Monday, November 23, 2009

Falcon of the Duce

Last Saturday we played a couple of small Check Your Six! games from the 'Falcon of the Duce' scenario and campaign supplement. This particular scenario book honors Italy's fighter ace Franco Lucchini, and his exploits across the Mediterranean Theatre of the War.

The first scenario took place on the 14th of June 1940, over the skies near Buq Buq, Libya. Lucchini and two other pilots intercepted a flight of British Gloster Gladiators and a dogfight ensued.

The Players: Phil commanding the Italians- One Ace (Lucchini) and two skilled pilots in Cr.42s, Justin- 2 green pilots in Gladiators, & Gert- 1 Veteran and 1 green pilot in Gladiators.

Around 10 O'clock in the morning, the Gladiators spot the Italian Cr.42s in the distance and close on them.

Lucchini and his wingmen pitch into the Gladiators on their right.

Then, Lucchini and another pilot shift to the left and single out a target, who just so happens to be the British veteran pilot.

With machine guns blazing, the Gladiator takes a hit and crashes to the ground. Luckily the pilot bails out and will live to fight another day.

Then the other Gladiators exact some revenge and knock down one of the Italians. It is now 3 on 2.

Nose to nose, the pilots are looking each other in the eyes.

But, it is the Italian who takes out the Brit. It is now 2 on 2.

As the combatants circle around each other looking for a clear shot, another hit for the Italian takes out a third British plane. Now, it is two on one. Commanding the last British plane, I decide it is time to pull out of the fight. Being a green pilot, I realize there is no way I can get myself in a good position for a clean shot when I'm up against a skilled and an ace pilot, so I dive out of the action. It is only after the game that I find out that Lucchini's plane is damaged and he has been avoiding the fight, but his presence on the field is enough to shake my nerves.

The second scenario we played consisted of Lucchini taking off from Tobruk with a flight of Cr.42s to intercept a British Sunderland Flying Boat.

The Players: Justin- Sunderland Flying Boat
Gert- 1 Ace (Lucchini) and 1 skilled pilot in Cr.42s, Phil- 2 skilled pilots in Cr. 42s

Two Italians close on the Sunderland quickly, but with limited fuel, they only have a couple of turns to get in some good hits. If they fail, it will be up to Lucchini and his wingman (a good distance away) to catch up and finish the job before the Brit makes it off the field.

The Sunderland was known for it's ability to take a beating and keep on flying, so the Italians, with their poorly armed fighters, will have a tough job of taking her down. Especially while dodging shots from one of the many machine guns positioned on their prey.

For the first game, Phil was able to get a lucky hit on the first turn and knocked the Brit out of the sky. Since it was over so quickly, I was confident that I could do better, and took command of the Sunderland for a second game, only to be knocked out of the game on turn two.

Then Phil decided to take a crack at it. As I gave chase, one of my CR.42's got knocked out, and the other ran out of ammo, but in the process I hit the Sunderland's engine, and she lost speed. Now we had a fight! It would up to Justin (with Lucchini and his wingman) to close the gap and pound the large beast before it could exit the field.

As Justin rushes on, it's going to be close. As soon as they are within range of each other, they open fire. It is turning out to be a real nail biter.

And Lucchini does it again! Phil was only one turn away from completing his escape. As an explosion takes down the Sunderland, a subsequent roll is made to see if any shrapnel hits Lucchini, but he gets lucky and survives.

Today turned out to be a good day for the Italians. We had a great time playing some early war scenarios, and you have to love playing with Bi-planes in WWII.

Enjoy the holiday, and we'll see everyone in December for some more great gaming!

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