- 07/05/2015 at 05:37 #23714
This thread is for a discussion of modern naval doctrine and tactics and how these shape naval war gaming. I just received a copy of Martin Bourne’s “Shipwreck” rules and was about to chat with Just Jack (who has also just received his copy of the same rules) about modern naval tactics on his KG Klink’s #4 thread, but that seemed inappropriate so I am moving the discussion here.
Just Jack wrote:
“Rod – I received my copy of Shipwreck today and read it this afternoon. It’s funny: I read through, page by page, and by the time I finished the rules section I was almost despondent. THIS IS FAST-PLAY MODERN NAVAL!!?? AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING!!! But then I saw the scenario walk-through, and Praise the Lord, I see the light! I will still say that it’s pretty in-depth for ‘fast-play’ rules (and I gather that Harpoon, et al., must absolutely suck the life out of guys like me), but at least I understand it. The first thing I think I want to focus on modifying is the missile attack. In the scenario there are two US ships and two Soviet ships; the US find the Soviet ships first and each fire eight (8!) Harpoons at the enemy. EACH! The Soviets are quickly swamped by missiles, one ship going down and the other dead in the water.
I need to read up on tactics and strategy, which I don’t know much about. The book says most ships don’t carry anti-ship missile reloads, and their tactic was to fire their whole complement then head for the hills (waves?). Can that be true? You have 8 Harpoons for your whole 6-month cruise and you fire them all at once? What if you run into more bad guys? And how big of an a-hole are you if you your first missile breaks the back of the target and your other 7 missiles splash into the water harmlessly?
I need to find some real-life historical sources. I know the Argentinians regularly used Exocets against the Brits in the Falklands, and I recall the Iranians using Silkworms regularly in the 80s. I think the Indians and Pakistanis have traded some anti-ship missiles, and I’ve got to believe th Israelis have done so with the Arabs as well. I don’t recall hearing of ships or aircraft launching salvos of eight missiles at a time; the only place I remember reading that was in Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising.” Any ideas?
I probably need to make this a separate thread to seek some help.”
You’re the navy man and I am a civilian so take what is said hereafter with a big grain of salt. This may very we’ll end up as a classic case of the blind leading the blind but here goes. My understanding is that the anticipated life-expectancy of modern naval vessels in conflict with a high-end, advanced adversaries is expected to be very low if the enemy gets a chance to acquire and to fire. Thus the use of salvo fire, to overwhelm the enemy’s defenses and produce the best chance of crippling or destroying the enemy before he can do the same to you, is a standard tactic. Some ships can reload missiles quickly like the Standard missile systems on many American ships so salvo fire is not going to leave such a ship defenseless. For ships with modular systems like Harpoon the salvo fire of all the missiles would still probably give the firing ship the best chance of survival. Survive the fight you’re in now and then make for port as best you can. Evasion and discretion would be the ship’s best defense if it has depleted all of its anti-ship, over the horizon missiles. Remember the enemy ship(s) may not even know where the launching ship(s) are located and the missiles could be vectored in along a deceptive flight path to hide the location of the firer. Now as to reloads, I may be very wrong here but it is my vague memory that ships did not and do not carry reloads for modular missile systems like Harpoon. Keep in mind that the last time I played modern naval wargames was almost 25 years ago so I may be wrong due to bad memory or plain old ignorance. Also technology may have changed so much in the quarter century since I used to play Harpoon that everything may have changed.
Consequently, I shall start doing research and build a bibliography of sources on this thread.
Cheers and good gaming.
07/05/2015 at 09:43 #23724War PandaParticipant
- This topic was modified 6 years, 1 month ago by Rod Robertson.
What a despicably deserted place this is!
Let me see how empty it is here:
ECHO!!! ECHO!! echo
As I suspected. This thread is dead
“The great Gaels of Ireland are the men that God made mad,
For all their wars are merry, and all their songs are sad.”07/05/2015 at 14:21 #23748
Not really dead as its only just been kicked off.
Modern naval tactics are something of a black art, and since there have been no significant fleet engagements from which to draw conclusions (and precious little literature in open source from which to learn) it is likely to be so for a while (that said “Fleet Tactics” by Wayne Hughes, published by Naval Institute Press is a god read).
In general though the rule when engaged in an anti ship missile exchange with a capable opponent, at least in a wargaming sense is “use them or lose them” – launch everything you have because the enemy will be doing the same and if your strike against him doesn’t penetrate his layered defence screens his heavy weight attack is likely to kill you. (as far as real naval tactics are concerned the navy’s tactical development teams will have developed tables showing required/recommended weight of fire of various types of weapon against various threat platforms – info which you are likely never to see open source). The effectiveness of area and point defence systems, decoys and jammers in modern naval rules is usually quite fierce anyway so a lightweight strike against al but the weakest opponent is likely to be defeated short of the target. Of course IRL things have, so far, panned out differently with to-of-the-range ASCMs havinga fairly good hit record in action, but often because, where successful, their targets have been disadvantaged in some way and so their defensive systems have been limited or even nullified completely.07/05/2015 at 17:03 #23755kyoteblueParticipant
Bring on the Harpoons !!!!!07/05/2015 at 21:28 #23773Gaz045Participant
More years ago than I care to count, I played a North Atlantic/Mediterranean campaign using Warship Commander, we found that salvo fire was the only way to overwhelm point defence/aa systems etc……….I preferred to fire 30/50% per salvo just in case the dice gods were against me!
The convoy battles in the North Atlantic were horrendous ‘buckets of dice’ games as Soviet subs and Bears,Blinders and Backfires queued up to launch against the escorting carriers and big cargo ships…………..in the Med the Black Sea fleet had slipped out prior to hostilities and tried to ‘pincer’ the Sixth Fleet against the Libyan navy and air force…………..more buckets of dice!
As I recall, the convoy games ended with 50% losses to Nato, higher losses to the Soviet sub fleet and the destruction of their long range aircraft squadrons………..in the Med NATO won, the Italian,Greek and Spanish vessels making up the losses to the ‘ mighty Sixth’, the Black Sea Fleet was destroyed, only several escort vessels made it into Libyan ports where they were promptly bombed by the Southern Europeans………Gaddafi’s air force proved ‘realistically’ ineffective and was quickly finished!
To be honest I haven’t played anything in the last 15 years or so but I have a hankering to do Greek/Turkey or Arab/Israeli clashes…………
"Even dry tree bark is not bitter to the hungry squirrel"07/05/2015 at 23:07 #23785
Happy days. we played similar naval megabattles, although in our case we used the Dodo “Rules for Modern Naval Warfare” which were a bit more streamlined than Warship Commander. Still have copies of both ferreted away somewhere.08/05/2015 at 03:18 #23793
Hmm, interesting. I’m really a neophyte with modern Naval gaming, so I need all the help I can get. I’m learning that I’m not really interested in the latest, most advanced technology going up against itself, launching missiles at each other on a mass scale.
I think I’m leaning towards smaller engagements (2-4 ships vs 2-4 ships) with smaller ships (corvettes, frigates, destroyers) in relatively tight quarters (crowded shipping lanes, for example) with restrictive ROEs (don’t want to hit one of those civilian liners) with pretty limited air (maybe one side has a helo or land-based maritime patrol aircraft) with dated technology (70s or early 80s). I guess that makes it more of a hide and seek and take more limited but accurate shots. Does that sound reasonable?
And what about real life anti-ship missile use? I get that the US and USSR didn’t go at it, but like I said, I know Exocets, Silkworms, and Harpoons have been fired in anger. Hell, I remember the Falklands as a kid, when the Argentinians were using Exocets AND good old-fashioned dumb bombs, and I remember the Iranians lighting up the Persian Gulf, and I figure the Israelis had to have exchanged some missiles with the Egyptians or someone else. What do the experts know that they can share here, or where can I go to read? I’d greatly appreciate any help.
Jack08/05/2015 at 16:04 #23836grizzlymcParticipant
I suspect that like most naval wargaming lining up your ships and shooting each other will wear a bit thin pretty quickly. What is needed is a campaign so that if a game is over in 5 minutes, it doesn’t matter.
Island grabbing in the Aegean, Carribean, South China Sea, eastern Indian Ocean has possibilities. Therre are the current shenanigans between China and its various neighbours, Indonesian expansionism in the ’60s and ’70s offers the possibility of clashes with the Australians. But with small encounters one side or the oher can win or lose on a die roll or two, so there has to be a good reason to fight. Or you could game the annals of the Bongolesian Navy.08/05/2015 at 16:55 #23840
The best modern campaign I ever ran was a Falklands 1982 rerun for the Naval Wargames Society. That lasted for two sessions and was great fun (esp. the Argentieans bombing the c**p out of a hospital ship convoy because the commander of the Canberra squadron wanted to hit something that couldn’t shoot back – he’d lost half his squadron earlier in the day to Sea Darts and Harriers).
Closely followed by another NWS campaign set in the littoral of a mythical African country mired in a civil war, with an RN task Grup executing a NEO which (inevitably) “went hot”. Lots of FACs and FIACs, government and rebel operated frigates, freedom fighters and “assistance” from neighbouring countries- also involving pesky (but neutral) Russians, journalists in speedboats, refugees, etc.09/05/2015 at 02:07 #23864
Yes, I think I’m very interested in ‘steal an island’ campaigns, very much motivated by Maxshadow’s Terambu Layang (sp?) campaign.
Hospital ship convoy??? Ugh. I do love the Imagi-Nation idea, and I’ve got stuff for the Falklands.
Does anybody have a place on the ‘net for me to go, or any books to read, regarding the ‘real-world’ use of anti-ship missiles?
Jack09/05/2015 at 10:50 #23886
Modern naval war games are very hard to simulate on the war-game table, be it board games or miniature games. You have to play them as a concept game and accept the fact there are certain elements you have to ignore or add to allow play ability. To play pure modern naval war games you either need a couple of real fleets or several very powerful tactical computers.
Having done naval war games for real at sea or using tactical computers, the lead up to it can be very boring indeed, 99% boredom for 1% very fast action. On the war-game table things like Sonar, Elint, Radar, Intel, weather, oceanography, weapons, fuel, supplies, politics, maintenance and more are very difficult to balance and in some cases can be boring. Thought if you want to play a shot them up game of modern naval warfare you can chose to ignore some or all of these few points I have mentioned.
Playing a naval board game with players back to back using identical maps and an umpire is one way of overcoming some if not most of these problems. In he 1980’s I hade a modern naval war-game called “Sea strike” (sadly I left it some where) you dealt a set of cards to each player and moved and shot a lot, it was fast and fun. (not been able to find it again)
Rod the best thing to use in modern Naval war-gaming is British admiralty charts, detailed and full of very useful information, try this as an idea for a game.
Two identical charts, two teams of three, one ship each and get them to sail the vessel from point A to point B. Using wind, sea, weather and tide information, brief each player of the team with a different objective of the mission, stand back and watch the fun.09/05/2015 at 15:30 #23897grizzlymcParticipant
I play Seastrike regularly, I’m sure it must pop up on ebay from to time. Somewhere I read that someone had reconstructed the cards to dice charts and it can be played with miniatures. The thing that really makes Seastrike is the missions.09/05/2015 at 19:48 #23899
I’ve been rather busy of late and have had little free time but have started to research information to reeducate myself about modern naval combat. While in no way related directly to this topic, the following gem was something I blundered upon and is a cautionary tale which Jack especially should read and heed.
When I get some real information or analysis I will post that too.
William Harley wrote:
“Rod the best thing to use in modern Naval war-gaming is British admiralty charts, detailed and full of very useful information, try this as an idea for a game.”
I don’t know what “charts” you mean, but I will research this and if I can’t figure it out I will ask you for clarification. Thanks for the reference and I’ll get on it post haste.
Cheers and good gaming all.
Rod Robertson.09/05/2015 at 20:01 #23900
William Harley wrote: “Rod the best thing to use in modern Naval war-gaming is British admiralty charts, detailed and full of very useful information, try this as an idea for a game.” I don’t know what “charts” you mean, but I will research this and if I can’t figure it out I will ask you for clarification. Thanks for the reference and I’ll get on it post haste. Cheers and good gaming all. Rod Robertson. [/quote]
Old out of date naval charts are probably available from the hydrographic office Tauton Somerset or at some form of yacht / chandlers shop.09/05/2015 at 21:04 #23907
Ah, I get it! You mean sea-charts! I thought you were referring to a game or gaming component but you actually meant charts. Sorry to be slow on the up-take. Charts is actually not a problem as I am fortunate to have in Montreal a world class map and chart shop that will print excellent maps and charts from the present and the past. I used to buy maps (1/10,000 or 1/25,000) for modern and WWII land combat and years ago they had an excellent selection of littoral maps for the Mediterranean and Red Sea/Persian Gulf. Mind you that was almost thirty years ago so I should check if the shoppe still exists.
Cheers and I shall snoop around for some out-of-date charts as per your advice if my local store is no more.
Rod Robertson.09/05/2015 at 21:21 #23908John D SaltParticipant
I have never been impressed by modern naval games that consist mainly of surface action groups squaring off against each other and openly exchanging salvos of missiles. To my mind that seems more like lines of musket-armed infantry exchanging close-range volleys, and about as tactically interesting, too.
By the time anyone gets to launching surface-to-surface missiles, the tactical decison-making will be practically all over. The contest lies in finding and tracking the enemy, whie not being tracked oneself, in order to set up a strike, ideally one the enemy is not prepared for. So modern naval warfare is very much a game of hide-and-seek (the exact term Just Jack used), something that miniature games are not typically very good at showing. It also makes little sense to concentrate mainly on surface ships; submarines are the consummate hiders, aircraft the consummate seekers, and to a great extent the effectiveness of skimmers in ASW depends on their embarked flights. SPI’s old “Task Force” game made a stab at this; TSR’s “Hunt for the Red October” uses an abstratced “search points” system which I think is not bad.
An interesting book on the topic of finding things at sea is Norman Friedman’s “Network Centric Warfare”. Apart from being, in my diseased opinion, one of the very few things written on this topic that is not trivial technophile tripe, it shows that naval forces have been striving for over a century towards a situation where the central fusion of snippets from multiple sources might lead to a sudden strike “out of the blue” with no opportunity for the enemy to detect it beforehand, as traditional shadowing methods of pre-strike reconnaissance are not used.
Seastrike I think is a magnificent game, and a long-standing wargaming friend of mine who saw action in HMS Antrim in the Falklands considers it by far the most convincing modern naval wargame he has ever played. The lunatic excess detail of “Harpoon” he thinks bears very little resemblance to actual naval combat. I still have the copy of Seastrike I picked up in 1974, aand I’m not letting go of it. I took it to a CCF Navy Cadet camp in Loch Ewe the following year, and one evening I was concerned to discover that it had vanished from my locker. I needn’t have worried; a couple of cadets had borrowed it, and were playing against a couple of RN officers in the guardroom. The RN officers were very enthusiastic about the game; although I suppose any kind of distraction is welcome in the wilds of Wester Ross in what was laughingly called early spring.
For those who still want to focus on missile attacks, John Schulte’s MSc thesis from Monterey NPGS might make an intesting read: It’s called “An analysis of the historical effectiveness of anti-ship cruise missiles in littoral warfare”, and is available from the very lovely and useful DTIC site:
It might not be a surprise that “hard-kill” anti-missile defence has historically enjoyed little success (one successful missile shootdown only, HMS Gloucester’s bagging a Silkworm, an extraordinary event in itself), as few of the ships in the survey really had the necessary weapons. It might, however, be surprising that electronic defence has historically been pretty much 100% successful.
All the best,
John.10/05/2015 at 02:31 #23918
Ahh, fantastic, I knew someone would be able to point me in the right direction. Thank you, Mr. Salt, I shall return after I’ve had time to peruse and digest.
Jack10/05/2015 at 05:30 #23923
That was a great piece of analysis for the 1990s (note who the project supervisor was). With the benefit of another 20 years of studies and official releases a number of major errors are apparent, but the overall tone is right. An interesting observation in recent engagements is that, whilst many warships are very well equipped with hard and soft kill systems they are only worth a damn if they are operational when you are engaged…..10/05/2015 at 11:40 #23936
John D. Salt:
Thank you for that excellent reference link you posted. Very interesting and yet basic enough that it could be readily understood.
To all who are interested:
Three good sources to look at:
1. Fleet Tactics and Coastal Combat by Capt. Wayne P. Hughes. ( The first third is a very dry and technical read, the second two-thirds are very informative and engaging.)
2. Network Center Warfare by Norman Friedman (As cited above by J D Salt).
3. Soviet Naval Tactics by Milan Vego.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.10/05/2015 at 13:27 #23938
John D Salt wrote SPI’s old “Task Force” game made a stab at this; TSR’s “Hunt for the Red October” uses an abstratced “search points” system which I think is not bad.
Got both them, have been playing “Task force on an off for 30 years, I have just picked up “Hunt for Red October” from a charity shop for £3.
Never forget oceanography and weather in modern naval war-games it is important if you want true simulation.10/05/2015 at 17:07 #23945John D SaltParticipant
That was a great piece of analysis for the 1990s (note who the project supervisor was). With the benefit of another 20 years of studies and official releases a number of major errors are apparent, but the overall tone is right. An interesting observation in recent engagements is that, whilst many warships are very well equipped with hard and soft kill systems they are only worth a damn if they are operational when you are engaged…..
That sounds very much like a “The deuce you say, my dear Holmes” moment. It does, however, raise the point about warfare, at sea as anywhere else, being “long periods of boredom punctuated by short intervals of absolute terror”. Given the importance of finding without being found, and the fact that oceans are very big and ships are very small, a lot of the time is going to be spent watching and waiting. It just isn’t possible to spend the entire time closed up at action stations with everything powered up, loaded and ready to go. So, when the bad hats finallycome zooming over the horizon, there is always the chance that the port lookout is daydreaming away the last fifteen minutes before the change of watch, the frammistat on the air warning radar is undergoing routine maintenance, the hands are at breakfast and the Captain is in the middle of his morning George. But I never see this in wargames rules (nor, for that matter, do I see much about weather).
I know, Davd, that you are just about the last person who needs telling anything about naval warfare, so I am addressing these re,arks largely to the gallery, but the campaign you mentioned about the NEO-turned-sticky highlights another couple of points about post-1945 naval warfare. Fun though it might be to fantasise about a Jutland-with-Exocets between two modern and evenly-matched fleets, there are hardly two evenly-matched fleets in the world. Most naval combat is, therefore, “asymmetric”, and while your Arleigh Birke might be optimised for blatting incoming bandits and vampires, what it is more likely to have to do is shoot up a bunch of Revolutionary Guard Boghamars who have been upsetting people with RPGs, or use the helo to insert a SEAL team to have a quiet word with a Somali pirate king who is having a bad effect on insurance premiums. A second point is that seapower is by far the politest way of projecting power — naval forces can typically poise offshore and exert subtle menace without pressure to “use them or lose them” before some time limit expires, and warships are the only weapons platforms expected to throw cocktail parties as part of their normal duties — so a lot of naval action occurs where war has not yet broken out, or might be about to break out, or needs to be prevented from breaking out. Think of the Armilla Patrol (mines, there’s another thing wargamers neglect) and the tanker war, famous incidents in the Corfu Channel (mines again!), the Yangtze and the Tonkin Gulf, the Cod War, and the bad-tempered shoving and occasional shooting between North and South Korean naval forces. Even the full-blooded naval combat of the India-Pakistan war in 1971 took place against a background of the Enterprise Task Group looking menacingly at India from the Bay of Bengal, and the Russians shadowing them as a counter-menace (with the Brits leaving the area stage left, Pakistan’s allies trying not to get involved, and Indonesia “intervening” weeks after the war ended with a naval task force consisting of a knackered Whisky and a broken-down Osa).
So, where do we find a set of naval wargames rules that deals with the intricacies of naval diplomacy, the effects of weather, the need to keep round-the-clock watch, and also deals with the EW aspects of high-tech warfare as well as the “mucking-about-in-boats” aspects of aid to the civil power, low-intensity warfare and piracy? One of the amazing things about navies is the sheer variety of things they are called upon to do, and firing their main weapons at people is really a very small part of that. I suppose what I really want is a set of rules that lets me recreate the adventures of Lt-Col Robert Bollinger Badger, RN, in HMS Barsetshire.
Now, back to talking specifically to David — how many live missile engagements are there to add since Schutle’s paper was written? Apart from the Libyan navy being deleted by airstrikes and the Israeli navy being attacked by a homebrew UAV-type device, I can’t think of any. I’d also appreciate a list of the major errors in Schulte’s piece; the only one I spotted was a number I don’t believe for the warhead weight of Exocet.
All the best,
John.10/05/2015 at 19:33 #23948
John, lets chat next time we meet. Not all of the errors may be public knowledge.
As far as weird naval “wars” are concerned, did someone mention the Cod War? 🙂
re mines. Anyone who has been engaged in a naval campaign against me probably gets very nervous when the “M” word is mentioned (a bit like my RPG groups when the word “lift” or “elevator” was mentioned as a form of transport, but that’s another story), as it is a form of warfare that I practice in my naval gaming wherever possible (whether I’m supposed to or not!). Great fun in a pre-dreadnought campaign with some of my TBDs dropping dummies in the path of an enemy fleet (which they determined were dummies), then laying real ones in the path of their retreat which they ignored (as they were obviously DM’s dummies again) which caused much mayhem and confusion (and cost them a couple of battleships).10/05/2015 at 21:59 #23950
“Apart from the Libyan navy being deleted by airstrikes and the Israeli navy being attacked by a homebrew UAV-type device, I can’t think of any”
John, plenty of engagements in GW1, and then of course there was the Hezbollah ASCM hit on the Israeli frigate Hanit (and a passing merchantman) in the mid 2000s to name but a couple. Also an interesting Russian Blue-on-blue in the 1980s that I don’t recall being covered there.
Other stuff that shall have to wait for beers in the bar 🙂11/05/2015 at 02:58 #23955
I read through the entirety of the that PDF, greatly appreciated.
I’m a simpleton, so when I see this:
Defenseless Target 0.913
Defendable Target 0.684
Defended Target 0.264
Fire at a merchant: 2+ on D10
Fire at CL and below: 4+
Save for chaff: 4+
Save for ‘active measures’: 8+
In tight quarters with lots of other (civilian/non-enemy military traffic), would you consider an unspotted ship that fired an anti-ship missile automatically spotted by the enemy (probably need more parameters on there, but I’m sure you get my drift)?
“Other stuff that shall have to wait for beers in the bar…”
Sounds like the perfect spot to discuss stuff that doesn’t belong in the public sphere 😉
Jack11/05/2015 at 11:16 #23967
Excellent, interesting and informative posts, cheers all keep it going.11/05/2015 at 13:09 #23970
John D Salt wrote:
“Given the importance of finding without being found, and the fact that oceans are very big and ships are very small, a lot of the time is going to be spent watching and waiting.”
That was certainly the paradigm when I was playing Harpoon 25 years ago, but how does far more effective satellite monitoring of enemy surface and air assets change the game today? With all the surveillance hardware in orbit looking down in many spectra, is it possible to hide the movement of surface ships and large numbers of aircraft so easily? Civilian airliner losses like the Air France flight from Brazil which went down in the Atlantic and the ongoing search for the final location of the Malaysian Air Flight 370 make me wonder how effective such monitoring can be, but a slow moving flotilla should be easier to find than missing airliners. Assuming that the naval conflict being gamed is not part of a global conflict where superpowers have destroyed or degraded satellite systems, will it be that challenging for naval forces with access to such information to locate enemy forces? It is clear for navies without access to such information ‘waiting and watching’ will still be the norm.
So how have satellites changed naval tactics and doctrine with respect to surface ship operations in the last 25 years? How do minor power and medium power navies cope with asymmetric surveillance capability if they can’t find a superpower benefactor to give them at least near-real time information about enemy ship locations.
Is naval stealth technology effective against satellite surveillance or is it just designed to degrade and defeat surface and airborne radar systems? This is probably a question that no one can or will answer, but I suspect (based only on intuition) that stealth is far less able to deny information to satellite systems than terrestrial, marine and airborne systems.
Finally, and I don’t really expect an answer to these next questions either, how transparent are our oceans to satellites and how effective can satellites be at detecting and locating subsurface naval forces? Are the submarines of today as elusive as the were 25 years ago or have improved eyes in the sky made them easier to detect despite advances in submarine stealth technology?
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.11/05/2015 at 19:13 #23994
John D Salt wrote: Finally, and I don’t really expect an answer to these next questions either, how transparent are our oceans to satellites and how effective can satellites be at detecting and locating subsurface naval forces? Are the submarines of today as elusive as the were 25 years ago or have improved eyes in the sky made them easier to detect despite advances in submarine stealth technology? Cheers and good gaming. Rod Robertson.
Think weather (cloud cover effects vision), oceanography (hot or cold sea effects vision).11/05/2015 at 19:53 #24006
A few open source thoughts on the above. real time satellite imagery isn’t restricted to major nations an more, there are a number of commercial companies that can supply real and near real time images that would be quite handy when looking for large groups of ships at least. As far as “transparent oceans” are concerned this crops up a lot in scientific literature, but I recall reading about Russian satellite mounted surface profiling radars detecting “humps” in the ocean caused by submerged submarines (presumably at periscope depth). For a good read on this kind of thing look for “Seapower and Space” by Norman Friedman. IIRC it also has a very interesting section on Russian long range anti ship missile operations which was quite a surprise when it was published.
Not commenting n stealth aspects and satellites per se, but one obvious aspect is the ship’s wake which is nigh on impossible to get rid of if the ship is making any kind of headway. Look for the wake, go in the direction i which it narrows, at the tip will be the ship.
re weather in naval wargamers. To my mind it has always been an essential aspect of the game, right from having to consider wind strength and direction in ancient and AoS games through weather screening in later periods (played an excellent WW2 mini campaign where my Japanese carrier strike force took advantage of a handy weather front to wrong foot my opponents, then used rain squalls to hide in when their puny counterstrike appeared – and played a USCG cutter commander in a Greenland-based mini campaign that was almost entirely based around weather in some way or another)12/05/2015 at 08:29 #24036
Your points about meteorological and oceanographic impacts on naval actions are well taken. Using the weather, the sea conditions and the topography to mask the activities of ships in littoral combat is of paramount importance to success in these coastal cat and mouse games.
Thanks for the Friedman reference which I will try to track down this summer and read. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that it may become very difficult to anticipate how modern naval combat encounters may unfold due to the lack of information publicly available on the subject. This could prove to be very challenging and I fear may develop into a black box exercise.
I think that if you work through your numbers you will find that they give you about a 34% chance of hitting a defended target or about 8% more than the empirical data offered indicates. 0.7 x 0.7 x (1-0.3) = 0.34 for a defended target. Also remember that Chaff used to spoof really old fashioned Styx missiles is likely to be far less effective with more modern missiles which can visually identify target shape before entering the final stage of the missile attack or which will automatically acquire a new target if the primary target appears to be hidden.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.12/05/2015 at 09:46 #24043
Rod have you tried playing a naval war-game with the opponents in two different rooms, or several players in different rooms passing intel, data, orders via hand written messages or telephone / radio / computer / mobile. Have ago its fun to be the umpire.
William Harley13/05/2015 at 00:10 #24108
Yes, but not modern. Years ago we played double blind WWI and WWII naval games using small boats (patrol boats, E-boats, and such). The games were great fun and really nerve wracking. We did the same with War of 1812 and ACW ships. But we never managed it with large ships as we did not have the resources to set up two large tables in the same place. It just occurred to me that once, long ago I played a U-boat wolf pack vs. a convoy plus escorts game in the mid-nineties. I think it was in Lancaster Pennsylvania but I can’t be sure. That was also a double blind game but I have all but forgotten the game! Yikes, another senior moment!
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.13/05/2015 at 14:50 #24170
Well done Rod, I have moments like that.
What was I talking about, what am I doing, where are my pants.13/05/2015 at 16:51 #24181
We’ve played many campaign games with teams set up in different rooms or remote locations. Always great fun (apart from one time where the scenario was the most ill conceived pile of tosh, but thats another story). One of our more interesting games was the battle of the Barents Sea, where the umpiring team had sight of the table, whilst the British and German commanders had their own tables facing away from the main one with their ship in the middle and targets placed on their table only when spotted (which in the Barents wasn’t very often). The end result was incredibly satisfying with many features similar to the real event. Notable for Lutzow steaming off in entirely the wrong direction towards the end, an Hipper getting sacked by Burnett’s cruisers at close range after her radar failed whilst Sheffield’s didn’t. What was really interesting from a nerdy gamers perspective was that we’d played this as a standard tabletop game at an NWS game a while before and the Germans (with the benefit of perfect awareness of ship’s positions) shot the convoy and the escort to pieces with near-impunity13/05/2015 at 16:58 #24183
Another fun game – one of Stuart Barnes Watson’s NWS megagames at Mortimer (I miss those), based on the Japanese attack on Ceylon. I’m driving the Japanese recce and submarine fleet (I’d been too deadly with Japanese CVs in an earlier game and was given a command where I couldn’t do so much damage).
Anyway, we get a radio intercept during the game from one of the allied air commanders, letting his friends know that he’d caught two Jap subs on the surface on the North side of the island. He was very, very pleased and was using quite colourful language to emphasise the point. Curious, I thought, I don’t recall sending any boats to that spot. Over the next hour I get regular contact reports from all my boats. No-one seems to be lost. Then, in the afternoon we intercept a plaintive call from the Allied sub commander – two of his subs are missing, has anyone seen them?
Oh how we laughed.14/05/2015 at 02:03 #24222
Those sound like they were great games. Short of playing a few ACW CSA cottonclads vs. USA ironclads at my local wargames club, I have not played a good group naval game in almost 20 years. I am very jealous.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.09/06/2015 at 15:21 #25899
I’ve been running modern naval with Harpoon by email, with writeups on my blog. It plays a whole lot better as a genuinely double-blind game than it ever did on the wargames table, where players have to pretend they don’t know where the enemy is. In fact I’d say the primary game is about the hide-and-seek: once missiles get launched it’s more about numbers than about tactics.09/06/2015 at 22:03 #25919
Why don’t you give us a link to your blog so we can see what you have been up to? It sounds really interesting!
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.09/06/2015 at 22:37 #2592209/06/2015 at 23:44 #25932
Actually it did link from your “Roger BW’s Wargaming Blog” footer but I’m too much of a dim bulb to have figured that out! Sorry about that. I had a quick cursory look at your blog and was lost until I read your first entry preceding the first AAR. I’m still lost but less so and am beginning to get a grasp on what you’re doing. I think it is really interesting. I will study up before I comment so as not to make a fool of myself twice on this thread.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.10/06/2015 at 11:13 #25956
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