"We all have appointments with the past."
The April 2017 game night offered me a chance to run a Check Your 6! scenario I wrote several years ago and never got the chance to play test. It stars Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and many other classic childrens' books. Roald was a RAF fighter ace, scoring five confirmed victories over Vichy French and German aircraft in the Greek and Levant theaters in the Middle East in 1941. The Gremlins is a book he wrote in cooperation with Walt Disney in 1943.
This scenario revolves around a damaged Royal Navy destroyer participating in the Operation Exporter attacks into Lebanon & Syria in June 1941. Dahl was flying Hurricanes with 80 Squadron out of Haifa and was assigned air cover missions to protect the Navy.
We had a small gathering, Andy took the Vichy French (I ran the bombers according to his plan) while Barry commanded the RAF.
With only two players, the Tomahawks and MS406 sections had to be in play first so Dahl was not in the CAP rotation over the Navy as this battle occurred.
Barry set some clouds out and Andy instructed me to make my bombing run over the Navy ships from the Starboard Aft Quarter. I setup the bombers, Andy setup in front to clear the path, Barry placed his RAF Tomahawks on an intercept to our starboard and we were off.
First turn saw some shooting w/ head to head passes by the fighters. The fast French bombers started diving to lose altitude and gain speed and a hex and denied the Tomahawks an early shot.
In Turn 2, the Vichy French green pilot scored an Engine Damage hit on Barry's green Tomahawk pilot. To add injury to insult, the Royal Navy gunners mistook the damaged Tomahawk for a French plane and opened fire w/ medium AAA in a blue on blue attack and scored a near-miss. Barry elected to pull an extreme turn to avoid this damage and the French bomber pilots gave a cheer to the Royal Navy!
During Turn 3, both Tomahawks moved through the French fighter screen and shot at the French bombers (LeO451s). The green Tomahawk (with engine damage) hit the lead French bomber, but it made it's Robustness roll and shrugged off the minor sheet metal damage. The Skilled Tomahawk pilot gunned down the port-side bomber in a hail of bullets and ran out of ammunition in the effort. Scratch one bomber!
By Turn 4, the French bombers had descended to Surface Level 2 and the lead made his bomb drop over damaged HMS Janus. A hit was scored which sank the damaged destroyer, and eliminated 50% of the Royal Navy flak, although to this point it had been more helpful to the French than the RAF (maybe some inter-service rivalry?).
As if to confirm the Navy's opinion of the RAF, Turn 5 saw HMS Isis take another blue-on-blue shot at the RAF Tomahawks, but missing despite themselves. At this point, Andy's veteran French pilot shot down Barry's green Tomahawk, but the young Flying Officer successfully bailed out and was picked up after the battle by HMS Isis.
On Turn 6, Andy's green pilot surprisingly descended to Surface level 1 to skim the wave tops, and accidentally ditched his plane into the Mediterranean Sea! He too survived this ditching and shared his emergency cognac ration w/ Barry's pilot in the life raft so HMS Isis collected a POW as well.
Finally, with Andy's veteran pilot in hot pursuit of Barry's escaping veteran Tomahawk (who was out of ammo - Winchester at this point), Turn 7 concluded with the surviving two bombers escaping out of Royal Navy AAA range (who never hit any French planes).
In the wrap up, it's a win for the French despite losing a bomber and green pilot MS406. for sinking HMS Janus. HMS Isis conducted rescue operations and returned to Haifa harbor the next day w/ the Isis crew along w/ a wet RAF pilot and Vichy French POW.
We enjoyed some British beers, shepherds pie, and good company.
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