Old Gamers Never Die: or, Undersea War is Hell in ‘Cold Waters’ South China Sea Campaign

Campaign Summary in Cold Waters’ South China Sea 2000 scenario. (All game elements in this and other screenshots are (C) 2017 Killerfish Games.)

Hello, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Monday, February 22, 2021. It’s a mildly cool day outside; the temperature is 73˚F (23˚C) under partly sunny skies. With the wind blowing from the southeast at 14 MPH (22 KM/H) and humidity at 78%, the feels-like temperature is 72˚F (22˚C). The forecast for the rest of the day calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 82˚F (28˚C). Tonight, we can expect scattered rain showers and a low of 59˚F (15˚C).

As you know, I am currently attempting to complete my first campaign in Killerfish Games’ Cold Waters, a 2017 submarine warfare simulation that its Australian developers tout as the “spiritual heir” to the 1988 classic Red Storm Rising.  It puts players in command of a submarine in the American, Chinese, or Soviet navies during three “alternative history” instances of the Cold War-turns-hot.[1]

A PLAN anti-submarine helo searches for my sub in nasty weather over the East China Sea.
Geez, I was lucky the weather was bad. All that rain and high, rolling wave action made for poor passive sonar performance.

Currently, I’m almost 60 days into the War of the China Seas – or if you prefer, the Sino-American War of 2000. I have just returned to Navy Base Guam in the Marianas to repair and rearm my third sub, USS Jefferson City (SSN-759), a Flight 3 Los Angeles-class attack sub home-ported at Pearl Harbor but forward-deployed in Guam, which is closer to the war zone in the Western Pacific Ocean.

The attack submarine Seawolf (SSN 21) puts to sea in Narragansett Bay. U.S. Navy photo courtesy of General Dynamics.
USS New York City (SSN-686). U.S. Navy photo.

The course of the war is still on a knife’s edge; according to my official records, I have successfully completed 11 missions assigned by COMSUBPACFLT, but I‘ve failed to accomplish quite a few others. Thus, despite having sunk 26 surface warships, 15 submarines, and 12 merchant ships, the People’s Liberation Army Navy[2] (PLAN) has won quite a few battles. I’ve lost two subs so far – USS Seawolf (SSN-21) and USS New York City (SSN-696)[3] – and the Chinese, aided by their vassal state, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, have taken over the Philippines.

A Kilo-class diesel-electric sub goes “glub-glub-glub” in the Tsushima Strait.
USS Jefferson City glides past the wrecks of a Chinese replenishment ship and her two escorts before heading to the Tsushima Strait in the Sea of Japan.
Although I never saw this sub (or her two cohorts) on my tactical display, I guesstimated her location by noting the path of a torpedo she fired at me and shot an ADCAP torpedo along that bearing.
My most recent after-action report on 4 December 2000. Note that I have only two Mk,-48 ADCAP torpedoes left and that my boat’s propulsion system and dive planes are damaged.

And even though my last war patrol on USS Jefferson City was more successful than most, I almost ran out of torpedoes and suffered heavy damage from my last two battles with the PLAN. I think I was extremely lucky in the last engagement in the Tsushima Strait (between Japan and Korea) – my already damaged boat ran into a trio of stealthy diesel-electric hunter-killer subs and was nearly done in by two more torpedo hits. How I escaped from that I have no idea; I killed the HKs by firing my torpedoes along the bearings of their torpedoes – they never showed up on my sonar or tactical display – and was fortunate that my guesses regarding their position were correct.

The effects of my actions on the overall war.
This is my latest medal and its citation.
My latest patrol outcome summary. Note that I have yet to be tasked to go after “big” capital ships. China doesn’t have any carriers in 2000, but Russia does.

Fortunately, Jefferson City was able to escape despite heavy damage to her propulsion system and dive planes, and I received orders to return to Guam to rearm and repair my boat. I also earned another medal (the Legion of Merit) and a nice citation because I accomplished my last two assignments and brought my sub back to base.

And so, Dear Reader, this is where we stand in Cold Waters. I probably won’t play again until tomorrow morning; I have a screenplay to write, so I will be working on that after lunch.

 Well, that’s all the news I have to share right now, so I humbly take your leave, Dear Reader. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things!


[1] I have written several posts about Cold Waters and its settings, but if you’re just coming across my blog for the first time, the scenarios are: U.S. vs. USSR – 1984, U.S. vs. USSR – 1968, and U.S. vs. China – 2000. Each campaign starts with some basis in real history, then the writers change the timeline by adding something that didn’t happen – such as a Warsaw Pact invasion of West Germany during a time of great tension at the same time the real Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia took place in the summer of 1968.

[2] Such an unwieldy name! Why couldn’t Mao Ze Dong name his naval force the People’s Liberation Navy instead?

[3] The real USS New York City is no longer in commission; she was commissioned on March 3, 1979 and was in active service for 18 years, 1 month, and 27 days. After her decommissioning on April 30, 1997, New York City was stricken from the Navy Registry and is currently awaiting recycling. At least her fictitious destruction in battle was more honorable!  

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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