by Brooke, GL, IJN1 (1st Sentai)
This was a scenario that ran in the multiplayer on-line air-combat simulation Aces High.
I was the Group Leader (GL) of IJN1 (1st Sentai). IJN1 consisted of me (Brooke), Culero, DaPup, Gas50, KKEN (FL of IJN1), Notch, Money, Bodhi, Rash, tf15pin, and Don5090. (Interestingly, Money is the pilot who went by the handle "YES" in Air Warrior. I flew in scenarios with him way back when, such as this one. This was the first time I'd been in touch with him since those days.) We were in A6M5b's, loaded with 100% fuel. Our takeoff field was A2 (Bangkok).
IJN1 thunders down the runway at Bangkok, in our early-morning takeoff. There is another squadron on the runway behind us. From left to right in IJN1 (the ones whose wheels are kicking up dust): tf15pin, gas50, Boozer, don5090, me (Brooke), Bodhi, Notch, KKEN, Rash, and airborn is Money. DaPup and Culero are in the back middle.
In the foreground, me and Boozer in our lovely A6M5b's. Our mission today involves IJN1, IJN2, IJN3, and IJAAF1 forming a forward sweep, which I am to coordinate. We are to move ahead of the bombers and CAP the Moulmein area. There, we are to wait for the bombers, then push forward to Rangoon, and CAP that. In this picture, IJN1 is overtaking the bombers on the way to Moulmein. In the background are IJN3 and two from LR Escort. From left to right: MrRulo, MrEllis, Shuzon, HammerX, Henry8, kculon, KAZahb, Edgar, dhyran (the GL of IJN3), Winzig, and Sloehand.
A view of me and behind me as we go to Moulmein, with IJA1 off to the right rear of IJN1. From left to right: shakey61, Denber, SpiveyCH (the GL of IJA1), GowGow, one I can't make out, echoCMM, gmoney20, gas50, Drem, Money, Notch, Culero, don5090, Boozer, and Rash. On our way to Moulmein, in 11.10.7, our forces find an enemy Beaufighter (A-20) scout and report it. It is reported again in 10.11.2. Auger or AKKaz dispatches two of his planes to shadow it and try to chase it off. This was an excellent move on their part and might have had a big benefit, causing the the A-20 not to find the bombers.
We run into bogies to our 1 o'clock on our way to Moulmein, call out alerts on the radio, and go check it out. It ends up being IJA2 (the aircraft visible in the distance as I turn away and get back on path to Moulmein). Originally in the mission orders, IJA2 were to be behind the sweep group, but that was changed prior to the mission. It gave us some excitement for a bit until we figured out the bogies were friendlies.
A picture of IJA1 (to the left) and IJN1 (to the right) overflying Moulmein airfield (bottom middle). Moulmein has radar, and my plan is to make the mission appear to the allies exactly the same as in frame 1. IJA1 is to fly into the radar circle and CAP over Moulmein. IJN1 is to fly through the radar circle in the direction toward Rangoon, but then CAP northwest of the radar circle. IJN2 is to stay out of the radar circle and CAP SW of the radar circle. IJN3 is to stay out of the radar circle and CAP east of the radar circle. All squadrons did a fine job, and we didn't see any enemies around Moulmein.
We get the call to head to Rangoon, and all sweeps go that way. As IJN1 is NW most of the sweep squadrons, I have IJN1 join up with IJA1 before continuing on to Rangoon. Here, we are merging with IJA1. Then, we head toward Rangoon. I call for sweep groups to CAP just south of Rangoon city, staying out of ack and out of the Rangoon airfield radar circle until the bombers show up. As we enter the Rangoon area, we can see the airfield and the city, and the area is clear of enemies. I take IJN1 about 10 miles west of Rangoon city to make sure enemies aren't coming in from that direction.
A view of Rangoon city after the bombers' first pass. Here, I am over flying the area, coming back with IJN1 from a west of the city (which was completely clear), back to the bombers. I call for all sweep groups to join up with the bombers. We'll sort out screens once the bombers get turned around and headed out of the area.
I am joined up with the bombers. Jedi25 and Flossy in their bombers are visible in this picture. The bombers had continued northwest from Rangoon, and I realized they were doing that to come back around for another bombing run. (In hindsight, I'm now more glad IJN1 scouted west.) I was worried, though, since they got close to a factory (visible bottom right), which has AAA, and all our planes would then be flying through it. It's shooting at HacksawX at the moment (upper right). But it seemed to turn out OK. I saw a Zero or two with fuel leaks afterward, but I didn't hear reports of many losses.
Here, I'm overlfying the bombers as they head in for their second bombing run. We are getting some AAA from Rangoon city. Visible from left to right in bombers: bmathis, bijl, helbent, Nisky, and Kermit (GL of the bombers). Above in fighters from left to right: Winzig, LeitWolf (our CO), lsum41, and someone blocked by my canopy frame.
A view of bombs hitting Rangoon city. The HQ has just gone up in a huge, mushroom-cloud-like explosion, and buildings in the upper left are in the process of being blasted to bits. I am very happy at this point.
I'm joined up over the leading bombers, overflying them as they head south. Earlier, there was some confusion about the bombers' egress from the target area. I had assumed they'd run south or SSE, but I saw (I think) a radio message that said they'd exit toward a15 and a16, which is SW. The bombers actually exited heading east. I got a little behind the bombers during this, and also the bombers at this time would occasionally be lost to sight in occasional mists (i.e., server overload), so it was harder to find them. I wasn't far out of range, but not where I wanted to be. I asked IJN1 just to get to the bombers and stay with them for now. I was worried about the bombers heading east -- south seemed safer (perhaps an irrational feeling). LeitWolf and others liked south, and LeitWolf called for south after a bit. In hindsight, it might have been excellent that the bombers left Rangoon heading east out of the radar circle, then turned south. It might have thrown off allied pursuit. Anyway, in the picture above, nice formation bmathis, Kermit, and A8Nisky!
IJN1 wheels around in a turn, heading up the right side of the bombers. We took up position forward right of the bombers, and I asked IJN2 to take up in front, and IJN3 to take up forward left. There were plenty of IJAAF fighters over and just to the rear of the bombers, so they seemed well covered in this arrangement. At this point, we have evaded all contact with the enemy fighters other than one or two Beaufighter (A-20) scouts. From left to right: LEDPIG, Sloehand, mipoikel, KKEN, MrButch, Flossy, REEMO, gas50, Rash, LeitWolf, culero, DaPup, notch, Money, ROC, jedi25, bijl, bmathis, don5090, helbent, bigmo, rob53, Kermit, SkyGnome, A8Nisky, LtManny, Barkoad, Spartin2, ColClark, and flatiron. Later on, the rear guard (which was half a sector to a sector behind the bombers) reported enemies trying to get south. Our rear guard engaged those enemies (I recall 613ELD saying his squadron was in a huge fight, outnumbered) and either kept the enemies from getting south or enormously delayed them from getting south. Good work, guys!
The first enemy in on the bombers -- two P-40's. I didn't even notice them until they were closing on the bombers. IJN1 had been ranging forward and back along the right side of the bombers, protecting the right and front right. It looks like these P-40's came from right front of the bombers at time when IJN1 had just ranged back along side the bombers, before we were back in front again. I'm trying to cut off the one to the right that is 1.5k yards out and coming in, but he gets to the bombers first. These two P-40's do a pass on the bombers from the side, then continue on and out the left rear of the formation, where they pick up a lot of pursuit, so I don't follow. Bigmo and bijl do not lose bombers in this attack. From left to right: jedi25, Flossy, bijl, bigmo, and LeitWolf.
An A-20 comes in from behind the bombers. This was reported on the radio well in advance. I maneuver to cut him off. He's already smoking.
I'm closing on the A-20, but he has many others after him, too; and he's diving out, not a threat to the bombers. I break off about a second after this picture was taken and zoom back to the bombers, which are currently travelling south. After this, things are quiet for a while, and the bombers make their turn east. At that point, I position IJN1 to protect the left (north) side of the bombers.
Folks call P-40's in on the bombers, and I come back from N of the bombers to see a P-40E racing in from behind. I try to cut him off, and get to about 400 yards, but don't land any hits. GhostCDB, Sethbag, rob53, and SkyGnome are also in pursuit and in front of me, and the P-40 is diving out to the front right, so I break off. Some pieces are visible from one of Flossy's bombers, which he just shot, but she currently still has all three aircraft. Kermit (upper middle) is missing one bomber at this point. I zoom climb over the bombers and look for more P-40's coming in, and the P-40E is shot down as it tries to get away.
A P-40 comes in from north of the bombers, and I call it out. I try to cut him off, but he comes in with a lot of speed, perhaps having come down from 14k or so. I can't close enough for cannon shots, but I try to scare him with longer-range shots from my machineguns. I'm hoping to get him rattled, to mess up his concentration. I break off when reports come in of more P-40's coming in from the north.
A view out my left window. I'm zoom climbing in a direction to try to merge with the P-40's as they come in from the north at about 14k. Visible in the picture from left to right: DaPup, shuzon, MrRolo, SF3, culero, and shukes. There are some other IJAAF fighters chasing behind these P-40's as they come south. (This is about 1:14 into the frame.)
A view out my left window. I'm continuing to maneuver in an attempt to merge with the P-40's at they come in. I'm at about 13k at this point, and leveling to build up some speed. From left to right: shukes, culero, ZRapier, gas50, Toraque, spiveyCH, MrEllis, and flatiron.
A view forward left as I dive with the P-40's, still working my merge/cutoff course with them.
Several of the leading P-40's are able to get by us, but there are others behind the leaders. I and others, such as ROC and Gazoom1 (lower right of picture), are able to break some of these P-40's off their course to the bombers. The four P-40's in this picture are examples. I merged with the high P-40B (upper left), and he broke off to the right. As he pulls away from me, I roll over to get on the one 400 yards off (bottom middle of picture). I stay on him until he maneuvers away and pulls away from me. Then I get back on course toward the bombers.
I'm chasing one of the P-40's (a P-40E) as he tries to run up the tail of the bomber formation, down at about 10k. You can see tracers from fighters behind me who are also on this P-40E. Visible ahead of me are fighters chasing the other P-40, from left to right: SkyGnome, Xcelsior, dhyran, and Murdr. Bombers visible are, from left to right, blocked by my canopy frame, bigmo, and A8Nisky.
A view through my gunsight as I close and put cannon rounds into the P-40E. He is trying to get to bigmo and A8Nisky.
His wing and aft fuselage is blown off by my and others' cannon rounds. A damaged P-40 that I can't catch is zooming up toward the bombers about 1.5k yards in front of me. He saddles up on a bomber (A8Nisky, I think) but is shot down after a bit, perhaps by A8Nisky's guns.
I chase some more P-40's coming in low, but don't close enough for my cannons before they dive out or are swarmed by IJAAF fighters. Also chasing them are dhyran and SIM. I break off and get altitude over the bombers. These three P-40's don't get any shots on the bombers and are driven off or shot down.
A very high P-40B comes diving in on the bombers. I chase, but he comes from far above me, and I can't get any closer than 800 yards. Xcelsior above is chasing as well. This P-40 makes a run on Flossy (her last bomber, too!), but she survives the pass. The P-40B is then shot down by bomber gunners as he goes up the formation. This is the last attack on the bombers.
A view as I overfly the bombers on our way home. From left to right: jedi25, dhyran (in his fighter), bijl, A8Nisky, bmathis, Kermit, bigmo, and helbent. Flossy is just behind jedi25. Flossy has lost 2 aircraft, bijl lost 1, and Kermit lost 1.
I land back at Bangkok with 2-3 minutes of fuel left. The bombers of bigmo and Kermit are visible, landing on the other runway.
It was an excellent frame. We managed to avoid the allies getting on our bombers until well away from Rangoon. IJAAF fighters were able to stop just about all enemy aicraft that came in under 12k. We didn't stop all that came in above 12k, but we did divert or stop some of them and limited the rest to about one pass.
I didn't bleed to death this frame, got an assist on a P-40E, and landed back at base.
IJN1 got 1 kill, and had about 7 pilots return safely back to base.
-- Brooke, GL, IJN1