Chapter 149: Book 6 Chapter 2-5 The Great East Asian War!: The Great Battle of the South Sea
December 15, 2020, 04:45, Skies over the ocean 45 km southeast of Jeju Island (the Seongjong the Great Destroyer)
“Target 1, intercepted successfully! Target 2, intercepted successfully! Targets 3 to 6, currently 45 kilometers away from us. One hundred sixty-five seconds to hit this ship.”
The report from the Interception Radar Operator blared throughout the Combat Command Room.
“Transforming to a close defense system.”
The tactic screen linked to data coming from the Combat Command Room was clearly showing four Chinese subsonic anti-ship missiles, YJ-82 (C-802), flying toward the vessel.
A few seconds later, one out of the four marks representing Chinese anti-ship missiles disappeared from the tactic screen.
“Ah! KD-4 Yeongjo the Great successfully intercepted one missile! One missile intercepted.”
The Yeongjo the Great destroyer (DDG-1006) that belonged to the Maritime Task Flotilla 7, stationed 22 km southeast, successfully intercepted one anti-ship missile that was flying toward the ship. A big cheer erupted at the Combat Command Room and the bridge upon hearing the report. But the cheering soon subsided because there were still three more anti-ship missiles flying in their direction.
“Eighty-three seconds to landing.”
Just then, it suddenly occurred to General Yoon Kyung-jin, the Commander of the ship, that he wished at least short-range missiles would have been upgraded to the 32-round Shield-M that was mounted on the Hocula destroyer. According to the original plan, the Sejong-class destroyer was supposed to be upgraded with new anti-aircraft missiles and short-range missiles beginning in 2021.
“Forty seconds to landing! Secure the RAM range three seconds later.”
The three anti-ship missiles were flying toward the ship, skimming over the ocean while maintaining a constant speed of Mach 0.8.
“The first round of three RIM-116 RAM short-range missiles ready to fire.”
Three missiles were fired along with an explosive noise from the RIM-116 RAM (block 2) 21-round launcher that was installed right below the bridge of the Seongjong the Great Destroyer (DDG-997).
WHIZ! WHIZ! WHIZ!
After reaching a certain altitude, the three YJ-82 (C-802) anti-ship missiles started descending toward the set targets, as three short-range missiles were flying up from the sea to intercept them.
“Target 4 successfully intercepted! Target 5 has failed. Target 6 . . . ah . . . failed to intercept.”
The air quickly froze at the Combat Command Room and the bridge upon hearing of the failed interception report.
“Twenty-three seconds to landing. Activating the second round RAM interception and phalanx.”
Even in such an urgent situation, the Interception Radar Operator didn’t lose his composure and kept on reporting the situation.
WHIZ! WHIZ! WHIZ!
Once again, two RIM-116 RAM (block 2) short-range missiles flew out, creating white smoky trajectories in the air.
“Target 5 successfully intercepted! Oh, no! Target 6 interception has failed.”
The YJ-82 (C-802) anti-ship missile, which was assigned as target 6, survived the interception by the RAM missiles and bounced off the ocean surface before quickly raising the altitude and shooting up toward the sky.
“Starting target 6 pop-up.”
An explosion occurred 5 km above the Seongjong the Great destroyer (DDG-997), and one missile soared into the sky, leaving the debris of the missile scattered everywhere behind. In response, the gun barrel of the last close defense system, CIWS 20 mm Phalanx, aimed at the missile that would be automatically intercepted, and it sprayed sparks into the dark sky as it kept firing interceptor missiles toward the target. It was like drawing white lines on a piece of black paper.
“Twelve seconds until landing. Eleven seconds. Ten seconds.”
The Radar Operator reported, almost choking up, probably because he thought this was the last chance.
“Interception a success! CIWS has successfully intercepted.”
The Radar Operator cried out, hurrahing by raising his two hands up, and the rest of the crew — who were holding their breath as they observed the situation — also raised their hands all at once and exclaimed.
“Phew, that was nerve-racking to watch.”
It was Colonel Yoon Kyung-jin, Captain of the Seongjong the Great destroyer (DDG-997), who was more nervous than anybody while observing the situation. It was because he had issued an order that had the fate of this vessel as well as the lives of the crew at stake—all for the sake of saving a few anti-aircraft missiles. Letting out a sigh of relief, Colonel Yoon Kyung-jin spoke while looking at the two admirals standing next to him.
“I’m sorry. My order could have—”
“Oh, come on. You must have been nervous. That’s all right. You did what you had to do in this situation. It was pretty risky under the current circumstances, but I think it was a proper order. Hahaha.”
Admiral Lee Ki-hyung, Commander of Naval Operations, tapped the Captain’s shoulder once and said with a smile. Admiral Park Su-il, Commander of the First Fleet, also chimed in.
“You can say that again. I thought you had a heart of iron, but now I see I was wrong. Don’t you agree, Admiral? Hahaha.”
December 15, 2020, 04:50, Coast 40 km southwest of Jeju Island (the First Fleet)
Finally, Japan’s maritime self-defense forces revealed their true intention by launching a preemptive strike with anti-ship missiles. The ship-to-ship missiles were fired from four destroyers that belonged to the Escort Division 6 under the Escort Flotilla 2 as well as four destroyers that belonged to the Escort Division 13 under the JMSDF Sasebo District, which were state-of-the-art vessels developed beginning in 2016 and inherited the numbers and names from retired vessels.
“Ship-to-ship missiles are fired from the Japanese Escort Division 6. A total of 32 missiles! Oh, jeez. Additional 32 ship-to-ship missiles are fired from the Escort Division 13 in the rear as well. That’s a total of 64 missiles, sir.”
The reports came from the Combat Command Room of the Taejo the Great destroyer (DDG-995).
“Why am I not surprised, those sons of b**ches. Those Jap pricks.”
Admiral Gil Un-seok, Commander of the First Fleet, vented briefly before picking up the microphone connected to the fleet’s communications network.
“All vessels will have interception targets assigned by this vessel.”
Immediately after giving the order, he looked at Colonel Kim Yu-hwan, Captain of the destroyer (DDG-995), and nodded slightly. In response, Colonel Kim Yu-hwan issued an additional order to the Combat Command Room.
“From now on, the Combat Command Room will begin an integrated response to the interception mission. Each vessel will be given targets to intercept and will be provided with five retaliation anti-ship missiles each.”
The Tactic Control Officer of the Combat Command Room immediately acknowledged the order, and the Aegis system of the Taejo the Great destroyer (DDG-995) automatically delivered interception target assignments and firing specifications to each vessel at the same time.
Meanwhile, from the Control Room of the Poseidon 3, two S-SSFM-500 Trident super-cavitation torpedoes were fired toward two destroyers that belonged to Japan’s Escort Division 6 when they approached within firing range.
The S-SSSFM-500 Tridents—super-cavitation torpedoes boasting a speed of 660 knots underwater—made underwater navigation at a tremendous speed toward the assigned targets with the support of its own ultra-small SUSL-MP sound detector alone.
December 15, 2020, 05:00, the sky over the ocean 45 km northeast of Jeju Island (Sky over Jeju Island)
Dark clouds were hanging over the southern tip of Jeju Island as the battle waged between the Red Phoenix fighter jets that belonged to the 25th Fighter Wing, that was coming in and out of Jeju Island, and the J-15 ship planes, that were responding to them while alternately taking on and off from two aircraft carriers.
After the first air warfare, China dispatched three units of airborne early warning and control system KJ-2000 to counter Korea’s Red Phoenix fighter jets that featured powerful stealth function. It was to detect the Korean-made fighter jets with powerful radar waves and to provide collected information to their own J-15 ship planes. In addition, even while being engaged in a naval battle with Korea’s Third Fleet, China kept firing anti-aircraft missiles whenever Korean fighter jets were detected.
Under this circumstance, on behalf of KF-21P fighter jets that were focusing more on the battle to secure air supremacy, 12 KF/A-25P Black Scarlet Phoenix fighter jets belonging to the 23rd Fighter Wing at Gimhae Base, which had been preserving power to contain the Japanese air self-defense forces, flew toward China’s anti-ship forces in a super-high altitude flight mode of 30 km, carrying 4 S-ASM-100 Python air-to-ship missiles.
The 12 KF/A-25P Black Scarlet Phoenix fighter jets from the 23rd Fighter Wing flew to the sky over Jeju Island, and each of them opened the weapons bay doors and dropped and fired 4 ship-to-ship missiles that they were carrying in succession, in accordance to the open fire order delivered from the Sukjong the Great destroyer (DDG-1005).
TWANG! WHIZ! TWANG! WHIZ! TWANG!
A total of 46 S-ASM-100 Python air-to-ship missiles with a range of 250 km dropped bluish flames before quickly disappearing toward the Chinese destroyers that were set as targets. After completing the mission, the 12 KF/A-25P Black Scarlet Phoenix fighter jets turned around to the direction of the base.
December 15, 2020, 05:10, in the sea 125 km southeast of Jeju Island (China’s Great Fleet)
Zhang Jike, the Deputy Commander in Chief in charge of the full command was frowning as he looked out the window in the bridge. He was watching the Kunming-class Changsa destroyer burning in dark-red flames. He was furious that China was beaten up so badly by the Korean Navy’s Third Fleet and part of the First Fleet and sustained such damage, even though Korean forces were no match to Chinese forces in terms of scale.
Even more upsetting was the fact that more than half of the J-15 ship planes that should be responsible for inland airstrikes were shot down in an engagement with Korean fighter jets.
“Captain! Any further loss of our ship planes is fatal in landing operations. Stop the engagement. Tell all ship plane pilots to stop the engagement and return to the carriers.”
“Yes, sir. At your command, sir.”
Deputy Commander Zhang Zike mentioned ship planes as the excuse, but the real reason he was so upset was the loss of the ship plane pilots. It took a significant financial investment to produce one ship plane pilot; more so, it took a really long time to train one. Even a highly skilled air force pilot has to be trained at least 3 years to become a real ship plane pilot. During this engagement alone, more than 50 pilots lost their lives either by an explosion in the air or falling into the ocean.
The upcoming amphibious warfare was important. But more than anything, he couldn’t afford to lose more ship plane pilots if he was to maintain the aircraft carrier’s power for the future. For this reason, he had to pull out the ship plane forces from the naval warfare with the Korean navy that was only heating up.
A while later, about 20 J-15 ship planes stopped the air warfare, turned around, and returned to the Hebei aircraft carrier.
“Yes, Deputy Commander.”
“Send a message to the Central Military Commission.”
December 15, 2020, 05:10, Above the ocean 145 km west of Jeju Island (Escort Division 6 of the Escort Flotilla 2)
The Harusame (DD-102) and the Oonami (DD-111) destroyers from the Escort Division 6, which had exchanged anti-ship missiles with the First Fleet just ten minutes ago, were attacked by super-cavitation torpedoes that had been approaching underwater at a tremendous speed. Upon learning of the torpedo attack, the Torpedo Acoustic Counter Measure (TACM) was activated immediately. Unfortunately, the Harusame destroyer (DD-102) had been directly hit by a torpedo in the center of the starboard and split into two before sinking to the ocean. Fortunately, the Oonami destroyer (DD-111) survived the torpedo attack by barely making a sudden turn some ten seconds before the collision occurred.
However, the Oonami (DD-111) was so focused on the torpedo attack that it neglected to defend itself against anti-aircraft missiles; and it was hit by three anti-ship missiles. Continuous internal explosions sent flames up from all sides, and instantaneously the flames spread throughout the vessel. It was the result of being hit by three missiles after four out of seven anti-ship missiles that were fired at the destroyer were intercepted. Also, the Haruyuki (DD-128) and the Jintsu (DE-230) that belonged to Escort Flotilla 13 under the JMSDF Sasebo District were also hit by the anti-ship missiles and sank into the ocean.
As soon as the engagement began, 7 Korean vessels from the First Fleet intercepted all incoming anti-ship missiles and immediately attacked with 20 subsonic ship-to-ship missiles. In the second attack, a massive 80 anti-ship missiles, including 40 supersonic ship-to-ship missiles, were fired, resulting in a temporary breach of the anti-aircraft defense line and destroying 3 vessels.
Sekiguchi Yuki was watching the scene from the Kirishima (DDG-174), the flagship of the Escort Division 8. Cursing, he threw the baton he was holding and spoke.
“What’s the damage to the enemy fleet?”
“One Korean Navy frigate was just attacked and is sinking, sir.”
“Just one? That’s it? Where is our Escort Division 2 now?”
“It’s currently 15 km southeast of Tsushima, 101 km from this vessel, sir.”
“Then is it within the range to fire an anti-ship missile at the enemy destroyers?”
“The distance between the enemy’s vessel and the Escort Division 2 is 197 km, sir.”
“One hundred ninety-seven kilometers. That’s not quite close enough. Anyway, contact the Escort Division 2! This time, we will dump all our anti-ship missiles at it together with the Escort Division 2. Ten rounds per enemy destroyer and five for a frigate. Open fire as soon as we get the firing specifications.”
After a while, all the destroyers belonging to the Escort Flotilla 2, which communicated with the Escort Division 2, and 2 frigates belonging to the Escort Flotilla 13 under the JMSDF Sasebo District fired dozens of type 90 ship-to-ship missiles (SSM-1B) at the Korean vessels. The total number of the anti-ship missiles reached a whopping 125.