I hadn’t played this one before, so I gave it a try, and damn, it’s a fun one! I confess I couldn’t resist, and played the P-3 side as well as the NATO side.
I started out sending an SH-60 out on a scouting run, and soon picked up the enemy task group rounding the eastern tip of Crete, under the watchful eye of a patrolling May. My own ships speeded up and headed for the intercept, as did my SSN, which started sprinting up from the Libyan coast, pausing now and then to clear its baffles. After the enemy task group rounded the corner of Crete it turned SSE on heading 163, and slowed down to a creep, evidently searching for subs.
Speaking of subs, the P-3s pick up a Tango north of my starting position, and soon I have a Seasprite overhead, tracking the contact. Normally I can attack immediately, but this time I have to wait, and as my task group steams further east at 27 knots it gets harder and harder to keep a helicopter on station behind me. Will the Soviets pull the trigger before I lose this contact?
Meanwhile I’m closing in on the enemy task group, and turn to parallel its course, keeping 60 miles away, just within Harpoon range, while my SSN continues to close. It’s 0530 now. Soon it will be light. What are the Soviets doing in Europe? Why don’t they go home, or get on with it? And now the P-3 is reporting a Kilo running under a passive buoy to the south of me. One more thing to try and track.
Then, at 0600, the word comes in. The Soviets are rolling across the border! Two torpedoes drop on the Tango, and it’s gone moments later. The SSN is called up to periscope depth, exchanges information with the task group via P-3, and a few minutes later a coordinated BOL salvo is fired at the slow-moving enemy task group. Thank God it’s still dark! All my task group’s Harpoons, all the sub’s Harpoons, and the Harpoons of two P-3s close in on the hapless Soviet task group.
Suddenly automated CIWS are roaring into life, and chaff rockets start bursting over the convoy in wild confusion, but it’s to little, and too late. A storm of explosions rips through the Soviet hulls, and within moments the ships are overwhelmed and gone. The remaining Harpoons fly off into the night. In the weeks that follow, Lloyds of London will report insurance payments on a RO/RO vessel and a motor yacht that were lost around that time. Cause of loss is listed as uncertain, probably due to Soviet attack…
With the enemy task group gone, one of the P-3s turns back to drop a pair of torpedoes on the Kilo, before turning back for base and landing on fumes. Despite several more false contacts, no further submarines are found for the rest of the day. We keep an eye on the patrolling May, but it never gets close enough to shoot. At the end of it all, my task group has used almost all its offensive anti-shipping punch, other than the 4 TASMs on the Spruance, and another 4 on the sub. Hopefully they won’t have to face anything else big until the carrier group arrives to reinforce them.
I really enjoyed the tension of the unknown start time in this one. Can you keep things under control until the fight truly begins, or will circumstances prevent you from making an optimal attack? You just don’t know.