Tarnished Gold – Mission 09 – Emerald Forge

Both the CDF and the ChDKZ are exhausted. Both sides have thrown men and equipment into the breech as the battles have seesawed back and forth. CDF forces have battled back against ChDKZ forces that have been reinforced with Russian equipment time and again. In a last ditch blitz, the ChDKZ are attacking across a wide front in a push south to take Chernogorsk, Zelenogorsk, and Elektrozavodsk, all right in our backyard. Our supplies are low and our helo is all that stands between being rolled over and stopping the ChDKZ cold.

The sun is setting as the ChDKZ offensive pushes south…

Fortunately, for this mission we have a supply truck with weapons, though availability is limited…

We take off and are immediately confronted with a pair of enemy armor units – a T-72 and a ZSU-23 – that were no doubt trying to sneak up on the base to destroy our helo before our arms could be brought to bear. Through multiple attempts at this mission, I found that I need to hold Hellfires in reserve so I slave my cannon toward the vehicles coming down the highway and lay down rounds. The ZSU dies first (thankfully) and the T-72 takes many rounds, but eventually succumbs too…

We head over toward the bay off Chernogorsk and the situation is dire there indeed. A couple enemy units block the eastern approach toward the city and a gaggle of APCs, and trucks are moving down the highway from the mountains to the north toward the city. I hit the far ZSU-23 with a Hellfire and then pivot toward the north to take on the enemy coming out of the mountains. The mission designers were smart and wily by putting MANPADS around the town, making the whole attack very dangerous. Unfortunately, the best tactic is to charge in, fire off a few Hellfires and pray for some kills before switching to the cannon for close in work…

One of the MANPADS along the rim of the hills that surround Chernogorsk…

As vehicles come into view over the hill, I try to pick them off with Hellfires. Eventually you have to go in and gun them down though…

After the battle for Chernogorsk is won, we head back to base to rearm, refuel, and repair damage…

The weapons inventory is severely depleted however, and speed is absolutely critical, so I load up four available Hellfire types and head immediately for Zelenogorsk…

Cresting the hill south of Zelenogorsk there is no time to waste as T-72s and APCs stream down the valley toward the north outskirts of the town. I launch Hellfires in rapid succession, but vehicles remain and I switch to the gun…

Once the attack from the north is blunted, more units stream down a side valley from the east. I’m only left with the gun and I take severe damage as I spray the advancing armor down. Arma is really cool in that when you start getting good hits with the gun on armor, sometimes they abandon their vehicles, making them combat ineffective…

One of my engines is on fire as I destroy the last of the enemy trying to break into Zelenogorsk. I limp back over the ridgeline to base where I get repaired and rearmed with four more Hellfires of a different type and I drag my exhausted bird east toward our final defensive stand at Elektrozavodsk…

I stay offshore to the south and keep my optics panning to the left as the coastal town comes into view. Eventually I get line of sight on a column of vehicles coming down the valley toward the north side of town. This battle is brief with just four missile shots required to destroy the ChDKZ attackers. A big relief compared to the previous two battles…

Suddenly, we are done. The three attacks have been repulsed and we are cleared to return to base.

The 32-minute duration mission takes me two nights to complete. Exhausting!

Notes – This mission is hard. Damn hard due to the time constraints (you have to move fast to blunt the attacks or else you get a mission fail when enemy units reach their objectives. Enemy fire is withering, and the necessity to run back to base to rearm just bites further into your limited response time. This mission will have you throwing things in frustration, but the payoff is ultimately worth it. This is another mission where saving and resaving and reloading and reloading is required. If anyone can play these harder campaign missions straight through – you are a better man than I.

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