CMANO Northern Inferno AAR


#1

With the recent talk about Command Modern Air/Naval Operations and in eager anticipation of the DCS Tomcat, I have been tempted to play the awesome CMANO addon Northern Inferno again. Northern Inferno plays in 1975 and portrays an increasingly escalating war between the West and the East. 1975 is a very interesting and well chosen time point, as it is a time of transition. Major new technology such as the Tomcat and the Backfire are being introduced alongside a lot of older equipment.

I plan to write this AAR along as I play. I haven’t played Command for almost two years and Northern Inferno is a long campaign, so we will see how this works…

Scenario 1 - Opening Moves

Well, lets first get our bearings. We have to find find find and destroy Soviet submarines in an area between Greenland and Norway, divided in two patrol areas (Patrol Area 1 NW of Jan Mayen and Patrol Area 2 SE of Jan Mayen). The area as well covered by SOSUS. We have 4 task units composed of various NATO destroyers and frigates. The ships are equipped with a total of 3 Sea King and 2 Wasp helicopters. In addition we have access to 4 Norwegian P-3B Orion at Andoya Air Base. From NAS Keflavik we have 4 British Nimrods patrol aircraft and 11 USN Orions, of which 9 are operational. NAS Keflavik holds 18 B57 nuclear depth charges with a yield of 20kt each. Use of special weapons has been authorized.

My initial stragety will be to to let SOSUS generate a picture of the underwater situation. The ships serve as bases for the helicopters to prosecute any contacts. As I will let the situation develop, the only thing that requires preparation is a patrol plan for the Orions and Nimrods.

Since the patrol aircraft are operating in surge mode and have a turnaround time of 4 hours I should be able to continuously cover a patrol area with 2 aircraft (1 aircraft on station and the other preparing for the next mission). With 17 aircraft available I can plan 8 patrol areas and have one aircraft in reserve for contingencies.

Here we have the patrol plan for the aircraft. The Norwegian P-3 get the two areas off the Norwegian coast. The Nimrods get the two distant areas up north, since they are jet powered and have a higher transit speed. The US Navy P-3 get the the 4 areas closest to Iceland. With everything prepared, let’s start.

Initially SOSUS gets wild with contacts. Let’s give it some time to sort things out. A lot of these Goblins (subsurface contacts) are probably Biologics.

As the SOSUS operators work their magic, the situations begins to clear up. Several contacts are filtered out as Biologics. But we already have multiple customers. A November and a Victor II nuclear attack submarine (SSN), une guided missile nuclear attack submarine (SSGN) and to diesel submarines (SS). Some of the contacts are still just bearings, but the position of two subs has already been narrowed down a lot.

TU 603.01.01, comprising the Canadian destroyer Algonquin, the West German frigate Lubeck and a support ship, is called to action. One unknown SS contact is just 30 NM to the north. The Victor II is 80 NM to the NW. Algonquin carries two Sea King helicopter of which one is launched. The second will only become available in 4 hours. TG 603.01.02 to the NW is unfortunately not carrying any helicopters and cannot provide support.

The situation develops further. We now have 7 confirmed sub contacts of which two are more than just a bearing. The Sea King from Algonquin is closing in on the SS contact in the SE-most sector. Meanwhile TU 603.01.03’s Canadian destroyer Frasier is launching another Sea King, the group’s only helo, to check out a confirmed Zulu IV 105 NM off to the NE. The Nimords and Orians from Andoya and Kevflavik have launched and are moving out to their patrol zones.

As we are still in the twilight between War and Peace, the opponent is marked as “Unfriendly”. No weapons will be launched at this point yet, but everyone eagerly has his fingers on the trigger.

That didn’t take long… Master Arm On!

Algonquin’s Sea King is deploying its dipping sonar and has confirmed the position of SS, now identified as an Foxtrot. Time to engage.

The Sea King drops a single Mk46 torpedo. ASW trorpedos of the era are pretty crappy weapons but a diesel sub is an easy target. Our first kill! Since the Sea King still has a second Mk46 and some fuel left, I order it to the Victor II to the NW, which is still 90 NM away. I am not sure if the fuel will be sufficient, but let’s try.

A situation develops with TU 603.01.03 off Jan Mayen. A Soviet Tu-95RT Bear D suddenly emerges above the task unit (it had it’s search radar off under EMCON). The Canadian destroyer Fraser engages with 76mm gunfire, but can’t hit. Unfortunately neither ship of the unit (the other is the Norwegian frigate Bergen) is equipped with SAMs. The position and identity of both ships is now compromised. If there is any undetected SSGN in the vicinity, I can expect a missile attack within the next minutes.

Meanwhile a Whisky V SS is detected just 35 NM away. Frasier’s Sea King, in transit to a Zulu IV further away is close by and is re-tasked immediately.

Next the Bear is buzzing the frigate Bergen which also unsuccessfully engages with 76mm.

Further development of the situation. We currently hold 7 contacts. The position of both subs that have Sea Kings assigned to have deteriorated. Both helos have initiated a search with dipping sonar. Two Norwegian P-3 have started to drop sonobuoy patterns in their sectors. There is a fairly good Foxtrot contact but it is outside of the Norwegians areas and the responsible USN is still pretty far out. Therefore I have temporary reassigned the northern Norwegian Orion to check on that sub position.

SOSUS has tracked down a Charlie SSGN high up in the Barents sea, but that is currently outside my area of responsibility.

Meanwhile the Bear is heading for my next surface group, consisting of a British and a Dutch Leander class frigate. The just just have some lousy Sea Cat SAM as defense.

Generally I am still waiting for most of the Orions to get on station to start cleaning up the map of contacts.

Vampire inbound! As the Bear was approaching my two frigates I was turning on their radars in anticipation of the engagement. Apparently this electronic signature was the missing piece for the enemy to ID my ships, as moments later inbound missiles are detected. The general direction matches to the Charlie SSGN. Perhaps it is not that war away in the Barents Sea after all? The two frigates probably won’t be able to manage this attack.

Eight missiles inbound, 4 for each frigate. This really looks like a Charlie SSGN. Both frigates have launched their Wasp helos in before their doom, and the helos are racing to a point 35 NM away were the missiles popped up on radar. The Wasp is a simple weapon carrier with no sensor on their own, so I plan to fly there, let them drop their weapons (an awful Mk44 torpedo and two depth charges; where are those nuclear depth charges when you need them?) and then ditch their mounts.

As expected, HMS Bacchante tries to defend itself with Sea Cat SAMs and her 114mm gun but is blown out of the water by the first missile. But the crew of the HMNLS Van Nes has their second birthday. They take down two missiles with Sea Cat, spoof one with chaff and take down the fourth with their 114mm gun! Holy smokes!

The Wasps proceed to the missile datum and on Mk44 torpedo is dropped. Shortly after SOSUS is picking up the Charlie again with an increase in bearing rate, which indicated that it had throttled up scared by the torpedo. But without a good fix, the second Wasp cannot drop his depth charges. Both helos head back to to HMNLS Van Nes, one with the intention to ditch alongside.

Current situation. To the right, the Norwegian P-3 has arrived at the area of the Foxtrot SS contact and starts to track it down. South from it, the position of the Victor II SSN has again solidified. Algonquin’s Sea King is moving in again and the second Norwegian P-3 should arrive there shortly as well. On the upper left, Frasier’s Sea King fruitlessly searches the area of a previous sub contact. Meanwhile a Nimrod is approaching to check out the Zulu IV SS further north. In the center, SOSUS indicates a a November SSN is close by to HMNLS Van Nes and USN P-3 is closing in to support. The Charlie I SSGN is also still nearby somewhere. A close by Nimrod will come in to search it. And finally, SOSOS also tracks a Whiskey V, which could be somewhere between Norway and Greenland.

A second Bear D has also popped up and both aircraft wander around the Norwegian Sea in search of our ships.

At least a success again. In the east, the Norwegian P-3 drops a Mk46 torpedo and sinks the Foxtrot. The Orion is sent back to its patrol sector.

Near Jan Mayen, thing are starting to get interesting again. HMNLS Van Nes turned south at full speed in order get clear, with the November class nuclear attack submarine K-5 in hot pursuit. A USN Orion is coming in to help from the SW. Even the Wasp with its depth charges might get a shot at the November. To the right, a Nimord is laying sobobuyos to search for the Charlie which sunk the HMS Bacchante.

With the help of sonobuoys dropped by the USN P-3, the Wasp attacks the November SSN with depth charges. The first weapon malfunctions, but the second scores. The sonobuyos also detect a couple of enemy torpedoes. Apparently the HMNLS Van Nes started to run for her life not a moment too soon (she is such a crappy ship, she would never detect the weapons itself).

Scratch one more sub.

Meanwhile one of the Bears buzzes the most eastern task unit. The West German frigate Lubeck has nothing to respond. Another one of our surface groups compromised.

The Bear makes another run, this time it strays close to the Canadian destroyer Algonquin. This one is equipped with NATO Sea Sparrow SAM and engages the Bear with 4 missiles, taking it down. Ten minutes later, the second Bear apparently wants to check out what happened and is taken out by Algonquin as well. The Canadians are performing well today.

Meanwhile, the Victor II has vanished again and there is no trace of the Charlie I as well.

Way up north a Nimrod finally arrives at the position of the Zulu IV SS and drops a B57 nuclear depth charge. The explosion is fairly close at 313ft but apparently the sub is not killed yet.

Things are getting busy now with 3 engagements ongoing. The Charlie I SSGN has finally been found by a Nimrod and engaged. Despite scoring a hit with a Mk46 torpedo, the sub is still alive. A shame this Nimord did not carry a B57! The Nimrod is circling around and attacking again, but this time the Mk46 is decoyed.

Simultaneously, the Victor II has been found again as well and is also engaged by a Norwegian P-3, but the Mk46 is also spoofed by counter measures. The weapon circles around to re-attack and this time scores, but the Victor II is only damaged.

Up north, another B57 is dropped against the Zulu IV, missing by 259ft. Apparently the sub is still not destroyed. What kind of boat is this?

The Charlie I is finally sunk by the 3rd torpedo. HMS Bacchante was avenged.

The attack on the Victor II is joined by the Sea King from HMCS Algonquin. It drops its second (and last) Mk46 and sinks the target. That helo killed two subs in one flight. Time for it to head back to Algonquin to refuel and rearm. I am sure the Canadians will throw a party later.

After a while all contact with the Zulu IV is lost as well. Did we nuke it successfully after all?

The map starts to clear up. SOSUS holds remaining contacts on two quite Whisky V SS somewhere out there. All Orions and Nimrods head to their assigned patrol areas and continue regular search ops.

And some surprising news from our second Wasp helo. It found home on the HMNLS Van Nes, which apparently could free up enough space to let two helos land.

The Farragut-class guided missile destroyer USS MacDonough makes active sonar contact with a previously unknown submerged contact at a distance of 12 NM. A nearby Nimrod is diverted to assist, but the Goblin is soon within ASROC range of the destroyer. I am probably going to blow it out of the water as soon as possible. Better kill some biologics than be sorry.

In fact the Nimrod is quicker, drops a Mk46 and kills another sub. The same crew that already bagged the Charlie I. The Nimrod is now down to 2 torpedoes and 46 minutes if fuel left to bingo, so will have to return to Kevlavik soon.

Another Bear is observed taking off from Kola and Norwegian radar stations track it as it flies along the coast. As it approaches HMCS Algonquin, the destroyer powers up its radar and takes the Bear down with Sea Sparrow.

Meanwhile, our nuclear survivor the Zulu IV announces its presence again to a SOSUS station up north. Both remaining Whiskeys prove extremely hard to track. By now various of our patrol aircraft are starting to head back to base to refuel. The replacements should be ready to launch any moment, but it will take them 1-2 hours to reach the patrol zones. In the next hours we might have a shortage of aircraft on station.

As the responsible Nimrod is off station, I redirect a USN Orion from an adjacent patrol area to prosecute the renewed Zulu IV contact. The Orion moves in, drops a string of 4 buoys, a Mk46 torpedo and blows the Zulu out of the water. Finally!

A while later a long search of one of the Whiskey V is finally successful and the assigned USN Orion takes it out with a single Mk46.

SOSUS now holds contact with a single remaining Whiskey V diesel sub.

One and a half hours later, HMCS Algonquin claims another Bear D by Sea Sparrow.

A couple of hours later, HMCS Algonquin gets another Bear D.

Things are getting quite now. It has been several hours since SOSUS had last contact with the remaining Whiskey V. Aircraft are flying regular patrols in their sector, searching for any other contacts.

Hours pass, then finally! A sonobuoy barrier west of Jan Mayen picks up a Goblin. HMCS Frasier is just 24 NM away and launches its Sea King. A USN P-3 is sent to investigate from 120 NM away. Some minutes later, the buoy classifies the contact as SS. Probably our evasive Whiskey! The Sea King approaches and wastes no time, dropping both of its torpedo. Kill with the first weapon.

What a fantastic mission. But this took waaay longer than I anticipated. For subsequent missions, I will probably dial back the details of reporting a bit :slight_smile:


Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations GOTY
#2

Love these - thanks for doing it, and looking forward to more @MBot.


#3

Awesome AAR! That was an excellent AAR!


#4

Absolutely superb AAR! Need to replay this scenario myself now.


#5

Me playing CMANO:

Well done @MBot!


#6

Do I need to be concerned about your eagerness to nuke things? :wink:

Great report.


#7

I’d thought about picking up Northern Infernon, but there are so many good Workshop scenarios to keep me busy for free. This does look really good though.


#8

I’ve never even heard of this game but absolutely devoured that AAR. Fantastic.


#9

I am just getting back into CMANO so this superb AAR was inspiring to me but I have slid back to the bottom of the steepest learning curve this side of the Matterhorn!


#10

Scenario 2 - Goblin on the Doorstep

The war is now 7 days old and the UK SSBN HMS Revenge was made ready to sail from Faslane naval base in Scotland as fast as possible. In anticipation of this event, Soviet subs have gathered to prevent this. Our mission is to get HMS Revenge out into deep water off the Scottish coast, where the SSBN is to go deep, become a hole in the water and keep its 16 Polaris A3 missiles safe and aimed at Moscow.

Apart from its 16 submarine launched ballistic missiles (each with three 200kt MRV warheads), HMS Revenge is equipped with some WWII era straight-running torpedoes and some very slow and outdated ASW torpedoes. She might be able to put up a fight with a diesel, but an SSN will eat her for lunch. She is a way too valuable national asset to risk in any fight anyway and we want to keep her out of trouble at any cost.

As escorts we have the Rothesay-class frigate HMS Plymouth with a rather poor sonar, a simple Wasp helicopter and just a next-to-useless ASW mortar. Then the frigate HMS Leander, lead ship of her class. She is rather similar to HMS Plymouth but carriers the potent Ikara system (rocket powered Mk46 torpedoes). HMS Matapan is a sonar trials ship so has a rather ok sonar system. As a trials ship she is unarmed other than some 20mm guns, but also carries a Wessex helicopter (which has its own dipping sonar).

From RNAS Prestwick ashore we get a total of 8 Sea King helicopters and 5 Nimrods from RAF Kinloss. There is no SOSUS coverage in the area, and considering the overall poor sonar systems of our escort ships, initial detection will mostly fall on our aviation assets.

Both frigates carry one WE.177A 15kt nuclear depth charge each in their magazine for use with their Wasp helos. At RAF Kinloss we have access to 4 B57 20kt nuclear depth charges for the Nimrods and 4 WE.177A 15kt nuclear depth charges at RNAS Prestwick for the Sea Kings. Use of nuclear weapons is currently not authorized, possibly due to the proximity to the UK, so for the moment they are kept in storage and aircraft are armed with torpedoes.

First lets plan the Nimrods, which I want to be responsible for the area in the open ocean. With 5 aircraft available I set up 3 patrol areas, the closest two with 2 aircraft each so that they relieve each other on station, and the 5th aircraft alone far out to the SSBN patrol box. Once the SSBN moves further out, I can reassign additional Nimrods further out to clear the area when it becomes more pressing.

For the Sea Kings I decide to create two dipping sonar lines ahead of HMS Revenge, one at 10 NM and one at 20 NM. Each line consists of two Sea King station, where the helos will move back and forth and use their active dipping sonar. With 8 Sea Kings available and their very good endurance, we should be able to have 4 helos airborne at any time. This should sanitize the path ahead of HMS Revenge and detect even very quite subs.

The clock is running and the initial picture develops. While our ships are running under EMCON with their radars off in order to reduce their electronic signatures (but still blast away with active sonar to search for subs), the Sea Kings and Nimrods sweep the area with their surface search radars. By additionally collecting their radar signature, many surface contacts (Skunks) are identified as civilians, such as fishing vessels. But there is one curious contact 4 NM behind HMS Revenge. It moves up on Revenge at 9 knots and pings with active sonar, not something civilians usually do. This might be a Soviet ELINT ship. The Soviet had countless such ships across the world ocean, masked as trawlers but bristling with spy gear. They would constantly monitor airbases, harbors or task groups. If this spy has observed HMS Revenge leaving harbor and tracks it out to the ocean, this means it could vector in enemy subs to intercept. Time to clarify the situation. Fortunately the Wasp of HMS Leander is armed not with Torpedoes but two AS.12 wire guided missiles. I order it to launch and investigate.

The suspicious contact has now settled at 2.5 NM and co-speed behind HMS Revenge. Leander’s Wasp approaches but it’s night with heavy rain. At 1500m distance the crew identifies the contact as AGI (spy ship) on unknown type or origin. Considering the circumstances this is good enough for me. I order the Wasp to break off and set up an attack with AS.12 missiles. The AS.12 missile is a crappy weapon and the conditions are difficult and no hits are achieved. The Wasp returns to its ship to re-arm. Time to call the big guns. I order HMS Plymouth, which leads Revenge by 20 NM to race back and engage.

Moving back, HMS Plymouth detects a mine. Great, I did not consider this possibility yet. There might be mine fields in the path of HMS Revenge.

The first Nimrod is on station and is laying sonobuoys. Fairly soon it makes a lucky strike with a submerged contact and turns around to investigate. All 4 Sea Kings are on station ahead of HMS Revenge and zig-zagging with their dipping sonar deployed. The Wasp is moving back to HMS Leander, which is ahead of the formation. HMS Plymouth is moving back towards revenge at 30 knots and is soon in range to engage our tattletale with gunfire. This has meanwhile been identified as Soviet Mayak class intelligence trawler.

In ASW you generally fire first and ask questions later. The Nimrod immediately drops a Mk46 on the unknown contact. Unfortunately the weapon turns out to be a dud. The Nimrod comes around for another pass, dropping a Mk46 and scores a hit. By now the target has indeed been classified as sub. A third torpedo finally kills the target.

HMS Plymouth has come in range with the Mayak and engages with 114mm gunfire. The first rounds go wide but then the fire starts to become more accurate and scores hits. After expending 200 rounds, the trawler is finally sunk.

There is a lot of civilian traffic out in the open sea. One Nimrod identifies one of the ships as another AGI. It is no immediate threat at the moment, but we are also missing any means to engage it at this time. Leander’s Wasp is reloading missiles at the ship but this won’t be completed until in two hours (and even then it is questionable if the will do any good). Perhaps it will be sufficient to just avoid this AGI.

A Sea King in the forward screen line depolys its dipping sonar directly above a Goblin. It immediate drops its two Mk11 depth charges and kills the sub. Beautiful :slight_smile:

HMS Revenge with her powerful sonar makes an underwater contact at about 10 NM. This comes at the worst possible time. 3 Sea Kings are low on fuel and RTBing, the 4th has fuel left for 30 minutes but no weapons (it just sunk the other sub). The 4 additional Sea King at Prestwick wont be ready for another 100 minutes and will still have to fly out 70 NM. I decide to launch the Wessex helo from HMS Matapan. Getting Nimrod support is another option if needed.

The response was very efficient. Within minutes the Wessex is airborne from Matapan. After confirming the target position with dipping sonar, two Mk46 are dropped and a sub is killed. The Wessex returns to its ship. Since HMS Matapan is a trials ship, there are unfortunately no reloads available for the helo. Matapan shot its powder.

A while later, the Wasp from HMS Plymouth is ready again and armed with missiles. I launch it to attack the AGI to the north. Unfortunately, Nimrods identifies another one of those ships in the open ocean as AGI.

The Wasp attacks and scores with one out of two missiles. Probably not enough to sink the target, but it should leave an impression. The helo heads back to rearm.

Nimrods make another Goblin contact, 15 NM from Revenge. These guys are worth their weight in gold. By now no helos are on station or available to launch. Also as we continuously make our way out into the open ocean and the distance to their home base increases, Sea Kings will become increasingly ineffective.

The Nimrod overflies to contact and makes a MAD contact, confirming it is a sub. A single Mk46 is dropped and a sub killed (second kill for this crew).

Later, 4 fresh Sea King appear to continue the dipping sonar screen. After the long flight out, they have about 2 hours on station (still impressive for a helo). But worst, all 3 Nimrods return to base for fuel, while only 2 replacements will be available to launch in 1 hour.

Current situation (sonobuoys hidden for clarity). HMS Revenge is 80 NM out from its patrol area. 4 Sea King are on station with fuel for one hour or so left. No Nimrod is on station and I adjusted their patrol areas to two ahead. Two aircraft are due to launch on 30 minutes. The Wasp on HMS Leander is ready to launch again with the ships last load of AS.12 missiles. I have now to decide whether to attack and possibly sink the damaged AGI to the north, or to attack the second AGI to the west.

I launch the Wasp against the damaged AGI. At the same time I order to Wasp from HMS Plymouth to rearm from torpedo to AS.12 as well, as this ship still has 4 missiles in its magazine. This will take 2 hours. I hope the sub threat is greatly degraded by now, as I am left with increasingly little ASW support.

Leander’s wasp attacks, but both missiles malfunction!

As the Sea Kings return for home, two fresh Nimrods finally appear on station. They have fuel for another 4 hours.

On their way back, one Sea King makes a visual contact with the wake of a Goblin. The contact quickly turns out to be a whale.

A while later, a buoy makes a Goblin contact 16 NM behind HMS Revenge, but this is also soon identified as biologic.

After enough time, the Wasp from HMS Plymouth is finally armed with missiles and ready to launch. I decide to send it against the AGI to the west, as it seems we pass the northern, damaged one, outside of its sensor range.

A Nimrod makes a sonobuoy contact just 4.5 NM ahead of HMS Leander. I decide to engage with the firgate’s Ikara immediately. Questions will be asked later. A rocket powered Mk46 reaches out and drops into the water. After a circle search it acquires a target and strikes. Sonar confirms a sub breaking up. Phew :slight_smile:

Meanwhile 4 fresh Sea King head out, but the amount of on-station time that they can still generate is questionable. Our Wasp will shortly reach the western AGI contact. In the breaking dawn and heavy rain, the AGI is identified as Mayak-class spy trawler and engaged. A close miss damages the ship.

Sonobuoys detect another Goblin 15 NM ahead of HMS Leander. A Nimrod plasters the area with additional buoys, but the contact is extremely hard to track. MAD yields to return. Eventually a solid track is gained and a speed of 1kt determined. This might be a biologic. The motto of ASW is to identify by fire, so lets drop a Mk46 and see what it is. But before a weapon is released, confirmation comes in that the contact is indeed biologic. Back to search.

Next a buoy to the north gets a contact, speed 0kt. Possibly biologic too? Yes, sonar operators soon give all-clear.

After two hours of reloading, HMS Plymouth launches its Wasp again. Last mission with last A-G missiles. I send it out to the western AGI again. One weapon misses, the other malfunctions.

30 NM to go. But that western AGI is causing concern. Shall I move HMS Plymouth ahead and engage with guns, exposing her for a missile attack by any possible undetected SSGN? Or shall I retreat my surface ships and let HMS Revenge slip by undetected? I decide for the latter.

Things get interesting one last time. As my surface ships head back to the coast and HMS Revenge is about to enter her patrol area, she picks up active sonar intercepts from a submarine. The best support is a fresh Nimrod inbound but still 170 NM out. My ships are also already 70 NM out but I decide to launch a special team. HMS Matapan’s Wessex has a dipping sonar but no weapons. HMS Leander’s Wasp has no sensors but a single Mk46. Perhaps they are lucky?

It works. The Wessex makes contact with its dipping sonar, the Wasp is approaching. The Nimrod will make it there quicker though it seems.

The Nimrod drops a Mk46 and scores a SS. Mission won!

Not sure why I got just an average rating. Probably because my SSBN did not reach the patrol area. It was just 5 NM out and there would have been plenty of time left. Seems to be an erroneous trigger that forces an end the the scenario prematurely.

I consider this scenario to be completed highly successful.


#11

That was one tough fishing boat!


#12

Scenario 3 - The Fast and the Furious

For the first two weeks, this war has been a war at sea only. Now the war reaches the next level with the Soviets launching an invasion of Norway. In support of this endeavor, a Soviet amphibious force is rounding the North Cape. We are put in command of the local Norwegian forces to resist this move.

Under our command are multiple groups of ships. The 1st Frigate Squadron of two ships, including the fairly powerful HNoMS Trondheim, armed with 4 Penguin ant-ship missiles and Sea Sparrow SAM. The 21st MTB Squadron of3 Snogg-class MTB (4 Penguin ASM and 4 wire-guided torpedoes each), the 22nd MTB Squadron of 3 Storm-class MTB (4 Penguin ASM and 76mm gun each) and the 24th MTB Squadron of 3 Tjeld-class MTB (4 straight-running torpedoes each).

Air support is provided from Banak Air Base with 2 Sea King helicopters for maritime surveillance, 2 RF-5A Freedom Fighters reconnaissance aircraft and 6 F-5A fighter bombers.

There is not really a whole lot to plan. Sea King, of which one is already airborne, will search the area with their radar. RF-5A will be used to dash in to ID targets. F-5A and Penguin armed ships will be used to strike enemy warships and missile crafts. And hopefully at the end our torpedo boats get a shot at the enemy amphibious transport ships.

I order the 3 MTB squadrons to move towards the coast at maximum speed. My intention is to hide them in the fjords and ambush the enemy from close range. The frigate squadron remains up north and can hopefully pincer the enemy.

The Sea King begins its radar search and various coastal radar stations search air and sea as well. The ships operate under strict EMCOM though.

The Sea King detects and identifies two neutral fishing vessels off the North Cape.

Several high speed surface contacts are detected. Probably enemy missile boats. I launch the first wave of fighters. One RF-5A, two F-5A with Bullpup ASM and two F-5A with Rockeye cluster bombs.

The 24th MTB Sqn shortly makes visual contact with an unknown helicopter but the bogey disappears as quickly as it appeared.

The Freedom Fighters arrive at their first target. First the RF-5A makes a close pass and ID the target as an Osa I-class missile boat. Then two F-5A attack with a Bullpup ASM each. The first missile is a direct hit and sinks the boat.

The formation continues to the next contact and repeats the process. Another Osa I is sunk and the two F-5A head back to Banak to rearm.

The RF-5A IDs the next target as Osa I and now two F-5A attack with 4 Rockeye. The missile boat is plastered with cluster munition and sustains heavy damage with fires and flooding.

Our recon aircraft heads further north and detects another 9 missile craft. I decide to launch the remaining two F-5A at Banak, armed with 4 Mk-82 each. After this attack we wont have air support for the next 6 hours. I hoped to preserve my MTB for the engagement with the amphibious group but there are way too many Osas to deal with air power alone.

All returning Freedeom Fighters are now rearmed with Bullpup, as it seems to be highly effective against the missile craft. There are 10 more missiles stored at Banak.

The last two F-5A begin their attack tun. To the east, the Sea King is now orbiting and holding continuous contact to the Osa group.

Two Osa suffer near misses with Mk-82 and suffer light damage.

There is no way around it, I have to commit some of my surface craft now as there won’t be an airstrike for the next 6 hours. I order the 3 Storm MTB from the 22nd Sqn to dash north from their fjord sanctuary. Hopefully they can mop up the damaged Osas from south to north.

A while later, the damaged Osa that was struck with Rockeyes drop’s off radar, apparently succumbing to fire and floods. We now count 9 Osas left, two of which are damaged. They each have 4 Styx missiles with a 25 NM range (versus my Penguins with 15 NM range). If they get their missiles off, it will cause a lot of damage.

The 22nd MTB Sqn is closing in. Now within enemy missile range but undetected. To the east, the RF-5A has been searching for the amphibious group without success and is now low on fuel and RTBs. The Sea King has fuel for another 1.5 hours on station to track the Osas.

At 15 NM the lead Storm MTB is in range and launches a single Penguin ASM against the damaged southern most Osa. The squadron has a total of 12 missile which have to be husbanded well. We cant waste any missiles, but at the same time no missiles should go down unused with sunk ships. Against the damaged Osa I think we can risk being conservative. The missiles strikes and the Osa is sunk. I don’t spot any return fire in the subsequent minutes, so it seems we got away undetected.

Suddenly the Sea King observes two missiles being launched by the lead Osa, but they go off into a strange direction. Perhaps the enemy has detected a fishing vessel and shoots at anything? More missiles are launched. Good for us, less missiles to worry about.

The MTB come in the range of the next Osa. Two missiles are launched at max range and the Sqn turns around immediately to run. The first missile is a dud, but the second strikes. Another Osa sunk. 7 to go.

I am now working my way up south to north, repeating the process. As I am launching my missiles right at the radar horizon and turn around immediately, it seems my prey is unable to detect where exactly the fire is coming from. The next Osa gets two Penguins. First missile hits and kills.

The next Osa gets two missiles, the first strikes and kills. The next Osa is already damaged and gets one missile, which sinks it. We are now down to 4 Osas and 4 Penguins left with the 22nd MTB Sqn.

By now the Sea King is running low on fuel and heads back. A replacement is sent from Banak.

The next 3 Osas are sunk with 1 missile each. The group has a single Penguin left now, but the last Osa has run off to the NE and has been lost for over 1 hour. The Sea King is sent to search it.

The Sea King finds the Osa again and with it a whole bunch more of contacts. This must be the amphibious group! I immediate launch the second RF-5A in order to determine its exact composition. The frigate squadron, 50 NM to the NW, is set into motion. Still 2 more hours until the fighter bombers are ready again.

As the RF-5A is sweeping around the formation, IDing ships, it is engaged by two SAMs but manages to evade. The amphibious group seems to consist of 6 LST and a light cruiser in the center (probably Sverdlov). The escort consist of a Kotlin SAM class DDG, a regular Kotlin destroyer, a Skoryy class frigate and a guided missile destroyer of unknown type.

To the south, my MTB squadron is about to launch the last Penguin against the sole remaining Osa. After this I will try to keep the MTB out of harms way. Once the battle nears the end, perhaps there will be an opportunity to mop up the transports with 76mm gunfire. To the NW the frigate squadron is approach, preparing to attack with its 4 Penguin. It is being shadowed by an enemy helo, so I wont be able to approach undetected. My two remaining MTB squadrons still wait in the safety of the fjords. Next airstrikes are getting ready in 1 hour 20 minutes.

The last Osa is sunk. The 22nd MTB Sqn now retreats for the moment.

I think it is now time to commit the two reaming MTB squadrons. Until they are in position, airstrike have hopefully degraded most escorts.

The frigate HNoMS Trondheim comes into range of Kotlin-class destroyer Spokoinyy. As its position seems to be relatively save, I decide to engage with a single missile only in order to conserve ammo. The weapon hits and causes heavy damage. I hold further fire for the moment, as I want to sink the Kotlin SAM-class destroyer (which will make subsequent airstrikes less dangerous).

There is a annoying Ka-25T radar-recon helo that is exposing my frigates. Since the RF-5A is still around and is armed with cannons, I order it to shoot down the helo. After the engagement, the RF-5A heads home due to low fuel state.

HNoMS Trondheim engages the Kotlin SAM-class destroyer Smyshleny with two Penguins. Both missiles strike and the destroyer immediately slows down, apparently heavily damaged. I hope that it will eventually sink and launch Trondheim’s last Penguin against the previously hit Spokoinyy. The missile hits and also this destoryer is now burning furiously.

I think it is now time for an airstrike and I launch two groups of two F-5A each, armed with Bullpups.

HNoMS is suddenly attacked by a low flying Hind helicopter! It is struck by rockets before the Sea Sparrow launcher can react, which damage almost all sensors and weapons. Getting struck by additional AT-2 Swatter missiles, Trondheim sits dead in the water.

We probably wont lose Trondheim, but she is certainly out of the fight. Meanwhile two F-5A attack the Skoryy-class frigate Otmenny with Bullpups. Two missiles strike and the frigate takes heavy damage. The Freedom Fighters then pass the frigate and proceed to the guided missile destroyer at the easter end of the formation. They are joined by two additional F-5A. Attacking with 4 aircraft, I hope to saturate its SAM defenses.

SAMs rise from the DDG (I suspect it’s a Kashin). The first 4 miss our aircraft. The next 3 SAM miss as well, but the eight missile claims one of our F-5A. The Kashin in turn gets struck by 4 Bullpups and blows up completely.

The sling tightens. The 21st MBT Sqd, with 12 Penguins ready, is approaching from the west. The 22nd BMT Sqd is dashing in from the east into an opening of the escort screen, intending to engage the rear of the amphibious ships with gunfire. The 24th MBT Sqd, armed just with torpedoes, is delaying to the south until all escorts are sunk. And two more F-5A are approach for an air attack.

The damaged Skoryy-class frigate gets hit by two more Bullpups and burns furiously. The other F-5A drops 4 Mk-82 on an Alligator-class LST and causes heavy damage. That’s the last airstrike for the next 6 hours.

21st MBT Sqn engages with Penguin. 4 missiles against a Sverdlov class cruiser, now the most imminent threat left, and one missile against the damaged Kotlin SAM.

Suddently, 22nd MBT Sqn to the east is attached by a multiple rocket launcher installed on one of the LSTs. The nimble boats quickly change course and the rocket barrage lands short. Phew.

The Sverdlov is hit by 3 Penguins, the Kotlin SAM by one. I reengage with 2 more missiles against Sverdlov and one more for the Kotlin SAM.

Another rocket barrage is fired against 22nd MBT Sqn, this time one of the boats is hit and sunk.

Sverdlov takes two more hits and is still afloat. The Kotlin SAM is finally sunk.

The Alligator launches another rocket salvo, this time missing again.

Sverdlov takes two more hits and is still afloat. A tough cruiser! It seems I have to waste all my remaining Penguins on her (we can’t beat her in a gunfight).

Another rocket salvo from the Alligator misses.

The two remaining baots from 22nd MBT Sqn start to engage an LST with gunfire. The Sverdlov sucked up the two last Penguins and I’m starting to run out of ideas. With the cruiser still intact, I cannot close to finish off the amphibs. Perhaps I should wait another 6 hours for one more airstrike?

I decide to play for time. My ships lurk outside of weapon range and as time passes, several of the damaged enemies eventually sink.

Hours pass and finally, 5 more F-5A can be launched armed with 4 Mk-82 each. The fighter bombers attack and ships start to get hit.

After the air strike. Only 5 amphibs remaining, but two F-5A have been lost to AAA. Time to send in all ships to finish them off in a gun battle. I expect this to get bloody, for both sides.

A melee develops. Guns are fired and torpedoes launched. Eventually all enemy ships are sunk, at the loss of one own torpedo boat sunk and 3 more craft damaged.


#13

I think the last scenario has been a nice illustration about the importance of air cover in naval warfare. And this doesn’t necessary mean having a full blown carrier air group. For hours I had helos hanging around just outside of weapons range of the enemy surface vessels, continuously monitoring their exact position, and there was nothing the Soviets could do about it. This has greatly helped me to use my assets to their full potential and execute precise attacks.

This also explains the reasoning behind the later various small Harrier carriers, as well as the Soviet Kiev class with its Yak-38. It doesn’t really matter how crappy the aircraft is, if you can put up something to prevent these reconnaissance flights, the survivability of your surface units increases substantially.


#14

Scenario 4 - Barents Sea Boomers

Our mission is to hunt Soviet SSBN in their Barents Sea Bastion. For this purpose, we have two Sturgeon-class nuclear attack submarines under our command, USS Whale and USS Tunny. In addition to their Mk48 torpedoes, both subs each carry 3 Mk45 ASTOR nuclear torpedoes with a 10kt warhead and two SUBROCS, rocket powered nuclear depth charges with a yield of 10kt. The ASTOR comes close to being a suicide weapon, being suitable to kill time critical targets if all other means fail (for example to stop an SSBN that is in the process of firing its strategic missiles). The SUBROC on the other hand should prove pretty handy, having a range of 30 NM to attack sonar contacts in the first convergence zone.

Two British SSN are also in the area with the same mission, so we have to be careful on what we fire on.

The first few hours pass mostly event-less. USS Whale picks up some active sonar intercepts from surface ships to the south, as well as an active sonobuoy in the vicinity, but eventually leaves them behind.

5 hours after mission start, USS Whale picks up a subsurface contact on passive sonar, moving at one knot. It eventually turns out to be biologic.

No subs found yet, but there is a fair amount of surface activity at the south. Soviet ships are pinging away with their active sonars.

11 hours after start, USS Tunny makes contact with an SSN to the north. I don’t intend to attack it just yet, but perhaps an escorted SSBN is in the vicinity? The SSN is soon identified as Victor II at a distance of 13 to 16 NM.

Suddenly, USS Whale is struck by a depth charge. It must have been attacked by ASW aircraft. The damage is substantial. She is struck again and is destroyed. There is nothing really that could have been done.

USS Tunny works herself 8 NM behind the Victor II, climbs above the opposing side of the thermal layer and shoots two Mk48, hopefully undetected.

The weapons approach in the Victor’s baffles, an arc behind where she cannot hear with her sonar due to her own machinery noises. As the torpedoes go active homing, the Victor II is finally alerted and starts to throttle up. It doesn’t help, the first weapons strikes and the enemy sub is sunk. Time to clear the datum and get some distance to the scene of crime.

A couple of hours pass and USS Tunny moves away, when suddenly sonar picks up a torpedo. The weapon is very close and homes in, apparently an air dropped weapon. It strikes but fortunately tuns out to be a dud. Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to attack the Victor II? I order Tunny to go deep and sprint at flank speed for 10 minutes, then make a turn and continue at cruise. Hopefully we can shake off our pursuer.

One hours passes. Were we successful?

Two days pass and USS Tunny continues her patrol. Every now and then she picks up some distant explosions, apparently Soviet ASW forces are working on some other contacts. But ultimately no subs are found. Then, 67 hours into the scenario, Tunny is suddenly hit by an air dropped torpedo and destroyed.

I must say, I am not a fan of the submarine-based scenarios in Command, overall they are pretty boring. There is not a whole lot to decide or do.


#15

You should definitely give the new sub tutorials in v1.14 a go. If you like them, you can then try the standalone DLC “The Silent Service”.


#16

this is why i like CMANO so much :slight_smile:


#17

Well written Mbot, I suppose submarine warfare isn’t the most exciting scenario to play but I quite enjoy reading about it, for what it’s worth :slight_smile:


#18

Scenario 4 - Barents Sea Boomers - Take Two

Since I need to reach a pass score to advance within the campaign, I need to take another shot at this scenario. This time I just park both subs below the layer, put them on creep speed, enable maximum time acceleration and go on to surf the web.

USS Tunny gets taken out by an air dropped torpedo after some hours.

After 1 and a half days, USS Whale finally finds a Delta I SSBN.

SUBROC out.

The underwater shock wave of the 10kt explosion expands circularly for almost 2 NM, crushing the enemy sub.

4 hours later, USS Whale detects two subs simultaneously. One is the HMS Swiftsure, the other a Victor II.

Two Mk48 are launched from the opposing side of the thermal layer, sinking the sub.

Now we can continue. The next scenario is going to be massive and complex.


#19

Scenario 5 - Beware of the Badger

Norway is under attack and we are tasked to get NATO reinforcements to Narvik. These reinforcements include a UK amphibious group transporting a mixed UK-Dutch Royal Marines brigade. It consists of 8 amphibious transport ships, centered on the helicopter carrier HMS Bulwark. Escort is provided by 4 UK frigates and a guided missiles destroyer.

A US amphibious groups is also underway, transporting an USMC brigade. It consists of the helicopter carrier USS Guadalcanal and 3 amphibious transports. Escort is provided by two US destroyers, a guided missile frigate and a guided missile cruiser. In addition to the brigade’s helicopters, Guadalcanal also hosts 8 AV-8A Harrier, which might be useful for auxiliary air defense or surface attack tasks.

Cover for both amphibious groups is provided by the carrier HMS Ark Royal. Yes, you read that right. It is 1975 and the UK still has a strike carrier. Ark Royal equipped with 14 Phantom fighters, 14 Buccaneer strike aircraft, 8 Sea King ASW helicopters and 4 Gannet AEW aircraft. The carrier is accompanied by two support ships, two frigates and 2 guided missile destroyers.

We get additional air support by 6 USN Orions from Kevlavik, 4 Norwegian Orions from Andoya and 6 Shackleton AEW aircraft from Lossiemouth in Scotland. In addition, Bodo airbase in Norway provides 28 RNoAF Starfighters.

Our forces are well equipped with nuclear weapons, such as nuclear depth charges on various ships and airbases. HMS Ark Royal bunks strategic nuclear bombs for its Buccaneer strike aircraft. And the cruiser USS Biddle has two nuclear ASROCS and even two nuclear Terrier SAM. Use of nuclear weapons is not authorized at this point, but we will keep a close eye on this condition. I would not be surprised, if Soviet badgers would attack our task groups with nuclear tipped ASM.

Our task is to defend the amphibious transports, as well as the carrier, from submarine and air attack. In addition we will use the Buccaneers from HMS Ark Royal offensively to destroy any Soviet surface action groups before they become a threat to our ships. Since we command a large number of units, for many different missions over a very large area, it is important to make good preparations. Let’s build our ASW plan first.

The Ark Royal carrier strike group has the lead. Note the pathetic sonar range of the British ships (light green). The escorts probably wont even be able to detect a sub attack on themselves. The lead frigate of the escorts has the Ikara rocket propelled torpedo, so can cover the whole group (dark green). Other than that, ship based anti-submarine weapons are as pathetic as the sonar systems. The mainstay will rest on the helos. From the carrier’s 8 Sea King, 7 are ready for operations. This allows us to set up a continuous dipping sonar line 15 NM ahead of the carrier, 26 NM wide and consisting of 3 station of 2 assigned helicopters each. In addition, the carrier also has 2 Wessex helicopters for SAR duties. We re-equip them with depth charges and set up a dipping sonar station covering the right flank. Since the Wessex does not have sufficient endurance to continuously man a station with just two helicopters, the 7th Sea King is additionally assigned as well. The support ship RFA Tidespring carries 3 additional Wessex, of which 2 are in a flyable state, and the destroyer HMS Glamorgan another one. These 3 Wessex are used to cover the left flank with dipping sonar. The remaining 4 escorts also carry a total of 4 Wasp helicopters (1 torpedo, no sensors). Overall, I think Ark Royal has a solid ASW screen.

The UK amphibious group follows 60 NM behind Ark Royal. Anti-submarine weapons in the escorts are next to in-existent. Even though the group carries 29 helicopters, most of them are transports for the embarked brigade and have no ASW capability. This group will profit from the lane cleared by Ark Royal. The destroyer HMS Devonshire carriers the only Wessex helo with a dipping sonar within the group. It is ordered to set up a dipping sonar station 10 NM ahead if the transport ships, but this wont be manned continuously. 4 additional Wasp weapon carrier helos are on board the remaining escorts.

The US amphibious group to the left. Notice the fantastic range of the American ship’s powerful sonar systems. In addition, 3 ships are equipped with ASROC, providing excellent area ASW fire. The Brook-class guided missile frigate USS Julius A. Furer leads to formation using sprint-and-drift, maximizing its detection capabilities. The group has little dedicated ASW helo support, a single Sea King and one Seasprite, and doesn’t get mutual support by the UK ships. But they should be able to look after themselves just fine, probably better than the Brits. I keep both ASW helos in reserve, holding them available to prosecute long range contacts detected by the ship’s sonar.

From the 8 USN Orions at NAS Kevlavik, 6 are available for operations. Two aircraft, armed with Maverick missiles, will be used for maritime surveillance, searching for the Soviet surface action groups. Two aircraft are allocated to have one Orion on station to screen 50 NM ahead of the Ark Royal group.

The remaining two aircraft will put up an ASW screen 50 NM ahead of the US amphibious group. The UK amphibious group will not get a dedicated Orion screen, since it follows behind Ark Royal.

From the 4 Norwegian Orions at Andoya, two are assigned for unarmed maritime surveillance. The other two are assigned to an ASW patrol area in the approaches to Narvik. If I were the Soviet commander, this is where I would concentrate my subs. So it is probably a wise idea to sanitize the area before our ships arrive.

Sufficient preparations are made for ASW. Next lets look at air defense. We have a pretty decent radar early warning coverage from various ground stations around the Norwegian Sea. In Scotland we have 6 Shackleton AEW aircraft, which I order to set up a patrol station over our task force. We currently have plenty Shackletons to spare, but if any of the ground stations get taken out, they might become handy to fill in the gaps. Ark Royal’s own AEW aircraft, 3 Gannets, are ordered to set up a station covering the gap in the middle of the Norwegian Sea.

As for our air defense plan, there are some considerations to make first. The first line of defense should be destroying any recon aircraft before it discovers the position of our ships. Without being discovered, there will be no air strikes in the first place (or ship/sub-launched missile strikes). The Bear-D has a radar search range of 260 NM, so that is as close as we can allow it to get to our ships. Also in which direction to place the CAP? Our task force could be approached from an arch of almost 180°, possibly requiring multiple advance CAPs. Putting up continuous CAP stations eats a lot of aircraft though. As a rule of thumb, about 1/3 of aircraft can be on station at a time. So to continuously put up two fighters will require 6 aircraft. Ark Royal currently has 13 of 14 Phantom available for service.

Should an air attack still take place, as perhaps our ships were detected by submarines, a lot more than 2 aircraft will be required to avert it. A Soviet Badger regiment contains 20-30 aircraft, and multiple regiments may attack simultaneously. The Badger is equipped with AS-6 missiles, which have a range of 180 NM. So any Badger must be destroyed before it closes to this range. In this case a maximum number of ready aircraft on intercept duty is important. As in the current situation we should have sufficient long range radar early warning, I think we should be able to to intercept both recon and strike aircraft in time before they become a threat. Therefore I decide to keep all 13 Phantoms ready on ground alert duty for the moment. As the situation develops, we might need to reconsider a CAP.

Last we need to look at the Starfighters at Bodo, of which 12 are currently being armed as fighters and 12 as fighter-bombers. In principle they should be able to seriously disrupt any Soviet strike against our ships, as the are right along the direct route between the Soviet bases on the Kola peninsula and our task force. But since Northern Norway is a war zone, I don’t know if they won’t be occupied otherwise.

With that said, lets finally start to play.

A ground radar station picks up a Bogey 150 NM to the north-east of Iceland, moving at 360 kts. This looks a lot like a Bear. Distance to our ships is still over 400 NM, but if we want to get it in time an intercept must start immediately. HMS Ark Royal is ordered to launch two Phantoms.

Simultaneously, multiple bogeys are detected coming over the North Cape. First a dozen, then 24, eventually I count 30. They move fairly fast, so might be fighters or fighter bombers. 6 Starfighters, everything that is currently armed and ready, are launched from Bodo.

As the first helos take of from from our ship, they pick up a curious radar contact right between our task groups. Are we being shadowed by a spy ship? Two Sea Cobras from USS Guadalcanal, just 29 NM away, are ordered to check it out. The Sea Cobras identify the ship as merchant. But upon closing, they ID it as the Che Guevara. A Cuban merchant right amidst my task force in the Norwegian Sea? What a coincidence! Our relationship with Cuba is currently unfriendly, which means we are not at war. I decide that the risk the Che Guevara is phoning in our position is too high. She needs to be sunk. Ark Royal is not to be bothered with this task. Instead, USS Guadalcanal launches two Harriers. As the AV-8A appear, they attack with Mk-82, joined by rocket fire by the Sea Cobras. Subsequently, Harrier and Sea Cobras strafe the ship with 30mm and 20mm gunfire. As the aircraft return to USS Guadalcanal, Che Guevara is heavily damaged and burning, but still afloat.

The attack on Northern Norway is moving in, our Starfighters are on their way to intercept. This doesn’t look good. Missiles are launched and many of our ground radar sites are being struck. 5 Su-17 are shot down for the loss of one Starfighter and 3 radar stations are destroyed, degrading our radar early warning beyond Tromso.

TO BE CONTINUED


#20

The Bogey to the north turns away, which is fortunate but also makes the situation more complex. As enemy patrol aircraft roam the Norwegian Sea, we cannot launch fresh interceptors each time a Bear points in the direction of our ships, only to turn away later. I decide that a CAP is needed and assign 6 Phantoms to set up a 2-ship CAP 200 NM to the north-west of our ships. Since this is pretty far out, I additionally assign two Buccaneers configured as tankers to the station. Marked in red I have created the engagement area, which reaches out 300 NM from our ships. Theoretically, any Bear would have to be killed before it advances 40 NM into this zone. This will work in the center of the engagement area but not really near the edges. With just 13 Phantoms available that is as good as we can do.

With this CAP, we still have 7 Phantoms we can launch to intercept any large scale air attack.

A Sea King from Ark Royal picks up a sonar contact. I order HMS Galeta, the lead escort frigate, to engage with Ikara immediately. Better safe than sorry, The contact really turns out to be a sub. After two re-attacks, the torpedo hits and the sub is sunk.

Just as our Starfighters are about to land at Bodo, missiles are being detected coming from the sea. Submarine launched cruise missiles?

One of the Starfighters in the landing pattern initiates pursuit of the close passing cruise missiles but is unable to get into firing position quick enough. A 350kt nuclear explosion rips apart a cluster of 3 early warning radar sites. The Starfighter is damaged by the blast but manages to limb home. We now lost complete radar coverage of northern Norway.

I decide to ferry 3 Shackletons from Scotland to the 800 NM distant Bodo in order to set up an AEW station there. Since the Shackleton is piston engined aircraft, this will take a while.

We need to bolster the air defense of Norway. In addition to the remaining 13 F-104G Starfighter, I rearm 12 of 334 Sqn’s Starfighters for the fighter mission. They only have the older AIM-9B Sidewinder missile, but to attack bombers this should be sufficient. Two Starfighter keep Bullpup missiles for anti-ship missions.

Orion patrol aircraft start to ID the first surface contacts. 110 NM to the north-east of Ark Royal is a Soviet Okean class intelligence ship. It is no immediate threat yet, but will have to be dealt with eventually. More pressing, to the north-west one Orion detects two surface groups moving at 25 knots. This are almost certainly the Soviet Surface Action Groups. The closer group has just entered Shaddock cruise missile range and is an immediate threat. While the Orion closes further in order to get a visual ID of the ship classes, Ark Royal prepares to launch an air strike. 5 Buccaneers is everything we can currently put up.

The Orion determines the SAG consists of two DDG and one CG. I don’t dare to move it any closer, so the exact ship classes remain unknown.

Another Okean-class spy ship is identified just 60 NM north of Ark Royal.

Things are getting busy. The Phantom CAP just topped-up tanks from a Buccaneer tanker and heads off to intercept a helicopter coming from the second SAG as well as a bogey approaching from the north. Meanwhile a slow moving bogey has already closed to 120 NM to our ships, but since it is not picked up by any of the coastal radar station I figure it must be a low flying ASW aircraft. In order to husband Ark Royal’s Phantoms, I order two Harriers from USS Guadalcanal to intercept.

Moments later, the destroyer HMS Sheffield picks up radar signals from this Bogey. It is a Bear D and it just detected us! Considering that one of the SAGs is within attack range of the American amphibious group, we may expect Shaddock cruise missiles inbound pretty soon. At least the Bear is soon bagged by the Harriers.

Now the Buccaneer attack on the first SAG begins. Two Buccs carry 6 Martel TV guided ASM. Two Buccs carry 8 Martel anti-radar missiles and the fifth carries 8 1000lb bombs. First, 3 Martel ASM are launched against the cruiser. As the missiles approach, the cruiser breaks EMCON to defend itself (now identified as Kresta I class). 4 Martel ARM are followed up on the now active fire control radars. All 3 Martel TV strike and the Kresta blows up instantly. Next a single Martel ASM is launched against a Kildin class destroyer and two ASM against a Kashin DDG, followed up by two Martel ASM once the Kashin powered up its radars. All ASM connect and the the Kashin is destroyed. The damaged Kildin is then attacked by the 5th aircraft with bombs, blowing it up. The first SAG has been completely destroyed! Since two Buccs still have two ARM and plenty of fuel left, I send them to the second SAG. The remaining Buccs head back to Ark Royal.

Meanwhile, the CAP Phantoms have shot down a helo and a Tu-126 Moss recon aircraft.

The two Buccs reach the second SAG. Since it runs under EMCON, they cannot attack it with ARM. Both aircraft descend below the clouds in order to ID the ships. They apparently have trouble to do so and approach very close. As they buzz over the first ship they identify it as frigate, which opens up with AAA. One Buccaneer is hit and goes down. That was a very stupid and unnecessary. I order the second Bucc back to Ark Royal.

The USN patrol Orion meanwhile sinks both Okean spy ships with Maverick missiles.

In order to compensate for the loss of radar coverage over northern Norway, I move our Gannet AEW aircraft closer to the coast. It detects two bogeys coming down the coast. Bodo launches 4 Starfighters. A Bear and a Moss are shot down.

Our patrol Orions keep visiting all the unidentified surface contacts. One more is classified as Mayak-class spy trawler. This time, the two Starfighters from Bodo armed with Bullpup are launched and the ship is heavily damaged.

Starfighters from Bodo claim another Bear D and Moss.

Since air activities in the Norwegian Sea have calmed down for a while and most action seems to be over northern Norway, I decide to cancel our Phantom CAP.

Two hours later, Starfighters intercept another Bear.

As the next batch on Buccaneers becomes available, 4 aircraft are launched for a strike against the remaining SAG. Two aircraft attack with Martel TV guided missiles, two with Martel anti-radar missiles. A Kreasta II class cruiser gets sunk and two escorting destroyers (Kotlin and Kanin) heavily damaged.

Starfighters claim another Bear near Tromso. 3 Shackletons have meanwhile arrived in Bodo, restoring our radar early warning over the Narvik area.

TO BE CONTINUED