Hello, Dear Reader. It’s mid-afternoon here on Friday, December 11, 2020. In New Hometown, Florida, the temperature is 72˚F (22˚C) under sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the south-southeast at 6 MPH (9 KM/H) and humidity at 52%, the feels-like temperature is 72˚F (22˚C). Today the high temperature will be 72˚F (22˚C) and the skies will be partly sunny in some areas. Tonight, we can expect partly cloudy skies and a low of 56˚F (13˚C).
I’ve been up and about since 5 AM or so; I’m not sure why I woke up so early. The house was quiet, and everyone was asleep, including our miniature schnauzer, and I didn’t have to go to the bathroom, so… I don’t know at what time I went to sleep, so I assume my body simply decided I’d had enough sleep and an internal alarm clock went off.
In any case, this has been a “lazy Friday” for me; I am not working on any screenplays, and I set aside my World War II novel for the time being, so technically all of my days are lazy as far as writing goes. (Well, except for A Certain Point of View, Too…) I’ve lurked on Facebook and commented – acidly, I must say – in a couple of news-related posts. I’ve also played a couple of football-related games on “the Social Network,” but other than that, I’ve avoided checking on my friends’ timelines or hanging out in Facebook groups.
I did play my submarine simulation game Cold Waters for a while, though! I’ve always had a fascination with the U.S. Navy’s submarine force – a fascination that probably began when I watched Operation Pacific and Destination: Tokyo when Miami’s WCIX-TV (then an independent TV station) broadcast those old movies in the 1970s. As a result, I’ve owned and played quite a few submarine-themed games on almost every computer I’ve owned, including Silent Service, Silent Service II, Red Storm Rising, and Cold Waters.
Today I decided to create my own “sandbox” scenarios via Cold Waters’ Quick Mission option. This is an alternative to the “canned” or “scripted” Single Battles created by Killerfish Games’ programmers. Basically, what you do is create your own mission by choosing the setting (in time and geography), side (U.S. Navy, Soviet, or Communist Chinese), boatclass, and mix of adversaries (enemy subs, ships, and aircraft), and environmental conditions, including sea state, weather, and time of day.
I’ve been playing Cold Waters for five months, and one of my favorite Quick Mission setups involves intercepting enemy amphibious groups escorted by surface action groups centered on a Kiev tactical aviation cruiser or a Kirov-class nuclear-powered battlecruiser, plus a mix of destroyers and/or frigates.
When I first started playing Cold Waters, I created enemy task forces that weren’t so formidable that they could kill me as soon as they detected me on their sonars, but at the same time weren’t childishly easy to beat either. Now…well, I don’t create “sandbox” battles that are tough to beat as the professionally programmed battles in the game, but at least I include enemy anti-sub aircraft (either fixed-wing or rotary-wing) and – every so often – a sub or two.
Well, for some reason I decided to simulate a U.S. Navy interception of a Soviet invasion of Iceland. This meant pitting a Los Angeles-class (SSN-688) sub against a mix of troop transports, cargo ships, escort vessels, and capital ships, as well as a Soviet Naval Aviation IL-38 May, Russia’s answer to the Lockheed P-3C Orion ASW patrol plane.
I played this scenario three times. I tweaked the Soviet forces – sometimes I added the formidable Kirov, and sometimes I’d remove that ship class and substitute the Sverdlov-class gun-armed light cruiser in its place. I also changed the time of day and sea state just to add some variety and make the battles a bit more interesting. As a result, I won two Quick Missions but lost one (the Kirov detected me sooner than I had anticipated and fired a trio of ASW torpedoes from standoff range, two of which hit my boat and sent me to the bottom.)
In one battle, I sank two Soviet capital ships with a carefully-timed torpedo attack. I managed to take a cool screenshot of the Kiev and Sverdlov sinking, with a Soviet torpedo (which was searching for my boat but never came near) in the foreground. If a real U.S. Navy submariner had done that in a World War III situation, he’d have been awarded either the Navy Cross or the Medal of Honor.
All in all, I had a reasonably good time, all things considered.
 In U.S. Navy parlance, submarines are never referred to as ships. They’re called “boats.”