Author Topic: IN THE AIR TONIGHT: A Nighfighter Ace AAR  (Read 382 times)

BanzaiCat

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Reply #15 on: September 11, 2019, 09:40:46 AM
SORTIE 3

“Raid on Peenemunde,” the briefing says as we huddle inside the command tent, the warm August air still sticking to the ground outside, smothering us and our aircraft. Our third sortie is lined up, but we’re already pessimistic. Surely, we think, the odds will be in our favor sooner or later. We are reminded, before we head out, that we should be careful what we wish for.

We have a bit of luck; the weather is holding up despite the summer humidity here in Holland, and the Moon will be bright, giving us a bit of an advantage in finding the enemy.

We take off, but our ground controllers are confused by particularly effective bogus signals from England, so we lose an Endurance Box automatically. This only gives us three Endurance Boxes to check for an Interception.



Again, because the Moon is bright, we get a +1 to our Interception roll. This means we will succeed in finding a bomber on a roll of 8, 9, or 10 in each Endurance Box.

On our first try, we roll an 8! We find an enemy bomber. Rolling on Table [A3], Aircraft Target Chart, we get a 6, which means the bomber we find is a Lancaster.



We move over to the Bomber Target Mat, which shows various enemy aircraft. The middle one is what we’ll use for the Lancaster.



Notice the columns; each Hit scored means I place a Hit Marker in an open space at the top of the column. As more Hits are (hopefully) scored, another Hit Marker is added to that column. If we place a Hit Marker in a space with a circled X, that’s all she wrote and the bomber goes down.

First, we determine if we want to attack with our Schräge Musik or our forward guns. Since our aircraft has no Schräge Musik, this is an easy choice – we’re going with the forward guns.

The next choice is, do we engage at Long, Medium, or Close Range? Engaging at Long Range means one less hit, while Close Range means one more (random) hit. Medium confers no penalty nor benefit; Adler chooses to engage at Medium Range, so the Range Marker goes there.



Now, where to aim? Like Adler, I’m of the mind that a Wing is much weaker than the Airframe itself; this is very true on a Lancaster, which would require five hits to the Airframe to bring it down, whereas only three are needed to shoot off a Wing. I’m going to have Adler aim for the Starboard Wing.

I place the Aim Marker on the bottom space of the Starboard Wing column, which reminds me three hits are all that are needed there to blow the Wing off.



Looking on our Aircraft Display Mat, our Ju-88 R-1 has a total Firepower of 12 (9 for the Forward Cannons and 3 for the Forward Guns, which are machineguns). I have to expend an Ammo Marker from the cannons’ supply (which can hold four Ammo on this aircraft).

I could choose to do an Extended Burst, which gives the chance of additional Hits for the expenditure of two Ammo Markers, and a good chance of jamming the guns, and possibly even blinding the pilot. I’m not quite comfortable with the risks there, so Adler chooses to fire on them normally.



Now comes the time to resolve combat. This is where the Combat Cards come in; I draw the top one to see how our attack works out.



First, we look at the Contact section; I see that the bomber has not spotted us, so we fire first. Normally, combat is simultaneous. There’s a chance (albeit a small one) that we could shoot this bomber down before it gets to retaliate. Had the bomber spotted us, even if we did shoot it down, it would get to retaliate.

This Contact section only applies for the first combat.

Note, too, the ‘12’ column. We use this one to determine how many hits we land on the enemy Lancaster.

These four hits we score are resolved on the Bomber Random Damage table, using the Wing column (since we’re targeting the Starboard Wing). Rolling four times, we get the following results:

6 – Engine (in)
7 – Engine (in)
3 – Wing (Starboard)
8 – Engine (out)

I mark this damage on the Bomber Display Mat. This is not the best result; though we’ve taken out the inboard Starboard engine and damaged the outboard Starboard engine, game-wise we’d have to take ALL engines out to technically shoot the plane down – we’re not even halfway there.



Normally, we would draw our Combat Card and then draw another Combat Card for the enemy, immediately, to determine how many hits they get against us. Since we didn’t shoot this Lancaster down, it gets to retaliate.



The Lancaster gets two hits on our nightfighter. I roll for both of these on Table [B6], the Nightfighter Damage Chart, and get the following results:

34 = Crew Injury
52 = Airframe

The Crew Injury result takes further rolling; referring to the Crew Injury section of Chart [B4], I roll an 8, so the Funker is hit; I further determine he gets a Serious Wound. This is NOT good.

The Airframe hit isn’t that bad, as we can take three of them total. Any hit, though, is just that much closer to getting shot down.

Given that the Funker has been seriously wounded thanks to a lucky tail gunner’s skill, I have Adler break off the attack and not push his luck. The Funker needs immediate medical help and pursuing a damaged Lancaster with him bleeding to death is not the greatest decision. I break off the attack, which doesn’t require any special rolls, and immediately move our Aircraft Marker to the Landing Box.



This isn’t the worst of it, though. I roll boxcars for the landing, which is normally a Crash Landing; however, with Adler’s Landing Skill, this is lowered by one, so it becomes a Rough Landing instead. However, this means each crewman receives a Light Wound. Fortunately, it takes two Light Wounds to equal a Serious Wound, so a LW on top of a SW for the Funker doesn’t kill him. It sure as heck doesn’t help him, however.

At least we’re on the ground, now.



There is a rule that lets you roll for an enemy bomber that has suffered damage at your hands, which you had to break off from, to determine if it crashes or not. The one engine out is a bonus, but I roll a 9, which means that Lancaster gets home safely. Figures.

Now that we’re on the ground, both Adler and his rear gunner must sit out the next Sortie, which is noted with an ‘R’ instead of a Raid Target. The Funker, though, must have the severity of his Serious Wound determined. Of course, I roll snake eyes, which means our poor Funker is the recipient of a double amputation.

Though it’s not covered in the game, I make up a random injury location and roll 2d6, and find he must have both his legs amputated. A terrible injury that ends his career in the Luftwaffe, not to mention no longer flying with us. We now need a new Funker, whom will join us immediately. The thing is, a new/replacement crewman has zero Experience Points, but as we’re new, none of us have Experience Points (remember, Adler spent his two starting Experience Points on two skills).

It’s unfortunate, but Adler and his rear gunner must sit out the next Sortie, representing time to recuperate from their minor injuries. This is unfortunate as we finally have a Full Moon during the sortie we must miss.



Note - I know I spelled his name incorrectly (as "Alder" instead of "Adler"); I'll fix that in the future. Maybe. :)



Sir Slash

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Reply #16 on: September 11, 2019, 11:18:37 AM
Damn! This sounds tougher than the actual war. Da Fuher will NOT be pleased.

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mirth

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Reply #17 on: September 11, 2019, 11:24:14 AM

Being able to Google shit better than your clients is a legit career skill.


BanzaiCat

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Reply #18 on: September 11, 2019, 11:39:23 AM
Damn! This sounds tougher than the actual war. Da Fuher will NOT be pleased.

I played the board game itself for a few days and over two months managed to log three kills...luckily. The game is VERY tense and gives a risk/reward push-your-luck mechanic in combat.

There's also a rule in there (a "very optional" one) where you can attempt to kill Hitler. If you earn a Knight's Cross or higher award, you lose a sortie as you have to go to Berlin to receive the award from him personally. Since this takes place before the July '44 bomb plot, and there's a documented case where an officer was admitted to see Hitler with his sidearm, it's very interesting that they included this. If you decide to go for it, you roll to try to inflict wounds on 'Da Fuher.' If you fail, you die. If you succeed...well, you die, but you're considered a national hero.



BanzaiCat

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Reply #19 on: September 11, 2019, 11:41:29 AM


Pretty much. Originally I tried to include a song for each Sortie entry with a play on the word 'dark' but there were too few good songs and too much chaff out there.  :)



Sir Slash

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Reply #20 on: September 11, 2019, 07:36:49 PM
What do you have to roll to kill Hitler? Three sixes perhaps?  ;)

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bbmike

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Reply #21 on: September 11, 2019, 08:29:27 PM
What do you have to roll to kill Hitler? Three sixes perhaps?  ;)

That would create Hitler.

"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplace of existence."
-Sherlock Holmes


mirth

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Reply #22 on: September 11, 2019, 08:30:44 PM
What do you have to roll to kill Hitler? Three sixes perhaps?  ;)

That would create Hitler.

Zombie Hitler....this game just got interesting!

Being able to Google shit better than your clients is a legit career skill.


Staggerwing

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Reply #23 on: September 11, 2019, 08:34:59 PM
What do you have to roll to kill Hitler? Three sixes perhaps?  ;)

That would create Hitler.

Zombie Hitler....this game just got interesting!

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BanzaiCat

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Reply #24 on: September 16, 2019, 11:18:12 AM
SORTIE 4

Back from hospital, Adler and his rear gunner meet their new Funker. They have a few days before they are called up to briefing – yet another raid on Nuremburg.

The weather is Good, and the Moon is bright; both good tidings, yet fat lot of good it did us on the last sortie we flew.

Checking for a Random Electronic Failure, we get ‘Secondary Radar,’ but as this Ju-88 does not have a secondary radar system, this is ‘No Effect.’ Our new Funker seems to be keeping us operating.



Also, fortunately, our ground controllers set us on the right vector without us having to chase nonexistent shadows. As we look to intercept the enemy, we get a +1 to our roll thanks to that bright Moon, so we need an 8, 9, or 10 to find one.

Our first Endurance Box (FFurt) yields a die roll of 8, +1 for a 9, so we find a British bomber in the darkness…a Wellington.

I go for a regular attack with 12 Firepower, aiming again for the bomber’s Starboard Wing, choosing to open up at Medium Range. I expend one of my cannon’s Ammo Markers.



The first Combat Card I draw is this:



We’re not spotted! We get to open up on him and hope we can shoot him down. We also get FIVE random hits on him – nice!

The next Combat Card draw is the Bomber’s defensive fire, if we fail to shoot him down. This is what we get:



Only one hit – not bad.

Let’s see how we do in our attack; my rolls are as follows:

4 = Airframe
6 = Engine (starboard, inboard)
4 = Airframe
7 = Engine (starboard, inboard)
8 = Engine (starboard, outboard)

The Wellington only has two engines, so the extra Engine result is ignored; we have, however, managed to destroy its starboard engine, and landed two hits on its Airframe. Not bad, even if we were not aiming for it in the first place.



Since we didn’t shoot him down, he fires on us. Checking for that one hit, we find it lands on our Main Radar – scheisse! While not the end of the world, this means our Main Radar is inoperable, giving us a -1 to our Intercept rolls for the rest of this sortie. Of course this would happen right at the start of the sortie!

Adler decides to press the attack, moving us to Close Range. The enemy bomber begins to corkscrew, which means -1 hit, but at Close Range, we do +1 hit, so these cancel each other out. This time, as Adler can clearly see the Starboard Engine has had it, he’s going to now aim for the Port Wing. The Combat Card draw for our attack is this:



We land five hits on them. Now for their defensive fire; we draw this card:



They get four hits on us. This is going to hurt…

First, we’ll resolve our damage, rolling five times:

8 = Engine (out)
9 = Engine (out)
7 = Engine (in)
8 = Engine (out)
1 = Wing (Port)

Well, that die was rather focused on the Wellington’s engines…which is just fine, as aiming for the Port Wing was a good idea; that engine flames out, and the Wellington is shot down. We have just received our first kill, though our bloody radar is now out.



Now I have to resolve four hits against us…here are the die roll results:

42 = Port Wing
15 = Main Radar (no effect as this is already out)
66 = Fuel Tanks
35 = Airframe

That Fuel Tank hit is extremely unlucky (it’s the result of two 6s on 2d6); though it has no immediate effect, one more and it’s lights out for our nightfighter. The other damage is not that bad.



Considering our luck thus far I’m loath to abort this sortie. Even though our radar is out and that means –1 to Interception rolls, the bright Moon mitigates that. We can still get an Interception on a roll of 9 or 10 on 1d10. Adler decides to press on, flush with their first victory.

We fail to make any contact, until we enter the last Endurance Box, where we roll a natural 10. Interception time! We find a Stirling bomber awaiting our attention. I’ll have Adler and crew maintain the same attack profile…going for the Starboard Wing at Medium Range. We expend another cannon Ammo Marker, leaving us with two (I’m still avoiding doing an Extended Burst).

The first Combat Card draw is this:



We get a GP result – before I get into that, let’s see the defensive fire result. As you can see from the card above, fire is simultaneous, unfortunately.



They’ll get three hits on our nightfighter. Let’s get to the ‘good stuff’ first; GP is ‘Group Damage,’ which means we do a ‘set’ of damage to the Starboard Wing. In this case, one hit each to Controls and the Starboard Wing, two hits to an Engine, and one random hit on top of that. I roll a 4 and get an Airframe hit.



Not very impressive. We did take out one engine but need to take out four to make it truly count. The rest of the damage is more of a scratching of the surface than anything else.

Now I roll for the bomber’s defensive fire.

45 = Starboard Wing
62 = Sch. Musik
41 = Secondary Radar

The only impact is that Starboard Wing hit; the other two count as no effect since our nightfighter has neither system. A stroke of luck.



Our damage isn’t too bad, which makes me want to press the attack. We’ll move to Close Range, which means +1 hit, but also -1 hit as the bomber begins to corkscrew. Let’s draw our Combat Card for this Close Range round:



Bah! Only two hits. Now for the bomber…



Three hits for them.

(To be continued in the following post)



BanzaiCat

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Reply #25 on: September 16, 2019, 11:21:01 AM
SORTIE 4 (continued)


Our damage is unfortunately minor, as we hit their Airframe a second time, and manage to damage the other engine on the Starboard Wing.



Their rolls for hitting us are:

52 = Airframe
31 = Starboard Engine
16 = Secondary Radar



Things aren’t looking great; one more hit on our Fuel Tank or Airframe and we’re cooked. I hate to do it but this Stirling is proving to be a tough nut to shoot down, so to speak, so I’m having Adler and crew abort before it gets worse.

Cursing under his breath at their shoddy luck, especially with the taste of victory already soaking his mouth, he pulls the Ju-88 out of its approach and disappears down into the darkness. Wild, inaccurate fire from the damaged Stirling lances the air, but fails to find them.

Soon, Adler is back on the radio to ground control, getting a vector back to their airfield. Still steaming over the poor attack, but relieved they finally have an air victory, he puts the nightfighter down gently on their Holland airfield home safely.

Eager to report their victory, the crew heads over to the command tent. Adler, however, is taken aback when his commander asks him, “Just how many aircraft do you think you shot down, Unteroffizier?”

With some hesitation, Adler replies, “One…sir?”

The commandant fixed him with a steady glare, almost disapproving. But before long, he cannot hold a small grin from escaping his otherwise stony features. “Incorrect. You shot down two.”

“Two?!?” replied Adler, unable to contain his surprise. “Sir?” he added hastily.

“Yes. HFS-219 Actual reported a Stirling with starboard engine damage went down before crossing the Channel. Given the time since contact and the lack of any other report, it must be the Stirling you engaged. Congratulations, you have two air victories.”

Despite having abandoned the chase, I rolled a 2 when determining if the damaged Stirling made it home or not. Normally, you need a 1, with +1 for each engine out; in the case of our Stirling with one engine out, that means a roll of 1 or 2. So, success! The Stirling lost control and crashed. But…that’s all nice and all, sure. How do you tell it was Adler’s kill? There’s a caveat for that in the rules – roll 1d6, and on a 1 or 2, another German nightfighter sees it go down. I roll a 2, so we get credit for the Stirling! How about that.


Our debriefing this time is going to be a bit different. For one thing, both Adler and the rear gunner get an Experience Point for having flown four sorties; our Funker has only just been on this one, so he does not get one yet.



Furthermore, because we shot down our first AND second aircraft, Adler receives both the Iron Cross 2nd Class (for his first kill) and the Iron Cross 1st Class (for his second kill). Each Award gives him one Prestige Point and ups his Prestige Level by one.

Here’s our Pilot Sheet, appropriately updated with Prestige and Awards.



Adler is beside himself with pride as he receives the Knights Cross 2nd and 1st Class. He’s already coveting the next level, but that will be many, many more kills away…






BanzaiCat

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Reply #26 on: September 16, 2019, 06:11:44 PM
I just realized, in re-reading this, that the pilot should have received a Wound Badge in Black for the injuries sustained in his landing earier.

I'd just assumed that if the wounds were not received in direct combat that he wouldn't get an award - especially not get an award for mucking up a landing. But the rules clearly state it, so that means another award and yet another Prestige Point.

I have the fifth sortie written up and will ensure Adler receives his award after that sortie so we're all up to date before proceeding. Call it bureaucratic red tape.



BanzaiCat

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Reply #27 on: September 18, 2019, 10:16:01 AM
SORTIE 5

It took a bit of time, but Adler’s Wound Badge in Black has finally arrived at the airfield, and his CO pinned it on him with little pomp and circumstance. “Don’t break my planes,” was all he said under his breath, both mirthful and no-nonsense in tone.

Here is Adler’s Pilot Display Mat, updated to reflect the Wound Badge in Black and his new Prestige Level (3), and his new Prestige Point total (also 3).



The raid today is on Peenemunde, in the Bremen area. We exit our barracks to head to our briefing just as the skies open up a torrential downpour. Drenched, we report to the tent only to find out the weather has socked us in (rolled a natural 10 on the Weather Table). Cursing our luck, we return to the barracks, having been cheated out of today’s opportunity.

This just moves us ahead to the next Raid, so technically this is still Sortie 5. In the game, we lose a row in our Log Sheet, reflecting the advancement of time.



The next raid is yet another attack on Nuremburg by Bomber Command. The weather today is fortunately good, though the Moon is going to be Dark (-1 on Interception rolls for this sortie).

For the Random Electronics Failure, I roll a 4, which is a Homing Device – something we don’t have on our Ju-88, so I ignore this result. Last thing we need is something like the radar going out!

We take off fine, but the RAF rascals across the channel are particularly decent tonight at getting our ground controllers confused (we shall endeavor to blame them and not our crew, ha). We lose an Endurance Box thanks to the British effort to ruin our evening.



Unfortunately, we do not locate the enemy bombers. In fact, we manage to get slightly lost in our pursuits, losing another Endurance box. Chalk another empty sortie up for the boys in R-1. Our landing is safe, which is nice, as we don’t need any interesting events at this point. At least the sortie counts towards our next Experience Point.

This is shaping up to be a short report, so let’s try for another sortie. This will be the last check for the month of August 1943.

For the next sortie, we learn of a raid on Berlin. This will be our first time hitting the RAF bombers as they attack the very heart of the Reich. The weather is Good, but the Moon is gone (-2 to Interception), so Bomber Command timed this one just right.

The Random Electronics Failure roll is once again a 4, which is the Homing Device. Woe to us when we actually DO get an aircraft with a Homing Device, I think. We do, however, lose an Endurance Box thanks to Spoof Raid interference.



We have four remaining Endurance Boxes to accomplish an Interception and fail miserably in each one with rolls of 2, 2, 7, and another 7. We needed a natural 10 to actually get an interception. Frustrated, we are unable to take down more enemy bombers. We land safely back at base with another sortie under our belts, but no further air victories.




BanzaiCat

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Reply #28 on: September 19, 2019, 09:24:15 AM
Just an update for anyone following - I'm unfortunately going to have a packed schedule through this coming Sunday. I have Sortie 6 mostly written but want to get a few more played and written up before continuing. I should be able to get back to it by the middle of next week.



Barthheart

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Reply #29 on: September 19, 2019, 09:30:45 AM
 :bigthumb:

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