CY6! Guadalcanal Campaign, Part II
We recently ran another installment of the Guadalcanal campaign for Check Your Six! In the first series of games, the Americans came off rather badly and US air strength was low. For the next couple of games, the US commander decided to take a conservative approach in order to rebuild US air strength.
The first mission was against a formation of Betty bombers attacking unescorted. Four Wildcats from Henderson greeted the bombers. Ken and I played the fighters in this game while Tom commanded the bomber formation. Tom brought the bombers across the table at their best speed, while simultaneously tightening up the formation as much as possible. Ken made a head on pass without scoring any major damage then dove under the aircraft, but was not able to regain enough speed to strike the bombers from below before they reached the table edge. I made a similar head on pass, but then looped back and lined up on the tails of the bombers at medium range, relying on the inaccuracy of the low velocity 20mm tail gun at these ranges. I was able to knock down a bomber and damaged a second, but could not bring down any more before they exited the table to attack Henderson Field. Fires were seen burning on the airfield as the Bettys flew away.
The second game had a flight of Bettys and their escorting Zeros returning from a raid on Henderson Field. This time I joined Tom on the Japanese side. Ken again opted for a cautious attack, prefering to let the bombers fly away rather than sticking around in any unfavorable situations. Damage was light for both sides, although a couple of Japanese were damaged.
Following these two encounters, coastwatchers reported another Japanese troop convoy headed down the slot. US search planes were sent out and attack aircraft held ready, but the Japanese ships were not found and it is likely that they were able to reach Guadalcanal and offload some unknown number of troops.