This is my second AAR using my new “Naval Command” rules. The scenario was a simple seek and destroy mission with a task group of three US Navy ships searching for two Chinese destroyers on patrol around a group of disputed South China Sea islands.
All ships were positioned as blinds including four merchant ships that were controlled by the player commanding the Chinese fleet.
The game began with both sides launching helicopters. The US fleet managed to identify a number of merchant ships and one detection without visual identification. The Chinese also detected a US ship but it’s helicopter was not close enough for a visual identification. The rules of the scenario stipulated that due to the high concentration of merchant shipping in the area ships could only be fired on if they were positively identified visually.
A US helicopter detects merchant ships
The third turn saw a US helicopter visually identify one of the Chinese destroyers before being shot down by its air defence weapons.
During the following turn a Chinese helicopter was able to identify one of the US frigates. The frigate attempted to shoot down the helicopter but only managed to drive it off. At this stage the Chinese ship was still hidden behind an island preventing the US ships carrying out a missile attack.
Turn 5 saw the US ships launch more helicopters, one in an AEW role, the other on a strike mission with the visible Chinese destroyer as its target.
By the sixth turn both the Chinese destroyer and one of the US frigates were in a clear line of sight for missiles. The Chinese had the initiative for the turn so attacked first firing a salvo of 8 SSMs.
Two missiles made it through the frigate’s defence, causing 12 damage points meaning the ship now had major damage.
The US strike helicopter then made an attempt to act tack the Chinese destroyer but was shot down by the ships air defence weapons. The damaged US frigate then fired all 8 of its Harpoon SSMs with 3 making it through the destroyers defences causing major damage.
During the next turn the other two US ships closed in on the damaged Chinese destroyer and using their SSMs destroyed her.
The next turn was the final turn. The remaining Chinese destroyers tried to head for the US ships but it was too little too late as the islands prevented ir from finding any viable targets.
Overall the scenario worked well. The density of the islands provided plenty of opportunity for ships to hide and avoid detection. The merchant ships also brought a good level of uncertainty into finding the enemy ships.