Author Topic: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR  (Read 9701 times)

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Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2016, 06:41:11 PM »
 :o :o :o   






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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2016, 07:17:41 AM »
As the NATO air forces counterattacked north of Bodo, the ten Norwegian Storm and Hauk class missile boats loosed by Captain Miller on USS Moosburger closed with the Soviet amphibs, which were not stripped of all but the thinnest veneer of an escort. The small Norwegian craft had swung west and then formed into line abreast to sweep into the seaward flank of the column of Russian LSTs and LSMs centered on the large LPD Mitrofan Moskalenko. After the strike by the British Jaguars, these were now escorted by a single Krivak-class destroyer, which was now leading the column.

Unsurprisingly, the Soviet formation was in disarray after the crippling losses to their screen. The Russian amphibious commander had been frantically radioing the senior admiral on Kuznetzov for permission to turn back. The admiral had refused and instead promised air cover for the vulnerable transports, but both the Admiral Gorshkov and the Kuznetsov had already lost significant portions of their air groups and no Russian jets had as yet appeared over the ships. Confusion and inertia drove the Russians southward into the jaws of Miller’s trap.

The IR and thermal signatures began to appear on the scopes of the Norwegian crafts’ advanced optics. As they drew closer the Norwegians began to pick out the different ships that composed their prey. The crews on the missile boats still respected the capabilities of the surviving Russian frigate. Accordingly, the captain of one of the newer Storm-class boats surged ahead once the frigate’s position in the column had been confirmed and launched his four advanced Penguin Mk. II missiles at the Russian. The sea-skimming weapons roared out of their containers and quickly covered the dozen miles that sperated the combatants.

The crew of the Russian ship never had a chance. They had expended all of their SA-N-4 SAMs during the air raid earlier, and without the powerful radars on the now-sunk Sovremenys they didn’t even detect the threats until the first Penguin popped up in its terminal maneuver and dove towards the warship’s superstructure. The performance of the Penguins was perfect. All four missiles ripped into the enemy ship in quick succession, wrecking everything above the waterline, igniting fires that quickly spread out of control, and allowing flooding that caused the ship to quickly settle.

With the threat from the Russian frigate eliminated, the other Norwegian missile boats closed with the transports and began to ripple fire their shorter ranged IR-guided Penguin Mk. Is. Missiles dove and wrecked transports across the column. The Moskalenko took four hits but the big craft kept steaming, its crew trying as best they could to fight back with the ship’s small caliber weapons. As the NATO craft swept into the formation like cavalry into a wagon train the Norwegians began launching their torpedoes—each boat carried two—to finish off the burning ships. Massive explosions sent water columns rising into the air as the big underwater weapons ripped apart ships from which Russian sailors and naval infantrymen were already spilling into the icy sea. Out of torpedoes and wanting tp preserve their remaining Mk. II missiles, the Norwegian crews finished off the last Russian transports with their rapid-firing 76mm deck guns. The pyres lit the surface of the Norwegian Sea marking the death of each Soviet ship along with its crew and passengers began to wink out one by one as each transport succumbed and sank beneath the waves. The NATO crews left three boats behind to rescue survivors, the rest turned to rendezvous again with Captain Miller and STANAVFORLANT.

With the annihilation of the amphibious convoy the threat to Trondheim and central Norway had been eliminated. This victory, along with the success over Bodo, opened up possibilities in the NATO commander’s mind at AFNN to turn a Russian defeat into a rout. The Soviet naval flank along the Norwegian coast had been completely caved in. The Kiev-class carrier Admiral Gorshkov with its depleted air component and a screen optimized for anti-submarine rather than anti-air defense lay tantalizingly close as it continued south through the Norwegian sea.

STANAVFORLANT was running out of weapons. The force still has some short-ranged Exocets, but in reality Captain Miller did not have a long-ranged punch with which to get at the Russian carrier group. No, the blow against the Russian carrier would come from the pilots of the nearly forty F-5As, reinforced F-5Bs from the training squadron, who had been readying at Orland and waiting for daylight. And now dawn was breaking on the southeast horizon…

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2016, 06:20:10 PM »
And the conclusion:

The Norwegian F-5s, lacking a radar and any form of long-range missiles, had suffered during the first days of the war, so much so that they had all been withdrawn south  to Orland to serve as a reserve while the more modern and capable fighters bore the brunt of the air-to-air engagements. The surviving F-5As, joined by the two-seat F-5Bs of the Norwegian Air Force’s training squadron, now formed a numerically powerful striking force at Orland air station. The pilots had been preparing all night for a strike on the amphibious group, but with that force destroyed the staff officers at AFNN had shifted their sights further out to sea and onto the Soviet task force centered on the Kiev-class carrier Baku. 

The Norwegian aircraft were not ideally equipped for a maritime strike, being armed with a mixture of old and short-ranged AGM-12B Bullpup missiles and Mk82 500lb iron bombs, but neither was the Baku group well configured for air defense, being composed of the Baku itself, two Udaloy destroyers, a Kresta, a Kashin, and three Krivak frigates. This major engagement of a 1990s World War three would pit the belligerents against each other with technology from the 1970s.

The Norwegian pilots would not be alone, however. American F-16s from the 77th TFS would be flying top cover to protect the F-5s from any Su-33s trying to interfere from the more distant Kuznetsov group. Perhaps more importantly, the two EF-111s that had supported the British Jaguars on the amphib strike would provide EW support to this strike as well. Finally, the 688-class submarine USS Phoenix had been keeping pace to the east of the Baku group throughout the night and would contribute its four Harpoon missiles to the attack. Even with all this, the Norwegian pilots felt trepidation. A smaller strike by F-5s on a Soviet SAG the previous day had incurred heavy losses, though that group had contained one of the dangerous Sovremenys. Regardless, as the weak winter sun started to brighten in the southeast, the pilots climbed into their cockpits, started their engines, and taxied towards the runways. Putting forty-one fighters into the air took time, and the first to launch loitered (though not yet with intent) until all the F-5s could proceed northwest in one large strike formation.  As the last pair of Freedom Fighters lifted off from Orland the circling jets turned northwest on a direct course for Baku.

As the F-5s approached from the south, USS Phoenix rose to communication depth and received the codeword from AFNN to initiate the attack. A few moments later four Harpoon missiles launched from the sub’s torpedo tubes, exploded out of their canisters and settled into their courses, protected by an electronic cloud provided by the EF-111s. Several miles behind came the Norwegians in their F-5s, skimming above the frigid Norwegian Sea wavetops.

Lacking an effective air defense radar and hampered by the American jamming, the Russian crews didn’t see the missiles coming until it was almost too late. The SAM operators on the two ships marked for attack, too Krivaks at the perimeter of the formation, reacted as best they could, launching SA-N-4s. All told, the four Harpoons performed poorly. One was knocked down by a SAM, and another passed through the stack of its target without exploding, leaving a neat hole but no further damage. But it wasn’t enough. The two surviving missiles plowed into their respective targets and exploded, crippling both small ships. AGM-12s fired by the leading F-5s completed the destruction, and the remainder of the strike swept through the gaping hole in the Soviet formation’s perimeter.

Past the outer perimeter, the helicopter carrier Baku and a Kresta-class cruiser formed the center of the Soviet formation. The bulk of the Norwegian strike now closed in on these two ships while others spread out north and south to widen the breach in the perimeter. The next Norwegian Bullpups plowed into the easternmost Udaloy, leaving that ship without power and burning. Then the SA-N-9s and SA-N-4s launched by the Baku and its surviving escorts began to find their mark as the Russian radars began to burn through the jamming. One F-5 was smashed down into the sea, then two more. Then the Norwegian weapons began to plow into the Soviet capital ships.

AGM-12s impacted both Soviet ships in quick succession, their 500lbs of high explosive detonating and ripping apart steel and men. The two dozen weapons wrecked the Kresta above the water line, leaving that ship burning furiously. Baku took multiple hits to its hull and began to take on water, but remained relatively intact and able to fight topside. This was bad news for the F-5 pilots following the Bullpups in. SA-N-9s exploded off the carrier’s launchers and 30mm rotary cannons spit flame, ripping apart three more jets along with their pilots, one of whom was just releasing his bombs as he was hit. Then the surviving Norwegian jets swept over the carrier and Mk82 bombs arced downward.

The Soviet defensive fire had an effect. Not a single one of the more than a dozen bombs meant for the Baku scored a solid hit. Several were near misses, however, buckling hull plates and exacerbating the already severe flooding on the Russian ship. The Russian guns continued to track the NATO jets as they dropped back down to wavetop level and baked for home, knocking down two more. SA-N-9s continued to chase the Norwegians as they passed through the southern gap of the Soviet formation that had just been opened by the demolition of the Kashin destroyer moments before.

The Norwegians left a shattered task group in their wake as they withdrew. As the last F-5s passed outside the perimeter of the formation, the Kresta at the center blew up spectacularly as fire reached its missile magazines. The Baku was dead in the water with a list to port that was growing more sever by the minute. The carrier wouldn’t survive more than two hours. One of the two Krivaks hit had already slipped beneath the waves, and the other was burning wouldn’t last much longer. An Udaloy-class and Kashin-class destroyer were in similar states of destruction. Only one Udaloy and a Krivak remained unscathed by the Norwegian strike.

The cost had been high, however. Eight single-seat F-5As and two F-5Bs had been lost, along with their twelve crew. Altogether this amounted to almost a quarter of the forty-one aircraft committed to the attack. But they had had dealt the Red Banner Northern Fleet another hammer blow, their third in twenty-four hours. The Soviet Naval thrust towards central Norway had been decisively defeated as the remaining ships turned to withdraw north.

Alongside the defeats suffered in the air, Soviet designs on Trondheim had been thoroughly defeated.     

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2016, 09:07:38 AM »
Great AAR Airborne. Should've been made into a movie. I'd pay $8 to see it. Thank you for posting it.
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2016, 09:19:54 AM »
Great AAR Airborne. Should've been made into a movie. I'd pay $8 to see it. Thank you for posting it.

Thanks, it's been a blast to play and write. Next one coming soon

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #20 on: January 25, 2016, 09:20:25 AM »
What a bloodbath!
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 5.5: Trondheim Express - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #21 on: January 25, 2016, 10:23:58 AM »
What a bloodbath!

It was, but in terms of men and machines lost, the Russians came out much the worse! I'll post the losses and expenditures when I get home tonight.