I highly recommend In Harms Way, the latest Harpoon3 scenario from Mike
Mykytyn. The scenario takes place in the Persian Gulf (PG) and is set in
1984. Its pits a battlegroup centered around the USS New Jersey against
Iranian coastal defense forces. The scenario is playable from the US side.
After five years of allowing Iran free reign in the PG during her war with Iraq
the US decides its time to makes its presence known. Your mission is to
assert the US right to freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz (SOH)
and Persian Gulf. The scenario demonstrates what the Iranians might have done to
challenge US access to the SOH and PG.
The New Jersey and her escorts are a classic Cold War nuclear armed
battlegroup being placed in a situation where long range nuclear missiles
won't be the weapon of choice. This is one of the premises which make this
scenario very challenging -- unless you decide to blow everything away with
nuclear weapons. I like to try and maintain a weapon to target relationship
which is... how shall I put it... somewhat realistically cost effective. For example,
do you really want to take out a $10,000 speedboat with a $500,000 missile?
Realistically, gunfire is probably more cost effective.
Rather than give a blow-by-blow description of what I encountered I'll just
say beware. The Iranian coastal defense forces are well suited to challenge
the battlegroup. The victory conditions seem easy but, beware. This scenario
has an exciting twist built in that I didn't catch.
I lost this scenario first time I played it. For anyone getting ready to
play In Harms Way all I'll say is, be afraid, be very afraid.
by Andrew Woff
I actually tried this one twice. The first time I tried to clear the Straits
of Hormuz by hugging the south side ot the straight, as a result I managed to
lose both Knox and Elliot within 2 minutes of each other. The only part of
my plan that worked was using using my helicopters for scouting and targeting. The setup is actually deceptively straight forward in that if the formation
was a modern BG with late model Aegis ships such as DDG51's the battlegroup
would travel through into the Gulf without breaking sweat. However with the mid-1980
non-battleforce units like the Berkley and Knox it becomes much more
The Second time I tried it I changed tactics - this time I kept to the center of
the Straight moving North, my plan was to get USS New Jersey within 30 miles of
Bandar-e-Abbas and give it a good old fashioned pounding. I kept the radar
silent and relied on the Seasprites for classification and for targetting. I avoided
firing on contacts to prevent them identifying my BG. However as the
battle group got to about 37 miles from my initial target (the units
surrounding the airport) the Iranians salvoed large numbers of AShM's at me. I fought my
way through but lost the Knox in the process, I also manged to damage the
Elliot (56% damage - although she could still steam and fight) and the NJ (6% damage
- which probably amounts to the crew using 20 gallons of T-cut to polish the
I managed to get good ID's on a number of Iranian ships and took the ones
located beyond the neutral ships with a combination of Tomahawks, Harpoons and
16 inch gunfire. There were some additional attacks from the Iranians which were
fended off with no loss to my ships but I did lose 3 Sea Sprites to SAMs and
possibly AAA. Eventually I got within range and hammered every hostile facility to dust with
naval gunfire, paying particular attention to Navy C3I bunkers and the missile
systems. Deciding it was good policy to deny the enemy any info I hugged the
Iranian coast and wiped out every warship, SAM and AShM system I could find.
I initially launched my Sea Sprites as loaded at the start of the scenario but
on landing changed the configuration from ASW to long range scout by switching
to ferry loadouts. I figured there were probably no hostile subs in the
Moving towards the southern side of the Gulf I came under attack from missile
armed warships but killed the incoming vampires without further loss,
although I was becoming worried about my rapidly declining stock of Standard
missiles. I pushed my remainig seasprites down the gulf in a scout screen but
lost one more (my last loss) and killed the last two Iranian warships with a long range
Tomahawk kill on one and a Harpoon strike on the other. I scouted the oilrigs
and (negligently) failed to check each one properly so I got the fright of my
life when one of them started salvoing AShM's at me - I got through that one -
just but used up a lot of my remaining SAM's with the final missile kills in
the engagement being made by point defences and gunfire. I rechecked the rigs
and found another missile armed wolf in sheeps clothing which I pounded to
scrap with my remaining Tomahawks. I closed with the remaining rigs and
smashed them up with Gunfire and Harpoons.
Having finished the main part of the scenario I moved into my designated
patrol area and I won my victory. However I was still annoyed (with hmyself) at
losing the Knox and my helicopters so I detached the Elliot and the Williamette
and went North with the NJ to hit the remaining Iranian base. I got within
38 miles and went through another round of VAMPIRE calls but scraped through
with the Halsey emptying her magazines. Closing on the enemy base I killed
every unit on the base and left it a burning wreck. I moved my BG south and
formed up with the detached units in the patrol zone - after a short time
was declared (again) and I was satisfied!
US Losses - 1 Knox, 4 Seasprite.
US Expenditures - 209 DIFAR and 59 DICASS sonobouys, 16 Tomahawk, 80 SM-2ER,
31 SM-1MR, 4 Sea Sparrow, 70 127mm/54 shells, 415 Mk15 20mm bursts, 27 Harpoon, 157 406mm
HiCap salvoes, 21 406mm AP salvoes and 3 76mm/62 shells.
A really good scenario, nicely balanced with the AI having a good chance of
success. I played this in one go over about 4 1/2 hours. I LOVE a good
gunfight and smashing up stuff with 16" guns is the best fun of all.
A highly recommended scenario which proves it is possible to build a scenario
without hectic airstrikes and subs.
by Jonathan Boyd
Yeah, Harm's Way was entertaining and a nice challenge. Failed the first few
games rounding the tip to go west into the gulf because I'd always be overwhelmed by
SSM fire from shore batteries and frigates that hadn't been id-ed yet and lose 2+ ships
Launching a helo at the start and scouting about with it to locate hostiles,
them with Harpoons, TASMs or 16" gun fire (woohoo!), depending on the strength
range of the target's armament works pretty well until you enter SSM range from
shore batteries. At that point, launching a Harpoon gets you noticed and you
fire. Going weapons free and letting the AI handle defence always seemed to be
so I targeted everything myself and got through the firest wave without a
It's difficult to scout out and locate the main frigate group because helos
tendency to be shot down, so you'll inevitably find that you're opened up on by
of shore missile batteries and a couple of frigates all at the same time.
point is key to the game. If you can get through losing no more than one ship,
be able to win the rest of the game. The key to this is to alter the formation
to bring the
lead ships in tighter so there's more time to shoot down missiles before they
(and make sure there's more point defences about). Once past that point, all
you have to
do is stay out of range of the last few missile batteries, use a helo to scout
out the oil
platforms and then demolish them with 16" fire.