Saturday, December 22, 2012

Friday night at the club

My girls and I had another great night out at New Buckenham Wargames club. Two games were in progress, a Hundred Years War clash between the forces of England and France, and an aerial encounter between RAF Hurricanes and the Regia Aeronautica. 

These beautiful 15mm models are created by club member Paul Cotton, and are available at Old Glory UK. The RAF may be found here, the Italians here. We have the pleasure of flying the first ones out the mold whenever Paul creates a new design. 

The mission comprised a raid by the Regia Aeronautica. An SM79 bomber had to cross the length of the table, with an escort of CR42 biplanes and a lone Macchi 202 to fend off the unwanted advances from a quartet of Hurricanes sent to intercept them

My wife took one flight of Hurricanes and I the other. Dice are rolled to determine the altitude at which the planes enter the arena. I began at something of a disadvantage, as my flight found itself at lower level than the raiders. It took me some time to climb, so the onus was on my wife to take on the Italians - which she did with some style!

It's hard to describe an aerial wargaming without resorting to the sweeping hand-gestures so beloved of fighter pilots in the mess after an encounter. Suffice it to say the Macchi fighter got squarely in the sights of a Hurricane, which fired two solid bursts in an excellent deflection shot which saw the hapless Italian fighter explode in mid-air. The SM79 then found itself fired upon by both Hurricanes of Cindy's flight, suffering damage to the starboard engine, fuel tank and fuselage. 
The wreckage of the Macchi 202 plunges to earth.

 Ouch! The SM79 finds itself bracketed by Hurricanes out for blood. 
Their cheerful creator Paul Cotton looks on.

Matters took a turn for the worse for the RAF, as the CR42's finally managed to get in a position to defend their charge. Hurricane C "Charlie" suffered a horrible battering from twin 12.7mm heavy MGs and sagged off to starboard belching smoke and leaking oil. The wounded pilot decided to fight another day and headed home.

By this time my own flight had come up, after a dazzling display of formation flying to get to altitude that was of no earthly use in the end. SM79 pilot Chris went for height and managed to elude the last-ditch attempts by the RAF to bring him down. A victory for Italy.
Crowded skies. Two Hurricanes and two CR42s contend for the same volume of airspace.

The rules used are Paragon's Aerial Combat Rules 1916-1918, adapted by Paul. They use car antennae to simulate differences in altitude, and work well. No more "penguin on roller skates," as one hobby writer calls it.

Over on the other table Amanda tried her hand at commanding the right wing of the Hundred Years' War battle. A meeting engagement somewhere in France, the battle went right down to the wire.

She found herself contending the field against a sizable force of French mounted knights. Affairs looked sticky for much of the game, but her archers and foot managed to hold on long enough for reinforcements to arrive to stem then hurl back the tide. The outcome was a marginal English victory, and a stepdaughter developing an interest in gaming. Even her cool, "with-it" friends approve - we must be doing something right!


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