Ambushing the Bear – Check Your 6! Jet Age
Recently I got a scenario from Scott at Skirmish Campaigns to playtest for the upcoming Arab-Israeli scenario book for Check Your 6! – Jet Age. So I hopped up to the FLGS to put on the game. The scenario is set in 1970 during the War of Attrition and features a clash between the Israeli Air Force and a elements of a Soviet air regiment.
The Soviets had sent fighter squadrons to cover Cairo and prevent Israeli intrusions into Egyptian airspace. The Soviets gradually expanded their patrol radius and eventually came into conflict with an IAF strike against Egyptian positions along the Suez. The Israeli’s resolved to teach the Soviets a lesson and assembled a crack group of pilots and organized an ambush. The Soviets rose to the bait and a large dogfight was fought.
The scenario starts with 4 IAF Mirage IIIs at high altitude and a flight of 4 Soviet MiG-21s rising to meet them. A second flight of 4 MiG-21s comes on around turns 3-4, followed by IAF reinforcements (a pair of F-4E) on turns 6-7. Jason and Dan grabbed to MiGs and Mike and I took the IAF Mirages. The initial merge was uneventful as the Israelis were reluctant to dive down too low since the reinforcing 2nd flight of MiGs were able to bounce up from underneath. Eric arrived as the reinforcements were coming on and took a pair of MiGs while Dan and Jason (who had played at least one CY6! game before) took on an extra MiG-21 each. With all of the Soviets accounted for, the Israeli players dove into the attack, relying on their superior pilot skill. My veteran Mirage pilot found himself among a number of enemy and so maneuvered to minimize enemy fire, ending up with a head-to-head shot at short range against a green Soviet. Unfortunately the Soviet was lucky even if he wasn’t good and my Mirage swallowed a hail of 23mm shells and was destroyed. The pilot punched out but the fight was over Egyptian territory.
We had rolled a good result for our variable scenario roll and the F-4Es were arriving a turn early, so when they arrived I handed my remaining Mirage over to Mike and took the two F-4Es. I was able to come up behind a couple of the MiGs and shoot off some long range missile shots. The Sparrow from the flight lead was a miss, but the skilled pilot shot down a green MiG with a pair of AIM-9D.
The skilled F-4E looked up to find himself in the middle of about 5 MiG-21s. The MiGs screamed down to engage as the Phantom went defensive and the veteran F-4E raced to the rescue. Unfortunately, racing to the rescue placed the veteran F-4E in position for a head-to-head gun exchange with another green MiG-21 pilot…. and again the veteran whiffed completely while the MiG’s 23mm guns shredded the big F-4E. This time the crew was unable to bail out. The IAF was in serious trouble at this point, having lost two veterans with only a single green MiG shot down.
The rest of the dogfight was a swirl punctuated by loss of a skilled Mirage and a couple of MiGs. The Mirage driver ejected, but none of the Soviets made it out of the aircraft in the game. The IAF tried to get back in the game by targeting the two veteran MiGs. Dan’s veteran was repeatedly the target of Israeli attacks. Mike slammed a pair of AIM-9Ds into the Soviet at one point, with one direct and one proximity hit. However, the MiG absorbed all of the damage and emerged unscathed (which required a couple of 2d6 die rolls of 11 or 10) . A close range gun pass by my F-4E was twarted by a damage roll of 3 on 2d20. Another gun pass by Mike’s Mirage was also saved with a die roll of 11. Finally we were able to inflict some engine damage on the MiG, but in the end he was able to evade us for the duration of the game.
Eric was able to pick up the game easily in hist first outing and was in the thick of the fight through the game. At the end of the game he expertly slipped off the Soviet home edge with his veteran pilot, denying the IAF any chance to score VP from him. As the goal of the IAF is to intimidate the Soviets into restricting their patrols, they must dominate the fight to win and so score half normal VPs. The IAF starts with a much superior pool of pilots and so once they lost the two veterans, their only chance in the game was to shoot down the Soviet veterans and hope the two bailed out IAF pilots could escape and evade. Unfortunately, both were captured and displayed on Egyptian state-run television. The final score was a crushing 22-9 victory for the Soviets. Thanks to Dan, Jason, Mike, and Eric for a great game.
Historically the Israeli’s shot down 5 MiGs to no losses of their own (although at least one Mirage was heavily damaged but reached base). The Soviets were so concerned about their losses that they restricted further contact with the IAF unless the Soviets enjoyed overwhelmiung odds.
I was recently able to go to a gaming weekend with the CY6! developers inner circle and play nine CY6! – Jet Age games in one weekend, playtesting a bunch of scenarios for the Arab-Israeli scenario book, including the entire War of Attrition mini-campaign. It is definitely going to be a great book.