Thursday, 15 February 2018

Wild Blue Yonder: Solo play of a mission from the Rommel Attacks land campaign - OVER TARGET

NB: if this is your first visit to this series of reports concerning Mission 6, don't read this account now, but scroll down to read the first instalment (3 Turns to Target).

This is the situation at the beginning of the 'over-target' turn:

A lone hurricane is left to fight it out with 4 Axis fighters, while 4 stukas make their bombing runs.

Zero Hour. The German strike force approaches the defensive perimeter of Tobruk. Hearing the planes, the Aussie, British, Czech and Polish defenders - the men who Nazi propagandist Lord Haw Haw will describe as rats - run for cover. By the sound of the engines, a pasting is on its way!

Above the dive bombers preparing bomb, the BF110s go first in the game turn. The Wingman Step is skipped as there is no target. The leader decides to climb, discarding a card. He has a weak offensive hand, but wants to rob Goodman of the opportunity to dive on him and gain another card. No attack...let's see what the Italians can do. The leader draws 2 cards.

#2 Goodman's hurricane:  Goodman is not good enough. He has plenty of burst cards, but dammit, still can't close with the enemy to let loose. Maybe all of his cylinders aren't firing. In predictable fashion in this dogfight, he plays a 1B Out of the Sun and targets the German wingman. The wingman draws an attack card - no use as a response card - so takes two hits. At least that's something!  Goodman discards 1 and draws 2. 

#3. CR42s:  The wingman targets Goodman (who else?) and draws his single offensive card. It's an Out of the Sun - 1B card. He takes a shot. Goodman sighs and plays a vertical roll, to disappear from the Italian's view.  Now it's the leader's turn, but dio mio, now is not the time to have a brilliant defensive hand. He can't improve his position against the English, so discards 1 and draws 1.

#4. Stuka Element 1:  Flying over their target, the unengaged stukas can't play cards in their wingman phase. In the altitude step, they do what stukas do....DIVE!.....ONE BIG SCREAMING STUKA DIVE. (If you have seen Chris Nolan's Dunkirk film, you know what I mean....take cover!!) They dive to very low altitude, but in this situation, the leader does not draw a card. 

For this 'over the target' turn, we now enter the Air Strike step. Screaming in, the stukas unload their bombs on to the reinforced defensive positions below.  Each stuka draws 3 cards: 1 for their bomb rating + 2 for a 'very low' altitude attack.

The results:  

LDR = 1 direct, 1 hit, 1 miss
Wingman = 1 vital, 1 direct, 1 miss

Tobruk is a fortified target, so the results have to be downgraded to 2 hits and 1 direct hit. Still deadly. 

But the stukas may not have it all their way. The flak guns are in a frenzy. The Scottish gunners are fired up. For this Ground Forces mission (3A), the flak get 1 +1 for targets at this altitude. This means that two Allied flak cards will be drawn against each stuka. 

The leader's first card is an In My Sights: a potential single hit. The pilot has a choice: take it or play a response card to avoid the flak. Only one such card can be played in response to flak by each aircraft, and the decision must be made before any other flak card is drawn. Well, he only has a Full Throttle card, which can't be used when you're loaded up, so the flak scores a hit. Luckily for him, the second card is a miss. 

Here, you can see the 3 bomb cards drawn beneath each stuka, showing the results in the bottom right hand corner of each card. The two flak cards for the stuka leader have also been drawn:  IMS (scoring a hit) and a Maneuver (miss). The flak cards for the wingman are face down, about to be revealed one by one.

The wingman is next, and emerges unscathed through the curtain of flak.

No cards may be played during the leader step. He then discards 2 and draws 1.

#5 Stuka Element 2:  now the other pair of stukas takes its turn, in identical conditions. The bombs fly to their target, scoring:

LDR = 3 hits
Wingman = 2 direct hits.

After adjustment for their fortified target, they score 2 hits. 
The Scots are still going crazy, pumping shells into the sky. 

The German leader draws the first card - a miss. The second is an In My Sights (IMS), but the pilot pulls off a barrel roll and avoids it. As he did not score any hits anyway, his desperate roll does not rob him of a bomb hit. 

The wingman's first card is also an IMS, scoring 2 hits. He decides to take the hits, rather than draw his single defensive may come in handy for that 2nd flak card. He's right! The second card is another IMS. The wingman draws his defensive card. It's a barrel roll!  Lucky guy...he avoids a cockpit hit, but loses one of his bomb hits. now scoring a single hit.

The leader step is skipped.  Discard one, draw one.

Here is the outcome of the bombing run by the final stuka element:

The stukas would normally have the opportunity to also strafe the target, but as it is fortified, strafing is not allowed.

Final Step:  Area flak now occurs, but as area flak is rated zero for this mission and target aircraft are at very low altitude, no area flak cards are drawn. The fighters rejoin the bombers, all at neutral. 

Consulting the mission card, after scoring a total of 3 hits and 1 direct hit, the Axis has scored 3VP and DISRUPTED Allied ground forces.

There are now only two game turns left before the Axis planes return to Goodman finally going to live up to his reputation?

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