Chaos Over Cuba!

Whereas painting’s still going very slowly, the Crimson Skies campaign by e-mail against my boss StuG has continued at a bit of a quicker pace!

For those of you following this series of games, I need to jump back two games to set the scene.  Two games ago, StuG’s air pirate gang, the Springfield Raiders, sank a tug preparing to move dis-assembled aircraft in two barges.  During the raid, gang members Ned Flanders and Sideshow Bob ended up losing their planes (no spoilers there) and bailing out over the Colombian coast.  In their next game (so, one game ago), Ned and Bob managed to assemble two Fury fighters and escort a bomber over Central Mexico to a landing strip in the north of the country, ready to rendezvous with the rest of the Raiders off the Texas coast.

So, while Ned and Bob were getting shot up yet again flying over Mexico, the rest of the Raiders had to fly from their island base over Cuba to their own advanced base in Florida, and that brings us to the present game!  In this game, Bleeding Gums (leader of the Raiders) and Flamin’ Moe were accompanied by the pirate Sealance fighter they’d managed to join up with early in the campaign.  Their objective was to get across the map and exit the far side and not hang around shooting up the opposition.  Because Gums and Moe are experienced and dangerous pilots, I had to deploy a reasonable amount of opposition to give them a run for their money.  Consequently, I used four Spanish Republican International Air Brigade fighters against the three Raiders’ planes, although the Republicans were spread over the map at the start.  One of the Republican pilots, however (flying a Yak-4) was already an ace and consequently a considerable threat to the Raiders.

CS Game SJ6 Move 1

At the start of the game, the Raiders entered the map form the bottom left-hand corner, needing to leave the map by the top right-hand corner.  The Republicans (controlled by me) appeared in the other three map corners – the Yak-4 accompanied by a Stalwart from the top left, an Aguila from the top right and an I-18 from the bottom right.  From this point on, the game got messy!

CS Game SJ6 Move 2

Predicting correctly that Bleeding Gums would not be able to resist pushing his plane and getting into action right from the start, the Yak-4 and Stalwart closed right up and tackled Bleeding Gums’ Rifleman fighter head-on!  This was a tactic previously used by the Raiders against me, so it was nice to flip things round.  Tackling fighters head-on is not a good idea but two against one evened the odds a bit!  With a lucky dice roll, Bleeding Gums managed to shoot first and elected to fire at the Stalwart, the latter exploding in spectacular fashion as a magnesium round hit one of the fuel tanks in its wing!  As the Stalwart pilot bailed out, the Yak-4 hit the Rifleman with a veritable barrage of cannon shells, destroying both its engines and leaving a magnesium round burning in the fuselage.  Unsurprisingly, Bleeding Gums decided to bail out before his plane exploded!  Let’s be honest – despite losing the Stalwart I was dead pleased to shoot down Bleeding Gums and take him down a peg!  Two moves in and two planes down already!

CS Game SJ6 Move 3

This move, however, left the Yak-4 up against both the Hawkeye and Sealance before the other Republican fighters could help.  Consequently, The Yak-4 pilot decided to push her plane and try and catch the Raiders at close range.  Unfortunately, the Raiders pulled their two-planes-on-one-hex trick in an attempt to out-gun the Yak-4.  This should have been a good move, if it wasn’t for the fact that the Yak-4 and Moe’s Hawkeye collided (first time in six games that a collision’s occurred)!  Whereas the Yak-4 lost some armour and a gun, the Hawkeye ended up quite battered!

CS Game SJ6 Move 4

Despite the damage, Moe managed to loop his plane round without further damage and put a short, well-aimed (and dead jammy) burst into the Yak-4’s wing.  On top of the damage it suffered from the collision, this proved too much for the Yak-4 and the pilot bailed out!

CS Game SJ6 Move 5

With two fighters per side now, things were a bit more even, although the Raiders’ advantage in having Moe still flying was to some extent balanced by the fact that his plane was a wreck!  As the two Republican fighters closed up, the Raiders split away from each other . . .

CS Game SJ6 Move 6

. . . and then looped back!

CS Game SJ6 Move 7

But the two Republican fighters kept up their manoeuvring in an attempt to get in behind the Raiders, although the Aguila pilot failed to turn sharply enough and fractured his port wing badly!

CS Game SJ6 Move 8

Despite the damage, the Aguila managed to use its high speed to close on the Sealance, firing a flare and sonic rocket and shocking the pilot into flying straight,

CS Game SJ6 Move 9

A high speed push from the Aguila brought it into a firing position against the Sealance, with Moe’s Hawkeye flying close alongside.  Both sides fired flares and sonic rockets and the Aguila managed to get some damaging hits on the Sealance’s tail.

CS Game SJ6 Move 10

At the last moment, Moe tried a high speed move to get away from the Republican fighters, but this just put him into a perfect firing position in front of the Aguila!  Despite being hit with almost all of the guns and rockets fired, the damage ended up being spread right across the Hawkeye and not concentrated enough to bring it down!

To be fair, the Raiders had a bit of luck in this game!  Firing first near the start of the game allowed them to bring down the Stalwart, whereas if the Yak-4 had fired first the Raiders would have been left with two fighters against four.  Both the Sealance and Hawkeye were also hit by magnesium rounds from the Aguila that would have destroyed them if the rounds had burnt for one more move (see the plane diagrams below – if the pink boxes showing the mag rounds had burnt for one move longer they would have reached the fuel tanks shown in orange and caused both planes to explode!  That was lucky indeed, particularly given the amount of damage the Hawkeye had taken)!

CS Game SJ6 Damage

But it was a good game and fairly evenly matched.  It also means Bleeding Gums will have to fly a Fury as replacement fighter in his next game, since no other fighters are available (and I was so pleased to have shot him down – have I already said that)!

DSCF5069

As in previous posts, I’ve added some pictures of the actual model planes that the game markers are based on, although these are only the Republican planes since the Raiders’ planes have all featured in previous posts.  Shown above is the Stalwart, an official Crimson Skies model, painted in Spanish Republican colours, although I also have a pirate version in a plain mid grey.  It has a remote-controlled turret mounted on the tailplane controlled by a gunner in the rear of the crew nacelle.  I really like the model, but it’s not a particularly good fighter – when I came to record my game results I discovered that I’ve actually never used it before myself (and am not likely to after its performance in this game)!

DSCF5062

Shown above is an Aguila, this one also in Spanish Republican colours and not as bright as the two Mexican versions featured in the last game.  If I’d thought about it I didn’t need to take a photo of it, since it featured in the very first game in this campaign, although it did much better in this game.  Although they’re big and vulnerable, Aguilas are fast and well-armed and have a reasonable combat record.

DSCF5088

Last plane featured is the Yak-4 (above).  An official CS design, I converted this by the simple expedient of sticking two Scotia Micromodels P-51 Mustangs together!  It’s plain olive drab scheme with red distinctions allows it to pass for a Republican, Russian or pirate machine.  It’s slow but well-armed and manoeuvrable and has had a decent combat record for the small number of times I’ve used it (it’s probably one of the later models I converted and painted).

So, where does that leave this campaign?  Well, there is one more game to play, bringing the Springfield Raiders all back together to escort an illegal moonshine shipment into Texas.

Stay tuned and stay safe!  Avoid Texas airspace ’cause Ned Flanders is going to be in it soon enough!

18 comments

  1. That is great- loved following it along. It seems that both of your are wise to the tricks that the other prefers and it made me smile reading along as you tried to out fox each other.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So you mustn’t have read it correctly then, Dave! 😉 My boss would no doubt say that since he shot down two planes and I only shot down one, he must have got the better of me! But I reckon I put in a pretty decent performance in this one and did manage to bring down one of his top scorers whilst badly shooting up his other top guy!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m late to the game, but that is a pretty interesting read and sounds like a lot of fun. Would you two usually get together in-person for your games? How has the email software been?

    And as always, nice looking minis. I know nothing of planes, trains, and automobiles, but it’s always intriguing to me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Faust! 🙂 My boss and I are located a fair distance apart. so we’ve only ever played a couple of games face-to-face in the dim and distant past! But you can play the game by taking screenshots and mailing them and having the odd conversation to determine who wants to fire what! There is an element of trust – my boss could look at all my moves in advance by unhiding them in the spreadsheet, but I could also roll the dice and miraculously get all of the results I want, so it would even out! But for me it’s enjoying the game whatever happens!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yea, I suppose if you were to play against someone who cheats, you could always find a better player.

        I recall seeing some play by email software long ago, but I didn’t want o have to figure it out and then have to teach it to someone else to play. Screenshots sounds way easier!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This is another great report! I really enjoying the close up images of the planes at the end because you always do a great job of painting them. Looking forward to seeing how the next and it sounds like final battle goes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kuribo! 🙂 I’m glad you liked it! The plan is that the next game (which has started) will be the last in the campaign, but the Springfield Raiders will no doubt still put in appearances from time to time. The problem is that once pilots become very experienced and their skills improve it becomes more difficult to provide opposition, since I tend to draw the latter from a much larger pool of less experienced pilots.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome and that makes a lot of sense. It seems to be a common problem with campaigns across many different game systems. Fortunately, you can always try a new campaign out when this one is over 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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