This article originally appeared in Pyramid #1
OPERATION CLEAN SWEEP
A Protectorate-American War Scenario for ORBIT WAR
by Craig Sheeley
One of the first actions of the Protectorate-American War was Operation Clean Sweep, the Protectorate attempt to destroy American surface-attack satellites. This Orbit War scenario recreates that action.
Ground attack ("Thor") satellites and other anti-cruise missile devices are defenseless in space. When a combat-capable enemy satellite passes through its hex, the anti-surface satellite is destroyed. The Protectorate forces want to sweep American anti-surface assets from the skies; this is achieved by moving space attack units (OWPs, HKs, SFs, Shuttles or Scramjets) through every hex in the Speed 3 and 4 orbit lines, the three closest orbit lines to Earth. Use inverted Damaged markers to note those hexes which have been swept. Each hex so cleared at the end of the game (Turn 12) is worth 1 Victory Point.
Both orbital forces are immense; in this simulation, one counter represents five actual units!
American (Yellow Counters)
The United States Aerospace Force controls all American SDI functions. The SDI net is quite large -- the Americans have 50 points in orbit (they may use Space Stations) and 30 points on the ground. No shuttles or scramjets may begin the scenario in orbit. They do have a wing of scramjets (5 scramjet counters) on Earth, ready to launch the first turn.
The American sets up first. The Protectorate player may examine this setup before arraying his forces.
Protectorate (Red Counters)
The Protectorate Space Force has a small amount of camouflaged kill-sats in orbit -- 25 points to be spent on Mines, HKs, CJS and OWPs. The bulk of the PSF is still on Earth. Consider it 70 points of Shuttles, ELRs and the cargo they carry. The PSF also has a half-wing of scramjets, 3 Scramjet counters, on Earth.
Scramjets are rocket-ramjet vehicles that take off and land like regular aircraft, but have orbital capability. Short-ranged in comparison to Shuttles, they are still fast and powerful striker craft
A Scramjet has an Attack Strength of 2, a Defense Strength of 2, and a Movement Allowance of 3. They can carry two missiles, purchased separately. Scramjets have limited fuel reserves; a Scramjet counter can spend only four turns in play, including the turn of takeoff and the turn of landing! A Scramjet which has spent five turns in space is considered unpowered, capable of only orbital movement.
Make up 8 Scramjet counters -- 5 yellow, 3 red.
Since these units are helpless targets, they are not represented as separate counters. At the beginning of the game, each hex in the Speed 3 and 4 orbit lines is assumed to contain many such satellites. The Protectorate can "sweep" them as described above, placing a marker in each hex so swept. The U.S. can replace them as described below.
A Shuttle may carry a Supply counter listed as Scramjet fuel. To refuel a Scramjet, both the fuel Shuttle and the Scramjet must be in the same hex after Optional Movement, and neither can attack or fire missiles that turn. As of the next turn, the Scramjet is fully refueled. A fuel Shuttle can refuel an unpowered Scramjet, making it active again.
No nuclear weapons, except for suicide satellites, are used.
Replacing Anti-Surface Satellites
The U.S. can launch additional anti-surface satellites using ELRs and Shuttles. Anti-surface satellites in a cargo bay take up the same space as a Supply counter. When delivered to the target hex, the satellites are deployed. If the hex was previously swept clear, remove the Damaged counter; if not, new satellites have no effect! An Anti-Surface Satellite costs 1 point.
At the end of the game, Victory Point totals are compared and the lower is subtracted from the higher.
0-10 Stalemate. The Protectorate is in trouble, because American anti-surface satellites will be able to attack the Protectorate surface towers.
11-30 Minor victory. If Protectorate, then surface forces are out of danger. If American, then Protectorate surface forces are in grave peril.
31+ Major victory. A clear winner in space can dictate terms; the surface war will end soon.
Article publication date: June 1, 1993
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