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Old 10 Nov 12, 22:22
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Mgellis is on the path to success [1-99]
The Taking of Sakhalin, from the HUD3 GC1 battleset

AAR by Mark Gellis

I am taking the role of Japan. It is 1994 and I have to escort amphibious ships to a landing point on Sakhalin. The Russians, not surprisingly, are eager to stop me. They have a task force in the area and some submarines, including an Oscar, according to my intelligence briefing. I have my task force, a trio of submarines, and about 20 aircraft at Sapporo.

Before starting, I set up patrol missions for the submarines, as I am playing at full realism and will not be able to control them otherwise. I’m sending all three on sub hunts.

This scenario was prepared for the HUD-4 (v1.1 b10) simply by opening it in the scenario editor and rebuilding all platforms; the revised scenario was then saved.

Scenario seems to load properly. I made a point of keeping an eye out for database errors. In this scenario, I did observe one database error that might have affected gameplay; it will be discussed in detail later in this AAR.

20:00. Set course for task force. I’m going to hug the coast and hope that helps. Sending up a Hawkeye and a P-3.

20:09. Putting up two Eagles and…Vampire! Vampire! I’ve got incoming missiles headed for my task force. I’m going to full active sensors on the task force. My SAMs are already firing at the incoming group of missiles. Where the hell did they come from!?

20:13. Missiles are downed. RIM-66s seem to handle them fine.

20:15. More planes ready at Sapporo.

20:18. Another pair of incoming missiles, fired by something to the west. Both missiles downed by 20:19 by SAMs.

20:21. More incoming missiles and an air contact. Sending F-15 s to look at the air contact.

20:24. More missiles down and more missiles coming in from the West—it has to be the Oscar that has been reported in the area in my intelligence briefing, but where is he?

20:37. The contacts have been ID’d as hostile and the Eagles are taking them down. More missiles incoming! If I did not have a Kongo in this task force, I would probably be dead already.

20:41. J-Eagles splash one bogie. Incoming missiles destroyed by SAMs. Eagles are out of missiles, so I’m putting up two more and two F-4s with SO loadouts. And now there are more incoming missiles!

20:50. The barage of incoming cruise missiles seems endless, but my SAMS are handling them.

20:58. More missiles down and no ships hurt.

21:00. I have lost track of my subs. They’re on patrol and I wish them good hunting.

21:07. Another air contact to the northwest…sending Eagles to check it out.

21:11. Eagles returning to base. Low on fuel. But now the bogies that ran away are coming back. Sending two of my F-4s after them. They’ve got Sparrow-Ms, too, so they can double as interceptors.

21:22 Two unidentified contacts close by. I’ve got F-4s looking hard at them. One bogie is hostile and fires but its missile does not hit my F-4. Instead, it is shot down. Closing on other bogie. ID’d as a Flanker and shot down with an AIM-7M. The victorious F-4s are going home. No other bogies in sight right now.

21:27 Two more bogies are up. Sending Eagles to look at them.

21:45. Sending a P-3 to patrol the passage between Japan and Sakhalin. Good place to put a submarine.

21:48. Bogies hostile…F-15s taking them on. The F-15s start to head back to base. A curious bit of game behavior is that the AI will sometimes decide it is time for an aircraft to come home even if it has a bit of fuel or ammunition left. I am not sure what causes this. One can order the aircraft to do something else, but its default instructions are now to head home and one has to “nag” it a little to keep it on any other task. In this case, a bit of fancy flying lets me maneuver the F-15 into range of one of the bogies and take it down with its last missile.

22:29. Got a bogie headed towards my task force. No clear ID. If he gets too close to my ships, I will down him and face a board of inquiry later if I have to.

22:34. Bogie is hostile and firing missiles at the task force. He stays out of range so I cannot get him with a SAM. No ships hit, though.

23:15. More bogies going after task force. I’m shooting down missiles and getting a couple of them, too, but not as many as I want. My task force is still okay, though.

00:15. I’ve been having the P-3 drop sonobuoys in the channel but no contacts so far.

03:03. More air contacts. Putting up two Eagles.

03:22. Contacts are hostile. Hostile bogies splashed with AIM-7Ms.

03:56. New air contact to the west of the task force, which is now nearly at the channel between Sakhalin and Japan.

04:09. Eagles splash another bogie.

05:43. Sub contact in channel and not where one of my patrolling subs should be. Hostile? Sending the Orion to check him out.

07:15. Various air contacts appear, but do not get close to task force anymore.

08:17. I sent a pair of F-15s to investigate two air contacts. Both were hostile. Both are destroyed, but I have lost one F-15 to their missiles.

08:42. Hostile sub spotted. I know he is hostile because he is shooting at me! I am returning fire. Oh, no! The dreaded database ASROC error has reared its ugly head! Some ASROCs do not fire properly in the HUD-4. It is very annoying! However, the error has been reported to the database editor and the editor thinks he has the problem solved and the fix will be in the next release of the database. Meanwhile, I have no intention of giving up just because one weapon does not fire! I’ll shoot back with anything I’ve got, and I’ve got a Kongo-class destroyer with VLS ASROCs that are NOT affected by the database error. And I’ve got other ships with other torpedoes. I’m sinking this sub! Four torpedoes on their way, baby!

8:48. A destroyer, Yamagumo, appears to have been sunk by torpedoes from the sub. But the sub appears to have been sunk, too, so it’s an even trade.

8:54. Oh, no! One of my amphibious ships, the Ojika, is sinking, too! One of the torpedoes fired by the enemy sub must still have been running. In retrospect, as the sub fired its torpedoes before I was able to shoot back, the failure of some of the ASROC weapons was probably academic in this case. My two ships probably would have been sunk no matter what I did.

12:00. Surface contacts spotted to the West. Sending F-4s with missiles to investigate.

12:30. Ships hostile and firing. I’m firing with missiles and trying to get out of there!

12:40. All four F-4s lost! At least one of the ships in this task force have some serious SAM capability.

22:22 I’m getting close to the target area and suddenly another of my ships, the Umigiri, is sinking! I’m not sure what hit it. Submarine?

I search for the submarine, but to no avail. And he keeps shooting at me. By 0:600 of the next morning, I have lost all but three of my ships.

I am not surprised at 20:00 that I learn I have not achieved the victory conditions. I did sink the one submarine and I shot down about eight enemy aircraft (including Flankers and a Tu-95), but I lost several aircraft and more than half of my task force. The high command is not going to be very happy with me. I’ll probably get a choice between seppuku and having to watch the live action version of Sailor Moon.

Although I lost, I liked this scenario. It’s got some sneaky surprises in it and you need to really need to be on your ASW game to win.
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