World War III 1985 - GIUK Gap #8: The Barrier
By Ragnar Emsoy
NATO vs. SOVIETS
LOCATION: GIUK GAP/NORWEGIAN SEA
DATE/TIME: 17 SEPTEMBER 1985, 08:00:00Z
In a war situation, early control of the Norwegian Sea will be of great strategic importance for both NATO and the Soviet Union. For the Soviets, such control indirectly protects their strategic submarine bastions in the Barents Sea and reduces the possibility for an attack on the Soviet homeland. The Norwegian Sea is also the only avenue to the Atlantic Ocean and NATO's vital sea-lanes of communication (SLOC). By rapidly seeking control of the Norwegian Sea and the Greenland - Iceland - United Kingdom (GIUK) gap, the Soviets can achieve a good position for offensive operations into the North Atlantic.
NATO control of the Atlantic Ocean is heavily dependent upon the Norwegian Sea. With war raging throughout Europe, the ability to reinforce and supply NATO forces from the United States will be decisive. The loss of the Norwegian Sea will provide the Soviets with free access to the Atlantic, and thereby, the ability to cut NATO's SLOC's. It would also result in a NATO defeat in Norway and Denmark, which would give the Soviets several airfields of high strategic value. If the Soviets also gain control over Iceland, almost any important part of Europe will be within range of their strike planes. So although the war will probably not be won in the Norwegian Sea, it can surely be lost there.
ORDERS FOR CMDR NATO FORCES
As part of NATO's naval strategy to bottle up the initial Soviet incursion into the Norwegian Sea, progressive ASW barriers are now being set up from the Barents Sea all the way down through the Norwegian Sea into the GIUK gap. The GIUK gap itself is being actively patrolled by NATO surface forces including the USS America carrier battle group, the Ark Royal ASW group, STANAVFORLANT, and towed-array ASW groups. Large numbers of shore-based maritime patrol aircraft are operating from bases on Iceland and the British Isles, and B-52s have laid down large numbers of CAPTOR mines in the Greenland - Iceland gap.
With the outbreak of war, NATO's plan is to move its Atlantic Strike Fleet, consisting of as many as four carrier battle groups, into the Norwegian Sea. Here, the fleet will attack Soviet air and naval bases, and force the enemy to develop a defensive posture instead of disrupting the Atlantic sea lanes. However, only USS America and her battle group are present in the theatre at this time; three additional carriers are not scheduled to arrive for another few days.
More than thirty Soviet attack submarines deployed to the Norwegian Sea before the start of the war (in addition to fifty submarines deployed to the Atlantic Ocean), many taking up position in the same areas as those the Soviets expect will be used by NATO submarines. The main submarine barriers have been drawn on your tactical map as threat zones; southeast of Iceland, between Norway and Jan Mayen, and between Norway and Svalbard. Some Soviet submarines are known to have returned to their bases on the Kola Peninsula after delivering the initial blows to NATO naval forces, and replacements have been detected leaving the Barents Sea.
Sink fourteen (14) Soviet submarines while keeping your own losses to an absolute minimum. Scenario duration is four (4) days.
Pay special attention to Soviet submarines attempting to leave the Barents Sea. Stay clear of Soviet surface groups and areas patrolled by Soviet ASW aircraft.
(Hint 1: if you assign the CAPTOR mines to a generic 'Sub Strike' mission they will operate in an automated mode as they would in real life.)
(Hint 2: the SOSUS network takes advantage of the deep sound channels to detect enemy submarines at extreme ranges. However, the range and bearing information produced by these sensors is highly inaccurate, and the actual position may be up to hundred nautical miles or more from where SOSUS says it is. You are encouraged to carefully check each new contact to see what unit detected it. If detected by a submarine, ship or aircraft the contact is relatively close, if detected by SOSUS it can often be ignored.)
Status: Released - Tested in v3.6
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