The Red October War was a major, century-spanning first contact war between the ancient USSC and the Matriarchy of Illarya which resulted in widespread ideological and social changes for the former and the complete annexation of the latter.
The ancient USSC was the precursor state of the modern Soviet Star Union and consisted of a number of colonies spread across the five systems which would later become the Soviet Home Sector. It was founded by colonists from Earth, who settled the planet which would later become known as Kremlin by means of primitive chemical rockets traveling through a natural wormhole. For nearly two millenia, these colonists remained bound to their new homeworld, but by the time of the Red October War, they had developed a large enough population and the necessary technology to expand beyond their home system and establish several daughter colonies, most notably Stalingrad and Proletaria. At the time of the first contact with the Arkanian civilization, the ancient Soviets possessed a small military fleet equipped with early Warp Drives, which was mainly used for policing and anti-piracy operations.
Matriarchy of Illarya
By the time of the first contact with the ancient Soviets, the Arkanian civilization had developed well beyond their home system and had already encountered and successfully subjugated two other alien species. Militaristic by nature, the Arkanians held a technological and numerical advantage and made heavy use of slave armies.
First contact between Arkanian and Soviet civilization occurred when a Soviet exploration ship which was surveying unexplored systems for resources, encountered an Arkanian outpost, which opened fire on the Soviet ship without warning, although the latter managed to retreat and convey its findings back to the Soviet government.
Kremlin Peace Summit
Following first contact, relations between Soviet and Arkanian authorities were tense, but initially peaceful. Translation efforts were carried out by both civilization and they eventually resulted in what would become known as the Kremlin Peace Summit, the first diplomatic contact between high-ranking officials on both sides. Although initially hoping for a peaceful cohabitation with the Arkanian civilization, negotiations soon broke down, after the Arkanian delegates demanded the complete and unconditional surrender of the Soviet colonies, which the latter refused.
War Breaks Out
The October Offensive
Six months after the failed Kremlin Peace Summit, the Arkanian fleets began the first military offensive into Soviet space, during the event which would later be known as the October Offensive and would give the ensuing war its name. Although the Soviet government had six months to shore up its defenses, it was completely unprepared for the assault of the Arkanian forces, which jumped into orbit above the colony of Proletaria and after quickly dispatching the Soviet battle group which was stationed in the system, proceeded to unleash an orbital bombardment of the colony using nuclear munitions, before landing troops of the planet's surface.
First Battle of Stalingrad
The Soviet war fleet was initially thrown into disarray, but managed to carry out a fighting retreat, all the way back to its colony of Stalingrad, where it attempted a desperate, but ultimately doomed stand, involving a combination of space forces and ground-based, anti-orbital missile defenses. The Arkanian fleet was initially caught by surprise, but quickly responded by deorbiting several asteroids and launching them at the colony, resulting in the deaths of over eighty percent of the planet's population. Surviving Soviet ships were forced to retreat.
The Long March
The Long March is the name given to the desperate fighting retreat of the Soviet forces, following the crushing defeat at Stalingrad. By then, Soviet doctrine had begun to adapt to Arkanian tactics and managed to dramatically slow down the advance of the invading forces. This phase of the war would ultimately last for well over fifty years and would see the Soviet defenders eventually pushed back all the way to their homeworld.
The Battle of Kremlin
Exhausted and overtaxed, the Soviet fleet nevertheless managed to buy time for the USSR to develop new technologies to counter the Arkanian invaders. By the time Arkanian ships finally reached the Siberia star system, they found that the Soviets were ready for them. In orbit of Kremlin, the Soviets had deployed a series of orbital platforms and a fleet of ships outfitted with a new generation of railguns, which, unlike the lasers that the Soviets had previously used, could not be deflected by the type of energy shields which the Arkanian ships employed. Since the war had, so far, been fought with a combination of energy weapons and missiles which would be countered by shields and point defenses, Arkanian ship designs did not include armor which was capable of withstanding high-velocity kinetic impacts. Despite attempting the same strategy they previously used with great success at Stalingrad, the Soviet defenders managed to gain the upper hand and obtained a major victory against their enemies, their first in the war.
Second Battle of Stalingrad
Following their victory at Kremlin, the Soviets pressed their advantage and launched a two-pronged campaign to retake Siberia and Proletaria simultaneously, which they managed through a combination of line-of-battle action and long range railgun and missile attacks, albeit with considerable casualties. The increase in manpower and industrial facilities which these colonies provided, subsequently allowed the Soviets to quickly recover their losses and increase the size of their fleet.
Illarya Pushes for Peace
Following the defeat of their forces at Proletaria and Stalingrad, the Arkanian government tried to push for a peace settlement which would return the two colonies which were still under Arkanian occupation, back to Soviet control and would reestablish the pre-war border, in exchange for financial compensation over their lost ships. However, emboldened by their recent victories, the Soviet government refused any kind of peace settlement and, in a situation reminiscent of the Kremlin Peace Summit, demanded the complete and unconditional surrender of the Matriarchy of Illarya, which the latter rejected as preposterous.
The Orlov Campaign
Soviet Admiral Grigori Orlov would lead the first Soviet foray into Arkanian space. Unwilling to give the Arkanian forces time to recovered, the Soviet admiral led a force of one hundred and twenty capital ships from Proletaria, across the border into the neighboring system of Odar's Bulwark, which was a colony of the Illaryan Matriarchy.
The Odar Atrocity
Rather than engaged the combined forces of the Arkanian fleet and the orbital and ground-based defenses of the Arkanian colony of Odar, Admiral Orlov chose to use weapons of mass destruction to destroy the colony's defenses. In a move which reenacted the First Battle of Stalingrad, only on a larger scale, Soviet forces launched fifty-two asteroids at the Arkanian colony, resulting in the complete annihilation of its population and the planet being rendered irreversibly uninhabitable. In shock at the unexpected scale of the attack, the remaining defenders were unable to regroup quickly enough to repel the subsequent Soviet assault and were eventually forced to retreat.
Final Stages of the War
Emboldened by two decades of victories and pushed on by the memories of Arkanian atrocities, Soviet forces continued their advance into Arkanian space, often committing horrific acts of vengeance against their enemies that resulted in an extremely high civilian death count for the Arkanian colonies, which were bombed into submission and subsequently had to face a brutal occupation by hate-driven Soviet troops.
The Battle of IllaryaSoviet forces finally reached the Arkanian homeworld of Illarya on the 2nd of October, in the 3rd year Before Infinite Conquest and immediately began a multi-pronged, combined assault involving fleet action, long range bombardment and infantry engagements both around the planet's orbital facilities and on the ground. The Arkanian defenders managed to initially hold off the Soviet attackers and it seemed that reinforcements from other colonies would arrive in time to relieve them, however these reinforcements were intercepted along the route by a second Soviet fleet, which caught them by surprise and managed to successfully defeat them before they were able to jump into their home system. Isolated and running out of ships, soldiers and supplies, the Arkanian forces were eventually defeated a week later due to attrition and Soviet troops marched into the Illaryan capital and detained the Arkanian government, who was forced to sign an unconditional surrender. Several pockets of resistance throughout Arkanian space would continue to fight for another year, before finally being defeated and the war officially concluded on the 23rd of August, in the 2nd year BIC.
Consequences of the War
The Red October War was a major transformative event for the Soviet civilization and ultimately caused its transition from a peaceful state, into a militaristic nation bent on constant expansion. The former Matriarchy of Illarya, now in disarray after the fall of its homeworld and central government, was subsequently annexed by the nascent Soviet Star Union. The war and its atrocities had a major impact on Soviet society and culture and caused far-reaching societal and ideological shifts, which would manifest themselves into the publication of the Mandate of Infinite Conquest by Soviet General and politician Voronkov Boleslaw Yanovich two years after the war and its subsequent adoption as the official doctrine of the Soviet government.