Thursday, August 18, 2016

1952 War - Dogfight #1


Every ground fight is preceded by an aerial fight in order to 1) have fun, and 2) determine which side will have air support from ground attack aircraft during the ground battle.  So it's first light, 0710 local time on 4 March 1952.  Tensions have been high, with the slightest spark setting off full-on war between the bordering states of Hakuna and Matata.  Both sides have launched their Dawn Patrol, and normal combat air patrol of two fighters.  But with tensions being so high, both sides had a squadron commander leading the patrol.  In retrospect, no one is sure if this was to settle tensions or raise them.  If the goal was to settle things down, it didn't work.  A fierce furball broke out, in the wake of which both sides radioed their headquarters to report the other side crossed the border first AND initiated combat first.

On the left is the Hakuna Air Force contingent, consisting of two F4U Corsairs, most recently of the British Fleet Air Airm.  On the right is the Matata Air Force contingent, consisting of two Spitfires, late of the Royal Air Force.  The roster is as follows:

Blue 1: Major Hoombala, commander of the 401st Fighter Squadron
Blue 2: Lieutenant Maputo

Red 1: Major Ayala, commander of the 232nd Fighter Squadron
Red 2: Lieutenant Ngogo

In game terms, the Spits and the Corsairs are mirror images of each other, perfectly identical in every way.

The board, north is up, with Hakuna on the left (west) and Matata on the right (east).  This is a hexboard from some old air combat game one of my sisters picked up second hand.

Now bear with me; I'm still struggling with how to write up an air combat report; there is so much movement, so so many pictures, but I'm not sure it tells a good, interesting, and/or exciting story.  I don't really like this one, but I'm working on it.  I'll see if I can figure something out.

The opposing forces are on the board.  The boy and I played a couple quick test games; he's having a hard time understanding movement (he's six years old), so I took out altitude altogether in an attempt to try to make it easier.  Altitude is out, we're using simple movement points (each aircraft gets eight per turn), with one hex ahead straight and level equaling 1 MP, a 45 degree turn taking two.  That's really pretty much it.  Move then shoot, in an IGO-UGO manner, alternating (one blue, one red, one blue, one red, or vice versa, depending on who won the initiative roll that turn).  We weren't very good at shooting, really poor die rolls the entire game.

The two sides move forward; they move forward 8 hexes, but can only fire 4 hexes.

Almost to the merge...

Blue 1 moves up, just out of gun range (center).  I'm using the blue bead (center left) to show where the moving aircraft began its turn.  So B1 aircraft (center) started at the hex with the blue bead, then moved to where it is currently.

R2 (bottom left) shoots on by (guess I marked blue with blue and red with red).

Blue 2 moves in and hooks right (top center), turning into Red 1 (far right).

So R1 (far left) shoots past B1 (center) and turns slight left.

Lt Maputo swings B2 dead onto R1's tail and fires at point blank range, but misses (1).

R1 (far left) pushes ahead and turns hard right.

B1 loops around to the right (bottom right), but can't line up R2 (center).

R2 moves up and turns right, pulling alongside R1 (left).

R2 pulls ahead (top left) and swings in on B2, opening fire but missing (2).  B1 is at bottom right.

B1 (bottom center) moves up and pulls right, firing on R1 (left) but missing (3).

R2 (bottom right) is forced past B2 (center, with B1 at bottom center).

B2 (far left) turns to follow him.

R2 (bottom right) comes all the way around.

While B1 (top left) turns outside R1 (center).

R1 (top center) pulls ahead and levels out.

B1 (center left facing up, with B2 at left facing down) pulls forward to pursue.

B2 shoots forward and takes a shot at R2, missing (4).

And R2 (bottom left) pulls around him.

B1's windscreen fills as he pulls in behind R1 (top right), guns chattering!  He misses (5).

R2 turns reverses against B2.

While R1 turns the tables on B1.  He fires but misses (6).

And then first blood is drawn: R1 slides in behind B2 and fires, damaging B2.

In an effort to help his wounded brother, B1 (bottom center) puts R2 (bottom left) out of his mind and moves in behind R1.  He takes a long range shot and misses (7).

R2 (bottom center) turns hard into B1, shooting and missing (8).

B2, damaged, can't move very far these days.  He's trying to return to base, but can't even get turned all the way to his baseline (which is off camera to bottom left).

B1 (center) moves up and fires on R1, missing (9).

And then R2 moves up (center) and takes a long range shot at B1, missing (10).

B2 (top) gets turned towards his base.

And R1 (center left) turns with him.

B1 follows, trying to save his wingman.  B1 fires but misses (11).

R2 (center, with R1 on his left) zooms in and cuts loose on B1...

And now both Hakuna fighters are damaged!

Please note that terrible rolls also led to both fighters being damaged rather than destroyed...

B2 (top left) continues to push to get home.

R1 moves in and fires, missing (12).

B1 moves in on R1 and rattles off a long burst at long range.

And R1 is damaged!

R2 (center right) closes on B1 and opens fire, missing (13).

B2 (left) keeps chugging for home.

R1 (top center), now damaged, breaks off and turns for home.

B1 (left) turns into R1, now also trying to get himself home.

R1 (top)  pulls further towards his baseline (right).

B2 is almost there, will get home safely next turn.

R2 maneuvers (top left) but overshoots B1).

I kept trying to explain to the boy, but he won't listen.  "B1 is damaged and moves slower, you're going to have to spend a turn pulling away, then coming back at him..."

B1 inches towards home.

And R2 overshoots.

And then B1 inches towards home...

The boy pulls R2 ahead, but did he turn out far enough?

R2 is making his turn.

B2 is almost there; the boy has waited too long and now it's up to chance.  If I win initiative next turn B1 will make it off map before R2 gets to act.  If not, he'll get to line me up and take a shot, but our marksmanship has left much to be desired...

And I win initiative, so B1 makes it off map to fight another day!!!

Pretty poor shooting, knuckleheads!!!  Thirteen different times we shot and totally missed (or failed to do any damage), and no planes were shot down!!!  Step in my office, you're @#$%in' fired!!!  Well, I damaged one plane and the boy two, so I guess he won and he gets air support in the ground game.  Can't wait to see how that goes, so stay tuned!



  1. Great post Jack! As you said lots of pics - not a problem for me in the slightest! Good read, nice planes, like the pics and the one-liners under the pics explained what has happening succintly & clearly. Well done!

    And tell 'the boy' I think he did very well! :)

    1. Thanks man, glad it was easy to follow. The boy did too well, actually ;)


  2. "Thirteen different times we shot and totally missed (or failed to do any damage), and no planes were shot down!!!"

    That's actually pretty good accuracy when looking at real world combat :D Although it would probably be a claimed kill rate of 26 aircraft for that ;)

    The batrep seemed good once you got in flow - the piccies let you visualise quite well! Blank map then starting positions then a couple of "move to contact" shots seemed redundant - a "just before contact" with a line saying "M started on west, H on east, map was from some 2nd hand aircombat game" would have trimmed that down to get to the meat more quickly?

    Shame the lad kept over shooting, but if it helps I am VERY bad at air combat games, I'm lucky to stay on the map let alone get a shot in ;)

    1. TP,

      Yeah, more accurate, but not very dramatic! And the lowly forces of Matata might resort to cowardly inflation of their stats, but the mighty soldiers of Hakuna have too much integrity. That's why my pilots only claimed 13 kills ;)

      Glad you were able to follow the fight, I'll keep going like that. Regarding the boy overshooting, he's a little too much like his old man. I kept trying to coach him on how to swing out then swing back the next turn, but he was sure he could get it himself ;)