Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life; currently concentrating on a re-fight of the entire Peninsular War, but with the odd foray into ancient, medieval and WW2 battles.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Lacquered Combat: Attack on the Emden 04 Sep 39

For my next game of Lacquered Coffins, I wrote a small air-sea scenario based on the first such attacks of World War 2 in the West.  The details are taken from an excellent book, Christopher Shores' Fledgling Eagles, which deals with all of the air fighting over the North Sea, France and Norway before the actual invasion of France in May 1940.












I actually wrote 3 scenarios, from which I selected the second for this game - but I present all of them here.




04 September 1939

Scenario 01:

Time: 1755
Mission: Blenheim bombers of 110 Sqn are to attack the German cruiser Admiral Scheer.

Forces:

British: 5 x Blenheim IV bombers (led by Flt Lt Doran)

Germans: 1 x Cruiser; shore-based AA, (1 x Do18 Flying Boat – optional)

The British set up at the far end of the table, at any permissible speed and altitude (historically I think it would be SPD 4, ALT 1).  The German cruiser (the Admiral Scheer) is set up at the near end of the table.  After the British leave the table on the near side, they then fly back up the table at the same point they left (this simulates the AA fire suffered leaving the target).  The German cruiser counts as heavily-defended by AA.  The table edge marks the port defences (i.e. measure AA range from the table edge, this counts as medium-defended)

Optional Rules:  The British bombs were very unreliable in this attack.  Roll a D6 for every bomb 1-3 indicates that the bomb failed to function correctly, 4-6 indicates that the bomb explodes as it should.


 As soon as all the British bombers have left the table, set up another table with the surviving bombers on the near side, then the German flying boat (SPD 2, ALT 1) on the far side.  The German flying boat escapes if it reaches the near side.

 
Scenario 02:

Time: 1800
Mission: Blenheim bombers of 107 Sqn are to attack the German light cruiser Emden.

Forces:

British: 5 x Blenheim IV bombers (led by Flt Lt Barton)

Germans: 1 x Lt. Cruiser; shore-based AA; 2 x Bf109E;

The British set up at the far end of the table, at any permissible SPD and ALT (see comment in scenario 01).  The German cruiser is set up at the near end of the table.  After the British leave the table on the near side, they then fly back up the table at the same point they left (this simulates the AA fire suffered leaving the target).  The German cruiser counts as heavily-defended by AA.  The table edge marks the port defences (i.e. measure AA range from the table edge, this counts as medium-defended)As soon as the British bombers are set-up to leave the target, place the two Bf109E at any desired altitude and speed at any corner of the table.

n.b.  The Bf109Es should have LMGs rather than MGs.

Optional Rules:  The British bombs were very unreliable in this attack.  Roll a D6 for every bomb 1-3 indicates that the bomb failed to function correctly, 4-6 indicates that the bomb explodes as it should.


Scenario 03:

Time: 1805
Mission: Wellington bombers of 9 Sqn are to attack the German battle cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau.

Forces:

British: 3 x Wellington I bombers (led by Sqn Ldr Lamb)

Germans: 2 x Battle Cruisers; shore-based AA; 2 x Bf109E

The British set up at the far end of the table, at any permissible SPD and ALT.  The German cruiser is set up at the near end of the table.  After the British leave the table on the near side, they then fly back up the table at the same point they left (this simulates the AA fire suffered leaving the target).  The German battlee cruisers count as heavily-defended by AA.  The table edge marks the port defences (i.e. measure AA range from the table edge, this counts as medium-defended)  As soon as the British bombers are set-up to leave the target on the return trip, place the two Bf109E at any desired altitude and speed at any corner of the table.

Optional Rules:  The British bombs were very unreliable in this attack.  Roll a D6 for every bomb 1-3 indicates that the bomb failed to function correctly, 4-6 indicates that the bomb explodes as it should.

The Game:

Flt Lt WF Barton in Blenheim IV N6184 leads the 107 Sqn formation.

The German Light Cruiser Emden

Just to show the distance

The British light bombers have adopted a line astern formation ready to attack.  The pilot of the second aircraft has already been injured by flak.

Bombs away!  All the British aircraft survive, although the third and fifth aircraft have been damaged now by flak.

Emden blows up in a very satisfying fashion! (but see game notes)

As outlined in the scenario rules, the British bombers then flew back across the table in the following turn.  They return at the place and in the same formation as they left (in this case linear); they shook back out into a V formation, but two Emils from II/JG77 are moving in to intercept

In short order, the Germans shoot down two bombers!

The Germans move towards the remaining Blenheims...

But lucky defensive fire puts the two Emils into the sea!  The remaining Blenheims (one with a wounded Pilot, the remaining two with damage) retreat.

 Game Notes:

The real Emden
 A good fun, quick game.  Lacquered combat is very easy to play!  It is like a Neil Thomas set of rules: it is the distilled essence of the various complicated games made into a very simple, impressionistic game, which, broadly speaking, gets to the same place with some obvious shortcuts, but much less faff...

However, I do think there is a specific problem with damage calibration: the game is just too deadly I think, weapons are just a little too effective.  I need to play about with this some more, but my impression is that effective damage was more random than this and hits harder to obtain.  After my first game, I changed the order of fire, so I do bombers' defensive fire before the attacking fighter.  This did make a difference here, probably another Blenheim would have been shot down and one of the Emils would have survived.  I am thinking of introducing a house rule so that any aircraft with only a single damage point remaining must break off its attacks and return home and is only permitted to attack fighters from this point (to allow a damaged fighter to defend itself).  I think that this might create a more realistic level of commitment from the fighter pilots.  To be fair, I haven't been using the points system given in the game: perhaps that would encourage more caution.

I didn't use the bombing optional rule I suggested, but I did roll it out, just to see what would have happened.  Pleasingly, this would have given a result more close to that historically achieved (although in real life one of the damaged aircraft actually crashed into the Emden, which caused rather more damage than the bombs did (which missed by 12 yards).  Incidentally, in the real attack four of the aircraft were destroyed, the remaining aircraft lost touch with its formation and returned home without attacking.  There is an argument for increasing the level of the land-based flak defences to heavy to reflect the inferno that the unfortunate 107 Sqn flew into.


II/JG 77 gained the first Luftwaffe victories in the West on this day (1 Blenheim, 2 Wellingtons):



Aircraft are from Tumbling Dice, the mat is a fleece cloth from Boyes (£1.99).  The blue is more Carribean than North Sea, mind...

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