Author Topic: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR  (Read 13943 times)

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Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2016, 07:37:31 PM »
Heh. Makes me want to play it :P
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2016, 08:14:13 AM »
With the Soviet naval fighters patrolling over the Faroe Islands, the British command aboard HMS Invincible was forced to pull back their western aerial flank. Tornados and Phantoms from RAF Leuchars still pulled CAP over the three surviving ships of TG De Ruyter and the Shetlands, while the AMRAAM equipped Harriers of the British carrier task group remained within the protective bubble provided by the long-range Sea Dart missiles carried by Invincible's escorts.

As the night moved into the early morning hours both sides scored successes and suffered losses. The pilot of a lone RAF Tornado from the TG De Ruyter CAP, working from direction offered by the controllers in the E-3D over Scotland, switched off his radar and turned north. After several minutes of cruising he was within range of the valuable Tu-95 Bear reconnaissance bomber whose crew had provided targeting for the Tu-22M strike on the surface group earlier. Once in range the pilot flipped on his radar, locked it onto the huge Russian four-engine turbo-prop aircraft, and lofted a single Sky Flash missile northward. 

The crew of the lumbering Soviet aircraft barely had time to react to the threat. Their radars were meant for surface search, and without an airborne radar asset they had been oblivious to the approach of the loan NATO interceptor. The Soviet pilot was just beginning to put his aircraft into a banking dive when the Sky Flash detonated over the middle of the port wing, sending shrapnel through both engines and starting a fire that quickly engulfed the entire wing. The pilot maintained level flight to allow his crew to escape. Once all had bailed out over the dark water below, he put the bomber on autopilot and made his way to the emergency exit. Just as he got there the structural integrity of the wing failed. The bomber folded in upon itself and tumbled towards the moonlit clouds below. The pilot did not escape.

Further west, the helicopter ASW screen for Invincible had been tracking several contacts during the night. One after another proved to be false contacts or biologics, which hadn't stopped one of the Task Group's more jumpy helicopter crews from launching and expensive Mk46 torpedo into a school of codfishes. But one contact remained persistent and was drawing closer to the NATO formation from the northeast. The NATO helicopter crews used passive sonobuoys and dipping sonar along with their MAD sensors to localize the contact. After about an hour they screen commander was willing to accept the contact's designation as a Soviet Sierra-class submarine and ordered his aircraft to engage.

Two Mk46 fish were dropped from one of the helicopters directly onto the tail of the Soviet boat, whose crew were unaware that they were even being tracked. The Russian captain, belatedly aware that he was under attack, barely had time to order his ship to flank speed before the two fish, diving from above and behind, detonated their warheads, one against his ships screw, the other above the engine room, which quickly flooded. The sub's engines stopped, and the ship slid backwards into the depths of the Rockall Trough.

To the east, the NATO ASW effort was less successful. In TG De Ruyter, the frigate Niels Juel had been the ASW picket for the four ship formation. The destruction of that ship in the strike by the Tu-22Ms had allowed the captain of a Soviet Tango-class diesel-electric boat to successfully stalk the NATO ships. The first warning that the crews of TG De Ruyter received of the threat was the sound of high speed torpedo screws approaching from directly ahead at close range.

While the three ships maneuvered violently to try to evade the sudden threat, the airborne ASW help sped towards the location where the torpedoes had first been heard and began searching the back bearing for the enemy ship, which the dipping MAD equipment quickly detected. The helicopter dropped smoke to mark the site, banked into a circle and came back around to drop a Mk46 into the water.

The NATO counterattack was too slow for the German frigate Brandenburg, however. The two big Soviet torpedoes pressed in relentlessly and detonated under the ship's keel, causing structural failure throughout the ship. Even so, the frigate did not break up, but rather settled in the water, giving much of her crew time to scramble into life rafts and boats.

The Soviet captain had erred in concentrating his attack on one ship, however. With the Mk46 in the water chasing his boat, he was unable to execute a second attack on the two surviving NATO frigates. In the end, his evasive maneuvers were futile as well and the Tango joined the Brandenburg on the bottom of the North Sea.

Perhaps the most satisfying NATO victory of the night so far occurred when the Nimrod, sent to locate the sub that had sunk the evacuation ferry off the west coast of the Shetlands, detected, localized, and engaged its prey, a Soviet Kilo-class submarine. The destruction of the Russian warship did nothing to bring back the dozens of civilians who had been dumped into the frigid waters earlier in the night, but the NATO crew felt that at least some justice had been served for the travesty. However, the Nimrod's pilot was quickly forced to withdraw south due to ominous developments north of both island goups...

Offline KyzBP

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2016, 08:24:44 AM »
Heh. Makes me want to play it :P

Ha!  I bought the game because of this damn AAR.  :tickedoff:


Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2016, 08:34:15 AM »
Heh. Makes me want to play it :P

Ha!  I bought the game because of this damn AAR.  :tickedoff:

Hope you weren't disappointed!

By the way KyzBP, are you former Army MI? Your profile picture is from the post I am stationed at right now.

Offline KyzBP

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2016, 09:26:31 AM »
Heh. Makes me want to play it :P

Ha!  I bought the game because of this damn AAR.  :tickedoff:

Hope you weren't disappointed!

By the way KyzBP, are you former Army MI? Your profile picture is from the post I am stationed at right now.

I haven't played it yet.  The last thing I need right now is something to draw me away from WiTP:AE.  Once that game ends then I'll start playing it.  Right now I'm enjoying it by playing vicariously through you. O0

Yes.  533rd MI (deactivated) 3rd AD.  Hoechst (near Frankfurt), Germany 87-89.


Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2016, 01:29:13 PM »
As night advanced into the dark early hours of morning, a new and unexpected threat appeared that threatened to deliver control of both the Faroe and Shetland Islands to the Soviets without even a fight. Powerful radars on the patrolling British Nimrod aircraft had allowed the crews to locate and track the eastern Soviet surface force, centered on the smaller Kiev-class carrier Baku. To the west, the captain of the submarine HMS Turbulent had come to communication depth to report that he had detected and tracked the entire Kuzentsov group, but the geometry of his approach was such that he had been unable to attempt a penetration of the carrier group's screen, electing instead to shadow in their wake in hopes that the Russian ships might turn back and offer him a shot.

South of these groups, a gaggle of merchant ships had been fleeing south. Some of these ships were in contact with Scottish maritime authorities, some not, which wasn't in itself particularly strange. What was strange was a radio conversation in the clear between two of the vessels, spoken in Hungarian accents, that produced the following transcript:

 
-Ship 1: (~63 2N 04 3W) … in position for delivery are you? 

-Ship 2: (~62 2N 01 2W) One ….. other soon. 

-Ship 1: Good, flooding … good riddance. 

-In Russian: (~67N 02W) Terminate all transmitions immediately. 

The Russian command had abruptly ended the radio conversation. The Admiral's intelligence staff was still trying to make sense of these intercepts when a Flash message from US 2nd Fleet arrived. The message announced that NATO forces were abandoning Iceland due to a major Soviet airborne operation there, and indicating that the Shetlands-Faroe sector could expect only continued probing attacks as the Soviets concentrated their major forces against Iceland. The message also limited air operations to south of the line 63 Northing and naval operations to south of 61 Northing. With the attacks on Northern Norway and Iceland, it appeared not to the Admiral's staff that all of the major Soviet forces in their theater were decisively committed. They were only partially right in their assessment.

Thirty minutes later the meaning of the cryptic radio intercept began to become clear. Earlier in the night a Nimrod had buzzed the two ships who had transmitted and identified them as heavy-lift vessels, both carrying large covered objects that hadn't been identified in the darkness and because of large tarp-like coverings. Now, radar operators on the patrolling Nimrod watched two smaller contacts break away from each of these vessel, bearing south at over fifty knots. Only one kind of ship of that size and speed existed in this part of the world.

Four massive Soviet MDK Zubr-class hovercraft thundered southward across the choppy Norwegian sea, two making for each island group. Each vessel, propelled by three gigantic fans and capable of carrying an entire company of naval infantry with their armored vehicles, would reach their destination in less than a hour. If they made it, the islands would fall. British Paras from 1st and 3rd Battalions, the Parachute Regiment, were scheduled to drop at Vagar and Tingwall at dawn, but these operations would be suicide for the lightly armed paratroopers if Soviet marines and armored vehicles already occupied the drop zones by then.

Fortunately, the NATO commander had assets to deal with this surprise development, though dealing with it would come at a cost. Buccaneer attack jets were being readied at RAF Lossiemouth for a strike on one of the Soviet surface groups. Some of these could be dispatched to attack the hovercraft, though this would deplete the already limited number of standoff Sea Eagle missiles available for the attack on the better defended Soviet carriers. Still, the Admiral determined that the loss of the islands north of Scotland would be a far worse outcome than a delayed or ineffective strike. 

After extremely abbreviated mission briefings, four RAF Buccaneer pilots rushed to their waiting aircraft, went through a truncated pre-flight checklist, then taxied to the runway before taking off in pairs. The two flights of attack jets, each aircraft carrying two of the precious Sea Eagles, split up based on guidance provided by the Nimrod and pushed their throttles forward to full military power. They had enough time for the intercept, but there would be no opportunity for a second strike if this one failed.  To the east, the CAP of four Tornadoes  also turned north to provide the bigger jets with protection.

Now the threat became more complicated. The surviving radar station in the Shetlands reported detecting contacts rising from the Baku group that were faster than the helicopter escorts which had been airborne throughout the night. Soon eight fast-moving contacts were in the air, heading south directly between the two pairs of Zubrs and directly into the path of the oncoming British Buccaneers. The pilots of the four Tornadoes, taking direction from the AWACS further south, pushed they throttles to full and lept forward to the intercept.

What followed was the most one-sided engagement of the night. The British pilots, armed with long-range, radar guided Sky Flash missiles, began to engage at maximum range. Their targets, the slow, stubby-winged, Yak-38s of Baku's air component, possessed nothing more lethal than short-ranged IR-guided missiles. They came on, but one after another was blotted from the sky by the volleys of British missiles. In minutes, the Soviet aerial coverage of the developing naval landing had been annihilated, clearing the way for the Buccaneer drivers.

The Yak-38s had accomplished one thing, however. They had forced the patrolling Nimrod, which had been tracking the Soviet hovercraft, to switch off its radar and flee south to clear the aerial engagement area. Now the Buccaneer pilots had to rely on their own, powerful surface search radars for the final targeting of their missiles. As each pair of aircraft reached their release point, the pilots flipped on their sensors and between the two assigned their targets. Once they were certain of their targeting vector, each pilot released his two Sea Eagles. The eight weapons launched off their rails, engines ignited, and dropped down until they were flying northwest at sea skimming altitude.   

Here again the Soviet lack of aerial radar coverage hampered their response. The crew of the first Zubr targeted didn't even know they were under attack until the lead missile plowed into the port bow of the craft, exploding among the crammed naval infantrymen, BTR-70s, and PT-76 tanks. The impact shredded the front skirt of the hovercraft, causing its bow to quickly settle while the massive fans in the back continued to push the ship forward at high speed. The second missile then impacted and demolished the ship's bridge, ending any hope that it could be saved. The fans continued to spin at full power, and in moments the wedge-shaped bow caught the choppy waves. The huge ship lifted violently by the stern, almost flipping over as vehicles and men tumbled forward inside. Then the craft crashed back down and was rapidly pushed beneath the waves by its own propulsion system. 

Lookouts on the trailing Zubr had seen the double flash signifying the death of their sister ship and had alerted the captain. The Zubrs possessed some defenses against missile attack, including two AK-630 30mm CIWS, and two quad Strela-2 missile launchers. The captain of the second hovercraft ordered his radars active. These quickly detected the fast-approaching Sea Eagles and the hovercraft's defenses came alive. 30mm cannon fire ripped from the port CIWS system, walking into the leading missile and detonating its warhead in a flash that lit up the dark clouds above and sea below. But it wasn't enough. The second missile was too close, and the automated AK-630 system failed to lock onto it before it too plowed into its target, wrecking the Zubrs propulsion fans and shredding the rear of its skirt. The captain, his ship dead in the water, was forced to order his crew and the infantrymen in the hold to abandon ship, trusting their lives to the icy Norwegian Sea.

The results were the same for the second pair of Soviet landing ships. In that case, one of the missiles targeted at the lead craft malfunctioned and flew straight by the ship, but not the second. The second ship also managed to down one of the incoming threats, but it two was damaged beyond repair by the last surviving missile.

As the four Buccaneers flew south, the British pilots were gratified to hear the report from the Nimrod, now back on station, that their targets had either disappeared below the waves or were dead in the water. The Paras' drops on the Faroe and Shetland airfields could proceed. Once there, capture by a Soviet coup de main, as had just apparently been attempted, would be much, much more difficult.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2016, 04:24:35 PM »
Bad day for the Russian sub force yesterday.
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

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Offline KyzBP

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2016, 04:28:27 PM »
Bad day for the Russian sub force yesterday.

Today was a bad day to be a Russian Marine.

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #23 on: March 31, 2016, 07:51:45 AM »
Yeah, four companies of naval infantry in the drink is a bad day. Risk much, lose much, I guess.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2016, 10:20:14 AM »
Yeah, four companies of naval infantry in the drink is a bad day. Risk much, lose much, I guess.

Well, if the damned transport ships had better radio discipline :P
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

"you don't look at the mantelpiece when you're poking the fire" - Bawb

"Can’t ‘un’ until you ‘pre’, son." - Gus

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2016, 11:01:59 AM »
Yeah, four companies of naval infantry in the drink is a bad day. Risk much, lose much, I guess.

Well, if the damned transport ships had better radio discipline :P

Hungarians... ::)

Probably best not to rely on ships from a land-locked country.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2016, 11:35:39 AM »
I doubt the Hungarians felt very bad about the Russians taking a swim.
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

"you don't look at the mantelpiece when you're poking the fire" - Bawb

"Can’t ‘un’ until you ‘pre’, son." - Gus

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2016, 11:41:31 AM »
True enough.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2016, 01:52:08 PM »
If I were the Hungarians, I wouldn't go back to port for awhile. Like.... ever.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline KyzBP

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Re: Northern Fury 7: Plug the Gap - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2016, 09:18:52 AM »
If I were the Hungarians, I wouldn't go back to port for awhile. Like.... ever.

Defection may be the best option.