Solo play of a Rommel Attacks Land Campaign Mission
****presented as a serialised account****
(If you did not read the earlier reports from this Mission, best for you to go there now).
There are now two turns remaining in this mission. All the Axis planes need to do is return to base. If they can do so without taking damage or casualties, the mission will be an outstanding Axis success....and the somewhat hapless British air ace Goodman's tail will be well and truly between his legs.
Here is the situation at the commencement of the first Home-Bound turn:
The lone Goodman faces off against 4 Axis fighters escorting 4 stukas. The two cards at the top right hand side of the photo are a reminder to me that Goodman has a 'veteran' counter, allowing him to play any cards as it if is a barrel roll or tight turn.
#1 Bf110s: The German leader is feeling frisky. He has a strong hand to help him gain a good attack position on Goodman. In the Wingman Step, an In My Sights (IMS) 3 burst rating card is drawn! Goodman is copping it already. He is caught unawares by the wingman and is forced to expend his veteran marker. In game turns, an IMS card is discarded, now treated as a barrel roll.
Now it's the leader's turn. Sensing weakness, the element holds its current altitude. The leader attempts maneuver. No response from Goodman, so the Bf110 is now advantaged over the hurricane. Another maneuver follows, putting the German aircraft on Goodman's tail. Oh oh! Goodman is in trouble, but as luck would have it, the German leader is unable to get a target fix (ie no burst cards). Draw 2 cards.
[Goodman in a Pickle]
#2 Goodman (Hurricane): Goodman has 3 cards: a half loop, an Out of the Sun (OOS) and an IMS. This could be his last gasp. As he is now a lone leader, there is no wingman phase. In the Altitude Step, Goodman decides to dive to 'Low' altitude, and draws a barrel roll. Not what he was hoping for. The German on his tail follows, also drawing a card.
Now Goodman attempts to shake off the German, performing a half loop. No response from the Bf110! The two planes are now in the 'neutral' position. But that is all Goodman can do. He can't close with his foe to use any of his attack cards. Damn. Discard 1, draw 3 (+1 horsepower for being at low altitude).
#3 CR42s: No wingman step as no enemy planes share their current altitude. Recognising an attack opportunity, the Italian leader dives, drawing a card. But he overshoots his target and is unable to bring his guns to bear. In game terms, he does not have any cards that will allow him to close with Goodman, giving him a burst bonus. Possessing a burst rating of zero, the Italian planes must improve their position to have any chance of scoring a hit. Discard 3, draw 2.
#4 & #5 Stukas: simply hold position and observe their fighters make a meal of the hurricane. Discard 2, draw 2; discard 1, draw 1.
That completes the Turn.
Home-Bound Turn 2 - final Game Turn.
Can the pathetic Goodman (yes, I am joining the chorus of condemnation now too....) live up to his reputation...finally? He only has one opportunity left to him, before the stukas return to base.
#1 Bf110s: The German wingman targets Goodman and lets loose with a 2B IMS - nice! Sensing the attack, Goodman evades the stream of bullets with a barrel roll.
No change of altitude...why would you? The Bf110 leader executes a half loop for a +2 gain in position. But now Goodman literally plays his 'Ace', expending his chit to allow a barrel roll card to be played as an ace pilot. The German can't respond to this, so is unable to tail the hurricane. Drat!
But all is not lost - the German is then able to successfully maneuver, so that he is now advantaged over the hurricane. His guns fail to open fire though....this verdammt Englander keeps evading a target fix! Discard 2, draw 3.
[correction: two barrel roll cards should be showing in this illustration]
#2 Goodman: This pesky German won't give him any peace! Only holding 3 cards, Goodman decides to dive, to 'very low'. The ground is rushing by. But the Bf110 follows him down, after discarding then drawing a card. In the Leader Step:
*** Goodman attempts to maneuver. The Bf110 counters with a tight turn.
***Goodman plays another maneuver. No response from the other aircraft, so position adjusts to neutral.
***Goodman now only has 2B cards. One is an engine hit that he has been holding on to for some time, BUT he has just not been able to bring his guns to bear!!
***Draws 3 cards. It's a disappointing conclusion to a day be would rather forget.
But it's not over yet. The Italians are hovering overhead, awaiting an opportunity to strike.
#3 CR42s: No wingman action as at different altitude. The Italians dive, drawing a card. The leader is still plagued with a defensive/response hand, so has limited attack potential. He maneuvers successfully, and is now advantaged over the hurricane. This gives him a 1B burst ability, but he has no suitable cards and cannot close on his target. As this is the final time, no point in discarding and drawing cards.....
#4 & #5: the bombers and their escorts safely land at their base: another successful mission means a round of schnapps in the officers' mess. The lone and dejected Goodman returns to base, unable to have avenged the death of his wingman...and barely score any hits at all on the enemy.
OVERALL MISSION RESULT:
* 5VPs for destroying a hurricane
* 3VP for disrupting ground forces at Tobruk
* 8VP for 4 stukas returning to base undamaged
* zip, zilch, zero......
This concludes Mission 6 of the Rommel Attacks campaign......
Per 17.2f and the Victory Point Awards table, Light Bombers like the Ju87 score 3 VPs each vice 2 for going over target and returning Undamaged. That's another 4 VPs for the Axis, a truly outstanding performance.
Outnumbered as he was, Goodman shouldn't feel too bad, as bringing his Hurricane back unscathed was no mean feat. A stiff whisky and a good night's sleep and he'll be back at it tomorrow,