Naval Command: AAR – Amphibious Assault

This AAR features a game using my Naval Command modern naval rules that I put on at the Minehead Wargames Club a few weeks ago.

The scenario was a fictional amphibious assault on the Kaliningrad area by combined NATO forces during a hypothetical modern day conflict with Russia.

Russia had invaded the Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and NATO had triggered article 5, resulting in a full military response to the Russian aggression. The NATO plan was to attempt to capture the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad which could then be used as a bargaining chip to force Russia to withdraw from the Baltic states. The overall plan involved an amphibious operation combined with a land attack through Poland. Our game focused on the amphibious operation.

The NATO task force was divided between two players (Mark and Roger) each in command of an amphibious battle group.

The Russian fleet (played by myself) was also divided into two groups, a Cruiser group (currently at sea) and a destroyer group (currently at anchor off the coast). The Russians also had air force elements based at an on-table airbase.

The NATO objective was to land as many of their land forces on the shore as possible.

The Russians got off to a terrible start, their Kirov class battlecruiser suffered and engine malfunctioned and was rendered immobilized for the duration of the game. This was shortly followed by a successful Tomahawk Cruise Missile strike from the US Ticonderoga class cruiser that totally obliterated the Russian airbase before any jets could be scrambled and launched.

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The Russian airfield after the Tomahawk strike

This bad start set the precedent for the rest of the game, the Russian forces took heavy damage from the incoming NATO fleet and without their air power could do little to respond. The only consolation for the Russians was that they were able to knock out an American carrier with a Submarine.

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The US carrier takes a missile hit from a Russian sub

Although the NATO forces didn’t make it to the shore the game ended with nearly all the Russian ships put out of action and the remaining Russian sub (having been detected by an ASW helicopters dipping SONAR) being rapidly hunted down by NATO ASW elements.

Overall it was a fun game and all of the players enjoyed themselves. Mark and Roger found the rules easy to pick up and learn and not too complicated for players new to the Modern Naval period.

Photos kindly provided by Paul Davies.

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9 thoughts on “Naval Command: AAR – Amphibious Assault

  1. Good AAR. Was the US carrier a mission kill or a sinking? A dovish US administration (or one dragged into enforcing Article 5 against its inclinations) just might lose its nerve if it loses a carrier.

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  2. Looks like it was a very fun game! What kind of rules did you use that resulted in the Kirov’s engine going down?

    My group played a remarkably similar game a couple months back, with similar results. I was the Russian player, and my only real consolation as that the NATO player kept having bad luck on his AEW bird’s rolls, so my airbase actually lasted several turns before the weather turned cloudy with a chance of TLAMs.

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  3. Ive been experimenting with a few new rules for Naval Command. One of which is a special feature for certain ships that makes them unreliable. each turn there is a chance that unreliable ships will break down. This represents the fact that many navies have poor maintenance standards or aging ships.

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    • That definitely sounds like a fun wrinkle to throw at people, looking forward to the final product!

      Have you considered any rules for overwhelming a ship’s defenses? My group plays with a house rule where any usage of a ship’s air or missile defenses causes those readings to degrade by one against future attacks. (The ratings reset at the end of each turn, barring damage) Not completely realistic, but it encourages large strikes to try and swamp a group’s point defense. Makes it feasible to actually get something past a modern destroyer like a Burke.

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