Abandonware DOS title

Harpoon II other - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  Group speed changes
2.  Sub Depth
3.  1:1 time with staff messages
4.  Group speed to 0
5.  Plotted and Unassigned missions
6.  Unavailable carrier-based aircraft
7.  Minimal loadouts
8.  Colored Maps
9.  Air-to-air missiles
10. Strike aircraft won't launch  
11. Losing contact with units or groups 
12. Mission names 
13. Cancel Return to Base (RTB) 
14. Time compression rates
15. Game pause
16. Losing contact
17. Contact color changes
18. Aircraft mission behavior
19. Intercepting enemy contacts
20. Remove units from mission
21. Aircraft mission list
22. Cancelling a mission
23. Changing mission reference points
24. Patrol aircraft behavior
25. Permanent game and symbol preferences
26. Memory Remaining window
27. Staff Message windows
28. Centering map windows
29. Sea State
30. Ship contacts on land
31. Uncertainty regions
32. Groups break up when attacking
33. SAMs fail to allocate
34. Losing contact with missiles
35. Missiles hitting target
36. Point defenses
37. Electronic Counter-Measures
38. Turning communications off
39. Passive and active sonobuoys
40. Dipping sonars
41. Aircraft loadout types
42. Tanker aircraft
43. ASW threat axis
44. Formation Editor range rings
45. Threat and Detections 
46. Reloading mounts
47. Sensor selection
48. Disappearing torpedoes
49. Jumping contacts
50. Aircraft refuse orders
51. Database selection
52. Clearing old contacts
53. Damage to enemy bases
54. Aircraft won't drop bombs
55. Diesel submarines
56. Giving waypoint orders


Q:  When I give my Task Force a speed order to go at Full Speed or
    Flank, why does it slow down to 5 knots off and on?

A:  If there are units in the Task Force formation which are off of
    their designated stations, the whole formation slows down a bit to
    allow them to get where they are supposed to be.  Be patient; the
    speed will resume when the Task Force AI is satisfied.


Q:  I told my submarine to go to Deep and he stays at Shallow or
    Intermediate depth. Why won't he dive where I told him to?

A:  Make a Zoom window around the submarine. Then, click on the PREF
    button and click on Water Depth. Chances are the water is not deep
    enough for the sub to dive as deep as you ordered him. Alternatively,
    turn on the  toggle, which will display information
    (including the current depth/height) about every location where you
    click the mouse. This information will be shown in the Incoming
    Messages window.


Q:  Why does the game stay in 1:1 time after clicking on a staff

A:  There may be one or more staff message boxes hidden behind your
    map.  After clicking on the one you see, if the time still goes to 
    1:1, try minimizing all the windows and seeing if there are any open
    staff message boxes. Closing them all cures the problem.
    There is a check box in the Staff Message window that should be
    checked if you desire the game *stay* at 1:1 after you close the
    message window.


Q:  Why do my groups suddenly go to 0 speed?

A:  The groups course may have been inadvertently set to 0 or it may have
    reached its destination.  Giving the group a new course should cure 
    the problem.


Q:  What is the difference between "Plotted" and "Unassigned"?

A:  Any units on the "Plotted" mission belong to you. Your automatic
    Formation AI will not touch them. Neither will the Mission AI.  They
    are completely yours to operate however you see fit.

    Any units that are "Unassigned" have no mission, and may be assigned
    to any mission (included "Plotted" if you wish control of them). The
    Formation AI will take unassigned units and use them if needed.  The
    Mission AI will not use "Unassigned" units.  It will only use units
    on a mission that are assigned to that mission.


Q:  Why are all my carrier-based aircraft unavailable for missions?

A:  When a ship is assigned to a mission, all unassigned aircraft on
    that ship are also assigned to that mission.  When you give the
    carrier a path, it changes from "Unassigned" to "Plotted."  Its
    aircraft change too.  You can either make the aircraft missions first
    or unassign them using the "Remove Aircraft" function of the mission


Q:  Why can't I load some aircraft with anything other than "minimal?"

A:  Some aircraft have no adjustable loadouts.  These aircraft are
    generally good for only one type of mission.  Examples include and
    E-2 Hawkeye or a Boeing-747 passenger liner.  The "Ready" button will
    not respond when these aircraft are selected.   


Q:  How can I get my map window to look like the color map displayed
    on the box?

A:  Use the window preferences tool to turn on the display of land
    elevations and water depths, then shrink the window size.  This works
    best with large area maps, and, although colorful, isn't really very


Q:  How come my air-to-air missiles keep missing the target?

A:  The probability of an air-to-air missile hitting the target
    depends greatly on the geometry of every situation, as well as which
    kind of missiles and targets are involved.  Many factors will
    increase or degrade the probability of a hit or a miss.  A common
    occurance of this is when a missile is fired at a target that is
    moving away (an opening shot).  The probability of a successful
    engagement is greatly reduced for long range opening shots.  Another
    common situation occurs when non-dogfight capable missiles such as
    the AIM-54 Phoenix are employed against nimble fighters. These
    missiles are designed for shooting down heavily laden, unsuspecting
    bombers, and as such, don't work very well against most modern

    If you are *really* doubting the validity of the model, you can run
    Harpoon2 with the "-W" command line parameter.  This will show (in
    the Message Window) all the factors, modifiers, etc, of *every*
    missile engagement.  Keep in mind that this will also ruin part of
    the fun of playing the game because information not normally
    available to you will be shown.  We call this "cheating".

Q:  How come my strike mission aircraft will not launch?

A:  Strike aircraft do not launch until they have a known hostile
    contact within engagement range.  If you specified a target when you
    created the mission, the aircraft will wait until that target comes
    into range.  If no target was specified, they will wait until the
    first appropriate target shows up.  Keep in mind that aircraft combat
    ranges will be much shorter than the optimal ranges shown in the
    Launch/Ready dialog. This is because combat aircraft conducting
    strikes must fly faster and sometimes lower to avoid radar and enemy
    defenses.  This consumes fuel at a much higher rate than normal


Q:  How come I lose contact with my units or groups?

A:  Harpoon uses a fairly realistic communications model, and several 
    factors can drop a unit off the network.  Some common ones are:
        a) The unit is out of range of your comm gear.
        b) The unit, either by design or enemy action, is now under water.
        c) Your communications gear or their comm gear has been
           destroyed or turned off.

    When the communication net breaks down, you will retain control of 
    those units which are on the same net as your designated flagship. 
    Others will act as their mission dictates.  Aircraft which have flown
    beyond contact range will return home when they run out of path or
    complete their missions.  If an aircraft runs low on fuel it will also
    return home.  Submarines without orders will rise to periscope depth
    and 'phone home'.  Submarines on patrol will periodically do this
    anyway.  When these 'lost' units return to your local network, they
    will share with you any contact information they current hold.
    The "Auto Datalink" option (in Difficulty Settings) prevents this 
    modeling and allows you to talk with all of your units, regardless of
    range or depth.  When you play in this mode, if a unit will not talk
    to you then it is either dying/badly-damaged (eg. no radios), or it's
    not on your side. 


Q:  How do I edit the mission name list?

A:  Once a mission is created and approved (by pressing OK in the
    Create Mission window), you can't change it.  Before that point
    however, you may type over the suggested mission name with whatever
    phrase or word you like.  The computer will randomly generate mission
    names for you, drawing on the contents of two text files in your
    Harpoon2 directory.  These files are MISSADJ.TXT and MISSNOUN.TXT and
    may be customized using any text editor.  MISSADJ.TXT contains the
    adjectives (the first word) and MISSNOUN.TXT contains the nouns (the
    second word).  These names will be matched randomly; results during
    development ranged from bland to appalling.


Q:  How do I cancel an aircraft's Return to Base (RTB) order?

A:  Select the aircraft and hit the "Unassign Aircraft" hotkey (the
    "U" on the IBM PC).  After this point, the plane (or air group) is
    yours.  It is moved into the unassigned list and will loiter until
    given further instructions.  If the plane was landing because of fuel
    considerations ("BINGO") it will still stop and await orders; it's up
    to you to get it to a tanker or a base before it runs out of fuel.


Q:  How come the time compression rate is so slow?

A:  Performance varies with scenario size.  The larger and more complex
    the scenarios will take more time to process, and should be run at 
    lower time compression, especially on slower machines.


Q:  How can I pause the game and still have access to game menus?

A:  At any difficulty level but full reality (HARD), the pause key 
    will still allow the user access to the entire interface.  This can
    be set at will using the Custom difficulty settings.  The "Enforce
    Realtime" check box, if checked, causes the modal (blocking) pause
    and will not let you effect the game until you unpause it.


Q:  How come I lose contact with all of my units?

A:  Check to make sure your flagship is on something reasonable. 
    Designating a submarine as the flagship is liable to leave all your
    other units on their own when you submerge.  If there are no units
    under your control at all, they're all dead.  Better luck next time;
    Select Resign from the File menu and see how you did.


Q:  Why do contacts change colors?

A:  Contact colors indicate two things; your posture towards them and the
    certainty with which the contact is known.

    Initially, most contacts are unknown, and are displayed as such.  If
    an unknown contact is seen to take hostile action, it will change to
    the Hostile shape/color, although you still may not really know what
    side it is on. You may designate an unknown (or a known) contact as
    Hostile with the  hotkey ("H" on the IBM PC), but you
    ought to have a good reason for suspecting them or you may be cited
    for a Rules-of-Engagement violation in your evaluation.

     In the default palette set contacts are brighter if you have an
     exact location for them. They tend to grow dimmer if there is
     some uncertainty about their location.


Q:  How come all of the aircraft I have assigned to a mission do not
    launch at once?

A:  Strike and ferry missions are single events, and all launch
    together.  All other missions are attempting to maintain a steady
    on-station presence.  These missions will try to keep one third of
    their aircraft in the air at once, replacing them as needed.  If you
    wish to saturate an area immediately, the aircraft can be ordered to
    launch manually, and will join the mission.  Be aware that you are
    leaving yourself open to shortages down the road.


Q:  How do I intercept enemy contacts?

A:  There are two methods of getting an intercept.

 a) Select the interceptors, hit the air-ops button, and select the target.
    This is very fast, but does not provide much information about
    ranges or times. There may be other air assets better capable to
    intercept the target than the one you chose.

 b) Select the target (any contact), and hit the air-ops button.  This
    will bring up a dialog listing all air units available, with ranges
    and loadouts listed.  This takes longer, but allows you to pull units
    out of group CAP or ASW stations pretty fast, and allows a more 
    considered response.


Q:  How do I remove units or groups from a mission?

A:  Aircraft can be removed quickly with the "Unassign Aircraft"
    hotkey.  For all other units, bring up the mission editor dialog,
    select the mission, and deallocate the units.  This also works for
    aircraft, launched or landed.


Q:  How do I get a list of aircraft currently assigned to a mission?

A:  Select the mission in the mission editor dialog.  Aircraft in the
    air will be in the assigned units column.  Landed aircraft can be
    viewed using the "Remove Aircraft" button in this dialog.   This is
    also a way to change the loadouts of assigned aircraft; it is not
    necessary to remove them.


Q:  How do I cancel a mission?

A:  Bring up the mission editor and delete the mission.  All units on
    the mission will become "Unassigned."  Mission generated launch
    orders and paths will be deleted for these units, and the units
    will become unassigned as well.


Q:  How to I change which reference points an existing mission uses?

A:  Select the reference points, then bring up the mission editor.  
    The "Remove" button under "Selected Reference Points" will remove the
    selected reference points from the list used by the selected mission.
    The "Add" button does the opposite.  This makes some actions a two
    step process.  If you have an anti-ship patrol "MOVING WINDOW" around
    reference points 1,2,3,4, and you want it to use 3,4,5,9 the
    following actions are needed.

        1) Select reference points 1 and 2.
        2) bring up the mission editor.
        3) Select MOVING WINDOW.
        4) Hit "Remove", then "Ok" to leave the mission editor.

        5) Deselect points 1 and 2.  (Don't forget this!)
        6) Select points 5 and 9.
        7) Bring up the mission editor and select "MOVING WINDOW".
        8) Hit "Add", then "Ok" to leave the mission editor.


Q:  Why do aircraft on an area mission sometimes patrol outside the
    region defined by the reference points?

A:  Aircraft on patrol are fairly curious about unknown contacts. 
    They will wander over and attempt to ID contacts that match their
    patrol types (eg. Surface patrols look at ships, AAW patrols look at
    aircraft, etc).  This 'closer look' might take them beyond their
    defined area by a few miles.  Known hostile contacts will be attacked
    by Patrol missions if possible, and avoided (but reported on) by Recon


Q:  How do I set my permanent game and symbol preferences? 

A:  Run H2SETUP.EXE to set your preferences.  This program makes changes to 
    the HARPOON2.INI file. When loading a scenario, Harpoon II will default to 
    the settings found in the HARPOON2.INI file.


Q:  Why do I have more memory listed in the Memory Remaining window
    than I have in actual RAM?

A:  Harpoon II uses a virtual memory DOS Extender.  This means the
    theoretical maximum amount of RAM a program can use is limited by the
    disk space on the drive with the executable.  It should be noted that
    the game does slow down somewhat when virtual memory is actually
    used, so it is only used when no more real RAM remains.


Q:  There are too many Staff Message windows.  How can I get rid of

A:  Select Game Preferences from the Settings menu and turn off the
    more common ones.  The messages will still be shown in the "Incoming
    Messages" window; the only difference is that the Staff Message
    pop-up windows allowed you to put the game in 1-1 time.


Q:  How come I can't center my map window?

A:  Map windows won't move outside the defined scenario boundaries. 
    If a Map Window is against one or more of the scenario boundaries, it
    will not move or expand further in that direction.  The main map
    window contains the entire area of the scenario and can't be moved at


Q:  How come Sea State data is shown on land?

A:  Sea state data also shows wind speed.


Q:  Why are ship contacts appearing on land?

A:  If the contact is uncertain, it is displayed in the center of the
    uncertainty region for the contact.  This sometimes shows contacts
    over land, especially for detections that reveal only a relative
    bearing or direction (eg. "We hear something over that-a-way, but
    we're not sure how far"). ESM detections commonly do this.


Q:  What are the lines, expanding circles, and wedges that appear
    around contacts?

A:  These are the uncertainty regions mentioned above.  The
    uncertainty region is created by the accumulated information from the
    most recent detection cycle, and then it ages when the contact is no
    longer detected.  These concepts are explained very thoroughly in
    the tutorial section of your manual.


Q:  How come my group breaks up when I order it to close and attack?

A:  The units which are capable of attacking the target are removed
    from the group and placed on an intercept mission for the
    contact(s).  I don't recommend doing this with your carrier groups.


Q:  Why do my surface-to-air missiles fail to allocate?

A:  The theoretical engagement distance for semi-active missiles is
    much longer than the engagement distance against low targets. These
    missiles require direction from radars on the firing platform, and
    any target over the radar horizon can't be engaged.   This will
    display as "Target not Illuminated".  Sometimes you will see a range
    ring that indicates an optimal engagement range against closing
    targets. This optimal range is no often realized and you must
    frequently wait until the geometry is more favorable (ie. the target
    is closer).  The missile will also fail to allocate if the projected
    intercept point is beyond the range of the missile.  This will
    display as "Out of Range."


Q:  Why do I lose contact with the missiles I just launched?

A:  If the missile does not have a command data link, it must be
    tracked with a search radar just like everything else.  You have to
    decide if your curiosity about the fate of that Tomahawk is worth
    giving away your location by turning on a radar. But that's up to


Q:  How come I can't see when my missiles hit their target?

A:  For the same reason you don't know what is happening anyplace
    else you can't see.  If you don't have a current
    visual/IR/passive-sonar track on the target, or a datalink with your
    missile, you will not know what is going on.  You can later fly over
    the target and perhaps you'll see some visible damage. Perhaps your
    plane will be shot down instead. But that's a kind of target damage
    assessment too, now isn't it?

    BDA (Bomb Damage Assessment) is always shown for individual 
    land facilities.  Make sure you have UNITs showing instead of
    GROUPs and you will see any relevant damage to facility targets.
    If you can no longer find the target facility (which are always
    automatically detected) that you have destroyed it.  If the
    facility is not destroyed or visibly damaged, that does not mean
    it has any functional equipment remaining.


Q:  How do I use point defenses?

A:  Point defenses are automatically fired for you.  This includes
    chaff and flares, and point defense deceptive ECM (if you have the
    appropriate gear).  If you do not have the "Weapons Tight" option
    set, missiles will be engaged by longer ranged SAMs as soon as an
    intercept is possible. 


Q:  How do I use Electronic Counter-Measures?

A:  The ON/OFF switch can be found in the Sensor dialog.  This will
    activate any barrage/noise jamming equipment for the selected
    platform.  This will certainly give away the location of the jamming
    platform, but may hide other platforms or weapons from detection.


Q:  Why would I ever want to turn my communications off?

A:  Broadcast communications gear can be intercepted by ESM
    equipment, and may give away your location.  Most modern
    communications gear, when employed properly is hard to detect.  This
    type of datalink is shown in the "Secure datalink" color.  Some units
    aren't capable of using this type of equipment (or have moved beyond
    its' range) and must now broadcast openly to remain in communications
    with you.  These units have datalinks shown in the "Broadcast
    datalink" color.  Units will always attempt to use secure gear where
    possible.  Turning communications to Active gives the selected unit
    permission to broadcast (if needed) to stay in communications.
    Broadcasted communications links only give an ESM cut to listening
    enemy units.  Since most units are capable of secure communications,
    we recommend you just keep this on for most units.  The AI opponent
    does NOT currently take advantage of communications ESM cuts so there
    is no penalty.

    NOTE: Sonobuoys will self-destruct via sinking if they lose their
    datalinks with their parent unit. Selecting a buoy and turning off
    its comm gear is a good way to drop unneeded sonobuoys.


Q:  What is the difference between a passive and active sonobouy?  

A:  Passive sonobuoys use passive sonar.  Active sonobuoys will give 
    a more positive location on the enemy, but can be easily detected
    by submarines and tells them how close to being discovered they are.
    Active sonobuoys are also useful in shallow water, where all passive
    sonar works poorly.


Q:  How do I use dipping sonars?

A:  If the helicopter is hovering at or below fifty meters, it will
    deploy dipping sonar.  If you tell the unit to use active sonar, it
    will go active when the sonar deploys.


Q:  What loadouts should I use for various aircraft missions?

A:  This is a style question.  Generally speaking, the following
    holds true;

        IB (Iron Bombs) will give you the most destruction per aircraft.  
        The disadvantage of IB loadouts is that you must fly very close 
        to the target. If the target is heavily defended...

        SO (Standoff) loadouts tend to work on heavily defended ships where
        the price for a close-in attack with IB may be too high.

        PGM (Precision Guided Munitions) require a fairly close attack
        (though not as bad as IB), but promise a much higher hit ratio. 

        SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) tends to be either decoys 
        or anti-radar missiles and can help reduce the defenses around a 

        ATA (Air-to-Air) is good for shooting down other planes.

    This is by no means an exhaustive list... Many variations on loadouts
    exists such as LR (long range) loadouts which tend to trade ordnance
    for extra fuel. This means you can strike targets further away.
    Read up on how modern aircraft are generally employed and as always,


Q:  What types of aircraft can I use as tankers for aerial re-fueling?

A:  Obviously, anything with a TANKER loadout will do, as will any loadout
    containing a buddy-store.  Single purpose tankers will not have 
    loadouts, but will be described in the platform display. Common tanker 
    aircraft include the Kc-135, the KC-130, the A-6, and the Tu-16 Badger.


Q:  Why can't I move the ASW threat axis in the formation editor?

A:  The principle ASW threat comes from the PIM (Path of Intended
    Motion), because a sub in front of your group can wait quietly for
    you to set the shot up for him.  Elsewhere he must make noise to
    close range.  We therefore tie the ASW axis to the group path, as per
    USN doctrine.  If resources permit, ASW units are placed behind the
    group as well.


Q:  Why are my range rings in the formation editor showing up as only
    ones and zeros?

A:  The formation editor window is sized to include all of the vessels
    in the group and all of their stations (even if they're not there
    yet).  The range rings are then placed evenly out from the center. If
    the group is less than 2 miles across, the described behavior will
    occur because we round the displayed number down the nearest mile. 
    Don't panic, the rings can be dragged to wherever you want them
    and the window can be zoomed.


Q:  What is the difference between a Threat Nav Zone and a Detection
    Nav Zone?

A:  Threat Nav zones are placed around areas where positive danger
    exists, such as around enemy SAM sites.  Detection Nav zones are used
    for areas where detection is either possible or certain.  They operate
    in the same way, but units can always be told to ignore any of them


Q:  How do I reload my weapons mounts?

A:  Mounts will automatically reload from on-board magazines when
    completely empty.  To change the loaded weapon or reload early, use
    the reload toolbar button.  The dialog works similar to the Weapon
    Allocation dialog.


Q:  Even though I select Sonar, Radar, ECM, and Comm Link active, only 
    some of them change? 

A:  You only keep sensor states for those types of sensors you have. 
    If there are no sonars on the ship, they will always come up


Q:  Why do my missiles/torps turn dark blue and disappear? 

A:  The missile has gone out of your sensor range.


Q:.  Why does a contact seem to jump from place to place? 

A:  You are probably getting uncertain contacts from several different
    detecting units.  Not all of these will get hits every cycle, so the 
    contact may be updated differently.  This is pretty common when a sub
    crashes through a sonobuoy line.

Q:  Why won't my planes follow my orders to go somewhere? 

    When planes are launched as a group, they must form up as a 
    formation before they can go anywhere.  This means that all of the 
    planes you launched as a block will wait until they are all airborne
    before they set off on a path or mission.  Generally speaking,
    planes launched together will form into groups of 4.

    If you don't want them to be in a group, break them into
    single unit launch requests.

    It is also possible that the plane is going home, either because
    it has run low on fuel or ammo, or perhaps has completed the
    mission it performing.  These must be unassigned before they will
    follow orders.

Q:  When I select a ship in the game and press DATABASE, it shows me
    the wrong ship entry.

A:  You cannot get DATABASE information on unknown contacts because
    you do not know what they are yet.  If you selected a ship whose
    exact identity is known, or if you selected one of your own ships,
    then you will see the database entry for the class of ship to which
    your selection belongs.  For example; If you selected the USS
    Eisenhower and pressed DATABASE, you would see the entry for the USS
    Nimitz aircraft carrier because the Eisenhower is a member of this
    ship class.


Q:  I have an old contact left behind from a ship I sank with
    missiles. Since I didn't actually *see* it sink, (but I'm pretty
    sure it did), how do I get rid of the old contact which is still
    cluttering up my screen?

A:  By selecting the contact and pressing the  hotkey
    (3/PGDN on the IBM PC).  If the contact is not really gone, you
    will see it again as soon as it is redetected.

Q:  Why does the is the enemy airbase I keep bombing still say "No 
    Apparent Damage" in the Unit Status window?  

A:  Many of the bases in the Harpoon II scenarios are groups of facilities.
    Use the hot key to toggle to unit view to see the individual components 
    that you have been targeting during your attacks.  Each individual 
    facility will have a damage level.  

Q:  My planes won't drop bombs or fire air-to-ground missiles, why?

A:  There are restrictions on some weapons as to what speed and altitude
    they can be released from to operate properly.  Try using medium altitude 
    and cruise speed.

Q:  What is the difference between diesel and electric power for diesel 

A:  Diesel subs use electric motors with battery power when submerged.  
    The fuel status indicator shows the endurance at the current throttle 
    setting.  If you switch from creep to cruise you should see a dramatic 
    drop in the amount of endurance.  To charge batteries, you need to go to 
    at least periscope depth to run the diesel engines to charge the batteries.  
    The battery charge process happens automatically when you reach periscope 
    depth as the sub will start using the diesel engines as soon as the snorkle 
    can be deployed.  There are two fuel indicators for diesel subs, one shows 
    the endurance at the present speed and the other shows the endurance 
    capability of the batteries.

Q:  When I set a waypoint order for a unit or group the order is not being 
    executed when the waypoint is reached. Why?

A:  Waypoint orders can only be set AFTER the course has been plotted.  If you 
    are in navigation mode (pencil cursor) any order you give a waypoint will 
    not be retained as the waypoint does not exist until after you click on the 
    Navigation toolbar button to exit the navigation mode.  After the course 
    has been created you can assign waypoint orders.