Anders Russell
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Starting State/concepts:
Sit Rep – 1, this is a highly abstracted view of “how close we are”. The higher the number, the closer to the islands, but obviously the more danger you face as more sorties are made, by more planes. But of course, you can’t exactly retake some islands without parking boats next to them. This goes up to 16, and then once Operation Sutton (the landings) commence, the Op Sutton Sit Rep remains in place.
Domestic Opinion – 10, if this reaches zero then then public is sick of the war and the government has lost support and confidence.
International Opinion – 10, if this reaches zero, then the game doesn’t end, but along the way to zero you start to lose the support of other nations, and the UN. First Chile withdraws assistance, removing ELINT capabilities, then the USSR decides that maybe they can show up the UK by assisting Argentina with satellite imagery, the UN lifts arms embargoes, the US stops shipping you AAMs, and if you are really naughty, the US will even withhold access to Ascension Island – which if you know the history is a very bad thing.
Exocet Supply – 5, this represents the current stock of Exocets in Argentine inventory. Obviously more is bad. But less is often bad too, because they’ve been fired at you.
San Carlos Supply – 14, this is the stores available for Argentine forces on the Falklands. Once combat starts, it begins degrading rapidly. However you can also task Harriers to try and jump the supply flights from the mainland to start making them feel the pinch earlier.
Each turn you roll to see how the weather is, draw an event card (random events which often feature tough political/strategic choices), decide whether or not to steam closer to the islands (turn over a new SitRep card), allocate your fleet’s resources (ships, fighters, subs), and then try to survive the rest of the day. I won’t be covering each day in too much detail, but will try to make the highlights clear.

May 1
Overcast weather, typical South Atlantic day. No sign of Argentine Air Force or Navy.

May 2
Received word that SBS op out of Gibraltar has gone down successfully. The Santa Maria had collected a load of Exocets from Marseilles bound Libya, but sources reported that they would be on the first plane out of Triopli and en route to Argentina once they arrived. It will be reported as “lost with all hands” once anyone else realizes that it has been lost. It gives me no pleasure to be party to the deaths of a presumably innocent crew, but if it stops an Exocet from hitting one of my ships, it will be worth it.

May 3
Received intelligence that the Argentine Navy has put to sea in force, but are holding near to the coastline. Meanwhile, the bloody Invincible has gone and had a failure of one of its turbines. They’ve pulled out of the Task Force and back towards Ascension to repair. They should rejoin us in a few days.

May 4
Contact has been made. HMS Conqueror sought, and received approval to engage an Argentine sub outside of the Exclusion Zone. It seems that their target was the San Luis. No doubt it will be seen as “unsporting” by elements of the press and the UN will be complained to – but I wasn’t about to let a bloody Argentine sub get loose. The rest of their fleet is steaming for port as quickly as they can too. All for the best in my eyes. The Harriers have reported their first success too. A Hercules making the milk run turned tail as soon as it realized they were there. No doubt we can expect some attempts at retribution shortly.

May 5
Heavy seas and storms all day. A SAS team at Rio Grande airbase had identified the building in which the Exocet stocks were being held, but this bloody weather! We couldn’t risk such a long range mission for the Harriers in these conditions. Downing Street wanted the attack today, and I wish we could have - as it seems that the Argentines have realized that keeping all their eggs in one basket is a bad idea. I guess the terrible weather has delayed any attempts at vengeance for yesterday too. Invincible has rejoined us though, just hope nothing else breaks on these old tubs.

May 6
Clear skies present us with the opportunity to take action against an Argentine trawler who’s been doing very little fishing behind us. Broadsword, with some Harrier support dropped a SBS party on the deck who quickly scuttled the trawler and have returned with some captives. A single Canberra flying out of Trelew came across the Southern picket of the Task Force – CAP scrambled but somehow failed to intercept, but HMS Antrim managed to make the kill with her Sea Slug. Gold Flight went hunting for more Hercules without success.

May 7
No sign of the Argentines today. Not even Trident flight out hunting supply runs caught sight of anything. I guess this quiet won’t last.

May 8
Cloudy weather is impeding our own flight operations again. But worse news is that Downing Street and the Foreign Office have decided to not exert pressure to prevent the US from releasing LANDSAT data to Argentina. I’m sure all the concerns about “maintaining integrity of the civilian space sciences” were allayed when Argentina specifically requested data for an unassuming section of the South Atlantic, which we just happen to bloody be in. Hopefully we won’t have to lose any lives before someone wakes up and is willing to tell the Americans to stop given the Argies our bloody candid photos.

May 9
What a bloody day. The Vulcan’s raided Stanley airfield, and did precious nothing, save for redistributing peat around it’s perimeter, and waking up their air defence in time for our Harriers to arrive. Thankfully the Harriers were a good deal more effective, with several aircraft caught on the ground. Gold 3 was reported lost due to ground fire during the raid, no chute seen. And with clear blue skies, and the latest satellite photos courtesy of NASA, we were subject to two raids today. Funnily enough, both were able to avoid our pickets, and attack the core of the Task Force directly. The Invincible detected an Exocet 20 miles out and landed some kind of miracle hit with its Sea Dart – never detected the Etendards though. A wing of Canberra’s showed up not long after and were promptly mauled by Tartan flight on CAP.

May 10
You would have thought that with a war on, we might have gotten some consideration from the Foreign Office, and Treasury, but they keep on cutting. HMS Avenger has been ordered to return to the UK to prepare for transfer to Chile as part of an arms sale. Even the fact that she’s about to be put to use fighting the Argentines who Chile is worried about wasn’t enough to delay the delivery. Madness. Sheer madness.

May 11
I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the Russians turned up eventually. A Bear was shadowing us through the night, and it seems that the night shift at the Foreign Office is equipped with a good deal more backbone than the day workers. I understand that unkind words were spoken between the Secretary and the Ambassador, but we shouldn’t be seeing any more Tupolevs. While they had their blood up, it seems they finally told the United States to cut off LANDSAT access. Apparently this has caused a minor kerfuffle within the US government and as such we have been cut out from the take of their Chilean listening posts and are now reliant on SAS recce and our Nimrods for early warning. More success on the milk runs at least, with the good weather today Red Flight was able to keep the flight paths closed.

May 12
The Security Service had a big flap on this morning, telling the Home Secretary that there was an urgent need for reinforcements in Northern Ireland, as apparently the IRA have decided that now is the time. Unfortunately for them, both 3 Para are on board the Canberra, and the great white whale is not turning back to Ascension now in order to unload them for police duties. No Argentine raids to report, but intel from the islands indicates the ongoing interdiction of their flights by our Harriers (good job today Tartan flight) is starting to be felt.

May 13
The bloody Germans. So concerned with their bloody economy that they happily let one of their engineering firms send contractors to Argentina to work on their bloody air defence radars. Anyone would think that they’re on the other bloody side! I’ve been told that our man in Bonn is already being quite vociferous about it and Whitehall expect that there’ll be a formal protest, but that the contractors will be ordered home. However it seems the Russians have smelled blood and took the opportunity to offer assistance to the Argentinians – giving them a digest of their satellite take! Two raids today – a pair of Skyhawks just missed HMS Glamorgan and HMS Brilliant on the North West picket, while four Canberras failed utterly to find their range on HMS Argonaut to the South East. We’ve received significant reinforcements today, and the merchant marine element is growing steadily with the arrival of yet more troop and cargo ships.

May 14
It seems no one took “sub Antarctic waters during winter” into consideration when designing our new fleet datalinks. We’ve been forced to reverse course and steam back towards Ascension in order to make repairs. The engineers tell me it will only be a day or two before we are back online.

May 15
The Times of all people have decided to publish a piece discussing the fact that some of our ships are equipped with nuclear weapons. Of course, Number 10 reads this and spits their tea all over the broadsheet, and before you know it, we’ve got Ardent, Arrow and Broadsword all heading back even further towards Ascension so they can rendezvous with other elements, offload a few depth charges, and we can be officially “nuclear free”. It’s not like we’re carrying Polaris or Cruise or anything dramatic. Just a few low kt yield depth charges! Brilliant and Glamorgan were engaged by a flight of Canberras to no result once again. HMS Conqueror had been stalking the Argentine sub Santa Fe, but lost the contact after they were forced to evade an ASW aircraft.

May 16
My joy to be moving in the right direction again was tempered by my morning briefing. Dispatches this morning included a note about a bizarre plan by Six to leverage debts held by the Bank of England to force some Italian merchant bank into withholding funds from an Argentinian account holder who was looking to transfer money on behalf of his government to purchase some Exocets. Unfortunately it seems that this bank is also the preferred bank of His Holiness, and so Six decided not to interfere with their operations. It seems the buyer was able to secure two more Exocets from someone’s stocks. No doubt they’re on their way via charter flight already. I feel that I might need to spell Brilliant and Glamorgan from the North West picket for a few days as once again they avoided damage from a raid. HMS Coventry on the Western picket managed to bag herself a Skyhawk though. HMS Valiant has reported that she’s on station too. Another submarine for the Argentine Navy to be worried about.

May 17
We lost two ships today, and I fear for the reaction at home when news arrives. HMS Coventry and HMS Plymouth were both struck during a heavy raid by Daggers. We also lost two of our Harriers – as Trident 3 was downed today during a scrap with some Mirages while protecting HMS Yarmouth, and Gold 1 failed to return from their CAP station – we presume this is a loss due to pilot error in the heavy fog. HMS Hermes was forced to withdraw from the line, with Brilliant and Sheffield escorting her. It seems a hard landing by a harrier has caused damage to the flight deck that added a risk to further operations in the short term. I bitterly regret pulling her back given the outcome. As with only Invincible on station today Trident and Gold flight were pushed to breaking point trying to keep the rest of the force safe.

May 18
South Georgia has been retaken. With support from a detachment of our Frigates, a landing has been made and the Argentine forces there have surrendered. It’s a desperately needed win. The Foreign Office thinks it will be enough to get moderate elements of the Politburo to push back against involvement in the war – denying Argentina access to satellite recon once more. HMS Splendid had a line on the Belgrano, but she turned back and began steaming away from the taskforce before a firing solution was confirmed. With Invincible back in the line a flight of Skyhawks were jumped, and bounced by Black flight, while another pair snuck through and thankfully failed to hit HMS Antelope. I’m becoming deeply jaded by the unreliability of our SAM systems – the early success with the Sea Dart may have proven to be pure luck.

May 19
A hairy day for raids, but one that we all came through. The SAS reported that a flight of Etendards left Rio Grande, but we never saw sign of them. [oh but they were there and HMS Glasgow came *this close* to being hit by an Exocet, but remained utterly oblivious throughout] HMS Sheffield and Brilliant each splashed an attacking Dagger, and survived the remainder of their raids.

May 20
I don’t know if the Argentine junta is remarkably canny, or remarkably stupid. They have to know we are preparing to land, but still proposed a cease fire for the day. We eagerly took the opportunity it provides. A day without air assault is a day when we are free to cross deck supplies and increase our readiness for Operation Sutton, which we should be ready to launch in the AM.

May 21
Close reconnaissance of the landing area at San Carlos Sound has revealed several impediments. It seems that the Argentines have mined certain beaches heavily, and prepared some positions on the high ground which have been occupied by infantry. None of this is insurmountable, but we have delayed the landings for 24 hours in order to adjust the landing plans accordingly – strike them where they remain weak. It seems that this isn’t good enough for House of Commons, who are becoming increasingly rowdy during Question Time about the capacity of the Task Force to secure the Falklands. The Argentine air branch must have spent their day off preparing for the landings as we faced another day of concerted attacks. HMS Yarmouth has been lost following a destructive raid by a group of Daggers. A flight of Mirages made it past the pickets and scared the living daylights out of some of the merchantmen, and proved my concerns about our SAMs. But we caught the Etendards with their pants down, with two who were coming in from the West being splashed by Tartan flight thanks to a raid warning from the Nimrods.

May 22
The landings commenced this morning, 42 Commando took Green Beach with only minor resistance from Argentine Army Commandos. 40 Commando fought a heroic action to take Lookout Hill from Argentine Naval Commandos who had occupied it overnight, they took serious casualties, but insist that they will be able to hold the position. The Harriers earned their stripes today – Red flight ably defending the landings from attack, while Black flight bounced another attempt by the Etendards to get an Exocet away, and Trident flight claimed a Hercules who was on the milk run. And just before dusk a formation of Canberras bracketed, but failed to hit HMS Antelope. Meanwhile international politics strikes again! First the Germans and now the French! It seems that Aerospatiele have had technicians in Argentina helping to get more Exocets into serviceable condition. And the bloody Foreign Secretary is refusing to put pressure on them, as the president of the company is the son of French Cabinet member.

May 23
As more Royal Navy ships join the Task Force, they were treated to a baptism of fire. Tartan flight had quite the day accounting for two Skyhawks and a Mirage, while our own SAM operators finally twirled the knobs right, with HMS Brilliant bringing down a Dagger and breaking up the attack on her, and HMS Penelope splashing a stray Mirage. Argentine ground forces are being moved towards San Carlos Sound, but the SBS and 3 Para are both ashore now in undefended sectors, giving us a firmer foothold. They can’t have more than a day or two of stores left given the constant harassment of their supply flights. With the landings underway, we commenced unrestricted submarine warfare on the Argentine Navy, as both Splendid and Conqueror stalked the Belgrano group. HMS Conqueror hit her with two torpedoes and reported her as having sunk rapidly. Striking her just off the Argentine coast will no doubt cost us politically, but the risk she represented to the landings was far too great to ignore.

May 24
A day of close shaves at sea, and on shore. Sheffield managed to splash an Etendard, but not before the other in the pair launched its Exocet but the missile seemed to fail to acquire any of our ships. A second Exocet attack later today missed again – maybe the missile has been overrated as a threat? Broadsword defended herself and Andromeda, splashing a Dagger. Sheffield, Brilliant and Antrim all missed the Skyhawks who attempted a run at them. The sheer number of missiles launched at them must have caused the Skyhawks to lose their nerve as they failed to prosecute the attack. In San Carlos Sound, 40 Commando held desperately against a counterattack by an Argentine unit later identified as 5th Marines, only support from Naval gunfire was able to break up the attack as 40 Commando still struggle to regroup from the losses suffered in the landing. The Gurkha’s are now ashore, and overran an Argentine HQ group, taking moderate losses from unexpected resistance. 2 Para had a more successful landing, storming Blue Beach II held by 3rd Marines and taking a beachhead with only minor casualties.

May 25
The worst storms we’ve seen in weeks failed to keep us safe today. Despite the risks, we kept Harriers on station for CAP and I’m glad we did or the day could have gone much worse. Before breakfast, HMS Exeter was hit by a flight of Daggers, and has been burning all day. Gold flight kept the landings safe, despite the best efforts of Argentine Skyhawks. And we had reports of another Exocet attack – no one saw the Etendards, but people swear they saw a smoke trail pass between some ships. The terrible weather wreaked havoc on the landings, with both the Blues and Royals and Welsh Guards unable to secure their beachheads and what forces of theirs left ashore being taken prisoner. 2 Para dug in on Blue Beach II against an attack by artillery. The ragged, bloody heroes of 40 Commando managed to repel another assault on Lookout Hill – this time by an Argentine Amphibious Group. With Argentine forces now suffering from serious logistics issues the tide should be turning.

May 26
Another bloody day of fighting, it seems the Argentines are just as dangerous with empty stomachs and empty weapons. 45 Commando fought a desperate action to secure a beachhead at Red Beach, but were driven back into the surf by the Argentine 4th Infantry. The SBS, with the help of 5” gunfire made short work of an attempted counter attack by the 1st Marines. While the Gurkha’s hold on Ajax Bay was only secured following some danger close gunfire from HMS Ambuscade, breaking up an assault by the elite Argentine Air Brigade. With all units landed, most of the vulnerable ships have been able to be withdrawn from San Carlos Sound back to the Task Force proper. Mirages and Skyhawks harassed the fleet throughout the morning, until at 1422 Antrim was hit by bombs from a Skyhawk and was forced to withdraw. An attempted Exocet attack in the evening was disrupted by Black flight who caught the Etendards off guard and splashed the missile carrier. Unfortunately, Black 2 was lost during flight ops due to an engine failure. Pilot ejected safely and is currently being transferred back to Hermes.

May 27
HMS Broadsword was just after dawn today with all hands due to an Exocet hitting her magazine. HMS Cardiff splashed a Mirage who attempted to attack the landing sites, while Trident flight got the jump on a flight of Skyhawks attempting the same. The Gurkha’s repelled another concerted attack – this time by 1st Infantry, but it seems that fighting around San Carlos Sound has otherwise settled down. We also received word that HMS Conqueror has been forced to withdraw and return to the UK following a breakdown of her sonar gear while tracking the Santa Fe. We cannot afford any other losses, as the public (and the Navy) is at breaking point.

May 28
Heavy fog protected us from the worst of it today, with only a few sorties reaching us. Tartan 2 jumped a pair of Mirages and with those kills became our first ace since World War 2. And a final attempted Exocet attack again failed, as the missile passed harmlessly by HMS Penelope. No action ashore as the Argentine forces lack supplies for an offensive, and our own forces are preparing for the breakout. The Argies seem to be finished, and with them, our work.

Game End
Clear Victory (control 7 landing zones)
“The beaches around San Carlos are quickly secured, and British commanders waste no time in splitting their forces and advancing on two fronts; south towards the major Argentine troop concentration at Goose Green and east directly towards Port Stanley. On 6 June, simultaneous assaults are launched on Goose Green and the high ground overlooking Stanley, resulting in a hard-won, but decisive victory for the British. Two days later the Argentine Command announces its unconditional surrender of all Malvinas-based forces. In Britain, Margaret Thatcher announces a snap election for 1 July, and is returned with a majority of 189. In Argentina, the Junta resigns en-masse, and Isabel Peron is re-instated as President. Back in Britain, the May Day Bank Holiday is renamed “Falklands Day”.”

Notes:
Holy shit, Exocets sucked that game. I got *really* lucky there.
It was nice for my SAMs to actually turn up from time to time, made a big difference to the previous game I played.
40 Commando deserve huge praise for their efforts in taking, and holding Lookout Hill.
In fact, it was nice to just get forces ashore. Last time I had so many time negative events in a row that my schedule for the landings was all blown to hell and I only managed to even *try* to land on the 28th.
It was interesting that at no time did we have any surface actions – last time I had a few events where the Argentine navy steamed at the Task Group and we had skirmishes in the Defence Zone, but nothing this time.
Domestic Opinion *plunged* that game due to all the losses I was taking. The final turn was stressful as hell, as had that Exocet attack landed, I would have lost due to the Domestic Opinion bottoming out.

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Dave Daffin
United Kingdom
Ledbury
Herefordshire
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Great AAR. The tension just builds and builds in this game. The last few turns are nearly always nail-biters. Congratulations on your victory.
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Anders Russell
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I just realised I left out a critical section too! Dud to my inability to return Paras to the UK, on 21 May the IRA launched a major offensive, overrunning several locations and declaring a "Free Armagh". One of the major reasons why my domestic opinion was in the toilet!
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Aly D
Scotland
Edinburgh
EH17 8LA. Scotland
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Excellent report and as Dave says...tension is this games byword! I had out again this weekend and had a bad time of it, tried to enroll my daughter no misses in to decision making, won't make that mistake again WOD smashed after day 1 and a full Harrier flight shot down day two....I sent my fleet home vowing never to employ territorial military assets ever again! crycry
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Dan Calaway
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
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Great read. I just pulled the game out to play and saw this.
 
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