Sunday, October 19, 2014

Harpoon 87 in the South Atlantic

We had a naval day at the club and was well attended with four players and three games going on. Thank you all for playing.

It was a sad day for submarine sailors. I ran two different submarine simulations with trying result for the submarine captains. The players did well in both cases with situations not their own entire making.

The first was Sink the Belgrano from the Falklands. In this one Captain Tony was trying to get past the destroyer escorts to go after the ARA Belgrano. Captain Chal ran an effective interference. So much so that his destroyer was sunk after firing off two ASW torpedoes at the HMS Conqueror. The lose of the ARA Hipolito Bouchard allowed the Belgrano to leave with Captain Mark covering her. The Conqueror would eventually catch the retreating ships but not before aircraft would arrive.

The Argentinians had issues with their sonar with at one point a ghostly image appeared near were they that the submarine was located. This caused the Argentines to be suspect of the real location of the submarine.

This battle can be found to be a success for both sides as Argentinian losses were smaller than historical and I am certain after this event that the Belgrano was going to stay in port. Which was what the Royal Navy was trying to do.

The second was a semi historical scenario with the ARA Salta was trying to get past two anti-aircraft escorts working with two Sea Kings. Captain Mark plan was to go deep and pass the patrols. Unfortunately a Sea King drops its dipping sonar less than a half a nautical mile away.

Ping, PIng, PINg, PING, PING! found you. The Salta was quickly found and a second Sea King dropped two Mk 46 torpedoes on her and it was over in less than 60 seconds.

I would like to run this again (Tony) with a longer approach. I am still uncertain that the ARA Salta can get through, but a lucky shot could cause a British destroyer to limp back to the repair facilities at Ascension Island. A big success for Argentina.

How well does a rule set that is 27 years old hold up? I have to say rather well, in my opinion. I may have to rewrite the play aid but I still prefer Harpoon 87 to Shipwreck or the current version of Harpoon. Your results may very.


  1. Nice report. Is Harpoon 87 complete enough to play, or do you have to have the data annex? Besides being mind-boggling, you have to have all of these additional annexes and such to play Harpoon 4.

  2. The data annex that comes with the box set is enough. The old South Atlantic War (second version) from the same time helps. I will be pushing the system when I move from the South Atlantic into the Black Sea after the new year.

  3. I am in awe of anyone who can play Harpoon (the real one, not the computer game). Very interesting that it has held up so well.

  4. Michael, I have been a fan of the game since I discovered it in the 80s. I treat it like kriegspeil (sorry for the spelling) allowing the players to command their ships and not worry about how a system works.

    It was fun when the Argentines could not get a sonar contact, but when the HMS Conqueror raised its scope the radar got it right away. Confusion reigned.