A black day for Blue flight

36th FS USAAF

Port Moresby September 9th 1942 – While Yellow flight is away on a the bomber escort mission, Blue flight is detailed to perform a fighter sweep over the Kokoda Track in support of the Australian ground troops.

The flight leader First Lieutenant Barley spots a flight of Japanese NAVY fighters. Immediately he positions the flight to attack and blasts the Japanese flight leader out of the sky before the enemy can even react.

CIMG2739 CIMG2741

The two remaining Japanese aircraft scrable and pincer the Americans in deadly crossfire. The A6M2 “Zero” Rei-sen now shows its superiour manouvrability over the American P-39 “Airacobra”. Blue 2 explodes in a fireball.

CIMG2744   CIMG2743

Now both sides airmen break formation and attempt to manoeuver for good firing positions, the robust American P-39 taking some of punishment from the more agile Zeros. But then in a lucky strike, Blue 3, the American section leader gets to perform a deadly overhead sweeping manoeuver. He closes on White 13 and hits the tank. The “Zero” vanishes in a fireball.

  CIMG2763

The odds are three Americans to one Japanese now. But two of the P-39s are allready limping back home because of combat damage to engines and elevators. The Zero goes for the hunt wanting to avenge his comrades.

CIMG2765

But the Americans somehow absorbe the Japanese bullets and successfully cover each others backs. Eventually they manage to evade the lone “Zero”. Both sides break off combat and try to make for home.

CIMG2767  CIMG2770

What makes it an espacially black day for the squadron is the events on the return trip. I rolled for the American planes and got two downed aircraft. One crashes near the airbase, the pilot returning unharmed. But Blue flight leader, First Lieutenant Barley , is forced to bail out over the jungle ridges. He has been seen landing safely but as he has not jet returned, he is accounted for als MIA.

Fighter sweep                                                                                                                                           USAAF: 800px-War_flag_of_the_Imperial_Japanese_Army.svg 800px-War_flag_of_the_Imperial_Japanese_Army.svg A6M3 “Zero” Rei-sen| IJN: US_Army_Air_Corps_Hap_Arnold_Wings.svg US_Army_Air_Corps_Hap_Arnold_Wings.svg US_Army_Air_Corps_Hap_Arnold_Wings.svg P-39/P-400 “Airacobra”| draw

Debriefing:

Bild2

The mission is a draw. The Japanese fighters where repulsed, but American losses are excessive with two pilots killed or missing and three aircraft lost. The squadron cannot expect any replacements within the next few weeks. So the losses in men and material will be grievously felt in the missions that are to come. All in all this is a blow to 36th Pursuit Squadron’s reputation.

Go to the mission list …

Unboxing Decision at Elst

Here they come! The Tommies are on their way to Arnhem.

Decision at Elst ASLSK (7)  Decision at Elst ASLSK (6)

Just today I got this new box, my first Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit. And my first British ASL counters. The idea is to get some easy to learn rules for our NGWP or better known as next generation wargaming project. And to add some more historical flavour to it. With the 7oth anniversary of Operation Market Garden around the bend, it may also serve well as a jumping-off poit for some reflection on history. There is a good account of the 2-day battle to be found on The Worcester Regiment.

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