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Blue Player AAR


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Blue Players, please post your thoughts about the scenario to include AAR, the PBEM process, and using SimPlot Viewer to facilitate an H4 game.


FYI, the Red corvettes are sinking and the destroyer is on fire and sitting low in the water. The aircraft that attacked were F-4E.



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"On May 29, 1987, I, commanding Stoykiy, and my colleague, commanding Ladnyy, were escorting three merchant vessels to Kuwait City. At roughly 1100, we were traveling under minimal emissions with Stoykiy's Hormone aloft and searching at a distance from the convoy, at that time roughly 100 nm east of Manama. At this time, we began to pick up the signature of APS-115 emissions. By 1124, the Hormone pilot had reported visual identification of aircraft contrails approaching and was ordered to deactivate radar and return to Stoykiy; Stoykiy's 3D radar was activated at that time, with additional radars activated shortly thereafter, and this radar picked up an air contact presumed to be a P-3. When challenged, this aircraft identified itself as an Iranian aircraft, and I requested that it maintain a 25 nm perimeter to avoid unintended mishaps given the tense atmosphere resulting from recent attacks by Iranian forces on neutral shipping and convoys in the Persian Gulf.

"At 1142 we began to pick up the signal of an active APQ-120, and given the context of this contact, we tentatively presumed this to be Iranian from Iranian F-4E aircraft. When we were able to pick up the specific contact on radar, I again repeated my request for identification and to maintain a 25 nm perimeter. This request received no response, though neither air contact approached the convoy at this time, and the presumed F4-E would depart by 1510 without further incident.

"At 1412 we detected an incoming helicopter on radar; various characteristics suggested it to be an AB-204, which raised concern for a Babr-class vessel operating in the vicinity. This contact was also challenged for identification and asked to maintain a 25 nm perimeter; this contact also provided no response, and by 1430, despite repeated warnings that continued silence and approach would be viewed as indicative of hostile intent, the helicopter had approached to 15 nm from the convoy. However, the helicopter did not approach closely enough for visual identification before turning away, although unlike the previous presumptive F4-E contact, the helicopter qould only briefly move away, returning by 1545 whence it continued to linger at roughly 15 nm from the convoy.

"At roughly 1550 we felt it safe to launch the Hormone again, with the intent to circle the convoy at altitude with radar emitting. However, no sooner had the Hormone reached altitude than its radar began picking up three surface contacts approaching on two different bearings. The vessels were challenged for identification and advised to maintain a 30 nm perimeter from the convoy, and again these requests were met with no response. Despite repeated warnings, the surface contacts continued to approach, and at 1603 they breached the stated 30 nm perimeter. In the context of recent events, including the helicopter contact well inside the 25 nm perimeter requested as well as the lingering P3-F self-identified as Iranian, the incoming surface contacts were deemed hostile. A limited barrage of one Moskit per vessel was launched, met nearly-simultaneously by two of the incoming vessels launching a spread of eight Harpoon missiles at our convoy. Based on this response, these two vessels were identified as probable Iranian Combattante IIBs, and based on the aforementioned helicopter contact's tentative identification, the third vessel was presumed to be a Babr-class vessel.

"Confident that the single Moskit launched at each Combattante would prove sufficient, I ordered a total of four more Moskits fired at the presumptive Babr-class vessel staggered in two waves, based upon indicators that one or more of the earlier missiles were defeated. At the same time, I began to launch Uragan SAMs at the incoming Harpoon missiles, which fortunately proved ultimately sufficient to eliminate that threat. The result of the fired Moskits was that all surface contacts were apparently disabled as well.

"At 1606, while the missile exchange was underway, we began to pick up radar signatures suggesting one or more F4-Es were approaching the convoy, and shorty thereafter the presumed AB-204 also began to approach. These approaching air contacts were met with further Uragan launches, and ultimately all attacking aircraft were disabled or destroyed. Later, the Iranian P3-F withdrew, and the convoy continued to Kuwait City without further incident. Neither the convoy nor escorts were damaged in the exchange, though 24 Uragans and 7 Moskits were fired.

"I know there are some who will question the legality of declaring a perimeter around the convoy and considering it a hostile action to approach closer than that perimeter. However, recent weeks have seen neutral merchant and naval vessels operating in international waters coming under attack by Iranian forces despite the legal dilemma this poses. In this context, and in the context of approaching forces, tentatively identified as Iranian based upon operating characteristics and proximity, both temporally and spatially, to an identified Iranian aircraft, with such forces unwilling to identify themselves and expressing no complaint regarding the requested perimeter, I would have been derelict not to note the prospect of hostile intent. As events unfolded, it happened that this understanding of the intent was proven correct.

"I consider it consistent with the best interpretation of my orders and, perhaps more importantly, of my duty as an officer of this navy to have used all methods and material at my disposal to safeguard the lives of the men and the integrity of the vessels under my care. Though I made every effort to not do so rashly, I felt it most appropriately to respond resolutely-- any failure to do so on my part would have exposed a ship or a sailor under my care to unnecessary potential harm."




The above is something of a summary and a justification from the perspective of Stoykiy's captain. From the perspective of a player, most of the same rationale applies, with the addenda that translating the moral imperatives into game details meant that any damage to either Stoykiy or Ladnyy meant that a decisive victory was out (though such damage did not, directly, help Red much with achieving a victory for themselves). This meant that, even in a best case scenario, we in effect had to choose between basically giving up on the prospect of a decisive victory, or else be willing to fire upon Red without waiting for Red to take a definite hostile act, such as opening fire-- not that such would have been an appealing prospect anyway, as even if it did not directly impact victory conditions, damage to the escorts would decrease our ability to accomplish our primary mission.


I had an appreciation for the Sovremenyy on paper, but seeing it in action helps to hammer home the fundamental effectiveness of the design. As CV32 pointed out elsewhere, Red had a tough job in front of them; I didn't appreciate, going into it, just how tough a job it was.


I am not sure what the prior PBEM process was (I get the impression from the last scenario that using the forum for PBEM in this way is relatively new) but I think this process works very effectively indeed. I think a de facto protocol standardizing a method of signaling "here are orders" as was requested later in the game is not only reasonable but, at least in more-than-one-on-one scenario, probably a necessity. I apologize for any frustrations my failure to consistently implement one prior to that point caused.


As I said after the last scenario, I think SimPlot Viewer is an excellent and effective tool for facilitating H4 play. It seems especially superior to a lot of other methods for PBEM purposes, and I can imagine it (though I have no firsthand experience of it) being effective in non-PBEM venues as well. I am tempted to learn how to use SimPlot from the other side of the table, and if I can figure it out, would be inclined to return the favor by running a scenario-- I have an appreciation of it as a tool from a player perspective, and I suspect I'd have a similar appreciation from a referee perspective.

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Excellent account, Yishten. I concur in all respects.


Not much to add to that, other than to say:


The role of Ladnyy in this scenario was to act as support and backstop, being inferior in virtually all respects that mattered (to the scenario) to the Sovremennyy class destroyer. Ladnyy's SA-N-4b Gecko would be used to provide close defence to the merchants and engage any 'leakers' that might get past Stoykiy, while there were SS-N-14d Silex missiles to offer up a secondary anti-surface capability (in the unlikely event it came to that).


Red was able to put up essentially the worst case scenario for us - a heavy anti-ship missile attack combined with an air attack. Iran expending virtually all of its Harpoon inventory in a single engagement is a pretty good indicator of that. Had it been able to exploit multiple axes of attack and/or achieve true simultaneous time on target, or had better luck, things may very well have went differently.


I have often said that there is no computer simulation - whether Harpoon based or otherwise - that can match a well devised and umpired game based on a solid foundation of rules and fought between human players. This latest scenario confirms it.

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