Monday, September 12, 2022

Battle Report: White Star/Red Star - CAP near Taejon, July 1950


July 19th, 1950 the USAF sought to establish air superiority against the invading communist forces.  This was know as the Air Battle of Korea.  At this stage in the war, the USAF was using a combination of piston and jet engine aircraft for this mission.  The primary opponents were the North Korean air force using propeller driven late WWII era aircraft.  

On July 19th, F-80's from the 5th air force took on advanced elements of the North Korean Air Force.  They engaged in a dogfight near Taejon.  In the engagement, the F-80s managed to down 3 enemy Yaks.   

I am super excited to get my Tumbling Dice miniatures out on the table to see how they look and feel on the table! 

We used the rules from the book to determine the Sortie for today and came up with a Combat Air Patrol in clear weather.  This is a simple scenario to kill the other sides planes.  

We have decided to use the North Koreans and USAF lists.  

3 F-80 Shooting Stars 
- Experienced pilots

North Koreans
4 Yak - 9 Franks
- 3 Rookie Pilot
- 1 Experienced Pilot

This games starts off with both players undetected.  There is also no need for terrain, but we added some for the look.  

The game is taking place on a 86 x 86 MU board.  1 MU is equal to 1/2 and inch.  

Two of the Yaks are connected as wing-men.  Everyone else is individuals in this furball. 

For reference, if a plane has no stand, it is at low altitude, stand is combat, and on top of a dice on a stand it is High altitude.  

Turn 1: 
No one is detected this turn, so no planes enter play yet.  

Turn 2: 
No aircraft detected by either side still.  This is eating into the games turn limit, and allowing planes to deploy further in on the board once detection occurs. 

Turn 3: 
Nothing. All pilots are still scanning the skies. 

Turn 4: 
The F-80's are spotted, and need to be deployed on the table.  Since it is the 4th turn, they can be deployed up to 24 MU in.  

The F-80's deploy with two at combat altitude and 1 at High.  They re moving diagonally across the board.

The lead F-80 makes a 45 degree turn and heads towards the village.  The second stays high and straight, while the third makes a 20 degree turn and turns towards the village too. 

The USAF continue to move.

They all move straight, as they are Experienced pilots and can not make moves in this phase.  

Turn 5: 
This time, the USAF sees the North Korean Yaks.  The North Koreans can deploy up to 30 MU in from their board edge.  

The Yaks put their Rookie pair forward, going across the board to try and lure the USAF after them.  The other two are further back, with the last rookie at High altitude. 

The North Koreans have to start moving planes first, since they have more of them.  Both sides begin to turn into the attack, looking like they are setting up to go head-to-head.  No one changes altitude. 

The USAF have more Experienced planes and move first. The paired North Koreans have to move together as a pair, since they are a wing-man team.  

The USAF moves to bypass the rookie bait, and head for the North Korean Experienced pilot.  Both sides close the distance, and get ready to fire.  

Neither side has any Aces, so the North Koreas move first.  All pilots can only go straight, and not change altitude.  They also can not shoot in this phase.    

Turn 6: 
There are no more planes to detect, so this phase is no longer needed going forward. 

The tailing Yak at high altitude banks 45 degrees to try and set-up against the high F-80.  Meanwhile, the Rookie pair turn at 20 degrees to dissuade the high F-80 from dropping down altitude. 

The Experienced North Korean Pilot and one of the F-80's are going head-to-head.  the North Korean fires, but the range is far enough for the USAF pilot to maneuver around the incoming fire. However, the North Korean pilot kept ammo in the hoppers for another pass with a disciplined burst.

The lead F-80 just misses the angle on the North Korean experienced pilot and can not fire.  The other F-80 is lined up after avoiding the incoming fire, and opens up a return burst.  The North Korean dodges the long range burst as well.  The USAF pilot also has ammo remaining. 

This time, the USAF has the advantage as they have more experienced pilots.  The F-80 presses home the head-to-head attack on the experienced North Korean pilot, and this time is able to bring him down with a burst.  However, it was a long burst and the F-80's guns go dry.  He will want to break-off and away.  First kill to the USAF! 

The other North Korean pilots can not maneuver, as they are all rookies.  Instead, they go straight.  The High F-80 stays high and turns in to go over the Rookie pair.  Meanwhile, the F-80 leader turns back into the furball. 

No one can maneuver, so they all go straight! 

Turn 7: 
The Rookie pair dive down to low altitude and make to break-off.  The F-80 that is out of ammo also turns away to break-off.  

The High Altitude North Korean Rookie sees a USAF F-80 bearing down, so he turns into the attack and fires.  However, he fails to hit the mark.  The incoming F-80 returns the favor.  However, he also misses.  Neither plane is out of ammo yet.  

The lead F-80 tries to duck in and cut-off the Rookie North Korean if he tries to break away or go lower.  

The USAF F-80 fires on the Rookie Yak-9 pilot, who manages to dodge the shots.  The two aircraft race past each other.  Both with ammo remaining.  

The lead F-80 stays at combat altitude, incase the higher Yak dives.  

Everyone goes straight! 

Turn 8: 
Everyone is faffing about and trying to regain position.  

The F-80s still in the fight are using their superior speed and skill to get back in on the Yaks, cutting off their turning radius.      

Straight again! 

The F-80 that is out of ammo manages to disengage from the fight and head for home with 1 Kill to their record.  

Turn 9: 
Lead F-80 is still 1 altitude level above his prey as they try to flee.  The last rookie Yak drops to combat altitude, hoping for a chance on the F-80 leader.  The last F-80 is still turning back into the scrum and at high altitude. 

The F-80s both dive.  However, the Lead F-80 can not get the angle on the pair of Rookie North Korean pilots.  However, their higher altitude pal also has no shot. 

Straight ahead! 

Turn 10: 
The North Koreans go first as they have more planes.  The rear Yak dives, but can not get a shot off.  

The second F-80 is still too high, but gets ready to cut-off the last North Korean aircraft.  

The Rookie pair try to cut in under the attacking Lead F-80, but he manages to fire a burst and take out the tailing plane.  The USAF pilots still has ammo.  

With 1 Kill under his belt, the lead F-80 breaks off from the fight and disengages off the board.  The second F-80 dives at the fleeing rookie Yaks, but misses the angle. 

The last Yak also has no shots, but does not have the skill to try a shot anyway. 

They all fly straight. 

Turn 11- Disengagement Turn
With all three phases, the last planes can easily disengage off the board.  

The USAF F-80s of the 5th Air Force managed to disengage with no losses, and 2 Kills to their record.  A successful day in the Air Battle of Korea

A couple observations from this battle.  Typically, I use 1 MU = 1 inch.  The shorter MU slowed the game down a bit, but allowed more maneuver.  With 1 MU is 1 inch, the game would have lasted closer to 6 or 7 turns instead and the action would have occurred much faster.  I think I will use the 1 MU = 1 inch going forward.  The shorter distance also made the aircraft feel slower as well.  

As the North Korean player, I was too aggressive with my Experienced pilot and when he was knocked down I did not have much to respond with.  My hopes for a draw fizzled when one of my Rookie wing-men got shot down.  Then, it was all about avoiding losing more planes and getting out alive! 

The faster Jets and skill of the American pilots played a part in the battle.  It was this advantages that allowed them to shoot my Experienced pilot down, and bag a Rookie.  A historically accurate result in this engagement.  

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