I'm starting to write up the scenarios for the Bag the Hun Khalkhin Gol project, in draft format ready for playtesting once I've painted the necessary aircraft.
The first scenario is set on 20th May 1939, with a bounce by three Ki-27's of the 24th Sentai, 1st Chutai on two I-16's and an R-5*, south of the river on the Chinese side of the border at 18.10. The R-5 was probably returning from a reconnaissance mission but was shot down by the Japanese fighters, when the I-16's failed to protect it from attack by two of the Ki-27's, opting instead to escape.
This will be a straightforward 'bounce' scenario, with the three Ki-27's deploying as bogeys from the Western short edge of the table at Level 3, while the R-5 starts at the centre of the table heading West at Level 2. The I-16's will deploy no less than ten hexes behind the R-5, heading west at Level 2. The challenge for the Soviet fighters will be to close the gap with the R-5, which will have to evade the Japanese and attempt to exit the Western table edge before it is shot down by the enemy fighters.
The Japanese objective will be to shoot down the R-5 and, for a bonus, either of the I-16's. The sun will be in the West, giving the Japanese an advantage in addition to their higher altitude. As the are flying as a Shotai of three aircraft, the Japanese will probably have to split formation, if they want to both attack the R-5 and intercept the I-16's. The Japanese pilots were Lt Col Matsumura (Veteran), Lt Suzuki (Regular) and Sgt Maj Tatsumi (Regular).
In fact, Lt Suzuki and Sgt Maj Tatsumi had to attack six times to shoot down the R-5, which suggests it was making some effective evasive manoeuvres. As a result, the unnamed R-5 crew will be rated as Veterans, while the ineffective I-16 pilots will be Sprogs, which reflects the inexperience of the Soviet fighters at this point in the conflict. I'll have to invent some names for the Soviet aircrew, as I haven't been able to find out who they actually were. The R-5 pilot, let's call him St Lt Pavlov, will get a character card, as will Lt Col Matsumura.
The Soviets have a tough fight on their hands but can still avoid defeat if they can get the R-5 off the table before the Japanese can hit it hard enough to knock it out of the sky. This will depend very much on how quickly the R-5 crew or the I-16's can spot the Japanese bogeys, as before this they will just have to keep flying straight ahead until they get 'bounced'. For the purposes of bogey allocation, the Japanese will be operating over friendly territory, having worked their way round to cut off the Soviets from their route of escape.
I'll get cracking on a proper write up for this scenario this week and should be able to play test it solo relatively soon.
(* this is usually reported to have been an R-Z but, according to the Air War book which is the most up to date account, there were no Polikarpov R-Z present at the time, so I've used the R-5 instead)