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Shell Game

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I transitioned the situation and platforms from the H3 (paper rules) scenario found in Harpoon Naval Review 1994 by Dave Schueler. The entire scenario encompasses a joint airstrike in the Southern No Fly Zone of post-Desert Storm Iraq. I did however, use H4 data regarding the aircraft performance as well as their respective ordnance.


Due to time constraints, I only "flew" the Navy/Marine attack on two command centers in Amara, Iraq. It was the smaller of two packages, compared to the strike on two sites outside of Basra. This package included 2x A-6E, 2x F/A-18C, and 1x EA-6B. Each A-6E carried 8x Mk-82 500lb bombs along with a drop tank, while the F/A-18's each carried 4x AGM-65E Mavericks, 2x AIM-9M, and a drop tank.


The strike flew at 5,000m/16,000' (Medium altitude). Due to conditions and turn sequence, the F/A-18's Laser Spot Tracker did not pick up the command centers until almost through the AGM-65's employment envelope. That said, the centers did not stand up very well to maverick strikes, both sites swallowing an AGM-65E each. The A-6E were only successful in dive bombing an S-60 57mm AA Gun. The EA-6B played no apparent role at this site.

The Iraqi defence only got off 3x ZU-23 shots, a 57mm shot, and 1x SA-7B for no gain.


All aircraft returned safely to an unnamed carrier in the northern gulf.

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Ran through a portion of this simple scenario again today using only 2x A-6E loaded up with 8x Mk82 500lb bombs which dive bombed an enemy command center from both medium altitude and low atlitude to see the differences between the two. Dive bombing from medium altitude with a computing bombsight provides for a 12% base "to hit". From Low altitude, you start at 23%.


The attackers visually spotted the target at about the base 14nm (75% visibility, but a "9" was rolled on the sigma 4 column). The A-6E was unsuccessfully engaged by S-60 and ZU-23 AAA during the ingress, and by an SA-7b during the egress. The computing bombsight accounted for a total of three bombs actually striking home. I then used the "deviation" rules to determine direction and distance of my 13 misses. The errant bombs landed 100 yards to the south-southwest of the target coming within an estimated 25 yards of a civilian structure. Rating the "Effective Casualty Radius" is too far into the weeds for H4 so I will believe that we rocked the world of some non-combatants in this strike.


Question - once the bombs are dropped and the A-6E's are egressing, they are not considured to be at a 0.5 ATA since the bombs have been dropped and they are getting out of dodge.

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