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Western Sahara Tin Can Sailors, circa 1985:


Note: In this scenario, to avoid spoilers, it is better to play the Spanish/Blue side first a few times, and only after play the Polisario Front/Moroccan/Red side, and keeping in mind the special considerations writed in the Red Orders.


My aim in this scenario is to capture the flavour of small and very limitated conflicts, almost naval guerrilla warfare. It's also inspired by the recent implementation of the Lepanto/Fletcher class destroyers in the simulation DataBase and of course in the vivid historical events of our recent past.

Historical introduction:

In the first eighties, when the then modern Descubierta class frigate was introduced in the Spanish Navy, the venerable Pacific War veterans Fletcher class destroyers (nicknamed Los Cinco Latinos) were detached from the original Destroyer Squadron 21 (On that time renamed Escort Squadron 21) homeported in Cartagena, and scattered between the different Spanish local sea commands or Zonas Maritimas.

D-21 Lepanto and D-22 Almirante Ferrandiz were from 1980 detached from the Destroyer Squadron 21 and employed on secondary roles as High Seas Patrol ship in the Canary Islands Maritime Zone (Lepanto was later transferred to the Cantabrian Sea Maritime Zone from 1983).


This scenario depicts a amalgamation of a series of difficult, confuse, censored and very unknown incidents between the Spanish patrol forces and the Western Saharan Polisario Front and the Moroccan Forces, fighting for the control of the old province of Spanish Sahara.

As examples on 1980 Almirante Ferrandiz was apparently straffed by a Moroccan Mirage F1, and on 1985 in other incidente the Anaga class patrol gunboat Tagomago was attacked from the shore by unknown origin 12.7mm and 106mm recoiless shots, causing one dead, and Almirante Ferrandiz was called on her help.

After Spain the Western Sahara territory was claimed by the own Saharawis integrated in the Polisario Front, Morocco, Argelia and Mauritania.

Both Polisario Front and Morocco were trying to do maritime actions vindicatives of the disputated territory control, basically exercing control of the Spanish and other fishermen traditionally fishing on the Western Sahara bank. Morocco trying it with action as an apparent transnational law enforce, and Polisario Front exerciting attacks with inflatable boats, shore firing and kidnapping of fishermen and his crews.

We must remember Western Sahara economy is bases almost exclusively on fishing which employs two thirds of his labour force, but now they are suspictions about the existence of reasonably exploitable off-shore oil fields, but his explotation is today doubtious because the international law.

The European Union fishing agreements with Morocco include Western Sahara, but they are many doubts about if this is adjusted to the international law and were denonced as unlawful recently.


Note about the map: I've chosed the Mediterranean Sea map because I don't think worth to make another specialized map for this scenario with the Canary Islands adding nothing to the scenario and the playability, and so the installation of the scenario is improved and easier. Western Sahara coast and Canary Islands is some 270 nm southwest of the southwest map corner, but the distances and angles between the bases is the same as in the real world, after a vertical rotation over the horizontal axis and a rightward rotation over the vertical axis.


Notes about the platforms: The 802 Squadron Spanish Fokker 27-200 Maritime for SAR duties were actually of a older type, without weapons neither ESM, the Blue player must not use them armed. The 462 Squadron Spanish Mirage F1EE were apparently only trained for the Canary Islands air defence, without surface attack capabilities.


Generic unnamed places are:


ZYa El Aaioun Airport GSAI/GMML, Western Sahara.

ZZa Sidi Ifni Airport GMMF, Morocco.


AAs Gando Air Base GCLP, Canary Islands, Spain.


Enrique Mas, January 2012

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