Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Messerschmitts over Odessa : 6mm Air Combat

It has been some time since I have played with my WWII aircraft collection. This is focused very much on the Eastern Front and over the years we have played a range of scenarios reflecting the air battles between the Luftwaffe and the VVS during Barbarossa.

There is masses of literature on the air combats that took place (check out amazon for books by Christer Bergstrom) and there are limitless options for varied scenarios from dogfights, bombing missions through to recon.

My planes are mainly Heroics and Ros 6mm and the rules I use are a slightly adapted version of Aeronautica Imperialis a 40k air combat game. It is simple to pick up and seems to give fun games nearly every time.

Our latest scenario was set in August 1941, while the battle for Kiev raged in the North a parallel battle was taking place for the Black Sea port of Odessa. A single Soviet Fighter Regiment  69 IAP who were later re-enforced were able to hold back the often better equipped Rumanian and German airforces.

In our scenario the Luftwaffe have sent a Rotte of Ju88's to bomb coastal defences around Odessa they are supported by Bf109's of JG77 under Major Anton Mader, and have with them a renowned German Pilot Rudolf Schmidt (Ace pilots have an obvious advantage during combats) To defend the port are a mixed collection of Soviet fighters including I-16's, Yak -1's and La5's (I had to cheat here as I didn't have enough Yaks)
Ju88's supported by Bf109's approach the port
The Ju88's are carrying a fairly limited supply of bombs so they need to get in and get out again with no guarantee of success. Two soviet MTB's can be seen leaving the port, they are armed with anti-aircraft guns so any planes going too close at low altitudes run the risk of being shot down. The two targets are gun emplacements on the two headlands and they can also fire at German planes.

Soviet planes entering from the right
As soon as the Soviet aircraft come into sight the Bf109's peal off to intercept.

Soviet I-16's in closeup 
Although they are very small I do find the aircraft very rewarding/fun to collect, paint and play with (we also find it hard not to make the appropriate noises when a particular plane dives into combat or lets rip with its guns dakka dakka dakka!)
Rudolf Schmidt heads towards the Russian fighters
Uh Oh one of the Bf109's is down ! luckily not Schmidt
Although battles invariably start slowly once the planes are in range it becomes quite chaotic and very dynamic, unfortunately for the Soviets they lost the two Yak's very early on, this was pretty much a fluke for the Germans but meant they had a real advantage.
Both Yak-1's have crashed onto the headland whilst the I-16's attack the Ju88
Although the I-16 's were a very old and outdated design compared to the modern Bf109 fighters they often held their own due to their manoeuverablility and greater numbers.
The I-16 and Bf109 are highly manoeuverable planes
But they are more vulnerable than some of the other planes. The Ju88's carry gunners both front and back so are not that easy to attack, ideally come in from the side.
Ju88 approaches the first target close to the downed Yak's
Ju88's attack the second target
As aircraft are swarming all over the place it is hard to tell the whole story. The first Ju88 was unsuccessful and was shot down by a combination of air and ground attack fire. The second bomber took its revenge knocking out the gun emplacement but was then seriously damaged. The Third bomber managed to hit the second target but was also damaged and can be seen limping away in the picture below.
Rudolf Schmidt adds to his tally of enemy planes shot down
By now the Soviets were pretty much down to their last couple of planes but he Germans were also running low on ammo. The remaining Ju88 needed to escape and climbed in altitude to avoid the unnecessary risk of fire from the MTB.
three to one not good odds !
The Soviets had one final chance with their remaining I-16 it needed one more hit on the German bomber to bring it down, but he knew to take the shot would almost certainly mean death with the three remaining Bf109's able to predict his attack run and get in ideal positions. There was really only one option to go for it as a true Hero of the Soviet Union. But the the German pilots were just too good.
dakka dakka dakka oh no Comrade Stevio is shot down
As it turned out despite the early setback of losing both Yak's the Soviets had made a spirited defence. Yes they were all dead or swimming back to the Crimea bu they had nearly taken down all three bombers the Messerschmitts would be more wary next time.

Happy to give more details of the rules if anybody interested.


  1. Another great looking game...and great pics! The backdrop really makes a difference.

    1. Thanks G backdrop is just hardboard and cheap acrylic paints, although I noticed in the photos that by a fluke the down light looks a bit like the sun shine breaking through just a fluke but makes the photos look nice.