Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Phantoms Over Havana, Fight #5


So it's 1515 on 2 Feb 1990, and CLA aircraft are again on the prowl!  Earlier this morning Boxcar 01 and 04 ran into three MiG-21s and came out on the short end, losing one aircraft to none for the enemy.  Now we have Bruiser 03 and 04 (who is rated as a Veteran due to having two kills) closing in on three MiG-21s.

Overview, north is up.  Bruiser 03 and 04 are at top left (northwest), heading east, while Red 01, 02, and 03 are at bottom right (southeast), heading west, with neither side spotted by the other.  I'm using the relatively new set, "Lacquered Coffins," modified slightly.  The airplanes are 1/600; the CLA flight consists of F-4 Phantoms from PicoArmor, the Castro flight consists of MiG-21s from Tumbling Dice

Bruiser 03 and 04 are on Combat Air Patrol, loitering at high altitude (speed 1, altitude 6), just looking to get into some trouble.

The MiG-21s are also at high altitude, but moving a bit in order to go check out reports of rebel ships off the west end of the island (speed 3, altitude 6).  All aircraft are carrying four air-to air missiles.

As with the last fight, I took the opportunity to show the  'mandatory move.'  At the beginning of each turn, each aircraft is required to travel their speed, straight and level, and then when they activate they may maneuver.  I think it's kind of a nifty mechanic, throws some stuff in the game, and doesn't let aircraft just 'hang there,' feels like they're actually flying (to me, at least).  I won't show the mandatory move anymore, but know that it occurs as the first action of each new turn.

From here on out you will only see the fighters maneuvering and attempting to spot enemy aircraft.

Let's do it: Red 01 pulls ahead, straight and level, and Tally Ho!  Once again the bad guys are able to spot the CLA F-4s right off the bat, two games in a row...  Bruiser 03 moves up, doesn't see anything (of course).  Red 03 wants to dive, pick up speed, and come left, but he's so in awe of his leader's eagle-eyed spotting skills that he loses track of what he's doing and bungs it, heading straight and dropping to 2/5.  Then Bruiser 04 moves up, but he's busy admiring how the clouds really do look like cotton candy up here, and doesn't manage to spot the three MiGs at his 2 o'clock.  Red 02 holds straight and dives, picking up speed 6/3, looking to get under the rebel fighters and make it harder for them to pick him up.

Bruiser 03 and 04 continue forward, admiring the clouds, spotting nothing, while Red 03 dives to the deck (6/1), Red 02 drops down (6/2), and Red 01 dives and cuts right (6/3).  The only saving grace for the CLA pilots is that they're moving so damn slow, or the bad guys would already be moving up behind them...

I didn't take a picture, but everyone kept doing the same thing the next turn, except Bruiser flight finally saw some bad guys: Bruiser 01 moved up and again didn't spot anything, but Bruiser 04 spotted Red 01 and Red 03, though still no one is aware of Red 02.

And now the game is on: Red 02 and Red 03 both cut right while Red 01 charges straight in, all low and fast, while Bruiser 03 and 04 turn into them.

At the last moment, Red 01 climbs, nose to nose with Bruiser 03, and fires a missile! Bruiser 03 takes evasive maneuvers, and while the missile does not slam into his aircraft, it does detonate close enough to damage the F-4!

Bruiser 04 continues straight and level, tracking on Red 03, when suddenly he spots Red 02 at his 3 o'clock!

Having just been hit, Bruiser 03 hastily snaps off a missile on a return track: "Fox One!"  The enemy pilot tries to execute evasive maneuvers, but he bungs them.  Got caught admiring his shot.

And it costs him; his MiG is struck and he punches out.

That kill is immediately followed by Bruiser 04 turning hard right, bleeding speed and lining up on Red 03.  He quickly launches a missile, though it's not a very good shot and the enemy pilot easily shakes it.

Red 03 (sorry, not marked, but the MiG at bottom center) immediately rolls right and goes to guns at point blank range, but Bruiser 04 shimmies and shakes and is not hit.  Meanwhile, Red 02 climbs and turns hard right (3/3).  Despite being damaged, Bruiser 03 is feeling froggy: he wants to come right and fire a missile at Red 03...

He manages to pull of the maneuver and fires, but Red 03 is able to juke and the missile sails by!

And then a gritty, close range knife fight breaks out.

Actually, I lied about not showing any more mandatory moves.  This is the next turn's mandatory move, which I wanted to show it so you could see position of the relevant aircraft.

Bruiser 04 pulls off a wingover, pulling even with Red 02 and hoping to force him past and gain his tail.

But then Red 03 does the same thing!  Meanwhile, Red 02 finds himself low on altitude and energy, so he picks up speed and altitude (4/2), looking to get back in the fight, while Bruiser 03, in bad shape from the missile damage, can't do much but push forward, trying to get off the map (6/3; being damaged, he can't turn with the other fighters).

Red 03 finds himself in perfect position, loitering behind the damaged rebel at 1/1, and looses a missile at the damaged Bruiser 03.  The CLA pilot can't even perform evasive maneuvers due to his aircraft being wounded, so he punches chaff and flares and hopes for the best...

And finds himself looking down from under silk on the burning wreckage of his aircraft...

Killing me; I'm not sure what else I could have done, the bad guy was just in great position.

Bruiser 04's pilot lets out a scream of despair as his friend's aircraft tumbles to earth, and he whips his aircraft around, performing another wingover, which leaves him very low on energy and altitude (1/1), which is perhaps not the smartest thing to do with Red 02 still hovering around out there, behind him.  But hovering is exactly what Red 02 does: the Communist pilot sees Bruiser 04's maneuver and is licking his chops.  Red 02 wants to dive and come hard right to line up a missile shot, but apparently all that chop-licking got some saliva on his mask and he couldn't see, which caused him to bung the maneuver and head straight while dropping to 3/1.

His blood up, Bruiser 04 pushes in for the kill.  He moves in slowly (2/1), and squeezes the trigger.  20mm rounds shoot past, and then the MiG shakes as rounds impact the canopy, wounding the Communist pilot.  But the plane does not go down!

Red 02 begins coming around onto Bruiser 04's tail, and Red 03 pushes ahead on the throttle, trying to escape.  While he badly wants to finish off Red 03, Bruiser 04 is acutely aware of the MiG behind him, so he punches the afterburners and leaves the area, radioing in Bruiser 03's last known location as he heads for the barn.

Another good one, where the CLA pilots were again let down by their spotting skills, and though outnumbered and in a bad tactical situation, they held their own, downing one enemy bird and wounding another's pilot, while losing one of their own.  Bruiser 03's pilot and weapons officer were quickly picked up by CLA ground forces.  The war's tally now stands at:

CLA Kills: 9
Castro Regime Kills: 6

Stand by for fight number three on Day 2.


No comments:

Post a Comment