Author Topic: IN THE AIR TONIGHT: A Nighfighter Ace AAR  (Read 9286 times)

BanzaiCat

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Reply #135 on: October 22, 2019, 02:28:07 PM
SORTIE 12

This time, the RAF deigns it necessary to go after Mannheim, in the area of Munich.

Note that while Mannheim is not technically in the area of Munich, according to the game it is, at least in terms of Endurance. It’s a fair distance away from our Dutch airbases. The game designer took some liberties with geography to ensure the rules didn’t get too complex or overbearing when it comes to fuel usage/endurance in the air. If anything has seemed odd to you in this way throughout this AAR, just keep this in mind.

We have yet more good weather and no electronic failures on take-off. No spoof raid successes for the RAF, either, thankfully! Unfortunately, though, the Moon is hiding fairly well, meaning we’re going to get a -1 to Interception rolls and therefore will not actually intercept anything except on a natural 10 on 1d10. And we only have three Endurance Boxes to explore for potential prey.



Once again, we are stymied from finding anything – a roll of 2 and then 3 for the first two Endurance boxes means Adler and crew are searching for naught in the night sky over Germany. Their Do-217 is on its final leg when finally, in the darkness, the shape of a bomber appears (rolled a natural 10 in that last Endurance box). Turns out it’s a Lancaster.

I’m going to have Adler and crew line up on its Starboard Wing again, but this time, I’m going to have them come in at Close Range and will also expend two Ammo to do an Extended Burst in the hopes of getting even more hits against this monster bomber.



For the Extended Burst, I roll a 6 on 2d6. That’s 2 extra hits! But unfortunately, our forward cannons jam unexpectedly after unleashing that rapid torrent of shells.



Hopefully this attack will hurt the Lancaster and we won’t have to make another pass.



Turns out the Extended Burst wasn’t even necessary; we drew another DE result, destroying the Lancaster with no retaliation. The jammed gun doesn’t matter now as we’re in the last Endurance Box, and move back to our Dutch airbase, making a safe landing, and thankful for yet another victory – our 11th kill.



This 12th sortie also gives each of our crew +1 Experience. Adler and his rear gunner are now at 3 Experience each, while our Funker (good ol’ mirth) is at 2 Experience. For Adler, I’m going to hold out for either the Gunnery skill (giving +1 random hit each time any other hits are scored) or the Aim skill (giving +1 bonus hit to whatever point at which he aims). Situational Awareness (S.A.) will be good to have, but not until later. As for the Funker, the Electronics Maintenance skill would mitigate any Electronics failure rolled, except for a Random Event; this sounds pretty good. However, I’m going to have him hold off for the Radar Operation skill, which costs 5 Experience, and gives a +1 to Interception rolls. The rear gunner, whom for now remains unnamed (though I’m leaning to Sir Slash thanks to his punnery skills), I’m thinking Weapons Maintenance would be a good one. This would mitigate any ‘jammed’ result on the gunnery chart, instead making it a ‘miss,’ which is much preferred to a jammed weapon. That only costs 2 Experience. That, and Parachute, would cost 3, but again I’m going to hold off for now. If I give one crew a Parachute skill, it would be nice to give the other one this as well. Maybe I’ll change my mind after the next sortie, who knows.




bob48

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Reply #136 on: October 22, 2019, 02:49:31 PM
BC, have you noticed much difference in the individual aircraft you have 'flown' so far, and have you any preference?

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Sir Slash

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Reply #137 on: October 22, 2019, 02:59:27 PM
Being able to use a parachute would be a handy skill to have when sitting in the rear of a crashing aircraft. Hopefully the Captain does not expect us to go down with the ship.  :notme:  Weapons Maintenance  probably makes more sense tactically.

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BanzaiCat

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Reply #138 on: October 22, 2019, 03:00:41 PM
I'm sure others that have played more might make note of nuances that matter to them, but for me, it's all about the firepower rating. The Do-217 gets us in the 16 column of the Combat Cards and it can be, as you've seen, downright deadly. I can't recall offhand which one(s) has Firepower that puts their shots in the 24+ column, but those would be ideal.

I'll note too that I'm not a fan of Schrage Musik - it doesn't appeal to me but I might try it out for the purposes of this AAR, later.

Next important is radar. As the war progresses, other models will become available with better equipment. Not having a radar early on means an immediate -1 to the Interception roll, on top of whatever other modifiers there are. (The initial nightfighters you have access to mostly includes the Bf-110, which I do not like as they have nothing on board radar-wise). Some radars grant no bonuses, but simply having it on board means no -1 penalty. You might have noticed that rolling on the Electronics Failure Table can be hit or miss, but mostly miss (I think a 5-9 result on 2d6 is No Effect), but the more electronic gadgets you have on your aircraft, the more chance there is something might be impacted by that check each sortie. That can be mitigated if you have a Funker with an Electronics skill, I believe, but that skill might take some time to get to.

After that it's really a toss-up for me, at least right now. Speed isn't all that important as most night fighters can intercept enemy bombers; it's only when one of your engines is damaged that it might become an issue. Structure is nice, in having more 'hit points' before something goes kablooey meaning greater survivability. Crew really doesn't matter too much but it does add a lot of flavor to the game.

Keep in mind too that I've not yet played it long enough to mix it up with Mosquitoes. Once that starts happening, my opinions might shift.  ;D



bob48

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Reply #139 on: October 22, 2019, 03:04:05 PM
Thanks, BC. This is proving to be a very interesting game indeed.

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BanzaiCat

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Reply #140 on: October 22, 2019, 03:09:02 PM
It makes me want to get Interceptor Ace more and more, to be honest. I like Gregory M. Smith's designs and am intrigued as heck by the dogfight system he developed for that one.

But yes, this is a great game and it's opened my eyes to an aspect of World War 2 that I've never explored.



BanzaiCat

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Reply #141 on: October 22, 2019, 03:12:44 PM
Being able to use a parachute would be a handy skill to have when sitting in the rear of a crashing aircraft. Hopefully the Captain does not expect us to go down with the ship.  :notme:  Weapons Maintenance  probably makes more sense tactically.

Ha! The Parachute skill does not guarantee success, but it gives a die roll modifier to help in case these guys do have to bail out. Right now only Adler has it (since the start of the game, in fact), and I know the more I put it off the more likely it will happen and then I'll be all "dammit I wish I'd gotten Parachute for these guys."

It also, to an extent, is buy-in for the characters. Investing in skills gives them a life of their own, which would make losing them that much harder (especially because their replacement would be a no-experience-having noob, lol).



BanzaiCat

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Reply #142 on: October 30, 2019, 08:33:54 AM
SORTIE 13

Now for our final sortie of September 1943. This time, an RAF raid has targeted Berlin. We scramble for our Do-217. Word had filtered around of our one-engined exploits a few missions ago, and the nickname Schlägertrupp (aka “goon squad”) has stuck. This is now painted on the side of our aircraft. The crew chief decided forgiveness was a better route to take, rather than permission.

We start up the Dornier’s engines, and prepare for takeoff. The weather continues to be good (though just barely; rolled a 7 on 1d10, and ‘Good’ weather occurs on a roll range of 1-7). The Random Electronics Failure roll results in the Secondary Radar being out, but as our Do-217 does not have that, we pass that test. The RAF continues to fail at spoofing us, so we move to the Berlin Endurance box, ready to hunt.



The Moon is especially uncooperative, making for the darkest skies that occur every month; we’ll only intercept on a natural 10. In our first Endurance box I roll a 10, so we’re in for some action! This time, it’s a Halifax. They go in with their normal approach – Medium Range, Starboard Wing. It’s funny how easily a routine will be made in this game; so far we’ve had great luck in shooting down 11 enemy aircraft in two months.



We draw our Combat Card and…



Another DE result! The Halifax goes down in flames, and we’ve just had our 12th kill. We’ve been very lucky with these DE results and I know that won’t keep up, but still, it’s nice to savor these victories while they last!

Moving on to the next Endurance boxes, I roll a 5, 4, and then an 8 – so close yet so far. The dice taunt us a second time in the final Endurance box, with another 8. Another sortie in the books and another air victory – not too bad.

We make a safe landing back at our Dutch base, ready for our next sortie.




Sir Slash

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Reply #143 on: October 30, 2019, 11:02:10 AM
Wa-Hoo! Schnapps all around!  :applause:

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bob48

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Reply #144 on: October 30, 2019, 02:40:55 PM
Outstanding stuff!

Obviously, when you get your Uhu, there's only room for you and one crew member.  I assume the NF version had a crew of 3?

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Sir Slash

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Reply #145 on: October 30, 2019, 07:34:14 PM
I would take that set of dice to Vegas if I was you BC.  :biggrin:

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BanzaiCat

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Reply #146 on: November 04, 2019, 11:33:31 AM
SORTIE 14

October, 1943 begins. The air begins to chill, following the fortunes of the Wehrmacht on the ground; we remain focused on our little corner of it for the time being.

This first sortie in October 1943 is against an RAF raid on Bremen. The weather is bad (rolled a 9 on the Weather Table), which will make for a more interesting landing later. No electronic failure hijinks nor any spoof raid misdirection affects our mission, and we are off, starting with the Bremen Endurance box.



The Moon gives us a -1 to Interception rolls this sortie, which is balanced out by our +1 from our radar. A natural 9 or 10 will get us an interception.

Unfortunately I roll a 2, 5, 3, and 5 in each of the four Endurance boxes. No intercepts for us this sortie, which is unusual – we’ve gotten used to finding at least one target.

Despite the bad weather, Adler is able to put the aircraft down on the ground at their Dutch base safely. Another sortie is in the books, and we must wait to see if we get lucky next time.





bob48

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Reply #147 on: November 04, 2019, 01:21:58 PM
Ah well, at least you're back home in one piece. Its all experience I guess.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2019, 04:30:03 PM by bob48 »

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Sir Slash

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Reply #148 on: November 04, 2019, 03:53:48 PM
You've certainly had bad luck with Bremen, no kills there yet. Maybe you have scared them away from everywhere else.

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BanzaiCat

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Reply #149 on: November 07, 2019, 08:11:16 AM
SORTIE 15

Our crew is alerted to an RAF raid on Hagen (Ruhr area). Fortunately, the weather has been good, if a bit crisp and cool outside. We go through a quick briefing and then do the pre-flight checks on our Do-219; when everything looks good (and ONLY when everything looks good), everyone climbs in to the cockpit. The ground crews assist with engine start-up, and everything rumbles to life. The familiar vibration through the hull of the aircraft is like a warm blanket on a cool night.

As we take off into the ink-dark sky, the Funker, Mirth, reports no electronic failures. These new-fangled devices are all so new, you never know when they might get fidgety enough to stop working. A cross look could set the radar to not being functional, but thus far, we’ve been very blessed by whatever radar gods there are.



We set our aircraft at the prescribed altitude. Fortunately, the Tommys across the channel have had very little success in sending us off course using our own wavelengths, and this sortie is no different from any other. We’ll have quite a bit of time to hunt.

Our Do-219 gets to just over half its endurance, and our eyes strain from seeking targets out in the darkness. There is only average visibility (the moon does not shine quite enough to give us a good spotting ability, but at least it’s not gone completely). Finally, a cry over the radio – we’ve spotted our first target of the evening, a Lancaster.



Adler and crew take their ‘standard’ approach by creeping up on the unsuspecting Lancaster on its starboard side. Adler means to aim for the wing as it’s a target-rich area – one can knock out engines, hit fuel tanks, destroy controls, or even just ‘saw’ the wing right off with the right guidance for the forward guns.

Giving a silent thanks to the bomber not spotting them yet, Adler lines up his crosshairs, and prepares to fire. He hesitates, taking a deep breath or two, before pressing down on the triggers.



Fire blisters the night air, flashing guns and thumping they can feel in their chests, with an occasional tracer showing they are right on the mark.



Adler grits his teeth, hoping to take the aircraft down before they ‘wake up’ too much and return fire.

In the dimness, the crew sees sparks and flashes indicating hits on the Lancaster’s starboard wing. Flashes turn into shredding, streaky fire on the outboard starboard engine. Adler slightly and quickly adjusts the nose of the Do-217 to ‘walk’ the hits across the wing, shredding the inboard engine as well. Fire is now engulfing the wing, in intense amounts, more so than would happen normally if it were just the engines. Adler smiles behind his oxygen mask; surely these are fuel tank hits.

Orange fire blossoms along the wing, silent in confirming Adler’s thoughts. Fuel tank hits! The Lancaster’s wing becomes awash in greasy, oily, orange flames, and it lurches to its wounded side. Adler expertly turns the stick to port, throttling up and diving away, just as the fireball flowers in the night sky, silent over the buzz of the whipped engines. Tiny smacks litter the cockpit as debris from the exploding Lancaster pepper the Do-217; the crew holds their collective breath, but none of the shrapnel from the dying beast of a bomber prove to be dangerous to the night fighter.

Another victory for Adler and crew!

Elated, though much more subdued in celebration than they were with their first collective kill, the crew gets back on course, with plenty of endurance remaining. They search the night skies over western Germany as well as Holland, but find no further RAF bombers to hunt. As their endurance dwindles to the safe return point, Adler heads back to their Dutch airfield at Melsbroek, finding it easily and landing nearly perfectly, with dawn still lingering just over the horizon.

Adler wonders briefly if that dawn is bringing success to their brethren on the Eastern Front, but something nags at the back of his mind that it is not so. A creeping chill snakes its way up his spine, and he ignores it as he maneuvers the Do-217 to its revetment. Soon, it will be time for another sortie.