Pacific Fury #3 – Caught Flat Footed
Playtest Report by Ilya78 May 2021
OK, here it is… I played with the 1.1 version.
The USS Constellation CVBG was ordered back from Australia to the north of the Philippines, in order to reinforce the USS Independence CVBG near Japan. But first, they had to meet a replenishment group NW of Luzon, and the air wing had to carry out an exercise with aircrafts of the US and Filipino Air Forces. The replenishment group had already been departed from Manila.
USS Constellation CVBG: USS Constellation (Kitty Hawk CVN); Gridley (Leahy CG); Ingersoll (Spruance DD); Lake Erie and Vincennes (Tico CGs, the latter one is catching up from Guam); Mahon S. Tisdale (OHP FFG, investigating a wrecked trawler (looks like a trap)).
Replenishment group: USS Kinkaid (Spruance DD(VLS)); Willamette (Cimmaron AO); San José (Mars AFS).
Half of the carrier’s air wing was at Cubi Point, Luzon for an exercise. The fuel had got contaminated, so most of the aircrafts could not take off for some hours (probably a sabotage).
USS San Francisco and USS City of Corpus Christi (Los Angeles class SSNs following the CVBG).
P-3 Orion MPAs in ASW or MS configurations at Cubi Point and Anderson AB (Guam). EP-3 Aries ELINT at Cubi Point.
US Air Force:
F-5E Tiger II: aggressors for the exercise at Cubi Point
2 KC-135 tankers, a C-141 Starlifter at Cubi Point.
2 B-52s at Anderson AB, being armed with Harpoons (Yess!!!)
Filipino Air Force:
F-5A Freedom Fighters (without radars) at airports on Luzon and Leyte
Interesting attack aircrafts: OV-10A Broncos, AS.211 trainers armed for ground attack, piston engine (!) SF.260Ws
Recon: F.27 and BN-2 MPAs; Super King Air 200T area surveillance aircrafts
Miguel Malvar (a relic from World War II); Antonio Luna (a more modern patrol boat)
POSSIBLE ENEMY FORCES
Minsk (Kiev CVH); Frunze (Kirov BCGN); Chervona Ukraina (Slava CG); Sovremenny and Udaloy DDGs; unknown number of submarines (Juliet, Victor-II and “something more modern”); aircrafts of the CVH (Yak-141 Freestyles and Yak-38 Forgers); ASW and AEW helicopters of the CVH and destroyers.
Silence before the storm
The ordinary patrols (CAP, ASW, AEW, ELINT) were set up around the CVBG. The AEW immediately detected an AGI and a destroyer in front of and behind the fleet, and a Bear MPA was following us as well. The S3 Viking doing the “carrier far ASW” detected a submarine with its radar (!). I thought it was the Juliet, so the Viking flew closer and dropped some sonobuoys. I was right, it was the Juliet at periscope depth, and before I could do anything, the Viking launched a torpedo and sank the submarine (which was marked as unfriendly, so practically I started the hostilities, but nobody saw it). Similar patrols were set up west of Luzon with the available aircrafts, except for the AEW, because the Hawkeye was still waiting for fuel. I was afraid of a bomber attack form Camh Ran AB. A P-3 MS from Guam spotted the “Pelicano”, a large trawler to the west of the wrecked boat. By some reason, this trawler was hostile. The Miguel Malvar accelerated to flank speed (15 kts) to reach the wreck before morning. And at this moment the hell broke loose.
To be continued…
Guerilla attacks on Luzon
There were a lot of small boats floating in the bay near Cubi Point AB. Three of them suddenly turned hostile, and the closest one started shooting the AB with guns and rockets. And something (probably a pack of mortars) started shelling the AB from the top of a nearby hill. I changed the WRA for the Kinkaid and launched three Harpoons on the three hostile boats. Two of them hit their targets (including the attacking boat), but the third one missed and sank a civilian boat (they were too close to each other, sorry...). Both the AB and the Filipino Navy gave me a patrol boat, and they finished off the last guerilla boat. AS.211 trainers and OV-10 Broncos took off to silence the mortars. The trainers could not hit anything, but the Broncos made short work of them. This attack costed me 6(!) F/A-18D Hornets, 3 Tomcats, both tankers and an ES-3 Shadow. And this was the smaller problem...
Doom of the Gridley
Right when the attacks on Luzon started, the carrier AEW detected a huge number of low and high flying missiles launced from the north and flying towards the carrier group (low flying, SS-N-19 Shipwrecks) and the USS Vincennes (high flying, SS-N-12 Sandboxes). So both the Kirov BCGN and the Slava CG launched their missiles at the same time. And suddenly another 24 Shipwrecks and 16 Sandboxes appeared on the radar. What is happening here? Probably there was an Oscar class SSGN in the area (in addition to the Kirov), and the Soviet destroyers launched their missiles, too. All available fighters took off from the carrier and tried to shoot down the very fast and very low flying Soviet missiles. They were qutie ineffective, those missiles shook off the Sidewinders. SAMs launched from the destroyers and cruisers shot down one missile after another. The Vincennes heroically defended herself fron two salvos of Sandboxes, but she had only 10 SAMs left at the end. However, the carrier group had a bad luck. One missile somehow got through the SAMs (the CIWS were completely ineffective against it) and impacted into the USS Gridley, which exploded to pieces. The crew of the carrier saw the gigantic explosion, which cannot be survived by anyone. The Soviets had to pay for it.
To be continued...