And now my strike aircraft are starting to arrive over Iceland. Time to dish out some pain.
September 12, 1975 0416Z Flight Poker 41, a pair of F-105G Thunderchiefs, came into range of the SA-6 Gainful battery at Reykjavik. The flight lead thumbed his trigger, releasing the AGM-45B Shrike. "Poker 41, Magnum! Magnum!"
To the west, near Keflavik, a pair of MiG-23M Flogger Bs launched several missiles, one at the F-105Gs closing on Keflavik, and two more at the F-4Cs of the fighter sweep that were moving to intercept.
The Thunderchiefs of Flight Jimmy 10 dodged the inbound missile, and Knight 41 launched at Sidewinder at the Flogger. "Fox Two!"
One of the Apexes found its mark, destroying Knight 71.
|Fighters maneuver all over the sky as to the east, a Shrike closes in on the SA-6|
|Knight 62 is shot down by a SAM|
Multiple Shrikes impacted the ground near the SA-6 Gainfuls. They were successful in that they shut down the radars, or at least frightened their operators enough so that they would shut them down, but the launchers themselves were still there.
F-105Gs had been dispatched to take out the Long Track Radars at Iceland's perimeter. The northern pair had destroyed one, and with two Shrikes left, one of the Thunderchiefs diverted south to use them against SA-6s.
The remaining SA-6 radars, Straight Flushes, went silent, leaving the Thunderchiefs with no targets.
|USS Dale, shortly before hostilities broke out|
0430Z "Vampire! Vampire!" called out the CIC talker aboard Dale. "Multiple missiles inbound." The Nanuchkas had gotten close enough to launch their anti-ship missiles at the Oriskany group. USS Dale was in a good firing position, and had thirty-three SAMs remaining. Captain Jones stared intently at the scope, watching the anti-ship missiles close in.
Six minutes later, Dale began firing RIM-67A SM-1ERs.
|USS Dale launches SAMs|
Each Nanuchka Corvette was armed with six SS-N-9 Sirens, and Captain Jones estimated that this was likely the last salvo they could deliver. The captain was focused but confident. Dale's twelve remaining SAMs should be sufficient to take them out. But after that?
|SS-N-9 Siren launching from a Nanuchka|
The Farragut-class destroyer USS Dewey, miles to the southwest of Dale, launched a pair of its own SAMs to assist.
|USS Dewey opens fire to defend USS Dale|
Captain Jones watched the plot, willing the SAMs to move faster. Time was running out. If the missiles couldn't do it, the 76mm guns would try to shoot it down, and there were the Dale's chaff rockets, but those were defenses he did not want to rely on.
Dale opened fire with its 76mm guns in a last ditch effort to shoot down the missile. It got off two shells.
|It's a race to the Dale, and one that the Siren looks to win.|
|USS Dale sinks|
The SEAD flights of both the Oriskany and those F-105Gs that still had ordnance closed in on Reykjavik and Keflavik, but the Straight Flushes remained silent. The pilots of the inbound strikes hoped they had the sense to stay that way.
050120Z Four A-7s, armed with AGM-62B Walleye IIs, launched from Oriskany as Flight Zombie 24, their target the Ammo Dumps at Keflavik. Soon after, four more A-7s, launched, their targets the hangars and fuel tanks.
|B-52s approach Reykjavik|
|Flight Speed 6 approaches to within 4nm of Reykjavik|
|The bombs impact the airport|
|The second flight of B-52s approach Keflavik, while to the SW the A-7s close in on their own strike missions|
|The bombs impact Keflavik, putting a runway out of action|
|An A-7 flies in low to attack the hangars while Walleyes slowly glide into their targets.|
|Barn Owls #3 and 4 go in hot|
|The A-7 passes over the Walleyes' target|
|The Walleyes strike their targets|
|An SA-7b Grail takes out one of the A-7s|
|The second bombing of Reykjavik airport|
While my basic plan came off without a hitch, I did make some serious mistakes, the primary one being that I allowed the Nanuchkas get within firing range of my Task Unit, and it cost me the USS Dale. How did this happen? When I created the mission for my task group, I forgot to uncheck the "Investigate contacts out of patrol area" box on the Mission Editor. This meant that as soon as the hostile surface contacts were detected, the Oriskany group charged full speed ahead towards them in the hopes of conducting a surface engagement. This meant they left their patrol area and closed the distance, bringing them within range of the Nanuchkas. It's entirely my own fault because I noticed that they were going the wrong way, but I was so focused on the Air-to-Air engagements and my own strikes that I couldn't be bothered to investigate why the Task Unit was moving somewhere I didn't want them to, and then correct it. I also could have neutralized the Nanuchkas as I had Shrikes to spare at this point, although I was shepherding them to use against radars around my targets. I also assumed that should the Nanuchkas get within firing range, the Dale would deal with the SSMs easily enough. And, truth be told, it should have. It had several SAMs left, but just ceased firing when the Dewey opened fire behind it, despite having what I thought was a better chance of shooting down the missiles. After I lost the Dale, I reran that final missile engagement several times to see if I could better analyze exactly why Dale was hit. But every single time, it survived no problem. The only time it was hit was the first time I had ran it--bad luck, I guess.
This episode illustrates the nature of Command--if you forget a minor thing--if you forget anything, it can have dire consequences. Granted, in the real world, a savvy Executive Officer might have said, "Sir, are you sure you want to leave the patrol area and charge those Nanuchkas? I mean, we'd do better just to stay put," rather than blindly following my incompetent orders.
But that's the thing about Command being a realistic simulation: it teaches you lessons.
SIDE: Soviet Union
25x MiG-23M Flogger B
13x Su-24 Fencer B
2x Be-12PL Mail
3x Vehicle (Straight Flush [1S91])
2x SA-6a Gainful [2P25] TEL
4x Radar (Long Track [P-40])
2x 23mm ZSU-23-4 Shilka
1x PL-641 Foxtrot
2x Be-12PS Mail
1x A/C Hangar (2x Medium Aircraft)
1x Building (Control Tower)
2x AvGas (150k Liter Tank)
12x SSC-1 Sepal [P-35V]
14x AS-9 Kyle [Kh-28]
2x AA-8 Aphid [R-60T]
28x AA-7 Apex A [R-23R, SARH]
12x SS-N-9 Siren [P-120 Malakhit]
24x SA-6a Gainful [9M336]
18x SA-N-4a Gecko [9M33]
40x 23mm ZSU-23-4 Shilka Burst [50 rnds]
11x SA-7b Grail [9M32M]
18x SA-9b Gaskin [9M31M]
1x F-8J Crusader
4x F-4C Phantom II
1x CG 16 Leahy
4x A-7B Corsair II
40x AN/SSQ-47 Julie Active Range-Only
74x RIM-67A SM-1ER
1x 20mm Mk12 x 4 [100 rnds]
2x AIM-9G Sidewinder
1x AIM-9H Sidewinder
60x AIM-7E2 Sparrow III
16x AIM-9J Sidewinder
20x AGM-45B Shrike [ARM]
3x Mk46 LWT Mod 2
5x Generic Flare Salvo [3x Cartridges, Single Spectral]
2x 76mm/50 Twin Frag Burst [2 rnds]
2x Generic Chaff Rocket
792x M117 750lb GPB
16x AGM-62B Walleye II ER/DL
36x Mk82 500lb Snakeeye
12x CBU-59/B APAM [717 x BLU-77/B Dual-Purpose Bomblets]