Monday, December 4, 2023

Battle Report: White Star/Red Star - April 12th, 1951 "Black Thursday"


Dateline: April 12th, 1951
Location: Northwest Korea, MiG Alley

In early 1951, the Communist forces were able to dislodge UN forces out of the Kimpo area.  This success also led to an increase in Communist air activity in northwest Korea; MiG Alley.

April 12th, 1951 was nicknamed "Black Thursday" after 30 Mig-15s engaged and attacked 48 or so B-29 Bombers in MiG Alley.  The Bombers were escorted by F-80s and F-84s that were no match for the Soviet aircraft.  Several B-29s were lost or damaged.  No MIGs were lost.  This caused bomber operations to cease over North Korea for three months.

Today we will be playing another Bomber intercept mission similar to our last engagement.  However, this time we will be using a few more defenders and attackers and see if we get a different outcome from the historical, Black Thursday results.  


3 B-29 Bombers - Experienced Pilots
4 F-84 Thunder Jets- Experienced Pilots
4 F-80 Shooting Stars- Experienced Pilots

4 MiG-15s - Experienced Pilots
1 Mig-15- Ace Pilot

This will be a Bomber Intercept sortie with the USAF as the Attackers.  They gain a kill for each Bomber that makes it off the board. 

Today we are using 1 MU = 1 inch on a 72MU by 48MU across board. 

However, the sky is overcast at High Altitude, meaning that Detection is harder for aircraft at High Altitude and shooting is reduced to Combat range only. 

For fun and flavor, we scattered some Low Altitude terrain across the board at random.  These will only impact flying at Low Altitude.  

If an aircraft is off its base, it is at low altitude.  If it is on the base it is at Combat altitude.  If it has a dice behind it, the aircraft is at High-altitude.  As usual, I will be breaking the game down into three phases, Maneuver, Battle, and End phase.  I will not be tracking the turn-by-turn action as it makes recording the game and playing it easier.  

Maneuver Phase:
As normal for games of White Star/Red Star the table starts clear of any aircraft as none have been detected yet. A strong Soviet detection roll let them spot the B-29s and escorting Shooting Stars at High altitude, even with the Cloud Cover before they made it very far onto the board.  The following turn, the Thunderjets were also detected.  

Finally, the MIg-15s were spotted coming in low, along the hard deck.  They use their speed and low altitude to sneak beneath the F-80s in front.  

Battle Phase: 
The Soviet pilots use the amazing climbing ability of the Mig-15s to race up and engage the B-29s.  The Migs swarm the Bombers, and manage to take one down in a fire ball.  

1 Bomber Down!

However, it doesn't all go the MiGs way, as fire from one of the B-29's also takes out a passing MiG. The experienced MiG pilots race past, needing to reposition for another pass.  However, the Ace does a high-G turn and targets another bomber, but fails to bring it down. 

Scratch 1 MiG!

After frantically trying to shift position and get back into the fight, the MiGs manage to get in behind the second bomber and blast it from the sky.  The MiG on the outside runs out of ammo tangling with some F-80s, but no one goes down.  The Soviet Ace over-shoots the last Bomber, and has to break-off, pursued by USAF F-80s.  
2nd Bomber Down!

The pair of MiGs manage to be in a tailing position on the last bomber, after finishing off his companion, and they down the last B-29.  

The last Bomber just before getting shot down!

Disengagement Turn:
The USAF go back to High Altitude and turn for home.  The MiGs avoid any further engagements with their mission complete and break-off back across the Yalu river. 

F-84 Thunderjets flee for home.

Soviets scored 3 Kills to the USAF 1.  A clear win to the Communists! 

A "Black Thursday" indeed.  The MiG-15s proved why they were so feared and effective at their job.  They easily out maneuvered the F-80s and F-84s and took the B-29s apart.  As the USAF player, I never had a chance as I was always out of position with my escorts.  I think I managed to fire with them twice.  Meanwhile, most of my shooting came from B-29s!  The Soviet Ace was all over me.  Being able to maneuver in all three phases is pretty good, but thankfully he couldn't hit the broadside of a B-29 or this would have been over much faster! 

I think next time we will have to put some Sabres up against some MiGs.  The Shooting Stars and Thunderjets are not up to the challenge! 

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