Saturday, May 01, 2010

Armchair General: Sink the General Belgrano

I had wanted to submit a solution to Armchair General's current command challenge: You are in command of the HMS Conqueror and have been shadowing an Argentine task force consisting of the ARA General Belgrano and two Exocet-armed destroyers. The challenge is to decide the the best course of action (COA) from three provided or perhaps propose a fourth. The major variables are attack timing and weapon choice.

Because of demands on my time (see previous post) I never got around to submitting my solution for this engagement before the deadline yesterday.

For fun, here is my solution:

Attack using COA 2 is the best option. You are authorized to engage and you have the primary advantage of surprise to leverage your clear superiority in speed and stealth. If the enemy is lucky or changes their behaviors before you can
attack, the opportunity could be lost.

All COAs are feasible, but employing Mk 8s at relatively close range has the highest probability of success. Using proven Mk 8s as your primary attack weapon is the best choice: their large warheads were developed for dealing with armored ship designs of the WW2 era, and the Mk 8s close range and higher speed shortens attack time and the enemy’s response window. One Mk 8 hit might stop the Belgrano, but two would be better. To increase the probabilities of hitting Belgrano twice you add one more Mk 8 to the spread. Since it is always possible something could go wrong even with the Mk 8s, you load the other half of your tubes with Mk24 Tigerfish in reserve. After the first salvo, the Mk 24s are available for immediate use or to standoff and engage any of the known or unknown (submarines) enemy elements as becomes necessary.

I had a couple of points to add concerning the use of Mk 8s, like rough South Atlantic seas making torpedo trails difficult to spot, but there is a 200 word limit on the solution's submitted.

We'll see what the AG selected 'best' solutions come up with in a couple of months.

BTW: Armchair General as a magazine is kind of a mixed bag for me, but their website is not: it sucks big time (just try to navigate and find something related to the print issue).

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