Author Topic: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR  (Read 10553 times)

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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« on: February 18, 2016, 06:41:43 PM »
Ok, here’s the latest installment in the Northern Fury AAR series. Here’s the setup: There’s some serious business going down in Norway around Trondheim. Jan Mayen was seized in a coup de main yesterday and one Kuznetsov battle group and one Kiev battle group are likely headed towards us here on Iceland. The airfield at Keflavik was shut down yesterday by a major missile attack in which five missiles got through our defenses to destroy two F-15s on the ground and crater the runways. We’ve got two AMRAAM-capable replacements inbound from the States, but the rest of our squadron of Eagles are older variants that can only carry AIM-7s. The runways are now repaired. There are also a pair of AWACS, some P-3s, some SAR C-130s and HH-60s, and an assortment of other transports and support aircraft parked around the base. The base is defended by one Patriot and one Hawk missile battery. Effective, but their ammo is not limitless.

All of the US carriers are out of position right now, leaving a small  ASW group, TG84.1, in the Denmark Strait patrolling for the expected surge of Soviet subs. This group consists of the Spruance-class destroyer USS John Rogers accompanied by one US and one Canadian frigate.  Further south is the cruiser USS Vella Gulf, which is escorting the LPD USS Trenton back to the US from Europe. The HDMS Vaederen, unlikely survivor of the attack on Jan Mayen yesterday (see my Cold and Lonely Place AAR) is still shepherding the fishing fleet south. The only other naval strength in the area are two Icelandic Coast Guard cutters, the Tyr and the Aegir north and south of Iceland respectively.

Military families and dependents are being evacuated from Keflavik as quickly as they can be loaded on the C-5s and C-141s parked on the ramp. The Icelandic government is conducting a far larger evacuation of citizens from the outlying towns around the perimeter of the island, moving them to Reykjavik in anticipation of sending at least the women and children on to north America in chartered flights. There is a cruise ship, the SS Arctic Traveler, which has already taken a load of 2,500 evacuees out of Reykjavik, and several charter flights are scheduled to depart shortly.

Our mission is ill-defined right now. We don’t know if the Russians are coming our way but I suspect they are. If so, we likely won’t be able to hold, not with a Kuznetsov and its air wing of Su-33s to contend with. Let’s dive in and see how the situation develops!


« Last Edit: February 19, 2016, 06:23:45 AM by Airborne Rifles »

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Norther Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2016, 06:58:17 PM »
 O0

Offline mirth

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Re: Norther Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2016, 07:11:04 PM »
Yay!
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Offline JasonPratt

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Re: Norther Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2016, 08:20:16 PM »
Norther Fury Ho!  :D

(It's like a nor'easter. But, y'know... norther. Northerer. More north.  ;D )

Anyway, missed this series, glad it's back.  O:-)
ICEBREAKER THESIS CHRONOLOGY! -- Victor Suvorov's Stalin Grand Strategy theory, in chronological order. Lots and lots of order...

Dawn of Armageddon -- a narrative AAR for Dawn of War: Soulstorm: Ultimate Apocalypse: The Hunt Begins: Insert Joke Here!

Survive Harder! In the grim darkness of the bowl there is only, um, Amazons. And tentacles and midgets. Not remotely what you're thinking! ...okay, maybe a little remotely.

PanzOrc Corpz Generals -- Season One complete; Fantasy Wars AAR, lots of screenies.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Norther Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2016, 09:22:13 PM »
Damn. Are the Russkies back? Don't those Bastards ever learn? I hope not because this is fun.
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Norther Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2016, 03:34:12 AM »
Norther Fury Ho!  :D

(It's like a nor'easter. But, y'know... norther. Northerer. More north.  ;D )

Anyway, missed this series, glad it's back.  O:-)

Ack! What a terrible place to have a typo. I'll blame it on the wife being about ready to pop with number four  :). And along those lines...if this goes for a while without an update in the near future you'll all know why.

Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Norther Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2016, 06:09:19 AM »
Norther Fury Ho!  :D

(It's like a nor'easter. But, y'know... norther. Northerer. More north.  ;D )

Anyway, missed this series, glad it's back.  O:-)

Ack! What a terrible place to have a typo. I'll blame it on the wife being about ready to pop with number four  :). And along those lines...if this goes for a while without an update in the near future you'll all know why.

Congrats!

And, iirc, you can edit the thread title if you want.
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2016, 06:23:58 AM »
Ah, got it. Thanks!

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2016, 09:45:44 AM »
The air control party at NAS Keflavik nervously scanned their threat boards as the E-3 AWACS circling southwest of Iceland fed them data. Signs to the north were growing increasingly troubling. The airborne radar had not picked up any bogeys yet, but threat receivers were reporting Russian radars in action up that way. Outside on the tarmac several C-5s and C-141s were prepping for take off. Families from the base's garrison were boarding the big transports for the flights to Maine and Canada, out of harms way/ The wives and children shivered as they crossed the icy pavements to board the uncomfortable military aircraft. Getting those hulking jets off the ground was both a military and a personal priority for the entire base.
 
As the first C-5 began its painfully slow takeoff down one of Keflavik's long runways, the technicians on the E-3 were also tracking numerous small charter aircraft taking off from the small airstrips that serviced the communities around the perimeter of the island, bringing civilians from these outlying towns to the capital of Reykjavik, where chartered airliners were waiting to carry many on to Greenland and North America. Inter-continental passenger flights were also passing over Iceland, following the great circle routes from Europe to North America.

As the Air Force monitors tracked these movements, ominous signs began to develop to the north of Iceland's northwestern Westfjords Peninsula. Pairs of aircraft were approaching, one behind another. These were quickly identified as Su-33s by their radar emissions. Somewhere beyond them then was one of the Kuznetsov-class carriers. More pairs continued to appear on the screens of the AWACS controllers and in the military radar facilities that dotted the perimeter of Iceland, until they were tracking a full eighteen Soviet fighters. Only two F-15s were currently orbiting over central Iceland, and the air controllers immediately ordered the other two ready flights into the air. A Soviet sweep of Icelandic airspace seemed imminent, and the idea of high performance interceptors in and among the lumbering transports departing Keflavik was a nightmare for more reasons than one. 

The lead Soviet pilots banked their naval fighters into a holding pattern off Iceland's north coast, allowing the full weight of the Russian squadron coming behind them to assemble before they began their sweep. The six American Eagle pilots and their airborne controllers had little time to set up an ambush to try to offset their three-to-one numerical inferiority before the Russians came charging south. Knowing that the Russians lacked any long range surveillance radars, the air controllers decided on some misdirection. All of the American fighters would approach with their own radars off until the time came to launch their long-range Sparrows. This would hopefully allow the Americans to attack from multiple directions and minimize the Russians' situational awareness. A second, backstop ambush could also be sprung if the Russians were aggressive enough.

As the full weight of the Soviet sweep turned south, the pilots of four of the F-15s went to military power and approached the enemy formation from the southwest. When the AWACS controllers reported they were in range, the Eagle jocks flipped on their radars, each acquiring one target, and loosed a volley of eight AIM-7 Sparrows at the distant Russians. The elite Russian pilots responded immediately, turning into the threat and going to afterburner to close the range. But the Sparrows had longer legs than the Russians' R-27s (NATO reporting name AA-10 Alamo). Both weapons, however, had the disadvantage of being semi-active radar homing, meaning the launching aircraft had to keep its radar pointed at the target for the missile's entire flight.

The Sparrows flashed into the oncoming formation of blue and grey painted Soviet jets. The notoriously ineffective AIM-7s did well, exploding into the paths of the oncoming Soviet pilots who had just launched their own missiles. Three of the four double-target Su-33s were shredded, the pilots killed in a cloud of shrapnel. Now the American pilots banked violently and punched their afterburners, fleeing before the volley of approaching AA-10s. Several of the Russian missiles had been launched by pilots and jets that were now tumbling into the north Atlantic, and these lost lock and continued on harmlessly. Many more, however, continued to close the distance between to the fleeing F-15s. 

The Americans almost managed to escape the counterattack unharmed, but one R-27 at the end of its range exploded behind the rearmost Eagle, shredding its port wing and engine and sending it into an uncontrollable spin. The pilot did not eject.

The Soviets continued to pursue, but now the Americans sprung their trap. The other two F-15 pilots had been quietly approaching from the southeast. They now flipped on their radars and launched four sparrows into the flank of the Russian formation. The Sparrows' 50% accuracy was barely enough again to blot two Su-33s from the sky. Now, however, the Russians' advantage in numbers began to tell. Half of the thirteen surviving Russian pilots continued to pursue the three F-15s fleeing to the southwest, while the rest turned and counterattacked the two flanking Eagles with another volley of R-27s. 
 
The two American pilots turned and burned, following the same tactic as their comrades to the west, but it failed to save one of them from being smashed by shrapnel from exploding Russian missile. The score now stood at five Sukois splashed against two F-15s. The Americans pushed their interceptors to the limit now, streaking south towards Keflavik with the Soviet flyers in hot pursuit. The geometry of the engagement allowed the Russians to barely catch and bring down a third Eagle as the battle passed over Reykjavik. Two more Eagles rocketed down the Runway at Keflavik as the action drew near, but the advantage appeared, at least to the Russians, to be entirely in the favor of the attackers at this point. The NATO defenders, however, had an ace up their sleeve that the Soviet pilots, in their excitement, had failed to account for.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2016, 09:52:33 AM »
Not a great kill/loss ratio for the Americans. Too bad those Eagles weren't carrying AMRAAMS.
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2016, 11:11:05 AM »
Agreed. Even though the early AMRAAMs have a shorter range, having to keep the radar pointed at the enemy the whole time is a huge disadvantage. With an AMRAAM you can shoot, then turn and burn out of range of the oncoming missiles.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2016, 11:15:19 AM »
Fire-and-forget, baby!
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2016, 12:27:26 PM »
The air defenses around Keflavik had remained silent as the aerial drama closed to within 70 kilometers of the base, and a C-141 rumbled down the runway, its crew hoping to escape before the coming drama unfolded. The surviving F-15s, with the Su-33s pursuing, were making a straight line for the runways, while remaining at thirty-six thousand feet. Then, as the fight closed to within 40 kilometers of the airfield, MIM-104B PAC1 Patriot missiles exploded out of their boxy canisters east of Keflavik. The deadly weapons streaked upwards at mach 4.1. 

Too late, many of the Russian pilots realized their peril. Adding to their danger were the two Eagles which had just taken off, which added their Sparrows to the mayhem unfolding in the Soviet formation. The Patriot and Sparrow missiles combined to smash seven of the Soviet fighters before the remaining six were able evade their way out of the deadly kill zone of the Keflavik defenses, but not before one more Eagle was destroyed by an R-27, the pilot ejecting directly over the base as horrified family members looked on below. The loss ratio now, due to the Soviets' blundering into range of the Keflavik SAM batteries, was four F-15s to twelve Flankers.

As the surviving Russian pilots withdrew to regroup and circle over central Iceland, two more F-15 pilots pushed their throttles forward and rocketed down Keflavik's runway. The intervention of the SAMs had even the odds. Now six F-15s could venture out from the safety of Keflavik's Patriot and HAWK launchers to go toe-to-toe with the six remaining Sukois. The Americans, smarting from the quick loss of four of their comrades, were out for blood, and their numerical parity now allowed them to take advantage of the longer range of their Sparrow missiles.

The Soviet flyers were stunned by the loss of two thirds of their number in their flight across the island. Their response to the new American sortie was ragged. The Eagle pilots had spread out, with one flight approaching the Russians from three different vectors. Missiles began to leap off the rails of the opposing jets, American first, then the shorter-ranged R-27s. Both sides' weapons performed poorly, but the ability of the Americans to engage at long ranges proved decisive. The Russians died or were forced to eject one by one, until the airspace over Iceland was once again patrolled by NATO fighters only. One more Eagle was lost in the battle as well.

For the loss of five precious F-15s, eighteen Sukois had been downed. This represented a large portion of the air group on the Russian carrier that was lurking to the north. The AWACS was tracking more Su-33s as well as flights of Yak-141 Freestyles (indicating the presence of a Kiev-class carrier group as well) patrolling north of the island, obviously blocking any NATO planes from getting close enough to see what the Soviets had up there. But they were not coming south, and the Americans were happy to let them alone.  Two Mig-23s out of the newly captured field at Jan Mayen had tried to interfere in the end game of the dogfight over central Iceland. One had been shot down, but the presence of that airfield was another worrying portent.

Even worse, the NATO pilots were almost completely out of Sparrows now, and the remainder of the squadron was still readying in their hardened shelters at Keflavik. This, just as the ground-based radars scattered along Iceland's coast began to pick up formations of bombers approaching from the north, northwest, and west of the island.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2016, 12:30:48 PM »
Oh damn. I was wondering where the bombers were!
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 6: Keflavik Capers - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2016, 01:23:10 PM »
While the drama above had been unfolding, charter flights from the outlying towns and villages around Iceland were converging on Reykjavik like the spokes of a wheel, while MAC flights out of Keflavik and airliners out of Reykjavik took off for Greenland and Bangor, Maine, as fast as they could be filled with passengers. The Icelandic government was not going to be caught with much of its most vulnerable population in the crossfire of World War III. Some of the evacuees were leaving by sea, however, borne by the Icelandic fishing fleet. 

One of these ships, a commercial trawler out of the port of Akureyri at the head of the Eyjafjordur on the north coast, was observed by the radar on the ICG Tyr to reverse course halfway up the fjord and head back towards Akureyri at twelve knots. The captain of the Tyr, knowing that the boat should be evacuating civilians from the port, attempted to reach the craft by radio to determine if there was an emergency. When he got no response, he ordered his own vessel into the fjord to investigate.

Moments later, the Tyr's captain received a frantic call from the airfield mechanic on Grimsey Island, a speck of a landform off the north coast of Iceland which contained a village of eighty-five inhabitants (all evacuated save the mechanic), a small airfield, and not much else. The mechanic breathlessly reported that three armed men in civilian clothes were moving from building to building as  if searching for something. Then there was an explosion, and the line went dead. 

The Tyr's captain passed the report on to Reykjavik, unsure what to make of this development but thankful that the population of Grimsey was safely in Reykjavik. His cutter continued in pursuit of the southbound fishing trawler, which still failed to answer his hails. He ordered his helicopter, already aloft and doing a surface search at the fjord's mouth, to enter the fjord and look over the small ship.

On the positive side of the ledger, the two MSIP F-15 Eagles sent from the states to replace yesterday's losses in the missile attack had landed, and the ground crews went to work frantically removing their Sparrow armament and replacing those missiles with the far more capable AMRAAMs. Provided they could be rearmed in time, these two birds would supply a nasty surprise to another Soviet sweep. But the Soviet bomber crews weren't willing to wait for the American fighter pilots to take wing again. NATO radars began to detect small supersonic objects detaching from three approaching bomber formations, heading towards Iceland.