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#1 kmart494

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 07:21 PM

The players have posted detailed AARs so I will just concentrate on my objectives as the referee and SimPlot creator.

 

The Scenario

 

The objective of this game was to test SimPlot's ability to track and display units on a map, and over a larger area than had been previously attempted.  The background map was the entire Persian Gulf, and we used maybe a quarter of that area for the battle.

 

Several cities and bases were placed on the map for reference.  The Soviet convoy started near Bahrain and the Iranian task force started near Bushehr.  This placed them very far apart, and that meant a protracted search phase.  Well, not for the Iranians, as you will see later.

 

This scenario was a modified version of the Divide and Conquer scenario from SITREP #48.  The original Iranian forces were very poor, IMHO.  Also, I wanted a little more excitement for the Soviets, so I allowed both sides a choice of forces (with some restrictions).  I was hoping to create a more balanced scenario, but things didn't work as planned.

 

Blue Side

 

Blue team decided on a strategy of running for the west side of the Gulf, as far away from Iran as they could get.  I was pleased to see the game map was in fact useful in their decision making.  I think that meant a more realistic H4 experience since geography affects so many real world naval decisions.

 

I thought their reaction to Iranian threats was very good, although the position of the Krivak could have presented a weapon danger space problem.  By positioning between the Sov and merchants, along the same axis as the threat, I think the distance between these elements was too close to allow missile fire at sea-skimming "leakers."  I would have liked to see more distance between the Sov and the Krivak, but time was running out and they did the best they could with the time they did have.

 

Red Side

 

I gave Red team better search assets to help compensate for the strength of the Soviet formation.  This worked well, as it gave Red team more time to set up a detailed plan of attack.  If the teams had started just outside detection range (as most H4 scenarios do), then the creation of a good battle plan would have been very difficult.  I enjoyed the search phase, partly because it tested one of my objectives, but also this is not something normally seen during a PBEM game (unless it lasts for a really long time).

 

Although Red team orders changed many times during the pre-battle phase, I think that proves SimPlot was instrumental in facilitating a realistic decision making process by accurately presenting sensor information.  Unfortunately for Red team, it was the referee (me) that was the weak link in their battle plan.  During the tactical discussions on both sides, I began to have trouble distinguishing the intentions of the players from orders I could actually execute in SimPlot.  This caused me to miss critical changes that cost Red side a potential chance at victory.  Instead of a combined Harpoon and F-4 attack, the attacks took place just far enough apart in time that the Sov could easily deal with them.

 

SimPlot

 

I think SimPlot and SimPlot Viewer worked very well for this scenario.  There were a few bugs I discovered along the way, but a new version of both programs will be released soon to address the issues.

 

Some players had expressed a "disconnect" in the presentation of the turns.  It is understandable, since a miniatures game does not appear to have the same problem.  During the development of SimPlot, I had a hard time with the difference between the turn time and the location time.  For example, at the 0900 tactical turn plotting phase the units are in the 0900 location.  At the conclusion of the 0900 movement phase, the units are repositioned to reflect 3 minutes of movement.  That would actually put them at the 0903 "location time."  It is still the 0900 turn, but to invoke engagement turns means starting the next one at 0903.0 because movement for the current turn had already taken place.  For now, there is no nice way to make that work better.  I do have some thoughts about that, but I need to talk to Larry Bond some more before I can work on it.

 

Conclusion

 

Overall this was a very enjoyable game.  I am glad the players had a good time, too.  I hope all will consider playing again in the near future with myself or someone else as referee.  If others are interested in refereeing a game, I would be more than happy to act as a tech support guy for the ref.

 

Some lessons learned:

  • Specifically state which rules or adaptations are in use.  For example, some players thought the optional weapon director arc limits were in force, but that was not so.  Because of this, the Sov became more powerful than it might be in real life.  This no doubt affected player decisions.
  • Provide ship data for all the players.  Larry Bond has given permission to disseminate data annex info for player use since he doesn't expect players to have all the supplements.  An exception has to be made if force composition is not known to all players at the start.
  • Sometimes I was a little too excited to get to the next turn such that I occasionally missed changes in detections.  I caught myself and reissued a new turn file before anyone noticed, but this is still a lesson for me.

This game, and the others before it, will be used in an article Larry Bond asked me to write for the upcoming SITREP #52.  This is a followup to the original SimPlot article that appeared in SITREP #50.  The subject is lessons learned using SimiPlot for PBEM H4 games.  I am planning to give thanks all the players from my PBEM games, so if you would like your real name to be used drop me a PM.  Otherwise, just the HarpGamer username will be used.



#2 CV32

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 07:40 AM

I thought their reaction to Iranian threats was very good, although the position of the Krivak could have presented a weapon danger space problem.  By positioning between the Sov and merchants, along the same axis as the threat, I think the distance between these elements was too close to allow missile fire at sea-skimming "leakers."  I would have liked to see more distance between the Sov and the Krivak, but time was running out and they did the best they could with the time they did have.


Rule 6.2.3 governs Weapons Danger Space. Gunfire has the +/-10 deg bearing and +/-10% range rules, for examples. For missiles, we refer in turn to Rule 5.3.13, relevant to terminal guidance capable antiship missiles. This would not have any bearing on the command/SARH guided SA-N-4b Gecko. SA-N-4b missiles that missed their Harpoon targets would go stupid instead of engaging the Sovremennyy.



#3 kmart494

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 06:28 PM

I might have been thinking of 6.4.1.10.  If a missile was due in a given turn to hit the Sov, but missed, then it still has to finish its movement.  The short distance between the Sov and the Krivak may prevent you from firing on it since it's still in the same turn it was due to arrive at the Sov.  I hope I am not using too fine a comb.   :P



#4 CV32

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 07:06 PM

I might have been thinking of 6.4.1.10.  If a missile was due in a given turn to hit the Sov, but missed, then it still has to finish its movement.  The short distance between the Sov and the Krivak may prevent you from firing on it since it's still in the same turn it was due to arrive at the Sov.  I hope I am not using too fine a comb.   :P

 

Rule 6.4.1.10 would only pose a problem for attacking antiship missiles arriving at the Stoykiy at the same time as Ladniy's Geckos attempting to shoot them down. All other possibilities, including those passing the Stoykiy and/or attacking the merchies, would be fair game. Any Geckos fired on those Harpoons and missing, would go stupid and fall into the drink.



#5 dylanjones

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 02:02 PM

Its hard to comment without knowing the distances involved, but 6.4..1.10 would have applied on the ET any "leakers" approached and attacked the Sov.  So if the Krivak was positioned within about 7nm of the Sov and the Harpoon could reach it in the second air movement phase of the ET it was due to hit the Sov it might have been caught by 6.4.1.10.



#6 CV32

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 02:21 PM

Its hard to comment without knowing the distances involved, but 6.4..1.10 would have applied on the ET any "leakers" approached and attacked the Sov.  So if the Krivak was positioned within about 7nm of the Sov and the Harpoon could reach it in the second air movement phase of the ET it was due to hit the Sov it might have been caught by 6.4.1.10.

 

Its easy to get bogged down here, but let me say once again that Ladnyy was never intending to defend Stoykiy in its position. Engaging any anticipated "leakers" was primarily intended to defend the merchants. That said ...

 

At 1608, the incoming Harpoons are 13.4 nm from Stoykiy and 15.8 nm from Ladnyy. (The ships are 2.4 nm apart.) SA-N-7s are already enroute to engage them.

 

It is important to note that Ladnyy's SA-N-4b Geckos can reach to 13.0 nm against these Harpoons (as non-maneuvering targets).

 

At 1609.5, there are four Harpoons still incoming. They are 9.8 nm from Stoykiy and 12.4 nm from Ladnyy (i.e. now within SA-N-4b range). (The ships are now 2.6 nm apart.) There are still more SA-N-7s in the air about to engage them.

 

All of the Harpoons are destroyed prior to 1610. There is no need for Ladnyy to join the defence of Stoykiy, but it clearly could have done so had it been necessary.



#7 dylanjones

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 01:26 AM

Err, doesn't the range extension for non-maneuvering targets only apply to SARH missiles? ;)



#8 CV32

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 05:40 AM

Err, doesn't the range extension for non-maneuvering targets only apply to SARH missiles? ;)

 

Yes, purely SARH guided missiles. SA-N-4 is radar command guided. (You will see some variation in opinion on this; for example, and I think you are a CMANO player, where you will find the SA-N-4 to be treated as SARH.)

 

If you read the rule, however, it offers an explanation for the rule which raises somewhat of a grey area. More particularly, the rule exists because controlling the missile during the midcourse phase allows for the most efficient intercept course rather than chasing the target.

 

The rule goes on to say:

 

"Command guided systems do not have this problem".

 

In any event, it did not come into play.



#9 dylanjones

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 02:15 PM

Reality is another thing, I agree.

 

But the rule is very clear - it only applies to "pure SARH missiles".  And the data annex doesn't list the SA-N-4 as a SARH missile.  Nor is the SA-N-7 for that matter a pure SARH missile in the annex.

 

The explanation you cite is actually explaining why the rule doesn't apply to Cmd guided missiles - because they already follow a much more aerodynamically efficient pursuit path as compared to SARH.

 

The rule exists precisely because SARH is inefficient pursuit against a twisting and turning target - so when the target is flying nice and steady the SARH missile gets better range (in H4.1 abstracted as 1.5 times the range it has against a manoeuvring target).



#10 CV32

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 02:43 PM

Reality is another thing, I agree. But the rule is very clear - it only applies to "pure SARH missiles".  And the data annex doesn't list the SA-N-4 as a SARH missile.  Nor is the SA-N-7 for that matter a pure SARH missile in the annex. The explanation you cite is actually explaining why the rule doesn't apply to Cmd guided missiles - because they already follow a much more aerodynamically efficient pursuit path as compared to SARH. The rule exists precisely because SARH is inefficient pursuit against a twisting and turning target - so when the target is flying nice and steady the SARH missile gets better range (in H4.1 abstracted as 1.5 times the range it has against a manoeuvring target).

The rule is giving the 50% range advantage to purely SARH guided missiles because they are most efficient against non-maneuvering targets. Because they are receiving constant updates as to target position, they can take the most direct path to the target.

 

I obviously realize the rule clearly says "pure SARH", but it does not explain why command guided weapons (like the radar command guided SA-N-4) would not also get the same advantage. In fact, it mentions command guided weapons as NOT having the tail chase problem.

 

(Worth nothing here that SARH is simply a variation of command guidance. In fact, if you read the simplified description within the rule for how SARH guidance works, it is exactly the same as how radar command guidance works. The exception being the passive receiver in the SARH missile, not mentioned there.)

 

Any other interpretation of the rule means that pure SARH guided missiles actually have twice the range quoted in the annex, except against maneuvering targets, in which case the value should be discounted by 50%. That may actually be the best application of the intended effect.



#11 kmart494

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 06:46 PM

I wonder if "pure SARH" would still apply to things such as I/SARH or I/M/TSARH.  Based on an email conversation with Larry Bond regarding the SA-N-7, he has decided to reclassify the SA-N-7 as I/M/TSARH for the H4.2 update.  Here is a snippet:

 

 

 

Kevin,
 
During the missile's flight, the ship transmits updates to the target's predicted position to each missile. These are not as precise, but they keep the missile pointed at where the target will be.
 
They don't require the illuminator, and can be sent to many missiles at the same time.
 
An altitude or speed change won't throw the missile off.
 
The illuminator is only required for the last few moments. I've looked for numbers on how long, called "dwell time," but nobody's shared. It is likely 15 seconds or less.
 
And once the plane is in the missile's "basket," A combination of the seeker's field of view, and its maneuverability, it can't escape.
 
Jammers work best by decoying the missile before it locks on a plane. Breaking a lock is possible, but much harder.
 
Larry 


#12 CV32

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 07:16 PM

I wonder if "pure SARH" would still apply to things such as I/SARH or I/M/TSARH.  Based on an email conversation with Larry Bond regarding the SA-N-7, he has decided to reclassify the SA-N-7 as I/M/TSARH for the H4.2 update.


This further exemplifies the shortcomings of the rule as currently written or explained.

 

I see very little practical difference - as far as this rule is concerned - between 'pure SARH' and 'inertial/SARH' or 'inertial/midcourse/SARH'.

 

All that the inertial and midcourse guidance phases are going to do, as Larry points out, is to put the missile into the basket so that it is oriented correctly for the terminal phase of the engagement.



#13 Silent Hunter UK

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 04:35 PM

Are you planning on running another game any time soon? I know someone who might be interested.



#14 kmart494

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 09:02 PM

I will spend the rest of this month putting together my article for SITREP, and getting a basic replay function working for SimPlot Viewer.  After that, I would like to experiment with a "micro scenario".  It would be one sided (maybe with multiple players) that have one mission.  Let's say, attack a Sovremenny destroyer using weapon director rules and a handful of aircraft.  






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