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Black Sea Ghosts. June 2023. Historical Alternate Scenario.

A Harpoon Commander's Edition scenario for EC2003 Battle for the Mediterranean 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.

This scenario is designed to be played from the Blue/Ukrainian/NATO side or from the Red/Russian. You should play a few times first the Blue side to avoid spoilers, and only later play the Red side.

Image: The Soviet Project 864 Meridian-class intelligence collection ship Kareliya (SSV-535), sistership of Priazovye (437) who was involved in the receiving side of the Ukrainian mid-2023 USVs open sea strikes, steaming alongside the U.S. Navy guided missile cruiser USS Texas (CGN-39) in the First Cold War. Texas was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) for a deployment in the Western Pacific from 15 June to 16 December 1988. US Navy photo by a serviceperson on duty and in consequence on public domain, and took from Wikipedia Commons.

From the eventful year of 2014 (Mainly from the Russian invasion of Crimea) the world was beginning clearly the so-called Second Cold War, the President of Russia Vladimir Putin (ex-KGB lieutenant colonel) was showing clearly his plan to recover the Russian Empire including previous Soviet territories for reinstitute the greatness of "his" Russia, and to guarantee his passage on the History as saviour of the Rodina.

After the massive Russian build-up of forces from late 2021 in Russia and Belarus near the Ukrainian border, NATO forces were forced to an increased and constant deployment near Ukraine and the Eastern Mediterranean, to deterrent Putin's ambition.

The probably original plan was to avoid an intervention by NATO ground forces but preventing the Russian main forces to enter Ukrainian territory, and to get this target to establish an air and sea exclusion zone around and over Ukraine.

But at last, on February 24, 2022, Russian forces invaded Ukraine against most forecast, sinking the world in a new state of international relations, as consequence of a long and failed campaign of unexpected outcomes.

On the conflict naval side, many new tactics and strategies has been employed as novelties in the Ukrainian campaign, including many that could be called of naval guerrilla warfare.

One of the novelties is the employ of USVs (Unmanned Surface Vehicles) not only against moored ships in port, but also against underway ships on open sea.

In concrete attacks on the Russian intelligence ships Ivan Khurs on May 24, and Priazovye on June 11, 2023, the first with three USVs, and the second employing six USVs.

This scenario depicts those inconclusive Ukrainian attacks against Russian AGIs in the Black Sea.

A very simple and easy scenario, at least apparently, and perhaps surprisingly balanced.

Enrique Mas, June 17, 2023.


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Notes on some platforms:

- Project 18280 Yuriy Ivanov-class maximum speed is 20 knots (and cruise speed 16), not 16 as usually stated.

- For H I Sutton the Ukrainian kamikaze USVs speed is 43 knots.

- Ship platform 3264 Suicide Boat is employed as Ukrainian USVs (but her maximum speed is only 30 knots).

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