Sunday, September 18, 2016

AAR20: Airwar Escalates

Umar sat in the cockpit of his F5E Tiger II, waiting to begin the war.  He felt excitement, and fear, not fear of death, but of failure.  He wondered if other pilots felt this.  He knew that none would admit to it. He wouldn't.  But still, did they share his secret.

The border between Uwanda (left) and Mugabian (right).
This battle takes place in the skies near Objective B21 (center right).

As the hour of the attack approached, Uwanda maintained its normal air patrols.  At the appointed time, additional aircraft would lift off, join up, and begin the attack.  Over the last hour, Mugabian air activity had increased.  Clearly, they had been alerted, but it would change nothing.  the instruments of war were already in play, and soon a chorus of death and victory would join in.

Uwanda's air force needed to gain air superiority so that their significant close air assets could support the ground invasion.  It was necessary if their numerically smaller ground forces were to achieve victory.  As H-hour arrived, the first major battle of the war began to take shape.

The map above shows the relative positions of air assets as the start
of the game.  The F5Es and Mig21s where about 2 minutes out
from where the dogfight would occur (green dot).

Umar's radar found the enemy first, two aircraft, moving fast and directly toward him and his wingman.  The Migs were 10,000 feet below and climbing, about eight miles out.  As he closed within his missile's seeker range, Umar pressed the button, and thought, "Now we will see what sort of pilot I am."

The Two Mugabian Air Force Mig21s climb to meet the Uwanda F5Es.

The two F5E's closed with two Mugabian Mig21s, both F5s followed an advanced Sidewinder missile, each plane had been equipped with four of these new missiles.  Both missiles closed with their targets, but were evaded.  To the disbelief of the Uwandan pilots, four of these missiles would be evaded before the aircraft got into gun range. 

The F5Es fire Sidewinders at the Migs.

A turning, twisting dogfight ensued, fought by similar machines flown by well trained pilots.  Uwanda's pilots were trained in the United States, but Mugabia's pilots were thought to be trained in Mugabia. 

 The Mig21s evade the missiles.

As Umar struggled to line up a shot on the lead Mig21, the Mig's wingman disappeared from his view,  then reappeared on Umar's tail.  The GSh-23 shrieked, and 23mm projectiles were the last thing to go through Umar's mind.

Two Uwanda Air Force F5As desparately climbed, and arrived just in time to see the second Mig21 destroy the second of the F5Es.  It appeared that fate would balance the battle, as the new F5s were to the rear and below the Mig21s.  Both F5As tried to fire their older AIM9B missiles, but neither could get a lock-on, both missiles malfunctioning. 

Already in gun range, the lead F5A happened into a terrific gun shot, which completely missed.  A few seconds later, the third F5 of the day would blow up without a pilot bailing out.  Within a minute, the Mig pilot would join his Uwandan counter-parts, as the second F5A would get his first gun kill.

A lengthy dogfight would ensue between the remaining F5 and Mig 21, with neither pilot able to get an  advantage on the other. 

Two more F5As would join the fight, both attempting and failing to get missile lock-ons as the Mig continued to dogfight the remaining F5A of the first pair.  Eventually the Mig21 managed to get a shot, but range was not favorable, and the shot missed. 

Out of ammo, and out-matched by three aircraft, while having only rear aspect K-13 missiles, the Mig pilot broke off the dogfight, accelerating and diving away from the inbound F5s.  The pair would each fire a Sidewinder of their own, but the Mig was to far and too fast to be caught.  The remaining F5 of the first pair managed to get two long ranged gun shots, that had no effect on the Mig before it was finally clear of the battle.

Three F5As and two Sidewinders give futile chase to the fleeing Mig21.

Uwanda had control of the sky over objective B21, at least for a little while, but the loss of three more F5s, two being the  more capable "E" model, for a single Mig 21 was not part of the plan.

Losses on the first day thus far:

2x G91 (one killed, one badly damaged)
4x F5E
1x F5A

1x Mig17
1x Mig21


In total contrast to the last battle, this one started at missile range, with four missiles being fired long before guns came into play.  Despite six missiles being fired, all kills were gun kills, and Uwanda missed out on five high probability hits early in this battle.

Umar's plane took six critical hits, three of which ended up as "pilot dead".  Just wasn't his day.

The game represented about four minutes of combat, and took 2.5 hours to play with 2 to 8 elements to control at any given time.  A little of that time was spent on noting position of other air-born aircraft not involved in this battle.

Regarding the rules (the second run of my homegrown system), the mechanics of climbing and diving maneuvers came more easily this time, but for the time that it lasted, running six planes and two missiles was challenging.  There are 22 other aircraft in the air as this battle is taking place.  I'm not sure if these rules are going to be manageable if a bigger furball than the one above occurs.

I think there will only be one more dogfight before the first ground battle takes place, but I have to look at the maps and timeline to make sure.


  1. Wow, Uwamda is having a rough time! The sidewinder technician needs his ass kicked! ;)


  2. I swear, its like the dice are playing favorites.