Author Topic: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR  (Read 19621 times)

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Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2016, 07:42:19 AM »
Great couple of posts, AR!
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2016, 07:32:28 PM »
While the CAG worked to put his plan to sweep aside the Soviet’s aerial ASW screen aside, encouraging news arrived on the Enterprise from 2nd Fleet HQ. A squadron of upgraded F/A-18Cs capable of employing the AIM-120 missile was being made available to the Enterprise group. The squadron was at Naval Air Station Norfolk and would need to make a long flight up the east coast of North America, including two air-to-air refueling,  but once onboard they would triple the number of aircraft on the American carrier that could carry the potent missile. The air staff went to work coordinating the long ferry mission.

In the meantime, the Enterprise’s air group went to work stripping the Kuznetsov task group  of its aerial eyes. To flights of F-14s approached the Russian battle group from the south, Once they were in range, the pilots all lofted a single Sparrow missile towards the flock of Ka-27 helicopters that were patrolling the waters in front of the oncoming Soviet ships. One tandem-rotor aircraft after another exploded and fell into the sea.

The maneuver was not without risk for the Tomcats, however. In order to keep their radars pointed at the Soviet helicopters long enough for the semi-active homing Sparrows to strike their targets, the American pilots had to fly into the SAM envelope of the Soviet ships, then turn away and rocket out of range once their target was destroyed or the AIM-7 missed.  This game of cat and mouse continued, with the F-14 pilots dashing in to knock down a Russian ASW helicopter, then being chased back out again by SA-N-6 missiles launched by the Kirov and Slava cruisers at the center of the formation. After several rounds of this, the Soviets had had enough. The Russian task group commander ordered six of his remaining Su-33s south in pursuit of the American raiders.

The F-14 pilots, warned by the controllers in the E-2C monitoring the battle, turned their noses south and fled. Most had expended the majority of their long-ranged Sparrows, and besides, experience over the past few days had taught the NATO air forces to be wary of taking on Soviet high performance fighters with the disappointing AIM-7. They instead turned on their afterburners and ran.

The Russian flyers, enraged at the cold-blooded destruction of their helicopter air group by the Americans, pressed their pursuit hard, trying to claw enough range on the Americans to launch their own response. They rocketed south as well, and flew right into the teeth of the Enterprise CAG’s trap.

All six of the Enterprise’s AMRAAM-capable F/A-18C pilots, flying abreast, lit off their radars simultaneously and volleyed of their missiles, two per approaching Russian. The Soviet pilots, faced with an impossible situation, tried desperately to evade. For four of them, the effort was futile. The surviving two, with the tables now turned, turned back north and fled before the oncoming American Hornets, trying desperately to gain the safety of their task group. They succeeded, but now the F-14s returned to continue sniping at any Soviet helicopter whose pilot dared to lift his craft off the ship’s deck. Kuznetsov’s air group was being reduced to impotence, and to the south three American submarines were gathering. 

Offline Excroat3

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2016, 07:52:50 PM »
Got them stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I like  ;D

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2016, 03:26:09 PM »
While Enterprise’s air group was picking apart the Kuznetsov’s ASW screen, far to the south, tragedy struck. The fast transports of the Naval Reserve cargo ships carrying the equipment of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division had been crossing the Atlantic with no escort but two antiquated reserve warships. They had been relying on speed for protection, but as bad luck would have it a Soviet Victor II submarine happened to be astride the convoy’s course. The Russian skipper had unknowingly evaded the P-3 patrolling ahead of the American convoy and worked his way in close. Just after the American patrol aircraft left station for lack of fuel, the aggressive Russian put two spreads of torpedoes into the big transports, sinking several as well one of the escorting frigates before disappearing into the depths. Much of the equipment for an entire American mechanized division, meant to reinforce the epic battle now occurring in central Europe, was settling to the bottom of the Atlantic. The Americans would get some manner of vengeance a few hours later, however, when the submarine USS Sturgeon, ordered into the area to hunt the Russian, tracked and eventually sank the enemy boat without even drawing a counterattack.

Far the east, the Russians attempted to make life difficult for the RAF defenders of Scotland. A flight of six Su-27s tangled with the RAF’s CAP of four Tornadoes. The Brits held their own long enough for a flight of AMRAAM-armed F-15s from the 493rd to reinforce and drive the Russians away, trading one Tornado for three Flankers. With the Soviet thrust defeated, the F-15 pilots vectored into the Iceland gap to squeeze the shoulder of the Soviet breakout into the Atlantic. The maneuver worked, as the Eagle driver pounced on and annihilated a flight of four Tu-16 bombers, three configured for recon and one for EW.

With the 24th ID convoy under attack and Enterprise’s airborne fighters busy splashing Soviet ASW helicopters, and new and unexpected threat developed, this time to the stream of CRAF airliners carrying soldiers and supplies across the Atlantic to Europe, as well as dependents and casualties in the opposite direction. During the day Soviet Mig-31 interceptor  pilots had been testing the seam between the radar coverage provided by Enterprise E-2C Hawkeyes and the E-3 Sentries operating out of Scotland. A rotating patrol of Canadian CF-18s, supported by tankers, was covering the gap by operating out of Goose Bay in Newfoundland. So far these had been able to turn back the Soviet probes, but they lacked direction from airborne radar and were exposed over the middle of the ocean.

Enterprise’s CAG had just made the decision to shift one of his precious E-2s east to cover the gap until an E-3 from Gander came on station. Just then, the technicians aboard the E-2C reported a large formation of contacts taking off from Keflavik, headed south. They immediately vectored the patrols harassing the Soviet ASW screen on an intercept course to the southeast. However, these flights were short of ordnance, some were short of fuel, and they would need to punch it to intercept the Russians before they were in the CRAF stream.  The Hawkeye’s radar operators tallied a dozen bogeys headed south before the Russians passed out of detection range.  The CAG ordered his ready fighters launched and then vectored his CAP eastward as well. Every second would count in this race.

The two Canadian CF-18 pilots on patrol, informed of the threat by the Americans, tanked up from the accompanying Stratotanker and then vectored northward. They would need to use their own radars to locate the Russians, but they knew where to look.  At this range from Iceland the Soviets wouldn’t have the fuel to try anything pretty. On the other hand, the two Canadians were carrying only four AIM-7s and four AIM-9s between them for this long range patrol, and they would be outnumbered six to one until the Americans arrived.

Both Canadians, after flying north for what the controllers on the E-2 judged to be a sufficient amount of time, energized their radars in unison. They immediately detected the massed Soviet formation directly ahead. The pilots split up, one turning east and the other west, before turning back to engage the oncoming Russians from an oblique angle rather than straight on. The flight leader judged that the Russians didn’t have the fuel to both chase his jets and cut the aerial bridge. He intended to force them to choose.

As the two pilots turned back towards the Russians, each selected one of the enemy contacts, locked onto it, and loosed a Sparrow missile at maximum range. Both missiles flew true, exploding and sending shrapnel into the path of two of the Soviet jets. Five to one, though the flight leader. Now the Canadians each selected a second target and fired their last remaining AIM-7s. By now the Russians were wise to the attack and had activated their own radars, identifying their aircraft as Mig-29s. The Russian pilots evaded the second attack, spoofing the Sparrow missiles with chaff and jinking maneuvers. The Canadians were down to Sidewinders as they pressed into the flanks of the Russian formation, who barely paused in their southward lunge.

The Soviet pilots had not anticipated such an aggressive attack from pilots who were so outnumbered, and as the Canadians anticipated  they did not have the fuel for a dogfight. AIMJ-0s flashed into the Russian formation, downing two more of the Migs. Four to one, but now the Canadians were out of missiles. On top of that, one of the CF-18s had caught a Soviet short-range air-to-air missile as its pilot flew through the Soviet formation. Now the odds went down again. Eight to one, and the Canadian flight leader was down to guns.

The NATO pilot looped around to get on the tail of the Russian raiders. He hid himself in the clouds until he was close, then popped up beneath the trailing Russians and loosed a burst of 20mm fire into the belly of a Mig. The Russian jet exploded, then the flight leader shredded another. But now he was completely out of ammunition. “What do I do now?” He thought. “Ram them?” He was about to do just that when he saw puffs of explosions begin to appear in and among the surviving Migs to his front.   

The over his radio he heard an American accent say, “Go ahead and back off, Canuck. We’ve got this now. Good work!”

American F-18s and F-14s, arriving in staggered order, shredded the six surviving Russians with a mix AMRAAMs and AIM-7s. The last Soviet pilot died less than a hundred miles north of the oblivious CRAF flights. The aerial LOCs were safe, for now.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2016, 03:56:12 PM »
Wow! Helluva a job by the Canadians!
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2016, 06:41:31 PM »
With the Soviet attempt to disrupt the air bridge to Europe defeated and the ASW helicopter screen ahead to the westernmost advancing Soviet carrier group swept aside, the drama of the afternoon turned towards the attack runs being made by the three American 688-class attack boats on the Soviet task group.  The first to approach the Soviet task group was USS San Juan. This sub was also the newest of the trio of boats vectored towards the Soviet ships.

The San Juan’s captain had maneuvered her via a high speed run so that his boat was now astride the projected course of the Soviet carrier group. Now he ordered his helm to slow to five knots and ascended to communications depth. The communication mast raised, and the comm techs immediately reported numerous messages and broadcasts  from the P-3 shadowing the Soviet formations, giving the exact position and formation of its ships. Two DDGs were leading the group, though the patrol aircraft had not as yet been able to identify their type. The captain judged that at least one was likely a dangerous Udaloy. His plan of attack called for thinning the Soviet escorts with his four Harpoon missiles before attempting to penetrate the formation. As his boat was now within range of the oncoming Soviets, the captain judged now a good time to commence his attack.

In quick succession, four missile canisters ejected from San Juan’s torpedo tubes and broached the surface. The Harpoons’ rocket motors ignited  and sent the weapons streaking northward into the arctic dusk. San Juan’s captain kept his boat shallow so his ESM mast could collect data if and when the Soviets lit off their radars. He had targeted all four of his missiles on the escort in the southeast corner of the formation, which was composed of four destroyers in a box around three larger ships. The Soviets were operating under EMCON, which made them difficult to identify but also precluded their early detection of the inbound weapons. Their early warning was to have been provided by their AEW helos, which were now doing good impressions of an artificial reef at the bottom of the Denmark strait. Stripped of his airborne sensors, the Soviet task force commander had clung to the idea too long that radar silence offered him anonymity. 

The first warning the Russians had that they were under attack came when the first of the Harpoons flew to the end of its vector and activated its radar seeker. The three training weapons followed suit. They quickly acquired the destroyer directly in their path, right where it was supposed to be, and made slight adjustments as they maintained their wave top altitude above the dark, choppy waters. The Soviet crews reacted quickly, as in second every radar in the formation was radiating. Back aboard San Juan, the ESM techs quickly identified the targeted ship as an Udaloy. The San Juan’s captain swore as the other lead ship was identified as a far more dangerous Udaoy II. These were trailed by a Slava, a Kirov, and the Kuznetsov at the center of the formation, which were in turn trailed by two more destroyers that appeared to be Sovremenys. A powerful formation indeed, the captain though. Enterprise’s and the P-3s sensors had all noted the same information.

The Soviet defenses did their best in the little time they had. One the lead Harpoon was shattered by a SAM launched from the targeted Udaloy, the Admiral Kharlamov. The next weapon flew through a cloud of chaff ejected by the target and impacted into the sea beyond. But the third and fourth missiles struck home, one striking the ship’s bow, causing major flooding. The other hit and blew apart one of the Admiral Kharlamov’s two quad-box launchers for the ship’s Metel ASW missiles, causing extensive shrapnel damage to the superstructure.

Admiral Kharlamov’s captain immediately ordered his ship to slow to three knots, both to limit the flooding to his ship’s forward compartments from the hole in the bow and to slow the winds that were fanning flames from the second hit. Medics arrived on the bridge to care for several sailors who had been struck by shrapnel and debris from the second Harpoon. After several minutes the captain was confident that he would be able to manage the fires, but some testing showed that he could not go above five knots without the flooding in the bow becoming intolerable.

On Kuznetzov, the task group commander made the decision to slow the entire formation. Admiral Kharlamov could still fight. But of greater import, when the formations’ radars had energized the extremely long-range surface search set on Slava had returned numerous surface contacts due south, at the extreme end of the sensor’s detection range. This, the Soviet Admiral knew, could only be the American’s Enterprise group, coming north to block the Soviet thrust at the SLOCs. This was priority intelligence for  Red Banner Northern Fleet, and the Soviet commander radioed an contact report back to Murmansk. In minutes, Tu-22Ms from northern Russia were vectoring towards tankers north of Iceland, and pilots ran through the bitter wind towards missile-laden Su-24 attack jets, which had been kept ready at Keflavik for just this opportunity. Back aboard the Russian ships, crews readied their task group’s impressive arsenal of big Bazalt and Granit anti-ship missiles, called SS-N-12 Sandbox and SS-N-19 Shipwreck by the NATO navies. This would be the Soviets’ best opportunity so far to overwhelm the defenses of an American battle group with a coordinated strike of sea and air-launched missiles. 

Offline bbmike

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2016, 06:54:53 PM »
Stop wasting time on this crap and work on more pix for a laugh :P
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Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2016, 06:59:03 PM »
Stop wasting time on this crap and work on more pix for a laugh :P

Shut up, jerk! :P
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2016, 08:29:50 PM »
The crew aboard the P-3 shadowing the Soviet formation had noted the slowdown of the Soviet ships and correctly surmised that the southeast destroyer, now known to be an Udaloy I, had sustained some damage. The Soviets were still coming south, but now at a pace of just four knots. While the damage to the Russian ship was good news, the slower pace of the Soviet advance would be problematic, as it would improve Soviet sonar performance while the three American submarines approached. Aboard the Enterprise, where the American commander was trying to husband his aircraft for a strike on the Varyag group to the east, began to explore his options to force the Soviets to speed up again. For starters, he ordered his battle group to turn southeast, away from the oncoming Russians.

The captain of USS San Juan, after noting the types of Russian ships in the formation to the north based on his boat’s ESM mast reading. After receiving an update on the Soviets’ range and course from the P-3’s crew, the captain took his boat deep and proceeded north, aiming for the weak point in the Soviet escort screen held by the damaged Udaloy.

To the southwest, the captain of USS Providence was bringing his submarine to communication depth to receive the targeting data for his boat’s missile attack on the Soviet task group. With the update on the locations of the Soviet ships, the commander ordered his four Harpoons launched on a vector for the Udaloy II at the southwest corner of the Russian formation. Four more missiles broached the surface of the choppy Denmark Strait, ignited, and settled into their sea-skimming flight profiles, heading northeast.

The Russians had once again turned off their radars in a vain attempt to confuse targeting for further missile attacks. All this accomplished was to once again reduce their response time for this new attack. Once again, the Soviets first warning was the activated radar seekers on the incoming weapons. This time, however, their defenses proved more effective.

The target of Providence’s attack had been the Udaloy II-class destroyer  Admiral Chabanenko. This new ship, with better sensors and fire control, quickly activated its radars. SA-N-9 missiles streaked outward towards the oncoming threats, knocking down two of the Harpoons. The other two were engaged and destroyed by the destroyer’s 30mm CIWS before they could close enough even to do any damage. Providence’s attack had failed to do any damage to the Soviet ships, and had instead only alerted the Russians to the probable presence of a second NATO submarine. Providence’s captain took his boat deep and turned east, planning to intercept the Soviet ships as they continued south.

Now the captain of USS Chicago, approaching from the southeast, took his turn to launch Harpoons at the Soviets. His weapons streaked in towards the damaged Admiral Kharlamov. The Russians, alerted by the earlier attacks, reacted well, but not well enough. One missile slammed into the destroyer’s flank and exploded in the engine room, leaving the ship dead in the water. That was enough for the Soviet task force commander. He ordered his ships’ missiles launched toward the American formation far to the south. Granit missiles exploded from their launchers, heading south, while the older supersonic Bazalt missiles arced upwards in their supersonic trajectories.

The controllers on the orbiting E-2C, who were also now tracking the Russian ships, detected the threats as soon as they were launched. Perhaps more troubling, they also detected a large formation of aircraft approaching from the northeast, from the direction of Iceland...

Offline Gunner98

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2016, 08:53:28 PM »
Incoming package for the Enterprise sir!

Great AAR as usual.

B
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 08:55:43 PM by Gunner98 »

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #25 on: June 02, 2016, 08:28:48 AM »
Looks like the Enterprise better go to Warp 8 ASAP.
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Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2016, 08:39:44 AM »
Those Ticos in the Enterprise battle group are going to be busy.
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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #27 on: June 02, 2016, 07:27:01 PM »
The missiles launched from the Soviet carrier group came on, the Granit missiles skimming the wave tops while Bazalts flew in a supersonic arc. They would take several minutes to enter the engagement envelope of Enterprise’s escorts. The American carrier’s CAG ordered the airborne CAP north to try to thin the Granits, which were coming on in a long stream, as fast as they could be launched by the crews of Slava, Kuznetsov, and the Kirov-class battlecruiser Kalinin. The Bazalts would have to be engaged by the Aegis systems aboard the Ticonderoga-class cruisers USS Cowpens and USS Anzio.

While the E-2C’s techs tracked the southward progress of the Soviet missiles, onboard Enterprise the ready fighter, six F-14Ds with a heavy load of AIM-54 Phoenix missiles taxied into the catapult and roared skyward into the darkening sky, their tailpipes glowing blue. The CAG vectored them to the northeast, towards the twenty-four bogeys approaching from Iceland. The deck crew on Big E scrambled to get more fighters, F-18s and F-14s, into the sky as quickly as possible. To the west of the formation, the flights that had completed the destruction of the Mig-29 raid on the ALOCs were returning. They were low on weapons, and several were low on food, but they increased speed to try to interpose themselves between their ship and the oncoming raid.

As the Bazalts nosed down and closed to within range of the SM-2MR Block II and Block III missiles aboard the Aegis cruisers, the crews of both ships energized their powerful AN/SPY-1  radars and began tracking the threats for themselves, no longer relying on the information second-hand. Both captains ordered their systems set to automatic, and in moments missiles were erupting out of both ships VLS cells, leaving long fiery trails in the arctic dusk.

As the SM-1MRs climbed, the pilots of the four fighters of the Enterprise CAP dove onto the sea-skimming Granits. Each pilot engaged with his long-range Sparrows first. The AIM-7s, which had proved such poor weapons to date against the nimble Soviet fighters, proved very adept at knocking down the big SS-N-19s which flew straight and level above the choppy waves. Nearly every one hit. The disadvantage for the American pilots was that they could only engage one target at a time, which meant that by the time they were engaging their third target with a Sparrow they were also maneuvering to engage closer targets with their short-range AIM-9s. Two of the pilots even used their cannons to destroy a missile before the stream of Soviet weapons flashed past, and the Americans broke right and left to clear the airspace for the Aegis system to engage low as well as high.

Far above the US CAP, SM-1s were exploding into the paths of the incoming SS-N-12s, knocking them down with great regularity. Rarely did one of the Soviet missiles require a reengagement, and those that did never needed a third treatment. In a few short minutes the sky was clear of the older Russian missiles, and Cowpens and Anzio were free to focus their attention on the remaining sea-skimming Granits, which were just now begging to appear on the ships’ radar screens due to their low altitude.

Farther to the northeast, the pilots of the ready F-14Ds, loaded for bear with Phoenix and Sparrow missiles, were coming within range of the large Russian raid from Iceland. The big AIM-54s began to drop from the Tomcats’ bellies, ignite, and accelerate into a Mach 5 arc towards the enemy aircraft. In minutes the six Tomcat drivers had launched all of their AIM-54s and now closed to Sparrow range.

The big American missiles tore into the Soviet formation, composed of a regiment of Su-24 attack jets. The Russian’s did what they could to evade, but their own heavy loads of AS-4 missiles limited their agility. Yellow flames illuminated the cloud tops at one swing-wing jet after another flew through a cloud of shrapnel.  The Soviet pilots emerged from the maelstrom with only half their numbers, screaming into their radios for support from their own fighters. But the Mig-29s that were to have escorted them had been thinned during the day by the American thrusts towards the Soviet EW aircraft, and the remainder had been lost in the ill-fated thrust towards the ALOCs. A pair of Mig-31s over central Iceland did turn to engage, but they were still too far to pose a threat to the Americans. The remainder of the Russian fighter jocks were deciding that discretion was the better part of valor for this fight.

Now the Sparrow missiles arrived in the Russian formation from two directions as the ready group from the Enterprise and those returning from the ALOC fight converged on the bombers. The Americans were short on AIM-7s, and they quickly closed to Sidewinder and even cannon range, evading the ineffectual IR missiles launched by the Sukoi drivers in a desperate attempt to defend themselves.  In minutes it was over, the Soviet raid annihilated before a single Fencer approached to within missile range of the American battle group. The American fighters, low on ammunition, turned back towards their carrier, now chased by the two Mig-31s, the without conviction on the Russians’ part.

The missiles from Cowpens and Anzio were just splashing the last of the Granits at a comfortable range from the American ships when one final threat developed. Four Tu-22M bombers, which had been circling west of Iceland for just such an opportunity,  had threaded the seam between the Americans intercepting the Soviet surface groups’ missiles and those destroying the Su-24 raid. Belatedly, the CAG vectored two of his pilots who still had missiles to engage this new threat, but it was too late. Eight missiles streaked towards the Enterprise as the supersonic Russian bombers turned back to fly over Keflavik and the safety of the SAM batteries there. A Tomcat driver managed to catch one of the Soviets and bring the big swing-wing bomber down, but the other three escaped. 

Anzio and Cowpens’ Aegis systems easily dealt with this last threat, but both cruisers’ magazines had been seriously depleted repelling the complex attack. The CAG remarked that the squadron of AMRAAM-armed Hornets inbound after a long flight from Norfolk couldn’t get there fast enough.

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2016, 07:28:28 PM »
And that will be it for the weekend for me. Linking up with the family at Gettysburg this weekend (we're geographically separated as I do some professional education). I plan to try to wrap this one up Sunday. Thanks for reading!

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 8: Hold the Line - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #29 on: June 02, 2016, 08:20:16 PM »
Thanks for the latest installment, AR. Have a good weekend!
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