The first wave of Fallschirmjäger battles for HERAKLION as the second wave approaches
The Orbats for Crete May 1941 are loosely sorted out now. A large number of unresolved questions remain for a game that would keep six players happy. It was time to parade the troops on the table schematically so see what sort of real estate they occupy.
Will W and YesthatPhil came round to help me thrash few things out for a timeline, and to do a dummy run through of the first and second waves attacking one of the three airfields. We had time to run through twice in two hours, so five to six hours should be enough to reach a resolution over three main defended airfields, and three attacking waves.
A Hurricane squadron is ready to scramble as a Blenheim squadron rearms. A hard cover air raid shelter is there to protect the ground crew, but not the vehicles
Phil’s ideas on the use of air power were particularly helpful – the original ideas shown here are his, modified by my imperfect understanding, and desire to fiddle with perfectly good mechanisms. He has form, having run the air umpire side of Tim Gow’s original Megablitz Fall of France some ten years or so ago.
Stage one: Aircraft will be scrambled with operational orders and are shown as are operationally ready with a range of ‘x’ squares. They are shown on a flight stand and are placed somewhere on the area of operations that will give them possibilities for attacking suitable targets. The defending player knows that he needs to defend a number of targets in range with his AA and Fighters.
A Blenheim Bomber Squadron has successfully scrambled from Heraklion Airfield, which is under attack.
Stage two: Radar and spotters on the ground will alert defending fighters when they need to scramble in response to an attack, otherwise they risk being caught on the ground if no early warning structure exists. The defender will scramble his own ready fighters on flight stands in response if he is aware in time, to meet the attack. Fighters without early warning systems may have to scramble in rotation to keep a fighter screen in the air to be able to do this.
Stage three: Combat will take place. Everyone will have operational orders that may look something like this:
Bombers: Bomb (visibly identifiable stationary structure) at (location that can be described as a feature on the ground or by a square centre or corner.
Dive bombers (DB) or fighter bombers (FB): Bomb a stationary square centre or corner,or identifiable troop concentration, vehicle concentration, train, AA or ship. Troops on the ground in slit trenches, or vehicles guns and aircraft in blast shelters or emplacements can count medium cover. Troops only in air raid shelters can count heavy cover.
Fighters: Attack enemy , fighters, dive or fighter bombers, or bombers.
Fighter bombers or fighters: Strafe targets of opportunity on the ground if no other combat has taken place.
Fighters attacking their first target of choice have a +1 bonus in a contested 1d6 roll, and can attack bombers before they reach their target.
Defending fighters that beat off attacking fighters, who are protecting bombers/FB/DB, can then go on to attack the protected bombers/FB/DB, after the bombers complete their bombing run at a disadvantage of -1 for the defending fighters.
Following combat the aircraft will return to base and land – nose towards their ground support unit or marker to show that they are ready to refuel and rearm.In this position they cannot attempt to scramble until they are refuelled and rearmed.
Stage four: Account for refuelling and rearming – fighters , fighter and dive bombers, one turn per point of support unit. Bombers one turn per engine. Thus a three SP ground unit can refuel and rearm 3 fighters or one three-engined bomber per turn.
Stage five: When they are ready, aircraft will sit on the ground away from their support unit, or with the unit at its tail, ready to scramble.
If they are attacked on the ground they can attempt to scramble according to skill level. once successfully scrambled they can fight as normal, except that fighters can only attack bombers AFTER their bombing run, if the airfield is the target.
Trained: Succeeds on 5+
Experienced: Succeeds on 4+
Veteran: Succeeds on 3+
Operational Radius from airstrip when airborne:
4 squares – Fighters
5 squares – Fighter bombers and dive bombers.
8 squares – Bombers and transports
10 squares – Recce aircraft