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A walk through the versions


Silent Hunter UK
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I had absolutely zero intention of allowing the Kilo to get any shots off on my main group and sent two Seahawks after it. One of the SH-60s got into range and fired a Mk50 at it, while I lobbed two ASROCs at it (why did the USN get rid of those?) for good measure.

 

ASROC went vertical, i.e. was adapted for the Mk 41 VLS as the RUM-139 VL-ASROC.

 

Personally, I'm wondering who decided to call a missile after a flightless bird best known for looking cute in cold climates, but I don't work for the US Navy ...

 

Penguin is a Norwegian product.

 

I stand corrected. Thanks.

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The two low-level aircraft turned out to be Flankers, who were obviously going for the Sentry. A combination of F-15 fire (which I sent over very fast) and Leyte Gulf's SAMs took care of these particular intruders.

 

0834 saw three more surface contacts turn up - Nanuckha I corvettes. I sent F-16s to intercept them. After an initial attack with HARMs (one of which actually caused 17% damage), followed by others repeatedly missing, the Penguins finished off the vessels before they could become any threat.

 

I fast forwarded now- there were no more planes coming up. I also had two Phantoms run out of fuel and crash.

 

At 1419, I encountered another sub surprise. Missiles were detected on radar heading from AGS and I stupidly forgot to go to 1:1 time. Cape Johnson, a T-AK was sunk. I concluded that the attack came from a submarine and I was correct - an hour and a half later (1547) I spotted a Charlie I SSGN nearby.

 

I promptly jumped on it with four helos and an FFG-7. Eventually, the Charlie (which would still have been a threat due to its torpedoes) went to the bottom.

 

I was pretty much done. Aside from a 31-plane strike on Parchim that fired 54 Mavericks in the place and resulted in two F-16s being lost due to my not ordering them back fast enough, all I needed to do was wait.

 

At 1921, I hit minimum victory conditions, heard "The Star-Spangled Banner" and called it a day.

 

My losses: 4 ships, 102 A/C, 1 helicopter.

 

Red's losses: 6 ships, 3 subs, 188 A/C and three damaged airbases.

 

****

With 1.51, Harpoon's playability has gone up considerably. I don't expect to see much more in the field of functionality until we hit WinHarp.

 

It'll be a while before my next post on 1.54A. The next mission will be "Glidepath to War" from the original IOPG. That's right, I'm taking a casino for a ride.

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1.54A - Long Periods of Boredom with the Occasional Moment of Sheer Terror

 

I don't believe that "Glidepath to War" from the original IOPG is considered a classic scenario. A cue for insomnia maybe. Part of the reason that there's been such a long gap between version discussions is that this scenario is seven days long in game time and even at 1:30 minutes (in reality more like 10:30 minutes), it takes a fair while to get through. To avoid boring you to sleep, this will be the edited highlights (my notes were shorter than usual as well)

 

I'll begin at the end with declaring that I drew the scenario due to running out of time. Even Phileas Fogg in his famous fictional circumnavigation couldn't pull off a transit from the Celebes Sea to the Gulf of Aden (or rather in the opposite direction) in seven days - and he crossed India by train!

 

So, my mission was simple. In charge of a Soviet carrier group led by the floating casino that is Varyag, I had to take it to Aden through hostile waters while not damaging the carrier and keeping my ships afloat.

 

As I wondered who the guy in the silly shades was behind my Staff Assistant, I did not realise what I was letting myself in for...

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While it is often said that "there's no kill like overkill", personal pleasure and good tactical sense do not often go together. As my journey starts (game start was 15 April 1814), I start picking up two large groups of small vessels; a total of 10, which include Spica PTMs. It's time to open fire. I send missiles after the southern group and Yak-38s after the northern ones.

 

When opening fire on small missile craft, use of Shipwrecks (and to an extent Sunburns) on them is "overkill" in every sense of the word; especially when you've only got twelve conventional ones on board and the scenario prohibits you from using nuclear weapons. I had over 400 short-range surface-to-surface capable missiles, although most of these were SAMs.

 

As the missiles began their long flight, the Forgers comprehensively demonstrated their useless. With no radar on board (stupid bureau), they would need to get into visual range to actually engage the targets - and of course it's the dead of night. Four of them got shot down and I ordered the rest back to the carrier.

 

Speaking of radars, I lost two Flankers to F-16s as they'd not turned their radars on - is the AI stupid or something? Eventually the F-16 (the A version, only equipped with Sidewinders) ended up being taken down by cannons.

 

I made another midship man error here - sending troop transport Ka-29TBs to attack a ship. Four of those ended up in the ocean.

 

In the end, with my longer-range missiles gone, I resorted to standoff attacks using MiG-29Ks (a very useful A/C and I see the Russians have now ordered these to replace the rather single-role Su-33) firing AS-14s.

 

Most of my enemy were missile boats and corvettes with weak air defences - the AS-14s could easily get through, but you had to remind the MiGs to turn on their radars before they could attack people. It was important to stop these far out as some of the vessels were packing 80nm range Harpoon. After a while, I changed my loadouts from LR Standoff to Standoff as this allowed me to carry more missiles. In RL, I probably would have emptied out the carrier magazines of the things.

 

Indeed some Harpoon launchers got into weapons range and opened fire; while I destroyed these, I found that only my point defence weapons (SA-N-7 and SA-N-9) were any good against them - the other missiles simply couldn't handle them.

 

One quick issue here - the sound doesn't seem to be working in this version at all. A game that's quieter than a sedated mime isn't the most fun of things.

 

I took down a lot of ships- with almost four hours gone, I had destroyed 13 enemy vessels for the loss of 18 of my aircraft. After that invulnerability was running out - one Exocet actually ending up dealt with a Mod Kashin's guns.

 

Things were going to become a bit more desperate.

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No, it still isn't working.

 

****

At 2202, the Indonesian frigates fired four more missiles at me; the last of their SSMs. Two of these managed to get through, damaging the Mod Kashin. With more missiles incoming, I scrambled my MiGs off the deck (although a classic problem with modern carriers is that you can't do the "entire squadron take off" you could in the old days). These proved to be very useful indeed, managing to kill a pair of Exocets with R-73/AA-11 AAMs. I don't know how possible that would be in real life.

 

During the exchange, a Kresta got damaged and my Fulcrums sunk a Yarrow class frigate. However, that was just the start of the fight. Another two groups turned up, including Harpoon-armed Jianghu IIs. The fight got into gun and torpedo range - the Sverdlov amply demonstrating why it was so feared when it turned up in the late 1950s as a broadside from one of them is devastating to a small craft.

 

The MiGs kept on launching and launching to the point that I'd probably be getting complaints, with my losing a few to SAMs as they again demonstrated dumb AI. By 2248, I had sunk 21 enemy ships for no losses of my own. I even bagged a couple of choppers with my Flankers. Two Yak-38s got mistakenly launched at one group and were promptly lost to Seacats. You can't use those things at nights, that's for sure, if you can use them at all.

 

At 0221, the enemy turned and run, so I recalled the aircraft already in flight so I could save my ammo. I got a break of thirty minutes as a variety of Indonesian aircraft turned up to have a go at me, namely F-5s and F-16s. At 0511, a large attack headed for me, while I only had twelve fighters left. I took the risky decision to divert my standing CAP to deal with the threat - which paid off. Two F-5s managed to get missile shots off, but their destruction resulted in the missiles losing lock and dropping into the sea. However, I managed to lose two aircraft due to lack of fuel.

 

Going to 1:30 mins, the next ten hours or so was dealing with the occasional fighter attack and losing A/Cs due to lack of fuel (why don't these people warn me?). I also lost one fighter taking down an F-16, a loss I really couldn't afford.

 

At 1444, I detected a new submarine contact on active sonar, which means it was very close indeed.

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It turned out to be two submarines. Not wanting to take any chances, I scrambled every chopper on my flight decks. I can imagine the face of the CO of the Type 1300 SS when he detected all those active sonars - before I sent the poor guy to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

 

During the process of locating the two submarines and sinking them, I detected a Atlantic ASW patrol plane AKA a target.

 

Once the submarines had been sunk, I entered a "long period of boredom" that covered over twelve hours in game time. A couple of Atlantics were shot down and I had some weapon breakdowns.

 

At 0129 on 08 April, I detected a Sea King, which I promptly described as "lunch". Until three more turned up, followed by an entire Pakistani SAG and a battle duly followed. The Sea Kings managed to get eight Sea Eagles off, the MiG-29s having to shot them down with their AA-10s.

 

Two hours later, our groups got closer together and then I detected ships - lots of them. As the battle progressed, I started detecting more and more ships - at one point, there were no less than sixteen enemy vessels out there that I had to deal with. Eventually, I changed my MiG-29s from carrying AS-14s to more powerful Laser-Guided Bombs (one hit kill weapons against frigates) and actually ended up having to lob SA-N-3s at BLUFOR at one point.

 

As 09 April came about, I dealt with a Harpoon attack and then at 0150 got an incoming torpedo. The Staff Assistant immediately asked me if I wanted to counter-fire down the bearing, which I promptly did so. This was too late for my damaged Mod Kashin, which went to the bottom and cost me any chance of a scenario victory.

 

While the counter-fire didn't immediately work, the "flaming datum" sweep located two Agosta submarines and both were sunk in short order.

 

From there it was a long and boring ride to the end of the scenario. The last thing that happened was a fight between my Flankers and Omani forces that saw an Su-27 fall to a Tornado's Sky Flash SARH.

 

The game ended as a draw - neither side had fulfilled its VicConds.

 

I got: 31 ships (1 damaged), 4 subs, 23 aircraft and 7 choppers.

 

They took out: 1 ship (2 damaged), 42 aircraft and 14 choppers.

 

Seriously, the scenario was far too long - I'll do something shorter next time.

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