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2008 Indian Ocean War

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The 2008 Indian Ocean War was a two month long conflict that occurred in mid-2008.

History[edit]

Battered by their almost total defeat in Afghanistan, the Taliban regrouped among the lawless tribal regions of Pakistan. Multiple attempts by the Pakistani Army in previous years had failed miserably at kicking them off their perch, and many rumors about how much of Pakistan's Army was loyal to President Pervez Musharraf, and his successor, Benazir Bhutto, were rampant. The 2008 Pakistani elections were racked by problems, from Musharraf's ham-handed attempts at shifting the playing field in his favor to the attempt on the life of Bhutto in Karachi, where she survived but 82 people were killed, made things worse. The Taliban and their allies by March controlled large portions of the nation.

Bhutto, who came to power on April 21st, was not about to take this problem lightly - the Taliban in 1999 had called for her death simply because women supposedly had no right to govern, and the attempts on her life in December 2007 had enraged many of her supporters. One of her first orders was to order much of Pakistan's Army and Air Force for a major campaign to eradicate the Taliban, and she thoughtfully warned both Iranian and Afghan authorities and the ISAF of the coming attack, proposing that they patrol their borders to ensure nobody escapes into Iran or Pakistan. In both cases, the advice was taken and accepted. US President Gore stepped up his involvement in Afghanistan in preparation, deploying an extra 10,000 troops in Afghanistan in May 2008 as backup for the patrol forces. Pakistan's effort trough May 2008 racked up mountains of casualties on both sides, though it appeared that both sides could not handle the other completely within about two weeks. The biggest issue, however, was that the ISI, Pakistan's infamous intelligence agency, was not particularly loyal to Bhutto - in fact, large portions of it quite openly sided with the Taliban, and several parts of the Pakistani Army would not take orders from her. Fighting hard to keep control, Bhutto finally did the inevitable on June 6th and called for foreign help to be deployed into Pakistan, saying that they needed the help beating the Taliban.

But the Taliban played against her.

The next day, the first in a series of massive terrorist attacks ripped through India, the first one hitting the Birla Mandir Temple in Hyderabad. Over the next four days, thirteen attacks hammered India, one of the ugliest being a suicide attack against Indian aircraft carrier INS Viraat which resulted in severe damage to the carrier and over sixty dead sailors. By the time the attacks had ended, over five hundred people had died. And the worst thing done was a public announcement on June 11th that the ISI had masterminded the attacks in India, saying that the Indians would not attack as long as foreign forces were in the country. At the same time, one of the Pakistani Army units did not attack the Taliban areas as ordered - but instead attempted to storm into Kashmir, claiming that it was Indian-occupied territory.

India, absolutely furious, did exactly that the Taliban supporters wanted them to do, in a move that would have major repercussions. India made it clear that Pakistan would pay for the attacks, and that any nation that deployed forces to help Pakistan would immediately be at war with India. This effectively left Bhutto in a horrid position - stop fighting the Taliban to defend against India and see extremists take over the country, or focus on the Taliban and be unable to stop a potential Indian invasion. This reaction also disgusted leaders around the world, with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown saying to the Indians "This is exactly what the extremists want you to do. If you want them to come to justice, let us go in and help Pakistan destroy the extremists." India listened to the proposals, but with Indian public opinion wanting Pakistani blood for the blood in India, would not back down.

On June 15th, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany and South Africa bit the bullet and made it official - they were deploying to help Pakistan, regardless of whether or not India liked it. As the only carrier of these nations in the Indian Ocean at the time, HMAS Australia was deployed to support the effort. fearing trouble, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMCS Warrior quickly rushed out of their homeports and headed for the Indian Ocean. The Indians, furious, ordered out Canadian businessmen, tourists and everybody else who had a Canadian passport, including the ambassador and consulate officials. That also rang true for all of the other countries except South Africa, which the Indians allowed to stay. The Canadian Airborne Regiment powered out of Trenton on June 17th, headed to a staging point in Bandar Abbas, Iran. (Iran allowed the countries to use it as a transit and refueling point for its forces. Everybody involved took that as a courtesy and played as nicely as possible.) India stopped short of declaring war on the nations, but did not have any issue with saying quite only that if they went into Indian waters or airspace, the forces would be sunk. That didn't bother the Commonwealth and German forces - they had no intention of doing so anyways.

On June 20th, Australia arrived on station and quickly began combat patrols, but the Pakistani Navy was loyal to Bhutto and had no problems working with the Australian battle group. But late that evening, India declared war on Pakistan. The Pakistani Navy quickly asked the Australians to protect them form Indian units. The Australians denied that, saying that they would not take sides in this war on the morning of June 21th. Pakistan took that as a sign that Australia was siding with the Indians.

On the morning of June 23rd, The Airborne Regiment, mounted in its ten special C-130s, headed out to land at Islamabad to start providing counter terrorist support to Pakistan. The first two were met by Indian Air Force MiG-29s, which demanded the Canadian aircraft turn back and go to Afghanistan. While the Canadians protested this, one of the Indian MiG-29s loosed two air to air missiles, destroying both aircraft and claiming the lives of 127 Canadian servicemen. The other eight quickly raced into Afghanistan.

Almost at the same time, Australia and her battle group came under attack from both Indian AF fighters and two Pakistani frigates. Australian sub HMAS Collins sank one of the Pakistani frigates and SAMs from the Australian vessels killed five Indian AF fighters, but numerous BrahMos missiles were fired at the fleet. One raced into Australia's hangar and detonated, killing over a hundred RAN personnel and blasting a fifteen-foot wide hole in the carrier's deck, while also destroying its engines. Year-old air defense destroyer Hobart and frigates Sydney and Anzac were hit by missiles as well - in Anzac's case, it was lost with all but fourteen of its crew. Australia was towed back by destroyer Brisbane, but Sydney, seriously damaged, suffered a major engine failure on the way home and was forced to be scuttled. Over four hundred RAN personnel lost their lives in the attack, and the USAF scrambled to allow RAN aircraft to refuel form USAF tankers in order to make it to Diego Garcia and safety. Two other RAN Hornets flew to Iran, which gave the Iranians - and the other Commonwealth forces - a clue as to what had happened.

The news hit everyone like a ton of bricks - in both cases, it was their biggest loses since Korea. The morning of June 24th in both nations saw declarations of war on both parties by Australia and Canada. By the evening, Great Britain and South Africa and followed suit. Germany and the US followed on the morning of June 25th.

Warrior was now at war for the first time, and they took it seriously. Enraged at their damaged carrier, the RAN called up everything it had and ordered all of it deployed to support the battle groups of Warrior and Queen Elizabeth. RAAF F-15Cs and RAN F/A-18C/Ds were soon all fired up and headed that way, and CF CF-184s and CA-187s were deployed to air bases in Northern and Western Australia. The US activated ANZUS and announced that they would support Canada, which meant that CF-184s were soon deployed in force at Diego Garcia - they could hit India from there. Everybody involved demanded India and Pakistan stop their actions, pointing that terrorists had caused it and that Pakistan's national government had nothing to do with the June attacks. Warrior stopped for a refuel in Darwin, Australia, on June 27th. That same day, HMS Queen Elizabeth made its fuel stop in Bandar Abbas, Iran. Ten USN tankers also came out to support the Commonwealth effort, as did cruise missile submarines Ohio and Michigan, and the heavy cruiser Des Moines.

On July 1th, Warrior launched its first wartime strike, from Tomcats roaring off its deck, headed to the Indian Air Force base on the Nicobar Island. That same day, Canadian Tomcats and British Eurofighters roared out of Diego Garcia, aiming for India's Kadamba Naval base. India's Naval station on Madagascar was hammered by missile launchers from South African missile boats that same day. The Malagasy did not object to this - India had started this war, The next day, USS Ohio opened up on the Mazagon Docks in Mumbai with Tomahawk missiles, the first active involvement of the US Navy.

The month-long war would be aimed at both sides. Canada had removed its forces form Iran, not wishing to bring them into a conflict they had little to do with, but that didn't stop Pakistani AF F-16 fighters from attacking Bandar Abbas, supported by Boeing 707 tankers. The tankers were promptly shot down by Iranian F-4 Phantoms, and the Pakistani aircraft were forced to land in Iran, removing them from the war. Iran's big F-4 fleet, enlarged after the US removed the parts embargo on Iran in April 2006, did everybody a huge favor by mounting one of the biggest air attacks of the war on July 15th, as 60 fighters demolished Pakistan's main navy base at Karachi. On July 17th, INS Viraat sailed back to sea after quick repairs, but just two days later HMS Trafalgar, who shot at it but missed (Trafalgar's torpedoes did however sink destroyer INS Ranvir and frigate INS Taragiri), and bolted away from Indian Navy ASW attempts. The next day, however, HMCS Lake Huron found Viraat's battle group and dropped Viraat, hitting it with no less than four torpedoes, along with destroyer INS Delhi.

By the end of July, India and Pakistan's ground armies were taking beatings, but in both cases their Navies and Air Forces had been bashed to bits. India's attempts at sinking Warrior and Queen Elizabeth had been for nought, though India had lost three of its Tu-22M bombers and dozens of fighters. Missiles had struck destroyer HMCS Iroquois and frigate Cumberland, in both cases casing a handful of deaths and plenty of injuries but not sinking the vessels or stopping them from operating. One of India's Phalcon radar planes had been shot down a CF Tomcat with a pair of Phoenix missiles. Iran's armed forces proved to be tougher than most appreciated, it's F-4 Phantom and MiG-29 fighters proving to be able to manhandle much of the Pakistani AF. Australian F-15s had been based from Iran after the attack on Bandar Abbas and had added to the Pakistani AF's misery. Canada's three nuclear subs all got in on the action, and while Lake Athabasca never sunk any vessels, her two sisters did. After Viraat and Delhi were sunk, the Indian flag passed to INS Mysore, who died from two missiles launched by an Australian F-111G on July 25th. On July 26th, those same F-111s flew all the way from Diego Garcia to New Delhi to hit the Indian Defense Ministry. Two of the ten aircraft in the war were lost, but the attack killed the Indian Defense Minister and a number of major personnel.

On July 29th, a joint operation by the units of all three operations launched Operation Dark Knight, the operation to destroy the nuclear capabilities of both India and Pakistan. The operation is very successful, with all of Pakistan's nuclear capability being destroyed and most of India's, though the attacks, carried out by British Tornado GR.4s and Eurofighters, Canadian Tomcats, Australian Eagles and F-111s, American F-22s and six B-1B Lancers, were primarily aimed at stopping their abilities to use the bombs.

Realizing that their armed forces are in a brutal stalemate and both nations will simply defeated by the allies if they keep it up, both sue for peace within hours of each other on August 4th. The war was over.

Canadian losses amounted to eleven Tomcats, seven Hornets and two Corsairs, along with the two Hercules shot down by the Indian AF. The Australians had taken the most severe losses, with their carrier seriously damaged and two vessels lost, and five F-111s, three F-15 Eagles and fifteen Hornets lost in the war. The British suffered one naval problem when HMS Torbay ran aground off of Diego Garcia, which required it to return to Britain for repairs. Britain's air losses amounted to four Hornets, eight Tornado GR.4 and RN.4 aircraft and two Eurofighters. The US lost two F-15 Eagles defending Diego Garcia, while the Iranians lost five MiG-29s, twelve F-4 Phantoms and two Mirage F1s. The South Africans had one of their expensive Gripen fighters damaged, but other than that they had no losses. German, French, Italian and New Zealander forces were on the way but did not see combat action. Both sides shot off a massive pile of missiles and dropped a lot of smart bombs. Virtually the entire amphibious capacity of four nations had transited to the Indian Ocean, but no landings were ever made by anybody.

The Allied Naval Forces in the 2008 Indian Ocean War[edit]

Task Force 21[edit]

  • HMCS Warrior (CV-24) - (Flagship of Task Force 21, the Canadian Indian Ocean Task Force)
  • HMCS Ontario (DDG-284)
  • HMCS Iroquois (DDH-280) - hit by Indian Kh-35 anti-ship missile, seven deaths)
  • HMCS Halifax (FFH-330)
  • HMCS Toronto (FFH-333)
  • HMCS Winnipeg (FFH-338)

Australian Task Force 21 Vessels[edit]

  • HMAS New South Wales (D41)
  • HMAS Victoria (D42)
  • HMAS Melbourne (FFG-05)
  • HMAS Ballarat (FFH-155)

Support Vessels[edit]

  • HMCS Rocky Mountain (AOR-511)
  • HMCS Mount Logan (AOR-514)
  • HMAS Success (AOR-304)
  • USNS Joshua Humphreys (T-AO-188)
  • USNS Leroy Grumman (T-AO-195)
  • USNS Patuxent (T-AO-201)
  • USNS Lewis and Clark (T-AKE-1)
  • USNS Shasta (T-AE-33)

Task Force 22[edit]

  • USS Des Moines (CA-134)

Amphibious Assault Group[edit]

  • HMCS Challenge (LPD-02)
  • HMCS Terra Nova (LKA-03)
  • HMAS Tobruk (L-50)
  • HMAS Kanimbla (L-51)

Canadian TF 22 Vessels[edit]

  • HMCS British Columbia (DDG-287)
  • HMCS Newfoundland (DDG-289)
  • HMCS Ville de Quebec (FFH-332)
  • HMCS Edmonton (FFH-342)
  • HMCS Kelowna (FFH-343)

Australian TF 22 Vessels[edit]

  • HMAS Queensland (D43)
  • HMAS Tasmania (D44)
  • HMAS Darwin (FFG-04)
  • HMAS Newcastle (FFG-06)
  • HMAS Arunta (FFH-151)
  • HMAS Parramatta (FFH-154)
  • HMAS Perth (FFH-157)

TF 22 Support Vessels[edit]

  • HMCS Protecteur (AOR-509)
  • HMCS Niagara Falls (AOR-512)
  • HMAS Sirius (OR-266)
  • USNS Big Horn (T-AO-198)
  • USNS Rappahannock (T-AO-204)
  • USNS Cimarron (T-AO-177)
  • USNS Flint (T-AE-32)
  • USNS Kiska (T-AE-35)

Task Force 23/23.1[edit]

  • HMS Queen Elizabeth (CVF-01) - (Flagship of Task Force 23, the Royal Navy Task Force)
  • HMS Indomitable (R07)
  • HMS Ocean (L12)
  • HMS Bulwark (L15)
  • HMS Daring (D32)
  • HMS Dauntless (D33)
  • HMS Dragon (D35)
  • HMS Gloucester (D96)
  • HMS York (D98)
  • HMS Cumberland (F85)
  • HMS Iron Duke (F234)
  • HMS Westminster (F237)
  • HMS Richmond (F239)
  • HMS Portland (F244)
  • RFA Fort Rosalie (A385)
  • RFA Wave Knight (A394)
  • RFA Wave Ruler (A395)
  • RFA Lyme Bay (L3007)
  • RFA Argus (A135)

Indian Ocean Allied Submarine Force[edit]

Squadron One[edit]

  • HMS Trafalgar (S107)
  • HMS Turbulent (S87)
  • HMS Torbay (S90)
  • HMS Triumph (S93)
  • HMS Sceptre (S104)

Squadron Two[edit]

  • HMAS Collins (SSG-73)
  • HMAS Waller (SSG-75)
  • HMAS Sheena (SSG-77)
  • HMAS Rankin (SSG-78)
  • SAS Manthatisi (S101)
  • SAS Charlotte Maxeke (S102)

Squadron Three[edit]

  • HMCS Lake Superior (SSN-876)
  • HMCS Lake Huron (SSN-877)
  • HMCS Lake Athabasca (SSN-878)
  • USS Los Angeles (SSN-688)
  • USS Annapolis (SSN-760)

Strike Squadron[edit]

  • USS Ohio (SSGN-726)
  • USS Michigan (SSGN-727)
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