My first game being so much fun, rather than be sensible and just play the same scenario but maybe let the Japanese get the Top Ace, I decided to go bigger. As you do.
|Lots of cards to make|
The weather last Sunday turned as suddenly as a crazy ex-girlfriend, so it was a good time to hide inside from the winds and rain and roll some dice.
Some advice from experienced BtH players on Twitter suggested giving defending fighters a 50% increase over escorting fighters with bombers.
So I set up two flights of three Dauntless SBDs escorted by a flight of 4 Wildcats. Trying to stop the SBDs from bombing a transport ship (the Boatai Maru) were 2x three plane flights of Zeros. I used the table to roll for pilot quality this time. The Japanese got 5 out of 6 pilots as veterans and 1 regular. The Americans got a couple of veterans leading the fighter sections and a lot of green pilots.
For brevity I'm going to use an alphanumeric code to identify the flights and individual aircraft. UB is American Blue flight of 4x Wildcats. UG and UY are American Green and Yellow flights of 3x Dauntless SBDs each. JR and JB are Japanese Red and Blue flights of 3x Zeros each.
|JR claims Altitude Advantage and races ahead. UB is divided into 2 sections flanking the SBDs.|
|American deployment. Blue die show altitude |
|White strip is the target. Yellow disc is position of the sun.|
|JR begins a swirling dogfight with the pair of Wildcats UB3 and UB4|
|JB turns to intercept the SBDs|
|JB get on tail of UG. UG1 takes engine damage losing altitude|
|IJN roll badly on hits and the SBDs roll not that bad for saves. Rear gunner on UG2 about to kill the pilot of JB3|
|It's a swirling knife fight! Trying get a target...JB3 is killed at his controls and JB1 takes some damage|
|Dakka dakka dak.... miss!|
|JR2 banks around to ho head to head with UB4. UB4 shoots first, splashing his 2nd kill!|
|UG1 is swerving out of control. Rest of UG does their run, their bombs falling short. UY is making its approach.|
|UG pulling away. UY gets a good bombing run, putting a hole in the engine room of the Boatai Maru.|
|JR1 gets on the tail of UB4|
|Combined rear MG fire from a couple of SBDs kills the pilot tormenting UG1|
|BANZAI! Dakka dakka dakka! JR1 shoots a wing off UB4 who bails out4|
|BANZA! Dakka dak... JR1 charges ahead to get the wingman UB3 but guns jam!|
|JB1 tries to get the American rookie, who flubs his hard bank but flies out of danger|
|UB3 pulls an Immelman and gets on the tail of the damaged Zero pouring in the fire|
|UB1 gets a good hit on JB1, shooting away his instrument panel putting him at -2 maneuver|
|JR1 damaged can't shake the tailing Wildcat. Fuel line hit! +3 on damage in next round of shooting.|
|JB1 is shot out of the sky before he can escape|
With one bomber damaged (it will probably ditch beside the carrier if they get that far) and one fighter down, but the pilot is hopefully picked up, the Americans will get a few pats on the back in the briefing room from the Air Wing Commander for seriously crippling the Japanese transport.
A junior officer on the Boatai Maru witnesses the brave sacrifice of the pilots and pens a sombre haiku
Brave souls in the air
The rising sun knows defeat
In the sea you sleep
(Thanks to D. Montoya from Twitter for composing their epitaph.)
I played this out over three days with a combined time of about 5 hours.