Skies Above the Reich AAR #1


#21

Meanwhile, Grimm’s engine coughs, splutters and gives out just as he’s coming in for a landing, one of the most dangerous times to have something like that happen, sooooo…he dies. Friendship ended with Grimm, now Dahl is my best friend.

Heller’s ship catches fire and he burns to death. We hardly knew ye.

The staffelkapitan is going to have to be Oberstleutenant Steal Yo Parachute to prevent pilots bailing out early in future…


#22

The “parachutes” are actually just packed with popup cardboard cut outs of Hitler looking disappointed, known colloquially around the staffel as “Frowning Führers”.


#23

The sheer terror of getting into a close pass with a 109 and seeing Hitler peering at you over the shoulder of the Luftwaffe pilot…


#24

Have you tried either of Jerry White’s previous designs?
Enemy Coast Ahead: The Dambuster Raid
Enemy Coast Ahead: The Doolittle Raid

Gene Billingsley (head of GMT) thinks very highly of the work Jerry has done for them. His next game, Atlantic Chase, is pretty unique as well.


#25

I had never heard of him or them until this game. I only got in on the very tail end of the P500 for SatR thanks to an offhand post in a gigantic wargames thread by someone over at Quarter to Three. Jerry says they’re probably going to fire up a P500 in August for an expandalone for SatR dealing with Fw-190s and B-24s, which I will 100% get in on.


#26

MISSION 5

Another no-escort, near target, 4 OP mission on Map 1, Formation A this time (same as Mission 3). This time out, the sun’s on the Right Flank, the formation suffered no damage on its trip from sunny England to our shores, and the flight limit is a respectable 6 turns. Four fighters enter the fray: our (current) hero Dahl, his long-time companion Frieling, and newcomers Richter and Zweigart, who if they aren’t experten at least have the virtue of not being Green. The real bummer this time is only 1 TP, which is going to be a severe constraint on the ability to pursue fallen out bombers.

You know, if there are any.

Turn 1
All enter Tail Low. The bottom bomber in the formation (B4 from here on out), suffers a flak hit, and one engine starts trailing a little smoke, but otherwise it appears unphased.

Turn 2
All move to Tail Approach Low then sweep in to attack the element, Dahl and Richter going for B4 and Frieling and Zweigart for B1 (the top bomber in the element). All go determined. Yes, once again we brave the capricious gods of the dreaded collision check.

The pair of Dahl and Richter do in fact draw a “hit” chit on their collision check. The rules just say “put it on one of the fighters” but don’t say how to apportion the hits, so I randomly determine that Richter gets it. The fighters earn both the Rotte and Schwarm advantages because there are so many of them, they came from the same place and are all determined. A (very) brief aside on rotte and scwarm here.

During their pass on B4, Dahl takes a hit but cancels it by expending the element’s Rotte advantage. In return, he pulls another engine hit on the bomber, then presses his luck by expending the two hits the Schwarm advantage allows to score two separate 2dmg hits to the wing of the aircraft, and then expends his timing experten skill to score yet another wing hit, this time for 3dmg. The bomber is looking pretty beat up when Richter scores a 1dmg hit to the fuselage, and gets the “riding the tail” result, which forces you to either break away to the Tail Level box immediately or draw another attack. Well, since the bomber is so close to downed, he chances it and draws a hit for himself (Fuselage 2) but also one for the bomber (also Fuselage 2), which is enough for it to catch fire and break up. Turn 1 and already one bomber down!

Things don’t go quite as well for Frieling and Zweigart. Frieling takes an engine (8) hit, and Zweigart gets an engine hit on the bomber but in return takes an Elevator 7 hit. Ouch. Continuing fire sees Dahl take a (3) hit to the engine and Zweigart, caught by the “Slow Climb” result, is forced to break away to the Tail High Return box while the others break for the flanks, Dahl and Richter roll climbing/diving, respectively to the Left Flank while Frieling rolls high Right Flank.

Turn 3
During the Recovery phase, Dahl (maintaining his “best friend” status) determines that his hit was trivial, while the others’ hits were all serious, so off they go to their respective Fate boxes. Bomber 2 takes a bad wing hit from the flak and falls out of the formation, which subsequently fails its cohesion check and becomes loose.

Turn 4
Dahl returns to Left Flank High and notices the bomber leaving the formation. Ack ack scores a fairly trivial wing hit on Bomber 1.

Turn 5
Dahl moves to intercept (automatic) the fallen out bomber.

Pursuit
Sun is in the High Nose position, so Dahl moves there for the first pass against the bomber and goes determined. His first pass against the bomber results in no hits on either side, so he swings around for another. This is where the 1TP bites me in the ass, since TP is crucial for doing anything in the Pursuit phase. It’s enough for one more pass from the Tail Level position, but that also results in nothing, and with all TP expended Dahl is bingo fuel and turns for home, shaking his fist at the bomber as it escapes under the baleful glare of Dahl’s Frowning Fuhrer.

FATE
In an incredible twist of chance, Richter and Zweigart manage to land their aircraft and garner one shiny experience point each. Frieling, my last remaining unwounded experte aside from Dahl, then, predictably dies in the most dramatic fashion possible as his stricken aircraft just straight up explodes. Sigh.

Meanwhile
Jachmann plays his forty-fifth game of solitaire since joining the staffel. He loses.

Only one more mission in 1942 to go! If you’ve been keeping score, stop reading. If you haven’t been keeping score, then you won’t know until I tell you that I need two more VPs to fail to lose this season, which failure to lose would enable me to convert to a longer game and continue with this by now quite moth-eaten staffel. Since there’s only one mission left, if it turns out to be Inbound I’ll need to score one bomber kill, something that seemed quite daunting a couple of missions ago but very doable now, but if it’s either of the other two mission types, I’ll need two, something I haven’t managed yet. Will we get there?! Tune in next Monday to find out!


#27

Frieling, my last remaining unwounded experte aside from Dahl, then, predictably dies in the most dramatic fashion possible as his stricken aircraft just straight up explodes.

Perfect.


#28

I know the designers researched this game meticulously, but were collisions really this frequent?


#29

I think it’s my titanic bad luck more than anything. As time has worn on I’ve mentioned the routine mechanics less and less, so usually if nothing happens I don’t say anything in the AAR here. Many (most?) of the chits are “no impact”. The “hit” chit I drew here just means a hit got taken like you’d get in the burst or continuing fire phases, and I’d imagine you can chalk those up to not having as much maneuver space when trying to hit a bomber when coming in with your buddies and the gunner getting a “free” hit on you. The couple actual collisions I’ve had, you can see I got pretty spectacularly unlucky, as I not only had to draw the chit, I had to roll exactly 1, since a 2 or higher would have meant no impact. I haven’t gone through the chits, but I have yet to see one with a prox number higher than 2. Even then it was a 50/50 chance that the fighter would collide with the bomber, prompting the draw of 4 damage chits (each with a potential “catastrophic” effect for the bomber) against it, thus at least partially (very partially) mitigating the loss of the fighter with a chance at some VPs, but both times I happened to get the result that meant I lost two fighters.


#30

I’m not sure I can wait until Monday for the next episode. Have mercy on us


#31

MISSION 6

Hoo boy, I hope you’re ready for some High Drama.

The mood in the briefing room is somber. We’ve been scrambled to intercept an outbound flight. Everybody knows this is it. The allies have been tearing us a new Anschluss with their raids, and unless we can down two bombers this time around, something we have yet to accomplish, we’re finished.

The roster is getting thin. Clade is, of course, still wounded. Frieling bought the farm on the last mission. Dahl is our only remaining experte, so of course he goes. Kremler gets brought off the bench again, and since Richter and Zweigart acquitted themselves so well last time out, they’re on the team, too. Obleser and Loos, two vets who are nevertheless new to this kind of action, round out the flight of six.

When the flight gets on station, they’ve got 7 turns to spend, with the escort scheduled to turn up on Turn 6. Map 1, Formation B, the big line of bombers. They’re flying below the sun, so there’s no big burning ball in which to hide from the guns. Four tactical points allotted. The trailing bomber got knocked out of the formation by flak before we even reached it, so there are only four now, and the Lethal Level is accordingly lower. Here we go.

Turn 1
Dahl, Kremler, Obleser and Zweigart enter Tail Low. I might have known and forgotten this, but you can enter in any low box, so Loos enters Left Flank Low and Richter Right Flank Low. We’re going to need all the advantages we can muster.

Turn 2
Loos and Richter idle outside of the formation while Dahl and co. spend the turn climbing from Tail Low to Tail Level. I’ve never really done this before, but I’ve got enough spare wiggle room in my flight limit to do this so that a.) the approach from the level rather than low position will be deadlier (for everybody, but I have to take that risk), and b.) we can earn the Position advantage for approaching the element from different sides and altitudes, which will, I hope, help mitigate that deadliness.

Turn 3
Time to strike. Dahl, Kremler, Obleser and Zweigart move to Tail Level Approach, while Loos moves to Left Flank Low Approach and Richter moves to Right Flank Low Approach. Then they attack.

Everybody goes determined. There’s no time to screw around with being evasive, even though it means gritting their teeth and taking more fire. Dahl and Richter move on the lead ship, B1, Dahl from the tail and Richter from the right flank. The others all attack the last plane in the formation, B4, Loos from the left flank and the rest from the tail.

Dahl scores a hit on B1, an engine hit, and the bomber immediately starts smoking and falls away from the formation. An incredible piece of luck. He draws a hit on himself as well but uses the Rotte advantage gained by the cluster of three planes further down the element to cancel it. Richter just draws a pass through result.

Against B4, Kremler scores a hit to the wing, and takes a hit himself that he cancels with the Position advantage. He uses the Schwarm advantage gained this turn to get an engine and a fuselage hit. None cause the bomber any perceptible difficulty. Obleser also hits the bombers wing and takes a hit to his own wing in return. His guns also jam. The Jam result on a combat card means from now on if he draws a damage result against a bomber, it’s only real if I roll even on the die. Odd, and it’s canceled.

Zweigart likewise rakes the bomber’s wing with some fire and gets the Riding the Tail result, so he draws another hit, again to the wing. That wing isn’t looking so hot. Loos, last to the party, hits the bomber’s engine and causes it to fall out, taking a hit to his own wing in the process.

During the continuing fire phase, Dahl takes an elevator hit, RIchter a fuselage hit, Obleser a cockpit hit and Loos an engine hit. Brutal, but we knocked two bombers out in one pass, and those are the two we need. I just hope enough fighters are left operational to go after them!

Dahl, Obleser, Kremler and Zweigart climb away to the Nose High Return position, while Richter and Loos roll away to the Tail, Richter high and Loos low.

Turn 4
Kremler and Zweigart, somehow remaining unscathed through that onslaught, return to Nose High. Dahl’s elevator hit turns out to be serious, as does Obleser’s cockpit hit, so off to Fate they go. Semi-miraculously, Richter’s fuselage and Loos’s engine hits both turn out to be trivial, leaving me with four fighters to pursue two bombers. Hell yes.

Turn 5
Richter and Loos return to Tail High/Low. Kremler and Zweigart leave in pursuit of B1.

Turn 6
Richter and Loos pursue B4. Meanwhile the escort shows up, but their dance partners have all gone, leaving them all dressed up and nowhere to go.

Pursuit
I resolve Richter and Loos’s pursuit first, because I know something they don’t know. Their bomber has taken a lot of damage. When you move to the pursuit map, you shuffle all of those damage counters over. Their pursuit number is 2, which means I actually have to roll. I don’t trust my luck, so I expend 1TP to add 1 to my intercept roll to make it automatic, and send them on their way. Since, however, the bomber’s accumulated damage is greater on the wing than the number printed on the pursuit map, it means when they arrive the bomber is in the process of breaking up, so without even pulling the trigger we get the kill and 1VP.

Leaving us with just one left.

Kremler and Zweigart also automatically intercept. This bomber has had two engine hits, so I roll on the little table to see if the crew loses heart and bails out. No dice, but I do get 3TP from those hits, and I grab the other 3 I had on the main track to make 6TP. I’ve got 6TP and 2 fighters to bag 1 bomber and turn the season from Loss into Not Loss.

Pass 1
Sun’s in the Nose High position, so that’s where Kremler and Zweigart make their first pass from (which you don’t have to pay TP for). Both go determined, because come hell or high water they’re not letting this bomber get away if they can help it. Kremler doesn’t do anything with his pass, but Zweigart manages to get a 3dmg fuselage hit. Not bad, but the fuselage can take 5 more damage before the bomber cracks up, so not ideal, either. Both go to the Return box.

Pass 2
It only costs 1TP to go Tail Level, so they both do, determined of course. Kremler gets a 1dmg hit on the wing, which the bomber survives, and he takes a hit, which the Rotte advantage cancels. Zweigart does another 1dmg wing hit and takes a rudder hit. In pursuit, you perform Recovery immediately, and his hit proves serious, so he pulls away for home, leaving Kremler to deal with the bomber alone.

Pass 3
With 4TPs, Kremler takes a gamble and spends 3 of them to approach from the Nose High position, since he can’t rely on the Rotte advantage to cancel any hits with Zweigart out of the picture, so he decides to hide in the sun. Swooping in, he hits the wing again, and this time it catches fire, causing the bomber to explode in midair. V I C T O R Y.

Fate
Let’s not forget our guys limping home. Despite a stiff crosswind and a half-shot away rudder, Zweigart manages to land. Obleser isn’t so lucky. His cockpit hit causes him to crash, but he’s dragged away from the wreckage and set up in the infirmary next to Clade, who more or less just lives there now. No deaths…yet.

Which brings us to Dahl.

Dahl, the experte, the last one, the current golden child. His elevator hit is bad. Very bad. It’s hard to maintain the glide path. Too hard, in fact. His plane lurches for the ground, and it crashes and explodes in flames…but not before he bails out. Holy. Shit. Champagne shooting out of 88s rains down on the staffel. Ju88s drop cake on the runway. A girlfriend he didn’t even know he had rushes out and kisses Dahl. It’s over.

So there you have it. The 1942 season is over, with an official result of Did Not Lose. I haven’t decided yet whether i’ll continue this into further seasons, but given all the drama I almost feel as though I basically have to, now. Regardless, I’ve got a two week vacation coming up here that’ll keep me away from the game, so plenty of time to think about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed these little write-ups as much as I have. See you next season!


#32

*cough* *cough* Wow, it sure is dusty in here.

Today I played the first game of SatR I’ve played in quite some time. I decided to advance my staffel to 1943 rather than start over. I also decided that the kind of blow by blow AAR I was doing for each mission was just taking way too much time to record and write up, so here are some highlights:

Thanks to the move to 1943, map #3 has been added to the mix. This is a larger map with 6 elements, and is a bit more deadly. Of course for my first mission I rolled this map.

I chose to take 4 Bf-109 pilots (including a now-no-longer wounded Clade!) into the mission and two Fw-190s, auxiliary aircraft not technically part of the staffel that can now be requisitioned on a per-mission basis. I also chose four cannons and four bombs, equipment that was not available in 1942, and stuck one of each on each Bf-109.

On the first turn, someone knocked a bomber out of formation with a lucky engine hit, although I forgot to mark down who. Another bomber was severely damaged.

Turn two, the two Fw-190s finished off that bomber, and shrugged off 5 hits to themselves, holy shit.

Turn four one of my fighters was in a good position to drop a bomb on the formation. This involves being in a special box (that is not present on either map 1 or 2) and rolling to target an element, then for some damage. This resulted in another bomber falling out.

Dividing my fighters up into two groups of three each, I sent each group after one of the fallen out bombers.

Clade destroyed the bomber he, Richter and Zweigart were chasing with a lucky elevator hit.

Dahl destroyed the bomber that he and the Fw-190s were chasing with a solid wing hit, shrugging off a return hit in the process. One of the Fw-190s also shrugged off another hit, but the last wasn’t so lucky, exploding from a wing hit on the way back home. This means I have to deduct an EP from my staffel and an OP from my next mission. Not too bad, really.

All in all the mission was a phenomenal success, with 3VPs and 7 staffel EPs earned, and some EPs going to my pilots, and best of all no named pilot deaths. The season is off to a great start!


#33

Yay! Glad these are back!