Hi, Dear Reader.
It’s early afternoon here in my corner of west-central Florida (more west than central, actually) on Saturday, October 2, 2021. It’s a hot autumn day; the current temperature is 89˚F (32˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 48% and the wind blowing from the east-southeast at 10 MPH (17 KM/H), the heat index is 93˚F (34˚C). The forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 90˚F (32˚C). Tonight we can expect partly cloudy skies and a low of 71˚F (21˚C). The Air Quality Index (AQI) is 37 of Good.
Yesterday was an annoyingly tiring day; I got up at 3:30 AM and, try as I might, I never managed to fall asleep again. It was a miracle that I was able to write yesterday’s blog post; I was sleepy and foggy-brained, and just doing the galleries with the book covers to illustrate my “TBR pile” took way more energy and time than I would have liked.
I ended up falling asleep sometime before nine last night as I tried to watch my 4K copy of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I woke up once – at midnight – and managed to eat two slices of Papa John’s pizza, then went back (blessedly) to sleep. I was so exhausted from my long – and mostly unproductive – day that I managed to sleep until 9 AM today!
Since today is Saturday, I played a Quick Mission in Cold Waters, the nuclear submarine simulator I have been playing on and off since July of last year.
If you’ve read my Old Gamers Never Die series of posts about this game, you know that Quick Missions are “sandbox” missions where you, the player, can create your own missions by picking the setting (in time and geography), time of day, weather conditions, water conditions, and – most important – the mix of enemy forces arrayed against your submarine. The game randomizes the exact number of enemy subs, surface warships, and other vessels to add realism and some mystery to the mission, so there’s always an element of chance even though you’re creating the mission.
I won’t go too much into detail about my Quick Mission; suffice it to say that I created an “attack on a heavily escorted Soviet amphibious group in the North Sea” engagement. In total, my Los Angeles-class fast-attack boat went up against a 15-ship landing force escorted by, among other ships, three Kiev-class tactical aviation cruisers, a Moskva-class helicopter carrier, a Sverdlov-class gun-armed light cruiser, and a mix of Kanin and Kashin-class destroyers.
I could have added Soviet subs and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft, but I did not. Yeah, I know. I didn’t go out of my way to create a realistic mission (as no Soviet admiral worth his weight in brass would have omitted sub and air support from such a surface action group), but I didn’t want to make it a suicide mission for my boat. I am, after all, still a bit foggy-minded from my long Friday, so…no. 15 ships against one sub is already daunting odds, even if some of those vessels can only take evasive action and can’t fire back at you.
It took me an hour to complete the Quick Mission, even though late in the game I resorted to using the Accelerated Time function. In the end, I sank all 15 ships, even though the Soviets shot down three of my eight UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and evaded one of my wire-guided torpedoes. The game, which was created in 2017 by Australian-based Killerfish Games, depicts weapons effects fairly realistically, so quite often Soviet ships are able to shoot down your missiles with their surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) or close-in weapons systems (CIWS).
Interestingly, today I saw a sight I rarely see in this game: a Sverdlov-class cruiser was hit by a Harpoon and survived – at least for a while. Usually, these early Cold War era warships (they were built in the mid-1950s) can take one Harpoon hit and survive. The game simulates damage control efforts, and sometimes an enemy capital ship’s simulated crew can put out a fire and repair damage from one of your hits.
Today, though, I watched the Sverdlov attempt to sail toward me after being set ablaze amidships by a Harpoon hit. The weather was bad – it was raining, and the waves were choppy – but that Sverdlov was intent on finding me. (What she was going to kill me with, I have no clue, since I was not on the surface.)
So, there was Sverdlov, sailing along at 26 knots, a fire blazing in her center when all of a sudden, BOOM. She exploded and sank.
Another rarity: I managed to get a screenshot of a periscope’s-eye-view of a Soviet Kiev-class carrier burning and sinking. So. Freaking. Cool.
Anyway, today is Saturday and I still feel a bit tired, so I am just going to post this and go chill out. Maybe I’ll read for a bit, or maybe I’ll try to watch Star Trek III again.
I hope your weekend is a good one, Dear Reader. Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.