Saturday, April 16, 2016

Battle of Haines City

Battle 4 of the Lucranian Campaign

After the Battle of Mount Branson, the Empire of the Iron Fist had secured the passes into Lucranian airspace. A flood of Imperial squadrons swarmed over Lucrania, their bombers wreaking havoc on the cities below.

General Lubomire, commanding the Lucranian Air Force, sent reinforcements to cover some of the more vulnerable cities. One of these was Haines City, where Imperial and Lucranian forces collided.

Opposing Forces
Empire - 3 pursuit, 1 attack, and 2 bomber squadrons
Lucrania - 3 pursuit and 2 attack squadrons + anti-aircraft artillery in Haines City

Battle Report
A patrol of Imperial pursuit aircraft advanced toward Haines City, but the defending forces are arriving in force.

The remaining Imperials, including 2 squadrons of bombers, approach the city.

Dogfights begin. The Imperial bombers are stuck in a holding pattern until the fighters clear the airspace.

But an Imperial pursuit squadron is decimated

Heavy fighting occurs over Haines City.

A Lucranian attack squadrons flanks on the left. The Imperials take heavy damage, losing 2 more squadrons.

The Lucranian pursuit squadrons go after the enemy bombers.

Inflicting damage on the invaders.

The Imperial attack squadron made a run for the city but was shot down.

Alone and with Lucrianian pursuers swarming around them, the Imperial bombers turned for home. The battered defenders, glad to see the tails of their enemies, broke off the pursuit.

A few hours later, Air Marshal Gruber read the reports of the action. He looked dismayed. Once again, the Lucranians had thwarted his plans; the Emperor would not be pleased. He would need to make one massive push in order to break the Lucranian resistance.

Campaign Notes
With the Lucranian victory, the victory tally stands at 2-1-1 in favor of the Imperials. There is one more game left; the Lucranians can score a draw in the campaign with a victory in the finale. Will Gruber get his victory or will he face the wrath of the Emperor?

Battle Notes
Today's scenario was # 16 Advance Guard from Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargames. It features two forces, each heading to occupy a town, running into each other. I modified it a bit. The Imperials needed to bomb the city while the Lucranians needed to prevent that from happening. Other than the city in the middle of the board, the terrain was rolled randomly. The mountains were considered impassable. Planes could fly into the clouds, but like woods in a ground-based game they gave cover to units in them.

I modified the rules slightly. Like my skirmish rules, I made the to hit number = 4 for all attacks (instead of having different target numbers depending on the type of aircraft). To account for the differences in durability, I gave each type a differing number of dice for saving rolls. As I've noted before. it seems easier to remember the number of dice than the number to hit. I don't know why that is, but it works for me. With this change, I'm not sure how to incorporate forced retreats. As a result, I did not use any during the game. Given how the squadrons were all bunched together, it probably would have helped.

This game exposed what seems to me to be a massive flaw in the rules. Currently, I do not allow squadrons to share a space. As a result, a squadron can block an enemy's path. I always justified it by saying that the unit in the space controlled that airspace. Attackers would need to defeat them to take over the airspace. This logic works fine for clashed between fighter squadrons but, I think it breaks down with bombers (shouldn't the bomber "always get through"?). In this game, the bombers got stuck behind the lines of fighters, "circling" while they waited for an avenue to advance. I'm thinking that they should be allowed to continue through the line of fighters (fending off attacks all the while) on their way to their target. I suppose I could model this by allowing bombers to share a space with other aircraft. I need to ponder this problem.


  1. An interesting change to the scenario. This one is always slightly unbalanced in that the side which moves first will occupy the town first and therefore always have an advantage.

    As for your stacking and interpenetration issues - welcome to the problems on interpenetration and multi-unit spaces in grid games :) It's something which bugs me from time to time, mainly with artillery pushed forward to do an initial bombardment then getting in the way of the troops who have to advance past it to make the attack.

  2. Ironically, the Lucranians moved second in this game. However, I was using activation rolls and poor ones on the Imperial part allowed the Lucranians to get to the town first. As you wrote, occupying the town as an advantage.

    I'm usually OK with the interpenetration issues for ground games. However, with air combat lack of interpenetration seems to ignore the 3rd dimension. I may try another approach for my air battles.