Alternative Cold War History 1994

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Playtest by maverick3320

Pacific Fury #1 – Bolt from the Blue

Playtest Report by maverick3320, Sept 2021


Having played through the Med Fury and Caribbean Fury series I'm starting to learn that when Gunner98's opening intel is extremely limited and the scenario briefing concludes with, "What could go wrong?" that pretty much everything will go wrong, but wow. Not too far into the scenario I lost my first carrier, and it wasn't even close. the CV (and the rest of the TF) was obliterated, so soon that I was still receiving scenario messages for the Indy after she was already at the bottom of the Sea of Japan!

The scenario starts with the *Independence *on the west side of Japan, with the CGN *California *and a DD/FFG escort. A *Leahy *CG is running north quickly to join up with the group (No Ticonderoga CG anywhere to be found...not good). The goal is to meet up with an *Underwood *FFG further north, and eventually, an oiler and another FFG. US /assets in the AO are fairly limited; some USAF F-15s a few hundred miles away, some Marine F-18s down in the south of Japan, and some F16s north up at Misawa AB. Most of the airframes aren't ready when the scenario starts, and almost all are distant enough to make a close CAP difficult. AWACs, ELINT, and Jammers are on hand in limited quantities, just enough to setup missions to have one frame of each in the air. The Indy has a full complement of F14s and F18s, but many have peacetime loadouts and/or delayed ready times. Soviet /assets are heavy; at least 10-12 jammers are visible, along with dozens of front-line interceptors (Su-27Ps and Mig-31Bs) and airbases all over the Vladivostok area. Japan is friendly and is running CAPs, but their Sparrows end up not being much of a match for the Su-27 and especially the Mig-31 missiles. Further, the Japanese CAPs end up firing an awful lot of their Sparrows at ASMs/anti-radar missiles that are faster than the Sparrows themselves.

Before hostilities officially breakout a salvo (15-20ish?) Shipwrecks are fired and start heading toward the CVBG; between the limited CAP with Sparrows and the CVBG SAMs all of them are handled. Later another 15-20 are fired from another location in the Sea of Japan, and here I'm not so lucky; *Leahy *(which had since caught up with the CVBG) takes a missile and simply disappears with no fanfare.

From there all hell breaks loose. Dozens of Soviet aircraft attack; first come the front-line air in a massive fighter sweep that tackles my CAP, leaving the ships exposed to deal with what looked like 30+ Badgers followed by 20+ Fencers. The *California *actually did a surprising job defending the group, at least until she caught a Kitchen and likewise disappeared. After that the *Indy *took three hits in the first wave, which disabled flight ops. With no CAP left and no SAMs a fourth Kitchen sealed *Indy's *fate.

I thought I remember reading AARs or play testers describe this scenario and discussing how they kept *Indy *alive; if so, I'd love to hear it. Even after "paying" 25 VP for additional F15s and F4s my CAP was exhausted and the entire CVBG gone before the Fencers could even attack.

Halfway through the 24 hour scenario things have now stabilized (at a score of around -1500 points). A C-141 with 200 AMRAAMs arrived in the south of Japan; combined with the eight F-15Cs I had rebased there, I'm starting to take to the offensive in the air. I'm probably preaching to the choir here but AMRAAMs are a game-changer. My F-18s and F-15Cs with Sparrows could possibly get a 1:1 K/D ratio against the Su-27s and Mig-31s with a lot of work, but with AMRAAMs my K:D ratio is closer to 12 or even 15:1.

As always, good work by Bart and good fun. I thought I read that one of the Pacific Fury scenarios was playable as Warsaw Pact, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.