It’s become a bit of a personal tradition in that I plan to run an air game on the week of US Thanksgiving, as it’s the one week which I’m fairly certain I won’t be traveling on business. This year it worked out again so I include some pictures and a brief description of the game.
I also use this game as a trigger to paint up some more 1/600 aircraft. That happened again so first I include a few pictures of my newly finished planes. The first are a couple of Avro Lancaster’s. I have no real game need for these but it was such a cool plane I had to have them.Next, an 8th air force set of B17’s. These are done in a late war paint scheme and will be useful for various late war games.Lastly, a set of B-24 Liberator bombers. These are in the typical early war paint scheme of US bombers. so these will be useful for all area’s really – from the Pacific to Mediterranean and even those bombers based in the UK.So to a quick report of the game we played.
We did a simple scenario with a 4 B-24 Liberator bomber group trying to get off the table with P-39 Aircobra’s as their close air support. The bombers were on a bombing mission (off table) but because of the P-39 as support and assuming an mid war game where many bombing missions were sent after ships and other targets which needed a lower altitude to achieve. So, the game took place at a low altitude, where some of the limits of the P-39 were not so apparent.
We have played a few Japanese bomber missions in the past but they are very weak and are quite easy to be shot down by the US fighters if they get close. So using the newly painted US bombers I assumed that with their much more significant armament and high robustness value they would be more of a challenge. We’ll see. You can see the starting positions of the US planes below. The scenario was a straight up attack by 9 zero’s on the US formation. Of these 6 came in from the right at high altitude, while the remaining 3 zero’s attacked from the front left and low. The Japanese aim is to stop the bombers, while the US aim is to get the bombers clear and off the table. The bombers were aircrew skill zero. The US fighters had smattering of skills, but mostly skill level 1 pilots, as did the Japanese. The US side has a single veteran and there were 2 on the Japanese side. As soon as the Zero’s were spotted the P-39’s sped up to try to engaged the Japanese away from the bombers. This seemed like a great idea as it turned out. Two P-39’s went head on with the closest 3 zero’s coming in on the bombers from the right and splashed one Zero with no damage in return. However, as they both came in head to head and the Zero’s did not stay to engage them at all but flew past and turned behind the B-24’s. This left the P-39’s to have to do some fast turns and try to catch up with the Zero’s who were now close in on the bombers and in a great position. Hopefully, the heavy number of defensive guns and high robustness of the liberators would keep them safe.
The second group of Zero’s, on the left went head to head with the a single P-39 and a familiar story occurred, with the P-39 shooting down a Zero in the head to head pass. That again left it having to do an extreme maneuver and try play catch up with the remaining two Zero’ who headed for the Liberators. The third group of 3 Zero’s now directly in front right were engaged by a single P-38 in front of the bombers. The P-39 misjudged the head to head pass and so ended up in the same hex as a Z, with the others either flying past him or in position to shot him with no return shot possible. The two planes in the same hex avoided colliding, but the P-39 could do nothing offensively. However, a humorous event occurred when the the Zero shooting at the P-39 missed, rolled double 1’s (which triggers a blue on blue event) and instead shot down a Zero! Much laughter was had at this – yes even a little by the player who manged to shoot his own plane down! You can see the 2 planes in the same hex above and the picture below shows the end of that turn, where the damage is done.
The Zero’s behind the liberators also did well causing engine damage on one of them, with the defensive guns all firing wide. It seemed that the great rolls of the head to head shots were balanced by the poor damage save of the liberator for now. The aggressive moves of the P-39’s had dropped 3 zero’s at this point but allowed the others to get into the bombers. That was a risk but seemed to be a decent idea. However, in the next couple of turns that plan came undone with a continued run of below average damage saves of the US players for the bombers. They needed between 5 and 7’s on two die and consistently failed enough of them.
Soon as you can see two of the bombers were damaged and another had exploded when Zero got directly behind them. Just as with their robustness the bomber turrets were consistently missing as the Zero’s closed. The aggressive move of the P-39’s meant that they were at medium range for their shots meaning that although they fired it was very hard for them to hit anything. They were closing on the Zero’s but would it be in time. The P-39’s did get into the mix with the Zero’s but the US dice and tactics were still not able to turn hot though. With multiple shots on the bombers at close range and some continued below average save rolls it was not long before all the bombers had been splashed. No other planes were lost on either side, but the defensive guns finally did hit one Zero, giving it an engine damage result. By this time several of the Zero’s had also run out of ammo, so were starting to head for home. Taking down those B-40’s takes a lot of cannon shells I guess, as the light MG’s don’t do much .
We also had another blue on blue incident, with a P-39 missing a Zero, but raking a Liberator. This time though the bomber made it’s save so the pilot was saved the embarrassment of damaging a bomber he was trying to save! At this point we called the game. The P-39’s would chase a Zero or two out of the game area but the loss of all the bombers gave the game to the Japanese.So there we are, another fun game of Check Your 6, with 2 friendly fire incidents and some quite dramatic moves from both sides. But overall, with 5 players everyone seemed to enjoy the game and we have more stories to tell, so that’s the main thing.