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IICptMillerII

Combat Mission AAR: Consulate Crisis

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FIRE IN THE SKY

Initially, there are 4x F/A-18F Super Hornets in the sky split into 2 flights. Each Super Hornet carries 6x AIM-120C AMRAAM’s, which is an extremely good air to air missile. It has a range of 60nm, datalink capability, and once fired will guide itself to its target. This is important because it means that my aircraft can fire missiles at targets and then turn to maneuver defensively without the missile losing its lock. Enemy radar missiles do not have this capability, they must be guided in all the way to their target. This means that if the enemy is able to fire radar missiles at my aircraft, all my aircraft have to do is force the enemy plane to maneuver and the enemy missile will “go stupid,” or lose its lock and become harmless. Additionally, the Super Hornets can track, target and engage multiple enemy aircraft at the same time.

For up close and personal dog fighting, the Super Hornets are equipped with the AIM-9X Sidewinder. This is a heat seeking missile that is highly maneuverable but has a short range of only 10nm. It is designed for dog fighting. Specifically, the weapon seeker head can be linked to the pilot’s helmet heads up display, known as a helmet mounted display, or HMD. This means that all the pilot has to do is look at the enemy aircraft, and the Sidewinder will lock onto it if in range. Even more impressive is the AIM-9X’s ability to be fired at “off-boresight” targets. This means that the Hornet does not have to be behind an enemy plane to fire at it, the enemy plane could be directly to the left or right, above or below, and the AIM-9X can still be fired at it.
The Super Hornet and its armaments are very capable.

I quickly order 2 more flights of Super Hornets into the air, bringing a total of 8 aircraft airborne (4 flights) which gives me a total of 48 AMRAAMs. Plenty to shoot down the incoming enemy aircraft with change left over. The Mig-25s quickly close with my Hornets, which begin lobbing AMRAAMs at a range of 50nm. Firing at less than maximum range will give the missile more energy to work with if it has to pursue a maneuvering enemy aircraft, increasing the chance of a kill against a plane trying to dodge the missile.

BxYqXyU.jpg

The firing is not one sided. One of the SA-5 SAM sites struck by the first wave of Tomahawks is still functional and fires off 5 missiles at a flight or Hornets. This is a problem, but not a hopeless one. As long as the Hornets stay far enough away from the SAM site, a combination of defensive maneuvering and jamming should defeat the incoming SA-5s. The first volley of AMRAAMs closes with the Mig-25s. A number of the Migs are splashed (shot down) though many manage to dodge the incoming AMRAAMs. The Migs get a few missile shots of their own off, but these missiles soon fail to track as the Migs are forced to maneuver.

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Aerial battles are fast and tense. Aircraft quickly merge, and a fight of lobbed radar missiles shot at targets beyond visual range (BVR) quickly turns into a knife fight of within visual range (WVR) combat.

aRIm2xU.jpg

The above image shows such a fight developing. Note the range scale in the bottom right. The aircraft going head to head are only 4nm apart, practically on top of each other as far as air combat is concerned. The Sidewinder is an excellent missile, and at short ranges such as these the chances of dodging the incoming missile is very low. The only real chance the Migs have at defeating the Sidewinders is by spoofing the sensors by popping flares. However, the AIM-9X’s sensors are designed to recognize and ignore aircraft-deployed countermeasures such as flares which is precisely what happens here. The Migs pop flares, but the Sidewinders still find their targets, splashing 3 Migs in quick succession.

One of the dogfights that develops is so close that my Hornet is able to get directly behind one of the Migs and fire his guns at it. The maneuvering Mig is able to dodge the volleys of 20mm cannon fire, though this success is short lived. A moment later, an AMRAAM fired by the Hornets wingman slams into the Mig, splashing it.

KnJqOPd.jpg

Approximately 3 and a half minutes after the air battle started, its all over. 12 Mig-25s have been shot down, and an additional 3 Mig-25RB reconnaissance aircraft were also shot down. For me the cost was (thankfully) only the taxpayer. 23 AMRAAMs were fired and 4 Sidewinders were fired. This is a very satisfying missile to hit ratio, slightly below 2:1. Ammo is cheap, lives are expensive. I’ve managed to come through this first direct battle with the enemy without suffering any casualties. I can only hope the rest of the operation goes this well.

The first volley of SA-5s fired at my Hornets were defeated, but a second volley is fired. This time, the volley is coming from two different SA-5 SAM sites. While this is still manageable, it is a threat that needs to be dealt with. I order the USS Bainbridge DDG, part of Task Force Wasp to immediately engage these two SA-5 sites to knock them out for good.

No additional aircraft are seen launching from Al Mout International. It is possible that the airfield is now too heavily damaged from the Tomahawk strike to launch aircraft. It is equally possible that the Abbudin air force has discovered discretion to be the better part of valor. Either way, I still plan to strike the airfield again, conducting an alpha strike with VFA-86 to make sure the airfield is out of operation.

The Bainbridge fires off a volley of Tomahawks at the two active SA-5 sites. Meanwhile the destroyers of CSG 12 prepare to engage radar installations and additional strategic targets in the vicinity of Al Mout. These strikes, coupled with the alpha strike against the airport, will hopefully clear the way for the Marines to land in Al Mout.

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Yes, very interesting.  Although one would think that the opposition would know the limitations of their aircraft and would not commit them to missions in a way that is so convenient for our assets to kill them.  One would expect something unorthodox.  (IIRC, in the Iraq wars the air force was simply sent to Iran.)  Perhaps in this situation, it would have been more effective if enemy air would be kept in reserve as a threat for short range work which degrades the US advantages at long range - perhaps against our landing forces.

There is always a concern re scenarios created by defense contractors that are designed to showcase how their equipment works in the best light.

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On 8/10/2019 at 2:31 AM, Erwin said:

Yes, very interesting.  Although one would think that the opposition would know the limitations of their aircraft and would not commit them to missions in a way that is so convenient for our assets to kill them.  One would expect something unorthodox.  (IIRC, in the Iraq wars the air force was simply sent to Iran.)  Perhaps in this situation, it would have been more effective if enemy air would be kept in reserve as a threat for short range work which degrades the US advantages at long range - perhaps against our landing forces.

There is always a concern re scenarios created by defense contractors that are designed to showcase how their equipment works in the best light.

I'll refer back to the introduction for this.

On 8/1/2019 at 8:37 PM, IICptMillerII said:

This scenario is not designed to be balanced. BluFor is significantly stronger and more capable than OpFor in nearly every way. This is more a showcase of a hybrid AAR between two sims carrying out an operation that fully incorporates both sims strongpoints (CMSF2 for ground warfare, CMANO for naval/air warfare) and weaving them together to tell a story. It is also a proof of concept to see how viable creating hybrid AARs like this is. My advice is to treat this like a superhero movie; there is no doubt about the ending, but you still enjoy the journey.

 

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I get that it's not balanced.  Am simply commenting that the Red forces are acting in a dumb suicidal way.  In the wargames I participated in as an OPFOR contractor, we usually found a way to "discomfort" the Blue player who assumed he would simply walk over us.  

 

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Burying your aircraft in the sand or handing them over to another enemy of yours isn’t exactly discomforting.  But this is sidetracking the AAR. Back to the consulate! Send in the Marines!

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4 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Fill one or two with explosives and crash 'em into a carrier.....A MiG-25 at full burner and flat on the deck is going to make for a fairly daunting cruise missile.  :ph34r:

Haha! Definitely a better idea than sitting around doing nothing and allowing your entire force to get obliterated by waves of Tomahawks.

5 hours ago, sburke said:

Send in the Marines!

Oh they're on their way, but the way still isn't clear for them to land yet. Unfortunately for me the Abbudin regime has decided not to roll over and allow themselves to be blown to bits. More updates coming soon!

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13 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Fill one or two with explosives and crash 'em into a carrier.....A MiG-25 at full burner and flat on the deck is going to make for a fairly daunting cruise missile.  :ph34r:

That's the sort of "out of the box thinking" I was referring to.  Does the game allow for that sort of experimentation of unconventional tactics?

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23 hours ago, Sgt.Squarehead said:

Fill one or two with explosives and crash 'em into a carrier.....A MiG-25 at full burner and flat on the deck is going to make for a fairly daunting cruise missile.  :ph34r:

It stands less chance of getting through than an ASM though - particularly when you look at the composition of the maritime component TGs.

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Posted (edited)

It wouldn't be my first choice of system and that's a fact, but looking at what they achieved in the air to air role, they might as well have used them in that fashion.....If enough attacks were sufficiently coordinated they'd have a decent chance of getting something through.

Edited by Sgt.Squarehead

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SECOND STRIKE

The second Tomahawk strike is quickly planned. Target responsibilities remain the same as the first strike, and the package is largely similar. Remaining SAM sites will receive 5 Tomahawks, while radar sites and strategic targets will receive 2. 48 Tomahawks are launched.

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The Tomahawks fired from the Bainbridge against the two remaining SA-5 sites impact their targets, silencing them for good. A couple of minutes later the rest of the Tomahawks hit their assigned targets. The strike is effective. All of the SAM sites are now either completely destroyed or so heavily damaged that they are now combat ineffective. Most of the targeted radar sites are destroyed or damaged as well. With this second strike, the Regimes ability to defend its own airspace over Al Mout has been greatly reduced.

Now that the airspace over Al Mout is much more conducive, I order the U-2 to move in closer to begin direct observation of the city and surrounding area. This will aid in the airport alpha strike and the amphibious infiltration of the city by providing constant real time intelligence. Up till now all of my intel has been electronically gathered, whether it be from ELINT or radar. Getting eyes on with the U-2 will give me much better situational awareness. Flying at an altitude of 85,000 feet it will be safe from any known or unknown SAM threats. The Global Hawk is also on its way and, after arriving on station, will enter the airspace over Al Mout to provide direct intelligence to the Marine Landing Party.

The U-2 arrives on station and gets eyes on the airport. One runway is undamaged, and the other is partially damaged. There are only a few aircraft spotted parked in open tarmac spaces. The rest are likely parked in the many hardened aircraft structures, which will be the primary target of the upcoming alpha strike.

 

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On 8/14/2019 at 2:08 PM, Sgt.Squarehead said:

If the regime does have any surviving MiG-25s, that U-2 would make a fine target.  ;)

W/o radar it is likely gonna be real hard to spot. 😎

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||CptMiller|| +1. I own CMANO fantastic sim. as I always describe it, It's Harpoon on steroids!

Maybe just me, but for the posted images how about turning on the 'Stylized' map symbols. Seeing the unit silhouettes would be beneficial for the AAR imo. Or just ignore that request is fine as well... 🙂

Fun stuff.

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30 minutes ago, Blazing 88's said:

||CptMiller|| +1. I own CMANO fantastic sim. as I always describe it, It's Harpoon on steroids!

Maybe just me, but for the posted images how about turning on the 'Stylized' map symbols. Seeing the unit silhouettes would be beneficial for the AAR imo. Or just ignore that request is fine as well... 🙂

Fun stuff.

Thanks! CMANO is pretty great.

I didn't even think about the alternative stylized map symbols. I'm so used to the standardized NATO ones myself. I'll definitely consider it for future hybrid AARs though.  

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ALPHA STRIKE

An alpha strike is the term the US Navy uses instead of strike package. In general, it means a large strike against a high valued target. More specifically, it can refer to a strike comprising multiple squadrons, with aircraft totaling half the total number on an aircraft carrier. The practice was first developed in the 1960’s during the Vietnam War.

VFA-86, all twelve aircraft, will conduct an alpha strike against Al Mout International Airport. The targets are:

  • 4x Surface Ammo Bunkers
  • 2x Runways

These are the final targets that need to be neutralized in order to shut down the airfield for good.

All twelve Hornets are equipped with the same loadout. 2x AGM-154C BROACH JSOW glide bombs, 1x AMRAAM and 2x Sidewinders for air defense. The Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) is a precision guided glide weapon designed to give aircraft a long-range precision strike capability. It is GPS guided, making it all weather and extremely accurate, and can be launched at ranges between 2-45nm. Additionally, because it is GPS guided, the weapon is fire and forget, allowing aircraft to immediately turn around and stay in safe airspace instead of having to loiter in hostile airspace to keep a target painted. The BROACH warhead is a two-stage warhead designed to penetrate hardened targets, similar to a bunker buster bomb. The warhead itself is 1000 pounds.

The strike is given the go to launch at 0651 zulu, and by 0657 all twelve aircraft are in the air and en route.

1izvRJb.jpg

As the aircraft of VFA-86 make their way to the target, the airfield and airspace are under constant surveillance. If the enemy spots the incoming strike and tries to launch interceptors against it, there are 6 CAP Hornets that can interdict the interceptors. The U-2 orbiting high overhead should give plenty of advanced warning by spotting moving aircraft on the tarmac below.

The flight time to weapon release is very short, only about 5 minutes, thanks to the standoff capability of the JSOW. The first six plane formation reaches the weapon release point and pickles (aviation shorthand for dropping a bomb) off 12 JSOWs. A few moments later, the second formation pickles off their JSOWs.

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No enemy aircraft are seen taxiing to the runway to intercept, and as the JSOWs close in on the airfield, no anti-aircraft fire is launched to interdict the weapons. It is likely that due to the cumulative effects of past air and Tomahawk strikes, the airfield doesn’t even know it is under attack.

A few minutes later, and the weapons hit their targets. All weapons hit their targets, and the orbiting U-2 provides a quick battle damage assessment (BDA). Both runways are completely destroyed. All four ammunition bunkers are heavily damaged, and one of them is engulfed in flames. The air traffic control tower as well as other buildings are confirmed to be destroyed as well by previous Tomahawk strikes. Al Mout International Airport is now incapable of supporting fixed wing aerial operations.

The way is now clear for the USS Wasp and the 2nd MEU.

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13 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

 

 

An alpha strike is the term the US Navy uses instead of strike package.

pickles (aviation shorthand for dropping a bomb) off 12 JSOWs. 

The way is now clear for the USS Wasp and the 2nd MEU.

+1  Interesting and informative.  Looking forward to the amphibious operation. 

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2 hours ago, MOS:96B2P said:

+1  Interesting and informative.  Looking forward to the amphibious operation. 

You and me both looking forward to the amphibious assault using CMANO to hit the beach.

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MARINES

At 1011 hours local time (0911 zulu) Task Force Wasp arrives off the coast of Al Mout and begins preparing for disembarkation. To support the Marines, a large number of aircraft from both the Wasp and Enterprise are launched and settle into their on call air stations. By 1022 local, all aircraft are at their stations and the Marines are ready to disembark.

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Regime forces have not been able to detect my ships, until now. Task Force Wasp is within visual range of the city, and both the U-2 and Global Hawk UAV are showing a lot of increased military activity in the city. The good news is it appears the Regime has been taken by surprise. Most of their armed forces in the city appear to be trying to secure and triage targets stuck by the Tomahawk strikes or are centered around the Canadian consulate. There do not appear to be many Regime forces near the US consulate, though that is likely to change quickly. Having the city under complete surveillance like this gives me a definite advantage. As Marine AAVs begin to hit the water, air controllers aboard the Wasp coordinate with the U-2 and Global Hawk feeds to begin directing airstrikes in the city. The Marines are entering Al Mout with a bang.

OZAfuYT.jpg

At 1025 local time, the first wave of Marines hit the water. Four AAVs carry the reconnaissance platoon, scout sniper platoon, and the engineer platoon. In the distance smoke columns can be seen rising into the sky, marking the locations of the Tomahawk strike targets. Flying overhead are a pair of Super Cobra’s. They are initially tasked with scanning the beach for any hostile presence and engaging it if it exists. For now however it appears that the beach is completely undefended.

That could quickly change. It is only a matter of time until someone in the city realizes there are amphibious vehicles on their way to shore. It will take roughly 5 minutes for the AAVs to make a one-way trip. That means that the first wave of Marines, a relatively small group, will be alone for at least 10 minutes. This initial landing will be one of the most vulnerable instances the Marines will have to face. They are not completely helpless though. In addition to the two Super Cobra’s, much of the city is under active surveillance. If Regime forces make a move for the beachhead they will be quickly spotted, and orbiting CAS aircraft can be vectored in to interdict them.

The Cobra’s spot and engage a few enemy vehicles on MSR Market just inland from the beachhead as the Marines approach. If the Regime didn’t know we were coming, they do now. As if to confirm it, a flurry of activity is seen. Armed personnel are seen pouring out of a large building complex in multiple directions.

Ez22zxm.jpg

This situation quickly becomes a serious problem. Based on what is being observed, it appears that the building complex is some kind of assembly area for a large contingent of dismounted Regime infantry. This building complex sits at the intersection of MSR Wiley and Market and is directly next to blocking position Bugs. A Company’s blocking position and route of advance into the city to the US consulate appears to have an enemy assembly area smack in the middle of it. Before Marines have even put boots down on hostile soil, the fog of war rears its ugly head. Intelligence failed to identify this concentration of enemy forces at a critical spot.

The solution is simple, an old but true tactical maxim. Most any problem can be solved with the proper application of firepower. And firepower is something the Marines have in spades. Two Hornets loaded with 2000lb JDAMs are ordered to strike the building complex. The first JDAM misses its target by about 8 meters, slamming into the dirt road next to the complex. The second JDAM is dead on target.

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While this goes a long way to mitigating this potentially serious issue, it does not solve it outright. The remains of the complex will have to be swept by elements of A Company in addition to establishing blocking position Bugs. This will add a time delay to the plan, prolonging the time both the Marines and consulate personnel are exposed to danger, increasing the chance of taking casualties.

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LANDFALL

The Marines make landfall and as promised, its with a bang. Timed to coincide with the first wave hitting the beach, a host of Maverick AGM armed Hornets and Harriers are unleashed against Regime forces. In just one minute, the city is continuously rocked by consecutive explosions as Maverick missiles and JDAMs connect with targets throughout the city.

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The Marines of the first wave pour out of their AAVs and onto the beach. Luckily they take no direct fire, and the engineers are quick to begin their work of screening the beach for obstacles and making sure there is sufficient access to the MSRs leading off the beach. Things proceed smoothly for the most part. One of the AAVs throws a track as it tries to return to the ocean. This is a headache and a nuisance, but not a game changer. Worst case scenario, the vehicle will have to be abandoned and destroyed in place.

A quick firefight ends as quickly as it began when two Regime MP’s poke their heads around the corner at the intersection of MSR Wiley and Market. The MP’s quickly lose their heads for their curiosity. Besides that, the beach is quiet. No obstacles are found by the engineers, and both breach points are found to be clear as well. The way is open for the Marines to advance into the city itself.

Loading A Company into the AAV’s took a little longer than expected, but the company is finally ready to go and steps off into the water. Unfortunately, another AAV becomes immobilized as it steps off. I’m hoping that this does not become a consistent problem.

nzDZZWO.jpg

As the AAV’s swim to shore, the Hornet that missed with its JDAM on the first pass of the enemy assembly area comes back around and drops another JDAM. This time, its on target and the Marines at breach point Elmer get a tooth rattling firework show.

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After the dust settles from the blast, a few shellshocked MP’s are seen running away through the rubble and are engaged by the Marines. Hopefully this indicates this possible enemy assembly area as being thoroughly neutralized.

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With the MP’s killed or fleeing, the Marines of A Company begin moving down MSR Wiley. As this is occurring, movement is spotted near the US consulate by Marine security. A few moments later, a group of Regime MPs are seen advancing down a side street towards the consulate. The Marines open fire.

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This is a dangerous situation. The consulate can hold its own against the current threat, but won’t last long against a large determined attack. A Company must make all possible speed to reach the consulate and reinforce it before it is overrun.

Captain Amato, A Company’s commander is informed of the attack on the consulate and the new urgency to get to the consulate. A few moments later as his Marines are moving down MSR Wiley, they take fire from an RPG followed by small arms fire, and a firefight breaks out halting forward movement.

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The situation gets more tense when Marines from 2nd platoon take a barrage of fire from a side street and suffer a casualty.

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Regime MP’s fire at the Marines from intact buildings part of the Police Headquarters. The Marines take two more casualties, both wounded, before returning fire with small arms. Two LAW disposable anti-tank rockets are fired into the buildings, suppressing and hopefully destroying the MP position there.

The short but sharp firefight ends moments later. The Regime MP’s hold up in the Police Headquarters break under the immense small arms return fire from the Marines and flee their fighting position.

g2B5xAv.jpg

With the enemy fleeing, the Marines move up. They establish initial positions along blocking position Bugs and screen the Police Headquarters before attempting to clear it. Sporadic sniper fire is still coming from inside the Police complex which manages to wound another Marine. The snipers location is found and suppressive fire is poured into the position. More potshots are taken at the Marines, including another RPG round which slams into the wall just over the heads of an M240 team. Miraculously none of the Marines are wounded, or even hit. It all goes to show that even though the Regime MPs appear to be retreating, it is more orderly than not and they certainly have some fight in them.

gdZUfEw.jpg

With the firefight decidedly one sided in favor of the Marines, and the enemy fleeing or dying, elements of 1st platoon begin the treacherous task of clearing out the Police Headquarters complex. Though initially tense, it is soon apparent that the only occupants of the headquarters are corpses. 1st platoon clears the rest of the complex without incident and blocking position Bugs is officially secured and established. Back at the beach, the AAVs carrying B Company are nearing the beach.

 

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