Thunderbolts!

A while ago the 1/144th scale P-47 models from 21st Century Toys hit the shelves of my friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart, so I immediately scooped up four each of the bubbletop and razorback variants for my 1/144th NW Europe CY6 games and put them to work immediately. The games were a while ago, so my memories of the details are a bit sketchy.

The scenario sheet for these two games is available here.

The first game pitted Thunderbolts against Ki-84 Franks in a straight air superiority dogfight. I was driving the P-47’s against Bob and Ken in the JAAF aircraft. Nothing fancy as I went straight at them, planning to rely on the notorious ruggedness and awesome firepower of the P-47. Unfortunately, my dice had other ideas and the Japanese had the better of me throughout the game. IIRC, one P-47 was shot down, two were damaged and the fell out of the bottom of the CAB in an uncontrolled spin.

The second game was a ground attack mission in Normandy, representing one of the rare times when the Luftwaffe sortied to try and protect convoys moving by day. The USAAF had four loaded P-47’s and two more as escorts against a four-ship formation of Bf 109’s. The two forces passed one another and the real fight started as the German fighters ignored the two escorting aircraft to swing in behind the Jabos. The escorts got one of the Gustav’s, but the others lined up and began pummeling the loaded P-47’s (the Agility 0 penalty for being loaded is really rough). The German flak gunners up and down the convoy opened up, but caused more hits on German aircraft than American. A couple of the P-47’s were shot down as they lined up for their bombing runs and the remainder of the bombs were ineffective. A couple of more strafing passes were made, but the result was certainly dissappointing for the Americans, as only one lousy German truck was destroyed. Surely some German tankers must have at least soiled themselves – probably in surprise at seeing the Luftwaffe in action!

Both games were fun and the 21st Century Thunderbolts are very pretty models that certainly grab your attention, if for other no reason than their size alongside their opponents. The Jug truly was a huge plane.

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