Russo Iranian War

Gaming War in the Caspian Sea
Chris Covert

I have been doing some internet research on this fascinating subject, trying
to relate it to SPMBT.  Some pretty interesting things have been discovered.

Reading reports as far back as 1999, including some 'hobby' sites, I have
extrapolated the composition of about half of the surface combatants/ships and a
tiny part of the support/combatants in the Caspian Flotilla.  

Combat Ships
TartarstanFFG1930 tons 1X76mm Autocannon SS-N-25 1-2 KA-272
Tarantul ICorvette540 tons 1X76mm Autocannon SS-N-22 None 1
Tarantul IICorvette540 tons 1X76mm Autocannon SS-N-22 None 1
BuyanCorvette550 tons 1X100mm Autocannon SA-N-18 None 1
TuryaPatrol/Torpedo250 tons 2X57mm Autocannon 4 Torpedo Tubes None 3
PormornikACV514 tons 2X30mm Autocannon SA-N-5 None 2
LidaAnti-Mine131 tons 2X30mm Autocannon SA-N-7 None 1
SonyaAnti-Mine460 tons 2X30mm Autocannon None None 3
Sorum*Patrol Tug1650 tons 2X30mm Autocannon None None 2

*The Sorum is a Border Guards vessel, so it is not certain if this ship would
be included in the Caspian Flotilla combat ship count.

Non-Combat Naval Vessels
Class        Type              Displ.          Gunnery    Missiles       Aviation       Quan
Katun         Tug                 930 tons     None            None            None              2
Biya            Buoy tender  723 tons     None            None            None              1
T-43            EW/Montior  580 tons     None            None            None              1

Available Aviation:
Astrakhahn Naval Avation:
These are the listed types known to be based with the Caspian Flotilla
KA-25    AEW Helos                 Unknown quantity
BE12     Amphibious Aicraft    Unknown Quantity

There are the most likely Combat Aircraft based in Ashrakhan, based on general
quantities in the Russian Naval Aviation Inventory:
SU-24        Ground Strike
TU-22M     Patrol/Naval Strike
SU-25M    Navalized Ground Interdiction
AN-32       Troop Transport

209th PVO Regiment (Astrakhan)
24 MiG-23s, 16 SU-27s

Additional Combat Aircraft are located in the air base in Kaspiysk

The Caspian Flotilla is primarily a littoral force. Given the composition
of their naval division, the Russian Navy could mount an amphibious strike,
albeit of only short distances and limited power.  In SPMBT against a prepared
defense, Russian Marines fare poorly with only the firepower available to
them, naval gunfire.  The list of combatants show that only five single 76mm guns can be used
to support naval operations if the Caspian Flotilla  sortees ALL of their heavy
combatants at once.  

Troop transport is also problematic for the Russians.  Naval infantry could be
used in an amphibious attack if they were dropped by parachute, but the losses
could be very high given the lack of firepower they need to press an advantage.
Since Russian Naval infantry are known to be armored, they would need to bring
those vehicles with them to gain any advantage and the Caspian Flotilla has
little in the way of dedicated transport to move more than a simple naval infantry company,
leaving out the armored vehicles, and even then they would be forced to use unarmed
combatants pressed into service as transports, not a pleasant thought for
any site commander, to be sure

To counter Iranian armor, the Russians would need to use gun ships to supress
tanks and to provide observation platforms to search for and eliminate tanks.  But
inbound, those helos would be vulnerable to anit-aircraft missiles and tube AA
artillery, so a SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defense ) flight would be required as well.

Spotting for a shore landing is a problem.  Whole platoons can be mowed down
by Iranian infantry if they are not found and suppressed by naval gunfire, so
introduction of the Shmel RPV is a useful element to any Russian naval
infantry assault scenario.

In SPMBT, the most critical element in a Russian amphibious assault game is to
find the bad guys where they ain't first, to get eyes on target where they are.  In order to
do that, the Russian side needs to launch an initial SEAD strike, smooth up
the middle to draw fire from SAMs.  Next come the Shmels directed at specific
spots on the beach to locate Iranian infantry.

In order to fire naval gunnery, the Russian player MUST put the command
element in some sort of ship transport.  Otherwise once the initial pregame spotting
is done, there is no way to order an artillery strike without forcing troops
on the ground first without any artillery preparation.

Once the spotting is done and gunfire is layed, use heliborne sappers  go to
the areas the Shmels locate that are relatively clear of Iranian infantry.
Make certain those sappers have the RPO rocket launcher, a marvelous piece of
Russian ordnance which will rob their enemy of any idea of further shooting.  

Subsequent RPV missions should then start finding where the enemy is, and that
is when the aerial bombardment commences.  My favorite is the TU-22, and TU-22Ms 12 to 24 big
bombs in one pass ( Oh baby! ). I stock up on these fellas, no fewer than 12
to 16 aircaft total. Additional aircraft is the COIN SU-24 bomber, but the
TU-22s are my favorite.

Meantime, the attack helos, preferably the KA-52s,  can begin to probe and
locate Iranian armor, destroying those it can, calling in Su-25Ts where it
can't, and ordering RPVs for more spotting missions.

As the sappers recover morale, start moving them in as widely as possible
diverging routes inland.  Buy Mi17s with both 12.7mm guns and rockets.  Let
naval gunfire do a lot of the hitting, use the helo transports to mop up support
elements like SAMs and ATGM teams.  Also use the Mi17s to search for even more
targets for the SU-24s.

Once your sappers have penetrated about 2 km inland, bring in the para-naval
infantry, but only after surveying drop zones with helos and/or RPVs.

By turn 20 of an assault game, the jig is usually up for the defenders, as
paratroops are on the ground and advancing to their objective, and naval
gunfire, and bombers are shifted to deal with infantry inland.

Assault OOB

12,000 points

2x Transport shops
3 helo sapper platoons
4 Airborne Naval Infantry Companies
4-6 KA-52s
3 Shmel RPVs
12-16 TU22s
8 SU-25Ts
4 SU-27 SEADs
2 parachute Spetsnaz platoons
3 76mm naval guns


5,000 points.