Author Topic: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR  (Read 12143 times)

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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« on: October 01, 2016, 02:13:42 PM »
OK, after a long and incredibly busy end of summer, here's my playthrough of the next of Gunner98's excellent Northern Fury series of scenarios in CMANO. Here's the setup:

It's the sixth day of the war and Northern Norway and Iceland have fallen to the Soviet onslaught. For the past two days the Enterprise battle group has been holding the line south of Iceland, shielding the SLOCs and ALOCs from Soviet southward thrusts, as well as fending off attacks by Soviet submarines and naval aviation on the carrier itself.Very heavy Soviet fighter and fighter bomber forces have been operating from captured airfields on Iceland, complicating matters further for NATO. So far the lonely battle group has parried everything that has been thrown at it, but now the Enterprise and her consorts may be in serious trouble.




Two days of hard fighting left the Enterprise's magazines seriously low on air-to-air munitions, and the air group is exhausted after forty-eight hours of surge operations. The deck crews for the aircraft are exhausted as well, and this is beginning to show in the growing number of air frames down with maintenance faults. Perhaps even more troubling, the SAM magazines of the battle group's escorting warships are also seriously low, especially the magazines of the task group's two Aegis cruisers. Taken all together, these facts have left the task force's commander with serious doubt's about his command's ability to withstand another concerted Soviet strike.

But not all is so bleak. The carrier USS Carl Vinson, which was in Norfolk refitting at the outbreak of hostilities, is now at sea with her battle group and steaming northeast past Newfoundland at high speed to relieve Enterprise, while the Eisenhower battle group is steaming north after leaving the Med. If Enterprise can survive one more day, the crisis will pass.

The trick will be keeping the carrier alive while at the same time not leaving the central Atlantic uncovered to Soviet attacks. Enterprise cannot depart to join up with the USS Monongahela replenishment group until Vinson is within realistic supporting range.

Other NATO assets include tankers and E-3 AWACS operating out of Goose Bay in Canada, P-3 maritime patrol aircraft flying from Gander, Newfoundland, a small Canadian ASW task force centered on the frigate Algonquin, and the USS Seattle replenishment task force returning to North America from Europe, well south of the action.

Will Enterprise survive to fight another day? Will the Vinson and her fresh air group arrive in time to tilt the scales in NATO's favor? Or will the Soviet onslaught succeed in dealing a stunning blow to NATO naval strength in the North Atlantic? Read on to find out!
« Last Edit: October 01, 2016, 02:30:19 PM by Airborne Rifles »

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2016, 02:25:39 PM »
 O0
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2016, 10:13:59 PM »
Oh Boy! Pass the popcorn.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2016, 10:51:44 PM »
“Sir,” called the technician aboard the ES-3A Shadow ELINT aircraft flying lazy circles south of the Enterprise battle group, “I’ve got another one. This one looks like a Badger L, coming southwest from the direction of Iceland. His radar’s on, sir.”

“Will he pass within detection range of Big E?” asked the ELINT officer next to him in the cramped aircraft, a modified version of the S-3 Viking sub hunter. They had been airborne for two hours already, and this was the third Soviet snooper they had detected since launching from Enterprise’s deck.

“If he keeps his current track...it will be close, sir, responded the technician.”

The office swore under his breath. The battle group’s best chance of survival at this point was to evade detection. If the Soviets couldn’t find them, then they couldn’t hit them. Unfortunately, the Russians seemed to have a nearly inexhaustible supply of patrol aircraft to cast over the icy waters of the North Atlantic, their radars reaching our like floodlights into the chill morning.

“Ok,” the officer said after a moment, “I’ll call the CAG.”

After a short conversation with the air group commander, who was back aboard Big E, the officer turned to the tech again and asked, “What’s the status on those Mig-31s we’ve been picking up?”

“Still faint, sir,” responded the tech, “coming in and out. They’re probably circling. Can't give you a range."

The ELINT sensors aboard the Shadow had been picking up the signatures of several of the dangerous Soviet Mig-31 interceptors patrolling due south of Iceland, their powerful radars switched on to compensate for their lack of control from a friendly AWACS. It was helpful that the Americans could pick up that they were there, but frustrating as well, as the air group aboard the carrier wouldn’t be able to mount an effective challenge to the Foxhounds, armed with their long AA-6 missiles, for several hours yet.

“Ok,” the officer said again, “The CAG says we can’t risk the carrier being seen. He’s launching the ready birds and sending the airborne CAP to pick off the snooper to our northwest. We’ll see what those Migs do.

Just then the tech said, “Sir, you’re not going to like this...I’m just picking up another Badger to our northeast...and there may be a patrol version Su-24 with him as well.”

Damn, though the officer. He called the CAG again to report the bad news, then said to his tech, “The CAG says the CAP is just going to need to leave the task force uncovered for a while. He’s sending the ready fighters east to deal with this new one."

The pilots of the two F/A-18s that had been Enterprise’s CAP were even now turning northwest and pushing their throttles to  military power, plotting an intercept course for the first snooper. The pilots of the two F-14s who had just launched and were climbing to altitude kept the noses of their jets pointed east, plotting a similar course for the other pair of Soviet recon birds more than two-hundred miles away.

Both pairs of American pilots kept their radars powered down, accepting direction instead from the crew aboard the ES-3A, who were tracking the fighter jocks’ targets by the Russians own emissions. Unfortunately, the Shadow’s sensors could only give a bearing and an approximation of range from their own location, not a precise fix on the Tu-16L’s location. As a consequence, the pilots of the two Hornets were forced to energize their radars twenty minutes later when they arrived in the area where their prey should have been.

Banking their fighters in a broad, searching turn, the Hornet pilots searched the sky for the spy plane that was trying to pinpoint their floating home. After about a quarter turn of the compass, the flight lead called, “This is Thunderbolt Three, I’ve got him at my eleven o’clock, range twenty five miles. Engaging.” To his wingman he radioed, “follow me.”

“Thunderbolt flight, this is Shadow,” called the ELINT crew, “be advised it looks like those Mig-31s have turned your way. Hurry, over.”

The pilot nodded. This shouldn’t take long. The converted Russian bomber was approaching him obliquely. He pushed his throttles forward to the stops to close the range, and at about seventeen miles locked one of his AIM-7 Sparrow missiles onto the enemy jet. Squeezing the trigger he called, “Fox One!” as the missile shot forward off its rail and arced upwards, keeping the radar beam cast by the Hornet’s fire control system in its sight the whole way.

The Soviet pilots of the patrol craft, belatedly aware of their danger when their RWR began chirping, threw their large aircraft into a sharp turn, trying to chart a perpendicular course to the incoming weapon. As the Sparrow approached, the Russian pilot turned sharply again, bringing the nose of the Badger around so that it was on as near a reciprocal heading to the AIM-7 as he could manage in the short seconds he had. At the same time, the copilot punched packets of chaff out the back of their aircraft. 

It worked. The Russians felt their aircraft buffet as the Sparrow exploded into a chaff cloud several hundred meters to their rear.

The Hornet pilot swore into his oxygen mask. These damned Sparrows sometimes seemed more trouble than they were worth. What he wouldn’t give for a full load of the new AMRAAMs! Unfortunately, AIM-7s were what he had to work with, for the moment, so he locked a second weapon onto the Soviet bomber and fired. This time the engagement was more favorable, since the crew of the Badger had needed to fly towards the American jets in their evasion of the previous missile.

The second AIM-7 flew true, or nearly so. Chaff from the Tu-16 almost threw off the missile’s lock, but it was close enough when its warhead detonated for shrapnel to riddle the aircraft’s vertical stabilizer. For a moment, the Soviet pilot though he might be all right as he wrestled with the suddenly sluggish controls of his aircraft. But then the stabilizer folded in half in the slipstream and the Badger began to tumble wing over wing as it descended towards the vast ocean below.

“Scratch one!” called the American fighter pilot tiredly. It was hard to get overly excited about shooting down a slow moving recon bird when he knew enemy fighters were inbound. “Shadow, what’s the status on those Mig-31s, over?”

“Approaching from your east,” was the reply.

“Thunderbolt, this is Hawkeye,” called the controller on the E-2C that was orbiting southwest of Enterprise, “we just picked those Migs up on our scope here...they're moving your way fast, full afterburner, going at least thirteen-hundred knots. Enemy count is eight, I say again eight birds. Recommend you come to heading two seven zero and punch it to try to get away, over.”

The pilots of Thunderbolt flight needed no encouragement. They had no desire to try four-to-one odds under these circumstances. The streaking Foxhounds would be able to overtake them anyway, since they had a four-hundred knot advantage in speed. The American pilots just hoped to lead the Russians on long enough that they would have to turn back for lack of fuel. It was going to be close.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 06:13:08 AM »
Another nail biter!
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

"you don't look at the mantelpiece when you're poking the fire" - Bawb

"Can’t ‘un’ until you ‘pre’, son." - Gus

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2016, 07:48:28 PM »
Thunderbolt 3 and 4 pushed their Hornets as hard as they could, flying west away from the squadron of Mig-31s that were in pursuit. It was a losing race, and the pilots knew it. Before long they each heard the familiar alarm of their respective radar warning receivers as the Soviet pilots lit them up with their powerful fire control radars. The Americans knew from the past two days experience that a pair of AA-6 Acrid missiles wouldn’t be far behind. Both men began twisting their heads around in their canopies, trying to catch a glimpse of the incoming weapons.

The Americans were now faced with an impossible choice. They could continue on their course, westward on afterburner, giving the missiles an easier target, or they could turn to try to evade the incoming AA-6s. In the second case they stood a good chance of doing evading the first volley, but doing so would allow the Soviet interceptors to close for a better shot. Both pilots opted for a compromise between the two options, flying S-turns on afterburner to try to throw off the missiles’ tracking while at the same time launching chaff.

The tactic worked for the first volley of missiles. The AA-6s were enormous missiles, the biggest air-to-air weapon ever put into serial production, and though they flew at Mach 5, they were also ungainly. What they lacked in maneuverability, however, they made up for in the size of their powerful warhead. Both US fighter jocks felt their jets buffet as the missiles exploded into chaff clouds in their wakes.

The reprieve was a temporary one, however. More AA-6s were on their way, and this time from a closer range, as the Foxhound pilots had used the time of the first missiles’ flight and the Americans’ evasive maneuvers to lose the range. Two more missiles dove on the two F/A-18s from behind. This time luck ran out for the flight leader. The huge Soviet missile onto the American fighter and exploded into the jet’s back, riddling the entire air frame and its pilot with shrapnel. The broken Hornet fell from the sky, while Thunderbolt 4 continued west, having evaded his missile.

Thunderbolt 4 was starting to despair for his own life when his RWR suddenly went silent. “What’s going on, Hawkeye?” he called the E-2 to the south.

“Bogeys have turned back, Thunderbolt,” came the reply. “Action to the east. Maintain westerly heading, then come on back to the barn. Any chute from your lead?”

“None,” was the forlorn reply.

Thunderbolt 3’s sacrifice had not been in vain, however. While the Soviet Migs had been pursuing the Hornets, the two Tomcats from Enterprise had ambushed and shot down the eastern Soviet recon Tu-16 and chased off the Su-24. Unfortunately, the Badger had approached close enough to have possibly detected the northeast corner of the battle group’s formation, over which the projected arc of the Soviet snooper’s radar had passed briefly. Shadow had detected a burst of radio transmissions from the doomed aircraft before it died.

Back on Enterprise the CAG was saying, “I’d put odds at better than even they found us. Batten down the hatches boys, this one’s going to be a wild ride.”

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2016, 08:57:03 PM »
Oh S--t! Better get the Swimflugels out.  :-\
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2016, 09:34:46 PM »
Hell. This one is going to be very close run.
"45 minutes of pooping Tribbles being juggled by a drunken Horta would be better than Season 1 of TNG." - SirAndrewD

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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2016, 07:00:28 PM »
The destruction of the two Soviet maritime patrol aircraft had been a victory, though tempered by the loss of one of Enterprise's F/A-18s, but now the battle group's crews were in a race to clear the area where they had been detected by the eastern Tu-16 before the Soviets could launch an effective attack against the carrier. They were hampered in this endeavor, however, by the need to proceed cautiously for fear of Soviet submarines. Still, Enterprise and he consorts made the best speed they could on an easterly course, the Admiral planning to turn south and then west eventually.

Now the signs began to turn ominous. The crewman aboard the ES-3A called the flagship, saying, “We’re getting a lot of radio chatter coming from the direction of Iceland, I mean a LOT. Same signature as the before the strikes we’ve seen the past couple of days, sir.”

The CAG considered this. He would need to launch every serviceable aircraft before the strike came in, but launch too early and he could get caught with pilots running out of fuel just as the attack was coming in, which would be almost as bad as having them on the deck. The air group commander considered his options.

“All right,” he said after a moment, “let’s start launching aircraft. My gut says the Russians are coming. High endurance airframes first.”

On deck the Big E’s crew began launching the carrier’s support aircraft. The two ready EA-6B electronic warfare jets took off first, followed by the other ready E-2C, and a pair of A-6s configured a tankers. Then the fighters began to launch, and the CAG felt increasingly uneasy about how few warplanes he could actually put in the air. More than that, Enterprise’s magazines were so low that many of the aircraft he could launch would only be able to rearm once more.

The first pair of F-14s thundered down the deck, pushed by their steam catapults and then rising awkwardly into the air on their extended swing wings. As the next pair were spotting for their takeoff, the monitors on the Shadow ELINT bird called again to report, “Picking up fighter radars from the north...multiple sources, no good count yet. These aren’t the Mig-31s from earlier...computer says the radars are Su-27s.”

“ETA?” asked the CAG over the radio.

“None yet sir, but their coming on a pretty broad front, like a sweep.”

That was bad news, the CAG knew. He needed his own fighters engaging bombers and missiles, not enemy interceptors. Two more Tomcats roared off the deck, while a pair of AMRAAM armed Hornets spotted on the number three and four catapults. There were precious few of these wonderful missiles left. They would need to use them wisely. Moreover, only a few Phoenix missiles remained as well, meaning that the Americans would often be out-ranged by Soviet AA-10s in any coming engagement with the dangerous Flankers Shadow was reporting.

The American fighters began to congregate in holding patterns north of the carrier as the Shadow continued to report. Then the Russian aircraft began to enter the radar coverage of the E-2Cs, who could provide range to the bogeys, and numbers.

“Fifteen...eighteen...looks like more than two dozen inbound contacts and climbing,” called the controller on the AWACS bird.

The CAG let out a low whistle. More than two dozen Flankers inbound? This was bad news. He couldn’t afford more heavy losses to his air group. This was going to take some smart fighting for his pilots to survive. Fortunately, they had worked out a plan in the lull of the previous night. It wasn’t perfect, but maybe it would keep the Russian horde at bay...

“All flights,” the CAG called, “we’ll be executing plan Bravo, over.”

As the somewhat ragtag bank of American fighters shook themselves out into a prearranged formation and the support E-2s, S-3s, and EA-6s turned south, nearly three dozen Su-27 interceptors approached from the north, spread out on a nearly two-hundred mile front.

Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2016, 07:21:15 PM »
Ruh-roh...
Vituđ ér enn - eđa hvat?  -Voluspa

Nothing really rocks and nothing really rolls and nothing's ever worth the cost...

"Don't you look at me that way..." -the Abyss
 
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... this will go down on your permanent record... -the Violent Femmes, 'Kiss Off'-

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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2016, 09:19:33 PM »
I would have all the Vipers fire one volley and then recall them while we spin-up the Hyper Drive to make the next Jump. Oh...Wait. Sorry, wrong Battlestar.  :P
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Staggerwing

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2016, 04:34:05 AM »
I would have all the Vipers fire one volley and then recall them while we spin-up the Hyper Drive to make the next Jump. Oh...Wait. Sorry, wrong Battlestar.  :P

Just re-watched '33' again, did we?  :))
Vituđ ér enn - eđa hvat?  -Voluspa

Nothing really rocks and nothing really rolls and nothing's ever worth the cost...

"Don't you look at me that way..." -the Abyss
 
'When searching for a meaningful embrace, sometimes my self respect took second place' -Iggy Pop, Cry for Love

... this will go down on your permanent record... -the Violent Femmes, 'Kiss Off'-

"I'm not just anyone, I'm not just anyone-
I got my time machine, got my 'electronic dream!"
-Sonic Reducer, -Dead Boys

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2016, 05:15:04 AM »
I would have all the Vipers fire one volley and then recall them while we spin-up the Hyper Drive to make the next Jump. Oh...Wait. Sorry, wrong Battlestar.  :P

Ha!  O0

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2016, 08:39:14 AM »
"Whadda ya hear, Starbuck"?  >:(   This guy looks a little like Adama.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 9.2: Changing of the Guard - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2016, 11:22:26 AM »
As the regiment of Soviet Sukhoi interceptors came on, the American naval aviators split their diverse aircraft, which carried an even more diverse array of weapons, into two mixed groups. The support aircraft, E-2Cs, ES-3As, S-3Bs, and tanker-configured A-6s, all turned south to clear the anticipated area of aerial combat. The pilots of the two groups of fighters turned east and west respectively, moving to place themselves on the flanks of the hundred-mile-wide Soviet sweep. As the two groups separated, they also spread themselves out into deep formations according to the weapons carried by each airframe. 

The crews aboard the two airborne Hawkeyes, one controlling each fighter group, tracked the approaching massed Soviet formation. After two days of hard fighting, the Enterprise air group could put up barely twenty fighters to face nearly twice as many of the potent Flankers.  Moreover, the air group's stocks to long-range Phoenixes and fire-and-forget AMRAAMs were dangerously low, as were the numbers of aircraft that could carry them. Much of the airborne American force would be fighting this engagement with older and far less capable AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. 

The line of Soviet fighters was now within a hundred and fifty miles and closing. The lead Russian pilots were beginning to pick up their American adversaries on radar. They adjusted their courses accordingly, some of the Soviets veering east and others west. Unfortunately, a third group continued on dues south, straight towards Enterprise and her escorts. The range between the opposing warplanes was now a hundred miles, and the Soviet pilots pushed they throttles forward to close this last dangerous stretch of air as quickly as possible.

Now the Americans sprang into action. Each of the two formations, southwest and southeast of the oncoming Russians, contained a pair of AIM-54 toting F-14s in their lead. The crews of these interceptors now began to volley off their load of big missiles, the RIOs in the back seat selecting targets, while the pilots fired as quickly as they could, accompanying their attacks with calls of "Fox Three!" Over the radio net. Phoenixes leapt of their rails and accelerated into a Mach 5 flight path, arcing balistically towards the approaching Sukhois. 

The Russian pilots continued on towards their American assailants, accelerating again as they kicked in their afterburners. The Tomcat drivers were already turning away to flee from the more numerous Russians as the Phoenixes tipped over and dove into the flocks of Flankers. The active-homing seekers of the big AIM-54s sought out and locked onto individual targets, flashing downward at five times the speed of sound.  The Soviet pilots unlucky enough to receive attention from the missiles' electronic brains twisted and turned their maneuverable fighters upon hearing the warbling of their RWRs, to good effect. 

Missiles began to explode in ugly puffs of fire, smoke and shrapnel among the Russian jets. Given fair warning of the attack, most of the pilots were able to evade the incoming weapons through a combination of hard maneuvering and chaff decoys. But not all. Five Soviet jets sustained hits, the powerful warheads of the AIM-54s shattering the jets and sending them spinning downwards towards the North Atlantic.

The enraged survivors in the Soviet formations continued on towards the less numerous Americans. The range closed to fifty miles, then twenty five. At twenty miles the next layer of the American formation began to engage. The pilots of the F/A-18Cs carrying AIM-120 AMRAAMs began to volley off their dangerous missiles as fast as they could select targets. At the same time, the Russians also began to launch, though their weapons of choice were the semi-active homing AA-10s, which required guidance from the launching aircraft. Once the Americans' rails were empty, they turned away and punched their afterburners, while the Soviet pilots had to keep their radars pointed at their targets for the entire length of their missiles' flight. 

This unequal engagement produced predictable results. The Russian pilots faced pair of bad options. They could maintain their course to guide their own missiles to the target, which left them vulnerable to the incoming AMRAAMs, or they could turn to evade, in which case their missiles would lose lock. Most decided to grimly press ahead with the first option. American missiles began to blot away more Su-27s, causing the AA-10s attached to these fighters' radars to lose lock and continue blindly until they ran out of propellant. The toll on the Soviet fighters now stood at eleven.

For the rest of the Soviet missiles targeted at the retreating Hornets, the result was no better. The Americans' turn to the south had thrown off the geometry of the Soviets' engagement windows, meaning that the Russian missiles did not possess the range to hunt down the retreating Hornets, and one AA-10 after another lost power and fell towards the sea. But before this happened American Sparrow missiles from the third layer of the US formation were already flashing into the depleted Soviet formation. 

Taking advantage of the Soviets' preoccupation with the AMRAAM toting Hornets, the American pilots of the remaining Sparrow-armed F-14s and F/A-18s took advantage of the extended range of their AIM-7s to engage the Soviets, who continued to bore onwards on their broad front sweep. The Americans had learned over the past week of conflict that the winner in a battle of semi-active radar homing missiles was usually the one who fired first. The Americans had engineered a situation to guarantee that they would be the first to engage. The Sparrows arced towards the survivors in the two groups of engaged Flankers, and now the Soviets engaged as well. The Russians faced the same dilemma as against the AMRAAM-armed Hornets, except this time Americans could not turn away after launching their own missiles.

The AIM-7s lanced into the Russian fighters, exploding in dirty puffs the smashed four more Sukhois from the sky. As their missiles reached targets, the Americans of the third wave turned to evade. More Russian missiles, deprived of their guiding aircraft, lost their lock, but some continued on, guided by the grimly determined survivors, eager to begin to exact some revenge. Now the Americans activated the fourth and final layer of their plan. 

Behind each mixed group of American fighters flew an EA-6B Prowler, which airframes housed a powerful suite of electronic jammers. The crews of these aircraft had kept their electronic countermeasure quiet until this moment. Now they activated their equipment, sending powerful beams of electronic noise past the retreating American jets and into the seekers of the AA-10 missiles. Most of the remaining Russian missiles lost their lock, their seekers overwhelmed by the jamming being emitted by the Prowlers. But not all. Two AA-10s now found their mark, blotting an F-14 from the western group and an F/A-18 from the one to the east. Already, however, the first group of American Tomcat jocks had turned and were boring in to launch their Sparrows after having expended their Phoenixes earlier. 

The Americans had done much to even the odds, downing fifteen of thirty-six Soviet jets. But now the Russians held the advantage. Though they now only slightly outnumbered their American adversaries, the Su-27s each carried nearly a full load of missiles, while the Americans had all but expended their long-range ordnance. The easy time for the US Navy aviators was now over. The Russian survivors, seeing red for the loss of so many of their comrades, bored in for revenge.