MacArthur Escapes Ambush

We got together for to playtest my Check Your Six! scenario for Historicon. The scenario involves a Japaese attack against MacArthur while the General was observing a parachute drop on New Guinea. The general was in a flight of 3 B-17’s protected by P-38s. The Japanese attacked with Ki-61s (Allied code name Tony) and Ki-43 (Allied code name Oscar) fighters.

The attack got off to a rocky start for the Japanese. The Tonys engaged a pair of Lightnings right off the bat and immediately lost 3/4 Tonys! Since the Tony has twice the firepower of the older Oscars, this really presented a problem against the very robust American heavy bombers. The Oscars were soon wading into the fray against the bombers and consistently getting hits, only to have the US bombers shrug off the damage from the two 12.7mm machine guns of each Oscar. Soon the P-38s were in amongst the Oscars and more Japanese fighters started to fall. The heavy defensive armament of the B-17s proved equally dangerous to the lightly constructed Japanese fighters. One Oscar collided (accidentally) with one of the B-17s, but the bomber survived relatively intact (although a couple of crew were lost). An Oscar finally set a B-17 aflame with a lucky hit, but the blaze was easily extinguished before any damage was done. The Japanese Ace made a last attempt to bring down a bomber, relying on his Ace status to keep the Americans from hitting him. Poor decision. The last Oscar in the fight was blasted from the sky and the VIP flight was able to fly back to Port Moresby.

Underarmed but very agile, Ki-43 Army Fighters rush to engage the bombers

The Japanese attack was completely destroyed, but given the amazingly cruddy dice rolls for the Japanese the result wasn’t too bad. The Japanese players consistently rolled very low on their robustness rolls and seemed to roll a 6 every time for one of the two damage dice against the B-17s. Only once did a B-17 have to roll above a 4 to pass a robustness roll. The Americans had all the dice the Japanese lacked, as the bombers were hit many, many times and only suffered a single lucky hit. The bomber crews were also putting on quite a show of aerial gunnery for the Old Man, consistently hitting the attacking Japanese fighters. Despite the lopsided dice, everyone had a good time and the issue remained in doubt as the Japanese were able to get shots on the bombers throughout the game. With a few minor tweaks I’m sure it’ll go off well at the convention.


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4 responses to “MacArthur Escapes Ambush”

  1. Jon Mattison says :

    Question: Are your plane stands modular? with removable elevation segments? Are they commercial or home made? What kind of material are they made of?

  2. Brian says :


    The stands have removable/stackable altitude segments. I have 3-, 2-, and 1-altitude sections, plus a 1-altitude sections that have the mounting set-up for the planes. We add or remove segments as we go to show altitude. I have found that adjusting the altitude in this way doesn’t really take significantly longer than adjusting the little dials on the stands they sell for CY6! and having the altitude visually displayed not only adds a lot of visual appeal, but makes it much easier for the players to see what’s going on.

    I made all of them myself. The bases are made using big 5/8″ or 3/4″ washers along with fender washers. The stands are made using 3/32″ brass tubing with 1/16″ brass or aluminum rod for the pins.

    If anyone would like more info on how I did these, feel free to email me at cantwell dot brian at gmail

  3. Jon Mattison says :

    Thanks Brian,
    My play group has been using GW’s Dark Heresy ruleset to rpg some WWII Pulp and have been using FFG’s Dawn of War game pieces for air battles. We’re currently using GW/FW’s Aeronautica Imperialis bases with 1/144 scale planes purchased at Walmart (21st Century?).
    We’re wanting adjustable height flight stands and looking at alternatives. Extendable metal antennas don’t fit the scale and we’ve questioned the time-factor with removable peg bases (like you use) and which we’ve seen in other games. If I’m understanding your tube & rod segments, I’d suggested this to my group recently. Do you mark elevation by 100’s or 1000’s of feet? What do you count as 1 segment (the minimal segment that includes the swivel attached to aircraft? Elevation Zero? Or just “really low”.
    Thanks for your help and input.

  4. Brian says :


    I’m playing using the Check Your Six! rules and so each altitude level is ~700 or so feet. In that game combat generally takes place in within a larger ~4000 foot band divided into 6 Tactical Altitide Levels (TAL). So each mark on the altitude stands in my case is a TAL. In these rules, aircraft that leave the larger altitude band for that fight are assumed to have disengaged.

    The segment with the mounting system for the plane is 1 TAL as well. If the game is set at the Surface Low altitude band (i.e. between ground and ~4000 feet) then going to Zero altitude means hitting the ground.

    In general I do not find the removable pegs to cause any significant delay in the game. The extra bit of time spent changing the pegs is gained back by having the players able to easily see the altitude of all other aircraft, which means fewer delays in working out movement, shooting, etc.

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