Author Topic: Event Suggestion - Operation Leader  (Read 125 times)

Offline shotgunneeley

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Event Suggestion - Operation Leader
« on: June 18, 2020, 01:21:11 AM »
I came across a unique raid called Operation Leader that has really peaked my interest to learn more about. Following Operation Torch, the USS Ranger (CV-4) took center stage to a task force designed to attack German shipping off the coast of Norway. She was supported by the battleships HMS Duke of York and HMS Anson, the heavy cruiser USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37), the light cruiser HMS Belfast, along with five British and five American destroyers. At about 6am local time on October 4th, 1943, aircraft from the USS Ranger launched while about 150 miles west of Bodø, Norway and 125 miles northwest of Sandnessjøen, Norway. These aircraft included a northern attack group of 20 SBD Dauntless dive bombers with eight F4F wildcat escorts and a southern attack group of ten TBF Avengers with six F4F wildcat escorts (additional F4F Wildcats provided a CAP around the task force). The two groups attacked roughly a dozen ships, including nine steamships, a freight barge, a troop transport, and a tanker. While flak and AA fire were described as intense and accurate resulting in the loss of four US aircraft, the Luftwaffe was caught by surprise and only managed to launch two Ju 88s and a heinkel floatplane as reconnaissance (two of which were shot down by the F4F wildcat CAP). The remaining US aircraft returned to the USS Ranger around 9am local time, no damage was taken by the Anglo-American task force ships. The raid was seen as a successful coordination between the two Allies to disrupt german convoy shipping in the area (and it was the only US carrier operation above the arctic circle during WWII).

So that was the historical background, now for how it could work in AH. I must admit, it would require a some artistic licensing given the fact that there was little aerial combat encountered. Based on other sources and evidence, the german response would have likely come from Trondheim to the south and perhaps Bardufoss to the north (Allied intel had speculated there would be about nine bf-109s or bf-110s stationed at Bodø, but I think the Germans only used it as an emergency field and may have had only dummy aircraft there). To that end, I figure the allies would have likely encountered Ju-88s, Bf-110G-2s, and Bf-109G-2s. The “North Sea” map terrain features the southern portion of Norway, but to my knowledge no map terrain exists for the central and northern portion of Norway where this action occurs. In the game, a standard CV group consists of a CV, a cruiser, and four destroyers while a a standard battleship group consists of one BB and two destroyers - I figure one CV and two BB groups would make a nice representation of the Ranger Task Force (TF 121). The land-based Germans (Luftflotte 5) would be tasked with protecting their merchant ships as well as counter-attacking the Ranger task force. Task Force 121 and the german merchant ships would be equal in numbers and point opportunities, but I think the Allies should have a slight numerical advantage given the nature of the surprise attack and more powerful German plane set. My vision is 20 F4F Wildcats [VF-4] (w/ DTs), 20 SBD Dauntless [VB-4] (W/ one 1,000lb bomb), and ten TBM Avengers [VT-4](W/ four 500lb bombs) versus 10 Ju-88s [1.F/22](W/ four 500kg bombs, no formations), ten Bf-110G-2s [13.Z/JG5](W/ DTs and two 500kg bombs), and ten Bf-109G-2s [Stab IV/JG5](W/ DT, no gondola 20mm cannons).

I think this setup will make for a fun 3-hour snapshot/TDI/SEC. October 4th this year is on a Sunday, so it could be featured like the old Sunday European Campaign time slot. This functions as both a historical matchup and a “what if” scenario had the Germans been able to respond (which was thanks in large part to Norwegian resistance efforts and static in communication channels). Don’t know if this has been discussed or tried before, but I’d be thrilled to see this play out in AH.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 01:56:20 AM by shotgunneeley »
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Offline Spikes

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Re: Event Suggestion - Operation Leader
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2020, 08:44:56 AM »
We actually did something similar to this back in November in FSO:
https://ahevents.net/index.php/fso-setups/85-western-european-theatre/1273-clash-at-kaafjord-operation-tungsten

While this is set a bit later in 1944 to simulate the attack on the Tirpitz, it is similar in nature to what you are envisioning. A historical attack on the Allied side, and a "what if" the Axis defended. In the FSO's case, JG5 had a small number of planes in the area but did not defend as the attack was somewhat of a surprise despite multiple recon sorties per day. Therefore, we fabricated a Luftwaffe defense based on their available resources (where JG5 got most of the hand-me-downs of pilots and equipment throughout the war).

You are also correct that we don't have a map that goes that far north, so we used some southern fjords to simulate Kaafjord.

The issue with that FSO setup is similar to that of the planeset you pose - the Luftwaffe fighters, year to year, are superior to any carrier borne fighters year to year that the Allies have. It is something that can be worked with and the rules can be bent a bit, and it could be made pretty fun. My initial thought would be 109Fs vs. the F4Fs...

We've toyed with bringing back Snapshots on Sundays - and you are correct that this would be a nice setup for something like that.

I enjoy finding one off ops like this and trying to mold it into something playable.

 :rock
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 08:49:01 AM by Spikes »
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Offline Shuffler

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Re: Event Suggestion - Operation Leader
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2020, 09:36:02 AM »
This does sound interesting.......
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Offline shotgunneeley

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Re: Event Suggestion - Operation Leader
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2020, 05:45:35 PM »
Thinking about it further, the single Ju 88s should carry four 250kg bombs and the Bf 110G-2s should carry the two DT/two 250kg bomb package to be more on par in terms of  destructive potential to the TBM Avenger and SBD Dauntless, respectively. I know in real life the US aircraft carried out the attack using the glide-bombing method from 1,500 feet to “mast-top height” when releasing their bombs (they did not dive bomb or level bomb with the site), but as for the game I wouldn’t have a problem dropping bombs however the pilots felt comfortable. Kind of puts it to the player commanders conduct the battle as they would have seen fit. I’m hesitant to allow AA guns to be crewed by players, guess that depends on if there is an aircraft life limit or not. An altitude cap could help keep checks and balances as well, in real life the engagements were below 3,000 feet.

Ranger Task Force
VT-4TBM-3 Avenger4 x 500lb bombs10 max
VB-4SBD-5 Dauntless1 x 1,000lb bomb20 max
VF-4F4F-4 Wildcat2 x 58 gal drop tanks20 max


Luftflotte 5
1.(F)/22Ju 88A-4 (Singles)4 x 250kg bombs10 max
13.(Z)/JG 5Bf 110G-22 x 250kg bombs, 2 x 300 L drop tanks10 max
Stab IV/JG 5Bf 109G-21 x 300 L drop tank10 max
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 06:20:51 PM by shotgunneeley »
"Lord, let us feel pity for Private Jenkins, and sorrow for ourselves, and all the angel warriors that fall. Let us fear death, but let it not live within us. Protect us, O Lord, and be merciful unto us. Amen"-from FALLEN ANGELS by Walter Dean Myers

Game ID: ShtGn (Inactive), Squad: 91st BG

Offline perdue3

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Re: Event Suggestion - Operation Leader
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2020, 11:18:33 PM »
I love atypical plane sets but I think the Axis would have too much of an advantage for it to be a playable setup in AH.
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Offline shotgunneeley

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Re: Event Suggestion - Operation Leader
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2020, 08:35:22 AM »
I personally would rather tweak other environmental parameters (max numbers/lives, alt caps, radar/sector bars, available airfields/target range) to bring a degree of balance to the game before adding/subtracting available aircraft types that were featured in the historical time and place. Granted a lot of the Luftwaffe side is speculation for me, but I would prioritize selecting plane types and models based on historical influence over balancing each team’s equipment in terms of performance.

The Luftwaffe players would only know the general area of their merchant ships spread between being anchored at ports or in transit as well as the general area to search for the Ranger Task Force; the Allied players would know exactly where their TF is to defend and the general area of the merchant ships to attack - that puts an advantage to the Allies in terms of objectives. Trondheim and Bardufoss were about a hundred miles further from the merchant ships than the Ranger Task Force - which would help negate the faster cruising speed of the Luftwaffe planes to get to target and loiter for the US aircraft. I think it would be OK for luftwaffe aircraft to hotpad at the Bodø airfield, but new planes would have to relaunch from Trondheim/Bardufoss.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 08:49:08 AM by shotgunneeley »
"Lord, let us feel pity for Private Jenkins, and sorrow for ourselves, and all the angel warriors that fall. Let us fear death, but let it not live within us. Protect us, O Lord, and be merciful unto us. Amen"-from FALLEN ANGELS by Walter Dean Myers

Game ID: ShtGn (Inactive), Squad: 91st BG

Offline perdue3

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Re: Event Suggestion - Operation Leader
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2020, 01:23:28 PM »
My point was the matchup. TBM and SBD have no chance against Bf 109G-2 and Bf 110G. F4F is a poor match for a 109G-2 because of its ability to retain, generate, and use energy. If it were a 109F or an FM2, maybe. Still, the bombers have next to no chance of making it to target with even a mediocre defensive plan. There is potential there, but it is not quite it, I am afraid. If it were 65/35 in favor the Allies, may have a decent balance.
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