Alternative Cold War History 1994

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Northern Fury – Sneak & Peak

Playtest Report by AndrewJ Mar 2017

I tried this one multiple times, with indifferent results. (That's a euphemism for 'I got sunk'.)

Like any single-sub scenario, this has the potential to be very random. If any one of the MAD-equipped aircraft happens to pass nearby then it's game over, no matter how stealthy you are. An SSN has the sustained speed to sometimes elude a MAD hit in transit, but an SSK doesn't have a hope. If a Haze happens to choose to hover nearby with its active dipping sonar, then the results are probably the same.

My attempts to snorkel were generally disastrous. Even diving the moment my ESM gear picked up an emitter didn't seem to help reliably, and I'd usually get sunk (presumably by a MAD hit) after a couple of dives. This meant the best I could hope for was an 8 kt battery cruise, eating up my electrons faster than I'd have liked, but still proceeding too slowly, given the short 12 hour mission. (A 24 hour mission might be better suited to the typical operating speed of the stealthy SSK.)

On my best mission I managed to work my way up the center, briefly popping above and below the layer to listen, tracked and avoided the Grisha, steered clear of some dipping sonars, heard the ferry go thundering past much too quickly to catch, and managed to sink the bulk carrier. Second best was an attempt to blockade Bodo, which netted the ferry, but the bulk carrier was too distant to catch when it turned north-east towards Narvik. I never did see the RO/RO.

I think it's fairly unlikely that the player will ever see all three of the ships. Although you can do it (I tried it in God mode to see if you can physically make it) you'd have to be pretty prescient to catch the RO/RO, get both fast ships head-on, never go into the Vestfjorden at all, and be at cruise or better for almost the entire trip.

I think perhaps lengthening the scenario (to allow more careful sneaking), and adding some more shipping might be the way to go.

Note: This is a playtest report, and the scenario time has been doubled to 24 hrs and several more target ships were added.