It is July 2011 and tensions are running high between Colombia and Venezuela. The former is allowing the US to base forces on her soil, while the latter is harbouring insurgents. Colombian forces are on standby while their government awaits Venezuela's response to an ultimatum to evict the guerillas.
Leading the Colombian forces (the only option), you have a force of transport and gunship choppers, plus six Bronco ground-attack planes with which to menace the rebel base, with a squadron of Israeli-built Kfir fighters for escort. At sea, the diesel sub Pijao is patrolling off the approaches to the Maracaibo region, hoping to intercept a Venezuelan frigate and oiler returning from the Caribbean. Further W, near Cartagena, the Colombian corvette Antioquia provides (too) distant escort to the unarmed auxiliary Cartagena de Indias as she heads for port. A Dash patrol plane provides recon.
The Venezuelan forces are superior in almost every respect. They have F-16 Falcon and Flanker fighters and the latter have four times the sensor and missile range of your Kfirs, as well as being more agile. Their frigate is markedly better than the Antioquia and their submarines (plural) outrange the Pijao's sonar by 16nm to 6.
I decided that the best thing to do with my surface ships was to get them safely into port ASAP, as per orders. Unfortunately, two minutes into the scenario, the Cartagena de Indias was suddenly sunk by a Venezuelan sub - this appeared to be an unavoidable scenario event to trigger hostilities. At least it costs you no points. I was tasked with rescuing survivors, using a pair of Bell Basic SAR choppers based at Cartagena. Meanwhile, I did my best to hunt the sub, using the Dash (which has MAD, but no weapons) and the corvette's Fennec chopper (which was operating at long range).
Recovering the four survivor liferafts was easy enough and scored a cheap 200 VP. It was, however, fiddly, as you have to position the helicopter beside the raft, drop to minimum altitude and go into Hover mode before using the Special Options button to perform the rescue.
The enemy sub didn't want to be found and despite several sorties by the Fennec over the course of the game, she got clean away. Relying on MAD with no sonobuoys is more miss than hit. Antioquia made it back to port OK.
Meanwhile, some Colombian special forces located the rebel camp, just over the Andean border. They were useless for combat, but provided valuable intel. I was ordered to strike the base and launched all choppers, Broncos and most of the Kfirs.
The plan was to use the Andes to conceal the choppers' approach as far as possible, especially as the Venezuelan CAP was over the lowlands to the E. As it was suicide for the Kfirs to fight Flankers, I decided to use them to lure the Venezuelan fighters away from the choppers and Broncos, much as a hen ptarmigan will feign a broken wing and draw interlopers away from her chicks. This ruse worked (at first) with the two Flankers. Unfortunately, the assault force rounded the Andes to find that the enemy had another two previously-undetected fighters covering the other flank, with radar in support. The game was up!
There was no choice but to bore straight in, with all reserve Kfirs running interference. The choppers arrived before the enemy CAP, but hit problems when there was no apparent mechanism for unloading the troops from the eight transport Hips and Blackhawks (I tried using a Cargo mission to no avail). This rendered them essentially useless. As the Flankers and Falcons engaged (more having been called-in), the Blackhawk gunships and Broncos came over the target and did considerable damage with HYDRA rockets and incendiary bombs, taking out all of the rebel Bofors AA guns and three-quarters of their infantry. A Bronco and three choppers were lost to the fighters, but my Kfirs took advantage of the Venezuelan pre-occupation with the choppers to score two kills for one loss - a creditable effort. Unfortunately, my returning Broncos were caught while returning to base by the two Flankers I'd lured away earlier and four more were lost. Overall, though, I finished 90 VP ahead and got into Major Victory territory.
With the enemy maintaining regular CAP on their side of the border, there was no sense in a second strike and I kept my planes safely grounded.
Much later in this over-long three-day scenario, the Pijao was bounced by a second Venezuelan submarine, as was always a risk given the enemy sonar advantage. Thankfully, the torpedoes were fired at maximum range and I was able to outrun them. Diving deep, I headed away at Flank. As it was madness to stick around when faced with a technologically superior opponent, I got Pijao well clear (with a nervous slowdown to recharge batteries) and then ran down the clock.
Nothing else happened and I was left with 290 VP and a rather unsatisfactory-seeming 'Major Victory'.
Not the most enthralling scenario, all told. Worth noting that it has a bug which causes a Lua script execution error whenever the enemy fire at you. I'd guess that the game tries to evaluate expended enemy missiles and torpedoes as units destroyed and fails. This might have something to do with the player getting no VP for downing Venezuelan fighters.