All Things Zombie

RAF The Battle of Britain 1940 – The GrogHeads AAR, part 2 of 5

Michael’s Jerries drop a load on England ~

Michael Eckenfels, 10 April 2018

WAR DIARY ENTRY 1

RAID DAY 1: AUGUST 11, 1940

Unlike previous days, where our new airfields in the Low Countries and France were almost every one socked in with poor weather, the day before shone bright and early. The code word went out – Alder – and August 11 was set for the kick-off of this massive campaign, one that every person in the world would be watching.

No pressure.

The day itself dawned clear and bright; almost all the wetness had dried off the previous day so today proved to be an excellent one for operations against England. It took a few days to get acclimated, receive reports, and get plugged in to the network that is the Luftwaffe here in Western Europe, but the staff is good and made this transition much easier.

As I’m not bothering with Night Raids (I don’t think it has much of a significant impact on the campaign in return for more rules and tracking), we’ll skip those bits in the game.

The first targets come in for August 11:

  • ROCHESTER (Industry) LF2
  • ROCHESTER (Industry) LF2

Someone in Berlin was drinking too much last night; neither of these are valid targets since the priority for Industry is so low, so we ignore them.

  • SOUTHAMPTON (Industry) LF3
  • HORNCHURCH (Airfield) LF2

These two are given to us as minor targets; we can commit up to three Gruppen to each of them.

  • PORTSMOUTH (Port) LF3
  • SOUTHAMPTON (Port) LF3
  • NORTH WEALD (Airfield) LF2
  • HORNCHURCH (Airfield) LF2
  • HORNCHURCH (Airfield) LF2
  • KENLEY (Airfield) LF2

Each of these are given the highest of priorities, earning Major Raid nomenclature. We’ll be able to commit a dozen or more Gruppen against each, but as we don’t have that many, we’ll have to decide which ones to attack.

The interesting thing is that Portsmouth and Southampton are both in the same Group area (1/11), so if I raid it once, it might be vulnerable to another attack afterwards. Hornchurch is a wasp’s nest (Group 6/11) with several strong Groups around it (7/11, 5/11), but it’ll have to be taken head on. Same logic applies, to an extent – raiding Hornchurch twice might mean it is more vulnerable the second time.

Most likely, we’re going to have to go all out on these. The vast majority of these targets are in Luftflotte 3’s area, while two of the major raids and one of the minor raids are in Luftflotte 2’s area. Usually things tend to be much more concentrated in LF2, but since the two port cities in 1/11 are LF3’s responsibility, I think both of those are going to be the major effort for them, while Hornchurch will be the major effort for LF2.

I take Kenley and North Weald off the table immediately; the more raids you have planned in a day, the lower the maximum number of Gruppen you can assign to each raid. This leaves us four Major and two Minor Raids for this Eagle Day. For the Major Raids, I can put up to a max of 12 Gruppen, and I’m going to be pushing this.

In fact, two of the four Major Raids will have 12 Gruppen, while the other two will have 11.

The first raid timeframe will be 0600. You can see here that I am going all in, as I mentioned, on Hornchurch Airfield with six Me-109 Gruppen and six bomber Gruppen.

Next in the 0600 time slot is Portsmouth – specifically, its Port. I’m not quite going all in on this one as Luftflotte 3 doesn’t have nearly as many Me-109 squadrons, and LF3 is committed heavily to a raid later in the day that you’ll see here soon. I’ve had to add an Me-110 squadron here, as some Me-109s are automatically pulled off for Channel Patrol duties, which sucks for the Luftwaffe.

Next up is the 0800 time slot, and Hornchurch is next to get the Hun hammerin’. I’m going all in on this one too, with a lot of Me-109 coverage. I’m hoping to draw in a lot of RAF Squadrons to put the hurt on them badly early on, and get a head start in the VPs.

I’m hoping with those targets in Group 11, that the RAF will by this point be dispersed or too damaged to take on another massive raid like this one, against Southampton’s Port facilities. The two Me-110s in attendance are dubious, but they’re better than nothing…maybe.

At 1000 we’re going to down shift and go with two Minor Raids. The first is against Southampton’s Industry. This is very unusual early on, since Industry has a Low target priority, but as its Strategic Value is 3, this draws a Minor Raid, and I’m happy to oblige.

Our last target of the day is once again, poor Hornchurch Airfield, which will draw an Me-109 (which will no doubt go on Channel Patrol duty), so hopefully the RAF is cleared out of 6/11 at this point so these two Ju-88 Gruppen don’t get their hind ends handed to them.

As you can see, the remaining time slots are empty.

The weather report comes in just before take off – clear in both zones for LF2 and LF3. All we can do now is wait as the first raids take off, coordinate/rendezvous (hopefully without issue), and attack their targets. It’s extremely important that Eagle Day does well, not just because the ghost of the old fattie is no doubt haunting our headquarters, slithering between the auxiliaries as they move the wooden units on the massive mapboard below, slowly, too slowly, towards their destinations.

0600 TIME SEGMENT

RAID ONE: HORNCHURCH (Airfield)

With six bomber Gruppen in the raid, two Me-109 Gruppen must perform Chanel Patrol. This still leaves four Me-109 Gruppen to handle any RAF challengers…hopefully.

The bloody weather being so nice, plus some good radar nets and the large size of the attack, means the RAF gets Sufficient warning and Accurate intelligence.

The Sufficient warning means that Squadrons from 6/11 (up to four) and 5/11 as well as 7/11 (up to two from each) are all added to the response pool.

Everything within the red boundaries gets to respond.

Into the response pool cup they go.

The RAF is just about all in thanks to their Accurate intelligence; this means only one Squadron is released back to cover its sector, and that means a random draw from the aforementioned response pool; turns out it’s 74 Squadron (Spitfires) from 6/11. Not great since it’s 6/11, but it is a Spitfire, which should hopefully make the combat a bit easier in this Raid.

The remaining RAF Squadrons (six total) line up in the Hunt Box, ready to challenge the covering Me-109 Gruppen.

An Approach Event is now drawn. This one says the Brits get Altitude Advantage, which is bad news for the Luftwaffe…but only if either of the two listed points apply – Very Early warning or the date being after September 11. Neither applies, so we dodge a bullet there.

Usually, excess RAF Squadrons over and above the number of Me-109 Gruppen in the Hunt Box go on to the Bomber Box, while their mates take on us Huns. However, there is a chance they might all stay in the Hunt Box; this chance is in this case a 1 or 2 on a d6. I roll a 1 (fortunately), so they all stay in the Hunt Box.

The results are not bad; three RAF Squadrons are off to the Light Damage space on each of their Groups. That’s -1 VP each for a total of -3 VPs.

The remaining RAF Squadrons and three of the German Me-109 Gruppen are all put in the Inflight Box, reduced (which is their side with the dark stripe underneath the aircraft icon).

This means, luckily (for my side, anyway), all six Bomber Gruppen are now closing in on Hornchurch Airfield.

I roll a 4, which means an H result – Heavy Damage. This is another -3 VPs for a new total of -6 VPs. We are starting off well, but it’s way too early to celebrate right now.

The H result also means another follow-up roll to determine the number of Damage Points. I get a 3, which unfortunately causes no further effect other than that one Spitfire 6/11 Squadron needing to go to its Land space on the Tote Board.

The RAF now finds itself without any defenses for the current time period (0600) in southeastern England.

It does also mean that the one Spitfire squadron going to the Tote Board results in one less Spitfire Replacement point, too.

This Major Raid was a success, and it could have been even more of one had the bombers done better (i.e. me rolling better than a 3 for the extended damage). The airfield itself suffered little in the way of damage, though it did put some Squadrons out of commission; time will tell if this was effective or not. Most importantly, several aircraft awaiting assignment to 6/11 Group were destroyed, though the exact count is unknown.

Despite the raging battle, few actual aircraft were shot down; several sported damage, but nothing that could keep them out of action for more than an hour or two. The RAF came out on the short end, as Luftwaffe pilots claimed six RAF fighters shot down, while the RAF claimed none.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

  • SPITFIRE 2
  • HURRICANE 4
  • LUFTWAFFE None Reported
  • TARGET DAMAGE
  • HORNCHURCH (AIRFIELD) – NONE
  • Since this takes up a lot of space and time to report, I’m going to only do this for probably one Raid each actual day we conduct them; the remaining Raids will be reported in general terms for the remainder of the day, along with an overall summary to round out this report.

0600 TIME SEGMENT

RAID TWO: PORTSMOUTH (Port)

If the first raid was a success, this one was very much a bitter success. The raid was jumped by five Squadrons, whom tore through the covering Me-109 Gruppen and then into the bomber streams. The up side for the Luftwaffe is that two Bomber Gruppen that remained in the raid after the Squadrons had their way with them (three Gruppen left the raid due to the heavy resistance). Despite the greatly reduced force, they scored an H result on the port facilities, so the VP losses we experienced due to the overwhelming losses were mitigated somewhat.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

  • SPITFIRE 4
  • HURRICANE 2
  • ME-109 10
  • JU-88 7
  • HE-111 8
  • TARGET DAMAGE
  • PORTSMOUTH (PORT) – HEAVY

0800 TIME SEGMENT

RAID THREE: HORNCHURCH (Airfield)

Six Me-109 Gruppen are escorting six Bomber Gruppen (three He-111 and three Do-17) in another Major Raid on Hornchurch. A Navigation Error event means bombing is shifted two columns to the left, but the Me-109 covering force manages to drive off all RAF Squadrons with a few losses, so they hit on the 25+ column a far right. Unmolested, the German Bomber Gruppen unload on Hornchurch, scoring an H result (with a follow-on roll of 3), which causes another point’s worth of Spitfire Replacement Points to disappear – vindicating the No Damage result achieved a few hours earlier. The Squadron losses and H result puts the VP total further into the Luftwaffe’s favor, to -9.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

  • SPITFIRE 2
  • HURRICANE 2
  • LUFTWAFFE None Reported
  • TARGET DAMAGE
  • HORNCHURCH (AIRFIELD) – HEAVY
  • 0800 TIME SEGMENT

RAID FOUR: SOUTHAMPTON (Port)

Due to what looks like my own lack of planning, only one Me-109 Gruppen is screening a raid of six Bomber Gruppen; two Me-109s had to go on Channel Patrol, while the two Me-110s go to Close Escort. However, the thought when I set this up was that most of the Squadrons would be cleared or unavailable due to the previous raids, and this has come true – there’s only one Squadron that might be able to intervene, in a neighboring Group area. RAF Command deigns not to bother with this raid, so Southampton is hit hard as I roll an H result for bombing. That’s another -3 VPs for a new total of -12 VPs.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

  • RAF None Reported
  • LUFTWAFFE None Reported
  • TARGET DAMAGE
  • SOUTHAMPTON (PORT) – HEAVY

1000 TIME SEGMENT

RAID FIVE: SOUTHAMPTON (Industry)

This first Minor Raid has only two Gruppen – one Me-109 and one Ju-87. (If two Ju-87s had been assigned, their Me-109 cover would be forced into the Channel Patrol box.)

A Ju-87 crew preparing for their first big raid.

I’m a bit nervous as these Stukas have yet to be tested in such a manner, and we can’t imagine but the RAF is going to be turning around Squadrons soon, which might mean a wall of Spitfires they’ll have to fly through. The RAF responds with two Squadrons – a Spitfire and Hurricane. I had hoped there would be no response but they’re more than happy to deny us this small thing! Fortunately I roll a 1 so the excess Squadron stays in the Hunt Box instead of going after the hapless dive bombers. The Me-109 Gruppen does well but is disorganized as a result; one of the Squadrons takes some losses while the other goes after the Ju-87s and reduces it slightly (a Disrupted result, not a Light Loss result). The Stukas still get a +2 column shift to the right as they are the only Bomber Gruppen in the Raid, and we roll a 2. That’s another 2 VPs lost for a new total of -14 VPs, and two Hurricane Replacement Points removed from the board as well.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

  • SPITFIRE 2
  • LUFTWAFFE None Reported
  • TARGET DAMAGE
  • SOUTHAMPTON (INDUSTRY) – 2 points

1000 TIME SEGMENT

RAID SIX: HORNCHURCH (Airfield)

FINAL RAID OF THE DAY

Our second Minor Raid (and final Raid to boot for August 11) is going after Hornchurch Airfield; I’m hoping they will add injury onto injury. Unfortunately, things go the other way; two Hurricane squadrons jump this raid, made up of two Ju-88 Gruppen, and tear them up. One is forced to abort, while the other suffers an H result. The two RAF squadrons suffer no losses. This gives the RAF +2 VP, bringing the total back up a bit to -12VP.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES

  • RAF None Reported
  • JU-88 14

END OF DAY 1 DEBRIEFING

We did well today to bring the VP total from zero to -12, but we suffered some major losses in bombers. We can recoup these losses for the moment, but there will be a point where we cannot sustain such levels of attack. Nevertheless, I feel my aggressive, all-out measures have paid dividends for us.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES, 11 AUGUST 1940

RAF

  • SPITFIRE 10
  • HURRICANE 8
  • Total 18

LUFTWAFFE

  • ME-109 10
  • JU-88 21
  • HE-111 8
  • Total 39

At the end of the turn, a card draw determines that 1 day passes, so August 12 will be the next Raid Day. Unfortunately the Event does not apply – LF3 to LF2, which would give us a lot more options for attacking LF2 targets. The date doesn’t fall within range, though. Maybe next time.

Another bit of good news: even after the RAF got their Replacement Points at the end of the game turn, they ran out of Experienced Pilot Points. One of their Spitfire Squadrons has to go to the board flipped to its reduced side, representing green pilots. There are only two Spitfire and four Hurricane Replacement Points available. While fairly grim for the RAF, remember, only one day passes, so not much is accumulated in one day. Later card draws for time passage will undoubtedly mean more Points, so we’ll have to keep the pressure on in this next game turn.

 

The battles continue next week


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