When VG released Sixth Fleet in 1985, tensions between the US and Libya had grown substantial enough to warrant a scenario featuring a conflict between both powers as it may have happened at the time. In the sixth scenario of Sixth Fleet, players are invited to explore this potential conflict, for which the stage is set after a Libyan sub sinks an American ship carrying Marines to Beirut.
In this scenario, which is eerily prescient, the goal for the US player is to cause enough bombing damage of military targets in three Libyan cities, Tripoli, Benghazi, and Darnah. Basically, the Americans have six turns (2 days) to cause as much destruction as possible. Quadaffi is trying to minimize this damage and, at the same time, hurt the Americans any way possible.
The US Navy has an entire carrier task force at their disposal with the USS Nimitz, California, Comte de Grasse, Texas, and a few other big modern warships. The USN has brought a couple of subs too – the USS Drum and the USS Omaha. The task force starts in Naples while one American sub sits in the Tyrrhenian Sea and the other skulks close to the Libyan coast.
|Setup. Green counters=US, Red=Libya|
The Libyans, meanwhile, are in the middle of reorganizing their forces to defend against the oncoming attack. MiG-23s and Su-20s are stationed in Tripoli and Benghazi and their ports harbor a number of small fast attack boats with SSM launchers. The Libyans have a few ageing subs in the Central Med. and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
It doesn’t look like the Libyans have much of a choice beyond massing their forces and hoping for the best. Here’s a report of the first game turn:
Turn 1 Day 1 Morning
The sun comes up and the weather across the Med. is sunny and clear. US satellite detects a Libyan submarine operating near Sicily. A Libyan Mirage on reconnaissance detects the US carrier task force leaving from Naples.
The Libyans start pulling back their subs towards the Libyan coast, hoping to hit the American task force there instead. The USS Omaha attacks a Libyan sub, the Fateh, but is unsuccessful.
The Americans start moving their carrier task force south from Naples towards Sicily.
The Libyans move all of their air units to Tripoli, deciding to at least spare the capital city from damage. The MiG-23s are put on CAP above the city and the Su-20s will coordinate their attacks as the US task force gets closer.
The American carrier USS Nimitz, sends a squadron of A-6 Intruders to bomb Benghazi, scoring a victory point. The Nimitz also launches some S3 Vikings, which track down and damage the Libyan submarine, the Fateh.
|S-3 Vikings damage Libyan sub, Fateh.|
The Libyans combine their surface force of small attack boats into a single task force for protection. I’m not convinced this is the right tactic but we’ll see if it works. Turn 2 to come later!