0500Z, 0600 Local time. Joint HQ Naples: (2 hours before scenario start) Command and staff of JHQ Naples gather in the briefing room.
J2 Brief: Sir it is our assessment that Russian forces are about to attack into the Ukraine. Their Strategic forces are on high readiness, their tactical forces are moving and their irregular elements are already acting. The detail:
Wx: Clear and cold. A high pressure area over Eastern Europe is stalling a large stable air mass over the Black Sea and much of Southern and Eastern Europe. Sea State 2 on the Black Sea. No anticipated effect on operations or capabilities.
Sea: The Russian Navy has deployed en-mass. It appears that the Northern and Baltic Fleets have also deployed but are assuming defensive postures and remaining close to home and comprehensive air cover. The Caspian Flotilla is the exception and it remains tied up in Baku under very heavy SAM coverage.
The Black Sea Fleet has sortied from its two main bases at Sevastopol and Novorossiysk over the past 6 hours. It consists of:
· CG Moskva (Slava Class), flag;
· DDG Smetlivyy (Kashin Mod Class), almost an antique;
· 3 x FFG of the brand new Grigorovich class;
· 4 x FFL of the Tarantull III class, old and quite dated;
· 2 x PCFG of the Buyan Mod Class, very new and potent;
· 2 x PCFG of the Bora class, high speed up to 45knts;
· 2 x PCFG of the Nanuchka III class, dated but still dangerous;
· 2 x FFL of the Grisha III class for ASW duty;
· 3 x AGIs shadowing our deployed ships;
· Up to 3 x SSK, Modified Kilo – very dangerous; and
· Naval Aviation includes ASW Helicopters at Belbek Crimea, Su-24s and probably Su-30s at Gvardeyskoye, also in the Crimea.
There are several older and/or smaller ships still in port but these have not moved for several years and are likely unserviceable.
Our assessment is the intent of the Black Sea Fleet is to engage Ukrainian vessels and force them into port or sink them outright. Should hostilities with NATO occur, they have enough combat power to challenge our forces currently in the Black Sea and they will likely do so. We expect that they will attempt to clear the Black Sea of all NATO forces, then establish a blockade on the northern end of the Bosporus with SSKs and airpower.
Land: In addition to turning the Crimea into a Fortress with about a Division’s worth of troops, they have reinforced 11th Msl Bde with very modern SSMs and the 568th AD Regt has the very latest S-300 while the 185th AD Regt has the S-400 AD systems. In the DonBass area, either in or just outside of the Ukraine, the 20th Guards Army has been reinforced with the 4th Guards Tank Division from Moscow. Of note, the 448th Missile Brigade has the latest SS-26 Iskander missiles.
The likely intent is to launch 20th Guards Army westward through the DonBass region to first link up with forces in the Crimea, then seize crossings of the lower Dnieper river and continue towards Moldova.
Air: The Russian air force is continuing a policy of changing unit names and affiliations regularly, they claim that this is a modernization and restructure however it is doing a good job of confusing our ability to track who is where! However, on the various bases supporting the 20th Guards Army and easily in reach of the DonBass are approximately 300 front line aircraft consisting of the following:
· Regt Su-35
· Regt Su-27
· 2 Regt Su-34
· 2 Regt Su-24
· 2 Regt Su-25
· 3 Regt Mig-29
The main focus of these forces will be to support 20th Guards Army and maintain air superiority.
Special Forces: 22nd Special Purpose Guards Brigade is operating throughout the region and is likely deeply enmeshed in Ukrainian and Moldovan society. We can expect sabotage and interdiction attacks throughout the Area of Operations.
Cyber Forces: We can expect heavy network attacks on both military and civilian networks before any ground or air activity takes place. We also expect that western media is very susceptible to this threat either through direct attack or simply deception – such as the infamous video from the news this morning. We strongly suspect that that video showed a Moscow theater troop engaged in a not so well rehearsed act with some decent Computer Generated Enhancement.
Strategic Forces: There are 3 Russian SSBNs on patrol at the moment. Engels airbase is on a high state of readiness with an estimated 7-12 x Tu-160, and 12-16 x Tu-95 available for mission. We expect them to launch as a precautionary measure and this will give us a good indicator as to when the attack will come. The Regt of MiG-31 based at Bolsjoje deployed forward to Sennoy last night.
Assessment: 20th Guards Army will likely attack into the Ukraine within the next 12 hours. It is unlikely that they will directly confront NATO; however, if they do it will be localized to this region and have limited aims: Gaining local air superiority and sea dominance of the Black Sea is likely. If Strategic forces are used, it will be a conventional strike against something of significant political value, such as this HQ, the Land Component HQ at Izmir Turkey or the AEGIS Ashore complex in Romania. Strategically they will attempt to discredit NATO and show a lack of unity amongst NATO member states.
J3 Brief: Sir in the past 48 hours we have been able to assemble a very capable force. However, we are limited to Sea and Air forces only, the North Atlantic Council (NAC) has not yet authorized the deployment of the NATO Response Force (NRF) land component which would take upwards of a week to assemble anyway. US SEAL and NATO SOF teams are in place in the area. Currently our posture is one of readiness and we await further developments. Our Rules of Engagement (ROE) remain defensive only – we are NOT, repeat NOT authorized to assist the Ukrainians unless further direction is provided. Our forces consist of:
NATO Naval forces:
In the Black Sea, moving to form a loose block North of the Bosporus:
· USS The Sullivans (DDG 68 );
· HMS Duncan (D 37);
· TCG Gemlik (F 492);
· BGS Verni (F 42);
· ROS Regele Ferdinand (F 221);
· ROS Marasesti (F 111); and
· TCG Cerbe (S 361) Delivered to Turkey 6 weeks ago.
Supporting from the Med, unable to enter the Black Sea due to the limits of the Montreux Convention.
· USS Laboon (DDG 58 ) (has 2 experimental TLAM MMT on board); and
· USS Georgia (SSGN 729).
· 31 FW @ Aviano Italy (2 Sqns of F-16C Bl40);
· 48 FW @ Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer Bulgaria (1 Sqn of F-15C & 2 Sqn of F-15E) arrived last night;
· 493 FS @ Lakenheath (4x F-15C) remaining behind from the 48 FW deployment to provide bomber escort should it be required;
· 34 FS @ Bezmer (8x F-35);
· 95 FS @ Bezmer (12x F-22);
· 390 ECS @ Bezmer (6x EA-18G);
· 480 FS @ Graf Ignatievo (F-16C Bl 50) deployed from Germany yesterday;
· 96 BS @ RAF Fairford (B-52) – all of the bombers arrived yesterday;
· 337 BS @ RAF Fairford (B-1B);
· 393 BS @ RAF Fairford (B-2);
· Tankers @ Ramstein, Sigonella;
· AWACs @ Sigonella;
· U2 @ Akrotiri;
· Rivet Joint @ Souda;
· Cobra Eye @ Mildenhall; and
· USN P-3 & P-8 @ Rota, Sigonella, Souda.
· Tankers @ Brize Norton & Akrotiri; and
· AWACs, Sentinel, Reapers & Typhoons @ Akrotiri.
· 4 Wing @ Akinci (F-16 Blk 50 & some 30 & 40);
· 5 Wing @ Merzifon (F-16 Blk 50);
· MPA @ Cengiz;
· Wedgetails @ Konya; and
· Tankers @ Incirlik.
· Typhoons @ Gioia del Colle; and
· Tornados @ Ghedi.
· F-16CJ Blk 52+ @ Larisa.
· F-16AM (Ex Portuguese).
· JAS-39 on lease from Sweden.
Ukrainian forces are not under your control; in fact, we have very little contact with them. They have two older Soviet Era Frigates, 9-10 Su-27, and upwards of 25 MiG-29s, these generally rush into a fight very predictably and will likely die honorably! Their Army is modernizing but is really a Hodge-Podge of Soviet Era equipment with some upgrading taking place. They are likely to resist quite well at first but their ability to react and maneuver is limited.
J4 Brief: Sir ammunition stocks are good for the next 36 hours. 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Gulf has been warned to deploy in support, and if they come we have space for them at Sigonella. We are also working on getting more tankers in from the States. They will take 48 hours to deploy. (After scenario end)
POLAD Brief: Sir we’re looking at several other NATO nations to offer forces; I’ll brief you if that happens. The US election is likely to cause some delay in any request for forces from the US.