CMANO : First Night

This is the 3rd Scenario in the Desert Storm campaign pack. The first one was shifting assets to the Middle East while the 2nd was a hypothetical push by the Iraqi’s into Saudi Arabia. It’s worth noting that performance from one scenario does not carry forward to the next. Each mission is a standalone operation even though they may be sequential chronologically.

Some of our bases are populated with munitions, but not all.

Some of our facilities have aircraft and only the loadouts they arrived with. So we have to shift loaded aircraft about.

I’ll have to check out the OOB and see what’s available for recon. In a previous mission we had the SR-71 available which should work well given the SAM network surrounding Baghdad.

The Scenario Platforms is big. And that’s not including naval assets! So I see a TR-1A Dragon Lady, SR-71, and a U-2. I’ll get the ferry missions going first. The B-52’s out of Diego Garcia are going to wait as they’ll require a ton of time to transit to the target area and will need a very sanitized airspace to function.

First up I make all the ferry missions. These should be set and forget.

The Recon mission is the next one. I’ll send up the SR-71 and the U-2. Both set to a ceiling of 90000.

The SR71 has a nice suite of sensors.

As does the U2.

Our B52’s at Diego Garcia are going to chill for now. Both loadouts have radii that match the strike, though I might have them get gas while en-route.

I’m not sure how neccessary it is to get ASW patrols around the carriers, but I’d rather err on the safe side. So I setup ASW patrols with reference points attached to the carrier groups. It would be rather embarrassing to lose a carrier…

About now is when it hits me. This is a BIG scenario. I’ve got everything from Italian Rf-104G’s to Tornado’s. Daisy cutters to anti runway bomblets. Not to mention OECM and all kinds of support goodies.

Every scenario seems different so I’m going to hold off launching CAP until I see what to expect. Some scenarios assume you’ll put up CAP and need it. Others assume you won’t and then you might need it later. Seeing as how this is a 47 hour scenario I’m going to wait and see.

Kennedy gets aircraft up first, all other carrier groups follow suit. Next the C130’s and recon group takes off.

The SR71 has a jammer and it’s active.

All the C-130’s!

The AEW heading west. You get such a massive boost to force projection with that thing it’s not even funny. Once the skies clear I’ll get up an ELINT bird too.

The Israelis have some AEW and ELINT assets available at Ramon but we’ll leave them for now.

Here’s a bit of a legend in case you’re not familiar with the game. Note that I can switch to UNIT mode which will show every asset, but for our purposes group view is fine.

(Individual units above)

First supply run successful.

Which brings us a ton of new loadouts! As our cargo lands I’ll get units loading up, it’ll take 6 hours or so.

Skunks picked up by the AEW. Could be neutrals, civilians, Iranians, or Iraqi attack boats. We’ll have to wait and see as our orders stipulate NO civilian casualties.

Hmm, we’ve got 5 of them, in formation, moving at 14 knots. TF Gloucester will be first contact, hopefully we can get an ID on them soon otherwise we’ll send up someone to investigate.

Prince Sultan supplies are up. F-16’s and F-15E’s at PS.

Al Minhad lands next, we get a ton of Vipers. I mix it up a bit to give it a potential strike package for the south.

And our SR71 is almost at the border and picking up contacts. Per mission order #3 we’re more interested in stuff near Baghdad.

The surface group gets resolved by the ELINT. 3 OSA’s and a pair of Swery Patrol Boats. These things are terribly outgunned by our Harpoons.

It’s time to kick up the SR71 now that she’s about to enter hostile airspace. If things look too nasty we’ll pull the U2 back.

Iraqi Missile Artillery. Oh dear. If they are Al Husseins they have the range to strike Riyadh.

And I’ll call it for the night there. We’ve got enough threats to keep us curious but nothing ridiculous yet. Should be interesting to see how this pans out! If you have questions or want to throw out mission ideas, please do. I’m not an expert planner by any means.


@Hangar200 is gonna love this AAR! (I did too!)

Only missiles for a few F-15’s. Going with Light CAP as the distances are far.

The SR71 will be headed by Al Jarrah, which has an SA-2F battery. It can reach up to 100,000 ft. Beyond what my SR71 can do, so we’ll divert out of SAM range. Once we get rolling I’ll get some assets up to knock out the Iraqi Radar network.

First bogey, north of Al Asad. 460 knots, 36000 ft.

Oh dear. There’s Baghdad. A few moments later we get more mission info.

Whew! That’s a mouthful. The question is can the Tomahawks make it through without getting into trouble? I’ll have to chart the course carefully. Hopefully the firing order comes in soon as it’s 0437 Baghdad time. Once the sun comes up the AAA will be able to use the Mk1 Eyeball and throw up a wall of lead.

So what do we have for Tomahawks?


That’s a lot of Tomahawks. Well, if you don’t spend it then they won’t give you the budget next year. I’m not sure how well the Tomahawks will go from the Kennedy task force. It’s a stretch by a few air bases. At the very least I’ll knock out the western radars. I’ve got plenty of Tomahawks in the Persian Gulf and the SA-2F’s have a floor of 1000 ft.

SR71 continues the patrol. We pick up SAM sites, not sure what kind though.

Woop woop!

Radars go up all over Iraq. I guess they know I’m here?

Things resolve a bit, not nearly as much of a mess. Now the question is how well can the Tomahawks sneak through? Will OECM help or alert the hostiles? Do we plow a SEAD path and let the Tomahawks through?

So instead of plowing new territory I checked in to see what was “actually” done. A team of MH-53’s led the way for a pack of Apache attack helicopters to take out the outer ring of radars to make way for the Tomahawks. Unfortunately I don’t have any Apaches. I do have F-4G Wild Weasels with Shrikes and HARM’s. That’ll have to do it.

I’ll have to plow a path carefully. Only a dozen HARM’s and a dozen Shrikes. I don’t see any reason I couldn’t fire Tomahawks over Iran.(?) We didn’t pick up any radar on the border. But I think historically it wouldn’t have been an option so I’ll avoid Iranian airspace for that sort of operation.

The SR71 heads up towards Baghdad to check the south before doing a clean RTB and heading for King Kahlid AB. The U2 is slooooooowly ambling north. The Osa’s are 56 nm to Harpoon range.

Once we get the word it’ll be a Wild Weasel Radar Shoot followed by Tomahawks. Shortly after it’ll be F117’s and F-111’s. I’m a bit bummed we don’t get to recreate the Apache’s and Pave Lows of Operation Normandy.


This is simply outstanding! Bravo!

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Agreed. Brings back memories of a simpler time.


This is epic! I’m really enjoying this write up. Thanks for the great screenshots as well. I’m struggling to get through Northern inferno at the moment because I suck at grand strategy! But I really love the feeling of this game.

I kind of like imagining the destruction being rained down as well. Almost like a fully rendered and graphically awesome game is never gonna be as cool as what I see in my head :joy::joy:

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Northern Inferno is a really good campaign pack. The Bering Sea Boomers mission is really tough though, it was my first introduction to submarine warfare and it wasn’t pretty.

Very nice…I especially like the parts about the SR-71s. :smiley::smiley:

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Isn’t that what makes the great games great? :upside_down_face: Those games/simulations that play off the imagination part of ones brain. Those are the epic masterpieces IMHO.


Just want to say how much I am enjoying these AAR write-ups @Yooper - thanks! :mudspike:


I best get my ducks in a row before the order to strike comes in. The F-111’s are coming out of King Fahad AB in the southwest. They have a very nice strike range of 1100 nm. The F-117’s out of King Kahlid though are a different story, 600nm which gets them to the border. So I create a Texaco flight for fuel.

To add to my issues we have both boom and drogue potential so I will send both aloft.

My Wild Weasels at Doha are even worse, they barely have the legs to reach the Iraqi border. Once the order to strike comes in I’ll probably stick everyone into the air at a support point and go from there. CAP has me worried. On one hand I’d like to sneak in, but I’m afraid that if I send in Tomahawks they’ll get shot down. We’ll have to see how the weasels do.

I’m thinking Weasels followed up by Tomahawks with F-117’s next followed up by F-111’s.

Oh dear!

Well, now I’m going to think. I wish I had an S2 officer who could give me some information on expected Iraqi air defenses.

My Tomahawks travel at 200 ft AGL. Which is lower than either the SA-2’s, SA-6’s, and AAA. But if they have other SAM’s it might cause me grief. It’s 0500 local time, if I launched this very moment the Tomahawks would be on target at approximately 0600.

Now I have an issue. I know Baghdad is ringed by a metric ton of AAA. Basic AAA is useless at night time, and even more useless at night against stealth aircraft. Historically the raids started at 0235 on the 17th (a few hours ago) so I can’t hold to the historic schedule. I’m not a big fan of waiting 15 hours for darkness either.

I’m going to think on it for now. But I’m erring on planning it all and waiting till darkness.

What you guys think?

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So I’ve got two hours until sunrise. Two hours to get up a SEAD package to plop open a path and ram a bunch of Tomahawks into Baghdad.

Except the cargo ops are still ongoing and most of my air cover is still re-arming. If I go in now I’ll be rushing the strike package, racing daylight, and worst of all doing it without hardly any air cover. I’ve got 45 hours to complete these tasks. Time to play this smart, use the time to lay out my missions and wait.

Though maybe we can send in a few Tomahawks and see how they react? I mean we’ve got all day…

The nice part about the Tomahawks is we can pick a target and then plot a course. So they’ll path around naughty things like SAM sites and air bases. On the downside they are slow and easily shot down by things like MIG’s.

The first batch of Tomahawks will depart from TF Ranger. Once Tomahawks are in the air I’ll launch from TF Gloucester to aim for maximum saturation. I’ll be curious how this impacts enemy behavior. Some things like radar are modeled directly. Kill a radar and the enemy loses a distinct advantage. But stuff like a telephone exchange has to be coded by the scenario designer to have some sort of tangible impact. Is it just victory points? Or is it a wing of MIG’s that won’t launch?

Look at that Tomahawk spam! Once they near Gloucester we’ll launch more and also Tomahawks from Kennedy.

More! Now I’m debating if I should wait on the assets from the Kennedy and keep them in reserve. They have to pass by more potential air patrols, but they’d also possibly keep our units from getting smooshed on either side. I’ll err on the side of saturation.

Kennedy Tomahawks are away. It’ll be a bit till they strike. The unit density is making the CPU hum! Even with time compression it’s going to be a bit. So I’ll continue tomorrow.

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This should be the last of my stores. Masriyah gets me another pair of F-15A’s.

The Tomahawks from the Med are about to burn over land.

Persian gulf Tomahawks are now over Kuwait.

I had hoped to have everything arrive about the same time. It appears I launched the units from the Kennedy a bit late. The OODA (observe-orient-decide-act) means that units on the ground need to digest the target information and decide to shoot. A higher skilled unit can do this in a shorter amount of time. In CMANO that means if we get everything there at the same time it’s less likely anyone can respond in time before it’s too late.

Another view with plotted course.

Leading units are 30nm from target.

5 miles! Still no detection!

Boom! First target is the railway station.

Next is a telephone exchange.

That’s the last of the strike from the Persian Gulf. It appears all the critical targets are down. Once the sun is out I’m going to send up another recon flight for BDA. Still no Iraqi response, though I wonder if it looks rather like this…

I expected more of a response from the Baghdad SAM network. I’ve not had a single Tomahawk intercepted. I could have spread out the attack quite a bit more. Oh well. We’ll get the F-111’s and F-117’s on target come nightfall.

An SA-8B just intercepted a Tomahawk! It’s about 20 nm out of Baghdad. I think our defenders might be waking up.

The final Tomahawks land at 0623 local time. A single Tomahawk was knocked down by SAM’s. I’ll use the remaining Tomahawks in the evening to finish off my Baghdad targets. The U-2 should be back for another pass just as daylight strikes a burning Baghdad.

Makes you wonder how helpless they felt through all of this. Average Joe Iraqi, sitting by his trusty SA-8, and all he can hear is the city exploding around him powerless to do anything about it.


Our first MIG pops up as Pinion, the U-2, swings around for a look. It doesn’t appear that his missile can reach 85k ft.Just as Pinion is about to reach Baghdad the sun rises, perfect timing.

The MIG looks to be making a run for Saudi Arabia. I scramble an F-16 and make for a look.

Another bogey pops up from Shaibah AB.

The MIG must be on a tight ROE as he didn’t fire until my F-16 did.

Ouch! F-16 down. I’ll have to get a proper CAP up and keep them out of the SAM zone. I quickly setup a patrol area, assign some F-16’s, and sortie a pair of F-14’s to take the MIG-29 out. Oh, and I launch a salvo at those incoming patrol boats too.

Harpoons go pitbull and drive home.

Yes, it certainly is! Harpoons have a cool feature where if the target is destroyed they will auto-acquire another one. On the downside it can be a civilian ship. All patrol boats down!

The F-14 looses a pair of Phoenix’s from ridiculous range.

The MIG goes defensive at 8.5nm’s out.

First Phoenix goes pitbull. I don’t have much experience with these missiles so not sure what to expect.


This dude is about to have a bad day. But this is weird, he’s not actively hunting, and given his vector I don’t actually know where he’s going. Is this a defection? Either way, we’ll ask him in the ejection seat.

The F-16 finally nails him with heaters. The F-14 couldn’t hit much of anything. I’ve got a decent CAP up for now and will use the F-14’s as rapid response backup. I’ll probably get another SR71 pass up as well to see what I can see.


Things should be quiet for the next 8-10 hours. I’ve got a minimal CAP with F-14’s on standby. I’m going to use this time to plot out my strikes on the SAM sites in the south. I might try to get my Tornado’s to strike those airbases in the south too.

I don’t have good intel on the north. I’ve got some Luftwaffe Aircraft at Erhac and may send out some recon. The SR71 will go up again once the U2 has landed. I’ve got TF Kennedy in the Med, not sure how best to leverage those aircraft just yet. I’ve got tankers at Incirlik in Turkey so that solves the legs problem. Just not sure if Kennedy’s birds have a good role yet.

I have one SR71 ready to go now with a second in 13 hours. I’m going to send up the SR71 closer to dark so we have better target data.

So we’ll plan our strikes. These units will all go to a holding point (support mission), fuel up, then I’ll assign them all to the strikes. It’ll also help to get the proper units moving first so the last aircraft don’t end up across the border without escorts.

I’m thinking a 2nd holding pattern just south of that with the F-117’s and F-111’s. Those will head to Baghdad to finish up my strikes.

I’ve got 10 targets left in Baghdad, not including the power plants but they’re not in my briefings. To accomplish that I have 9 F-117’s with LGB’s and 9 F-111’s with a dozen 500 lb bombs each. I’ve got a few Tomahawks left that I might expend on the power plants.

I pick up an Iraqi Mirage at 0730. Historically Saddam sent most of those at Iran to avoid destruction.

It goes offensive and a pair of Tomcats knock it out of the sky.

And of course the hostiles start to sortie just as my CAP goes for fuel. Murphy strikes again!


Time to put TF USS Ranger to good use. I’ve got a decent SEAD/DEAD package on board along with OECM. I’m going to knock out Umm Qasr AB and Shaibah AB. How? First, by knocking out the SA-2 sites, then following up with Tornado’s from King Abdul Aziz AB. We’ve got a variety of ordnance with the Tornados including JP.233 Anti-Runway dispensers (with mines).

Each SEAD strike will include EA-6B for OECM, a KA-6D for in flight fuel, F-14’s for escort, and Hornets for extra strike.

Once the task force has been launched I’ll send in the Tornado’s for anti-runway and facility destruction. In hindsight I probably should have done this when the Tomahawks went in. Oh well.

CAP is up. Waiting for form up. I’m drawing the Mirage’s south.

Our F-14’s down one Mirage. The Sparrows seem fairly crappy while our heaters are really exceptional.

The F-14’s are drawing the remaining pair of Mirages south. It’ll be beyond Iraqi radar range and they’ll be side-slammed by our incoming strike aircraft. The F-14 is much much faster than the Mirages.

Oops! I forgot about the RF-104 up north and the Iraqi’s sent a Mig-25 to intercept. He’s doing some dodging now! Luckily he’s got some speed and makes it.

Our western CAP nails a MIG-29.

One of the Mirage’s is taken out by an F-16.

Strike package has passed TF Ranger. I give the Tornado’s the launch order.

Jammers go live.

Our west the F-14’s are tangling with a MIG-21. The Sparrows again do poorly. Though eventually one connects.

First Walleye’s are away! Unfortunately our Shrike carrier’s are lagging behind… time to see how well the OECM works.

A pair of Mirage’s rise up from Shaibah AB and already have some Phoenix’s headed for them.

There we go! First strike.

It’s looking like a proper mess!

We manage to knock out the SAM’s. The Mirage’s and MIG-21’s knock down an F-14 and an F-18.

A group of MIG-29’s rise up right in the middle of our strike package! Ick!

After another furball the Tornado’s come in and clean some house. The MIG-29’s prove to be exceptionally deadly. But we’ve properly wrecked the runway.

Not without losses but at least we’ve knocked out two airbases. I may be able to re-arm the Tornado’s and drive them back north to take out two more. We’ll see!


Glad you guys are enjoying this. Thread has reinforced that I would not enjoy this!

It’s interesting to see how things play out when the Iraqis a little more aggressively than they did historically. A scenario where you play as the Iraqi’s on the opening night would also be an interesting challenge, as most players will know what’s coming, how much can you stop?

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I’ve been caught in the trap of history on this one. Expecting the Iraqi’s to err on force protection and not retaliation. Though I think had I done this about the same time the Tomahawks were up it’s entirely likely the MIG-29’s would have nailed many of the Tomahawks. Interesting choices either way.

I agree on the Iraqi side, how well could one prevent the onslaught?

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Likely in the game? OK. In real life? I don’t think so.