It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to run an air game at the end of November – which fits with the US Thanksgiving vacation. I started this as I could pretty much guarantee that I won’t be traveling that week on business. This year was no exception to this, so 5 of us got together and had a game of Check your six this week. Yet again this was using my Japanese vs. US planes. I have multiple requests now to finish painting my WW2 Western Europe models so that in the future we can try a German vs. US bomber raid. So watch this space for more on that – likely next year.
However, this time it was 9 Betty bombers with 4 Zero escorts vs. a flight of American aircraft scrambled to intercept them. Using the Guadalcanal as the setting the US players got 4 Wildcats and 2 Aircobras. The Betty’s were in a single defensive line, as generally they are pretty weak with LMG guns to the front and side, but do have a ‘sting in the tail’ with the single LVC in the rear.The American’s started well in front with 2 flights high and another lower than the bombers. The bombers were at level 3 giving the most Altitude options for the fighters to use. One pair of the Zero’s pulled out and headed for the Aircobra’s coming from the high left. Meanwhile, the other zero’s (controlled by me) decided to stay high and behind the bombers- so they could pounce on the Americans when they came close.The Zero’s on the left side I assume expected the Aircobra’s to dive and get ready to hit the bombers. So they started to turn and dive, but lost a lot of speed doing it. They also made themselves a potential target for the incoming American fighters to get into a dogfight with. Meanwhile, the Aircobra’s just kept coming and did not dive, keeping them safe from the Zero’s pre-emptive move. The Wildcats to the front and left were set up for a dual high and low pass in frontal attack. The first Shooting was on that frontal attack and one of my Zero’s managed to take out a Wildcat on the first shot! So first blood to the Japanese. In return the Wildcat’s managed to damage two of the Betty’s – but both rolled well enough that they survived that first flurry of shots. The robustness of Japanese planes is always an issue compared to the much stronger US ones.Over the other side of the bomber flight, the Airccobra’s got into a great position to take out some bombers but missed completely! The Zero’s on that side were behind them but due to the loss of speed in turning they were now trying to close on them to get into good firing aspects. Then came the turning of the Wildcats to get behind the bombers. This gave my Zero’s a set of close targets for them to go for. At the end of the turn the Japanese were still all ok but one of the Wildcat’s had Airframe damage. I use white pipe cleaners for airframe and black for engine damage markers. The build strength of the American planes saved them several times, In the next turn I then took a risk and went for a head to head shot with the Japanese ace vs. a Wildcat. I thought the risk worth it to get another great shot off. I could have modified the move to mean that I did not have a shot but neither did the Wildcat. That risk did not work out well though, as I missed the but Japanese ace went down in flames…So much for taking the aggressive option vs. trying to play it safe.The Wildcats finished the turn to come around behind the bombers and got into a great position to start to take them out. Unfortunately for them that also continued to exposed them to the rear cannon’s of the bombers and plus the remaining escort Zero’s. One of the bomber rear gunners was on target and another Wildcat went down, in exchange for another damaged bomber. Both the other wildcats were damaged by this time so things were starting to look ok for the Japanese. As a bonus my Zero was set up in a great place for dealing with the remaining Wildcats, along with help from the rear gunners of the Betty’s.Over the other side the Aircobra’s had destroyed one of the bombers but a great shot from a LMG in the front of a bomber had managed to damage one of them in return! The lone front LMG’s are very weak but heck once in a while even they can cause a problem for the robust American planes. The Zero’s were chasing and starting to get closer but not before the Aircobra’s would have more shots on the bombers.My poisoning of the Zero on the Wildcats tail came to nothing as I rolled an out of ammo hit and still failed to take down a wildcat. In return the Wildcats each took down a bomber and then they too both ran out of ammo. A few too many sticky fingers on the trigger over this side. So after a laugh about it all three fighters turned for home/dove out of the game. We joke about ramming each other but decided to play it more realistically. As the two Wildcat players had both their planes now out of the game they went and played a quick game of Shadespire (but more on that another time), which left 3 of us still playing. The Aircobra’s continued their great move through the bomber group, but their shots were far from effective. Poor rolling for them on hits and then better than average robustness rolls meant their great move was not playing off. They did manage to damage some of the bombers but so far only 3 bombers were shot down. The two Zero’s from the left were starting the close the gap on them as well.Soon the Zero’s got in decent range of the Aircobra’s and with their moves now the Betty rear gunners could also target them. That in combination took the already damaged Aircobra out of action. That left a single Aircobra, in action but that now took down another of the bombers. The Zero’s now closed and like predators quickly dispatched the last American. That left 3 undamaged bombers and 2 damaged out of the original flight of 9. Meanwhile, one Zero and 2 each of the Wildcats and Aircobra’s were shot down. So a close and bloody encounter for all sides.In the end I declared it a slight American win but one which the Japanese did reasonably well in considering. As always everyone had fun and it’s great to get a fun game of CY6! Not too much dogfighting this time, but a couple of effective runs on the bombers so next time I think we’ll have to mix it up with a different scenario.
P.S. Sorry if you saw something hockey with this post. WordPress seemed to mess up the pictures so I had to repair that when posted.