So I figured I’d unleash the Circle Trigons again. This came from a simple scenario editor experiment where “ground attack aircraft” (read, dive bombers) hit an American armored unit.
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In the Campaign, the Circle Trigons launched their attack, with ‘several dozen’ aircraft striking throughout the day. Making heavy use of incendiaries, Aggressor ground attack aircraft disrupted the reserve during the heavy tank regiment’s attack. AAA fire was intense but only one attacker could be confirmed down.
The amount of tanks and vehicles destroyed was modest, but it did snarl the division’s response during the operation. Yet just as the large tank attack was in part a tactical diversion, the entire campaign, the third amphibious attack on the southeastern US, was a strategic diversion.
The real crown jewel was England, and thousands of vessels were making their way into the western Channel…
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Yes, I’ve gotten a crazily detailed plan for the Aggressors to cross from Continental Europe to England. If they can stage amphibious invasions of the US, why not the much closer Britain?
So, it’s very weird how when dealing with the early “Circle Trigon” phase of US military OPFORs (a history of their progression I recorded in another post at Baloogan Campaign), my usual approach to exercise scenarios has been turned on its head. I played a largely futile attack by USMC aircraft on a battleship/cruiser pair in Command, and it was really fun.
However, instead of an American battleship and cruiser, I represented the Trigonist warships with a French battleship and Spanish cruiser. This was “in-character” for the Aggressor backstory, which featured them carved out of Bavaria, Italy, Spain, and France. The Aggressor Navy being vaguely defined gives me a lot of creative freedom (it’s neither a direct copy of an American unit or obvious Soviet stand-in). I think my approach involves…
- For later OPFORs, using “Actor” aggressor units adds variety, as a break from the waves of units. But for this earlier environment, obscure French/Spanish/Italian units “in-character” get their chance to shine. The Circle Trigon backstory is so goofy I feel compelled to run with it.
- The proficiency setting is not always “Ace”. Weird how, even as I focus on the ‘characters’, I shift to the ‘actors’ proficiency. These are ad-hoc units trained in Aggressor tactics and speaking Esperanto, not the full-time OPFOR that became a beast at Nellis and the NTC. But who knows, I could make them aces if I wanted to 😀
- Just wanting to have fun.
And I certainly did. I really should make a full Aggressor scen that treats everything seriously.
This Command Fiction takes a look at two hypothetical units operating together.
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Operation Central Latitude
The life of a surveillance aircraft navigator was almost always boring. Today promised to be an exception in that the abnormally clear weather promised to rename the entire reach of land from Luanda to Kikwit “Paveway-ville”. So, they were going to be doing some real BDA, and, if the CAPS and SEAD forces hadn’t done their job right, going to be facing a few of the Angolan flankers.
So, after the first group of fighters departed MOB Alfa in the South Atlantic, Argus One did so as well. As her pilot steered the Aurora upwards, Capt. Nancy Le recalled what she was actually doing…
FLYING A MACH 5 PLANE OFF A MILE-LONG SHIP!
Yes, her sister was far and away the wealthier of the two. But did she ever FLY A MACH 5 PLANE OFF A MILE-LONG SHIP?
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In-game, the hypothetical SR-72 Aurora can fly off Mobile Offshore Bases. The obsessive statistician in me envisioned a detachment traveling with each and every mixed tactical wing to serve as their recon assets.
This Command Fiction is based on the community scenario Operation Vulture, which is in turn based on a real (and thankfully never enacted) proposal to use heavy bombers to support the French at Dien Bien Phu.
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Only ten of the Peacemakers were serviceable. There were many reasons, from spare parts still being flown in to the tropical air not being to the liking of any aircraft. Still. The number-crunchers would have something to chew on once the analyses came back.
Could a greater payload (a much greater payload) in an individual platform make up for a decrease in overall platforms? The world, the French, the PLA, and the Viet Minh were about to find-
–Ok, that was loud, the staff officer thought as the aircraft hefted its tons of bombs upwards. Really, really, loud.
This is based on my scenario “A Day At Red Flag”. That scenario was intended to be a brutally difficult challenge. And it succeeded. I’m intending a revision to make it more diverse, but in the meantime, enjoy this in-universe challenge.
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The MiG-28s of the Krasnovian Frontal Aviation served as the first line of defense. If anything limited them, it was that they had been too successful. Their ground-intercept radars were intact, while those of their enemy had long since been reduced to scrap. The war was going well. But not well enough that they didn’t have problems. An array of contacts appeared on the radars. The enemy was trying something.
The CAPs were doing their job. As skilled as the Krasnovian pilots were, the F-4 Phantom could simply fire more weapons at more angles than their own light fighters. More importantly, the dogfights were keeping the MiGs off the strikers.
Of course, the strike craft had their own problem, as they flew right into a hail of Yastreb-U missiles and AAA. To their credit, the Weasels had managed to hit a surprisingly large number of radars-but it was a far from bloodless victory.
Then the few surviving Phantoms dropped their bombs on the fuel depot. The result was-very little damage, with only a handful of AA guns destroyed for good. Analysts revealed that the bombs released were not intended for such a hardened target.
In all, the mission was a success. At the cost of a few replaceable light fighters and radars, they had obliterated a high-end strike package.
For years afterwards, Krasnovians would celebrate “The Wipeout of ’77.”
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In fact, this was all a simulated but intense exercise. The Wipeout of ’77 over Nellis would go a long way to minimizing the odds of a similar one in real life. Many lessons could be learned.
Behind the scenes:
- Krasnovia (from “Krasny-red”) was a common placeholder name for a Warsaw Pact-styled force in Cold War exercises.
- MiG-28s are from Top Gun, played by F-5s. Since I used F-5s as Aggressors in the scenario, the name works.
- Yastreb-U is a crude translation of “I-Hawk”, the missile I used in the scen.
This vignette is based on the latest preliminary release in the Northern Fury series. In it, you command an improvised naval flotilla assembled by a crafty Soviet division commander for a hop across the Trondheimsfjorden.
I immediately thought of a background that could give the commander the knowledge to raise the flotilla successfully. The player, controlling one of the division’s regimental leaders, is not so gifted, as evidenced by this line in the introduction
“You can barely hold back a retch at the stink emanating from one of these dilapidated old working boats.”
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March 9, 1994, near Leksvik, Norway.
Anton Mikhailovich Yatchenko never thought he’d be glad to sense the smell of fishing boats again as he hurried south for one more furtive inspection.
It was either join or spend my whole life being a fisherman like my father and grandfather and great-grandfather. And now I’m back to square one. Oh well.
The ad-hoc multi-service force was poised to try something really, really crazy. Yatchenko in his heart did not expect himself or anyone else in his force to survive it. Much less the infantrymen in the lead regiment, and for the lead battalion-that was a horror of its own.
But the major general wasn’t going to try something he knew wholeheartedly couldn’t work. Having seen and crewed fishing boats like the ones in his new flotilla, he felt there was a chance they might-might be useful for an amphibious assault.
“We have nothing to lose. Either we take Trondheim and run low on supplies or run out of supplies without taking Trondheim-do not make this a Gallipoli and lose your nerve.”
Speaking with the unlucky regimental commander who was picked for the first wave, Yatchenko noticed him suppressing a gag as he passed near a fishing boat.
“And-uh, make sure the troops in the fishing boats can handle the conditions. I don’t want them collapsing from er-seasickness- before they hit the beach.”
Even in the darkening skies, Yatchenko could see his subordinate blushing slightly.
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The scenario, Northern Fury 12.1, Something’s Fishy, can be found here. I was hesitant to include the ranks because I wasn’t sure of them-I think it’s major general and colonel, but don’t know enough about Soviet/Russian ranks to be sure.
This Command Fiction involves an attempt to show a scenario concept I’ve always liked-the player controlling an unambiguously inferior faction.
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The babies were the small array of fighter planes, the scraps left over from the great power’s conflict. There had been forty babies there. Now, there were only a few. The air defense commander himself had arrived, giving the crews the earful of a lifetime. All the planes had to be ready, all the missiles had to be ready, all the radars had to be ready, and all the ELINT stations had to be ready, because they were going to be in for the fight of their lives.
When the Big Day came, the base had reason to be proud, for it did everything right.
It had lost. Lost as cruise missiles slammed into it. Lost as the four babies that got aloft were immediately downed. But it had lost fighting. The defenses were active, and they-unlike the nation’s other two airbases-had at least staged at all.
The base even launched two more babies the next day for a ground attack. They got shot down, but points for trying.
And points for making the rubble bounce at what would become Orphan Field instead of attacking the field army. Most people after the war, assumed Orphan Field was named in memory of the people who died defending it, leaving their children as orphans. Only a few knew the truth-that it became an orphan field once it lost its baby fighter planes, and that was the reason for the name.
In lieu of a proper Command Fiction, I will link to my latest post on Baloogan Campaign talking about one of my “worst” scenarios-the infamous Myanmar Defense.
And of course, I leave the reader to ponder what “WE HAVE OVERFLOWN MYANMAR AS A SIGNAL” actually means.
While Operation Little Sink sounds like something from a random generator, it’s in fact a fake name I came up with by myself in the process of writing this post. Now I want to make a Command scenario entitled “Operation Little Sink”.
Or “Plan Little Sink”.
What could it be? My theory is that it’s a limited contingency plan, the smaller counterpart to a “Plan Big Sink”. And what could that contingency be? Perhaps an amphibious operation (sink as in water sink?), although those have to be big. Amphibious raids vs a full-scale attack?
Or air support and limited ground forces (Little Sink) vs. full-scale war (Big Sink)?
Hope my Little Sink scenario doesn’t sunk like many others. (Sorry, had to make the pun)