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File - Middle East - A Passage to Lebanon, May 1980. Hypothetical Post-Colonial Scenario.

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File Name: A Passage to Lebanon, May 1980. Hypothetical Post-Colonial Scenario.

File Submitter: broncepulido

File Submitted: 20 Nov 2017

File Category: Middle East



A Passage to Lebanon, May 1980. Hypothetical Post-Colonial Scenario.

A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for The Middle East 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: HMS Bulwark (R08) in her last commission period 1979-1981, as ASW and assault helicopter carrier (Commando Carrier), equipped then with different Westland Sea King variants. Overflown on this photo by four Sea King, a Wessex and two Gazelle. Image courtesy of
Navy-photos for fair use, and took in fair use from Wikipedia Commons.

This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/UK side or from the Red/Syrian side. You should play a few times first the Blue side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Red side. It's probably a difficult scenario.

This is a post-colonial scenario inspired in the Paul French article on SITREP #53 of October 2017. It's inspired on his scenario, but done more complex, as only Computer Harpoon can provide, doing easy the management of higher number of units and platforms.

In the turmoil of the long Lebanon Civil War (1975-1990), on mid-1980 and with the events exacerbated pointly by the Bashir Gemayel efforts to consolidate all the Christian Maronite fighters factions under his leadership of the Kataeb Phalangist Party militia in the Lebanese Forces Party, United Kingdom decided to extract its last nationals and a few selected collaborators from Lebanon.

With that aim, a makeshift task force is constituted on Mediterranean Sea, if possible with the support of HMS Bulwark carrying the 45 Commando Royal Marines (Ship and commando historically present in the theatre), and composed mostly of second line Royal Navy ships.

As the UK permanent military forces were retired from Cyprus from 1974, as consequence of the Turkish invasion, practically only the Task Force ships and a few allied air assets are, if present, available to the British commander at RAF Akrotiri.

The UK warships are mostly second line warships, as the main Royal Navy elements are deployed in the North Atlantic, to prevent the Soviet constant menace, but it's possible the presence of one or two state of art warships.

The scenario is some ways similar to the 1982 South Atlantic Campaign against Argentina, with the same case of dissimilar land based air forces against a naval task force. And as explained and as in 1982, the British Task Force ships are not equipped with updated ECM and decoys.

Is also showed the UK embarked fighter gap present at those times (By two years, between the HMS Ark Royal (R09) last launching of a Phantom FG.1 on 27 November 1978, and January 1981. As although the effective entry in service of Sea Harrier was on 31 March 1980, it was no aircraft carriers on sea except HMS Bulwark (R08, only with helicopters and not ready for Sea Harrier), as HMS Invincible (R05) was commissioned only on 11 July 1980, embarking 800 Naval Air Squadron first time on January 1981, to be later transferred to HMS Hermes (R12) on June 1981, who was in refit from May 1980 to May 1981), fighter gap present also now in our current times of 2017 (By ten years at least on our times, from when the latest Harrier GR.9 of the Naval Strike Wing were retired in 2010, to when F-35B comes into service on HMS Queen Elizabeth deck, scheduled for 2020).

To put us in the historical situation, the previous month of April 1980 was the failed US raid in Iran Operation Eagle Claw to liberate the US hostages of the embassy in Iran, and the take over by Iranian terrorists of the Iranian embassy in London, resolved by a SAS assault on 5 May.

As consequence of the regional unrest, the Syrian government of Hafez al-Assad decides can't consent the presence of an UK task force near its coastline, fearing a new Western intervention perhaps in support of Israel or of the Lebanese Forces Party (In opposition to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon 1976-2005, with Syria supporting its own pro-Syria PLA faction opposed to Israel and to the Christian Maronite forces, but with too much nuances to explain it here), and improvises an operation to prevent the positioning of the task force near Syria.

The confrontation is now settled.

Enrique Mas, November 19, 2017.



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