Fist time I played this went horribly wrong, as I split my forces to search for the Amphib group, then found I didn't have enough time to bring them all back. Second time round, got forces in position, but an absurdly unlucky run of failed torpedoes from HMS Sceptre left too many ships alive for the rest of the force to deal with. Especially once Kiev sent the entire escort force to the bottom, without reply. Third time round was a bit better. I tried to play as I would have if I hadn't known what was coming next, which lead to a few unnecessary losses.
870615 20:00 Quick force evaluation showed that 8 Eagles were available on short notice (4 in the air, 4 readying on the ground) and another 2 in about 13 hours. Support came in the form of 2 Sentries and a handful of P-3s. 2 Eagles were dispatched N to investigate some jamming, while 2 more ran E to begin CAP just out from the E Icelandic coast, accompanied by a Sentry.
Ark Royal had 3 Sea Harriers readying with Sea Eagles, with 5 reloads available and 6 more Sea Harriers with Sidewinders. Given the presence of Eagles for CAP and a lack of long range firepower (just 4 Sea Eagle-armed Buccs and 4 with Martels, no reloads), 5 of the Harriers were ordered to prep with the remaining Sea Eagles.
Given that all ships were S of Keflavik and the jamming was up N, it seemed prudent to run N at flank speed, to intercept what seemed likely to be the Amphib group. If it turned out that they were actually approaching from the S, there would be time to turn and intercept. If they were from the N, however, there would likely be very little time.
20:00-20: 36 Kitchens launched from an unknown source from the N destroyed Keflavik tower and the air control and warning station. All available aircraft were launched, then returned to base once the strike was finished. Unfortunately the RTB was a little premature as shortly after landing, a number of supersonic bombers appeared out of CAP range, E of Iceland and launched a devastating wave of Kitchen strikes that severely damaged the runways and annihilated the hanger complex, leaving nothing but a handful of P-3s surrounded by flaming wreckage. Lack of warning of bomber approach was put down to jamming as a pair of extremely unhappy Eagle pilots dashed E in a vain attempt to catch a few aircraft.
In the mean time, an Eagle ID'ed a Udaloy and Sovemenny as the jammers, accompanied by a Sverdlov. Surviving Eagles now being something of a rarity, the pilot successfully shooted and scooted, downing a helicopter. A large number of ships were detected a short distance to the E of the jamming group, moving round the Icelandic coast in formation. ID was not possible and even a firm radar lock could not be guaranteed due to the jamming. Visual ID was ruled out for the time being, due to scarcity of aircraft.
20:45 After some debate, 4 Martel-armed Buccs were launched to deal with the jammers, with plans to target fire control and air search radars if ECM systems could not be targeted.
20:57 The dogged pursuit of the Eagles paid off, as a Badger jammer was shot down. Missile expenditure against Kitchens and unfortunate positioning meant that 2 more got away, however.
21:24 An Eagle was ordered to make a high speed run near the theorized Amphib group to shoot down a helo or two and possibly ID ships by radar emissions. The pilots body was never recovered.
22:15 In a daring low level approach, the Buccs launch their Martels from 10 nm in 2 waves, setting the Udaloy on fire, forcing her to slow to 4 knots and heavily damaging the Sovremenny, although she managed to continue at around 15 knots. ECM remaining active however, and remained a thorn in my side, particular from the Udaloy as its much reduced speed resulted in it falling back into the safety of the SAME cover of the Amphib group and out of range of torpedoes for much of the game.
870616 00:56 With the Eagle force at minimum levels (1 on CAP, 2 ready to launch), an Orion was assigned to trail and ID the Amphib group. At close range, the Orion proved relatively effective at maintaining a radar lock, but was eventually shot down while investigating a lone contact trailing the the Soviet force after confirming that it consisted of a lead group with 2 central units, surrounded by a large screen of escorts, followed by a second group with a heavier central concentration. Ampihbs were clearly in the second element, while the central units of the first element were either heavy escorts or Kiev + escort. Kiev could be out front to provide striking power or further back to provide air cover over the Amphibs. By this point, HMS Sceptre was just 2 hours away from the jamming group and performing final checks on torpedo systems.
02:56 Ignoring the Sverdlov, Sceptre sunk the Sovremenny and began maneuvering to pass silently through the lead element of the Soviet group to engage the Amphibs.
04:37 The NATO escort group, having steamed ahead of the NATO Amphibs in order to provide Harpoon support against the Soviet forces, stumbled upon an unfortunate Goblin and sank it with a single Lynx-dropped torpedo without reply.
05:26-06:04 The Hour of Terror. With just 2 more escorts to pass before clearing the lead element, Sceptre detected torpedoes hitting the water above her and went to flank speed, sinking a Kresta-II with a close range torpedo shot. Just 11 nm from the lead ships of the second element and with a closing speed of close to 50 knots, she quickly reached firing range and launched at 2 Alligators and a Ropucha, sinking 3 ships. In the mean time, Stornoway fell victim to a Kitchen attack, scrambling the Buccs as soon as vampires were detected 250 nm out. Racing through the formation, a pair of torps sends a Slava to the bottom, followed by a cargo vessel and a Boris Chilikin. Determined not to let the lead Alligators get any closer to Keflavik, a pair of Harpoons sent one to the bottom, while a Dubna and Krivak I narrowly avoided falling victim to more torpedoes. Reloading with the remaining Harpoons and 3 more torpedoes, Sceptre fell victim to the second of a wave of three incoming torpedoes, having already evaded half a dozen. She accounted for 6 Amphibs and 2 escorts, one of them a Slava, as well as ID'ing most of the contacts, (but not the Kiev).
06:14 Forgers are now in the air harassing Orions and the Sentry. 2 ships remain unidentified, almost certainly the Kiev and escort. They are currently in range of the NATO escort group's 14 Harpoons, but will likely need Pogy's 4 Harpoons to help punch through and do worthwhile damage, so the order is given to fire as soon as Pogy is in firing range.
06:25 Vampires detected inbound to NATO escort group. Rather than use 14 Harpoons to damage 1 (maybe 2) ships, they are launched at a Kresta II, Kashin I and Kashin Mod. Minutes later, Klakring and Badger and ripped apart by enormous explosions. 10 minutes later, Sheffield watches helplessly as Scott suffers the same fate. No one is left to watch Sheffield's death at 06:48.
07:07-07:55 Overstressed personnel discover a terrible mistake has been made and the Sea Eagle-armed Buccaneers are still orbiting the remains of Stornoway, as unarmed Buccaneers from the Martel raid cross the Icelandic coast to rendezvous with Sea Harriers. They are immediately assigned observation duties, while the Sea Harriers loiter and wait for the correct Buccaneer group. A Forger manages to shoot down the Sentry as Pogy enters Harpoon range of the Amphibs and sink an Alligator and Ropucha.
08:10-08:51 With gaps visible in the Amphib defence, the Sea Harriers commence strike operations. 10 minutes later, all amphibs are confirmed sunk. As the Harriers return to Ark Royal to load up with cluster bombs, a very brave Buccaneer makes a close pass to ID the Kiev, which is then crippled by a 16 missile strike from the Buccs.
09:57-10:23 Pogy become to wolf the Soviet sheep, sinking 2 Udaloys, the Kiev and a Kresta II from the lead group. Down to SUBROCs, Tomahawks and 1 torp, she turns and runs E to intercept a group of 4 Krivaks from the Amphib group, still steaming S towards Keflavik.
10:35 - 2 Leanders, 2 Amazons and 2 Type 42s detached from the Ark Royal group to mop up the Soviet forces. The frigates would use their Exocets, then close with guns if necessary, while the destroyers would provide air defence. 5 Lynx' started equipping with Sea Skuas, just in case something went wrong.
12:00 Kiev and amphibs have been sunk and the Marines are ready to land at Keflavik, averting the crisis. Sceptre and 4 escort vessels have been lost, along with many aircraft. Pogy and 6 RN vessels are moving to intercept 4 Krivak Is and the Sverlov still on approach, while 5 Lynx' arm with Sea Skuas. 7 surviving Sea Harriers are loading up with cluster bombs while an Eagle patrols the sky, ready to call up its sole surviving comrade on the ground. 8 Buccaneers are safely back at Stornoway, now that the runway has been repaired. A handful of other Soviet vessels are holding station outside of the main engagement area.
12:51 Pogy launches a torpedo at a Krivak I, sinking it. The captain then withdraws to launch 2 Tomahawk-Bs. Unfortunately, 1 is decoyed and obliterates civilian fishing boat.
13:27 The remaining pair of Krivaks are Exocet'ed, freeing up the Type 42s to defend Ark Royal and Keflavik and the 4 frigates to go hunt the remaining Soviet vessels.
16:00-17:20 Harriers, Lynx' and the frigates finish off a Krivak I, 3 Krivak IIs, a Berezina, a Udaloy and the Sverlov. 2 Harriers are lost, but the seas are now clear. Despite the presence of HMs Newcastle, Keflavik again receives a pounding from a Kitchen strike. The troops have, however, safely landed and Iceland is secure.
Fun scenario with good pace and targets that you really have to prioritize well. Good constraints on available forces and real feel of desperation, especially the first couple of times I played, when I simply couldn't get enough force in place on time, or attacked targets I didn't need to. The first game was a disaster once Kiev came into play, eliminating the escort fleet before they were in range of anything, then shooting down my eagles with Forgers (very embarrassing). Second should have just about been won, but I failed to eliminate the cargo vessels. In real life, the continued existence of Kiev and most of her escorts would likely have caused problems too.
by Ralf Koelbach
I must confess that the following has not been written
while playing Quinton van Zyl's scenario for the first time. In fact
this documented effort is the 5th try. But nevertheless - I have not won it yet and will play it some
more times. Thus this is an somewhat incomplete AAR.
The scenario is the classic GIUK battle centered on Iceland.
You are facing powerful Red naval task groups and aircraft, and everything depends on the smallest nuances.
I will give a short summary of my latest attempt to win this most fascinating scenario:
Start date and time: June 15th, 1987, 20:00
1) After starting to play the scenario the first thought is:
How will Red win this game? Nato has plenty of aircraft at Kevlavik and there is definitely no Admiral Kusnetzov
on the other side.
2) You have some aircraft in the air right from the beginning. I chose to move two Eagles to the East.
The Sentry and third Eagle to the North. And launch every aircraft ready for
take off. Sentry to the East of Iceland. Orion to the North. There
are some contacts to identify.
3) Subs ordered to close on Kevlavik; cruise speed, intermed depth.
4) 20:06: Two more Eagles ready for take off- up and East!
5) Escort Force: Full speed. Ark Royal BG: Three Harriers
preparing with Sea Eagle SSMs; BG full speed towards Kevlavik.
6) 20:12 Some more contacts. Three ships, jamming my aircraft.
7) 20:16 Ark Royal BG: I changed the Lynx loadouts to Sea Skua.
Two more Harriers rearmed with Sea Eagles. Think I need any ASuW capability
8) 20:17 There comes the first missile salvo from the North! Seven vampires, making
1800 knots - AS-4s; there ought to be some Backfires. Two Eagles more in the air.
Location: Just north of Kevlavik - maybe they can get some AS-4s.
9) 20:22 Some buildings hit: Kevlavik Tower, Air Control and Warning Station.
No runways and hangers. That was all?
10) 20:30 three bundles of AS-4s approaching from the East. Eagles start shooting at 20:33.
No chance to get all of the vampires. This time it really hurts: Runways took a pounding.
Several Hangars with approx. 10 aircraft lost.
11) The Orion and Sentry now have firm identified contacts on the first red
TF: three ships (1 Udaloy I, 1 Sovremenny, 1 Sverdlov), two of them (Udaloy, Sovremenny)
are the jammers. Should they be the first target? Or concentrate on the following very large
12) 20:45 25 AC at Kevlavik, runways STOL - no chance.Only one Eagle,
two Sentries and one Orion in the air.
13) 21.20 The Eagle is lost: Killed one helo of the small TF, but came to close (only Sidewinders left).
14) My decision is to attack the small TF first.
15) 21:37: The Bucs are in position.
16) 21:39 Counterstrike: All Bucs launch their Martels and Sea Eagles; distance approx 16 miles.
The result is disappointing: Sovremenny sinks, but Udaloy and Sverdlov are just proceeding with
32 knots. Bucs are now recce birds since there are no more loadouts available.
17) Meanwhile are Kevlaviks runways back to operate small AC. Not enough, though.
18) 21:49 Three Harriers from Ark Royal launch. Mission is to sink Udaloy and Sverdlov in order
to give the subs time they need to come along.
19) 21:51 There must be a Grumble armed Cruiser inside the large TF - one Buc
nearly fill victim to a missile making over 3000kn. Bad news.
20) Time to decide: Which are the priority targets? my bucs are only (lousy) recce birds. The Orions at Kevlavik
will not be Harpoon-armed in time. Thus I only have the Harriers and two subs.
Sometimes Forgers will launch - and only few Eagles left. Kiev alone has enough firepower to ruin my day:
8 Sandboxes plus two reloads! Thus I decide to concentrate on Kiev. Killing Kiev means air superiority
and at the same time better chances in Ship to ship combat. Another nasty ship is the Udaloy. Very dangerous
for my subs. Hmm. First the Udaloy.
21) 22:57 Harrier attack on the Udaloy. All six Sea Eagles miss or are shot down. Desaster.
22) 23:57 Runways operate still only small AC - no chance.
June 16th, 1987
23) 00:49 A Bear sniffing around! Thatīs no good. And no Eagle in the air to kill it.
24) 01:20 A sub contact north of Escort Force. One of our own? One Orion and one Lynx are vectored
25) 01:28 Three Harriers are reloaded with Sidewinders. Big mistake that I equipped
all of them with Sea Eagles. That Bear sniffing around can decide the game.
26) Seems I lost one of my Bucs - a Grumble I suppose.
27) 01:39 Kevlaviks runways are back to medium AC. Seven F-15 can fly.
28) 01:46 Three Eagles airborne. One vectored towards Udaloys Helix.
29) 01:52 The Sparrow kills the Helix.
30) 01:56 Sub contact lost.
31) 02:19 Two Sea Eagle equipped Harriers are RTO - up with them!
32) 02:39 Udaloy and Sverdlov are closing relentlessly. Some 40 nm. Sverdlovs guns are
33) 02:53 First Harrier launches at Udaloy. No Hit
34) 02:55 Second Harrier launches. One hit. Speed is down to 27kn.
35) Meanwhile two Harriers with LR IB launched.
36) 03:25 Sverdlov starts firing at Kevlavik. Where are my subs?
37) 03:58 Sandboxes! Heading for Ark Royal BG. Newcastle sinks.
38) 04:15 One Sandbox salvo after another...
39) 04:25 Jupiter sinks, Southampton sinks.
40) 04:33 Next salvo.
41) 04:38 Kevlaviks runways are back to Very Large Aircraft. At least.
42) 04:47 Next Sandbox volley approaching.
43) Battleaxe aka Mother in Law sinks.
44) 05:10 Start equipping Orions with Harpoons, takes only 120 Hours.
45) 05:29 Next salvo..and one another at Stornoway. All AC at Stornoway destroyed.
Ark Royal got a pounding - 89% damage, but still afloat.
46) 05:37 Next salvo Sandboxes roars over Kevlavik heading South.
47) Two harriers with Sea Eagles launch.
48) AO Olna sinks.
49) Escort TF is in range. DD Scott fires two Harpoons each at Udaloy and Sverdlov.
50) One hit on Udaloy.
51) 05:59 DD Scott shoots again: Last four Harpoons, divided equally.
52) 06:02 Harriers launch. Three hits on Udaloy! Sunk!
53) 06:10 Forgers approaching!
54) The F-15 start firing. One kill. Second. Third. First attack repulsed!
55) 06:25 Three more Forgers. One kill. Second.
56) 06:30 Three fresh Forgers. One Eagle shot down. Another Forger killed.
57) 06:40 Badger fires Harpoons at Sverdlov.Another Forger in the air.
58) Forger killed.
59) 07:08 Faint sub and torpedo contact west of Kevlavik.
60) 07:10 Two Eagles and two Orions launched.
61) 07:16 Sverdlov shoots down an Eagle - embarassing!
62) 07:22 Torpedo identified as Uset-80 - hostile!
63) 07:24 DD Scott fires two ASROCs at unknown sub.
64) 07:26 One ASROC scores ahit. One more fired at goblin, and a torp.
Sub contact lost - we got him!
65) There she goes - Scott is hit - and sinks. USET-80 is a killer torp.
66) 07:38 The Phibs are marching. Maybe all that heavy losses will not be in vain. Hope that
all Sandboxes are expended.
67) 07:59 Kevlavik is on fire! That Sverdlov has killed a whole base!!
68) 08:02 Two Harpoons launched at Sverdlov. Too late, call it revenge.
69) No hit. Last two of Klakrings Harpoons fired at Sverdlov.
70) Again - no hit.Incredible!
71) 08:27 Sub contact! A Charlie II west of Ark Royal BG. Two Seahawks
72) One Blinder C comes too close to Ark Royal BG and is shot down.
73) A second blinder shot down by SAMs.
74) 09:26 Eagles kill two helos.
75) Second TF grouped around AK Kiev takes position in the West and makes
place for the third red TF: the phibs centered around a Slava or Kirow.
76) 10:00 Our Marines start leaving towards their base! Helos are going up! Not a single phib is damaged.
77) 10:21 Another Eagle killed by a Grumble.
78) 10:27 20 helos land at their base. This part worked.
79) 10:45 Missiles are fired at the Escort Force. Seem to be Sunburn; a Sovremmeny.
80) Yes, Sunburn, confirmed.
81) Sheffield sinks. Two Harpoon fired at Kiev. No effect.
82) In the meantime another attack on Sverdlov by one Harrier fails.
83) Another missile attack sinks Klakring. Only Badger remains. Attack.
84) Final attacks: Harriers do what they can.
85) 12:10 Sentry shot down.
86) Three Harriers fire at reds main TF.SKR Kotlin hit and sunk.
87) 13:02 Ark Royal BG shoots down two Blinders.
88) 13:14 Another Blinder shot down.
89) Detached three frigates from Ark Royal BG. Exocet armed - heading for
90) Badger sunk.
91) 15:41 Second Sentry shot down. Reds TF is at their beaching zone.
92) 17:18 The Backfires are back. Three Salvos from the East.
93) 17:54 Harrier sinks Civilian Fisherboat by accident.
94) 18:50 Frigates start firing Exocets.
95) Frigates go in for Duel. All three sunk, but inflict heavy losses on
the red TF. Harriers attack in waves. They start scoring - finally. One thing
I learnt in this scen (besides many others) is that you cannot always rely
on sea skimming missiles. They do have their drawbacks. Jamming seems to be very
effective against Sea Eagles. Or am I wrong? I saw groups of Sea Eagles split
like firework crackers; every one flew in a different direction, some
hit Civilian boats near their targets.
96) 21:39: Not everything is lost: If my Harriers sink enough LSTs I even can win!
My phibs are all at station, Ark Royal lives. Were it not for my missing subs
there would be a great chance. I wll never again play at full realism. Why did they
97) One thing should be mentioned. This time I played H3 running in window mode.
No crash so far. Maybe this is the solution to the few crashes I experienced with the latest GE.
98) 00:25 Harrier launches at an LST. One hit. Alligator heavily damaged.
99) Well, with some optimism it does not look so bad: I have a handful of
Harriers and three AEW helos. And two Orions in the air. And there should
be two SSNs lurking around...
June 17th 1987
100) Time runs...will my attacks be in time? Some harriers are RTO in one hour.
101) 02:15 One Orion killed while trying to land at burning Kevlavik.
102) 02:58 VTR Boris Chilkin sunk by Sea Eagle. We are rolling!
103) 03:18 Alligator sunk.
104) 05:22 Hmm, I had 36 hours after the red phibs were on station. But
I do no know the exact time they reached their designated stations.
105) 08:00 The screen pops up: "Sorry you have ..."
That was it. To summarize:
This is a brilliantly designed scenario! I am most impressed by the time schedule:
There is a precision in Quintons timing I have never seen in a scen. You
are always a few minutes behind; Red is just too fast.
The multi-axis AS-4 attacks and the Sandbox missiles are deadly.
The small Soviet 3-ship TF is very effective. Blue must kill it, but by trying so,
he loses time and ressources. Meanwhile TF 2 and TF 3 approach relentlessly.