Rommel was having a tough time of it. Whilst he took turns in taking ground and retreating with Monty with line of supply and quantity of supplies and reinforcements being key it became clear to both sides that every ship that failed to deliver it's precious cargo was another step backwards. Today would see another attempt by the RAF to drive that message home as it targeted a merchant ship chock full of supplies docked and awaiting it's cargo to be unloaded, that most vulnerable of times.
I was facing a pair of torpedo laden Beaufort's and it's near twin the Beaufighter also working as a pair. Matt went through the details of the pair quickly making it obvious NOT to get the pointy end anywhere near my planes.
|Take a close look for a clue|
I had a pair of ME109's and the rather punchy ME110 going solo. The plan for both of us was simple, the RAF would win if they sank my ship. I win if they don't but plane loss on both sides would temper the victory, simples as they seem to say these days.
I got off to a good start spotting the incoming planes at the greatest distance possible, then I started to make mistakes as I spit all my planes up and went wide, also Matt showing his greater experience started as high as possible and slowly dived gaining one extra hex per turn for the change in altitude. This is one of those games that greater playing experience can give you the edge, though I am told with some players this just is not the case.
Remember all that talk about NOT getting in front of these things? Not at all the right thing to do by me but I blame it on only having played three games of this up to this point. Of course this is not the whole of the picture, I mean I did have my ME109's
Which brings me to the bigger picture, well at least my pilot in the 109 got to see a close up reason why you do not do this as the 110 turned into lots and lots of little bits after being raked with not a few guns!
At least I knew where the bombers were going allowing me to get behind the bombers but my circular route had allowed them to get close to me ship but I was sending up a lot of flack. My 109's do manage to tag the rear plane taking out the starboard engine.
Not that I got it all my own way as I took airframe damage on one of my 109's. Above you can see one of the Beaufighters coming round to get in on the action, after all he also knows where MY planes are heading.
Matt in an attempt to try and keep me off his planes found himself slightly off course meaning he could not launch his torpedoes for another turn. This would leave him open to yet more AA fire and worse still more attention from my fighters. Matt meanwhile is bringing his fighters round for the next phase.
A few turns and dives later Matt finally can let the fish fly. My AA fire gets a hit on the leading bomber with Matt rolling 12 making it a special hit, I roll seven and we have an engine fire, the crew will need to pass a aircrew test next turn or they are gone.
Meanwhile Matt's fighters are in the perfect position to dish out damage on my 109's but with typical Matt dice style managers to miss much to my relief.
Now after all the shooting Matt finally gets to unleash his torpedoes and of course keeping in the good old tradition misses with both torpedoes, Ian again breaths out. We called it soon after, the fire did not go out so he lost one of the bombers whilst I was breaking off from the chase so as to escape the fighters. I was bringing both back round to have a go against the damaged bomber but was mindful of the fighters. Instead of playing it through we went for a second game. With the loss of one plane each and the ship safe I felt I had done enough to take that one.
Same situation, but after the effect my AA fire had on the last attack the RAF felt they needed to suppress the flack so sent in 4 hurricanes. Two of these are ground attack with bombs and cannons whilst the other two were choke full of guns. I had the same planes but different pilots and you could tell. The 110 again had a green pilot but one of the 109's also went Kermit. Balanced though by my having an Ace. Matt was mostly skilled but also had a green pilot in the mix.
I did it again but only worse. This time I managed to get in the way of two of the supporting hurricanes with the closest taking out an engine. Unfortunately the second one also got a hit and for the second game in a row saw my 110 not only be the first plate to be shot down, but shot down very near the start.
Matt then went on to tag a 109 (the green one), things were not looking so good for me in this one. I was getting plenty on 10's on 2D6 from my flack but whilst they would be good against bombers, against these smaller faster targets I was just one off a near miss and half damage rolls (3D6!)
My ace though was still in top form and again I knew where Matt had to go. Ace's in CY6 really do have great advantages, they get to move last and their ability to change their orders by two points either way makes them fearful close up. Worse still for their targets they can hit a green pilots plane so very easily. We discussed this quite a bit, the way CY6 plays really gives you a feel for this kind of air combat.
I did manage to take out one of the ground attack hurricanes but it took Matt again rolling 12 and me again getting the seven for another engine fire that Matt's pilot could not put out and down he went.
Matt's luck remained constant as both the bombs and all the strafing failed to connect with his last ground attack plane running out of ammo. My Ace soon followed suit with his cannons and leaving me with a green pilot in a damaged plane and a ace with two LMG's I knowing the AA guns were safe broke for home.
A success in keeping the guns safe (through Matt's unlucky rolls) but the cost seemed a tad high. I would give Matt a minor victory in that over the two engagements I had lost or had damaged enough planes that protecting the guns would now be a difficult task.
I think you get a better feel for a set of rules or period at second playing and this is the case here. Not that it changed my opinion but this second playing showed me the nuances that make the rules such a winner. I can see why Matt likes the rules so much and why they have such a following. I have been looking at buying the Russians which is probably the direction I will go in though the Battle of Briton still has a strong hold from many years ago.