Author Topic: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR  (Read 7702 times)

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Offline Airborne Rifles

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Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« on: August 01, 2017, 06:55:21 PM »
Hey all, after a long break enforced by the happy growth of my family by one more child, here is the next installment in my AARs for Gunner98’s excellent Northern Fury scenarios. This one is called Anteater’s Revenge. It covers the first night of the NATO aerial offensive to gain air superiority over Soviet-occupied Iceland. For those of you who have been reading (or haven’t), here’s a recap of the situation:

-Since the war began, the Soviet offensive in the Arctic/North Atlantic theater has resulted in the loss to NATO of northern (AAR: H-Hour) and central (AARs: Bardufoss Blues and Trondheim Express) Norway, Iceland (AAR: Keflavik Capers), and the Shetland and Faroe Islands (AAR: Plug the Gap). They accomplished these feats via an unconventional lightning offensive that caught NATO with little naval strength in this vital theater, with the US carriers either in port or elsewhere at the start of hostilities. The nearest US carrier, the Enterprise, was rushed to stem the Soviet breakout into the North Atlantic (see my AAR for Hold the Line) but (different outcome from my AAR) the CVBG was savaged by Soviet missile attacks and forced to withdraw, saved only by the timely arrival of the carrier Carl Vinson.

However, NATO’s strength is gathering, and the Americans are about to go on the offensive for the first time in this theater. Last night, Navy SEALs conducted a daring raid to shut down the Soviet air bridge to Iceland (AAR: Cutting the Tether). Today the naval aviators from the Vinson, along with the recently arrived Eisenhower (AAR: Eisenhower Moves North) CVBG air group, accomplished the feat of seriously attritting Soviet air power in Iceland in a series of savage air battles south of the island (AAR: Here Comes the Cavalry). During the fight, however, the Navy detected a seriously formidable Soviet integrated air defense system (IADS) setting up to protect Iceland’s vital Reykjanes peninsula, home to Keflavik airbase, along with Reykjavik and its airport.

To overcome this threat, the USAF is about to launch Operation Swamp Cobra. In a fortuitous turn of events, the 27th Tactical Fighter Wing, composed of three squadrons of F-111 Aardvarks, nicknamed “Anteaters” for the airframe’s distinctively long nose, is transiting tonight from the US to RAF Laknehenheath in England, from whence they will support the effort to turn back the Soviet offensive in Germany. Along the way, they will unload ordnance over targets in Iceland.

Of course, the Anteater drivers won’t be alone. F-15Cs from the 27th Fighter Squadron, flying from Goose Bay, will be providing top cover, while F-16s from the 79th Fighter Squadron and F-4G Wild Weasels from the 561st Fighter Squadron, both flying out of Thule Airbase in northern Greenland, will provide SEAD support. Finally, the whole strike will be led by the stealth F-117 Nighthawks from the 8th Fighter Squadron, flying from Gander. The whole effort will be made possible by massive tanker support flying from both North America and England, as well as various AWACS, ELINT, and EW aircraft assigned to this mission.

The concept of the operation is simple: gain air superiority over Iceland, suppress the Soviet air defenses, hit key targets around the island but especially the airfields at Keflavik and Reykjavik, and continue on to England with minimal losses so that the 27th TFW is postured to add its weight to the fight in Germany. This will let the Navy his other key targets during the short February daylight hour tomorrow.

Easier said than done. Despite their heavy losses to the Vinson and Ike air groups today, the Soviets still possess at least 60 high performance fighters on Iceland, with numerous other support aircraft, including a pair of A-50 Mainstay AWACS. Furthermore, a Tomahawk strike by the Navy yesterday was easily swatted aside by SA-20 (S-300PMU) SAM battalions positioned around Iceland’s vital southeast. These powerful systems appear to be supplemented by shorter-ranged SA-19s and SA-22s at key sites, as well as ZSU triple-A systems for low-level defense, all linked by a network of radars. Overcoming this IADs will be a tall order. Finally, while most of the Soviet fleet has withdrawn to either Norway or he Kola to rearm and refit, a small SAG consisting of a Sovremeny-class destroyer and a Kresta II-class cruiser might be in the area as well.

Are the Anteater drivers in their 1970s airframes up to the task of overcoming the best of what a resurgent 1990s Soviet military can throw at them? Will the USAF crack the Soviet defenses on Iceland? Or will the volcanic snowscape of that island be littered with the wrecks of American jets? Read on to find out!

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 06:56:18 PM »
WOOHOO!!!
"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 Gunner98

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 07:55:37 PM »
Ok here we go!  Looking forward to this one AR.  And congrats on the new little one! :clap: :bd:

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 09:24:10 PM »
Got my helmet on so I don't hurt myself if I suddenly jump out of my chair in excitement.
"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 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 05:57:28 PM »
Two hundred miles south of Iceland, over the dark waters of the North Atlantic, the RC-135 Rivet Joint ELINT aircraft droned westward, its suite of advanced sensors sniffing the air to the north for any hints about how the Soviet defenses of Iceland. The crew onboard searched their displays with urgency. They needed to map the Soviet defenses, and quickly. Over the southwest horizon, where the last orange light of day was just fading, an aerial armada was approaching. The pilots of the fighters and fighter-bombers departing Newfoundland and Greenland would need all the help they could get if they were o overcome the powerful Soviet defenses on the island and still live to tell about it. But for now, the Soviet defenders were being cagy, licking their wounds after the drubbing they had received over these very waters several hours earlier.

So far, the technicians inside the Rivet Joint’s Boeing airframe could only plot the locations of several air-search radars scattered about Iceland’s southeast quadrant. One in particular, atop a volcanic mountain several dozen kilometers northeast of Reykjavik, would pose particular problem for any raiders trying to use the island’s rugged terrain to approach Reyk and Kef from the landward side. Those radars would need to be dealt with before the main strikes arrived in several hours. The only other emissions detected by the RC-135s sensitive antennae were the emissions from an A-50 AWACS just lifting off from Kef, and a pair of MiG-29s flying CAP over the southern coast, the fighters’ radars radiating as they circled west of Hofn.

The Rivet Joint’s crew kept their four-engine jet on its slow, westward track across the Atlantic as the leading elements of the USAF strike force passed the southern tip of Greenland. The first aircraft to near their stations were to E-3 Sentry AWACS, operating under emissions silence until they were near enough for their large, rotodome-mounted radars to be able to peer into the airspace over Iceland. Behind each AWACS flew a pair of F-15C as escort, and behind the fighters came whole formations of tankers to top off the fuel-hungry strikers further back.

Within an hour, the technicians aboard the RC-135 noted that the pair of MiG-29 radars had been joined by another pair, and that all four radars had stopped oscillating back and forth and were instead emitting constantly southward, towards the Rivet Joint. That could mean only one thing.

“Sentry One, this is Rivet Joint,” called the officer in charge aboard the ELINT aircraft, “Energize your radar. We’re getting a constant bearing on the emissions from Bogeys One through Four.”

“Roger, Rivet Joint,” came the response. The radar aboard the southernmost E-3 AWACS began radiating, and the report from Sentry One quickly confirmed the fears of the technicians aboard the Rivet Joint.

“Rivet Joint, Sentry One,” called the AWACS controller, “You’ve got four bogeys on an intercept course with you. Come to heading one-eight-zero immediately to evade, over.”

The RC-135’s pilot banked his lumbering jet left, away from the Soviet MiGs, who were pouring on afterburner to bag the slow-moving target that had appeared a few minutes ago on the radar screens of the A-50 Mainstay, no approaching cruising altitude over central Iceland. The pilot pushed his throttles to their stops, trying to maintain the distance between his own incredibly valuable aircraft and the oncoming fighters.

The Soviet pilots continued the pursuit for several tense minutes. Then, to the immense relief of crew aboard the RC-135, Sentry One reported the MiGs turning back northwards. The Soviet pilots, wary of hurtling into the unknown in the same area where their comrades had been ambushed by the combined air groups of two US carriers early in the day, decided to return to their patrol stations. Resuming their patrol, this time at a somewhat greater distance from the dangerous Soviet fighters, the RC-135 continued westwards, probing the air to locate Soviet radars.

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 07:38:47 PM »
As winter darkness fell totally over the North Atlantic, the first US aviators to come to grips with the Soviets did not come from the Air Force, but rather from the US Marine Corps. VMFA-115, the Silver Eagles, comprising a dozen F/A-18 Hornets supported by four KC-130F tankers and two EA-6B Prowler EW aircraft, had deployed to Nuuk airfield on the west coast of Greenland the previous day in anticipation of supporting the Corps’ landings on Iceland in the coming week. But until then, the Marine aviators would be under-employed. 2nd Fleet, eager for the USAF raids over Iceland to be as effective as possible this night, had released them to support 27th TFW. The Marines had taken off from their icy airstrip ahead of the oncoming USAF armada coming from North America, and were now passing a hundred miles southwest of the Reykjanes peninsula, having topped off from the KC-130s over the Denmark Strait.

As the Air Force SEAD strikes would be coming from Thule in the north, the plan was for the Marine aviators to come in over Iceland’s rugged and sparsely inhabited southern coast. Four of the Hornets carried a pair of TALD decoys, while the remaining F/A-18s carried AGM-88C High-Speed Anti-Radiation missiles to target Soviet radars.

The major weakness of the Marine Hornets was their air-to-air armament. They still carried the semi-active radar homing AIM-7 Sparrow missiles instead of the newer, active homing AIM-120 AMRAAMs. The Sparrows had proven very vulnerable so far in this war to the sorts of Soviet jamming aircraft that were even now operating over Iceland. However, the Marine squadron commander believed he would be able to manage an engagement so that his fighters’ radars would be able to direct their AIM-7s in such a way that soviet EW aircraft would not be behind the Hornets’ targets, and thus unable to scramble their guidance systems.

In the first part of the plan, the four TALD-armed Hornets broke off from the formation, circling with the KC-130s a hundred miles off the southwest tip of Iceland. The eight remaining Hornets continued east towards the four MiG-29s that had darted towards the RC-135 earlier. The Soviet pilots, alerted by their own controllers on the Mainstay, turned their jets east and accelerated to intercept the Marines.

The four Russians and eight Americans closed with each other at over a thousand knots. At forty miles range, the first Marine pilot announce “Fox One!” as a Sparrow missile leapt out from beneath wing. Within seconds, seven more AIM-7s were streaking towards the four MiG-29s. Seconds later, the Soviet reposte, four R-27 AA-10 Alamo missiles, streaked out at the F/A-18s.

At that moment, the Marine squadron commander initiated his ambush. A one-word command over his radio alerted the crews of the two EA-6Bs following close behind the Hornets to activate their powerful jammers. Rays of electronic radiation streaked out from the Prowlers, overwhelming the receivers in the Russian missiles’ seeker heads. The R-27s all went wild, corkscrewing wildly off their intercepts tracks and into the dark sky.

At this moment, the Soviet pilots realized they had mismanaged the engagement, badly. The American Hornets outnumbered the MiGs two-to-one, and had the advantage of powerful jammers in close support, which made the Soviet radar-homing missiles all but useless. On the other hand, since the engagement was occurring on an east-west axis, the Soviet pilots lacked even the distant support of their own aerial jammers to the north. Now desperate, the MiG drivers twisted and turned their nimble fighters to evade, but were hampered in their efforts by the fact that they could not visually locate the incoming missiles in the darkness. Five rapid flashes lit of the darkness as five of the eight Sparrows connected with all four Fulcrums.

The Soviet CAP over southern Iceland was gone. The Marine aviators began descending towards the wave-tops to begin the next phase of their mission.

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 07:43:15 PM »
Nice job by the Marine flyboys
"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 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2017, 08:12:49 AM »
As the HARM-armed Marine F/A-18s, accompanied by the EA-6Bs, turned north and descended, steering for the mountainous spine of southern Iceland. Further west, the four TALD-equipped Hornets, still at high altitude, turned towards Keflavik.

The commander of the Russian air forces on Iceland, sitting in his command center, had noted with dismay the destruction of his south coast CAP. Now the approach of the four contacts from southwest spurred him into action. A command when out from the Soviet headquarters to launch the ready interceptors at both Keflavik and Reykjavik airport. In minutes a pair Su-27 interceptors were rising from Keflavik, while another pair of dangerous MiG-31s, armed with their long-range R-33 AA-9 Amos missile rocketed down the Runway at Reykjavik. The Soviet commander, lacking good options, decided to feed his remaining aircraft into the fight as they came available. A pilots ran to a hodgepodge of Sukhois and MiGs from different emaciated regiments, readying their aircraft to fly against the expected coming onslaught. More jets began to roll down the runways of both airfields and rising into the cold night sky.

The TALD F/A-18s came on, with a pair of newly-arrived F-15Cs, equipped with AMRAAMs, following behind in support. The pilots of the other pair of F-15s now on station had been vectored north to intercept a Soviet ELINT Su-24 that was circling over the eastern Denmark Strait. Unfortunately, this vector placed the two Eagles out of position to protect the Marine raiders, though they did draw the attention of the MiG-31s. Soon a disorganized gaggle of Soviet jets were streaming southwest to meet the four TALD-carrying F/A-18s, with the two MiG-31s out of Reykjavik rocketing northwest after the isolated pair of F-15Cs at over thirteen-hundred knots.

With the threat from Soviet jets growing, the Marine pilots of the TALD group elected to release their decoys early. Once the TAKD-carrying jets were within sixty miles, each released their two TALDs, even though the decays would travel at best only forty miles. The small engines aboard the decoys initiated, and eight small, unmanned aircraft flew straight towards Keflavik. The Marines banked their aircraft hard back to the southwest and pushed their throttles forward to gain speed as they ran from the oncoming pair of Sukhois.

Unfortunately for the Americans, the Marines, even launching their decoys early, had waited too long. R-27 missiles, streaking out from the oncoming pair of ready Su-27s, forced the Hornet drivers into wild defensive turns. Unaided by jammers, the Marines needed to rely on their own decoys and maneuvering to evade to Soviet weapons. The Soviet pilots had targeted two of the Hornets with two missiles each. The first Marine pilot managed to evade one missile by turning inside its seeker cone and then deflect the other with a well-timed chaff salvo. The second Marine was less lucky. The first R-27 exploded into the Hornet’s cockpit, sending hot shrapnel through plane and pilot. The F/A-18 spun out of control to the water below.

The Soviet pilots did not have long to savor their victory, however. As the surviving three F/A-18 pilots poured on afterburner to escape, a quartet of AMRAAMs, fired by the oncoming pair of USAF F-15s coming up in support, arced back in the other direction. Now it was the Soviet pilots turn to desperately evade. One did so successfully, but the other succumbed to the advanced American missile, and the surviving Russian was soon dropped by a follow-up salvo from the F-15s.

The loss of a Marine Hornet stung, but the developing air battle southwest of Iceland had the important effect of drawing the few Soviet jets away from the HARM-equipped Hornets now approaching the island at wave-top level from the southeast, while the missile-like TALD decoys were just beginning to appear on the screens of Soviet search radars. 

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2017, 08:16:12 AM »
Gonna be a bad day for the Sov radar operators.
"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 Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2017, 08:42:23 AM »
"Semper-Fly" Leathernecks!  :notworthy:
"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 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2017, 08:43:40 AM »
"Semper-Fly" Leathernecks!  :notworthy:

well played
"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 Sir Slash

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2017, 12:34:04 PM »
Thank you Good Sir. I try to save my best stuff for the AAR's that deserve it.
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline acctingman

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2017, 01:46:16 PM »
This is friggin awesome!  O0

Offline Airborne Rifles

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2017, 11:46:07 AM »
The Soviets had not left their southern coast un-watched, however. Two air search radars, positioned atop volcanic mountains along the Reykjanes peninsula, threatened to track the oncoming F/A-18s. They needed to be dealt with, the squadron commander knew. Two of the Marine pilots fed the proper frequencies into the seeker of one of their AGM-88Cs, then they both launched, announcing “Magnum!”

The HARMS rocketed off their pylons and immediately lofted up into an arc, their seekers searching for the telltale frequencies of the Soviet radar emitters. Finding them, the American missiles nosed down and dove. Belatedly, the Soviet radar operators, who had been tracking the TALDs to the west, noted this new threat inbound at nearly Mach 2. Realizing their peril, the Russians switched off their transmitters to deprive the missiles of a signal to home on. Too late. The American weapons bored in on the two radar sites, which were separated by more than a dozen miles, and exploded directly over the sensors’ antennae, the 146lbs of high explosives and shrapnel in each warhead wrecking both radars beyond repair. The Hornets came on, shielded now from the surviving radars transmitting at Keflavik and points further north by the rugged spine of mountains along Iceland’s southwest coast.

The TALDs, gliding in at high altitude from over the Denmark Strait to the west, did not have the benefit of any sort of terrain masking, however. As the decoys approached to within thirty miles of Keflavik, nearing the end of their endurance, they crossed the threshold over which the Soviet defenders could no longer ignore them. At the western end of the airfield, an SA-10 battery powered up its radar. IN seconds, the SAM battery’s operators had locked onto the incoming missile-like threats. Missiles began to explode out of their vertical, tubular launch canisters before arcing up into the night, heading west.

This was the event that the F/A-18 pilots had been waiting for, though the SA-10 battery wasn’t the exact prey they were after. Southwest Iceland was supposed to be defended by three SA-20 Gargoyle SAM battalions. The SA-20 was a more advance and much more capable version of the already-dangerous SA-10 Grumble, called S-300 by the Soviets. The three SA-20 battalions had been projected to be deployed to cover Keflavik, the southern coast, and the Snaefellsnes Peninsula north of Reykjavik. So far, the SA-20 that had been covering the southern coast near the fishing village of Grindavik and which had shot down yesterday’s Tomahawk strike appeared to have displaced, since the F/A-18s were now well within the SAM systems engagement envelope. Maybe the intel weenies had mistaken one of the SA-10 battalions for an SA-20?

The Marine aviators would find out soon enough. They fanned out into four pairs, approaching the mountainous coast from the south east. Then, just miles from the icy beach, a third air search radar, positioned on a hillside halfway between the other two that had just been destroyed, energized its transmitter.

A beeping in the squadron commander’s cockpit told him that his aircraft was being painted by this new search set. He reacted quickly. Looking down at his HARM Targeting system, he selected the new frequency for the search radar, switching one of his HARMs from the SA-10’s targeting frequency to home in on the search radar. In seconds the missile streaked off its rail, taking a nearly direct path towards the radar just a few miles ahead, which it obliterated in a direct hit.

The squadron commander’s mind barely registered the missile’s detonation ahead. He was too busy pulling back his stick, climbing his fighter up the southern flanks of the mountains that ran along the southern margins of the Reykjanes peninsula. Not waiting to reach the crest, he squeezed the trigger, loosing his second HARM in an arc that would carry it over the mountains and back down towards Keflavik and its defending SA-10. At the same time, the EA-6B crews following several miles behind were ascending just high enough that their powerful jammers could reach over the mountains and interfere with the Soviet air defense radars. Off his wingtip, the commander’s wingman fired off his two HARMs in quick succession. Then both pilots winged over, pulling a tight one-hundred-eighty degree turn so that they would not expose their aircraft to the dangerous Soviet SAMs.   

Suddenly multiple warnings began to blare into the Marine commander’s ears. Looking at his instruments, he saw multiple new emissions from SA-10 and SA-20 batteries lighting off. His jaw dropped open despite himself. In his quick estimation it looked like two whole battalions of SA-20s were deployed around Keflavik, with another two battalions of SA-10s. He had never seen, never even imagined defenses of this strength. In comparison, his eight HARM-equipped jets, a respectable strike force by most standards, now seemed woefully inadequate.

The next pair of Hornet drivers were now launching their HARMs. Less careful than their commander, they waited too long before executing their evasive turn. After loosing their missiles, both jets shot up over the crest of the mountains. For one of the pilots, the mistake was fatal. The engagement computer on the nearest SA-20 noted the new large contact among the smaller ones that were arcing towards it, and launched a pair of missile to intercept. The lead Hornet managed to complete its diving turn back behind the mountains, but the second American jet took the explosion of two missile full in the belly. The Hornet disintegrated into the mountainside in a fiery pyre that lit up the crisscrossing contrails of missiles in the darkness.

Soviet missiles were exploding out of dozens of canisters to meet the incoming HARMs. The third and fourth pairs of American pilots had launched their missiles without incident and were fleeing back out to sea as the first Soviet missile intercepted their commander’s weapon less than a mile from the nearest SA-10. Twelve more HARMs came on against an absolutely awesome salvo of Soviet SAMs. Eleven of the American weapons fell to the impressive Soviet firepower, but luck smiled on the Marines in the case of the twelfth HARM. The explosions of the other SAMs temporarily masked it from the Soviet targeting radars, giving the supersonic missile just the time it needed to reach the closest SA-10 battery, where its warhead exploded directly over that site’s radar, wrecking it and one of the battery’s TELs.

Fleeing back south a wave-top level, the Marine squadron commander radioed the USAF 27th TFW commander, who was airborne near the southern E-3 Sentry in his EC-130 Commando Solo command aircraft.

“Kef is going to be a tough nut,” he reported, still shaken by the sheer volume of Soviet missiles defending southwest Iceland.   

Offline mirth

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Re: Northern Fury 10.2: Anteater's Revenge - a CMANO AAR
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2017, 12:09:51 PM »
Lotso SAMs!
"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