Mine warfare is one of the areas where Command significantly raises the bar for air/naval wargaming, and as we near the end of development for the v1 release this is a good opportunity to demonstrate some of the work that has been done on this section. Part 1 of this 3-part collection focuses on the process of laying mines to create a minefield.
In this completely hypothetical scenario, side “Red” wants to mine the entrance to the Hormuz straits. We previously demonstrated how to lay “pre-fab” minefields through the Scenario Editor; this time we will have the mines laid during the actual scenario execution.
(As always, best viewed in full-screen HD)
Things to note:
* Multiple assets of different type can be used for the mining mission. In this example we are using the Iran Ajr in combination with a squadron of B-52Hs based at Bandar Abbas. (Yes, “Red” would not normally have access to B-52s but the Buff is as good a mining demonstrator as any. Cope!). To ensure the bombers have enough mines to sow, we are adding 10.000 Quickstrike mines to the base’s stocks. Submarines can also be used in the same manner.
* Currently mines can only be laid only via a mining mission, there is no option to sow them manually (as e.g. sonobuoys). This is a possible future addition (for those who don’t mind the tediousness).
* One of the most useful custom options for the mining mission is arming delay. This can range from 1 second up to years. This can help significantly in preventing the assigned forces from literally mining themselves into a corner. This can happen both in real life and in Command, but the delay option makes it far less likely. It also adds an extra element of uncertainty for third-party observers (“can I pass through that area before the mines are armed?”). In this example the delay is 1 hour, and every sown mine has a visible timer indicating the countdown to being armed.
* The laying pattern is highly irregular and very rarely are 3 mines laid in a straight line. This is deliberate, as it prevents the enemy from discovering a few mines and then using their regular pattern to determine the locations of the rest. It does of course mean an uneven distribution of the mines and the possible presence of gaps in the coverage, but with enough density this is acceptable. One current problem in the implementation (evident in the video) is that aircraft drop their mines too rapidly, creating closely-packed lines instead of a more random field. Increasing the ROF for mine loadouts is a possible remedy.
Coming up on Part II: Minesweeping.