Operation Lancette, May 15, 1981. Historical Scenario.
A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for EC2003 Battle for the Mediterranean Battleset and the HCDB2-170909 (or later) 1980-2025 era Platform Database. This scenario is designed with Advanced Scenario Editor Build 2017.013 and to be run with HCE 2015.008+ or later.
Image: Sister ship of R98 Clemenceau, a port quarter view of the French navy's aircraft carrier R99 Foch underway during exercise Dragon Hammer 1992. On the crowed deck are present F-8E(FN) Crusader fighters (not yet F-8P), Super Etendard attack aircrafts (not yet modernized), Alizé ALM ASW aircrafts, a SA.321Gb Super Frelon assault, transport, utility and SAR helicopter of Flotille 32.F or 33.F (To 1980 employed for ASW, but replaced on that task by Lynx), and a AS.365F Dauphin 2 helicopter of Escadrille 23.S replacing Alouette III on board the French carriers from 1990 in "Pedro"/SAR tasks. May 1992 photo by PHC (Chief Photographer's Mate) Jack C. Bahm, a US serviceperson on duty, and in consequence in public domain, took from Wikipedia Commons.
This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/French side or from the Red/Soviet side. You should play a few times first the Blue side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Red side.
An apparently simple and introductory scenario based on historical facts.
In the heydays of the Cold War at a time of particular tension, two days after the Pope John Paul II assassination attempt in Rome instigated by the Bulgarian/Soviet Secret Services, was the moment of one of the most scaring naval situations in the Cold War.
Just when the R98 Clemenceau CVBG and his reduced peacetime escort was sailing from Toulon for the exercise Coriolan, was detected a submarine contact by the ASW picket (Destroyers D640 Georges Leygues and D632 Guepratte) only 50 nautical miles from Toulon and actively stalking the carrier group.
The subsequent Operation Lancette was launched, resulting in the chase of the unknown submarine continuously for more than eighteen hours and with the submarine alternating creep speeds with peaks of 28-30 knots and even passing below the Georges Leygues towed sonar array. La Royale (French Navy) employed both forward escort destroyers, Lynx helicopters and Atlantic ASW planes based in the very near BAN Nimes-Garons, and at last forced her to surfacing. Ultimately she was visually identified on surface at night from a Lynx helicopter of the Georges Leygues as a Soviet Victor-type SSN and compelled to quit the area.
But this scenario represents the possibility of the things going wrong and hot, and both sides firing in anger at the enemy forces.
This scenario also could gives an idea of the difficult submarine hunting, the difficult of hunting surface ships with submarines without long range target determination, the limited sonar ranges and convergence zone feasibility on a sea with high levels of salinity and density, the high limitations of small diesel-electric submarines employed as hunter-killers against SSN (the French SSN force was then yet two years on the future), and about the necessity of employing half of the French Aeronavale ASW forces to catch only one submarine, even when she was fortunately emplaced very near to a main ASW air base.
Enrique Mas, December 4, 2011 - October 14, 2017.