Conquest of the Aegean Tempe Gorge Crisis

April 17, 1941 Tempe Gorge, Greece: The Battle of Tempe Gorge was a rearguard action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces against Axis units during the German invasion of Greece. While the Australian component retreated to the south, the Tempe Gorge location was selected as a suitable place to perform a holding action against the enemy which had significant more manpower and equipment at their disposal than did the Allies.

The Allied units were designated as “ANZAC Force” and led by then Brigadier General Arthur Samuel Allen, consisting of a depleted group of soldiers fighting with mortars, small arms, scattered artillery equipment and short of ammunition. This force was expected to hold off the advancing German 6th Mountain Division commanded by General Ferdinand Schörner as long as possible to allow for the larger forces to the northwest to withdraw to the Thermopylae Line via Larissa.

Germany at War Barbarossa 1941

Southern Russia, 24 June 1941: Today I will be covering a short mission from the demo version of the game which is titled “Dubno-Brody”. The 1st Panzer Group of Army Group South is advancing into the Ukraine and is the spearhead of the invasion in the south. After crossing the borders it now faces stiffening resistance near the towns of Dubno and Brody.

The objectives are layered into three tiers: a brilliant mechanized warfare victory can be achieved by the destruction of 60 combat strength points as represented by the Soviet 149th Tank Regiment. A high speed victory can be obtained by securing the four specified objectives within seven turns, and an occupational victory can be obtained if it drags into turn eight.

The Death of SWAT (Not So Fast)

A couple of days ago I made a commentary post about the perceived death of one of my favorite tactical shooters, SWAT 4. This post was entirely accurate in that the previous developer Irrational Games and publisher Sierra Entertainment have folded. What I did not point out is that the existing SWAT 4 game (along with the expansion pack) can still be played online.

The in-game server browser was powered by GameSpy and that went under several months ago making the creation and joining of a SWAT 4 game impossible without the aid of a third party modification. Unfortunately the most popular mod that could do this actually disabled the single player capabilities of the engine so it was a complete no-go for me.

The Death of SWAT

The SWAT series of video games began in 1995 with the release of Daryl F. Gates’ Police Quest: SWAT which morphed into the Police Quest brand, becoming the fifth game of the PQ series and the first game of the SWAT series. The series ended with the 2008 mobile phone platform release of SWAT Elite Troops and featured a total of nine games over various platforms and a few canceled efforts, such as the infamous vaporware SWAT Urban Justice.

The original publisher of the games, Sierra Entertainment went defunct in 2008. The developer of the most recent PC variant of SWAT 4, Irrational Games officially closed shop last month ending any hope of either an expansion pack to follow-up The Stetchkov Syndicate or a modernized and updated version of the game, such as a SWAT 5. Given the success of the Bioshock franchise, it is easy to see why SWAT was dropped from their efforts.

Athena Sword a Decade Later

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3: Athena Sword was an expansion pack released on March 9, 2004 by Ubisoft’s Milan studio. The game required the Raven Shield base game released a year prior to be played, and featured a new eight mission single player campaign set in the Mediterranean as well as five new multiplayer maps and three new online game modes, along with seven new weapons.

The base game and expansion pack were based on a heavily modified Unreal 2.0 engine and the resulting retail release required multiple patching to be brought closer to a playable state. The Athena Sword expansion pack however was widely panned upon release for its horrible map optimization, which made otherwise stout gaming machines at that time crawl even at the lowest graphics settings.

Ghost Recon (Original) Eager Smoke

Tbilisi, Georgia April 24, 2008 02:15: Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, the “Ghosts” are deployed to the South Ossetian Autonomous Region to assist the government of Georgia in dealing with rebel forces operating on their border with Russia. In this mission the Navy has been flying sorties against rebel positions from its carrier battle group in the Black Sea.

Last evening the rebels managed to shoot down one of the F/A-18 Hornet strike aircraft and capture both the pilot and weapons officer who managed to bail out. The mission briefing goes into some detail as to where they are being held, a farmhouse that is near the crash site. The primary mission is to rescue both the pilot and the weapons officer and escort them to the extraction zone.

Joint Task Force Operation Distant Sweep

Mogadishu, Somalia: The JTF is deployed to the Somali bushes to capture and secure the transport that escaped in the first mission, Operation Swift Phoenix. The vehicles are located within the confines of a militia camp approximately 50 miles from the team’s current position and falls outside of the mission parameters, which requires a cover story of escorting an aid shipment to a Red Cross field installation.

This cover story is actually a large part of the mission, as getting those Red Cross trucks to the various villages to assist the local population is an optional objective of the mission. However as I found out it is not a requirement to keep all vehicles serviceable and actually reach all drop off points as I lost one aid truck yet still achieved the secondary objective according to the post game after-action report.

ArmA II Operation Bulldog

Zelenogorsk, Chernarus: An insurgent stronghold at Zelenogorsk has been under observation for several weeks and intelligence has determined that it is a central processing site for the illicit drug trade that has crippled the region. This is a work-in-progress alpha mission at the moment that lacks an intro or outro cinematic, but does contain a fully working briefing and objectives/tasks.

The player is the Team Lead for a US Marine Corps Force Recon Team which is attached to the Chernarus Defense Force and is tasked to participate in the raid on the village containing the insurgent forces and their drug lab. Two assault groups and a reserve component will be in the area of operations to secure the four identified combat sectors. Once all sectors have been cleared, all groups will proceed to the extraction zone north of the village.

F1 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

São Paulo, Brazil: Race 6 of my current Season Challenge mode took place at Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos for us old timers) under absolutely abysmal racing conditions with a constant downpour throughout the entire weekend. With some of my recent rant posts (Black Shark 2, Future Soldier) I decided to post something about one of my favorite games for a bit of a change up. This game from Codemasters Birmingham is both accessible and challenging at the same time.

Racing games in general have been a bit of a struggle for me to post about, with previous efforts in Race07 as well as this game not really coming off as decent blog material. However I decided to make a go of it for this single race as a bit of a higher level AAR light of sorts. The setting is the sixth race of a condensed 10 race season, and my current rival is Fernando Alonso. Having beaten him once already, a second win today would guarantee me a contract offer from Scuderia Ferrari.

War Over Vietnam Operation Arc Light

U Tapao Air Base, Thailand April 12, 1966: This scenario covers the efforts of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) to support military actions with B-52 conventional bombing missions, specifically targeting the Mu Gia Pass. This attack was the first strike against the mountain pass and was the largest bomber operation seen since World War II, containing 30 Boeing B-52D Stratofortress strategic bombers and multiple other aircraft flying in support of the mission.

Mu Gia Pass is located in the Annamite Range between northern Vietnam and Laos and is 418 meters above sea level. The pass was the primary entry point into the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and was largely protected from aerial observation due to it being covered with dense tropical rain forest. Despite multiple attempts to shut down the pass by creating a landslide, the US Air Force and Navy were never able to put it out of operation any significant period of time.