Red Tide

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Red Tide is a campaign created by Volcano, Mog, and Dark.

version II.b
23 MAR 2012
(updated: 02 SEP 2012)

Red Tide.png


Red Tide 85


The Red Tide campaign is based on the ideas behind Red Leopard and also contains elements/rule mechanics of Operation Fury. The goal of the campaign is a low complexity, easily approachable campaign that everyone can understand and a campaign that stresses combat in high intensity scenarios. The setting is classic Cold War period where the vehicle selections are based on a specific year during the Cold War, depending on the iteration being played.

See also Red Dragon, a variant of this campaign.

What is the overall mission for both sides?

At the operational level, OPFOR's (Red's) overall objective is to push through to the end of the full map used for the campaign. Once OPFOR gets nine tanks + PCs (BRDMs, bridge layers, self propelled artillery, air defense artillery, FO vehicles, and recovery vehicles do NOT count), about a company sized element, across a defined line (all nine must be alive), the campaign is over in an OPFOR victory. BLUEFOR's (Blue's) overall objective is not to completely annihilate OPFOR, rather, they have to conduct a strategic delaying action long enough for certain conditions to be met for the campaign to end due to OPFOR running out of time. This running out of time is simulated by a "Peace Talks scale". See section pertaining to ending victory conditions for more information.

What forces are available to each side?

Both sides use a static Table of Equipment and Organization (TOE) which is defined and kept track of on the wiki page belonging to the specific iteration page.

For the most part, the equipment in the TOE table is what you have for the duration of the campaign, although there are ways to get "attachments" which are basically temporary reinforcements, and "replacements" which is a form of strength recovery over time. Both of these are explained in detail in the reinforcement section.

Each week, the overall CO of both sides will choose the unit in their TOE to fight with from the choices available to them. BLUEFOR's CO chooses any three companies (to make up that battle's task force), while OPFOR's CO chooses one of their available regiments.

How does the campaign play out from week to week?

Unique to this campaign, the actual fighting that occurs each week is supposed to represent one full day of fighting. As such, the weekly battle is broken into two parts: a "Reconnaissance Battle" (aka. Recon Battle), which occurs in the middle of the week (attendance is optional), and the actual "Main Battle" which occurs at the primary scheduled time. The Recon Battle is basically a side show operation, which supplements the Main Battle, while the Main Battle is what actually determines the outcome of the campaign. If you do poorly or no one shows up for the Recon Battle, then the Main Battle will be more difficult and the overall progress in the campaign may suffer.

The Main Battle

The Main Battle is very straightforward, OPFOR's goal in each is to capture as much terrain as possible by pushing forward towards the eventual breakthrough line at the end of the campaign map, and BLUEFOR's goal is to resist/delay and inflict as many casualties as possible. Time limit of Main Battle scenario is 100 minutes.

How is the direction of attack determined in the Main Battle scenario?

For the most part, the direction of attack across the strategic campaign map is influenced by the OPFOR commander. The battle map from week to week will be positioned so that it is roughly centered in the direction of OPFORs advance from the week before, but the OPFOR commander way provide specific instruction on shifting the attack up to 8km to either side of its current location; this is denoted on the map by the yellow bracket.

  • The yellow bracket on the campaign map represents the actual MINIMUM+1km frontage (15-25km) of a Soviet division and this "shift in direction" is simulating the division changing its axis of advance by simply changing the emphasis of the main attack to another regiment in the division, and BLUEFOR moves to oppose it. The center of the bracket represents the center of the map from the previous battle. The OPFOR division icon denotes the current center of the map for the week; once the battle is fought the yellow bracket will recenter on the division icon and the process will repeat. In other words, the division icon is always the current center of the map, and the yellow frontage shift bracket lags behind until the next battle.
  • Main Battle map dimension from week to week is MAX width x 14km height (10km with 2km buffer of 1km spotting zone + 1km kill zone on the flanks). Typically the OPFOR will have about ~6km size rear area to the east of the map.

How is front line trace and objective ownership determined?

A nearly identical technique of front line trace from Operation Fury is used in this campaign, except that the neutral zone between both sides is larger here (2km as opposed to 1km) and the ZOC radius of all CO vehicles in general are slightly larger (3km/1.5km as opposed to 2km/1km); based on typical BLUEFOR/OPFOR unit frontages and CO distances from own troops. Also, because Operation Fury is a much more deliberate campaign with irregular forces and some COIN aspects which determines objective ownership by front line trace only, objective ownership in Red Tide is different in that it is only based on traditional occupation criteria.

On the campaign's strategic map, a red color filled in graphic ROUGHLY denotes OPFOR's front line, BLUEFOR's front line is 2km beyond that with a neutral zone in between. The front line trace from the Main Battle determines this front line on the strategic map, and the areas north and south of the Main Battle's sector will have the front line automatically follow the closest terrain feature, but be slightly behind the furthest advance made in the most recent Main Battle scenario (basically, the Main Battle scenarios are deciding the furthest penetration into BLUEFOR's area).

Basic characteristics of objective ownership and front line trace determination:
  • COs control terrain, simulating command and control on the ground. Essentially, where the CO is positioned at the end of the battle determines where the rest of his formation solidifies/reforms; this reorganization occurs between battles.
  • When a CO is lost, the next vehicle in the chain of command for that company becomes second-in-command and projects a smaller ZOC (1/2 the normal size and less influential).
  • Other vehicles are not irrelevant to controlling terrain because it is these non-CO vehicles that destroy enemy CO vehicles, drive them out, and safely push friendly CO vehicles forward.
  • Infantry are the ground takers and ground holders, as they override contested zones of control where a CO from each side is in close proximity. In the case of a heavily contested river crossing or city fighting, the best choice is always to utilize infantry to hold/capture terrain while AFVs and CO vehicles support them. In this way, the front line can be projected beyond this obstacle for the next scenario (or held down by the defender).
  • Objective ownership occurs in the traditional sense of occupying objectives, and is NOT determined by ZOC or front line trace.
Front line trace in detail

Both sides have four CO vehicles in every Main Battle scenario: one for each of the three companies (Blue) and three battalions (Red) and one for the overall commander. CO vehicles are used to determine front line trace by projecting a zone of control (ZOC) around them, their end position is referenced to determine ownership of the surrounding terrain by connecting the zones of control projected by each CO. This zone of control then determines the new position of the front line, and both sides are backed off to create a neutral zone. In areas where two sides's ZOC projects into the same area (such as the case when a CO from each side is in close proximity), both side's zone of control cancel each other out in such a way that the difference between the two is taken; this is called a "contested ZOC". In these contested areas, any presence of infantry will override the cancelling out effect, although infantry from both sides cancel each other out as well in some cases. Needless to say, this makes infantry vital to controlling contested areas along the front line.

When a non-overall commander CO vehicle is destroyed, the next vehicle in the chain of command for that company becomes the second-in-command and receives a 1/2 size ZOC. If a second-in-command circle is consumed completely by an enemy full sized ZOC, then it plays no effect on front line trace IF no friendly infantry are present in the contested area (because the infantry would override the overlap).

What other objectives are in the Main Battle scenario?

In each Main Battle scenario, both sides have a limited objective that they can choose to accomplish. Basically, the accomplishment of the limited objective determines whether or not that side will be awarded Attachments (reinforcements). Each side's limited objective is determined at random and is clearly defined in the briefing and on the map, and each side is only aware of their own limited objective. The attachment procedure is explained in more detail in the reinforcement section.

Limited objective ownership in detail

Objective ownership of limited objectives is directly determined by occupation during the mission and is not related to front line trace. This is a basic premise that must be understood: occupation of an objective does not directly translate to captured ground, and vice versa, and this is because the front line trace determination is understood to happen between battles when both sides re-consolidate.

The criteria for ownership of limit objectives is as follows:

(initially these are objectives that begin in enemy territory)
To capture an area, by the end of the mission the following must be true...
a) Friendly forces in a contested region outnumber enemy forces
b) Enemy troops in region are < 16 troops (each friendly troop present in region subtracts one from total number of enemy troops)
c) Enemy AFVs in region are < 1

(initially these are objectives that begin in your territory)
To hold an area, by the end of the mission the following must be true...
a) Friendly forces in a contested region outnumber enemy forces
b) Friendly troops in a contested region are >= 16 troops (each enemy troop present in region subtracts one from the total number of enemy troops)
c) Friendly AFVs in a contested region are > 0
d) No enemy forces ever entered the region

  • Objective ownership is determined like a toggle. The side that meets the criteria now owns it and can move on and leave it empty. Naturally, if one side vacates and objective and the other side has forces in it then the side that has forces in it will be the side that now controls the objective. All of this is monitored in the playback of the AAR.
  • Note that once an objective changes ownership, then the side that was tasked to HOLD it must now CAPTURE it, and vice versa. If you are tasked with holding an objective and the enemy never enters that objective then ownership of the objective is not lost.

How are deployment zones determined?

For the most part, both side's deployment zones are open to their entire area, providing complete freedom for both commanders to place units where they want in friendly territory. BLUEFOR can deploy its forces anywhere west of its FLOT line (Forward Line of Own Troops), while OPFOR always has a 1.5-2km buffer zone behind their FLOT line, which is their security/reconnaissance zone, and the rest of the area behind it is OPFOR's main body deployment area. The reason for this difference is due to the fact that BLUEFOR is on the defensive and needs to position the defenses accordingly anywhere in their own area terrain, as they will prudently decide to back off of the FLOT based on the terrain, whereas OPFOR is backed off a bit to limit the "immediate mad rush" effect.

  • The only exception to this deployment setup is if OPFOR loses the Recon Battle. In that case, two battalions are deployed in depth, one behind the other, along a main avenue of approach and in two narrow column like deployment areas (one for each battalion).

Whether or not OPFOR's third battalion arrives as reinforcement or is deployed online with the other two battalions depends on two factors:

  1. If the OPFOR regiment is greater than 75% strength then the third battalion will always arrive as reinforcement (regiment in echelon)
  2. If the OPFOR regiment is below 75% strength then the third battalion will always start on the map with the rest of the regiment (regiment on line)

The Recon Battle

The basic premise behind the Recon Battle is that it is a small engagement where the objectives for both sides will be randomly determined from week to week. These objectives are limited in scope and obtainable, and primarily relate to typical missions that a reconnaissance unit would conduct. The units used in the Recon Battle are always replenished from week to week and their composition on BLUEFOR is mostly a couple of platoons of mixed units, and on OPFOR it always consists of the forward recon elements based on Soviet doctrine, but their actual vehicle types and number may vary. Time limit of Recon Battle scenario varies, but is typically 60 to 90 minutes.

What happens after the Recon Battle?

The Recon Battle is supplemental to the Main Battle; the result of the Recon Battle does not directly affect the outcome of the campaign, however it does directly influence the difficulty for both sides to win the Main Battle scenarios. The Recon Battle does NOT play any effect on the front line trace in the Main Battle scenario. Regardless of what happens in the Recon Battle, the Main Battle scenario's front line trace is determined only by the Main Battle scenario before it. It is rationalized that between the Recon Battle and Main Battle scenario other events are occurring with the main body to help keep the front line stabilized, therefore always stressing that the Recon Battle is supplemental to the Main Battle and not vice versa.

RECON BATTLE RESULTS (carried over to the "Main Battle")
  • Losing side's force gets exposed to enemy (only useful for estimating strength, since they will be able to deploy within a deployment zone)
  • Losing side's minefields are visible in planning (if any), marked with minefield graphics
  • Losing side's front line trace is known by the enemy, which is labeled as FLET (Forward Line of Enemy Troops) on the enemy's side
  • Winning side gets recon units AND deploy-able priority fire markers available for Main Battle (also, these two are the only effects that occur if both sides win)
RED: x1 mixed PLT T-72 [1 veh] + BMP-2 [3 veh], x1 PLT(-) BTR-80 [3 veh], x1 PLT(-) BRDM-2 [3 veh] (elements of Div Recon Bn)
BLUE: x1 mixed PLT M1025 [2 veh] + M966 [2 veh], x1 PLT Spahpanzer Luchs (ASLAV-25) [3 veh], x1 PLT Scimitar [3 veh] (elements of TF Recon Troops)
  • If BLUEFOR loses, or if both sides lose, BLUEFOR begins unprepared - all non-attachment type vehicles are at 40% ammo and fuel, six supply trucks (mix) are available in this case
  • If OPFOR loses, or if both sides lose, OPFOR begins unprepared - two BNs in REGT have deployment zones setup in narrow columns in depth along a high speed avenue of approach rather than one large deployment zone for the entire regiment

Special case effects:

  • In every Recon Battle scenario each side will have an artillery unit on the map under computer control. If the battery is forced to displace (due to direct and indirect fire from the enemy) then the battery (six guns) is temporarily unavailable in the Main Battle scenario. Any losses inflicted on these artillery units carry over as losses to the unit in the TOE.
  • In almost every Recon Battle scenario, BLUEFOR will have obstacles of some type and these will almost always cover major avenues of approach. If REDFOR is successful in having an obstacle reported to the map, then that obstacle will get removed in the Main Battle scenario. All unspotted obstacles are carried over to the next Main Battle scenario (non-deployable) and then removed after that. This encourages REDFOR to reconnoiter possible avenues of approach for the Main Battle, and encourage BLUEFOR to overwatch their obstacles with direct fire.
  • When the Peace Talks Meter is in the YELLOW range (and beyond), BLUEFOR may receive one to four strong points each day to assist in the defense. These usually consist of a platoon worth of vehicle battle positions, bunkers, a couple of minefields and some obstacles. If present on the Recon Battle scenario, then any successful spotting/reporting by REDFOR will result in them getting removed from the Main Battle scenario. Fortified areas that are not successfully spotted by REFOR will carry over into the Main Battle.

How do you get reinforcements?

Technically, the only forces you have are the ones you start the campaign with. However, during the course of the campaign you may receive attachments and/or replacements for depleted units.


For each Main Battle, the CO of both sides chooses the unit that they will deploy for battle (as mentioned in the available forces section). All units that do not participate in that week's Main Battle scenario replace a % of their MISSING strength. This % is directly based on what level the Peace Talks Meter is at, with GREEN = 25% replacements for both sides, YELLOW = 20% replacements for both sides, and AMBER = 15% replacements for both sides (as a reminder these values are noted on the Peace Talks Meter on the strategic map). These replacements are rounded to the nearest whole number and are determined at battalion level for OPFOR and at company level for BLUEFOR.

  • NOTE: Since replacements are determined by missing strength that means that a formation that is very weak will receive many more replacements than one that is near full strength.

There are several sub rules pertaining to how replacements are applied. These do not have to be memorized, but the method is mentioned here for clarity:

  1. Unlike OPFOR's artillery (which only recovers strength if that particular regiment is not used), BLUEFOR's artillery recovers strength each day since it is always used. Also, BLUEFOR's artillery is the only unit that is able to recover its full strength.
  2. Since each battalion in OPFOR's regiments are a homogenous force, the OPFOR commander may, at any time between missions, decide to spread his strength out between his three battalions in the regiment. In other words, he can decide to dilute the strength of his regiment across the three battalions evenly, which he would probably want to do if one battalion in a regiment is very low on strength as opposed to the other two.
  3. CO, FO, and bridgelayer vehicles are always fully replaced.


Attachments are temporary forces that get assigned to your side when limited objectives are achieved during the Main Battle scenario. These units do not belong to your TOE, rather they are temporarily attached from other organizations. Most but not all attached units gained throughout the campaign will get carried over to following Main Battle scenarios, providing that they survive of course, however at any point all attached units may be withdrawn. For more information about attachments, see the specific iteration page.

When does the campaign end?

Peace Talks Meter on the strategic map, currently denoting level 1.

There are three ways for the campaign to end:

  1. An OPFOR victory, which occurs the exact moment that OPFOR gets TEN operational AFVs across the final breakthrough line which is at the end of the operational map. This line will be clearly marked when it appears in the Main Battle scenario. Note that all ten AFVs must actually be alive at the same time for the breakthrough to happen.

  2. A BLUEFOR victory, which occurs the moment the "Peace Talks Meter" reaches its maximum level. This meter represents the flow of the overall war, where the progress made in this sector is representative of the overall progress. When the meter reaches its maximum level, then progress is too costly and OPFOR will be forced to make peace.

  3. A draw, which occurs when both sides agree to a permanent ceasefire.

Factors That Affect Peace Talks

At the end of each Main Battle scenario, the Peace Talks Meter may rise or fall depending on what has occurred during the day. Basically, positive increases are bad for OPFOR, any negative increases are bad for BLUEFOR. The factors that influence Peace Talks are:

+1 After each Main Battle. Time marches on, and OPFOR's logistical support constantly declines; this means that providing there are no negative and no other positive movements of the meter, the campaign has a maximum of 9 Main Battle scenarios.
+1 When an OPFOR regiment's non-support vehicle strength drops below 30% strength for the FIRST TIME. This can happen once for each regiment, so it may only occur up to four times in one campaign.
  • NOTE: 30% is based on TRADOC Pam 350-16, page 5-22, which states that Soviet forces continue to fight on the offensive at 45% strength, and fight defensively at and below 20% strength. The average between the two is 30%, which is the point that is rationalized here as a major setback.
-1 When a BLUEFOR task force's non-support vehicle strength drops below 40% strength for the FIRST TIME. This can happen once for each task force, so it may only occur up to three times in one campaign.
  • NOTE: 40% is based on the traditional strength that western units consider themselves combat ineffective. This is higher than OPFOR's depletion strength because BLUEFOR has the luxury of being able to piece together ad-hoc Task Forces from any combination of three companies, and as such they can choose not to use a depleted battalion entirely and let those companies recover strength. Since there are many more sub formation combinations for BLUEFOR to choose from, and since BLUEFOR can potentially put together higher strength Task Forces, their depletion strength must be higher than OPFOR out of fairness, and as a way to represent a traditional OPFOR strength: stamina.

What in game actions are considered punishable behavior?

The utmost intent of this campaign is good sportsmanship. There may be times where umpiring calls will be made to punish one side to keep that side from playing with bad sportsmanship and when that happens it will be clearly announced to the offending side. Some of the most important issues are, but are not limited to:

  1. Using support vehicles for reconnaissance purposes. If this happens then higher HQ will remove those support vehicles from that side from future scenarios, with the rationale being that the support vehicles are better used elsewhere, so the support is permanently retasked/denied from that moment on.
  2. Rogue CO vehicles moving into rear areas unsupported with an intent of pushing forward their ZOC. If this happens and a CO vehicle is alone and unsupported behind enemy lines pushing forward, then that CO is brought back behind where the nearest friendly forces are located.
  3. Parking friendly vehicles on bridges and killing them yourself with the intent of blocking bridge crossings. If this occurs then additional friendly vehicles will be removed from the TOE after the battle, punishment from higher HQ for wasting your forces.

In short, if something feels wrong then it is probably something that you should not do.