Kuznetsov at Bay, November 9, 2016. Hypothetical/Historical Scenario.
A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for The Middle East Battleset and the HCDB-150928 1980-2016 era Platform Database or the HCDB2-170507 new standard 1980-2025 Platform Database. This scenario is designed with advanced Scenario Editor and to be run with HCE 2015.008+ or later.
Image: Admiral Kuznetsov on the Mediterranean in 1996. USN photo in public domain, took from Wikipedia Commons.
This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/NATO side or from the Red/Russian side. You should play a few times first the Blue/NATO side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Red/Russian side.
With the world for months keeping on the brink of an open war, just the day after the election of Donald J. Trump as 45th President of the United States on November 8, 2016, Russian media denounced the incursion of a Dutch submarine near his Admiral Kuznetsov carrier battle group on Mediterranean Sea, near Cyprus and Syria, and commenting she was repelled by the escort warships.
The only one Russian aircraft carrier Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov was steaming (a lot, literally) from Kola Bay towards her Mediterranean deployment from October 15, 2016, pretending to be employed in anti-Daesh operations, but most as a propaganda and power showing stunt because her limited air wing (some ten Su-33 with SVP-24 navigation/attack system, employing 500 Kg dumb bombs, only four MIG-29KR/KUBR, and an undetermined number of Ka-52K and other helicopters). The CVBG arrived into theatre near November 4, 2016, and started limited air-to-ground attacks against supposed Daesh forces near November, 12 (a two-seater MIG-29KUBR was lost by technical issues on November 13, only a day after the symbolic strikes begun).
Also, after the faked coup in Turkey by the Erdogan Administration on July, 15, 2016, employed as alibi for a pogrom between the Turkish civil and military servants, in the Universities, in the Media and in the Arts, all them accused of Gulenist Terrorists (in fact, the moderate Islamist Fethullah Gulen, now exiled at Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, was a political ally of Erdogan for near 38 years), Turkey was approaching Vladimir Putin's Russia.
As consequence, in this Alternate History scenario, and to affirm the Trump declaration to go towards a 350 ships' navy and increase the compromise with NATO of the European Allies, NATO submarines are forced to show Admiral Kuznetsov to demonstrate her futility.
The hostilities will be limited to the forces in theatre, and some diplomatic excuses related to Syria, confusion in cooperative orders, Freedom of Navigation, errors of navigation, and economic compensation will be provided to guarantee the situation far of the escalation and from a total conflagration.
In change, Russia will lose his only aircraft carrier, an important propaganda tool, and his capability to use a high sea fleet with air cover.
Remember the Second Cold War was originated middle in the second presidential term of Vladimir Putin, from May 2012. As related, after the full of naval, military and security global incidents year of 2014 the world was beginning the so-called Second Cold War. Mostly as result of President of Russia Vladimir Putin (ex-KGB lieutenant colonel) actions, provoking in succession the Crimea, Ukraine, Donetsk, Baltic States, October 2014 Swedish submarine incursion, G-20 Brisbane meeting naval crisis, November 2014 Faslane submarine incident, frigate Yaroslav Mudryy February "Channel Dash", April 2015 Finnish submarine incursion (for many observers causing the pre-mobilization of Finland reserve forces), Russian intervention in Syria from 30 September 2015, violation by Russian military helicopters of the Finnish and Georgian borders on 10 December 2015, March 2016 detection by the French of a Russian submarine near Bay of Biscay, violation by Russian military helicopters of the Polish border on 18 April 2016, the confuse Russian submarine B-265 Krasnodar incident with Polish warships (and the consecutive Putin sack of Russian Baltic Fleet numerous commanders), the HMS Montrose confuse and dangerous encounter with the new Baltic Sea Fleet Russian corvette Soobrazitelnyy in middle of the BALTOPS 2016 exercise in June 2016, and with constant and multiple overflies with military warplanes entangled in potential incidents with commercial and military flights in Europe. That without counting with other unrelated naval incidents, just as the Iranian seizure of the Maersk Tigris in 28 April 2015, or the mid-October 2016 launching of anti-ship missiles against UAE and US warships from the Yemen shores and the successive retaliation with cruise missiles by US forces (and neither counting in landlocked actions, as the continuous counter-Daesh operations in Middle East).
And all those incidents without counting others more towards Far East with China as a less perceived and growing problem, and his own many types generated incidents. China was building structures with military capabilities, including from 2012 more relevant structures, as the 3000+ meters long (Very Large Airport in Harpoon parameters) runway in Fiery Cross Reef (finished at March 2016), and more important, building multiple artificial reefs and islands above previous simple shoals for claiming territory, and for. At last in an undetermined date late April 2015 China claims as territorial waters the 12 nautical miles circling his "new" islands.
As the US official doctrine is Freedom of Navigation (FON) worldwide on international waters (same in Baltic and Black Seas), and as in this case with fears about a decision not to send naval vessels into the zone would inadvertently help the Chinese build their own case for sovereignty in the area, some air and surface elements of US Navy begin to orbit near the Chinese claims, but not crossing the 12 nm line.
Will be vital for both sides to prevail these two first days of theatre-limited conflict, for Russia as propaganda and to show his force keeping presence on the Eastern Mediterranean, for NATO side (less Turkey) to show resolution and positive results in the opposition against Putin's Russia just in the border of his new cryptoally the Islamist Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Enrique Mas, November 20, 2016.