Monday, September 4, 2017

Phantoms Over Havana, Fight #10


So it's 0900 on 4 Feb 1990, and the Cuban Liberation Air Force (CLAF) has an entire flight inbound, looking to clash with a flight of Castro-regime MiGs intent on intercepting inbound CLAF ground attack aircraft.  The Cuban Liberation Army's blitzkrieg-style invasion has been an unprecedented success, and the CLAF pilots can feel it.  The way CLA ground forces are thundering forward, eating up Castro's territory, it won't be long before the Communists no longer have serviceable airfields available.

Bruiser flight is in the air, with a Regular pilot (Bruiser 03) and two Rookies (Bruisers 02 and 04) led by an Ace (Bruiser 01, looking for a fight.

Overview, north is up.  Castro MiG-21s are at bottom center (Red 01 to 04), heading northwest (top left) towards CLAF ground attack aircraft (off table), while Bruiser flight is at top center, heading southwest to intercept.  All aircraft are 1/600 from PicoArmor, and I'm using the ruleset "Lacquered Coffins," modified for modern (Hollywood-style) dogfighting.

Bruiser flight, screaming in on the deck, speed five, altitude one (5/1).

The Castro-regime MiGs, with advantages in both speed and height (6/5).

The game is afoot, with both sides moving forward, seeking the other out.

Red 03 holds straight and level, then catches the glint of sunlight off a canopy.  He immediately recognizes the flight of four F-4 Phantoms as the threat it is and calls out on the radio.

Red 02 and 04 then cut hard right, bleeding speed and dropping down (3/4), looking to get behind the rebel fighters.

Bruiser 04 is first up for the CLAF, but he's a Rookie...  But he does his job; cruising just above the lush green jungle, he spots silver MiGs at 10 o'clock.

The Ace (Bruiser 01) smells blood in the water and immediately cuts hard left as Bruiser 02 and 03 power climb to 6/2.  Red 01 cuts hard right and drops down to 6/4.

Both formations have already cracked: Bruiser 02 and 03 continue southwest with Bruiser 04 trailing them, with Bruiser 01 closing fast on the enemy MiGs.

Bruiser 02 cuts left and watches out the left side of his cockpit as Bruiser 01 rolls left, pulls up, and opens fire with at point blank range on Red 01 with his 20mm cannon...

The Communist pilot remains in the plane as it burns into the jungle below; Red 03 suddenly finds himself nose to nose with the rebel Ace...

He wants to engage the F-4, but between pieces of his flight leader's aircraft streaming past and the massive enemy aircraft looming so close so quickly he can't pull off the maneuver and overshoots Bruiser 01, dropping to 5/4.

Red 04, perhaps a bit wary of the rebel Ace, continues on his path out to the east, which risks him finding himself out of the fight, while Red 02 senses the danger and cuts hard left to meet Bruiser 01.  Bruiser 03 also cuts hard left to get in the fight, while Bruiser 03 climbs to 3/3.

We've got a nice furball going at this point.

Bruiser 04 holds straight and level, picking up speed to 5/3, while Bruiser 01 pulls hard left into Red 02 and 04.  Red 03 kicks over hard left to get behind Bruiser 04, but Bruiser 03 performs and Immelman, reversing and coming out at 3/4, to get on Red 03's tail.  Red 02 tries to turn hard left into Bruiser 01 and go to guns, but he's too nervous about facing the rebel Ace alone, too busy wondering what the hell Red 04 is doing, so he bungs the maneuver, holding course but dropping to 2/3, losing serious speed and altitude.  He needn't have worried about Red 03; his partner performed his own Immelman, bringing the MiG back around to face Bruiser 01.

Aircraft everywhere, pilots' heads on swivels, clearing their tails.

The CLAF Ace, Bruiser 01, pulls back hard on the stick, kicking the aircraft into a steep climb, before once again squeezing the trigger and sending 20mm cannon rounds into the belly of another MiG-21...

The aircraft is going down as the Communist pilot ejects.

In the northwest, Bruiser 03 flips a Split S, reversing course and dropping down, hoping for Bruiser 04 to lure Red 03 over in front of him, but Red 03 picks up the maneuver and counters with a barrel roll to place him on Bruiser 04's tail, where he fires a missile.

The Rookie pilot never saw it coming, and went down with the aircraft.

Bruiser 03 shakes his head in disbelief as Bruiser 02 hooks left to aid the flight leader, Bruiser 01, whom Red 02 is trying desperately to engage.  Red 02 flips a Split S, reversing course and trading altitude for speed, coming in on the deck, but behind the CLAF Ace.

Turn 5's mandatory move.

Bruiser 01 spots Red 02 coming up behind him and flips his aircraft around in a Split S, while Bruiser 03 cuts left and dives to the deck, picking up speed.  Red 02 suddenly finds himself outmaneuvered by the rebels, with the Ace ahead of him and another F-4 behind him, so he cuts into Bruiser 01 as Bruiser 02 turns right to follow, setting up Red 03 to move in and help clear his tail.

Bruiser 02 and 03 find themselves in great shape to engage Red 02 as Bruiser 01 closes to merge with Red 03.

Bruiser 03 cuts left and launches a missile at Red 02, who's pilot tries to perform evasive maneuvers but fails when he gets distracted by the sudden appearance of Bruiser 02 on his tail as well!  The missile finds home, damaging the MiG.

Trying desperately to aid his comrade, Red 03 cuts left and launches a missile at Bruiser 03 at extreme long range.  Luckily for him, the rebel pilot was too engrossed in watching his own missile shot to notice, so the Communist missile snuck up and swatted him, damaging Bruiser 03!

The Rookie, Bruiser 02, tries to charge in and finish off the damaged Red 02, but he gets caught in the jet wash from Bruiser 01 and flubs it.

But the Ace pays him no mind, zooming straight in on Red 03 and launching his own missile, head on.

Bruiser 01's missile finds its target, damaging the enemy MiG, but suddenly the fight is over as quickly as it began, with the two remaining MiGs both damaged and running for home, and the three remaining Phantoms finding themselves 'bingo fuel' and needing to return to the barn.

Bruiser 03 managed to damage a MiG, but we're not counting half kills (at least not yet!), while the Ace, Bruiser 01, managed to rack up another two confirmed kills.  But the victory was marred by the death of one of the Rookie pilots, so all was not joy upon their return to base.  Two more fights left in the War of Liberation.


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