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Harpoon 3 After-Action Reports

 

BOOM!

by John Schofield

The sirens blared out over the airfield. This was no drill. DEFCON 1, emergency scramble. There could already be inbound ICBMs, or SLBMs. Engines roared everywhere as there was a rush to get everything airborne.

As each aircraft left the tarmac it is vectored away from possible targets. No need to lose things unnecessarily. Order starts to come out of the chaos.

Fighters head out to form a defensive perimeter around Alaska. We cannot stop ballistic missiles but may be able to catch any bombers. A perimeter far enough out to catch them before cruise missile launch is needed. AWACS/Tanker pairs follow. Nothing can be allowed through. The only problem is the early warning radar sites out on the Aleutian chain. They're too far away and will have to look after themselves.

The USAF B-52 bombers form up two loose groups and head West, but well off the Russian coast. Don't want to appear threatening until we know what is happening. Fast moving targets start to appear - heading for our early warning radar stations. The fighters destroy them with no losses, but the Aleutian stations are taken out. No sign of any cruise missiles yet. There's a lot of enemy fighter activity over Russia using active sensors. Push out the fighters and AWACS slightly to get a better idea of what they are doing. Too far, we lose a Dagger. But we've enough information - send in the bombers. Two should be enough. One from the North and the other from the South, each with a spare 200 miles behind and slightly off track. Timing coordinated to have the same ToT.

Uh-oh, more Russian bombers. How did they get there? But no need to worry the fighters handle them.

The bombers go in very low and only climb when they reach a point allowing all targets to be hit when they reach weapons release altitude. Release weapons then get down and out. Too late for us and for them. Both bombers are hit but not before all weapons are released. Good-bye Russian Pacific Forces.

 

by Sunburn

I was giving Mike Mykytin's "Boom" scenario another go yesterday and had 2 single B-52Gs coming towards Anadyr from two different directions, their fighter escorts having broken-off shortly before (after a bloody clash with what must had been the entire district's PVO force). Both of them were literally scraping the treetops, hugging ridge-roots and generally doing everything possible to deny radar-LOS. The northernmost B-52 was about to get exposed to a SA-5 battery (flat terrain for awhile) so I pop the Buff into a steep rise to min launch altitude, launch two SRAMs to the SAM site and bring it back down in the weeds (and dodge yet another AA-3 from a trailing Su-15TM in the process). The SAM site had by now secured a clear lock on the Buff and two SA-5s were already in the air. 20 seconds to intercept, 12, 9 then BOOM!!! the SAM battery goes up in a 170kT fireball just 5-6 seconds before the missiles would go active on their own. The explosion also toasted two interceptors just above the site, which created a temporary gap through which the B-52 raced at full throttle.

I bring the bomber up again up to minimum SRAM launch height and the rotary launcher comes alive, spitting out missiles like there is no tomorrow. 12 SRAMs in the air and the bomber gets back down. The missiles are wide-spread-targeted on various facilities around Anadyr and for about 15 seconds the entire area is transformed into a living inferno as the multiple thermonuclear detonations combine their heat and blast waves to destroy everything, including multiple pairs of fighters having just scrambled off the runways. The Buff had little time to celebrate as it was shot down shortly afterwards on the egress leg - a pair of MiG-25s had belatedly joined the party and their deadly AA-6s caught up with it easily. The last B-52 prudently broke-off and headed back towards Elmendorf for the first pit stop.

 

Here's a short AAR for Mike Mykytyn's 'BOOM!' scenario. The time is 1984. The United States has gone to DEFCON-1 and your orders are to commence a limited nuclear strike on Soviet strategic assets in Siberia. The targets are the Anadyr air base plus SS-19 and SS-24 sites.

I started off launching eight F-4Es from Elmendorf AFB, eight F-106As from Bethel and Galerna airfields as well as two AWACS'. I set the fighters up in pairs along the Alaskan coast to protect my assets from Soviet aircraft while I assessed the situation and planned my attacks. I decided to use only two B-52s, all armed with 20 AGM-69A SRAMs, 16x F-15C (in groups of four a/c) to sweep the skies ahead of the bombers, and 16x F-16s to provide close-in defense. I also decided to use two AWACS' to provide early warning and C3 for the strike package. 15 minutes into the game all B-52s and escorting fighters were airborne, and under manual control, I set course for my targets in Siberia, 900nm away. I soon picked up several bogies headed for Alaska at high speed, and I sent elements of my strike package as well as a number of my Phantoms and Delta Dart to investigate. In spite of my efforts I only managed to shoot down four Backfires and the remaining bogies destroyed three of my early warning radar stations. One radar was destroyed by the enemy only seconds before the bomber got nailed by an AIM-4G. Hmf!

I now prepared the final run for the target and set up my Eagles in a 100nm wide barrier, followed by the B-52 and F-16s 50nm further back and with the AWACS' another 80nm back and out on the flanks. 180nm from Anadyr, the main target, my F-15s started engaging Soviet fighters, first several MiG-25s followed closely by MiG-23s and Su-15s. As four of my Eagles fought their way forward I noticed a salvo of Gammon SAMs headed directly for the group. To my big surprise the missiles had nuclear warheads and the first SA-5 missile killed all four fighters. *IRRRGH* But the positive side, the blast also brought down three enemy aircraft. I now took up a more defensive position and concentrated on getting the B-52s close enough to launch; 110nm. The first SRAM was launched at 14:00 and it was targeted at one of three Soviet EW radars east of Anadyr. This first missile was soon followed by to more, and seconds later all three sites had been wasted. As soon as I was within range of the Soviet air base I started launching several SRAMs, carefully spaced to prevent more than one being caught in the blast at a time by those nuclear Gammons. And soon it was all over for the Soviets. The sixth SRAM scored a hit, which destroyed everything within a radius of several nautical miles. BOOM! A handful more missiles destroyed the SS-19 complex north of the city. At 14:21 I destroyed the last target, a SS-24 train to the south. My B-52s headed home.

Then, as had happened once before, I detected multiple fast bogies approaching Alaska from several directions. I sent my Phantom and Delta Dart fighters to investigate and shot down eight Backfires, however 12 more managed to penetrate and, using nuclear-armed AS-4 Kitchen cruise missiles, destroyed the Bethel and Galerna airfields! OUCH!!! I barely saved Eielson AFB from destruction, too, thanks to a pair of F-4Es and a HAWK battery. Finally, as my strike package entered Alaskan airspace again, the game announced I had won.

Losses and Expenditures, USA:

8  F-15C Eagle
10 F-16A Falcon
+ numerous facilities and radars - two whole air bases.
16 AIM-7F Sparrow
58 AIM-7M Sparrow
2 AIM-9J Sidewinder
34 AIM-9L Sidewinder
21 AIM-9M Sidewinder
10 AIM-4G Falcon
32 M61A1 Vulcan 20mm Burst
15 AGM-69A SRAM
10 MIM-23B I-HAWK

Soviet:

14 Tu-22M-2 Backfire B
22 MiG-25 Foxbat E
14 MiG-23 Flogger B
17 Su-15 Flaggon F
6  Tu-128 Fiddler B
+ lots of facilities, including a SS-19 complex and a SS-24 train, and nine SAM sites.
24 FAB-500 GPB (General-Purpose Bomb)
13 AA-7 Apex A
16 AA-7 Apex B
20 AA-6 Acrid A
15 AA-6 Acrid B
6 SA-5b Gammon (Nuke)
12 SA-5c Gammon (Conv)
12 AA-3 Anab A
11 AA-3 Anab B
9 AA-5 Ash A
8 AA-5 Ash B
26 AA-8 Aphid
1 SA-10b Grumble
3 SA-14 Gremlin
12 SA-4 Kitchen (nuke version)

Overall this is a terrific scenario. There is lots of action, yet it is short enough to be played in a couple of hours. It is also the first Harpoon 3 scenario designed for the use of nuclear weapons. So go and check it out!