Guadalcanal Campaign – Part III
We got together last night to do a couple of more games in the Guadalcanal campaign for Check Your Six!.
The first scenario featured Wildcats and P-400’s flying CAP over a grounded transport versus a Japanese fighter sweep. After working through the campaign paragraphs, we ended up setting up as per the basic scenario. The P-400’s set up first and the Japanese were able to set up in positions to bounced the P-400s. The US players rolled for where the Wildcats set up and got a result that allowed them to set-up in position to bounce one of the three shotais of Zeros. One group of P-400s were able to duck into some clouds as was the group of Zeros that had been ambushed. The other group of P-400s was not so lucky. Starting the game tailed by three Zeros, one of the Aircobras went down on the first turn. The veteran Wildcat soon suffered engine damage from a head-to-head pass against a Zero. A second Aircobra went down from a Zero popping out of the clouds . When a fourth American fighter went down against only one Japanese loss, the Americans decided that 2:1 odds were not in our favor and dived away from the fight.
In the next couple of pencil-and-paper scenarios, the Americans were able to catch a group of Japanese barges moving to Guadalcanal and pummeled them severely. American forces went on to bomb the Japanese base of operations for the barge traffic on the Shortlands Islands and supported Edson’s Marines with some strafing runs against Japanese positions on the perimeter.
The second table top scenario featured Wildcats against another escorted Betty raid. The Japanese chose a close defense of their bombers, allowing the American fighters the altitude advantage to start the game. As the Wildcats closed on the bomber Vee the escorting Zeros clawed for altitude. The Americans roared past the fighter escort and closed in for high side beam attacks on the Bettys. A trailing US fighter maneuvered into a perfect firing position on a Japanese fighter as it turned about to engage the Wildcats. Then the dice rolling bit got in the way and the US completely whiffed (including the range 1 shot from dead astern…). However the US fighter were in great position and swung in behind the Japanese bomber formation, lining up shots from all 6 US fighters. The Wildcats poured 0.50 cal fire into the bombers and damaged several of them, although none went down immediately. In the following turn the US fighters kept their focus on the bombers and downed a couple, but doing so made their moves predictable and the Japanese fighters were able to line up some shots. Additionally, the extra gunnery practice instituted by Col. Tomimoto paid off as the Bettys consistently scored hits with the 20mm cannon in the tail of the Bettys and Wildcats started to fall. The US fighters continued to try and finish off the damaged bombers, knocking down a couple more before being forced to disengage by the converging Japanese escorts.
The US had better results against this raid than some of the previous ones, but still took heavier losses in fighters than needed. The US finally had some success interdicting the flow of Japanese troops to Guadalcanal. There are three more tabletop scenario to play, so we should be able to finish the campaign in two (or maybe one if we play quickly) more sessions.