After a 15 year hiatus, I'm finally dusting off my copy of Gulf Strike (one of my old favorites) and getting back into it. I thought it might be of some interest to discuss strategies that can be used in Scenario 1, the Iranian invasion of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. As a starter, I'd like to address the following topic:
*** Scenario 1: Positioning of Iranian F4 (EW) in the early stages (prior to U.S. activation) ***
It's very difficult to locate this EW aircraft properly, due to the very limited detection range (4 operational hexes max). Initially, you'd like to have it near the leading edge of the Iranian ground forces invading Kuwait, but that leaves it vulnerable to the Gulf Cooperation Council air forces .
(Note: although the rules state that an EWDA unit is eliminated as soon as an enemy unit on an Anti-Air Mission enters the hex, I always modify that rule to state that the defender has an opportunity to abort the attack via air-to-air or ground-to-air combat first. That is to say that the attacking air unit must be eligible to actually fire on the EWDA unit before it can claim the kill)
Until Iran secures forward airfields in Kuwait, there are no airbases in range to launch successful interceptions anyway. Basra is just too far away to effectively cover the ground forces surrounding Kuwait City. Once past Kuwait City, there are no airfields until you are well inside Saudi Arabia, in and near Al Kubar on the Gulf coast, so Iranian ground forces are on their own during that stretch. They must rely on their Air Defense units and their inherent Anti-Air capabilities. There won't be any interceptors coming to the rescue. So maybe it's a better idea to utilize the F4 (EW) differently.
Iran also must protect their supply network. There will have to be supply depots in the vicinity of both Basra and Kuwait City to extend the network. There will also have to be a depot somewhere on that desolate stretch of Saudi desert along the coastal highway. Maybe it's a better idea to station Air Defense units with the forward depots and sit the F4(EW) on top of the depot closest to the advancing ground units. This way, you're given an additional chance to detect any attacking air units, thereby insuring that your Air Defense unit gets a shot at the attacker before it can drop ordinance. Also, by protecting the depot closest to the ground units, you can always expend that depot to supply them for that turn.
Another consideration is the protection of the Iranian AMPH and HC naval transport units. Bahrain will certainly have to be taken via amphibious assault, and it may end up being more efficient to secure Qatar and/or the tip of Oman via amph assault as well. While Iran does have a C-130 and a few CH-47's, I think it's important to insure that there is enough overall transport capacity to move troops in overwhelming strength anywhere they're required. Therefore, placing the F4(EW) in, or just south/southeast, of the Al Faw Peninsula can help effectively defend the AMPH and HC naval units that can initially be placed in the port at Bandar e Shapur (hex 1640). Additionally, an F4(EW) so placed can be most effective at helping to defend the entire Abadan/Basra/Kuwait City area.
Looking forward to feedback on this topic, as well as the addition of some new, focused points of interest related to tactics or strategy in this awesome game.