Author Topic: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR  (Read 22369 times)

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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2015, 08:43:40 PM »
Damn that was too close. I think I heard that torp pass the left side of my chair.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2015, 06:11:34 PM »
While Trafalgar’s battle with the amphibious convoy and its escorts went on far to the northeast, at the western end of X-Ray station USS Boise’s night was just starting to get interesting. Commander Morgan had kept his boat on an east-southeasterly course and above the thermal layer after breaking contact with the Kiev group hours earlier. Up until now they had heard nothing since turning back towards their patrol area. That began to change as Boise-s sonar room, taking advantage of the deep water under the sub’s keel, began to pick up surging surface contacts approximately 30 nautical miles in front of them in the first convergence zone, heading directly for them at 30 kts, then lost them again as they passed out of the CZ. Before they lost contact Boise’s sonarmen were able to distinguish two different DDGs, one Kirov, and on carrier. Unknown to Morgan, the USS Connecticut to the southeast had monitored the passage of this carrier group out of the White Sea several hours earlier, but owing to the confined spaces in those waters had been unable as yet to make a contact report and was consequently unaware that a war was on, though the captain had his suspicions. 

“We’ll maintain course and speed until we pick them back up again at closer range,” Morgan told his bridge watch, “then we’ll go deep and quiet and try to get inside the formation to see if we can get a shot at that flattop. Their sonar performance will be seriously degraded at that speed”

The American submarine and the Soviet carrier group continued to close over the next thirty minutes until Morgan hear, “conn, sonar, I’m picking them back up. Same composition, same bearing. The carrier is going to pass just to our port side if we maintain course.”

“Helm, make your depth 800 feet, then all stop,” Morgan ordered.

“Aye, sir.”

USS Boise descended through the thermal layer and into the deep as the Russian ships thundered on towards her. An Udaloy II-class destroyer, the lead ship of the formation, passed to Boise’s port side. The Kuznetsov and the Kirov-class battlecruiser (Boise’s sonarmenr had now distinguished this ship as the RKR Kalinin) would also pass to the American submarine’s port side, though much closer. Morgan’s plan was to launch three fish at the carrier and one at the battlecruiser, then rapidly reload and launch one more torpedo at the Kalinin before going deep and clearing datum.

The big Soviet ships thundered past, with the Kuznetsov only 4000 yards distant. Morgan was turning his boat to port to match bearings and launch his torpedoes when he heard, “conn, sonar, there’s another destroyer bringing up the rear sir. It sounds like another Udaloy. If he maintains current course he’s going to pass within one mile of us.”

“Damn,” Morgan swore, “that completely screws our egress plan. This isn’t a suicide mission. Let’s adjust.”

Judging that the oncoming destroyer would not be able to detect his boat while travelling at 30 kts, Morgan decided to allow the DDG to pass and then use the two torpedoes he had intended for the Kalinin to dispatch the nearer threat. But he would have that carrier, nothing was going to divert him from that now.

The minutes ticked by and the throbbing of the oncoming Udaloy’s screws grew louder and then began to pass to starboard.

“Conn, Udaloy two’s range is under 1000 yards,” reported the sonar room.

“It’s time,” said Morgan. “Helm, bring us to bearing three-three-five.”

USS Boise slowly turned, bringing her nose to bear on the receding sterns of the Russian ships.

“Tracking party, are our solutions on the carrier and the Udaloy still good?” asked Morgan.

“Roger sir,” the weapons officer reported.
“Very well. Match generated bearings and shoot!”


Aboard the Soviet carrier Kuznetsov, flagship of the Red Banner Northern fleet, Counter Admiral Starka was just standing up from his chair on his flag bridge, preparing to turn in and get some sleep. It was after 2am local time, the second day of the war, and so far things had been going according to plan. His fleet was fully at sea, trying to run the gauntlet of NATO submarines that he knew had to be here so as to break out into the North Atlantic. So far, other than some losses to the amphibious landing group up north, his fleet’s transit had been unopposed. Then, just as he turned to walk the few meters to his flag cabin, his eyes shot to a luminous flash on the horizon.

The first MK48 Mod 5 ADCAP torpedo had run straight and true to a point right under the stern of the Udaloy-class destroyer Admiral Zakharov before detonating, creating a luminescent column of water that lifted the destroyer’s already wrecked propellers completely out of the water. The Admiral Zakharov was doomed before her stern settled back into the water, and the second MK48 that bored in and broke her back only ensured that fewer survivors would jump from her decks into the frigid arctic sea.

“What happened?” demanded Starka, “why was there no warning of an attack?” Just then his receiver started buzzing. It was his flag captain one deck above. The report made his blood run cold.

“Sir, Kalinin reports multiple torpedoes heading our way from the southeast, range approximately six thousand yards.”

Kuznetsov was already at flank speed, and Starke felt the deck begin to tilt slightly as the ship’s captain altered course to put the torpedoes on his stern. Minutes sped by as the amazingly fast American torpedoes, the sonar on his carrier reported they were moving at 55 kts, closed with his precious ship. To starboard he watched the Kalinin, a dark shadow in the night with a luminescent tail from its churning propellers, turn to bring its Metel ASW missiles to bear on the threat vector. Two blindingly bright streaks erupted from the battlecruiser’s boxy launchers as the Russian counterattack lofted into the cold night.


Aboard USS Boise Commander Morgan heard, “Torpedo in the water! Make that two, two torpedoes in the water, directly astern, range under one thousand yards!”

“All ahead flank!” ordered Morgan as the Russian UMGT-1 Orlan torpedoes began their search pattern. “Take us deep!”

“Conn, sonar, it sounds like one of the torps has us, the other is still searching.”

“Sir,” the weapons officer reported, “we’ll lose the wires on the fish if we evade.”

“No choice,” answered Morgan.

USS Boise dove, turned, and raced southwest at its best speed of 32 kts away from the torpedo chasing at a speed of 45 kts. “This is going to be close,” Morgan muttered.

The Russian torpedo inexorably ate up the distance. The torpedo room called of the range, 800 meters, 700 meters, five hundred meters, 300, then, “conn, the torp’s screws have stopped. I think it ran out of gas sir.”

Morgan let out a ragged breath. “Very well, slow to five knots, bring us around back on a northerly heading. Let’s see if we can make sense of what our weapons are doing.”


The Boise’s MK48s, with much farther to travel then the rocket-delivered Russian weapons, were just now closing with the fleeing Soviet carrier. Kuznetsov’s captain could do nothing but trail decoys. In this situation he was better off maintaining a steady course in hopes of outrunning the American (he assumed they were American) or at least giving his towed decoys the best chance of luring them away. The Soviet ships had detected three incoming weapons, and he knew his chances of avoiding all of them were slim.

As it played out, the decoys failed completely. The first Mk48 sped past it and detonated under Kuznetsov’s starboard-most propeller, wrecking both the shaft and the screw. The explosion also lifted the carriers stern and pushed it left. The resulting turmoil in the water threw off the seekers for the following two fish, both of which exploded in generally the same part of the big carrier’s starboard quarter, tearing a long gash in the hull and flooding several compartments. Kuznetsov began to list to starboard.

“On the flag bridge, the carriers captain reported to Starka by phone, “Tovarich Admiral, we can make eleven knots, no more. Flooding is under control, and we have no fires.”

Starka, whose strategy had un-raveled in the span of only a few minutes, asked, “what of the enemy submarine?”

“We launched a counterattack into the area where we believe the torpedoes came from, but heard no explosion. The enemy is still out there comrade.”

“Very well, take us north at whatever speed you can make. Call in the aviation to hunt the enemy submarine. Those lollygaggers were supposed to have cleared this channel before we ever arrived!” Starka fumed.


USS Boise ascended back above the layer and once again made contact with the Russian ships.

“Conn, sonar, the enemy flattop is hurt but she’s not dead, sir. And that Kirov is riding close escort now.”

“They’re still in range, just barely,” reported the weapons officer.

“Let’s see if we can finish them off. Get a solution, two fish for the carrier, two for the Kalinin.”

Minutes later four more torpedoes ejected from Boise’s tubes and started running for the big Soviet ships.


It took several minutes for the Soviets to detect the spread of American torpedoes, but when they did, Admiral Starka knew his flagship was in serious trouble. To starboard, Kalinin when to full power and surged ahead of the stricken carrier, but Kuznetsov’s damaged screws could only produce eleven knots, and the whole ship was vibrating with the effort.

In the end, the carriers death was surprisingly graceful. The two Mk48s bored in, one impacting under the stern and destroying the remaining propulsion that Kuznetsov possessed, and the other impacted her port quarter, temporarily correcting the original list, but causing unconstrained flooding at the stern. Kuznetsov began to settle as her crew gathered on the rear of the flight deck to step into the icy sea and waiting life rafts. Among them was Admiral Starka, his career now in tatters, waiting for a launch to take him to Kalinin, which had outraced its own tormenting torpedoes.


After creeping south away from the scene of action for two hours, Commander Morgan on USS Boise came up to communication depth and transmitted a burst message to CINCLANT:

“Scratch one flattop.”

Offline OJsDad

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2015, 09:00:36 PM »
Well, we now know where the spirit of Tom Clancy ended up when he died.  Well written AR.

NATO sub forces are getting off to a great start, a carrier, two gator freighters, a sub, and a destroyer.
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2015, 05:09:38 AM »
Thanks OJsDad! I don't think I can compete with Mr. Clancy, but I am having a lot of fun with this write up. I'll comment a little on how I played the scenario at the end, but for now suffice it to say it has been very challenging, and fun!

Offline Freyland

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2015, 07:18:38 AM »
Really enjoying!

Offline MetalDog

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2015, 07:19:30 AM »
AR, I commend you, sir!  That's some really good writing!  Naval warfare interests me not at all, but, I found myself getting to the end of what you wrote, WAY too soon!!  Keep up the good work!  Can't wait for the next episodes :)
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2015, 11:19:00 AM »
Thanks for the kind words. Any credit really goes to the scenario designer, Gunner98. These scenarios are so good, so immersive (at least for me) that the stories really tell themselves.

Offline OJsDad

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2015, 01:56:13 PM »
OK, enough kissing up

'Here at NASA we all pee the same color.'  Al Harrison from the movie Hidden Figures.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2015, 06:42:51 AM »
Thanks for the kind words. Any credit really goes to the scenario designer, Gunner98. These scenarios are so good, so immersive (at least for me) that the stories really tell themselves.

You have a real knack for it though. Many of your passages are very Clancy-esque. Makes for a gripping read.  O0
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2015, 09:53:42 AM »
While the Kuznetsov was sliding beneath the waves of the Arctic Ocean, USS New York City at the southwest corner of the X-Ray station patrol area was creeping south at five knots after having dispatched the Victor III several hours previous. The thrill of that engagement had worn off, but not the euphoria felt by Commander Beam at having dispatched one of the enemy’s more capable subs so early in the war. NYC’s sonar operators had heard nothing since then, however, and Beam had taken his crew off of action stations. Currently the American sub was staying above the layer, trolling its towed array below like a deep sea fishing trawler looking for its steel prey.

As the last hours of the first day of the war slipped by, however, New York City’s sonar night watch began to pick up a distant rumble in the first convergence zone, 35 miles to the east southeast. Beam, who couldn’t bring himself to turn in for some sleep even though he knew he should take every opportunity available to him at this point, walked into the sonar room to watch over his sailors’ shoulders as they slowly distinguished between sever contacts.

His lead sonar technician, eager to get his captain to stop breathing down his neck, decided to feed him some preliminary information to maybe encourage him to head back to the bridge.

“Sir, this looks big. I’m making out what looks like a Kirov, so either Kirov herself or Kalinin up here, and Kuznetsov. They sound like they’re escorted by two DDGs, but I can’t make out the type as yet. If they keep their current course and speed we should intercept their formation in about an hour. They sound to be making about 30kts.”

A thrill coursed through Beam’s veins. Getting a Russian sub was one thing, but now he had an almost textbook shot at what looked like the flagship of the whole Russian fleet.

“All right, we’ll maintain course and speed. We’ll lose them when they pass out of the convergence zone, but as soon as we reacquire and get a good range, speed, and bearing check we’ll dip below the layer and move in for a shot at the big boys,” Beam ordered.

Another thirty minutes passed as the Russian ships duly disappeared from the American sonar scopes and then reappeared right on cue about 10 miles from Beam’s boat. This time however, the lead sonarman ad some interesting news.

“Conn, sonar, I’ve pegged the Kirov-class as the Kirov herself, but the sound on the carrier is off from what we have on file for Kuznetsov, sir.”

“What do you mean?” Beam asked, walking back into the sonar room.

“Well, sir,” the sonar tech said, turning in his chair to look at his captain, “what I mean is that she sounds newer, quieter, improved, like she has new screws or something. Kuznetsov just got back from a deployment, didn’t she? They couldn’t have refitted her that fast, not with four brand new screws, certainly?”

“No…,” Beam said thoughtfully, “no they couldn’t have, unless…”

“I see what you’re thinking sir. She’s got to be the Varyag! I didn’t think she was in commission yet.”

“Neither did I,” the captain responded, “but intel has been telling us that the Russians have been ramping up their naval building, big time. You can bet if they were planning to start a war that they would want to start it with two fleet carriers instead of one. We need to get this sent up.” 

USS New York City came up to communication depth and sent off a burst transmission with their contact report that seriously altered CINCLANT’s calculations for the balance of naval power in the North Atlantic.


Aboard the TAKR Varyag, Admiral Shustov, the commander of the Red Banner Northern Fleet’s Aviation Group 2, was seriously concerned. Several hours earlier an ASW helicopter had reported explosions just to the north of his projected course, indicating almost certainly that there was one of those bloody quiet NATO submarines operating there, but since then the aviation assets hadn’t been able to get even a sniff despite a prodigious expenditure of sonobuoys. Shustov desperately wanted to slow his group down so as to bring the formidable hull and towed array sonars on Varyag, Kirov, and his two escorting Udaloy-class destroyers to bear against the submerged threat. As it was, his high speed made his ships essentially blind below the water. His consternation was amplified by the paper message he now held in his hands that told of the disaster that had befallen Aviation Group 1. Kuznetsov sunk?! In the first twelve hours of the war?! He knew this news meant that the success or failure of Soviet strategy in the North Atlantic rested with his sole surviving large carrier. Despite the loss of Varyag’s sister ship, his own command, combined with the rest of the Northern Fleet assets, was a force to be reckoned with.

Shustov’s orders were inflexible, however. The fleet had to get to the open ocean at best speed to execute STAVKA’s grand strategy. But, to the Admiral’s thinking, STAVKA’s strategy was served in no way by losing its most powerful assets in the opening moves of the war. His own course, closest to the Kola and Norwegian coast, was itself a compromise between STAVKA’s obsession with getting the fleet into open water and Shustov’s hope that the more southerly track would avoid the bulk of the lurking NATO submarines.


As Shustov fretted over his orders, Commander Beam and USS New York City quietly descended below the thermal layer as they closed on an intercept course with the Soviet formation’s starboard flank. Beam felt confident in his ability to get inside the Russian screen undetected, given how fast they were steaming, but there was safety in the Russian’s speed as well. If he had to evade or alter course for any reason he would quickly fall behind the Russians. Catching up would mean generating noise, which he couldn’t do here and now.

As it happened, not evasive action was necessary, and USS New York City closed on the starboard quarter of the two speeding Russian capital ships undetected. Kirov was furthest north, between NYC and the Varyag.

Beam briefed his plan: “at six thousand yards we’ll launch two fish each at Kirov and Varyag, then I want the torpedo room to turn and burn to get a fifth torpedo into the tubes and launched at the carrier before we go deep and clear datum.”

Beam’s heart rate rose steadily as his boat drew closer to the predetermined point at which he would loose his weapons, and because of the continuous flow of coffee he was drinking that occasioned frequent trips to the head.

As New York City neared the attack point, Beam ordered, “open outer doors on tubes one through four. Flood tubes one through four. On my mark…”

Four Mk48s ejected from USS New York City’s torpedo tubes, trailing their wires behind them. The sailors in the torpedo room worked franticly to load a fifth weapon into the number one tube. Soon this torpedo too was speeding towards the Varyag at 55 kts.


Aboard Varyag, Shustov heard the dreaded report. “Tovarich Admiral, the screen commander reports multiple torpedoes incoming from the northeast!”

“Tell him to flood that area with torpedoes!” Shustov ordered curtly. He wasn’t about to let this skulking submarine, undetected or not, have a clean shot at his ships.

Soon Metel ASW rockets were erupting from the box launchers on the trailing Udaloy, lighting up the inky Arctic horizon.


New York City’s chief sonarman gave the bridge a play-by-play of their onrushing torpedoes and the responses of the Soviet ships. “They’ve turned away from the fish sir, range now 4000 yards to Kirov, 3500, 3000. Four thousand yards to Varyag. The torps have Kirov, sir. They’ve gone active. Closing, now 1000 yards, 800…”

The two torpedoes closed inexorably on the fleeing Russian battlecrusier with a 20 kt speed advantage. Three more were heading towards the more distant but slightly slower Varyag.

“Four hundred yards, two hundred, one hundred…”

The rumble of an explosion was audible through the American sub’s hull.


Admiral Shustov watched in horror as the water directly amidships of the dark shadow that was Kirov to his ships rear flashed and turned to foam, lifting the World War I-battleship-sized cruiser out of the water. Shustov didn’t know it then, but the torpedo’s warhead had detonated directly under Kirov’s keel, breaking the ship’s back. As the stricken ship settled back into the roiling water, the second Mk48 impacted directly on its starboard side. The explosion tore a massive hole along the side of the ship, flooding numerous starboard compartments on several decks. Kirov rapidly began to take on a list to starboard that started slowly but then accelerated as more and more seawater rushed in. The battlecruiser’s  superstructure crashed sideways into the sea, and then Kirov was belly up, sinking below the waves with nearly her entire crew of 700 sailors and officers.


Back aboard New York City, the double explosion prompted cheers from the crew that were quickly silenced by the frantic call from the sonar room of “torpedoes in the water! They’re right on top of us sir!”

“Crash dive!” ordered Commander Beam, “all ahead flank!”

Despite Beam’s caffeine-fueled rapid response to the new threat, geometry was against him and his boat. The first two Orlan torpedoes had separated from their rockets and splashed into the sea directly behind him in such a way that their circular search patter required only a quarter turn before the seekers on both weapons found and locked on to the American sub, only a quarter mile distant. Both torpedoes followed the submarine as it dove, its screw desperately pounding the water in an attempt to claw the boats speed up from 5 kts to 32. The effort was for naught. Both torpedoes plowed through the noisemakers that Beam ordered to be ejected to try to create a screen, and his boat was moving too slow to make any radical evasive maneuvers. The first Russian torpedo impacted New York City’s screw, wrecking it and flooding the engine room. As the American sub’s engine noises ceased the boat began to descend stern-first. The second Orlan bored in and completed the destruction, impacting on the submarine’s back just below the sail, opening up the bridge to the sea and mercifully killing Commander Beam and his entire bridge crew. The broken hull of USS New York City and its now dead crew descended toward the ocean floor, joining Kirov and its crew.


Aboard Varyag, Admiral Shustov was in shock at the loss of Kirov. One minute it was there, and seemingly the next it was gone. Then his receiver buzzed. It was his screen commander.

“We got him, Tovarich Admiral. We recorded two explosions from the vicinity of our ASW rockets, and then breakup noises.”

“Very well,” Shustov returned the receiver. Good news, but it wouldn’t help him or his carrier, who were still being chased by three American torpedoes. He was going to need some luck to survive this night. He said a prayer to the God that the State told him he wasn’t allowed to believe in.

Lady Luck, or God, smiled on Shustov’s prayer. Varyag was trailing a torpedo decoy that succeeded in seducing the lead American weapon. The Mk48 exploded violently several hundred yards behind the carriers churning screws. This explosion caused the second torpedo to lose its target in the resulting acoustic chaos and also explode prematurely. That left one torpedo churning towards Varyag. As it closed, the carrier’s captain ordered a radical turn to port, not that his decoy was expended, in a last desperate attempt to create a knuckle of water to lure away the ship’s tormentor. This last evasion failed, and Admiral Shustov actually watched the luminescent wake of the American torpedo as it closed with Varyag’s port side, dozens of meters below him. Just before it impacted, one of his staff officers grabbed him and threw him to the deck, cutting his face.

The explosion shook Varyag’s entire 60,000 ton bulk. Alarms screamed and Shustov thought he could detect a slight list. Then the engines slowed, and his receiver buzzed. It was the ship’s captain.

“Tovarich Admiral, the damage is not too severe. We have some minor flooding along the port side. I’ve slowed the ship to give the damage control parties some help in shoring up the hull, but I expect to be able to make full speed despite the damage. Flight operations should be able to continue as soon as we resume our course.”

Shustov let out a ragged breath and thanked the God he hadn’t believed in until five minutes before. Red Banner Northern Fleet had had a very bad night to this point, but one of its fleet carriers and one of its battlecruisers were still afloat, and Russian strategy was still tenuously intact. Added to that was the destruction of a NATO submarine. But it had been a close-run thing, and he cursed STAVKA for not allowing him to conduct his task group as he knew how. The price for their meddling had been the lives of Kirov’s 700 crew.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2015, 09:54:20 AM »
Right. I can actually see Admiral Starka's face turn as red as the hammer & sickle on his ships flag as they go down to the deep. Reminds me of my Red Storm Rising days on the Amiga. Except I was usually the one turning red. O0
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Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2015, 10:44:21 AM »
The loss of New York City hurts, but the Red Banner Northern Fleet has been brutalized in the first day of the war.
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Offline ComradeP

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2015, 11:29:13 AM »
Very nice AAR!
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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2015, 04:39:44 AM »
Thanks ComradeP! Unfortunately it's going to be a couple weeks before I can get back to it. I'm in the middle of a move transitioning into a vacation, but I fully intend to resume once I get the house set up.

Offline Freyland

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Re: Northern Fury 2: X-Ray Station - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2015, 12:58:37 PM »
Cancel your vacation. NATO is depending on you!