Hornet Leader - Carrier Air Operations
Herge's Adventures of Tintin!
Sunday May 9, 1982. A grey day in the South Atlantic.
Britain comes under EU pressure for a day’s ceasefire. This will be well received abroad although international support is already rock solid, although less welcome at home - despite the recent losses public opinion is in no mood for compromise. However rejecting the ceasefire call will seriously damage international support and lose Chilean early warning support, and the recent losses underline the need for a high level of air defense. Without Chilean support, Harriers would not be scrambled for strikes that go undetected by Nimrods and the SAS team and if that can be avoided then the price must be paid. The recent losses and acceptance of the ceasefire sees domestic opinion drop from 9 to 6/10, whilst international opinion rests at 10/10.
The six harriers of Red and Gold flight are rearmed, all fifteen are ready for action.
Monday May 10, 1982. A misty day in the South Atlantic.
Argentina is beginning to get cold feet and offers a day’s ceasefire. Britain doesn’t need to improve its international standing, and public opinion won’t wear it, so it’s rejected.
The Task Force continues towards the Falklands.
The Task Force needs to be rearranged in the light of recent losses and the lessons learned. There are now only sufficient escorts to cover all the approaches and the outer defense zone with single vessels. This will leave the outer defenses weak and increase the risk of a surface or submarine attack not being repulsed even with the CAP that will now be assigned (which only helps against surface attacks). The Type 42 destroyers with decent radar (rated 6) and long ranged Sea Dart SAMs must be stationed in the most likely approaches - W, NW and SW. The remaining County class destroyer with decent-ish radar (rated 5) and medium ranged Sea Slug will go to the next most likely approach - S. The Rothesay frigates with so-so radar (rated 4) and Sea Cat will to the N approach and outer defense zone. The Type 21 frigates with poor radar (rated 3) and Sea Cat go to the E and NE approaches. Which leaves the remaining Type 22 frigate with poor radar and Sea Wolf the unlikely SE approach. (With hindsight I notice that the rules indicate both target selection and weather are determined by D12 as opposed to 1d12 and the introduction mentions that D12 means roll two six sided dice.)
Since Argentine surface units are on patrol, Tartan 1 & 2 from Hermes are assigned to CAP in the outer defense zone. Trident 3 from Invincible attempts to interdict supply but fails - 11 days supply remain.
Since Chilean early warning is still available, the SAS team relocates from the Super Etendard base at Rio Grande to the Dagger base at San Julian as if the Nimrods fail to detect a raid the SAS can also provide details of the number of aircraft in a raid prior to the scramble of Harriers - and with Daggers being capable of air-to-air combat this might be critical information (Super Etendard raids are always a pair of aircraft and both these and the Canberras at Trelew are incapable of fighting back against the Harriers).
The Argentine submarines Santa Fe and San Luis and Battle Group 79.3 remain in coastal waters. The Santa Fe successfully detects the Task Force, but is detected by the the frigate Plymouth in the outer defense zone and calls off its attack returns to base.
A Canberra sortie from Trelew is not detected by Nimrods, but the Chilean support alerts the Task Force which scrambles Tartan 3 and Black 3 from the Hermes (both Harriers must be from the same carrier, but since they are different flights there is no possibility of bounce - which doesn’t matter since the Canberra is not air-to-air capable). the raid turns out to be three aircraft against the W approach. Two of the Canberra get past the Harriers, so now run the gauntlet of the SAMs. With the reorganised Task Force, this approach is now defended by a Type 42 destroyer, Sheffield, with Sea Dart capable of engaging at 30 miles range, provided a radar lock is obtained - the Canberras are successfully detected! However at this range the Sea Dart is less effective than at 20 or optimally 10 miles range and each vessel can only engage once per raid, so Sheffield holds fire. The range decreases to 20 miles and again Sheffield is able to radar lock the Canberras. Although this is not the optimal range, Sheffield engages with Sea Dart and shoots down one of the Canberras. The remaining Canberra begins its bomb run on the Sheffield - and misses!
A second Canberra sortie from Trelew is detected by Nimrods. 3 aircraft against the N approach. Black Ldr & 2 scramble to intercept. (Black Ldr is the squadron leader from Hermes, Trident Ldr from Invincible - not important for the time being). Again, poor shooting from the Harriers who only knock out one of the three intruders. This approach is defended by a Rothesay class frigate, Yarmouth, with so-so radar and Sea Cat, so the Canberra get within 10 miles before they are in range of the SAMs. Yarmouth manages to get a radar lock, and whilst its not optimum range for the Sea Cat decides to engage but misses! The Canberras begin their bomb run on the Yarmouth - and both miss!
All six of Black and Tartan flights plus Trident 3 will spend tomorrow arming, leaving a total of eight Harriers ready for action.
Tuesday May 11, 1982. A foggy day in the South Atlantic.
This time it’s the Soviets trying to get in on the act. A 48 hour cease fire is ‘privately suggested’ by the UN Secretary General after some sabre rattling by Brezhnev. Faced with losing domestic support and another two days (and mindful that thanks to windy MPs each days delay of the invasion after the 21st will lose domestic support) if the proposal is accepted, or losing international support (but not to the extent of forfeiting Chilean support) the proposal is rejected. International opinion now stands at 9/10, domestic at 6/10.
The Task Force continues towards the Falklands.
Task Force, submarine and SAS dispositions remain unchanged. Red 1 & 2 stand CAP over the outer defense zone. Red 3 successfully interdicts the Falklands - 10 days supply remains.
The Argentine submarine San Luis and Battle Group 79.3 remain in coastal waters. Santa Fe sorties from Puerto Belgrano and enters the search zone.
A Super Etendard sortie is detected by Nimrods - two aircraft against the NE approach. Gold 1 & 2 are scrambled from Invincible and knock down both aircraft. The stock of Exocet is reduced from 3 to 2.
A single Dagger sorties from San Julian, detected by the SAS but not by Nimrods. Trident Ldr & 2 scramble to successfully bounce the Dagger in the N approach.
Due to the fog, recovering Harriers have a chance of being lost on recovery - all survived apart from Red 1. Red 2 & 3, Trident Ldr & 2, Gold 1 & 2 will arm tomorrow. All six of Black and Tartan flights plus Trident 3 have rearmed, for a total of eight ready Harriers.
Wednesday May 12, 1982. A grey day in the South Atlantic.
Crunch time. The Argentines request civilian LANDSAT recon of the South Atlantic which will provide valuable intelligence on the Task Force’s position, in game turns increasing by 1 the number of Argentine aircraft per strike, to a maximum of 4 (2 for Super Etendard). Or lose international opinion, and with it Chilean early warning support and that would mean that only sorties the airbase under SAS surveillance would be automatically detected and subject to Harrier intercept - Nimrod just doesn’t give that level of assurance. It’s a high price and a tough decision to make, but Britain keeps a stiff upper lip and doesn’t attempt to block the LANDSAT request. (With hindsight, maybe that two-day ceasefire the Soviets were after wouldn’t have been so bad after all.)
The Task Force continues towards the Falklands, and into range of the Argentine Skyhawks at Rio Gallegos.
Task Force, submarine and SAS dispositions remain unchanged. Black 3 & Tartan 3 stand CAP over the outer defense zone.
The Argentine submarine San Luis joins Santa Fe in the search zone. Battle Group 79.3 remains in coastal waters.
There are no Argentinian air sorties.
Black 3 & Tartan 3 return from CAP and will arm tomorrow. Red 2 & 3, Trident Ldr & 2, Gold 1 & 2 are now armed, for a total of twelve ready Harriers.
Thursday May 13, 1982. A cloudy day in the South Atlantic.
The US comes under pressure to reduce aid to Britain. Reagan could be persuaded to resist the pressure at a heavy cost in international opinion (and all that entails) or Britain can remove two reinforcements. Britain decides to forgo two Type 21 frigates (with poor radar and Sea Cat SAMs) due to join the Task Force on the 23rd.
The Task Force continues towards the Falklands.
The Task Force receives reinforcements! Troopships Canberra (42 & 45 Cdo and 3 Para) and Norland (40 Cdo), landing ships Fearless and Intrepid, and three support ships (Elk, Atlantic Conveyor and Europic Ferry) join the high value targets at the heart of the Task Force. Two escorts also arrive: Type 21 frigate Ardent, which goes on station in the SE approach freeing up Type 22 Broadsword which moves to the outer defense zone; and Leander class frigate Argonaut with Sea Cat and reasonable radar (rated 5) which goes on station in the S approach freeing up County class destroyer Antrim which moves to the SW approach, freeing up in turn Type 42 destroyer Glasgow to head up the outer defense zone which now has three warships and with two Harriers on CAP should prevent any surface groups from threatening the Task Force.
Submarine and SAS dispositions remain unchanged.
A cloudy day does add an element of risk to the recovery of Harriers, but Trident 3 and Gold 3 from Invincible stand CAP over the outer defense zone.
The Argentine submarines San Luis and Santa Fe remain in the search zone. Battle Group 79.3 remains in coastal waters. San Luis detects Spartan but misses, then returns to base.
A sortie by 3 Dagger is detected by the SAS departing from San Julian, but slips pasts the Nimrods. Gold 2 & 3 scramble and successfully bounce the entire sortie over the W approach, then return safely to Invincible.
A second sortie by 3 Dagger is again detected by the SAS and missed by the Nimrods. Trident Ldr & 2 scramble and bounce one of the Daggers over the SW approach. The two remaining Daggers fight back to no effect. The Harriers return safely to Invincible. The two Daggers now face the SAMs. They advance through 30 miles to 20 miles as they are facing Antrim’s Sea Slug. Antrim gets a radar lock at 20 miles but holds fire and the range reduces to 10 miles. Antrim again gets a lock and engages - and misses. The Daggers begin their bomb run against Antrim - and hit! Antrim sinks and with it domestic opinion from 6 to 5/10.
CAP returns to Invincible - Gold 3 crashes in the cloudy weather and is lost. Tartan 3 and Black 3 are now armed, but Trident Ldr, 2 & 3 and Gold 1 & 2 will rearm tomorrow. With the two losses, that leaves eight Harriers ready for action.
Another bad day for the Royal Navy.
Nice report. Thanks for the posting. I have been looking for this game for some time and your report just fuels the fire . . .