AAR: Indian [Spoiler Alert]
A Harpoon 3 scenario
By Freek Schepers
Forces of the new Indian-Thai-United States alliance were still reeling from the recent debacle in the Strait of Malakka. The loss of Singapore's forces and the Viraat was a tremendous blow. The survivors were ordered to coalesce around Diego Garcia and re-organize.
As the stragglers were making their way to Diego Garcia, the MPS [Maritime Pre-Positioned Ship] squadron currently stationed there was ordered to sail immediately. Re-enforcements were desperately needed throughout the Indian Ocean. It was a gamble to have them sail without escort, but the three available task groups in the IO were hoping to rendezvous with them enroute since time was of the essence. The Australian Hornets were sent to DG to shore up the defences and, hopefully, provide a modicum of air cover for the departing MPS squadron. As soon as they were available, helos were sent up right away to scan the local area around the different task groups.
As the Hornets were making their approach to Diego Garcia, one of them reported an unknown contact to the south. DG HQ had nothing on their plotting board for a vessel in the area so the Hornets were ordered to make a quick pass before landing in order to identify the contact. As the Hornets closed the distance, all that the flight leader, Captain Ryan, could think about was getting out of his cramped cockpit to stretch his legs after the long flight over water. They had been in the air for over six hours and even that little pile of guano, nicknamed DeeGar, was starting to look good. Had Cpt. Ryan been more diligent, he would have noticed that the speck on his horizon really should not have been visible unless it was a very large target, indeed. Thankfully, his wingman was more alert.
"There's a battlecruiser down there!", he shouted over the radio frequency. It only took Cpt. Ryan a second to shake off the thought of his sore buttocks to order evasive action. The two Hornets pulled up into a loop and thundered away from Russian behemoth while on afterburner. The Radar Warning Receivers [RWR] were going wild. Both pilots could see in their HUD that the radar were still trying to localize them and that fire control emissions were still absent. Thank God. They ran for DeeGar all the while reporting their discovery.
On Diego Garcia, the duty officer wondered aloud, "Where the devil did that come from?" The flight operations co-ordinator brought him out of his reverie by saying, "It doesn't matter Where it came from. It's here now. Request permission to arm all aircraft for ASuW [Anti-Surface Warfare] missions." The officer of the watch duly agreed and also issued a warning to all commands within the IO. The Death Star was in the system and nobody wanted to be around it.
The task group centred on AOE Rainier immediately turned around and ran at flank speed once the warning was received. So did all the other MPS groups. Every vessel was to make its best speed out of the area. The wolf was in the henhouse. The only really useful strike asset was SSN Montpelier and she was over one thousand nautical miles away. She went to flank speed.
The Hornets landed, but one had developed a major electrical glitch because she was down for an estimated 270 minutes! Left with only one Hornet, the crews swarmed around her while ordnancemen wheeled Harpoon missiles out to the B-52s Stratofortresses and P-3 Orions spread across the base. The accompanying tankers came under SAM fire just as they were about to land, but managed to land without further incident. Take-off was going to be another matter. By the time the Tankers were re-fuelled, the BCGN was within 20nm of the base. They were effectively grounded by the BCGN's SAM bubble and would have to take their chances in the shelters.
Missiles appeared out of nowhere and were reported by a nearby helo operating from the Rainier UnRep [Underway Replenishment] Group. There must be a SSGN around here. The launch datum point was quickly plotted and the lone helo set off to try and locate the sub after a warning was issued to Diego Garcia. The crews were able to ready the lone Hornet and it took off to try and shoot down some of the SLCMs [Sub-Launched Cruise Missiles].
At the same time, FF Taksin reported high speed propeller sounds. CVH Nareubet was under torpedo attack! One hit the Nixie decoy before she even had time to launch helos to prosecute the sub. Her helicopters finally did launch and quickly ran down the submarine and killed her, but she still had to outrun her own problems. Another torpedo was already inbound. Luckily, this, too, was drawn to Nixie and exploded a scant 50 yards astern.
The lone Hornet got off the ground and launched her AMRAAM quickly before being chased back to the base by SA-6 Grumbles. Her AMRAAMs got four, but there were many more following them. The SS-N-19 hit DG and smashed the complex. All of the P-3s and B-52s were destroyed in their hangars. The scene of destruction was horrific. Only one Hornet and 4 Tankers survived.
CVH Nareubet was not through her ordeal. A second sub was detected by FF Taksin. The Russians must want this surviving carrier very badly. Taksin quickly sent two torpedoes after her from her own torpedo tubes before heeling and running at flank speed. She was very close, indeed. An explosion was detected even over the sound of her own thrashing screws. No additional torpedoes were detected so the CV group returned to its baseline course towards DeeGar.
Unopposed, the BCGN sailed right up to the little island and began to bombard the field. Installations all around the field were demolished by her naval gunnery. Now that she had been detected, there was no reason to hide her presence. A Helix AEW helo soon appeared and easily detected the fleeing MPS squadron. The first to die was the Hauge. Under a hail of Shipwreck missiles, she exploded in a fireball and took the precious armoured battalion inside her holds with her to her grave. She was soon followed by the Bough and then the Bonnyman. Red Cloud, Watkins, Charlton, and Soderman were also hit, but survived for the meantime and limped along at severely reduced speeds with fires raging aboard most of them.
One of the subs that encountered the Thai carrier must have sent in a contact report because a Russian MPA [Maritime Patrol Aircraft] was soon detected from her distinctive radar emissions. A lone Harrier was sent to deal with it. Unfortunately, the radar on the Harrier was unable to localize the contact and never managed to intercept it. However, the MPA served a very valuable purpose. It drew away one of only two Harriers currently ready aboard the Nareubet. As the first Harrier was being led on a wild goose chase, the SeaHawk providing limited AEW support for the CVG suddenly reported four unidentified aircraft with Badger-type emissions. The sole remaining Harrier was quickly launched. There were sixteen potential Silkworm AShMs [Anti-Ship Missiles] under their wings. If they managed to launch them, they would make quick work of CVH Nareubet. The Thais were finally rewarded with some luck and the Harrier managed to bag all four bombers with her four AIM-9P Sidewinders. With the good news also came the bad; Watkins and Charlton both sank from the damage they sustained under the SSM attack.
The surviving Hornet on Diego Garcia decided to try and keep the enemy blind. It shot down an AEW Helo from the BCGN and then went after an MPA. that had originally been detected by the Thai carrier. Both targets were easy victims.
With the BCGN distracted chasing the lambs, the tankers took off to try and get the Harriers to ferry to AOE Rainier. There might be time for only one strike. Hopefully, it would have to be enough. As they were approaching the rendezvous point, one simply exploded in mid-flight. No warning. One moment she was flying along and the next moment a fireball was seen at her position. No way to know if she suffered an accident or through enemy action. The tankers met up with the Harriers and transferred as much fuel as possible. Most would try to make directly for Diego Garcia, but, with only three tankers available, one of the Harriers had to divert to the Rainier. This turned out to be a good thing.
As the lone Harrier was flying towards AOE Rainier, she spotted a Udaloy-class DD and a Chilikin-class oiler. Talk about a surprise. This must have been the cause of death for the fourth tanker. Once the rest of the Harrier flight was notified, they decided to attack them en passant. The salvo of Sea Eagle and ALARM quickly overwhelmed the defences and left them pyres on the sea. Now, all of the Harriers had to divert to the Rainier to re-arm since she had the only suitable munitions in the region. With the Harriers safely aboard her makeshift deck, Rainier turned around and headed towards the BCGN's last reported position. Instead of acting in support of a CV as she had done her entire career, today, she would be the carrier.
Phillips and Anderson running for their lives when they were detected by a Ka-32 Helix and missiles started to rain down on the Phillips severely damaging her. The only available fighter in the entire theatre was still grounded on DG for another 10 minutes. When she was ready, she took off and stayed low on the deck. Somewhere out there was a Big and Mean BCGN. It was not something Capt. Ryan wanted to stumble across twice in the same week. A second Helix was soon detected. Hopefully, he could get them both on the same mission.
Capt. Ryan did manage to kill both helos, but the effort was all for naught. The MPS ships were already within visual range of the Petr Veilikiy. Anderson and Phillips were both run down like a pair of crippled gazelle and devoured by the ravenous battlecruiser.
Finally, the Harriers aboard the Rainier were ready and launched. They crept in at medium altitude before dropping down to low altitude to deliver their strike ordnance. Eight Sea Eagle were successfully launched and they were not counter-detected as they retreated at wave level. A few hits were reported, but there were mostly shrugged off by gargantuan BCGN. There would not be time for a second strike. The IO commander ordered a withdrawal of forces and victory was awarded to the Soviets.
Thanks for another unique situation, Freek. Although I would not normally have expected a BCGN in the convoy raider role, I can certainly see that it might be used in the strike role against the MPSron. One ship to wipe out most of an armour division might be a fair trade in the eyes of Stavka.
Home of the Harpoon3 PlayersDB
Home of the HCDB
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]