Alternative Cold War History 1994

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Caribbean Fury #1 – Hot Tamales

AAR by stww2, July 2020

I just finished earlier today Caribbean Fury 1. I won’t recount the entire scenario, primarily because I’ve played it over a period of months and I can’t actually remember what happened in detail, but a brief summary is as follows…

After a harrowing beginning, including the embarrassing (from a US prestige perspective-given the forces involved in the scenario it wasn’t that surprising) destruction of several ground installations in Florida and in Panama (apparently OV-10s are don’t function well as an emergency CAP…who would have thought?), the tide was turned by legions of F-15Cs. After several SEAD strikes, I knocked out every non-MANPAD SAM installation in Central Cuba and unleashed F-4s to drop LGBs on various targets (by that point I was desperately scavenging for points), while A-7s targeted Mariel and the Central Cuban SSM installations (a TARPS recon pod equipped F-14 was enormously useful in elucidating what areas were protected by MANPADs and what areas were vulnerable). On the naval side of things, the Radford TG Harpooned an Osa battlegroup, P-3s picked off Cuban naval vessels around the island, and the Trepang started off the war by becoming an ace, bagging two Grishas, two Konis, and a Foxtrot (the latter of which didn’t even carry ASW capable weapons). I stopped playing with 13h 5m remaining, which after looking at the editor might have preempted a clash between a Victor and the CVBG although I doubt that would have been worth simulating the remaining 13 hours for what was by that point a completely one-sided affair.

Overall, my minor gripes aside (see below), this was a fantastic scenario (as are pretty much all of Gunner’s works) and I would highly recommend it!

Some Comments:

-the first Cuban strikes were well coordinated, but afterwards subsequent strikes were in disarray and saw unescorted Mig-21s and Mig-23s thrown against F-15Cs-obviously a suicide mission; perhaps the strikes should have been set to one-time only, or they should have been assigned escorts and the readiness of those escorts should have been a mission requirement to launch

-I was disappointed that the CSAR script only seemed to recognize helicopters; I originally was going to use some of the Coast Guard patrol boats for CSAR work early on when the airspace around Key West wasn't safe for helicopters, but they ended up being essentially useless.

-the SA-10 Radars being on was a major liability, allowed me to take them out from range; SA-2s and SA-3s were taken out by baiting them to go active with an F-16, but this would have been much more dangerous with a SA-10; along a similar line the Cuban SSMs FCR’s being left on also made them easy to locate and take out

-what was the point of the WP aligned patrol boats? I guess to take out merchant ships, but could they even do that with their paltry armaments? I ended up destroying them with a combination of AC-130s, Harpoons from the HMS Westminster and Sea Skuas from its helicopter, rockets from Harrier GR7s, and strafing runs from TA-4s (AC-130s did most for the work). It seemed like a bizarre deployment.

-enemy ground forces lacked supporting AA, which made them easy targets; the Cuban ground assault on Guantanamo Bay especially seemed to be unnecessarily fragmented and unsupported. To be fair, CMO isn’t and never has been a ground warfare simulator, though, so I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much

-the hospital being right next to the Command bunker at Mariel was a nice challenge, and one that I singularly failed when I accidently lobbed an AGM-130 with a Mk84 warhead at the bunker…let’s just say that I significantly underestimated its blast radius. Although given everything else that is happening in the Northern Fury-verse at the same time I can’t imagine this incident would really get that much traction in the press-and who puts a command bunker right across the street from a hospital anyway?

Final Score: 1101 (Triumph) w/ 13h 5m Remaining