Saturday, September 20, 2008

Down in Flames session report

So my old and good friend Carl came by after a long hiatus and we played something old and something new. The old was Down in Flames, which we last played more than four years ago.

Carl's an excellent all-around player, as today demonstrated yet again. Over the years he's been somewhat of an ASL specialist, but he's pretty deadly any time.

We played the Winter War December campaign of Down in Flames, (Rise of the Luftwaffe) with the updated Zero! rules, although in this case it didn't matter much.

The first mission was a bombing run against some ground troops by a four-bomber flight of Soviet SB-2 medium bombers under the the command of Comrade Carl. Carl took the Deceptive Course resource, which shortened the flight time, but that had no effect because his mission was unopposed by Finnish air. Instead I took some extra Flak Guns. The extra guns didn't do much good, however, as just one SB-2 was damaged on the bomb run, although the Soviet accuracy wasn't too good either and just light damage was done.

The second mission really decided the campaign, as both sides went all out. Comrade Carl's mission was to attack a freighter bringing vital war supplies to Finland. This major effort was led by four IL-4 torpedo bombers escorted by a pair of I-16 fighters and a pair of I-153 biplane fighters. The Finns also made a major effort, committing four Fokker D-XXI fighters. A fierce air battle ensued, and three of the Soviet fighters went down and one was damaged, for the loss of one Fokker, but they managed to keep the torpedo bombers unmolested and they had little trouble sinking the freighter. While losses were heavy, a clear victory for the Soviets.

The third fight saw a pair of Fokkers unsuccessfully dueling with a pair of biplanes. Again the two Sb-2 bombers were not bothered as they hit some ground troops. The damage wasn't impressive, but both Fokkers went down.

The final and fourth flight didn't promise much hope for a Finnish turn around and so it proved. While the intercepting pair of Fokkers managed to shoot down a biplane this time and damage the other one, the four SB-2s again attacked with no interference and this time they plastered the ground target, leaving it shattered.

The final score was a net of 59 VPs for the Soviets, an "outstanding performance and just one shy of an "exceptional" one. Likewise the Finns were "miserable" and if one more bomb had hit might very well have been "dismal."

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