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Advanced ASW Exercise 1979

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Advanced ASW Exercise 1979 - 11/5/2019 4:30:51 PM   


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Joined: 3/20/2019
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Sorry if the series on the Standalone Scenarios is coming through a little slowly, but I'm splitting my attention between quite a few different games at the moment.

This one is a NATO ASW training exercise in the English Channel in October 1979. You get eight British, Dutch, German and Belgian destroyers and frigates, plus a selection of ASW choppers and a Nimrod patrol plane to escort an auxiliary fleet oiler to Portland in Dorset. Three simulated 'Soviet submarines' are known to be in the area, including a dangerous Charlie, armed with 40nm range SSN7 missiles. Losing the oiler costs you the game, but it's otherwise a straight sinkings contest, with a bonus for getting the auxiliary safely to port.

You have quite a lot of sea to cover and, with the exception of the Belgian frigate Wielingen, your sonar coverage is short-ranged. Your helicopters either rely on sonobuoys (limited supply) and dipping sonar (Sea King, Lynx) or have no sensors at all beyond the old-fashioned eyeball (Wasp). Because it didn't leap out of the database entry, I missed the fact that the Nimrod carries a huge payload of sonobuoys and can saturate the mission area with them. Using this ability earlier would probably have made for an easier time.

Set an indirect course for the oiler to throw any pre-set ambushes off the scent and did what I could to set-up an interlocking web of sonar. The Sea Kings on patrol were set to using their dipping sonar ahead of the convoy.

The big threat seemed to be the Charlie's missiles. Given its range, I couldn't very well stop it, especially as it had a Bear spotting for it and safely out of reach. Sure enough, it soon popped-up and unleashed all 8 of its SSN7s. Thankfully, I had enough SAMs to knock them all down. Helicopters sped to prosecute the contact, but the sub somehow slipped through the sonobuoys/dipping sonar net. Found that it was a good idea to drop stale contacts to avoid choppers wasting ammo on them.

A Whiskey-class sub then attacked one of the escort groups with torpedoes at long range, but I was able to outrun them. Again, the sub was hard to detect - indeed, I don't think any of my ships managed a sonar contact all game (and I did take care to turn all sonars on at the start).

While this was going on, the Charlie was randomly detected by a sonobuoy and a Sea King engaged and sank it. Rather fortunate, as I had little to do with it. "Boom, clap!", one might say...

The Whiskey then re-appeared, failed with a second long-range attack and was cornered and sunk by several choppers.

The third submarine, a Foxtrot with a heavier torpedo armament than the Whiskey, also got within firing range undetected and attacked the frigate Brighton. I seemed to have gotten away with it as the frigate accelerated away at flank, only to look on with horror as she was suddenly sunk. All available units converged on the sub, but she spun around to torpedo and sink the frigate Galatea. Retribution was visited upon her by a combination of the Nimrod's sonobuoys and a Wasp's torpedo.

This ended the contest, though there were a few biologic contacts that might have been mistaken for subs under other circumstances. Getting the oiler home gave me 2,000 points to the AI's 1,000, which was a Major Victory. As stated earlier, better use of the Nimrod might have widened the margin.

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