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Mrs Thatcher's War: The Falklands, 1982» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The Brits Fall Short rss

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Robert Leonhard
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THE FALKLANDS WAR

25-30 APRIL 1982—RAIN/SNOW

SAS attempted a raid on Pebble Island Airstrip, but it failed. Thatcher’s government allowed for possible diplomatic resolution, and BBC remained highly favorable to the government’s efforts.

The Argentinian grupos reinforced Rio Grande and San Julian sectors. The Royal Navy Task Force aggressively went after the grupos, chasing two of them off and damaging two enemy aircraft. One British ship was damaged by bombs, but public support for the war effort remained fairly high.

The Argies deployed air cover over East Falkland Island with initial priority over Stanley. Bad weather grounded one A4. The British decided to risk surging their few Harriers near San Carlos. The enemy sent nearly their entire force to Stanley, and the Brits shot down a MB-339A over San Carlos.

Headlines: A submarine scare sent the Invincible out of the area. The UN proposed a peace plan, and the British government agreed to not veto it. General Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator, rattled his sabre and diverted key elements of the Argentine air force. American UN Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick expressed disappointment in the British “aggression” in the South Atlantic, and British public opinion turned against Thatcher. But New Zealand’s PM Robert Muldoon sent supplies and aid to the British, which bolstered Maggie’s political standing.

1-3 MAY 1982—FAIR

Argentine grupos reinforced the Santa Cruz sector. The British sent a submarine after the Belgrano, but the Argentine ship eluded them. British ships’ antiaircraft fire damaged a plane and sent another grupo off in the Santa Cruz sector. Committing the Royal Navy to fighting the naval battle again reduced the number of British aircraft available for the air battle over the Falklands, but with Chile’s help, the British have already caused enough damage to begin attrition against the enemy air forces.

The British decided not to send their few Harriers over East Falkland Island, because if they had shot down any A4s, this would have helped the enemy by providing lower class aircraft to cannibalize when parts shortages hit. Parts shortages claimed one enemy aircraft.
Headlines: Six more Harriers arrived on the Task Force carriers, but one collision resulted. The BBC leaked MoD secrets, neutralizing some British escorts. Moderate “Wets” in the British cabinet expressed their reservations about the war effort.

4-6 MAY 1982—RAIN/SNOW

Thatcher made another peace gesture to neutralize the “Wets” objections. Another sub attack failed against the 25 de Mayo. With the number of enemy grupos low, and with bad weather hampering enemy A4s, the British Harriers surged against Stanley and sector D, hoping to attrit the Argentine air forces. The Argies rose to the occasion and redirected their main effort to Stanley. The resulting air battle was an exchange, which worked for the British aim.

Admiral Anaya directed the Belgrano and 25 de Mayo back to port. Argentine parts shortages claimed another aircraft.

Headlines: Another sub scare sent the Invincible to the TRALA. The UN pressed its peace plan, and the British did not object. The Chileans again helped the British air effort. Kirkpatrick again came out strong against the British position, and public opinion in London tanked against Thatcher, but New Zealand’s continued support helped.

7-9 MAY 1982—RAIN/SNOW

Argentine grupos made a major effort. The Task Force’s efforts at sea resulted in another escort ship getting bombed, and public morale sank ever lower. Another huge air battle over Stanley resulted in an exchange, sending the Argentine air forces into another parts shortage that claimed a Dagger.

Admiral Anaya sent his navy to sea again.

Headlines: The last Harrier reinforcements reached the Task Force, but another collision resulted. The “Wets” piled on the government, and public support for the war reached 0.

10-12 MAY 1982—FAIR

The SAS again raided Pebble Island and destroyed the Pucaras there. Under political pressure, Thatcher made a gesture of peace.
A third submarine attack against the Argentine ships failed. The Hermes chased off a grupo in the San Julian sector, but then an Exocet sank a British escort. England was shocked, and all support for the war effort again evaporated.

In the air over East Falkland, the British surged their Harriers against air sector B, while most of the Argentine aircraft patrolled over Stanley. The Brits shot down two A4s.

Parts shortages claimed an A4. The Argentine ships remained at sea.
Headlines: Another collision occurred. The BBC again leaked classified information, sending the Invincible to TRALA. Public support for the government remained at 0.

13-15 MAY 1982—SQUALLS (NO AIR)

The weather finally cancelled air operations for the first time in the war. Thatcher again talked diplomacy to try to show herself evenhanded.
The Argentine grupos neared their maximum effort at sea. The sub chasing the Belgrano failed to achieve contact. The Hermes chased a grupo away from the Comodoro Rivadavia sector, because it was important to keep enemy ships away from the intended landing zone.

Headlines: The British conducted their first Black Buck raid, improving public morale a bit. An increasingly restive Thatcher reluctantly agreed to another UN peace proposal. Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi sneaked an Exocet missile to Argentina, increasing their inventory to six left. The Argentines’ Stanley garrison advanced out of the city westward. Another Harrier collision occurred.

16-18 MAY 1982—RAIN/SNOW

At least the weather would permit an invasion on schedule. The British sent their escort groups to San Carlos. They surged all their available Harriers to cover the landing site. The Argentines elected, under Admiral Anaya’s orders, to remain over Stanley.

The British troops landed at San Carlos. Luckily, the STUFT were to be available very soon, which would provide helicopters to the troops. Admiral Anaya recalled his two capital ships to port.
Headlines: Another collision occurred. The “Wets” still dogged the PM, and public support flagged.

19-21 MAY 1982—SQUALLS (NO AIR)

An Argentine Exocet missile sank the Atlantic Conveyor, destroying most of the available helicopters, but one helo unit was assigned to the middle column at San Carlos. The Brits sent their escorts to provide supplies to the ground force.

The ground campaign began. The northern column consisted of 2 Para and 45 Commando, reinforced by the Royal Artillery. They liberated Cerro Montevideo and pushed on to New House. The middle column comprised 3 Para and the Blues and Royals, along with helicopters. They penetrated the Verde Hills and reached Third Corral East. The southern column failed to get through the Sussex Mountains and remained at San Carlos.
Admiral Anaya ordered his ships to sea, and they hampered supply operations, immobilizing the middle column.

Headlines: French President Francois Mitterrand tightened his nation’s arms embargo against Argentina, causing more attrition in their air forces. The Gurkhas reinforced the middle column. Chilean military threats caused more distractions to the Argentine air force. The Pope commenced an extended tour of the world, which will hamper British operations through 8 June. The “Wets” again criticized Margaret Thatcher’s handling of the war, and public opinion was again at zero.

22-24 MAY 1982—SQUALLS (NO AIR)

The SAS conducted a successful raid against the Goose Green Airstrip, destroying the Pucaras there. Thatcher decided to conduct a diplomatic feint, and public opinion rose a bit. The British decided not to send escorts to San Carlos and instead tried another sub attack on Argentine ships without success.

Royal Navy operations against the grupos in the Puerto Deseado sector were highly successful, further attriting the Argie air force and helping public morale slightly.

The ground war went nowhere. Argentine capital ships and low morale immobilized two columns, and the southern column still couldn’t get through the Sussex Mountains.

Parts shortages claimed another Argentine aircraft. But their capital ships remained at sea, hampering logistics.

Headlines: The Hermes ran from a sub threat to the TRALA. The US again criticized Thatcher strongly, tanking British public support once again. The Kelper Logistics Force joined the southern column. By-elections tested Tory popularity. Public support for the war is minimal.

25-27 MAY 1982—SQUALLS (NO AIR)

Thatcher continued to talk diplomacy in a vain attempt to recover public support. Subs continued to fail in attacks on Argentinian ships. The Navy had a little success against the grupos. And the ground war remained stalled. The only good news was the continued attrition of the Argies’ air force because of parts shortages.

Headlines: West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt back Britain. Pinochet also helped Britain. But the public support remained at nil.

28-30 MAY 1982—GALES

The weather brought a halt to all action.

31 MAY – 2 JUNE—RAIN/SNOW

The weather cleared a bit—enough for military operations. The SAS tried a desperate gamble: Operation Mikado. But it failed. Thatcher offered more diplomatic talks. But then word came that a British submarine had sunk the Belgrano! The world was shocked at the loss of life, but the 25 de Mayo retreated to port, easing the supply situation. The Royal Navy continued to attrit the grupos.

The Argentine air force could put up only two aircraft. The British established air superiority over sectors A, B, and C and shot down the lone enemy aircraft that tried to contest A.

Then the southern column again failed to make it through the Sussex Mountains. The Argies kept their carrier in port—giving the Brits a chance to get rolling again. With incessant parts shortages eroding the Argentine air force, the air war is all but over.

Headlines: The Argentines’ main force advanced westward from Stanley. Apartheid South Africa send arms and intelligence to Argentina, facilitating their seizure of Mount Kent. But the backlash against Argentina among African and other Third World countries raised British public opinion. Then Fleet Street expressed its approval of the ground war, and public support rose again! Then another Black Buck raid raised it again. Buckingham Palace ordered the reinforcement of the Scots Guards and Welsh Guards, and they arrived without incident. British escorts are distracted by chasing Argentine fishing boats.

3-5 JUNE 1982—RAIN/SNOW

Now things may get started, but the distracted escorts prevent full logistical support. The Argentine air forces prioritize Stanley, and the Brits achieve air superiority over A, B, and C.

The ground campaign finally scored! The southern column broke through the Sussex Mountain and advanced through Port Sussex to Camilla Creek House, just outside of Darwin. Then the middle column moved by helicopter and assaulted the Argentinian Commando 602, defending Top Malo House. They defeated the Argies, who promptly surrendered. Public support for the war skyrocketed.

The 25 de Mayo remained in port.

Headlines: The Argentines’ BIM 5 retreated from Mount Kent, apparently concerned about news of the British victory at Top Malo House. Another Harrier collision occurred. By-elections added slightly to the groundswell of support for Maggie’s war.

6-8 JUNE 1982—SQUALLS (NO AIR)

The Argentine grupos made a maximum effort, and they managed to interdict British logistics, immobilizing the middle column. Then two naval disasters occurred as the Task Force attempted to clear Comodoro Rivadavia. One escort was damaged by bombs, and another sunk. British public opinion again tanked.

The Brits directed the northern column to have logistical priority. They yomped through Letterbox Hill to Douglas Station, where they defeated EC Solari, which surrendered. British public support rose with the liberation of a third settlement.

The Argentine carrier remained in port. The Pope’s visit was finally over. Argentine RI 7 retreated from Mount Harriet to Mount William, just outside of Stanley. Another collision occurred. By-elections raised public morale.

9-11 JUNE 1982—RAIN/SNOW

Argentine grupos continued to interdict logistics. The Hermes chased off a grupo.

The British Harriers defeated the enemy air forces that contested sectors A and C.

The northern column yomped to Teal Inlet, liberating a fourth settlement. The southern column attacked Darwin and seized it, while the Argentine FT Merc surrendered. Support for the war has never been higher.

The Argentine carrier deployed to Rio Gallegos, interrupting supplies.

Headlines: Israeli PM Menachem Begin took revenge on the British and helped the Argies recover an aircraft. Fleet Street was not pleased at the delays in the south, and public opinion dropped a bit. The Argentine units outside of Stanley advanced again, but then the middle column retreated off of Mount Kent again. Argentine surface units diverted British escorts again.

12-14 JUNE 1982—FOG (NO AIR)

The SAS joined the middle column. The southern column liberated Goose Green by clearing minefields. The middle column yomped to Mount Kent.
The enemy carrier remained at sea, complicating logistics.

Headlines: The French continued their arms embargo on Argentina, attriting their air force further. The Chileans also helped.

15-17 JUNE 1982--GALES

Inopportune weather again stopped all operations.

18-20 JUNE 1982—FAIR

A British sub sank the 25 de Mayo. The Argentines achieved air superiority over Stanley and sector D, while the Brits dominated the rest of the island.

The southern column reached Mid Rancho. The northern column reached Mount Estancia.

Headlines: Another Black Buck air raid buoyed public opinion and destroyed an aircraft. Peru supported Argentina with aircraft parts. Another collision occurred. The “Wets” ate away at public support. The Argentine RI 7 again retreated toward Stanley.

19 JUNE 1982—SQUALLS

The grupos surged for the last time, interrupting supplies. Chaff deflected an Exocet. Public support for the war is now high, but it’s too late.

The southern column made it to Swan Inlet House. The middle column failed to climb the Two Sisters.

Conclusion:
I lost pretty decisively. I’m not sure how I could have done better, apart from rolling better. My subs scored late in the war. Public morale slowed things down a lot. Grupos and capital ships kept logistics challenging. Upon reflection, I've learned a few things:

1. You must send your subs after the capital ships as often as possible.

2. I probably should have accepted more risk in the air to go after the capital ships instead of the grupos. This might have saved a few British ships and kept morale higher.

A very fun game.
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Robert Leonhard
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On reflection, I'm thinking about a strategy for the ground war itself. In my first game, I defaulted to trying to keep the three columns as close to each other as possible. But I'm thinking that I should have instead blitzed the one that is succeeding and bring it to Stanley as fast as possible. Then, once it's in position, you can forget about him and prioritize the logistics to the other guys. Thoughts?
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Barry Kendall
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Great narrative. I own the game but haven't had time to learn it yet, so cannot offer any useful ideas.

I am a bit puzzled by all the 'collisions.' Do these bear out average rolls, or did you have bad luck determining them? I didn't remember there being so much trouble with Harriers running into one another during the war.

The whole thing certainly has a realistic sound to it, in spite of the events which didn't actually happen (but could have). Really looking forward to learning and playing the game now!
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Vince Leamons
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Indeed, I'm interested in all these collisions too. If there had been so many in the real war, the Harrier force would have been wiped out.
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Robert Leonhard
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It's a "Headlines" event that gets bunched together with other ones and comes up a lot. You roll a die, and if you get a six, the Harrier is lost permanently. Any other roll, it goes to repair, which is not too serious.

I think it probably simulates everything from a catastrophic mid-air collision (which did happen in the war) to small-scale maintenance issues.

They are not real serious, because by mid-game, you'll have plenty of aircraft, and the bad guys are somewhat whittled down.
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Vince Leamons
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That makes more sense - would have been good if you had noted in the replay which ones ended with the destruction of the Harrier.
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Robert Leonhard
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Actually, none of them did, but yeah, I should have said.
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Eric Walters
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"...the art of manoeuvering armies...an art which none may master by the light of nature. but to which, if he is to attain success, a man must serve a long apprenticeship." -- G.F.R. Henderson
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Bob,

It's postings like this one that intrigue me; I'm convinced to get the game after reading this! My Falklands War library is extensive and I expect I'd get a lot out of playing the game.

I used to teach the war as an analytical case study for the Marine Corps (as you might imagine, there are tons of lessons there regarding expeditionary operations at the very limit of operational reach and how mounting an amphibious operation without air superiority can be made possible). You've gotten me to think about creating an elective for U.S. Army Command and Staff College that could involve using this game!
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Robert Leonhard
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Eric--Yep, I think it has utility in the classroom. It is, of course, a solo game, so you'd have to be creative in application. I'm going through a book on the war right now, and my impression as I played was that this was a game designed by someone who really knows the history. The events and dynamics ring true. Let me know what you think!

So are you at Leavenworth?

Bob
 
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Robert Madison
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ericmwalters wrote:
Bob,

It's postings like this one that intrigue me; I'm convinced to get the game after reading this! My Falklands War library is extensive and I expect I'd get a lot out of playing the game.

I used to teach the war as an analytical case study for the Marine Corps (as you might imagine, there are tons of lessons there regarding expeditionary operations at the very limit of operational reach and how mounting an amphibious operation without air superiority can be made possible). You've gotten me to think about creating an elective for U.S. Army Command and Staff College that could involve using this game!


Thanks for the kind words. As the designer, if there's anything I can do to facilitate your efforts to use the game in a teaching setting, don't hesitate to send me a message!
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