Home Forums Air and Sea Air Check Your Six Game: Hankow Jingbao

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    Over the past few months I’ve run some CY6! games for local friends. This past Wednesday night was my most ambitious to date. Eight players flew fighters and I flew the bombers, 29 airplane models in all. It was a hand full, but the more experienced players coached the new guys and we all had fun.

    I call the scenario Hankow Jingbao: Air Raid on Hankow. Set in 1938, after the loss of Shanghai and Nanking and the destruction of the pre-war Chinese Air Force, at a time when the Soviet Union had sent several groups of Volunteer pilots to hold the line while a new cohort of Chinese airmen trained to fly new Russian aircraft. In this game, Soviet Volunteers engaged raiders of the IJNAF over the Chinese provisional capital Hankow.

    A squadron of 11 G3M2 Model 21 Nell bombers in four flights (3 + 3 + 3 + 2), escorted by eight A5M4 Claude fighters in three flights (3 + 3 + 2) made up the raiding force. The five defending players had two X two-plane flights of I-16 Type 10 and three X two-plane flights of I-15 Bis. The leader of the Japanese bomber squadron was a Veteran, experience 2, and so were the leaders of the three flights of Claudes. All other pilots were rated experience 1.

    This 1938 game played very differently from our previous one, which had been set in late 1942 at Guadalcanal. The Nell was a formidable bomber in 1938. All the 1938 fighters were fragile and slow with Robustness 0 and Max Speed 3. The Nells were armed with 3 X .30 LMGs in two dorsal and one ventral turrets and had Robustness 1. The Russian fighters had 4 LMGs each, the Claudes had only 2 LMGs. The Nells stood up well to damage, while the LMGs tore up the fighters and the bomber defensive fire proved to be quite dangerous for the Russians

    My old Simtac ‘Blue Skies/White Clouds’ 4′ X 6′ mat is covered by 35 X 47 30mm hexes, which is big enough for a standard CY6! scenario map, 30 X 45 hexes. At one end of the mat I laid out a 10 X 18 hex area as the target, Hankow city. Japanese bombers would score victory points by dropping bombs on the city without any specific targeting, in a typical terror-bombing raid.

    I started the bombers at altitude 5, speed 2, in a V-of-Vees formation 25 hexes from the city. I allowed the Japanese fighter players to set up wherever they pleased, in V formation, no farther forward than the lead Nell. They chose to start at altitude 6, speed 2 to allow formation keeping, with one flight of 3 Claudes on the right of the bombers and two flights, 5 fighters on the left. (One flight of Claudes is missing from this photo.)



    I allowed the Russian players to set up anywhere, no farther forward than the edge of Hankow city. They chose to set up at altitude 6, speed 3, since there was no advantage for them to keep formation, with the three flights of I-15s spread from the extreme Russian right to the middle of the game mat and the two flights of I-16s one in front of the other on their extreme left.


    The Japanese formations stretched nearly from one side of the mat to the other. I would have liked more open space on the flanks, but 19 Japanese planes in line abreast took up a lot of space. 25 hexes initially seperated the opponents, who closed the gap at the rate of 5 hexes per turn. The Russian players avoided the center of the bomber formation and headed instead for the flanks and the Claudes. With some maneuvering for position, it was turn 6 before the fighters opened fire. I wanted to allow room and time for maneuver, but maybe I should have started the two sides closer together, because we only got in three turns of actual combat before we had to call the game, due to the late hour on a work night.

    First blood was drawn on the right of the Japanese formation on turn 6, where the four I-16s immediately shot down a Claude and put engine damage on a Nell. However, one I-16 ran out of ammunition on that pass.



    On turn 7 the out-of-ammunition I-16 dove and turned for home. The damaged Nell failed its crew check, jettisoned bombs and turned for home. The two remaining Claudes got revenge, shooting down an I-16. A second Nell took engine damage, so did a Claude, and an I-16 took an airframe hit from bomber defensive fire. Brutal. On turn 8 the second damaged Nell aborted. Both damaged fighters power-dived out of the fight. The remaining I-16 took a shot at another Nell and ran out of ammunition (!), but missed all the bomber’s vital spots. All three surviving I-16s were now on their way home, two out-of-ammo and one damaged, while one escorting Claude remained on station. Final score: one each Claude and I-16 destroyed, one each Claude and I-16 damaged, two Nells damaged and aborted their missions. I’d call it a win on points for the I-16s, but most of the bomber formation continued on course, so the Claudes accomplished their mission.



    On the left of the bomber formation, the action developed more slowly. The players on that side of the game were more experienced and mostly held fire while their six I-15 Bis and 5 Claudes jockeyed for advantage. A few shots were taken and missed. Bombers made several hits on Russian fighters, but no damage resulted.



    On turn 8, things looked verrrry interestink. The I-15s had all dropped to altitude 4, to attack the Nells from underneath, where defensive fire would be weaker. The Claudes followed them down, caught two of the I-15s trailing behind, and put engine damage on one. The other four I-15s were clustered right behind the left-hand Nells, thumbs twitching on their trigger buttons…but I wrong-footed them. I saw them coming and climbed the bomber formation to altitude 6, leaving the I-15s two levels lower and out of range. Climbing away from an attack is my favorite dodge, they never expect you to climb.

    Here’s what the Japanese left looked like at end of game. The white hex marked ‘A’ marks where an I-15 and a Claude, both in that hex, have been removed to the side. Note that two I-15s are also co-habiting a hex, but haven’t been taken off. Nobody collided (whew).



    And then we called the game. Too bad, because there was a lot of play left on the left, but time waits for no one.

    The players left chattering about the game. I’ve been told I can bring CY6! back to the Basement, and hope to do that, maybe after the holidays.

    • This topic was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  zippyfusenet.
    • This topic was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  zippyfusenet.

    You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

    Jim Jackaman
    Jim Jackaman

    Great report and it looks superb too. I like CY6 for smaller dogfight games but you have your work cut out for you with so many planes and players,  so we’ll done for keeping it all in hand. I would use BTH for a game this size as it handles formations and multiple players really well. Thanks for posting! I’m  looking forward to your next one😊


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