22 February 2013

Harpoon: 1.57 - I was hoping for nukes

A Tu-22M "Backfire" being escorted by a Norwegian F-16 (image: US DoD)

This one also had the sound issue. This did not impact my game that much.

I wanted to see what nuclear weapons were like in the game, so I decided to go for one that might have one - The First Step from HDSB - MEDC.

In this mission, I was playing REDFOR, attacking US forces from bases in Turkey and the USSR to cover the retreat of Soviet forces from the Middle East. There was a possibility of special weapons release being authorised. It was a 24-hour long scenario and I was equipped with a batch of ships, subs and aircraft. The latter saw the main use, being mostly strike aircraft and with my fighters essentially being limited to Floggers.

The US had a couple of surface groups, focussed around a carrier (which I never found) and a bunch of amphibs.

I started off by launching a number of attacks on the various surface contacts I had detected and an airbase in Italy. Basically, get into standoff range, launch missiles, go home, rinse and repeat. If I did not get shot down first - something that proved much easier said done.

As my forces approached, I started losing planes to SAMs from a cruiser (which had a lot of them) and AAMs from an F-14. Stick a Tomcat against a MiG-23 and there is likely to be only one winner - it won't be the Russian bird. Eventually, some of my MiG-27s got into AS-14 range on a Spruance and unloaded, damaging a Spruance, sinking a Belknap and later taking out another Spru-can that may be the same one. Anyways, the Americans got in range of my surface ships near the Dardanelles and opened fire with Harpoons... causing me to lose a Kresta II.

Things were not going too well - my missiles were being shot down by the  Tico and my aircraft were taking a poor ratio in air-to-air operations. I lost four Floggers for a single F-16 in one case. To make things worse, the Marine amphibious group near Egypt was making a big attack on Mersa Matruh. I sent the Backfires after an Italian airbase, intending to put nukes on them when they returned.

The Tu-22Ms destroyed the Italian base and two enemy attacks (on helicopter carrier Moskva and Mersa Matruh) all failed. However, as of 2244 I had lost 63 aircraft for only 13 of the enemy and 20 missiles were now heading for Port Said.

Thirteen got through and did 27% damage, as further missiles got through against surface ships and air bases, with most of my interceptors being stuck on the ground to refuel.

I scrambled them as I could, downing a Tomcat and also launched further strikes against BLUFOR, managing to get off four shots against USS Dale, a Leahy-class CG. Two of them sent that particular nuisance to the bottom.

It was just as well - Mersa Matruh was now at 95% damage despite downing four A-7Hs and an OHP took out all six missiles that I had launched on it from my Floggers. To deal with the American frigate, I launched eight Su-24s against it.

As midnight passed things got interesting. The Su-24s were unescorted and took losses, but were able to eliminate three Tomcats somehow. Al Mansurah's defences bagged three Corsairs and somehow MiG-23s managed to down F-14s with heatseekers. My Backfires, launched against surface group ADS, fired from 240nm out on bearing only...

After a 7-8 flight time, they took out two frigates - and the Tico guarding that group! The remaining Fencers got into firing position as one of my Tangos came under torpedo attack and a MiG-27 ran out of fuel.

The submarine dodged and weaved (taking out an S-3 helped), but eventually it took two hits and sunk at 0124. However, this wasn't something that I needed to worry about too much. The Backfires were back for another attack on the amphibious group and fired. As the missiles flew, I lost Mersa Matruh to Walleye bombs.

This was however, the last big setback that I had. I sunk another Spru-can and with the amphibious group now completely exposed, I launched my Backfires and two Floggers on a standoff attack. I lost the latter two to enemy fire, but the Tu-22Ms got into range easily.

They launched BOL and blew away a LPD - which was enough for the minimum victory conditions. At that point I called it a day.

I never did get nuclear release - probably because I was winning. Will have to go for a different scenario next time.

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