Just finished this one today.
Following up on my AAW operations for the other day, I launched a major SEAD strike on the island. This consisted of 12 Tomahawks fired at every suspected HQ-17 site (every unit with four components), plus a handful of others targeting the airfields installations for a total of 102 Tomahawks (past experience trying to dismantle some of Gunner’s monstrous IADS’s has taught me to always go for overkill, rather than risk having all of one’s weapons shot down for no effect). The Tomahawk strike was backed up by some F-22s for air superiority, four P-8’s with SLAM-ERs, and F-18s with AGM-88s, JSOWs, LRASM’s, and MALD-J (for a total of 8 LRASMs, 8 JSOW’s, 16 SLAM-ERs, 24 AGM-88’s, and 8 MALD-Js).
It turned out that this obscene display of firepower was just a bit more than was required to dismantle the island’s air defenses, and in addition to taking out ever AD unit and aircraft, a fair amount of the base infrastructure was taken out as well.
From there, it was just a matter of throwing GBU’s and JSOWs at the remaining installations until everything was destroyed. Final score was 15,168 (Triumph) with 1 day and 12 hours remaining. My only loss was a Global Hawk towards the beginning of the scenario that did a bit too good of a job of finding the Chinese CAP.
But it was almost much worse…
Reading the briefing, I had of course noticed the line regarding the presence of ground based ASMs. But I assumed that ASBMs wouldn’t be deployed so far away from the mainland and that therefore those ASMs were cruise missiles. So despite the plethora of satellites buzzing overhead, I kept my ship’s EMCON passive and relied on AEW (the standard E-3s and E-2s, plus a picked line of Global Hawks designed to detect an incoming Badger strike). It was only when I was looking at the Losses and Expenditures page and the scenario file in the editor that I realized how close I had come to disaster…the Stennis group was only about 75nm or so outside of the strike radius specified for the DF-21 batteries’ ASUW mission, and with no space search radars running I can’t say I would have liked the Stennis group’s chances…
Fortunately, the DF-21s have the same number of elements as the HQ-17 batteries do, and thus were flagged as suspected HQ-17s, were targeted with 12 cruise missiles a piece, and were taken out in my initial SEAD strike. So disaster averted.
This was a great scenario; I really playing enjoyed it! With relatively light opposition, it was an excellent testing ground a lot of the new weapons the US has fielded in recent years or may field in the near future.
My main recommendations/comments:
-I’ll reiterate the ammo quantity comment given above. I like the aspect of having so many different choices to choose from, but I wonder if some of the higher-end hardware should only come in limited quantities. After all, the Stennis group is continuing onward to the front lines next, and hardware such as hypersonic anti-ship missiles might be better saved for heavy Chinese naval units instead of used to seal-club a lightly defended frigate. On the other hand, if I had fewer advanced weapons at my disposal I might have taken longer to dismantle the island’s defenses and probably would have fallen prey to an ASBM strike, so maybe the loadout choices are fine as is. Additionally, if the goal is to complete this operation as quickly as possible in order to free up the Stennis for more important tasks, maybe it makes it more sense to bring out the rarer hardware to accomplish that goal. So I guess I could go either way on this point. Something to consider, at least.
-I obviously don’t know all the possible permutations of the Chinese naval deployments, but in my playthrough I seem to have largely dodged the Chinese subs by heading towards Palmayra instead of between Palmayra and Johnston as may have been expected. If there’s no chance of a sub spawning in that area, maybe there should be.
Looking at my ExceptionLog, it appears the following error was encountered repeatedly during the timeframe in which I was playing this scenario:
6/28/2021 19:25:12 -- B1147.25 -- Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
Exception: Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
Stack Trace: at Command.AttackTarget.()
Call Stack & Error details:
Error at 200410, Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
< Message edited by stww2 -- 6/29/2021 1:50:28 PM >