Air War Germany 1944 – Session 2

We played out our second session of the campaign in April 2019 and as we have our third session at Next Saturday’s meeting it was high time to write it up!

The British were approaching their target and had been benefited by fog that had hampered the take-off of nightfighters from 1.Jagddivision, but the British umpire now played a weather change card as the main raid neared its target, which luckily cleared the ground in just the right area and replaced it with heavy cloud cover for the attacking bombers!

Me 110G-4s scramble – planes used in the campaign are all 1/600 Tumbling Dice with Dom’s Decals, from the Umpire’s collection

The first action resulted from a straggler interception of the main raid by the commander of 2.Jagddivision, Steve, which allowed him to vector in the Me110G-4s of III.NJG3 as the raid passed Rostock in a ‘Tame Boar’ attack.  In this type of attack each nightfighter followed the bomber stream using on-board radar to detect and close on targets.  The targets proved hard to find, but Dave detected and successfully shot down 1 straggling Lancaster, K for King.

Another night-fighter unit from 1.Jagddivision, commanded by Dave, now made the first successful infiltration of the main bomber stream.  The attacking unit was 2.NJG5, also equipped with Me110-G-4s, but it’s impact was reduced by having been scattered on take-off in foggy weather.  Not only did it fail to inflict any damage but one of the attacking fighters piloted by Andy was shot down by defensive fire when if homed in on it’s target, B for Baker.

ME 109G-6s scramble

The raid move on and the target was now revealed as the raid stream turned south and began bombing its target, Berlin.  Dave was able to vector in the Me109G-6s of 1.JG302 to attack the the head of the bomber stream as it passed over the target in a ‘Wild Boar’ attack, closely followed by the Me110F-4s and G-4s of 3.NJG5, which were directed in from the radar beacon north-west of Berlin where they had been orbiting.  This type of attack was made by visually intercepting bombers lit up by searchlights.  The cloud cover reduced the searchlight effect, but bombers could still be attacked against the illuminated clouds.  The defending fighters had to take their chances with defending flak fire.

The first attack by the Me-109s resulted in heavy losses for the attackers.  Steve made a spectacular high score, shooting down four attacking Lancasters – G for George, F for Fox, M for Mike and P for Peter.  Dave added to his score with two more bombers, D for Dog and J for Jig.  John L opened his score with E2 for Easy Squared.  Chairman John pursued another bomber, J2 for Jig Squared, but only managed to damage her before she exited the illuminated zone.  The British scored back as Andy homed in on D2 for Dog Squared, damaging the bomber with his first burst, only to be damaged in turn and driven off by defensive fire from the bombers gunners.

The air picture around Berlin at the end of the second session, with the position of the bomber stream in the previous move shown as a tracked target

The resolution of the attack by 3.NJG5 was postponed until the next session, as time was up for the day….

At the end of session 2 the points scored were as follows:

Dave (1JD)                        +6             +3 for Lancasters shot down, +1 for Tame Boar attack, +2 for Wild Boar attacks

Steve (2JD)                       +5            +4 for Lancasters shot down, +1 for Tame Boar attack

John L (7JD)                      +1             +1 for Lancaster shot down

Chairman John (3JD)    +0.5       +.5 for Lancaster damaged

Andy (4JD)                         -2.5      +.5 for Lancaster damaged, -2 for Me110 shot down, -1 for Me109 damaged

That leaves the individual League table so far as follows (with 2JD the leading team so far with 8 points):

Dave (1JD)                        +6         2 sessions played

Steve (2JD)                       +5         1 session played

Mike (2JD)                       +3           1 session played

Chairman John (3JD)  +2.5        2 sessions played

John L (7JD)                      +1           1 session played

Chris (7JD)                       -1.5           1 session played

Bob (4JD)                          -2             1 session played

Andy (4JD)                        -2.5       1 session played

The Flying Musketeers

Tony F goes aerial with his planned Open Day game.

Operation Musketeer was the codename given to the joint British and French plan to occupy the Suez Canal zone in 1956. The conflict also involved Israel which invaded the Sinai peninsula, forming part of the second Arab-Israeli war.

MiG-17s overfly a coastal town.

My game looks at the conflict in the air. It was one of the last air wars to be fought entirely with guns, before the advent of the missile age. It also involved a wide range of aircraft, from WW2-era prop planes such as the Mustang and Mosquito used by the IAF, to the latest jet fighters. Egyptian pilots flew the MiG-15 and MiG-17, the RAF deployed Hunters, Venoms and Vampires, and even deployed the first of the nuclear capable V-Bombers,the Valiant, along with the smaller Canberra, from bases in Cyprus and Malta. Not a great deal of air-to-air combat occurred during the conflict but as wargamers we never let the truth get in the way of a good game, so rest assured there will be plenty of chances to dogfight with the enemy.

RAF Canberra Bombers

The 1/600th models are all from Tumbling Dice. Buildings and other scenery come from local manufacturer Brigade Models. The rules are a home-brew variant of Spitting Fire by US publisher Majestic 12 Games.

Israeli Mosquitoes on a recce flight

The idea will be to run a number of consecutive short scenarios over the day, allowing players to drop in and out during the day.

Israeli Mysteres over a mosque near the Suez canal.

Open Day 2019

Open Day Coordinator Dave Sime gives the low-down on this year’s games…

Open Day, 22nd June 2019

The Open Day will be held on June 22nd from 11am to 4pm at our usual venue in Linton, just outside Maidstone.

Below is the list of games for the 2019 Open Day – over the next few weeks each game sponsor will be giving us more details on their respective games.

Just to whet your appetites, here are a selection of the games from last year’s event…

Dogfight ’69

Dogfight ’69
The Hundred Hours War

Our new show game for 2019 had it’s first outing at Cavalier 2019.

The Salvadorean Invasion!

This is set in the war that briefly erupted between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969.  This was the last occasion in which piston-engined fighters engaged in air-to-air combat.

Honduran Corsairs approach

This is a participation game with the players taking on the role of Corsair pilots in the Honduran Air Force.

Salvadorean Mustangs on Combat Air Patrol

The players have to launch ground attacks on the invading Salvadorean Army column to halt their advance, whilst warding off the attention of patrolling Mustangs of the Salvadorean Air Force.

Honduran Corsairs approach the target

Congratulations to club member Dave Sime who put together the game, which scooped the Best Participation Game prize at the show.

Honduran Corsairs come in low to strafe over the Salvadorean invasion column
Corsairs and Mustangs go head to head above the Salvadorean column

Air War Germany 1944

Our new Society campaign for 2019 kicked off with the first day of gaming yesterday.

The campaign uses GMT Games “Bomber Command” board game (see https://www.gmtgames.com/p-302-bomber-command.aspx) to set up tactical actions, which are then played out using 1/600 aircraft from the Tumbling Dice range (see http://www.tumblingdiceuk.com/product-category/1600) and GMT Games “Nightfighter” rules (see https://www.gmtgames.com/p-233-nightfighter.aspx).  The action is set in early 1944 and the Bomber Command Force is controlled by the Umpire.

The Bomber Command Force. Lancaster MkI/IIIs of A and B Flights, 460 Squadron RAAF and 4 De Havilland Mosquito Mk IV bombers of 692 Squadron

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 NachtJagd force. From left to right – Bottom: five Messerschmitt Bf-109 G6s of JagdGeschwader 300, 301 and 302 and one 262 B-1a/U1 of NachtJagdGeschwader 11.  Middle Messerschmitt Bf110s – four G4 and one F4.  Top: five Junkers Ju88 C6s of NachtJagdGeschwader 1-5

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.

Junkers Ju88 C6 radar equipped night fighters of the NachtJagdGeschwader

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.

Lancaster MkI/IIIs of A Flight, 460 Squadron RAAF. The Lancaster had become the main type of heavy bomber in Bomber Command by 1944. “D Dog” was crewed as a Mid-Upper Air Gunner by the Society Treasurer’s father, then RAF Sergeant Ray Harris in 1945

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.

The first air to air attack. Lancaster ‘C for Charlie’ is winged, but shoots down the attacking Ju88 C6 of Chris

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.

The second air to air attack. Lancaster ‘E for Easy’ plays a blinder and shoots down the attacking Ju88 C6 of ‘Experten’ rated Bob

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.

The first score for the NachtJagd as ‘H for How’ is shot down by the attacking Ju88 C6 of John

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.

De Havilland Mosquito Mk IV bombers of 692 Squadron, part of the Light Night Striking Force. These delivered small high level raids as diversions from Main Force raids. They were unarmed and relied on their speed to escape interception.

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

Bob (4JD)                         -2         -2 for Ju88 shot down