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ncc1701e

AC-130 Spectre

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David Bellavia in his book "Fallouja!" is mentioning this aircraft for close air support. This one seems quite impressive. Would it be too easy for US player if he has one in its inventory ? 😃

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I'm not sure of this but would the possibility of actual Syrian AA (as opposed to small arms fire) make it risky to use in the setting posited by CMSF?

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Posted (edited)

In January 1991 an AC-130 Spectre was shot down by an Iraq MANPADS. I recall that incident came as a profound shock to the Pentagon. Another had been brought down by a missile over Laos in 1972. They're wary of flying that aircraft over hot wars with a AA capability.

Edited by MikeyD

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FWIW the excellent book about Op Anaconda "Not A Good Day To Die" makes the point about how sensitive/scared high command was about allowing the Spectre to linger after dawn - ordering it to return to base - even though it was doing a vital job saving the lives of besieged troops on the ground and the pilots begged to be allowed to stay.

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As a FIST Chief I worked with them. Assuming you have air superiority and a minimal ground AA threat, they would own one of these SF2 battlefields. Sit back and watch the show. But note my caveats. 

Makes it tough - either they are at risk (and they don't like to be at risk), or they pretty much tip the balance so far that the battle becomes target practice for the Spectre. 

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1 hour ago, ncc1701e said:

David Bellavia in his book "Fallouja!" is mentioning this aircraft for close air support. This one seems quite impressive. Would it be too easy for US player if he has one in its inventory ? 😃

Do you mean House to House? I'm unaware of Bellavia writing a book called Fallouja [sic]

Everyone else already covered it. The AC-130 is a potent asset, but is also extremely cautiously employed. Ever since the 1991 shootdown, they are strictly prohibited from operating during the day, including 30 minutes before dawn. Further, if there are any known anti-air assets in the airspace, the AC-130 generally isn't allowed to operate. It's a highly restricted asset. 

All that said, it would be nice to see it in game. Maybe part of a future vehicle/battle pack for SF2 down the line? 

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1 hour ago, IICptMillerII said:

Do you mean House to House? I'm unaware of Bellavia writing a book called Fallouja [sic]

Everyone else already covered it. The AC-130 is a potent asset, but is also extremely cautiously employed. Ever since the 1991 shootdown, they are strictly prohibited from operating during the day, including 30 minutes before dawn. Further, if there are any known anti-air assets in the airspace, the AC-130 generally isn't allowed to operate. It's a highly restricted asset. 

All that said, it would be nice to see it in game. Maybe part of a future vehicle/battle pack for SF2 down the line? 

Yes, more content down the line would be super awesome, but of course once it's out SF2 will have to wait it's turn for all the other Families.

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AC-130's carry quite a bit of ammo and can loiter, providing there isn't an AA threat. As mentioned I think it would greatly unbalance any battle they appear in. At this point you may as well add B1b  or B-52s..

Speaking of air support. I always hear how the US Marine Corps has one of the largest air forces in the world and how they train specifically to support their troops on the ground. Is that in any way modeled in SF? I would think that the very tight integration and doctrinal emphasis on supporting fellow Marines on the battlefield has to bring some advantage.

The US Army has rotary wing assets but from my understanding the US defense act that created the US Air Force has a clause that prohibits the Army from arming its fixed wing assets. Over the years many proposals have come about to take away the Marines air assets, but that has been strongly resisted. They seem to feel very strongly about this and believe its vital and brings with it distinct advantages.

 

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46 minutes ago, db_zero said:

AC-130's carry quite a bit of ammo and can loiter, providing there isn't an AA threat. As mentioned I think it would greatly unbalance any battle they appear in. At this point you may as well add B1b  or B-52s..

Speaking of air support. I always hear how the US Marine Corps has one of the largest air forces in the world and how they train specifically to support their troops on the ground. Is that in any way modeled in SF? I would think that the very tight integration and doctrinal emphasis on supporting fellow Marines on the battlefield has to bring some advantage.

I don't think CM can model that other than maybe by some messing with FIST/FO experience and the assets you give the force.  It really comes down to are the assets there or not.  From a Marine perspective you are bringing hem with you so they should be there.  In my unlearned opinion.

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58 minutes ago, db_zero said:

Speaking of air support. I always hear how the US Marine Corps has one of the largest air forces in the world and how they train specifically to support their troops on the ground. Is that in any way modeled in SF? I would think that the very tight integration and doctrinal emphasis on supporting fellow Marines on the battlefield has to bring some advantage.

The US Army has rotary wing assets but from my understanding the US defense act that created the US Air Force has a clause that prohibits the Army from arming its fixed wing assets. Over the years many proposals have come about to take away the Marines air assets, but that has been strongly resisted. They seem to feel very strongly about this and believe its vital and brings with it distinct advantages.

This is a pretty deep rabbit hole that is very complex, but the short of it is the Marines do not get along with the other service branches very well when it comes to joint operations. Ever since Guadalcanal the Marines have placed a huge emphasis on being able to bring all their combat assets with them onto the beach, to include their own organic air support. This is largely why the F-35 program was originally started back in the early 90's, fyi. The Marines also tend to suffer more friendly fire incidents when working with the Air Force than other branches do. In both the Gulf War and the 2003 Invasion of Iraq there were numerous incidents where the Marines were strafed by Air Force aircraft due to bad communications and other factors. Regardless of who's to blame in all of the various incidents, the fact is that the Marines take it quite personally. All of this contributes to their over-emphasis on using their own organic assets over joint operations with other branches, both in the air and on the ground. The reality is, Marine CAS is not exceptionally better or worse than CAS provided by other sources. For every Marine friendly fire incident due to the supposed incompetence of the Air Force, there is an example of an Army unit being bailed out by danger close CAS from the Air Force. 

In SF as long as you have a decent spotter, preferably a JTAC, you can coordinate accurate strikes with aircraft from both the Air Force and Marines, regardless of who you are playing as on the ground. In fact, you can even use multinational air support if you have all the modules, like having Marines on the ground supported by British aircraft. What matters most is the skill of the spotter and his specialty, as well as that of the air crew, much more than what branch they come from.   

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1 hour ago, IICptMillerII said:

The Marines also tend to suffer more friendly fire incidents when working with the Air Force than other branches do.

I have read that in Korea even the Army preferred to have Marine CAS over either Air Force or Navy CAS. In WW II the Marines seem to have perfected CAS sooner and to a higher pitch than the other services, although during the last year of war in the ETO the USAAF seems to have gotten better at it.

Michael

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11 hours ago, Michael Emrys said:

I have read that in Korea even the Army preferred to have Marine CAS over either Air Force or Navy CAS. In WW II the Marines seem to have perfected CAS sooner and to a higher pitch than the other services, although during the last year of war in the ETO the USAAF seems to have gotten better at it.

Michael

The reason behind Korea was that (at least in the beginning of the war) US doctrine was so thoroughly against ever fighting a land war again (the solution to every problem was literally "nuke em") that no one thought CAS would be needed ever again. They also thought that infantry and armor would never be needed again on a large scale, and that the world had entered into a new era of warfare where nuclear weapons would take care of everything. To their credit, the Marines retained both their CAS abilities and land fighting abilities as a whole going into the Korean War. However when it became clear to everyone else that land wars were still very much relevant, they caught up pretty quickly. 

It's also important to note that most of the fundamentals of CAS comes from the methods developed by the XIX Tactical Air Command, which was attached to Third Army during the Normandy Breakout. The methods developed there would go on to form the fundamentals of US Air Land Battle, which in turn forms the fundamentals of modern CAS. 

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18 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

Do you mean House to Houseï»ż? I'm unaware ï»żof Bellavia writing a book called Fallouja [sic]

 

Yes, you are right. The english title is "House to House" which has been translated as "Fallouja!". Pretty obvious, isn't? 😏

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5 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

It's also important to note that most of the fundamentals of CAS comes from the methods developed by the XIX Tactical Air Command, which was attached to Third Army during the Normandy Breakout. The methods developed there would go on to form the fundamentals of US Air Land Battle, which in turn forms the fundamentals of modern CAS. 

I had that in mind.

Michael

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There are some weapons in CM that you might call 'demonstration weapons'.  They're usually pretty spectacular to watch. Battleship 12 inch guns for example, or Xylophone artillery rockets or massed use of Katyusha artillery rockets. You maybe could add to that F15s dropping 2000 lb bombs or the massive 1525 kg bomb carried by Russian fighters in CMBS, or the Sturmtiger. You do see them in scenarios occasionally but they're not a staple of gameplay. Because they have the capacity to be scenario enders. You saturate the far side of the map with artillery rockets at startup and... well, that was a fun scenario.

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1 hour ago, MikeyD said:

You do see them in scenarios occasionally but they're not a staple of gameplay. Because they have the capacity to be scenario enders. You saturate the far side of the map with artillery rockets at startup and... well, that was a fun scenario.

Heh. I did something like that once. I knew the Germans would have to enter the map on turn 1 and I had a pretty good idea of the route they would take. So I got three batteries of rockets and targeted them to overlap the entire length of the route. Start the turn and watch the action! At the end of the first turn I had a a total victory and had virtually obliterated an entire company of German soldiers. It was a curiously satisfying experience, short but very, very sweet.

:D

Michael

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There's even one of the stock CMBN scenarios, where a US company is attacking a town in France. For some reason, the US company has a massively disproportionate amount of indirect firepower - you can actually just sit back and level the entire town for a victory.

This is one of those things where the "game" part of CM comes to the fore - not that the capacity shouldn't be modelled, but how it actually fits into scenario design is really important.

 

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On October 10, 2018 at 1:08 AM, Michael Emrys said:

I have read that in Korea even the Army preferred to have Marine CAS over either Air Force or Navy CAS. In WW II the Marines seem to have perfected CAS sooner and to a higher pitch than the other services, although during the last year of war in the ETO the USAAF seems to have gotten better at it.

Michael

Marine Air/Ground development began well before WWII in the Caribbean Banana Wars. They refined it in WWII, and perfected it in Korea. It wasn't just the Marine Corps that the Army and Air Force tried to get rid of so they could get the USMC funding. The Air Force actually had Congress convinced to get rid of the Navy's aircraft carriers so Hap Arnold could get more bombers. The only thing that saved the carriers was Korea, which brought in Navy and Marine Corps jets and F4 Corsairs to take out the North Korean supply lines, and forced Congress to understand how vital the Marine Corps/Navy rapid reaction force is to the nations security.

The CMSF1 campaign "Semper Fi" has two missions that use Marine aircraft in close air support roles, F-18s and Cobra helicopters (maybe more, I haven't played the entire campaign yet). It also has Naval Gun Fire support from an off-shore Destroyer.

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The Goldwater Defense Act of the 80's made some mandated changes to the DoD and the way the military operated. IMO it may be time for another revise. At a time when the US Navy is being challenged in the Pacific and Atlantic by China and Russia, it boggles my mind why we are operating US Navy carrier based assets and other highly expensive assets in Afghanistan which costs a fortune to operate dropping munitions on primitive insurgents when these assets could be operating in the Pacific and Atlantic and assisting an already overstretched navy operating at a high tempo.

Mandate changes, allow and fund the US Army to operate armed fixed aircraft like the Textron Scorpion or a propeller attack aircraft like an updated OV-10 or Wolverine. Hold joint training exercises in the Nevada desert to work up the new units to deploy.

I know it will never happen. Bureaucratic inertia is stronger than the sword. 

 

Edited by db_zero

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4 hours ago, Vet 0369 said:

Marine Air/Ground development began well before WWII in the Caribbean Banana Wars. They refined it in WWII, and perfected it in Korea.

SFAIK that is precisely correct.

Michael

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2 hours ago, db_zero said:

it boggles my mind why we are operating US Navy carrier based assets and other highly expensive assets in Afghanistan which costs a fortune to operate dropping munitions on primitive insurgents when these assets could be operating in the Pacific and Atlantic and assisting an already overstretched navy operating at a high tempo.

If employing combat power against an enemy is mind boggling to you, you need to reinforce your mind a bit. 

First off, the idea that using these assets against "primitive" insurgents being wasteful is wrong. Yes, these assets are expensive. You know what is infinitely more expensive? Human lives lost doing a job a Tomahawk/F-18 can do risk free. Preventing combat units from being used against actual targets in order to posture against nations that aren't targets is the literal definition of wasteful. By the way, just because you don't think those "primitive" insurgents are worthy of the munitions spent on them, I am quite positive you would be singing a different tune if they were lighting you up. Even if you were indifferent in said situation, I am quite content in the tens of thousands of lives that have been saved as a direct result of those supposedly "wasted" munitions being used against those supposedly "primitive" insurgents. 

Second, the US Navy is not overstretched. The Navy operates 10 supercarriers and is building more that are a newer generation. The supercarrier is an asset the US has with no equal. Carrier Strike Groups (CSGs) are assigned to all of the worlds major oceans. I can assure you, that having 1 or 2 carriers operating in the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean is not "overstretching" the rest of the 8 carriers, or their deployment rotations. The CSG's that are "confronting" the Russians and Chinese in both the Atlantic and Pacific are not negatively effected by Middle East deployments of carriers that are assigned to that part of the world to begin with. 

2 hours ago, db_zero said:

Mandate changes, allow and fund the US Army to operate armed fixed aircraft like the Textron Scorpion or a propeller attack aircraft like an updated OV-10 or Wolverine.

The Apache exists. Fixed wing propeller aircraft are redundant and are less effective at doing the same job. If an Apache can't solve the problem, a slow moving prop plane won't be any better. At that point you need bigger assets, like A-10's/F-15E's/etc. Designing an airframe specific to one type of conflict that would be useless in other forms of conflict is wasteful. 

2 hours ago, db_zero said:

Bureaucratic inertia is stronger than the sword. 

As it turns out, a (very) small sliver of that bureaucratic inertia is a good thing. Without it, the US Navy would have scrapped all of its carriers just after WWII, as @Vet 0369 pointed out.

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You wouldn't believe how deep the animosity is not only among services, but also among programs within those services. For example, it's unbelievable how many times the Airforce "Fighter Mafia" tried to have the A-10 scrapped so they could get that funding for their own programs. Before I went to work with the government, outside of my military time, I worked for an aircraft engine manufacturer. A friend, who was a government plant representative, invited me to attend a meeting he had set up to try to develop a "Joint Services Engine Specification." Even though the Navy and the Airforce or the Navy and the Army might used the same engines in their fighters and helicopters, each service has it's own engine specification. The initiative failed though because the Army and Airforce representatives spent the entire time arguing about the Key West Accords of 1948, and this meeting took place in 1988!

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