Northern Fury – Lance to the Chest
Playtest Report by AndrewJ Feb 2017
I tried this one as NATO.
I held the Bergen ship in port, while sending my Sea King to look around. After a quick radar observation from high altitude near the airfield (which found nothing), it went to sea-skimming altitude and flew out to sea before climbing to repeat the process. This time it detected two ships out to the west, so the Buccaneers were launched from Sola, traveling west before hooking around to approach from the south west in the hope that this would keep them away from any enemy air patrols.
My Sea King turned off the radar and dove to the deck before heading in to shore again, but this didn't save it from a pair of Mig-23s, who found it anyway and destroyed it in short order. My F-5s were scrambled in response to the Migs, and they managed to get one while losing one of their own. The other one chased my surviving F-5 south all the way to the Skagerrak, before turning back. My F-5 lost track of it (a radar would be handy at night!), so it headed up towards Bergen to patrol.
Out to sea my Buccaneers turned to approach and detected a third ship behind the other two, and they decided to engage that one first. The main thing this accomplished was to cause the patrol boat to turn on its radars the moment the accompanying AEW heli detected the incoming missile. Naturally this was an OTH radar, so it immediately detected my Hauks (although I didn't realise it at the time) allowing the patrol boat to engage them with Sunburns before turning away to return to port. Net result was two Hauks sunk, and my missile missing because the patrol boat had turned away to go back to port. A second shot missed when the Sea Eagle malfunctioned, and the ARM hit too far away to cause damage. In disgust the Buccaneers used their one Sidewinder to eliminate the Helix. (In retrospect, I should have killed that first before making my ASM attacks.)
Not long afterwards the Storen was in range to engage the other two patrol boats with Harpoons, and the loitering Buccaneers added their last couple of Martels to the salvo. The two boats were sunk, and the Buccaneers flew home. Overall result, two patrol boats lost on each side.
Up near Bergen the forts at Herdla reported they were being overflown by helicopters that were headed south, and the loitering F-5 was able to swoop down and engage them, destroying them before they could reach my southern ships. The merchant ship in Bergen left port shortly afterwards and headed south towards England, passing the northbound merchants who eventually arrived and began to offload their cargo.
Combat-wise, this was essentially a tie: two patrol boats lost on each side, one fighter lost on each side, one surveillance helicopter lost on each side. The biggest difference is they lost two attack helicopters on their side. However, they did not stop the merchants from transiting, so NATO got the victory.
The Soviets have a sensor advantage (AEW, OTH radars on ships, AA radars on their fighters), as well as range advantages on their AAMs and better SSMs. Much easier for them in the hands of a human.