Feeling very confidant now, I approached the 1967 campaign using the same steps I played both the 48 and 56 duels. Everything would be completely randomly drawn. From pilots to skills, fate would decide my hand and my crews. In this case, unlike the earlier fights, the picks were actually quite good. There was a large mix of very potent aircraft and some, er, not quite so potent.
My propeller driven aircraft were gone and my flight line would packed with the smell of JP-4 and the whine of turbines. The Mystere and Ouragan were again choices and were joined by the Super Mystere, the delta winged Mirage IIIC, the Vautour and the Magister trainer. I did not include the A-4 Skyhawk as I figured they would be plenty busy enough when Yom Kippur kicked off. Drawing Mysteres, Ouragans and Magisters would give me extra SO points and as there were so few to begin with, I really needed all could get.
Right off the bat, the game smiled on me when I drew Hyena in the Super Mystere as my Veteran pilot. Hyena would definitely have the last laugh with his super cool and ridiculous attack skills. Ironically – and probably because he would have refused it to help his squadron mates, I did not draw any Skills for him. NOT that he needed them! If he had any SA points, he would have been the king of the roost!
The Skilled pilots were Teacher in yet another Super Mystere. He was just as good as Hyena and was only +2 Air to Ground instead of +3 like his boss. Teacher apparently was very good with training as he got the Fighter Pilot with a +1 AtA. Horror in his Ouragan returned, which was actually nice to see an old veteran come back with some new stats.
The Average draws brought out the Mirage jets with Cowboy and Cow. Cowboy got the +1 AtG while at High altitude, which was great until I checked my allowable weapons and saw that I had none that could be launched from up high! Cow was Cocky and could get experience if he got the first kill in any mission.
The Mysteres returned, but none of my previous crew. Two new pilots, Vampire and Rock were now in place and pretty average overall. Rock got the Overwatch skill but unlike last game, he would never score a single kill with it. Vampire had Targeting with a +1 for attack rolls which definitely helped with this go-around emphasis on ground attack. Cha-ching went the SO pot with their selections and as before, I put all of my extra SO points into Skills.
A quick note on SO points and skills. Due to the abbreviated nature of the 67 campaign, it has a special rule which allows you to buy skills at the medium length. That was certainly a plus!
The last of the average pilots was Farmer in his Ouragan and Gun in his Vautour. I was glad to see Farmer again. It strangely helps to see the “old” faces in the squadron again as my Ouragans easily carried the 56 war and Farmer was one of the best. Farmer got the -3 Stress skill. Gun was actually pretty good and he had a decent AtA ability.
The green pilots were Cook in another Mirage III. His special skill as being able to evade for no stress. Sand in his Vautour was my last green and Tank in yet another Vautour was my newbie. Tank was duly poor in pretty much everything like you would expect but he did have a decent stress value and he was cooler than the average Gun. Sand got another boost when he drew the Gunfighter (+1 to cannon attacks) skill.
I started with 20 SO points and thanks to the Mysteres and Ouragans, I got an additional 10 points. I dumped 16 into Skills as written above largely because my special weapons were AIM-9 missiles and more napalm. With the off the chart bombing skills, I knew I would be saving my SO points for Sidewinders and dropping a lot of iron on target. I was really hoping for anything with range to it but for the moment, the lowly rocket was still it. In the end, especially with the early mission load, I did not take that many sidewinders either. I needed bombers and iron was more important than kills. In fact, I would end the war with 11 SO points which was due to yet another late game resupply card. I spent more SO knocking down bandit attacks than I did on weapons to destroy bandits!
The biggest difference now between this campaign and the others was the threats, the restrictions and the time limit. The threats were nastier with the SA-2 SAMs, MiG-21s and MiG-19 Farmers. Even the Su-7 was ugly with its ranged attack! The flak was back as well with more ranged pieces like the S-60. Time was ticking right from the get-go. Six days meant at best that I had up to twelve possible missions if – IF - I drew secondary targets every time and the recon track had two values – a 2 and a 1. And it would drop to selecting only 1 target after the very first Recon bump!
I drew the first two missions. They were Buildings and a Convoy. I flew the building mission first and right off the bat, the game gave me a sharp lesson in how much things had changed. SA-2 SAM Sites popped up on two approach areas and two more in the center area. SU-7, MiG-21s and MiG-19s were abundant and aggressive. I was immediately defensive as I had not bought any Sidewinders as I felt it was too soon! Teacher was putting his Fighter pilot skills to use and downed two Egyptians but stress levels were rapidly adding up as my jets yanked and banked to avoid getting shot down. Screaming in low under the SAM umbrella, I jettisoned my bombs and rocketed skyward towards home with a narrow margin win over the target and a bunch of highly stressed pilots!
What happened!? Flying low to avoid the SAMs put me in the AAA range and the MiGs really don’t care what altitude you’re at. With the enemy pilots swarming me or staying distant and shooting, I could not strip away the threats fast enough to get a breather. It would not be the first time this campaign that I realized that I had to really, really watch my pilots with the mission. I could no longer mash up vics or formations and muscle through. Every launch had to be thoroughly planned.
Day 2 was the Stronghold target coupled with the Government building. Again, every pilot was needed and now I had four of my 12 pilots flying Shaken and two of them were 1 stress point away from Unfit. Cook was one of those pilots but thankfully he had his Evade ability and that literally saved him from a shoot down. The first roll was a 10 but the second was a 2. Whew! To add insult to injury, it is now 1967 and the targets are now all at FULL Hit value. The Stronghold succumbed to bombs but the Government house was too large and I realized that I did not have enough “averages” on my side to score enough hits to win – and I could see that going in! But Stronghold gave me a Recon “bump” to drawing 1 card a day now and the Escalation card for failing the Government house was thankfully no effect.
Day three dawned and I was at 10 Victory points. I now had five Shaken pilots and one unfit pilot. The job was a Bridge and I was able to push Hyena and Teacher flying escort for Cow, Cowboy and Sand in his Vautour. This was a success and I was able to rest some of my high pilots for Day 4. That target was the Headquarters and it was a max effort. As I still needed time, I flew both Hyena and Teacher again as they were the “freshest of the group even though they just flew on day 3.
Every aircraft on the mission started with at least 1 stress Gun had the most with 4 stress. But fate smiled on me again and an event card allowed me to place a skill on any pilot. I chose Horror and gave him +1 Cool. He was on the mission and did not have a skill yet and I was hoping this would keep him low in case he had to fly again. Then I drew for Bandits and every last draw was a MiG! I had actually brought AIM-9s this time and so I was more prepared for them. It was time to kick some tires, light some fires and witness the start of the modern missile age!
I gave the honor of the first missile shot to Cow who got experience if he got the first kill. His roll was a ‘1’ and one of my precious Sidewinders fell off his rails and dropped away to the ground below! Le Wheeze, Le Pant! Giving the nod next to the professionals, Teacher was Fox Two on a SU-7 and Hyena dropped a second Fitter with a natural 10 – not that Hyena needed it with plus six due to his skill and the target modifier! But MiGs were still everywhere and others like Sand and Cowboy picked up Kills as well. Freed of rockets and missiles, both Super Mysteres took turns keeping the Egyptians off the bombers who shacked the target for an easy victory. Teacher even switched to guns for his second kill of the dogfight on a MiG-19.
That seemed to take the steam out of the defense and the last few missions were easier. For example, the last launch on Day 6 was a two-shipper formation to go bomb a tank! When Day 6 ended and both Horror and Gun stepped out of their cockpits onto the tarmac, I had barely made my way up to a good victory. I was actually stunned to see that. I only flew 8 total missions and while 5 pilots did level up, they all already had low advancement points at the start. My good pilots with higher levels, never had a chance for the next bump due to quickness of the campaign. There simply wasn’t enough time to grow anyone. You will literally fight 1967 with what you brought so good luck with that!
I admit I am having a hard time deciding on the Six Day War. I liked the hard decisions that every day gives you and the limited choices you have. But I felt I barely got to know my aircraft and crews when it was already over. I can see where you may not even fly recon missions just to give you a better chance to draw more targets and grow your force. This was also the first campaign where I questioned my wisdom of randomness as you will need some supermen to get you through the rough patches – and due to the threats, there will be many in the beginning.
So 1967 is like fighting Phantom Leader without the heavy restrictions and a greater MiG threat. I recommend it if you don’t have time for a long campaign as even the “long” one will just take a few hours and of course, only go for six days! I admit that 1967 has whetted my appetite for the main event! Next time – 1973.
As before, here are my MiG Killers, aircraft and starting levels
Hyena (Super Mystere, Veteran) – 1 (1 with AIM-9)
Teacher (Super Mystere, Skilled) – 5 (1 with AIM-9)
Horror (Ouragan, Skilled) – 1
Farmer (Ouragan, Average) – 1
Rock (Mystere, Average) – 2
Vampire (Mystere, Average) – 0
Cow (Mirage III, Average) – 1
Cowboy (Mirage III, Average) – 2
Cook (Mirage III, Green) – 2
Gun (Vautour, Average) – 1
Sand (Vautour, Green) – 1
Tank (Vautour, Newbie) – 0
The Target list broke down like this:
SU-7 Fitter – 6
MiG-17 – 4
MiG-19 - 7
MiG-21 – 0
No MiG-21s were shot down during this campaign and they were certainly present on several missions. Their attacks added stress to my pilots but thankfully shot none of them down.
A wild start and end! I'm guessing you were playing with the 20 SOs, expert difficulty campaign? Those extra 7 SOs plus 1 fewer VP needed is the difference between the hardest and easiest difficulty haha.
I'm surprised your Pilots got so banged up, and stressed! Although, did any die? You may be playing it safe
Well, I look forward to seeing your 1973 AAR. It is the most difficult Campaign in the game, and with only 16 SOs over 9 days, plus 4 Targets per day, almost 1 guaranteeing to be an Invasion... I look forward to how you will handle it!
I was playing with the 20 SO points just to try it. That did make the game a little harder but not impossiblely so.
LOL, my pilots were getting stressed because I just about managed to pull a MiG out of the cup with every draw! I would look and see like 6-7 bandit draws and expect between 3-4 hostiles. Well, not with my drawing in 67! I was routinely picking almost all of them as contacts! I'm not sure what Air Force was destroyed at the start of this war, but they were alive and highly agitated on my front!
I was very lucky in that my evades all worked and that each round, the enemies seemed to take turns on each of my pilots. As I wrote, the closest was the shoot down result which was saved by the free evade skill.
I ran a trial 73 game yesterday and it is certainly amped up. I lost the mission by 1 point but I did learn a lot about the threats. I will try to get it started for real later this week.