Archive for August, 2013

So that's why I couldn't get those dang bombersSo that’s why I couldn’t get those dang bombers. No doubt Pammy’s twin 20mm DD cannons were there as well…………..

German Dornier Do17 bombers roaming freely over English skies

German Dornier Do17 bombers can now roam freely over English skies

27th Aug AAR – Clear blue skies

Announcement – Message to all UK units: Codeword CROMWELL. Home Defence forces to highest degree of readiness. Invasion of mainland UK expected at any time.

The air battle entered the final stage today as the Luftwaffe concerned itself with destroying the last undamaged Naval dockyard where large British warships were gathered as their prelude to invasion.  Commencing at 0900 hrs, 85 Ju88 & Ju87’s approached Weymouth.  The RAF uncertain of the enemies intentions offered no resistance as most Sqns were in a critical state with a terminal lack of experienced pilots.  The docks received many direct hits as were a number of Royal Navy vessels.  One was sunk attempting to extricate itself from the harbour which left the harbour blocked to incoming and outgoing traffic. At 1400 a second wave of 60 bombers & 75 escorts  approached the docks but this time was met by 234 Sqn (one of our best units) and 213 Sqn. In a heroic deed of self sacrifice the 12 pilots of 234 Sqn attacked 75 Me109’s head on allowing 213 Sqns lesser experienced Hurricane pilots to engage the bombers.  Regrettably this resulted in the loss of one of our premier Sqns who attacking at odds of worse than 6:1 paid the ultimate price and effectively ceased to exist as an operational unit with 6 aircraft shot down.  Ace pilot and CO Sqn Ldr “Mindy” Blake led from the front and was amongst the first to perish. Although 213 Sqn did manage to down 8 of the enemy bombers the remainder caused great damage to the port again, this time achieving their intention of rendering it totally inoperable.
Aug 27 01Intelligence reports were later received that a great host of invasion barges heavily defended by Kriegsmarines were moving out of their French Harbour bases and into the Channel.  As the invasion force approached Cuckmere Haven in Sussex in the early evening, another large Luftwaffe raid was heading towards RAF Hornchurch to rule out any chance of British airborne resisitance to the landings. In a final act of defiance, 4 inexperienced and fatigued Sqns attempted to beat off the attack. 54 Sqn (half strength), 1 RCAF (Royal Canadian Air force replacements), 303 Polish Fighter Sqn (Polish replacements) &  65 Sqn inexperienced pilots converged on the enemy. The hopelessness of the overall situation allowed the pilots to attack with reckless abandon and at the end of the engagement 29 German aircraft had been downed equalling the heaviest casualties inflicted in a single raid on the Luftwaffe. However the Luftwaffe’s job of stopping Sqns attacking the landings was done and these losses were considered acceptable to their OKW High Command as the landings proceeded unmolested. 
During the night as the German juggernaut disembarked and formed beachheads, bombers ranged over the South East occupying the remnants of a once proud Royal Air Force while Ju52 transports towing gliders roamed unopposed and began to land their lethal cargo of Falschirmjagers behind allied lines.
This is the final report of this campaign until God willing the British ground forces succeed where the air force failed. God Save the King.
End of day losses
RAF 8, Luftwaffe 37
RAF = 18% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

LW  = 7% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 177, Luftwaffe 358)

Victory point score -6 (Cumulative -36) – DECISIVE GERMAN VICTORY, GERMANY INVADES

Game NotesSo in the end the inevitable occurred.  Starting the day still in the minus 30’s as I had been for the previous 5 days I knew that one really devastating raid could end the game.  And that’s exactly what happened. First a large force that I had no hope of damaging arrived at Weymouth to cause that heavy damage and the loss of 3 VP’s, then a second successive raid on the same target. I had a fair chance of at least heavily damaging the bombers even destroying one if the dice gods favour didn’t desert me. I should have known better. These fickle deities have never actually helped most of the entire game and when they did they immediately dumped on my good fortune just like Brighton & Hove Albions hobby of crapping in the away changing rooms (look it up). Losing one of my most successful Sqns against the fighters just about summed up the entire game and that followed by another 2 points of bomb damage took my score below the minus 35 automatic defeat mark.  That left me with no choice but to attack everything the next raids presented no matter what and hope against hope of destroying at least 2 enemy gruppen.  Only a single raid followed for the day adding to the pressure but that raid presented just such an opportunity, 3 He111 gruppen with just a couple of 109’s and a 110 close escort.  Having a modest RDF detection roll allowed me to put up 3 full strength and 1 fatigued Sqn and things began well when I managed to lightly damage the 109’s and get through to the bombers with my entire force intact.  A roll of 5 on the dice would eliminate 3 gruppen and give me a whopping 6 VP’s. Everything else would result in failure. I rolled appropriately a 1 and the rest is history.

So another royal thrashing, what went wrong? EVERYTHING! The good weather, the unlucky dice rolls, the reinforcements being brought in at the wrong time, not bringing in enough reinforcements early on,  the 3 continual German relief cards, using and losing fatigued units, using Blenheims for daylight defence, the blank reshuffle deck card variant rules, the unbelievably disastrous RDF detection rolls, etc etc etc?  Probably a combination of all of the above.  I know the dice gods despise me with this game but certainly don’t remember so many pi$$ poor RDF rolls.  Chances to destroy enemy units were so few and far between that my chances of picking up points rested pretty much with the end of day ones that inevitably were diluted from accurate night bombing.  In the last game I played that ended a draw I destroyed 73 German gruppen for none of my own compared to this game of 6 destroyed for the loss of 4 of my own.  Even on my previous games where I have been defeated I have achieved a better ratio every time than that. The risk of using the Blenheim and the fatigued Sqns was a definite mistake with hindsight and one I’m still kicking myself about but that shouldn’t have been so decisive.  So in the end its just one of those things I guess. A very difficult game from the off nothing much went right and not the most satisfying game as even when I was with my back to the wall I never really had any decent heroic minor victories to shout about. But such is the appeal of this game that despite being roundly and utterly trounced, I’m going to set it up all over again and start anther attempt.  No AAR blogs or actual weather rolls this time, that’ll have to wait until next year or until Codeword Cromwell is published at which point I can see what happened to the invasion.  Until we meet again, Per ardua Astra

The attack on Biggin Hill, 64 & 151 Sqn take on the Me109's while 141 and 264 Defiants engage the bombers

The attack on Biggin Hill, 64 & 151 Sqn take on the Me109’s while 141 and 264 Defiants engage the bombers

26th Aug AAR – Cloudy, clearing by 1100

Once again the Luftwaffe targeted the RDF stations on the South coast beginning with a lightning low level attack followed by one of the largest single raids of the campaign to date.  At 1000 hrs a force of 25 elite Me110 Jabo bombers flew in low over the Channel affording our defences little time to respond.  Our own elite 266 Sqn did manage to scramble but were disadvantaged from the start as they had no time to form up.  They did however manage to distract the enemy attacks and successfully defend Beachy Head but at a heavy cost of 4 of our own fighters. The Sqn Ldr, RL Wikinson , Flt Lt SH Batley &  Sgt RH Gretton all perished in the action.  The Sqn will now be commanded by Sqn Ldr Patrick Geraint “Jamie” Jameson, a New Zealander who joined the RAF in 1936. He has accumulated 2 of the Sqns kills to date.  At 1100 a formation of 110 Ju88’s and Ju87 Stuka dive-bombers with a massive fighter escort of 175 Me109’s attacked Foreness RDF.  The formation was unmolested as not enough Sqns were available to make an effective attack. The station received light damage but will be fully operational tomorrow. The next attacks commenced at 1600 this time over RAF Biggin Hill.  A mixed force of 120 Ju88’s and He111’s with a small escort of just 25 Me109’s were accurately detected. Ace 64 Sqn (Spitfire) on their first sortie since the loss of their CO (Sqn Ldr A Macdonell) led the attack under Sqn Ldr Norman Cyril Odbert and were joined by 141 Sqn (Defiant), 151 Sqn (Hurricane) and 264 Sqn (Defiant). The expert pilots of 64 Sqn made short work of the fighter escort shooting down 5 Me109’s before destroying a gruppe of Ju88’s. The new CO claimed his first, a Ju88 and no fewer than 4 Sqn pilots now have 3 or 4 kills each.  Plt Off J J O’Meara (3), Plt Off A.F. Laws (3), Plt Off AG Donohue (American with Canadian citizenship) (3), Sgt GW Scott (4).  Unfortunately the Boulton Paul Defiant Sqns were totally ineffective against the remaining bombers. 2 of their number were lost along with 2 Hurricanes although only light damage was done to the airfield.  RAF North Weald was next on the Luftwaffe’s agenda, with 25 more elite Me110 Jabo’s protected by 25 Me109’s. 257 Sqn was scrambled but were shot up badly. Sqn Ldr H Harkness commanding the Sqn failed to return and is presumed lost over the estuary. Command of the Sqn is now placed in the hands of Sqn Ldr Robert “Bob” Stanford Tuck who has transferred from non-operational 92 Sqn.  Moreover, 25 Sqn who were preparing for night patrols were damaged on the ground and could not participate in attempting to intercept any enemy night raiders.  
Aug 26-27 01During the night the enemy still showed either a reluctance or inability to send over large numbers but his attacks on London did cause some damage.   
End of day losses
RAF 13, Luftwaffe 11
RAF = 18% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

LW  = 2% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 169, Luftwaffe 321)

Victory point score 0 (Cumulative -30)

Game NotesA couple of missed opportunites where I had the chance to do real damage for once ended up with the day being another stalemate although losing 18% of my committed forces and 4 Sqns to rest boxes compared to the meagre losses of the Luftwaffe despite eliminating a gruppe of Ju88’s basically made today feel like another defeat. The Biggin raid should have yielded at least 2 and potentially 3 destroyed gruppen but I had to make do with just one and take a point of bomb damage for good measure so the 2 VP gain was cancelled out almost immediately.

My night patrols are turning into a shambolic mess with only 1 successful interception in 2 weeks. The early loss of 600 Sqn (the only ones fitted with aircraft detecting radar) has been more keenly felt than originally envisaged and nullifying the night attacks has proven to be almost impossible so far. Now that 600 Sqn are back I’m hoping that if I can avoid getting damaged on the ground I might have a bit more success in that department. The change of the Luftwaffe’s target priorities might finally help out my beleaguered RDF stations and airfields, how long they stick to targeting Industry & Ports is anyone’s guess.   

Spare dornier

The fate of a Dornier crew after being downed by 54 Sqn today

25th Aug AAR – Thick mist slowly burning off by midday.

After nearly 24 hours of persistent rain, by the morning the entire South of England was cloaked in a thick mist/fog/vapour grounding all aircraft on both sides of the Channel.  By late morning the sun had begun to burn it off and the Luftwaffe commenced operations. At 1400 a small raid on industrial targets at Rochester was intercepted by 54 Sqn with the rebuilt 65 Sqn providing top cover. With no fighter escorts the Dorniers proved easy prey for our fighters with 9 being shot down before the enemy aborted their attack. At 1700  a larger force attacked RAF Hornchurch.  Despite 32 Sqn, 74 Sqn,  85 Sqn and 501 Sqn some 48 fighters being scrambled, the bombers found their mark and caused considerable damage including 2 Sqns on the ground. Furthermore, their fighters also shot down 9 of our own for the loss of just 5 Me109’s. 74 Sqn being the only Sqn to claim a credit for the day, Sqn Ldr “Sailor” Malan one of 5 pilots to bag an Me109. He is the latest pilot to achieve ace status with 5 kills to his name. The final raid of the day occurred over the skies of Bristol. A force 50 Me110’s flying low over the coast attempted to bomb numerous targets. 234 Sqn (one of our best performing) engaged 1 gruppe in a confused melee resulting in the break up of their formation although no aircraft were shot down by either side.  The second gruppe believing they had a clear run to target arrived over Bristol to find 808 FAA Sqn’s Fairey Fulmars waiting for them. Showing a total disrespect for their adversaries they chose to ignore the Sqn resulting in the loss of 8 of their aircraft without scoring any damage. Sub Lt Rupert Claude Tillard (the Sqn CO) and PO DE Taylor claimed a pair each.  The night saw another light half-hearted effort by the Luftwaffe where no real damage was inflicted.   


End of day losses

RAF 11, Luftwaffe 20
RAF = 11% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

LW  = 9% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 156, Luftwaffe 310)

Victory point score 0 (Cumulative -30)

Game NotesSomething of a stalemate today, my thanks go out to General Mist who successfully offset the ALL OUT attack that would have done for me.  Losing 4 Sqns to repair the boxes with the second raid turned a potentially good day into one neither good nor bad, the high point being the first successful use of the Fulmar’s. Still on minus 30 I feel its just a matter of time but if I can get just 1 juicy unescorted Ju87 attack and the perfect conditions I might still be able to turn the game round…………    

Aug 24-25 London24th Aug AAR – Torrential rain, mist and fog

Owing to the abysmal weather no raids occurred today.  Furthermore during the night, only light nuisance raids were attempted over London doing little damage which the Fire Brigade and ARP wardens dealt with bravely and efficiently.  So with the respite, it gives us time to recognise the heroic efforts of some of the best performing Sqns and pilots as we enter the most crucial phase of the battle. Leading the way as the best performing Sqns are 64 Sqn and 234 Sqn both with 36 kills each.  

The highest scoring “Ace” pilots to date are Sqn Ldr Aeneas Macdonnell (posthumous) of 64 Sqn and Sgt HJL Hallowes of 43 Sqn both attaining 6 individual kills. The roll of honour is reproduced below. 

Top Sqns 

1st= 36 kills, 7 losses – 64 Sqn Spitfire – 6 sorties – 2xMe109, 12xMe110, 7xJu88, 15xHe111 

1st= 36 kills, 4 losses – 234 Sqn Spitfire – 3 sorties – 12xMe109, 3xMe110, 7xJu88, 14xJu87

3rd  22 kills, 6 losses – 609 Sqn Spitfire – 5 sorties – 2xMe109, 8xMe110,  3xHe111, 9xJu87

4th  20 kills, 4 losses – 43 Sqn Spitfire – 2 sorties – 5xMe109, 12xMe110, 3xHe111

5th 18 kills, 6 losses – 1RCAF Hurricane –  4 sorties – 5xMe109, 9xDo17, 4xJu87

Top “Ace” Pilots  

1st =  6 kills – Sqn Ldr ARD Macdonell 64 Sqn Spitfire – 1xMe109, 3xMe110, 2xHe111 – KIA 

1st =  6 kills – Sgt HJL Hallowes 43 Sqn Spitfire – 3xMe109, 3xMe110

3rd = 5 kills – Sqn Ldr MV Blake 234 Sqn Spitfire – 4xMe109, 1xMe110 

3rd = 5 kills – Flt Lt PC Hughes 234 Sqn Spitfire – 1xMe109, 1xJu88, 3xJu87 – KIA

3rd = 5 kills – Flt Lt JI Kilmartin 43 Sqn Spitfire – 2xME109, 3xMe110 

End of day losses

RAF 0, Luftwaffe 0

RAF = 0% no day raids

LW = 0% no day raids

(Cumulative RAF 145, Luftwaffe 290)

Victory point score +2 (Cumulative -30)

Game notes – Only my 2nd day off from the onslaught has allowed me to bring back into play another 4 full strength Sqns although this has to be offset against a virtually 100% full strength enemy. Furthermore, of the 22 front line Sqns available for tomorrow, 2 have green pilot negative modifiers that will require very careful handling. Still that’s 2 weeks gone and I’m still hanging on by my fingertips.  The weather tomorrow could play a crucial part in deciding the outcome. If its clear an ALL OUT attack will be on the cards that unless I have a change of fortune with the card decks and dice rolls will make my chances very slim.  Fingers crossed for some decent luck tomorrow.   

Aug 23 01

Boulton Paul Defiant gunner – 141 Sqn

23rd Aug AAR – Clear Skies becoming overcast toward the afternoon

As glorious weather so often brings out swarms of insect pests such as wasps and flying ants, the same can be said today regarding the Luftwaffe whose aircraft keen to deliver what they thought would be the hammer blow turned out in their droves.
The morning was a quiet one until about 1400 hrs when a force of about 100 bombers and fighter escorts were accurately detected heading towards RAF Middle Wallop. 152 Sqn, 229 Sqn, 238 Sqn & 609 Sqn scrambled to intercept.  A confused action took place with neither side able to take the initiative.  In the end 8 enemy aircraft were shot down for 6 of our own. Sgt EE Shepperd of 152 Spitfire Sqn was the pick of the bunch with 3 Me110’s to his name. At the same time Rye RDF was subjected to a heavy attack which was not detected. The station will be out of action for a number of days. 2 hours later RAF Biggin Hill received its first attack in 4 days. A mixed force of 60 Heinkel He111’s and Dornier Do17‘s with 75 Me109 escorts formed above the thickening cloud cover.  However before they could commence their bomb run, 74 Sqn, 141 Sqn, 266 Sqn and 1 RCAF Sqn launched a devastating counter-attack on the enemy formation. 22 enemy aircraft were destroyed without a single RAF fighter being shot down.  New 74 Sqn CO, Sqn Ldr Adolf “Sailor” Malan (South African) put to literal effect his “10 rules of air fighting” shooting down 2xMe109’s and 1xHe111.  His Sqn claimed 7 but 266 Sqn was the most successful picking off 10 He111’s and effectively destroying 1 entire enemy gruppe. 
Sgt EE Shepperd 152 Sqn with mascot "Snowy"

Sgt EE Shepperd 152 Sqn with mascot “Snowy”

  • 1. Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of 1 to 2 seconds only when your sights are definitely “ON”.
  • 2. Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of your body: have both hands on the stick: concentrate on your ring sight.
  • 3. Always keep a sharp lookout. “Keep your finger out”.
  • 4. Height gives you the initiative.
  • 5. Always turn and face the attack.
  • 6. Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
  • 7. Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.
  • 8. When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as a top guard.
  • 9. INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE, and TEAMWORK are words that MEAN something in Air Fighting.
  • 10. Go in quickly – Punch hard – Get out!
Sqn Ldr Adolf "Sailor" Malan - CO 74 Sqn - shot down 3 enemy today

Sqn Ldr Adolf “Sailor” Malan – CO 74 Sqn – shot down 3 of the enemy today

At 1815 hrs a force of 50 Ju87 Stuka‘s escorted by a large force of 150 fighters attacked RAF North Weald.  1 Sqn, 56 Sqn and 242 Sqn were detailed to intercept however, owing to conflicting instructions between 10 and 11 Group Sector Hq’s the Sqns arrived dispersed and uncoordinated. The Me109 fighters made short work of the piecemeal attacks and shot down 12 of our aircraft without loss. Sqn Ldr Douglas Bader CO of 242 Sqn was scathing in his criticism of the Sector Hq’s mishandling of his first Sqns action stating with some justification that this debacle almost cost the RAF 3 Sqns and the RAF’s total defeat.  During the night, approximately 150 Heinkels probed coastal port defences causing some damage.      

End of day losses

RAF 18, Luftwaffe 30
RAF = 14% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

LW  = 5% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 145, Luftwaffe 290)

Victory point score -2 (Cumulative -32)

Game NotesSo an ALL- OUT attack as expected nearly did for me. But I managed to hang on by the skin of my teeth thanks in the main to that rarity of rarities, destroying an enemy Gruppe. The missed opportunity with the fact that I could have taken out 2 gruppen didn’t escape my notice or the general feeling that I’ve been doomed from the start. Clearly too much hubris somewhere along the line but anyhow, so narked was I today with some of my dice rolls and today especially card draws that I decided to check back over the results of the campaign. For the last 3 consecutive days picking up the “German Relief” event has allowed the Luftwaffe to reinforce twice as quickly as the RAF yet I have been taking twice as many casualties in percentage terms of the forces committed during the day almost from the very start. Plus, although I picked up 8 Sqns today I lost another 6 to the rest and damage/repair boxes so the net gain of 2 hardly helps BUT tomorrow promises thunderstorms which might give me a day off to recover and bring back a few more for the following day. Down but definitely not out as we try to squeeze into a 3rd week  

22nd Aug AAR – Cloudy and overcast

 IMG_2127Announcement – Today owing to the gravest of situations, the civilian population is urged to prepare for imminent invasion. Home Guard Units are to report to their respective muster points and await instruction. Parish Councils are to open the sealed pink Secret files marked “Q1″ and implement Part 1 orders. ” Evacuation officials and railway representatives of Southern and GWR are to commence proceedings for stage 1 of evacuation Plan Q.
Left – British armour passing through Sussex village en route to taking up position at defensive strongpoint
Attacks commenced at 0900 hrs when a large mixed force of 170 Heinkel He111, Dornier Do17, Junkers Ju88 and Ju87 Stuka dive-bombers with their customary Me109 fighter escort split in 2 as they approached the coast. RAF Kenley and in what must be a prelude to invasion, Brighton docks were the targets. 32 Sqn, 64 Sqn, 111 Sqn and 1 RCAF Sqn attempted to disrupt the attackers.  Despite their best efforts the Sqns failed to make an impact losing 11 aircraft for the same number of the enemy.  Sqn Ldr Aeneas Macdonnell who shot down an Me109 to take his score to 6 was later shot down himself. Bailing out over Whyteleafe his ‘chute failed to open.  His body was discovered near the golf course sadly with no sign of life. Both targets received mild bomb damage although most of the bombs destined for Brighton docks overshot their mark. One bomb however luckily scored a direct hit on Brighton and Hove Albion’s Goldstone Football ground. Almost £100,000 worth of improvements were made…………….
Plt Off WD David, formerly of 87 Sqn now serving with 213 Sqn

Plt Off WD David, formerly of 87 Sqn now serving with 213 Sqn likes the high waisted look

At 1300 hrs 30 Ju88’s were spotted over the channel with 160+ fighter escorts. This was a rare foray by Luftflotte 3 and it is assumed that they were thinking that with such a large fighter escort, the RAF would not dare to engage.  They were wrong, in a stubborn show of defiance 4 Sqns were scrambled, 213 Sqn, 229 Sqn, 234 Sqn and 609 Sqn set about the enemy. The fighter escort screen was indeed too thick for our fighters to break through and the RDF station received light damage. However at the end of the engagement we had accounted for 16no. 109’s and 110’s for the loss of just 2 of our own.  213 Sqn had a particularly good day claiming 11. Plt Off William Dennis David scored 3 kills and has now been promoted to Fg Off. 234 Sqn added 5 Me109’s to bring the Sqn tally to 36.  Sqn Leader Mindon “Mindy” Blake now has 5 kills and has achieved ace status, Sgt W.W. Thompson the next highest with 3.  The engagement ended on a bitter note as Flt Lt Paterson Clarence Hughes, one of the best pilots in the Sqn appeared to have a machine gun malfunction and was unable to fire his guns at the enemy. Seeing his wingman with a 109 on his tail it appears that Hughes deliberately rammed the enemy to save his colleague.  Both the 109 and his own aircraft exploded on contact and so Hughes’ 5th kill and ace status are sadly posthumous ones.

Luftflotte 3 continued the assault with another huge fighter escort this time going for Poling RDF. 140 fighters covered 85 bombers. This time the RAF was not in a position to contest. Poling was consequently knocked out for at least 3 days. Then at 1915 hrs a small force of 15 Me109’s reconnoitred over the Western counties.  Only 238 Sqn was in the vicinity. Using the same tactics so efficiently employed by Luftwaffe fighters the Sqn attacked out of the sun and after their first passing turn had shot down 3 of the enemy. The 109’s caught unprepared attempted to make made good their escape but were pursued to the coast losing another 2 to our gallant pilots.  After seeing off the enemy the Sqn returned home to RAF St Eval. No one pilot shot down more than a single enemy but the CO, Sqn Ldr Harold Fenton was so pleased with his boys efforts that he forgave them the dangerous victory acrobatics flown over the airfield. At night, heavy damage was caused by the raiders targeting Bristol aircraft works at Filton.

Despite this minor victory the situation is dire and unless our RAF Sqns can destroy at least 4 times more enemy aircraft than they lose we shall run out of competent pilots and machines.

End of day losses

RAF 13, Luftwaffe 32
RAF = 12% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

LW  = 5% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 127, Luftwaffe 260)

Victory point score -4 (Cumulative -30)

Game NotesSo after bemoaning the fact that I hadn’t had any chances of getting stuck into a lightly defended Ju87 Stuka force, lo and behold I get one served up to me on a plate, brought up just like room service with Ju87’s and just a small fighter escort…………..And you guessed it the dice gods curse my left handed dice throwing arm into a parody of Jeremy Beadle’s appendage and I end up with all my 4 Sqns damaged (3 of them heavily and out for 3 days), no enemy destroyed and the loss of 3 Vp’s when I had a 33% chance of destroying 2 units and gaining 6 Vp’s. Being unable to make any impression despite these odds makes one realise its just not your day. When the following raids knocked out 2 of my RDF stations and my score dropped by 4 more points to a critical minus 33 I all but gave up. Then another foray by LF3 but with a fatigued Me109 Gruppe left me with a choice. Leave it and hope that the night raids don’t inflict 2 points of damage and set me up tomorrow with a score just 2 points above automatic defeat or take it on and risk a 1 in 6 chance of my only available Sqn being destroyed and the game ending ignominiously but also having a 1 in 6 chance of destroying the enemy and gaining 2 valuable VP’s.  I went for the latter and almost shouted the house down when I finally got the result needed and sent to enemy unit crashing out. I have Gaius my cat and his purring power breathing on the dice for luck to thank for that.  So the end of the day almost felt like a minor victory despite being 4 points worse off than the start of the day and only 5 points from automatic defeat. Tomorrow I still only have a paltry 16 Sqns available BUT if I can hang on without much damage I’ll have another 8 back to full strength the following day which at least gives me a chance.  A long shot I know.  The only real positive I can take from this game so far is that last year I was defeated on the 19th Aug so at least there has been an improvement on that.

IMG_2125 21st Aug AAR – Clear skies

 Today owing to the seriousness of the situation, Fighter Command announced the secondment of 808 Sqn FAA from the Royal Navy’s Ark Royal carrier to 12 Group. The Fleet Air Arm Sqn is commanded Sub-Lt Rupert Claude Tillard of Wimborne and operates Fairey Fulmar aircraft. 600 Sqn has now received its compliment of replacement pilots (reduced training) and will be operational in a few days time.
Fairey Fulmar Mk. I carrier-borne fighter of R...

Fairey Fulmar Mk. I carrier-borne fighter of Royal Navy .(early series) in 1940 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The morning saw large raids met in kind by determined resistance. At 1100 a force of 120 Heinkel He111 & Dornier Do17‘s with 100 Me109 & 110 fighter escorts was detected late heading toward RAF Tangmere. 266 Sqn, 601 Sqn and new boys 1RCAF Sqn arrived just as the bombers ranged over their target. Some damage was inflicted on the station but at a very high cost.  No fewer that 29 enemy raiders were shot down 20 of which were bombers without loss. All the Sqns contributed with 2 pilots from 601 Sqn aka “The millionaires Sqn” achieving particular success. Sqn Ldr The Honourable J “Max” W Aitken notched up 2xMe110’s and 1xHe111 and kept the enemy fighter escort preoccupied while the other pilots set about the bombers  The pick being Flt Lt Sir Archibald Hope who shot down no fewer than 4 bombers, 2xHe111’s and 2xDo17’s.

601 Aitken M  Hon 601 Hope Sir A
 This proved to be the high watermark of the day for the RAF.  At 1400 hrs a formation of 30 bombers and 100 fighters was correctly identified heading toward Foreness RDF.  This time 4 Sqns, 17 Sqn, 151 Sqn, 615 Sqn and the newly rebuilt but inexperienced 65 Sqn intercepted the raid.  4 enemy fighters were destroyed but at the cost of 8 of our own.  However such was the determination of our boys that no bombs fell even remotely close to their target. A gruppe of 25 Me109’s were later observed over Beachy Head but the RAF chose not to engage. At 1700 hrs Rochester undefended, was lightly bombed by an escorted force of 60 Dorniers . At the same time RAF Tangmere was visited for a second time. Unfortunately this time all the patrolling Sqns had landed and were being refuelled when the attackers arrived. Heavy damage occurred, and 2 Sqns were damaged on the ground.  At 1830 hrs 255 aircraft were detected heading toward RAF Hornchurch. However a large proportion failed to rendezvous meaning that just 60 bombers and 25 fighters arrived. 501 Sqn and 303 Sqn (Polish) attempted to foil the attack. 9 bombers were shot down for the loss of 6 of our own mostly Polish who flew very carelessly in their first action.
The day ended thankfully with no damage from the night raiders.
End of day losses

RAF 14, Luftwaffe 42

RAF = 13% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

LW = 5% of daily force committed (Daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 114, Luftwaffe 228)

Victory point score -1 (Cumulative -26)

Game NotesAnother +2 free VP’s by putting green pilots with the replacement 600 Blenheim Sqn was a no brainer, in fact if I hadn’t taken all those green pilot points I’d now be on minus 33 just 2 points away from total defeat.  As it is I’m still staring down the barrel of a gun but at least I have a small cushion. The free Fulmar Sqn activated today as the VP score was below minus -15 was gratefully received. And so at the start of the day I was pleasantly surprised when the Luftwaffe effort was Normal as oppose ALL OUT.  But owing to the number of attacks for the day it became to all intents and purposes an all out attack.  With the first 2 targets being ones I didn’t want to risk leaving, by 1400 I found myself down some 9 Sqns from the morning, the remainder spread thinly and most on the ground.  Inevitably this led to uncontested or unable to contest raids. At the end I was really suffering and had that feeling that the Luftwaffe were almost playing with me. The lack of real opportunities to destroy enemy units is really hurting me with very few JU87s or raids outside 109 range to get stuck into leaves no chance to pick up any VP’s.  That and a couple of impetuous risks have effectively undone my efforts this time and it just looks like a matter of a few days before the inevitable.   With tomorrow set fair I find my situation even more perilous than this morning with 9 Sqns (4 of which came from being damaged on the ground) still off the board in rest and repair boxes and another 4 fatigued. That leaves just 16 front line Sqns available with a couple of Blenheim, Defiant, the Gladiator and Fulmar units as second line defence, if I roll an ALL OUT attack chances are the defence may well crumble. 

Sgt JH "Cock Sparrow Ellis 85 Sqn scored 2 confirmed kills today 20th Aug

Sgt JH “Cock Sparrow” Ellis 85 Sqn scored 2 confirmed kills today 20th Aug

Sgt G.B "Sleepy" Booth added an Me109 today 20th Aug to the He111 downed on 11th Aug

Sgt GB “Sleepy” Booth 85 Sqn added an Me109 today 20th Aug to the He111 downed on 11th Aug

  20th Aug AAR – Cloudy with clearing skies from 0930hrs

After yesterdays all out effort to destroy the RAF either the Luftwaffe themselves are exhausted or they believe they have almost done enough as today only small Me109 sorties were despatched to probe the RAF and no doubt confirm their erroneous beliefs. This view may have been given some credit when they flew over Rochester unopposed in the morning but when 50 Me109’s arrived at RAF Hornchurch at 1800hrs they were met with determined resistance from no less than 3 full strength Sqns – 85 Sqn, 151 Sqn & 501 Sqn. Flying in an uncharacteristically loose formation the 109’s were set about by the Hurricane Sqns and at the end of the action 10 enemy fighters had been destroyed without loss. Sgt JH Mortimer “Cock-Sparrow” Ellis of 85 Sqn claimed 2 of the enemy while Sgt GB “Sleepy” Booth also of 85 Sqn added a 109 to the He111 he had bagged on the 11th Aug.

20th Aug - 10no. British Sqns out of action in the rest and damaged boxes.

20th Aug – 10no. British Sqns out of action in the rest and damaged boxes.

65 Sqn (Spitfires) & 87 Sqn (Hurricanes) after being destroyed yesterday have been rebuilt today by reducing the number of combat hours training for pilots.  65 Sqn was deployed at half strength awaiting arrival of replacement aircraft this evening.  87 Sqn will be fully operational in a couple of days time.

As darkness approached the now familiar sound of Heinkel engines was detected over the English skies. 210 bombers were estimated to have attacked population centres on the South coast. Light damage was inflicted.

End of day losses

RAF 0, Luftwaffe 10

(Cumulative RAF 100, Luftwaffe 186)

RAF = 0% of total daily committed force (daytime only)

LW = 10% of total daily committed force (daytime only)

Victory point score +5 (Cumulative -25)

Game NotesNo choice today but to bring back the 2 eliminated Sqns with green pilots giving them minus modifiers for their first few combats BUT giving me those crucial +4 VP’s and at the end of the day a 9 point cushion from the minus 35 automatic decisive defeat end game result.  Its a fair strategy to do on Spits but not Hurricanes so this is a gamble. A lucky respite with just light effort from the Luftwaffe meant no loss of points from daylight raids that I may not have been able to defend.  A shame that the 2 raids only yielded Me109’s as I had no chance of eliminating them. A lone Heinkel could have reaped some reward but I guess the Luftwaffe in the guise of an inanimate card deck just isn’t that stupid.  Proof if you need it that dark forces do roam this planet in a Lovecraftian existence where they lurk just out of your peripheral vision. But looking on the positive I did manage to put 2×109 Gruppen out of action for up to 3 days and will have back tomorrow 2 more Sqns than I started with today.  It’ll be safe to put green pilots in the replaced Blenheim Sqn tomorrow as I’ll keep them for night duties which will protect them from any chance of being eliminated and as 600 Sqn are the only Sqn fitted with radar they should get into action quickly and lose that green status.  Tomorrow might be the key day that I half expected today as the weather is set to be fair and an ALL OUT attack is likely again. The fact that I’ll have 7 Sqns in a fatigued state sat on the ground & considering my past shambolic use of fatigued Sqns will probably mean that I’ll have to manage without them and more likely some will get hit on the ground putting them out of action for another day.  But that’s the self-inflicted situation I’m in so its time to knuckle down once more. 

 18th Aug AAR – Cloudy

No enemy activity today until 1800 when a Gruppe of Me109’s heading towards RAF Biggin Hill bounced 111 Sqn who were returning to base from their patrol.  With the enemy using the advantage of height and with the sun behind them,  the Sqn was badly shot up losing 4 Hurricanes in the engagement before the enemy broke off as reinforcements arrived.

During the night 120 German bombers were detected but no damage was reported on the ground.

End of day losses

RAF 4, Luftwaffe 0

RAF = 16% of daily committed force (daytime only)

LW = 0% of daily committed force (daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 60, Luftwaffe 96)

Victory point score +2 (Cumulative -17)

Game NotesA change in Luftwaffe target priorities had no effect today owing to the light effort from the Luftwaffe.  Annoyingly from the only combat today I still ended up with another Sqn heavily damaged but did pick up more VP’s. Worryingly for tomorrow I have 7 Sqns fatigued which equates to 25% of my entire force while the Luftwaffe are almost at 100% strength.  So fully expecting an ALL OUT attack tomorrow I’m going to risk bringing in another Sqn for the cost of 3 VP’s. Lets hope it doesn’t backfire.

19th Aug AAR – Clear becoming cloudy

The Ministry announced today that all RDF stations were now fully operational. Furthermore, ACM Dowding confirmed that 303 Sqn (Polish volunteers) was also now operational.  They are stationed at RAF Northolt in 11 Group.

Today some 950 enemy aircraft attacked multiple targets in some of the biggest attacks of the campaign to date. Despite losing 50 aircraft to our gallant fighters, it is with regret to announce that 26 of our own aircraft were downed and despite claiming 2 enemies for every one of our own, the population needs to be aware of the gravest of situations facing this island now.  Tomorrow may prove to be the decisive day.

43 Kilmartin JL irAttacks commenced at 0600hrs over RAF Kenley. 1 Sqn, 43 Sqn, 64 Sqn (half strength) and 615 Sqn successfully defending the station claiming 20 enemy shot down for the loss of 4. Plt Off (now acting Flt Lt)  J “Killy” Kilmartin & Sgt HJL Hallowes of 43 Sqn both got their 5th & 6th kills respectively and thus earnt “Ace” status. 2 hours later RAF Tangmere was attacked.  The Sqns patrolling had been ordered to another sector so the base was afforded no fighter cover. But such was the determination of the ack-ack gunners that the enemy could not bomb effectively and no damage was inflicted.

At 0900 Southampton was heavily bombed and damaged while at the same time a small group of 10 no. He59 floatplanes in civilian markings attempted to gain access to the Thames estuary under the pretence of searching for stranded airmen of either nationality.  Fighter Command saw through this ruse asserting that the aircraft were attempting to mine the estuary as well as land enemy agents.  74 Sqn was sent to intercept and after a swift engagement had successfully destroyed the invaders, claiming 7 shot down.  Plt Officer PCF “Paddy” Stevenson was singled out for praise by Flt Lt Adolf “Sailor” Malan who following Sqn Ldr Francis White’s unfortunate injuries when he collided with one of the He59’s will take over as acting C.O.

spare he5974 Stevenson PCF KIA

Unfortunately, events took a turn for the worse at the same time over the Dorset coast where 87 Sqn was destroyed engaging 100+ enemy fighters. Their brave sacrifice had allowed 609 Sqn to attack the Ju87 Stuka‘s attempting to bomb Worth RDF.  Shooting down 9 Stuka’s and 6 Me110 escorts the RDF station was protected but at such a high cost. The sacrifice of the brave men of 87 Sqn will not be forgotten.

Poling was the next RDF station to be attacked, this time the enemy formation of 120 bombers and 150 fighter escorts was not engaged and the RDF station will consequently be out of action for 2 days. Smaller raids over Brooklands and Debden followed but thankfully damage was negligible despite the loss of 2 fighters. The final raid of the day consisted of a force of 120 bombers and 100 fighters that split in two once over the coast and attacked RAF Hornchurch & Faversham. 54 Sqn, 56 Sqn, 65 Sqn (half strength) , 257 Sqn and 264 Sqn raced to intercept.  The 109’s were ready for the assault and only 56 & 264 Sqn broke through the screen. Although 8 He111’s were shot down and Hornchurch was successfully protected, the RAF Sqns engaging the fighters lost 12 aircraft with 65 Sqn sadly being destroyed.

Ineffectual raids continued throughout the night.

End of day losses

RAF 26, Luftwaffe 50

RAF = 15% of daily committed force (daytime only)

LW = 5% of daily committed force (daytime only)

(Cumulative RAF 100, Luftwaffe 176)

Victory point score -13 (Cumulative -30)

Game NotesToday almost proved to be the knock-out punch by the Luftwaffe. Just about every decision I made ended with the worst possible outcome. To lose 1 Sqn is careless but 2 …..unforgivable. Gods Holy trousers I’m really kicking myself at some of the desperate risks I took today, School boy error stuff but its too late to do anything about it now. Buying that extra reinforcement Sqn for 3 VP’s might also come back to haunt me (note to self don’t take the advice of a German fifth columnist called Peter ever again!) What tomorrow has in store doesn’t fill me with confidence and the 2 destroyed Sqns will have to be brought back with green pilots to help restore some of the points lost today but at the cost of their combat effectiveness. If I am to survive the next few days I’m going to need a large slice of luck and wont be able to take many risks which will probably be just at the time when I really need to. Dang nabbit.