For the first game my Italian's led a flight of 4 Fiat CR42s and a couple of Stukas against a British convoy of barges, hoping to cause as much damage as possible before the inevitable British fighters turned up to spoil the fun.
|The Stukas attack the barges, cunningly disguised as wooden bases|
Initially all went well with the Stukas diving down on the barges, occasionally being driven off by anti-aircraft fire but not taking damage while a pair of CR42s strafed the barges at low level. The 2nd pair of Fiats circled high above watching for the arrival of the Fleet Air Arm.
After 3 turns of merrily bombing and strafing a flight of 3 Gladiators arrived and the CR42s peeled off to engage them, leaving the Stukas to continue the attack on the barges. The 2nd group that been strafing took a very long time to climb to the correct altitude so it was left to group #1 to engage.
Some lucky firing from the Fiats shot up the lead Gladiator, damaging his controls and forcing him to turn tail and head off as he could no longer engage the enemy. There then followed a couple of rounds of circling and twisting as both sides attempted to get onto each others tails, or even get anywhere near a decent enough position to get a shot off.
Finally the Fiats managed to get a burst of fire against the Gladiator flight leader and scored a critical hit! Disappointingly all this did was cause the plane to swerve sideways.... but luckily this took it straight into the path of the remaining Gladiator, piloted by a very unlucky Rookie. Again this wasn't disastrous as all Keith had to do to avoid the mid-air collision was not roll double 6.... and of course that's exactly what he did! The Rookie was killed and the swerving Gladiator went into a spin, needing to test every turn to regain control and pull out of the dive.
|The CR42's gunfire hits the Gladiator, forcing it into the path of it's colleague|
Sportingly the Fiats followed him down, machine gunning the spinning biplane and causing major damage to his control which we decided would mean he couldn't regain control and plummeted to the ground. As the bombers had now exhausted their supply of bombs, sinking 3 barges and damaging a 4th, we decided it was time to head for home just in case any more fighters appeared.
So a very successful first out for the Regia Aeronautica and a rather dismal start for the FAA but I'm sure there's plenty of time for them to even the score.