Sunday, July 31, 2022

Command Modern Operations - All of Gorbachev's MiGs

A Ship's a Fool to Fight a Fort, Nelson allegedly said. And that's exactly how it feels in this CMO scenario.

The game: Command Modern Operations

The scenario: North Pacific Shootout


The Soviet Union has stepped up its harassment of American and allied aircraft off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. While the aircraft are operating in international airspace, the Soviets have been performing increasingly aggressive intercepts which last week culminated in a fire control radar from a MiG-31 Foxhound locking on to one of our EP-3s. The Soviets retreated a short time later when F-15Cs from Eackerson were scrambled, however the incident has considerably ramped up tensions between American and Soviet forces in the Pacific.

Satellite intelligence shows a Soviet Kresta II cruiser operating with a small surface action group (SAG) off Petropavlovsk, well out into international waters. Command would like this investigated further, which affords an opportunity to conduct a freedom of navigation exercise to ensure that our aircraft are not harassed while operating peacefully in international airspace. The Ranger carrier battle group (CVBG-61) was enroute to the Persian Gulf but has been tasked north to support this effort and show the flag.

Enemy Forces

Soviet Union

Significant air defense forces are stationed on the Kamchatka Peninsula, including the most modern Su-27 and MiG-31 interceptors of the Soviet PVO. The peninsula is dotted with long-range radars and covered by numerous SA-10 and SA-5 sites in addition to older SA-2 and SA-3 sites. Two regiments of Tu-22M Backfire B bombers are also based in the area.


BPK Kresta II [Pr.1134A Berkut A]

BPK Kashin [Pr.61]

EM Sovremenny I [Pr.956 Sarych]

SKR Krivak III [Pr.1135.1 Nerei]


Ka-25BSh Hormone A

Mi-14PS Haze C

MiG-31 Foxhound

Su-27P Flanker B

Tu-16R Badger E

Tu-16RM-1/2 Badger D

Tu-22M-2 Backfire B




Radar (Back Net [P-80])

Radar (Bar Lock A [P-37])

Radar (Long Track [P-40])

Radar (Spoon Rest D [P-18])

SAM Bn (SA-2f Guideline [S-75M Volkhov])

SAM Bn (SA-3c Goa [S-125M1 Neva-M])

SAM Grp (SA-5c Gammon [S-200M Vega M], 2x Bn)

Friendly Forces

You are in command of the USS Ranger CVBG, en route to the Persian Gulf. You have support from VP-48 operating out of NAS Adak, while the USAF has kindly made Eackerson AB available for diverts if your aircraft require fuel.

VP-48 aircraft are currently conducting freedom of air navigation operations around the Kamchatka peninsula.


Ranger CVBG

CV 61 Ranger [Forrestal Class]

AOE 2 Camden [AOE 1 Sacramento]

CG 32 William H. Standley [CG 26 Belknap]

DDG 13 Hoel [DDG 2 Charles F. Adams]

DDG 14 Buchanan [DDG 2 Charles F. Adams]

DD 964 Paul F. Foster [DD 963 Spruance [VLS]]

FF 1074 Harold E. Holt [FF 1052 Knox]

FF 1083 Cook [FF 1052 Knox]


CV 61 Ranger


HS-14 Chargers (6 x SH-3H Sea King)

VA-145 Swordsmen (12 x A-6E Intruder)

VAQ-131 Lancers (4 x EA-6B Prowler ICAP II Blk 82)

VAW-116 Sun Kings (4 x E-2C Hawkeye Basic)

VF-1 Wolfpack (11 x F-14A Tomcat)

VF-2 Bounty Hunters (11 x F-14A Tomcat)

VMA(AW)-121 Green Knights (12 x A-6E Intruder)

VS-38 Red Griffins (9 x S-3A Viking)

DD 964 Paul F. Foster

HSL-49 Scorpions, Det 41 (2 x SH-2F Seasprite)

FF 1074 Harold E. Holt

HSL-37 Easy Riders, Det 32 (1 x SH-2F Seasprite)

FF 1083 Cook

HSL-37 Easy Riders, Det 31 (1 x SH-2F Seasprite)

NAS Adak

VP-48 Boomers (6 x P-3C Orion Update II)


Conduct freedom of air navigation manoeuvres along the Kamchatka Peninsula, collecting SIGINT and remaining clear of Soviet airspace.


Vector the VP-48 aircraft currently east of Bering Island to overfly the Soviet SAG off Petropavlovsk

Ready CVW-2 aircraft to provide protection and support as required

Conduct regular CVBG force protection operations as necessary


Airframes from HSL-49 and HS-14 aboard DD 964 and CV 61 respectively have been designated for search and rescue duties.

USAF aircraft are currently operating out of Eackerson AB, ensure positive identification of any air contacts originating from that bearing.

It is roughly 1 hour after the mission start and the maritime surveillance was shot down by a pair of Su-27s. Given the title of the scenario, I knew the P-3C Orion Update II turboprop would not touch down its wheels on a runway at the end of the day, so I dispatched a flight of 2 F-14As from CV 61. They were on route to join the P-3C and the long bite of their Phoenix missiles chewed their wings into balls of fire.

At least the crew of the Orion survived (blue circle). Note the ASuW mission (blue line) that I had envision for the P-3C Orion and its escorts. The ENY surface group is seen as red diamond symbols.

The Ranger CVBG is more than enough to put a dent on the ENY forces, it is really very rewarding to be in command of the strike and self defense capabilities of its ships and aircraft.

Considering the troubles that the Royal Navy suffered by not having proper early warning for air attacks during the Falklands War (they relied on Type 42 destroyers for that) I am fortunate enough to have a fully dedicated airborne early warning. The battlegroup is in the southwest part of the map.

With the hostilities in full fledge now, it would be a shame a defeat to leave those ENY ships off Petropavlovsk untouched. So my plan to strike begins: I will marshal all my strike capabilities and aim for a good kick in the teeth at the ENY surface group and (why not?) Petropavlovsk installations themselves.

But here is the catch: the long reach of carriers' strike capabilities is airborne. And it can't be executed without air superiority. The ENY is projecting its defense from Petropavlovsk with a stream of MiG-31s. The fort has no coastal guns, but an airborne area denial game plan, seemingly based on all of Gorbachev's MiGs.

They say that most naval action occurs near coastal areas, but today I wish I could drag the ENY onto the open sea, out of reach from their fort.


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