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Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta for testing

 
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Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta for... - 7/16/2021 2:30:16 AM   
Mgellis


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A new scenario for your testing pleasure...

It's 1963 and the world is at war. A Dutch convoy is trying to make it across the Atlantic to Boston, where tankers and cargo ships will be loaded with necessary supplies for the war effort.

As always, please let me know what you think. Obviously, a convoy mission like this one will operate at a fairly slow pace a lot of the time, but I've tried to provide enough challenges and surprises to make it worth your while. Feedback on the strengths and weakness of the scenario (how does it play? is it challenging enough? are all the little details like how the orders are written and what planes you have available handled properly?) is welcome. What can I do to make this a better, more fun, and more challenging scenario?

Thanks in advance.

[version 2 uploaded 11:20 CST 8/8/2021]



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< Message edited by Mgellis -- 8/9/2021 4:17:47 AM >
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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/16/2021 6:24:43 AM   
HalfLifeExpert


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Just downloaded it to have a quick look (i'm already awake way later than normal for me), I now know what my weekend project is!

Thanks Mark!

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/16/2021 3:59:33 PM   
Patmanaut


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Another scenario by Mark! I'm going to play it right away.
Thanks!

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/16/2021 4:23:56 PM   
BDukes

 

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On my list for this weekend too!

Mike

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/16/2021 9:56:10 PM   
HalfLifeExpert


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I've got it running right now. Gotta get those freighters to Boston!

Just wanted to inquire: Is there anything stopping me from redeploying my 4 Sea Vixens to the Karel Doorman? I know they won't be able to re-arm, but I'd like a close by strike option against that surface raider threat.

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/16/2021 11:53:51 PM   
Randomizer


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quote:

Just wanted to inquire: Is there anything stopping me from redeploying my 4 Sea Vixens to the Karel Doorman? I know they won't be able to re-arm, but I'd like a close by strike option against that surface raider threat.
Pretty gamey exploit since it is unlikely that the Sea Vixen pilots would be qualified for operations off Doorman, if the carrier's flight deck crews could service Sea Vixens or if the catapult, bridles and arrestor wires could be adjusted for them. Of course in CMO none of these matter but in the real world, country A's aircraft just don't operate of country B's carriers on a whim. Particularly if the aircraft type has no in-service counterpart in country B's navy. Your call I suspect...

-C

< Message edited by Randomizer -- 7/16/2021 11:54:36 PM >

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/17/2021 12:08:31 AM   
HalfLifeExpert


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I suppose it could be considered 'gamey', but I did look up Dutch carrier aircraft in a book I have, and the Karel Doorman did operate Sea Hawk Fighters before being re-designated as an ASW carrier in 1962. The Sea Vixen does have a longer wingspan than the Sea Hawk, but still shorter than Doorman's Trackers. This is of course before Folding wings are accounted for.

Doorman originally operated 10 Sea Hawks, I've only got 4 Sea Vixens. There seems to be plenty of deck/hanger space for the 4 Sea Vixens onboard Doorman. I've got the Vixens armed with SNEB Rockets, so not a heavy bomb load. Enough to put a damaging first strike on any Soviet Surface Raiders that find the convoy. Hopefully enough to allow them to be subsequently beaten off by bomb armed Trackers and the cruiser De Ruyter.

I'll do this under the assumption that the transition to ASW carrier was recent enough that some of the training/personnel onboard Doorman have enough experience to pull off taking aboard a small number of British carrier fighters, given that the two navy's carrier forces used similar aircraft and ships for quite a while.

It's WWIII and military expediency will be assumed to overcome these technicalities, but I'll play fair and wait till daylight.

< Message edited by HalfLifeExpert -- 7/17/2021 12:16:13 AM >

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/17/2021 1:15:10 AM   
Randomizer


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It's less size than weight.

Seahawk MTOW ~16,150 lbs
S2 Tracker MTOW ~23,450 lbs
Sea Vixen MTOW ~46,750 lbs

This means that the catapult, bridles, hold-back devices and arrestor wires will be handling a plane twice as heavy as any in Dutch service. Typically carriers require refits before operating any heavier aircraft. Doorman became the Argentine 29 de Mayo and she needed major work before she could operate the A4 Skyhawk and again before she could handle the much heavier Super Entenard.

With sims like CMO, you bring your realism with you, or not as you like.

-C

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/17/2021 4:39:52 AM   
Randomizer


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@Mr. Gellis,
Interesting fleet problem with a couple of minor nits to pick.

- In 1964, tankers should probably be Valiants rather than Victors. At this time the latter still had a strategic nuclear role, equipped with Blue Steel standoff missiles. Also, St Mawgan is an RAF base but the Buccaneers and Sea Vixens are Fleet Air Arm assets and should probably be based out of nearby RNAS Culdrose. Buccaneers also had buddy stores and would likely be preferred refuelling platforms for Fleet Air Arm support.

- The carrier in the convoy poses real-world navigation problems since it must make frequent course and speed changes when operating aircraft. Also escorts would need to function as plane guards and so would be racing around the merchants inviting collisions. Submit that it is far more likely that the carrier would operate independently with an organic escort group to provide cover rather than close escort of the convoy.

Of course CMO does not require carrier manoeuvres in support of flight ops so keeping it within the convoy works in the game but in real life, it would probably entail too many navigation risks to operate as it is in the scenario.

Just thoughts, disregard as desired.

-C

(in reply to Randomizer)
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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/18/2021 2:10:12 AM   
stww2

 

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Playing through this one now; the Soviet cruisers were dispatched in fairly short order and I'm realizing that even at fire speed crossing the Atlantic at 12 knots takes a long, long, time, even at fire speed. I'm a couple days in so far; have encountered one sub which managed to get past the ASW aircraft screen and open fire with torpedoes (it was the torpedoes that I first detected), fortunately unguided torpedoes are easy to dodge when detected at range and I subsequently got my first ASW rocket kill in Command!

The main suggestion I have so far is to find a way to make the Soviet cruisers a bit trickier to deal with. This could be as simple as making the intelligence the player receives on them in the briefing more ambiguous, but perhaps there are more elaborate methods that would work.

Given the time length of the scenario, an argument could be made that sustained ops should be used for some or all of the bases, but I imagine this might well be unworkable from a gameplay standpoint.

On a less substantive note, the two Cannon class frigates both have the same name.

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/19/2021 2:12:00 AM   
stww2

 

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About midway across the Atlantic, a sub managed to get inside the screen. Its torpedoes missed but the anti-ship missiles on some of its nearby comrades were rather more problematic. Three cargo ships and a frigate were lost and the carrier was heavily damaged and sunk a short while later. The torpedo-launching sub was detected (initially by surface-search radar, incidentally, which was activated when the inbound missiles were detected) and subsequently destroyed by two helicopters, but with the carrier sinking and out of range of land-based ASW air cover, the missile launching subs could not be pursued.

No further losses were suffered and the convoy arrived at Boston with about 1d20hr remaining. Final score was 800 (Minor Victory).

Overall I enjoyed this one. It was a bit monotonous at times but that's the nature of ASW warfare and therefore I don't really count that against it. In additional to the comments in my above post, my one additional suggestion would be to amend the scoring so that the player is rewarded for each merchant ship that arrives safely, rather than simply for each type of merchant that arrives.

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/19/2021 10:51:13 PM   
HalfLifeExpert


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I've entered Day 3 of the transit to Boston. Only one Soviet contact so far: A Zulu class sub whose periscope/snorkel wake was visually spotted by one of Doorman's helos. Easy air-dropped torpedo kill. This was way out of torpedo range of any ships.

No sign of those surface raiders yet, but I've launched the Buccaneers in two plane patrols to look for them.

Wish me luck as my ships enter the old Black Gap of the Central Atlantic


Update: Day 4: HNLMS Zeeland picks up a sub on active sonar. Helo engages. Torpedo misses. Zeeland re-engages with ASW Rockets after re-acquiring contact, dangerously close to the merchants. two salvos kill the sub, a November.

Update again: Day 5: The surface raiders spotted south of the Convoy. Air attacks launched. The 4 Sea Vixens I had redeployed attacked the cruisers with Zuni Rockets. All score hits, but two Vixens are shot down from AAA. The other two return to Doorman, out of the fight as they can't rearm. I also get a Zuni Armed Tracker to make an attack run. Zunis hit a cruiser, but Tracker is shot down. Then the Buccaneers (two of which had to land at Loring AFB after a search) attack as two separate pairs. They score bomb and rocket hits, but the Cruisers remain afloat and stationary. Dutch Cruiser De Ruyter is detached from the convoy and sinks both cruisers without suffering any return fire.

< Message edited by HalfLifeExpert -- 7/20/2021 12:36:19 AM >

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/23/2021 2:38:20 AM   
Mgellis


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Very useful comments. Thank you.

I can switch out the tankers. That should be pretty simple.

Also, I can swap out the Sea Vixen for Seahawk fighters.

As for the carrier, that too can be set up without too much trouble. Perhaps I'll use the cruiser as the convoy lead ship and split the escorts between the actual convoy and the carrier. I can also tweak the position of the submarines so it will be harder to tell whether they'll go after the merchants or the carrier group.

Do you have any suggestions on how many escorts the carrier should have and how many the 15-ship group of merchants should have. (I can always add one or two more if need be.)

I'll wait for HalfLifeExpert to give his final report on the first version and then get the second version worked up and posted.

Thanks again.




quote:

ORIGINAL: Randomizer

@Mr. Gellis,
Interesting fleet problem with a couple of minor nits to pick.

- In 1964, tankers should probably be Valiants rather than Victors. At this time the latter still had a strategic nuclear role, equipped with Blue Steel standoff missiles. Also, St Mawgan is an RAF base but the Buccaneers and Sea Vixens are Fleet Air Arm assets and should probably be based out of nearby RNAS Culdrose. Buccaneers also had buddy stores and would likely be preferred refuelling platforms for Fleet Air Arm support.

- The carrier in the convoy poses real-world navigation problems since it must make frequent course and speed changes when operating aircraft. Also escorts would need to function as plane guards and so would be racing around the merchants inviting collisions. Submit that it is far more likely that the carrier would operate independently with an organic escort group to provide cover rather than close escort of the convoy.

Of course CMO does not require carrier manoeuvres in support of flight ops so keeping it within the convoy works in the game but in real life, it would probably entail too many navigation risks to operate as it is in the scenario.

Just thoughts, disregard as desired.

-C


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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/23/2021 5:05:57 PM   
Randomizer


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I think that one should take a leaf from the WW2 convoys to Russia book when organizing this operation from a Dutch standpoint and I think that some tweaking of the Player side might benefit the Player's situation from a standpoint of what may reasonable for this type of situation.

- It's 1963, and the Dutch Navy only landed the Seahawks in late 1960 but as far as I can tell, they remained in naval service for several more years but operating from land bases. It's probably not too much of a stretch to restore them to Doorman's air group, a squadron of ten was typical. A simple addition to the scenario description and or briefing could rationalize this inclusion. In any case this removes the gamey exploit of operation the RN Sea Vixens off of a Dutch Carrier, which probably cannot operate them without extensive modifications. Doing this gives the Player a modest, ASuW strike capacity and basically increases the value of the carrier to the Player.

- De Ruyter should stay with the carrier as part of a cover force. Leaving her with the convoy adds another high-value unit that may act as a submarine magnet but also requires the attention of escorts to protect her. Escorts defending the cruiser are not defending the convoy and here the lessons of the Arctic convoys come into play. Note that no gun ships ever sailed as close escorts, they always operated independently with their own organic escorts to cover not escort the merchants. So I would suggest keeping the cruiser with the the carrier using sufficient escorts to allow the cruiser to detach and close with the convoy at speed if her guns are required.

- Perhaps consider adding air cover from North America, CP-107 Argus from RCAF Station Greenwood or USN P-3 Orions from Brunswick NAS would likely meet the convoy around the mid-ocean area. The Netherlands still used the P-2 Neptunes at this time and these might supplement the RAF Shackletons for the eastern part of the transit.

- Strengthening the Player allows for an increase in the submarine threat. May I suggest a Juliet or two plus a couple of Project 615 Quebec class boats to replace the long-rang Foxtrots near Europe The latter may be moved further west.

- Please consider adding biologicals to the mix. There's a discussion on the pros and cons of this elsewhere in the Forum.

- I suspect that enforcing submarine realistic submarine communications on the AI means that submerged boats in contact cannot communicate and this probably is really beneficial for the Player. Turning off this feature should make the Players problems a bit greater.

- Am surprised that none of the Friesland ASW destroyers made it into the Dutch forces. I suspect that there may be an date-error/typo in the CWDB as according to my 1970-71 Jane's Fighting Ships, all eight came into service between 1956 and 1958 and so should be available for your scenario.

Your scenarios are always a treat to play and obviously the counterfactuals can be shaped as desired. Looking forward to the final product, whatever it looks like.

-C



< Message edited by Randomizer -- 7/23/2021 5:13:16 PM >

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/23/2021 6:26:29 PM   
HalfLifeExpert


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Mgellis


Very useful comments. Thank you.

I can switch out the tankers. That should be pretty simple.

Also, I can swap out the Sea Vixen for Seahawk fighters.

As for the carrier, that too can be set up without too much trouble. Perhaps I'll use the cruiser as the convoy lead ship and split the escorts between the actual convoy and the carrier. I can also tweak the position of the submarines so it will be harder to tell whether they'll go after the merchants or the carrier group.

Do you have any suggestions on how many escorts the carrier should have and how many the 15-ship group of merchants should have. (I can always add one or two more if need be.)

I'll wait for HalfLifeExpert to give his final report on the first version and then get the second version worked up and posted.

Thanks again.



Apoligies for failing to make any further reports.

I've not completed the scenario yet, but the Convoy is just about parallel south of Newfoundland. I reloaded a save a couple times as what seems to really kill me are the AShMs from at least one Whiskey Long Bin. It's really cross your fingers and pray to the RNG whether you will lose the Karel Doorman to one of those missiles.

I believe that if I can somehow survive those missiles with minimal losses, I can safely get the merchants to Boston.


I agree with adding Sea Hawks instead of Sea Vixens. The justification in the briefing could be that they are 2nd line reserve aircraft being brought back out for the war with reservist pilots, but still up to the player of whether or not to deploy them on Karel Doorman.


I think it would be best to keep all the ships together in one convoy. I did have concerns that my ship based sonar was Active only, but I'm not sure if that should be changed or left alone as a challenge.

I also think some more or different MPAs should be in US/Canada. The Neptunes don't have good enough range to me.


I think that's all I have to say for now.

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/26/2021 6:21:55 PM   
magi

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Randomizer

@Mr. Gellis,
Interesting fleet problem with a couple of minor nits to pick.

- In 1964, tankers should probably be Valiants rather than Victors. At this time the latter still had a strategic nuclear role, equipped with Blue Steel standoff missiles. Also, St Mawgan is an RAF base but the Buccaneers and Sea Vixens are Fleet Air Arm assets and should probably be based out of nearby RNAS Culdrose. Buccaneers also had buddy stores and would likely be preferred refuelling platforms for Fleet Air Arm support.

- The carrier in the convoy poses real-world navigation problems since it must make frequent course and speed changes when operating aircraft. Also escorts would need to function as plane guards and so would be racing around the merchants inviting collisions. Submit that it is far more likely that the carrier would operate independently with an organic escort group to provide cover rather than close escort of the convoy.

Of course CMO does not require carrier manoeuvres in support of flight ops so keeping it within the convoy works in the game but in real life, it would probably entail too many navigation risks to operate as it is in the scenario.

Just thoughts, disregard as desired.

-C

Well said......

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/26/2021 8:02:11 PM   
Randomizer


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More pedantic nonsense for your consideration.

Long ago somebody from the Harpoon community (I think one of those who went on to become part of the CMANO/CMO team) produced a rather detailed OOB spreadsheet for the Soviet Navy by year (1950 to 2003), type, class, name, and Fleet. Have checked it against other sources where possible and the data seems pretty solid. Sadly neither of the Soviet cruisers in the scenario were in the Northern Fleet in 1963 and so highly unlikely to appear in the North Atlantic.

Cruiser Chkalov was in the Baltic Fleet, getting her through the Kattegat, Skagarrak, North Sea and GIUK Gap might be problematic.

Cruiser Admiral Senyavin was in the Pacific Fleet. In 1968 she would begin a several year refit there to make her the fleet flagship including helo capacity and SAMs.

The following cruisers were based in the Northern Fleet in 1963, all Project 68bis Sverdlov type:

Zheleznyacov, Aleksandr Nevskiy, and Murmansk. Cruiser Admiral Ushakov transferred from the Northern Fleet to the Black Sea Fleet sometime during this time frame and so may have been available.

No WW2 era cruisers or the older Project 68K ships were still in service with the Northern Fleet in 1963.

-C

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 7/26/2021 9:30:09 PM   
Gunner98

 

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Although not the easiest site to use and decipher, this is a good and seemingly reliable source for Soviet/Russian ships

http://russianships.info/eng/

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/9/2021 4:19:11 AM   
Mgellis


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Just uploaded version 2 with some of the recommended changes. Please let me know what you think. Thanks!


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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/9/2021 6:43:26 AM   
CommandPB

 

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Hi Mark

I'll download and give it a run through

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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/25/2021 11:52:59 PM   
Mgellis


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Any additional thoughts on this one? Are there any changes, etc. I need to make or is it ready for the Community Scenario Pack?

Thanks!


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RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/29/2021 12:27:48 AM   
AndrewJ

 

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The weekend's a good time for a little Command, therefore...


SITUATION

We’ve been assigned to escort a Dutch convoy across the Atlantic, from the southern mouth of the English Channel, all the way to Boston. We have fifteen merchants to escort with seven warships, including a variety of frigates and destroyers, the light cruiser De Ruyter, and the carrier Karel Doorman. On shore, we have a few MPA on either end of our journey; Shackletons in England, and P-2s in the United States. The main opposition is expected to come from Soviet submarines, but we’ve also had warnings that there are a pair of cruisers, presumably Sverdlovs, out in the mid Atlantic.


PLAN

The plan is reasonably simple. We’ll swing the convoy south at first, and then head for Boston. The carrier and cruiser, escorted by a destroyer and a frigate, will precede the convoy on its path by 30 to 40 miles, sweeping for subs. The convoy, tightened up into three columns of five ships, will follow along behind, with a destroyer and two frigates escorting in chevron ahead of them. Radars will be off, sonars will be active (we don’t actually have any passive sonars), and the escorts will try sprinting and drifting while the main ships proceed at 12 knots.


OPERATIONS

We start late on June 6th, with various aircraft headed out on patrol. The Shackletons hunt subs along the convoy route in the west, while the P-2s leave their torpedoes behind and go searching for enemy ships in the east and center, and the carrier’s aircraft (try to) clear their local area.

It’s not long before the destroyer Holland finds something in front of the convoy, and hits it with a salvo of long-ranged ASW mortars. Oil and debris with Cyrillic writing on it are seen on the surface, so presumably they sank something Soviet. (A Zulu, it turns out.) The worrying thing is that the sub wasn’t seen by the carrier group, so it may not be providing much protection to the convoy.

Meanwhile, the P-2s have found a few fishing boats along the coast, and then the pair of Sverdlovs operating in mid-Atlantic. They’re north of the convoy route by a few hundred miles, but could easily dash down to intercept us if they get some cueing. We’ve been assigned a pair of Valiant tankers, and since they have a surface search radar and a colossal range and endurance, they are assigned to keep tabs on the enemy surface group while the P-2s go back to hunting subs. This turns out to be profitable, when one of them gets a sonobuoy contact on an SSN (a November) operating about 65 miles SSW of Nova Scotia, and manages to sink it.



As June 9 draws to a close, our ships are far enough west that the Shackletons can no longer provide ASW support, so they’re reassigned to ASW patrols closer to home, in case there are any Soviet subs still in the area. Of course, it’s only a few hours later that a violent torpedo explosion tears the frigate Van Zijl in two, sinking her in less than a minute. She’d been pulling ahead of the convoy on the sprint leg of her sprint-and-drift course, and was completely deaf to the outside world. S-3s from the carrier hurry back and localize and sink an SS of some sort (a Foxtrot). This is the second time a sub has bypassed the carrier group completely undetected. I don’t like the way my escort was caught blind, or the way the sprint-and-drift action is eating into my fuel, so the escorts are ordered to switch to constant speed patrols instead.

Early in the morning of June 10, less than 30 miles further along, the convoy escorts suddenly get a contact on incoming torpedoes. The convoy turns away, while the escorts race away to dodge, and S-2s come hurrying back once more. This time it’s a November-class SSN, and its just as fast as our air-dropped torpedoes. There’s a lot of twisting and turning, while the S-2s try and get in front of the sub to make their drops, while it keeps dodging away. My escorts, particularly the destroyer Holland with its long-range sonar (3 whole miles!), try and pin down the precise location of the sub without getting torpedoed by the shots the November keeps spewing out. Fortunately, they’re pattern runners, not guided homers, so it’s possible to avoid them. In the end it takes us some ASW mortar salvoes and multiple torpedo hits to finally sink the November. Once again, the carrier group and all its ASW aircraft saw nothing.

Late in the afternoon of June 10 our carrier is finally within range of the Sverdlovs, and four bomb-toting Sea Hawks are launched to strike the group. All four of them hit the southern ship, drenching it in bomb splashes. The crew of the Sverdlov blast away with their AAA, and fragments punch through the side of one of the fighters, wrecking the radio, but fortunately the pilot is able to bring the plane safely home. The ground crew immediately start swapping in a spare, and the crew chief reports that they should have everything patched up and ready in time for tomorrow’s strikes. Meantime, the radar operator on the watching Valiant reports that one of the contacts has slowed and come to a stop. Evidently, we did get a hit after all, and it was an important one too!

June 11 begins with a dawn strike on the Sverdlovs, this time concentrating on the northern ship which was not attacked before. The delighted pilots return to the carrier and report multiple hits, and the watchful Valiant confirms the ship is on fire. Our ordnance officer, however, is warning us that we’re already running out of bombs, and one of our four planes has to re-arm with rockets. The Sea Hawks strike again before noon, getting two solid bomb hits, but their luck runs out, and one of the planes is hit as it flies away, and crashes enveloped in fire.

The Valiant reports that the northern cruiser is dead in the water and burning steadily now, so the third strike, all rockets, targets the southern ship. The pilots think they got some hits, but small 3” rocket warheads won’t do a lot to a cruiser. Consideration is given to sending in S-2s with big 5” Zunis, but they’re so slow that they’d be hopelessly vulnerable to AAA, and the idea is discarded. Instead, the Sea Hawks are sent out again, for their fourth strike of the day. The exhausted pilots do what they can, but their rockets go wide, and they don’t think they accomplished anything, other than some cannon strikes. They arrive back at the carrier just before dusk, and give their reports as best they can.

Fortunately, they aren’t called on to do any more. The cruiser De Ruyter has been detached and sent north, and now that it’s dark it closes in to engage the stopped ships on radar. Bombardment begins, quickly running out of AP, and then switching to HE. Fortunately, the battered enemy ships don’t return fire, and the De Ruyter manages to sink them both, before turning SW to rejoin the carrier group. She’s safely back among her friends by mid-morning on the 12th, without having stumbled on any Soviet submarines.

The task groups continue west, their aircraft searching ahead for subs, but other than a scare from a biological, nothing interrupts their progress. The Sea Hawks are loaded with Sidewinders now, in the faint hope that they might be useful against an incoming anti-shipping missile, but other than that the pilots get a well-deserved rest. The convoy passes Halifax on the 15th, 175 miles out and off the continental shelf, while the carrier group slows to refuel the two thirsty destroyers, which are down to a day and a half of fuel.

Pressing on, they soon see the welcome arrival of the P-2s, laying sonobuoys along their route, and by the evening of the 16th they are approaching Boston. All the merchants have made the crossing intact. All they have to do now is go back again…


Thanks for writing this for us.


< Message edited by AndrewJ -- 8/29/2021 11:46:56 AM >

(in reply to Mgellis)
Post #: 22
RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/29/2021 11:32:58 AM   
AndrewJ

 

Posts: 2284
Joined: 1/5/2014
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Play observations

This is certainly different from the more modern scenarios I usually play. It has a real WWII flavour to it; guns, bombs, depth charges, pattern-running torps, and my very best sonar having a 3-mile range! I’m glad I never met the missile subs, since I have no real defence against them. The alarming close-range discovery of enemy subs is a real problem. Standoff simply doesn’t exist, unless you happen to get a sonobuoy or dipping sonar contact, which my carrier aircraft never accomplished. Charging enemy subs with hedgehog seems like a really good way to get sunk, so I can see why long-range ASW mortars became a thing in the 50s. Desperately hoping I could pry the subs off the nearby convoy before they could engage got very tense. If a 30-knot November had gotten into them it would have been a mess.

The scenario does get a little long once the looming threat of the Sverdlovs is gone, but that’s probably quite realistic for an extended ASW scenario. Once things calmed down I put it on the side monitor and let it run while doing other tasks, checking in from time to time, and it worked out well.


Sverdlovs

I did some test runs with the Sverdlovs, and it turns out they will not fire on the enemy unless they have a positive ID. They probably won’t have this, given the rain, or in any night or radar engagement. In my case they did have me as a solid radar target within range, but did not engage me because I was an unknown yellow contact, even after they were taken under fire. Switching them to weapons free vs surface, and allowing them to engage opportunity targets gives them a chance to shoot, and makes them a much tougher target. Rerunning my engagement, they were able to return fire and damage the De Ruyter, instead of being helpless targets.

Similarly, they are weapons tight vs aircraft, and typically will not get a hostile ID until they spot weapons being released, despite having the targets on radar for many miles before that. There’s nothing friendly out here, so it’s safe to assume incoming aircraft are hostile. Weapons free vs. air would allow them to engage aircraft on the way in, rather than only after they have already bombed the cruisers.

In my case I got a lucky hit on one cruiser, which destroyed its engines, causing both of them to stop and remain motionless. Had you wanted damaged ships to drop out of formation, so the other can continue the attack? Or maybe have a naval base for them to fall back towards?

The Sverdlovs currently have HE loaded (2.45 DP), instead of AP (7 DP). (Oddly, the De Ruyters’ ammo types both do 7 DP, so it doesn’t matter for them.)


Assorted Items

Out of curiosity, what had you intended the tankers for? There does not seem to be anything which is able to refuel. I ended up using the Valiants, which have a surface search radar, as long-range scouts, but there doesn’t seem to be much for the KC-135s to do.

Some players may not be aware that their carrier is able to perform UNREP for their destroyers and frigates. The destroyers are particularly thirsty, especially if they’ve been doing a lot of sprinting and drifting, and the player may get stuck running out of fuel. Maybe a reminder about this capability in the briefing would be helpful?

I was a little surprised when the scenario ended with the carrier getting into the destination zone while my convoy was still outside it, and still vulnerable to attack. Maybe some sort of counter (X merchant ships inside the zone) trigger could register the arrival of the convoy itself?

The Karel Doorman has only 44 500 lb bombs (11 loadouts) for the Sea Hawks, but 360 of the light 250 lb bombs for the S-2s. Had you intended to limit the Sea Hawk bombs this way? (Not necessarily a bad thing – it definitely forced me to resort to other options – but it seems a little odd that there would be so much for the S-2s in comparison.)


Thanks again for writing this one.


< Message edited by AndrewJ -- 8/29/2021 11:35:23 AM >

(in reply to AndrewJ)
Post #: 23
RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/29/2021 12:41:43 PM   
Gunner98

 

Posts: 5421
Joined: 4/29/2005
From: The Great White North!
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Can I nominate AndrewJ as the best CMO playtester of the year? Nay, of all time!

Detailed and enjoyable reports. Excellent, well thought out suggestions and a real knowledge of the game. Thanks.


Looks like a great scenario Mark

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(in reply to AndrewJ)
Post #: 24
RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/30/2021 12:55:30 AM   
AndrewJ

 

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I would like to thank the Academy...

(in reply to Gunner98)
Post #: 25
RE: Dutch Convoy in the North Atlantic, 1963 - new beta... - 8/30/2021 6:31:28 AM   
Mgellis


Posts: 2049
Joined: 8/18/2007
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Thanks to everyone for the feedback. It sounds like it's ready to go.

I've made some tweaks based on recent comments. (I left the "carrier on station ends the scenario" because at that point you've made it and it is a pretty long scenario.) I also added one last surprise...a bit hard to make it work, but it might make a difference. Just be glad you have some sidewinders...

Thanks again.


(in reply to AndrewJ)
Post #: 26
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