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):
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