Friday, June 22, 2018

Battle for Malta - Scenario 4 - Attack on Luqa airfield

This is the fourth scenario in a Battle for Malta campaign the follows the exploits of the Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force fighting against the Regia Aeronautica squadriglia d'aquila - two fictitious squadrons. We use the Wings of Glory WW2 rules, slightly modified to give faster play. We use the Wings of Glory planes where the right model is available, other manufactures are used to fill in the gaps.

We use our own set of campaign rules "Wings Over Malta". These contain 6 basic missions which will be played with alternate sides as the attacker. They will be played first with "early war" planes and then repeated with "late war planes". This differs from our previous Battle of Britain campaign which was a ladder campaign that followed more exactly the historical battle.

The Background

The port and airfields of Malta were the main targets for the Regia Aeronautica.


The Action

Having successfully defended their airfield from a British attack, Capitano Vitello Tonnato decided that he wanted to give the RAF some of its own medicine. Unfortunately the Regia Aeronautica had no bombers available that day, so Tonnato decided that he and Tenente Vespa Piaggio would make do with a low-level strafing attack instead. They consulted the map of Malta, and picked Luqa airfield as their target.

Capitano Vitello Tonnato decided that they would fly the brand new Macchi C.200 fighters. The took of and headed over the Mediterranean towards Malta.

Flying Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh and Pilot Officer Emmett Hollingberry were in the ready-room of Luqa airfield drinking tea and eating digestives when a telephone call came through that RADAR had spotted and incoming raid heading straight towards Luqa.


Flying Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh and Pilot Officer Emmett Hollingberry scrambled; they ran and jumped into their waiting Gloster Gladiators and took off.


Both side headed straight towards each other. Tonnato climbed his Macchi to avoid the risk of collision with his wingman.


Both sides continued straight forward, each waiting for the other to make the first mistake.


Yet again, both sides continued straight forward. Tonnato and Piaggio started to think about sneaking past the Gladiators without needing to fight.


Led by the fearless Featherstonehaugh, the Gladiators turned towards the Macchi. Tonnato turned towards the Gladiators to distract them while Piaggio headed for the airfield hangers.


Tenente Vespa Piaggio strafes the airfield while his leader keeps the two Gladiators busy.


Featherstonehaugh and Hollingberry chased Piaggio as he strafed the airfield. Tonnato performed an Immelmann in the hope of getting on the tail of a Gladiator.


Featherstonehaugh turned back to face Tonnato. Piaggio completed his run across the airfield. Hollingberry misjudged his turn and overshot his target, Piaggio.


Tonnato pulled a sharp right turn and got a close range burst into Featherstonehaugh. Piaggio performed an Immelmann in order to make a second pass over the not burning airfield as Hollingberry turned in to attack him.


Hollingberry overshoots again with his left turn, while Piaggio destroys the airfield. Featherstonehaugh and Tonnato continue their dogfight.


As Piaggio finishes his second strafing run across the airfield, Tonnato turns in to try his hand at shooting up the hangers. Featherstonehaugh and Hollingberry are too far away to make a difference.


Featherstonehaugh in his Gladiator goes head-to-head with Piaggio in his Macchi. Tonnato continues to shoot up the hangers. Hollingberry performs an Immelmann intending to rejoin the fray.


Both the Italians gang-up on Featherstonehaugh leaving his plane looking like a colander. Hollingberry is trying to rejoin the fight.


Featherstonehaugh's Gladiator was barely flyable, so he headed out of the fight looking for a safe airfield to land at. Piaggio turned and fired a long close range burst into Hollingbarry.


Featherstonehaugh left the fight as fast as his crippled Gladiator would take him. Hollingberry and Piaggio exchanged snap shots as they almost collided.


Both Macchi C.200's now decided their work was done. They had taken some damage but the planes were still flyable and they had left behind an airfield in flames. Hollingberry was left circling over the smoking Luqa, looking for a place to land.


All airplanes returned safely to their bases. Although Featherstonehaugh's Gladiator would take many weeks to repair.

Result

Italian Victory

Campaign Result so far...

0 Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force
4 Regia Aeronautica squadriglia d'aquila

Notes

ARES has no Macchi C.200 Saetta models so we used the ones from Armaments in Miniature (AIM).

The airfield target cards are 1/1000th scale models from the RAF Fighter Base made by Brigade Models.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Club Game - The Siege of Stegeborg Castle

Had great fun at the club yesterday playing Oxenstierna, one of the rebels at the Siege of Stegeborg Castle, Sweden, in the year 1318. We, the brave and righteous rebels, were attacking the Swedish King Birger Magnusson in the castle when his son Prince Magnus attacked us in the rear with his Danish reinforcements.


I played Oxenstierna and his men at arms as well as the trebuchet (scratch-built by Dalauppror). Oxenstierna attacked the Danes and protected the trebuchet which kept up a murderous fire on the castle's defenders.


When it looked like the Danes were advancing in too large numbers, Oxenstierna challenged and killed Prince Magnus which demoralized the Dames.


The battle resulted in a great victory for the brave and righteous rebels.

The whole battle can be found on Dalauppror's blog,

Friday, June 15, 2018

Battle for Malta - Scenario 3 - Attack a Regia Aeronautica airfield

This is the third scenario in a Battle for Malta campaign the follows the exploits of the Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force fighting against the Regia Aeronautica squadriglia d'aquila - two fictitious squadrons. We use the Wings of Glory WW2 rules, slightly modified to give faster play. We use the Wings of Glory planes where the right model is available, other manufactures are used to fill in the gaps.

We use our own set of campaign rules "Wings Over Malta". These contain 6 basic missions which will be played with alternate sides as the attacker. They will be played first with "early war" planes and then repeated with "late war planes". This differs from our previous Battle of Britain campaign which was a ladder campaign that followed more exactly the historical battle.

The Background

The RAF sent bombers such as the Bristol Blenheim Mk.I to attack the Italian airfields and disrupt their attack on Malta and on shipping.


The Action

No.369 Squadron was tasked with sending a raid to attack an Italian airfield in order to give the Regia Aeronautica no rest. The squadron was short of both aircrew and aircraft, so the raid only consisted of a single Bistol Benheim Mk.I bomber escorted by a Gloster Gladiator. Pilot Officer Bruce Wayne took the Gladiator and Pilot Officer Brett Sinclair flew the Blenheim.

The raid was spotted by a Regia Marina MAS boat which radioed in the sighting. Thus the Italians had time to send up two of their new Macchi C.200 Saetta (Lightning) fighters to intercept. The Saetta monoplane was more robust than the older CR.42 Falco and Gloster Gladiator biplanes but much less maneuverable. Capitano Vitello Tonnato and Tenente Vittorio Gambetta jumped into the brand new monoplanes and raced out to sea to intercept.


The Italians headed towards the British planes in a tight formation, still trying to learn the maneuverability of their new monoplanes. The Gladiator slowed down, letting the Blenheim take the lead.


The Gladiator climbed to gain height as the Italians closed on the Blenheim.


The Macchi C.200's open fire on the bomber. Capitano Vitello Tonnato makes a lucky shot and wounds the bomb-aimer in the nose of the Blenheim.


The Macchi C.200's manage a last quick burst as they pull back on their sticks and fly over the top of the bomber. The Blenheim's dorsal turret manages a quick burst in return as they fly overhead.

With his second burst, Capitano Vitello Tonnato fires into the nose of the Blenheim and yet again hits the bomb-aimer who is then killed.


The Italians performed an Immelmann turn as the British continued straight on, the bomber diving to escape the fighters.


The Blenheim sped on, chased by, but just out of range of the Italian fighters. It was now the Gladiator's turn to perform an Immelmann.


Realising that they had no hope of catching the Blenheim, the Macchi C.200 fighters turned to attack the Gladiator.


The figthers started dogfighting. The Blenheim had now realized that with the bomb-aimer done for, they had no hope of completing the mission and it was time to get out of here.


The Blenheim turned for home. The Gladiator performed and Immelmann in the hope of catching one of the Italians.


As the dogfight between the fighter continued, the Blenheim dived to get away from the Italians.


The fighters decided that they shouldn't let the Blenheim get away, so they started chasing again. The Gladiator performed an Immelmann to follow the Macchi C.200's.


The bomber pilot decided he didn't want to be a sitting duck, so he turned into the Italian fighters.


The bomber's sharp turn not only confused the Italians, but also gave his dorsal gunner a good shot.


The Blenheim turned once more for home as his escorting Gladiator charged into the fray to help.


The combatants now paired off, the Gladiator againt one Macchi C.200 and the other Macchi C.200 against the Blenheim.


Both Macchi C.200's now ganged up against the Blenheim.


The Gladiator turned in to chase off the Macchi C.200's and protect the Blenheim.


But the Gladiator overshot, and soon the Macchi C.200's were on the Blenheim again.


Before the Gladiator could return, both Macchi C.200's were on fring short range bursts at the Blenheim.


The Blenheim could take no more!


The Blenheim flown by Pilot Officer Brett Sinclair crashed in the sea. Sinclair and his air gunner jumped into their dinghy taking with them the body of the dead bomb-aimer. They were soon picked up by the same Regia Marina MAS boat that had spotted the incoming raid. They were given a bottle of grappa to share during the journey back to port.

Capitano Vitello Tonnato and Tenente Vittorio Gambetta returned to base to celebrate their shared kill and the fact that they had protected the airfield from the British attack. And to top it all off, Tonnato was now an ace, which they celebrated by each drinking a whole bottle of Disaronno Almond Liqueur!

Pilot Officer Bruce Wayne couldn't catch the Macchi C.200's which weren't interested in fighting him, so he returned to base with his tail between his legs.

Result

Italian Victory

  • Capitano Vitello Tonnato: ½ Kill
  • Tenente Vittorio Gambetta: ½ Kill
  • Pilot Officer Brett Sinclair: POW

Campaign Result so far...

0 Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force
3 Regia Aeronautica squadriglia d'aquila

Notes

ARES has no Bristol Blenheim or Macchi C.200 Saetta models so we used the Blenheim Mk.II from the Skytrex Action 200 range and the Macchi C.200 Saetta (Lightning) fighters from Armaments in Miniature (AIM).

The airfield target cards are 1/1000th scale models from the RAF Fighter Base made by Brigade Models.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Battle for Malta - Scenario 2 - Sink the Aircraft Carrier

This is the second scenario in a Battle for Malta campaign the follows the exploits of the Country of Dampshire 369 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force fighting against the Regia Aeronautica squadriglia d'aquila - two fictitious squadrons. We use the Wings of Glory WW2 rules, slightly modified to give faster play. We use the Wings of Glory planes where the right model is available, other manufactures are used to fill in the gaps.

We use our own set of campaign rules "Wings Over Malta". These contain 6 basic missions which will be played with alternate sides as the attacker. They will be played first with "early war" planes and then repeated with "late war planes". This differs from our previous Battle of Britain campaign which was a ladder campaign that followed more exactly the historical battle.

The Background

Aircraft carriers were a rare sight in the Mediterranean. When the appeared they were used to protect convoy's to Malta and to trnsport fighter aircraft to Malta which they flew off at maximum range.

HMS Ark Royal. Cigarette card originally Issued by John Player & Sons cirka 1939.

The Action

At Luqa airfield, three pilots of 369 Squadron AAF walked out to check their Gloster Gladiator fighters. Leading Aircraftman Walker, the fitter, showed Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh round his Gladiator and said "No problems here, you are the squadron's Ace, we have faith in you!". "What-ho" said Cholmondeley "Let's name the plane Faith". Walker then showed Emmett Hollingberry round the Gladiator and then said "I hope you bring this one back in better shape than the last time when it was full of holes". "Great!" said Holliberry "Let's name the plane Hope". Finally Walker went round a Gladiator with Squadron Leader Foxy Moron. "We've got a Faith and a Hope", said Walker, "We should probably name yours Charity". "Bullshit", said Foxy, "I'll name it Butchery". Not long thereafter Faith, Hope and Butchery scrambled to protect an incoming convoy. However Foxy soon had engine trouble and had to turn back leaving the other two pilots to continue the mission.

The Italian High Command did not want any supply convoys to get through to Malta. Malta was to be under siege and if it couldn't be invaded then it would be staved into submission. When a convoy was spotted by an Italian float plane, Capitano Vitello Tonnato and the squadriglia d'aquila were ordered to attack; to sink the convoy and the aircraft carrier protecting it. The squadriglia d'aquila launched a strike consisting of Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-II Sparviero (Sparrowhawk) Torpedo Bombers escorted by Fiat CR.42 Falco (Falcon) biplane fighters.


The Italians headed towards the British ships in a tight formation.


Cholmondeley and Hollingberry were patrolling in a loose formation, perhaps because Hollingberry had been known to clips his squadron mates' planes with his propeller when in tight formations.


The Sparviero torpedo bombers turned towards the ships while the CR.42's headed straight at the incoming Gladiators.


The two sides continued to close.


The Sparviero torpedo bombers lined up for their run at the ships. The anti-aircraft guns on the ships opened up on the CR.42 fighters.


Cholmondeley and Hollingberry in their Gladiators head towards Capitano Vitello Tonnato and Tenente Gabriel Firenze Bossonova in their CR.42's and both sides open fire head-to-head.


As the fighters raced past each other, Cholmondeley in his Gladiator exchanged fire with a Sparviero torpedo bomber.


As the friendly fighters raced clear of the incoming enemy, the anti-aircraft guns on the ships opened fire again. The Italian fighters did an Immelmann to chase the Gladiators.


The Sparviero torpedo bombers drop their torpedoes as the dogfight between the Gladiators and the CR.42's continues. A lucky shot from Hollingberry, and Capitano Vitello Tonnato's engine starts smoking.


The Sparviero torpedo bombers come under heavy anti-aircraft fire from the ships as one torpedo hits the aircraft carrier and the second is still running.


The Sparviero torpedo bombers turn for home as the second torpedo passes the stern of the aircraft carrier. Cholmondeley in his Gladiator turns somewhat belatedly to chase the bombers and leaves Hollingberry to tangle with the two CR.42's.


The bombers hug the deck and turn for home, hoping that the fighters will continue to ignore them.


Cholmondeley turns to try and get on the tail of a bomber; Vitello Tonnato charges in to try and head him off.


Vitello Tonnato places his CR.42 between Cholmondeley and the bomber. A hail of machine gun fire passes between Cholmondeley and Vitello in both directions.


A lucky shot from Vitello Tonnato and Cholmondeley's Gladiator is done for.


Both CR.42's now tussle with Hollingberry to give the bombers a good run for home. The bombers headed back towards their base with only a few parting shots from the ships' anti-aircraft guns.


The mission completed, both CR.42's now head for home. Both were damaged and didn't want to stay and fight. They left Hollingberry to circle over the now limping carrier.


But the stubborn Hollingberry didn't give up that easily, he chased down Tenente Gabriel Firenze Bossonova's CR.42 and with a long range burst shot him down.


Flying Officer Cholmondeley Featherstonehaugh DFC and Bar ditched his stricken Gladiator near the Carrier's destroyer escort and was picked up. "I was right", he said, "it is muchwarmer than protecting channel convoys". He was injured in the crash, the doctor tried to patch him up and he was soon back in Malta.

Tenente Gabriel Firenze Bossonova ditched his CR.42 and like Cholmondeley he was picked up by the Royal Navy.

Result

Italian Victory

  • Capitano Tonnato: 1 Kill
  • Pilot Officer Hollingberry: 1 Kill

Notes

ARES has no Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-II Sparviero models so we used models from AIM (Armaments In Miniature).

The ships are 1:1200 Hallmark models sold by Magister Militum.