Check Your Six – Spitfires Part II
Continuing with our Check your Six! Spitfire theme, after completing the Instrument of Attack scenario we had time and so set up another scenario I wrote that covers Luftwaffe attempts to destroy the Nijmegen brigdes during Operation Market Garden. The Canadians were back in action in their Spitfires, this time flying patrols over the bridges. The attacking Luftwaffe fighters consisted of a section of FW-190s carrying bombs.
The variable scenario rules provided the RCAF with an extra veteran pilot while forcing the Germans down to low altitude to start the game. The German players decided to try and bull their way through the Spitfires, hoping to get as many bomb armed FW-190s to the bridges as possible. However, Bob did have one of his aircraft drop its bombs on a polder in order to free the aircraft to provide cover for the rest
Ken’s pair of Spitfires were closest to the oncoming Germans but were only able to score a lucky hit in the first pass, causing oil to be sprayed across the windscreen, which would not be cleared away for several turns. Andy’s fighters soon arrived and weighed down by the bomb load, the normally nimble FW-190s were sitting ducks and one was quickly shot down. After this initial pass, the speed of the Germans took them right by the defending fighters and close to the bridges.
My pair of aircraft had started on the left of the German formation and as I turned in toward the bridge my green pilot came under the guns of both Andy’s Spitfires as they turned around and disappeared in a roar of cannon fire. However, all was not lost as one of the Spitfires ran out of ammunition.
The surviving FW-190s, a couple of which were damaged, now reached the bridges and dropped their bombs. The spans were not hit, but the attack caused traffic to stop for a time (i.e. the British players were denied some VP). The undamaged FW-190s, now free of their payload, swung around to engage the British fighters. One Spitfire was destroyed and a second one ran out of ammunition (and was subsequently destroyed), but not before the Germans lost another aircraft – to pilot error when a green pilot with airframe damage failed the aircrew test and had his aircraft break up attempting and extreme turn.
Things now looked pretty grim for the last Spitfire pilot as Andy found himself in the midst of 4 FW-190s. We then had a tense few turns as Andy tried desparately to extract himself from the mess and get away. Diving, climbing, and weaving, he avoided most of the shots but found himself head-to-head with a Folke-Wulf. Cannons blazed and both sides were hit for heavy damage. But luck was on the British side in this one as Andy rolled an 11 for his Robustness roll while Tom rolled an 8 and his already damaged aircraft went down. Andy was able to avoid the rest of our long-range fire and slip off the British table edge just ahead of the Germans.
The RAF won this scenario as well, scoring 16 VP to 10 VP for the Germans. We probably should have had more of our aircraft jettison their bombs and fly cover, but hindsight is 20/20.