Monday, December 13, 2010

Harpoon 3 ANW - Fighting the Wrong Battle with the Wrong Warships - Part 2

This is a continuation from this previous entry.

2140, May 15 1995. The green outlines of the Malvinas/Falklands and the continent are spectators to the naval battle to come. The red square icon is Port Stanley. The blue concentric circles are my task forces. From south to north TF02, TF01 and TF06. West of TF01 a Lynx helicopter (blue inverted semicircle with two small "ears") has detected some surface contacts (yellow squares) and considerable air activity (yellow inverted half-squares). One air contact (the one selected) is a fast mover (note its airspeed at 420 knots) and considering its location and bearing (far from land masses) it is possibly coming from the Veinticinco de Mayo. The two surface contacts northwest of TF01 are a bit worrying too, but so far we haven't observed any aircraft in their proximity. They may well be patrol boats. The HMS Trafalgar (blue inverted semi-circle) is west off Port Stanley.
A lone Lynx helicopter scouting some 90 nm west of the main body of our task force has reported surface contacts along with considerable air activity. These contact reports reek with the smell of the Argentine carrier Veinticinco de Mayo.

Information. How many battles lost for the lack of it? Is this the Argentine carrier and its escorts? Is it heading towards the islands? Or is it actually seeking battle with our carrier?

Decision. Is "always attack" such a strong dictum in naval warfare? Should I engage the contacts in a full-blown carrier vs carrier naval engagement? Should I just track the Argentines and relay that information to the Trafalgar for an ambush?

I settle for a small raid (AKA half-ass attack) on the Argentines. I detach a total of four warships from TF02 and TF01 and order them to a rendezvous point near their former formations. HMS Amazon, HMS Battleaxe and HMS Argyll (all purpose frigates) and HMS Glasgow (area air defense destroyer) quickly get into position and find their way west. I have divested my carrier and land assault task forces of a significant amount of firepower, but I need to know what the Argentines are up to and stop them from getting close to the islands or my carrier, preferably all at the same time.

This is a complicated screenshot and I strongly suggest clicking on it for a better view. The big map in the background ("Zoom Window") shows the big picture tactical situation. The bunched up yellow icons in the center are the surface and air contacts we have detected. Some 60 miles east of these contacts, the inverted blue semicircle is a Harrier conducting a quick scouting mission. The lone Lynx helicopter (blue inverted semicircle north of the Harrier) is still providing intelligence to our fleet. Immediately east of the Lynx helicopter, the blue concentric circles is the new mini-task force, sailing west from the two other blue concentric circles (TF01 and TF02). An expanded view of the mini-task force's formation is in the window located in the lower right part of the screenshot.
Weak everywhere and with more moving parts, my fleet is committed to a tactical plan with a flexibility that has an expiration date of one or two hours. Once the raiding formation sails 30 or 40 nm from the main body of the fleet, it will take them no less than 1 hour to get back in the event of a major Argentine attack. One likes to think that only once you get into shooting distance to the enemy is when the arms of battle won't let you out of their grip. In naval warfare, the vastness of the sea swallows your firepower and your tactical options very easily.

On the bright side, the raiders sailing west to meet the Veinticinco the Mayo need air cover from our Harrier aircraft.I set flights of 3 Harriers into CAP missions just in front of the mini-task force. Unintentionally, these CAP missions ended up chewing up a big chunk of the Argentine naval aviation assets.

The selected unit (blue concentric inverted semicircle) is a flight of 3 Harriers investigating and air contact. Their CAP waypoints are the green "X"s. The area inside the orange lines is a "threat to aircraft" I placed to avoid my own aircraft flying too close to the Argentine ships.
To be continued ...



Anonymous said...

Welcome back JC!
Thank you for you efforts, and let's game!


Blunt Force said...

Wow I remember when I was smart enough to play Harpoon. I dont understand it at all anymore!

Blunt Force said...

Wow I remember when I was smart enough to play Harpoon. I dont understand it at all anymore!

JC said...

Thanks for your comments!

BluntForce: like I know what I am doing! :)


Blunt Force said...

Sorry for that double post, damn intrawebz