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Red Player AAR


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Obviously, all of my observations are inherently biased by my limited perceptions. I'll start, though, with SimPlot Viewer. From a player perspective, I think it's an excellent tool. The learning curve, at least for me, was reasonably simple, with just a bit of trial and error to get the hang of it, and it offered a well-organized and ready source of all necessary data with regard to the observables. Obviously, I cannot speak to how I would feel about it from a referee standpoint-- I fiddled a bit with the SimPlot files but found the learning curve steeper and trial and error far less effective-- but as a player, I think the Viewer is definitely effective.


My observations of the scenario, too, are limited, having only played the one side, one time, against a single opponent. Clearly, it was-- intentionally, both in part of the authors and in choice-- a straightforward one, with limited platforms and limited potential for the unexpected. It allowed me to operate with a level of cavalierness that may generally be untenable-- I felt comfortable, for example, basing an ID of my targets off a number of circumstantial pieces of evidence that I might not have felt sufficient in another, more complex setting. That said, though, that straightforwardness and the resulting cavalierness may have been the main things that gave me a shot at anything much better than a draw.


My initial impression of the situation suggested to me that I was going to have a difficult time of it. Yes, I had the higher quality (sea skimming, better range) surface-to-surface missile in a 1:1 comparison, but in the right situation, my opponent was capable of launching twice as many missiles-- and far more simultaneously-- than I, each of which would do equal damage to my one. I could expect to survive, maybe, 2 volleys of that, if I let the opposing warship get too close, and would do significantly less damage over the same time frame.


As documented earlier, I had come to the conclusion that I could either concentrate on the merchant, which I reasoned would give me the best chance of achieving some type of victory, but also gave me the greatest chance of suffering some type of loss; or I could initially concentrate on the warship, wherein I could virtually guarantee to receive a result no worse than a draw, albeit at a reduced chance of achieving a victory. I opted for the latter approach, and I suspect I was only able to procure victory by being willing to fire-- in this context-- with limited confirmatory data.


Even so, there were certainly moments that I questioned the outcome. Fewer Sea Killers hit than I had banked on, and on a couple of occasions the opposing warship came closer than comfort would allow, especially since I knew I had done damage but had no way, certainly at that range, of gauging whether that damage had weakened the warship's fire capabilities significantly. Fortunately for me, the greater range capabilities of my weapons and the loss of speed from early damage from the sea skimmers left me capable, for the most part, of controlling the range with my superior speed, which I think was ultimately the key to success for the red side.


I do not think I would approach this scenario differently from the red side, though obviously enemy action could result in the need to modify the plan during execution. However, I recognize that some of the factors that worked in my favor during this scenario that allowed me to operate with greater certainty despite more limited data would not be present in other scenarios. I think that, in a more ambiguous situation, I might have been better served by going after the merchant primarily, but in such a case my specific approach would also likely have been a great deal more circumspect, and following that train of logic too much further just results in greater and greater speculation.

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Having thought about this a bit longer, I would like to add some additional notes:


To have focused my attacks on the escort was aggressive and possibly (hopefully) unexpected. It is an approach potentially rife with real-world faults. In a realistic situation, I would expect-- indeed, maybe even hope-- that my hands would be more tied. However, in this case, a decisive victory condition called for damage to the Sposobnyy; and the lack of granularity in the victory conditions meant that I would have to either settle for a tactical victory at maximum, or else fire at least one shot at the warship. Now, with the proviso that this probably just serves to highlight that I am, by no means, an international relations expert, my thoughts on this could best be summed up as "in for a penny, in for a pound." If I'm obligated, ultimately, to provoke an international incident by the fundamental goals set before me, I might as well make it an effective international incident. I don't really mean this as a criticism of the scenario, though perhaps, ultimately, it is one.


But for the sake of argument, let's say I decided I wanted to focus on the merchant, and do the bare minimum damage to the warship, say after the merchant was sunk. My first thought to this end is that I am almost certainly accepting that I will be sunk eventually. This is not an issue, as far as the scenario limits are concerned: as long as I do enough damage before I go down, I can still achieve any level of victory. But if I'm targeting the merchant primarily from the mindset of seeking to play more realistically, at least from a foreign relations perspective (as opposed to some tactical consideration that makes it a superior choice that I, in actual practice, have failed to note), I think I'm doing myself a disservice; I would anticipate that, barring an explicit demand or order to the contrary, actually surviving the encounter would be as much a priority for the captain as avoiding an international incident. That's not to imply that it's literally impossible to sink the merchant, damage the warship, and survive; it's just so unlikely as to be functionally impossible.


If I had reconciled it all, though, I think I would approach it with the same fundamental tactic. The Vosper Mk5 weapons are superior at ranges from 8.6 nm out to about 12 nm, so although I initially would hope to circle around the the outside of the convoy to put myself closer to the merchant than the warship before being detected if possible, ultimately the plan would be to try and keep the range above 8.5 nm while firing rapidly on the merchant. When the warship approached closely enough to make that impossible, my next best bet would be to try and close to closer than 1.9 nm, where I again have an advantage. My worry, however, is that in covering that gap, I would be faced with a larger number of incoming missiles than I could effectively handle, would be significantly damaged and thus slowed, and would lose any ability to manage the range against the warship, resulting in my rapid destruction.


I have reason to believe this approach has a solid chance of achieving a tactical victory, albeit not an absolute; but I equally have reason to believe this approach has little chance of achieving a decisive one.

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Your analysis of the situation with regards to the scenario goals and real world considerations is correct. The scenario forces are based on actual events, but the orders and victory conditions are not. I suspect that if the scenario had been designed to replicate the real world, the outcome would have been the same--nothing. The Kashin and merchant went about their business and the Iranian only hassled them.

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