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ASW a game of patiance

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  • ASW a game of patiance

    A few friends and I got together this weekend and conducted a combat scenario that you probably would have found during the "Cold War"

    I know these forces are a mix that wouldn't have really worked with each other but this was in fun...

    the setup was this NATO (Blue)

    Sea Control Group 1 (SCG.1)
    USS Wasp LHD-1 acting in the role of Sea Control Ship
    2 Knox class frigates
    2 Oliver Hazard Perry frigates (one short hull and one long hull)
    1 Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer
    1 Barry (converted Sherman) class ASW destroyer
    1 Forrest Sherman class destroyer

    Aircraft numbers assigned to SCG.1 were:
    20 AV-8B Harrier II
    8 SH-60B Sea hawk
    1 SH-2G Sea Sprite
    2 SH-2F Sea Sprite

    This group was operating 120 miles NW of the Faroe Islands

    The NATO Forces has six subs working a barrier patrols that stretches from Iceland to the United Kingdom. Roughly The SSKs are working coastal shallow waters of Iceland and UK.

    subs working this barrier are from Iceland to UK...
    HMCS Okanagan (Ojibwa class) SSK-74
    USS Connecticut (Seawolf class) SSN-22
    USS Birmingham (Los Angeles class) SSN-695
    HMS Torbay (Trafalgar class) SSN-90
    Norwegian sub Utvear (Ula class) SSK-303
    USS Bonefish (Barbel class) SS-582

    Land based air support includes
    Iceland based:
    8 Canadian CP-140
    4 USN P-3C
    2 USN P-8A
    2 USAF E-3C
    4 USAF F-15E

    UK based:
    8 RAF Nimrod MR.2
    6 Norwegian P-3C
    2 Shackleton AEW.2
    4 Tornado F.2

    Red Force (Soviet) consisted of:
    8 Foxtrot SSK
    3 Romeo SSK
    1 Alfa SSN
    2 Victor I SSN
    1 Victor III SSN
    4 Delta IV SSBN
    1 November SSN

    And one Soviet ASW group made it out of the Baltic Sea..It consisted of:
    1 Krista II ASW cruiser
    2 Krivak II ASW frigates
    1 Krivak III ASW frigate
    1 Krivak II Modified ASW Frigate

    This ASW group showed one of the Soviets big weaknesses. It only has two ASW choppers. the Krista carries a Ka-25, while the Krivak III carries a Ka-27.

    The object of this exercise is for the Red force to get the Delta IV boomers through the NATO barrier.

    Of course Blue force has orders to sink any submarine that crosses the declared barrier line.

    The conditions were as follows. Sea State 3, April, weather conditions are overcast.

    The Red force strategy was to use its noisy boats to draw off the attention of SOSUS. This put the Blue Force into chasing Romeos and Foxtrots....and that Alfa. According to the Red Force commander after the scenerio was ran he was hoping on using the shallows by Iceland to sneak some of his boomers through. He used his November and Alfa to tie down SCG.1

    Blue Force killed 13 of the Soviet subs in the war game. Five of these kills came from maritime patrol planes working SOSUS contacts. Six other contacts were killed by patrol planes again that were working patrol areas.

    The other two kills came from the USS Connecticut, who nailed the Alfa and a Foxtrot that was trying to punch through the barrier.

    Even though NATO killed around 70% of the Soviet boats. three of the four Delta IVs made it out into the Atlantic.

    The Connecticut showed it was built for this kind of war. She was fired upon by one of the Soviet subs by a stand-off weapon that put a torpedo on her tail. She escaped by diving deep and full bore on the reactor.

    Did the Soviets win this battle by getting the boomers out, or was this a victory for NATO ASW tactics.
    Last edited by Cowboy31a; 20 Aug 12, 09:41.

  • #2
    Strategically speaking, I think the Soviets accomplished their mission. The survival of their SSBNs mean that they preserved their 'aces in the hole' regardless of their tactical setbacks.
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    • #3
      This was a typical surge operation through a choke point. It showed the weaknesses and strengths of both sides of the line.

      When the first phase of this operation started the Soviets were trying to break out three surface groups from the Baltic Sea. Two of those groups were heavily mauled by NATO Shore based anti-ship missiles and German, Dutch and Norwegian subs that were working the narrows between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea\Norwegian Sea areas. The ASW Group that did get out actually had two more frigates with it, but they were lost. The two mauled task forces pulled back into the Baltic. The ASW Group that made it into the Norwegian Sea was unable to do its mission of trying to cut a hole in the NATO sub patrols, because once it hit the open sea it was harassed by the UK based aircraft.

      This segment showed that NATO tactics in the narrows could be effective against the Russian surface fleet. NATO did loose a Norwegian sub and two German boats. This was a very nasty fight in the narrows.

      The narrows action did allow the Soviets to get their submarines in position for the surge though. Significant numbers of NATO patrol planes were involved in the battle of the narrows....they were "Harpooning".

      There was a slow down in tempo of operations for a few hours. This is where patience is tested. This was the phase of sub hunting.....

      NATO strengths in the above....
      Good control of the choke point. Good subs that could work the shallow conditions without being mauled.

      Weakness even though they had the advantage in the Narrows, NATO was unable to fully isolate the Baltic Sea.

      Soviet tactics was to crash the gates. It cost them but they kept the Baltic open for at least one group to get out.

      As I said this was a nasty fight.

      The main exercise of the war game was what i described above.

      The Soviets used their attack boats as bait. The boomers crawled through the NATO barrier at two knots without being detected. Except for one Delta IV that was picked up by a patrolling CP-140. This showed that you can defeat SOSUS by overwhelming it with noisy contacts, but this in turn means your bait is going to die. The Red attack boats were picked off one at a time by patrolling ASW aircraft.

      Now the battle around the Feroe Islands was conducted by the USS Connecticut. She intercepted three contacts, with passive sonar and then fired Mk. 48 ADCAPs at the Alfa. This sent the Alfa off deep, but it was no use....even though passive sonar was used for the firing solution, it still was good and the Alfa died, but not until she got a shot off coming down the return bearing of the torpedoes. Connecticut detected the release and cut her wires and dove deep and fast, but as i said her solution was good. Alfa gone. About 30 minutes later she picked up a Romeo and went to active sonar on her and got a one shot one kill hit. On her third contact she couldn't classify and she lost. It was a slow contact and she lost it after about 45 minutes. (During the review of the game, it came to be shown to be a Delta IV, To bad Connecticut didn't risk it....but it could have been the Birmingham that was working the outer limit of her patrol box).

      The SCG.1 was a redundant force. Her ASW birds got up and worked her area, but made no contacts. Seams, the Soviets avoided her reach.

      This part of the war game took about 8 hours to play....

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      • #4
        Since your forces are pretty much localized in the SOSUS line, what is keeping the Soviets from taking them out with a Backfire raid?

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        • #5
          USS Saratoga and her group are located in the Denmark Strait.

          AEW flying out of Iceland guarding the approaches. F-15E and F-15C located in UK. Dutch and Norwegian air deference.

          Enterprise battle group is moving into a position 50 miles south of Feroe Islands.

          Both carriers have F-14s aboard.

          Though to keep this an ASW exercise, we decided to keep Air ops centered around ASW...

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