Our Treasurer has just realised that he had omitted to write up the fourth session of our campaign from the end of last year – still better late than never!
This session began with an attack by the Me110s of 3.NJG5, which had just infiltrated the tail of the bomber stream as it left Berlin. The Me110s weaved backwards and forwards across the bomber stream using their on-board radar to detect and attack targets. John La was first onto the score sheet, detecting ‘Q for Queenie’. He missed the target on the first pass, but sent the bomber down on his second.
As the bombers headed off to the northwest, 3.NJG5 stuck with them and continued their attack. Three bombers went down in quick succession, the first, ‘O for Oboe’ to John, then ‘P for Peter’ to Andy and finally ‘N for Nab’ by Marcus in his first combat. However, the bombers then struck back, as first Steve took damage and was forced to break off in an attack on ‘M for Mother’, then worse still Marcus was shot down by ‘L for Love’.
Now another Me-110 unit, 4.NJG3 of Steve’s 2.Jagddivision was able to infiltrate the bomber stream. However, their attack got off to a poor start as the alert gunners of ‘K for King’ shot down John’s attacking fighter.
The bombers were now re-crossing the German defensive radar line and the Me-110s of 3.NJG3 were successfully vectored in to attack from their overwatch positions.
At this point we ran out of time for the day, leaving the raid to be concluded in a fifth and final session, which will be a catch up to bring all players up to 2 sessions played.
At the end of session 4 the points scored were as follows:
Andy (4JD) +1 +1 for Lancaster shot down
Steve (2JD) +1 +1 for GCI Intercept, +1 for tame boar infitration, -1 for fighter damaged
John La (7JD) 0 +2 for Lancasters shot down, -2 for fighter shot down
Marcus (3JD) -1 +1 for Lancaster shot down. -2 for fighter shot down
Tony (1JD) – Unable to fly
That leaves the individual League table so far as follows, with Steve just passing Dave at the top of league table, as he has shot down more bombers (4 to Dave’s 3). 1 JD keep their lead in the team competition with 11 points:
Steve (2JD) +6 2 sessions played (4 bombers downed)
Dave (1JD) +6 2 sessions played (3 bombers downed)
Marcus eschews the beach and goes Top Gun instead.
We recently decided to have a virtual club meeting, and I decided that I might play “Full Thrust” or an aerial war game with my sons. However, they proved ambivalent on the day, preferring the beach…
Now, I do have a beautiful mountain mat from Deep Cut Studios intended for Korea. I think it may also work for Indo-Pakistan and possibly Iran-Iraq along the northern Iranian border, but at 6 x 4 it is just too big for my current table.
Since it is a plush rubber backed version I can’t hang it over the sides either. Until I find a solution, I unrolled my reversible, home-made sea/space mat, which I thought could serve as the Persian Gulf (that’s the sea side above).
I have long been interested in the Iran-Iraq War. Perhaps there is something about history that happens in your own lifetime. Now more than ever, I am far more interested in the Cold War than any other period, although I have only really ever gamed it at sea and in the air. I had painted up some aircraft for Iran-Iraq a year or so ago having read the superb “Iran-Iraq War In The Air” by Tom Cooper and Farzad Bishop. I decided this was now the time to bring them to the (3 x 5) table, where the mat could hang over the edge.
However, I must confess that I haven’t played CY6 yet, despite having a few of the Jet Age books. I have played the Tumbling Dice Wings At War rules however. I have tried Thud Ridge and had tried a home brew Arab-Israeli variant a while back. Given that the F4 is featured in Thud Ridge, along with the F5 and MiG-21, I thought that gave me a rough baseline, although in the end, the F5s didn’t get on and I don’t have any Iraqi MiG-21s.
Wings at War uses a deceptively simple energy/action system. You must use all your generated action points through the turn. The actions you use affects your “energy” subtracting or adding to your turn start action point. The net result gives the action point total for the next turn. The majority of my aircraft are from Tumbling Dice, and all of those used in this game.
The figures in the table were a rough guess after a bit of further research. I think the Mirage is a bit low on countermeasures and I am not sure if the MiG 23 is a bit too well rated. The MiG-25 unfortunately never made it onto the table with an ace pilot.
I should mention that in Wings At War Thud Ridge, there is a column for afterburner and height. All the aircraft has an afterburner and I didn’t think I needed a maximum height. I added some adaptations cribbed from the “Phantoms” system, which is based on the Avalon Hill game “Mustangs” but I think also owes a debt to Avalon Hill’s “Flight Leader”, notably around the missile and gunfire templates. I therefore added a Radar and countermeasures (C/M) column.
I seemed to recall reading that on introducing the Mirage F1EQ, the Iraqis had tried making attacks on the Iranian F14s by making a low approach and climbing from underneath to find a firing position. My hazy recollection lead me to deploy a pair of F14s armed with Sparrow (radar homing – RH) and Sidewinder (heat seeking – HS) missiles against a pair of F1EQs, with one Super 530 (RH) and two Matra Magic (HS) missiles.
I rolled the Iranians coming in from the east at height 3 (one ace and one experienced – the Iranians were much better trained), and the Mirages from the west at height 2 (one experienced and one green). I also had a system for rolling reinforcements. At the end of each turn I rolled a D6 for each side. if the roll exceeded the number of aircraft on the table, I rolled for the type of aircraft to come on.
A word of note on the photos. The green dots on the Mirages indicate the inexperienced pilots. The blue dot on the F14 indicates the ace.
The Iranians came in and went onto a shallow dive to height 2 having detected the Iraqi Mirages. The Mirages also detected the Iranians and the leader launched his Super 530, which the Iranians failed to avoid and which damaged the Tomcat to give the Iraqis an early advantage. The Iraqis rolled for another Mirage flight.
The Iranians again had the first move, detecting the second Mirage and both F14s fired Sparrows. The leaders Sparrow failed to launch, possibly as a result of the earlier damage. The wingman successfully launched, but the target evaded. The Mirage leader dived for the deck, but his wingman went for an optimistic (and unsuccessful) head on shot at the incoming F14 wingman before following his leader down. The second pair of Mirages at height 3 dived to level 1 also.
The first Iraqi element tight turned to the north and west. Iranian reinforcements, a pair of F4s now entered from the east. The F4s detected the second Iraqi element. A sparrow destroyed the Iraqi leader and another damaged his wingman. Both Tomcats pull a tight turn, but it is the damaged leader who lines up for a Sparrow shot. This time he launches successfully, but it misses. His prospective target, the lone Mirage has spotted the F4s and climbed to height 3.
The first Mirage group turns to face the F4s, who attempt another Sparrow launch, but this fails. The Iranian leader tries to launch another Sparrow, but fails again. That damage is playing havoc with his electrics!
The F14s move first and the leader now goes for a heat seeking sidewinder shot, but misses! The Mirage pair turns after the F4s, but can’t get on their tails and pass them as the Mirages head west. The F4s heading north will try to turn after them…
The damaged Iraqi Mirage turns east with the F4s turning after it and the second Mirage group, who have pulled away after the F14 leader, who hasn’t spotted them. The Mirage leader launches a Magic heat seeker at close range and brings down the already damaged F14. However, the F14 wingman closes in behind the Mirage leader and destroys him with a sidewinder.
The Iraqi’s wingman now attempts the same on the F14, but he evades the heat seeking magic, the F14 then turns south and dog-legs for home on afterburner. The F4s try for a sparrow shot and the leader launches successfully. He gets a hit but only damages the retreating Mirage which also turns south on afterburner. His wingman picks up the second Mirage, but his sparrow fails to launch.
Quite an exciting last couple of turns, even playing solo. The Iranians lost one F14 with an ace pilot but the Iraqis lost two Mirages and a third damaged. Overall, the Iranians were more experienced, so the result isn’t too surprising. The rules worked reasonably for a cobbled together variant. There are some issues with playing Wings at War with a hex mat, as it isn’t designed for one, but I managed to get around those (you definitely need to add a sideslip maneuver!). The chrome add-ons worked pretty well, although I would have to codify them a bit for head to head play. I am tempted to read Cooper & Bishop again, and make a mini campaign out of it!
Now, I just need to finish off my Fleet Air Arm Phantoms and Buccaneers and I can do a Cold War gone hot in the North Atlantic 1972 scenario…more variants!
Last Saturday, at Stephen’s suggestion, some club members held a ‘virtual’ club meeting; some played solo games or with family members at home, and three even managed to play a board game over Zoom. Here’s a round up of what went on.
Mark H, Mark J and Seán – Nightfighter
Mark H ran a three-player game over Zoom – he’s written it up fully in a separate report.
Marcus – Air Combat in the Gulf War
Marcus played a solo game of modern air combat using Wings at War; this will also be getting its own write-up soon.
Phil – Space Hulk
Phil broke out the new (ish) re-issue of Games Workshop’s Space Hulk with his eldest son; unpainted figures, really!
Stephen – Full Thrust
Stephen, whose idea this all was, went for some solo Full Thrust. Which just sounds all wrong…
Mark J – Kobolds and Cobblestones
Mark.2 played out a Fantasy rumble at the docks.
Tony F – Lord of the Rings
And finally, the webmaster played out a simple Lord of the Rings scenario (the one where Sean Bean/Boromir gets shot full of arrows defending Merry and Pippin).
As we currently have no meetings and gathering indoors is not possible, we have been starved of our wargames for 2 months!
We tried a game of GMT’s Nightfighter over Zoom. The game uses some house scenarios that allow multiple players on the German side. The main game map is enlarged and uses miniatures to substitute for counters.
There were four Ju88C-6 night fighters patrolling to intercept bombers over the targets. These could be coned by the searchlights on the ground, spotted by the onboard radar, or spotted visually.
Here is the hidden umpire map showing the Lancaster position at close of play:
We played until a Lancaster was shot down. Mark shot down ‘E for East’ after a four move duel. The bomber spotted him before he attacked and got two rounds of fire, but failed to score a hit.
The Ju88 missed on the first pass from a poor position, then scored heavy damage on the second pass.
The Ju-88 mis-timed the third pass, but finished the target off on the final pass.
Sean had meanwhile homed in on a bomber with one of his Ju-88s, but ran out of time to shoot it down.
This was the game board at close of play:
A scan of the battle map was shared on Zoom with the players and annotated with the fighter positions, radar sightings and searchlight spots.
Game play is slowed, as moves have to be described sequentially, so the game would have worked faster with less planes controlled by one player with hindsight, but the board game hex playing surface does make a game over Zoom possible! We may give it another go having worked out the snags.
The results for our third session are in. This was to be a session dominated by Wild Boar attack over the city of Berlin,as fighters sought to attack bomber caught in the glare of the clouds illuminated by the searchlights below. One of the JG commanders was absent due to sickness and another had temporarily lost use of his headquarters (aka house) so we were down to three players on the day . Two players babysat for the missing players JagdGeschwader for their map moves. Absent players do not affect the tactical combat results, as each player simply flies one plane.
The day began with the Me110s of NJG engaging the bomber stream over Berlin. This unit was depleted, so the number of tactics was reduced. 3.NJG5 was also handicapped by having some relatively slow Me110F-4s among its Me110G-4s; these struggled to match the speed of the Lancaster at high altitude. The action was something of a damp squib with no Lancasters engaged and the Me110F of Chris damaged by fire from the defending Berlin flak batteries.
After another map turn the bomber steam continued to move through the city and the German players now had a final chance for their units to engage the tail end of the bomber stream over the city searchlights.
First in were the Me109G-6s of 1.JG302 belonging to Tony’s JagdDivision 1. Things looked up for Chris as he was first off the scoreboard the day, downing C for Charlie. However, he did a bit too good a job as his fire detonated the bomb bay and his own fighter was consumed in the explosion! Things took an even worse turn for the Germans as Tony’s 109 was shot down by an alert gunner on E for Easy.
Next up was Tony’s 3.NJG5 coming round for another go. Michael got involved in a running fight with, funnily enough M for Mike. His first pass winged the Lancaster, but the defending gunners in turn damaged the attacking Me110. However, Mike hung on and made another pass, sending the Lancaster down. Tony now got into his stride with his pilot bagging first N for Nab, then K for King.
As the last of the bomber stream came in over the searchlights the Me110G-4s of 1.NJG5 also belonging to Tony’s JagdDivision1 arrived over the city. Tony continued on his combat roll by adding J2 for Jig squared to his total for the day.
The ever persistent 3.NJG5 now succeeded in infiltrating itself into the bomber stream as it left the city, becoming the first night fighter unit to do so.
With time up for the day and four tactical combats played out, the resolution of the Tame Boar attack was left for the next session.
At the end of session 3 the points scored were as follows:
Tony (1JD) +5 +3 for Lancasters shot down, +3 for Wild Boar attacks, +1 for Tame Boar infiltration, -2 for fighter shot down
Michael (2JD) 0 +1 for Lancaster shot down, -1 for fighter damaged
Chris (7JD) -2 +1 for Lancaster shot down, -2 for fighter downed, -1 for fighter damaged by flak
Marcus (3JD) – On leave
Bob (4JD) – Unable to fly
That leaves the individual League table so far as follows (with 1JD going into the team lead with 11 points):
Dave (1JD) +6 2 sessions played
Steve (2JD) +5 1 session played
Tony (1JD) +5 1 session played
Mike (2JD) +3 2 sessions played
Chairman John (3JD) +2.5 2 sessions played
John L (7JD) +1 1 session played
Bob (4JD) -2 1 session played
Andy (4JD) -2.5 1 session played
Chris (7JD) -3.5 2 sessions played
Worth saying that you score as follows:
1 point for each successful interception on the map by a unit, doubled if done before raid passes through own division area
1 point for identifying a main force raid or mosquito raid before air picture is clarified, doubled if done before raid passes through own division area
Air to air combat points:
1 point for shooting down a four engined bomber
2 points for shooting down a Mosquito2 points lost if own nightfighter shot down
Damaged aircraft score half points, for and against. Ties decided by number of bomber shot down.
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!
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.
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 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):
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.
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.
Here are a few shots from games we ran at Salute on Saturday. We were kept busy running games back to back for most of the day, each game taking 20-30 minutes, as our participants flew their Corsairs to stem the tide of the Salvadorean invasion..