Well, I managed to complete it today and I'm pretty much impressed with this mini-monster of yours.
The initial strikes were little short of overwhelming and forced me to employ very unconventional tactics to counted them, like redirecting planes back to the battle with only guns remaining, it was very nerve wracking and I loved every minute of it.
It has one of the toughest IADS I've ever found in this game, and I was literally unable fo find weak points to exploit (which doen's meant there werent, since I'm far from the most accomplished CMANO player) but seems you thought a counter for every move I could think about.
So in the end I put a stiff upper lip and drowned it in the flaming wrecks of my own planes. I was finally able to crack it, but I paid for it greatly.
The battle for the channel was equally bloody with both STANAVFORLANT and the Soviet SAG succumbing to enemy subs in a matter of hours. The superior sensors on the Rubis made the difference here and I caugh all the enemy subs with her.
Even the trap you put for the Nimitz had a bloody end when the Sierra and the Dallas managed to sink each other ( I will take a little more about that Skirmish in a moment).
So bloody, hard and hair pulling, I loved it.
That said, there are a few points that need a little hammering, in no particular order:
- The Belgium No-Fly zone must go. The big range of the AA-9 missiles along with the positioning of Nörvenich means the Foxhounds can and do fire from within it, and the AI is literally unable to respond to those attacks.
Even micromanaging I had trouble responding to the attacks due to planes sometimes refusing to fire against targets within the Zone.
So in the end I throwed the towel and disabled the No-Nav zone. That way I was finally able fo return fire.
- There are no reloads for any Soviet planes other than the Bombers at Kursk
- Related to the precedent, I ran out of air to air munitions pretty quickly. Twelve hours in the scenario, I had run out of any Navy AAMs other than Sidewinders. If not for the previous issue I would have been unable to obtain air superiority.
If you do add reloads for the Soviet fighters, then you must add more munitions for the player. Perhaps with more C-5s arriving later in the scenario and triggering an ammo spawning event.
- I suppose this one is by design but just to make sure: The French strike has no posibilitiy of success without support, and when it starts you are hardly in a possition to give it to them.
- The Sierra is on weapons tight against sub contacts. If not for that, she could have shot at the Dallas undetected. You should change her to weapons free to compensate for the player beign able to manually attack an unidentified contact.
- The Mig-27 patrol (nitpick: thats a typo, those are Mig-23) has the "investigate outside the patrol area" box unchecked, rendering them useless.
- Several patrols have the "1/3 rule" box unchecked, not sure if this one is intended.
- Paris Orly's runways are too short for Mainstays and Badgers, replacements for those shot down cannot take off.
- Nörvenich lacks Very large Runway access points, Candid transports cannot take off.
- New Jersey carries TLAM-C missiles, functionally identical to the land based ones, but those incur in neither points reduction nor retaliation.
- Albeit I liked the small added complication and Im NOT telling you to take them out, seeing airliners going from London to Geneva and back, nonchalantly crossing the airspace of an active warzone, during the damned WW3, was a big WTF moment. Some type of explanation in the briefing is needed.
- This one is more a personal preference, and you could even call it a rant but I'm still putting it here: drop the Frisbees and those hideous Flying Doritos. Put half a dozen Nighthawks instead.
Tom Clancy didn't know better when he wrote Red Storm Rising and he did a pretty good work with the info he had at hand.
We, on the other hand, know that the F-117 was available in limited numbers starting in the 84. And while subsonic and not as sexy as the Fresbee, is just as Stealthy which is the main point here (the lack of air-to-air capability was found to be of limited relevance in these very forum some years ago. It just happens that Sidewinder armed Fresbees are no match for Alamo armed Fulcrums).
So I would very much prefer to see (to the exent that CMANO allows us to emulate it) how well the real thing would have fared if the balloon went up.
Thats all that cames to mind. Thank you for a very enjoyable (if sometimes a little hair pulling) pair of afternoons.