Solomon Islands, The Slot, January 1943
Lt(JG) Harry Bailey scanned the skies and watched over the rest of his flight of F4F Wildcats. To his left he could see the Skipper Lt Jack Robinson and the other flight from VF-19. Behind him and slightly below was VB-11, a squadron of 12 Dauntless scout bombers lead by Lt Cmdr Ewasick. He was pretty good at his job and had already sent a lot of Jap ships to the bottom. Out to the flank was a foursome of Avenger torpedo bombers, all the air wing could scramble on short notice.
Ahead of them somewhere was the target; a Jap light cruiser and a destroyer who had been making a nuisance of themselves raiding convoys reinforcing Guadacanal and shelling Henderson Field. VF-19s job was to keep any Jap fighters off the backs of the bombers.
|USN Strike Force|
|Avenger TBFs first appearance in a game!|
|The objective, the light cruiser Tama and the destroyer Harusame|
|Answering the ship's call for air cover, Zeros start showing up, one Chotai each turn of the Blank card.|
|End of Turn 1. Approaching each other|
|End of Turn 2. SBDs are splitting up to bracket the ships. The TBFs are lagging behind. Red Flight is peeling off to go after another group of Zeros|
|2 Chotai have arrived on table now (lower right). The ships are trying to maneuver.|
Harry pulled his Wildcat into a tight turn to get on the last Zero, machine guns rattling. A wing blows off and he splashes his 2nd kill.
|End of Turn 3. SBDs making their approaches. Zeros lower right trying to get at them through the screen of Wildcats.|
Red 3s victim explodes but the sky is swarming with bandits! "Jesus Skipper! they're all over us!" "Break! Break!"
|Blue Flight of the VB-11 dives on the cruiser getting 3 decent hits. The Tama is now dead in the water with it's AA crews suppressed|
|A pair of Zeros try to tail Green flight, but they shake it off by diving on the destroyer. 500 pound bombs crash around the destroyer, splinters suppressing the AA crews.|
|Dakka daka dakka!|
|More dakka. A long burst sets the Zero pursuing Red 3 on fire. It explodes next turn.|
|Fighters doing their deadly ballet. dakka dakka dakka!|
|As Green and Blue fly past and pull up and out, Red section does it's attack run on the cruiser, bomb hits permanently destroying AA positions.|
|Yellow flight makes it's run along the length of the destroyer also causing some permanent AA loss and slowing the Destroyer's speed.|
|Blue section of the TBFs drops it's torpedos!|
|Hiro Yokimato with his fires out, and trailing smoke, is trying to get out of the fight before a stray American burst blows him up. the Japanese fighter squadron is pretty chewed up and disorganized|
|One Mk13 goes deep passing under the Destroyer's stern, but the other hits it squarely amidships blowing a huge gaping hole in the side. The Destroyer is quickly another contribution to Iron Bottom Sound|
|Dodging Zeros the other pair of TBFs line up on the cruiser, launching their torpedos|
|Both hit! One causes more engine damage, but the second is only a glancing blow, causing some leaks.|
Lt (JG) Harry Bailey watched the Jap ship roll over and slide under the water. The cruiser was also smoking from several bomb hits."This is Bomber Eleven, we're all done here and heading home!" He could see the scattered flights of dive and torpedo bombers all pulling up and away from the columns of smoke. He keyed his mic "Fighter 19 close up on the Skipper. He's in some trouble. Watch the rear of the bomber boys on the way home too."