Mick Noda
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October 22, 1943.
P-47Ds from 348th Fighter Group were tasked with escorting B-25s on a low level strafing and para-frag bombing raid against Japanese airfields at Wewak. P-47s from the 342nd Fighter Squadron flew in the lead at 2,000ft, followed by the bombers. P-47s from the 341st Fighter Squadron brought up the rear at 5,000ft.

During their approach to the target, the American planes were bounced by two sentais of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The 342nd and B-25s were attacked by Ki-61s of the 68th Sentai Hombu while a second sentai from the 68th comprising a mixed force of Ki-43 Oscars and Ki-61 Tonys dove out of cloud cover and jumped the 341st.



This scenario represents the attack by the 68th Sentai Hombu (HQ) against the leading P-47s and B-25s.

The USAAF forces consist of two P-47s and one B-25B. They begin at 2,000ft (two pegs). The B-25 is attempting to hit the Japanese airfield with parafrag bombs. Special rules for the parafrag bombs are:
They must be dropped from 1,000ft (one peg) at high speed.
The string of parafrags (represented by a single bomb card) is placed behind the bomber. It will drift forward for one turn using the B-25s high speed straight maneuver. On the next phase, it will drift forward using the slow speed, and finally on the third phase, it will drift at stall speed. If the bomb card falls entirely within the target card, it's considered a direct hit for 20 damage. If the card falls partially outside the airfield, it does 10 damage.


Japanese forces consist of two Ki-61-1-KAIds with the 30mm cannons and one Ki-61-IB (Otsu?) to represent the troubles the Japanese ground crews had maintaining the Tonys (and totally not because I only have two KAIds in my collection....) . The Japanese start at 4,000ft (four pegs). AAA defences around the target consist of two Type 98 20mm cannon (2 ruler range, 1D chit damage)




The Americans set up within one ruler length of the southernmost map edge and must place themselves no further than one ruler length to either side of the midpoint of the map edge. The Japanese set up after the Americans and can place themselves anywhere along the east or west map edge.







On turn one, the B-25 dives down to 1,000ft. The P-47 closest to the IJA fighters begins at low speed at turns in to the attackers. The far P-47 is at high speed and also turns towards the Japanese fighters.



The Ki-61-IB stays at 4,000ft and heads towards the bomber at high speed. Both of the 61-KAIds, dive towards the P-47.

In an unexpected move, the P-47 closest to the Hiens cuts back the other direction and manages to get in behind the rightmost KAId for a long range shot.



Unfortunately for him, he ends up sandwiched between the two KAId's and gets hit from behind. 30mms from the Ki-61 slam into the engine cowling of the P-47 and it begins belching smoke.




The Ki-61s ignore the American fighters and press on towards the B-25. The smoking P-47 continues its turn and manages to stay on the low 6 of its target, pumping more .50 cal rounds into the Japanese interceptor. The remaining P-47 continues running straight at high speed (can you say Immelmann?)




An Immelmann is indeed in the offing. The P-47 flips around and heads back into the fight. The damaged Ki-61, fearing that it might overshoot the B-25 pulls a stall maneuver. The remaining Ki-61s continue moving in on the bomber. The smoking P-47 continues to pull its turn and shoots underneath the stalling Ki-61. (Ki-61 miniature replaced with card to reduce clutter)



All planes continue to slot into position. One of the Ki-61s dives down to two pegs.





The Ki-61s continue to dive down. The leading Hien gets into range of the bomber and opens fire. At the same time, the smoking P-47 hits the 61-IB with a burst from long range. One of the AA guns risks a long range shot at the bomber.







The bomber sideslips but it's not enough to avoid the barrage. The second AA gun opens up as well.
The Ki-61-IB and the rear gunner on the B-25 continue to exchange fire as the P-47s close the distance. The gunner on the B-25 manages to land a killing blow on the closest Ki-61, already heavily damaged from its run-in with the P-47.



The remaining Hiens chip away at the Mitchell as it threads the needle between flak barrages.







The bomber narrowly manages to avoid the second flak barrage but it's to no avail as the Hien's MG fire causes catastrophic structural damage and the bomber goes down.





The P-47 gets a little revenge, causing a smoke critical on the 61-IB.



Inertia carries the fighters in towards where the bomber went down.
The damaged P-47 ends up right in the sights of the remaining KAId and gets blown out of the sky but not before it finishes off the smoking 61-IB.







Suddenly the skies are much clearer with only one Jug and one Tony remaining.



The Jug closes on the Tony's six but is still out of range when the Tony pulls an Immelmann.




The two planes commit to a head on pass and the 8 .50s on the P-47 prove to be more than a match for the 30mm cannons on the Hien. The Ki-61 goes down in pieces having barely scratched the Thunderbolt.





Fun game. Kinda sad that I never did get to see my house rules for parafrags in action.

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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Superb report!
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Mick Noda
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Thank you.
 
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