Monday, 1 August 2016

263 Squadron Whirlwind Missions [6]

It's the time of year again when I dig out my Bag the Hun Two scenario writing crayons and start scribbling down ideas. Over the last couple of years I've spent the summer holidays researching and developing a set of scenarios involving No263 Squadron RAF and it's Westland Whirlwind fighter bombers. The 'Whirlibomber' is one of my favourite fighter aircraft and it's short operational lifespan was nothing if not packed with action.

I have drawn heavily on the Squadron Operational Records Book and also a number of secondary sources, all of which have given me sufficient background information to create historically accurate yet playable scenarios. This year I managed to submit two of these for the Toofatlardies 2016 Summer Special, so it does pay off in the end, but I have at least half a dozen more in the development stage and there's no shortage of potential games to work on.

This seasons' efforts will revolve around anti-shipping and low level ground attack missions, which were the bread and butter for No263 Squadron in the Summer of 1943. The Whirlwind had been successfully tested with an operational bomb load in mid-1942 and this became a key weapon in the arsenal of the squadron as it perfected low level anti-shipping tactics alongside high level dive bombing techniques. A lot of these missions involved very low level hit and run attacks, escorted by top cover Spitfire VB's.

In particular, the pilots of No263 gained considerable success in Rhubarb and Roadstead missions against rail infrastructure targets and naval vessels at anchor in the ports of Brittany and Normandy in the Summer of 1943. This will be the focus for at least three separate scenarios based on the ORB, each one of a distinctly different nature but all involving very low level  attacks often under heavy flak or in challenging flying conditions.

I'll post more about each one when I've firmed things up and bit and filled in some gaps.

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