Episode Two: Fighting Withdrawal

World War III in 1985 – A Harpoon3 Battleset Diary

by Mark “Boxer” Doran

 

Fighting
Withdrawal
3northc1.scn

Date/Time: 14 September 1985 / 01:00:00
Size/Duration: +
Location: Norway
Playable sides: NATO
Type: ASuW
Briefing: The time is 1985 and World War Three has broken out. Starting only minutes ago, Warsaw Pact troops have launched a massive and carefully planned air, sea and land assault on members of the NATO alliance. In Central Europe, thousands of tanks and APCs are racing across the borders separating East and West. Overhead, several hundred Soviet fighters, bombers and attack aircraft streak across the sky, headed for their targets in West Germany. The Warsaw Pact achieved almost total surprise, with NATO’s order for a full mobilization coming only hours earlier.

Briefing

NATO vs Soviet Union
Location: Norwegian Sea
Date/Time: 14 September 1985, 01:00:00

The time is 1985 and World War Three has broken out. Starting only minutes ago, Warsaw Pact troops have launched a massive and carefully planned air, sea and land assault on members of the NATO alliance. In Central Europe, thousands of tanks and APCs are racing across the borders separating East and West. Overhead, several hundred Soviet fighters, bombers and attack aircraft streak across the sky, headed for their targets in West Germany. The Warsaw Pact achieved almost total surprise, with NATO’s order for a full mobilization coming only hours earlier.

The Kremlin’s plan for dealing with the Northern Flank is simple. NATO forces in Northern Norway are to be inundated by non-stop tactical air strikes. At the very beginning of the offensive, a division-sized airborne assault will capture the airfields at Bodo and Evenes, both of which are important NATO air bases. Then, six hours into the war, two large amphibious assault groups will land in Northern Norway; one at Bodo to reinforce the paratroopers already there, and a second to capture the air base at Andoya. These operations will provide the Soviets with three excellent forward bases, and allows massive reinforcements to move in by air and sea. Spetsnaz commando teams will also be inserted by submarine at various critical points along the coast, while other submarines are to disrupt naval activity by laying mines off the principal anchorages. The remaining airbases in northern Norway are scheduled to be knocked out by Soviet air power or overrun by ground forces within 24 hours.

In Sweden the invasion will start with Spetsnaz landing on Arlanda/Stockholm airport with 250 troops, seizing it within one hour. At the same time a ferry will dock in Stockholm port loaded with 30 T-72 tanks and 1.100 soldiers. These will take control of the Swedish Defense HQ that is only three minutes by car from the port area. Two hours later a flight of An-12s land Bromma in midtown Stockholm with a brigade of paratroopers and one more brigade at Arlanda airport. The only expected resistance is the Stockholm Police and some scattered soldiers from the Army HQ and the Royal Castle. And within 36-48 hours, strike aircraft and ground forces are expected to have knocked out or captured most of the major airbases in the country.

Finland, with its close military connections with the Soviet Union, struck a deal several months earlier which would save the country from war. The Soviets would be allowed to use the country as the staging area for an attack on Norway and Sweden, and were given full access to all airfields and other military facilities.

The main assault on the ground is to be carried out by Soviet reinforced mechanized divisions pushing overland from their staging areas in Finland towards the important Norwegian port of Narvik and the Swedish town of Lulea. The spearhead of the attack is then to follow the Norwegian and Swedish coastlines and finally reunite at Oslo, Norway, linking up with the various Soviet pockets. The Red Army expects to relieve the Paratroopers at Bardufoss within 36 hours, and reach as far south as Bodo in one week.

At sea, the Soviets intend to move a powerful Surface Action Group (SAG) made up of ships of the Red Banner Northern Fleet down the coast of Norway in support of the ground operation. It is to assume a position off the coast and prevent reinforcements from reaching Norway by sea.

NATO’s carrier-based air power in the Norwegian Sea must be eliminated early in the conflict. In addition to its missile submarines, the Northern Fleet has three Tu-16 long-range naval bomber regiments, each with 22-23 aircraft. Nearly fifty Backfire bombers from the 46th Strategic Air Army have also been forward based on the Kola Peninsula, and will support the Northern Fleet’s operations.

This, in a nutshell, is the plan of operations in Norway and Sweden.

Orders for CMDR NATO Operations

Intel:

The sudden outbreak of war has caught a US carrier battle group (CVBG) by surprise. It had participated in the Ocean Safari ’85 exercise off the Norwegian coast and is currently position well forward of the GIUK gap. In the face of the massive air and naval onslaught it must now conduct a fighting withdrawal south towards the UK and safety. With Norway’s airfields threatened by Soviet air, sea and ground action, your carrier represents NATO’s only on-call and dependable air power in the region. Except from a handful of Norwegian F-16s, the carrier must rely solely on its own squadrons of F-14s for protection.

Mission:

The focus of this scenario is your aircraft carrier. Sail at best speed for the safer waters around the UK. The carrier must remain operational for six hours signifying its successful escape. If resources permits, attack the Soviet amphibious landing group heading for Bodo and sink the ‘Sverdlov’ amphibious command ship and as many of the large Ro/Ro vessels as you can.

High-tech weapons are in short supply so use them sparingly. Normally, a carrier has only 90 AIM-54s, 120 AIM-7s and 200 AIM-9s. Therefore, all F-14 Tomcats taking off 30+ minutes into the scenario are to switch from their current 4-Phoenix/2-Sparrow loadout to the 2-Phoenix/3-Sparrow loadout to save missiles.

Command and Signal:

Flagship – CV 66 America
Recommended EMCON State – B (Limited Emissions)


After Action Report

USS America battle group
Norwegian Sea

We just got word that Soviet ground troops have launched a major offensive into West Germany. Thirty five minutes ago the task group centered on HMS Illustrious was simply overwhelmed by a flood of missiles and simply disappeared off the scope. That leaves the USS America battle group as the only substantial NATO naval force to the North of the GIUK gap. Orders come in to withdraw and link up with reinforcements steaming in from the Western Atlantic.

Initially confused reports resolve to a pretty clear picture. There are two invasion fleets bearing down on the Norwegian coast, a third surface action group well to the North and a massive air raid rising from fields in Soviet territory.

Figure 1 - Opening situation facing the USS America CVBG.

Figure 1 – Opening situation facing the USS America CVBG.

The nearest of the two invasion fleets is a scant two hundred nautical miles away but the America is already too far South to hit the Northern group. For now the point is moot anyway since strike aircraft are more than three hours away from being ready. Nevertheless in the attack squadron spaces, planning for a raid on the Southern-most Soviet surface group is starting to come together.

01:01Z  There are numerous airborne unknown tracks inbound from the north. ESM cuts classify some of them as Bear-D maritime reconnaissance platforms; too far away to target the America as yet but they will have us in a matter of minutes.

We have 8 Tomcats on CAP…not nearly enough. The close in CAP pushes north to support the 4 on patrol at the formation’s edge. The two ‘cats to the West will likely have to face the music headed their way without help for now. Pri-fly gives the order to launch the alert 5’s pronto. Two can go now but 10 minutes will pass before the next two are ready.

Figure 2 - TU-95 Bear-D Long range maritime reconnaisance platform.

Figure 2 – TU-95 Bear-D Long range maritime reconnaisance platform.

ESM identifies another Bear-D reconnaissance platform to the West of the America’s group. The Tomcat CAP on station there is ordered to intercept. Perhaps if we can deny the bombers targeting information we can disrupt the impending attack. He’ll have the picket ships in range in a matter of minutes though; the geometry doesn’t look favorable for denying the Russians at least some kind of updated position data on the battle group.

Norwegian early warning stations to the North are reporting MiG-25 Foxbats and MiG-23 Floggers on the leading edge of the raid coming inbound from Soviet land bases. The Norwegians don’t have much that can compete with that action: a few F-16A models with sidewinders and a handful or two of P-3 patrol planes. The Orions scramble out of Andoya and are dispatched to take a closer look at the two invasion fleets. Four of their squadron mates already made one raid on the fleet heading for the coast near Bodo; they are rearming with more Harpoons but it will be another hour or so before they can launch. At this point, all hell breaks loose.

01:03Z  Vampires! Lots of them suddenly appear on four different bearings to the North with no sign of any launch platforms. The Tomcats that just launched pick them up visually and identify them as Sandboxes – that can only mean Echo II missile subs. The Echo II must surface to launch and should take 20 minutes to fire all eight of their missiles. This day the Russians get it done much faster than this and if they surface no NATO units detect them. So much for the intelligence briefings.

Figure 3 - Echo II subs launch SS-N-12 missiles.

Figure 3 – Echo II subs launch SS-N-12 missiles.

01:04Z  The Norwegians look to have their hands full as well: their meager F-16A CAP flights in over Northern Norway are being engaged by the Foxbats. The vipers are outranged and immediately on the defensive. Heaven help them.

01:05Z  Our Tomcats are given weapons red free to engage the inbound cruise missiles. Those precious Phoenix and Sparrow missiles will be thrown against the wave of inbounds; so much for knocking down the inbound aircraft before they can launch their own missiles. The long sticks expended, the Tomcats turn for home we need to get them on the deck and turned around again but it will be a good 45 minutes before they can rearm. The first wave of our missiles makes little impact: the Tomcat crews claim a handful of missiles or the more than 30 incoming.

Starbright missiles are also spotted now one of those subs must have been a Charlie. SM-2ER Standards are launched from the escort ships in the group but there are simply too few launchers to defeat an attack with surprise this complete.

01:06Z  All the incoming missiles seem to converge on the Nassau. A Starbright smashes into the ship just above the waterline amid ships and a second right behind it detonates in the engineering spaces aft. Initially damage reports tell of flooding but that is quickly contained but fire breaks out in engineering and rapidly flares out of control.

Figure 4 - USS Nassau takes the brunt of the missile strike.

Figure 4 – USS Nassau takes the brunt of the missile strike.

Three more Starbrights impact and then more than a dozen Sandbox missiles. Nassau officially reports that she is sinking and the order to abandon ship is given but the ships complement must already have been decimated by such a tidal wave of high explosives.

01:08Z  Further North our outlying Tomcat CAP flights are ordered to intercept the fast moving aircraft heading for the battle group. They quickly report the contacts as Backfires and are ordered to intercept.

01:09Z  Splash one Bear-D! The western CAP flight leader confirms the kill but the Bear is well inside 200 miles range to the center of the battle group formation. More than likely he was able to get off a position report to the bomber formations before the massive Phoenix missile cut short the flow of information.

01:10Z  Phoenix missiles launched at the inbound Backfire bombers in the North start to merge with their targets. Our crew claim four kills but that still leaves more than 40 inbound and it’s clear that those are backed by heavy jamming and yet more reconnaissance platforms. The Tomcats press on to close to Sparrow range even though they are outnumbered 10 to one. The CAP flight to the West are ordered Northwards to intercept some of the bombers at a run rate of one hit in two, perhaps their remaining AIM-54C’s can thin another two or three Backfires from the onrushing tide. Sparrows knock down two more and the last of the Phoenix missiles take two more. Visions of King Canute dance in the mind of the battle group commander. It’s just a matter of time now before the Backfires launch their payload towards the America.

Figure 5 - Regimental strength bomber strike headed right for the USS America CVBG.

Figure 5 – Regimental strength bomber strike headed right for the USS America CVBG.

01:13Z  We need better targeting data for planning the raid on the southern invasion fleet. We can track the ships but to make an effective strike we need to sort out the air defense ships and high value targets. Norwegian command agrees to push the Orion that is shadowing the target group to firm up targeting information. It’s obviously a one way ticket but the Norwegian crew doesn’t hesitate and soon they are starting to classify the combatants in the group and paint the formation picture for us. Two Sovremennyy DDGs will be high on the targeting priority list as will the Sverdlov class command ship the Norwegians report in. The Kresta II flanking the group to the North should be no factor in our attack plan. The tail end of the enemy formation is fat with Ro-Ro transports and is short on air defenses.

It will be another two and three quarter hours before an air strike can be mounted but there are eight TASMs loaded aboard the Peterson. Four are “A” models and though the Norwegians are facing desperate odds, release of special weapons is out of the question; for now. There are no more conventional Tomahawks in the magazines either so four will have to do. They are launched with targeting data for the Sverdlov command ship but with so few missiles it’s more of a gesture than a serious threat.

01:15Z  The Tomcats have closed to point blank rage with the Backfires and are launching heaters. A couple more bombers fall but we lose two Tomcats from the scope as well. No word of their fate, they just disappear. The remaining Tomcats are Winchester now and without any missiles to fight with the controllers order them to recover for rearming. Damn! Two more Tomcat tracks disappear from the scope.

01:16Z  Here it comes. Macdonough, King and Biddle all report vampires inbound. The Backfires have executed a text book coordinated attack and there are 10’s of cruise missiles are heading our way.

01:17Z  As if we needed any reminder the Norwegians are totally overmatched: the F-16 HAVCAP protecting the AWACS bird out of Orland are blasted from the sky and the E-3A dives for the deck to try and evade itself. Foxbats are far too fast for the encumbered 707 airframe to outrun though and the AWACS winks out on the tactical display. Ticonderoga now takes over the group air defense net and we hunker down awaiting the inbound missile strike.

It’s pretty clear what’s happening with the raid that originated at the Russian land bases: they are making a massive strike against the northern-most Norwegian airbases and taking out the early warning radar installations. For us it’s good news that the raid isn’t aimed our way but the Norwegian forces are practically without a means to defend themselves. A few A model Falcons with sidewinders just aren’t going to make an impression. It’s frustrating to feel so helpless just watching the onslaught heading for Evenes, Bardufoss and Andoya knowing that there’s not a thing we can do about it. As is often the case, the CIA comes in for an in-absentia pasting: how could the intelligence services not have seen this coming??

01:19Z  AS-4 Kitchens. There are just too many to bother counting the tracks individually. This is going to hurt.

Figure 6 - The Backfires bearing down on the CVBG carry anti-ship cruise missiles.

Figure 6 – The Backfires bearing down on the CVBG carry anti-ship cruise missiles.

The numbers are well above what the air defense saturation models predict that even the vaunted Aegis system can shield us from. The last Phoenix missiles meet the wave head on and there are four less cruise missiles for us to worry about; it’s a drop in the proverbial bucket. The Sparrows that follow them in are not expected to make much of an impression either and they don’t.

The Russian bombers turn tail and fade away to the North taking their jamming aircraft with them.

01:21Z  Standards are merging with the incoming missiles now and the group is swathed in the smoke from their launches. It’s an awesome and terrible sight to behold when the Aegis system kicks into high gear in all out defense of the fleet.

By now we have a pretty good picture of the Soviet invasion force bearing down on Bodo but the Norwegian P3 crew paid the ultimate price. They could dodge only so many SAMs. If we can just ride out the attack presently headed our way we can put the targeting data they paid so dearly for to good use.

01:22Z  The first of the Russian cruise missiles reaches the Biddle. Point defenses knock down the first three but the fourth hits squarely and must have found the magazine for there’s a huge explosion and the Biddle is taking on water and sinking fast. No fewer than 20 more Kitchens slam into the defenseless cruiser.

The USS King too has clearly drawn the attention of the incoming missile strike: from the first impact it’s clear that she too will be lost although in the end we count 11 impacts. This is far more punishment than any USN hull currently in the fleet can hope to survive; speed and layered defenses have made building for survivability a distant memory.

01:25Z  Reports continue to come in from the Norwegians desperate for relief as their Falcons are ripped apart by the waves of Foxbats and Floggers swarming over the border. The Falcons have no answer to the BVR capabilities of the Russian fighters. With Sidewinder missiles as their main armament they are brave and aggressive but might as well be trying to stop a herd of elephants with a pea shooter. We continue to steam southwest unable to offer the Scandinavians any meaningful help at all.

01:35Z  Those sneaky Russians tried to send a Bear-D after us; no doubt they are hoping to maintain contact to steer another raid our way. While the Tomcats are out of long sticks one pair has sidewinders left and enough gas to make the intercept. They hasten eastwards to catch the spy before he can get in range to find us on his surface search radar. It takes two heaters to knock him down but the Tomcat crews call in the kill and turn for home having reached bingo fuel already. They’ll be landing on fumes by the time they recover aboard but we have no tankers in a position to meet them.

01:38Z  Air strikes begin pounding Andoya and fires rage out of control after a direct hit on one of their ammo dumps. So much for the P3’s re-arming with Harpoons to go after the Russian invasion fleets again: they are torn apart as they sit on the ramp. A number of the early warning radar stations are now off the air as well. Presumably they too have been targeted by the Soviet air assault.

01:41Z  Air assault troop transport planes are spotted heading for the Andoya and Bardufoss. Damage reports from Bardufoss after the initial bombing raids tell a grim tale: the base is on fire and crews are struggling to contain the conflagration before it gets totally out of hand.

01:45Z  AWACS reports show one of the Sovremennyy DDGs in the southern invasion fleet falling out of formation.

Figure 7 - A Russian destroyer is in trouble but it's not clear why.

Figure 7 – A Russian destroyer is in trouble but it’s not clear why.

Could it be that one or more of the TASMs made it through and picked out a DDG target?? We have no one close enough to put eyeballs on the target to be sure.

01:49Z  Bodo too now comes under direct air assault. Again, there is nothing we can do.

01:52Z  There are paratroopers descending on Evenes according to the latest reports. The base will soon be overrun.

02:09Z  The COMNON headquarters unit at Bodo airbase went off the air moments ago having reported a large number of Russian bombers pounding the field. We are still powerless to do anything more than listen and wait for our chance to strike back.

02:12Z  The first six of our Tomcats to recover after the initial attack on the battle group are rearmed and refueled. The ordies and grapes have done a sterling job turning the jets in a mere 45 minutes or so. The pilots aren’t happy though: orders have come down to reload with only three Phoenix not four. All six launch with fresh pilots in order to re-establish some semblance of CAP around the CVBG and protect the Hawkeye still circling more than a hundred miles north of the carrier’s position.

02:29Z  CAG finally reports that the air strike packages are ready and the handlers have the jets marshaled and ready to go. The plan receives a final review; it’s pretty simple but then we haven’t had time to get too creative and resources are limited.

The attack will come along two axes; a simple left and right hook to disguise the point of origin for the attack. It’ll mean 100nm more flying than a straight line course to the target area but having knocked the Bear-D out of the picture there seems little sense in giving the Russian commander an easy fix on our position.

Figure 8 - At last NATO forces can deliver a punch.

Figure 8 – At last NATO forces can deliver a punch.

From the south, 6 Intruders escorted by 2 Tomcats and a Prowler for standoff jamming support will engage the Sverdlov command ship and the two AAW DDGs. Timed to arrive just after the wave of harpoons from the A-6’s, a dozen Corsairs will launch long range Walleyes from the West, hoping chew on the tail of the invasion fleet and send some of the armor that must be aboard those Ro-Ro’s to the bottom of the Norwegian sea. The corsairs too will have a pair of Tomcats riding shotgun and a Prowler to cloak their approach.

The Sovremennyys only have Gadlfy SAMs: they won’t be able to reach the Intruders since the harpoons outrange the SA-N-7 by a wide margin. If the harpoons are successful range of the Gadflys won’t be a factor in the Corsairs’ mission but even so the extended range Walleyes should keep them out of range, especially with Prowler support degrading the Russians’ ability to get a clear picture.

CAG worries that the strike groups are too lightly escorted but the admiral is firm: no more Tomcats can be stripped from the defensive positions around the carrier. It’s a calculated risk but the plans call for the strike groups to transit at wavetop heights until they close the pincers turning to their final attack vectors and popping-up to deliver their weapons. The Soviets don’t have CAP flights in the air and they have no air search assets in the area beyond the target group itself. The strikers will be below the horizon for much of the run in so they should be well masked.

The order to launch is given and the air boss commences the evolution to get the strike off the deck.

03:35Z  The two strike groups made their runs without incident and the Sentry and Hawkeye crews continue to report “picture clear” and no apparent reaction from the enemy surface ships. The Prowlers started the music when the strikers reached attack height. They will mask the attackers and loiter to degrade the Russian air search and targeting radars. That should shorten the reaction time for their SAM systems and be a good force multiplier for our missiles. So far the mission profile has worked perfectly and 24 harpoons start their run to the target.

03:42Z  The Corsairs launch their weapons and circle while they nurse the weapons along via the datalinks. With luck the wave of harpoons tracking in to the target 50 miles to the south and west will keep the defenders busy while the glide bombs bore in on their assigned targets.

03:45Z  The Russians do finally get SAMs in the air in a vain effort to knock down the inbound missiles. Five harpoons slam into the nearer of the two Russian DDGs but somehow he seems to continue on course apparently able to maneuver still at least. Seven harpoons find the Sverdlov command ship and it is ablaze and dead in the water; that ought to put a crimp in the invasion fleet commander’s day. Moments later the Sovremennyy trailing the formation takes and handful of harpoon hits as well and this time the damage is catastrophic: the ship vanishes beneath the waves in seconds.

03:50Z  The one-two punch seems to catch the Russians just like we hoped: our pilots estimate 17 of 24 Walleyes find their mark and 4 Ro-Ro’s are headed for the bottom and another is dead in the water. The admiral seems pleased but he orders the strike aircraft to recover at best speed: he wants them ready for follow up strikes as fast as possible and time is more important that conserving fuel at this point.

For the next hour things are mercifully quiet as we recover our strikers and get two more CAP flights up to seal our air defense perimeter a little better.

04:15Z  Our strike aircraft are back aboard safely and the entire evolution completed without a single lost aircraft. The spirits of the air wing are visibly lifted. CAG reports that the strike aircraft will take a good six hours to rearm and refuel. Planning for a follow up strike gets underway immediately but as we’ve already seen, a lot can happen to change the picture in six hours.

Figure 9 - Prowlers recover last under the watchful gaze of the Hawkeye and BARCAP.

Figure 9 – Prowlers recover last under the watchful gaze of the Hawkeye and BARCAP.

05:30Z  To our west another Bear-D is probing trying to locate us. The Ticonderoga picks up ESM cuts even before the Hawkeye can see him. Fortunately we have a pair of Tomcats lurking silently for just such an eventuality – they get the “buster” signal and a vector and they accelerate westwards.

05:40Z  The lead Tomcat pilot has the Bear-D on his own radar now and calls “judy” to take over the intercept. In seconds two Phoenix missiles close the gap and the first to arrive dispatches the intruder. The intercept takes place at around 220 miles from the carrier so he likely didn’t get a fix on our ships. The fact that he’s searching now though makes everyone nervous: the Russians must be setting us up for another raid.

05:51Z  Sure enough, the few air search radars that the Norwegians have left that can look towards the Kola Peninsula call in multiple bogies rising from the airfields there. Could this be another Backfire raid headed our way??

06:06Z  The lead elements of the Russian air raid are plotted at over 1300 knots; these can only be Foxbats and sure enough Norwegian F-16 pilots confirm the supposition as the sleek silver jets blow by them high and fast. It’s clear that these guys are headed our way. A fighter sweep ahead of a wave of missile armed bombers perhaps??

Figure 10 - Foxbat interceptors streak westward toward the Norwegian Sea.

Figure 10 – Foxbat interceptors streak westward toward the Norwegian Sea.

There are two groups on roughly parallel tracks, the southern group headed right for us and the northern group making a bee line for the E-2C. All the F-14s that are airborne are vectored East to form two walls that will meet the MiGs as near head-on as time will allow. Geometry looks promising for the northern flank at least.

06:11Z  By now it’s clear that the aircraft following the Foxbats are slower and smaller types than the bomber force that we at first feared. The Foxbats continue to charge hard though and we position our fighters to intercept them while ordering the Hawkeye to the rear and warning the Norwegians to pull back the E-3 lest the Russians make a turn to the south and attempt to blind us a little by going after it. We now have an accurate head count on the Foxbats: 16 headed our way at full throttle. We launch an EA-6B too just to throw a little more noise into the picture for the Russians to sort through.

06:13Z  It’s the classic interceptor dual: Tomcats versus Foxbats and both teams are lobbing missiles at the other for all they are worth. The Tomcats are outnumbered two to one but they have the AWG-9 and Phoenix; reach and the ability to guide on multiple targets should even out the exchange.

06:16Z  Three MiG-25’s fall in the first volley but so does one of our F-14’s. In the north things go well and all eight MiG’s are downed for the loss of two Tomcats. That luck doesn’t hold in the south though as we lose four Tomcats and the remainder go winchester leaving three Foxbats still bearing down on our position.

06:25Z  The remaining Foxbats are nearing the limits of their endurance and they start to sweep to the north and turn for home. Surely they can’t have seen our ships on radar because it seems they are flying right into the Aegis basket and in a few minutes we’ll have them well within engagement range for the block I Standards. For good measure some of the Tomcats that were north or our position race to the south to see if they can cut off the Russians’ escape path.

06:34Z  Ticonderoga oversees eight Standards fired at the MiG’s which are traveling so fast that eight SAMs is all we have time to get in the air before they pass through the envelope and out the other side. The initial launches do get their attention though and they seem to lean further North looping around our position which drives them right into the path of our oncoming F-14’s. Unfortunately only one Foxbat succumbs to the SM-2MR volley.

06:36Z  In one of the few bright spots of the day so far we spring the trap on the last pair of Foxbats and the Tomcat pilots take one apiece with the last of their precious Phoenix missiles.

Figure 11 - AIM-54's knock down the last Foxbats with the advantage of good geometry.

Figure 11 – AIM-54′s knock down the last Foxbats with the advantage of good geometry.

06:37Z  Things on the Norwegian mainland are not so good however. The airfield at Andoya is being pounded again from the air. Same thing at Evenes and there reports come in of large numbers of paratroop transport aircraft. NATO forces are pretty much powerless to resist this latest development: only the Norwegian air defense fighters could likely have made a dent in this assault but they are mostly already impaled on the fighter sweeps that have raked across the sky twice in the last four hours.

06:40Z  Bodo and Bardufoss too report in with similar stories and equally desperate pleas for help and reinforcement. These will go unanswered and it seems inevitable now that NATO will lose control of the northern part of Norway within a couple more hours.

06:59Z  The America has made it under the umbrella of air cover from the south and this represents a measure of safety we haven’t felt during the opening hours of the war. We have executed one very successful strike against the Russian invasion fleet but clearly the aerial bombardment and air assault troops landing on and taking key Norwegian bases say they have the upper hand as we scuttle hastily out of harm’s way. However, that first strike bolsters the confidence of the America battle group; you can see it in the quiet air of confidence and determination of the ships’ crews.

We may have been forced to back away for the first round but only in order to preserve our strength, regroup and link us with reinforcements. It’s clear that if we can tip the force ratio scales in our favor a little more we can make the Russian bear pay for the incursion now under way.

Next Episode: Barents Sea, Part 1 – The Boomer Bastion Raid


Scenario Evaluation
NATO forces meet victory criteria

NATO losses: Soviet losses:
24 – Falcon
9 – Radar sites
1 – Tarawa
10 – Tomcat
2 – Sentry
6 – Orion
1 – J. Daniels
1 – Farragut
2 – Ammo Dump
3 – Radar Site (western)
7 – barracks
1 – a/c revetment
4 – AAA 40mm
1 – Hangar (4)
1 – C3CM Bunker
3 – Hangar (hardened)
6 – Companies, Norwegian army
  4 – Bear D
12 – Backfire B
4 – Helix A
5 – Flogger G
2 – Fitter H
1 – Fencer C
4 – Cub A
1 – Sverdlov Mod
1 – Sovremenny I
4 – Cargo Vessel (Ro-Ro)
16 – Foxbat E