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Subject: Sixth Fleet AAR of 23.4 SCENARIO 12: Attack on Turkey rss

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Michael Panikowski
United States
Burbank
California
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Sixth Fleet AAR

Sixth Fleet

SCENARIO 12: Attack on Turkey

Preparedness Level: Low Length: Long

My good friend Ken Tee commanded the Soviet forces along with their one ally (Libya) and I had the US and many of her allies (Spain, Algeria, Italy, Turkey, Yugoslavia, and Israel).

The scenario took a significant turn on turn two. The Soviet forces were able to penetrate the US CAP over the Nimitz and damaged her and restricting her air wings aboard. The restrictions are two units on CAP, one unit on Strategic Air Mission, and a maximum of two units can be activated during the Action Phase.

On turn three, the US carrier Nimitz tried to back away from the Soviet “Death Star Wings” located in the Crimea and get some extra CAP from any land based units. This did not happen as the Soviet air went first and sunk the Nimitz, a big blow to the US and a sense of panic struck. The air units on CAP and Strategic Air Mission are allowed to return to play 12 turns later, 5.4. I made a mistake and put all units that were on the carrier on the turn track. After the game we found this mistake and credited the Soviet player with 5 air units shot down. The units did not play a role in the game other than the 3 units that were allowed to return.

After this major setback to the US, I moved many ships into base hexes and continued to regroup. The responsibility fell on the US allies to hold the line and for the most part they did. What helped was that Turkey was an US ally and the Soviet player must have 36 combined Marine, Parachute, Commando and unloaded CR units in Istanbul (22.2) to move through the Turkish Straits. This delayed the Soviet forces along with some weather conditions that further delayed Soviet Invasion forces into Istanbul. However, the brunt of the Soviet attacks were directed towards the Turkey and Egypt and by the end of the game, all of these two US allies surface ships were sunk. The Israelis, Italians, and Yugoslavians held out. I feel if the Soviet’s had more allies, especially the Syrians, the outcome might have been different.

One major area of frustration for the Soviet player is what we call the “Rota Trap”. As Soviet subs appear in the Atlantic Sea zone, the subs are attacked by US subs and air from Rota. Yes, these US forces are tied up, but they are gaining valuable VP’s. Should the Soviet player not bring them on or only some of them? If the scenario was at a different preparedness level or length, would that change the strategy of the Soviet player? As for our game situation it was very difficult and frustrating to avoid the “Rota Trap”. In the end, only the Nezhin (Alfa class) and two Libyan subs survived. All other subs were lost. In this scenario there were fewer surface ship losses by the Soviet forces.

The US allies, in particular the Israelis, Italians, and Yugoslavians proved to be beneficial. The allies on both sides seem to take a lot of casualties, but they can get some VP’s and cause both sides to be a little more cautious.

The Invasion hexes and the VP’s for them favored the Soviet’s. They controlled Istanbul and Beirut and denied the US from Homs. The US controlled Famagusta and denied VP’s at Malta. Also, with fewer allies, the Soviet forces points gain for Sea Denial was extremely low.

On game turn 34 an Armistice was reached and the US forces pulled out a Marginal victory.
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Ralph Ferrari
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As usual, great AAR, thanks for sharing.
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Ken Tee
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The Soviet point of view...



What Mike forgot to mention is that the attack on the Nimitz was what you can characterize as a "perfect storm". Both times (damage and sink) occurred when his CAP rolls were a dismal "1", while the Soviet bombers rolled 6s.

Still, it wasn't enough to turn the tide over. I knew the Kennedy was on its way (a victim of its own right in a prior game as well) and had to act quickly to turn the game to my advantage. Unfortunately, the US and her allies had a lot of advantages. Tartus (the only Soviet base in the Eastern Med) was surrounded by Turkey, Egypt and Israel. A landing in Beirut and Mersin was not going to be a cakewalk with those forces available for interdicting my invasion forces. The Israeli navy did strike first and sunk one of my destroyers while still parked at the port with its Gabrielle or Saar missiles from their PC squadrons.

Also, the bulk of my forces couldn't exit the Bosporus till Istanbul had 36 ground factors. So all this nullified my advantage in getting rid of his lone US carrier. I did the best I could with the bombers from the Black Sea as well as my ASW forces and subs but Mike did pull back and with his carrier approaching, I did too but Libya's air force did manage to put up a substantial fight.

Again, all this was for naught even as I rendered the Eastern Med US Allies ineffective by both sinking his ships and just plain intimidation. The Rota trap made it difficult to maintain any VP streak I may have had and even with both taking VP spaces as well as denying him of that, I still fell short of a draw by 11-12 points. Close but no cigar.

With that, I am at a quandary, there are two more scenarios left and Mike is willing to finish it off but I really see the "Rota Trap" as being a huge problem and part of me wants to shelve this and either continue with either 2nd Fleet or 3rd Fleet. Any thoughts?

Ken

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James Cox
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Great reviews, both. Thanks.

I only have one or two Sixth Fleet plays under my belt from the '80s so can't comment on the Rota Trap, but it seems you have stumbled on exactly the kind of real game design flaw/dynamic that should really stimulate discussions in this kind of forum. I hope it does, and I hope it creates a lot of "house rules" discussion to deal with that (presuming the preponderance of players agree that Rota as designed is a "trap" and feel the need to do something about that).

I have much more plays of the N Atlantic, WesPac, and Indian ocean Fleet games (cant' remember their 'numbering') and both of your reviews struck me as short treatise on it-sux-to-be-a-minor-allied-with-a-superpower.

I got the feeling that both sides' minors could feel abandoned by their patron, and both sides' minors take disproportionately higher loses in the Med version than in the other versions. You both mentioned each side getting stung then pulling bac a bit to safer zones - each minor cannot "pull back" as its home "safe" zone is contiguous to the killing zone! Hence they are left out there to rot.

On the one hand, in the WesPac Fleet version both the N & S Koreans get mauled because they are "right there" but P.I., V.N., Aus, even Japan that is also "right there" somehow never feel abandoned nor particularly mauled. In the Indian Ocean Fleet version the occasional Somali or whatnot ally will of course be purged if one power or the other needs it to be, and the Iranian will catch hell, but none of them feel abandoned in the way that you made me empathize with the Mediterranean minor powers seem to be.

I wonder if it's just a "feel" (my reading + your writing) that's different or whether it is a genuine "suck factor" endemic with doing business in and residing within the Mediterranean neighborhood and its closer distances.
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Tommy F
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Georgia
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I have a house rule to moderate the Rota issue: every other Russian sub reinforcement comes in at Sevastopol. This represents subs in the Black Sea fleet being rushed out of port and into the war zone.

Use of the 2nd fleet sub detection rules are also essential. Without it subs in Sixth fleet are sitting ducks.
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