With the successful (well, successful as meaning that I didn’t lose) completion of Mission #6 in Storm Above the Reich, it was time to move to the middle of 1943 and see if Staffel Roy could actually pull out a victory rather than just treading water in this air campaign.
After Mission #7, I can say…well, I think I’m treading water still.
It did not get off to the greatest start, though at least nothing truly bad happened!
Unfortunately, that was because some Escort fighters drained my strength before I could do much about it.
With the new season starting, I decided to use the Advanced Rules of Pursuit.
What this means is that if a bomber falls out of formation, you don’t get any points for it. You only get points for destroying bombers.
However, if a bomber falls, you can send fighters after it to pursue it.
This takes place after the rest of the mission ends, and it does really add a lot to the game, I have to say.
How did the first mission with this go?
Let’s take a look.
(Reminder, you can always click on a picture to see it full size. Also, for the specific rules of what I’m talking about, see the Mission #1 & #2 report though I will provide detail on the Pursuit rules)
Again, the first thing to do was roll for wounded pilots. With four of them, at least one had to come back, right?
Wonder of wonders, both Frey and Knoken came back! Clausen and Grislawski are still wounded. Clausen looks like he’s set up a side business in his hospital bed. (Dude, it’s been 6 whole missions since you were wounded…give me a break).
Once again I rolled that we were coming at the bombers Outbound, which means they’ve already bombed their targets and are heading home.
The victory points don’t come very fast with Outbound, so one of these days it would be nice to get Inbound or Over the Target.
With 8 Operations Points, I was able to once again bring in six fighters and arm them all with cannons (I’ve since discovered that the really cool stuff doesn’t come out until later in 1943, so cannons it is for a while).
Cannons do allow you to draw 2 damage chits and choose one when you hit (though part of me thinks I’ve been forgetting to do that sometimes).
I decided to bring Ehrhoff (trying to get that last experience point so he’s no longer Green), Frey, Knoken, Ahrens, Rainer (the newbie), and Zick (Zick is the only one I’ve never used before, and it would be nice to get him some experience).
The Escort was a swarm of 5 P-40 Kittyhawk fighter counters that would be appearing on Turn 4.
So I’ve got time to do some stuff first!
The Sun was at Nose High against the bombers, so that could be an extra bonus.
Keep in mind as you are reading and looking at the pictures that Ehlers and Ruhl died earlier. While their markers are out there, the real pilots are Ehrhoff and Rainer.
(Note: Some of these pictures have Oesau instead of Ahrens, and Frey in the wrong place. After starting the mission, I decided I wanted Ahrens instead of Oesau, and that Frey would shift over to where Oesau was. My apologies for the erroneous pictures, but you will get to see how the fighting looked, even if one of the names is wrong. The descriptions are accurate)
On Turn 1, Ahrens and Rainer came in from the Nose direction. Frey and Ehrhoff both come Oblique High (but from different flanks). Knoken and Zick come from the Tail direction.
During the next two turns, the fighters maneuver so that Knoken comes Tail High while Zick stays at Tail Level. Frey and Ehrhoff come in from Oblique High. Ahrens comes Nose Level while Rainer comes Nose High (to take advantage of the Sun).
On Turn 4, as the fighters are finally ready to attack (1 Tactical Point awarded for the entire mission makes it hard to maneuver quickly), the Escorts arrive!
Knoken is jumped by one of the P-40 counters (which consists of 4 planes).
Aerial combat ensues, but one of the reasons I chose Knoken is because he has the ability to evade Escorts a lot better than other fighters.
Unfortunately, his ability didn’t help. While he was fine, both the Escort and Knoken exited the battlefield locked in combat.
I’m down one fighter already!
Ahrens, Frey, and Rainer attack one bomber. Zick attacks another and Ehrhoff attacks his own (he’s getting cocky after the last mission!).
This gives both Rotte and Position Advantage, which can be used to nullify one hit to one of your fighters.
Rainer comes in Evasive mode to help with any potential collision check.
Ahrens and Rainer do have a Collision check, but Ahrens flying ability (choose two proximity chits and discard one) lets him choose one that won’t really affect them. They easily pass, having to roll higher than a 2.
Unfortunately, with five fighters attacking, hardly anything happens!
Zick attacks his bomber and does no damage, but also requires a Collision check which he passes (he may have gotten too close and crashed into the bomber). Ehrhoff does no damage but takes a hit, which is negated by the Position Advantage.
Rainer does one hit to the Wing of a bomber, doing 3 points of damage. Coming out of the Sun and in Evasive mode, the hit against him is negated (that’s why he was in Evasive mode!).
Ahrens does no damage and takes a hit, negated by the Rotte Advantage marker.
Frey actually gets an Engine hit (but sadly for no damage) but takes a hit of his own to the Fuselage.
Continuing Fire does a little more damage to my fighters.
Rainer’s Continuing Fire is actually good, though!
Friendly Fire knocks one of the bombers out of formation.
It still must be pursued and destroyed or I won’t get any points for it (though the Staffel does get an experience point for it).
Ahrens takes a Fuel hit during Continuing Fire. Ehrhoff takes a Rudder hit. Zick’s Continuing Fire shifts him into Evasive Mode which results in no hits at all (but a delay in returning to the battle). Frey also doesn’t take a hit.
On Turn 5, Frey’s Fuselage hit knocks him out of the fight. Ehrhoff’s hit is superficial as is Ahrens’, so they get to continue. The fun thing about Ahrens’ hit is that I have to roll a 6 or higher for his hit in order to make it superficial. The die momentarily stayed on the “1” but then rolled to “6” and he was safe.
On Turn 6, Zick was jumped by more P-40s and both broke off. I’m down to half strength!
This is where the new rules come in.
There’s already one bomber down. Ahrens decides to break off and pursue it. This means he’s out of the current battle.
Due to damage, one of the bomber elements has lost almost all cohesion, meaning that the formation is “Kaputt.” During the Cohesion check, you roll a die and if you roll equal to or less than the number of counters in the element (in this case, 2), it loses further cohesion.
A “Kaputt” formation means that further deterioration results in a bomber falling out of formation. Rolling a 1 means that’s what happens.
Another one! That’s two fallen bombers.
On the final turn, Rainer and Ehrhoff peel off to pursue that one.
Thus, the bomber formation is left like this.
Thus begins the Pursuit Phase.
During the Pursuit Phase, you have to roll to see if a fighter intercepts the fallen bomber.
The bomber was placed on the Turn Track on the turn it falls. When a fighter breaks off to pursue, you place it on the Turn Track on the turn it broke off.
To intercept, you have to roll equal to or higher to the number of spaces between the bomber and the fighter.
For Ahrens and his bomber, that was 2 (the bomber fell on Turn 4, Ahrens broke off on Turn 7, meaning 2 spaces, Turns 5 & 6).
He easily intercepted the bomber.
The Pursuit Phase is done on the Pursuit Map for 1943. You also bring over Tactical Points from the main fight. Since I only had one in total, I brought it over for Ahrens. The other two fighters can do their own thing.
You can choose what direction and altitude you come in for your first pass. It’s free (no Tactical Points required).
Ahrens comes in Nose High to see what he can do.
Damage markers to the bomber are transferred over to the Pursuit Map, but since this bomber fell due to Friendly Fire, there were no damage markers on it.
You also roll to see if there is any Sun (the Yellow marks on the map), but I rolled a 4 so there was no Sun.
The procedure for attacking is exactly the same, though. You draw a card for your position and check the row corresponding to your altitude. The only difference is that any hits you take are handled immediately instead of on the next turn.
Ahrens draws…and his guns jam! That means that if he does a hit next time, he has to roll and it may actually not be a hit.
There is no Continuing Fire in the Pursuit Phase (since that kind of represents the other bombers in the formation firing at you and there is no formation now).
He spends his one Tactical Point to come in Tail Low for his second pass. He takes a Fuselage hit that knocks him out, doing no damage himself.
For the second pursuit, Ehrhoff and Rainer go after the bomber that fell out of formation on the last turn.
Interception is automatic as they left the turn after it fell (i.e. there are no spaces between the turns).
As I said, though, damage markers are transferred to the Pursuit Map and may actually do some bad things to the bomber.
In this case, the damage was done to the Cockpit (Fuselage hits on the main board can hit the Cockpit or the Gunner, as indicated on the damage marker.
In this case, it hit the Cockpit, so you have to roll on the “Bail Out” table.
As you can see, the crew bailed out as they were being pursued.
Neither pilot got any personal glory, but with no Tactical Points to use, this probably was the best result.
The Staffel got one Victory Point for the destroyed bomber as well as another experience point.
Yay, Staffel Roy!
Thus, Mission 7 ended on a high note, though none of the pilots had earned any kudos for shooting down a bomber.
All that was left was to see the result of those fighters knocked out of the action.
This time, it was only Ahrens and Frey who were knocked out.
Ahrens landed his fighter safely from his Fuselage hit (earning 1 experience point) and Frey’s fighter caught on fire from his Fuselage hit. He managed to bail out though, also getting 1 experience point.
No additional wounded or killed pilots!
That has to be considered a moderate success, though we need to start shooting down some bombers.
One Victory Point and three Staffel Experience Points was pretty good.
Here’s hoping that Mission #8 will actually result in some bomber carnage as well as some individual pilot success!
I have to say that adding the Pursuit Phase really adds something to the game. Hopefully next time I’ll have more Tactical Points to play with, but it is neat going after the fallen bombers and trying to shoot them down.
Stay tuned for another exciting mission from Staffel Roy!
And maybe Clausen will finally leave the hospital.