Posted 05 February 2012 - 07:05 PM
Falkland 2010 After Action Report
I was a student in 1982 and had no involvement in the Falklands War. My memories of those momentous events came from religiously reading the papers, listening to the radio and watching TV. My perspective was therefore one that was very much from the sidelines. In more recent years, I have watched as successive British governments have cut our armed forces into the bone itself and stretched them beyond all reasonable limits. Much more recently I have witnessed the Falklands inspired rhetoric, government sanctioned flag burnings and attacks on British companies taking place in Argentina. The question that I have kept asking myself in consequence is; if Argentina attempted to retake the Falklands, could we stop them? I decided to use the Harpoon program to find out.
Harpoon Advanced Naval Warfare or Harpoon Ultimate Commanders Edition? I have always found the latter to be more accessible so H.U.C.E. it was. Surprisingly there was no up to date Falklands scenario included with the standard version of the game. However, the HarpGamer site provided me with Divefreak's Falkland 2010 scenario and custom database. At first I couldn't get the scenario to run. This is because the custom database was not included in the scenario download. However a prompt answer to my post on the HarpGamer website provided the missing file. Perhaps in future Divefreak could include the database with the scenario files.
On firing up the scenario, I had a close look at the disposition of my forces which were as follows. North West of the Falklands some 140 miles off the Argentine cost was the Trafalgar class submarine HMS Tireless, armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk missiles. The Islands themselves contained the Mount Pleasant Airbase, a number of SAM/radar sites plus four Typhoon aircraft. Close examination of the loadouts available to the latter revealed that these had been restricted to intercept, ferry and escort options only with no anti-surface capability included. Some 300 miles to the north-east was a surface group consisting of HMS Chatham, a type 22/3 frigate, plus a number of patrol craft and minesweepers. My initial impression was that this particular formation was in the worst possible location to offer any assistance and this turned out to be entirely correct. Over 3000 miles to the north lay the airfield on Ascension Island containing reinforcements consisting of 4 x Typhoons, 4 x Tornados, an E3D (airborne early warning) aircraft and 2 x VC10 tankers.
If the forces on the Falklands represented the circled wagons, then the forces on Ascension were the cavalry. Could the settlers in the wagons keep the injuns at bay until the cavalry came to the rescue? My 4 Typhoons at Mount Pleasant certainly had their work cut out. They all made ace on their first patrols and still the Argentinians kept coming. The Typhoons were all in the air, but almost out of missiles when a wave of 25 Skyhawks came in. They took 2 out with their last ASRAAMS, and the SAM batteries took a further 10 out, but the rest hit Mount Pleasant causing 9% damage. Thank goodness I hadn't landed any of my 'winchester' Typhoons. They were however armed and ready by the time the next wave of Skyhawks came in. Only 3 survived to bomb Mount Pleasant, causing a further 3% damage. None made it back.
By this point, I had effectively won. HMS Tireless damaged the San Juan base with Tomahawks. The Typhoons and Tornados from Ascension, re-fuelled en-route by the VC10s arrived at Mount Pleasant along with the E3D. The E3D plus escort was launched after re-fuelling and immediately located an Argentinian surface group approaching the Islands from the south-west. HMS Tireless was by this time well positioned to intercept them and did so, sinking three of them with Spearfish torpedoes. She had an unpleasant few moments when the Argentinians launched torpedoes on her in return, but she evaded them successfully and lived to tell the tale. The Tornados armed with Sea Eagle and ALARM finished off the remainder.
Divefreak had not given me the ideal disposition of forces, nor had he given the Typhoons any anti-surface options in the loadouts. This certainly made for a more interesting game and yet I still prevailed. My only loss was 12% damage to the Mount Pleasant airfield. The principal reason for this was the vast technology gap between the British and the Argentinians. The former were using state of the art kit, the latter were equipped with systems that had hardly changed since the 1980s. What concerned me most was how the British defence rested on a 4 fragile Typhoon aircraft which indeed it does in real-life. If the Argentinians (perhaps using special forces) could find a way of eliminating these, and also (with foreign help) find a way of interdicting any reinforcements coming from Ascension, an attack on the Falklands would become a much more viable proposition.