I spent some time today working out what I'm going to do for the Bag the Hun 2 game at the club in a couple of weeks. This was supposed to be a North Africa game but, after a bit of a think, I've decided to switch the action to Malta in October 1941. There's a lot of potential in the Malta option and I reckon it could be a solid basis for a series of campaign games.
This is for a number of reasons. Firstly, my Hawker Hurricanes are a spot-on match for No185 Squadron aircraft including the single letter fuselage codes. Secondly, I have some lovely Museum Miniatures Mc200's and Mc202's that I can use, the latter making any dogfights a little less one sided. Thirdly, I only have a blue hex mat, so any scenarios would need to be over the sea to look right.
After reading through some of my various reference books and doing some inevitable googling, I've identified at least four potential scenarios that would work well for the number of players that have signed up for the game. From this shortlist, I've chosen an engagement on the 1st October 1941 between eight Hurricane IIA's of No185 Squadron and seven Mc202's of No73a Squadriglia, the first action in which the new Italian fighters were deployed over the island:
On the morning of 1 October 1941, the 9o Gruppo undertook its first sorties over Malta with its new aircraft, seven MC.202s from 73a Squadriglia led by Capitano Pluda taking part. Partaking pilots were Capitano Carlo Ivaldi, Tenente Pietro Bonfatti, Sottotenente Giuseppe Oblach, Sergente Maggiore Enrico Dallari, Sergente Santo Gino and Sottotenente Alvaro Querci (Querci was however forced to return due to problems with his oxygen supply).
At 11:50, eight Hurricanes from 185 Squadron scrambled after the incoming ‘bandits’, climbing to 24,000 feet. At this height, 30 miles north-east of the island, they were jumped by the Macchis and 24-year-old Squadron Leader Peter ‘Boy’ Mould (RAF no. 33414) (Hurricane Z5265/GL-T) was shot down and killed (at this time Mould was credited with 8 and 3 shared victories).
Capitano Carlo Ivaldi, Tenente Bonfatti and Sergente Maggiore Dallari claimed two Hurricanes shot down and two probables between them in this first pass; Bonfatti reported that he saw his opponent to jump and parachute (according to some sources the Italian pilots claimed three victories).
Sergeant Ernie Knight got in a shot at the attackers, obtaining hits on Ivaldi’s aircraft (MM7723), which he claimed damaged. The Macchi had been hit in its main fuel tank, and with all fuel drained away, was obliged to force-land on a beach near Pozzzallo, on regaining the Sicilian coast.
As you can read for yourself, this provides plenty of detail for a cracking interception scenario including some specific characters cards, a couple of junior aces and the opportunity to deploy some Italian bogeys to introduce another element to the game. I think it'll be quite balanced as well, giving both sides the chance to achieve some success.
I'll have a crack at writing something up tomorrow and will get some turncards sorted, once I've worked out exactly what I need. I also need to tart up the Mc202's with some theatre bands, tail insignia and fusealge codes, if they're to look the business. This shouldn't be too difficult and will add a little extra 'ooh shiny' factor to the game.