RogerBW's Blog

Tenth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Maybe the Last Gulf Escort Deja Vu 27 May 2015

This one took a while, largely because I've been busy with a writing project that's stuck its tentacles into all my space time.

The missile boats started apart, and moved in at moderate speed. The Canadian helo was spotted on ESM, a long way to the north.

The northern boat moved towards the Qatari coast, while the southern headed to the tanker's last known location.

The helo moved eastwards, then to the south.

The helo spotted the southern boat during its westward sweep.

It then turned away to the north, hunting for the other boat.

However, the southern boat got a momentary radar contact (ducting) with the tanker, and moved to attack.

The helo returned, aiming to keep the boat under observation.

The northern boat set up near the Ras Laffan breakwaters, and waited, radar off.

The helo had lost contact with the southern boat, but when the boat fired up search radar an ESM cross-bearing gave its position away.

The helo was soon able to reacquire the boat, then passed on to the north again, still searching for its partner.

Which meant that the ESM intercepts from missile terminal guidance radar, from two flights of missiles (east and west), came as a bit of a nasty shock. The frigate fired up radar, but the missiles were too close to engage with Sea Sparrow.

Bofors and Phalanx took down one missile each, but there were six left. Three were jammed, and three hit.

The frigate was badly damaged: on around 30% of its original hull strength, with all sensors out, bridge damaged, but the Harpoons and main gun intact. More seriously, she was flooding heavily, and the parts that weren't flooding were on fire. She clearly wasn't going to make it to port, short of a miracle.

That didn't stop the crew from lobbing off a couple of Harpoons towards the known attacker, and a few more after Fajr had changed course to bore straight in.

Fajr was sunk by the second salvo, and the helo went searching westwards for Nasr.

Nasr was moving along the coast, planning to intercept the tanker later and take advantage of anti-ship missiles' inability to distinguish ships from coastline when they're close together. However, Harpoons have waypoint capability: with data from the helo, the frigate fired a salvo along the coast, with orders to turn away from it before looking for a target.

So Nasr was sunk, and the frigate soon followed. Which is a tactical victory for the Canadians, in that the tanker was protected, though one could reasonably argue that individual warships are more precious than individual tankers.

Thanks to Craig (Blue) and Ron (Red) for playing; Ron wrote up his thoughts as the game progressed, here.

Things I've learned from this game:

  • I've complained a lot about the fragility of the Halifax class, but this time she took a full eight-missile salvo, timed to arrive all at once; with no radar warning or time to fire Sea Sparrow; and still survived long enough to launch counterattacks and get her crew off in good order. In game terms, she took four airburst and twenty-three standard critical hits.

  • It's probably time to retire this scenario; I've run it six times now. Or at least I can shift the core concept into a different location and time period with different ships.

  • More players always welcome!


  1. Posted by Ryan at 03:16pm on 27 May 2015

    Looks like it was a fun time.

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