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Old 01-22-2010, 12:48 AM
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Default The Last Submarine Questions

DeaconR 11-21-2005, 10:23 AM For those who are playing or have played "The Last Submarine" I was hoping to discuss some ideas of mine.


First of all, I think consensus is that Milgov would have deployed any troops returning to the USA and remaining in service as follows:

1. To establish control of line of supply for fuel from Oklahoma to both the Mississippi Valley and to Colorado.

2. To shore up failing garrisons that support those areas such as those in Louisiana and the southern tips of Illinois and Indiana.

3. To relieve some national guard or reserve units badly needed to maintain order in their home states.


This generally leaves the Atlantic States and New England unaided and greatly supports the description of how the 43rd MP Brigade has abandoned its duties to a large extent, and how the 1st US Army and XII Corps end up collapsing and vanishing.


My view of it is that things are very bleak indeed; you have Rhode Island's government shrinking down to a small area around Providence, Pawtucket and areas immediately surrounding, and that state government basically becoming isolationist. You have a former union lawyer called Carlucci creating his United Brotherhood of Fishermen and a dictatorship that includes Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and is expanding into other areas. You have Boston overwhelmed by gangs, and the MPs basically striving more for survival than for the rebirth of society.


Add to this the Challenge article "Rifle River" and you have a secretive US Coast Guard at Newport forced to hide from the UBF to some extent, a large marauder cannibal band sweeping through southern New England looking for means to make more weapons.


And then you have this submarine.


I don't intend to run "Mediterranean Cruise" since I've decided that there will be no return to Europe in my campaign. So the submarine is something I've mentioned as a rumor but my players have put it on the backburner for now as something to definitely pursue once they have restored some order to Long Island and elements of New York City. (if possible)


But I'm sort of bouncing ideas around and I am curious about what people think of this:


1. That if the remaining military and state enclaves with any legal basis or at least sense of altruism do not band together New England and New York are basically going to collapse into anarchy and a few harsh dictatorships that owe little or no allegiance to the nation.


2. That I have identified the following main elements either vying for control or trying to establish local order:

The UBF

The Gloucestermen

The 78th Infantry Division and Cape May Naval Air Station

The Newport US Coast Guard

The Allegheny Warlords (though in my game deprived of leadership)

The Allegheny Survivalists and Partisans (not all linked together save in extremis)

The Gang of the Gun (cannibal marauder warlords in s. New England)

New American enclaves in the Adirondacks, in West Virginia and in northern Maine.

The dwindling Civgov enclave in s. Maryland

The Isolationists of Rhode Island


3. While Mediterranean Cruise is an interesting adventure it might be more interesting to see how it could be used to help in efforts to restore order.


4. I'm definitely going to have the Milgov and Civgov enclaves start to work together. My reasoning is that they are essentially cut off. The 228th Signal Brigade was normally intended to leave, but I find the idea of an isolated group of Americans and their allies working towards restoring the nation in what has been written off as a sea of desolation and anarchy a fascinating story possibility. It suggests that certain leaders including the players have the character to not give up. Also frankly my players find the Civgov/Milgov thing (in character) irritating and as something that is getting in the way of doing their jobs properly.


5. I'm trying to figure out some greater details about the forces employed by Carlucci and the Isolationists and others. If anyone has any cool ideas they've used I'd be glad to know.

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Targan 11-22-2005, 01:57 AM According to globalsecurity.org -


SSNs 688-718 - Orginal Los Angeles class

SSNs 719-750 - Starting with SSN 719 and beyond the last 31 hulls of the class have 12 vertical launch tubes for the Tomahawk cruise missile, along with an upgraded reactor core which does not require refueling.

SSNs 751-773 - The final 23 hulls [SSN 751 and later] referred to as "688I" (for improved), are quieter, incorporate an advanced BSY-1 sonar suite combat system and the ability to lay mines from their torpedo tubes. They are configured for under-ice operations in that their forward diving planes have been moved from the sail structure to the bow and the sail has been strengthened for breaking through ice.


I am not sure, but from memory the USS City of Corpus Christi in the module is fitted with the vertical launch tubes but in real life is not. Also the reactor in the RL Corpus Christi is of the older type that requires more frequent refueling. In my campaign I am going to change the name of the sub, to make it one of those produced from 719 onwards, to have the vertical launch tubes and the newer type of reactor.

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Webstral 11-22-2005, 06:22 AM I haven't played "The Last Submarine" yet, but I have spent a good deal of time studying it and drawing up supporting materials. I grew up in eastern Massachusetts.


I wasn't aware of the Challenge article. Does anyone have it as a .pdf? I placed a substantial Coast Guard command in Portsmouth, NH. There's a significant base in Portsmouth. I envisioned the survivors of a major disaster on Cape Cod rallying at Portsmouth. I have explained away the problem of the obvious confrontation between the Coast Guard on Cape Cod (the CG has a pivotal base on the Cape, and this must be addressed for the UBF to get anywhere) as best I can by having the Coast Guard leadership in Portsmouth turn a semi-blind eye to the issue of the UBF. I haven't worked out the details yet, but suffice to say that the CG in Portsmouth opts for a tacit quid pro quo with the UBF. The Coast Guard turns its efforts towards combating piracy along the Maine coast, controlling the hinterland around Portsmouth, and consolidating control over the islands along the coast of Maine as a base of power for future operations further inland. There is some discontent among the CG at Portsmouth that they are allowing Carlucci and his crew such a free hand in southeastern New England. However, the leadership has decided it's just not worth the effort to go after a fairly well-armed and well-disciplined force that is doing essentially what the Coast Guard would have to do for itself were the Coast Guard to win a war with the UBF.


I agree with your assessment, Deacon, that the Northeast does not play a significant part in the plans of either Milgov or Civgov. How could it? Break down the civilization, and you're left with nothing. Well, there are timber and fish. Not much else. Joel Garreau writes in The Nine Nations of North America that if the continent had been settled west-to-east instead of east-to-west, New England would be a sparsely populated backwater with no economic importance. I think he's right. New England won't get any troops from Operation Omega, unless they get diverted en route (which would an interesting story in and of itself).


In my campaign, the UBF Marines are a fairly high-quality force that has some of the same advantages I assign to the 111th MI Brigade in southeastern Arizona. Through the UBF, the Marines have a fairly secure rear area. Firepower and training count for a lot in maritime operations. A band of brigands operating on land can afford to have a fairly low level of skills vis-a-vis the same group operating at sea. Sorry to say, my brothers in the Army. I'm not trying to take away anything from the value of being a highly skilled operator in the land fight. But operating watercraft--especially sailing vessels--requires a level of skill not easily acquired by the uninitiated. This is where the UBF has a distinct advantage over local pirates and wannabes.


As the Marines have a fairly secure rear area and a reliable source of food, they have the luxury of actually training their people. This is huge. Formalized training makes all the difference in battle--especially when some of the combatants are new to organized fighting. "The Last Submarine" credits the UBF Marines with achieving a 12-to-1 exchange rate with their opponents. This is unusual in a light infantry fight in an urban environment, which describes many of the fights the Marines are going to have ashore in southeastern New England. The key to accomplishing this lies in the NCOs, plain and simple. We know the UBF Marines are organized along formal military lines. I haven't worked out any of the details yet, but I'm content for the moment to assume a TO&E quite similar to modern the US Army or USMC. I'm postulating that the success of the UBF Marines comes from a fairly high early survival rate among the Marines. Perhaps a goodly number of them were police, National Guard, former Coast Guard, or other law enforcement. At any rate, a good rate of early survival leaves a solid experience base upon which to build subsequent training and effective small units. (You guys will hear something VERY similar when I talk about why Fort Huachuca and the 111th is able to survive from 1997 onward)


The UBF Marines have something similar to every successful organization. They have high esprit de corps, elan, and a sense that they are doing something worth doing. If many of the Marines are in fact former law enforcement or former military, they probably arrived at the Marines' doorstep after tragedy. The organization that offers them a home and which seems to be fighting the good fight will earn great loyalty and dedication. This loyalty, pride, and esprit de corps almost certainly is driven relentlessly into all new Marines in the UBF boot camp. It wouldn't surprise me if every cycle of UBF Marine boot camp has some fatalities.


UBF Marine drill sergeant: "We don't have time for your weak-*** [expletive deleted]. You want to be weak? Go home and pick [expletive deleted] cranberries!"


The presence of numbers of former law enforcement, Coast Guard, and other military in the UBF Marines may help explain the stand-offishness of the Coast Guard in Portsmouth. Yeah, they aren't part of the federal government anymore. But they are still former brothers-in-arms doing what amounts to the same job, given the current circumstances. Everyone has marauders and pirates to fight, people to feed, equipment to maintain, and supplies to obtain. Squabbling over the niceties of who gives the orders to kill the local pirates and marauders is hardly a worthwhile pursuit.


So the UBF Marines get to spend much more time training than their counterparts in various militias and marauder bands. Their boat handlers get decent training and then get to practice under the tutelage of more senior boat handlers. By 2000, it's possible to see the UBF Marines being among the most proficient small boat handlers in the region, with the possible exception of the Coast Guard. I believe "The Last Submarine" mentions small boats having machine guns. It's possible some of them have grenade launchers or even light mortars. If anyone who actually knows how to use these weapons find their way into the UBF Marines, the Marines will have a really significant advantage anywhere their boats can reach--including upriver.


I haven't done a great deal of thinking about their tactics, but I could see the Marines operating much the same way as mechanized infantry or motorized infantry. The dismounts operate in close coordination of the gunboats wherever possible. Naturally, there will be some light infantry operations inland where gunboat support isn't possible; or surprise-dependent operations where even the sighting of a UBF gunboat would tip off the defenders. In either case, the Marines must be able to operate like any other light infantry outfit. I'm going to guess that they will increase squad size compared to current US Army TO&E because they will need the extra bodies in lieu of firepower. Like the USMC, the Marines will place a high degree of emphasis on rifle marksmanship, discipline, and hand-to-hand fighting skills. All this in addition to the boating skills, although I'm thinking that the UBF Marines may quickly separate out skills into infantry and boat handling specialties. Obviously, the leadership will want everyone to have some skills in both areas.


In this, the UBF Marines will be very much like the USCG at Portsmouth. The goals and modus operendi will be virtually the same. Since they are attempting to control adjacent areas, it's possible to see the two forces acting in somewhat tense and unspoken cooperation. "Don't let down your guard, but don't open fire unless provoked," might be the Rules of Engagement for both forces regarding the other.


That's about it for now. I'll be glad to hear what everyone else has to say.


Webstral

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DeaconR 11-22-2005, 12:45 PM I am not sure, but from memory the USS City of Corpus Christi in the module is fitted with the vertical launch tubes but in real life is not. Also the reactor in the RL Corpus Christi is of the older type that requires more frequent refueling. In my campaign I am going to change the name of the sub, to make it one of those produced from 719 onwards, to have the vertical launch tubes and the newer type of reactor.


Just out of curiousity could you post the info on the sub you are really going to use? I was going to to a similar thing but I had no concrete ideas and I'd appreciate it.


Webstral, your assessment is quite good and I actually had to think about it a while before thinking how to respond.


The module seems to paint Carlucci in a negative light vis a vis how the players will see him. However I think that you are correct in that he is trying to maintain law and order and commerce, and the paranoia thing is something that the average person would not be aware of. Furthermore there is every indication that he is paranoid about outsiders mostly due to finding a DIA mole in his organization. I wondered if an expansion on his character would include that he might have had threats and other difficulties due to being a union lawyer.


To my way of thinking if I add to what you said about the UBF Marines Carlucci and his military commander Captain Holmes must be seen as the only leaders in the area truly trying to do something useful in the wake of disaster.


I'm also wondering about the possibility of Carlucci using the submarine as a power center rather than as a vessel.

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shrike6 11-22-2005, 03:05 PM "Last Submarine" has no details about the Corpus Christi but "Mediterranean Cruise" does. "Med" has no mention of VLS tubes on Corpus Christi but if you want to use a different sub that's up to you.


Armament: When fully equipped, the Corpus Christi carries 22 Mk 48 torpedoes and six harpoon antiship missiles. Presently, however, the Corpus Christi carries only six mk 48 torpedoes.

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DeaconR 11-23-2005, 07:51 AM Regarding some of the military forces in the area:


The UBF seems to have more than adequate time to build up a well trained force for both the marines and their navy, since apparently they start seriously recruiting in '98. Furthermore, they supposedly have a strong ratio of veterans in any encounter your players might have with them. They seem to have regular army grade equipment at least for light infantry. There is no mention of numbers. On that basis here is an idea I have for what kind of numbers they might have.

UBF Marines

Combat strength: 2400 (divided into 2 infantry battalions, 1 artillery company, 1 combat engineer company, 1 recon and intelligence company)

Vehicles: I would suggest that they might have about 6 jeeplike vehicles and 4 2 1/2 ton type trucks per battalion, with perhaps 12 other civilian vehicles. I would say that the engineers are probably using civilian construction vehicles that have been given some extra armor, while the artillery would have a jeep for the command and 2 1/2 trucks or delivery vehicles converted for military use to transport their equipment.

Weapons: I believe the module generally states that they have military grade equipment so standard arms would be M16, M60, M249, 81mm Mortar.


I gave the reasonably large number above because of the range they supposedly have with permanent garrisons and patrols as well as having waterborne patrols.


For the Coastal Patrol Force of the UBF there are no numbers given for ships, but I would suggest that as per a description of one of their campaigns that they largely have such ships as harbour tugs, buoy tenders, salvage ships, sailing schooners and converted yachts, and I would suggest that they have one ferry used rarely and only for major transport operations. For numbers I would think that they have about 1,000.


Regarding the UBF forces in general I think that they would not recruit women for the marines but that they might for the Coastal Patrol Force. The reason I state this is that the word 'men' is used frequently in the text when referring to the UBF Marines.


BTW to add to something else you said, Webstral, I think that while the text suggests the UBF taking over government installations, I think that I will agree with your views on how some police or military personnel would see them, and add that to the fact that Carlucci does declare for Civgov, in effect lending him further legitimacy. At least SOMEONE is doing something, would be the view that I think many would have.


In contrast to the UBF forces my impression is that there are a lot of novices in the Isolationist ranks. From the sounds of it their main focus has been on survival against desperate odds, and so I think that likely they have a few veterans who are mostly police or ex military and that the rest are volunteers who they either have no time or resources to train or who keep taking losses before they can do so.

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Targan 11-24-2005, 12:17 AM The UBF seems to me to be one of the more feasible and logical post-war organised groups invented by the writers of T:2000, and it has a number of inherent advantages which make its ongoing success quite believable. In addition, the nature of the UBF lends itself to declaring for CivGov. I don't have the Last Submarine module at hand (here at work!) but I would not be surprised if the UBF is a pre-war organisation, although pearhaps much less influential back then. In any case, it is clearly the bastard child of a bunch of affiliated and allied union and labour organisations, and therefore would actually have some legitimacy in a world less devastated than T:2000.


MilGov is operating strictly under the provisions of martial law, and the Military Uniform Code of Justice. It is natural that MilGov would seek to nationalise/appropriate any materials deemed necessary for the war effort, and press into service and deploy as it sees necessary any personnel deemed to have critical skills, knowledge and training. Non-military organised groups would be looked upon with suspicion by MilGov, especially unions and labour organisations. MilGov is mostly concerned about identifying and locating domestic and foreign military and paramilitary threats within CONUS and destroying them, then moving towards building a normal society again.


CivGov is operating under the ethos that while things are not running like they used to at the moment in most places, they will again in the future, and hopefully soon. CivGov would be less heavy handed when it comes to press-ganging civilians, and more prepared to negotiate to secure privately owned materials and infrastructure. And CivGov would be far more tolerant of non-military organisation such as private companies, unions and labour organisations. The latter two cases in particular would usually be acceptible to CivGov, because they are inherently democratic institutions. If the UBF existed before the war, CivGov probably recognises their ongoing legitimacy.


Unions and labour organisations are often (usually?) socialist in their outlook, and while they can be elitist in practice they are usually egalitarian in principal. Being an amalgamation of unions representing coastal and local industries, the UBF would have a core membership with access to a broad range of highly usable and practical skills. Of course the UBF Marines are highly capable, many of their leaders and NCOs are either ex-Police/Coast Guard/Armed Forces veterans or union organisers, and many of their early recruits would be longshoremen, fishermen of various persuasions, merchant seamen, tugboat/pilot vessel crewmen, and tradesmen associated with shipbuilding and maintenance or salvage. A commercial fisherman would make a great boarding party member, and most dock workers I have met are tough as nails!


Unions have a tradition of looking after retired and disabled members and the families of deceased members. And as a local government, the UBF would be in a strong position to be able to actually feed its people, from the bounty of the sea, and maintain both transport links and communications, albeit on a reduced scale. As a government, the UBF would enjoy the gratitude of its people for maintaining civilisation where so many civil adminsitrations have failed, would have the ongoing loyalty of pre-war members and supporters, and would have levels of trust from the populace for the government, and trust between community members, that has come from decades of familiarity and working together to secure better conditions for working people.

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DeaconR 11-25-2005, 08:37 AM Targan I think you have some good ideas here about the basis for Carlucci's organization and strength. Thanks for writing them down.

What you said about the unions and about milgov vs. civgov in tolerating certain organizations makes a certain degree of sense, and I will probably apply them as I flesh out stuff for my players.


One thing concerning me is this: if Carlucci's UBF support Civgov, how is that going to affect the course of the adventure? I'm wondering if perhaps I should not have him have access to the sub since my players work for Civgov. Or perhaps might it be that Carlucci disagrees with whatever use Civgov might want to put it to?

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