My Little Man's first real wargame play: Barbarossa Solitaire
Scenario #5: Beware of the Big Stick? Baloney! Beware of the Bear!
This is a series of session reports of the playing of the introductory and intermediate scenarios of 2nd Fleet in which I play the USA and attempt to valiantly defend the American Way of Life (Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of the Almighty Dollar Whoops! I mean Pursuit of Happiness! and Thad defends the Utopian, Communist Workers Paradise or, as I like to call it, he defends the no good Godless, Atheist, Pinko Soviet Union.
And here we go!
USA: My first instinct is to go after the Soviet AA units because the Soviet CR units only require a damage result to sink them whereas the AA units will require a normal sunk result. Part of what I do is dictated by Thad and how he deploys his warships. If he plays aggressively (which he usually does) I will have my hands full. If plays to protect the AA and CR ships, then my task will be somewhat easier. I will need to use my air units to the max and look for opportunities to use my SSM value if practical.
USSR: My plan is very simple. I will construct three forces in the following manner:
Task Group 7 (TG7) will consist of the CV Kiev, DD Sprnv and the CR ships
Task Group 8 (TG8) will consist of the CV Baku, DD Udloy and the AA ships
Task Force 5 (TF5) will consist of the Cruisers Frnze, Tula, and Kursk along with the two destroyers Otchy and Ottuk.
I placed the ships with the highest SSM values in the TF since I intend to hunt with it. If I can get most of either the CR or AA to their highest VP hex and sink at least one USA CG, I think I can win this game. I am indeed foregoing the +2 modifier to the CR and AA forces, but this is a calculated risk based on what I plan to achieve with the TF in its role as hunter.
TF 5 is deployed in hex 2910.
USA: 2 F14 on CAP
USSR: Each Y36 flying over its CV
1st Action Phase (1AP)
USA Surf: TF 2 move toward Soviet AA TG 8 skirting the edge of the Greenland/Iceland zones.
USSR Air: none
USSR Surf: TG 7 and TG 8 move toward objectives using shortest distance rule. TF 5 moves toward the USA TF
USA Air: Activate CV air units.
F18, A6, and EA6 target TF 5. Launch bombing attack on CG Tula and DD Otchy.
Enemy fire damages F18!
USA strike damages CG Tula.
USA: So far, so good. Both TG are too far away to successfully engage the enemy CAP over each, so I decided to hit one of the big Soviet SSM warships in TF 5. The damage to the F18 is regrettable, especially since the rules state I damage one plane, so I could’ve made it the EW EA6. Don’t know why I did not.
USSR: Well, the hit on the Tula is no good! Still, I did damage an F18, but it is curious that Tim did not choose the EA6. Well, I better be ready b/c once he realizes those Y 36 INT are playing nursemaid for the scenario, he’ll unleash those 2 F14 on me as well!
USSR Surf: TG 7 and TG 8 continue on course. TF 5 moves into position to check US TF 2
USA Surf: TF 2 heads NE towards Mohn’s Ridge trying to achieve a central position between Soviet TG 7 and TG 8.
USA Air: Launch CV strike on TG 8 (AA force).
CAP Fight! Y 36 destroyed!
Strike executed. EA6 damaged in battle.
US attacks 3 Soviet AA units sinking the Beloy and Krsky!
USSR Air: nothing
USA: First enemy units sunk and the situation looks good. I doubt Thad will scoot the surviving AA into the +1 VP hex, but he may get rattled by this sinking. If only I had sunk all 3 AA.
USSR: So far, I’m being beat like a rented mule! I need to get TF 5 to close with US TF 2 or I’m screwed. On the plus side, Tim is still keeping both F14 on the CAP. Reflex action from having played advanced Fleet Scenarios for so long????????
USSR Surf: TG 7 and TG 8 mosey along towards their dates with destiny.
TF 5 closes and attacks US TF 2 with a hail (62pts) of SSM!
SSM attack targets the US CG South Carolina.
Defensive Die Roll (DDR)= Attack Die Roll (ADR)=
US CG South Carolina sunk!!!!!
USA Surf: TF 2 launches SSM attack on Soviet TF 5. Target: CG Tula.
TF 2 crosses Mohn’s Ridge to prepare to launch air strikes soon on CR force
USA Air: CV strikes launched on TG 7 and TG 8
TG 7 strike A6 attacks placing 35 points and 40 points respectively on 2 Soviet AA.
Sink Obsky and Cshky
TG 8 Strike 2 F18 and EA6 attack.
CAP Fight! Two steps of damage on US planes!!!!!!!!!! EA6 destroyed and F18 destroyed!!!
USSR Air: nothing
USA: What the hell was all that!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? First, I lose the South Carolina, then I have my SSM attack fail miserably, and then I lose 2 planes in a CAP fight at 1-3 odds?!?!?! YGBKM!!! The only plus this turn is the sinking of two more AA. Still, not a very satisfying result! This isn’t over yet you no good commies! I can still whup your ass by sinking those CR!
USSR: Wow, did I have some good die rolls that turn! And my glorious working class heroes of the illustrious Soviet Union put on a excellent textbook display of what a CAP can do! What else could a comrade commander ask for?? And to top it all off, I sunk a major capital ship of that arrogant, capitalist, imperialist navy! Glory to Mother Russia!!!!
USSR Surf: TG 7 and TG 8 roll along the high seas.
TG 8 has its remaining AA unit advance into Bodo to score VP while the rest of the force moves out toward the US TF 2
TF 5 races after US TF 2. Soviets attempt another SSM attack this one on the CG Vncns.
DDR= ADR= 62 pts allows for damage result on CG Vncns!
USA Surf: TF 2 launches SSM attack on TF 5. Targets CG Tula.
Hail of SSM sinks the Tula!
TF 2 then moves NW deeper into the Greenland Zone and toward Spitsbergen.
USA Air: Strike on CR TG.
F18 and A6 attack.
CAP Fight! Both sides return to base!
USSR Air: nothing
USA: This CAP thing is getting ridiculous! I’m about ready to see if Thad’s dice have “Made in the USSR” printed on them! Once again, I had another CG hammered Granted, the Tula went to the bottom, but the Russian does not lose many points for losing ships other than AA and CR in this scenario.
USSR: Starting to gain momentum. One AA is safely in for 4 VP and my Y 36 is doing the finest job I have ever seen any Y 36 perform! The damage result on the CG Vncns means I have a real chance of sinking that bugger and adding 5 more VP to my score before all is said and done! The proletarit rejoices!!!
USA places one F14 on CAP.
USA Surf: TF 2 moves closer to Spitsbergen, but at reduced speed due to damaged Vncns.
USSR Surf: TG 8 continues to chase TF 2 but little chance of catching up
TF 5 pursues TF 2 and chooses to launch SSM attack from 2 hexes away
Once again, all 62 SSM points on CG Vncns.
DDR= ADR= !!!!!!!!! Even with the - modifier for no adjacent surface unit the SSM attack still manages a damage result and sinks the CG Vncns!
USSR Air: nothing
USA Air: F18, F14, and A6 all attack TG 7 to sink the 3 CR units.
CAP Fight! 1-4 odds for Soviets............. USA units are returned to base!
USA: I cannot believe this is happening. There is only one thing to say: I am dealing with the enemy die rolls from hell! I’ve got one last shot at sinking the CR IF I can go first. If not, then they sail safely into their objective hex and rack up 12 VP. I guess I should not have played those Backgammon games earlier today; I apparently used up all my die rolling luck there for the day.
USSR: “Oh what a beautiful morning, everything is going my way!” What can I say? We Soviets love the musical Oklahoma! I’ve certainly got the hot hand tonight!
No CAP for USA
Initiative die roll= USSR activates first!
USSR Surf: CR move into VP hex to score points. Rest of TG 7 moves away from USA TF 2.
TG 8 moves back into Norwegian Sea. TF 5 now backs off as well.
USA Surf: TF 2 chases Soviet TF 5. Launches SSM attack at 2 hex range and targets CG Kursk.
DDR= ADR= Total miss!
USSR Air: nothing
USA Air: F18, both F14 and A6 attack TF 5 to try to sink both CG in TF.
DDR= for defensive modifier of One US F14 damaged.
F14 and A6 hit CG Frnze but only damage
F18 and F14 hit CG Kursk and sink the ship.
Final VP Tally:
CR= 12 pts
2 US CG sunk= 10 pts
2 US planes destroyed= 2 pts
Total 28 VP- 2 Soviet CG sunk for minus 2 pts
Final VP total: 26 Decisive Soviet Victory!
USSR: First, I had excellent die rolls which paved the way for my success. Second, my CAP did exceptionally well (which is really connected to point one), third, my hunt TF plan worked to perfection, as evidenced by my sinking both US cruisers. . No need to sit around and wait for US to hit. Be aggressive, not passive (which I believe was the official motto of the Soviet Union ) Tim did have some bad luck tonight. Not sure what else he could’ve done better. I think focusing on the AA ships first is the correct strategy in this case. The scenario is tough for the USA given where its CV force begins and how far apart the Soviet CR and AA units are at the start. Still, none of that explains the oddity of Tim keeping those 2 F14 on CAP for so long. What was he thinking?????
USA: While there is no question the Soviet die rolling was exceptional, there is absolutely NO excuse for my CAP obsession. I mean, really where was my #@!%^$& brain on that one! Perhaps I should’ve hit Thad’s TF first and tried to cripple at least 4 ships. Then, I would not have had to deal with the TF 5 stalking me all game. Still, doing so would cost me some time, time that maybe some of those AA could use to get into at least the +1 VP hex. Not sinking a single CR is what killed me in the end. And while luck was a factor, it always is in war. I should’ve adjusted my strategy to account for that. I didn’t and paid the price.
2nd Fleet has always been my favorite in the series. The overall strategy in the big scenarios is I'm here, you're there, GO! In Sixth Fleet The enemy is all around you and makes things very complicated. Being a Europhile the other three games don't interest me as much.
Have really enjoyed reading your reports, so much so that I've bought the game. Used to own it back in the 1980s when this was all current of course, but lost/mislaid it years ago. Looking forward to getting back into it, possibly via Vassal.