‘Cold Waters’ Campaign Update: The War Heats Up in the South China Sea as USS Hampton Enters Fray

COMSUBPAC seems pleased after our first after-action report of 6 January 2001. (All game design and graphics element in this and other screenshots are (C) 2017 Killerfish Games.)

Hello again, Dear Reader, and welcome to another post in A Certain Point of View, Too. It’s late morning here in New Hometown, Florida on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. The current temperature is 71˚F (23˚C) under partly sunny skies; with the wind blowing from the east-southeast at 4 MPH (6 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 69˚F (23˚C). Today we can expect partly sunny skies and a high of 79˚F (26˚C). Tonight, the forecast calls for clear skies and a low of 50˚F (10˚C).

This is how our neighborhood looks in the morning. (Photo by the author)

As is my custom since I moved here from Miami nearly five years ago – the anniversary isn’t till April 9 or so – I woke up early in the morning. I am running only on a single large cup of café con leche, so when I resumed my South China Sea 2000 campaign on Cold Waters, I decided to limit my gaming to one battle – thankfully, when you’re in Campaign mode you can hit Save and quit the game after a battle – because right now:

  • I’m not at my best – either as a gamer or a writer – when I’m tired, I’m hungry, or I have a headache, and I have one now
  • The next assignment from COMSUBPAC[1] is going to be a difficult battle; USS Hampton is to intercept a pack of Russian Navy submarines before it reaches a PLAN[2] base in Scarborough Shoals
Look at that gorgeous West Pacific Ocean vista. And…no surface escorts or helicopters to worry about, either.

In my first combat engagement with Chinese forces as commanding officer of USS Hampton – my fourth command in this war, which is still ongoing in early 2001 – I had a relatively easy mission: intercept a convoy of cargo vessels before it reached Quingdao, a port on the East China Sea coast of the People’s Republic of China. Hampton detected five targets – two cargo vessels and three subs, but no surface warships (Maybe Beijing is running out of surface combatants?) – near the Japanese island of Okinawa.

The Chinese container ship seen shortly before being hit by a torpedo.

I can’t say that it was a “milk run” – one of the Chinese subs managed to fire a three torpedo salvo at Hampton before a Mark-48 ADCAP sent her to the bottom – but it was a relatively easy mission. I sank one freighter – by chance, it was the one COMSUBPAC considered to be the main objective – with one torpedo at the relatively close range of 7,000 yards. The second one was further away, and although it was within torpedo range, I decided to fire a UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile at her instead. There weren’t any surface ships about, and the convoy lacked air cover, so I used a missile instead.

At around the same time I was “harpooning” the freighter, I fired at the subs before they could kill me. One, a Kilo-class diesel-electric sub, never even tried to counterattack. Neither did a Romeo-class boat. The third boat, as I mentioned earlier, did fire a three-torpedo spread blindly, but Hampton had fired a Mark-48 first, and our torpedo killed the Chinese sub (they were all diesel-electric SSKs) and the three torps had no one to guide them via control wires. I’m not a naval officer in real life, but I have books about modern naval combat, and I’ve learned some of the basic concepts of late 20th Century submarine warfare from them. Knowing how homing torpedoes work – and how to evade them – helps when playing Cold Waters.

As for the rest of my day, I plan to take more eye-rest breaks, eat lunch, shave, and take some time off to read or watch TV before tackling the new screenplay.

So,  on that note, Dear Reader, I’ll sign off here.   As always, I wish you well, so stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.

[1] Commander, Submarine Force, Pacific. As in the real U.S. Navy, Cold Waters uses acronyms and “military style” writing in its simulation’s “comms.”  

[2] People’s Liberation Army Navy. China has a strange nomenclature for its armed forces.

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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