Author Topic: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR  (Read 14930 times)

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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2016, 03:07:50 PM »
Thanks for the kind words gents. More coming soon.

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2016, 09:28:20 PM »
0730 29 February
“Base, this is Perseus Five,” called the pilot of the 42 Squadron RAF Nimrod, patrolling 350 miles west of Brest, “that’s the last of our buoys, mate. We’re down to fifteen minutes until bingo fuel. Be heading ‘ome soon.”

“Roger, Perseus Five,” came the response. “Stay on station until Bingo. Your replacement is having engine difficulties at the moment.”

The crew of the Nimrod had been flying back and forth across this patch of ocean for half the night trying to sanitize a path for HMS Forth George, several hours out of Portsmouth, to eventually link-up with that Yank carrier. They were all ready to be out of their seats and in bed. All 120 of their passive sonobuoys were now in the water in a field that spanned dozens of miles in every direction. They were ready to hand the data links off to another crew and be done with it. Their fuel stare would dictate their departure soon regardless. So far they had heard nothing but whales and fish.

Just then the pilot heard, “Sir, I’m picking up something on Jezebel Four-Four...getting stronger...it sounds like twin screws sir.”

“Should we head over and check it out?” asked the copilot.

“Not enough fuel,” said the captain, only half relieved. “We’ll stay here as long as we can and monitor the signal, but with no replacement we’ll have to abandon it eventually.

Five minutes later the sonarman in back was ready to give his judgment. “Sir, it’s an Echo II. He’s passing right next to the buoy, heading is northwest to southeast. Making about five knots.”

“Get a contact report off,” ordered the captain. “And find out when our relief is expected. We’re going to lose him if we wait too long.

-----

Aboard Eisenhower, Admiral Grundal was up, groggy, and trying to sip down a steaming cup of coffee as fast as he could while his flag lieutenant updated him on the situation that had developed over the past three hours.

“...and sir, that’s about it. The convoy system is in full swing. We have our first one exiting the Med this morning, another is two hours our of Brest, and you know about the situation on the north Atlantic. We have a few hangers on who are refusing to wait for the convoys, and it’s costing us. About an hour ago we got a call from the Irish coast guard. A container ship trying to make its own way, the SS Wild Rose, was just torpedoed ninety miles of the southwest coast of Ireland.”

“Anything we can do to help them?” asked Grundal, still trying to wake himself up.

“No sir,” answered the lieutenant. “Not to be harsh, but they took their chances when they sailed without escort. The Irish say they are trying to get someone out there, but honestly there’s no one nearby, except whoever sank them.”

The admiral nodded, then said, “Well, Wild Rose did us one service, at least.”

“What’s that, sir?” asked the aide.

“Now we know there’s at least one Russki up there waiting for us.”

The lieutenant nodded as a petty officer came in and handed him a message. The lieutenant read it and said, “Make that two Russkis, sir. The Brits are reporting that they had solid contact with an Echo II about thirty minutes ago at the south end of our assembly area, but weren’t able to prosecute. They have a bird en route to try to reacquire, but they lost him for now.”

“How did they manage to lose an old rust bucket like that?” asked Grundal in frustration. The Echo IIs were old, but depending on the model one could be carrying eight SS-N-12 missiles, and those could be nuclear.

“The Nimrod ran out of fuel and had to head home,” explained the aide, “ and its replacement had mechanical difficulties.”

The admiral grumbled but knew it was inevitable. Everyone had been running on all cylinders for nearly a week now. Both machines and men were starting to break down. “Anything we can do?”

“Sir, we could send our on-station P-3 up there, but he wouldn’t be able to stay long. And it’s really too far for our S-3s.”

Grundal swore under his breath, then said, “Well, we’ll just have to hope the Brits can reacquire him, and find whoever torpedoes Wild Rose, hopefully before we get up there.”

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2016, 07:11:26 PM »
0830 20 February
Commander Pimms, the captain of HMS Churchill, the old Royal Navy submarine patrolling the Eisenhower’s assembly area, munched on a breakfast of fried bread and bacon as he sat in his command chair. Chruchill was about a hundred miles of the southwest tip of Ireland, her crew trying to ensure no one was around to disturb the Americans’ arrival or their replenishment operations. 

Right now that task appeared to be easier said than done. Pimms’ crew had been tracking a faint ambiguous contact to the southeast when they had heard the death of SS Wild Rose to the north. The commander had made the decision to turn that way and investigate, but over the past several hours he had detected nothing. Now the contact to his south was back again.

“Richard,” the captain said to his XO, “let’s go to communication depth and see if we can’t ring up some support, shall we?”

A few minutes later the radio transmission burst into the ether with the message that HMS Churchill was in the vicinity of at least one and possibly two enemy submarines.

-----

Perseus Two, the Nimrod patrol aircraft that had belatedly replaced Perseus Five in the hunt for the Echo II along Eisenhower’s projected course, circles the location of the last beacon to have heard the Russian. The enemy’s last heading had been estimated as to the east, and the captain decided to search in this direction, dropping another line of buoys as he went. These failed to detect anything, even after the aircraft had traveled a much farther distance  than the Echo possibly could have covered in the time since they had lost contact. That was not good.

Just then over the radio he heard, “Perseus Two, be advised, HMS Churchill to your north reports two possibly contacts in their vicinity. They give their locations as...” the voice gave the coordinates. “We leave it up to you as to which threat to prosecute first. They will all need to be dealt with before Fort George and the Americans arrive tomorrow.”

The pilot considered, then answered, “We’ll stay here for now. The missiles on this Echo are the greater long-range threat, and the longer we let him go the harder he will be to find.”

“Understood Perseus. St. Mawgan Base out.”

The pilot turned the Nimrod south and started laying another pattern, trying to cover the likely course towards the American carrier, though the flattop was still hundreds of miles away. After nearly an hour of searching, they still had nothing. The pilot was growing frustrated. Soon he would be running out of fuel as well, without even getting a sniff of the solid contact Perseus Five had made, nor giving HMS Churchill any of the support her captain had requested.

“Ok,” the pilot decided, “let’s go north to  Churchill. We’ll lay a line of buoys along the way so that if the Echo went north as well, we can at least track him if he moves back west.”

The Nimrod banked and settled onto a northerly course, dropping SSQ-905 Jezebel buoys at regular intervals along the way. After about ten minutes the chief sonar tech in back called, “Sir, I’ve got him! We just dropped one right on top of him. It’s definitely him sir. He went north, not south”!

Immediately the pilot banked his aircraft around to conduct a MAD pass. The sensor fixed the enemy sub on the first flyover, and from there it was only a matter of time. Two MK46s sent the aging Soviet cruise-missile submarine to the bottom without further drama.

“Call up St. Mawgan,” said the pilot, “inform them that there is one less Russian to contest the Americans’ advance. We are proceeding north to assist Churchill.” The copilot called in the report as the patrol plane continued to fly north. They arrived over Churchill’s patrol area thirty minutes later and began laying another pattern of buoys.

After the initial patterns was in the water, the petty officer in the back called on the intercom, “Sir, I am reading something off two of our southernmost buoys, numbers ninety and ninety-two.”

“Could that be Churchill?” asked the copilot.

“Most likely not,: answered the commander. “Two far south and outside of his assigned patrol boundaries. Let’s lay a closer patterns and take a look.”

Before long the very capably Jezebel buoys had allowed the Nimrod’s crew to identify the contact first as a Russian SSN, then as a Victor III.

“That’s probably the bloke that god Wild Rose,” said the copilot angrily.

“Let’s go get him, agreed the captain.”

They fixed the Russian’s location with their MAD gear and then came back around, dropping a single MK46. It took the aircraft commander only a few seconds to ascertain that he had misjudged the drop.

“Sir,” the petty officer called over the intercom, “the contact has gone to flank speed and is maneuvering...it sounds like the weapon his heading in the wrong direction...yes, tracks diverging...a miss sir.”

The pilot swore, then brought his aircraft back around. He had plenty of torpedoes, and each one he dropped meant a few more minutes he could stay on station.

“We’ll do two MAD passes, then drop two torpedoes,” announced the pilot.

“Roger,” acknowledged the copilot.

This time their aim was true. The captain of the Victor, warned by the first torpedo that he was under attack, maneuvered desperately to shake the weapons chasing him, but in the end he only ensured that both impacted into the boat’s flank, instantly killing every man in the control room and causing the sub to roll completely onto its side as it sank into the depths.

The crew of Perseus Two celebrated their second victory of the patrol. They were low on fuel now and the pilot set a course for St. Mawgan and home. When they were about halfway there St. Mawgan base called.

“Perseus, do you happen to have any fuel to spare?” the controller asked.

“About ten percent,” responded the pilot. “Why do you ask?”

“The screen commander for the Fort George group just called. They’ve detected an old Romeo boat just south of Plymouth. None of their helicopters are ready at the moment and they are asking if you could possibly give them some assistance?” The request was very polite, in a British sort of way.

“Yes,” said the captain, “if they had a good vector I think we should be able to some good.”

So they did. Perseus Two’s pilot adjusted his course to the south, entering the skies of the western end of the English channel.  Once in the reported vicinity of the aging Soviet diesel boat they began dropping a short line of buoys. Before long they had the hapless Russian pegged. “I wonder how he got all the way down here undetected?” wondered the copilot as they banked into their attack run.

“It’s a large ocean,” shrugged the pilot.

Killing the Romeo felt a little like clubbing seals after their earlier victories. Two Mk46s dispatched the Russian boat almost before its crew knew they were under attack. With a thanks from Fort George, Perseus Two turned north for home, its crew ecstatic at what had been a patrol for the record books. Seven of their nine torpedoes expended to destroy an Echo-II, a Victor, and the old Romeo. The pilot decided that the squadron commander would be buying him and his crew drinks at the pub whenever they could get some down time.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2016, 08:52:27 PM »
Second round's on me Perseus Two.
"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 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2016, 07:59:09 PM »
The remainder of the day passed relatively uneventfully in the eastern Atlantic. Admiral Grundal continued to anxiously track the painstaking progress of his scattered task force. By nightfall the Detroit group was only forty miles astern, almost within support range, but not quite. After a long day, the Admiral was almost ready to turn in early when he heard, “Sir, Vicksburg reports a faint sonar contact to starboard. Too faint to identify or give range.”

“This isn’t another pod of whales, is it?” muttered Grundal. One of the S-3s had earlier in the day expended a load of sonobuoys localizing and almost attacking a family of the mammals before breaking off, embarrassed.

“Too early to tell, sir,” the staff officer answered.”

The admiral sat back down, peeved that his trip to his bunk had been delayed, yet again. He let out a long yawn .

-----

Aboard to Pskov, Captain Matros was ecstatic. He had timed his intercept of the American carrier group perfectly. There ahead of him, seen through his periscope which was extended just above the water so that waves lapped into the field of view, was the unmistakable shape of an American carrier. Of course, it was still far too distant to engage, but he was here with the perfect weapon to do the job, and the Americans’ escort did not appear to have been reinforced. He noted the bearing and range once again, then slapped down the periscope’s handles and ordered, “Helm, take us down ten meters and continue with this course and speed. I will inform Murmansk and then we will dive into the layer to begin our attack run.”

Matros had a healthy respect for the Americans’ ASW capabilities. Which was why he was thankful that he would not be attacking the American task group alone.

Minutes later a burst transmission from Pskov’s radio antenna shot up to one of the surviving Soviet communication satellites, and from thence the information traveled back to earth where it was received at Red Banner Northern Fleet headquarters. In minutes another message was on its way back by a very nearly reciprocal route.

-----

Aboard the Oscar-II class missile submarine Voronezh, barely making steerage way at communication depth 325 miles west of the northwest tip of Spain, a communications ensign ran breathlessly into the control room and handed a message printout to the captain, who sat smoking a cigarette in his command chair. The captain took the piece of paper with measured calm, read it, and handed it back with nonchalance. Then, in a quiet voice he ordered, “Executive officer, battle stations missile. Prepare to launch all of our weapons. Target azimuth will be zero-four-zero. I wish for all of our missiles to be in the air in the minimum amount of time, just as we have practiced.”

The control room sprang into action, with officers and sailors pushing buttons, turning keys, entering information into fire control computers. The captain watched with pride. His was one of the elite boats of the Soviet Navy. He had been drilling these men hard both before and after the start of the war. He knew his weapons had been held in readiness for a special opportunity by his fleet headquarters. Now that opportunity was at hand.

In minutes his weapons officer spoke. “All missiles are in readiness tovarich Captain!”

The captain nodded, stubbed out his cigarette, then said, “Very well, we will fire from front to rear. All missiles release.”

Seconds later the first two of Voronezh’s twenty four big P-700 Granit sea-skimming anti-ship missiles exploded out of their forward canted tubes on either side of the sub’s hull, heading east.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 08:01:49 PM by Airborne Rifles »

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2016, 08:20:45 PM »
Ruh Roh Raggy
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2016, 08:21:11 PM »
Uh oh. Admiral Grundal is going to wish for those whales back.
"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 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2016, 09:15:33 PM »
Aboard Eisenhower, Admiral Grundal was listening in on the ASW net as the screen commander was just starting to vector an S-3 and a helo onto the faint contact to starboard when he heard klaxons go off throughout the ship. Then the intercom blared “Vampire vampire vampire. Battle station missiles, I repeat, battle stations missile. Set condition one throughout the ship.” The admiral quickly looked down at his tactical display. There, on the screen, the red chevron symbols of incoming missiles blinked at him. There appeared to be a stream of them, coming from the west southwest.

“Well, I guess they found us,” muttered the admiral.

-----

The lead pilot of the two-ship flight of F-14s that had just been relieved on CAP duty was just turning into his final approach to lank on Ike when the controller on the E-2C orbiting to the northwest came on his net, tension causing the man’s voice to break.

“Swordsman three, this is Seahawk three-three, we have multiple vampires inbound from the southwest. Count is one-eight and climbing. Break off your landing pattern and come to vector two-five-zero. You are free to engage once you are in range, over.”

The pilot acknowledged, then checked his fuel gage as he banked left. In his helmet he could hear Seahawk three-three giving similar instructions to the two-ship flight that had just taken up CAP station to the north of Ike. His fuel indicator showed his bird was low. He didn’t want to have to ditch his multi-million dollar fighter in the sea because he ran out of gas. On the other hand, his did want somewhere to land that was preferably not on fire or sinking, or both.

In the back, the RIO was powering up the powerful AN/AWG-9 radar which they had kept off throughout their entire patrol up to this point. Their wingmen aboard the F-14 to their starboard, Swordsman four, were doing the same.  To the northwest, Swordsman five and six were just punching their afterburners and settling into an unfavorably oblique intercept course with the incoming weapons.

“All Swordman flights, this is Seahawk three-three,” crackled the E-2 crewman, “incoming count is now two-four vampires. I repeat, two-four. Get as many as you can, then break north and south to clear the sky for Vicksburg to do her work, over.”

Swordsman three’s pilot acknowledged. He knew from his mission brief that the Aegis cruiser’s missile tubes were only half-full after their battles in the Med. They desperately needed to thin the herd.

Swordsman three and four each carried four AIM-54C Phoenix missiles, along with two AIM-7s and two AIM-9s. They could potentially do a lot of thinning. However, the pilot knew from their threat briefs that the Soviet missiles they were likely engaging now possessed their own jammers and ECM, and would be streaking forward at wave top level. Certainly not ideal conditions for long-range missile fire. Swordsman five and six were in an even more unfavorable position, coming at the enemy weapons from the north so that the missiles were crossing their front from right to left. But they had no choice. They needed to engage as quickly as possible and then get out of Vicksburg’s way.   

“All right,” Swordsman three’s RIO, “I’m getting some good returns off the vampires...getting some interference from the jamming...I’ve got lock, we’re good to launch!”

The pilot mashed his trigger and said, “This is Swordsman three, Fox Three!” Then he called to his back seater, "give me another one, let’s get the Phoenix’s away fast.”

They repeated the sequence three more times until their big, fire-and-forget radar-guided missiles were all gone. Out of the right of his canopy the pilot could see his wingman doing the same, trails of fire streaking into the night sky and lofting towards the fading pink horizon.

Of the eight AIM-54’s launched by the flight, five connected with an incoming missile, smashing them into the waves only meters below in flashes that were visibly even from two dozen miles away. Nineteen still inbound. The missiles from the northern pair of fighters did not perform as well. With the oblique angle of attack, only three of the missiles connected, and these two F-14s would not be able to make another intercept with their Sparrows. Sixteen.

As the Granits passed within thirty miles of the F-14 flight, the pilot launched the first of his two Sparrows with a “Fox One!” His wingman did the same. Only one of the AIM-7s connected, and now the F-14 jocks were in Sidewinder range. Fifteen.

Both pilots dove towards the oncoming P-700s, giving their AIM-9s’ seekers the best possible opportunity to lock onto the hot missiles against the background of the cool ocean. The pilot targeted one of the lead missiles, squeezed his trigger, and called “Fox Two!” He then did the same for one of the trailing enemy weapons. And then he was beyond them, banking south.

“Good job, Swordsmen,” called the E-2’s controller. “We still have twelve inbound. Now get out of the way and let Vicksburg do her thing.” The pilots needed no encouragement.

-----

Admiral Grundal watched from the forward looking windows of the flag bridge as the dark shape of USS Vicksburg lit up with fiery tails streaking upward, then nosing over to the left. Missile after missile departed the cruiser in rapid succession, leaving a cloud of smoke to waft behind her and float over Ike’s flight deck.

On the tactical display screen the Admiral could track the progress of the battle as Vicksburg’s SM-2 missiles flew on an intercept arc with the oncoming P-700s. There was an Oscar out there with empty missile tubes, he knew. Grundal had every intention of hunting that sub down...if his carrier survived this attack. 

Two SM-2s targeted each oncoming Soviet missile. Some missed, but most did not. The admiral watched with satisfaction as one enemy missile symbol after another disappeared from the screen. Then his satisfaction turned to concern as he saw that two of the sea skimmers had leaked through and were on an intercept course for the carrier. The admiral was about to open his mouth and say something about the threat when he jumped at a flash and a tearing roar, seemingly just outside the flag bridge. Confused for a moment, the admiral gathered himself and then looked out the port window to see the last of four Sea Sparrow missiles leave Eisenhower’s launcher. These four closed the deal, knocking down the last Soviet missile six miles from Ike.

Grundal let out a breath. He’d been sleepy before the attack. He was wide awake now. He turned to a staff officer and said, "that was closer than I would have liked. Call Vicksburg. I want a report on her missile stocks.”

Moments later the staff officer came back and said, “Sir, Vicksburg reports her magazines are at one quarter capacity. Her skipper says it will be close if we have to fight off another one like that.”

Grundal nodded. Vicksburg had fired off more than half of her remaining SAMs. They had been fortunate that four F-14s had been airborne at the time of the attack, two in their landing pattern. Had that not been the case things might have been even more hairy.

Then the admiral remembered something else. “What’s the status on that sonar contact to starboard?”

“We lost it, sir,” his ASW officer reported. “The aircraft had to wave off to clear the airspace for the missile fire. They’re heading back now to recommence the search.”

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2016, 03:29:53 AM »
Those Tomcats did well to knock down half the missiles before the Vicksburg engaged.
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2016, 08:53:39 AM »
That was so tense, I need a drink right now.
"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 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2016, 09:03:03 AM »
Those Tomcats did well to knock down half the missiles before the Vicksburg engaged.

I was lucky the one flight hadn't landed yet when the attack started.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2016, 09:18:34 AM »
Those Tomcats did well to knock down half the missiles before the Vicksburg engaged.

I was lucky the one flight hadn't landed yet when the attack started.

It's better to be lucky than good ;)
"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 Freyland

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2016, 08:04:35 PM »
I am so pissed that there isn't another update RIGHT. NOW.   :smitten:

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2016, 09:27:33 PM »
Sorry :). Busy day getting ready for a staff ride to the Chancellorsville battlefield. I plan to wrap this up tomorrow afternoon. Thanks for reading!

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.1: Eisenhower Moves North - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #29 on: July 09, 2016, 07:47:00 AM »
Chancellorsville-- Lucky Stiff. Now try to tell us how it's really just work and not fun at all.  :coolsmiley:
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.