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Subject: Battle of Britain Air combat game with AARs :Raid No.3
I’ve been inspired to have a go myself having seen some folks having great success with these rules though they tend to use smaller planes, I’m all 1:300 all the time. Which I’ll admit is a little too big for my hexes at times. Bomber tend to be too big for formations to be easily done, which is annoying. But I’m working with what I’ve got.
For an outline of all the changes I've made to those rules click the spoiler below.
So I’ll outline my proposed rules changes. Firstly, I’m adapting these rules for a hex map. So here’s how that works. A plane can move into the hex it is facing for one point. Or it can change its facing either left or right (one hex only each time) also for one point. It’s a deliberately simple system that I don’t wish to complicate any further with S bends and Immelmanns etc.
Fighters can fire at any target in the hex directly in front. Deflection effects the fighters to hit rolls. 4+ from the hex directly in front of the target. 3+ directly behind and any other hex to the side is 5+. The full deflection shot from the original rules, 6 to hit from directly to the left or right of the target is eliminated.
Bombers can fire at a target in the hex directly in front or the three hexes in the rear arc. Needing a 6 to hit.
Any target hit rolls a D6 for damage. On a 4+ they are destroyed, otherwise they are damaged. A damaged plane suffers a -1 movement penalty and -1 to hit though still always hits on a 6. Damaged planes are marked with a black pipe cleaner hung on the wing. A damaged aircraft that is hit again does not roll for damage it is simply destroyed.
For the purposes of my photos only I’m adding a red pipe cleaner to indicate a destroyed aircraft. In cases where you might see both black and red markers on the same plane that would indicate a damaged plane that has just been hit a second time and destroyed. (Possibly a shared victory.)
A fighter claiming 5 victories becomes an Ace. Aces will re-roll their attack dice and get a +1 modifier when they are being attacked to represent their accumulated skill, knowledge and experience of both attacking the enemy and staying alive up there.
Three more targets have been added to the list.
Now join the original
Each target now has only 12 damage points.
For each raid the raiders may choose a primary target but must roll for a secondary target. Damage will be rolled initially on the Primary target only. Only after the primary target has been destroyed will remaining bombers roll damage against the secondary target.
The raiders can win in one of three Strategies.
1 – Eliminate the Air Defence,
2 – Hamper the Naval Supply capability or
3 – Bomb the populace into submission.
Each destroyed target will effect one or more of these outcomes to a greater or lesser extent. If one of these strategies is achieved within seven missions the Germans are victorious. (And presumably Europe falls entirely under the sway of evil Nazi control and the world shortly thereafter.)
But of course there was plenty going on the ground and behind the scenes in the halls of power and the strategic planning that was beyond the control of the pilots in the air. To represent these various elements of the wider war I have added Strategy Cards. At the beginning of each mission both players draw a Strategy Card from the top of their (shuffled and entirely random) deck. These can be played immediately in the forthcoming raid or retained for future missions as the players wish. Each card may only be played once. It’s effect will remain in play as part of the week’s activities unless otherwise stated in the card information.
Some cards will provide additional playable elements in the game such as extra aircraft, cloud cover or AA defences. Some clouds are purely Strategic bonuses which add or delete a point of damage on a target or strategic objective.
I’m quickly going to talk about my Targets and Strategies system.
It’s a bit complicated, hopefully not overly complicated.
I might need to draw it up as a table. So I’ll give each target a code just so the text lines up.
NY – Naval Yard
CP- Civilian Population
RT- Radar Towers
Fc – Factory
In – Infrastructure
There are three Strategies by which the Germans can win.
A- Destroy the Air Defence and gain Air Superiority
N- Focus efforts on hampering the Naval supply to Britain
M- erode National Morale by bombing the populace into submission.
The table looks like this.
…..A N M
AF- 3 0 0
NY- 0 3 0
CP- 0 0 3
RT- 2 1 0
In – 0 2 1
Fc – 1 0 2
These are the values I have assigned to each target. So say you want to reduce the Air defence to 0 you’d have to destroy Air Fields, Radar Towers and Factories. (And hope the British strategy cards don’t bring them back from the brink.) there is a chance for German strategy cards to reduce the overall scores by one though so they may not need to knock out that last target after all.
So let’s look at an early version of my Strategy Cards. 12 cards each side.
The British Deck
And das German Deck
Hopefully you can read those ok. It should give you and idea of some of the elements I’m pulling into the story. Auxiliary and voluntary services giving a boost to the various targets’ by restoring a point of damage, or in game bonuses like weather conditions or an extra plane or two.
I’m looking forward to seeing if these strategies and targets and points and cards add up to a balanced system or not.
And if you've read through all this, well thank you.
I can’t promise regular instalments but I do hope they’ll be entertaining. So without further preamble here's game one.
Raid Number One. Primary Target- Infrastructure (Bridge)
Secondary Target - Population (Uncarved block of balsa)
Order of Battle
GB 1 - x3 Stuka
GB 3 - x3 He111
GF 2 - x2 Me 110
GF 4 - x2 Me 109
"I see them, lads. Keep in close we're nearly on them."
Acting Flight Lieutenant Gerald Tomlin pushed his Hurricane as hard as she'd fly, climbing for a smattering of black specs in the sky ahead.
"I'm with you, Tommy."
"Roger that flight leader, I see them."
Tommy looked back over his shoulder. His wingmen were badly out of formation and lagging behind. He could see Arthur's plane quite far down below some way off just hanging on its propellor.
"Bring it in lads, keep it tight!" He ordered, easing off the throttle a little. He'd not been too keen on formation flying back in France but now that Tommy was the flight leader he felt he ought to maybe act the part, or read the lines at the very least.
"Come on gents, tally Ho!"
Who was that? Tommy scanned the clouds and his eye landed on a trio of aircraft high off his 2 O'clock. Spitfires.
"My boys will keep the escort busy," the newcomer announced with confidence.
"So you gents can just follow my lead."
Tommy scoffed and rolled his eyes, watching the lead spitfire break off from the flight and dive toward the fast approaching bomber formation. Typical Spitfire jock.
"On my lead, lads." Tommy prepared for his attack run. "We'll hit that left bomber right in the greenhouse."
"Roger that Flight leader."
Tommy raced as the familiar silhouette of a Heinkel 111 grew in his targeting reticle. Suddenly the diving Spitfire was upon them, taring past the lead bomber at an oblique angle, a reckless deflection shot scoring a few messy hits on but the leader carried on straight and level.
The Spitfire banked hard and pulled around behind the formation now. He was a decent pilot, if a lousy shot.
He made a determined effort at the rearmost bomber on the left coming in from behind and whipped back out over the top just as Tommy closed in for the kill.
In a split second it was over. Tommy saw a pale German face, a muzzle flash and a few broken windows but by the time he'd passed all was smoke and the Heinkel was dropping out of formation. It wasn't at all clear who'd made the kill.
His wingman Michael Addington, a young lad, a local boy had followed him through.
"Nice shooting, Tommy."
"Never mind that, lad just bring it back around."
The pair of Hurricanes banked around hard trying to come back on the tail of remaining two bombers. Tommy's Hurricane was rattling with the effort. He gritted his teeth. He'd not be outflown by any Spitfire. Suddenly he caught a flash of something, two enemy aircraft diving in. He'd taken them for more bombers, twin engine, Dornier's maybe but no.
"Mike, look out!"
A pair of big Mescherschmitt 110 fighter bombers had been waiting to pounce. Tommy jinked and avoided the worst of it but Michael was focused on the Heinkel up ahead. His hurricane exploded in a ball of fire before he even knew his danger.
In that moment Arthur the lagging Hurricane, came roaring in on his own attack run. He came rolling up over the top of one of the Heinkels and right into the sights of the same fighter bomber that had just hit Mike. A moment of fire and furry and both planes were all smoke and oil. Arthur's hurricane dropped out of sight and Tommy gunned his engine hot on the tail of another bomber with an Me 110 close behind, and those damned hot-shot Spitfires where nowhere to be seen.
"A little help chaps if you can spare a man."
"Sorry, fella." It must have been one of the Spitfire pilots, a Northerner by the sound of him, Liverpool maybe.
"We're a bit busy over 'ere."
Tommy squeezed his trigger and the left engine of the Heinkel in front of him shattered and burned.
The bomber dropped into a downward spiral as the wing came away.
The Spitfire leader was breaking away off to his left. Tommy's eyes followed his heading to find a tangle of smoke trails in a veritable hornets nest of activity over there. One fighter had already fallen in flames, he couldn't tell which.
And a pair of the German bombers, both Stukas were labouring on clearly damaged. One of the Spitfires was on the tail of the lead dive bomber headless of the gunner's defensive fire but a pair of Me 109's scared him off.
"Get out of there Charley, bring him around and I'll see him off."
The Me 110 in Tommy's rear view was still giving chase and the one that Arthur had damaged was struggling to keep up, the right engine dead and propellor feathering in the wind.
Approaching the last Heinkel a little too quick for comfort Tommy snapped off a short burst all along the left side before he overshot his target.
Pulling back around in a climbing arc he stole a glance over his shoulder. The bomber wasn't showing any obvious signs of fire or smoke but it was slipping into a shallow dive. He didn't have time to follow it down, instead, the last Hurricane on patrol followed the Spirfire leader up into the fray above.
"Sorry to crash the Stuka party gents but we're all out of Heinkels down there." Tommy expected a little back-chat from the Spitfire boys but they were having a bad time of it with the German fighter escort. The Lead Spitfire only managed a deflection hit against the last undamaged Stuka before a yellow nosed 109 chased him off.
"Spitfire, you've company!" was all Tommy could manage to say in time but the spitfire pilot again demonstrated his skill behind a stick and made a snap turn away.
Suddenly in a split second of motion and noise two fighters went head-to-head guns blazing over on Tommy's right. There was a brief cloud of debris and oil smoke where the two had clashed.
One of the fighters came out just ahead of Tommy's climbing Hurricane. He caught a glimpse of the squared wing tip of a 109 and instinct took over. The man must have been watching below for the Spitfire he'd just clashed with, Tommy didn't waste time to look as he dropped in on the raider's six and let the 303's do the rest.
A big blue cloud of diesel smoke signalled another victory and he let the Mescherschmitt fall.
"Leave some for the rest of us, eh?" It was the voice of that cocky Spitfire pilot again. "Looks like it's just you and me, old boy. I'll keep this one busy, you have a pop at those dive bombers."
Tommy scanned around quickly. The man was right. He counted three smoking Stukas and the 109 that was keeping the spitfire busy. He knew those 110s were still up here somewhere too. Not waiting around to find out where he dived on one of the ailing Stukas.
A quick blast into the canopy and the thing bucked and tumbled. He pulled back up into a climbing loop and surveyed the sky.
The Spitfire had shaken his tail and had another go at one of the two Stukas. Both were trailing blue smoke.
"It hasn't been my day, old boy." The Spitfire pilot was a posh lad but he seemed to know his way around a fight. "But I'm going for the leader."
"Copy that, Spitfire. I'll try to keep up." Tommy loaded the reply with plenty of sarcasm hoping the radio static wouldn't drown it out completely. He let his Hurricane turn lazily hanging back to allow the other hapless dive bomber to drop into position.
"That's got him!" Came the Spitfire jocks excited report, "my luck's changing after all."
Tommy didn't reply, he was crawling dangerously slowly willing the last German bomber forward just a little quicker.
"Eyes behind Hurricane leader, that yellow nosed bastard is gunning or you."
"Well see'im off, lad!"
"I'll see if I can't do better."
Tommy kept on target for the last Stuka, expecting a trickle of defensive fire that never came.
"He's off, old boy." The other man reported, "Take your time and get in close."
"Much obliged." Tommy replied in mock upper-class tones. He did get in close, right up close. Nothing from the smoking Stuka, not even an evasive jink or a turn. The men inside were likely either dead or barely clinging on. It was the easiest shot of his life, or would have been had his ammunition not run out after the briefest flurry of rounds. Still it seemed it was enough. The enemy plane dipped and rolled belly up as he passed overhead.
"That's the last..."
Tommy's report was cut short at the sudden reappearance of the Me 110 diving right across his path. The thing was surprisingly big up so close and there seemed nowhere to go. He slammed the stick forward in an effort to make a last ditch evasion. There was a loud bang but he emerged from the shadow of the raider intact.
The same could not be said of the fighter-bomber.
A rear stabiliser fin had been shorn away by the impact and the left side of the aircraft's tail hung in tatters as the pilot lost control. A man emerged from the rear of the cockpit and dropped over the side, followed by another from the front. Two parachutes opened as the aircraft spun down and down.
"By 'eck that were close." Tommy sighed.
"They've had it," the Spitfire pilot reported, "The blighter's turned tail and dived off."
Tommy scanned around, a white trail of smoke led away out of sight. A damaged 110 long since out of the fight was limping home perhaps escorted by the fleeing 109.
"I say, good show old boy."
"Aye." Tommy was exhausted. "You can't do that in a Spitfire." The Hurricane had a rugged and heavy airframe.
"I make that two for me and five for you!"
"Not that there's a Gerry alive that'll admit it were an Hurricane what did for him."
"I'll go on the record. Flight Lieutenant Harrington "Harry" if you like."
"Pleased to meet you. Names Gerald Tomlin. 366 Squadron out of Kenley. Call me Tommy."
"No, me Mam won't 'ave it."
"Ace in a day, Tommy. I'm sending the Press down to Kenley."
Ace in a day... He could hardly believe it himself. "Oh, no. No thanks. I'll settle for a pint, I reckon."
Harry had pulled up alongside Tommy's Hurricane. He snapped a cramped salute in the confines of the Spitfire's tight cockpit and rolled over and away turning home for Tangmere.
Tommy let out a breath he'd not known he was holding. He checked his instruments and pointed the nose on his own homeward vector. It was definitely time for breakfast.
And that's it for the first mission. Heavy losses on both sides. A squadron of He 111 and another of Stukas both completely destroyed. And both fighter squadrons reduced to one aircraft each. The last 109 escorting a limping 110 back to France.
The Brits paid the price for their victory though with two Spitfires lost, one apiece to the Me 109 pilots, and two Hurricanes lost, again one apiece to the Me 110s. Only one of the British pilots didn't make his survival role. Mike's Hurricane exploding into flames in the air. I do survival roles on occasion mostly for the story. It doesn't affect the squadrons, a plane lost is lost regardless of the pilot's survival. (Unless I decide to make changes as I go along)
I was surprised how text-book it went. The spitfires for the most part took on the fighters and left the Hurricanes to go after the bombers. The German fighters didn't leave the bombers to chase after their own prey and did a reasonable job of defending them for a while. In the end it was a battle of attrition and the bombers just couldn't hang on.
Defensive fire from the bombers didn't make much of an impact this round. And of course no bombers made it to the target so old Blighty is safe for now.
And lastly of course we have an ace on our hands already!
Gerald "Tommy" Tomlin receives his Distinguished Flying Cross and now re-rolls his attack dice and gets a plus one modifier when someone shoots at him. (6 is always a hit though)
And "What Ho, jolly good. We'll give this man a pat on the back too.
Flight Lieutenant "Harry" Harrington might have claimed a full kill for his clearly shared bomber victory early on but given that he was sharing it with a man who had a full five more to spare I figured I'd give it to him. He had rotten luck on his rolls to hit but consistently rolled high on movement. A nifty pilot but not so hot on the trigger. I look forward to following the careers of both, now lone pilots as we go along through the missions.
Their surviving German counterparts each claimed a victory to their scores. Their names in my notes are Helmut in the 110 and Franz in the 109. They'll no doubt be back to avenge their fallen squadron mates soon.
We drew some Strategy Cards at the opening of the game. The British had the Royal Engineers bomb disposal squad standing by but they weren't needed in the end. The card is retained for the future.
On the other side of things the Germans got a "Loose Lips sink Ships" card. So thanks to some blabber-mouth German U-boats stopped a major convoy in the Atlantic and the Royal Navy are feeling the first effects of the week's action. 1 point off the starting line to victory by crippling the country's Naval Supply.
Let me know if you enjoyed that and want to see more and i'll keep on posting the rest of the campaign for you.
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2019/10/14 16:33:54
Thanks both of you. The game is a week of missions. Each day another Luftwaffe mission has to be defended by the RAF and as we play and lose aircraft on both sides the available aircraft become less and the bombing damage on the targets accumulates. I'm playing these missions with my 8 year old son. He's being the RAF and i'm playing as ze Germans. I'll be posting the second mission very soon.
Order of Battle
GB1 (already eliminated)
GB5 x3 He 111
GF5 x2 Me 109
GF6 x2 Me 109
BF 1 x3 Hurricane (miniatures are actually a Gloster Gladiator leading a pair of P-40s, the boy picked them. But you know, I'm glad he did because thing to keep track of 6 almost identical Hurricanes post battle would have been a nightmare)
BF4 x3 Hurricane (A Russian Hurricane leading some proper RAF Hurricanes)
German- Scattered Cloud- six "clouds" are placed on the board by the raider. (Try to be reasonable and scatter them about) each cloud is an irregular shape made up of seven hexes. Each turn the cloud moves one hex in a random direction. I roll a scatter dice to determine the direction of each cloud in turn.) An aircraft in a cloud cannot be fired upon or see to fire upon another aircraft.
British - WRNS +1 to Naval Yard
Now on with the battle.
~~~~Aller Anfang ist schwer~~~~
It was Leutnant Werner Maier's first operational mission with Jagdgeschwader 53, in a forward combat zone. He had been assigned to 3 Gruppe positioned on the tail of Hauptmann Fuchs. His job to guard the Hauptmann as he hunted.
Well, Werner reminded himself they were meant to be escorting the bombers; a gaggle of lumbering geese droning away among the low clouds over the English Channel below, but his more senior officers as ever had ideas of their own. They were hunting Spitfires.
"Today is my day, Fuchs. A great day, I can feel it in my bones." The high nasal voice of Major Herman Hofmann lost none of its edge over the radio.
"You praise the day too soon, Major." Laughed Hauptmann Fuchs "I praise it only when you buy the beers at sunset."
Werner laughed, allowing the light camaraderie of the more experienced men to stave off a little of his terror. He was determined to make a good first impression on the Hauptmann. He would remember his training, he would stay on the Hauptmann's wing and they would not be bested.
"Enemy fighters closing ahead."
It was The Major's wingman, Oberleutnant Max Fogel. The eagle-eyed junior was at least half of the equation that made up the Major's victory count.
Before Werner could blink both senior officers were diving into the clouds on the hunt.
Hofmann's voice sang out on the radio frequency, "Ach, these are no Spitfires. That was too easy," he complained, bragging, "Hurricanes are poor sport!"
Werner panicked, already out of formation and alone among the clouds he scanned frantically below.
A flash of red, and a bomber emerged from the clouds already aflame. A pair of RAF Hurricanes in tight formation came roaring over the top of their vanquished foe. Werner, relieved to have a target in sight fell upon the rearmost fighter with cannon and machine guns blazing.
The man either stricken or unnerved lost control of his Hurricane and collided with his wingman. Both Hurricanes became locked and entangled and fell spinning into the clouds beneath.
"Zwei!" he yelled in astonishment as much as in victory, "I got two of them!"
"Where are you boy!?" The Hauptmann was evidently a hard man to impress, "You are wanted on my wing. Am I hunting alone?"
Indeed he was. Werner glimpsed through a break in the clouds a Bf 109 with the Hauptmann's distinctive white wing tips.
It harried and harassed another RAF fighter which twisted and dodged as best it could. It had taken some punishment already but the Hurricane's rugged airframe was still holding its own.
As Werner tilted his wing over to rejoin his wingman a flurry of tracer fire arced around his aircraft. An enemy fighter on his tail. He watched helpless as the Hauptmann crossed his path heading in the opposite direction still pursuing his prey. Werner groaned, if he was to rejoin the Hauptmann's wing he would first have to lose his new friend.
Major Hoffman and his wingman had also become separated.
Fogel, coming to blows with one of the Hurricane squadron leaders had been forced to dive away a little worse off for the encounter but his adversary had been left far behind the escaping bombers.
Emerging into the open sky now a big Heinkel made a tempting target for one of the embattled Hurricanes. It banked in hard behind the bomber with Fuchs in hot pursuit. Fogel too had seen it and was also moving to intercept but his exhausts were belching a thick black fume and though he dived in perfect position to strike he was underpowered and the Hauptmann swooped in front.
The beleaguered Hurricane managed a determined burst of fire into the Heinkel's right engine before the hunting Mescherschmitt closed in and finished him off.
"Trying to steal my kill, Oberleutnant?" He scolded, "had you kept your machine in better shape you might have succeeded."
Fogel did not respond. Instead, stealing a glance around behind he caught a glimpse of the offending Hurricane, eight o'clock high trying to sneak across their flank in the clouds. The Major was in good company with the Hauptmann at his tail and Fogel wounded, but still in the fight, wanted revenge. He climbed into the clouds hoping to catch the Englisher at his own game.
But the man in the clouds was a veteran Pole and he had the German well scouted. As the fickle clouds broke the jig was up and Fogel's Bf 109 was engulfed in a torrent of machine gun fire. He fell in ruin.
The stricken bomber laboured on trailing occasional gouts of oily smoke. Werner had succeeded in shaking his adversary, or rather the Englishman had chased him away from the fight. Suddenly the Hurricane rolled and turned toward the now straggling bomber. But Major Hoffman now was positioned to strike.
Seeing his danger the Englishman turned into the fight and came full at the Major face to face.
In a flash of gunfire and debris they clashed neither plane coming away unscathed. Even as Werner returning to the fray closed the distance on them Hauptmann Fuchs came thundering in from above.
His eager attack however was mistimed and Werner had the better shot.
He took it. His 20mm cannon made short work of the Hurricanes tail which was shredded to splinters and tatters and flame.
But suddenly the Polish man fell upon them. Singling out the Staffelkapitän in the yellow-nosed machine.
He drove the Bf 109 on to the death
before turning in pursuit of the straggling bomber.
"He's going for the bombers!" Hauptmann Fuchs was turning hard but he was in a poor position to give chase, "after him Werner! Take the lead!"
The race was on. The last hurricane beat a breakneck pursuit pushing his machine to its limits following the smoking trail through the clouds. Werner was off. He opened up the throttle and his V12 engine roared.
He checked his instruments, oil temperature was good, fuel was sufficient, ammo count was high he was closing into range on the tail of a slower, heavier and frankly inferior enemy aircraft which was growing steadily in his sights. Everything was lining up perfectly.
Werner hit the trigger but closing at such speed he had a fraction of a second in optimal range. His machines guns found their mark but the slower firing rate of the 20mm canon, the real punch of his attack meant that maybe only a single round had been placed on target. He overshot the Hurricane wildly leaving it rattled but still airborne.
Hauptmann Fuchs came in behind and finished the job with the skill of a seasoned professional.
Even in the cold air of the cockpit Werner could feel his face flush red. "I'm sorry Hauptmann. I used too much speed."
"You did well Leutnant," the Hauptmann encouraged, "and tomorrow you will do better."
"Better than three? And two flies with one swat. I doubt it very much. That is already much better than I expected for a first day."
"You had a pig. Nothing more. Every beginning is hard. Remember that Leutnant."
"Target in sight." It was the lead bomber coming into range on the Royal Navy docks in the estuary below. "All bombers on my lead."
"Come, Werner," the Hauptmann took the lead again climbing high above the bombers. "We can't help them now. Now we get above the flack and watch for their returning."
Werner kept a wary eye on the skies above as they climbed and turned into a long slow curve.
Far below the bombs were falling and the raiders were already turning for home.
So that was raid number two. A bit of a disaster for the RAF as they lost two full hurricane squadrons and only managed to down a single bomber. Just as well there were only three bombers to begin with. The remaining two Heinkels scored poorly on the bombing run and as a result the Naval Yard remains at about half strength.
Thanks in part to the ladies of the WRNS who presumably laugh in the face of German bombers rolling snake eyes to damage. So not a great strategic victory for the Germans.
Though they preserved their bombers well enough they did so at the cost of one of their 109 squadrons who won't now be around for escorting duties in the future.
Perhaps more effective in protecting the bombers was the scattered cloud cover. With two bombers in the clouds at the point of first contact, the closing Hurricanes had to focus on the one exposed bomber which they downed but being bunched up they were the more vulnerable to attack and paid the price when Werner bounced them. Later on in the game the last bomber had a cloud to hide in which might have made all the difference had the chasing Hurricane been able to close the distance.
The card may have been a bonus for the German bombers but ze Germans didn't have it all their own way. We also had a moment of particular cloudy trickery when two fighters were hiding in the same cloud. The cloud then scattered one hex to the left and exposed both fighters to the Hurricane's benefit and the 109's demise.
Many thanks to Warwell for the inspiration of using clouds in games. You may not have been the first but I saw you do it first.
So that was raid number two. What a raging hairball of dogfight! Really tricky to pin down the series of events in order. In the end though it raised the profiles of a couple of German fighters to look out for in future raids.
No doubt we'll see Hauptmann Fuchs and Leutnant Werner Maier in future missions.
Yeah, the clouds were a great element. Really enjoyed that myself. The collision was just in the story telling. My Me109 rolled a nice long move right across the path of both hurricanes and shot each one down bang bang on the hop. Nice bit of dice work but when the game throws up such an unlikely scenario I like to use a little poetic licence to make it read a bit more believably.
Raid Number Three Primary Target- Naval Yard (Orange paper)
Secondary Target - Radar Towers
Order of Battle
BF5 x1 Spitfire (Flt Lt "Harry" Harrington)
BF6 x3 Spitfire (introducing Wing Commander Barbary)
GB4 x3 He 111
GF1 x2 Me 110
GF6 x2 Me 109 (Hpt Fuchs and Lt Werner Maier)
GB2 x3 Do24
German- Corpo Aero Italiano - re-roll bombers or fighters.
I had originally rolled a 1 for the bombers. Being the Stukas who were destroyed on day one. The re-roll granted by this card turned up GB2 and since I have only one Do24 in my collection I decided to have it lead a pair of Italian SM79s. (They don't get an extra dice roll on target damage for having an extra engine)
British - ARP- +1 to the civilian population target which isn't on the board for this raid.
A Note on this battle report. I make a few jumps between perspectives in the interest of trying to cover all the angles so it skips back and forth a bit. Hope you can follow it ok. Now on with the battle.
~~~~Race to the finish~~~~
"Spitfire patrol, stand down. We'll take it from here."
"Glad you could make it, Wing Commander." Harry felt his shoulders release a good deal of tension. "Nothing like a bit of company on these dreary old patrols."
"How is your fuel, Harrington?" The wing commander cut in. He wasn't the chatty type.
"I'm not heading for home yet, Sir. I'm good for another innings."
"Understood Flight Lieutenant, fall in. We're going in on my lead."
"Right Ho." Harry eyeballed the motion of the trio of newcomers and paced his dive to fall in on their rear.
"Eyes on target." The Wing Commander confirmed, "Two escorts, Me 110's. We'll give them what for on the first pass, then we'll be free to deal with those bombers.
Harry didn't like the sound of that but he followed in the tail of the formation as they accelerated toward the enemy. It was rather Harry's preference to try and break up the bombers first; Fall on them hard in a full frontal assault, unnerving their pilots and scattering the formation. It was the bombers they here to stop. He watched as all three spitfires one after another fell upon a hapless Me 110.
All the while the bombers continued to drone on by.
"This is ruddy useless." Harry cursed. He pulled out of his attack run and swung in toward the bombers. "We can't all go chasing the sodding escort fighters!"
A formation of big ugly Heinkels grew in his sights and Harry closed in on the rear of the lead bomber.
"I punched that Kraut's ticket." The Wing Commander gloated as a big fighter bomber went spiralling down.
Harry ignored the radio chatter and slowed to the pace of the larger planes, dodging defensive fire and giving their gunners as good as he got. The lead bomber's rearward gun fell silent but the aircraft pressed doggedly on. Harry closed for the kill.
"Watch out, gents" the Wing Commander warned, "this looks rather like trouble."
Before Harry could say 'Hun in the Sun' his world was exploding in bullets and sparks and shards of broken perspex. Harry's cockpit immediately began to fill up with smoke.
He fumbled for the canopy release but the frame was jammed. Choking and desperate he finally managed to force the thing back on its grinding runners. The rush of cold air almost took his head off as he gasped for a breath and then tumbled blindly over the side.
Hauptmann Fuchs and his Wingman Leutnant Werner Maier were up high overseeing a wide formation of twin-engine medium bombers. A mix of types, word even had it there were Italians amongst them. So high above they all looked little more than occasionally sparkling shadows.
"They come Hauptmann." Werner had spotted a formation of Spitfires approaching from the south west. They were gathering speed and pair of wide-winged Zerstörers were moving to engage.
"I see them, Leutnant." The cunning Fuchs was reading the situation, "Let them come. Let the quality of Göring's pet wonder-birds now show itself."
Werner let a wry smile play across his face. He too had once taken the opportunity to fly an Me 110 and knew well the source of the Hauptmann's sarcasm. It was an aircraft only a commander-in-chief could love, of truly superior design on paper.
Maintaining their hight and position they both watched as the spitfires fell upon the heavier machines like wolves upon deer.
So long as they were kept busy and away from the bombers so much the better.
"See there, Leutnant, the last man." Hauptmann Fuchs had spotted Harry's dive toward the bomber squadron and was already gauging his angle of attack.
Werner opened up the throttle and followed him in.
A bright explosion caught his eye as one of the Zerstörers went up in flames. A smoking Spitfire emerging from behind now turned in their direction. As an immediate threat to the Hauptmann he was Werner's mark and the junior officer moved to engage.
Wing Commander Barbary left the first Me 110 intact in his rear cursing his luck. They were a bit of a conundrum those heavy fighters. Too big and cumbersome to really pose any great threat to the Spitfires and presumably too small and light to carry much in the way of ordinance. Still they were best not dismissed out of hand. He lined up the second heavy fighter for the attack but it made a sudden jink before pulling back up into his range with more speed than he'd anticipated.
His machine battled through a brief moment of intense fire and noise and confusion emerging from a world of flame into a shaky banking turn through open sky.
Barbary steadied the flight, regaining control of his machine and his wits.
"I punched that Kraut's ticket." he laughed sounding braver than he felt. The enemy was a flaming comet riding down a plume of dense black smoke but his own aircraft had not escaped completely unscathed.
Suddenly a pair of enemy fighters were diving in. Real ones, 109s.
"Watch out, gents" he called "this looks rather like trouble."
But his radio only crackled in response. His engine whined and begrudged his request for more power. Inside the cockpit smelled of fuel. Helpless he watched as the lead 109 fell in behind a Spitfire who was already harrying the bombers. But there was nothing he could do. Already the second Messerschmitt had clocked him as a threat and was coming in on the attack, guns blazing from well outside of his range.
Barbary accepted the challenge from the impudent pup with a calm level head. He tipped his machine up on its wing bating the enemy and throwing off the boy's fire before letting fly his bullets as it closed into range.
A brief clatter and buzz and the attacker, for all his bluster passed on overhead and away. Barbary quickly allowed his plane to dive in an attempt to coerce a little more speed from his ailing Spitfire. He wasn't out of the fight yet.
His radio crackled. It sounded like Rufus. The other two lads of his squadron swooped into the fray and the lead bandit now had his hands full.
He broke away from the Spitfires in fear for his life but before he could bunt and dive away his rudder and tail fin was shredded and he lost control. Rufus followed him down a little to hammer the message home but the 109 leader was done for.
With no one now between them and their prey the Spitfire pilots trusted to their greater speed to reach the bombers in time. The chase was on.
Werner had been sold a dummy. Even as he turned into the spitfire's attack he knew he had been played for a fool. The rattle of a hundred 303 bullets all along his underside confirmed as much. He made an angry turn to come back around on the rear of the other two spitfires but instead he began to slip into a nosedive. Struggling to regain control he lost some altitude and a lot of time. Once more straight and level he found that his engine made a disconcerting noise if pushed beyond a certain point. He risked a climb back into the fight but it smoked profusely and threatened total failure.
He could only watch and scream in impotent rage as Hauptmann Fuchs was hounded in a ruthless pursuit down to the death.
Werner none the less set his fighter, on a hopeless pursuit course following the action as the drama unfolded beyond is reach.
While the fighters had tangled the bombers had broken free and were by now some way off. The spitfires raced to engage them one RAF fighter trailing smoke and struggling to keep up.
Werner pressed his damaged V12 as hard as it would allow but it was useless. The first bomber fell out of formation trailing a long black plume from a flaming engine.
The flames quickly spread engulfing the entire wing as desperate men evacuated one by one to take their chances by parachute.
But though one bomber had fallen there were many more. Many more than a handful of spitfires could tackle alone.
A stray Me 110 close by caught his eye.
It was droning aimlessly along for all the world oblivious to the danger of flying straight and slow in enemy airspace.
"Zerstörer, S 9 A M..." He called, reading the lettering along its fuselage. No response came over the radio.
"Eins Zehn, can you hear me?"
Werner eyed the distant pursuit ruefully, there was little help he could be there. He turned into a slow climb closing on the wing of the other German plane in a bid to communicate.
Whatever they were going to do from here their best hope for survival was staying together.
The heavy fighter had been badly shot up. The cockpit was riddled with bullet holes and Werner could see that the radio man in the rear was most likely dead. The pilot's face was ashen grey, his eyes wide staring back at Werner.
Far away beyond his reach another bomber went up in smoke but the rest had gotten through and the bombs were already falling. They'd done all they could. They had kept the fighters busy long enough and now all that remained was for every man to make it home as he may.
Werner took position ahead of the other plane and waggled his wings. The man was in shock but he managed a response and so followed Werner's lead as they set course back to France. Their work here was done.
Wing Commander Barbary cursed his damaged Spitfire with the kind of language traditionally reserved for sailors. The Naval yards all along the Kentish coast had been taking a hammering of late so Barbary expected the good lads and ladies down there would likely excuse his colourful language so long as he stopped those bombers.
"Rufus!" He called the overzealous young pilot over the radio. "The blighter's on fire already, get on after those bombers!"
The broken radio only garbled back a lot of noise but he could see that Rufus was once again climbing back into the hunt.
Pilot officer White was on the tail of a bomber in the rear of the formation hosing it down with a blast of machine gun fire.
"For the love of merry England, White!" The wing commander vented his frustrations, "You're not here to wash their ruddy Windows! Get in close and give 'em what for! Aim for the engines!"
There wasn't any response over the radio but the spitfire redoubled his efforts with spectacular effect.
"Atta boy, Whitey!" He whooped, "keep on 'em now lad, there's plenty more of 'em."
But time was running out. Looking altogether far too close now in the near distance a row of tall steel radar tower pylons was growing nearer and nearer. Barbary's engine coughed and threatened to sputter out but he saved it in time. He wasn't getting nearly enough speed out of it though. It was all down to the younger lads. A window cleaner from Watford and a, well he wasn't altogether sure about Rufus. He had a suspicion the boy was a singer or an actor of some sort, he was a much better pilot by all accounts.
As they approached the target the lead bombers were already dropping their payloads.
Rufus made a last desperate stab at another bomber which caught fire and began to drop out of formation but it was too little too late.
A power generator station went up in flames as all across the headland bombs fell among the radar towers and their adjoining structures. The bombers scattered and turned back out to sea.
"Steady now, boys." Wing Commander Barbary reigned in his red-faced charges. "Orders are orders. No chasing 'em away off over the Channel." The pair of wayward Spitfires broke off their vengeful pursuit and reluctantly formed up on their Wing Commander's wings.
Barbary coaxed his wounded warbird into a Northwestward heading leading his squadron back to Biggin Hill.
So there you have it. Raid number three. The RAF lose the last Spitfire of BF5 (Poor Harry, we hardly knew ye.) for the loss of one Me 109 and one Me 110 and only two He 111s. But more significantly, while the Spits were busy messing around with the fighters the Bombers made good on their threat and in end with four crossing the table edge it was bad news, disastrous news in fact for the already beleaguered Naval yard.
Losing its last remaining 6 damage points to the first bomber across the line.
And it was all too much for the Radar Towers too as even with one of the Heinkels rolling snake eyes (AGAIN!!!) the last two bombers over the line finished the job.
So both targets totally eliminated leaving only the Infrastructure target to keep the Royal Naval supply situation feasible. Bit of a disaster for Britain this round as the desperate struggle continues on into day four.