Tarnished Gold – Mission 03 – Panic Attack

* Note – This is the hardest flight sim mission I’ve ever flown. It took about fifty tries before I finally figured out the formula!

With the knowledge that ChDKZ forces, with apparent backing from Russia, are moving anti-aircraft missile systems into the theater, comes the realization that all of the airborne forces (both U.S. and CDF) are under threat. A report has come in that twenty minutes ago, a CDF helicopter was shot down outside of Novy Sobor by a ChDKZ 2S6 Tunguska. We have been tasked to suppress the enemy around the crash site and guide a rescue helicopter in for the rescue. Accompanying us on this mission will be an Mi-24 callsign Gryphon 2-5. A rescue Mi-8, callsign Kestrel 5-4, will be standing by for orders to enter the LZ.

The mission starts off with the Mi-24 heading out rapidly – he actually beats me by about 30 seconds to the AO, but that isn’t helpful…

I climb into the CP/G position of the Apache and order my pilot to give chase to the Mi-24 but he is really moving out. We fall into trail about 2000 meters behind him for the short run to the AO…

The Mi-24 crests the ridgeline near the crash site first and a few second later a flash and a fireball as he is ambushed by forces unseen on the other side of the ridge! Gryphon 2-5 is down!

Instead of blazing over the ridge, we pull up short of it and pop up to take a look at what we are poking our nose into. The smoke from both the Mi-8 and the Mi-24 crash sites wafts up over the valley…

Just past the Mi-8 crash site we spot the biggest threat – a 2S6 Tunguska. I send a Hellfire his way on a direct trajectory at about the same time he fires at me…

The Hellfire is spot on and the 2S6 is out of action…

The valley is a tangle of small arms fire while larger caliber rounds float toward our position. Adding to the deadly mix are a few enemy MANPADS. I’ve activated my radar and IR jammers and I order the pilot to reposition slightly to the southeast. Guarding the east end of the valley is a BRDM and BMP, both of which are throwing up a hail of fire. I order my pilot across the valley and engage them both on the fly with two quick Hellfire shots.

Mission Tips – Learn from my pain. This mission requires constant movement, rapid engagement, use of the jammers, and staying close to the valley. The enemy fire is withering and your Apache will take damage quickly. Even a small amount of damage to the gun or TADS will render you mission ineffective. Kill the 2S6, but keep moving before your jammers overheat and quickly engage the BRDM and BMP. Don’t retreat from the valley or you’ll find they will turn their fire on the crash survivors and they will quickly kill them and you’ll fail the mission.

As we zip across to the south side of the valley I take a scan to the right (west) and can see the survivors from the Mi-8 crash in a clearing near the crash site. I radio Kestrel 5-4 to advise him that the LZ is safe (enough) although that is a bit of a stretch since enemy troops are scattered around the valley and hopefully the MANPADs have shot their bolt…

On the south heading toward the far side of the valley I see tracers float over the top of the canopy. We reach the opposite ridge, wheel around, and spot a T-72 that was buried up against the forest on the north side of the valley. My final Hellfire (of four) is targeted at the T-72 who pops smoke as I fire. My missile hits, but does not kill the T-72, but it is no longer firing…

I head back toward the crash site and switch to my cannon and basically just pray and spray all around the forest and valley floor around the crash site hoping to suppress enemy troops that are moving all over the place. High command comes over the radio and advises another platoon of tanks is moving into the area from the west end of the valley. Oh crap..

Kestrel 5-4 comes into sight over the treetops and he does a slow orbit before settling down near the crashed Mi-8. The survivors scramble aboard as I continue to randomly drop canon fire into the surrounding area and I keep my fingers crossed that I don’t get hit by a MANPAD…

Here you can see the T-90s coming in from the west…

After a moment or two on the ground, the Mi-8 has the rescued crewmembers on board and they climb up and push over toward the south…

We escort the Mi-8 south to Komoravo where the Mi-8 lands and our mission is complete…

Notes – This mission actually took me two full days and about fifty retries to pass. Arma has the frustrating feature of wiping all of your mid-mission saves if you get killed or get a mission fail and aren’t quick enough to reload a saved game. Also, you can save a game and the reloaded save puts you into position a half a second before you get hit by a missile or something fun like that. My mistake was not putting the jammers on just prior to cresting the ridge – I was putting them on too early and they were overheating while I was in the valley and probably contributing to me getting shot down a lot. The Arma commands and clunky method of getting your AI pilot to go where you want to is also a bit of a challenge. That said, beating this mission was a great, great accomplishment and I’m looking forward to continued pain as the campaign continues.

Here are some outtakes from the failed missions:

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