Sunday, October 6, 2013

Command Modern Air/Naval Operations - Report of Action for May 25, 1982 (Malvinas/Falklands War)

In this Command Modern Air/Naval Operations (CMANO) scenario (Sea of Fire) the Argentine Air Force (two flights of three A4 Skyhawks each) and the Argentine Navy (one flight of two Super Etendards) attack the HMS Coventry (type 42 destroyer) and the HMS Broadsword (type 22 frigate). Both British warships are on radar picket near the north mouth of the San Carlos Bay.

Right click and open in a new tab/window for an expanded view. The initial situation. It's 14:00 local time and the weather is clear. The blue icons are Argentine flights and the yellow squares are radar contacts. The two Super Etendards are armed with one Exocet missile each. The two flights of A4 Skyhawks (to the left of the screenshot) are armed with free-fall bombs.
I played this scenario with the v1.01 beta version of the game. The screenshots are from the game's recording tool. Spoilers ahead.

Right click and open in a new tab/window for an expanded view. The initial approach. The Super Etendards (selected) are ordered to close in keeping the radar contacts on their right, keeping a prudent range of 20+ nm. The two A4 flights (blue icons to the left of the screen) are ordered to close in to the area of operations and prepare to strike in an easterly direction that matches the course of the targets.

Right click and open in a new tab/window for an expanded view. At 14:13 radar contact SKUNK #1 is declared hostile as it has been observed firing missiles against the Super Etendards. Sea Dart missiles (red icons labelled with an M) start to make their way north.
Right click and open in a new tab/window for an expanded view. The Super Etendards dodge 15 Sea Dart missiles before bad luck catches up with one of the aircraft. The time is now 14:17, one Super Etendard down and the volley of SAMs continues. Note the two A4 Skyhawks in the west, still lining up with their attack course.
The one Super Etendard left (north blue icon) is ordered to maintain a position 20 nm north of the British warships. I carefully plotted a zig-zag course that maintains beam aspect from the missiles being fired from the HMS Coventry. The Sea Darts continue to be fired against the Super Etendard, all misses. The two A4 Skyhawk flights are now lined up with their attack course, flying low (50 m). I switched to the "unit view" for this screenshot, so I can see every single aircraft.

A last minute climb to 300+ meters for the A4 Skyhawks (blue icons, 1 aircraft per icon in single unit view), so the free-fall bombs can be released. A missile (Sea Dart?) will down one of the Argentine aircraft.
While the bombing run near the British warships is about to start, the lone Super Etendard fires its only Exocet missile (blue icon at the north with the M mark).

The bombing run by the A4 Skyhawks was a nail biting experience. Two more A4 were downed by SAMs.
Note the British antiaircraft guns (white streaks coming out of the red icons) and the bombs being released from an A4 Skyhawk (center of the screenshot, little red icon overlapping the blue one).
The HMS Coventry (red icon with a yellow bar-status indicator on top) was hit by two Mk 83 1,000 lb free fall bombs. This screenshot depicts the moment when the second bomb was released from an Argentine A4. 
One minute later, the Exocet missile (blue icon marked with an M) hits the Coventry. Note the last Argentine Skyhawk (blue icon to the left) egressing the target area.
I ended the scenario with a score of 500. No British losses but the HMS Coventry heavily damaged (56% according to the recording tape from the British side), on fire and with minor flooding. The toll for the Argentine side as 4 aircrafts in total.
This scenario is small but packs some good lessons for me. First, the Exocet missile (at least the variant featured in the scenario) is not such a super weapon as I thought. Anybody who tried this scenario will tell you that the HMS Coventry can defeat the Exocet with relative ease. In this case, the HMS Coventry was caught already damaged and figthing off the Argentine A4 Skyhawks. Second, the bombing run was anything but a costly affair. I should have brought the Skyhawks from the south, to take advantage of the terrain masking offered by the island.



Olav said...

Olav here :-)
Do you have any issues with your patrolling aircraft flying to close to enemy airbases to chase enemy planes? Im having various results with the ROEs.

Ramses said...

Good read again. Was not going to buy it because of the steep price, but you got me doubting once more ;) Regards, Ramses

Anonymous said...

I've flown this mission four times now. All but the last one saw all Skyhawks but one downed before bombs could be released (even when coming in from the land side and using terrain masking) and most of the times the Exocets were downed too (or jammed and they missed). Only the last try with all aircraft and both Exocets coming in at the same time (swamping the defenses) gave good results: four Skyhawks shot down, but both ships hit by bombs and one hit by an Exocet. One ship sunk and one damaged. Very good game!

JC said...

Hi Olav,

I've seen that too. Did you check out the "investigate contacts outside the patrol area"?

I agree the price is a bit high, but the amount of work put in this thing is worth it.

That's a great performance! I never managed to hit both ships.


Olav said...

Ive unchecked the investigate outside patrol area yes. It seems the only safe solution is to make an exclusion zone based on the reference points. I had hoped that making a strike package consisting of ground attackers, air superioriy fighters and jamming prowlers would function in unison, but so far the safest option seems to split these up in several separate missions.

Dimitris said...

Very nice writeup. Gun tracers are even more dramatic in video :)

BTW v1.01 final is out!