Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Phantoms Over Havana, Fight #11


So it's 1330 on 4 Feb 1990, and the Cuban Liberation Air Force (CLAF) has a pair of F-4 Phantoms on Combat Air Patrol, circling above Havana, as a trio of MiG-21s streaks out to meet them.  The ground war is so successful that the Castro regime is on its last legs, and his pilots are finding it harder and harder to locate fuel, munitions, and even serviceable airfields still in Communist hands!

The CLAF fighters are members of Blackjack flight, specifically Blackjack 01, a Veteran pilot, and Blackjack 02, a Regular pilot.

Overview, north is up.  The CLAF aircraft are at top right (northeast), heading southwest, while the Communist aircraft are at bottom left (southwest, heading northeast).  If you're thinking it's too vanilla, hey, it's not my fault.  I dice for everything: number of aircraft, location of aircraft, heading, speed, and altitude.  The minis are 1/600 from PicoArmor, while the rules are 'Lacquered Coffins,' modified a bit for modern (Hollywood-style) dogfighting.

Blackjack 01 and 02, circling lazily over Havana, speed one, altitude five (1/5).

But the Commies are in a hurry, also coming in high, but moving as fast as their little MiG engines will take them (6/5).

The game is afoot, with each turn beginning with what the rules call "the mandatory move," which is a cool mechanism that forces each aircraft to travel forward, straight and level, before making any maneuvers.

The Communist MiGs continue straight and level, unable to spot the rebel F-4s.  Blackjack 01 moves up and immediately spots the enemy flight, but Blackjack 02 tries to get a bit too fancy, maybe showing off for his girlfriend living in a flat below in Havana, and so he sort of just stumbles forward, almost stalling his aircraft out.

So the CLAF is outnumbered but manages to spot the enemy without being seen, but then can't take advantage of it...

Blackjack flight was really loitering at low speed, so they charge straight in, picking up speed, and are quickly spotted by Red 02.  Red 01 and 03, thinking they haven't been spotted, then cut right and drop altitude.

The Veteran pilot, Blackjack 01, charges straight in, lining up a shot on Red 02's nose and immediately launching a missile!

The Communist pilot tries to evade, but the closing speed is just too fast and he succumbs to his fate as the rebel missile slams into the MiG and sends it tumbling to earth.

Red 03 screams as his comrade dies a fiery death; he cuts hard left and takes a terrible shot on Blackjack 01, which the rebel pilot easily shakes.

Again Blackjack 02 tries to get a bit too fancy, cutting left and dropping down under his partner, first almost colliding with the friendly aircraft, then almost running into the errant Commie missile...

Red 01 follows suit, also cutting left and taking a bad shot at Blackjack 01, and again the Veteran CLAF pilot shakes jukes the aircraft, causing the missile to soar by harmlessly.

The two pairs of fighters enter the knife-fight.

Red 01 dashes straight through at 6/5, higher and faster than the CLAF planes.

But then Red 03 gets greedy: he cuts hard left, drops down, and opens fire with his 30mm cannon on a horrible deflection shot on Blackjack 01.

The Veteran CLAF pilot not only evades the gunfire, he performs an Immelman, climbing and turning onto Red 01's tail...

As Blackjack 02, again trying too hard, cuts hard right, climbs, and takes his own horrible deflection shot, doing nothing but wasting ammunition...

Blackjack 02 flashes past Red 03 as Blackjack 01 solidifies his position on Red 01's tail.  Red 01 is beginning to look like dead meat.

But then the Communist pilots turn the tables, reversing course back into the CLAF pilots, with Red 03 in a great trailing position.

But Blackjack 01 is crazy, so he practically slams on the brakes, goes nose to nose with Red 01, and cuts loose with a barrage of 20mm rounds, damaging the MiG and wounding its pilot!

I'm not sure what Blackjack 02 was thinking exactly, but instead of turning right, inside of Red 03, he cuts left and dives, looking to pick up speed and escape.

Blackjack 01 flashes past the damaged Red 01 as Blackjack 02 and Red 03 jockey for position.

But this time it's the CLAF's turn to flip the script, with both F-4s reversing course.  At this point both Communist pilots decide to run for it, cutting east (right side of the table) for safety.

And the MiGs have nearly reached safe haven as Blackjack 01 turns and launches one final missile...

The wounded enemy pilot never even saw it coming, nor was he in any position to do anything about it even if he had.  The rebel missile travels straight and true and slams into the MiG-21, blowing it up in mid-air.

A heck of a fight, short and sharp, with two more kills, but Blackjack 01 resolved to have himself a sitdown with Blackjack 02, the point of said sitdown being to let the lad know he needs to knock off all the hot-dogging and just do his damn job.  It didn't go so well; Blackjack 02 told him to stuff it, Blackjack 01 offered to open up a can of whup-ass, and the squadron commander decided it might be best to transfer Blackjack 02 out of Blackjack flight.  But the good news is that Blackjack 01 became the Cuba Liberation Air Force's second Ace!!!

Well, one more fight to go, and it really makes me angry...


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