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CombatLancer A CampaignGamefor ROLLING THUNDER

By JamesE. Meldrum

Operation Combat Lancer was the

operationaldebut of the US$'s

F-l11

CombatLancer

aircraft.

PotentialTargets:

Die

Roll

Victory

Points

10/12

r-2

Objective Yen Bai airfield/ ammodepot

a

J

6 Tien Cuong RR yard

fighter-bomberwhich took placein March,

4-5

6

Phu Tho bridge

1968.This operationmay be simulatedasa

612

Viet

Tri

power

short campaign game using Group Three

plant

Games'RollingThund.erasanexperimen-

10

Ho Lac airfield

tal vehicle. Unless otherwise noted, all rules from Rolling Thunder are in effect.

CampaignGame:

8

8

Xuan Mai army base

(In anysituationwherethevariantmaterial

9

l0

DonSuongairfield

presentedin this article conflicts with the

10

10

BaiThuonsairfield

gamerules, the gamerules will takeprior- ity in resolving the dispute.)This scenario

Restrictions:

is conducted in the same manner as the campaignscenarioincluded in theoriginal game.

1) No USAF aircraftmayenterop hexes adjacentto theChineseborder. 2) USAF aircraft may not attackguns, missiles,launchers,or radarslocatedin populatedtachexes.

Operation Combat Lancer Background:

Note;Theweatheroptionmustbeused.

In March, 1968detachment1 of the

USAFForces:

428th TFS, 464 TFW flew six F-111

SixF-111aircraft

fighter bombersto Takhli RTAFB in Thai- land. Theseaircraft were the units partici- patingin OperationCombatLancer,whose objective was to demonstrateand evaluate theF-111'sperformancein combat. According to the United Statesme-

Note:Onlyfour F-I11 countersarepro- videdin thegame,soplayerswill beforced to usetwo F-4 counters.WhentheUSAF playerlosesanaircraft,removeoneof t}te F-4 countersuntil the only U.S. aircraft beingusedin thegameareF-111s.

dia, this operation turned out lo be a mili- tary disastersince three of the six partici-

USAFAircraft Armament:

pating aircraft were lost. Investigations later revealed that the F-111 had been rushedinto production and combatbefore it hadbeenfully tested.Examination of the F-l11 wreckagerevealedthat the crashes werecausedby the failure of a weld in the tailplane. During OperationCombatLancer,F-

F-IIL : 6 cannonburst 4 Sidewinder AAMs; 4 SparrowAAMs; 12 x 7501b bombs;or2 LGBsor4 BullpupASMs. Nore;F-l1ls mayalwaysbearmedwitha cannon. NVAF Defense: As in the 1967168sce- nario. NVAFDiscretionaryForces:As in the

111 aircraft were assignedto missions

1961168scenario.

againsttargetslocated in the Route Pack- age Five area which included northwest

NVAFAircraftArftwment:Asin the1967/ 68 scenario.

and west central North Viet Nam. All missionswereconductedat night,without

VictoryConditions:

escort,andweredesignedto seewhat theF-

l)

TheU.S.playerreceivesanumberof

111coulddo on itsown. Unfair criticism from themediadrew plenty of unfavorable attention to the F- 111which obscuredthe fact that this air- craft was, once manufacturing defects wgre corrected, an outstanding combat

victorypointsequalto thenumbergiven for each targetlisted in the sectionon potentialUSAF targets.In addition,the USAFplayerreceiveshalfof theVPslisted for a targetif it suffers50Voor moredam- ase.

BattlePlan#9

2)

eachNVAF aircraftdesftoyedeitherin the air or on fheground,and3 VPsfor every radar, AA gun, or SA-2 launcherde- stroyed.

3)

eachF-111destroyed.

4)

victorypoints.Theplayerhavingthelarg-

esttotalof victorypoins at theendof the gameis thewinner.

TheUSAFplayerreceives4 VPsfor

TheNVAF playerreceives9 VPsfor

Victory is judged on the basisof

SpecialRules:

1)

Thecampaignscenarioin thisarticle

consistsof five night missionsplayed consecutively.

2) Theweatheroptionmustbeused.

3)

USAFplayerhasonlysrxF-111aircraft.If

a// sixaircraftarelostbeforetheendof the fifth missionthegameendsimmediately.

4) SincethereareonlyfourF-ll1 air- craftunitsin thecountermix,two aircraft (only)mayberetumedto playafterbeing

destroyed.Theirlossstillcountsforvictory

determinationpurposes.

5)

eachmrgetis cumulativeandmustbere- corded.

6)

At night,only MiG-2ls mayinter-

ceptandonly57mmand85mmAA guns

mayfire- deduct2 accuracypointswhen

resolvingAA gunfirecombat.

1) All F-111s are basedat Takhli RTAFB.

8)

attacked.

Keepa tally of all USAFlosses;the

The amountof damagesufferedby

Only thedesignatedtargetsmaybe

Variations:

Try playingthis campaignscenario

underdaylightconditions.

2) Allow the USAF playerto useone

EB-66.

3)

MiG-19aircraftfor MiG-17s.

4) Allow theUSAFplayerto striketar-

gets located only in

Haiphongareas. 5) When any USAF aircraft is shot down,playersmay electto play scenario five (searchand rescue)in an effort to rescuethetwo-mancrew.After complet- ing this scenario,thenextstrikeis played followed by another searchand rescue operationif anF-1I I is lost.

1)

Allow theNVAF playertosubstitute

the Hanoi and