Last Sunday Christian and I meet at Morning Star Games for another game of Shipwreck. Joining us were Joe and Michael. I decided to do the Eastern Express scenario from Harpoon Naval Review 2003. Basically the scenario was thus:
The Indian and Vietnamese navies were using a joint training exercise to covertly reinforce Vietnam’s forces in the Spratly Islands. The Chinese were observing the exercises to make sure the Vietnamese didn’t. The Indian mission was to protect the Vietnamese transports without suffering casualties; they could not fire on the Chinese unless they were fired on. The Vietnamese mission was to get its transports off the south edge by any means possible. The Chinese were to stop the Vietnamese from exiting southern edge. Like the Indians they were order to avoid shooting, but were allowed to stop the Vietnamese by any other means.
Joe played the Vietnamese and had two Polnocny B LSMs and his choice of two other ships either Tarantul I PGGs or Peyta II FFLs, he choose one of each. I played the Indians and had two destroyers (Ranvir, a Rajput Mod class DD, and Mysore, one of the new Delhi class DDG) and two Frigates (Ganga, a Godavari class FF and Brahmaputra, a Brahmaputra class FF). Christian and Michael, played the Chinese, they had two destroyers (a Luhu and a Luda I) and 3 Frigates (two Jainghu I and one Jaingwei I).
The initial set up had Joe setting his Vietnamese as far from the Chinese as possible. My ships were placed between the Vietnamese and Chinese. The Chinese were as close to the eastern boundary as possible.
|Initial Allied Setup|
|Laundry Clerk Setup|
The first turn I had Mysore (the Delhi class DDG) brake off and join the Vietnamese. Being the best air defender in my fleet, it was to provide area air defense for the transports. The Vietnamese went slowly south. The Chinese split into two groups with the larger group head towards my main group. The other group headed due west on an intercept coarse with the Vietnamese. Everyone who had them kicked out at least one helicopter for detection purposes.
|The Delhi class DDG Mysore breaks off to support our friends the Vietnamese.|
|Laundry Clerks split into two groups|
For several turns we just moved and tried to detect each other. Then the Chinese decided that they were not going to make it in time to stop the Vietnamese from crossing the table edge. In Blatant act of Chinese Militarism, the Chinese formed into a column and launched a large missile attack with six C-802 missiles and ten HY-2 Silkworm missiles. At first thinking the missiles were aimed at my ships I knocked a couple of missiles with SA-N-1s from the Ranvir and SA-N-4s from Ganga. The missile then flew past my ships headed straight for the Vietnamese convoy. The Mysore took several more with its SA-N-7s, but that still left the Vietnamese dealing with 7 missiles (one aimed at the Tarantul and 3 each at each transport). Chaff managed to draw the missile off of Tarantul and onto the Peyta II, where it missed.
|War Mongering Chinese open fire.|
Things were really looking bad for the Vietnamese, with three missiles on each of its transports. Both had poor air defense and no EW or even Chaff! The three C-802 missiles slammed into the first transport sending it to the bottom. But then the Chinese’ cheap Styx knockoffs all missed their target!
|One LSM is sunk, while other is saved by cheapness of Chinese missiles.|
The next turn the Tarantul broke off to engage the Chinese ships that hadn’t fired yet. I moved my ships into a position where I could shot down missiles from the same Chinese group. The northern Chinese group went into a seeming pursuit formation, while debating wither or not to fire on my ships. The Tarantul launched its four SS-N-2C missiles at the Quingdao (the Luhu DD) with the Quingdao launched eight C-801 missiles at the Tarantul and remaining transport.
|The Tarantul I HQ-372 fires its SS-N-2 Missiles at the enemy.|
|Quingdao fires its C-801 missiles at the Vietnamese.|
The Quingdao with its rather good close defense managed to shot down all the missiles aimed at it. Meanwhile my Indians with their superior area air defense managed to shot down all but one of the missiles aimed at the Tarantul and all of the missiles head for the transport. With limited forward air defense the Tarantul fail to shot the missile down, but once again the cheap Chinese weapons failed to hit the target.
|Saved once again by poor missile guidance.|
The next turn the Vietnamese Tarantul turned to the northern Chinese group. The northern group engaged the patrol boat with gun fire, recklessly firing over the Indian ships, sinking it. The Shaoxing, one of the Jainghu I FF, fired its missiles at the transports in a last ditch effort. However the Mysore with its six missiles directors was easily able to deal with the threat.
With their missile supply exhausted and having destroyed half the Vietnamese fleet, the laundry clerks decided to pull out claiming a draw. Joe was able to claim a tactical victory for at least getting one of the landing craft through. I was also able to claim a tactical victory, having not suffering any damage. It was a great game with a lot of suspense.
|HQ-372 destroyed by Chinese naval gun fire.|
What Joe did right: Keeping the transports close to the Mysore, allowing the Mysore’s area defenses to shoot down any incoming attacks.
What Joe did wrong: The Tarantuls suicidal attack against the Chinese wasn’t necessary. At the very least he should have picked both Tarantuls, so that he would have more missiles at his disposal.
What I did right: Braking off Mysore to defend the transports with it area air defense.
What I did wrong: I may have been able to position the Mysore slightly further away to allow it to shot twice at incoming missiles.
What Christian and Michael did right: Good discipline in not shooting at any of the Indian vessels. This kept me from firing on the Chinese, which was good for them, especially considering that Brahmaputra and Mysore carried a combined 32 SS-N-25 missiles!
What Christian and Michael did wrong: Not concentrating their missile in the second strike. If they had fired all their missiles at the second transport there’s a good chance they would have been able to sink it. Instead they fired them piecemeal allowing me to easily shoot them down.