Due to the lack of table top action recently, I have commenced a mini campaign using two computer games to resolve the battles - Sonalysts Fleet Command and Combat Mission Shock Force (click on the names and a link will take you to details).
The campaign revolves around a fictional country of Utopia, which is sandwiched between Somalia and Kenya on the East African coast.
The premise being that Utopia was subject to civil war in the early 1980's and as a result split into the communist North, and the democratic South. The United Kingdom has had long standing ties with the country, and in the late 1960's signed a defence pact with the Utopian Government.
The pact was updated in 1985 when the country split, and the United Kingdom has committed itself to the protection of South Utopia. In the meantime, North Utopia has forged links with North Korea and China (amongst others) and in a recent change of leadership has committed itself to the long term aim of reunification with the south. By whatever means necessary........................
In recent months an insurgency has grown in South Utopia and has stretched the government forces to breaking point.
Britain has committed to sending troops to assist the South Utopian government restore control.
Operation Gibraltar Disposition
The initial part of this deployment centres on Task Force 317.
Task Force 317 is comprised of:
RFA Fort George
HMS Bulwark embarked:
4 Assault Squadron, Royal Marines
C Troop Blues and Royals
HMS Illustrious - photo from Sea King
Planned course of approach
Task Force 317 was split into two elements for the initial landing phase:
RFA Fort George
The initial intelligence was sketchy to say the least. It is strongly suspected that the insurgency is receiving some form of (outside) government assistance with training and equipment, but this has yet to be confirmed. The first task was to get the Airborne Early Warning up and running, hence the launch of a Sea King AEW and two escorting Air to air armed Harriers - the air threat assessment was low, but I was not taking any chances!
Sea King AEW
As soon as the three aircraft were up, EW signatures were picked up. I sent one Harrier off toward the closest signatures on the northern island........................
The view from HMS Illustrious ops room
Royal Navy Sea Harrier flying over TF317
On route to recce the land EW contacts, the Sea Harrier is engaged and shot down (by an unidentified source), but not before the pilot indicates a contact report - several improvised attack boats directly in the approach course of TF 317.1, and further details of the land based assets. It is suspected that these attack boats were responsible for the loss of the aircraft.
Click to play relevant news bulletin
HMS Illustrious launched two SEAD Harriers to target the portable radar and identified SAM site (an elderly version, but insurgents must be getting them from somewhere, the same holds for the surface radar and surface missile site), and a further 4 Harrier GR7 to target the installations and naval element.
EW listening post
Further recon identified an enemy EW monitoring site - this was quickly added to the target list. In quick succession, and without further loss, the aircraft sank 5 attack craft, destroyed a barracks on the north island along with the SAM site, SSM site and portable surface radar equipment.
On a small island to the south, the EW listening centre was also dispatched. Meanwhile, TF 317.1 continues on it's journey to the designated landing area. Several more EW signatures have been identified to the west of the landing area.
To be continued..........................................