I have had a few short tutorials on this, but I'm now half way through my first full game. Here is a run down of how things have gone thus far:
May 1st / Sit Rep 1
Weather is grey and CAP is to be provided by Gold and Red flights. SAS Intel located in the vicinity of Trelew. Naval Intel has indicated that there is no Argentine surface presence at seas, but it is believed that the Santa Fe is on patrol within Argentine coastal waters. HMS Conqueror and Spartan searched to confirm but failed in this mission. Fears were further heightened when HMS Arrow suspected that an enemy submarine was operating in its sector, though again nothing came of these suspicions. No Argentine air activity today. There has been talk of a key by-election taking place at home, but the Government has currently seen fit to delay this.
May 2nd / Sit Rep 2
Weather is misty and CAP provided by Tartan and Trident flights. A SAS unit has again been inserted in the region around Trelew. Naval Intel reports that there has been no Argentine surface or submarine activity detected that would pose a potential / actual threat to the Task Force. However, word has come through that Patrol Group 79.4 is readying itself for putting to sea. As per yesterday no Argentine air activity has occurred and all seems quiet on the domestic and international front.
May 3rd / Sit Rep 3
Weather is misty and the CAP is provided by Gold and Red flights. SAS units have maintained their position around Trelew. The Fleet’s Datalink system has gone down today, having a negative impact on our capacity to share and process targeting information. Naval Intel detected heightened enemy submarine activity just outside the Exclusion Zone, believed to be the Santa Fe. HMS Alacrity attempted to engage the enemy contact, but after successfully pinging her lost all contact. Patrol Group 79.4 is reportedly still at anchor in Peurto Belgrano. We received prior warning from the SAS that three Canberras had taken off from Trelew and Black flight was scrambled to provide extra cover. HMS Glamorgan (in the Southern Zone) was their target, but thankfully Black 3 and Red 2 were in the area to meet them head on. The former scored a confirmed kill, the latter did likewise and also forced the third aircraft to abort. It would seem that the shooting war has begun and thankfully in our favour.
May 4th / Sit Rep 4
The weather is grey today and CAP is provided by Trident flight. Our first attempt to interdict the Argentine supply lines was successfully undertaken by Tartan flight. The SAS are still on observation operations around Trelew after their positive result the previous day. Naval Intel has suggested that the Santa Fe may still be operating on patrol just outside the Exclusion Zone, but has confirmed that Patrol Group 79.4 and the San Luis are still holed up in Peurto Belgrano. The Argentine Air Force must be licking their wounds today as there has been no follow up activity to yesterday’s events. If things have been relatively quiet on the Task Force front then the same can not be said about domestic affairs. News came through that the IRA had launched successful attacks on security posts throughout County Armagh, leaving much of the British public stunned and bewildered. In an attempt to show some resolve the Government pushed ahead with the hotly contested by-election and won, leaving the PM in a relatively strong position.
May 5th / Sit Rep 5
Today the weather was fair, raising the potential for enemy sorties. With that in mind CAP was provided by Red flight. HMS Invincible was forced to withdraw due to a ‘heavy landing’ damaging the Flight Elevator, with HMS Broadsword and Brilliant providing escort cover. In light of this the decision was made that the remainder of the Fleet would also withdraw so that repairs on the Datalink system could be administered. The SAS remained on post outside of Trelew to provide early warning cover. Naval Intel was once again centred on the roving activities of the Santa Fe, this time believed to be in coastal waters. HMS Spartan was sent to deal with the threat, contact was made but an on-board computer malfunction allowed the Santa Fe to escape. No surface or air threats were detected.
May 6th / Sit Rep 5
May the 6th has proved to be a sunny day, again increasing the likelihood of air attacks. An attempt by Tartan flight to interdict the enemy’s supply lines failed. News leaked through that the Government was putting pressure on their German counterparts to recall private German contractors that are helping to maintain Argentine radar facilities on the Falklands. This was grudgingly done by the latter. There has been nothing to report in relation to surface or air activity on the part of enemy forces. However, HMS Spartan once again detected an enemy submarine in coastal waters (believed to be the Santa Fe) and this time managed to fire off torpedoes. Unfortunately, they missed their target and the contact was lost.
May 7th / Sit Rep 6
The weather has turned misty and Trident flight are providing today’s CAP. News has come through to the fleet that Naval Dockyard workers have walked out on strike due to rumours of mass redundancies. The Government has refused to act over this and the inside word in Fleet corridors is that the Task Force will not obtain the services of HMS Penelope, which is still currently fitting out for operations. An attempt by Red flight to interdict Argentine supplies again failed and the SAS remained in post at Trelew. No air activity reported today, but it would seem that the Argentine navy is getting a bit bolder. HMS Conqueror was pinged in coastal waters by the Santa Luis, but thankfully the torpedoes missed before the latter scarpered from the area. HMS Splendid successfully made contact with enemy Patrol Group 79.4, but could not secure confirmation over the rules of engagement which allowed the latter to slip away. This could be a seriously missed opportunity and one that I hope does not come back to haunt us.
May 8th / Sit Rep 7
The day started off fair, weather wise, and Black flight were tasked with CAP. No supply interdiction was tasked today due to events that were to take place over the runway at Port Stanley. RAF Command ordered a Vulcan strike on the aforementioned target and four Task Force Harriers provided support. The outcome was not to be as satisfactory as one had hoped at the outset. All the Vulcans missed their targets and only two strikes were recorded by the Harriers. Domestic opinion was damaged as the media leaked out details that suggested the attack was not properly supported by the Fleet. However, this was but one item from an eventful day. HMS Conqueror established contact with the Santa Fe and was successful in pushing home her attack just outside the Exclusion Zone. Whilst this ruffled a few feathers on the international scene, particularly the Chilean Government, there was a sense of satisfaction amongst the Fleet that we had secured our first naval scalp. Further good news came through as enemy Patrol Group 79.4 was contacted trying to slip through the Defence Zone and was forced to scurry away. The greatest concern of the day was the fact that two Super Etendards, scrambled from Rio Grande, managed to slip through our outer most defences and launched an uncontested Exocet attack on HMS Broadsword in the SE Zone. Broadsword’s own defensive measures failed completely and the end seemed pretty much assured, but somewhat unbelievably the missile missed its target! I doubt very much that we will be that lucky in any such future engagement.
May 9th / Sit Rep 8
Today the weather was grey and Red flight provided the CAP. The PM ordered an SAS unit to assault the enemy’s Exocet stockpile at Rio Grande airfield, however, not wishing to expose one of our carriers to increased chances of attack we responded with a strongly worded rejection of such moves. The PM reluctantly agreed to our protest. Our SAS eyes and ears were transferred to directly observe San Julian. No supply interdiction was attempted; there were no submarine, surface or air contacts to report. All in all a quiet day that in some ways was a blessed relief after the previous day’s events.
May 10th / Sit Rep 9
A grey day dawned with the news that Soviet Surveillance flights were increasingly encroaching on the Task Force. A strongly worded protest was made to the Soviets and they withdrew these flights, though I dare say that this may have come at some sort of cost to our international standing. Black flight successfully interdicted Argentine supplies and Intel has confirmed that Patrol Group 79.4 is once again at anchor in Peurto Belgrano. HMS Alacrity successfully detected the Santa Luis in the Task Force Defence Zone, causing the latter to turn tail and run for home. The main threat to the Task Force today came from successive sorties out of Trelew. The first one entailed four undetected Canberras making a bombing run on HMS Coventry in the West Zone. They were intercepted by Black 2 who made two confirmed kills and forced the other two to abort. This sortie was quickly followed by another flight of four Canberras attacking HMS Brilliant in the East Zone. This time our Nimrods passed on effective Intel and the Fleet scrambled Tartan 1 and 2 to intercept. Tartan 2 secured a solitary kill whilst Tartan 1 missed with both shots. The remaining three Canberras pressed on to their target and were eventually engaged by HMS Brilliant’s defences at a distance of 10 miles; fortunately for the pilots Brilliant’s measures all failed to strike home. All hands braced for the pending attack but none of the Canberras pay loads struck their target and they turned tail empty handed for Trelew. Lady Luck had smiled on the Royal Navy once again.
11th May / Sit Rep 9
A cloudy day dawned to Argentine appeals for a 24 hour cease fire, we readily accepted this approach. This allowed us time to take stock of the wider picture and get all our Harrier assets armed and readied to fly. This was well received by our international peers, but not so by an impatient public back home. During this lull the Argentines optimised the opportunity offered by ominously readying Carrier Group 79.1 for war.
12th May / Sit Rep 10
Fog surrounded the Task Force and Red flight was tasked to provide CAP. Gold flight left the decks early as well in their successful attempt to interdict the enemy's supplies. A Government briefing reasserted the desire and need for a quick victory; it is hoped that the sorties flown against supply lines will help bring this about. Today saw no activity in relation to enemy submarines with the San Luis still anchored in Peurto Belgrano, as was the Carrier Group 79.1. However, Patrol Group 79.4 was intercepted in coastal waters by HMS Splendid, an attack was plotted but the target changed course effectively negating the opportunity. No enemy air activity occurred.
13th May / Sit Rep 11
Today was marked by grey skies and a lack of enemy activity. The Task Force was reinforced by 9 vessels, mostly of types designed to facilitate the landing of troops. Trident flight successfully interdicted Argentine supply lines, but other than this no events of any note occurred.
14th May / Sit Rep 12
Another grey day that sees Gold flight tasked with CAP. Supply interdiction was tasked to Red flight, but was unsuccessful this time around. Naval Intel reported the San Luis to still be moored in Peurto Belgrano, but of much more interest and concern was the fact that Carrier Group 79.1 had sallied forth. This caused much consternation, even more so when HMS Splendid secured a contact but could not get a firing solution. The enemy Carrier force managed to evade both our submarine and surface pickets and successfully launched an attack of four Skyhawks against the main body in the Task Force Zone. The ramifications of this could have been truly disastrous were it not for the interceptions of Gold 1 and 2, both of whom were providing CAP in this area. Gold 1 secured two confirmed kills and forced another to abort, whilst Gold 2 secured 1 confirmed kill. Thankfully, there was no land based air sorties launched and it certainly seems that a potential disaster has been averted.
From the way things are goinng you should by some lottery numbers this week...!
Dan Hodges wrote:
From the way things are goinng you should by some lottery numbers this week...!
Tell me about it, rolling that 6 for the Exocet attack on Broadsword was the icing on the cake. I have also benefitted from the fact that in nearly all air attacks I have rolled multiple plane target locks. I can't see this lucky streak lasting though.
Summary thus far:
I’m half way through the game and pleased / relieved that my Task Force is thus far intact and making good progress; I don’t want to tempt fate but we have not even lost a Harrier YET. I emphasise this last point because I can already begin to feel the dramatic changes to the game play that will come into effect soon enough (ie more frequent and relentless air strikes for a start). Despite the lack of damage to my fleet I have managed to sink the Santa Fe and down five Canberras and three Skyhawks, whilst in the act of protecting my own assets. One particular intriguing aspect to the game is the potential impact of the Argentine naval units on the Task Force, particularly the surface units. Initial tutorial sessions made me think that they were almost included as an after thought. More extended sessions have made me realise their genuine nuisance value, particularly in light of the Carrier Group's attempt to go for my jugular.
The event cards have been a real mixed bag. Some have taken and allowed for a degree of management, whilst others have meant that on certain turns I have not been faced by the headache of a somewhat ‘Hobson’s Choice’ and therefore have been given a bit of a break. (It does say something for a game that at times you welcome turns wherein little happens and for me that reflects a certain reality of combat in general.) My International standing is currently a healthy 9, whilst my corresponding Domestic score is 7 (a factor that I am already concerned about). The first 14 turns have revealed many, though not all, of the key aspects in relation to the game’s mechanics and playability. One thing that is great about this game is that little is predictable and at times you feel like you are juggling with umpteen issues. Furthermore, you are always encouraged to think ahead strategy wise, not just in the short term. Managing that Fleet and the expectations that go with it are no easy things.
Just wait until you have an AEA of 5 (5 sorties) with a threat level of 8 (i.e. you get a sortie if you roll a 7 or less).
Combine that with Harrier loss over time (i.e. less Harriers to place on CAP, but if you do enough supply interdiction before it gets too "hairy" (hyuk hyuk - good pun eh?) then you'll have more Harriers available for CAP and scrambles.
Oh yeah, this is from all airbases (so the SAS team isn't quite as useful) too.
And those Exocets are a killer. I lost 3 ships in my last game and all due to Exocets...
The ground combat is fun - you should enjoy that.
May 15th / Sit Rep 12
Today was rather foggy in alls sorts of ways, not just with the weather. The US Government tabled a peace proposal that effectively entailed a 48 hour cessation of combat operations. This was well received in certain quarters and not so in others. No enemy activity was reported and Harrier assets were operationally prepped.
May 16th / Sit Rep 12
The submarine HMS Valiant joined the Task Force to provide extra screening cover. No enemy activity to report.
May 17th / Sit Rep 13
Things were rather misty on the weather front today and no attempts to interdict Argentine supplies were made. This was largely to do with other matters. Intel reports confirmed that the Argentines were using civil aircraft to conduct surveillance on the Task Force. Tartan and Gold flights were tasked to intercept and face off such activities and did so successfully. In relation to enemy air activity the SAS maintained their position at Rio Gallegos but no enemy sorties were flown. There was more activity in relation to the enemy’s naval activities. Whilst the submarine San Luis remained moored in Peurto Belgrano, Naval Intel indicated that Patrol group 79.4 and Carrier Group 79.1 were actively readying for war
May 18th / Sit Rep 12
Today was a grey day in so many aspects. TF Orders put Red flight on CAP but failed to task any wing for supply interdiction. Two further assets, HMS Antelope and Ambuscade, were welcomed to the Task Force. Somewhat frustratingly the communication system on HMS Hermes went down, meaning that comms with other Task Force assets were conducted in a manner familiar with Nelson on HMS Victory! The TF was withdrawn to carry out the necessary repairs. Enemy naval activity was monitored: ARA San Luis was operating in coastal waters; Patrol Group 79.4 and Carrier Group 79.1 were still moored in Peurto Belgrano. If the enemy’s naval assets were being coy the same could not be said for their pilots. To begin with Ascension based Nimrods detected the launch of one enemy Dagger targeting HMS Argonaut in the SW Zone. Thanks to the Intel Trident Leader and Trident 2 were scrambled to meet the enemy, with the former securing a kill.
A second sortie was launched from San Julian. Again, Nimrods fulfilled their obligation by identifying three Daggers homing in on HMS Alacrity and Glasgow in the West Zone. Red 1 was already in that sector and was joined by Trident 3 during a previous scramble. Both pilots secured a registered kill, however, the third Dagger pressed on with its attack. The naval assets engaged their AA weapons but failed to get a hit. Thankfully, the lone Dagger also missed its target.
May 19th / Sit Rep 13
To the backdrop of grey weather HMS Exeter joined the Task Force. Current CAP was tasked to Black flight and our SAS link was asked to maintain its current location. Supply interdiction was successfully driven home by Tartan flight. It is to be hoped that such risks will bring their own rewards come the landings. Of some considerable concern was the fact that Rear Admiral Woodward felt compelled to rebuke officers from both Carriers over their conduct and its negative impact. This whole sorry scenario has not gone un-noticed at home either. Enemy forces were clearly taking some respite: there was no air activity, the surface groups remained in Peurto Belgrano, and the San Luis was believed to be roaming in coastal waters.
May 20th / Sit Rep 14
Early doors Trident flight took off to provide CAP against the backdrop of grey skies. Red flight successfully interdicted the enemy’s supply lines and SAS units were tasked to stay in position, however, no enemy air activity occurred. Naval Intel indicated that the San Luis was patrolling just beyond the Exclusion Zone, that BG 79.3 was readying for war and that PG 79.4 was still in Peurto Belgrano. Of more concern was the fact that CG 79.1 contacted HMS Spartan beyond the Exclusion Zone. However, the attack faltered and Spartan was able to carry out its patrol duties.
May 21st / Sit Rep 15
Flight plans were tasked for operations on a cloudy day. CAP would be provided by Black, whilst a successful attempt to sabotage Argentine supplies was seen through by Gold flight. There was, however, a sad footnote to the aforementioned activities. Gold 1 was lost during the attempted retrieval and I dare say that this has had a sobering impact on all members of the Task Force, whether high or low in rank. Once again there was no enemy air attack; you do have to wonder as to their commitment to the conflict as it stands. Intel has stated that the surface fleet is still firmly ensconced in Peurto Belgrano, however, the San Luis clearly seems to be operating on a different level. HMS Conqueror detected the San Luis. However, the attack was postponed due to the target changing its course. The ARA San Luis then evaded naval pickets and attacked HMS Arrow in the South Zone, but failed in its goal. HMS Arrow took ASW measures but also failed to drive home its attack.