic. German cruisers and submarines devastate French merchant traffic.

August 1940: Austrian occupation of Corfu.

August 1940: Montenegro declares war on the Central Powers.

September 1940: Naval battles in the Adriatic and Dalmatian archipelago.

September 1940: Russians capture Lviv.

September 1940: French, Belgian and Italian armies invade Germany and Austria.

September 1940: German officials evacuate the small colony of Togoland.

September 1940: The High Seas Fleet makes a daring raid against the French north coast.

September 1940: Local German forces fend off a French invasion of Kamerun.

September 1940: Serbia declares war on the Central Powers.

September 1940: Argentine surprise attack on the Brazilian fleet.

September 1940: Germany’s flotilla on Lake Tanganyika destroys much of the Belgian flotilla in an epic, though small, high-altitude naval battle.

October 1940: Franco-Belgian offensive halts, having captured Lorraine and Luxembourg but not reaching the Rhine.

October 1940: Major fleet battle in Brazilian waters.

October 1940: Sweden joins the Central Powers. Russians capture Talinn.


October 1940: Italian bombers conduct the war’s first strategic bombing mission.

October 1940: Russian minesweepers clear paths out of the Gulf of Finland.

November 1940: French attacks fail to capture Alsace.

November 1940: Naval action in the Otranto Strait.

November 1940: Russian landings in the Ӓland Islands. Many naval battles result.

November 1940: Russians capture Riga.

November 1940: Brazil turns back Argentine ground offensive over the Rio Uruguay.

November-December 1940: A renewed French invasion overruns much of Kamerun.

November-December 1940: Trieste falls to the Italians.

December 1940: Russians abandon attempts to storm Königsberg and Warsaw.

December 1940: Russians capture Mariehamn and island of Eckerö, the westernmost of the Ӓland Islands.

January 1941: German-Estonian troops repel Russian invasions of Saaremaa, Muhu and Hiiumaa.

January 1941: Russian and Romanian armies invade Bulgaria.

January 1941: Russian and Armenian armies invade Turkey.

January 1941: France, Italy declare war on the Ottoman Empire.

January 1941: Naval actions in the Black Sea.

January 1941: Central Powers declare food rationing.

February 1941: American-flagged merchant vessels allowed to enter belligerent ports, as long as they do not carry war materiel.

March 1941: Swedish ski troops seize the island of Eckerö and neutralize Russian batteries there.

March 1941: France, Italy declare food rationing.

March 1941: French spring offensive reaches the Rhine River near Mannheim. French deploy poison gas, its first use in this war.

April 1941: Britain declares war on Germany, Austria and the Ottoman Empire.

April 1941: Russian Baltic Fleet begins laying extensive minefields in Gulf of Finland.

April 1941: German convoys cease operating in the North Atlantic following British declaration of war. Merchant traffic now carried in American- or neutral-flagged shipping. German raiders begin attacks on British merchant traffic.

April 1941: Fast-moving Turkish cavalry seize the Suez Canal intact.

April 1941: German forces capture the British Lake Victoria Flotilla intact.

April 1941: Italian offensive fails to capture Rijeka and Pola.

April 1941: At British urging, Chile declares war on Brazil.

May 1941: A German invasion of Kenya bogs down in the monsoon.

May 1941: Turkish forces overrun Kuwait and Oman, but cannot capture Aden.

May 1941: Iran invades Turkish Mesopotamia.

May 1941: Turkish battle cruisers raid the coast of Italian-ruled Eritrea.

May 1941: American merchant vessels barred from ports of belligerent nations.

May 1941: The Japanese attack the Russian Far East without a declaration of war.

May 1941: Italian landing operations in the Adriatic end in unmitigated disaster.

May 1941: Britain declares food rationing.

Summer 1941: Heavy fighting in the mountains of Yemen as Turks advance on Aden. Naval battles in the Gulf of Aden.

May – June 1941: A large-scale Central Powers offensive in central Poland fails to gain much ground and is turned back to its original lines.

June 1941: Surface battle in the North Sea.

June 1941: Austrian armies overrun Serbia and Montenegro.

June 1941: Turkish forces invading northern Iran link up with others pressing south from Azerbaijan. Ottoman forces liberate all of Iranian Azerbaijan.

June 1941: Russian amphibious landing in Viipuri Bay outflanks Finnish defenses.

June 1941: Unrest in Hungary. Troops deployed in major cities.

June 1941: Turkish warships turn back an Iranian attempt to invade Qatar.

June-July 1941: Convoy battles in the waters between India and East Africa.

July 1941: Naval battles on the Caspian Sea.

July 1941: Turkish defenders turn back a large-scale British assault on the Suez Canal.

July 1941: Turkish landings on the island of Crete spark a series of destructive naval battles known as the “Night of the Battleships.”

July 1941: Naval battle between Chilean and Brazilian fleets.

July 1941: Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II dies, succeeded by his son as Wilhelm III.

July 1941:  Massive surface battle in the North Sea.

July 1941: Vladivostok falls to the Japanese.

August 1941: German cruisers devastate a British troop convoy in the Gulf of Aden.

August 1941: Unprovoked British attack on the neutral Greek fleet.

August 1941: British invasion of Iceland fails due to poor planning and preparation.

August 1941: British carrier-based torpedo bombers sink two Brazilian battleships and two cruisers.

You can order The Second Great War right here.

Mike Bennighof is president of Avalanche Press and holds a doctorate in history from Emory University. A Fulbright Scholar and award-winning journalist, he has published over 100 books, games and articles on historical subjects. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, three children and his dog, Leopold.