A replay of the scenario, demise of the 4th AG, 1st Chutai meets Butch.
Though it's a two player scenario and maneuvering the bombers is allowed, I simply played them as drones to practice gunnery. As it turned out, most of the successful gunnery was from the Betty gunners.
The scenario pits a single F4F-3 against 8 Betty bombers in 3 vics.
Turns 1 to 3: My cardboard Butch failed to make much of an impression in this engagement. Even though I took pains to make a perfect first pass on the right outside bomber, from outside the defensive fire of the 20mm tail guns, opening fire on turn 3, the 7.7mm sidegunners immediately put 3 hits on the Wildcat and the wildcat rolled a "00" even, missing and jamming a wing gun.
Turn 4: Crossing the center rear of the formation and maneuvering to fire on the left wingman of the lead Shotai, Butch successfully clears the jammed gun for use on the following turn. However defensive fire pings the F4F for 2 more points by 7.7mm fire and misses with 20mm fire from two bombers. Butch in return, fires poorly and with the unbalanced wing guns, only scores two hits on the bomber.
Turns 5 to 6: At high speed from diving in on its first run, the F4F overruns the bombers ending up just in front and to the outside of the left rear pair of bombers as it turns back to attack. A 7.7mm nose gun pings the F4F for another point of damage as it goes by. At this juncture the F4F has been shot for 6 points of damage and has only inflicted 2 points of damage on the enemy. Not good.
Turn 7: Butch turns in and chops power to idle, time to get some good tracking runs in and do damage. He closes in toward the lead Shotai and attacks the same bomber he hit initially. He is in a level weave at the bomber's level in order to stay out of the dorsal gun arcs and the 20mm arcs. Against all odds, he is hit again by 7.7mm fire for 2 more points bringing him to the verge of severe damage. His fire is again poor resulting in only 2 more hits on the bomber.
Turn 8: The bomber formation passes in front of Butch and he selects the left wingman of the right rear shotai to attack, he reverses bank while closing in to range two. At last he gets some paydirt. Both 20mm and 7.7mm fire miss and he rakes the bomber using a long burst for 7 hits and 2 criticals, which he adjusts as a crack shot to cockpit and fuel. High rolls result in a fuel leak only and wounds the right waist gunner. Not fatal damage.
Turn 9: Pulling 3 break turns back to the left as the bombers move away, the Wildcat sticks close to them feeling very aggressive. This time he targets the right wingman of the right rear shotai, the target of the original pass. 7.7mm Defensive fire pings his plane for 1 points putting him to severe damage. He retaliates on the bomber hitting it for 5 points and 1 critical, which is aileron damage. Again nothing serious.
Turn 10: Being seriously damaged I should break off, but I decide that I can get away with one more attack. The Fighter's speed however has bled down to the same as the bomber's making it more vulnerable to defensive fire. Its a gamble I decide to take (hey its only cardboard)...and lose. 20mm defensive fire scores two hits running the Wildcat's damage to 11 out of 12. This is immediately followed by a die roll of 02 from 7.7mm defensive fire which does a whopping 4 hits taking the Wildcat over its damage limits.
Play time and deep depression prevents me from bringing in the follow-on Wildcat I'm technically allowed by the scenario. I intend to play this again though to see if I can do better.
Butch hits the silk, doesn't win any medals and can only claim slight damage (3 VPs total) against 3 bombers. Unmolested by further fighters, the bombers drop 80 VPs worth of bombs at the Lexington.
A decisive Japanese victory.
Great post, J.D. Thanks!
Any chance of a follow up to try and save the Lexington?