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Surge Into the Barents Fourms are open


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Sunkded right good me was. I wouldn't mind knowing how my torp shot fared, should have been in your general direction but seems to be no update on it. Oh well, we know it missed.

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Is my subforum still not accessible to others?


I had a chance to browse some of the other forums, and I have to say the only thing that surprised me was that the Russkies thought they had a tough mission. C'mon! :rolleyes:


In fact, from our own perspective, we expected that the NATO mission was pretty near impossible to achieve without losing at least one submarine. (Which essentially negated the chance of a 'win' game wise).


Soviet air cover was thick enough that there was a very good chance at least one of us would get picked up by a sonobuoy barrier very early on, and then pounced on by the other Soviet assets.


We didn't count on the end coming so quickly, though, and we did not anticipate anyone deciding to put up a scope! :(

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A further note, picked up by Brains and I:


Unless we're missing something, Smarter Radar rules for High Tide would indicate that Sub Harpoon should not have been detectable at all by airborne surface search radars like those aboard the Soviet aircraft. <_<

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I'll post it here.


Surge Into The Barents AAR


"But first I need something I can heal!" [*Shoots guy in leg*]

- Dr. Jennifer Keller, Stargate Atlantis


Why you should not rile cute people, animals or objects. Especially if they're Ka-25 helicopters.




In warfare, it's just as often the loser making a mistake than the victor getting it right that swings a battle. Hitler lost the Battle of Britain partly because he switched to city raids. The F-117 lost over Kosovo was shot down because of NATO's mistakes more than Serbia's tactics.


So it was here. At the premature ENDEX, NATO had lost two of its submarines without getting a single hit on Soviet forces. Both submarines were lost after exposing their position through their own action. That is telling.


I will give my perspective on this game, seeing where my views were correct from the other player's forum.


The Dictionary Definition of a Tall Order


Before STARTEX, the enormity of the challenge that both sides faced was clear to me. We had to stop four very quiet, heavily armed submarines from getting into the two bastions and getting out again. The only advantage the PLARBs had was damage resistance. Having played Dangerous Waters, I have a good idea about how had that was going to be.


They, however, had to get all four submarines back home alive to win. I felt we'd probably find a NATO sub more by luck than judgement.


I calculated it would take about eight hours for a NATO sub to get to the minefield. Conscious of that fact and that any reinforcement aircraft were basically half an hour away from being able to do anything, I decided to have a system where I would only have about a third of my aircraft up at any one time, with another third ready to scramble in the event of an emergency.


I'd been reading Admiral Sandy Woodward's One Hundred Days where he talks about the ASW exclusion zones that were used during the Falklands War. No British sub was allowed in them, so any sub contact had to be hostile. I suggested we use these on our side, marking everything west of the Grisha starting area as an exclusion zone. We allowed the Victor III time to get clear of that area.


We also derived an ELF warning system, flashing a message to any subs that they were either in great danger, or a bastion had been breached.


My plan in general was to conduct a broad area sweep of the non-bastion area (focussing on the start line initially) using passive search sonobuoys, using my active ones to localise any contacts, determine if they were real, then deal with them appropriately. The passive ones were spaced to cover the area as I only had a limited number of buoys to reload with. I planned to use my Mi-14s in hunter-killer pairs, as per Soviet doctrine.


Turbulent Times


So we start the exercise. I have some of my aircraft already hovering over the airfield ready to fly to the area. I suspect it'll be a while before we find anything.


I thought NATO would find us before we found them. While the surface players had decided to radiate all their radars anyway to get a better chance if an SSM launch took place anyway, I suspected they'd get a firing solution first.


I wasn't expecting a radar contact (Turbulent's periscope) at game start. I wasn't expecting it to keep up for a full 19 minutes. My initial thoughts went from "This has to be a diversion" to "This is a GM error" (we'd

detected a diesel sub snorkel and he'd mixed the bearings up) to "this guy can't be that stupid" and later to "must be an amateur".


Still en route to the battle area, we thought this might be a decoy and I suggested radioing it. Then I suggested an SS-N-14 launch, which the ASW group went for. The Silex was launched at 0515.5, released its torpedo at 0517 and sunk the sub at 0519.5. I couldn't believe we actually got a hit on the submarine and destroyed it, getting at least a draw from that.


I'm not going to gloat over this. Miguel Ramon is clearly new at this game and made a mistake he won't make again.


We all have moments like this in our early days.


Boston Torpedo Party


One of my biggest concerns pre-battle was a Harpoon SSM attack on the ASW Group or the Grisha boys (as I called them in my head). I had no concerns about the safety of my Air Group, as the NATO SSNs had no AAW capability.


However, things did not look so rosy for the surface fleet.


Looking through the annexes, it was clear that the anti-missile capability of these vessels was limited. Most ships carried only the SA-N-4 Gecko, a naval version of the SA-8 SAM, a short range system which would probably get only one chance to take out the advanced seaskimmers. The best vessel was the Kresta, but its SA-N-3 Goblet missiles can't be used against seaskimmers. If the Harpoons flew, which I suspected they would, somebody was going to take some damage.


One lunchtime before the 0536 turn I was sitting and thinking whether I, as a NATO player, would launch Harpoon missiles against the Soviet surface forces, in particular a bearing-only-launch at the beginning. I decided against it on the ground that I'd give my position away for no guarantee of severe damage to the Soviet forces.


I wasn't even aware of Boston launching two torpedoes at 0533, or Pittsburgh's MOSS launch. No-one else on our side appears to have been either, clearly indicating it failed. I never even got a detection on Pittsburgh, who declined to launch Harpoons at 0536, due to the presence of a Krivak nearly on top of him.


The first thing I knew of their presence was at 0536, when three Harpoons burst out of the ocean. I notice that the NATO players planned to launch if they heard someone else launch on the ASW Group.


Personally, I'd have launched BOL at the same time for maximum surprise. More Harpoons the better.


Talking to Tony, they expected to be detected and decided to attack on their terms and when Brains was about to be "run over" by the ASW Group, Brad launched and Tony followed.


When those blasted out, I screamed to Leningradskii (the Kresta), "Get fire control radars on now! Engage that missile!" More calmly, I told the Ka-25 to head to the launch area to find the sub.


The Ka-25 took a little while to find Boston. I initially decided not to join it with a May as I felt the Ka-25 could handle it, but when asked again, I sent one over.


It then dropped its torpedo, followed by another Silex- the cruiser had eight of the things on board. Both hit their target, destroying Tony's submarine. We had just scored a possible Strategic Victory. I stated IC that the Ka-25 and the crew of Leningradskii would be recommended fo the order of Lenin.


I didn't know the precise details of the engagement, only the ASW Group shooting down one, then the other two. It appears it took 12 missiles to do that- with some just making sure. That would have been an issue in a protracted campaign, that's for sure... That said, a massive achievement and my congratulations to Otto for it.


Tony's a very experienced player and we can feel justifiablly pleased at sinking him.


Failing To Locate Providence


I sent one of my Mays over to deal with Brad's launch. I got a MAD contact at 0559, had it flashed to the rest of my side and made my biggest mistake.


Having not read the relevant rules, I thought the MAD was a general location indicator and not good enough for an air-dropped torpedo launch. I dropped some buoys in the area, got some faint contacts, but never got another MAD find. This was annoying when I found out, because I felt I'd let the side down. IC, I didn't want to admit I'd lost him. This is the USSR after all...


I thought that the NATO submarines, judging by their previous positions, were in four 10nm exclusion bands and sent the Bear to take a look at the band that hadn't been covered. Turned out I was right- I might have found Pittsburgh had the game continued..


I ordered the Hazes to conduct a dipping sonar search at a point I thought the NATO sub might be and go in an expanded circle, along with the May. I also ordered another to be launched to provide reinforcements. The fact the Umpire told me he wanted half an hour's worth of orders made that the best solution.


Before the two Hazes could arrive, ENDEX was announced.


Back on the Beach- Conclusions


We did well in the time we had, but we never found the fourth submarine. Brains (or Brad) could have gotten into one of our bastions and wreaked havoc.


I feel that NATO could have gone quiet for much of the journey. They had no rush in all this. Torpedoes could have been used, but the Harpoons were counter-productive.


Lessons learned:

1. Read the rules!

2. Never underestimate the effectiveness of a stand-off ASW weapon.

3. Ka-25 Hormones may look cute, but they're deadly.

4. Get CIC Combat Plotter. I was doing this on graph paper and it possibly showed.

5. Don't play naval aviation if you're time-stretched (I was and voted for ENDEX when it was offered after the second SSN sinking)

6. Harpoons aren't all powerful.

7. Everyone makes mistakes at the beginning.

8. Putting yourselves in the other side's shoes is a good idea.

9. Soviet sonobuoys are hopeless.

10.SA-N-4s can take out seaskimmers. If you use 12 of them.


I'd like to thank all the players for being great sports. I would also like to thank the Umpire and Assistant Umpire for their great running of the game.


Let's do this again sometime, shall we?


Silent Hunter

27 July 2009

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10.SA-N-3s can take out seaskimmers. If you use 24 of them.


I think you're referring to Rule re engagement of sea skimming targets.


As I understand it, the rule permitting engagement of sea skimmers (with the added 4.0 ATA penalty) is intended for SAMs that have a minimum engagement altitude that matches the Vlow altitude band, but may not be necessarily sea skimmer capable (SSC).


For example, the SA-N-5 'Grail' is Vlow capable, but not SSC capable. It would be subject to the penalty when attempting to engage an incoming sea skimmer.


SA-N-3a 'Goblet', however, is neither Vlow capable nor SSC capable. Its minimum engagement altitude, btw, to be specific, is 100 meters. Sub Harpoon flies at less than 60 meters.


Also, I can only see reference to 12x SAMs being expended on the Soviet side: 4x SA-N-3a Goblet and what appears to have been 8x SA-N-4b Gecko (which are SSC).

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I think it's best to ask the Umpire about this.


I've posted to the PBEM forums, but no reply from the Ump yet.


I could ask Larry or Chris, or post to the Admiralty Trilogy list, but I'm pretty certain about the interpretation of the rule, just the same.

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My After Action Report:




Log Entry 0500L061488


USS Providence (SSN-719) entered the battle area from the northwest corner. Initial speed and depth were 12 knots and 200 meters (the top of the Intermediate II depth band), respectively, and of course, moving easterly in the direction of the objective: the Soviet SSBN bastions.


The TB-16D high speed towed array was already deployed (800 yd astern), and the four 21 inch (533mm) torpedo tubes were loaded with a single Mk 48 Mod 4 heavyweight torpedo, a pair of UGM-84C Sub Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a Mk 70 MOSS decoy.


USS Pittsburgh (SSN-720) was supposed to be about 20,000 yd due south of SSN-719, while USS Boston (SSN-703) was supposed to be about 49,000 yd further south. All were expected to be traveling at a similar speed and depth, and with a similar (if not identical) initial torpedo tube loadout.


Their Royal Navy companion, HMS Turbulent (S110), was expected to be somewhere between Pittsburgh and Boston, though exactly where was unknown and, to be frank, coordination between the US Navy and Royal Navy commands regarding this particular mission had been less than ideal.


It had been agreed, however, that Providence and Pittsburgh would make for the enemy submarine bastions and probe the minefield barrier for the entrance(s). Boston would play decoy, where necessary, and Turbulent would be the designated hitter for dealing with enemy surface groups - most particularly the threat posed by the Kresta II cruiser Kronstadt and its Krivak I escorts. (In large part due to its lack of a mine avoidance/under ice sonar and the advantage of an extra torpedo tube). Other submarines would join an anti-surface attack if the tactical circumstances permitted.


Log Entry 0506L061488


Immediately, at 0500L, the TB-16D towed array picked up two faint surface contacts, designated Sierra 1 and 2. Bearing ambiguity put them at 159 (or 339) and 154 (or 334) degrees.


A third contact, Sierra 3, had been detected by the BQQ-5 bow sonar, was an active sonar source bearing 135 degrees.


Providence changed course to 105 degrees to resolve the bearing ambiguity, maintaining speed and depth.


The towed array quickly identified a fishing trawler bearing 326, and this contact was dropped. Another surface contact was confirmed at bearing 158 (possibly the Kresta group?) and a Grisha III at bearing 146.


The bow sonar reported a surface contact at bearing 143, possibly a second Grisha.


Log Entry 0515L061488


Success! The towed array now identified Krivak class frigates at bearings 151 and 163, the latter ranged at about 40,000 yd and heading south at 10 knots.


A Kresta class cruiser was identified at bearing 152, estimated range 34,500 to 35,000 yd and also heading south at 12 knots.


The Grisha contact was lost, the acoustic source blocked by hull baffles, with last bearing at 146.


Log Entry 0517L061488


The towed array reported a very distant torpedo contact, bearing 190.


The range made it unlikely to have been associated with Pittsburgh, so it is more likely that a Soviet aircraft had dropped on a contact made with Turbulent or Boston.


A lucky detect, perhaps, or maybe Boston had been a little more overt with its acting as decoy than was prudent. :shock:


Hope those guys are okay.


Providence continued on course 090, speed 12 kt, depth 200.


Log Entry 0519.5L061488


Distant contact, possibly an explosion, detected on bearing 190.


Appears to match the range and bearing of the earlier torpedo report.


The rapid resolution between the torpedo contact and the explosion again suggests an airborne torpedo drop, hopefully on a decoy released by either Turbulent or Boston.


Log Entry 0530L061488


Providence now situate at position 70.15.37N 38.55.08E


The sonar is giving a good picture of the surface situation now.


A Krivak frigate is reported at bearing 162-163, range about 20,550 yd, course north at 10-12 kt.


Another Krivak is at bearing 170-171, range about 38,400 yd, also moving north at 10-12 kt.


A third surface contact, the Kresta cruiser, is reported at bearing 156-158, range about 32,450 yd, again moving north at 10-12 kt.


The Krivaks appear to be bracketing the Kresta II on the north and south, and positioned somewhat westerly of the cruiser. This is probably to shield the more valuable vessel somewhat from attack, and to take advantage of its SS-N-14d Silex ASW missiles.


Two Grisha contacts were identified by the towed array: one at bearing 151, range 55,100 yd, heading east at 10 kt; and another at bearing 153, range 58,200 yd, heading south at 10 kt.


The BQQ-5 identified two more Grisha contacts, one at bearing 125, range 30,500 yd, heading east at 10 kt, and another at bearing 116, range 30,500 yd, heading east at 10 kt.


Ivan appears to be operating his Grishas in two pairs, one at the northern end of their known patrol area, and the other at the southern end.


Log Entry 0530L061488


If Pittsburgh continued on its original course, unimpeded, it should now be fairly close to the lead Krivak I.


The Soviet frigate may in fact be passing less than 6,000 yd in front of her and will be a tempting torpedo target for her commander. (I think I know him and his proclivities fairly well. :lol: )


In any event, the Kresta group will be passing quite close to Pittsburgh, and even if he does not attack, he stands a fair chance of detection, if only randomly.


The earlier furor to the southwest, probably an attack by an aircraft upon Boston, meanwhile, should attract the attention of Soviet air for the moment.


I am therefore gambling that it is an excellent time to exploit an attack against the priority surface target, the Kresta II.


I will shoot 2x UGM-84C Sub Harpoon anti-ship missiles at the Kronstadt, exploiting their launch offset and waypoint capabilities to make it look like the launch was much further south and west, somewhere behind Pittsburgh.


This will also have the advantage of skirting the SA-N-4a SAM range of the lead Krivak while approaching the Kresta II from the general direction of that Krivak, acting as a blind spot and hopefully giving the Soviets some ROE considerations to think about.


If I gamble correctly, Pittsburgh will be in a position to engage the lead Krivak (probably with torpedoes) and Turbulent might be able to engage the rear Krivak.


Providence is sufficiently far from the Kresta II group that I should be able to clear datum safely.


Tubes 2 and 3 will be reloaded with a torpedo and MOSS decoy, respectively, as it is unlikely that I will get a second shot with Sub Harpoon.


Log Entry 0533L061488


Providence turned on new course 100 deg at speed 6 kt. Ascending to Shallow depth (50 meters) for UGM-84C Harpoon launch against Kresta II cruiser.


All sonar contacts remained the same with minor distance/bearing change. No new contacts detected.


Log Entry 0536L061488


Providence reached Shallow depth (50 meters). 2x UGM-84C Sub Harpoon away from Tubes 2 and 3.


Reloading Tube 2 with Mk 48 Mod 4 heavyweight torpedo, and Tube 3 with Mk 70 MOSS decoy.


All sonar contacts remain the same with minor distance/bearing change. No new contacts detected.


Descending again to Intermediate II depth (200 meters), and turning onto new course 145, Providence will clear datum in the direction of the lead Krivak I.


I am anticipating the Soviets will think the Harpoon shooter would want to clear datum away from the Kresta II group and move to the north.


Hopefully that lead Krivak I will be coming under torpedo attack from Pittsburgh. If not, we may engage him ourselves.


Log Entry 0539L061488


At 0539L, Providence returned to a depth of 200 meters (Int II), on course 145 and proceeding at 6 kt.


Sonar contacts remained the same with minor bearing/distance change. All contacts have good TMA solutions. No new contacts.


Ordered speed increase to 12 kt to clear datum from the area of the UGM-84C Sub Harpoon launch.


Log Entry 0550L061488


Our sonar has been tracking a Los Angeles class submarine for the past minute, bearing 170 (+/-10 deg), range est. 60,000 yd. The Los Angeles is cavitating. Soviet type torpedoes have been detected near the Los Angeles, and at 0550 a small explosion was heard on that bearing. Passive sonar continues to detect the Los Angeles, but detecting transits (transients?) come from the Los Angeles. A full contact report is expected at 0551.


This is no doubt USS Boston, whom we suspected had been tangling with Soviet air from very early on. Seems she is having a rough time of it. :cry:


Meanwhile, USS Providence has continued to clear datum from our Sub Harpoon launch, thus far without incident, in the direction of the lead Krivak I.


If our calculations are at all accurate, she should be about 5,000 yd ahead. We are slowing to 6 kt.


However, given the short range of our Sub Harpoon missile shot (about 42,000 yd), I would have expected to have heard results by now. We may have missed, or our missiles were shot down. :oops:


It also looks like my assessment of Pittsburgh's skipper were off the mark, and he has passed up the lead Krivak I, which should have passed to the north of him by now.


This might, however, put him off about 6,000 yd the port beam of the Kresta II. We had discussed this vessel as the primary surface target, and he just might be looking to engage her.


Log Entry 0551L061488


Current position of USS Providence is 38.59.25E 70.14.17N, heading 145 kt at 6 knots, depth Int II (200 m).


First, the bad news: it is now almost certain that our 2x Sub Harpoon were either shot down by Soviet SAMs or missed their target entirely.


Worse, the Kresta group looks to have turned completely around and are now headed south, and are spread further apart than before.


The closest of them, a Krivak frigate, is nearly 8 nm away - much further than I would like to take a torpedo shot.


This Krivak has a little different course than the others, moving south-southeast, and maybe it is investigating a contact.


Notably, if USS Pittsburgh had maintained her original course and speed, she and the Krivak would be nearly on top of each other - maybe 1,000 yd apart.


I expect, that being the case, that Pittsburgh must have altered course earlier, and my estimation of her current position cannot be relied upon.


Now, the really bad news ... we've definitely lost the USS Boston.


Current sonar contacts are:


Krivak frigate, bearing 165, range 15,500 yd, course SSE, speed 12 kt, TMA: Good

Kresta cruiser, bearing 160, range 28,000 yd, course South, speed 12 kt, TMA: Good

Krivak frigate, bearing 174, range 33,000 yd, course South, speed 12 kt, TMA: Good

Grisha corvette, to the east, est range 25,000 yd

Grisha corvette, to the southeast, est range 40,000 yd


There is a lot of open ocean ahead of me. This is both good and bad. Good in the sense that I do not have to worry about ships lurking overhead. Bad because the Sovs are probably using aircraft to cover these kinds of gaps.


I will continue to angle southeast for the time being.


Log Entry 0559L061488


Sonar reports a low flying aircraft passing overhead, followed by splashes. I'm guessing it is probably less than 1.5 nm away.


Possible passive sonobuoy drop (there have been no active pings as yet), or worse, a pattern of depth charges.


USS Providence is turning onto new course 139 and reducing speed to steerage, 3 knots or less, and rigging for ultra quiet.


I am gambling that these are passive sonobuoys and we may be able to slip by.


Worst case scenario - the aircraft was very close, 0.25 nm away or less, got a solid MAD contact, and those are not sonobuoys. :shock:


If we are detected or come under attack, I am preparing to program and launch a Mk 70 MOSS decoy in an attempt to divert attention elsewhere.


All other sonar contacts remain the same, with no major changes. All TMA solutions remain Good.


Log Entry 0603L061488


Following the passage of a low flying aircraft nearby, and the splashes from likely sonobuoy drops, USS Providence has slowed to 3 kt on course 139, and rigged for ultra quiet.


No new splashes have been reported, nor the pings from any active sonobuoys. (And, thankfully, no depth charges or torpedoes either!)


It is probably safe (probably) to assume that the sonobuoys were passive sets, so we are maintaining our ultra quiet status for the next little while.


At 0603, a low flying aircraft was detected astern of our position.


We are guessing that the aircraft did not obtain a MAD contact, but there is no way of knowing for sure, and the aircraft may in fact be lining up for a weapons drop.


Submarine warfare, always waiting to see what happens next ...


Log Entry 0606L061488


Other then the surface contacts earlier reported, which are to the south and are moving south with good TMA, no other contacts detected.


I assume the low flying aircraft has passed astern of us by now, though it probably has dropped some passive sonobuoys in its wake.


I've ordered present course and speed for the next four (4) minutes. At 0610L, we'll come left and bring the boat back up to a very quiet 6 kt.


Log Entry No.2 0606L061488


We've received an ELF/VLF message from COMSUBLANT advising that at approx 0300, Warsaw Pact forces attacked several West German urban targets with persistent chemical weapons. Two hours later, at 0500, NATO forces responded in kind against military targets along the Warsaw Pact axis of advance.


COMSUBLANT has advised that an escalation from conventional warfare to nuclear warfare is possible.


We are advised to continue with our mission. Priority target remains enemy boomers.






While one could always be accused of spouting the usual PBEM/MBX "whoa is me" whine (and admittedly there's probably always some degree of truth to that), I think this particular scenario is slanted pretty heavily in favour of the Russkies.


Not in terms of OOB or the mission objectives, but in the sense that the Victory Conditions give the Soviets a win for sinking just one of the four NATO SSNs in play.


IMHO, given the number of Soviet assets in play (ASW capable warships, SSNs, SSBNs, SSKs, and most especially the numbers of available aircraft - the submarine's nemesis), the relatively confined battlefield (40 x 45 nm), the depth (maximum Intermediate II), and the presence of a minefield that must be navigated safely before the NATO subs reach their target (a target that is quite adept at defending itself, I might add) - all of these factors in combination make it very likely that at least one NATO sub would not survive the trip out and back.


We figured on at least one of our brethren being detected early on into the scenario. This because the numbers of aircraft available could fairly quickly lay a number of sonobuoy barriers that we would certainly have to cross. Yeah, Soviet sonobuoys are pretty crappy performance wise, but Soviet carry a LOT of them and all you need is one faint contact. Even faint contacts can be exploited with more sonobuoys, dipping sonars, and MAD.


One of the other scary tools in the Soviet arsenal was the SS-N-14d Silex standoff ASW missile. Even without being precisely located, having one or more of these dumped in your vicinity would make it very difficult for a NATO sub to maintain its single greatest asset - stealth.


I worked up a HCE scenario for this H4 scenario that we used to roughly simulate the possibilities. It was not pretty. I may polish it up for release in due course.


To summarize, a pretty cool scenario - the apex of Cold War era submarine warfare: slipping into the enemy's frontyard to kill boomers. But the vicconds need some adjustment to make it a real contest.

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