Check Your Six – Spitfires! Part I
While planning for our latest game of Check Your Six, one of the regulars in our group requested that we play a game with some “good planes”. I had some of the 21st Century Toys 1/144th Spitfires in NW Europe markings that I had not used yet, so wrote a couple of scenarios to put these planes onto the table. The Instrument of Attack scenario pitted Spitfires Mk IXs led by ace Johnnie Johnson against FW-190s and Bf-109s over France in August 1944.
The Germans were flying west in search of Allied jabos and were caught by suprise and unable to maneuver much in the first turn. The Tommies were able to set up close and really bore in on them in turn 1. The British lined up some shots and in the first turn damaged one Bf-109 and ace Johnnie Johnson hit a FW-190, damaging it and setting the aircraft’s external drop tank on fire. The rest of the German formation immediately jettisoned their fuel tanks and prepared for action. The fire from the belly tank burned out of control and Johnson had his first kill for the day. The Tommies continued to knife through the German formtaion and Johnson scored his second kill on a head-to-head pass, but lost his wingman to return fire from the FW-190. The leading FW-190s had by this time turned around and were barreling back into the fray even as two more FW-190’s that were straggling behind raced to from the east to join the fight. Johnson turned back and lined up what looked like a sure thing for kill #3 – a tail shot at close range against a German green pilot – only to roll snake eyes and miss. With more Germans closing in, Johnson was forced to maneuver away from the easy target and was fired on my a Bf-109, taking airframe damage. Bob was definitely finding the Bf-109 G6 outgunned in this fight with only one cannon and two machine guns.
While the Germans were trying not to add to Johnson’s victory total, Andy piloted the other Spitfire element through the German formation and scored one kill and damaged a second aircraft, but lost one of his aircraft as well. Now outnumbered heavily and with Johnson damaged, the Spitfires disengaged and escaped from the battle area. The RAF won the scenario, scoring 16 Vp to 10 VP for the Germans. In the historical encounter Johnnie Johnson scored two kills, including hitting his first target in the drop tank and setting it on fire and his aircraft was hit for the only time in the war, suffering some damage to the rudder and elevators – almost an exact match to the events of our game! The other funny thing about this scenario was that after I had written it, I noticed that the Spitfires models I had from 21st Century Toys were painted with the markings for Johnnie Johnson’s aircraft! This one was fated to be a good game!