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AAR: CMO Red Tide

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I recently picked up the latest DLC for Command Modern Operations.  This latest DLC addresses a hypothetical NATO/WP conflict in 1985. This is also the same time frame that I was a young Ensign in the USN, so the topic has some personal interest to me.  I will try to play through the whole DLC here (and at the same time finish my Flashpoint Campaign AAR, which features a ground  invasion of Germany at approximately the same time).   

The First scenario is "the Bedford Incident" based loosely on the movie and book of the same name.  The scenario introduction is as follows:

Date/Time: 1st April, 1985/ 08:00:00 Zulu
Location: North Atlantic - Barents Sea
Duration: 1 Day
Playable Sides: NATO
USS Bedford, a US 2nd Fleet destroyer is on patrol near the Svalbard Islands together with HNoMS Narvik, and they have been repeatedly overflown by Soviet aircraft, including low-level passes at main deck level.
Bedford has also had fleeting contacts on sonar, which is believed to be an unknown submarine in territorial waters.
Even though hostilities have not broken out, the Bedford’s captain is hell bent on bringing it to the surface – or worse…

The increase in tensions between NATO and the Soviet Union has intensified over the last 2 weeks, this has been more so in the Barents Sea region with various intermittant contacts of submarines along the Norwegian coast.
USS Bedford, HNoMS Narvik and a detachment of Orions based in Banak have been conducting round the clock patrols in the vicinity of Svalbard Islands.

USS Bedford and associated air assets are to conduct aggressive ASW Patrols in their allocated areas.  Any Submarine contact is to be forced to the surface if detected in the Svalbard Islands TTW. Units are to only fire in self defence.
Soviet MRR Aircraft have been deployed to Greem Bell, Intelligence suggests the Submarine is onroute to RV with a Submarine Support Ship.

Surface Forces
•   USS Bedford
•   HNoMS Narvik
•   333 Sqn Det P-3 Orion

Surface Forces
Unknown Submarine Support Ship
Unknown Submarine
Be-12 Mail MRR
Flagship - USS Bedford
Limited Transmission on all sensors

The sea state is 3, with light clouds at 20,000 feet.  The water is isothermal, with no Convergence Zone.

The ASW conditions are good, so I hope to detect the submarine relatively quickly.  My plan is to have the  USS Bedford and HNoMS Oslo to work in close proximity to each other for mutual support and to maximize their limited sonar search. This will also maximize their limited AAW capability against any air threat from Greem Bell.
My search strategy will be to use the P-3Bs to quickly develop a surface picture and locate the submarine support(AS) vessel.  Once that is located, the MPA will set up a search barrier to detect the SSB as it approaches the AS. 
EMCON ALPHA (no emissions) will be the initial setting for the surface ships.  If they are detected by Soviet MPA, they can go to EMCON DELTA (unrestricted emissions).

 On scenario start, I launch a P-3B from Banak.  However, it is over 500 nm to the OPAREA, so it will take 1.5 hours to arrive ONSTA. 

At 0815 NATO receives a message report from fishing boats that a large Soviet ship was located near the coastline. See Figure 1.  Because the vessel is described as a large Soviet ship it may be the submarine support vessel. I did not expect it to be located at close to Svalbard.  The HNoMS Oslo is sent to investigate the contact, and the enroute P-3B is  vectored to provide a VID.

Image 1 010849Z April 1985

At 0920, the the HNoMS Oslo VIDs a Primorye-class AGI.
At 0930, fishing boats report a periscope invic 7933N03350E  The USS Bedford is nearby and is sent to this location. See Image 2.  During this time, Soviet Be-12 MAIL flying boats are detected operating near the USS Bedford, and at 0944Z, one is VID'd.  Because the USS Bedford has been detected, it goes to EMCON DELTA.  The P-3 is retasked from VID'ing the possible large Soviet vessel and sent to this periscope sighing location. 

Image 2 010926Z April 1985

At 1016Z, the BEDFORD picks up an underwater contact with its AN/SQQ-23A active sonar. in the vicinity of the periscope sighting.  The P-3B arrieves at approximately this time and begins to lay a bouy pattern.  There are numerous schools of fish in the area, generating false submarine contacts, but the underwater contact initially detected by the BEDFORD appears to be a submarine, as it is holding a steady 2 knt course at 233 feet depth.  The P-3 is retasked to sanitize the area immediately to the west of the BEDFORD, while the BEDFORD establishes a station 1 nm astern of the PROBSUB  and begins "Hold Down" ops.  At 1031Z, a second P-3B is launched early  from Banak to provide additional ASUW and ASW capability.    At 1242Z, this second P-3 rigs  a surface contact that was in the vicinity of the reported "large Soviet vessel" that had previously been reported at 0815Z.  The aircrew VID the contact as a Soviet Don-class submarine tender.

Figure 3 011242Z April 85

By 1330Z, the OSLO has a visual on the Don AS, and the second P-3 is sanitizing the area to ensure there are no submarines in the vicinity of the Don.  The BEDFORD is continuing hold down ops, and the first P-3 has sanitized the area to the west of BEDFORD, and is about to check OFFSTA and return to Banak.

Figure 4 011330Z April 85

At  1346Z BEDFORDs subsurface contact is classified as a CERTSUB and is typeclassed as a GOLF II SSB.  BEDFORD continues the hold down ops. A third P-3B is launched from Banak at 1535Z to relieve the second P-3. 

By 1700Z, I'm satisfied that the area around the Don AS is clear of submarines, and that the BEDFORD has contact on the only submarine in the area.  Because of this, and due to the possible air threat from  Greem Bell, I have the incoming P-3s take over surface surveillance operations (SSC) in the western part of the AOR, while having the OSLO rejoin BEDFORD in the hold down operations.  Although OSLO has a light air defense capability, it is more capable of defending itself than a P-3.

Image 5 011703Z April 85

In the ensuing 9 hours, the OSLO rejoins the BEDFORD and continue to hold down the GOLF II.  Numberous MAIL MPA fly  in the vicinity of the NATO ships, but none engage.  At 020421Z, a Harpoon-equipped P-3 engages and sinks the Don AS, while the OSLO sinks the GOLF AS with torpedoes.

Note: I was a little confused by the victory conditions, which specified that NATO could only attack in self defense.  Since I was never attacked, in my first play through I simply sat on the Soviet ships and submarines, with strike ready ships and P-3.  However, I scenario end, I had a score of "0", so I could not advance in the campaign.  I simply went back to a previous save, and attacked. Possibly the fact that the Don AS was in Norwegian territorial waters was sufficient cause belli 

Image 6 020421Z April 84

Scenario 2: Kobayashi Maru
In this scenario, I'm playing as the Soviet side.  Basically, the scenario is a "first strike" on a US CVBG and an Italian CH in the Central Med.  The initial scenario and orders from the game are below:

Soviet Union vs. NATO
Date/Time: 1st April, 1985/ 08:00:00 Zulu
Location: Mediterranean - Malta
Duration: 10 Hours
Playable Sides: Soviet Union
Soviet doctrine called for an all-out attack on any American Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) within reach in the first minutes of a conflict. Not only were CVBGs powerful naval forces, but strategic nuclear strike platforms as well.
To accomplish this goal, American Carriers were relentlessly followed from the moment they left port, either with satellites, destroyers or intelligence ships (AGIs) which would follow the carrier battle group wherever it went, always reporting the CVBG’s position.
If peace suddenly changed to war, the units shadowing the CVBG would give the other attacking forces the position of the carrier, and if possible also attack it themselves.
With this in mind, an agreement was formulated called the “Incidents at Sea Agreement” between the USA and the Soviet Union: Hostile acts include not only firing weapons, but also locking a fire-control radar onto another vessel.
With such an expansive definition of a “hostile act”, what can possibly go wrong?

Since the "Bump and Grinds" in the Black Sea between US and Soviet Naval units last month NATO has increasingly become more aggressive in their operations.Over recent weeks units of the Black Sea Fleet have deployed to the Mediterranean including a "Goodwill Deployment" of a Regiment Su-17 Fitter Attack Aircraft.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower CVBG has been conducting ASW Exercises with Italian units around the Island of Malta, these units have constantly harassed our peaceful AGI's by trying to ram them on many occasions.The Destroyer Nadezhnyy [Mod Kashin] has been in the forefront of these acts sustaining minor damage in one incident.
Adm Aleksey Mikhailovich Kalinin at Head Quarters in Sevastopol has now issued Orders to the Fleet to patrol areas to counter any threats by NATO.Even though Hostilities have not broken out Rear Adm Vladimir Kalabin of the 5th Eskadra stands ready to turn the Mediterranean Sea in to a Sea of Blood.
Both Juliett SSG are to close US CVBG at slow speed to maintain missile firing solutions, Land based Aircraft are to be at immediate notice to launch, Badger aircraft based in Tripoli are to launch and patrol designated MRR Patrol Area.
Patrol Area One
•   Adm Makarov KUG
•   B-213 [Foxtrot Class SSK]
•   K-493 [Alfa Class SSN]
•   K-53 [Victor I Class SSN]
•   Ladoga [Mayak Class AGI]
Patrol Area Two
•   Nadezhnyy [Mod Kashin]
•   B-40 [Foxtrot Class SSK]
•   K-209 [Charlie II Class SSGN]
•   K-53 [Victor I Class SSN]
•   Alidada [Okean Class AGI]
Adm Makarov KUG
•   Admiral Makarov [Kresta II Class CG]
•   Marshal Vaslevskiy [Udaloy I DDG]
•   Otiichnyy Sovremenny Class DDG]
•   Smyshlenny [Mod Kashin]
•   Rezvyy [Krivak II FFG]
Sub-Surface Units
•   B-40 [Foxtrot Class SSK]
•   B-213 [Foxtrot Class SSK]
•   K-318 [Juliett Class SSG]
•   K-67 [Juliett Class SSG]
•   K-209 [Charlie II Class SSGN]
•   K-493 [Alfa Class SSN]
•   K-53 [Victor I Class SSN]
Dzhankoy Air Base
•   Tu-22M-3 Backfire C [12] 30th OMARP
•   Tu-16R  Badger E [3] 30th OMARP
•   Su-17M-3 Fitter H [12] 846th Regiment
Detached Units
•   Alidada [Okean Class AGI]
•   Ladoga [Mayak Class AGI]
•   Nadezhnyy [Mod Kashin]
NATO Threat
•   Eisenhower Task Group
o   USS Dwight D. Eisenhower [Nimitz Class CVN]
o   USS Wainwright [Belknap Class CG]
o   USS Mississippi [Virginia Class CGN]
o   USS Coontz [Farragut Class DDG]
o   USS Sampson [C.F Adams DDG]
o   USS Spruance [Spuance Class DD]
o   USS Koelsch [Brooke Class FFG]
o   USS E. McDonnell [Garcia Class FF]
o   USS Voge [Garcia Class FF]
o   USS E. Montgomery [Knox Class FF]
o   USS Butte [Killauea Class AE]
o   USS Savannah [Wichta Class AOR]
•   Garibaldi Task Group
o   ITS G Garibaldi [CVH]
o   ITS Audace [Audace Class DDG]
o   ITS Aliseo [Maestrale Class FF]
o   ITS Orsa [Lupo Class FF]
•   USN SSN unlocated
•   Italian SSK unlocated
•   Eisenhower Airgroup comprising F-14 Fighter, A-6 and A-7 Attack with associatted AEW and ASW fixed and rotary wing aircraft, Garibaldi Airgroup consists of ASW Helicopters.
•   F-104 Fighters based in Italy may way be supporting the Garibaldi Task Group.
Sevastopol HQ - Adm Mikhailovich Kalinin Commanding
Limited transmission on all sensors

Mission Analysis and IPB

   Area of Operations (AO): The AO is the subsurface, surface, and air region as designated as AO1 and AO2 in red and shown in Figure 1. 
   The Area of Interest (AI): The AI is the subsurface, surface, and air region bounded located  outside this area.

Figure 1.

Significant Characteristics of the Battlespace Environment: The Area of Operations in the immediate expected battle area (AO1) is geographically small.   It is near the Soviet airbase in Tripoli, which is less than 300 nm from the US and Italian CVBG boxes. However, it is geographically remote from the Soviet airbase in the Crimea, with the air craft having to fly approximately 900 miles before being able to launch missile attacks on the CVBGs. The no fly areas around Turkey and Italy effectively limit air operations through a narrow corridor at the exit from the Adriatic into the Mediterranean.

Sunrise/Sunset: The entire scenario will almost be entirely in daylight. (Sunrise for Malta is at 0448Z.  Sunset is at 1724 and dusk is at 1749Z).

Metrology: The weather should not be a factor in the scenario. Skies are clear, and the Sea State is 0.

Hydrology: Water depths the AO range from approximately 900-1300 feet in the in the eastern portion of AO1, to only 200-500 feet the the western portion. Parts of the Gulf of Sidra are less than 200 feet deep.  A layer from 200-500 feet in depth exists throughout the AOR 1. There are no Convergence Zones (CZs) in the AOR.  Noise levels are relatively high in the central Mediterranean. 

Land Dimension: Not Applicable for scenario purposes.

Maritime Dimension:

The NATO naval forces are engaged in a ASW exercise, so I am expecting them to remain essentially MODLOCKED in the central Mediterranean.

Air/Space Dimension:
Space, electromagnetic and cyberspace dimensions:
Space: Soviet ELINT satellites Will have LOS over the central med for most of the scenario period, so I should have good general location data on any emitting NATO radars.  There are no NATO satellites in the game

Electromagnetic and Cyber Dimension: Expected maximum air radar ranges are shown as the white circles in Figure 1 above.  However, the radar horizon is limited to only about 150 nm for land-based NATO radars against air targets traveling under 5000 feet MSL.

HF and UHF communications are expected to be unaffected throughout the region
Cyberspace: N/A

Time Dimension: The scenario lasts for 10 hours.    This time period is insufficient for additional USSR surface and sub-surface units to deploy to the AOR

Political and Demographic Dimension: Soviet forces can not cross or attack Turkey and Italy proper.  NATO forces are presumably unable to fire until they are illuminated or fired on by Soviet units.

Battlespace Effects on Courses of Action (COA)

   NATO: The relatively narrow geographical area will limit the ability of the NATO naval forces to avoid identification, localization and targeting by the USSR
   USSR: The short scenario time and long transit times for forces based in the Crimea means that there will only be one strike by the Crimea-based Backfires.  The NATO sea-based air superiority, combined with the inability to attack the Italian airbase at Gioia del Colle means that NATO will have air superiority over the Central Mediterranean.  The relatively small area and the presence of NATO E-2C AWACs aircraft make it highly likely that the Soviet surface fleet will be quickly sunk once hostilities begin.  This in turn means that the Soviet must make a coordinated first strike with all units.


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