From: California, United States
(For Starters, I will say that this AAR is slightly different from my usual ones in that played this scenario, and am writing this, with a little self imposed fog of war. This means that I role played that I had no idea the attack on the Liberty was coming or who attacked it, and I also avoided checking my kills in the 'losses and expenditures' window. Also, in case you are wondering, I accept the US and Israeli governments stance that the Liberty Incident was a tragic accident.
The Mediterranean Cluster****, or War By Accident
June 8th, 1967
Just another day in command of two USN carriers in the US Sixth Fleet, the task forces of USS America and USS Saratoga steaming south of Crete, with a pair of detached destroyers (DESRON 12; USS Davis and USS Massey) on patrol north of the Nile Delta, keeping an eye on the ongoing conflict between Israel and it's Arab neighbors. There is a Soviet DDG to the west keeping an eye on my ships.
So, as ordered, I commenced launching strikes of A-4s and AD-6s against the targets designated at the NATO Bombing Range on an near the Greek island of Kasos. Ultimately, several of the targets are neutralized, but as I start planning a new strike to finish off the three remaining damaged target ships, I recieve a distress call from the USS Liberty (Callsign Rock Star) saying that she is under air attack north of El Arish and provided map coordinates.
Despite the very little information I have, I first locate that spot on the map and drop a reference point for, well, reference. Next, I immediately order the Davis and the Massey to the area at flank speed.
This is bizarre to be sure. The Soviets couldn't be hitting the Liberty, as they have no combat planes in the region. That leaves just Israel and Egypt. My first instinct is that Egypt is doing this, but this isn't that likely for two reasons. A) Egypt would no be so insane as to provoke the US into this war when they are clearly losing. and B) Most reports indicate that the Egyptian Air Force was devastated a few days ago when the war began, so Egypt can't have many planes left to strike with.
As for Israel, they certainly have the capability, but it would make no sense for them to suddenly attack a ship belonging to a very friendly and powerful country without warning.
Anyway, After dispatching DESRON 12, I scramble four F-4 Phantoms from USS America, the closest of the two carriers, to the scene, while also preparing tanker support, as I will be operating aircraft at a bit of a distance. So I also send my carriers at full speed to an area between Sinai and Cyprus. As these aircraft start racing to the aid of the Liberty, I get another distress call from the ship saying she is under attack from torpedo boats and that it is Israelis attacking. Now I have to launch strike aircraft, due to the lack of gun on the Phantoms. I rush to launch a few planes as most are down for refueling/rearming from the training strikes. It is also around this time that I recieve formal orders from Sixth Fleet HQ to launch aircraft to assist, and authorization to engage any direct threats to the Liberty.
These hastily launched sorties run into problems with refueling and ranges, so long before the first Phantoms arrive on scene, the Liberty is torpedoed and flashes that she is sinking, and that lifeboats are being strafed. "Dammit!" I utter. I still keep my support on the way, so protect the survivors in the water and try to blast those ships and planes responsible.
However, before that happens, sonar from one of the America's escorts detects an underwater contact ahead of the carrier. I dispatch a Sea King to investigate and identify this contact, but my initial orders are screwed up by me, and I briefly issue a 'fire' order. Right as I correct the order, one of the escorts, Destroyer USS Sampon, fires an ASROC at the contact. My heart sinks. I can't do anything to stop this weapon. I have not yet identified this underwater contact, so it could be a whale or a submarine. As I watch the ASROC splash down on top of the contact, the torpedo begins circling, and the contact seems to react to it, speeding up to over 10 knots. Okay, definitely not a whale. Then it hits me: "OH SH*T, DID I JUST FIRE ON A SOVIET SUBMARINE?!?!".
With no way of doing anything, I watch as the unidentified submarine is hit and sunk. I immediately turn my attention to the nearby Soviet DDG, which does not seem to react. This ship would be joined later by a Frigate and Oiler, and I would later detect two definite Soviet Subs shadowing my ships, but they never engage, despite getting a bit close to my carriers. Only after things die down at the end do I learn that it was an Israeli Submarine I accidentally sank.
Meanwhile, my first two Phantoms arrive over the site of the Liberty sinking, and shoot down an Israeli support aircraft. I also have a fix on three stationary torpedo boats in the area, so I send more strike aircraft to engage them. I want to keep this limited, as I cannot fathom the attack on the Liberty being anything other than a complete accident, but orders are orders, and the report of lifeboats under attack completely warrants this response.
Then, with no notice, I get a flash emergency message from headquarters to immediately recall all of my strikes. I happily oblige, though I still have DESRON 12 race to the area.
As my aircraft are recovered, I think that this embarrassing incident has come to it's end. Boy was I wrong. I receive another flash message that goes as follows:
FLASH FLASH FLASH FLASH
TO TG 60.01
INFO CTF SIX ZERO
CTG SIX ZERO PT TWO
C O N F I D E N T I A L
1.AMERICA LAUNCH ALPHA STRIKE.
2.SARATOGA LAUNCH ALPHA STRIKE.
3.TARGETS ARE AS FOLLOWS
RAMAT DAVID AIRBASE
TEL NOF AIRBASE
5.TARGET ALL AIRCRAFT FACILITIES.
6.SEAD AS REQUIRED FOR INGRESS AND EGRESS.
7.NEUTRALSE ANY ISRAELI WARSHIPS.
8.USE OF SPECIAL WEAPONS NOT AUTHORISED.
My jaw drops. What the hell is going on?! Are we at war with Israel now?! Has Washington lost their minds?. Just then I detect a crap ton of aircraft launching from Israel heading east directly toward my forces. What the hell is Jerusalem thinking? Has everyone gone crazy?!?!
Still convinced that this is one big catastrophic accident, I decide to wait on striking Israel. Instead I focus on defending my carriers against these incoming aircraft. I am forced to launch most of my Phantoms to intercept the incoming Israeli aircraft, and my fighters cause massive losses to these strikes, while none got even close to weapons release, though I did lose one Phantom shot down and two damaged in the fight. I also notice that alot of my missiles were wasted. An inevitability of early missile tech.
While all this was going on, DESRON 12 comes under air attack. The Davis and the Massey try to defend themselves, but I am unable to send any fighters in time to provide air cover. The USS Davis takes several hits and explodes, sinking quickly with all hands. I order the Massey to disengage and meet up with the America at Flank speed. However, the attacks continue. The Massey succeeds in shooting down a Mirage and a Mystere, but a hit from an Iron bomb destroys the Massey's engines, leaving her dead in the water, despite little other damage.
With the Massey unable to defend herself effectively, I launch some strike aircraft to hit those torpedo boats. While they are still stationary, they are a clear threat to the Massey that I cannot ignore. So a few successive attack runs with cluster bombs and rockets wipe out those boats. Additionally, one of the returning strike aircraft detects and Israeli destroyer, later identified as the Eliat, headed toward the Massey. I hastily scramble a pair of Phantoms with GATOR cluster bombs to attack it. After those bombs are released, the Eliat is hammered hard and sunk rather quickly.
With the remaining Israeli aircraft retreating to their bases, and no imminent threats to the Massey, I recall my aircraft, and spend several hours waiting, moving my carriers closer to Israel, and keeping an eye on the Soviet Warships, who eventually leave me alone.
Only with around five hours left, with no subsequent orders since those to attack the Israeli airbases, I reluctantly launch an all out strike against Tel Nof and Hatzor airbases, reasoning that the aircraft that attacked the Liberty and DESRON 12 most likely came from one or both of these.
The Israeli air force launches several Mirages to intercept my aircraft. While they do lose some to my Phantoms, I also lose several Skyhawks, and those that do manage to reach their targets seem to have caused little if any damage. In this furball, my Phantom's lack of cannon made the difference.
After I recover my surviving aircraft, some of which are damaged, I decide to run out the clock.
The scenario gives me a 'Minor Victory' with a score of 340.
I guess I agree with that, since Israel did receive more losses overall than I did, but both sides took serious losses. And this whole affair is obviously a huge humiliating embarrassment for both nations.
No doubt my actions will be intensely scrutinized by investigators from both the US and Israel, and my career in the US Navy is probably over.
Here are the losses and expenditures:
SIDE: US 6 th Fleet
1x DD 931 Forrest Sherman [Gun]
6x F-4B Phantom II
8x A-4C Skyhawk
2x A-4B Skyhawk
228x HYDRA 70mm Rocket
34x 20mm Mk12 x 2 [50 rnds]
64x Mk82 500lb LDGP
6x Mk83 1000lb LDGP
16x ZUNI 127mm HVAR Rocket
24x Mk81 250lb LDGP
32x 20mm M3 [200 rnds]
72x Mk82 500lb Snakeeye
1x RUR-5A Mod 4 ASROC RTT [Mk46 Mod 2]
23x AN/SSQ-47 Julie Active Range-Only
93x AIM-7D Sparrow III
12x Mk20 Rockeye II CB [247 x Mk118 Dual Purpose Bomblets]
230x 127mm/38 Twin HE-PD Burst [HiCap, 2 rnds]
145x 127mm/38 Twin AA-VT Burst [Anti-Aircraft Common, 2 rnds]
1x FIM-43C Redeye Blk III
35x AIM-9D Sidewinder
22x 370 USG Drop Tank
11x 600 USG Drop Tank
16x RIM-8E Talos
2x RIM-2F Terrier
8x CBU-78/B GATOR [45 x BLU-91/B Bomblets + 15 x BLU-92/B Mines]
40x 300 USG Drop Tank
1x S 75 Leviathan
1x Super Mystere B.2 [Sambad]
10x Mirage IIICJ [Shahak]
8x Vautour IIA
3x Vautour IIN
12x MB.545 Mystere IVA
3x T 200 Ayah
1x K 40 Eilat
2x Vautour IIBR
105x 40mm/70 Mk9 Single Bofors Burst [4 rnds]
6x Mk9 Straight-Runner
62x 20mm/70 Oerlikon Mk5 Burst [20 rnds]
2x Generic Acoustic Decoy
328x SNEB 68mm Rocket
4x Mk77 Mod 1/2/3/4/5/6 500lb Incendiary Bomb
87x 30mm DEFA 552 x 2 Burst [50 rnds]
228x TBA 68mm Rocket
24x 1300 liter Drop Tank
6x 30mm DEFA 552 x 4 Burst [50 rnds]
48x 500 liter Drop Tank
28x 625 liter Drop Tank
24x 105mm Brandt T-10 Rocket
1x 1500 liter Bay Tank
28x R.530 (SARH)
37x Shafrir 1
SIDE: USS Liberty
1x AGTR 5 Liberty
SIDE: Soviet Union
SIDE: USN VQ-2 Det
SIDE: Unmarked Aircraft
76x SNEB 68mm Rocket
4x Mk77 Mod 1/2/3/4/5/6 500lb Incendiary Bomb
76x TBA 68mm Rocket
SIDE: Civillian Shipping
SIDE: Target Ranges
3x Building (Barracks)
12x Vehicle (Truck, Unarmed)
2x Commercial Supply Vessel [6,000t DWT]