Last week saw my boss, StuG, and myself finish the latest Crimson Skies e-mail game in our continuing campaign. The end of the last game saw StuG’s Springfield Raiders pirate gang involved in a vicious dogfight over the Colombian coast in a bid to capture two barges full of aircraft waiting to be shipped out of the country. The Colombian Air Force managed to sink one of the barges before being shot up and chased off by the Raiders, but in the process Sideshow Bob and Ned Flanders both managed to get shot down (still no surprises there then)!
The leader of the Raiders, Bleedin’ Gums, had decided to let Bob and Ned sweat it out for a bit on dry land, until a message from Bob changed his mind. Turns out he’d run into an old acquaintance of his, a guy who goes by the nickname Krusty, who could be very useful to the Raiders since he flies his own Ironside bomber. When Bob explained that they needed a big plane to start smuggling moonshine into the remnants of the old USA, Krusty was happy to help out (for a fee, of course)! So, once Bob and Ned had managed to unload and assemble a couple of Fury fighters from the remaining barge (both fighters assembled, amazingly, with the correct number of wings!), it was time to radio the boss for instructions. Basically, Bob and Ned in the two Furies had to escort Krusty’s bomber up the Mexican coast to a rendezvous in the north of the country where they’d collect the moonshine and join up with the rest of the Raiders. What could be simpler? Only problem was that the Mexicans weren’t too keen about people flying through their airspace, especially pirates!
The start of the game saw the Springfield Raiders entering Mexican airspace with a nice bit of formation flying (bottom left corner in the picture above). However, the Mexicans were not prepared to put up with this, so a pair of fighters from the 1st Chihuahua Air Regiment (a heavy Aguila and a lighter F-4 Jago, the latter being a licence-built version of the Fury) quickly moved to intercept the interlopers (top right corner). As with the previous game, the map image came from Google Earth, with a hex grid overlaid on it.
The next move saw both sides closing (above), the Raiders still bunched in a nice tight formation, no doubt amazed that Ned had so far failed to collide with one of his wingmen or the ground!
Still flying close in with Krusty’s bomber, Bob and Ned seemed to be more than happy to make the most of the close protection offered by the bomber’s powered gun turrets and large payload of flak rockets (above).
The Raiders, however, failed to take into account the speed of the oncoming Mexican fighters. Hitting his nitrous boost injectors, the Jago pilot tackled Ned Flanders head-on, loosing off a volley of flare, flak and sonic rockets and following up with gunfire (I have to mention this every time, but “FK” denotes a flak rocket exploding)! Not taking this lying down, Ned returned fire!
As the Jago put on another burst of speed to clear his own flak, Ned wasn’t so lucky, but he at least manged to line up on the Aguila, along with Krusty in his bomber! Not expecting to survive the fire of those two aircraft, the Aguila pilot unloaded all of her rockets around her and hammered the nose of the bomber with gunfire! Unluckily for Sideshow Bob, the rockets shocked him and forced him to fly straight, a move the Jago pilot was quick to take advantage of.
However, the Raiders’ shooting was pretty poor and, although heavily damaged, the Aguila weathered the storm, while the Jago started shooting up Sideshow Bob’s Fury! But, don’t worry, Ned Flanders to the rescue (that’s right, worry)!
Trying to catch the Jago pilot out, Ned flew into a position expecting to tuck in behind the fast Mexican plane, but his plan backfired when the Jago pulled up sharp and stalled. Sideshow Bob had foreseen this, so he also stalled his plane and opened fire on the Jago. The latter coolly ignored Bob and let rip into the much easier target presented by the rear of Ned’s Fury, resulting in the latter’s port wing literally being left hanging on by a couple of rivets!
At this point, Ned decided that redlining his engine and trying to catch up with Krusty’s bomber seemed like a sound plan, leaving Sideshow Bob to fend for himself! Krusty had a similar plan, although his engines flared out as he failed to push the bomber’s speed.
If the Raiders needed any added incentive to scarper, it was provided by the sudden appearance of another Mexican Aguila (bottom right corner in the picture above), although the Jago pilot used his nitrous boost injectors again to get into range of the Ironside. With all planes except the newly-arrived Aguila having taken a hammering, breaking off the action seemed to suit all concerned! As an aside, all planes returned to their bases safely except (yes, you’ve guessed it) Ned, whose Fury nosed over on landing, destroying the engine (I nearly had an accident meself when that happened)!
So, no planes shot down this time, probably a result of the pilots being less experienced and the smaller fighters being more difficult to hit. I was pleased with my handling of the Mexican fighters in this game and got into quite a few good firing positions. The two Mexican pilots at the start of the game, Lieutenant Victoria “Miss Honey” Chihuaro and Cadet Juan “JJ The Rat” Jago were inspired by our first two chihuahuas (now sadly departed, but never forgotten) so it was nice to get them into action after a long break – JJ The Rat is a great pilot for me, because he uses nitrous boost to get himself into trouble rather than out of it, and he throws caution to the wind!
As for the planes, once again these were all painted in the noughties. The picture above shows the Fury (on the right), an official Crimson Skies design, escorting an Ironside bomber. The latter is a Scotia Micromodels 1/300th French Farman F.222 heavy bomber without any changes made to it apart from a couple of plastic rod gun barrels – its large size means it fits in with the CS planes quite well and I painted these two in a plain olive drab to allow them to be used by anyone.
The Mexican TNCA F-4 Jago fighter (above), Juan Jago’s own modified version of the Fury, was converted from the standard CS Fury model. I omitted the underslung 70-calibre cannon and added a longer fin from plasticard, along with two oversize bombs under the wings.
The Aguilas are standard CS models, of which I think I’ve got four altogether (two Mexican, one Spanish Republican and one pirate). I camouflaged both the Mexican ones, but added a large white sawtooth pattern to the front of the fuselages and wings of one of them to represent a flight leader’s plane.
So the only thing now is to decide whether Krusty gets to repair his bomber before it next gets into action. I did mention to StuG that it might not get repaired if facilities for repairing bombers were not available, so he might need to fly it carefully. Needless to say, it took a bit of a battering but it’s still airworthy! I’ve decided to let anyone reading this comment on whether or not the bomber gets repaired and I’ll go with the majority decision (unless that majority results from my boss telling all his other minions to get signed up to WordPress so they can leave comments asking for the bomber to be repaired)!
Stay tuned, stay safe!