CY6! – Hurricanes over Java
Last week we got together for the first Check Your 6! game we had played in a while. Turnout was fairly low, so we broke out a scenario I had written that had a manageable number of aircraft for the three of us. The scenario was set on Java just before the Japanese invasion. Elements of RAF 605 Squadron, flying Hurricane IIBs, were patroling over the harbor at Tandjong Priok (part of modern day Jakarta) amid cloudy skies when elements of the Japanese 22nd Air Flotilla arrived escorting a C5M reconnaissance aircraft (allied code name Babs). The Japanese were searching for the USS Houston and the HMS Perth, survivors of the Battle of the Java Sea.
I was flying the Hurricanes and set up in two elements of two, covering the east and west halves of the table. I got lucky and rolled the Ace upgrade for my scenario variable rule. The Japanese divided into two groups, with the western group escorting the C5M (ably represented on the table by a Val) and the eastern group coming on toward the Ace and his Green wingman. My western group ran forward and passed to the east of the Japanese reconnaissance plane then looped around to come in behind. Unfortunately, I mistimed the maneuver and ended up well behind the Japanese, but still managed to damage a Zero with medium range fire from my 12 0.303 caliber MGs. On the other side, the Ace’s element climbed up to meet the oncoming Japanese and was able to maneuver for a decent shot, damaging another Zero. The Ace continued around with his Green wingman holding formation and damaged yet another Japanese plane. So far things were looking good as I had three enemy aircraft damaged, although the C5M had slipped through and was approaching the target area.
In the east, the ace decided to make a high speed run toward the Babs but in doing so lost his wingman and the green pilot was set upon and shot down by Bob’s shotai of Zeros before I could get him to safety. On the other side, my two Hurricanes raced to catch up with the Babs and chased it into a cloud. Coming out of the cloud though I was outfoxed by Tom and one of my Hurricanes blown out of the sky. The port’s AAA gunners got a hit on a Zero with a medium AA battery, but Tom rolled box cars – saving the plane but picking up an engine damage lucky hit. The same Zero would later suffer a second flak hit and end up limping away with airframe damage and a balky engine.
The British ace had by this time crossed the battle area looking for a shot on the Babs, but turned away to deal with a Zero first, damaging another of them. The other Hurricane maneuvered for a shot on the recce aircraft, but I was again outmaneuvered by Tom and another Hurricane was blown apart. I now had only the ace pilot remaining and he wasswung around out of position and out of energy – low and slow is not a good combination in air combat. The Recon aircraft had finished scouting the harbor area and now just needed to clear the combat area to broadcast its report. There were several Japanese planes still flying, but many of them had engine damage that severely restricted their speed. The ace set off in pursuit of the Babs, counting on pilot skill to see him through. Able to accelerate, I soon outdistanced the damaged Zeros and closed in on the slower recon aircraft. The Babs was just about to reach the safety in a cloud bank when I caught up and gave it one last burst of fire. Tom failed the Robustness check by 5 for the only time in the game and the Babs went crashing into the sea. When we totaled up the VP’s, the British had won a hard fought, albiet costly victory. A Futile Gesture indeed.
The game definitely showed why the British adopted 20mm guns as their primary armament later in the war. The Hurricane IIB has 12 rifle caliber machine guns, and although I was able to get high damage scores, the opponent had to catastrophically fail the Robustness check (fail by 5) for an aircraft to be destroyed, som mostly I just damaged them and needed two hits to get a kill. One of Bob’s damaged aircraft was able to kill my Green pilot after being damaged and went on to get off several more shots in the course of the game. My Hurricanes on the other hand were much more likely to go crashing down when hit by the 20mm guns of the Zeros.
Unfortunately, I somehow managed to turn on the date-time stamp on my camera and didn’t notice. But you can at least have verification of the order of events :). I also need to get to work and produce mats with 3″ hexes for sea and desert. The scenario is nominally set over water, but calls for clouds and my cloud templates are all designed for 3″ hexes, which I currently only have available in green. I guess there was an algal bloom in the harbor that day…
I have placed the scenario on the Downloads page.