Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations WOTY

Command: Modern Air / Naval Operations WOTY

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Start Here: The Step-by-Step, Just Bought It, "Read This First" Guide to Setting up And Learning Command: MANO
By NimrodX
The guide for eliminating (hopefully) ALL frustration with getting CMANO set up and learning to use it. Designed to save all new players time regardless of their level of technical expertise.

CMANO doesn't necessarily give you an obvious starting point for learning it. There are several included tutorials and none of them are marked "start here". Furthermore, I find that some of the default configuration settings make the UI more difficult than necessary for beginners. Finally, there are one or two add-ons that are important enough that ideally they would just come with the base install but can't be included for various reasons.

This guide contains my specific recommendations for how to get started: which options to change, what extras to install, and which tutorial scenarios to play in what order. The goal is that if you follow the procedures described here, you shouldn't be confused at all even if you start from nothing. You should save yourself time and frustration, and get comfortable with everything as quickly as possible.

I wrote this both during and after my own efforts to learn the game with the issues fresh on my mind. It contains all of the things I wish I had known from the beginning.
Step 0: Installation
Probably you've already done this.

If you have not bought the game yet or aren't in a hurry to get started, check out the Introductory Guide for New and Prospective Players as it gives you a lot of general overview material whereas this guide is step-by-step specifics for getting started.

Installing the Steam version is no different than any other steam game. It's another one of those games that wants Administrator privileges to run an installer for runtime libraries (prerequisites) the first time you launch the game from Steam. This shouldn't happen again unless there's a major update that needs to install updated runtime libraries.

Just make sure you don't accidentally refuse admin permissions on the first launch because if you do you won't get an immediate error and the game could fail to work properly even if it launches!
Necessary Workarounds and Avoiding Technical Problems
Current Steam Issues and Workarounds

There are currently some problems with Steam integration and overlays installed usually by video card vendors. These are workarounds and hopefully a more permanent fix is coming. Problems manifest as UI sluggishness or improper display.

DISABLE THE STEAM OVERLAY (!!!) as this seems to cause problems and it doesn't work properly in the game anyway. In your Steam Library, right click on the game, click Properties, and make sure the Steam Overlay box is unchecked. If you have UI sluggishness/hangs this is probably causing most of it.

Disable all other overlays for the game. Video card vendors and such have their own in-game overlays that can also cause problems. Raptr is known to cause problems. Disable or uninstall anything that tries to install UI hooks in games.

Disable DiectWrite in Steam Settings. Go to View->Settings in Steam, click on Interface, then uncheck "Enable DirectWrite for improved font smoothing and kerning". Disabling the Steam overlay and other overlays seems to fix most of the problems, but even with the steam overlay disabled Steam still tries to hook the UI and still tries to enable DirectWrite in the command.exe process. This can also cause lack of UI responsiveness or display problems but not to the degree that enabling the Steam overlay does. (Note that running command.exe directly doesn't prevent Steam from trying to hook things because this seems to be part of the steam integration built into the executable.)

nVidia and Other Laptop/Mobile GPUs

Gaming laptops usually have both a low-performance Intel HD (Integrated Graphics coprocessor) for power saving, and a full-scale GPU for gaming. For example my Toshiba laptop has a nVidia GPU but it uses the Intel HD for applications by default to conserve energy. Normally the nVidia driver recognizes games by looking at what APIs they use and redirects all the OpenGL or DirectX calls to the nVidia GPU, then uses the Intel for everything else to cut down on power consumption.

Anyway, the video driver may not recognize that Command.exe is a game that could benefit from the full-scale GPU, so you may need to configure it to. Here's an example of how to do that with the nVidia control panel.

Whether you actually want to configure it this way is a different matter though. On battery power especially you may not want to because the game isn't really that 3D graphics heavy and can work just fine with the integrated graphics.

If you have other problems try these things first...

First make sure you did everything mentioned above.

Second, right click on the game in Library, choose Properties, click the LOCAL FILES tab, and click VERIFY INTEGRITY OF GAME FILES... which, as you may know, verifies that everything downloaded and no files are corrupted. It should also force an update if there is one. This should fix anything caused by bad or missing files, and should force any available bugfixes to install.

Third, try deleting the Command.ini file. (This may have already been wiped out by the Verify Integrity process but I'd recommend doing it anyway just to make sure.) Right click the game in Library, choose Properties, click the LOCAL FILES tab, click BROWSE LOCAL FILES..., open the Config folder, and delete Command.ini. Window positions are saved and sometimes they get saved offscreen such as when removing a monitor or virtual desktop where a window was previously displayed. Deleting the Command.ini settings file can fix these and possibly other problems.

Lastly, try Manually Reinstalling Prerequisites (which is what gets installed the first time you run the program). Right click the game in Library, choose Properties, click the LOCAL FILES tab, click BROWSE LOCAL FILES..., and open the _CommonRedist folder. For more about exactly what needs to be installed see this post[]. Sometimes these get removed by accident or accidentally not installed (such as if you accidentally refuse admin permission the first time you run the game.)

Large Scenarios or Loaded Systems

There are some tips here[] on speeding up the game for large scenarios by adjusting the simulation settings, but this is not needed for smaller ones like the tutorials. (If the game freezes for several seconds on a tutorial scenario and the system is idle, this is a bug not a performance problem. See above workarounds.)

One last tip. If you do run into any system resource contention issues, give the free version of Process Lasso[] a try. It can solve these problems by setting Windows thread priorities more intelligently than Windows does. It doesn't do much if the rest of the system is totally idle, but can help when something in the background is periodically eating up CPU for example. I can not say I have tested it very extensively though.
Contacting Tech Support
If all else fails...

If you've tried eveything mentioned above and still have problems, or you find something that seems like a bug or inaccuracy in the way units behave for example, don't be shy about contacting Tech Support[] for help. That's part of what you're paying for and the devs seem happy to help. Just be polite and don't take out your frustration on everyone else.

Don't forget to read the top sticky post before posting. The main things they need are a dxdiag.txt and a saved game file (if applicable, such as when the game runs but you've found a bug or glitchy behavior).

You could also try asking for help at the CMANO discord server[] but this is not an official tech support channel. So you'll be talking to other players voluntering advice rather than employees tasked with tech support.

You can also try the Tech Support sticky thread in the steam discussion group, or the Tech Support steam discussion group, but these are not the primary tech support areas and they don't support attachments (such as dxdiag files or saved games). So it's better to use the Matrix forum.
Step 1: Recommended Extras - Installing Community Scenarios and Database Images (optional)
This whole step can be skipped if you're eager to get started. I wouldn't even have this information as "step 1" but I personally find the extra database images useful.

Community Scenario Pack

You don't need this for the tutorials, but it doesn't take very long. There's a community scenaio pack that you'll probably want to install.

The easiest thing to do, since you're on Steam, is just install the latest version from the Steam Workshop section by subscribing to it. It's released in editions, and you can decide if you want to have it update automatically when a new edition is released by subscribing to the "Community Pack" version (with no number after it), or you can subscribe to a specific edition that will remain the same even when a new one is released.

Additional Database Images and Descriptions (optional but recommended)

CMANO contains a massive database (technically, two databases) of real-world military equipment and some hypothetical equipent. Unfortunately many of the units, weapons, and equipment in the database don't have photos and some lack textual descriptions.

I highly recommend installing the extra images and descriptions. I personally think it's worth doing even before starting the tutorials, but it's not that big of a deal to skip this.

There's already a much longer more detailed guide here for how to install these, but I'll include a short version here for those who already know how to copy files from ZIP archives and just need to know what goes where.
  1. Download the ZIP files for the images and decriptions that are linked to on this page[]. There are three ZIP files: CWDB (Cold War Database) Images, DB3000 Images, and Descriptions.
  2. Once done downloading (might take a bit as this is about 2GB of images), open your downloads folder and pick one of the image archives to install first. Open that ZIP file and navigate to where you see the huge directory full of images.
  3. Make sure CMANO (the game) is not currently running. Exit it if it is.
  4. Go back to Steam and right click on Command: MANO in your steam library, select Properties, then click the LOCAL FILES tab, then click the BROWSE LOCAL FILES button. This should open up the install directory for the game wherever Steam installed it.
  5. The image files and descriptions are instaled in the following subdirectories inside the install folder:
    • DB\Images\CWDB
    • DB\Images\DB3000
    • DB\Descriptions\CWDB
    • DB\Descriptions\DB3000
  6. Either drag or copy-paste all of the files in the appropriate directory in the ZIP file to the corresponding directory in the instal directory. You'll know you're in the right directory when the names match and you see that some images and descriptions are already in that directory.
  7. If you don't know how or aren't sure how to copy large numbers of files in Windows, check out this more detailed guide on exactly how it is done.
  8. When Windows asks whether to replace existing files, just say yes. I'm not 100% sure which set of files is more up-to-date when it comes to the duplicates, but I'm betting on the new ones you downloaded. In reality, most of the dupliate filenames contain the same thing.
  9. Do the same thing for the other ZIP files. Notice that the Descriptions ZIP file contains directories for both databases since it's so small in size compared to the images.
With that finished, you are done with the annoying manual file copying stuff. Lets move on!
Step 2: Fix Annoying UI Things
This covers settings that I think you will want to change even before the first tutorial.

UI Settings

The UI gets flack for being unintuitive, but it's really not as bad as some people make it out to be especially if its configured to enable some improvements. It's just not fancy, which is fine for this type of game. The game is complex so the UI necessarily will be too. I will attempt to tell you the most important things you need to know.

Go ahead and launch the game from Steam if you haven't already. This will bring up a launcher window.

At this point you might want to click the Game Manual button to load up the PDF manual in Acrobat, but this is purely optional for the time being because this guide and the tutorials should get you started.

Then ignore all the other doodads in the launcher window and click Play Command Modern Air Naval Operations which will launch the game. It might start slowly or seem to freeze for a bit the very first time you launch it, but this shouldn't happen every time you launch it.

You'll see a window labeled "Start menu" in the middle of the screen which I will not bother to post a screenshot of because it's quite obvious. Just click the X to close the Start Menu because right now we just want to change some settings.

Ignore everything else for now and in the standard pull-down menu bar at the top of the main application window select Game->Game Options.

The main option I highly recommend enabling is Message log in separate window. If you don't enable this, the message log is a fixed size that you can't scroll or minimize, and I find that very annoying and limiting. I'm guessing you probably would too.

If you happen to have multiple monitors, this will also allow you to drag the message log window to the second monitor. A second monitor is actually quite helpful in this game because of all of the extra windows needed to issue orders and set up missions, etc. So if you have one, great! You probably want to use it.

You can toggle this setting with Shift-Ctrl-M, but I myself never do. I just leave the log window up all the time.

Map zooms on mouse cursor is optional and a matter of personal preference. Normally you recenter the map on the mouse cursor by clicking the right mouse button and zoom with the scroll wheel. If you enable this opion, then zooming with the scroll wheel will automatically recenter the map on the mouse cursor, as though you had hit the right mouse button before zooming. I find this makes things easier, but you might not so set as you wish.

Finally, if you want to use the metric system then uncheck Show altitude in Feet. (This will not change everything to metric though.)

Click the Map Display tab now.

Set Map Cursor Databox Visibility to Show at Bottom. I personally find it very annoying to have this databox allways next to the cursor like a tooltip because it covers up stuff on the map and I often don't need it. This setting will keep it in the lower left corner of the map where you aren't forced to look at it all the time.

Nothing else should need to be changed here. I recommend using the NATO map symbols for various reasons.

Click the Message Log tab.

DO NOT UNCHECK "Raise Pop-Up" for "Special Messages" or the tutorials won't work! The tutorials are based entirely on using popups for special messages! Normal scenarios also tend to make heavy use of Special Messages for things like critical communications from HQ. If for some reason this is unchecked then check it.

Otherwise, don't change anything here yet. I mostly just wanted to make sure you knew what it was and wanted to point out two especially significant options.

These are your notification filters. You normally want evertyhing to appear in the message log exept maybe in larger scenarios so it's normal to have all of those selected. (The log window also lets you filter messages.)

The next column determines what sort of messages actually pause the game and present a pop-up like the one you currently see in the upper left corner of the main window. One option is of particular interest: New Weapon Contact.

Here are some cases where you want popups for New Weapon Contact enabled and where you don't:
  • Submarines: You want this enabled becase otherwise if you have time compression set to 30x, your sub might seem to spontaneously explode for no reason. Then you scroll back through the message log to find that a "hello copter" dropped a fish on your head, and one minute went by in 2 seconds. Oops. So in cases where this might happen, leave this checked. Otherwise time compression won't get interrupted when you want and you won't have time to disable it before something goes boom.

  • Air Superiority: You send out 12 fighter jets which quicklky disover 12 hostile fighter jets. All of them start blasting away at each other and the enemies launch 24 missiles total in a short time period. You're not going to want to get an alert and have the game paused for every missile launch when the pilots are going to handle the countermeasures and evasion themselves anyway. Therefore in this situation you probably want it disabled.
Moving on, click the Sounds/Music tab.

As nice as the music is, it gets repetiive fast so you may want to disable that for now. You can improve the music situation later if you want by adding your own MP3 files to the Sound\Music folder in the CMANO install directory.

I leave the sound effects enabled because they help provide some information about what's going on.

There should be no need to change anything under the Game Speed tab right now. There is some info on the options here[] if you need to look into performance optimization later. (Note: if you do have hangs or responsiveness problems with the tutorials and your system is totally idle then it's a bug, not a performance problem.)

That's it for the settings. Just close the settings window by clicking the standard window close X button.

Arrange the Log Window

Finally, unless you have two or more monitors I recommend arranging the message log like this:

This has the following beneits:
  • I made the window smaller so it covers up less map area and is a little more out of my way.
  • I can still see the data box below the log messages.
  • I can minimize and scroll the log messages.
  • It doesn't overlap the special message popups.
  • I can also filter log messages.
If you have an extra monitor, just move the log message window to the other monitor along with any other windows you might open later and want to leave open.

That's it for the UI setup.
UI Gotcha: Saving and Loading Games
Eventually you're going to want to save and load your game.

Saved Games work a little oddly in CMANO. You can only load a saved game if the saved game file is in the Scenarios folder, which is a bit counterintuitive. This is probably because a saved game is actually the same thing as a scenario file, it just starts where you saved it instead of at the beginning. Different file extensions are used but the format seems to be the same.

Finding the Scenarios Folder

Right click the CMANO in the Steam Library, choose Properties, click the LOCAL FILES tab, click BROWSE LOCAL FILES..., open the Scenarios folder. You may want to create a folder in here called Saved Games to make it easier to separate saved games from the scenarios.

Saving and Loading

Saving is done how you expect using File->Save or File->Save As... but the Scenarios folder may not be the default shown in the file browser! So use the location you found as above and navigate to it manually if needed. From then on it will be remembered as the default save folder.

The load window for loading a saved game is the same as the scenario selection window, but you use the Saved Games tab instead of the Scenarios tab. There appears to be no filesystem browser for loading a saved game from another location. You can open this using either File->Load or using "Load a saved game" in the Start Menu.

(That line in the list that says Saved Games will only be there if you created a folder by that name in the Scenarios folder.)

If you need to load a saved game stored in a different location, just copy it into the Scenarios folder first then it will be available.


Notice that the Autosaves are saved as .scen files not .save files, so they actually show up in the Scenarios tab not the Saved Games tab! Not sure why that is but perhaps it's because autosaves also happen when using the scenario editor.

You can easily load the last autosave from the Start Menu by just clicking "Resume from last Autosave" but this will not be the same as the last game you saved manually.
Step 3: Note Some Key Hotkeys
You may or may not like hotkeys, but there are some functions that you do constantly all day every day. This is a list of "If you use no other hotkeys, at least use these" hoykeys. The first three F-keys are keys you can almost just keep your fingers on the whole time.

If you want to see the whole list, you can display it using Help->Hotkeys in the menu bar. (No, I won't post a screenshot of it because you can just display it in game if you need.) But for now just skip looking at that because it's not immediately important.

Note for laptop users: If you're using one of those laptops that doesn't let you input an F1 keystroke without holding down a special modifier key labeled "Fn" (for example), look around in your keyboard settings and try to change that so that you have to hold down the Fn for the laptop controls like volume and brightness and pressing F1-F12 by itself just inputs a F1-F12. That will make things much easier. Any laptop that replaces the function keys with laptop controls should have a setting somewhere to swap this around, but where the setting is depends on the vendor. It could be in BIOS settings, a control panel, or both.

Here's the list of "must use" hotkeys:
  • F1 (Attack orders) -
    • F1 (Engage Target/s Automatically) - This tells a unit to engage a specific target but weapon selection is left to the AI. It's your "smart" fire button that sometimes or often isn't smart enough.
    • Shift-F1 (Engage Target/s Manually, allocating specific weapons) - This is your rather frequently used "manual" fire button where you can decide exactly what kind of munitions and how many are fired at a target.
  • F2 (Throttle - Altitude/Depth) - Manually change the speed, altitude, or depth of a unit.
  • F3 (Plot Course) - Place waypoints for a unit. Select a unit, hit F3, click the map one or more times, hit F3 again to end or double-click on the last waypoint. After that, drag a waypoint to move it or Ctrl-Drag on a waypoint to insert a new waypoint. F3 also lets you add additional waypoints at the end of a course by selecting the last waypoint and hitting F3.
  • Space Bar (Pause/Resume Game) - Does the same thing as the toolbar pause button.
  • Keypad +/- (Increase/Decrease Time Compression) - Steps the time compression up and down which you'll be doing a lot. Same as the toolbar dropdown. (Additional tip: Hitting Enter returns the time compression to 1x, but you can also just hit Keypad - lots of times.)
  • Ctrl-End (Deselect All Reference Points) - Selection of most things in the game works the way you'd expect. Select one thing and everything else gets deselected, but not with reference points!!! Reference points are used to mark off areas for patrol missions and similar. Selecting a reference point just toggles the selection of only that once reference point. It doesn't deselect any others the way you might expect. So it's easy to end up with stray reference points accidentally selected. Ctrl-End will help you avoid that problem by ensuring that all reference points are deselected before you start selecting the points for a new mission or other purpose. (Tip: Reference point hotkeys are all Ctrl-SpecialKey like Ctrl-Del, Ctrl-Insert, etc.)
  • Ctrl-Drag on existing reference point (Copy Reference Point) - Not a hotkey per-se but this makes creating lots of arbitrary reference points so much faster I feel obligated to mention it. Works the same way as the method used to insert waypoints in a plotted course.
  • V or PgUp or Keypad-9 (Toggle Group/Unit View) - Multiple targets in close proximity (ex: airports) are often represented by a single group icon with the number of members shown using a tiny numeral to the upper left of the icon. Switching to Unit View allows you to see the individual targets. You can see which view mode is active in the status bar on the lower left. (Related UI gotcha: the (D)etach command to ungroup units only works in Unit View. The (G)roup command used to group units together only works in Group View.)
  • Ctrl-D (Range/Bearing Tool) - This is your tape measure and protractor. The first tutorial will give you an idea of one case where you want to use this, but it comes in handy in quite a few situations.
Don't worry about trying to memorize all of these right now except maybe Ctrl-End and Ctrl-Drag because (other than those) the tutorial scenrios will keep reminding you of what they are. F1-F3 especially you will use so much that you'll have no problem remembering them. But I wanted you to know which ones to pay specific attention to, and let you know about Ctrl-End which isn't featured in an obvious way.

If you end up playing this all the time then you'll almost certainly end up wanting to use even more hotkeys but no need to worry about that right now. Just start using them as you feel like it. (This list is already longer than I wanted.)
Step 4: Learn The Game With Tutorials
At this point you might be under the impression that this is a game about setting up and configuring a game, but fortunately that's not the case.

Now the question is, where to start? Here's my suggested learning curriculum.

These tutorials contain a lot of instruction so I won't provide walkthroughs, just some notes about what I think was missing or underemphasized.

You can pick whether to start learning with the Naval Tutorials or the Air Tutorials, but I'm going to recommend starting with the Naval tutorials since they don't try to throw you into the mission editor right away. Whichever one you start with you will want to do the other one because most large scenarios aren't exclusively naval or exclusively air.

If the Start Menu is not currently displayed then select File->Load to load the first scenario of whichever section you decide to start with. Click the [+] next to Tutorials in the list. All of the tutorials mentioned here should be under that section.

Tutorial Checklist for Learning the Game
  • Basic Naval Warfare:
    1. Submarine Tutorial 1.1
    2. Submarine Tutorial 1.2
    3. Submarine Tutorial 1.3
    4. Submarine Tutorial 1.4
    5. Basic Training Submarine Operations, 2013 (optional challenge)
    6. Basic Training Warship Operations, 2013
    7. Uncle Mark's Tutorials - 1 - NATO Surface Group vs. Soviet Forces, 1985 (optional challenge)
  • Basic Air Warfare:
    1. Flight Tutorial 1 - Basic Manual Flight
    2. Flight Tutorial 2 - Unattended Flight
    3. Flight Tutorial 3 - AAW 1 - Simple Air Intercept
    4. Flight Tutorial 4 - AAW 2 - Realistic Detection and Intercept
    5. Flight Tutorial 5 - AAW 3 - Challenged Intercept
    6. Flight Tutorial 6 - AAW 4 - Modern Airplanes Inteception
    7. Somewhere in here read "Why won't my units attack?!" How to avoid the special firing squad for gross incompetence.
    8. Strike Tutorial 1 - Bombing Range
    9. Strike Tutorial 2 - Driving in the Daisies
    10. Strike Tutorial 3 - Complex Strike
    11. Strike Tutorial 4 - Laser Dance
    12. Strike Tutorial 5 - Pealing the Onion
    13. Strike Tutorial 6 - Dodging the Bullet
    14. Basic Training Air Operations, 1983 (optional but recommended)
  • Basic training is over! Recommended next options:
    • Submarine Tutorials 2.1-2.4 (recommended before attempting submarine scenarios)
    • Submarine Tutorials 3.1-3.4 (when they become available)
    • Flight Tutorials 7 and 8:
      • Flight Tutorial 7 - AAW 5 - Russian and Chinese Modern Weapons
      • Flight Tutorial 8 - AAW 6 - Advanced Combat
    • Air-to-Air Refueling Tutorial
    • Uncle Mark's Tutorials 1-6
    • Full scenarios:
    • Watch some videos.
    • Start a campaign or otherwise do your own thing.

We start with submarines because much of what you learn about submarines applies to surface ships too, we're only dealing with one unit which is an easier place to begin than handling several aircraft, and subs don't have aircraft they can launch (unless you count cruise missiles). Surface ships follow pretty naturally from learning submarines because you can think of them as submarines that can't dive that tend to have more surface and anti-aircraft weapons plus aircaft hangars.

After dealing with submarines, the surface warships probably won't seem too difficult. There isn't as much tutorial material specific to surface warships, but keep in mind what you learned about submarines so you don't get sunk by one.

Then we move on to aircraft and planning out strikes, dealing with enemy air defenses, and other air warfare issues.

Sometime after the first two aircraft tutorials read "Why won't my units attack?!" How to avoid the special firing squad for gross incompetence. This is one of the more common frustrating and confusing issues in the game that people run into.

That should be more than enough to learn almost the whole UI and how to use the most common types of units. So at this point you know enough to order everything around, and you know some tactics, but the scenarios that you've been playing are mostly contrived for tutorial purposes. So what you need now is some more realistic situations.

Next you could do any of the following:
  • Submarine Tutorials 2.1-2.4 (and 3.1-3.4 once released) are recommended before attempting any serious submarine scenarios. Submarines are tricky.
  • Finish the Flight Tutorials.
  • The Uncle Mark's tutorials probvide an assortment of more realistic mini-scenarios with a little bit of advice interjected but no handholding. Do these if you don't mind some more instruction, though they're more like full scenarios with commentary than they are like the previous tutorials. They don't really have to be done in any order and you can skip to another one if one is frustrating or seems boring.
  • The full non-tutorial scenarios mentioned are taken from the beginner suggestions in the official Mega FAQ except the last two which I mentioned just because they are two that people have written full guides for and made videos of.
  • Or you could just go ahead and attempt whatever you want.

Video Tutorials

If you like video tutorials (I don't like them for basic stuff because I feel like I can usually get through written or interactive ones much faster) there are a number of video tutorials. Unfortunately the English ones don't cover the newer tutorial scenarios yet, so they don't match up with the above list of tutorial scenarios very precisely.
I personally like to save the video tutorials for more advanced stuff like people's lectures on tactics and strategy.
General Tips on Learning
You might be initially overhwhelmed by all of the equipment, model numbers, and specifications. Don't get too stressed about it!

You don't need to memorize all of the model numbers or the specifications. Just try to identify what type of weapon or sensor something is and learn what sort of target it's good for. Don't worry about memorizing model numbers, but try to look for clues in them like AIM-somethnig is an Air Intercept Missile. AGM-something is an Air-to-Ground Missile, etc.

Some things don't provide many clues just from the number. The numbering scheme for American electronic equipment looks especially nonsensical and I wouldn't worry too much about trying to remember anything about the AN/ numbering scheme at this point. Yes there is actually a system to the AN/ alphabet soup called JETDS[] in case you are curious, but I wouldn't recommend spending any time trying to remember any of it right now. All you really need to keep in mind right now is what sort of sensors things have and whether they're active or passive.

Fake It Till You Make It

You can get through most of these tutorials with rather superficial knowledge of specific equipment. Take the "fake it till you make it" approach. Later, more detailed familiarity will be important but you can pick that up as you go.

Do try to remember the jargon you see like Bingo (only enough fuel left to return to base), Winchester (all mission-relevant ammo expended), EMCON (emissions control), and stuff like that as you will see those repeatedly.

Active RadarDo try to remember technology things like how sonar and radar work in general. Like for example why the thermocline layer is important, or what the difference between a passive and active sensor is. These are very important and affect what tactics you use. This isn't Starcraft; the game tries to simulate real-world technology with its real-world technical limitations, and you need to know the limitations to exploit them.

Make Use of the Community Forums

If you have questions there are plenty of people willing to answer. Everyone knows this game is complicated enough that everyone is bound to have questions they can't find the answers to on their own.

The best places to ask are:
Naval Warfare Tutorial Scenario Notes
Submarine Tutorial 1.1

This one is an easy place to start. Just sink that container ship. The only danger you're in is not making it to the intercept point in time. If you creep over to it at 5kts then you're probably not going to make it, and the container ship will just hot rod on by with it's illegal shipment of counterfeit champaigne or whatever too fast for you to catch it. So cruise toward the intercept point at 10kts. (7kts should do it but I'll say 10kts just in case your estimate of the intercept point was particularly sloppy.)

Make sure to slow back down to creep speed (5kts) once you can because the faster you move, the more your sonar range and precision is reduced.

Submarine Tutorials 1.2 and 1.3

These next two submarine tutorials are pretty self-explanatory and I don't have anything worthwhile to add to those. Hopefully you don't mind learning all this stuff because that's pretty much what this game/simulation is about!

Submarine Tutorial 1.4

This one is slightly tricky and you might have to attempt it more than once. Here you will really get used to not knowing exactly where things are just like sub and ship crews in real life.

Your spy has spotted the ship with his eyeballs and radioed in the exact position, but he's not exactly James Bond and doesn't even have binoculars so don't expect any more updates from him. (He does seem to have a dirt bike though so you could move him around a little but that won't help much since he doesn't have a jet ski.)

Huge clue here! Your spy has told you that the target is headed for the Mediterranean Sea. Zoom way out on the map and notice where that is. Also notice the limited number of ways to get there. There's no reason to believe he will take an overly long and convoluted route so you already have a big clue that he's going to pass between the same land masses that you're already situated between, probably near the middle.

To detect him at long range you will need to be at least slightly above the thermocline. His ship and aircraft don't seem to have dip sonar that can look below the thermocline. So my suggested strategy is this: (I'm marking this as a spoiler in case you want to see how much you can figure out on your own.)

How to Win This
  1. Stay above the thermocline until you see him at long range.
  2. Go below the thermocline and wait 5 minutes or so.
  3. Peek back up above the thermoline again to confirm he's getting closer and get a better estimate of his course.
  4. Dive back below the thermocline again and wait 5 minutes.
  5. Repeat until you have a good sense of his course and can make sure that you're approximately under it with him crossing over your torpedo range. You want to be pretty close to right under him.
  6. Once you think he's maybe almost within torpedo range, but hasn't entered it or passed you, stick your head up very very briefly to get a more exact position. At this point you should be able to confirm his speed and heading if he's getting close to torpedo range.
  7. Now you want to dive back down below the layer again and not come back up until you're sure he has passed over you. Don't wait forever; you don't want him to have time to get out of your torpedo range. You can't afford to chase him or you'll either lose him or be dead.
  8. Ascend above the layer yet again. Hopefully he has just passed you and you're in his sonar blind spot. He can't see you, and hopefully there are none of his ASW helicopters too close.
  9. Fire torpedos at him (2 is probably enough but I'd recommend 4 just to make sure you get this over with) and immediately dive dive diiiiiive below the layer and preferably deeper.
  10. When you dive, creep away in a random direction at creep speed just in case anything heard the torpedo launches. Those tend to make noise and some crews will just blindly launch a homing torpedo at anything that sounds like a torpedo launch if they hear it. I wouldn't blame them.
  11. If all goes well, you have still completely avoided detection and he will be sunk. That's 100% total victory if so.
  12. Note that the torpedos are wire-guided. If you need to, you can actually drive them around and tell them to attack things by selecting them and using F3 and F1. So if anything goes wrong you can tell them to turn back around and find him again, etc. The only limits on your ability to do this is their fuel capacity and not breaking the guidence wire somehow (such as with excessive speed used in evasive maneuvering).
That is all.

Hopefully he is now sunk and you've downed your first serious adversary. Even if his equipment wasn't the most advanced, he seriously could have sunk you good.

Basic Training Submarine Operations, 2013 (optional challenge)

This next one is actually more difficult than the previous one as you're dealing with another sub in Area A and a ship with sophisticated ASW capabilities in Area C. There is another Steam Guide that provides some hints and details on this scenario if you have trouble so I'll just mention a few key things. Read these and try it without the other guide first, then refer to it if you have trouble.

You could just assign your sub to patrol missions for areas A and B, but I'd recommend commanding the sub manually so you can get a better feel for sub vs sub combat in area A. (Area B doesn't matter much as it is an essentially defenseless surface ship that might as well be a sitting duck. Sink him however you want.)

Just assigning a patrol mission for Area C will probably result in a dead sub, namely yours. Area C is similar to your last scenario except that you're dealing with a much more sophisticated ship with more sophisticated ASW helicopters that can spot you easily both above and below the thermocline. The only place to hide is inside the thermocline itself. Fortunately you don't need to worry about chasing him as he is patroling a small area, not on course for a world cruise.

Sinking the target isn't nearly as difficult as getting away without being sunk or damaged. Remember, helicopters can just fly directly over to where they think you are at 15x or more your creep speed and drop a homing torpedo directly on top of you. Yes they will be listening for the wooshy sounds of torpedo launches.

Area D is just destroying a defenseless land target with a cruise missile which you've done before so just consider that your victory lap if you're still alive by the time you get there.

If you get frustrated with this scenario, just leave it for now and move on to the next one. You can always come back to this later. You've at least got the basics down even if you're not Captian Marko Alexandrovich Ramius just yet.

Basic Training Warship Operations, 2013

Now that you know how to be a sub, you get to do the same stuff with a surface warship. Now you're properly equipped to shoot down annoying aircraft and you're the one with the nasty Anti-Submarine Warfare choppers.

You may find out that deck guns aren't that accurate when shooting at tiny land targets. Just keep shooting.

Like the previous one, if you keep getting killed or something just set this scenario aside for now and move on to the next one, but you probably won't have any problems considering your previous education. This scenario is easier than the last one.

Uncle Mark's Tutorials 1 - NATO Surface Group vs Soviet Forces, 1985 (optional challenge)

If you want some more surface warship action right away, give this one a try but also feel free to skip it for now. This one isn't too difficult. Don't forget to turn your active sensors on or off as appropriate for the situation.

If you want even more surface ship practice after that, try Uncle Mark's Tutorials - 3 - Yorktown in the Gulf of Sidra, 1985 which is a bit more confusing and difficult but still not that difficult.
Some Notes About Aircraft
The Ready Aircraft option actually means "change loadout", not "get ready for takeoff".

The first thing to know about airplanes is, don't try to switch loadouts unless you have hours to spare! Replacing bombs and missiles on an airplane might look simple but it's really more like assembling and installing new parts. This is avaition. On steroids. With explosives. There are pre-flight checks, paperwork to be filled out, mission plans have to be updated to reflect changes, pilots need rebriefing, and it's just more complicated than it looks.

There's actually a huge article about why this takes so long[] but I'd skip it for now and come back to it later if you want.

Some scenarios are rather time limited and you will fail them with your ground crews running around filling out forms, assembling parts, testing linkages and connections, etc, if you try to switch loadouts on aircraft at the wrong time.

Flight Tutorial Scenario Notes
Flight Tutorial 1 - Basic Manual Flight

This one is pretty obvious especially if you already did the naval tutorials. The main thing to pay attention to here is the time required to switch loadouts. Notice that "Ready Aircraft" actually means "switch loadout", not "get ready for takeoff", and changing loadout can take a lot of time.

Flight Tutorial 2 - Unattended Flight

When you define a new area notice that the reference points will start out selected. Remember that you can use Ctrl-End to deselect all reference points if you need.

This tutorial throws you into the Mission Editor rather early, but don't worry about the complexity right now. Once you're done with all the basic tutorials you'll be quite familiar with it.

Also remember you can use Keypad +/- to change the Time Compression, and you can use the menu in the upper right. You'll want to use this a lot so you don't have to wait so long for planes to take off.

If you're wondering why all of the planes didn't take off it's because the 1/3rd Rule box is checked. This means try to keep 1/3rd of the planes assigned to the mission in the air all the time with the rest kept on the ground ready until the ones in the air need to be relieved. This is a means of maintaining coverage over time.

Flight Tutorial 3 - AAW 1 - Simple Air Intercept

For this one I wouldn't bother to set up missions. Just Use F1 or Shift-F1 to shoot down the drone.

Flight Tutorial 4 - AAW 2 - Realistic Detection and Intercept

This time you actually need to use radar to detect the enemy. You're given several options for both detection and engagement, but the target is still one that can't shoot back.

Flight Tutorial 5 - AAW 3 - Challenged Intercept

Recommendation: go to Game->Side Doctrine (Ctrl-Chift-F9) and change WCS (weapon control status) for Air under Rules of Engagement to HOLD. Otherwise your aircraft will attack air targets as soon as they're identified as hostile. This will give you a chance to manually pick weapons to fire instead of your pilots getting trigger happy with whatever they want to use.

In addition to the issues mentioned, you may run into a situation where your planes are not firing their weapons when you expect. Use Shift-F1 to figure out why the weapons aren't being fired, and see "Why won't my units attack when I tell them to?" in the next section for more information on how to do that.

Flight Tutorial 6 - AAW 4 - Modern Airplanes Inteception

As with the previous scenario, you probably want to change your Side Doctrine RoE to WCS, air HOLD.

This is similar to the previous mission, just more difficult with more dangerous enemies.

Flight Tutorial 7 - AAW 5 - Russian and Chinese Modern Weapons

Similar to the others but this time with Russian and Chinese aircraft.

Flight Tutorial 8 - AAW 6 - Advanced Combat

This time you have a SAM site and some rather advanced aircraft, but your enemies include a SEAD patrol/stroke group. This one will require more thought than the others.
Intermezzo: Why won't my units attack when I tell them to?!?!
By now you've probably encountered a little problem with no explanation. You order units to attack and they don't attack.

Now is a good time to read...
Strike Tutorial Scenario Notes, Part 1: Basic & Intermediate
Strike Tutorial 1 - Bombing Range

Hopefully you instaled all those images because those will give you a better idea of what these generic targets actually are.

Sort of like reality, sometimes bombs don't explode or they miss even when you do everything right. So anything that you were supposed to destroy in a previous strike that didn't completely go boom should be destroyed with some of your extra planes at the end. It doesn't make that much difference since this is practice but might as well get used to adapting to the reality on the ground that didn't go according to plan. Assume you have no time to change loadouts and see how you can do with what's ready to go.

Strike Tutorial 2 - Driving in the Daisies

Now you get to learn about the mission editor, and how to literally fly under the radar. There are many many options here, but don't get overhwhelmed and try to understand every option right now, just the ones needed for the tutorial.

Ctrl-End will come in handy here for making sure all reference points are deselected before you start selecting a set of them.

Once you see a lot of things happening automatically you'll see why creating missions is the way to go for large scenarios where you don't have time to micromanage everything.

Strike Tutorial 3 - Complex Strike

Now you get less handholding. Now is also the time where you ought to examine some details about the weapons you have. Click on the Blue Base then click Aircraft. The lower left part of this window will contain links to information about the weapons on whichever plane you have selected.

The first thing to know about shutting down an airport is, an airport can operate with nothing but a runway (well, and at least some taxiways and tarmac space). Smaller airports routinely operate with no ATC radar, no control tower, no real terminal, and some don't even have an FBO for refueling. Large airports can operate the same way in a pinch. So you can completely smoke everything but the runway, and the airport could stil be extremely useful.

Therefore, even if you do nothing else, you must heavily damage the runway to prevent planes from landing and taking off. After that, aircraft are the hardest things at an airport to replace since they can't usually be replaced with cheap-o temporary versions of themselves like buildings can. Destroying everything else just increases the inconvenienve of servicing aircraft since ground vehicles (or other airplanes) can bring in fuel, supplies, parts, ammo, etc., assuming the runway "works".

Taking out the runway first also traps aircraft on the ground so they can't escape or come after you. You want your pilots to get a maximum amount of sitting duck stickers here.

Bombing the runway entry point doesnt need to be done fast once the runway is useless and mostly just increases the time needed to repair the airport. (In some cases you may want to bomb runway entry points first though as there may fewer of those than there are runways and/or they may be easier to damage.)

You might also want to retry this one to see if different weapons work better on different targets than the ones you used in your first attempt. This is a good one to experiment with.

I also suggest trying to schedule the missions on this one using start times. Warning! When you click "today" on the date selector, you won't get "today" in the game, you'll get the real-life today from the system clock! This is so silly it ought to be considered a bug. Also note that mission start time is in Zulu not Local time. Finally, if the mission isn't supposed to start now then manually set the status of the mission to Inactive. The start and stop times automatically set the active status, but if the mission is set to active manually then the start time won't do anything.

Strike Tutorial 4 - Laser Dance

Learn how to hide from missiles using terrain. It's not too hard as long as you fly low enough when in SAM range.
Strike Tutorial Scenario Notes, Part 2: Advanced
Strike Tutorial 5 - Pealing the Onion

Now things get tricky and you need a real strategy, not just tactics like flying under the radar. Not only do you have SAMs to deal with, but you have a variety of ranges from longer range SAM sites to short range mobile SAMs to very short range MANPADS and AAA guns. Thus you have a whole "onion" of air defenses to eliminate.

The only thing going for you is the fact that there are no enemy fighter jets to deal with... and you have higher tech equipment than the enemy.

This is another mission where you probably do want to spend some time becoming more familiar with your weapons. Though you could rearm your planes, ideally you want to handle all of the SEAD at least with only the initial loads. Here are some tips:
  1. Normally you'd want to time the attacks closer together, but you may find it easier for now to just leave planes on the ground and launch as you finish one part, at least on your first attempt.
  2. You can't just set up missions for everything on this one. The Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) needs to be done with manual control and allocation of weapons (Shift-F1). You can't just set up a SEAD Patrol mission to deal with everything as the AI will make many bad decisions.
  3. The Big Back early warning radar towers are outside of SAM range and aren't defended. Don't use the HARM missiles to destroy them! It's a complete waste. Those can just be destroyed immediately with dumb bombs like cluster bombs. If you're feeling paranoid, send one of your recon planes by to look for trouble around them. These radars are mostly just there to illustrate a waste of HARM missiles.
  4. You only need one recon plane in the air at a time. Don't let it get too close to the wrong things or it will get shot down. It may take you a few attempts to get used to what is safe to do and what isn't.
  5. When manually ordering planes around, keep in mind the limitations of different weapons. If the pilots aren't shooting or bombing when ordered, use Shift-F1 and check the weapons allocation window for problems as previously described.
  6. Use the HARM missiles sparingly because you never know what sort of mobile SAMs you might find. Mobile targets that emit radar constantly are the best things to use HARM missiles to destroy. The worst thing to use them for is undefended, unarmored fixed location radar installations like big radar towers that are easy to hit with unguided munitions. HARMs can be used to shoot AAA guns, but they don't turn their radars on unless they're shooting so they have to be provoked into activating their fire control radar and that's kind of tricky.
  7. For the long-range SAM sites,use the SLAM (long range, aka stand-off) missiles not the HARMs. The SLAMs have such long range they can be fired from completely outside of SAM range. That's kind of what they're for. Once the SAM sites are almost destroyed, they'll only have very short range MANPADS to defend themselves with so you can just ignore them. Hint: don't try to finish them off with 20mm gun straifing.
  8. Some of the air defenses can shoot down your slower guided missiles! They'll have a much harder time with laser guided bombs though. So you'll want to figure out what shoots down your missiles and use bombs or faster missles to eliminate any anti-missile capable defenses.
  9. Trying to machine gun strafe AAA guns or anything with short or very short range air defense capabiliy is suicide. Similar with anything that requires low altitude, especially combined with slow speed. The air defenses are good enough in this scenario that I don't think there's much you can usefully strafe as anything vulnerable to 20mm guns can shoot back or will usually have something nearby that can. Even the fuel tanks don't take much damage from 20mm.
  10. Once the airport defenses are taken out, you can just use the appropriate strike missions to bomb the targets you find. If there's even one AAA gun left though, it will shoot down one or more of your bomb trucks (which are loaded down and slow). So you really have to make sure the airport is clear before bringing in the heavy, slow, dumb bombers.
  11. If you do everything correctly then given the technology and ordinance you have available you should be able to do all of this without losing any planes.
  12. If you don't get unlucky you should be able to at least take out all air defenses and disable the runways with no reloads, but you have a day to bomb so feel free to reload strike planes several times to eliminate everything.
  13. Pretend you only get your one initial set of SLAMs. Those are so expensive that in reality you wouldn't be allowed to just treat them like 500lb bombs. More realistic scenarios will limit expensive weapons like these.
This will likely take you more than one try but it's educational enough to be worth it. Every time you make a mistake you'll be able to figure out what you did wrong, so it's not a waste of time.

There's not much point in skipping this scenario if you have trouble because the next one is essentially a more difficult version of this one. So just keep at it and eventually you'll get a feel for what's going on and what you need to do. You really only get just enough planes loaded with just enough weapons to take care of everything with few misses or malfunctions, so if you get unlucky and need to rearm/refuel to finish off the SEAD part it's not a huge failure. This scenario doesn't punish you for taking your time to get things done, unlike the next one.

I recommend replaying this until you can destroy the air defenses and bomb the airport without losing any planes. I had to screw this up at least 6 times, but I did learn somethng each time.

Strike Tutorial 6 - Dodging the Bullet

This is a harder version of the last one with higher tech air defenses and some fighter planes that will come after you if you can't shut down the runways quickly enough. Well, think of it this way. At least they're not already in the air looking for you.

The Eurofghter Typhoons completely outclass your equipment so you must shut down the runways in one hour! Otherwise you're toast. Once the runways are shut down though you will have more time to deal with anything else that requires destruction.

You'll want to play this one at least three times. Your recon plane is likely to get shot down because unlike last time its sensors aren't as good. Therefore you may find yourself having to get too close to things to pin down their exact locations.

Basic Training Air Operations, 1983 (optional but recommended)

This can all be done by creating the necessary missions. Manual control isn't needed for the most part. Really you could skip this one because it's easier than the previous two but what the heck. Think of it as a good opportunity to use air missions where you previously couldn't.

There is a more detailed guide for this scenario available, but by the time you've done everything else you probably won't need it. This ought to be pretty easy, so think of it as review. You don't have time to change lodouts. The main thing to do is get all of the planes that need to attack at the same time in the air (by launching them from the aircraft window) before activing the strike missions. Otherwise, "shock and awe" will look more like a line at the grocery store.

Bonus: At the end after the AA is all destoyed, totally abuse your loitering air superiority fighters by having them strafe some (appropriate) ground targets. This is not a proper use for these planes but you can get them to do it.

Air-to-Air Refueling Tutorial (optional)

You may just want to skip Tomcat84's refueling tutorial until you encouner a scenario that can benefit from the advanced options for air-to-air refueling missions, but I mention it just so you know it's there.
Advanced Submarine Tutorial Notes (2.1-2.4)
These are so complete that I really have nothing to add.

If you're going to play any scenario that involves submarines then you will want to complete these beforehand. You will learn invaluable things about how to hide among other noise sources, when you have to creep, when you can hot rod through the water, and how to do these things as quetly as possible without getting sunk.

If you can complete all of these and learn the material then you'll be able to destroy small fleets of ships with their ASW and attack sub escorts using only one properly equipped sub.

The only reason I didn't include them among the essentials needed to get started is that some people may want to focus more on air warfare scenarios, and I didn't want to direct players to focus too much on one area right away. But if you're going to do anything with submarines then these contain material that's so important that trying to operate a submarine without learning it is almost like suicide.

After finishing Submarine Tutorial 2.4, I recommend trying Uncle Mark's Tutorial 4 - Boston Guards the Denmark Strait, 1985 even if you don't play any other Uncle Mark's tutorials because this one is like a more complex and difficult version of 2.4.
Uncle Mark's Tutorial Scenario Notes
#1 - NATO Surface Group vs Soviet Forces, 1985

This one isn't too difficult. Don't forget to turn your active sensors on or off as appropriate for the situation.

#2 - English Jets Over Uganda, 1973

This one is a little tricky due to the 1970s technology, the fact that you're operating at longer range than you previously have, and you have cloud cover. Therefore you don't get nearly as much loiter time and pilots can't see the ground without getting kind of low. To make things worse you seem to be lacking specialized anti-runway bombs which makes it more difficult to shut down the runways. You also have a lot of neutral and civilian aircraft flying around, so you may need to make some judgment calls based on aircraft emissions and behaviors to save your pilots time and fuel trying to visually identify unknown aircraft. Hint: something traveling at 100kts in a straight line at 12,000ft is probably not a fighter jet. Something emitting active air-to-air radar and chasing your planes around at 500kts probably is.

It's worth experimenting with different strategies. It seems to be a bit hard to handle this scenario using only missions. Air Patrols seem to work out OK, as do suport missions for the AEW and recon.

#3 - Yorktown in the Gulf of Sidra, 1985

Now the goal is to make a show of force rather than destroy stuff. You may end up destroying things, but that isn't the mission goal so you don't seem to get any points for it.

Tip: Enable "Quick Turnaround" on your helicopter. Also, rather than land the helicopter when you want to get it out of the way of possible trouble, you might want to create a reference point near the ship locked to ship position and heading to use as a "parking space" for when you want to keep the helo close to momma ship. Create a support mission with only this RP and set the loiter altitude low like 100ft ASL. The reason is, if you land the helo then you'll be forced to go through the readyness cycle again (which could be 3h) whereas if you just have it hover for a while you can immediately reassign it to the ASW mission and have it go back to work.

#4 - Boston Guards the Denmark Strait, 1985

This one is rather fun but it is also rather difficult since you have more than one sub and more than one warship to contend with. Doing Submarine Tutorial 2.1-2.4 before attempting this is highly recommended otherwise you will have a much more difficult time avoiding death. If Submarine Tutorial 2.4 is your final exam for the second round of sub tutorials, you can think of this one as a final project as it is sort of like a more demanding version of 2.4.

#5 - Motozintla Incursion, 2015

This scenario is more like a drug interdiction border patrol than a typical military situation and is mostly an attempt to show the range of different things that CMANO is good for simulating. I personally just kind of skipped this one as I didn't find it particularly interesting. My main tip here is you don't need to patrol the whole border, just the area near the vulnerable town.

#6 - Toledo Hits 'Em Hard, 2004

This is essentially the cruise missile version of the raid on Osama bin Laden. A particular city in Pakistan is reported to have safe houses for an unspecified terrorist organization. Elements in the government are protecting them so you get no cooperaion from Pakistan in eliminating this threat. You have to violate Pakistani airspace with a recon drone to positively ID the safe houses without it getting shot down, then you need to hit them with cruise missiles from a sub without the cruise missiles getting shot down or the sub being found. Oh, and your sub needs to retreat to a specific area before the mission time runs out. Not too hard but not as easy as you might think.

Remember that missiles can hide behind terrain just like planes can, you can program the cruise missiles with waypoints, and remember what you learned about escaping detection with subs.
Beginner Scenario Notes
These are notes about the three "recommended beginner" standalone scenarios suggested in the MegaFAQ. These scenarios are small and are in the Standalone Scenarios folder.

Stand Up, 2011

You can play this as either the UK or Argentina. It's probably easier to play the UK but the sides are set up pretty evenly. It's a small scenario sort of like the larger tutorials but you don't get any advice on how to handle it, so you're completely left alone to use what you've previously learned. It's also a rather simple "just blow stuff up" scenario where the stuff to blow up is limited to enemy ships and aircraft, so no need to take down a multi-layer air defense system or plan out strikes on land targets. There are plenty of points to be scored without that. You might also find yourself in a good old-fashioned ship vs. ship shootout with deck guns rather than than the somewhat more boring modern anti-ship missile warfare.

The UK has some helicopters that are good for recon and you might be wondering how to use these in the best way. The answer is: set up an ASuW Patrol for them. You might wonder "what's the point of an anti-anything patrol when they can't shoot anything?" Well, patrols aren't just good for shooting things, they're also good for getting recon aircraft to identify unknown targets. So if you set up an ASuW patrol then you'll have a helicopter that will automatically fly toward unknown surface contacts and identify them. This is pretty helpful when there are a bunch of civilian boats around but you're expecting trouble and aren't sure where a warship is going to try to sneak in. Much easier than manually plotting courses for the helicopters and then forgetting to keep track of how much fuel they have left.

So have at it, shoot some things, and try not to get shot.

Operation Wooden Leg, 1985

This is a good practice scenario for air-to-air refueling as you need to attack targets in Tunesia with strike planes based in Israel. It may help some to do the air-to-air refueling tutorial beforehand but this is a pretty simple refueling situation so it's not strictly necessary. It's a good demo of how tankers can extend the range of warplanes that ordinarily would be completely unable to attack targets so far away from their airbase, and it shows how a country doesn't need a Nimitz class carrier to attack distant targets if they have in-air refueling capability.

Operation Trident, 1971

You are India, the enemy is Pakistan, and it's 1971. You can probably see where this is going: while you won't be using the latest equipment even for 1971, you have some respectable firepower and the navies are farly small.

This scenario could probably be called "Pakistan gets its ♥♥♥ kicked" because in this historical incident India has a major advantage. So it's not much of a challenge, but it does get you used to identifyig ships before you shoot them (leave those fishing boats alone, they're just trying to make a living) and helps you learn what naval weapons will damage/destroy what sorts of land and sea targets. You may notice for example that 30mm guns can beat the crap out of a container ship if enough rounds are fired but they probably won't sink it.

The Shark, 1971

From the Pakistan side, the one with the sub, this one is pretty easy compared to the submarine tutorials. The enemy in this case doesn't have the best ASW capabilities so you don't necessarily have to be as careful about creeping around at slow speeds all the time if you make decent depth and course plotting decisions. The water is quite shallow, the sensors aren't the greatest, torpedos aren't the smartest, and you may need to do things like creep up on a ship, spot it with the periscope, and fire on it at point blank range before running off. The ships can escape your torpedos pretty easily at flank speed.

It's a good bit harder to be India in this scenario because even with two ships and two ASW halicopters operating at one time, your sensors are just not very good in these conditions. You'll probably get torpedos launched at you before you have any idea where the sub is. Once torpedos are detected, pounce on the area with the ASW choppers and their dip sonar arrays.

Step 5: Other Extras and Tools
CMANO Scen View

Now that you know what you're doing, but probably don't feel like an expert yet, you might be wondering what other scenarios aren't too difficult/easy, too complex/simple, too modern/antiquated, or what?

Here's a useful tool that will help you figure this out:
CMANO Scen View[] (download[])

This lets you filter on complexity, difficulty, time period, setting, and description among other things so your question will be answered according to your specifications.

The only usability bump here is that at this time there's no way to launch a scenario file through command line options or a file extension association, so you'll still have to launch Command and pick the scenario manually once you find the one you want.
Step 6: Profit
You're not yet ready to impersonate a flag officer just yet, but after doing at least the tutorials that I didn't mark optional you'll know enough about how to play the game that you can at least make an attempt at any other scenario. So try whatever you want next!

Just be aware that there are still little things that you're going to be surprised and initially confused by, still many strategies and tactics to learn, and the game isn't "level balanced" or designed to be "fair" in some arbitrary way since real life military conflicts aren't either. That's part of why it's really a simulation more than a game.

Also don't forget there are lots of knowledgable people willing to answer questions on the forums and discord server.

More sources of information and self-directed learning:
  • The WeaponsRelease Wiki[] has some more specific guides[].
  • You might want to print out the printer friendly user manual[] and read it, or just keep the PDF handy in case you want to look up something. (See here for the manual reformatted for A4 paper[].)
  • Read the Manual Addendum[] because the PDF manual hasn't been updated in a while.
  • There is a huge Mega FAQ[] you might want to look at, or at least bookmark in case qustions arise.
  • The Steam community section isn't the primary online forum for this game so you might want to join the official matrix games forum[] or look around for some things there.
  • Join the (unofficial but almost might as well be) CMANO Discord server at
  • Watch some video tutorials[].
  • There is a wiki[] that's worth taking a look at but don't expect it to replace other documentation.
  • And of course there's the Steam discussion group which isn't totally inactive even if it isn't the official forum.
If you found this guide useful, no donations are necessary just give it a thumbs up instead (which will help other people find it sooner) and leave any suggestions or comments below.
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NimrodX  [author] May 13 @ 6:43pm 
I'm fine with embedding it. It hasn't changed in a while so should be pretty stable. All I'd ask is include a link to this page in your doc just so someone knows where to go if there are updates.
Stonedog May 12 @ 7:11pm 
Mr . NimrodX , I was wondering if you would be ok with me embeding your guides link in a Document(its a guide here but more a simple tool for New Players not a GUIDE) I will then give to the new players we get on Steam for CMANO. I always give them your link as the second guide to use after Mr HL Experts , in the order they need be used to be effective, Only goal I have, stop jumping back and forth for lkinks, and drop 1 link for all needed. Matrix Forums, Errata , FAQ and so on . I unsderstand if you are in anyway not inclined, would add that Mr. HLE has agreed. I Have zero agenda than to help these people Make the decision to buy and play , well educated to both so they have less frustration doing so. Nothing more.
NimrodX  [author] Jan 18 @ 3:39pm 
Thanks. The real praise goes to the people who created the tutorial missions though. All the guide really does is try to tie everything together.
Пьер Безухов Jan 18 @ 1:58am 
Thank you very much for the guide. I have had CMANO for a long time and I have tried many Youtube tutorial video but they are long, hard to follow at a slow pace and moving back and forth to learn with a video is more difficult than a text guide. Your guide is concise and delegate the details to other CMANO tutorial when necessary (for example, sub tutorial). After 4 years of owning the game, I was able to enjoy it thanks to your guide. :steamhappy:
Rzt99 Dec 1, 2018 @ 7:05pm 
Thx for the guide
NimrodX  [author] Nov 27, 2018 @ 4:10am 
Shreddenstein Nov 26, 2018 @ 11:52pm 
Cheers mate, this has been a great guide and provided great direction on easing me into a signifigant step up in complexity, game.
NimrodX  [author] Oct 10, 2018 @ 1:14am 
discobunnywalker Oct 7, 2018 @ 10:42am 
Great instructions had this game a while but never really played, after reading your guide, I launched my first mission today :steamhappy:
NimrodX  [author] Aug 28, 2018 @ 12:18pm 
Thanks Panzerjäger