By Rob Morgan
Those of us who are naval wargamers may well have been dusting off our Cold War fleets in recent months. I have and here’s an example: my 1/1200th scale Soviet Navy Slava, which hasn’t seen the light of day for well over a decade (the paint job shows this- apologies! – and for the quality of the photo).
This powerful cruiser became Moskva (Moscow) after the collapse of the USSR, and was, until recently. the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. It’s sinking by two shore-based anti-ship missiles developed from the Russian KH-35 Cruise Missile, means it is the first heavy warship unit to be sunk in action anywhere in the world since 1982. The Argentine General Belgrano was the elderly cruiser sunk by a Royal Navy nuclear submarine then. Belgrano, as most naval wargamers know, was a survivor of Pearl Harbor, where she was present as USS Phoenix, a Brooklyn-class light cruiser, which entered service back in 1938.
Moskva, a very different warship, was armed with 16 Vulkan anti-ship missiles, 130mm dual-purpose guns, RBU-6000 anti-sub rockets, an array of surface-to-air missiles, torpedoes, a range of close-in weapons, and helicopters. Powerful indeed and, without doubt, until sunk, the most powerful naval unit in the Black Sea and relatively modern. She became the first flagship to be lost in action (arguably) since the Yamato in the Pacific War.
This certainly gives the naval wargamer some thoughts to ponder on.