Command Fiction: Desert Boneyard

This isn’t based on any real scenario, rather on my amusing editor experiments. For a while I used Mauritania as my testing ground, and it reflects here.

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The sandstorm revealed hundreds if not thousands of aircraft wrecks, enough dropped bombs to rival the Plain of Jars, and among them a hundred SR-71s. A hundred. The investigator wondered if that many had even been built. Around the wreckage of an airbase, twice as many MiG-21s lay broken.

Off the coast, the search took longer. But they’d already found the sunken hulls of twenty Kirovs and five Nimitzes.

What was going on here? What was-

Suddenly, one the search vessels disappeared.

The crew of the other search ship saw a warship screaming towards them. Its guns blazing, they stood no chance. Far away, someone watched.

“So that’s how many 76mm shells it takes to sink a civilian tug.”

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Happy Halloween!


Command Fiction: Le Phenix

This vignette is based on my scenario Phoenix of Indochina. When I saw the carrier Hosho in the database, my love of oddball units made me think I had to use it. So I did. Here’s a fictional essay talking about pop-history “worst of ____” lists, and defending it.

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Most of the sailors who served aboard the Le Phénix hated the ship. There was a legitimate fear that it wouldn’t be able to reach Indochina. That fear proved unfounded. There were concerns its jury-rigged deck couldn’t handle air ops at all. Those fears proved unfounded as well. Thus, the ship cannot be considered a truly “poor” warship.

The ship was intended to plug the carrier gap. This it did, and its oddball surplus arsenal was no different from the other forces in the region-not in the least the Japanese surplus planes used by the fledgling PLAAF. Dozens of sorties were launched, and a tail-gunner from the group even scored the Aéronavale‘s first air to air kill.

The deterrent effect its fighters had on the detachment of PLAAF Oscars was vital. Without them, it’s entirely possible that the Chinese “advisors” may have attempted an airstrike against French Navy warships. Thus, simply by existing, hundreds of lives may have been saved by the “ugly firebird”.



Hoxton’s Housewarming Party

The latest Payday 2 super-event is over, and I’m glad to say that Overkill learned their lesson from the mess that was Crimefest 2015. (They even poked fun at it with the trailer).

Not only was the content far less controversial than the microtransactions of last year, but the lack of a challenge meant that it was not going to be overhyped like the last time.

I like the new safehouse, even if the “raid” missions are a little too Warframe-y for my tastes. In all, it was a good event.

Old Wargames And Possible Adaptations

I remember two of my Steel Panthers games I played all the way through, and wondered if I could adapt the “plot” of them to Command

The first was an unusual skirmish. This consisted of the unconventional UN side trying to break a dug-in position belonging to Ukraine. The vanilla UN isn’t even meant to be a proper side, just a scenario placeholder for its “Allied” components (They have decent “Peacekeeper” infantry, but their only real AFV is an over-expensive for plain armor mine-plow M60 Patton).

I had two of those tanks as the peacekeepers breached the line, although one sadly did not survive the battle. The peacekeepers were not unscathed, but their opponents were hit far harder.

(The plot is difficult-the best I can think of is an earlier Crimea/Donbass style conflict that ends with a demilitarized zone patrolled by peacekeepers, a potentially unauthorized attempt to occupy part of it that the UN defuses by attacking by itself rather than having the Russians and their local allies risk reigniting it)

The second was a France-Sudan battle in Chad. This is vastly more suitable.

A company of Leclercs and APCs destroyed a large force of Sudanese armor, infantry, and militia. A few APCs and infantry were lost, but that was it in the very Desert Storm-like lopsided battle.

The aftermath of that would be something. Even better, I can use it for either side. A push-on as France with casualty-sensitive events for balance reasons, or a desperation sortie by Sudan. Then again, I have a million scenario ideas already…

Command Fiction: Cold Patrols


This Command Fiction vignette is based on my scenario Yellow Sea Patrol. The scenario itself is one I’ve found largely unsatisfying due its luck based component. I still like the concept, it’s just hard to model right in an operational level sim.

So, this is a Cold War story-no, it’s-a story of luck.

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The destroyers Morgan and Winters had just fired the first shots of the Cold War, and just taken the first hits. Whatever encouraged the ChiComs to go out with their Mustang and torpedo boats remained a mystery.

-What wasn’t a mystery was the outcome. A destroyer beat up by air-launched rockets and the torpedo boats all on the bottom of the ocean.

-What wasn’t a mystery was the outcome. A destroyer getting purely cosmetic damage from air-launched rockets that missed it.

-What wasn’t a mystery was the outcome. A destroyer sunk by a lucky torpedo hit, the first postwar loss of a ship that size.

Was the outcome indeed a mystery? Not what it was that particular day, but what it could have been?


Arrows And Torpedoes

Now, only recently have I looked more in-depth at the legendary Preston Tucker and his failed attempts at building cars.

The SEC charges were rather weak and there is no evidence to indicate that Tucker was an outright scammer, but even many of his defenders state that he was unaware of what going into the brutal auto industry actually meant. Kaiser-Frazer and Crosley, started by far more successful businessmen with more resources, still failed.

(The car itself did have many innovative and unique features, but even some of those were pared back in development. Never facing the stress test of sustained use marketing gives the vehicle an unnaturally rosy picture).

The Tucker cars remind me of another lost vehicle that attracts a disproportionate amount of nostalgia. This vehicle is the Avro Arrow. The Arrow was at best a limited F-4 or Western equivalent of the Su-15. Its main reason for being dropped dramatically after the Soviets shifted to missiles.

What makes the Tucker and Arrow stand out is the belief among far too many devotees that their success would have been game-changing. With the Arrow, Canada would be cranking out hordes of fighter jets. With Tucker, Detroit would have been nimbly pushed into shape, so that when the imports started arriving, they’d have far less of an opening.

I find both of these claims highly dubious.

Command Fiction: Out With A Whimper


This Command Fiction vignette is based on my scenario Chilean Chevauchee. It’s deliberately intended as a basic, extremely easy scenario with little opposition. Most notably, it would also have been the last hurrah of the battleship Almirante Latorre.

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You could say that the last South American battleship went out with a bang, as the gun crews of the Latorre definitely did not lack for work during the brief bombardment. You could also say that the last South American battleship went out with a whimper.

All that it faced were a pair of armed tugboats and an artillery position that it handily outranged. This was no Warspite at Jutland.

But it did its job, arriving with a show of force and convincing the Peruvians to back down. Intended deliberately to be a game-changing shock, it succeeded. Perhaps the last such shock, as aircraft weapons grew better and the old battlewagons became harder and harder to run.

VGCW update

I still like VGCW, but I’ve gotten a little less insistent on it. I think the novelty of seeing characters flop around in a badly programmed game has worn off.