Western Sahara Tin Can Sailors, Tagomago Ordeal, September 21, 1985. 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: Spanish Armada Fletcher-class destroyer D-22 Almirante Ferrandiz (Ex USS David W. Taylor DD-551) patrolling the Western Sahara banks near Canary Islands on 1985. Photo by Francisco Tevar Banos, took from http://www.losbarcosdeeugenio.com/principal_en.html, with its webmaster authorisation, and subject to a Creative Commons license.
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 scripted in the Red Orders when playing Red side.
My aim in this scenario is to capture the flavour of small and very limited conflicts, almost naval guerrilla warfare. It's also inspired by the inclusion of the Lepanto/Fletcher class destroyers in the Harpoon HCE/HUCE DataBase and of course in the vivid historical events of our Spanish recent past.
In the first eighties, when the then modern and indigenous 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 shows an amalgamation of a series of difficult, confuse, bad narrated, censored and much 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 strafed by a Moroccan Mirage F1, and on 1985 in other incident the Anaga-class patrol gunboat Tagomago (PVZ-22) was attacked from the shore by unknown origin (Very probably Polisario Front) 12.7mm and 106mm recoilless shots, causing one dead, and Almirante Ferrandiz was called on her help.
After the Spain retreat on 26 February 1976, the Western Sahara territory was claimed by the own Saharawis integrated in the Polisario Front, by Morocco, by Algeria and by Mauritania.
Both Polisario Front and Morocco were trying to execute maritime actions as vindication of the disputed territory control, basically exerting 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 executing attacks with inflatable boats, shore gunfire and murdering and kidnapping of fishermen and its 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 suspicions about the existence of reasonably exploitable off-shore oil fields, but his exploitation is today dubious because the international law.
The European Union fishing agreements with Morocco (EU-Moroccan Fisheries Partnership Agreement, FPA) include Western Sahara. But they are many doubts about if this is adjusted to the international law, as Western Sahara is not part of the territory of Morocco under international law. As legal excuse, according to the legal services of the European Parlament, the agreement does neither include nor exclude the waters of Western Sahara from its geographical scope, and it would thus be up to Morocco to comply with its international obligations. In consequence, in order to remain in compliance with international law, the FPA should be limited to the territorial waters of Morocco proper, excluding Western Sahara.
Enrique Mas, January 2012 - November 25, 2017.