Tuesday, November 12, 2019

2nd USA Air Raid vs Lae, New Guinea

New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
Game #4
November 7, 1942/2019
Allied 2nd. Wave Air Attack On Lae, New Guinea

At the morning briefing Lt. Colonel Devine said, "You boys are going back to Lae to finish the job. I want you over the target by 1830 hours. Get in and out fast. We'll turn on the lights at Seven-Mile Field for your return landing. --- Questions? --- Yes, Captain Bolton."

Colonel, yesterday we had no specific targets. Just bomb what we thought best upon arrival over Lae as I recall you saying. Today though I infer you want us to finish demolishing enemy fuel storage tanks as best we can.

Yes, that's it Blatz. Do that and the Zeros at Lae won't be bothering Port Moresby for a long time. I know it's a tough assignment what with 50% losses yesterday, but its gotta' be done.

He called me Blatz because that was my nickname in the 19th Squadron of the 22nd Bombardment Group. You see, I'm from Milwaukee and Blatz is a decent beer manufactured there. So my crew started calling me that. Otherwise I'm Jackson Bolton, jumped up to Captain because Charlie Iverson commanding B Flight bought it yesterday over Lae.

There weren't any more questions except between the green skipper, Lieutenant Silverman commanding Number 6 and me. I told him all he needed to do was stay close to Guilfoyle in Number 5 and he would be as fine as possible. "Watch and learn," Guilfoyle added with a grin.

We crossed the Owen Stanley Range flying through a pass at 8,000 feet easily enough. Mist and storms did not materialize though they are frequent in this region. We flew to the right of Captain Henry Killgallon's A Flight diving for the deck of the coastal plain on the northeast side of New Guinea.

Killgallon didn't think the Japanese would expect us to approach Lae the same way as yesterday. "Blatz," he said, "It's like baseball. A hitter won't usually expect two curve balls in a row. So head for the beach and bank left for the harbor just like you did yesterday."

That's what we did. Only this time I ordered B Flight to change from line ahead to a Vic. Guilfoyle flew to my right as my wingman while Silverman flew slightly behind my left.

Killgallon's A Flight looked to be in good shape when we parted company.

But his curve ball analogy didn't work out so well for him. The next time I looked to my left, I was shocked to see two of his planes shot down and Zeros vectoring toward me. Killgallon in the last remaining A Flight ship pressed on to the fuel storage tanks.

We held formation firing our top turrets at the approaching enemy. Would we be lucky  again and get through to the target just like yesterday? The answer thank God was yes. Both Zeros were turned back by our fire.

Guilfoyle and I approached the target straight on though my ship was damaged. Silverman had by then taken a bad flak hit from Rapid Robert's infernal 90mm A/A battery near the airfield. The rookie turned for home almost losing control of the aircraft. I later learned the ride was extremely difficult due to damage but he made it back to Port Moresby; a credit to his skill and tenacity. He didn't quit and he learned.

As Guilfoyle and I dropped our bombs on the fuel tanks, we sadly noticed Killgallon's ship burning on the ground. There were no survivors seen as we flew over and then banked for Port Moresby. Just like yesterday, enemy fighters had disappeared. We only had to contend with sporadic and ineffectual anti-aircraft fire before getting out of their range.

Navigating for the mountain pass we painfully climbed to 9,000 feet. Vibrations and buffeting were hellish. I wondered if Number 4 would even be able to recross the Owen Stanley Range or if we would suddenly fall apart plummeting to certain death into the cruel jungle below.

"Hey Blatz," yelled my Co-Pilot, Lt. Mason. "The right engine is sparking and throwing smoke. Fuel is getting low too. We'd better land soon."

Yeah, Jar. I know. We'll make it. He was from a farm in Nebraska. His mom and sisters preserved vegetables in Ball Mason Jars. He brought two cases of them when we flew to Australia last month. Corn naturally, strawberries, pears and green beans. Good stuff. That's why his nickname was Jar.

Twenty-five minutes later the sea came into view shimmering in the moonlight. Port Moresby was blacked out but we could make it out. Then our guys at Seven-Mile turned on the lights to guide us in. It was just in time because number 1 engine sputtered to a stop and number 2 didn't sound too good. A  Martin B-26 Marauder can land on one engine with experienced pilots. Stateside crews don't believe this calling the plane The Widowmaker. Well, they're wrong because we'd practiced it often enough.

And we did it again --- for real this time.

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Japanese Score
3x Allied Bombers Downed: 12 pts.
1x USAAF Crew Captured: 1 pt.
1x Bomber Driven Off without Bombing: 5 pts.
Total 18 pts.

Allied Score
Fuel Tanks Destroyed: 16 pts.
4x Zeros out of action for one day: 0 pts.
Total 16 pts.

Campaign Score From Four Air Battles:

27: Port Moresby #1
07: Port Moresby #2
12: Lae #1
18: Lae #2
64 points

07: Port Moresby #1
16: Port Moresby #2
18: Lae #1
16: Lae #2
57 points

Next Things
Planning Coral Sea.

Thank you for looking in.

Do you have comments? Place them below, if you please.
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Friday, November 8, 2019

1st USA Air Raid vs Lae, New Guinea

New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
Game #3
November 6, 1942/2019
Allied 1st Wave Air Attack On Lae, New Guinea

After two Japanese air strikes on Port Moresby, New Guinea a week ago, it was payback time. The 22nd Bombardment Group was ordered to stage forward from Australia to Port Moresby's Seven-Mile Field and to then fly north to Lae to hit 'em hard. On mission day, I flew second in B Flight behind Captain Charlie Inverson. Carl Guilfoyle flew third. I'm Jackson Bolton from Milwaukee. My buddies call me Blatz after the beer brewed there.

Flying very low, Charlie led us to the coast. I swear I could have reached out and grabbed a coconut. Palm fronds actually flew off a couple of the trees we were so low.

After we banked left, the Japanese fighter base was just up ahead. The enemy had still not noticed us. Flying among the trees on the deck probably helped. We pushed full throttle praying we would remain unnoticed. Then, I found out why they had left us alone.

While we had been barnstorming among the trees, they had seen A Flight to our left. Zeros briskly pressed home to engage them.

Our guys were getting hit pretty hard too. One of our  B-26s fell out of the sky and the third plane was smoking in a bad way losing speed. Flight leader Walt Krel got away though, thank God.

Then two Zeros were suddenly on our left chattering away. My top turret gunner took pieces off of one of them but the other....

Got Charlie.

But Guilfoyle's air gunner and mine got him. Now I had to lead us to drop our eggs. The thing is, the brass did not have intelligence to order us to specific targets. Instead they left it up to us to decide what to bomb when we got there! How's that for yah?

Well it worked out great for Guilfoyle and I. A fat tanker was moored at dockside probably waiting to offload aviation fuel into nearby tanks. We got it good. She sank in a ball of fire. Cross off one Maru. Then we banked right flying near the storage tanks....

As Gabe Crossen's wounded A Flight ship came up dropping bombs on one of the tanks.

 Then it was back to the beach again racing for home; four of us. Man these ships are fast.

But Crossen didn't make it. A/A got him.

We suffered 50% losses and the Japanese lost all four Zeros that engaged us. At the end of our time over Lae, the foe was able to engage us only with anti-aircraft fire. That's when I dubbed the closest battery to us Rapid Robert. See you next time buddy. I need a Blatz.


Japanese Score
3x Allied Bombers Downed: 12 pts.

Allied Score
Sunk Tanker: 8 pts.
1 Fuel Tank Destroyed: 8 pts.
2x Zeros Destroyed: 2 pts.
2x Zeros out of action for one day: 0 pts.
Total 18 pts.

Campaign Score From Three Air Battles:

27: Port Moresby #1
07: Port Moresby #2
12: Lae #1
46 points

07: Port Moresby #1
16: Port Moresby #2
18: Lae #1
41 points

Next Things
Allied 2nd Wave Versus Lae which took place 11/07/1942/2019.

Thank you for looking in.

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Air Raids vs Lae, New Guinea Info

New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context


USA 22nd Bombardment Group
Squadrons: 18?, 19 and 33 (Martin B-26 Marauders)
Motto: Ducemus (We Lead)
B-26 Marauders, Strong/very fast/fly on one engine/three days to repair
Tougher than a B-25.

Staged from Australia to Seven-Mile Airfield, Port Moresby, New Guinea
No radar/sirens/revetments.
Night air raids announced by a sentry firing three rifle shots in the air.
Daytime air raids announced by a red flag on the operations tower.

New Guinea Targets: Japanese airfields at Lae and Salamaua
Often took off w/o a specific target. Find one when you arrive.
No fighter escorts
Average losses/mission 15-25%

Had to cross The Owen Stanley Range.
10,000' high
Mountain passes 7,000' plus high.
Frequent storms, downdrafts, mist

3rd Bomb Group
13th Squadron: B-25s

The cream of Japanese fighter pilots.
Air superiority/New Guinea.

Lae pilots exceptionally aggressive; Saburo Sakai among them
One B-26 Mission got to Lae runway while Zero pilots swarmed up from takeoff.
Sentries did not see the B-26s soon enough.

90mm AA Guns
Zeros would veer away from friendly A/A fire.
One Lae A/A battery was named Rapid Robert by the Americans
Apparently a good battery.

Most stores/installations concealed back from airfield

Hard for Zeros to make long arcs to fire at B-26s going at full speed

11/6-7/2019 Scenarios

6x B-26s:
Start as Bogeys
Use HE-111 bomb capacity (4) until further notice

Must spot the foe before taking off. No delay after spotting.
Fuel tanks and possible ships in the harbor of The Markham River
Saburo Sakai: His D4 is a D4+1 and he can void one hit per firing against his plane

ACE Cards
Bag The Hun author says keep them to a minimum. We used too many previously.
Each side will have 1xJr. ACE card which a TOP ACE can take.

Turning Template Expansions:
Template A: -10cms (Zeros only)
Templates D-E-F-G (B-26s)

Track aircraft and crew losses
Played this scenario twice solo. Interesting, tense (in a good way) and nimble.
The Ragged Rugged Warriors, Martin Caiden given to me by Chuck L.
Samurai by naval Pilot ACE Saburo Sakai

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Allied Recon Mission to Lae, New Guinea

New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context

November 2, 1942/2019
Recon Mission To Lae, New Guinea

"Coming out of that cloud cover to the east on the deck should keep 'em guessing, Mac." 

"Yeah, Skipper, I hope they will be looking high for us when we make our low pass over Lae."

"Hot dog, Everett. Nobody home at the Japanese fighter base except that crashed Betty."

"Yeah, Mac. Ya' know what that means? The Zeros are either on their way to or coming back from raiding our guys at Port Moresby."

"There's the Markham River entrance and harbor." I'm gonna bank to the right as we take a look and then head as fast as we can north out to sea."

"Flying low Skipper seems to be working. Nobody is shooting at us yet."

"Hey, maybe the Japanese have all gone home, Everett. Nothing down there either."

"Nah, they are just out for a sail is all; relaxing. They'll be back soon enough. Okay now.... Out to sea at wave top height and then a wide turn back to Port Moresby."

"Sparks, send encoded news back to base. "Lae airfield and harbor empty."


The table is set for two Allied air raids scheduled for the evenings of November 6-7, 2019.
Doing these on consecutive evenings gives the feel of daily and connected missions. Also these are small games needing only 4-5 pilots. Gaming on two evenings affords opportunities for more of our local pilots to fly.

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