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"Air War Bloodiness in mid-80s" Topic

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326 hits since 13 Mar 2023
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Tgerritsen Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 2:00 p.m. PST

How bloody would the air war been in the mid-80s if the balloon had gone up and World War Three became a reality?

I remember at the time people were optimistic about how effective aircraft on both sides would have been, but in reality, how bloody would it have been?

Ukraine is an apples to oranges example, but with the effectiveness of SAMs in the 80s, the lack of stand off weapons as we have them today, would pilots, especially pilots flying CAS been a very short and bloody career?

Are there rules you've played that reflect your thoughts on how it would have really been? Or do none really capture that?

What do you think?

Thresher0113 Mar 2023 2:18 p.m. PST

Very brutal, and very high tempo, at least initially.

Many aircraft lost to other aircraft and SAMs, not to mention ballistic missile and ASM/bombing strikes on the airfields and air shelters.

Both sides would have had to put their jets and helos in harms way to support the ground troops and armor.

I suspect the air war Israel fought against Eqypt in the 1973 War points to a lot. Many Israeli jets lost to SAMs and ground fire initially, until they developed better tactics and weakened Egypt's air defenses.

Tanks were used to eliminate a lot of the SAM sites near the end of the conflict. Combined arms works.

BattlerBritain13 Mar 2023 2:33 p.m. PST

There's a board game, Red Storm 1987, that uses the Downtown system to implement the Central Front air engagements.

It has SAMs and PGMs and is pretty good.

It shows that Central Front would have been as lethal as 1973, probably more so.

Thresher0113 Mar 2023 3:05 p.m. PST

Definitely more so, since early 1970s missiles weren't very good.

By the early to mid-1980s they were VERY lethal, as demonstrated by the Aim-9Ls used by the Sea Harriers during the Falklands War.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2023 7:02 p.m. PST

As BattlerBritain stated, GMT's Red Storm and Red Storm: Baltic Approaches are an incredible look at WW3 air operations in Europe. The games are operational in nature, so you're talking flights of aircraft performing SEAD, Iron Hand, jamming, recon, CAS, etc., usually at the same time! Not for the meek, but if you want to learn about modern air ops, this is the game for you.

mjkerner14 Mar 2023 9:18 a.m. PST

Relatedly, can anyone point me to the TO&E's of the various NATO and Warsaw Pact air forces, say for about 1980-85? My Google-fu is atrocious because I just can't any that are in any way complete.


And I agree, all the GMT operational air games are really good…Downtown, Elusive Victory and the Red Storm series.

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