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Exercise Dynamic Manta 2022 (DYMA 22), February 21-March 4, 2022. Historical Training Scenario.

A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for EC2003 Battle for the Mediterranean Battleset and the HCDB2-170308 new standard 1980-2025 Platform Database. This scenario is designed with advanced Scenario Editor and to be run with HCE 2015.008+ or later.

This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/NATO side or from the Red/NATO side. You should play a few times first the Blue side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Red side.

Image: Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 ships, other allied ships and submarines sail in formation in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Sicily, Feb. 21, 2022, during Exercise Dynamic Manta 22 (DYMA 22) (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the French navy by OR-8 Stephane Dzioba, and in consequence on public domain) 220221-O-NO101-1122

From the eventful year of 2014 the World was beginning the so-called Second Cold War, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin (ex-KGB lieutenant colonel) was showing clearly his plan to recover the Russian Empire and later Soviet territories for reinstitute the greatness of his Russia, and to guarantee his passage on the History as saviour of the Rodina.

At last the Russian campaign for the invasion of Ukraine started on February 24, 2022.

But was only the apex and last outcome of a succession of military actions. From May 2014 Putin was provoking in succession the Crimea, Ukraine, Donetsk, Baltic States, October 2014 Swedish submarine incursion, G-20 Brisbane meeting naval crisis, November 2014 Faslane submarine incident, frigate Yaroslav Mudryy February "Channel Dash", April 2015 Finnish submarine incursion (for many observers causing the pre-mobilization of Finland reserve forces), Russian intervention in Syria from 30 September 2015, shoot-down by Turkish F-16 fighters equipped with AIM-120 AMRAAM on 24 November 2015 of a Russian Su-24M as consequence of the repeated unlawful overflights of Turkey by Russian warplanes based in Latakia, and after two months of repeated warning, March 2016 detection by the French of a Russian submarine near Bay of Biscay and the SSBN base, the propaganda stunt of the deployment of the only one Russian aircraft carrier Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov steaming (a lot, literally) from Kola Bay towards Eastern Mediterranean from October 15, 2016, and with constant and multiple Russian overflies with military warplanes entangled in potential incidents with commercial flights in Europe, so far as at the Portuguese shores.

That without counting in other unrelated naval incidents aside the upcoming Second Cold War, just as the Iranian seizure of the merchant Maersk Tigris in 28 April 2015, the shore-based anti-ship missile attacks against the catamaran transport ex Swift (HSV-2) and US destroyers on the Red Sea in October 2016 and the ulterior retaliation, the first military operation of the Trump Administration on January 28, 2017, the MV-22B tiltrotor raid of SEAL Team 6 operating from USS Makin Island (LHD-8) against Houthi Yemen, and later on January 30, an Al-Madinah-class Saudi frigate was attacked and damaged probably by a Houthi suicide or drone boat off Al Hudaydah, Houthi Yemen. (And neither counting in great landlocked actions, as the counter-Daesh operations in Middle East).

And meanwhile, more towards Far East a less perceived and growing problem was China, as reflected in the transfer of the 60% of the USN and USAF combat forces to the Pacific Theatre of Operations from 2012, move to be completed by 2020.

The first iteration of this scenario was designed five years ago, based in the big anti-submarine exercise Dynamic Manta 2017 begun in 13 March 2017, and was not interpreted by many journalists as an answer to the latest Russian actions and menacing postures as in the case of Dynamic Mongoose 2015, as it was actually a yearly exercise. But in the current world situation was legit to think otherwise. Four years later the reality was probably those and other continuous exercises, the NATO Baltic Air Policing, and the deployment of token NATO ground forces in the Baltic States and rest of Eastern Europe, are showing to Putin's Russia the resolution to defend Europe and allies as a whole, and preventing the development of a hot war.

But from 2017 to 2022 the international situation was going worse. Increased tensions and open conflicts in Eastern Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the recent, fast, innovative and decisive war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the increased foreign operations of Iran, Qatar and the UAE, including proxy attacks against Saudi Arabia and the crescendo of the Turkish military power cutting ties with the Western alliances. Not an easy near future for the new President Biden and the traditional European partners.

As novelty in Dynamic Manta 2022 the scarce presence of US warships, probably escorting the Truman carrier strike group in Eastern Mediterranean, and the presence of no less than three Spanish frigates (Including one in Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, composed this time by the flagship Italian Navy FREMM ASW-variant frigate Carlo Margottini F-592, Turkish Perry-modified frigate Goksu F-497, and Spanish Aegis ship Blas de Lezo F-103).

Of course this is a training exercise and actual shots, torpedoes and missiles aren't fired and nobody is hurt ...

Enrique Mas, February 25, 2022.

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