Caribbean rumbles, South China Sea epics, nuclear strikes and fishing wars: Ten new Command scenarios available

January 31, 2015 · Posted in Command · Comment 

J20Miguel Molina has posted a new revision of the Command community scenario pack, the compendium of Command scenarios crafted by the user community. The new release contains several scenario updates plus ten brand-new scenarios:

  • Caribbean March 21st, 2022: Venezuela has attacked the islands of Curacao and Aruba and occupied them. The Dutch government has launched a counter-offensive to retake the islands. You are in command of the Dutch TF and the Air Force Base at St. Maarten, stocked with new F-35s. But Venezuelan forces are similarly upgraded with fresh Chinese equipment. Can you take the islands back?
  • Carrier Battle Group ASW Test, 1984: It has been said that a carrier’s biggest threat is not aircraft, but submarines. Time to put this theory to test. Multiple Soviet submarine threats are expected in the path of a CVBG. The CVBG needs to transit the area and defend itself at all times.
  • Etendards in Her Majesty’s Face, 1982: The Falklands conflict has gone on longer than it did historically. Having run out of Exocet missiles, the Argentines now prepare their Super Etendards for an attack on the British task force using conventional bombs.
  • The Irish-Spanish Fish War, 2015: Tensions have increased between Ireland and Spain.  Ireland has responded by closing its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to Spanish fishing boats.  However, there have been reports of Spanish trawlers continuing to fish in Irish waters, and that Spain has even sent military vessels to make sure its fishing boats are not harassed.  Ireland, not surprisingly, considers this a breach of international law and a gross provocation.
  • Mission of the Ile De Sein, 2015: The waters surrounding Île de Sein are part of a protected seascape lying within France’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The responsibilities the French navy include protecting these natural resources from poaching, illegal dumping of chemicals, and other threats. This authority is now being challenged by Russian organized crime.
  • Regulus, 1961: The Berlin Crisis is smoldering. Sneak a Regulus missile submarine through the Kurils and be prepared to conduct a nuclear strike on the industrial sites in Komsomolsk-na-amur. Naturally, Soviet forces in the area are on high alert.
  • The Battle of Mitu, 1995: This scenario assumes that violence from the FARC conflict with Colombia has spilled over into Brazil.  Brazilian citizens have been kidnapped and killed. Among other crimes, FARC is blamed for the brutal murders of a Brazilian police captain and his family. FARC currently occupies the Colombian town of Mitú, close to the Colombia-Brazilian border. Brazil has decided to raid this FARC stronghold.
  • The Battle of Seogeom-Ri, 2015: South Korean and North Korean forces are clashing again.  At stake is the South Korean island of Seogeom-ri, which lies close to the border between the two countries.
  • The Five Powers, 2020: China has been aggressively pushing it’s territorial claims in the South China Sea for over a decade, by the late 2010s it has begun to push those claims ever farther to the south and east. In response the Malaysia activates the Five Powers Defense Agreement; with Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand immediately retasking forces to the assistance of Malaysia, and the UK promising support as soon as possible. Can the Five Powers stem back the Red Tide? (NOTE: A highly entertaining AAR of this scenario can be found here)
  • The Moheli Crisis, 1999: A bloodless coup took place in Comoros in 1999. This scenario assumes the coup was more violent and chaotic. Rebels have seized control of the island of Mohéli.  French nationals living on the island have been taken hostage and the rebels are threatening to kill them unless their demands are met–the rebels believe that France will pressure other factions in the Comoros in order to protect their citizens. As might be expected, France has taken a dim view of these actions and is mobilizing.

As always, the community scenario pack is available for download at the WarfareSims download section: http://www.warfaresims.com/?page_id=1876

Cold War clashes, banana wars and stealthy Seahawks: Six new Command scenarios available

January 16, 2015 · Posted in Command · Comment 

AF117Miguel Molina has posted a new revision of the Command community scenario pack, the compendium of Command scenarios crafted by the user community. The new release contains several scenario updates plus six brand-new scenarios:

  • Boston’s Battle, 1963 : This is an “alternate” scenario to Boston’s Brawl, 1963.  The assumption is that the American Surface Action Group centered around the Boston is on patrol off the coast of West Africa, instead of being in the South Atlantic, and is called upon to destroy a Soviet Surface Action Group.
  • One Final Old-fashioned Banana War, 1947 : An economic slump in Mexico following the end of the WWII commodity boom leads to political unrest in the country, and thus the US military finds itself heading south once again, this time at the request of the Mexican government.
  • Best of the West, Worst of the East, 1982  : Thanks to recently-declassified documents we now know that, had the Cold War escalated to a superpower conflict, the Soviet Navy would preferably keep its modern nuclear submarines in close escort to their all-important strategic missile subs in their bastions, and instead send their modern diesel subs to interdict NATO resupply lines. So as the turbulent early 80s spin up to a bonafide crisis, the Red Banner Northern Fleet’s diesel sub force puts out to sea to challenge NATO’s awesome anti-submarine screens….. and you are in command.
  • Rollback – The First of Many, 1998 : The US military attempts to get rid of Saddam Hussain’s regime via a number of active measures, first and foremost being a series of carrier-launched strategic strikes. This hypothetical scen features the A/F-117 “Seahawk”, a carrier-suitable variant of the F-117 that was nearly adopted by the US Navy in the late 90s.
  • Rollback – Hoisting the Net, 1998 : In addition to airstrikes, the US Navy took other measures to isolate the Hussain regime, one such being the identification and interdiction of supplies headed for Iraq. The USS Denton has been tasked to identify and seize a large container ship enroute to the port of Latakia. Will this be a run-of-mill call?
  • Birmingham Strikes, 1992 : Sierra Leone has plunged into a brutal civil war with the deaths of tens of thousands.  The rebels, known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) were infamous because of the atrocities they committed. The RUF captured a large number of weapons from Sierra Leone (and later from some of the UN peacekeepers dispatched to the area), but received further assistance and material from outside countries such as Libya. In this not-so-hypothetical scenario a small British task group centered on the destroyer HMS Birmingham is tasked to disrupt RUF operation in its vicinity.

As always, the community scenario pack is available for download at the WarfareSims download section: http://www.warfaresims.com/?page_id=1876

With the new scenario pack release, the total number of released Command scenarios is now 225!

Weapon Release Authorization (WRA)

January 10, 2015 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Command 1.07 adds a Weapon Release Authorization (WRA) tab to the Doctrine window. The WRA lists all weapons for the current side, mission, group or unit. To change the WRA for a weapon, press the (+) to expand the target list, and update the desired setting. Players and scenario designers can configure the number of weapons to use against a target and also the number of shooters that may participate in a salvo. Futhermore, the ‘automatic firing range’ of weapon systems can be capped so that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) won’t automatically fire the weapon at certain target types beyond a given range. And lastly, each weapon system’s self-defence behaviour can be configured in detail.

Weapon quantities

The WRA has two levels of targets: ‘Unknown/Unspecified’ and ‘Specific’ types. The first level is made up of ‘Unknown Type’ and ‘Unspecified’ target types, which are highlighted in bold text and used before and after a target has been identified. I.e. a blip on the screen uses ‘Unknown Type’ settings, and once identified as an aircraft or guided weapon the ‘Unspecified’ settings are used.

The WRA allows further refinement of the weapon allocations by specific target types. For example, the WRA can be configured to fire two missiles at a target identified as a MiG-29s and one missile at a Tu-95. Click on the screenshot to the right for an example. Here, the RIM-66M-5 SM-2MR Blk IIIB SAM will be fired in pairs against 4th and 5th generation fighters and supersonic missiles, and singly against all other target types. It should be noted that in this screenshot, most settings are inherited from side level since they have not been configured locally, while some specific aircraft types have not been configured at all and inhert from the ‘Unspecified’ settings.

The WRA settings are inherited the same way as doctrine and EMCON are. The WRA can be configured at side, mission, group or unit level, and inherit settings from higher levels if not set at the current level. This makes the WRA very flexible, i.e. aircraft flying Mission A may be set up to fire 2 weapons at a given target, while all other units (from side level via missions and groups down to unit level) fire 4 of the given weapon at the same type of target.

When firing a SM-2MR Blk IIIB against a contact identified as a MiG-29, the simulator will first check the WRA setting for a 4th Generation Fighter/Attack aircraft from unit level via group and mission to side level. If not defined at any of these levels, the simulator will check the ‘Unspecified’ category from unit to side level. The ‘Unspecified’ target type is always specified at side level, and is the last place the WRA looks.

In addition to specifying the exact number of weapons to fire, anti-ship and land-attack weapons may also rely on the target’s ‘Missile Defence’ value to automatically determine the number of weapons to fire depending on the target’s defensive capabilities. See screenshot to the right for an example. The ‘Missile Defence’ value can be found in the Database Viewer (DB Viewer) for ships and facilities, and gives an indication on the number of Harpoon / SLAM / Maverick missiles needed to destroy the unit. The weapon may also be configured to use multiples of the ‘Missile Defence’ value. For instance, a less powerful weapon may be configured to use twice as many weapons, where as high-performance weapons like the AS-4 Kitchen or SS-N-19 Shipwreck are configured to use 1/4th the ‘Missile Defence’ value. In other words, a ship that is estimated to take 16x Harpoon missiles to sink will only have 4x AS-4s fired at it.

The WRA allows more refined ‘Weapon Control Status’ (WCS) than the FREE / TIGHT / HOLD settings in the Doctrine tab. Granted the WCS is set to FREE or TIGHT, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be excluded from automatically firing at certain targets to prevent employment of heavy anti-ship missiles against tiny boats that are best dealt with using other weapons such as guns. In the above screenshot the Harpoon missile has been configured to not be used against 0-500 ton vessels such as torpedo boats, smaller minehunters, open boats, tugs, fishing boats, small landing craft, etc. However the weapon will be used against 0-500 ton missile boats. Please note that this only applies if the target has been positively identified as a 0-500 ton boat. Otherwise, the AI will use the ‘Unknown Type’ settings and fire two weapons.

Number of shooters

In addition to limiting the number of weapons to fire, the number of shooters to participate in a salvo can be configured in the WRA. Typically, air targets will only have one unit firing at a time to avoid taking up more channels-of-fire than needed. Surface targets may have more shooters, for instance two ships participating with 8x Harpoon missiles each in a 16-round salvo against a Sovremenny DDG. Shooters will seek to fire all weapons in a salvo by themselves, and will only ask other units to join if there are not enough weapons available on the first unit.

Automatic Firing Range

In addition to control whether or not a weapon can be automatically fired by the Artificial Intelligence (AI), and preventing a weapon to automatically fire depending on target type, the WRA also allows the player and scenario designers to limit automatic fire by target range. For instance, a 80nm range weapon may be limited to automatic fire at 30nm. The player will of course be able to allocate weapons manually out to full weapons range.

A typical example would be to reduce the firing-range of SA-5 Gammon SAMs to prevent them from interfering with fighters on Combat Air Patrol (CAP). I.e. by using a 50nm range limitation. Or preventing use of the new 160nm-range SM-6 SAM against difficult targets at ranges beyond 50nm.

Self Defence

Normally, only one friendly unit engages an enemy contact at a time. However, in many cases it would make sense for units to defend themselves when they feel threatened, even when other units are currently firing at the contact. For example, a pair of MiG-23s are closing on a bogey at nearly 2000 knots. Seconds before reaching firing parameters for an AA-7 Apex shot, a SA-5 Gammon site launches a salvo. If the MiG-23s wait for the SA-5s to reach the target before shooting, they will already have merged with the contact and the dogfight begun. To prevent this from happening, it is possible to configure the Self-Defence Range in the WRA. Typically, the self-defence range for the AA-7 is 5nm. This means any MiG-23 that gets within 5nm will launch AA-7s regardless of how many weapons have been allocated to this bogey by other units.

Another example would be a Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) under attack. The escorts do a great job picking off incoming anti-ship missiles with SM-2 SAMs. But once a leaker gets within 5nm of the carrier, the ship will fire a salvo of Sea Sparrows or RAM in self-defence regardless of whether the anti-ship missile currently has SAMs from any of the escorts targeted at it.

Conclusion

In order to control automatic use of weapons in Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations, first set the ‘Weapon Control Status’ (WCS) in the Doctrine window to FREE / TIGHT / HOLD. When set to FREE or TIGHT, weapon employment can be further refined by target types and the number of weapons to be fired in the ‘Weapons per Salvo’ column in the Weapon Release Authorization (WRA) tab. The firing range can be limited in the ‘Automatic Firing Range’ column and the AI can also be prevented from firing the weapon in this column. Finally, the ‘Self Defence’ column allows a unit to fire the weapon regardless of whether the target being dealt with by another unit.

Please note that the decision of whether or not to shoot, and the number of weapons to fire, is decided the instance the simulator generates the weapon salvo. It uses what is currently known about the target to determine what target type settings to use. Two incoming anti-ship missiles may be of ‘Unknown Type’ and ‘Supersonic Sea Skimming’ respectively, and may trigger very different behaviour. So make sure that the target types are configured correctly for all target identification levels, from Unknown and Unspecified target types to Specified target type.

It should be noted that guns are normally set up to automatically fire at anything that comes within range. Default settings allows the weapon to be used against any legal target type, using continous fire, an unlimited number of firing units to participate per target, employment out to max range, and self-defence out to max range. This means that guns will always fire even when the target is under attack by other weapons. To limit gun usage, make sure to alter the ‘Self Defence’ range in addition to any other custom modifications.

The Final Christmas Gift: Sixteen new Command scenarios

December 23, 2014 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Following the release of the massive v1.06 update, and concurrent with the ongoing Matrix and Steam holiday sales, Miguel Molina has delivered the final Christmas gift: A new revision of the Command community scenario pack, the compendium of Command scenarios crafted by the user community. The new release contains sixteen brand-new scenarios:

  • Old Feuds Have Now returned, 2014 : Instead of a vote for unity, the Scottish have voted for independence. Then the real troubles began. The rise in oil prices was just an illusion, a short one driven by jitters after the Oman-Pakistan war rather than any serious change in supply and demand. Both countries’ economies sank after the messy, calamitous split. The pro-UK Shetland Islands held a referendum of their own, and since maritime boundaries determined who could control the resources, this was a problem. Warships were sent, the first shots were fired, and wars between the English and Scots have come back.
  • Sink The Nautica, 1977 : The Canadian naval forces in the mid-70s have seen some very lean years. All but four of the major surface warships are based upon designs more than two-decades old, the venerable CS-2F Trackers have lost their ASW capabilities and the CP-107 Argus LRMP’s are now long in the tooth and overdue for replacement. A Canadian version of the P-3 Orion is on order but delivery of the CP-140 Aurora is still some years away. However, even with the material shortcomings the personnel are well trained and the available “O” Class submarines are worked up and ready. Now there’s a general war against the Warsaw Pact and protecting Canadian waters has to compete with NATO tasks for scarce ships and planes. Into this unsatisfactory defensive situation sails an aggressive Soviet submarine.
  • Operation Charming Truth, 1985 : A coup in Sudan has led to widespread chaos and violence in that country. The Sudanese government believes that some American civilians are organizing anti-government protests, and prepares to crack down – hard. The United States has decided to evacuate Americans from Sudan.
  • Operation Lawful Destroyer, 1985 : This scenario assumes that a coup has taken place in Tanzania in the early 1980s and that the new government is hostile to Western allies like Kenya. The Constellation carrier group is ordered to neutralize Tanzanian forces by striking at Ngerengere airbase and any targets of opportunity.
  • Operation Lawful Avenger, 1985 : A variation on Lawful Destroyer, with different weather conditions and enemy compositions & strengths.
  • Raid on Bir Morghein, 2020 : This scenario assumes that in the near future tensions have increased between Morocco and Mauritania.  The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that China has recently sold military aircraft to Mauritania, giving it for the first time in many years a way to control the skies over the disputed area of the Western Sahara.
  • Terrorists In Anjar, 1984 : An operation that might have been conducted during the war that took place between Israel and Lebanon in the early 1980s. Available IAF air assets at Ramat David AB are tasked with striking at terrorist militia cells deep inside Lebanon, while evading Syrian air defences.
  • The Escort Division, 1962 : A US Navy Escort Division composed of old WWII Destroyer Escorts manned by hastily recalled reservists brings a supply convoy to an isolated Iceland. Designed as a light ASW/minesweeper mission inspired by the 1962-1963 Jane’s Fighting Ships edition. Also designed for maximum replayability with random starting positions for most forces.
  • Incident at Le Perouse Strait, 2014 : The islands in North of Japan have been always a matter of conflict between Russia and Japan. The Russian Pacific Fleet is deployed near Le Perouse Strait in a exercise which is closely monitored by Japanese submarines. This kind of situations could develop in serious incidents. The scenario features the new Japanese ‘Carrier’ destroyers with a complement of F-35s against the new Russian naval units.
  • The Soviet Test, 1964 : The Soviet Union, looking to expand the reach of its naval fleet, has drawn ire from its recent close approaches to the Philippines, Guam and now the Hawaiian Islands. Fearing that the Soviets may uncover the recent nuclear testing at Johnston Atoll, the US places CTF75 in the region to detect and deter the Soviets from encroaching the region and possibly testing their capability of a first strike on the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Air Battle over Beraf-Kucove, 2020 : A civil war erupts in Albania in 2020.  After several months of ferocious fighting, the two sides have drifted into an uneasy cease fire.  However, North Albania has used the lull in the fighting to negotiate arms deals with Serbia and Russia.  Concerned with the direction the war was taking, and its implications for the region, Greece has sold a number of older Mirage fighters and other military equipment to South Albania. 
  • Those Who Hunt Goblins, 1973 : The Yom Kippur war is in full swing. Both the USN and Red Banner Fleets have rushed naval reinforcements into the Med and with the two navies operating at close proximity, the possibility for accident or opportunity sneak attack is considered very great. For the first time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis the US has set DEFCON-3. The only significant naval force to protect the Eastern Seaboard of the United States is the Intrepid Battle Group with her hybrid air group and ad hoc collection of escorts.  This would not normally be an issue but the crisis in the Med has siphoned off most of the SSNs that normally track and trail the Soviet SSBNs operating in the Western Atlantic. The plots for at least two Soviet Yankee-class ballistic missile submarines operating near the American coast have been lost. Can the Intrepid group re-acquire the boomers and keep tabs on them without further escalating the standoff into a possible WW3?
  • Red Flag, 2017 : Red Flag is a world famous exercise held multiple times per year at Nellis AFB, Nevada. It is the "mother of all Flags" and features everything a fighter pilot can wish for in an exercise: dedicated adversary fighters, lots of SAM transmitters, good airspace, and plenty of live bombing targets. It focuses primarily on fighter aircraft working together in COMAO packages to accomplish challenging objectives. Two missions (one day, one night) are flown each day for two weeks, with various assignments, such as Defensive Counter Air, Air Interdiction, Escort, Dynamic Targeting, combinations of the above and more.
  • DCA Mini-EX, 2012 : A joint air-defence exercise pits the combined USAFE / Danish AF forces against OPFOR invaders from the Scandinavian north.
  • Death of the Belgrano, 1982 : After following the ARA General Belgrano task group for one day and four hours, the British nuclear submarine HMS Conqueror receives permission from the Royal Navy Command to intercept and sink the Argentine cruiser. If possible, his escorts too. The green signal was given.
  • The Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment, 1987 : You are the regimental commander of the 236th APIB, an elite Soviet MiG-27K regiment stationed in Hradcany-Mimon Air Base, Czechoslovakia. You have just been given your top-secret orders: War has abruptly broken out, without prior warning. According to established warplans, your assigned targets are a range of high-priority NATO installations. You have one hour to prepare your first airstrike of the war.

Many of the new scenarios, as well as some rebuilt versions of existing ones, make extensive use of the new v1.06 features.

As always, the community scenario pack is available for download at the WarfareSims download section: http://www.warfaresims.com/?page_id=1876

With the new scenario pack release, the total number of released Command scenarios is now 219!

Steam sale back on

December 20, 2014 · Posted in Command · Comment 

Almost 40% off until January 2.

The Matrix sale (-37%) is ongoing until January 11.

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