United Kingdom is one of several nations in Steel Division: Normandy 44 and in Steel Division II.
One of the foremost imperial powers of the 19th century, the United Kingdom build its economic and military might on the backs of conquered peoples in its colonies spanning the globe. However, by the Dirty Thirties, the Great Depression coupled with the traumatic experiences of World War I spelled trouble for the island empire. Eager to avoid a military confrontation and resolve crises through diplomacy, the United Kingdom inadvertently aided Hitler's meteoric rise on the continental stage. The Appeasement policy championed by Neville Chamberlain betrayed Austria and Czechoslovakia, trading entire nations for time to modernize and rearm its military.
Though committed to the defense of Poland by its defensive treaty, the United Kingdom had little actual capacity to defend its eastern ally and the Phoney War between it and Germany continued until 1940, when the Nazi war machine crashed through Belgium and then France. The evacuation of the BEF from Dunkirk marked the nadir of the UK's wartime history, with the British Isles besieged by Nazi air force and navy. Refusing to surrender, Churchill made a Faustian pact with the United States, slowly selling off the empire in return for much needed goods and weapons. Though absent from Europe, Commonwealth forces fought across North Africa against Italian fascists and their German supporters, as well as in the Far East against the encroaching Imperial Japan.
However, in standing against the Nazi war machine and refusing to surrender, the UK became a symbol and a rallying point for anti-fascist fighters from across Europe (even France, despite attacks on fleets to prevent them from being deployed in the Mediterranean after the surrender). When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, the UK became one of the first to supply arms to the communist state and help it weather the onslaught, while the fighting in Africa helped draw men and materiel away from the East. It also provided an opportunity for Allied forces to refine their warfighting techniques, not just for the British, but the Free French, Americans, Poles, and of course, Commonwealth soldiers.
By 1943, the British succeeded in defeating the Axis in Africa, depriving Hitler and Mussolini of hundreds of thousands of soldiers. The followed up attack on Italy knocked the original fascists out of the fight, although the strike against the underbelly of Europe became mired in the hilly terrain of the Apennine Peninsula. The Allies switched priorities and in 1944, the UK and the Commonwealth participated in the single largest amphibious landing in history, Operation Overlord. Fighting through the beaches of Normandy, France, and the Benelux, while the Soviet Union delivered titanic blows to the Nazi war machine in the East, the UK and other western Allies helped put down the fascist beast.
The price was high, however: In the years following the war, the impoverished United Kingdom had to dismantle its colonial empire, transferring its hegemony over to the new western superpower: The United States.
- Commando units appear exclusively in the Atlantikwall campaign