Monday, 27 February 2017
Bag the Blenheims: No229 Squadron RAF
The third element of the Operation Crusader Bag the Hun scenario is No229 Squadron RAF, which provided the top cover for the bombing mission by No14 Squadron. The Operational Record Book of No14 Squadron noted that the top cover was engaged in a dogfight with enemy fighters during the attack, with one Bf109F shot down for the loss of two Hurricanes. These were apparently two of the eleven Hurricane II's of No229 Squadron, which were escorting the Blenheim IV's on the 31st December.
I've tried really hard to find more information about No229 Squadron but have drawn a bit of a blank. I have two conflicting sources, one of which states that they were equipped with Hurricane IIb's and another which suggests that they had been allocated Hurricane IIc's by December 1941. I have decided to use the former in the scenario, as I already have them painted and based, albeit as No185 Squadron aircraft. I've also decided to scale back the numbers to a more manageable eight aircraft in two flights of four, which would give a better balance for the scenario.
The pilots will be a mixture of Veterans and Regulars, with a couple of Sprogs thrown in to make things interesting. In fact, the squadron had only been re-formed in September 1941, having initially been split up to reinforce other units, before being re-united as a squadron in it's own right when the Squadron Leader made an official complaint. It would seem reasonable that some novice pilots would have been used to fill any gaps at this point. Unfortunately, I have also been unable to identify any of the pilots by name, so the flight leaders will have to be anonymous, which is a bit of a shame.
The Hurricane II's will be flying at Altitude Level 5 and will enter the table behind and above the bombers, probably on Turn Two from the same short table edge. They will not be using bogey markers, however, as I'm going to reserve those for the pilots of Stab III./JG27, who will be attacking out of the sun from the next level higher up. This should reflect the superior experience of the Luftwaffe pilots and their tactical use of the sun to bounce the RAF fighters. I think this should give them the edge, at least to start with, and force the RAF players to over estimate the threat.