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Subject: Opening Bat - Double-header, part one rss

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Chris Milne
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Southgate Wargamers got together on a chilly Saturday morning to break out The Burning Blue for the first time. Both of us had put together Luftwaffe plans for scenario 1 (Opening Bat), and, since it was at my place, I had the map all set up with my LW plan first.

Opening Bat portrays the first stage of what would become the Battle of Britain, generally known as the Kanalkampf. The Luftwaffe's aim is to establish air superiority over the English Channel, and so almost all of the possible raids target coastal facilities or convoys in the Channel. The LW holds all the aces here - short times to target making the RAF's job very difficult. The RAF player must take a chance and hope that his limited resources are in the right place, but even then will be lucky to achieve a significant disruption of the LW bombing.

In this case, my chit draw required me to bomb a convoy just south of the Isle of Wight, using Stukas escorted by Me109s and Me110s from Luftflotte 3. Unfortunately, the weather gods had seen fit to have strong headwinds, meaning that my progress to the target would be rather slower than usual. This had the potential to offset my main advantage - I could form my raid up over Caen, out of RDF range, and so the RAF would have minimal warning.

So, at set-up, the only evidence of LW activity was a dummy form-up counter over the Pas de Calais. Understandably, the RAF began scrambling flights from the forward East Kent airfields to protect Dover. As soon as RDF picked up the LW raid heading north over the Bay de Seine, however, bells began ringing at Tangmere and Middle Wallop. As the Stukas continued flying north, it became clear that the intended target was most likely the convoy or the nearby RDF station at Ventnor.

The headwinds did indeed give the RAF squadrons enough time to intercept the raid as it arrived over its target, but without sufficient strength to break through the escorting 109s, who downed 3 Hurricanes over the convoy. The poor sailors had a bad day, as the Stukas hammered their convoy before turning for home (now with the strong winds at their back). A second squadron of Spitfires caught up with the raid about 20 miles further south, and although the Me110s fended them off the vulnerable bombers, 2 110s went down into the drink.

With no chance of any further interceptions, that was the end of the scenario. A total score of 17.5 (15 for bombing plus a net 2.5 for the kills, which all occurred over the Channel) gave the Luftwaffe a win (12 VPs needed).

A nice introduction to the game for Matthew, I think, though he would have his chance for revenge in the next game...
 
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