Please find attached the scenario Under African Skies (2017) v1.5 for testing. Comments and AARs welcome.
Under African Skies (2017)
Scenario Date: January 2017
Scenario Created: September 2014, v1.5; tested on CMANO v1.04, Build 568
Playable Sides: United States/United Kingdom
Scenario Design: Feltan
The date of the event was Sunday, January 22, 2017. The time was 1:03 PM on the East Coast of the United States. The new American President had been sworn into office forty-eight hours ago, and this day he was in the White House with VIP guests, donors, campaign staff, family and friends. This privileged group, like tens of millions of Americans that day, is glued to the big screen television. Today is the highly anticipated American Football Conference Championship; the semi-final before the Super Bowl. The much hyped game was between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens, and kick-off at Mile High Stadium in Denver just happened to the cheers of these elite party goers. The smart money said Denver would walk away with an easy victory – and since the new President hailed from Colorado, no one at the White House was wearing a Raven’s jersey. No one, that is, except the Senate Minority Leader who was from the opposing political party. It was all great fun. Spirits were high, the beer was flowing and the White House Chief of Staff couldn’t have been happier with the electric atmosphere and upbeat photo ops that could only benefit his new boss. Little did anyone know that before half-time arrived, the country would forever be changed.
The war didn’t start with a Weapon of Mass Destruction. In fact, the attack wasn’t high tech at all; it was decidedly low tech – almost antique. Specifically, what the media would come to refer to as the “weapons package” was a Soviet WWII era M1937 82mm mortar with twelve rounds of ammunition. Later investigation would show that the weapon was a veteran of WWII, and it left the Soviet Union in the 1960’s and made its way to one of the many African conflicts. It sat collecting dust in an African armory for what appears to be decades. Accountability on the mortar was lost years ago. No one cared. It was over 75 years old. The weapon type and ammunition could be purchased on the international weapons market for about $1500 (U.S.). The entire weapons package could easily fit, if disassembled, into the trunk of a mid-size rental car.
The first round plunged into Mile High Stadium in the middle of the second quarter. The round sailed over tens of millions of dollars worth of metal detectors, radiation detectors, explosive detection machines, video cameras, facial recognition software, terrorist data bases, drug and explosive sniffing dogs, and hundreds of security personnel. On live national television it impacted about five meters from the Raven’s offensive huddle. The second round landed in the Bronco’s bench area before stunned broadcasters could stop the live television feed. The mortar attack lasted two minutes with a dozen rounds landing on the field, sidelines and seating areas.
What wasn’t captured on live television made its way to You Tube by evening. Over seventy-five thousand screaming spectators stampeded for the exits. Hundreds were injured and dozens killed in the panicked human exodus. Waiting outside at a secluded distance were a half-dozen terrorists with fifty year old Draganov SVD semi-automatic sniper rifles. Within an hour it was over. All ten terrorists, five men and five women, were killed in gun battles. Civilian fatalities topped 200 with another 1000 injured and hospitalized. The Super Bowl was cancelled.
The investigation proceeded rapidly; the clues and leads were numerous. All ten terrorists were black, and they were all dressed in formal business attire. They had entered the U.S. within the last two weeks on valid tourist visas wearing the same clothes they were killed in. They entered the U.S. as married couples at five different airports. The weapons package and sniper rifles were waiting for them; it was suspected they had come across the southern border a month previous. The people and the equipment all originated from the same country - the country formerly known as Nigeria.
Nigeria no longer existed as a nation-state. The unbelievably corrupt kleptocracy that had governed Nigeria fell like a house of cards in 2015. A reinforced and externally funded Boko Haram rolled over successive government strongholds and garrisons. Moving North to South, the tempo of operations accelerated during the year until Nigerian government forces were in a full route. Key government figures and military leaders fled the nation with their loot; soldiers threw down their weapons, and resistance to Boko Haram collapsed before the end of the calendar year.
Supported by both Al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL, 2016 would be a year of displacement and unbelievable suffering for the people of Nigeria. The world looked on in horror as Nigerian Christians fled for their lives. Those unable to flee the country were forced to convert to Islam, or hacked to death, or crucified, or beheaded. The lucky ones were simply shot. The political entity of Nigeria was replaced by a new country: the Caliphate of West Africa, or CWA.
The year 2016 would also see another player enter the stage. China would operate the highly lucrative oil fields in the Niger River delta for the CWA. They would also buy, in hard currency, the entire output of these oil fields. This was an uneasy alliance at best. China needed the oil, but was highly distrustful of the CWA. The CWA hated the infidel Chinese, but needed their money, technical expertise, weapons and political cover. It was long suspected by Western Intelligence agencies that the source of external funding for Boko Haram had been the Chinese Yuan, and that this deal was long in the making.
Sunday, 22 January 2017 was not only a horrific day for the United States, but for other Western nations as well. In France, three privately owned corporate jets laden with explosives would attack Paris in what became known as France’s 9/11. The first jet hit the Louvre, and destroyed priceless works of art and treasures of the entire human family. The second jet, for reasons unknown, crashed into a nondescript residential area. The third jet hit the Eiffel Tower, and caused the iconic symbol of France to topple into a heap of tangled steel. The national psyche of France was not broken nor even substantially wounded by this attack; rather, it was deeply and fundamentally outraged. A new and ultra jingoistic France was not out for justice, it was out for revenge.
The British had two strokes of luck that saved them. First, the terrorists delayed attacking until the next morning in order to maximize casualties – thus allowing the now alerted U.K. to bring the full force of its security apparatus to bear. Second, a young member of the terrorist advance team was apprehended for unrelated charges, and he unwittingly compromised the terrorist plot in an attempt to negotiate his way out of prosecution. The ten terrorists in London would all be killed long before the aerosolized VX persistent nerve agent in their backpacks could be released into congested London underground stations. However, scandal is eventually expected to erupt in the U.K. The terrorist who compromised the plot also provided information that suggests the highly toxic and very illegal VX originated from the MoD facility at Porton Down.
That last full week of January 2017 was reserved for mourning, recovery, anger, investigation and diplomatic action. The ineptness and ineffectiveness of the United Nations was, yet again, laid bare for all to see. Islamic nations flooded the agenda with issues meant to distract; however, it was China that bottled things up on the Security Council. By Friday of that week, the most that could be mustered was a watered down and very week U.N. resolution stating that the terrorist acts were a regrettable event. The West was not the least bit amused by China’s stoic intransigence.
On that last weekend of the month, the U.S. Congress was ordered into emergency session. On Monday, 30 January 2017 the President of the United States, who had been in office just over a week, stood before a televised joint session of Congress. In an event that had not been repeated since 8 December 1941, the President asked for, and received, a formal Congressional Declaration of War against the CWA.
Under African Skies (2017)
It is early Tuesday morning, 31 January 2017. You are the four-star General Officer in command of the joint/combined United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). You left your offices at Kelly Barracks outside of Stuttgart, Germany early yesterday, and have established a forward command post at RAF Ascension Island. You report directly to the Secretary of Defense (SecDef), and your subordinate reporting commands include: HQ, US Army Africa, Vicenza, Italy; HQ, US Navy Africa, Naples, Italy; and HQ, US Air Force Africa at Ramstein AB, Germany.
Some European countries have already joined the American effort. The Brits had ships moving before the U.S. Declaration of War, and have integrated into your command structure. The Dutch, Belgian and Polish forces are not ready at this early stage, and will be assigned to follow-on operations. Germany, Italy and Spain are offering bases and over-flight rights, but are not committing forces at this time. Of moderate concern, the French are already sailing into the area of operations but have indicated they are going it alone. Diplomatic channels state that France is intent on restoring national dignity, and they do not want their effort conducted under the auspices of a coalition.
U.S. forces are assembling and on the move. There are two CVBG’s enroute, but won’t be in the area for three to four days. Land units are being earmarked in CONUS, and will load onto transports within two to three weeks. Some airborne tankers and strike aircraft have already been deployed to your command. The center piece of your current force structure is an Expeditionary Strike Group that was headed to the Mediterranean for training and diverted to your command. Additionally, a Special Operations capable task force of LCS’s and support ships that had been operating in the area is now assigned to you. These are welcome additions. Prior to the events leading to this war, AFRICOM had only a hospital ship providing support for the latest Ebola outbreak and a few patrol craft for security and anti-piracy operations.
About 98% of the personnel in your command are unaware of your greatest asset. Under an operation codenamed TANGENT, the CIA was able to establish an extensive HUMINT intelligence network prior to the collapse of the former Nigerian government. TANGENT is largely staffed with Nigerian personnel, augmented with CIA covert operators and Special Operations personnel. At this juncture, TANGENT is an intelligence gathering network, but will soon expand into a full scale paramilitary organization. A Joint Intelligence Fusion Center, Nigeria (JIFC-N) has been established in Northern Virginia outside of Langley to exploit TANGENT information and integrate it with other sources. JIFC-N is providing a constant stream of actionable intelligence.
The SECDEF has laid out the framework for the war. It is to be conducted in three phases, and you are starting the first phase shortly. Wait for orders before conducting combat operations. The Nigerian War Plan, codename PERFECT STORM, calls for:
• Phase I: Operation OREGON RAIN (1-3 Day Duration)
o Establish Air Superiority over CWA
Conduct SEAD/DEAD operations
Degrade CWA airfields
Destruction of aircraft
o Support TANGENT elements
Conduct resupply operations
Provide on-call close air support
Provide infiltration/exfiltration operations on order
o Degrade CWA C3 capability
o Degrade CWA oil and gas revenue capability
o Avoid contact/conflict with China
• Phase II: Operation FLORIDA THUNDER (+ 2x CVBG) (2 Weeks Duration)
o Shock and awe operations
o Establish Air Dominance over CWA
o Reinforce and expand TANGENT elements
o Eliminate CWA C3 capability
o Destroy CWA oil and gas revenue capability
o Degrade CWA ground forces
o Identify and occupy suitable beach/port facilities
o Negotiate a withdraw of Chinese advisors
• Phase III: Operations HEARTLAND TWISTER (+ ground forces) (6 Month Duration)
o Develop and enhance TANGENT’s military capability
o Destroy CWA ground forces
o Occupy key coastal cities/facilities
o Establish air bases and port facilities
o Reintegrate several million refugees back into Nigerian society
o Capture/kill key CWA personnel
o Form new Nigerian government
It is 0545 and you decide to make a quick inspection of the developing command post. As you walk from your quarters near the air field, the first thing that strikes you is that the southwest corner of Ascension Island looks like a gypsy camp. Mobile communication vans with antenna arrays have set up on what high ground they could find, and a haphazard tent city has popped up overnight. The noise, at this early hour, is deafening. A constant stream of cargo aircraft, passenger airliners and tankers are dumping their loads at this terminal end of the air bridge from the U.S. The hardstand aircraft parking area looks as packed as a car dealership lot before a big sale.
Your destination is the J2/J3 operations office that occupies one of the small warehouse spaces set aside for non-aviation activities. If you wanted to be charitable, you could describe it at a bee hive of activity; however, the sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach knows that currently chaos and anarchy reign – as a young 2LT, you would have called it a complete Charlie Foxtrot. A young airman puts a cup of coffee in your hand. A Captain quietly approaches and says, “Sir, you might want to come take a look at the current operations monitor. We think the French are about to start something.”
Commander, for opening moves of operation OREGON RAIN the following forces are at your disposal:
US/UK Order of Battle:
RAF Ascension Island
HQ (Forward) AFRICOM (notional)
96th Bomb Squadron (Red Devils) (8 x B-52H Stratofortress)
Det. 13th Bomb Squadron (Grim Reapers) (2 x B-2 Spirit)
77th Air Refueling Squadron (Totin’ Tigers) (8 x KC-135 Stratotanker)
Det. 522nd Special Operations Squadron (Fireballs) (4 x MC-130J Commando II)
Det. 348th Reconnaissance Squadron (Northern Hawks) (4 x RQ-4 Global Hawk)
Det. 5th Patrol Squadron (Mad Foxes) (4 x P-8A Poseidon)
Forces at Sea:
TF 6.24 (Humanitarian Aid) (To Remain At Anchor)
USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) (Flag)
USNS Robert E. Peary (T-AKE-5)
TF 6.26 (Anti-piracy, Security and SAR)
USS Zephyr (PC-8) (Flag)
USS Shamal (PC-13)
USS Tornado (PC-14)
Atlantic Patrol South (Reinforced)
HMS Dragon (D-35) (Flag)
HMS Montrose (F-236)
HMS Kent (F-78)
RFA Wave Ruler (A-390)
TF 6.44 (Special Operations)
USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1) (Flag)
Det. HSC-84 (Red Wolves) (2 x HH-60H Rescue Hawk)
Det. HMLA-267 (Stingers) (1 x AH-1Z Viper)
Det. HMH-464 (Condors) (1 x CH-53E Super Stallion)
USNS Choctaw County (JHSV-2)
USNS Patuxent (T-AO-201)
USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE-7)
USS Fort Worth (LCS-3)
USS Milwaukee (LCS-5)
TF 6.50 (Expeditionary Strike Group)
USS Monterey (CG-61)
USS McFaul (DDG-74)
USS Truxtun (DDG-103)
USS Mount Whitney (LCC-20) (Flag)
USS Bataan (LHD-5)
Det. VMFA-115 (Silver Eagles) (12 x F-35B Lightning II)
Det. HMLA-269 (Gunrunners) (4 x AH-1Z Viper, 4 x UH-1Y Venom)
Det. VMM-264 (Black Knights) (12 x MV-22B Osprey)
Det. HUQ-2 (Shrimps) (4 x MQ-8B Fire Scout)
USS New York (LPD-21)
USS Oak Hill (LSD-51)
USNS John Ericsson (T-AO-194)
USS Helena (SSN-725)
HMS Ambush (S-120)
1. Port Harcourt in the southeast portion of Nigeria is actually a port, although about 20 miles inland. The map in CMANO doesn’t allow for river/estuary access to the actual port facilities. I had to fudge locations of some units in that area.
2. DB3000 does not have an entry for the USNS Lewis B. Puller (T-MLP-3/T-AFSB-1), which is due to be completed in 2015. I used the USS Ponce (ASFB(I)-15) to represent this vessel.
3. Be advised that friendly losses are large victory point deductions. Play with the goal of zero US/UK losses.
4. Operation OREGON RAIN is scheduled for 1 to 3 days, but the scenario has variable ending points depending on your performance.
5. During testing, when aircraft parking space was destroyed, a message would sometimes pop up to say there was insufficient aircraft parking at the airfield, and to contact the scenario author. It keeps popping up. Repeatedly. The work around is to save the game and restart. You’ll have to clear the warning one more time, and then you should be good to go.
6. Pay close attention to message traffic and follow orders.
7. It is helpful if in Game Options, you have “Special Messages” selected to “Raise Pop-Up.”
8. Good luck and good hunting Commander!