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File Name: Operation Ivy Bells, 1971.

File Submitter: broncepulido

File Submitted: 27 Jan 2013

File Category: WestPac


Operation Ivy Bells, 1971.

The Halibut finest moment.


This picture of USS Halibut in San Francisco Bay is a USN official photo apparently in public domain, retrieved from navysource.org, published on that site as courtesy of Darryl Baker.


A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for the WestPac Battleset and the HCCW-120614 Cold War Platform Database.


This scenario is designed for play by the US/Blue or the Soviet/Red side, to avoid spoilers is better to play first some times the US/Blue side and only after play the Soviet/Red side.


The noisy and peculiar USS Halibut (originally SSGN-587) was previously a Regulus strategic missile carrier later converted in a apparently conventional SSN, after the Regulus cruise missile was retired and his patrols deleted just some months before the introduction of the SSBN patrols. But Halibut was not a quiet fish.

Halibut was converted for special covert operations in the Cold War, exploiding the room of her cavernous hangar, but her conversion and her missions not yet full exposed or detailed (aside this one, Halibut was previously employed on at least another great mission, Operation Sand Dollar, locating on 1968 the accidentally sunken K-129, a Soviet Golf-class SSB, for her ulterior recovery in Project Azorian).

The basic design was developed by Dr. John P. Craven head of USN Deep Submergence Systems Project. From summer 1971 she was equipped on the after deck with a fixed divers decompression and lockout chamber simulating a DSRV submersible, for very deep saturation divers breathing an helium and oxygen mixture with methods researched at SeaLab.

Operation Ivy Bells was based on the intuition of Captain James E. Bradley Jr. director of undersea warfare at the Office of Naval Intelligence about the existence of a undersea communications and telephone cable in the Sea of Okhotsk between the Soviet SSB/SSBN base at Petropavlosk in the very far and almost isolated Kamchatka Peninsula and his Pacific Fleet Headquarters near Vladivostok. The idea was, one time determined the cable emplacement (and previously guaranteed his existence in the same mission!) to tape it with a device working through induction, without violate physically the cable, and even with the adequate legal converture within the bounds of international law, out of the three mile limit of the Soviet territorial waters. The mission was a complete success, the cable was taped, and the Soviets delivered unencrypted plain text messages by the cable, thinking it was sure. Later, other cables will be taped by other US submarines, but this was the first one.

And so, on October 1972, Halibut sailed with her captain Commander John E. Mcnish from Mare Island to hunt the West Shore of the Kamchatka Peninsula with the covert mission of retrieve debris of the SS-N-12 anti-ship missile, but actually after signals of fantasy cables and to an uncertain future.

Probably this is not an easy scenario.


Enrique Mas,January 2013.


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Tested more in deep the Cold War database with this greater scenario.

I think the change in sonar detection to long range and probability of detection 25% is more interesting than in the standard DB (medium range and 50%), apparently more range of detection, and more uncertainty in the correct range and angle of detection, as in the real world.

Also, reducing the nukes yield (divided by factor of five?) is also more realistic and more playable.

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