Flight Journal: First mission on DCS Liberation Persian Gulf

It’s been on my todo list for a long time now to try out the Liberation Campaign mission generator for DCS World and now that I have, I’m kind of hooked on the idea.

What is it anyways?

Created by ‘DaKhopa,’ Liberation is a turn-based dynamic campaign generator that exists outside of DCS World. It plays like a strategy mini-game where you setup your actions for the turn creating and modifying different missions and then letting the scenario play out to see if your strategy worked or not.

When you’re done with the planning part of the process, it’s time to put that strategy into action and Liberation will generate a DCS World mission for you to play. The missions play out as part of a campaign with persistent targets that stay destroyed and a campaign that requires careful management of assets by both sides of the conflict.

In short, Liberation is a free dynamic campaign for DCS World. Liberation is now at version 2.0 and it has been refined over time as both the simulator itself has changed and as bugs have been worked out and new features have been implemented.

The planning stage

Planning is done within the DCS Liberation app. It’s easy to install and once you get a campaign configured you’re presented with a tactical situation. In my case, I picked a Persian Gulf scenario where the Blue Team/US is invading Iran and the Red Team/Iran is defending.

A blue team beachhead has been established near Bandar e Hasineh with a frontline that stretches inland. The scenario puts you in charge of basic force mixes and postures for both air and ground. I decided to setup a basic scenario with a heavy emphasis on the naval air wing from the USS John C Stennis and the Marine aircraft from USS Saipan. Other elements such as tankers and AWACS appear on their own so the bulk of your planning is aimed at what to do with the different elements of the air wings.

The situation after mission 1 with a slightly expanded beachhead in two different directions.

I setup a flight of four F-14B’s to perform a BARCAP near the beachhead, another pair of F/A-18’s on another BARCAP mission near the Saipan, and two flights of two F/A-18’s aimed at a factory target labeled PANGOLIN. One flight would strike the target directly while another would provide SEAD support.

Strategic objectives such as this one give the enemy commander resources or funds that help replace losses and this one looked like a relatively easy target to tackle.

For this run I picked to lead the strike flight and kept things relatively simple with a load of eight MK83 1,000lb bombs. Now it was time to lead the strike.

Alpha launch and strike ingress

The scenario started out with six F/A-18’s and four F-14’s starting-up on the deck. I have ‘use Supercarrier’ checked in the settings so this was actually not the Stennis but instead CVN-73 USS George Washington. The scenario makes full use of the Supercarrier’s animated deck crew which, of course, makes for a much more immersive experience.

It’s also a pretty cool sight to see more than a half dozen combat jets all powering up, taxiing to the catapults, and launching in quick succession and that’s exactly what was going on here. The Tomcats were first before the BARCAP Hornet’s and then finally the SEAD and Strike mission Hornets.

My wingman and I were last off the deck as each flight launched and proceeded on to their mission. The F-14’s setup their BARCAP to the north east while the SEAD strike headed to a hold point to the west of the carrier and waited to link up with us.

Soon we were on our way egressing into the target area together with the SEAD flight.

Datalink showed a few enemy fighter contacts to the north. Something to keep an eye on but nothing to be worried about just yet. I estimated that we would arrive at the target before they could make it there to intercept us.

It was a largely quite run-in to target area, however, as we approached an SA-6 loomed large. Persistent pinging on the RWR became much more threatening as we reached the missile battery’s engagement range at about the same time as we were arriving at the target.

As I rolled in, the SA-6 fired two missiles at me and my RWR started to beep with urgency. Already rolling in to the target, I looked over to my left and spotted the twin missile trails from the launch.

Snaking up at me, the missiles started to close in while I elected to continue with the attack. The path I was using for the attack run put both missiles at my 9 o’clock, right in the notch position for their radar, and the diving attack would help to drive the missiles, low, into denser air.

I let loose four of the eight MK83 bombs on my wing stations and pulled out while dispensing chaff and flares.

The RWR stopped beeping as the SA-6’s missiles had been defeated and massive explosions behind me let me know that the target had been seriously hit!

I performed a clearing turn to the south and out into the Straight of Hormuz. That took me away from the SA-6 and gave me an opportunity to check on the status of the target.

About this time the SEAD flight engaged the air defenses and that SA-6 never bothered me again.

As the smoke cleared on the target I had hit, it was clear that the main buildings had been hit but a couple smaller structures still remained. My wingman seemed to be doing his own thing and hadn’t hit the target successfully so it was up to me.

I rolled back in on the target and released the four remaining bombs on the target as they crossed my CCIP pipper.

A quartet of bombs exploded directly on the target and that ensured it’s destruction.

Later, the after action report would indicate that all structures were destroyed. A successful strike mission! Now, on to the business of flying home.

Smooth flight home

It was a quiet flight home as enemy fighters appeared to be staying north and away from the striking Hornets and Tomcats on BARCAP.

Following the carrier on TACAN using 1X, entered the pattern only to notice that the four Tomcat’s were in pattern ahead and below me. The F-14’s landed first while I held in the pattern. Soon it was my turn as the rest of the missions began to return to the carrier.

I rolled into groove on final approach following the FLOLS and ILCS to help guide me in.

Touching down on the deck, there’s always that brief moment of questioning. Did I catch the wire? Or am I calling a bolter and going around? As is procedure, I immediately went to full power and waited what felt like an eternity for the aircraft to stop. It did! I had caught the wire.

The LSO gave me a grade and indicated that I had caught the #1 wire. That’s not as ideal as a #3 wire landing but good enough for one of my first carrier traps in a few months. Three Hornet’s didn’t make it back but the remaining aircraft did, including my wayward wingman which means we have more than enough strength to continue to bring in reinforcements and further expand the frontlines.

Get Liberation today

If you’re looking for an interesting and unique DCS World experience that features a fun, turned based mini strategy game combined with what appears to be some potentially very interesting missions, I highly recommend checking out the DCS Liberation campaign. Now on version 2.4.3, it has a ton of features and full DCS support built in… and I have a feeling that it will only get better over time.

Check out DCS Liberation here.

Screenshots

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