Saturday, April 14, 2012
Green Flares over the Netherlands
Date: November 5th, 1943, 1425 hours
Location: Near Rotterdam, Netherlands
History: By 1420, elements of the 55th were about to exit the Rotterdam area, escorting a group of B-24s and several stragglers at 26,000 feet. Lt. Gerald Leinweber and several other P-38s that had formed with him quickly spotted green distress flares below, fired from a lone B-17 under attack at 12,000 feet. They dove to its assistance.
This is the second Check Your 6! game we've played recently, and like the first (which I'll post on second) it was a lot of fun. Given that this game game was an on-the-fly pickup game too made it even better. If you've got the materials in place, one of these games can be had with little to no prep time, yet it feels like a full-fledged convention game in action.
I've always liked the P-38 Lightning, you can see them here as the larger silver planes. They pack quite a bit of punch, and they just look cool. I've also always liked CY6! because most of the games you play will be grounded in actual historical engagements. It's one thing to say you're playing a bomber rescue run, it's another to play out one that actually happened. Well this scenario didn't disappoint because it had great planes and a cool background.
This is Andy's plane. It got shot down. By me.
I am very spoiled by the caliber of CY6! players I game with. As you can see here, we don't use static plastic bases with an altitude indicator/slider. We use metal rods, in sections, to represent the altitude of the plane itself. Six rods high? You're at altitude six. When you've got a table full of planes everywhere, it'd be impossible to remember where they're all at without this. Plus, when I do historical wargaming I want the "spectacle" and nothing screams that than something like the above dogfight.
The scenario calls for the American forces to pretty much get their bomber off the table as quickly as possible. Being a very unconventional tactician, we opted to turn the bomber into the attackers and open up with its massive array of heavy machineguns. On top of that, add in a squadron of P-38s dropping in from high altitude and you've got the makings for a tense, high-action, frenetic dogfight. Compounded of course by a lumbering bomber that kept everyone guessing as to what it would do next.
It was tough fought battle for the first couple of turns, but soon enough the American forces gained the upper hand and momentum helped them roll over the Luftwaffe. It helped that the bomber crew was randomly rolled for at game start and came up veteran, improving their effectiveness, but also, those P-38s just hit too hard and fast.
The P-38 squadron led by Lt. Weinreber
Here's the B-17 the scenario revolved around. By using it in a completely different role I think it threw a sizeable enough monkeywrench in the opposing players' plans. They had to contend with this slow-moving target turning into their attack instead of fleeing. Of course a target this ripe is too hard to ignore, but like a hornet's nest, if you stray too close you'll get stung. Plus you now have to divide your attention between the bomber and the P-38s at the same time. It was a gamble, putting the bomber in harm's way, but it paid off in the end.
I've got another Check Your Six! batrep queued up with the photos, I just haven't been able to write it up yet. It was the first one we played, which meant there was a little more planning up front, and then this one came the following week. Until then, enjoy!