A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shipwreck! Convoy Ambush in the South China Sea


We just finished another game of Shipwreck, this time working through an actual scenario set up.  Our situation is the PLAN deciding to take action against a USN escorted shipping lane.  The USN defenders were bound to not attack the PLAN until 1) they or the merchants were attacked or 2) any PLAN vessel closed within a certain distance.

The PLAN were given some initiative by this set up, and with some careful planning, could perhaps strike a lethal blow against the running dog capitalists.

We used contact counters, to add a little mystery.  We had to ad lib a method for detection rolls (the EW modifier could be a giveaway)... here my PLAN vessels steam ahead, with a Z-9 to the fore.

You can see the unknown USN and merchant ships beginning to arrive as I attempt to close.  Detections start early, as the Qingdao (a Luhu DDG) is revealed.
The PLAN make detections too, revealing an OH Perry and a merchant ship... strangely, the merchant ship looks familiar (my USN opponent forget his commercial fleet, so my PLAN replenishment ships stood in).
As we close, my other ship, the Wu Hu (Jianghu III FFG) is revealed.  With an opportunity to close without being destroyed, the Qingdao begins to unmask weapon systems.  I made the decision to attack as soon as possible with the Qingdao.  I would remember this decision later.  I launched 6 C-802... 3 at the revealed OH Perry and 3 at the revealed merchant...
Of course the OH Perry (statted as an earlier, well armed, version) began to detect and engage missiles as they closed...
...taking them down...
 ... and down... until only a final missile struck the merchant, doing NO DAMAGE!!!!
 In the next turn, two more ships arrived, detected and revealed as a 2nd OH Perry and another (again, familiar looking...) merchant.
 But somehow the Wu Hu slipped back into a state of non-detection (which was remarkable, even with its high EW rating).
The Qingdao decided to turn further, in an attempt to unmask its primary AA system, the Crotale.  I began to regret my decision to attack with only 1 ship, as Harpoons closed in...
...from both OH Perrys.
The Crotale worked, downing 2 of the incoming Harpoons.
That still left 2 Harpoons to impact the Qingdao, which suffered a Crippling hit.  All engines stop, all systems down.  Lets hope the repair roll next turn goes well.
It doesn't, resulting the in the Qingdao sinking.  Unencumbered by emotion, the Wu Hu assumes a firing position as it has now closed the distance to the imperialist aggressors.
The Wu Hu, sensing impending doom, fires its full complement of C-801, while each OH Perry fires a pair of Harpoons.  With no real AA defense other than useless 37mm guns and a good EW rating, the Wu Hu would stand little chance of survival.
 Still, it behooves the soul to try.
With a large volley at a single ship, even with help from its sister, the targeted OH Perry looks to be in trouble.
But so does the Wu Hu. 
 Impact.  The OH Perry takes hits...
 ... and promptly sinks.
 I believe there was a miss, and a no damage from the Harpoons, but that was not enough luck...
 ... and the Wu Hu slipped below the waves.

So what was the conclusion?

The sinking of a USN vessel, even with the loss of 2 PLAN vessels, could be a huge propaganda victory for the Chinese... except that the Chinese ambushed the USN.  American public opinion might swing into a more warlike mood over the sneaky attack.

The merchants, shaken (especially the one with the minor hit) by their experience, would get through.  Unless a sub might show up in their way....

As the PLAN player I declare this to be a USN victory.  The merchants were (basically) unharmed, and though the loss of the OH Perry should have been prevented, the American people will be willing to see this conflict through.  Hopefully it will be limited to naval engagements until such time the diplomats can force both parties to break off actions.

Still... it was nice to sink an enemy ship :)  As the PLAN commander, I was concerned about getting too close (and losing my chance at the sneak attack).  I feel I made a huge mistake in not waiting for both of my ships to be in range, so they could unleash a coordinated attack.    Had I done so, I feel I would have  taken out the lead OH Perry and merchant, and possibly made my escape unscathed.  In a campaign setting, I have now lost my advantage of the sneak attack and can only hope the loss of one USN FFG weighs heavier upon the minds of my foes, than the loss of a PLAN DDG and FFG does upon my nation.


  1. Ah, the good thing is that your nation would hear of a wonderful victory and there would be no mention of PLAN losses against the aggressor Americans!

    Nice AAR and I'll remember your lessons when my PLAN sail out against the INS - although I suspect they will have less trouble with the INS than the OH Perry's caused.

    1. Thanks. No doubt, PLAN vs INS is a closer match up. Still... I don't field the most recent PLAN vessels, and I can't complain as my USN opponent agrees to the basic principle that USN losses weigh much heavier than PLAN losses.

      That would be no consolation to real crews, but in a game setting it means that I can afford to lose more ships and aircraft. It works out. At some point, we will start linking scenarios together as a campaign, even including more club members to help run stuff, where cumulative losses will be more important.

      I am thinking of placing a Shapeways or Denian order to get 5-6 newer PLAN ships.

  2. Chal - Good AAR. The only way to beat the US Navy is with waves of missiles. You did good to sink the Perry.

    As for doing an ambush, try to do it with land behind the Chinese. That will effect your detection. Also the weather can be a factor.

    As for detection, just because you have EW or radar it does not mean you need to use it. (One of the problems of not having a GM.) In one game of Harpoon I was able to get in close just using Merchant Nav Radar, something all ships have. They thought I was a merchant.

    Are your ships 1/2400 scale?