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Strategic and tactical realities in CMBS


H1nd

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Source?

It's all over the place. It was uploaded by one of the "Cyborgs" this morning. It is definitely the 1st floor of the new terminal which even the Ukrainians admitted they lost control of yesterday. Multiple Ukrainian sources, including ATO, says they retook it. This seems to be proof and there's no video I know of from the separatist side proving otherwise. I think they would be only too happy to do that if they could, don't you? Plus, there are multiple reports of heavy artillery on the new terminal today and the direction is coming from the separatists. That is a pretty good source of confirmation that this is real :D The multiple reports of "chemical weapons" turning out to be a separatist smoke screen to cover a withdrawal seems pretty convincing too.

From what I can tell the separatists haven't totally lost what they gained in the past two days. But the new terminal, which is the heart of the battle, is once again in effective control of Ukrainian forces.

I do not think you should put much effort in being skeptical. The separatists have made repeated claims of taking the airport, they have always (thus far) turned out to be false. I was as ready to believe that this time they finally succeeded just as any other sane person would, but the evidence I've seen this morning (my time) is pretty convincing that this is yet another example of the separatists getting it wrong.

Steve

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The game seems to presume that, at the very least, Russian air defense networks are still a threat since Tunguska can engage US F-15 and F-16, so those aircraft are presumably flying NOE.

Correct. It is unlikely that 100% of the air defense systems will be knocked out permanently. Examples of Iraq and Kosovo show that will almost certainly be the case. While a few isolated systems won't have an impact on the operational or strategic picture, Combat Mission doesn't concern itself with anything other than tactical. And an active air defense system vs. an air attack does have an impact.

Steve

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Could you please clarify the extend and nature of NATO participation in the conflict (in your 2017 scenario)?

The easiest way to find out about our fictional scenario is the manual. Download it to get all the details.

 

 

The manual talks about a "NATO expeditionary force" which consists of both european and american units and a marine landing at odessa. I couldn't find anything more precise in terms of numbers, but in the beginning the NATO force is to small to guard the entire Dniepr river. In Juli NATO gets reinforced " with freshly arrived brigades", so I'd guess that you'll find more than one NATO brigade in Ukraine.

 

The forces are used as fighting forces, but before the escalation some units trained together with the ukainian army.

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I read the manual, there is enough data in it, hence the question. What does the "NATO expeditionary force" consist of exactly? Why was the amphib landing possible in Odessa? Why is there a NATO forces there in first place, did Ukraine invoke article 5? ect.

 

Because from what I see - there is no binding reason for NATO to intervene (as Ukraine is not said to be a member of NATO at the beginning of the Russian invasion).

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They don't want to write whole novel, and they don't want to preclude user generated scenarios and campaigns with a very tight frame work.  Think of the game a a vehicle to tell the story you have in mind.  Then get in Google Earth and star making maps.  The units and TO&E are in there.  The framework of the game just imposes some slight discipline on your story telling.  Since other people will play it a see for themselves what happens when Force X and Force Y decide to get serious.  If you think all of the Ukrainian's  Forces should be rated as green troops with bad commanders you have that option.  It even relatively easy for someone else to change nothing but the soft factors and see what that does to the result.  Its by no means perfect, but if it was your computer couldn't run it anyway.

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If there was a part of Russia that was historically largely inhabited by Americans and pro-American Russians (lets call it, say, Newamerica, for simplicity sake :)), and an armed uprising has toppled the Russian government, replacing it with a regime that people of Newamerica felt was unfair and dangerous for them, which led them to protest against it and demand broader regional autonomy, which led to said new regime threatening and intimidating them with nationalist forces and hired thugs, which led to Newamericans and their friends, relatives and sympathisers from American mainland organising into militia squads and arming themselves by capturing local police and SBU FSB stations (actions that were perpetrated with impunity just several weeks ago by their opponents in Lvov and Kiev Saint-Petersburg and Moscow), which resulted in them being pummeled by the new Russian regime's artillery, tanks and airstrikes - then yes, American help with weapons, supplies and advisers would not be an invasion, but aiding in defense of their own people.

 

Sorry for bringing up political questions, but could not just stay quiet. :rolleyes:

You mean like Texas? Not all Americans take only our own gov'ts position as fact. But our govt doesn't have quite the same history of shutting down opposing viewpoints.

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  Well, the problem here is that it is assumed by a number of people that Ukrainian side (with it's foreign support) would have atleast air parity, if not air superiority over the theatre. This, the participation of multiple NATO brigades, implies en mass NATO engagement into this conflict, hence why I look to confirm the assumed scale of said participation and reasons for it.

  Is it under article 5? If so, then did Ukraine join NATO (not mentioned in the manual)? If so, then which countries have decided to aid Ukraine and in which way (article 5 does not force anyone to aid the defence of an ally with the force of arms)?

  If it is not under article 5, then under what grounds did NATO intervene (it did not in Georgia for example)?

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  Well, the problem here is that it is assumed by a number of people that Ukrainian side (with it's foreign support) would have atleast air parity, if not air superiority over the theatre. This, the participation of multiple NATO brigades, implies en mass NATO engagement into this conflict, hence why I look to confirm the assumed scale of said participation and reasons for it.

  Is it under article 5? If so, then did Ukraine join NATO (not mentioned in the manual)? If so, then which countries have decided to aid Ukraine and in which way (article 5 does not force anyone to aid the defence of an ally with the force of arms)?

  If it is not under article 5, then under what grounds did NATO intervene (it did not in Georgia for example)?

 

Irrelevant for the purposes of the game.

 

If the game did not assume that NATO intervened "for some reason", there would not be US/NATO forces in it. It is fictional.

Someone playing the game and wanting to create a narrative for a battle or series of battles can come up with any reason they want.

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Irrelevant for the purposes of the game.

 

If the game did not assume that NATO intervened "for some reason", there would not be US/NATO forces in it. It is fictional.

Someone playing the game and wanting to create a narrative for a battle or series of battles can come up with any reason they want.

Then this thread serves no purpose I guess.

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If you want to write a campaign where the Russians have massive air support, then write one.  The tools are there.  The possible/fictional air war between Russia and NATO is a completely different game.  It would be an interesting one, but its not the one BFC is working on.

My point is that depending on a strategic->operational picture we would get the tactical missions (ie the scope of the game).

 

   If the scenario (in the way it is written in the manual) does not seek to explain those important strategic matters, then what was the point of including the specific maps (of operations), time lines of events into the scenario? The reason why I bother asking is because there are a lot of apparent underlying assumptions (such as the ones about the air war and the NATO force size), which require clarification of the specifics, as those assumptions are not entirely clear to me.

  This is all within the confines of the vanilla 2017 scenario ofcourse.

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My point is that depending on a strategic->operational picture we would get the tactical missions (ie the scope of the game).

 

   If the scenario (in the way it is written in the manual) does not seek to explain those important strategic matters, then what was the point of including the specific maps (of operations), time lines of events into the scenario? The reason why I bother asking is because there are a lot of apparent underlying assumptions (such as the ones about the air war and the NATO force size), which require clarification of the specifics, as those assumptions are not entirely clear to me.

  This is all within the confines of the vanilla 2017 scenario of course.

Well not really.  The scope of the game is whatever you chose it to be.  The narrative is only to give some cursory background to the campaigns that come with the game.  CMSF was perhaps a little more complete, but not by all that much.  BF is not really into trying to get too detailed because then you get caught up into a nitpicking session about the details of that scenario.  They aren't interested in getting caught up in that.  The vagueness is deliberate not a matter of laziness.

 

The thread was begun by H1nd to actually talk about other campaign options.  I am sure h1nd is into discussing what background might work best for the campaign he is considering.  I on the other hand might create a campaign of Polish and Belarus involvement with a completely different story line and strategic picture.  Have fun with it, what do you think the considerations should be for a campaign you think would be worthy of working on?

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You have to remember that its most basic level this is a "what if" sandbox game, just an excuse to pit modern U.S. forces against modern Russian forces. The Ukraine setting was chosen many years ago, long before the current conflict happened. Officially, I don't think BFC wants the game tied too closely to current events. However, with the editor, players are able to customize campaigns and scenarios to match any storyline they wish.

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...Russia would go up against, at a minimum:

US, UK, Poland, Baltics, Romania, and probably Germany (I would not have said that in 2014) as well as Italy. I think Netherlands, the Nordic countries, and even France would likely participate. That is the bulk of NATO's air capability and it also is all of NATO's eastern most opportunities for air bases...

 

Finally I can contribute to this if only slightly.

 

The Baltics don't have an air capability. The other major NATO nations take turns policing their airspace much like what happens with Albania. ( Wiki source ). The Baltic NATO nations can contribute through the use of facilities and in some minor ways but when it comes to an air war in Ukraine I would basically consider them useless.

 

It's basically the same thing for the Romanian AF. They can offer up facilities and while their Air Force is far ahead of the Baltic nations, they are flying older, falling apart Soviet jets. In an attempt to somewhat modernize they reached out to Portugal a couple years ago to purchase some second and third-hand F-16s ( source ).

 

You neglected to mention Bulgaria, another NATO nation on the Black Sea but there's really no loss there since they are in a similar to worse position that the Romanians are aircraft and material wise. They can offer up facilities to host fighters if the poop hits the fan but they aren't going to be effective and launching sorties.

 

I served at a NATO air operation center for 15 months so I have some anecdotal insight. It's all my opinion though. I'm a computer guy, not a warfighter. I fixed the computers of the guys tasked to protect Bulgarian, Romanian, Turkish, Greek, and Albanian air space. But my assessment should be taken with a grain of sand because while I can tell you how to build a network, I cannot actually tell you how to fight an air war.

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Then this thread serves no purpose I guess.

 

It does in the sense that CM is, as Sgt Joch pointed out, pretty sandbox.  CMSF wound up covering a host of conflicts that was pretty much anywhere with sand.  There's a base narrative to the official scenario but it is there to provide a broad frame to hang scenarios on and give a place to base everything on that is more interesting than green-map vs the old brown map.  If you want to make a scenrio with a detailed deep background in which the only NATO country that shows up is Canada (assuming they're in a later module) then you're pretty well set.  You could even go the reverse Red Dawn with American tank bowling through the streets of greater Russia or something.

 

CMSF's reasoning for war in Syria was simple as terrorists based in Syria blow up a few dirty bombs in some cities.  It didn't list cities, a road to war, it really left things in the hand of the scenario designer, and that's not exactly a bad thing.

 

Now sitting in here and talking about scenarios or realities on the ground in the Ukraine might help out with people building missions and settings for future missions.  If you really need a reason for all of NATO to show up, you can just invent it yourself.  

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It looks like I missed the post about the NATO members in the vanilla scenario.

Steve, why and in which capacity does Italy participate? US, UK and Poland seem ok, but there is the question of basing the forces forward.

You have mentioned NATO deployment forward, I know about it, but perhaps you would provide a list of those forces forward deployed, it would ease the workload me (and my partners) have regarding the 2015 scenario.

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But, ok, if the scenario in the manual is just glorified flavor text, then so be it.

 

It leaves it open for modules Germany, Poland ETC, whatever Battlefront decides on. None of the extra content coming to Black Sea has been decided yet, that manual campaign description allows for flexibility when certain things are added, for example, a Polish task force may be part of that Nato "Brigade"

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But, ok, if the scenario in the manual is just glorified flavor text, then so be it.

i wouldn't go that far, but they also aren't trying to write a blockbuster techno-thriller with a premise that will decide whether the book is trite nonsense or a potential DOD case study.  They just need a bare bones skeleton to be the premise as to why a particular unit is fighting a particular battle.

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Like many, I don’t post here often but this thread is really informative and I'd like to thank everyone who has contributed to it.

I’d really like to thank Steve especially for taking the time to share with us his thoughts and insights regarding the Ukrainian conflict and frankly breaking it down into a clear narrative.

 

Now thinking in terms of possible Scenario or Campaign building for the game itself I’d like to go back to something mentioned only in passing that I’m personally a little curious about, and that’s the Naval situation in the Black Sea…

 

Steve earlier stated the very reasonable assumption that the US Navy would not need to park itself in the Black Sea, but what are the theories on the Russian side of the Naval equation?

 

Is Russia’s Black Sea Fleet considered to be pretty much a non-entity in a 2017 conflict or would it be a viable asset to the Russians in threatening the ports of Odessa and Mykolaiv?

 

And what about the state of Russia’s Marine corps in this theatre? I know Russian Naval forces took part in the 2014 annexation of the Crimea, but are they theoretically capable of broader scope operations and potentially opening up beach heads along the Southern Ukrainian coastline?

 

Finally, just how strategically relevant would the Ukraine’s Southern coastal ports be in this type of conflict to either Russian or NATO as potential supply avenues in 2017?      

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Well so far I count 13 MRR brigades in the first line Russian force, 1 MRD, 1 Tnk brigade, 1 TD + lots of other stuff. Still early work in progress though.

This is without dipping too much into the Central MD, without mobilisation of reserve units, without taking the forces from eastern or north-western directions.

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The Naval stuff is pretty irrelevant. If the Russian stuff left port it'd become the sole focus of the USN efforts until it sank, which the USN would be well and capable of doing with aviation only.  In terms of resupply for both amphibious ops, or Russia/NATO operations, again it's a restrictive waterway with safer overland routes.  Seems like a great way to lose a lot of shipping taking it through the gauntlet to no great benefit.  

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Russian Black Sea Fleet in the time frame is centered around:

- 7 Kilo series submarines (6 new, one fresh out of upgrade/repair).

- Cruiser BG (Slave class + 1-3 new Frigates).

- various small ships (missile boats, but those are capable of using modern AShMs and long range CMs).

- land based AShMs and air power.

So while that grouping may well be stuck around Crimea (under friendly air cover and that sort of includes approaches to Odessa), USN would find it difficult to operate in the Black Sea in my opinion, especially if it would operate within the confines of the treaties.

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