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Subject: North Atlantic 1986 : Second Chance for US Navy rss

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Dampenon Fabien
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Rookies talk about strategy, Grognards about Logistics
1986, US Navy will fight in North Atlantic, against evil Soviet. This is the “Expert” Campaign of Hornet Leader.

This is my second 1986 Campaign. My first one have ended with an Adequate Evaluation and I will try to do better this time. I choose a Long Campaign, with three Campaign Options, “High Stress Attack/Suppress” to augment precision of my Pilots in difficult situations, “Damaging Targets” because it's frustrating to let a target card being redrawn intact when you were short of destroying it by 1 or 2 points, and +1/-1 Aircraft because some target could be attacked with less aircraft if smart weapons or support Tankers are used, for a cost of 27 Special Options Points (SO). Each R&R will cost 9 SO and I will surely need some SO to gain support from Tankers when I will fly deeply in Kola Peninsula...

Now it's time to compose my squadron. My first decision is about selecting (or not) an E-2C. I think this support is valuable so I choose one...and with my Veteran Pilot so this plane will bring all his power to my squadron. Next decision is about Electronic Warfare planes. Unlike E-2C they take a slot when flying a mission so they must be selected only when their Defensive Bonus let your squadron with sufficient planes to destroy target and/or sites. EA-6B is the only choice in 1986 and it seems too “light” for my taste, so I will fly without his jammming capacities.

I choose again to have a squadron with very specialized aircrafts, F-14 for Air Cover and A-6 for Assault, with some F/A-18C to complete and “young” pilots on A-7 to gain some valuable SO points without too much pain. So, this is my second Navy Squadron, “Bear Stranglers” :
E-2C : Eyes (Veteran) ;
F-14 : Teflon (Skilled), Ogre (Average) ;
A-6 : Extra (Skilled), Mullet (Average), Chili (Green) ;
F/A-18C : Bear, Hunter, Mustang, Talon (Average) ;
A-7 : Pluto (Green), Raven (Newbie).

So, I begin this campaign with a comfortable 51 SO but I know I will have to buy a lot of AIM-54 to deal with Soviet Airpower.

When selecting my remaining Aircraft/Pilots I have choosen firstly among those with Coolness. They may fly more before needing some R&R.

So I will fly twelve days, possibly against two targets a day (a primary and a secondary) but I will try to start cautiously and let my pilots get some experience before trying difficult missions.

d10-1 Day 1 :

I could select 2 Targets today, both in 1st area : a Surface Fleet (6 planes) as Primary and a Fighter Sweep (3 planes) as Secondary. But each target could have +3 Bandits, because of a bad starting intelligence. I choose to start cautiously this campaign and to concentrate on Surface Fleet. I select 3 planes for Air Cover and 3 planes to bomb the Fleet, supported by my E-2C and I spend 6 SO to take 6 AIM-54. Remember it could have up to 14 Bandits over target.

“Long Range Threat” Target-Bound Event can't be cancelled by my E-2C. I have to spend 3 AIM-7 from Hunter. I won't miss them because only 3 “old”MiGs are covering the target which are easily downed by AIM-54 from Teflon. Using Thanks to Situational Awareness and AtG Bonus from Eyes, all High Altitude-Defense Sites are neutralized by AGM-88 during Turn 1. 8 Mk-82 from A-6s Mullet and Chili inflict 13 Hits, target is destroyed.

Raven is promoted to Green.

d10-2 Day 2 :

I must scramble 5 planes to deal with a Missile Boat Fleet in 2nd Area. Target are small dispersed Vehicle, so I will take as much as possible AGM-65. Except one, all sites are Low-level so I will launch my missile from a safe place. I take 2 AIM-54 to deal with possible Long-Range MiGs. During flight, target becomes important. 3 MiGs will fly over target, all downed by Teflon. 4 AGM-65 from extra inflict 5 Hits; target is destroyed. This mission seems a piece of cake but “Charlie Foxtrot” Home-Bound Event inflicts 2 extra stress point on each Pilot flying, so my pilots will have to rest some days to recover.

Hunter is promoted to Skilled.

d10-3 Day 3 :

I will fly 7 planes to bomb a Port in 2nd Area but a Major Airfield Improvement is active. “Bandits” Over-Target Event is cancelled by my E-2C. But a swarm of 9 MiGs will defend the target. In spite of “Lucky Break”, 2 of my 3 AIM-54 miss their target, including a MiG-29 at range 3 which I won't be able to attack nor suppress...and which downs Raven which has failed to evade. Target is destroyed and Raven is quickly recovered...and promoted to Average. It's time to send my pilots in R&R.

d10-4 Day 4 :

Target will be an ASW Fleet in 2nd Area which I will bomb with 4 planes, supported by my E2-C. “Cruise Missile Strike” Target-Bound Event destroys a SA-11. Target is easily destroyed and Mustang is promoted to Skilled, Teflon to Veteran.

d10-5 Day 5 :

Today, I will fly against an Attack Fleet in 3rd area, with 8 planes. “Short Rang Threat” Target-Bound Event is neutralized by 3 AIM-9. 9 Bandits are covering the target and 1 more could scramble each Turn. Flying through this swarm, my planes must use all their weapons (and their guns) to destroy the target. “AAA Vehicles “are waiting my Home-Bound planes.

Chili and Pluto are promoted to Average.

d10-6 Day 6 :

I must scramble 5 planes for a Carrier Defense against 8 Su-24. “Target of Opportunity” gives me 1 VP. Only 3 Bandits are covering the raid. All enemy planes are downed but a problem with “Fleet Resupply” Home-Bound Event will hamper me on next mission.

Raven and Bear are promoted to Skilled.

d10-7 Day 7 :

My target will be a Naval base in 3rd Area, with a Fleet Resupply penalty. Up to 6 planes may fly the mission, possibly at Night. I ask for a Tanker Support and I choose to fly at day.
“SAM Sites” Target-Bound Event forces me to expend 2 Rockets Pod and 2 Mk-82 to cancel it. Only 2 Bandits are defending the target. Target is destroyed, eventually with guns and “Rack Time” Home-Bound Event will partly compensate for my stress.

Mullet is promoted to Skilled and Extra to Veteran.

d10-8 Day 8 :

A Carrier Fleet is approaching in 1st Area. I will fly with 6 planes (up to 8 could have taken off), supported by my E2-C. “SAM Vehicles” Target-Bound Event is neutralized by 2 Mk-82. 7 Bandits are defending the target. Target and its defenses are easily neutralized and “Pre Strike” Home-Bound Event will help me in the next mission.

Eyes is promoted to Ace.

d10-9 Day 9 :

I must scramble to shoot down 6 Su-7 for a “Carrier Defense” in 1st Area. I will try to stop them with only 3 planes (including 1 A7 with only 2 AIM-9). “Shore Leave” Target-Bound Event will give my squadron valuable rest. 2 MiGs only are covering the Raid and one could be destroyed by Intel Level. So, Soviet Raiders are easily downed. Thanks to “Shore Leave”, my pilots are fully rested.

Hunter is promoted to Veteran.

d10-1d10-0 Day 10 :

Today, I will bomb a Minor Airfield in 3rd Area, a secondary target I choose to treat like a primary one. I will fly at Night, with 3 planes instead of 4 and with Priority Tanker. “Sierra Hotel” Target-Bound Event will help my planes to hit their targets. 3 MiGs are covering the target but one could scramble each turn. “Bandits Inbound” Over-Target Event could complicate my mission. Airport is neutralized and “Smart Weapon Restock” will give me 4 free SO on next mission.

d10-1d10-1 Day 11 :

Today, I will fly to bomb Enemy Tanks in 2nd Area. I choose 4 planes (maximum allowed is 5), supported by my E-2C, and my F-14 will carry 4 « free » AIM-54. Only 2 Bandits will defend the target. « Shoulder Launched SAMs » Over-Target are neutralized by my E-2C. 4 AGM-65 inflict 8 hits, target is destroyed.

Ogre, Pluto and Talon are promoted to Skilled.

d10-1d10-2 Day 12 :

For my last day, I need 7 VP to end with a Great Evaluation so I must attack a Primary and a Secondary Target. With 5 Targets Cards drawn, I have two choices, both for Primary and Secondary. For Primary Target, I must choose between a Supply Fleet in 4th Area and a Central Command in last Area (which is an Improvement Target but it's my last day...). For Secondary Target, I must choose between an Oil Storage in 2nd Area (wich gives +1 VP bonus if Overkilled) and a Fighter Sweep in 3rd Area. I choose to bombard the Supply Fleet and the Oil Storage. I have to spend cautiously my 12 SO left, between probable Tanker Priority and some valuable AIM-54.

I need to fly each mission with 1 less plane to gain the +1 VP Bonus. So, 4 planes will attack the Supply Fleet and I ask for a Priority Tanker. I will take 7 AGM-65 to inflict 8 hits, it seems possible. I spend another 3 SO for 3 AIM-54.

“AAA” Target-Bound Event is neutralized by 2 Rocket Pods (carried for this purpose). 4 bandits will cover the target. Target is easily destroyed and “Human Factor” Home-Bound Event gives me 3 more SO.

Mullet is promoted to Veteran and Teflon to Ace.

Now I will fly against Secondary target with 3 planes supported by my E2-C. 1 SA-10 and 2 SA-11 are defending the target. With my 8 remaining SO, I take 4 AIM-54 and 2 GBU-16.
“Elusive Flight Plan” Target-Bound Event will protect my planes from a nasty event. Only 3 MiGs are defending the target. “Radar Contact” Over-Target Event is neutralized by my E2-C. Target is overkilled and “Rack Time” will remove some stress from some pilots...before returning home.

So after 12 days flying over North Atlantic and 13 missions, final Evaluation is Great with 53 VP (with 6VP thanks to +/-1 Aircraft Option). And my squadron is now composed with 2 Ace, 3 Veteran, 6 Skilled and 1 Average Pilots.

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oystein eker
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Well done and a great read!
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