Sunday, May 15, 2022

Air, Land and Sea Battle For New Guinea



Location: North Coast, Papua New Guinea
Date: May 14, 1943 (2022)
Situation: Allied Invasion and The Japanese Air Response
Rules: Foundationally "Bag The Hun" With Home Rule Variants 
Miniatures: We Use What We Have
Click on photos to enlarge them, if you please.
Well, there you are my dear chaps. This time my travels have brought me to the north coast of Papua New Guinea. The little port behind me in the distance is Malabacca. You won't find it on a map because Bill imagineered it. 

Four of our ships remain but are departing after offloading an Australian combined arms battlegroup. The latter have moved inland to engage a weaker Japanese defensive force to push them westward. They are supported deeper inland by two new enemy airstrips.

This one photographed a month ago when under construction is near the coast.

The other, a jungle strip, appears almost ready for aircraft. Let's begin here shall we?

This is a flight of Nakajima Ki 43 fighters nicknamed Peregrine Falcons by the Japanese Army rising from the jungle. We call them Oscars.

They are hurtling toward the port to assist....

Mitsubishi G4 M ("Betty") bombers out of Rabaul from the far northeast inbound to play at mischief amidst our forces. Fortunately our code breakers learned of their departure causing....

A flight of Hurricanes to scramble to hopefully engage them in time.

At first the Betty's inexorable approach was curious to our pilots. Their bearing paralleled the shore ignoring the port. They appeared to be angling toward our departing warships, the Flower Class Corvette Racer and Minesweeper Houndstooth. 

Our chaps came in underneath taking out the rear bomber and then another; not shown. That left one enemy aircraft apparently flown by a highly skilled pilot in the lead. Ignoring trouble behind him....

His Betty pulled ahead dropping a load of bombs directly onto the deck of Houndstooth. Massive explosions erupted sinking her in minutes. Our Hurricanes continued the pursuit....

Knocking  out one engine and then the other. 

Some minutes before the plane struck the ground, the crew bailed out.

Previously, the Oscars and a second flight of Hurricanes dueled over the port. In the background are Houndstooth (left) and Racer (right) getting up speed. 

Honours amongst these duelists concluded evenly without the loss of aircraft. Here we see the Oscars breaking off heading back to the jungle airstrip.

Deeper inland our motor convoy was strafed by a flight of Tony fighters (not shown) from the Japanese Army coastal airstrip.
A flight of American P-40s arrived too late to intervene.

However, one of our Hurricanes later downed one of the Tonys. Japanese designation is Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Flying Swallow) Photo courtesy of Dave G.

Final Results

12 points (3x Bettys shot down x 4 each)
1 point (1xTony shot down)

8 points (Sinking Houndstooth)
4 points (Knocking out four trucks carrying troops at 1 point each)

The Gang of Four Left to Right
Seated: Greg B. (IJA) and John B. "The Formidable" (Allies)
Standing: Dave G. (IJA) and Bill P. (Allies) 


(A) We played two games. The first involved air action at sea and over the port. The second happened inland engaging the Allied motor convoy. The description of both blended together into one story above. 

(B) Four missions were available for Greg and Dave.
1. Tonys strafe the Allied Motor Convoy and Oscars Interdict Allied Fighters.
2. Oscars strafe the Allied Motor Convoy and Tonys Interdict Allied Fighters.
3. Bettys Bomb Allied Ships. Tonys or Oscars try to Interdict Allied Fighters.
4. Bettys and Tonys bomb the Motor Convoy. Oscars Interdict Allied Fighters. 

Dave and Greg secretly chose #3 in Game 1 and #1 in Game 2.

(C) Turn 1 movement was Japanese only. On Turn 2 the Allies freely positioned their fighters to engage the Japanese where they wanted but far enough from their opponents to be fair. This simulated the historical breaking of the Japanese code meaning the Allies had a good idea about Japanese plans. Hence John was given the duty to decide how the Allies would engage guessing to some extent on what he observed Japanese planes doing on Turn 1. This worked well.

(D) Orders of Battle
Japanese: 3xBettys, 3xTonys and 3xOscars
Allies: 1xCorvette, 1x Minesweeper, 2xMerchants, 6x Hurricanes and 3xP40s.

Neither side had more than six fighters airborne per game. The 3xP40s substituted for 3xHurricanes in Game #2 to change things up a little.

(E) Thank you for looking in. Comments are welcome from you below.
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  1. Impressive! I'm very interested in the Australian war in the Pacific, which except for Kokoda doesn't get much press at all. And I love aviation, so this is pretty much a delight for me. Looks like a lot of fun; I might have to look into these rules. Well done and reported.

  2. Great stuff Bill! (as we have come to expect) Glad to see some action again.

  3. Visually a treat as always. Not sustainable losses among the Bettys. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jennifer, Ross and Michael! Thank you for looking in and recording your thoughts. I am grateful you enjoyed the story and took time to write. Respectfully,