Joint Task Force Operation Swift Phoenix

Mogadishu, Somalia: The JTF is deployed to interdict a suspected arms transport cargo ship at the port. The team of six soldiers will be inserted by Blackhawk helicopter at pier 76. The mission starts in broad daylight at 08:00 with hazy weather conditions and is supported by a flight of A-10 Thunderbolts (that I have no direct control over: they just do a flyby during the mission).

This is perhaps one of the better looking briefing screens for a real time tactical I have seen. The prominent feature of the A-10 flight is somewhat misleading as it is mere window dressing during the actual mission (I couldn’t tell if the pilots engaged anything or not).

This is the target of the campaign, warlord Akil Farrah.

The intro cinematic for this mission is actually quite impressive.

The mysterious General Cleveland is about to brief the hero of the campaign, Major O'Connell.

One of the more classic WTF poses I have seen in a briefing. “You want me to do what again?” Note the 82nd Airborne patch on his right arm.

In perhaps one of the worst tactical insertions in the history of video gaming, the five member team is fast roped onto the wrong dock with the hero unit going down first, followed by the medic (the second most critical unit in the scenario, next to the hero unit whose death means instant failure).

There are three immediate skill tree selections available for the hero unit: Perception, Marksmanship and Tactics Leader. I select Perception for Major O'Connell.

I break the five man team up as follows: the medic unit is Team One, the two soldiers with anti-tank rockets (AT-4) are Team Two, and the two soldiers with hand grenades and the hero unit is Team Three. These units will alter as the mission progresses and I take casualties.

There is fog of war, however it is not as broad as one would expect and moving the camera around the map easily detects enemies that either side AI cannot yet see.

There is some cover when moving up the first dock, such as the burned out car on the left. However there is very little of it, and in trying to maintain a leap frog arcing fire cone with two teams, the hero unit is exposed on the right side of the tarmac (which is why I beginning enforcing move and go prone progression).

The medic unit is brought forward to heal the wounded (this will be a rinse and repeat action throughout the mission).

The fire team’s advance up the first dock as the shadow of one of the Warthogs appears on the ground ahead. This is all those aircraft contribute to the mission, sadly.

Reaching the turn of the first dock we spot an abandoned anti-aircraft gun. I reorganize the teams as follows: the two soldiers with grenades are Team Three and are ordered to mount the weapon, while Team Two (AT-4) provide over watch. The hero and the medic are now the sole members of Team One (the most critical members in the battle space).

This advance triggers an incoming bogey which is your typical pickup truck with mounted machinegun. This threat is put down immediately and the damaged soldiers are healed by the medic unit.

After this event is over, I reorg again, placing the hero unit with the two Rangers with grenades.

The tactical advance I continue to enforce is one team forward that falls prone. The covering team that is upright then moves around the first team and goes prone. Once they are in position the first team rises and advances. These are short and methodical steps to keep maximum firepower focused on the axis of advance across the docks. The medic is held in proximity in case needed in an emergency.

The advance triggers another set of incoming technicals, or tangos (whatever you prefer to refer to them as). The mutual fire support rips them to shreds in short order.

A cannon has been spotted ahead (outside this image) and I take the opportunity to heal the injured and split up into three distinct fire teams again, with the hero and medic units grouped together.

The AT fire team advances and takes out the cannon, however at the cost of one Ranger unit.

With the battlefield casualty to account for, I regroup by placing the remaining AT Ranger unit with the two other Rangers with grenades, making them Team Two (now the primary assault force component).

More leap frog movements forward as the day/night and weather cycle progresses and I receive a CNBC news broadcast that my mission is taking forever to complete.

I press the advance forward as the conditions change back to daylight and sunshine.

This cargo ship is the primary objective: the team must board the vessel and investigate the hold.

As the team advances to board, more enemies are encountered and are put down.

The hero unit gains an additional bonus selection, of which I select Marksmanship.

The team boards the cargo ship and begins a tactical formation to advance up the starboard side to the hold entrance.

The advance to the bow of the ship reveals tangos down in the hold as one of the Rangers opens up to engage them. The remainder of the team is brought forward to move around this unit and prepare to enter the stairwell leading to the lower level hold.

Using the hold bay door as cover, I heal up the group to prepare for the final assault.

The team rushes down into the hold and kills the remaining enemies.

The predetermined outcome for a successful mission: the team clears the cargo ship but discovers that the weapons have been removed.

Although there is much work to do to recover those weapons, this mission is a success.

One objective completed with the loss of one Ranger. The enemy didn’t fare well at all, losing 23 troops and three vehicles. I am given the opportunity to promote one of two soldiers, and I chose the medic unit.

Other Thoughts

This game requires a legacy physics driver available here:

I purchased this game for $2.49 USD on 11/26/2012 during a Steam sale. The current price is $9.99.

The game is available here:

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