Monday, June 12, 2017

Phantoms Over Havana, Fight #7


So it's 0715 on 3 Feb 1990, and CLA aircraft are sortieing towards Havana on a fighter sweep, anxious for action.  Two days of war have seen the CLA's fighter squadron reduced from twelve planes and twelve pilots to six planes and six pilots, though the damage to Castro's Air Force has been severe as well, with numerous fighters destroyed on the ground, and eleven destroyed in air to air combat.  The first fight on the morning of Day 3 sees an even up fight between three F-4 Phantoms and three MiG-21s.  Stand by for action.

Overview, north is up, with the CLA aircraft at top center (north), heading south and the Castro regime aircraft at bottom left (southwest), heading east.   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.

Due to casualties, the CLA formation consists of aircraft from two different flights.  For my purposes we have Boxcar 02 as Blue 1, Boxcar 04 as Blue 2, and Bruiser 04 (veteran pilot) as Blue 4.  For your purposes, I will refer the them by their Blue callsigns (01, 02, and 04).  The CLA formation is at speed 4, altitude 4.

The Castro-regime flight is, from top to bottom, Red 01, 02, and 03, which, through a freak of the dice, are also at speed 4, altitude 4.

No mandatory move here (it happened, just not shown), we're getting straight into the fight.  The game starts with Blue 02 moving up, and he immediately picks up the three enemy MiGs; Tally Ho!  Similarly, Red 01 casually glances to his 10 o'clock, and I'll be damned if there weren't three rebel F-4s bearing down.  On the CLA side Blue 01 and 04 both cut right, while on the Castro regime side, Red 02 and 03 both cut left.

Red 02 and 03 power climb to 5/5, heading straight into the merge, but when Red 01 tries to hard climb he temporarily loses control in their jet wash (not really, he just bunged the maneuver roll).  Blue 01 intends on charging in and launching a missile at Red 01, but he's a bit distracted with Blue 02 being so close out his starboard porthole, on account of Blue 01 cutting across him, and he bungs it, dropping to 3/3.  But Blue 04 is oblivious to those problems; he charges straight in and launches a  missile at Red 02.

Red 02 tries to juke the missile, but is unsuccessful and his MiG is damaged, AND the pilot is wounded!  Blue 02 tries to steep climb, but he's too caught up in the radio chatter about Blue 04's near miss and bungs it, heading straight between Blue 01 and 04 and dropping to 3/3.

Blue 04 is looking to finish off his wounded prey: he kicks over hard left and goes to guns on a not-so great deflection shot.  Wounded and with his aircraft damaged, the Communist pilot can only grit his teeth and hope as 20mm tracers to zipping by...

It's not enough, and he rides his stricken MiG into the lush, green jungle below.

With no real good options ahead of him, Red 01 climbs and throttles back (1/4), while Blue 01 power climbs back to 4/4 and Blue 02 dives 5/1, trying to get under the MiGs and come back up on the other side.  Red 03 wants to come hard left on Blue 04 and go to guns, but he mistimes it and overshoots, dropping back to 4/4.

But he quickly recovers, pulling off an Immelman to reverse course and climbing (2/6).  Blue 01 wants to come hard left and go to guns on Red 01, but as he peers out the port side window he leans to far in and bonks his helmet on the glass, temporarily disorientating him, so he bungs the maneuver, holding straight but dropping to 3/3.  With that threat nullified, Red 01, near stall speed, is able to roll slight right and fires hi 30mm cannons at Blue 04...

But the Veteran CLA pilot runs between the rain drops, dodging the enemy fire, while Blue 02 executes a perfect Immelman (3/3), while Blue 04 climbs to 3/5.

Blue 01 attempts a Split-S to get back in the fight, but apparently his bell is still rung from knocking his helmet on the cockpit glass and he bungs his third maneuver in a row, leaving him low on energy and altitude (2/2) and vulnerable to Red 03 closing in behind him.  Blue 02 suddenly finds himself caught between the two enemy aircraft, so he dives to the deck and picks up speed, trying to get out of the mess (5/1).  Red 01 wants to cut hard left and drop in behind Blue 02, but suddenly he finds himself nose to nose with one of his comrades, and the subsequent loss of sphincter control caused him to bung the maneuver, which is very bad news as he was already at pretty much zero energy, so Red 01 has actually stalled out (0/3)!  Next turn he will drop and have to roll to see if he recovers before his plane falls to earth.

Now it's Blue 04's turn to execute an Immelman, and he pulls it off flawlessly (2/6), now lined up perfectly to engage Red 01.  Is it unfair to shoot at a stalled out aircraft? ;)  Lastly, Red 03 is also quite surprised to suddenly find a friendly MiG growing larger in his windscreen, but he really wants to pop Blue 01; he decides to dive under Red 01 and launch a missile at Blue 01, but when he saw Red 01 stall out and begin falling back into his flight path, it was really too much.  Red 03 bungs the maneuver, holding straight and dropping to 1/5, now himself dangerously close to stalling out!

Blue 01, having failed to successfully execute four complex maneuvers in a row, decides to take it a bit easy, and so he slowly begins bending right at 2/2, but this is setting himself up for trouble.  Similarly, Blue 02 finds himself dangerously low, so he decides to take it easy as well, holding straight and climbing to 4/2.  But Red 01's pilot, throws all caution to the wind: despite barely being above stall speed, he decides to go for the gusto, and he's successful.  Red 01 powers straight ahead, dives to 4/2, then launches a missile at Blue 01.  The CLA pilot jukes and the missile detonates directly above him, and fragments wound him.

Red 01's pilot is successfully able to pull his MiG out of the stall, but it probably won't matter: Blue 04 cuts right and tucks in right behind him, laying heavy on the trigger of his 20mm cannon.  Red 01 tries to go evasive, but he's too low and slow and falls back into a stall (0/2)!!!

The MiG, hanging there motionless in midair, is easy pickings for Blue 04, who quickly perforates the enemy aircraft, shooting it to pieces and killing the hapless pilot.

Having gained a bit of altitude, Blue 02 decides to pull an Immelman, but he's feeling a bit nauseous from those green eggs and ham at the chowhall this morning and he bungs it, holding straight but dropping to 3/1...  Blue 04 performs a wingover, reversing course to get behind Red 03 and help his buddy in Blue 01 (3/3), but Red 03 smells blood and moves in for the kill.  He calmly launches a missile at Blue 01, who's pilot is wounded and thus can't even attempt evasive maneuvers...

And Red 03 ends him.

Though retribution is swift as Blue 04 rolls in right behind him and takes his own missile shot...

Though at least the Castro-regime pilot is able to punch out.  Even better, the Cuban Liberation Air Force has its first Ace!!!  With his kill of Red 03, Blue 04 (AKA Bruiser 04) has just obtained his fifth kill in the War of Liberation, getting all three kills in this engagement.  Certainly he demonstrated quite a bit of skill, but no one can deny he was greatly assisted by his wingmen, Blue 01 and 02.  Not that they did anything fantastic to help him, mind you; actually it was quite the opposite.  They helped him by consistently failing their maneuver rolls, making them pretty worthless in the fight (other than serving as targets) and impossible for them to score any kills, so Blue 04 was able to do it all himself (the Commies failed a significant amount of maneuver rolls as well).  In any case, the score in this fight was 3-1 in favor of the CLA, bringing the total for the war to:

CLA Kills: 15
Castro Regime Kills: 8

Next up we have Blackjack 01 (a Veteran), 02, and 03 squaring off against four of Castro's Air Force MiG-21s, so stay tuned.


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