When playing Command I think a good way to start is to follow the standard military METT-TC format to examine how to best approach the situation.
I’m using Operation Lightning Strike as an example.
M(ission): Destroy the nuke bunker and TELs.
E(nemy): Pakistani Extremists, though Pakistan, Iran and India may react to American forces in their region or airspace.
T(roops) and Forces Available: Subs, destroyers and aircraft at several different bases.
T(errain) and Weather: National boundaries are important. Cartography may be a factor in the end game.
–T(ime): 48 hrs
C(ivilian Issues): Not really applicable this time, beyond political concerns mentioned above.
Just parsing the mission into this format tells a lot about how to proceed. Next consider the basic principals of war …
Objective: As mission above. Add in that you want to keep the conflict from expanding to other actors (India, Iran…) and that you need to consider execution of your mission in such a way that the nukes can’t be launched.
Offensive: Be the one to dictate the action and maintain the initiative. Your forces may not be adequate to sustain a two day offensive against all of Pakistan, for example. A shorter, sharper effort may be the key.
Mass: Have the forces you need to overwhelm opposition and achieve your objective in place when needed. In Lightning Strike your forces are by and large spread all across the theater. You need to get key units in place to execute your mission at the moment they’re required.
Economy of Force: While achieving Mass you want to make sure you’re not over-doing it and tasking units to the mission that are needed or more effective elsewhere. Select the right tool(s) to accomplish the task effectively and efficiently. In Lightning Strike you’ll want to think about what the raid on the airbase is going to look like. Who’s providing fighter cover? Who’s doing preliminary ISR? Who’s attacking the targets? Do they need SEAD, jamming, AEW support? From who?
Maneuver: How do you place and move these forces in a way that is of an advantage to you and puts your enemy at a disadvantage? Looking at the map most ways to the rebel airbase are blocked by ostensibly neutral countries that will fight back at a violation of their territory. Except from the Afghan border. The way in from Bagram is lightly defended and close to the objective. Placing air units to stage out of Bagram and Kandahar would make sense. Getting the right tools there (Economy of Force and Mass) will take time, though.
Unity of Command: Not a problem in this scenario. The player is the commander of all available forces.
Security: Make sure your forces are protected and your intent is not discovered by the enemy until it’s too late. This means staying clear of trouble for as long as you can while you set up your forces for the raid that achieves your objective. Fly around Iran, India and Pakistan while you gather your forces at Bagram. Don’t make any offensive actions until you’re ready or you’re forced to. Be ready to respond to an escalation if necessary.
Surprise: Move quickly and achieve the mission quickly. Don’t give opponents time to react to your raid and be ready with counters when they do.
Simplicity: Put together a simple and effective plan. You’ll need to observe the rebel airbase to locate all your targets. Does this happen before or during the raid? What then destroys them and with what? How do they get there? What’s needed to support them? The simpler the answers to these questions the less Murphy can interfere.
My intent is to show that the fundamental approaches to IRL operations are sound in Command.
I think Lightning Strike is a particularly good scenario in that it provides a bunch of assets from all over the region. The player could be tempted to try and use them all to win the scenario, but in the end they can accomplish the mission using just a fraction of those assets by applying the principles of war.
As gamers we often see resources as being necessary to success and therefore placed in a scenario for a reason. With this in mind we feel the need to use everything given to us.
Lightning Strike is cool because it gives us resources to forge multiple solutions to the problem – use bombers from DG, use tac aircraft from Bagram & select Gulf bases, etc. Better yet using all those resources has the potential to complicate or widen the conflict, so the player that shows restraint and subtlety by settling for one approach has an advantage.
Thanks to Primarchx for the writeup!