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3rd WW, battle for the Arctic (Cold war period)

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No, I didnt make a start on it. The only stuff Ive done for CMO was a scenario based on the 1973 naval standoff between 5th Eskadra and 6th Fleet. Unfortunately its so big its effectively unplayable, with the Russians launching an attack on the 6th fleet, Greece and the Italians at the same time (there is also a little Vulcan action out of Cyprus). Ill probably release it someday, but I suspect the dlc the developers did of the same potential conflict is a little more playable.

Ive got one Able Archer scenario underway for TOAW4, but I keep getting unexplained crashes, I might have to reduce the map a little to make it viable.

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7 hours ago, Perun said:

The 1973. naval scenario sounds interesting. There is one cia foia analyse of that posible conflict but it is highly censured. If someone found noncensured version it would be nice to read it.



Yeah I remember I was infuriated when I found it.

One claim I've seen of a study done on it claims the did that shot first would probably have won. After wargaming it myself I'm inclined to agree.

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What Can Threaten Russian Strategic Submarines?

We should stress that the views on the vulnerability of Russian strategic submarines have deep historical roots. At the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s, Soviet strategic submarines conducted military patrols in the open ocean and along the US coastline where the potential enemy possessed a clear advantage in the area of anti-submarine defense. Moreover, in order to increase the effectiveness of using submarines, they had to go to their regions of combat patrol at a speed in which their noise sharply rose and therefore strategic subs were more noticeable (see Appendix 1).

The situation changed at the end of the 1970s when sea-based missiles came to possess intercontinental range (see Table 2). Submarines achieved the possibility of attacking practically all targets on the US territory, while were located on patrol in the waters of the Barents, Kara and Okhotsk seas or in the Arctic. In these regions the enemy lost the possibility of achieving sea and air dominance. The strategic significance of the SOSUS system, which was expanded along the line of the Nordic cape - Bear Island, Greenland, Iceland, Faeroe Island, Great Britain and in the Pacific Ocean was lost since Soviet SSBNs no longer needed to pass through this line.(13)



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A submarine can't be simply destroyed since its location is constantly changing. It is practically impossible to use weapons working at a close radius on surface ships or aviation for a secret preventive attack on designated Russian strategic submarines if they are located on combat patrol in waters adjacent to Russian territory. All the same, it is true that for long-range weapons ensuring the necessary level of accuracy becomes a problem. Therefore, the only way to destroy Russian strategic submarines preemptively in a crisis situation is to organize long-term, continuous tracking over them by nuclear attack submarines (SSNs), which must still be concealed.(15)

Moreover, to exclude the possibility of using strategic weapons from Russian SSBNs, enemy SSNs also must be capable of guaranteeing the destruction of all of them without exception within a very short time after receiving the appropriate order.

How real is this threat? Do American SSNs possess the technical means to continuously track our strategic submarines in their combat patrol regions?

We tried to answer this question by assuming an ideal situation for potential enemies. Namely, Russian submarines took no countermeasures, and the enemy was not threatened by Russia's anti-submarine defensives (ASW). The enemy may fully use its passive acoustic apparatus and possess exhaustive information about the region's hydrology (see Appendix 2).

We note that the estimates on the maximum detection ranges given in Appendix 2 were too high. Nevertheless, even these estimates permit one to make conclusions which may have important significance when planning the future composition of Russia's strategic nuclear forces.

Table 3 gives the values for the probabilities of favorable weather conditions in which the world's most advanced SSN type, the "Los Angeles", can, in principal, detect Russian strategic submarines within a given distance (also see Figure A2.4a-b in Appendix 2). The information in the table corresponds to two extreme situations - favorable and poor conditions of sound propagation. Let's first consider favorable conditions for the enemy's situation (model A).



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Table 3. The probability of favorable weather conditions for detection within a given distance in the Barents Sea during the winter (models A and B - minimum and maximum losses due to sound propagation, respectively)

Submarine Type Distance
50km 30km 10 km
Model A
pr. 667 A (Yankee) .12 95 1
pr. 667 B (Delta I) .05 .54 1
pr. 667 BDR (Delta III) 0 .15 .95
pr. 667 BDRM (Delta IV) 0 .08 .45
pr. 971 (Akula) 0 0 .03
Model B
pr. 667 A (Yankee) .03 .15 1
pr. 667 B (Delta) 0 .05 .93
pr. 667 BDR (Delta III) 0 0 .55
pr. 971 (Akula) 0 0 0

Based on our estimates, a "Los Angeles" class SSN may detect a Delta IV at a distance of 30 km, only when it was calm, which in the Barents Sea in winter occurs not more than 8% of the time. At this distance the 667 BDR strategic sub (Delta III) can be found in less than 15% of the naturally occurring conditions. The Yankee SSBNs (which has been removed from service) can be detected in practically any weather condition. At the shortest distance of 10 km, the probability of registering the SSBNs 667 BDRM (Delta IV) is less than 45% and the 667 BDR (Delta III) less than 95%. If one takes into account that in an actual conditions, the external noise level with wind speeds of greater than 10-15 meters/second is correspondingly greater, as noted in Appendix 2, so the repeatability of favorable conditions for detecting third generation SSBNs at a distance of 10 km is considerably less. It is noted that a distance of 10 km is evidently a threshold at which it is still possible to follow a submarine without a large risk of colliding with it (this issue is discussed in greater detail in Appendix 2).



Edited by Perun
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Estimates for model B clearly illustrate that there are areas in shallow waters that, even in calm conditions, the maximum distance for detecting third generation SSBNs is considerably less than 10 km. In 50% of the natural conditions the distance for detecting modern strategic 667 BDRM and 667 BDR SSBNs is not more than 4-5 km. At this range, attempting prolonged trail inevitably will result in submarine collisions. Reliable technical means to prevent collisions do not exist if both submarines try to operate covertly.

Therefore, in agreement with our estimates, the current levels of technology do not allow a potential enemy to conduct continuous and prolonged tracking of Russian SSBNs even under ideal conditions.

We also add that, in practice, a number of factors arise which complicates even more the task of destroying SSBNs preemptively. Russian strategic submarines will use countermeasures such as evasion from pursuit, disengagement, and putting up false targets, and other tactical measures, by which their emitted noise will be less than shown in Table A2 (see Appendix 1). Russian SSBN may also actively fight, using its anti-submarine weaponry. It is impossible to ignore the fact that the enemy's SSN will be located in a hostile environment - superior ASW forces will be working against it.

Table 3 clearly illustrates the importance of constant control of noise levels. The necessity of maintaining submarine noise at a given level by measuring "aging" and wear of their mechanisms is also stressed. So if one assumes that the noise level of a 667 BDR (Delta III) SSBN, which was built in 1976, increased by 5 decibels, then the distance for detecting them in shallow water becomes the same as the 667 B (Delta I), i.e., by almost 1.5-2 times (see Appendix 1).

The next generation of SSBN promises to be even more covert than the present. We've inserted in Table 3 estimates of the distance for detecting the SSN of project 971 (Akula),(16) the noise level of which, according to experts, is 10 decibels lower than the 667 BDRM SSBN. At a distance of 10 km in shallow water such a submarine may be detected in not more than 3-5% of the natural conditions, and if the wind speed exceeds 12 m/s - it becomes "invisible" to the enemy.

A number of authors built their claims about the vulnerability of Russian strategic submarines only on the fact that our submarines are noisier than the Americans. This argument becomes complicated to ignore because specialist advancing it have themselves served on strategic submarines.(17)

However, as follows from our results, the question of whose submarines have a greater acoustic signature is less important if their noise levels are below a defined value. The maximum operational range of a submarine's sonar in this case is limited not by technology, as used to be the case, but by the natural noise of the ocean from which it is impossible to escape.



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How Many SSNs Are Needed for Constant Tracking of All Russian SSBNs?

Let us assume that the circumstances, which were stressed above, do not confuse a potential enemy and he tries to organize the constant covert tracking of Russian SSBNs. The question naturally arises: how many attack submarines does this require?

Since the detection distance does not exceed several tens of km even in ideal conditions, at least one enemy submarine should be assigned to each Russian SSBN. 



This site has many interesting data. Author is Eugene Miasnikov

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This is more relevant to the 90s that never happened than the actual Cold War or the current situation.

Nowadays the Russians have very few SSBNs compared to the Cold War. In the 70s and 80s, the Soviets had only a handful of discrete  SSBNs that could launch their missiles from bastion sited (6 Typhoons, 7 Delta IVs). while the Delta IIIs where not quiet enough to escape detection and the Yankee, Delta I and II needed to transit through the SOSUS barriers (which weren't, SOSUS are hydrophone arrays arranged to detect azimuts connected to shore stations through cables).

We now know the US and the UK maintained a constant guard to track Soviet SSBNs and SSNs and tracked them regularly, this, and intelligence gathering, being their main mission, and they were cued to Soviet sorties by multiple sources, from satellites to SIGINT (including cable tapping) so there was no reliance only on SOSUS.

It's it true that at the end of the Cold War, Soviet advances in silencing meant that the means of detection used until then (mainly passive detection of discrete frequencies) were becoming irrelevant, but that Soviets were just starting to build these designs, the bulk of their forces remaining vulnerable.

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12 hours ago, Perun said:

Do you have links for those sources, it would be interesting to read it

First and foremost, these:




(though Dan Conley's autobiography fits the definition of "the story of an hero told by someone that knows him well")

And, of course, Aaron Remick's sub briefs: https://www.youtube.com/c/SubBrief

Where he pretty much tells his experience tracking all kind of Soviet subs... 

For SOSUS and such: https://www.iusscaa.org/articles/brucerule/

And there's a thread here on Cold War at Sea: https://www.tanknet.org/index.php?/topic/43757-cold-war-at-sea/#comment-1409377

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Iain Ballantine wrote a book called Hunter Killers that I thought was pretty good too.

There was a book Ive got somewhere about maritime deconfliction at sea agreements with the USSR, Ill give you the name if I cand find it. Admiral Zumwalt's 'On Watch' was well worth a read as well.

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16 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Iain Ballantine wrote a book called Hunter Killers that I thought was pretty good too.

There was a book Ive got somewhere about maritime deconfliction at sea agreements with the USSR, Ill give you the name if I cand find it. Admiral Zumwalt's 'On Watch' was well worth a read as well.

Hunter Killers is a watered down version of the Silent Deep and Cold War Command, I didn't lean anything new there.

Also, "The Third Battle": https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA421957.pdf

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