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

Will the climax of the AAR leave shots all over England? ~

Michael Eckenfels, 1 May 2018

 

0600 TIME SEGMENT

RAID ONE: HORNCHURCH (Airfield)

MAJOR RAID

This raid has the Decoy Raid card attached to it. I get to choose two Squadrons from the Enroute Sectors listed on the Target card and put them in the Inflight Box. I choose two of the three Spitfire Squadrons from 6/11 as we have a Major Raid coming in to take down the Radar Net at Foreness.

The two RAF Squadrons assigned by Fighter Command find that this was a Luftwaffe trick; the two Squadrons are now out of the picture for the time being, cursing their luck and good German ingenuity, no doubt.

0600 TIME SEGMENT

RAID TWO: FORENESS (Radar Net)

MAJOR RAID

This raid, however, is for real. With a Major Raid Coordination card, I can assign up to 16 Gruppen to it. With 10 Bomber Gruppen, I unfortunately have to put three Me-109 Gruppen into the Channel Patrol box, leaving the raid with only three to cover – but this is acceptable. We’ll momentarily see how ‘acceptable’ this truly is.

The size of this raid really causes Fighter Command to take note. Despite the poor Observer Corps Value of +1, the huge size causes some major bonuses to detection, placing the Detection marker on the Sufficient Warning/Accurate Intelligence space.

Checking the Target card’s Enroute list, we see that the Sufficient Warning column means a potential four Squadrons from 6/11 (good thing we thinned them out earlier), and one each from both 5/11 and 7/11. The Raid Response Pool is thereby fairly weak with three Squadrons – one Spitfire, one Hurricane, and one green Hurricane Squadron responding, potentially.

The Raid Response Priority and Tactics checks show that the RAF is All In on responding to this Major Raid; this means all three Squadrons are going to attempt to intercept it, despite their long odds in doing so.

The Raid Approach Event – Squadrons Patrol Elsewhere – means Fighter Command has sent yet more Squadrons on wild goose chases.

This causes two more Squadrons, both Hurricanes, to be removed from the map and placed in the Inflight Box. This thins out Group 11 even more.

The Interception doesn’t go as well as I’d have liked (e.g. destroying all British aircraft), but it’s not bad – one Squadron gets a Light Loss, which is another -1 VP, while another Aborts to the Inflight Box. The third gets Disrupted, and this happens to be the rookie green Squadron. It makes its way to the Bomber Box after being chewed up by the hunting Me-109s. The Me-109s do not suffer damage, but one is placed on its Reduced side which means it won’t be available for an extra hour. This doesn’t matter, though.

Despite being green, they go after one of the high-value Bomber Gruppens: He-111s.

This also means that technically the bombers in the Bomber Box were Intercepted, so we don’t get a two-column shift to the right for not being Intercepted. Schiesse.

On top of that, those greenhorns manage to get a Heavy Loss result against the He-111 Gruppen, which is +2 VP for them. This offsets the -1 VP from earlier and gains them yet another VP. Not the direction we needed this to go in.

The remaining Bomber Gruppen means I can apply 40 Bombing points, which puts us well off the right side of the chart anyway. The roll is a 4, getting a Heavy Damage result. This is another -3 VPs and a Heavy Damage marker is placed on the Foreness Radar Net.

The down side is that several Gruppen are reduced thanks to flak (the Target Event). This doesn’t impact the Gruppen as they will flip back to their full side when deployed back to their bases (and the bombing attack is still well over 25 points so that didn’t change), but for the purposes of the loss rules I’m following, this means more good German bombers are now broken up among various cow pastures in England.

The VP count is now -24. We’re marching (goose stepping?) in the correct direction, regardless.

RAID LOSSES

  • Hurricane 2
  • He-111 14
  • Ju-88 3
  • Do-17 4
  • Foreness Radar Net: Heavy Damage (Offline)

 

0600 TIME SEGMENT

RAID THREE: BIGGIN HILL (Airfield)

MINOR RAID

The last raid of the 0600 hour is one Me-109 and one Ju-87 Gruppen making a small attack on Biggin Hill. With most of the Squadrons cleared out of the area, and one Radar Net offline (Foreness), the Detection result is Sufficient Warning/Poor Intelligence. The lone Ju-87 Gruppen gives us a two-column shift to the right on the Bombing Table, and I roll a 6 for yet another Heavy Damage result. The follow-on roll is only a 4, so no further results are garnered, but that’s another -3 VP for us and a Hurricane Replacement Point eliminated. The VP total is now -27.

Note that the Low Level Raid card did not further affect the bombing results, and was factored in to the RAF’s combat results. We got lucky…again.

RAID LOSSES

  • Hurricane 2
  • Luftwaffe None Reported

 

0800 TIME SEGMENT

RAID FOUR: WEYMOUTH (Port)

MAJOR RAID

This one is all Ju-87 Bomber Gruppen with a healthy accompaniment of Me-110s for Close Escort and Me-109s to provide coverage. The intercepting Squadrons suffer some losses and none of the Stukas get intercepted; the escorting Me-110s then also join their firepower in and with our unintercepted bonus our column shift is made well past the far right side. A 6 is rolled, giving us a Heavy Damage result, and Weymouth’s port facilities are left a smoking ruin; another -3 VPs means we’re now at -30 and going absolutely strong.

RAID LOSSES

  • Hurricane 2
  • Luftwaffe None Reported

 

0800 TIME SEGMENT

RAID FIVE: POLING (Radar Net)

MAJOR RAID

This raid would prove to be the breaking point for the RAF. Their response included four Squadrons, two of which were reduced (due to being green). There were also four Me-109 Gruppen in the Hunt Box. The combat result caused all Squadrons to receive a Light Loss (the two reduced squadrons actually received an Abort result, which when reduced means they go to their Light Loss box). This results in another -4 VPs, bringing the total to -34.

The bombing result is a foregone conclusion; with no Squadrons intercepting and 30 bombing strength in the Bomber Gruppen, I roll on the far right column and get a 3, which is another Heavy Damage result. This puts Poling out of action with a Heavy Damage marker, but more importantly, puts the VP level well past -35 VPs.

The RAF has been officially decimated to the point of non-existence. The Luftwaffe is victorious.

RAID LOSSES

  • Spitfire 3
  • Hurricane 3
  • Luftwaffe None Reported

The sixth raid versus Rye is not carried out; radio intercepts receive notifications that there are hardly any RAF forces in the area and Luftwaffe attacks have been so strong and accurate, their losses on the ground have been innumerable.

The losses in the air, following the guidelines from Simon Blackwell on BGG, are as follows for today’s raid as well as overall. Hopefully my math isn’t wrong as I’ve written this AAR over a period of several weeks.

AIRCRAFT LOSSES, 14 AUGUST 1940

RAF

  • SPITFIRE 3
  • HURRICANE 9
  • Total 11

LUFTWAFFE

  • HE-111 14
  • Ju-88 3
  • Do-17 4
  • Total 21

 

TOTAL AIRCRAFT LOSSES, TO DATE  (AFTER THREE RAID DAYS)

RAF

  • SPITFIRE 15
  • HURRICANE 24
  • Total 39

LUFTWAFFE

  • ME-109 10
  • JU-88 24
  • HE-111 33
  • Do-17 4
  • Total 71

The results flood back: victory! With overwhelming air superiority over southern England, and a ‘mere’ loss of just over 70 aircraft, the Luftwaffe still remains strong and keeps the Royal Navy at bay as accelerated preparations for Operation Sea Lion are immediately launched.

I am recalled to Berlin for another award ceremony – apparently the Fuhrer is beside himself with joy and even was caught on camera doing a little jig – but there is too much work to do, still. Coordinated air cover, sea searches, and strikes against a very formidable Royal Navy requires a great deal of planning and control, which the staff manages quite well. There’s also coverage of southern England and continued strikes against targets there, to ensure the RAF does not return to strength.

The accelerated preparations for the crossing of the Channel are conducted within a few weeks and German soldiers, tired from the fast pace of their training but excited to be in on this grand adventure, an invasion of England which has not occurred in hundreds of years, are loaded aboard. By the beginning of September, these landings are carried out under full Luftwaffe coverage and German soldiers land with light losses from the crossing.

How does the invasion of England go? Well…that’s another game, and another time…

CONCLUSIONS

This was a highly unusual game of RAF, and my first played from the German side, solo, for this 2009 reprint. It was highly unusual because after only three Raid Days, we managed to put the RAF into the ground and win quite easily. The damage results I rolled – almost always getting an ‘H’ result whenever it was available on the Bombing Table – were the real killers for the RAF, at -3 VP each. I think the Heavy Damage results were the reason why the victory was so lopsided, considering the relatively light losses suffered (light compared to historic Battle of Britain results, of course).

That all said, the game is quite fun. It’s been a while since I’ve played from the RAF side, so maybe that will be another AAR coming in the future.


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