AAR: Silver Tower - Where's Silver Tower When You Need It?

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AAR: Silver Tower - Where's Silver Tower When You Need It?

Postby Beargrowlz » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:55 am

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An AAR By Beargrowlz
Scenario: Silver Tower
Battleset: HDSC-HDS III-IOPG
Scenario Author: wombat1417


I loved the book "Silver Tower" by Dale Brown when I read it some 25 or so years ago so this scenario peaked my interest. I was excited to play it and despite a somewjat disappointing finish, found the experience well worth the effort.

This would be the first scenario I played with The Ultimate Edition - but as my HCE had been up to date, I don't believe there were any differences in play.

My orders were simple - prevent the Russian invasion of Iran. Diplomatically my hands were tied behind my back. In order to prevent the spread of conflict beyond Iran, National Command Authoirity forbade me from striking the Russian air base at Dallyar - a base whcich would not refrain from striking me.

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I was also tasked with destroying a Kusnetsov Class Carrier and getting three transport Starlifters to Bandar Abbas.

My assets were outnumbered, especially when one coniders the apparent uselessness of the Iranian Air Force. Predominatly flying the M-238N Flogger, Iranian aircraft would have to adopt a wait and attack policy once Russian aircraft entered a four mile zone of their airfields.

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Iranian Air Force MIG-238N-Flogger

My main force was a CVBG centered around the CVN Nimitz with an air wng of F/A-18E Hornets which would serve in both a CAP and strike capacity. I also had 18 B-52G's - minus the nifty toys the H upgrade would give in in the 2000's, a dozen F-16C Eagles, all at Diego Garcia.

Finally, at the USAF base in Riyadh I had 6 F-15C Eagles and 18 F-16C Falcons at my disposal.

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Silver Tower theater opening map.

With poor Iranian C3I, my two AEW E-2 Sentries at Riyadh and my three E-2C Hawkeyes on Nimitz would require constant fight protection if I were to have any C3I in theater.

Before I could do anything about finding the Kusnetsov (which turned out to be the Varyag), I had to significantly bolster the poor Iranian air defence - remember, I needed to keep Bandar Abbas in play to bring in relief from the three Starlifters.

I immediately sent 12 of the Nimitz's Hornets to Bandar Abbas. I then sent 6 F-16's from Riyadh to Tehran and 6 to BandarAbbas, keeping 6 Falcons and 6 Eagles at Riyadh with the Sentries. The 12 Eagles made to long ferry haul to Bandar Abbas.

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It was crucial to get American fighters into position to supplement the weak Iranian Air Force.

Now if the Iranian Air Force could hold out for an hour or so, my active half an air wing from the Nimitz should have been been able to fly CAP over BandarAbbas while the ferrying fighters arrived and got reloaded.

Bad news right from the start. Three lightly armed Iranian Navy class PG Boghammers got torched by the Russian CVBG way up north in the Persian Gulf near Kuwait City.

The good news however, was that the srategy of holding the Iranian Floggers on the airfirleds until Russian bombers werew close to thee four mile distance of their AA-2 Atoll worked smashingly well. We did llose a small number of Floggers but a very manageable number while limiting the damage to 20% at Tehran with no damage to BandarAbbas as the Nimitz air wing did a superior job against inferior Russian strike assets.

As the ferried Eagles, Falcns and Hornets readied, I used the Hornets to launch a strike on the Kusnetsov CVBG in the Northern Persian Gulf. It managed to kill three Russian cruisers/destroyers and I followed it up quickly with a V-22 Osprey strike, which took out one more escort ship.

Still no joy on killing the Kusnetsov, but I could feel I was getting close.

At this point I recovered the Hornets I had sent to Bandar Abbas and began moving the Nimitz CVBG through the Guulf of Oman and into the Indian Ocean. My ferry of Eagles had discovered a Russian battle group and I had attempted a strike with 6 B-52's to no avail. So I began the hunt anew.

Still in range of the Kusnetsov, I launched three simultaneous Hornet raids on the Kusnetsov - limiting the aircraft in each strike because they would be flying at the very margis of their strike range. All three groups - a total of 14 Hornets - fired their Harpoons almost simultaneously and the Kusnetsov stood no chance, especially with her escort gone.

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A Hornet strike finally caught up with the
Kuznetsov Class CVN Varyag.


We finally broke the back of the CVN Varyag ad sent her to the bottom.

While the Nimitz headed into the into the Idian Ocean, the raiders from Dallyar were being repelled easily and at this point, we were suffering zero air losses with the Iranian airfields being defended by USAF Eagles and Falcons. So I took the opportunity to launch aother B-52 raid on the distant Russian CVBG near the horn of India. I was shocked to find the group had three carriers but managed to take out the CVH Kiev before being chased off, a second carrier kill - this one for the B-52's. A stern note of protest was received at the State Department in Washington from the Indian Government for my violation of their neutrality with an overflight of B-52's in Indian air space.

By this time the Starlifter transports were safely at Bandar Abbas and i had killed two carriers. After killing the Varyag, I had received noticew of a minimum victory. I though getting the Starlifters to BandarAbbas and having killed a second Russian carrier would give me a total victory, but received no message to that effect so I continued south, althought it would be extremely unlikely for me to get the Nimitz CVBG into strike range before time ran out.

This is where the tide turned, and I am not exactly sure why. With very little tie left in the cenario, still well out of distance of the Russian CVBG, with no warning of an aircraft, sun, torpedo or incoing missile all of a sudden one of hy Perry Class escorts just mysteriously sunk. I continued to proceed south not having any idea what happed to my escort, when all of a sudden from the west came a large barrage of missiles including 8 nukes. Despite the valliant attempts of my airborne Hornets and escorts the nukes got the Nimitz - a first for me as I have never seen nukes actually used in Harpoon.

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Nukes got the Nimitz.

So the huge aircraft loss is the result of my very disappoointing loss of the Nimitz. In the end I still don't know what hit me, and despite achieving a minimum victory at game end, I can't help but be very disappointed in myself for losing the Nimitz.

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I sure could have used Silver Tower's Armstrong Space Station with the laser star wars defense from the novel in the sky today, that's for sure.

Minimum victory aside, I have to rate my play as a D or an F for losing such a major asset. It really was inexcusable. And it's even more inexcusablke as I still don't know what hit me.

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Silver Tower final map.

If there was any lesson I took away from this performance it was the huge value of long range recon aircraft. Having none in my force prevented me from searching the Indian Ocean for other threats - though I might have countered this by sending more limited range fighters on recon missions to make up for the lack of long range assets.

I want to thank wombat1417 for the work he put into this scenarior trying to recreate one of my favorite thrillers from the 1980's. It was difficult to recreate the frenetic activity in the Iranian Theater of the book without the use of land forces. A remake of this scenario now that HUCE has moveable land units might capture the thrill of the book even more. But in the ed, it was still very enjoyable to play, though disappointing in my play at the very end.

Many thanks wombat1417.
-Beargrowlz
beargrowlz@bellsouth.net
Bill Adama: "I'm outta here."
Gaius Baltar: "Has anyone heard of Doctor Who?"

Put a bird on it. :)
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Re: AAR: Silver Tower - Where's Silver Tower When You Need I

Postby Herman Hum » Mon Dec 29, 2014 3:05 pm

Thanks for another interesting AAR. It is nice to see how you can still be surprised from a different direction,

You were holding the Iranian fighters on the ground and launching them as point-defense interceptors. It seemed to work quite well. How did you manage to get them into the air when the game limits the number of planes that can launch per minute?

You had some AEW assets. Did you consider sending some of them to scout for you? Their radar are just so powerful that it would not seem to take a long time to cover a large swath of ocean. Even though you did not have many Hawkeyes, a single pass might be sufficient to locate threats as you made your exit from the Gulf of Oman.

Nice to see you enjoy a scenario from Wombat. He was very diligent in converting many older HC scenarios for the newer HCCE format, a great service to all players.
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Re: AAR: Silver Tower - Where's Silver Tower When You Need I

Postby Beargrowlz » Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:54 pm

Herman Hum wrote:You were holding the Iranian fighters on the ground and launching them as point-defense interceptors. It seemed to work quite well. How did you manage to get them into the air when the game limits the number of planes that can launch per minute?


I would try and launch four or more (but was capped as you note) but It only took one or two fighters firing all ordinance at a range inside four miles to kill most of the hostiles.

There may be a flaw in my logic, but I don't see any other way of making those craft effective against top tier weapons. I

You had some AEW assets. Did you consider sending some of them to scout for you? Their radar are just so powerful that it would not seem to take a long time to cover a large swath of ocean. Even though you did not have many Hawkeyes, a single pass might be sufficient to locate threats as you made your exit from the Gulf of Oman.


I had the Hawkeyes (from the Nimitz) and Sentries (from Riyadh) in the air around the clock. They did manage to schuss out the Kiev battle group in the Laccadive Sea, so they were doing something right.

My best guess - especially considering the mysterious Perry sinking, was sub torpedo attack then tactical nuke.

Thanks Herman!
-Beargrowlz
beargrowlz@bellsouth.net
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Re: AAR: Silver Tower - Where's Silver Tower When You Need I

Postby Herman Hum » Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:38 pm

Beargrowlz wrote:
Herman Hum wrote:You were holding the Iranian fighters on the ground and launching them as point-defense interceptors. It seemed to work quite well. How did you manage to get them into the air when the game limits the number of planes that can launch per minute?

I would try and launch four or more (but was capped as you note) but It only took one or two fighters firing all ordinance at a range inside four miles to kill most of the hostiles.

I'm glad your tactic worked for you, but you might want to take cautionary note of this known bug. IIRC, it is relevant for groups either launching and landing. If your CAP is in the process of launching and the fighters already airborne get shot down before the rest of the group launches, this could drop the aircraft awaiting launch into limbo and never complete the launch procedure. To further protect your assets, you might consider only sending up more groups in pairs or solitaire. It is more work, but may reduce your exposure to this bug.

Shot down during landing [2005]
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Re: AAR: Silver Tower - Where's Silver Tower When You Need I

Postby Beargrowlz » Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:42 pm

Ugh, thanks for the heads up.
-Beargrowlz
beargrowlz@bellsouth.net
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