Malta air campiagn - Game one
This is the battle report from the first game of our Malta campaign and we
decided to keep it simple and use a couple of fighters each.
Since this was the start of the campaign we started by creating our pilot skills and choosing our planes (this was mainly dictated by what we had painted as some were only finished the night before). The Allied forces used 2 Hurricane 1As and 2 Gloster Gladiators and the Axis used 2 Messerschmitt 109C and 2 Cr42 Falcos.
But the fun began when we rolled for our pilots and both the FAA and Italians rolled some very poor pilots while the Germans rolled brilliant ones. It looked like it was going to be a very long and difficult campaign for those players.
Axis Starting positions with Cr42s in the foreground and Me109s in support
When we rolled for table edges to come on at and both sides rolled the same place. We decided this wasn't a good idea and went for opposite ends of the table instead.
The Axis players also started at higher altitude and this was a big advantage as the Me109 could also out climb the Hurricane.
In the first turn, the Brits came on flying at full speed while the Axis kept a disciplined Finger-4 formation.
Turn two on the British side
The Hurricanes at this point are flying much faster than the Gladiators and have pulled ahead of them. This was apparently part of the cunning plan that the British players had.
The Axis players didn't concern themselves with such details at the start of the game, and decided to adopt a wait and see approach.
Hurricanes vs Me109s
Both the RAF and German player decided to fly flat out at each other but the Messerschmitts were a few levels higher and zoomed straight over the Hurricanes. This confused the RAF pilots, Flight Sergeants Giles Sinclair-Symthe and Ernie Sharples, who spent the next few turns turning their crates around.
This allowed the Germans to search for new prey. They headed directly for the FAA Gladiators and started to drop altitude (to match the Gladiators).
Turn 4: Messerschmitts and Gladiators clashing
The Axis players won the initiative again so they chose to move second. The Messerschmitts zoomed down from higher altitude to get a shot at the Gladiators but both sides missed.
Meanwhile the Hurricanes after watching the Messerschmitts go past, were still turning around to come and join the action.
Close in dogfighting
After the opening shots the FAA and Germans tried to turn inside each other. But the German player pulled out some very tricky manoeuvres (an Immelman and a Diving Loop) to get into a good position for next turn.
Meanwhile the Italians stayed at higher altitude waiting to see what happened, while the RAF Hurricanes continued to move towards to the action.
Turn 8: The Axis planes getting in each others way while lining up to get a shot
As the dogfight continued the Italians swooped down from and decided to join the party. Unfortunately their intentions didn't match their abilities and the only plane that was able to shoot, missed. I also realised that Tentente Gnocchi (my average pilot) could only hit them if he got behind them and fired at point blank range (fat chance!).
However the Leutnant Joachim Muncheberg had better luck and managed to cause 5pts of damage on one Chalky's Gladiator.
The FAA player was getting a bit nervous, as the Hurricanes were still a turn or two from being able to relieve some pressure.
The situation at the start of turn nine
This photo shows all the planes on the table. The Hurricanes are in the top of the picture but still aren't close enough to help the FAA.
Loss of Faith
The next turn of the game was more decisive. The Axis won the initiative again and made the Brits move first. This enabled the Germans to line up a Gladiator but the Italians were too scared to try any fancy manoeuvres and continued to circle. The Me109 finally managed to get hits on the Gladiator with all it guns and destroyed Flight Sergent Chalky White's plane.
The FAA player rolled on our Bailout table and since the Brits are over friendly territory, the pilot was picked up by a passing ship but will miss the next game.
In the 9th turn Flight Sergent Bertie Jeeves decided to head for home in his Gladiator as it was 4 vs 1 and it was time for afternoon tea and scones. We stopped the game at this point as we were tired and wanted to reflect on the campaign and decided to call the game a draw. All the pilots gained a couple of experience points for surviving the mission, and Muncheberg has his first kill of the Campaign.
We concluded after that a couple things needed to be changed to make the campaign more balanced.
The FAA and Italian players would be able to use 3 planes for every two Hurricanes or Me109s and 3 Gladiators is virtually the same points as 2 Me109s.
We rolled our pilots up as per the rulebook but unfortunately there was some very good pilot and some very crap ones (My only average Italian pilot rolled ones for both gunnery and pilot's skills - Arrgh). Instead we will allocate a certain number of points per pilot to spread over their pilot and gunnery skills.