This was a variation on Willy's NUTS! scenario (see last blog entry) where an important RAF pilot was shot down and behind enemy lines. The difference, however, is that he was not in German hands and had sent out a radio message saying he was holed up in the ruins of a small village. Unfortunately the message went out unencoded and the Germans heard it to. The race was on to capture the pilot!
This time, though, the pilot was played by a third-party.
The German Forces
As we were playing with vehicles we scrounged through Hill's bag of goodies and found a truck and a halftrack (251/1, I believe). The forces were as follows:
- Heavy Halftrack (Armored +1, Off-Road, Personnel Carrier 9, Tracked, Vehicle) with driver (Q4+, C2), drum-fed LMG (Long range, C+3, Auto Fire), and Gunner (Q4+, C2)
- Private (Q4+, C2) with KAR98 rifle (Long range, C+2) and Grenades (C+3)
- Sergeant (Q3+, C3, NCO) with MP40 SMG (Medium range, C+1, Auto Fire, Move and Shoot) and Grenades (C+3)
- Medium Truck (Vehicle, Wheeled, Personnel Carrier 12) with driver (see above)
- Private x 3 (see above)
- LMG team (Q4+, C2) with MG34 (Long range, C+3, Auto Fire, Stable, Crewed)
- Officer (Q3+, C3, Leader) with MP40 (see above) and Grenades (see above)
Again, a British Paratroop Officer (but not a Leader) was sent as a liaison and was able to get a US reconnaissance squad.
- Jeep (Vehicle, Wheeled, Off-Road, Personnel Carrier 3) with driver (Q4+, C2) and M1 Carbine (Medium range, C+2, Move and Shoot), gunner (Q4+, C2) and .50 caliber MG (Long range, C+3, Auto Fire, Stable, Armor Piercing, Lethal against soft targets)
- British Paratroop Officer (Q3+, C3) with Thompson SMG (Medium range, C+2, Auto Fire, Move and Shoot) and Grenades (C+3)
- Jeep (see above) with driver (see above) and M1 carbine (see above)
- Sergeant (Q3+, C3, NCO) with M3 SMG (Medium range, C+1, Auto Fire, Move and Shoot) and Grenades (see above)
- Private (Q4+, C2) with M1 Garand (Long range, C+2, Move and Shoot) and Grenades (see above)
- Private (see above) with BAR (Long range, C+2, Auto Fire) - no Grenades
- Jeep (see above) with driver (see above) and M1 Carbine (see above)
- Officer (Q3+, C3, Leader), with M3 SMG (see above) and Grenades (see above)
- Private x 2 (see above) with M1 Garand (see above) and Grenades (see above)
One of the RAF's aces, and the son of a Lord to boot, it is important that each side recover him for their own propaganda purposes.
Pilot (Q3+, C2, Born Driver) with no weapons.
Both sides started off of the board, with the pilot hidden in a building. Neither the German nor the Allied player knows the exact location of the pilot.
The Germans won the toss and chose to let the Allies enter the board first. Given that it is easy in Flying Lead to turn over without doing much of anything, the action describes events, not turn-by-turn actions.
The figure below shows the village ruins with light woods surrounding it and a pair of giant hands to the south.
The Germans send the halftrack forward to scout out the town before the truck comes on. They see nothing anywhere, but can hear fast-moving vehicles to the northwest.
The American jeeps come screaming onto the board and swing around the right flank. They can barely hear the clank of the German halftrack over the roar of their engines. They are apparently to the southeast of their position.
The Germans dismount their scout to check out the building. No one on the first floor...
The Pilot desperately jumps out of the top floor window into the street (he must also have the Acrobat attribute) and starts to run towards the Allied jeeps, waving to catch their attention.
One of the jeeps notices the waving pilot and grinds to a stop. "Cover fire!" yells the Sergeant.
Everyone jumps out and starts firing wildly at the gunner on the halftrack. Miraculously, no one (including the BAR gunner) hits the pilot who is in the line of fire! "Spread out you screwballs" screams the Sergeant, "before ..."
Too late! A ripping sound tears through the air as the MG34 opens fire on the group. The BAR gunner goes down, but is not out. "Run for cover!" the Sergeant yells, but all of the troops hesitate, unsure of what to do. They feebly return fire.
The air rips again and the Sergeant and a private go down from the fire from the halftrack's MG and the German Sergeant's MP40!
"Bloody hell!" the pilot yells. "Get that jeep started soldier" the pilot yells to the driver. Unfortunately, the driver was scared out of his wits, so he started the jeep and took off! "Wait for me you idiot!"
At this point everything had been played straight. This was not some hokey morale check that the figure failed, but more of a failed Player morale check. He ordered his man to drive off before the pilot had reached the vehicle!
The pilot and the BAR gunner run after the jeep with the pilot barely jumping on-board, but the gunner, weighed down by all the ammo, could not catch up.
The BAR gunner only got two actions, which was not enough to reach the vehicle, but the pilot got three, and passed his Quality check to leap on-board without a problem.
The trees were getting just a little too close and one of the jeeps hit a patch of mud, causing to to skid out of control into a tree! The jeep was immobilized, but no one was hurt. They all quickly dismounted and headed west.
If a player turns over initiative and there are still some vehicles that moved last turn that did not get a chance to activate, they automatically move one action straight forward. In this case, the player had left his vehicle moving while still pointing at a tree, so when the mandatory movement occurred, it went into the tree. This caused hoots of laughter, especially as we discovered that the method for determining what happened was to have the jeep "combat" the tree. Tree 1, jeep 0.
Hey, you cannot script this stuff. This is what happens when you put vehicles into the hands of kids.
Here is the view right at the point of the critical turnover. The Paratroop Officer is in the lead jeep with the .50 cal, the pilot is barely hanging on in the second jeep, the BAR gunner is quickly being left behind, and the men from the crashed jeep (seen with steam rising from the radiator) are heading west.
The BAR gunner hears a sickening clanking sound coming up quickly behind him. He turns and looks...
This was called "let's test the overrun rules". Again, howls of laughter from everyone as the resolution was to conduct "combat" between a halftrack and a human. The rules should stipulate that said death was definitely a "gory death".
The Germans have one more chance to bring home a victory. This last shot, and the subsequent activation of the pilot's jeep, determine whether the pilot gets away or not. And the roll is ... '1' for the Germans and a '6' for the Allies! The Germans just didn't have any accuracy at the higher speeds. (That and a speed bump threw off their aim.)
Needless to say, everyone had a good time, including the spectators. It is interesting what the random minds of kids can conjure up! Definitely a great set of convention rules as it was easy to teach and grasp.