After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Check Your 6 brings you in the middle of the World War II battles, with a turn-based strategy game that carries the spirit of the dogfights.
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Energisteron
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After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Sun May 24, 2020 9:46 am

Although I am a bit late coming to this, I have decided to write up an AAR. No in-game pictures from the very beginning but there will be some from later battles. I intend to post some graphics though.

So, a few days ago I found a worthy opponent (anonymous for the time being) and we agreed to fight the entire 'Battle of Britain' in date order as represented by the 'Check Your 6!' scenario listing.

We designed a scoring system of our own not realising, having played single player, that there is a perfectly adequate scoring system within the game. So I will report those scores.

We also agreed on two house rules:-

1. First turn combat would be prohibited air-to-air, and air-to-ground (bombing) because the random nature of the set-up means that it may be possible for one side to be in an attack position from the go. That seems most unfair and random. However, we agreed that ground-to-air (AAA) would be permitted if the enemy was stupid enough to place their aircraft directly in the firing arc of AAA!

2. Pilot reaction would be disabled throughout because it added little to the game, and by doing so the game would play faster. The more experienced pilots seem to get an advantage in targetting and avoiding hits in any case.

In this campaign I am playing the mighty Luftwaffe, so let's see how it turns out!

Energisteron
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Re: After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Sun May 24, 2020 10:55 am

Battle 1 : INITIAL ENCOUNTER

Deployments: RAF 6x Spitfires : Luftwaffe 9x Ju88s

Objectives : The Luftwaffe must exit the air map northwards with as many intact bombers as possible. The RAF must stop as many as possible. Both sides will score points for losses and damage. There is no bombing target so this represents a bomber formation breaching RAF fighter defences.

Tactical Assessment : The 9 Ju88s form 3 Vs of 3 aircraft with all 3 Vs then forming a larger V heading nearly NE. All are at the same altitude and at a steady cruising speed as per combat orders. A loose string of 4 Spitfires are observed a fair distance away to the NW. These aircraft are gaining altitude and will soon be level with the bombers. It is estimated it will take 4 minutes (4 turns) for them to make an interception.

There is a much more immediate threat however. Two Spitfires are observed by some rear gunners. These are slightly above the bomber stream and will be upon us in 2 minutes.

The Bomber Commander orders the bombers to increase speed and to make a slight jink more to the NE while staying in formation. He estimates this will delay the attack from the fighters on the port side and maybe cause some slight change to the attacking approach of the fighters from the rear.

The fighters react as expected, both groups coming directly towards the bomber formation from left and rear. In moments the 2 Spitfires fire at the rearmost bombers whose rear gunners return fire. One rear gunner is killed. The Bomber stream now takes a jink to port as the fighters roar above the formation firing at the more forward bombers. The leading bomber, the Bomber Commander's, is hit but maintains headway without loss of speed. One of the Spitfires is also hit and is spewing smoke! The fighters have throttled back to avoid skipping straight over the bombers and to give them more time for a second and third spurt from their guns. However, this also gives the bombers' gunners time to train all their weapons on these 2 fighters.

Another bomber is hit and so is the second Spitfire. The first Spitfire goes down. The second bomber is hit in the engine and wallows just above stalling speed. It begins to fall behind the formation but does not turn back. It leaves a trail of black smoke identifying its critical state.

Then the second flight of Spitfires hits the bombers from 9 o'clock level. These have not slowed their approach. They rake the bomber formation in passing and another bomber is hit but not badly and it continues in formation. Another Spitfire is hit from the defensive fire of about 6 of the Ju88s. It goes down. Realising that the fighters must break contact soon (mission map edge approaching) and that some are already out of ammunition, the Commander orders another jink northwards, to port. This will make the turn that the Spitfires need to make to regain their target all the tighter. The Ju88 with engine damage struggles on ignored. Doubtless the fighters consider it can be picked off at will. Despite damage the Commander's bomber continues to lead, but the other damaged bomber deliberately loses altitude and falls out of formation to retain its airspeed.

The Spitfires make a final pass but take a fusillade of fire from every turret that can be brought to bear. Another Spitfire goes down. So does the damaged bomber at lower altitude. Hit again the Commander's bomber explodes. The bomber falling to the rear never makes it to the target. It's all over. Six bombers continue on to their target. Three have been lost. And half the Spifires, three, have also been destroyed.

In the final reckoning (according to CY6! scoring) this is a marginal Luftwaffe victory: 30 points to 26 points. (see graphic)
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Energisteron
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Re: After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Sun May 24, 2020 7:32 pm

Battle 2 : JOLLY GOOD SHOW

Deployments: RAF 5x Hurricanes : Luftwaffe 12x Do17s and 8x Me110s

Objectives : The Luftwaffe must exit the air map southwards with as many undamaged bombers as possible. The RAF must stop as many as possible. Both sides will score points for losses and damage. There is no bombing target so this represents a bomber formation escaping a RAF fighter cordon in order to return to base.

Tactical Assessment : The Dorniers are travelling south at their allotted altitude in two distinct columns comprising 6 aircraft in 2 Vs of 3 aircraft, one V following the other. Using the experience gained from the previous battle, the Vs are in a slightly looser pattern to permit some individual aircraft manoeuvering, and hopefully to allow the accompanying fighter escorts to pass through the formation if required without a high risk of collision. Each group is protected by 3 Me110s flying at the same altitude as the bombers as per tactical orders. Two Me110s fly just behind each column and one ahead and slightly to the side of the leader. The 2 bomber streams are about 3 minutes flying time apart so 2 other Me110s fly in echelon halfway between the two groups of bombers as 'reserve' interceptors.

RAF opposition looks slender. A mere 2 Hurricanes are way ahead of the leading bombers, and 3 more are observed some distance behind and at low altitude struggling to gain height to attack. It will be several minutes before these fighters can intervene.

The bombers accelerate to 'battle speed' and doggedly maintain course and formation. Their accompanying escorts accelerate and climb to pass over the bombers as they move towards the oncoming RAF fighters. Literally head-on the Me110 has superior firepower although it is a slightly larger target than a Hurricane. The 2 centrally placed Me110s also climb planning to intercept the Hurricanes as they dive towards whichever bomber group they choose to attack.

The Hurricanes with the height advantage swoop down on the bombers firing 2 or 3 bursts as they pass and seemingly blind to the danger posed by the Me110s flying headlong towards them! They have drawn the two 'freelance' Me110s their way and so are taking on 5 Me110s. As the tangle of aircraft clears the Hurricanes are already turning to attack again although one is seen to be damaged, while the Me110s, as yet unscathed, struggle to turn and re-engage. Beneath them 2 Do17s are streaming smoke and already losing headway. They drop out of formation and descend slightly to avoid obstructing their compatriots' dash home.

The 2 Hurricanes make a second attack equally as effective as the first; a Dornier goes down and another is hit, but the damaged Hurricane takes another hit and it goes down too. By now the Me110s protecting this group have got back into an aerial melee with the remaining Hurricane. The Hurricane is shot down but succeeds in destroying 1 Me110 and damaging another.

Meanwhile the other flight of 3 Hurricanes has reached the height of the bombers and is in position to make an attack on the other group. This group's escorts have tried to get into position to attack the Hurricanes as they come in but the Me110s are cumbersome and the Hurricanes pass them with little damage to themselves. Another Me110 is hit though and damaged as they pass. The 3 Hurricanes now have the 6 Dorniers in their sights and in a single pass they cause non-critical damage to 2 of these bombers and again these damaged aircraft drop out of formation.

The Me110s catch the flight of 3 Hurricanes as they turn to attack again. In a short range shoot out with the 3 Me110s of the close escort, 2 Hurricanes are hit and damaged but all 3 Hurricanes make a final attack on the bombers, especially those languishing at stalling speed and beneath the main formation. Both of these Dorniers go down, but with its rear turret firing to the last one bomber takes a Hurricane down too.

The first group of bombers continues southwards unmolested with 2 badly damaged Dorniers struggling to make headway. Those unscathed successfully make it home as does one of the damaged bombers, but the other is lost enroute to base. Two Me110s have stayed with them. One is also limping but makes it home.

Back at the second bomber group, the 3 Me110s are joined by 2 more returning from fighting around the first group. In an unequal contest the five Me110s corner the Hurricane as it attempts to attack the remaining intact bombers, and it goes down having accounted for 1 more Me110.

And so a very hectic battle concludes with the surviving German aircraft making it home. But at what cost? This is assessed as a narrow RAF victory.
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Energisteron
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Re: After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Wed May 27, 2020 7:13 am

attle 3 : IMPOSSIBLE MISSION

Deployments: RAF 6x Hurricanes and 6x Battle bombers : Luftwaffe 6x Me109s

Objectives : A little bit different this one! (Previous scenarios were set during the early months of the war rather than the Battle of Britain as such.) So, the blitzkrieg into France has begun and the RAF must try to destroy a vital bridge over the Meuse River. Naturally my Luftwaffe units are somewhat opposed to this! So, the Luftwaffe must prevent the bombers reaching and destroying their target, while the RAF's Hurricanes must attempt to ward off the attentions of the Me109s. Both sides will score points for losses and damage. The bridge is the bombing target and the Luftwaffe also has some weak AAA defence at both ends of the bridge. Surviving RAF aircraft must exit west and the Luftwaffe to the east.

Tactical Assessment : The Me109s are arranged in loose pairs, approximately level with each other. It seems my warning was a bit late since one pair are over the eastern end of the bridge, and another are just NE of it, while the final pair are 'in the sun' but more distant and off to the SE. At least our fighters have decent altitude. The attack comes from the west and is closing in on the bridge already. The fighters will be hard pressed to intercept let alone make a second pass! There are 2 groups of 3 Battles, one approaching the bridge end on, while the second is making a dash from the NW. This second wave will arrive slightly after the first. The bombers are low and in a loose line abreast. Their escorting Hurricanes are slightly below the Me109s but well above the bombers. Two fighters have been allocated as close escort for each bomber group, while another pair seems to be tasked with an interceptor role and look intent on taking on my fighters immediately.

The bombers proceed on the same course heading directly for the bridge. The Me109s furthest from the threat make a feint from out of the sun towards the interceptor group, while the other two pairs close up to form a loose string abreast and head straight for the bombers approaching the bridge end on, diving as they approach their target. The 4 Me109s evade the interceptors with ease and swoop past the close escort to attack the bombers. Two bombers are hit immediately and stream smoke. One labours badly. Way up above the opposing pairs of fighters clash at maximum closing speed. One Hurricane goes down immediately.

Now chasing the bombers, but catching them with ease, the lower Me109 group attack the Battles again. The turret gunners have no effect and the 2 bombers previously damaged go down. One of these Me109s attempts to take on the 2 escorting Hurricanes to prevent them rounding on the 3 Me109s chasing the bombers, but outnumbered that aircraft is hit and crashes.

The leading, and sole remaining, bomber of the first group is starting its bombing run, but while the AAA is ineffective, 2 Me109s gain hits and this bomber goes down too. However, in the desperate attempt to destroy this bomber the Me109s have left themselves vulnerable to the Hurricanes which are hungry for a kill having failed in their escort mission. In the ensuing dogfight 1 Me109 is destroyed and 1 Hurricane damaged.

Now the second bomber group is approaching its target. The bridge looks acutely vulnerable. The AAA seems ineffective. Perhaps their approach askew of the bridge will make their attack more difficult? The higher Me109s having disposed of one of the threatening Hurricanes has already dived fast, really fast, towards this second group of Battle bombers. Again the close escorts fail to find their mark and a bomber is hit and goes down, and a second streams smoke but maintains headway. The dogfight over the western end of the bridge sees the Hurricanes maintain their advantage. The Me109s just cannot shake them off and a second Me109 goes down and another is damaged.

Back at the bomber group the 2 Me109s turn and attack again, but the escorting Hurricanes turning themselves are getting closer to having them in their sights. They know where the Me109s must be to take aim at the bombers! In this attack the damaged bomber is hit again and crashes, but the leader resolutely continues towards the target despite being damaged. Just 1 Me109 can now reach the bomber before it executes its attack on the bridge. The other is engaged with the close escort of 2 Hurricanes and this results in 1 aircraft of each side being damaged.

The final bomber streaming black smoke, its turret gunner firing at the Me109 immediately tailing it, makes its attack. Direct hit! The bridge explodes and crumbles into the river! The German Engineers will need to build a new bridge damn fast!

Too late the Me109 gets off one final squirt of ammunition at the Battle bomber and it too goes down to sink in the murky waters of the Meuse River.

Both sides disengage without further mishap. Undoubtedly this represented a victory for the RAF, but at a tremendous cost! All 6 Battle bombers were lost although their escorts fared better losing just 1 Hurricane, though 2 were also damaged. The Luftwaffe failed to prevent the destruction of the bridge but in the air alone without doubt proved their superiority. However, even by losing 2 Me109s and with another damaged due to the necessity of heading for the bombers they failed in their mission.

Score : RAF 34 Luftwaffe 30 (and I think that is generous to the Luftwaffe!)

Overall Score (after 3 scenarios) : RAF 103 Luftwaffe 97
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Energisteron
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Re: After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Thu May 28, 2020 8:37 am

Battle 4 : INTO THE DARKNESS

Deployments: RAF 3x Hurricanes, 3x Spitfires, and 3x Blenheims : Luftwaffe 6x He111s

Objectives : The Luftwaffe must exit the Heinkels off the north map edge (representing continuing to some unknown target off map). The RAF fighters, including for the first time, specialised Blenheim light bombers converted to night-fighters, must endeavour to stop them. The RAF aircraft can flee the map if necessary with reasonable safety to the north, east or west but should an injured bomber attempt to abort and return to base then only the SE corner of the map (presumably representing the Pas de Calais) offers any realistic hope of a safe return.

Tactical Assessment : The He111s are arrayed in 2 loose Vs, one following the other, and heading directly north. On a bright moonlit night 3 groups of fighters, each of a distinct type, the Hurricanes, Spitfires and Blenheims, fly in a surprisingly tight formation given the nighttime conditions at a fair distance over to the east. The Blenheims are at a similar altitude to the bombers but the smaller fighters are considerably lower. It seems likely that all 3 groups will be in a position to intercept in about 3 minutes.

With no escort, and little cover from the night it seems, the bombers have little option but to continue on course for their intended target. They accelerate to top speed. The Blenheims look cumbersome but it seems they will succeed in making an interception. Because the Blenheims have no speed advantage over the Heinkels if the bomber formation can evade them then it is unlikely they could make a second interception. However, they could so easily pick-off any damaged bombers that drop back or abort. Their 2 turrets are a potent and versatile threat, but lack of manoeuverability means making an attack with their fixed forward guns would take some skill to achieve.

The low level fighters struggle to gain altitude for a few minutes but manage to keep their targets in sight, and to keep an interception feasible. But 1 Spitfire is slightly ahead of the others and makes a solo attack. A fateful decision! Although 1 Heinkel gets a slight splattering of fire there is no significant damage. But 3 He111s are in a position to respond and the Spitfire is hit, badly, and with its engine failing it goes down.

Suddenly, the remaining 8 enemy aircraft get into position to make their first attack! The Hurricanes and Spitfires attack from below while the Blenheims attack from on the level or above. Tracer arcs through the night sky; 2 Spitfires, flying far too close, brush each other; one loses bits off its tail, the other seems more severely damaged and may have to withdraw, if it survives at all. Despite the hail of fire, neither side achieves any significant hits. In the midst of this aerial turmoil the outcome is quite definitely still in the balance.

Here the Heinkels can be seen still in their night flying formation, with 3 Blenheims attacking from level or above from '2 o'clock', while 3 Hurricanes and the 2 'car-crash' Spitfires attack from below.
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Energisteron
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Re: After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Sat May 30, 2020 11:52 am

Battle 4 : INTO THE DARKNESS (continued)

Flying straight through the bomber formation with all guns blazing the Blenheims cause havoc! The Hurricanes below also put in useful attacks. The rear right bomber is gravely damaged and tumbles out of formation and crashes in flames.

Attempting to avoid the attention of the massed Blenheims, the Bomber Commander orders a slight turn eastwards combined with a tightening up of the formation. However, the fighters are swarming all around the bombers now, and due to mechanical failure or simple attempts at avoidance, the bomber formation is beginning to break up. The leader is hit and fails to execute a turn resulting in this aircraft plummeting earthwards also. The formation, if it exists at all, is now 3-dimensional with bombers at several altitudes but they are losing contact and support from each other. It would be tempting simply to abort the raid but the target is nearer than home. The 'point-of-no-return' has been passed.

The surviving bombers weave as best they can, ignoring any pretence at formation flying, but another goes down. A Blenheim is hit by a rear gunner and it also crashes.

It is left to the second-in-command bomber to make a sole run to the target as his bomber heads northwards. Behind him, not one bomber remains. Several fighters have been damaged too, but they can no longer give chase. This skirmish is over. This represents a major defeat for the Luftwaffe.

Final Score : RAF 42 : Luftwaffe 15

Overall Score (after 4 battles): RAF 145 : Luftwaffe 112

Here is the final assessment. (Note that only aircraft that leave the map are accounted for so the damaged RAF fighters count for nothing! This cannot be right and it has applied to a lesser degree in previous scenarios also when one side or the other would have expected a few more points although in truth it would not have affected the outcome.)
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Energisteron
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Re: After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:13 pm

Battle 5 : DOGFIGHT OVER CONVOY

Deployments : RAF 3x Spitfires and 3x Hurricanes : Luftwaffe 10xJ87 2xMe109 and 2xMe110

Objectives : The Luftwaffe must exit westwards with as many intact J87s as possible. The RAF must stop them and inflict what damage it can. There is no convoy visible and thus the target is off-map somewhere.

Tactical Assessment : The Junkers-87 dive-bombers are flying at a middle altitude in a loose cluster; 2 parallel lines of 4 aircraft followed by a central pair to the rear. The escorting Me110s are behind this rear pair and holding the same altitude as the bombers as per tactical orders. The Me109s being more nimble are given a more flexible role to intercept any incoming threats if possible. One Me109 flies slightly to the rear and on the port side of the formation, while the other is given an entirely freelance role and is some distance away to the north.

Far below and somewhat ahead 3 pairs of enemy fighters are visible. In all liklihood these 3 pairs of interceptors will reach their targets at 1-2 minute intervals, unless they first concentrate. One pair can make an attack within the next minute if they choose.

Immediately the escorts accelerate and attempt to intercept the oncoming fighters. One Me109 and 1 Me110 turn towards the nearest group, 2 Hurricanes, while the other 2 escorts, another Me109 and Me110 climb and keep a watch over the more distant fighters as they climb.

The 2 Spitfires approach from directly below as anticipated but then execute a full loop and roll right into the centre of the bomber formation! Their first attack damages 1 J87 and severely damages another, but the Hurricanes themselves are in the sights of both the Me109 and Me110, and several of the rear cockpit gunners on the J87s. The 2 rearmost J87s even succeed in firing their fixed forward guns. One Hurricane has a close shave and the other is badly hit and the pilot killed. One Hurricane and 1 J87 go down in flames.

The bomber group has for now evaded the surviving Spitfire and stubbornly maintains course (J87s can dogfight at a pinch) but the enemy fighter is pursued by the escorting Me109 and a Me110. The Me110 maintains contact and lets loose a devastating burst which rips the Spitfire apart. It goes down immediately. Further to the north, the other escorts, another Me109 and Me110 pairing, maintain a watch over the 4 RAF fighters below them which are racing at maximum speed towards but well below the J87s.

Distracted by the potentially lethal threats above them the RAF fighters appear to be losing the chance to intercept the relatively nimble little dive bombers. Worse for them, the escorts are gradually hemming them in and making any move towards the bomber flight a very risky business. The fighters bravely divert towards the J87s but one is hit immediately by a watchful Me109 and is destroyed.

The intercepting RAF fighters and the escorting Luftwaffe fighters are now embroiled in a dogfight which permits the J87s to slip further from the interceptors' grasp. The Me109s and Me110s have the advantage of height and knowledge of where the RAF fighters must go to cause any damage. Surely it is time for the RAF fighters to call it a day and break off; if they can!

A long distance shot from the chasing fighters takes down a J87, and another damaged J87 limps towards its target but is lost en route. The remainder, 7 J87s, successfully evade the fighters and continue to their target.

The fighters disengage without further losses.

This is assessed as a Luftwaffe victory : Luftwaffe 26 : RAF 12

Overall Score (after 5 battles) : RAF 157 : Luftwaffe 138

Here we have a snapshot of this air battle just before both sides break contact. The cluster of J87s head SW followed at some distance by 3 RAF fighters at a lower altitude. The Luftwaffe escorts have a height advantage and have isolated one fighter which cannot without immense risk make a move towards the bombers.
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Energisteron
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Re: After Action Report - The Battle of Britain - Luftwaffe viewpoint

Post by Energisteron » Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:40 am

Battle 6 : DUAL BETWEEN EAGLES

Deployments : RAF 9x Spitfires: Luftwaffe 8x Me109

Objectives : What else to say? Shoot each other down and cause the enemy to withdraw.

Tactical Assessment : The situation at the onset of the engagement is more than somewhat confused! Both sides have 3 groups of fighters scattered about the air map, and at various altitudes also. Trying to describe the action or to bring any sense of order to the ensuing mayhem is impossible.

One fighter is pounced on by 1, 2, 3 or more of the enemy. It goes down maybe having winged an enemy itself in the process. The aircraft turn, climb, dive, avoid, attempt to engage all in a swirl.

Score : Unknown, although despite desperate fluctuations in kills, it was all looking as though the end result would be fairly even.

Reason : Both this game and its mirror crashed and could not be reinstated. See my post in the Tech Support section. Both players were left apparently waiting for the other to play and neither could do anything. This error rate has now climbed to 30% and both of us have decided that it is impractical to continue this campaign. It is really disappointing because it was really quite interesting.

Thanks for reading.
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