In our first session the five German players each commanded their own JagdDivision of Night Fighters, aiming to intercept the incoming bomber Command raids that night.
The Germans were lulled into a bit of a false sense of security as they did not spot any incoming raids until turn 3. The air picture then clarified and the main force raid was identified using a northern route, with a mosquito raid to the south and two other diversionary raids emerging from the main force attack.
The first unit to strike were the Ju-88 C-6 of Mike’s II Gruppe, NJG3, which had been placed on overwatch under control of the defensive radar chain in Northern Germany. They attacked as the Main Force Raid Lancasters passed over the radar line. However, this unit had been dispersed by the poor weather on take off, reducing its impact.
Fighters were given only a very general indication of where the bombers were by their heavily jammed ground radar and mainly relied on their own airborne radar to find targets. However, only 2 of the players had the new sets that were free from British jamming.
In the action that followed, it was Chris that got in the first attack, badly damaging Lancaster C for Charlie in a hasty attack. However, he’d picked the wrong plane to mess with and his Ju88 was shot down by return fire from the defending gunners.
Next up was Bob, who homed in on Lancaster E for Easy. However, this plane’s gunners were really on alert and they opened fire first and shot the Ju88 down before it had a chance to land any hits.
However, at last the NachtJagd managed to get off the scoreboard as John locked on to Lancaster H for How, damaging the target on his first pass. A second pass shot the Lancaster down. The gunners never saw what hit them.
With the first attack completed the players returned to the raid map. Here diversionary Mosquito raids were beginning to hit their targets in Duisburg, Witten and Hamburg. The Duisburg raiders got clean away without being intercepted. However, the only unit equipped with high-speed specialised He-219 A-2 Night Fighters, Chairman John’s I Gruppe NJG1, was now placed on overwatch in the radar line astride their return route and were vectored in to attack the Mosquitos that had raided Witten. The Ju-88s and Me-110s in the air in the area were too slow to catch the Mosquitos.
In this second action the unarmed Mosquito Mk IVs played a cat and mouse game as the Heinkels tried to home in on their targets, relying on their speed for protection. Mike managed to get into position to make a power dive to pounce on one of the raiders, but his approach was spotted and the Mosquito attempted to shake him off with a corkscrew turn. Mike second guessed this and followed the Mosquito through the turn, then shot it down with a well-aimed burst, as it began a second corkscrew evasion.
The raid will continue at the next session in April.
At the end of session 1 the league table points scored are as follows (it is worth noting that the Germans were stupendously unlucky in their dice rolls to lose 2 Night Fighters in air to air combat):
Mike (2JD) 3 +2 for Mosquito shot down, +1 for GCI attack
Chairman John (3JD) 2 +1 for Lancaster shot down, +1 for GCI attack
Dave (1JD) 0 no gains, no losses
Chris (7JD) -1.5 +.5 for Lancaster damaged, -2 for Ju88 shot down