The scenarios of Desert Storm – Part 1

March 21, 2019 · Posted in Command, Uncategorized · Comment 

The new “Desert Storm” DLC is now well into production, and is set to launch on March 28 (see the trailer!). The companion v1.15 update has also been released, and the dev team is already tweaking the new features and fixing issues based on early feedback. Let us take a look through the scenarios available in this battleset and explore the historical and hypothetical events that it surveys.

1. Invasion

Coalition vs. Iraq

Date/Time: 1 August, 1990/ 23:00:00 Zulu
Location: Middle East
Duration: 48 Hours
Playable Sides: Coalition

On August 2, 1990, the world watched in stunned surprise as Iraq’s elite armor divisions invaded and conquered Kuwait within two days.

This irrevocable act was the culmination of years of disputes between the two states. During the Iran-Iraq war, Kuwait had made a series of large loans to Iraq totaling over $14b. By the war’s end in 1988, Iraq was unable to repay and repeatedly asked Kuwait to forfeit the debt, arguing that by standing up to Iran it had indirectly protected the small, wealthy state. Furthermore, Iraq accused Kuwait of “drinking its milkshake”, i.e. using slant-drilling techniques to exploit oil reserves from the Iraqi portion of the rich Rumaila field.

The US administration, balancing between its long-standing allies Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and its desire to continue using secular Iraq as a bulwark against fundamentalist Iran (as it had done throughout the 1980s), had long been trying to mediate a solution that would placate all sides. During the spring and summer of 1990, Iraq’s military preparations were closely observed by western intelligence but were interpreted as a show of force designed to intimidate Kuwait and third-party negotiators rather than as the prelude to action. On July 25, the US ambassador met with Iraq’s leader, President Saddam Hussein, to reaffirm that (a) the US was committed to a peaceful resolution of the disputes between the two states and (b) that they held no opinion or favor towards either side in the disputes themselves. Hussein apparently interpreted the former as a token statement and the latter as a tacit approval of his regional ambitions. He thus finalized his operational plans and, just one week later, set them in motion.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) had long-prepared plans for the rapid transfer of heavy US forces in the Middle East and Arabian peninsula. The concept of the Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) postulated a sudden threat to the oil fields of Iran or Saudi Arabia, in both cases from a sudden Soviet invasion out of Afghanistan or the Caucasus TVD. To counter such a threat, multiple rapid-reaction forces and schemes were put in place: Elements of the 82nd Airborne Division were on a constant two-hour alert, with a brigade-size commitment scheduled 18 hours later; division-sized army forces were to be airlifted and delivered within 2 weeks; multiple container ships pre-positioned in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean carried supplies to be used by the arriving troops; multiple tactical and strategic airwings were earmarked for immediate relocation, and more. CENTCOM regularly practiced these plans in concert with regional allies, e.g. the bi-annual “Bright Star” exercises held in Egypt.

Though nobody on the ground yet knew it, all these plans and preparations were about to be put to the real test.

2. The Thin Red Line

Coalition vs. Iraq

Date/Time: 15 August, 1990/ 20:00:00 Zulu
Location: Middle East
Duration: 38 Hours
Playable Sides: Coalition


“I can tell you this, those first few nights were pretty strenuous, we didn’t have very much to stop ’em. [If the Iraqis attacked], the plan was to hit the supplies for the attacking army, slow ’em down that way, and meanwhile we kept a full tank of gas in all of our cars and we were ready to [withdraw] to Jeddah (Red Sea coast).”

– Charles Horner, commander of coalition air ops on Desert Shield / Desert Storm

Emboldened by his army’s swift success in conquering Kuwait and its oil fields, Saddam Hussein considered a possible advance into Saudi Arabia.

US reinforcements had already started pouring into the country, but slower than required, because the Saudi monarch was unconvinced that Iraq would invade (Saddam had privately assured the Saudis that Kuwait was his sole objective). A massive global air/sea-lift operation was well underway, but forces and supplies were by necessity streaming in piecemeal and simply getting the right people and hardware where they needed to be was challenging. In many ways, the rapid-reaction force being assembled in Saudi Arabia during August & September was a rag-tag motley crew of assets. Opposite them, just across the border stood Iraq’s best armored units, flush with confidence, ready to advance on a moment’s notice.

If that armored fist had crossed the border, would the thin red line have held?

3. First Night

Coalition vs. Iraq

Date/Time: 17 January, 1991 / 00:00:00 Zulu
Location: Middle East
Duration: 48 Hours
Playable Sides: Coalition

Two Soviet generals sit at a café in Paris, watching the Red Army’s victory parade. One of them turns to the other and asks: “By the way, comrade, who won the air war”?

This grim joke, popular in NATO circles in the 1970s and 80s, reflected a common prevailing wisdom distilled from the lessons of WW2, Korea and Vietnam: Airpower alone had never been able to decisively determine the course of a war.

The potential of airpower as a paradigm-shifting strategic weapon had been evident since its inception. Capable of bypassing the front lines to strike at the enemy’s heartland, it might end wars in days, rather than the years of brutal front-line attrition required in past conflicts. A century of failed attempts dispelled the dream; the reality was an attritional war of fighters and flak (and more recently SAMs), as bloody as anything earthbound. The same applied to direct destruction of fielded enemy forces; airpower was important, but as plenty of experience attested, never dominant.

As the US-led coalition air forces prepared for their first round of offensive operations against the Iraqi military, a lot was riding on the men and machines tasked with the job. The machines themselves were a mix of old and tried, and new and untested. The US military still lied in the shadow of the failures of Vietnam, where “a thousand tactical victories” had nevertheless ultimately resulted in strategic and political defeat. The directives from the highest level were clear as crystal: This would not be allowed to turn into another Vietnam. Strategic victory had to be achieved swiftly, massively and decisively – in other words, unlike any previous major conflict the US and its allies had ever fought.

Some students of airpower pointed to Israel’s swift victory in 1967 (and especially the first-day annihilation of the Egyptian air force) as a possible model to emulate. While there was indeed much to learn from the Arab-Israeli conflicts of the past (indeed, Israel’s extensive use of electronic warfare in 1982 did not go unnoticed and was to be intensely replicated), the reality was that the conditions that enabled the IAF to triumph in 1967 had come and gone. Low altitude was no longer a safe sanctuary for strike aircraft; Radars had become more resistant to jamming; Aircraft were no longer parked in long rows in the open begging to be bombed & strafed, each instead now being individually protected by a hardened aircraft shelter (HAS) seemingly impervious to anything but a dead-on nuclear impact. Catching the Iraqi air force on the ground and wiping it out within a few hours was a pipe dream. The Iraqi integrated air defence system (IADS), an odd mix of Soviet-supplied radars and SAMs together with a backbone of mostly French-originated command, control and communication infrastructure (a detail that turned out to be eminently exploitable) appeared to be a very tough nut to crack. Campaign planners, by every right a conservative group, estimated potentially heavy aircraft losses for the first nights of intense airstrikes.

Desert Storm would famously prove the “never dominant” claim invalid, but before airpower savaged the Iraqi army itself, it reached one more time for the first and dearest dream – overwhelming and instant strategic supremacy. The first night’s strikes on Iraq proper saw a dizzying ballet of assets, coordinated by modern AWACS and satellite communications, overwhelm Iraq’s air defenses, plaster its airbases and hammer its C3 infrastructure – simultaneously. Assets ranging from fighters and bombers to attack helicopters to drones to cruise missiles struck their targets with impunity, but none more boldly than the F-117s which braved Baghdad itself, hit their targets, and returned without loss.

To what extent those first-night strikes realized the traditional goals of strategic airpower – especially the shattering of enemy morale – is a question still debated and might never be truly answered. But one promise, beyond a shadow of a doubt, had finally been realized: At long last, the bomber had gotten through.

4. The Gates of Hell

Coalition vs. Iraq

Date/Time: 18 January, 1991 / 04:00:00 Zulu
Location: Middle East
Duration: 36 Hours
Playable Sides: Coalition

Prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it had been established that Iraq possessed a significant chemical weapons capability. Iraq’s military had used chemical weapons on numerous occasions against Iran, as well as various rebel groups such as in Kurdistan. By the time of the coalition build-up during Desert Shield, the consensus of western intelligence agencies held that Iraq still had a sizable chemical arsenal, had likely forward-deployed these weapons, and was prepared to use them against coalition forces.

The concern about Iraq using WMDs as a counter to the coalition’s superiority in conventional forces prompted numerous US officials to implicitly or even explicitly state that the US would respond to such an attack with WMDs of its own, probably employing tactical nuclear weapons.

At the tactical and operational level, Iraq’s chemical weaponry constituted one of the prime strategic targets of coalition air power. The effort to neutralize it was two-pronged: chemical agents still stored in their rear-area bunkers were attacked before they could be deployed; and ready-forces already outfitted with chemical warheads (Scud missile batteries, artillery units, etc.) were prioritized by coalition airpower. But as frequently happens with such plans, the best efforts still resulted in misses and leakers.

On January 18, the second day of Desert Storm, Iraq’s President Hussein – dismayed by Iraq’s inability to resist the coalition’s massive aerial onslaught – conveyed an ultimatum to CENTCOM headquarters: unless coalition forces immediately ceased offensive actions and withdrew from Kuwait, Iraq would strike coalition troops and/or any city of their choice with chemical weapons.

While US forces scrambled to locate and neutralize the chemical threat immediately, other standing-alert assets prepared to deliver the nuclear response the US had committed to. The gates of hell were about to swing open…

5. Scud Hunt

Coalition vs. Iraq

Date/Time: 19 January, 1991 / 00:00:00 Zulu
Location: Middle East
Duration: 36 Hours
Playable Sides: Coalition

Saddam Hussein’s first serious reaction to the commencement of Desert Storm was to unleash a protracted bombardment of Israel (and to a much lesser extent Saudi Arabia) using Iraq’s considerable arsenal of SS-1C Scud-B tactical ballistic missiles (TBMs). While the strikes against Saudi Arabia were merely punitive gestures, attacking Israel was an astute political gambit: if Israel retaliated, as Hussein hoped, reawakened anti-Israel fervor in the various Arab states that had either remained neutral or actively joined the coalition could fracture the alliance mere days into the campaign.

CENTCOM planners and Schwarzkopf himself had neglected the Scud threat up to that point, correctly considering the missiles as militarily insignificant without WMD warheads (which the US nuclear deterrent would preclude.) Though tactically and operationally ineffective, they had suddenly become a serious strategic/diplomatic threat. Persuading Israel to hold back was no easy task, again demanding multiple parallel measures. First, several Patriot batteries with PAC-2 missiles (optimized for TBM engagements) were hurriedly deployed to key Israeli target areas like Tel Aviv. Secondly, Iraq’s TBMs and launchers became priority targets for air campaign planners.

The missiles installed in fixed launchers at the large H2 and H3 airbases in western Iraq were straightforward enough to attack; however, most Iraqi Scuds were deployed on highly mobile 8×8 transporter/erector/launcher (TEL) vehicles exploiting the vast Iraqi desert to hide themselves. To destroy them, a large portion of available coalition aircraft and special operation forces (SOF) teams were re-tasked to seeking out and eliminating Scud TELs exclusively. This veritable “needle in a haystack” hunt would become the longest operation of the entire conflict and a maddeningly frustrating experience for everyone involved.

6. Reviving a Giant

Coalition vs. Iraq

Date/Time: 24 January, 1991 / 00:00:00 Zulu
Location: Middle East
Duration: 48 Hours
Playable Sides: Coalition

By January 20th, 1991, the initial strikes on Iraq had been highly successful, destroying or degrading much of Iraq’s communication and anti-air capabilities. However, the coalition naval fleets in both the Eastern Med and Persian Gulf had by this point expended most of their long-range land-attack capability. In particular, the Persian Gulf Task Force needed to replenish its stock of Tomahawk cruise missiles as soon as possible.

Historically, two Iowa Class battleships, Missouri (BB-63) and Wisconsin (BB-64), played a part in the Gulf War. Four Iowas were built during WWII and two other keels were laid – the Illinois (BB-65) and Kentucky (BB-66). These two hulls were to be the Iowa’s follow-on class, the “Montana Class” battleships. In real life, the end of WWII halted their construction and they were never commissioned. The BB-65 hull was broken up in September 1958.

In the 1950s, several proposals were floated to complete the Kentucky as a guided missile battleship. This project was authorized in 1954, and Kentucky was renumbered from BB-66 to BBG-1, only to be canceled later.

Conversion of the 73% complete Kentucky would have entailed extensive refits to replace the two original aft 16″ turret barbettes with an assortment of missile launchers and sensor systems. Apart from Phalanx CIWS, quad Harpoon launchers and Tomahawk armored-box launchers received by the four Iowas during their 1980s modernization, the Kentucky would also have room for multiple SM-2 Standard area-defence missile and Sea Sparrow point-defence missile launchers, plus their associated air search and SAM-illumination radars. Its original twin 5-inch gun turrets would’ve been replaced with modern Mk45 guns. If employed correctly, the last of the BBs would have been a fearsome addition to coalition naval power.

In this hypothetical scenario, the conversion was completed instead of abandoned, and BBG-1 Kentucky has been commissioned into service, receiving subsequent modernization during the 1980s similr to the Iowas. The Kentucky and her accompanying escorts and supply ships have been tasked to reinforce the Coalition’s naval force in the Northern Persian Gulf and relieve the first-strike shooters.

7. Israel Stands Up

Israel vs. Iraq/Gaza

Date/Time: 26 January, 1991 / 23:00:00 Zulu
Location: Middle East
Duration: 36 Hours
Playable Sides: Israel

Desert Storm was arguably the strangest war in Israel’s military history. Even though a nationwide state of emergency was declared, and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) were put on alert, the order to commence offensive operations never came.

Saddam Hussein had attempted to turn Iraq’s dispute with Kuwait into a larger Arab-Israeli matter long before the air campaign started. For example, on August 12, 1990, just ten days after the Iraqi invasion, he had publicly suggested that Iraq might withdraw from Kuwait if Israel withdrew from all occupied Arab territory and Syria withdrew from Lebanon. Unsurprisingly this proposal drew considerable praise from the Arab world, even from principals that were otherwise critical of Iraq and its invasion.

Hussein’s order to fire a protracted barrage of Scud missiles against Israel right after the beginning of the coalition air campaign was therefore a step-up in this shrewd political maneuver: he attempted to draw Israel into battle, thus transforming what had started as an Arab-Arab conflict into an Arab-Israeli conflict, one in which Iraq would suddenly find new allies. Realizing this, the US-led coalition urged Israel to “stay down” and take the punches on the chin. It was necessary to keep Israel out in order to keep the Arab states on the side of the coalition. To demonstrate the US commitment to Israeli defence, a number of Patriot missile batteries were hastily ferried to Israel to provide additional ABM cover, and a substantial part of the coalition’s tactical airpower was dedicated to eliminating the Scud threat at its source. The Israeli government understood the stakes and, despite suffering repeated Scud impacts on Tel Aviv and elsewhere, held fast.

In this hypothetical scenario, Saddam’s gamble paid off: mounting public pressure in Israel from the relentless Scud bombardment has reached the breaking point. Rumors are spreading that dissident Arab factions within Palestine and the Gaza Strip are assembling material, supplies, equipment and personnel to launch independent attacks against Israel in support of Iraq’s pressure. The government feels that it has to respond, even in a limited fashion, or completely lose legitimacy. Israel’s gloves are about to come off.

What a week! Command-PE training at the LM Center For Innovation

July 24, 2018 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

We had a fantastic time last week over at Lockheed Martin’s Center For Innovation (Lighthouse). 5 days of intense training on Command PE with people from LM, USN, USAF, RAAF, Luftwaffe, UDRI & DSTL. Tons of extremely useful feedback on taking Command-PE to the next level. We cannot thank enough the LM crew for putting the event together. To everyone who attended – you have been great! Looking forward to seeing all of you again and more.

p.s. Team “Luis Script” crushed team “Joint Strike Trivia” at the Decent People. Better luck next time JSTers!

See also: The game is getting serious: how a commercial video game becomes a military asset



Command: The Silent Service announced

January 31, 2018 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment 

Announcement at MatrixGames

Product page at MatrixGames

The scenarios of Shifting Sands – Part 2

October 12, 2017 · Posted in Command, Uncategorized · 1 Comment 

Shifting Sands, the new standalone expansion for CMANO, is to be released soon by MatrixGames, together with the new v1.13 game update. In this multi-part series we cover the scenarios of this new campaign set. Part 1 covered the period from the sidelines of the Suez Crisis up to the Six-Day War. Now we move forward to the War Of Attrition and the great strategic surprise of the Yom Kippur War.

7. Sledge Hammer

Israel vs. Egypt
Date/Time: 20th July, 1969 / 11:30:00 Zulu
Location: Egypt – Sinai Peninsula
Duration: 6 Hours
Playable Sides: Israel

Despite Israel’s decisive victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, there were no diplomatic efforts in subsequent years to resolve the issues at the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In September 1967 the Arab states formulated the "Three Nos" policy, barring peace, recognition or negotiations with Israel; and believing that "what was taken by force, will not be restored except by force", President Nasser of Egypt soon approved resuming hostilities along the Suez Canal. These initially took the form of limited artillery duels and small scale incursions into the Sinai, but by 1969 the Egyptian Army was prepared for larger scaled operations. On March 8, Nasser proclaimed the official launch of the "War of Attrition", characterized by large-scale shelling along the Canal, accompanied by pinpoint sniping and commando assaults.

The Egyptian Army was superior in both manpower and equipment to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), and thus were able to sustain a lengthy static war. Israel, therefore, sought to demonstrate its aerial superiority to deter Egypt from a continuation of this low-level war. In early July 1969 the Israeli Air Force was tasked to prepare an assault on Egyptian positions on the western bank of the canal. The plan, codenamed operation "Boxer 1", was to be a gradual attack starting at the northern end of the Canal, where defences were weak, and moving southwards as the attacks continued.

Before operations against the Egyptian positions could start, the IDF had to disable the early warning radar and ELINT facilities on Green Island, a fortified island located near the southern end of the Canal, which was deemed a threat to Israeli aircraft operating in that region. The island was attacked by Israeli special forces on July 19 as part of Operation Bulmus 6, destroying its AAA defences and early-warning radar. IAF A-4 Skyhawks struck the island before the attack commenced, while Bell 205 helicopters participated in the extraction of Israeli special forces after their departure.

8. The SAM Busters

Israel vs. Syria
Date/Time: 7th October, 1973 / 07:00:00 Zulu
Location: Syria – Golan Heights
Playable Sides: Israel
Duration: 4 Hours

The sudden outbreak of the Yom Kippur War on October 1973 was an unmitigated disaster for the Israeli Air Force (IAF). Numerous aircraft had already been shot down in the first 48 hours, and the force was nowhere near to contributing its expected share of the burden of repulsing the attacks on either the Egyptian or the Syrian front. Arab air defences were nothing like six years ago, and even their mobile formations were moving under a very strong protective umbrella of mobile anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missile batteries. Even so, the IAF got to work using its pre-war plans for such a contingency.

One such plan, operation "Model 5", was a pre-planned operation to destroy all of the Syrian SAM and AAA batteries on the Golan front, in the area later known as the "Valley of Tears", by using unguided weapons from strike aircraft approaching targets at very low level; this was expected to keep them from being detected by Syrian radar systems.

Despite outdated human and imagery intelligence, the urgency of the theater situation (specifically, the depleted Israeli troops about to be overrun by an attack more than five times their size) dictated that the operation was greenlighted and launched on October 7, the second day of the war.

And from the beginning, things started going horribly wrong.

9. Hunters

Syria vs. Israel
Date/Time: 7th October, 1973 / 21:00:00 Zulu
Location: Eastern Med – Port of Latakia
Playable Sides: Israel and Syria
Duration: 10 Hours

During the 1973 Yom Kippur conflict, the Arab-Israeli war at sea would be the first conflict in which the primary naval weapon on both sides was the surface-to-surface missile. After the loss of the Eilat, the Israelis felt they could no longer try to maintain a traditional navy. They undertook a new crash program that would not only change their navy, but would change naval warfare. The Israelis chose to convert their navy over to one where small fast missile-armed ships would be the main combat force.

With this decision they began developing their own SSM, the Gabriel, and designing ships to carry the missile. But more importantly, the Israelis began to look for a way to defeat the Styx missile. For their missile boats the Israelis invested heavily in a new shipboard electronic warfare system, which included electronic support measures (ESM) to detect the enemy search radar and Styx homing radar, electronic countermeasures (ECM) to jam these radars, and chaff rockets to create false radar targets.

By the time war broke out in 1973, the Israeli transition to the new missile boat navy was practically complete; but the entire force was still untested and many wondered if the new missile and electronic warfare systems would work.

As the bulk of the "new" Israeli navy headed down towards the port of Latakia on October 7 to force the Syrian navy into an open confrontation, the very same question lingered on the mind of every military observer watching the battle to unfold.
Designer Notes:

Historical Outcome: Two Syrian Komar and one Osa class missile boats along with a Syrian minesweeper and a torpedo boat were sunk in the battle of Latakia, the Syrian navy returned to port and did not fight again for the rest of the war. No Israeli ships were damaged.

This scenario is based on the original scenario "Battle Of Latakia", with many enhancements and the addition of playable Syrian side.

10. Hide And Seek

Israel vs. Egypt   
Date/Time: 8th October, 1973 / 21:00:00 Zulu
Location: Southern Med – Baltim and Damietta [Egypt]
Playable Sides: Israel
Duration: 6 Hours

The battle of Latakia, although easily the most memorable naval clash of the 1973 war, was in fact not the only one. On the other major theater of the conflict, the battle of Baltim was fought between the Israeli Navy and the Egyptian Navy on October 8–9, 1973. It took place off the Nile delta, between Baltim and Damietta.

On the third day of the conflict, Israel launched a counterattack in the Sinai in an attempt to push the Egyptian Army back across the Suez Canal. The Israeli naval command expected ground pressure on Port Said to prompt a withdrawal of Egyptian naval forces to Alexandria, 180 km to the west. A squadron of Israeli Sa’ar-class missile boats, some of them in fact returning from the bloody shootout at Latakia, was therefore ordered to proceed to the Port Said area.

The battle commenced when the Israeli boats, heading toward Baltim, were engaged by four Egyptian Osa-class missile boats from Alexandria.

11. Downtown in Damascus

Israel vs. Syria
Date/Time: 9th October, 1973 / 12:30:00 Zulu
Location: Syria
Duration: 4 Hours
Playable Sides: Israel

On October 7, Syrian FROG-7 missiles struck the Israeli airbase at Ramat David. Additional missiles struck civilian settlements nearby, causing light physical damage but plummeting the already fragile morale.

In retaliation, the IAF was tasked to destroy the leadership & infrastructure on which Syria’s war-making capacity depended, targeting strategic targets in Syria such as its oil industry and electricity generating system.

The first target was to be the Syrian General Staff Headquarters in the prosperous Abu Rummaneh district of heavily-protected Damascus. The raid was intended to disrupt Syrian command and control capability for operations against Israel.

The raid was launched on October 9, 1973, the fourth day of the Yom Kippur War – and F-4E Phantom IIs from 119 Squadron screamed into the hornet’s nest of downtown Damascus.

Israel_nuclear12. The Samson Option

Date/Time: 10th October, 1973 / 11:00:00 Zulu
Location: Egypt – Sinai Peninsula
Playable Sides: Israel
Duration: 4 Hours

Officially, Israel is not a nuclear power.

During the first days of the Yom Kippur War, with the initial surprise breakthroughs on both the northern and southern borders by the combined Arab armies, Israel’s military was in near-panic. The alarmed Defence Minister Moshe Dayan told Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir that "this is the end of the third temple." He was warning of Israel’s impending total defeat, but "Temple" was also the code word for nuclear weapons.

Dayan again raised the nuclear topic in a cabinet meeting, warning that the country was approaching a point of "last resort". The same night, Meir authorized the assembly of thirteen nuclear ‘physics packages’, to arm Jericho I missiles at Sdot Micha Airbase (aka "Second Wing"), and F-4E aircraft at Tel Nof Airbase (aka "Black Squadron"), for use against Syrian and Egyptian targets. They would be used if absolutely necessary to prevent total collapse at the front lines, or as the final retaliation for Israel’s destruction. However, the preparations were deliberately performed in an easily observable manner, likely as a signal to the US and USSR.

US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger learned of the nuclear alert on the morning of October 9. That day, in keeping with his deal and warning which prevented a pre-emptive Israeli attack on the massing Arab armies, US President Nixon ordered the commencement of Operation Nickel Grass, a massive airlift operation to replace all of Israel’s material losses (especially its aircraft) and provide additional support hardware such as brand-new electronic jammers to defeat Arab SAMs. (According to anecdotal evidence, Kissinger told Sadat that the reason for the US airlift was that the Israelis were very close to "going nuclear".)

In this hypothetical scenario, the US took too long to commit to providing the vital assistance, and Israel’s leadership became desperate enough to step into the nuclear abyss.

13. Seconds Out – Round Two!

Syria vs. Israel
Date/Time: 11th October, 1973 / 21:00:00 Zulu
Location: Eastern Med – Port of Latakia
Playable Sides: Israel
Duration: 5 Hours

The Second Battle of Latakia was another small naval battle of the Yom Kippur War, fought between Israel and Syria on October 11. Israel’s 914 Division fielded Sa’ar missile boats armed with Gabriel anti-ship missiles, while the Syrian Navy were equipped with Soviet Komar- and Osa-class missile boats armed with Soviet-manufactured SS-N-2 "Styx" anti-ship missiles.

After losing 3 missile boats during the first Battle of Latakia, the Syrian navy changed its tactics and refused to engage the Israeli navy in open battle at sea again. Instead, it used its missile boats on short "dash in and out" forays from harbour mouths to launch missiles, relying on coastal batteries for defence. To provoke the missile boats into open combat, the commander of the Israeli Navy missile boats flotilla, Michael Barkai, was dispatched with 7 boats to launch a night attack on the Syrian ports. Oil tanks at the ports were marked as secondary targets.

Barkai split his forces so that 2 Sa’ar 4-class missile boats were to attack the Port of Banias, while another 2 boats would attack the Syrian naval base at Mina Al-Baida. The last 3 remaining boats, 2 Sa’ar 3-class missile boats and 1 Sa’ar 2-class boat were to attack Latakia again.

Both sides had already learned lessons from the previous battles at Latakia and Baltim, and would now put their new tricks to the test.

Next: From Yom Kippur to Bekaa

Matrix Games LLC is hiring!

January 31, 2017 · Posted in Uncategorized · Comment

This is an excellent opportunity to join our professional simulation and wargaming team in the U.S.A.

Professional strategy gaming developer and publisher Matrix Games LLC is looking for a Strategy Gaming Specialist to help develop the next generation of professional Battlespace Simulations.

Role: Strategy Gaming Specialist

This position will support a new effort in strategy gaming for operational customers.

The position will require an understanding of strategy gaming structures, LUA scripting, and military operations.

The successful candidate will provide technical support to strategy and wargaming tasking, including database development, scenario development, and process definition support. Some ancillary software support will be required.

The majority of work will be to support government customers; the successful candidate must be able to obtain a US security clearance.


  • Bachelor’s of Science Degree, or experience in LUA scripting and strategy simulations and  gaming
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint
  • Experience with complex strategy gaming environments
  • Understanding of LUA scripting
  • Attention to Detail
  • Excellent written communication skills
  • Self-motivated with ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Due to the nature of this position, US citizenship is required

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, or Electrical Engineering
  • Experience in complex strategy gaming design, application, or use
  • Demonstrated experience working with customers at various levels
  • Effective interpersonal communication skills
  • Demonstrated effective verbal communication with clients at all levels
  • Demonstrated successful collaboration within a multi-disciplinary team
  • Strong organizational and time management skills to effectively manage various project activities ensuring accurate task completion

The candidates should apply in writing to

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