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Saturday, 13 August 2016
Table Air Combat : Schweinfurt (B-17F vs Bf-109G)
I cut out some of my late war aircraft sets for Table Air Combat yesterday evening so decided to try out the B-17F Flying Fortress against the Bf109G 'Gustav' in a one off scenario. This was a simple set up with a pair of B17's separated from their bomber formation on the way back from a raid on Schweinfurt, intercepted by a flight of two elements of Bf-109's. I wanted to try out the defensive armament on the B17's and to experiment with the additional energy of the late marque Bf-109's to see what I could do with it in combat.
In the end, this turned out to be a very short game of only three turns, with the Gustavs turning to engage the bombers in an attempt to get a head on attack. The B17's were having none of this and turned away from the incoming 109's to try and get the side and tail guns, with two or three damage dice, to bear on the fighters. This worked to an extent in Turn Two, with the second fighter element damaged by the waist gunners but with one of the B17's being shot down in the return fire. The lone B17 struggled on but it would need a minor miracle to make it back to base.
In the final turn, the two fighters swooped in for the kill, with the B17 crew now reduced to one defensive dice per arc of fire, which meant that it was very difficult to hit anything or prevent the inevitable happening. The lead Gustav moved into a beam attack position and let loose with it's cannon, rolling 4/4 and causing two hits, one of which then converted into a 'damaged' result with a roll of 4+2 = 6. This finished off the bomber which went down in flames, although I like to think that the crew bailed out in time before it crashed (I need to work out a simple way to do this).
This was an interesting game despite the short time it took to play out. The bombers are pretty vulnerable and really need to be in a strong multiple element formation in order to defend themselves properly. This is just like the real thing. The fighters are also vulnerable to concentrated defensive fire, especially when more then one firing arc can be brought into action against a single target, which happened once during the game and led to one fighter being shot down. If the rear gun had been able to engage this would have been even more decisive.