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#1 Mikawa



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Posted 14 July 2016 - 01:03 AM

G'day everyone. Mike here, newbie to this forum but not to Harpoon. If any of the original 'pooners' are around, they'll probably recognise the nickname.

Ok, this is probably the wrong section but I did look and nothing else seems more appropriate.

Cutting to the chase...

I've been playing the PC Harpoon since the first week the original version went on sale then followed its evolution to H II. I've always been a keen WW2 enthusiast so when Jon's database editor showed up, I was in heaven and built my own WW2 database. Not many folks back then were into the WW2 stuff (Mostly because game limitations prevented accurate doctrine for the era) so I drifted away from the active community. Don't get me wrong, I like modern stuff as well. What I am now wondering is, what is the latest version of the game compatible with harpoon II, is it available and will it work with my database? Only I can answer the last one but I sure hope some one here can solve the 1st two for me. My current ver is H III 3.6.3

The following read is optional and probably of little interest to many.

It's taken eons of testing and innumerable swearwords to overcome many of the databases limitations so a more accurate portrayal of the era can be played. Things like bomb loads are limited, Comms have ranges, darkness without radar = blind as a bat and pilot quality has an effect on outcome on dogfights. Almost every thing is logistically settable at scenario creation time, from bomb loads to how many 'Aces' are on the base.. I wont bore you with details. Anyone interested can contact me and be welcome. :)

Database at present:
1146 ships
553 aircraft
Covers the era, 1856-1947.... and still growing.

You do know I am relying on a 'pooner's' passion here, hoping everyone is as happy to help a lost or curious soul as I am.

Cheers all

Mike AKA Mikawa

#2 TonyE


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Posted 15 July 2016 - 08:15 PM

Welcome back Mike!

3.6.3 will probably serve you best unless you do some major updates to your DB to match the game engine changes in the newer 3.xx versions.

#3 Mikawa



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Posted 16 July 2016 - 09:17 PM

Thanks Tony. I was pretty sure, I'd have to. My plan was to find out exactly what I have to do. :)

The ratio I play is probably 8 WW2 scenarios to 2 modern era ones. The DataBase started off as no more than a whim to re-play the Bismarck affair, half a dozen ships and not much else. It's probably been 10 or 12 years since I was active in the Harpoon Community. Since then, the DB has grown and I've re-fought almost every WW2 battle. I even managed to simulate 'Tiger Tanks' that move about and fight so I could re-do the Kursk Offensive. I'm guessing some of my more 'lateral-thinking' solutions might not be compatible.

Ideally, I'm hoping there is a good game engine upgrade to enable a few more of the 'features' the engine allows for, but does not utilise (Gun arcs as a prime example). Should there happen to be said desirable up grade available, the 2nd most serious concern for me is, will it work with my WW2 DataBase? I'll need the former so I can check the latter. :)


The alternative is a dual Harpoon install, and that too is not a problem. I just want to get pre-missile era stuff, Ironclads, WW1 and WW2 stuff to act even just a little bit more WW2-like. :) Non-snorkle subs that cruise on the surface and dive on contact, guns that wont bear won't fire and a guy with a .303 can't shoot down a B-29 at 12,000M altitude, (working height restrictions for guns and artillery), that sort of stuff. My bet, based on zero knowledge but a good gut feeling is that any up-grades since are focused on the modern-era Harpooner. Its hardly relevant to the greater Harpoon community but if I can get a bit more accuracy out of it due to just 1 or 2 minor game engine mods that most gamers probably wouldn't even notice anyway, I'll share the DB for anyone who needs a look at how a crazed mind treats a good database as long as you bear in mind, I created it for me. I've strived for maximum realism when actually playing so some things on menu screens may seem odd, I've learned how to work around a lot of it on a small scale and named stuff accordingly to remind me how, mostly my human intervention and a little bit that sorta works on the AI side.


Here's an example of a recent work-around (The gamer purists will shriek in horror)


I wanted to game out a USAAF 1000 bomber daylight mission to Berlin. I chose Mission 250: March 6th, 1944. 1st step, see how long it takes the B-17 to fly 90 miles, (the length of a 1000 bomber stream.) Now, to achieve the correct 'Combat Box' formations, I lay out the launching airfields in a 'Combat Box' pattern. They launch in groups of 4 simultaneously at mission start, in formations of 16 (Squadrons) and 3 of those in high, middle and low boxes. By the time the 1st formations reach 90 miles, the last ones just launched and I have my 1000 bomber stream. Do the maths and delay the escorts launching so the rendezvous happens at the Dutch border. From then on, its just ALARMSTART! and normal guns ACM. (It'd be a 'Bandits, 9 o'clock low' if you were playing USAAF) Plays pretty damn accurate. On a good day, I can match the kills vs losses ratio history records but I've dug my Messerschmidt out of a few craters too.


Edit: More crazy stuff. Ok, I wanted to re-fight the Battle of Britain. Guess what? The Germans won. Now what? 'Operation Sealion' of course. Guess what? Brits lost again. Now what? The Med.. the Persian Gulf.. Nth Africa.... Now what? Russia or the USA?  Decisions, decisions.

The way I campaign is an on-going series of scenarios that must accept looses but can add what history recorded as produced at the time. I may loose 250 in a battle, but history records, 600 were manufactured that month. Next scenario, I have survivors + 600 to start with. If you game through May, 1941, you can add a 'Bismarck', or 1943 and add an Iowa, stuff like that.


#4 Mikawa



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Posted 23 August 2016 - 06:05 AM

Hello Tony.

I've been out of country (research trip) and only got back this morning. I've caught up on your e-mails to me and appreciate you taking the time to do so. I knew Darren's health wasn't good but your news floored me. He and I we're great friends. I had visited him a couple of times but at that time, he still held hopes for a recovery. It also saddens me the H3 community has gone the way you described. We had a great group of people back when I was active and really valued the members insights and comradeship. I was for a while contemplating offering my database to the general H3 community but it would appear, not worth the bandwidth to bother uploading it. If you or any one here would like to see how I worked around many of the game limitations, I'd be happy to pass along a copy but I also understand that the guys into HC have little interest in 'The age of Steel' (The name for my DB) period of history.


My primary interest has mostly been the era of the ironclads, 1865 to 1947 and only H3 allowed me to build a database to sate this interest. It allows me to generate bases anywhere on any map I create and that versatility is what diminishes my interest in HC. I do enjoy the modern era to a degree, mostly using it as people like Tom Clancy and Larry Bond did. I'm an author, with almost 20 novels to my credit. Over half of those have been based on modern military conflicts, albeit fictional encounters and the HUD database is what I use to game out scenarios, record results and write it up in story form to add realism to my works. Its an extremely useful writer's tool.

I'm currently using it for a fictional Australia/Indonesia conflict  I'll tack a small attachment onto this post in case you'd like to see how I handle things. This ACM encounter I gamed out several times to obtain an 'average' result and that was the basis of this encounter.

Okay, it won't allow a word.doc file to upload, I just tried. At the expense of boring you to death, I'll paste a shoret excerpt on the end of this post (If it fits)

Once again, thank you for all your efforts and I really do appreciate it. This was the spirit of the Harpoon community I was active in and I can see it still exists, even if to a somewhat lesser degree.


With my very best regards,

Mike AKA Mikawa.

The following read is optional.

Chapter 6

When angels cry




            “Darwin tower, Condor flight rolling.” The pilot of the lead FA-18F Super Hornet, Squadron Leader John ‘Blackjack’ Blackwood reported. He glanced left and right at the other three aircraft, increased throttles to min afterburner for a brief second before pushing it to the stops.

            “Darwin acknowledges, Condor flight.” The tower replied. “Condor flight, switch to ‘Red-three’ for Gypsy Zero Three airborne controller when clear.”

            “Darwin, Condor flight is up.” ‘Blackjack’ radioed. “Switching to ‘Red-three.” The Squadron Leader toggled his radio to the ‘Red-three’ frequency and called in. “Gypsy Zero Three, Condor flight of four.”

            “Condor flight, Gypsy three. Vector three-three-zero and make angels fifteen for Boxcar at ‘Gumtree’. The fighter controller on the 737 ‘Wedgetail’ Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft acknowledged and ordered the flight to rendezvous with the Boeing 707 tanker aircraft, call sign ‘Boxcar’ for a mid-air refuelling. The Royal Australian Air Force Boeing 737 AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control) aircraft featured a very distinctive "Top Hat" style radome containing the Northrop Grumman MESA Multi-role Electronically Scanned Array radar. ‘Gumtree’ was a standard patrol orbit area about eighty kilometres north-west of Darwin over the Arafura Sea where the 707 was waiting.

            “Condor flight, three-three-zero, angels fifteen for Boxcar at ‘Gumtree’.” The FA-18 lead replied, adding the figure of eight thousand feet to the angels fifteen altitude given. Exact altitudes were never given out over non-secure VHF radios so a previously decided base altitude of eight thousand feet would be added to all ‘angel’ calls during the flight.

            “Boxcar, Gypsy three. Condor flight of four, ETA, four minutes.”

            “Gypsy three, Boxcar, acknowledges, Condor flight in four minutes.”

            While the fighters were meeting up with the tanker aircraft, the ‘Wedgetail’ crew received an update on the ROE or Rules of Engagement from Command in Canberra. They transmitted the latest tactical picture to keep the political administration informed and hoped Canberra realised they were time-critical. The situation could very quickly deteriorate into a shooting match. Tensions with Indonesia had been very high since the arrest of the UNACET leaders on Timor. Defence Minister, Jon Roberson had served time in the Royal Australian Air Force rising to the lofty heights of base liaison officer at Amberley before retiring to pursue a political career. He knew intimately, the feelings of servicemen and women and was trying his damnedest to convince Cabinet to give, what he felt were his people, some leeway. Always, the political dimension conspired to tie the warrior’s hands.

            So far, the only indications the Indonesians were responding were radio intercepts called ESM or Electronic Support Measures. The ‘Wedgetail’ crew knew Indonesian fighters had been scrambled but it would be a while longer yet before they entered radar coverage. The strength of the signal combined with the bearing as well as various methods of measuring the diffusion and backscatter helped the airborne controller create a three dimensional picture of the airspace outside his radar coverage. Knowing where the fighters lifted off from was simply a place to start. Working on the assumption the fighters would be coming his way and knowing the performance figures of the likely interceptors gave the controller a set of variables he could use to establish a probable time until he gained positive radar contact. They also gained valuable insights into how fast the Indonesian chain-of-command reacted to a situation, which in this case was very quickly. This meant the means to react was already in place and that made the Indonesian Air Force’s mission political. How quickly any military force can react is directly proportional to the priority the politicians place on the perceived mission. This observation was also forwarded to Canberra.

            “Gypsy Three, Condor flight clear from Boxcar.” ‘Blackjack’ reported.

            “Condor flight, make angels twenty one. Course to steer is three one five. The only traffic is a JAL commercial heavy, VOR out of Brisbane to Tokyo, vector zero one three, two seven zero kilometres heading three two five. They have been alerted.”

            “Gypsy three, Condor flight acknowledges.”

            Condor Flight adopted a combat spread formation as they climbed to altitude. This put ‘Blackjack’ and his wingman out in front with the other pair of fighters behind, a thousand feet higher and about a kilometre offset. The flight of four passed through the only clouds, a reasonably solid overcast at about twenty-four thousand feet before breaking through into the clear night sky.

            “Condor Flight, Gypsy Three,” chirped from the radio.

            “Condor Flight.” ‘Blackjack’ answered.

            “Condor Flight, be advised, patrol frigate on your port quarter has gone active. Turn to three-four-five and maintain angels twenty-one. Range to frigate is one-one-zero kilometres – they probably have you on radar.”

            The threat receiver on the FA/18 Hornets had already indicated the radar emissions of the Indonesian frigate and the call from Gypsy Three simply confirmed the fact. The turn north was to maintain a reasonable distance from the vessel as a mark of respect. They did not want to seem provocative in the frigate’s crew’s eyes. “Gypsy Three, Condor Flight, three-four-five, acknowledged.”

            Two minutes later, the radio came to life once more. “Condor flight, radar contact, bogies. Four flights of two, heading one-four-five angels twelve and climbing; bearing three-two-two from Condor; range one-four-five kilometres; speed five-five-zero. Our best estimate is F-16’s out of Iswahjudi Airforce Base. Be advised, ROE, condition three.” The controller advised and informed. Rules of Engagement condition three meant a ‘no-fire-first’ situation and visual identification must be made before they could fire.

            “Gypsy Three, Condor Flight confirms all. Advise Tindal, they better scramble the alert birds.” Blackjack cursed under his breath as he called up the rest of his flight to make sure they all heard and understood. “Condor Flight.”




            Four more FA-18’s standing alert on Tindal’s main runway lit off their afterburners and began to roll. Four more moved up to ‘alert-5’ status to replace them as they banked away to the north.

            “Condor Flight, Gypsy Three, Python flight is up.” The controller advised.

            Fifteen seconds later, a new voice came over the controller’s radio. “Gypsy Three, Navy Zero-Four is feet wet.”

            “Gypsy Three confirms, Navy Zero-Four. Come right to one-one-zero. Be advised, Indonesian frigate at your three o’clock, range three-five kilometres. Maintain heading for zero two minutes then come right to one-three-seven.”

            “Gypsy Three, Navy Zero-Four, one-one-zero for two minutes then one-three-seven.”

The Indonesian F-16 Flight.

            “Sarman, Dragon flight calling.” The flight leader called. His position was Flight Leader with Three Squadron, or Skadron Udara 3 "Sarang Naga" ("Dragon's Nest) as it was known within the Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Udara TNI–AU, headquartered at Iswahjudi Airforce Base.

            “Sarman, copies, Dragon Flight.” The officer on the frigate replied. Sarman was the call-sign of the Indonesian Naval Frigate, KRI Nala, one of three almost identical ships in the Fatahillah Class. Dutch-built, these guided missile frigates, called FFG’s, were very well armed and highly capable for their size. The vessels had a displacement of 1450tonnes with two diesel engines providing a rather fast 21knots cruising speed and a gas turbine capable of being engaged to give a top speed of 30knots. Sporting both Exocet anti-ship missiles and Mistral surface to air missiles, all the ships of the class were formidable opponents indeed.

            “Sarman, bearing to Australian fighters?”

            “Dragon Flight, fighters are due east of you, range ninety kilometres. Intermittent contact, single aircraft, eight kilometres south of coastline. Suspect helicopter reported by Viqueque army patrols.

            “Sarman, Dragon flight confirms. Dragon lead to Dragon Red one and two.”

            “Red one.”

            “Red Two.”

            “Red Flight, intercept that helicopter. Force it to return to Viqueque. Blue flight, take top cover position. Lead and Gold flights, we shall force the Australian fighters away or shoot them down.”

            The three sections replied with Red flight turning south and Blue section climbing away to the east. Lead and Gold flights kept their noses pointed at the Australian fighters, the closure rate more than kilometre a second.

Aboard the Wedgetail:

            “Condor Flight, bogies have separated. One pair is heading south-east towards Navy Zero-Four. Another pair is heading east and climbing. The remaining four bogies are coming right at you.”

            As the controller watched his screen, ‘Blackjack’ turned the lead flight towards the pair heading for the chopper while the other two broke away to the north and began climbing. Condor Flight’s mission was to protect the helicopter and he and his wingman could do that. The other section was positioning itself to protect them whilst they did so. With two-to-one against odds, the Australians were at a distinct disadvantage until Python flight closed in.

            “The bogies have gone active.” The crewman who monitored electronic emissions announced.

            “This is going to get nasty.” Someone else muttered over the intercom.

Condor Flight:

            “Condor Lead, radar coming on.” ‘Blackjack’ announced over the frequency then switched on his powerful Hughes APG-79 Multi-Mode radar because no fighter pilot who was being illuminated by a bogie’s radar could be expected to keep his radar switched off.

            “Gypsy Three for Condor Flight, no reaction from the bogies. They are still heading straight at Navy Zero-Four.”

            “Warn them off, Gypsy.” ‘Blackjack replied as he watched the range-to-target distance unwind on his HUD.

Within moments, he was able to lock onto the pair of fighters but he wasn’t yet in missile range, much less approaching visual identification distance. It took a gutsy pilot to ignore the high-pitched tone in his headset from the warning receiver but the Indonesian pilots were doing just that. At that moment, a slow warbling tone started in ‘Blackjack’s’ headset. The covering Indonesian fighters were closing in on him just as quickly as he was closing on the fighters approaching the helicopter. Condor Three and Four would be locking up the threat to their leader and his wingman and he was sure, the remaining Indonesian fighters would be curving around to do likewise to them. Suddenly, the slow warble in his ears turned to a rapid almost musical tone as someone locked his aircraft up. It was a multi-million dollar stand-off but he knew, it would only take one touch on a trigger to fill the sky with missiles.

It took a very experienced pilot to decipher the myriad of noise filling the airwaves. The ‘Wedgetail’ crew were warning the Indonesian fighters the helicopter was on a search and rescue mission with casualties onboard. The fighter controller was calling off ranges and bearings to the various threats, the friendlies and the Australian Naval Frigate. The Indonesians were ordering the helicopter to reverse course and warning the RAAF to clear the area. The radar-warning receiver continued with its unmistakable tone while Condor Three was asking for permission to fire.

HMAS Sheean:

            “Con, come right to oh-one five. Fire control, do you still have a solution on the frigate?” The Captain asked.

            “Aye, Captain. The frigate is heading one-two-five and just accelerated to twenty-five knots.”

            “Up scope.” The captain restricted himself to just a two second scan before ordering the periscope lowered. “Sonar, report all contacts.”

            “Con, sonar. I hold two contacts only, the Indonesian frigate on three-four-oh. Range, four thousand metres and HMAS ANZAC on one-seven-five, range – distant, over thirty kilometres.”

            “She’s coming right across our bow, Captain.” The executive officer remarked unnecessarily.

            Sheean had two American Mk-48 ADCAP (Advanced capability) wire-guided torpedoes loaded in tubes numbers One and Two and a pair of Harpoon anti-ship missiles loaded in tubes Three and Four.

Condor Flight:

            “Condor Two, stick with me. I’m going to blow right over this pair.”

            “Two, like glue, Blackjack.”

            Arcing in from the Indonesian flight’s two o’clock position, ‘Blackjack’ went to minimum afterburner, rolled up onto his port wing and screamed past the pair of F-16’s  just a little over two metres over their cockpits.

            “Lead, vampire, vampire, vampire” a voice screamed in ‘Blackjack’s earphones. “Break right, break, break, break.” Condor Three shouted. “That second pair have launched a missile at you.”

            ‘Blackjack and his wingman reacted instinctively and wrenched their FA-18’s into high-speed near stall turns, all the while craning over their right shoulders looking for the missile. The best chance a pilot has to defeat an incoming anti-aircraft missile is by acquiring it visually. The Indonesian fighters that the pair had just overflown broke to their left to turn their hot exhausts away from the incoming missile.

            “Five o’clock and high, ‘Blackjack.” Condor Two called

            “Flares.” ‘Blackjack replied, punched out a couple of decoy flares, pulled the engines out of afterburners and tightened up his break-turn.

“Condor Three, Fox-Two,” Condor Three called has he fired an AIM-9N Sidewinder heat-seeking missile at the F-16 that fired at his leader.

            “Lead; it’s passing behind you. Level out.” Condor Two called a moment later.

            ‘Blackjack took a moment to confirm the decoys had worked before switching his view back over his left shoulder to re-acquire the lead pair of Indonesians. They were still in a left turn, almost at opposite sides of the circle the opposing fighters were creating with their flight paths. If both groups continued turning, they would come nose-to-nose in about five seconds. ‘Blackjack was not foolish enough to want to get into a head-on guns situation so he shoved the throttles to the stops, lighting off his afterburners and pulled into a vertical climb. He flew right through the smoke trail of Condor Three’s missile but paid no attention. His eyes were now watching over his right shoulder, riveted on the lead pair of F-16’s. The F-16’s were several thousand feet below him now and continuing their turn to realign their sights on the helicopter.

            “Condor Three, Fox-Two missed. The other pair of Bandits are turning in to engage. We’re on them Lead.” Condor Three informed everyone.

            “The lead pair are coming around on the helo again.” ‘Blackjack called. “Stick with me, Two. Tally-ho.” He snap rolled his fighter one-hundred and eighty degrees in the vertical, placing his belly towards the Indonesians then pulled his stick back, completing the uppermost part of the loop. Before his nose passed the horizon, the F-16’s appeared below him heading in the same direction. He kept the stick back, pulling down into an inverted dive as the speed rapidly increased. A sure touch on the stick snap-rolled his FA-18 upright then he began to level out of the dive. Keeping the back-pressure on his control column, he rapidly closed the distance on the enemy fighters. Blackjack was rewarded with the menacing growl in his headphones of his Sidewinders locking onto the Indonesians ahead and slightly below him. The F-16’s wingman must have called a break-turn because the trailing fighter suddenly reversed its turn and went right. The Leader though continued his turn attempting to get a lock-on on the helicopter. “Condor Lead, Fox Two.” ‘Blackjack called and fired a sidewinder at about a thousand metres range. He waited about two seconds and fired another. “Fox Two.”

            “Condor Lead, Gypsy Three. Continue your turn. Bandits five and six closing on Condor Three’s tail, on your three o’clock, range seven thousand metres.

            “Roger, gypsy Three. I have them. Condor Two, take the lead.” ‘Blackjack’ replied and instantly saw the threat to his numbers three and four.

            Due to the relative positions of ‘Blackjack’ and his wingman, continuing the turn could be completed faster if Condor Two pulled inside his flight leader to emerge leading the pair.

            The Indonesian Flight leader could not ignore the missile launch warning so he punched out a few decoy flares and attempted to reverse his turn. The flares decoyed ‘Blackjack’s first Sidewinder away just enough to miss but his turn reversal was a fatal mistake. The second sidewinder homed in straight and true, detonating on the F-16’s right hand side, just behind the wing’s trailing edge, blowing the fighter inverted and shelling out its engine. The left wing and tail tore off within moments of each other, the canopy flew off but before the ejection sequence could complete, the fuel tank blew scattering flaming debris in an arc across the clear night sky.

            Condor Two obtained a radar lock on the trailing fighter of the third pair, Bandit Six, and called the other flight. “Condor Three, break left and climb.” This maneuver would take the friendly flight up and away from the flight path of the missile he selected. “Condor Two, Fox Three.” The AIM-7 Sparrow dropped clear of the rail and ignited. Condor Two was now committed to maintain radar lock until either his missile struck the Indonesian fighter or missed. It was what was called, a semi-active radar homer. It homed in on the FA-18’s APG-79 multi-mode radar energy reflecting off the enemy aircraft. The Sparrow’s proximity fuse sensed it was close and detonated the warhead. Fragments tore into Bandit six’s right side and the engine began spewing out a thick plume of smoke. Bandit Six rolled up onto its side following the impact, then slowly managed to get back to wings level, wallowed a little, then began descending and heading northwest, away from the melee leaving a trail of smoke to mark its way. 

            “Condor Flight, Gypsy Three. Bandits seven and eight are closing on you fast, port ahead quarter, twelve thousand metres. Bandit two is at your five o’clock, heading away. Bandits three and four are at your three o’clock and turning back in.”

            “Gypsy Three, Condor Lead copies all.” ‘Blackjack’ replied but he already knew exactly where all the fighters in this engagement were. It was called ‘situational awareness’. “Two, come left and we’ll keep on Bandit five.”


            “Condor Three, Fox Two.” Three called and in barely a heartbeat, called again. “Condor Three, splash one. I can see a chute.”

            Gypsy Three logged the position of the downed Indonesian fighter and if it became possible later, would call in a search and rescue effort or failing that, transmit the location to the Indonesians so they could come look for their man. “Condor Flight, say fuel status.”

            “Condor Lead, twelve thousand.”

            “Condor Two, eleven five.”

            “Condor Three, nine five.”

            “Condor Four, ten thousand.”

            “Condor Three, Gypsy Three, vector one-two-five for Boxcar, range one four zero, Gumtree.” The airborne controller was reminding the FA-18 drivers how far away the tanker was. “Python Flight is two minutes out.”

            “Gypsy Three, Condor Three, roger Python flight two minutes. Condor Lead is bingo in two minutes or less.”

            “Condor Lead, Condor Three, come right and we’ll snap east and egress.”

            “Condor Lead, Gypsy Three, Bandit two is turning back in, bearing two-six-five. Range to Navy four-Zero, zero-one-one.

            “Lead, Three, take him. We hit or near missed Bandit Six. He’s diving away with Five following. Seven and eight are below us and on the reciprocal.

            ‘Blackjack’ had to trust his section leader and the AEW controller to keep them out of trouble so after barely a moment’s hesitation, reversed his turn, pulling towards bandits Seven and Eight. He and his wingman fired a Sparrow at each of the Indonesians causing the hostile pair to break away, ejecting chaff and flares while they dove for the sea and attempted to dodge the missiles. Condor Two’s sparrow detonated close to its target but with out any visible sign of damaging the enemy aircraft. ‘Blackjack’s’ AIM-7 lost lock and flew away harmlessly until it self-destructed. But, the missile launch had the desired effect. Both Indonesian fighters were now on the wrong side of the energy curve, several thousand metres lower, flying slow and heading in the wrong direction to be a threat to Condor Flight. Continuing his turn, ‘Blackjack’ suddenly found he had a radar lock on Bandit Two.

            “Condor Lead, Fox Three.” He called, waited a second then called again as he fired a second sparrow. “Lead, Fox-Three.”

            “Condor Three, Gypsy Three, Bandits three and four at your four o’clock, range nine thousand.”

            “Three copies, Gypsy Three.”

            Blackjack’s first sparrow hit the fighter on the port side, disintegrating the tail and blowing the F-16 onto it’s back and into a flat spin. The second sparrow exploded amongst the debris of the tail but by then, the F-16 pilot had ejected. “There’s a chute from Bandit Three,” he further advised.

            “Condor Three, Gypsy Three, Bandits now at your five o’clock, seven thousand.” There was no reply so the controller tried again. “Condor Four, Gypsy Three. Condor Three and Four, break left. Bandits closing from astern. Range, five thousand.”

            ‘Blackjack’ felt an ominous shiver run down his spine as the controller tried twice more to raise the other pair of FA-18’s. “Condor Three, Condor Lead, respond.”

            “Condor Four, Gypsy Three, your altitude is now five thousand metres.” The controller tried again. “Condor Three, recycle your transponder.”

            “Gypsy Three, Condor Lead, vector to Condor Three and Four.” ‘Blackjack requested.

            “Condor Lead, vector is one-three-five, twelve kilometres. Condor Four, altitude now one thousand metres. Gypsy Three for Condor Four only, eject, eject, eject.”

            In his mind, ‘Blackjack’ was willing him to eject as well. Gypsy Three kept calling off Four’s altitude until it reached zero. “Condor Lead, Gypsy Three. We have a beacon in the water.”

            “Condor Lead, Python flight. Go down and look. We’ll cover the high perch.”

            “Python Flight, Condor Lead, roger. Thanks blokes.”

            “Gypsy Three to all flights, be advised, Navy Zero-Four is clear.”

            As ‘Blackjack’ descended, he started thinking that their intelligence had to be wrong. If the ranges the controller mentioned were right, Three and Four had been well beyond the range of the standard Indonesian heat-seeking missile. That made whatever hit the other section something more advanced. Next time he flew, he was going to carry the best weapon in the RAAF arsenal. They didn’t have many of the AIM-120C AMRAAM fire and forget missiles due to budgetary constraints but there is no price on the lives of the men and women in his squadron.


            “Ask Gypsy Three for the range and bearing from us to the downed –18 pilot.” The captain instructed his communications officer then turned to his executive officer. “If the RAAF can give us some cover and that pilot isn’t too far away, we’ll get the helo back aboard then go see what we can do.”

“Bridge, Communications. Gypsy Three says they are about twenty-five kays off on three-four-five” The radio man reported a few moments later. “Oh-Four reports its about five minutes out.”

“All stations, all stations, flight quarters, prepare to take helicopter on board.” The PA announced but there was little to do. The Air Division was already prepared to receive the aircraft back onto the ship.

            “Bridge, Communications. “Gypsy Three reports we have four FA-18’s over us now, that’s Python flight. Another four, designate Apache Flight just lifted off from Tindal and will take over top-cover in about twenty minutes.”

            “Communications, find out how long Apache flight will have on-station, please.”

            “At full speed, we’ll be in the area in about an hour, Captain.” The Exec remarked. “Allow say, thirty minutes to locate any survivors and get them on-board, then another hour just to get back to here. We are pretty exposed here if the Indonesians decide to lob a few exocets at us.”

            “I know. My best guess is we’ll need the fighters for at least four hours.” Captain Mortimer replied. “As soon as the helicopter is back onboard, make it ready for a SAR mission.”

            “Aye, Captain.” The Executive Officer replied.

            “Bridge, Communications. Be advised, the fighters can stay around ninety minutes but if there is no threat, this could be extended by the pairs hooking back up with Boxcar, the tanker.”

            “Communications, ask Gypsy if they can put a few more on stand-by at Tindal.”

            “Communications, aye.”

            Low across the water the helicopter came, turning to fly parallel with the ship off the stern quarter. The night was almost calm with little breeze and just a low half metre swell running. The helicopter would have no difficulty in getting down short of something catastrophic happening. The chopper side-slipped across to a hover over the helo deck and eased down gently. Several of ANZAC’s crewmen swarmed out, secured the chopper with tie-downs and only then did they open the rear door. First out was the stretcher case, Flight Lieutenant Raymond Marks. Liz followed her pilot then came the two civilians. ANZAC had been involved in several at-sea rescues so the sight of these weary and injured people was not an uncommon occurrence. When Sabre Team stepped out, many curious and even incredulous looks were exchanged amongst the crew. This was the Naval personnel’s first close up look at the much vaunted and elite SASR.

            Before the passengers had reached the hatchway, ANZAC was heeling into a left turn and winding up towards twenty-five knots heading basically north to search for what they hoped would be two downed but very alive pilots. While they had fighter cover overhead, the chopper would precede ANZAC to the search area as soon as it could be refuelled and made ready. With any luck at all, ANZAC would not have to sail too far into hostile waters.


End of excerpt.


#5 TonyE


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Posted 24 August 2016 - 04:58 PM

I'll be reading the excerpt tonight, looks engaging from a skim!

I think you'll find much of the HC crowd has an interest in the age of steel. Mine starts in the interwar (WWI -> WWII) period and flourishes in WWII thru the Montanas and original Z-plan ships. Much frustration has been had by HC players in this regard as you well know.

These days in HC you can put an installation anywhere. One day long ago I flew B-2s from Whiteman to Iraq (tanking was a real challenge), an extreme example but an example nonetheless. That particular scenario would be much easier today now that we can offload fuel multiple times per tanker sortie.

Guns are also much improved. They are still far short of optimal for WWII, but better than they were. Sensors are the biggest limiting factor imho but with the right interest it isn't an impossible nut to crack.

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