RogerBW's Blog

Fifteenth Harpoon PBEM AAR: Gulf Escort Deja Vu 24 November 2017

After a long break while I was busy doing other things, I've returned to Harpoon. I really need to rewrite the support software from scratch, but it just about holds up.

As usual, the Iranians need to sink or cripple both boats for a major victory, the tanker only for a tactical one; the NATO forces need to protect their ships. Survival of the Iranian boats is not a factor in the victory conditions.

The Iranian boats started separately, and the northern boat turned west for the oil fields, while the escort set up ten miles from the tanker. (In retrospect, this may have been a major error.)

After an hour, one of the missile boats got an ESM hit from the frigate.

Both boats turned inwards.

The frigate got a radar contact, and tasked the helo to shadow the eastern boat.

Frigate radar was shut down, and only the helo was now visible to the Iranians.

The Iranian boat turned south.

The Iranian turned slowly westwards, the helo following, while the northern boat came in undetected.

At 12:18 Iranian active radar spotted the tanker.

And at 12:27 it made contact with the frigate.

This makes for an interesting decision point. The northern boat is entirely hidden from the NATO forces. If he unloaded all his missiles at the tanker – or indeed at the escort – any defences would be hasty and disorganised. Of course, he couldn't be sure of that.

As it was, the Iranians continued to move in, then launched all missiles at the tanker.

The Canadian helo saw the launch flare from the southern boat, but wasn't able to track the missiles. The frigate brought up its own radar, but the missiles weren't close enough to be spotted.

With the missiles in flight, the northern Iranian boat turned in for a gun pass on the frigate.

But Harpoons were already in flight towards both boats.

There was no defensive fire against the Iranian missiles, and all eight hit the tanker, sinking it. The two Harpoons sent at each missile boat all hit, sinking them.

So tactical victory to the Iranians. A strategic victory requires both ships to be sunk… well, crippled, but chances are it'll take all eight missiles to cripple the frigate, and that may well mean a sinking too. At that point the Iranians can close in on the tanker and threaten it with gunfire.


  1. Posted by Darrell at 12:07am on 01 December 2017

    Exciting! I was wondering if you were currently looking for any players for future games now. I have Harpoon 4 (rules and data annex) with White Ensign and Sea of Dragons.

  2. Posted by Tom at 02:29am on 10 January 2018

    I'm new to Harpoon but would be very interested in joining a game.

  3. Posted by RogerBW at 11:30am on 10 January 2018

    For anyone else who wants to join in future games: you can sign up to the mailing list at https://mailman.firedrake.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/styx-pbem .

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