Wednesday, June 14, 2017

COMMAND: Northern Inferno Scenario 5: Beware the Badger Part 3

In Parts One and Two of this scenario, NATO forces are attempting to send an amphibious group to reinforce Narvik and Bardufoss. The Soviets are determined to stop them. Their level of determination was demonstrated when they used nuclear weapons to attack both Bodo Airbase and radar sites in northern Norway.

For its part, the NATO Task Force has fended off some Soviet submarines but not without cost. But the main attack is about to begin: the Soviets have blasted a path through northern Norway, and raids of Badgers will sent through it.

AEW detects an inbound strike
143038Z The P-3s have done well in identifying the Soviet surface groups, and Ark Royal is preparing a strike. However, it will be 1.5 hours before the entire package is ready. But there is a problem. The Gannet AEW detects an inbound strike--probably Badgers. All ready F-4s are launched to intercept. Currently there are four inbound, but undoubtedly there are a lot more behind.

The strike will have to launch now with what I have, otherwise I may lose it. Six Buccaneers from 809 Squadron, four with AS.37 Martels (ARMs) and two with AJ.168 Martels (ASuW missiles) launch. Hopefully Ark Royal will still be around for a follow-up strike.

143206Z Contact. Raid 1 is now 6 aircraft, bearing 054 for 200 miles. 2 Phantoms are airborne and heading to intercept.
F-4s splash a Bear and are then diverted to go after the incoming raid
143557Z Two of my F-4s splash another Bear D. They are then diverted to go after the incoming raid.

144502Z Not taking any chances, I declare all the contacts hostile. My 8 F-4s, moving at Buster, close in on the Badgers which are doing 425kts.

F-4s close in on the raid in pairs
144605Z Things are about to get interesting.

Closing into missile range
144642Z Fox One! Four Sparrows are launched.

Missiles away
144717Z Splash One Badger.

Splash One Badger
144830Z Splash Two.

Splash Two
144845Z Splash Three.

Splash Three
145001Z Splash Four.

Splash Four
145006Z 892 Sqn #9 is shot down by a burst of 23mm rounds...a very lucky shot.

An F-4 is shot down
145022Z Splash Five.

Splash Five
145050Z Splash Six. Raid 1 is destroyed, with no missiles launched. Whew. No more Badgers are detected. Several of the F-4s go RTB Winchester.

Splash Six. Raid 1 is destroyed.
150026Z My strike upon the Sevastopol Surface Group begins. I decide to drop one target from the list at the last minute--which turns out to be a good decision, as it turns out to be a civilian vessel.

Missiles away
One AJ.168 Martel hits Sevastopol, and another hits Ognevoy, a BPK Kashin.

150336Z Sevastopol sinks. Neulovimyy takes a hit as well.

The Martels impact
The remaining Buccaneers, two of them, head north to attack the second Soviet surface fleet.

151136Z Two more bogeys detected, designate Raid 2, along the same flight path as Raid 1 earlier. One contact is moving at 525kts, the other at 425--probably a Badger. First contact unknown.

151510Z None of the soviet surface contacts have any radars on, so my AS.37s cannot track. Therefore I deliberately send in a buccaneer to do a flyover. The CG takes the bait and fires a SAM, and immediately the trailing Buccaneer launches a pair of AS.37s.

A Buccaneer does a flyover to bait the Soviets into turning on their radars
Fortunately both SA-N-3a Goblets miss the lead Buccaneer.

151624Z The strategy works and the CG is hit by an AS.37. Unfortunately, a subsequent SAM launch kills one of the two Buccaneers, and the survivor heads for home.

The CG is hit by an AS.37
151703Z Fox One on Raid 2. The F-4 fires 2 Sparrows and 4 Sidewinders at the Badger...and misses with all of them.

Fox One!
152501Z Vampire! The lead Badger shoots its weapons. The two Vampires appear to have been fired bearing-only, as they leave on a heading of 204, which leads far to the east of the Ark Royal group by about 40 miles. Soon the Vampires change course--it looks like they will hit the group.

Sheffield shoots down all the inbound missiles--they appeared to miss Ark Royal’s group, but there was a danger of them hitting the following group.

The Badgers are destroyed. A followup strike is launched to go after the Soviet surface action groups, and the Ark Royal works fast to get the F-4s ready for launch again.

163027Z Torpedo in the water! Apparently my ASW efforts are grossly inadequate. There is panic for a time, but as the torpedo contact forms up, it appears to be far from my fleet. Still, I use the opportunity to beef up my ASW patrols a little bit.

163744Z The follow-up strike on the Soviet SAG is underway.

The followup strike is underway
163911Z The Kresta II-class Marshal Timoshenko is hit and sunk. One of the Buccaneers is hit by a SAM launched from Gremyashchiy, but it has 6 Martels inbound. Gremyashchiy is hit hard and sinks.

Marshal Timoshenko is hit

Gremyashchiy is hit hard
164252Z Another Torpedo contact...this is the third. It makes me wonder if someone is just randomly firing torpedoes. I’ve seen no targets hit or destroyed. I wonder if someone is firing at one of the commercial vessels ahead of my task forces.

170438Z A F-104 splashes another Bear D between Bodo and Andoya.

181632Z More inbounds--designate Raid 3. Most of the F-4s are nearing readiness, so they will be tasked to intercept. Raid count is four.

181910Z Raid count is now 6. This looks to be a major raid in the making.

182020Z Raid count is now 10. One F4 Interceptor is airborne, the others are being launched as fast as possible.

Raid 3 numbers ten aircraft
182855Z The last available F-4 is airborne, leaving eight fighters to take on the raid of ten bombers.

The fighters move to intercept the raid
182948Z Uh-oh. The first two bombers turn...did they already launch? No vampires detected...yet. They are currently 190nm miles away from Ark Royal, and 50 miles from the nearest F-4.
Now it looks like the second pair of bombers are turning. This is not good. I should have detected inbound vampires by now…

183037Z Vampire! Vampire! Multiple missiles inbound! The lead Phantom sees them first.

Vampire! Vampire!
183127Z More Vampires inbound, 8 in number.

Vampire count increasing...
Vampire count increasing…

Here they come...
183337Z Sheffield opens fire, but it has only 4 Sea Darts left. Behind Sheffield is Galatea and Berwick with Sea Cats, but I have little hope they’ll work. There will likely be 20 Vampires inbound. Ark Royal is in deep, deep trouble.

Sheffield fires its Sea Darts
The Sea Darts do horribly. The angle is poor and they cannot strike the missiles.

The angle is terrible and so the Sea Darts miss
Galatea’s Sea Cats will not fire at all, as they are incapable of striking the inbound missiles. I fear Ark Royal is doomed many times over.

The Vampires soar over the impotent Galatea
The Vampires zoom over Galatea, completely ignoring her, making a beeline for Ark Royal

Ark Royal is in deep trouble
Continued in Part Four...

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