Red Storm – Scenario Mix

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In designing scenarios for Red Storm: The Air War Over Central Germany, 1987, I’m trying to provide a wide range of scenarios in terms of size, complexity, and “standard” versus “unusual” situations.  Regarding size, the variance is based on three main factors: the amount of the map in play, the number of flights on each side, and the density of ground defenses (SAMs and AAA).  Complexity varies based on who is doing what.  One side bombing?  Both sides?  Good or bad weather?  Lots of Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) and electronic jamming aircraft?  The final aspect is standard vs. unusual.  Here, “standard” would be daylight missions with one or both sides bombing targets and one or both sides trying to intercept the other.  Order of Battle tables determine the exact flights and available munitions.  An “unusual” scenario would include specific pre-designated units with special rules (like a cruise missile attack, paradrop or helicopter assault).  At this point in testing, we are working on a total of 29 scenarios.  I’m not sure if all of those will make the cut, but I figure it’s good to have too many at this point instead of too few.  Any that don’t get into Red Storm will likely be future C3i magazine scenarios or be offered through some other venue.

Listed below are some of current scenarios under development with some thoughts on each one:

Introductory Scenario: Morning Recon

After months of increasing tension along the inner German border, Warsaw Pact commanders expect to get the word to start combat operations at any time.  This situation puts a premium on having the most up to date information on NATO mobilization and deployment.  As a result, Warsaw Pact air commanders authorize high speed reconnaissance flights across the border.  Pilots are ordered to get in quickly, get the intelligence required, and get back.  After more than a week of such incursions, NATO commanders receive permission to get more aggressive and “lock up” such flights with SAM radars as well as intercept the flight with NATO combat air patrols on station.
● Size: Very small (2 flights total and small area of the map)
● Conditions: Daylight, Clear Weather
● Ground Units/Defenses: About 6 Army units, 3 NATO SAMs, one ground radar.
● Concept: This is an introductory scenario with no actual combat since it takes place before the war, with the goal being to give players new to the series a way to try out the basics of moving aircraft, SAM acquisition, detecting flights, etc.

“Morning Recon” test setup, including Warsaw Pact player navigation waypoints.

Small Size / Low Complexity Scenario: First Strike

Right behind the mass fighter sweep that opens the war, WP commanders send in a wave of ground attack missions to hit critical frontline targets before the ground war kicks off.  With WP artillery pounding front line units, the targets are rear-area reserves, headquarters, artillery, and supply centers.  The WP primary targets for this raid are West German army rear area units behind the front lines in the 2nd Panzer-Grenadier Division sector of the front.
● Size: Small.  NATO 3 flights, WP 14 to 18 flights, including two jamming flights
● Conditions: Daylight, Clear Weather
● Ground Units / Defenses: NATO 3 SAMs, 6 AAA units, 1 ground radar
● Concept:  This is a scenario early in the war’s narrative with a “bread and butter” Warsaw Pact daylight bombing raid going after rear area units. Players get all the possible mission types here in a small package: fighter cover, SEAD, bombing, recon, and jamming.

Example of the flights the WP might receive for this scenario, with the taskings.

Medium Size / Medium Complexity: Opening Rounds

The battle plan for the 8th Guards Army’s attack toward Frankfurt requires eliminating the United States 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) in 24 hours.  After a series of raids against SAM sites in the early morning darkness, numerous daylight raid packages attacking 11th ACR front line units are scheduled to go in at first light.  NATO air forces have spent the night preparing to support the forward ground troops and also start launching strike missions at daybreak seeking to catch the advancing Soviet troops on the move.
● Size: Medium.  NATO 10-13 flights, WP 13-17 flights
● Conditions: Daylight, Clear Weather
● Ground Units / Defenses: NATO 4 SAMs, 3 AAA units, 1 ground radar; WP 17 SAMs, 6 AAA points
● Concept:  This scenario has both sides doing everything— SAMs, bombing, intercepting enemy bombers, suppressing enemy air defenses, conducting post-strike recon—but without any unusual missions, hence the “medium” complexity rating.  It happens early in the war when neither side has air superiority, forcing both sides to take risks to get bombs on target, so this is a wild one.

The Fulda Gap – site of the action in this scenario


Medium Size / Unusual Conditions: Nighthawks

NATO commanders count on the highly classified F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter to take down critical elements of the WP air defense network early in the conflict.  On the third night of the war the men of the shadowy 4450th Tactical Group are ordered to penetrate WP lines and take out SA-12, EW Radar, and air defense command centers.  They get some help in the form of a fighter sweep to keep the attention of WP combat air patrols, but otherwise fly alone into the most dangerous air defense network in the world.
● Size: Medium.  NATO 10 flights, WP 4 flights
● Conditions: Night, Variable Weather
● Ground Units / Defenses: WP 43 SAMs, lots of AAA.
● Concept:  This scenario is a night scenario with a ton of SAMs and “unusual” conditions in the form of the F-117A Nighthawk flights, which have a lot of special rules to simulate their stealth capability in the game.  The huge SAM laydown shows the kind of threats the F-117A was intended to penetrate, in theory.  The mix of SAM density, night conditions, random weather, and special rules add up to an “unusual conditions” scenario.

A sample of the NATO flights and WP SAMs that come together in a complicated but very cool night scenario…

Large Size / Medium Complexity: Bridge Busting

After the WP breakthrough on May 18th, NATO ground units are still attempting to form a solid new defensive line, but need time.  WP lines of supply depend on a few highway bridges and numerous temporary bridges over the Werra, Fulda, and Leine rivers to supply their exploiting troops.  NATO planners want these bridges taken out whatever the cost.  NATO air commanders decide that a night attack has the highest chance of success against these heavily defended targets.
● Size: Medium.  NATO 24 flights (two raids), WP 6 flights
● Conditions: Night, Variable “Poor” Weather
● Ground Units / Defenses: WP 24 SAMs, lots of AAA.
● Concept: This is a night scenario on a big chunk of the map with NATO generating two major raids, but it is “asymmetric” in that only one side (NATO) is doing escort, jamming, SEAD, bombing, and recon, with the other only doing interception + SAMs.  However, there aren’t any special rules, so it has a standard feel to it, even if a big one.  So, this is a “meat and potatoes” NATO night deep strike raid scenario.

Here is what a NATO Deep Strike raid and 4 escorts might look like in this scenario.

With the planned mix of large and small scenarios encompassing a wide range of situations and using a variety of rules, Red Storm offers up gaming situations suitable for any table size and time span, from half-map, single afternoon sessions to multi-day two-mappers.

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