Sunday, October 29, 2023

Battle Report: White Star/Red Star - CAP July 29, 1950


Dateline: June 29th, 1950
Location: Suwon Airfield, Republic of Korea

On June 27th, an attack by the North Korean KPAF 1st Air Division on Suwon Airfield had been thwarted by F-90 Shooting Stars.  Despite this loss, the KPAF returned to the attack on the 29th.  This time, the American defenders were a group of F-51 Mustangs.  US Military leaders were on hand at the nearby town as part of a conference.  They were able to witness the defense of the base first hand.  

These attacks led to Gen, MacArthur to authorize air sorties to attack North Korean targets in order to establish air superiority.  

This will be a classic engagement from early in the war.  I could not really find any information on the North Korean attackers, but knew that the objective was to attack ground targets and that the North Koreans were equipped with a lot of IL-10's.  Those would be of little value in a CAP.  Therefore, I decided to use more "fighter" oriented planes for this sortie. 


4 F-51 Mustangs with Experienced Pilots

North Koreans
2 Yak- 9 with Rookie Pilots
2 La-9 Fritz with Experienced Pilots

Yaks on the left, Lavochkin's on the right

A simple Combat Air Patrol.

1 MU will equal 1 inch and the board will be 48 by 48MU.  

There is no difficult terrain on the board.  However, there are 4 cloud banks.  There are 3 cloud banks jumbled together at High altitude, and 1 smaller cloud bank at Combat altitude.  

In this case, the USAF is the Attacker.  The North Koreans are focused on getting to the air field to strafe targets.  The Mustangs arriving lead to a dogfight instead. 

Weather, sortie type, and Attacker were all determined using the methods found in the main White Star/Red Star rulebook.  

If an aircraft is off the base, it is at Low altitude, on the base is combat altitude, and on a dice is High altitude. I won't be following the details on a turn by turn basis.  Instead, I will break it down into three broad phrases; Maneuver Phase, Battle Phase, and Endgame and try to cover the battle in broad strokes rather than turn-by-turn, aircraft by aircraft detail. 

Maneuver Phase:
The first three turns go by fast as no planes are detected.  However, the North Koreans spot the Mustangs on Turn 3, and the USAF player has to place his planes up to 18 MU in.  Two Mustangs are at High Altitude near the edge of the board, while the other two are at Combat Altitude going into the cloud banks.  

The next turn, the Mustangs spot the Yak-9s coming in hot on the Mustangs at Combat altitude!  Since the USAF has more planes, they get to move first.  The two forward Mustangs decide to turn into the oncoming North Koreans to try to get in under the guns.  The Yaks fire a burst and then buzz past, the deflection angle was too much for them to score a hit. 

The next turn, the LA-9s are also detected, and they are also coming in hot on the Mustangs. Now, both sides have equal numbers and the Attacker goes first, the USAF.  The Mustangs try to maneuver, but the Experienced LA-9 pilots zoom in for the kill on the wingman of the first squadron. The Lead Fang pilots scores a hit and downs the Mustang! 

Now the real furball is getting started!

Battle Phase;
Now, the North Koreans have more planes, but choose to let the USAF go first. 

The Mustangs at High altitude manage to get in behind the Rookie Yak pilots thanks to their higher experience, and swat them out of the sky!  

However, that Maneuver put them into the sights of the La-9 pilots.  The wing leader manages to blast the Mustang wingman out of they sky, his second kill for the day!  However, he also uses the last of his ammo in the process.  

End Phase:
With both sides at half, this forces a disengagement turn.  It is the final turn of the game.  The USAF can choose to go first or second, and decide to go first. 

The Mustang in danger just throttles it and heads for home, breaking off.  The LA-9's try to maneuver back around, but the last Mustang out-maneuvers them and opens up on the lead aircraft. The USAF Mustang runs out of ammo trying to down the North Korean craft.  However, it is to no effect as the North Korean pilots weaves and dodges his way through the incoming fire.  

The battle ended in a draw, and a non-historical outcome!  So, what happened! 

The big sticking point was that the North Koreans managed to see the USAF before the USAF saw them!  This allowed them to get into a good firing position right away, and the Mustangs had a tough time shaking them.  The USAF had a chance for a win on the last attack run, but alas it was not to be! 

It was fun seeing the two players try to do the "Thatch Weave" and end up keeping the engagement close.  The Experienced USAF pilots easily downed the rookie North Koreans in the newer Yak-9s.  However, Experience paid off for the La-9 pilots, in worse aircraft.  

From here, I think I want to run a few games in the various segments of the war until the end.  Of course, this would represent the Air Battle of Korea, which lasted only a few weeks before the UN had gained air superiority over North Korea.  The North Korean offensive lasted until about September 1950.  The next phase of the war was the Chinese Counter-attack from October to January 1951.  This would be the introduction of the Mig-15 as they strove to bring down the day light bombers of the USAF.  

Onto the next battle!  

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  1. Hola, la verdad es que el informe de batalla es divertido, aunque nunca jugué wargames aéreos.
    Últimamente me están llamando la atención, podrías recomendarme uno fácil?
    Muchas gracias, un blog muy interesante y divertido.
    Un saludo desde España.

  2. One of the issues with Air wargames is that none of them are really "easy".

    However, if you want one where you are likely to get other people to play my go to suggestion is Warlord's Blood Red Skies. If you want to go back to the "origins" of airplane wargames, then Blue Max is where to look. A good place to find Free wargames is FreeWargamesrules wiki, which has plenty of airplane games for free.

    Alternatively, I cut my teeth on Aeronautica Imperialis V1 from Warwick Kinrade and absolutely adore it. However, it is not easy to track down anymore.

    1. ¡Muchas gracias!
      Prometo probar el Warlord's Blood Red Skies, y miraré lo de FreeWargamesrules, no conocía la página.
      En cuanto a fácil, me refiero a que no estoy acostumbrado a cosas como la altitud en un wargame.

      Muchas gracias de nuevo.