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Use of mass Helicopters to attack enemy positions

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I guess this is more of a Cold War question, but did the Soviets/Russians ever consider using massed attack helos to hit an enemy force before a major attack?

 

I was playing Flashpoint Campaigns: Redstorm and the AI used a regiment of Hinds to punch a whole in a portion of my line and then scour an area roughly 5KM in depth and 2 KM wide of nearly all armored vehicles. The helo regiment took about 50% losses but they managed to create a path to the objective for Soviet armor that was defended almost exclusively by dismounts.

 

Was this something that represents a realistic use of a helicopter force or was it just fanciful scenario design?

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NATO used ours as gap-fillers and quick-responders, right?  Soviet helo's were more of an assault asset.  

 

I dont think they operated independently on the level of that scenario though.  Werent they mostly attached directly to the units they'd be supporting?

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I guess this is more of a Cold War question, but did the Soviets/Russians ever consider using massed attack helos to hit an enemy force before a major attack?

 

I was playing Flashpoint Campaigns: Redstorm and the AI used a regiment of Hinds to punch a whole in a portion of my line and then scour an area roughly 5KM in depth and 2 KM wide of nearly all armored vehicles. The helo regiment took about 50% losses but they managed to create a path to the objective for Soviet armor that was defended almost exclusively by dismounts.

 

Was this something that represents a realistic use of a helicopter force or was it just fanciful scenario design?

 

Hinds in Flashpoint are pretty silly.

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What's the US term from the Gulf war? a "Gorilla package", an air group powerful and diverse enough to operate with impunity. I believe the largest in the Gulf War was 'Package Q'. 72 F16, 8 F15, 8 Wild Weasel anti-radar hunters, and two EF 111 ECM aircraft. Impressive but rather unwieldy. After their experience with 'Package Q' they returned to firing cruise missiles and flying F-117s over Bagdad. And a decree came down from above to attempt no 'package' larger than 25 aircraft. So it appears over a certain number of aircraft you reach a law of diminishing returns. What you gain in firepower you lose in logistics and coordination headaches

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So it appears over a certain number of aircraft you reach a law of diminishing returns. What you gain in firepower you lose in logistics and coordination headaches

 

This.  Also especially when dealing with 80's vintage platforms, the ability to reliably find even AFVs in defensive posture is not that great.  The NATO use was more focused on hitting Soviet forces on the move and in the open, and in that case large formations were too unwieldy to be reactive to enemy attacks.

 

In the modern era, it was only really tried in 2003 to marginal effects.  Or at least to the end where the effort expended was higher than the results achieved. 

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From a CMBS standpoint, what do you think would be a good helo number to saturate likely air defenses? Seven? The AA platforms' penchant for firing multiple missiles at a single approaching aircraft means pretty soon they're out of missiles. The last scenario I played with enemy air I just had one lonely little Stinger crew available to do all of the work. And I think they died in an artillery stonking!

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I guess this is more of a Cold War question, but did the Soviets/Russians ever consider using massed attack helos to hit an enemy force before a major attack?

 

I was playing Flashpoint Campaigns: Redstorm and the AI used a regiment of Hinds to punch a whole in a portion of my line and then scour an area roughly 5KM in depth and 2 KM wide of nearly all armored vehicles. The helo regiment took about 50% losses but they managed to create a path to the objective for Soviet armor that was defended almost exclusively by dismounts.

 

Was this something that represents a realistic use of a helicopter force or was it just fanciful scenario design?

Each Army (a NATO corps) (and strictly speaking of Europe not Afghanistan) had 1 regiment of attack aviation and I think the next higher level did as well. Committing an entire regiment to one local attack seems quite fanciful.

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…and flying F-117s over Bagdad…

 

And—on March 19/20, 2003, anyway (as recounted in Osprey Publishing's "F-16 Fighting Falcon Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom")—flying an F-117 over Baghdad with F-16CJ SEAD escort despite the F-117 being a stealth aircraft and despite it being the dead of night at the time(!)

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I only know some things I've read from some documents here and there, so correct me if I'm wrong...

 

The old Soviet doctrine could be summarized as a zerg rush, but instead of running into a brick wall over and over, they'd try to go as much as possible around it or weaken a small part of it and then break through as deep and as fast as possible. Their air assault brigades were meant to mostly flank the enemy by landing troops next to or behind the enemy, or harass the enemy much further behind enemy lines ahead of the Soviet main assault. You require a lot of helicopters to do this, so they'd have some pretty large groups of them. But I somehow doubt they'd suicide their helicopters onto a heavily defended enemy line. When dealing with heavy enemy defenses, I imagine they'd be more careful in the same way NATO uses their helicopters.

 

The thing to keep in mind in Flashpoint Campaigns is that in a lot of scenarios you are technically not in the front, but the Soviets have already broken through the main defensive line and have already begun pushing through, and you are somewhere behind the front line, tasked with delaying/halting the Soviet advance. In such scenarios it makes sense for the Soviets to send groups of gunships to sweep the area ahead, without any support, and try to recon and secure the area ahead for the main assault that is somewhere behind them. If the game was capable of it, the gunships would also try to drop off their troops in strategic positions.

 

Their helicopters may behave sometimes a in a suicidal manner, but that's a different topic, that's because of the AI. Most games have problems with AI (almost all games fail to create a smart AI). So, don't mind the way the AI uses their helicopters...

 

That said, I'm not sure these days you'd see anyone use helicopters in such a way. Things were different back then.

Edited by BlackAlpha

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US tried it in the Irak war and it was a failure. Helos are not a good weapon non supported assault. They are usually too exposed and weak against light AA fire.

 

If the AA defences have been sufficiently destryoyed thetactic can be workable. But for this o hppen you need a Combined Arms approach. The weakness of US air defences on the ground my well be a key US disadvantage for the Russians to exploit

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Well if you ever play any of the Wargame series online then you would think that The Rotorwing rush was 1 of only 2 effective plans in either sides' arsenal, the other being "Sit on your hands and give your self a stranger.".

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Well if you ever play any of the Wargame series online then you would think that The Rotorwing rush was 1 of only 2 effective plans in either sides' arsenal, the other being "Sit on your hands and give your self a stranger.".

 

No truer words were ever said haha.

 

And this is why I dont play that game anymore. Mi-24V Stronk!

 

Having just done a large QB against US Army.

 

I can safely say that using a pair of Pchela-1T, and a pair of KA-52 is highly effective against US Armoured formations.

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Well if you ever play any of the Wargame series online then you would think that The Rotorwing rush was 1 of only 2 effective plans in either sides' arsenal, the other being "Sit on your hands and give your self a stranger.".

 

 

That's entirely unfair.  You're forgetting burying your 1990's opposition in literal waves of the finest 1960's equipment, and shooting Corps level artillery at bushes that might be full of candy.

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I'm trying to recall how many US helicopters got shot down in the Vietnam war. Roughly 5,000 from the Army alone, I believe, more than half of all aircraft losses. Folks today can barely conceive of absorbing that scale of carnage. Which brings us back to this title. Is the war being depicted on the scale of Vietnam or one of the lesser more recent conflicts? If you're going into the battle willing to sustain high casualties to achieve your objective that changes the dynamic. Like Russian absorbing 81,000 KIA in the push to take Berlin. Maybe they would try suicidal tactics like a helo rush into enemy defenses if they're of that mindset.

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I'm trying to recall how many US helicopters got shot down in the Vietnam war. Roughly 5,000 from the Army alone, I believe, more than half of all aircraft losses. Folks today can barely conceive of absorbing that scale of carnage. Which brings us back to this title. Is the war being depicted on the scale of Vietnam or one of the lesser more recent conflicts? If you're going into the battle willing to sustain high casualties to achieve your objective that changes the dynamic. Like Russian absorbing 81,000 KIA in the push to take Berlin. Maybe they would try suicidal tactics like a helo rush into enemy defenses if they're of that mindset.

 

Yeah, that's one very important thing to keep in mind, the scale in Black Sea is different. You aren't going to see hundreds of tanks rolling through a country side. The engine probably couldn't support it, anyway.  :P

Edited by BlackAlpha

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I'm trying to recall how many US helicopters got shot down in the Vietnam war. Roughly 5,000 from the Army alone, I believe, more than half of all aircraft losses. Folks today can barely conceive of absorbing that scale of carnage. Which brings us back to this title. Is the war being depicted on the scale of Vietnam or one of the lesser more recent conflicts? If you're going into the battle willing to sustain high casualties to achieve your objective that changes the dynamic. Like Russian absorbing 81,000 KIA in the push to take Berlin. Maybe they would try suicidal tactics like a helo rush into enemy defenses if they're of that mindset.

 

Berlin was the final battle (for most) of a very long, devastating war. Most commanders would be thoroughly uninterested in throwing away such a large chunk of mobile firepower reserve just to make a single push a bit easier, while simultaneously doing NATO air defense's homework for them by sending every available helo to one (necessarily limited) section of the front. As an aside, there were never that many Hinds in the Soviet inventory that they could have carelessly thrown them across the battlefield and simply hope that something stuck. They'd learned the hard way that helo operations in even a modest air defense environment require planning and caution moreso than aggression and flexibility.

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