Artist Credit: Aces High II Screen shot
Historical Background: Setting: Operation Cherry Blossom
For the men of VF-17, November 1, 1943 brought them the first real action, as the Marines landed at Cape Torokina, near Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville's western side. The Jolly Rogers provided high cover for the landings, with staggered eight-plane flights on station until mid-afternoon. Cmdr. Thomas Blackburn led off the first flight of the morning, taking up station north of the landing area, in an oval pattern about 10 x 3 miles at 25,000 feet. The command ship, code-named "Cocker Base" announced bogies and Blackburn signaled his flight to attack. The targets comprised 18 Vals at 14,000 feet and 12 covering Zeros above them. Both four-plane divisions went into a long shallow dive, building up their speed to 350 knots.
Leading the first division, tense with the excitement of first combat, Blackburn opened up at 500 yards, hitting, but not destroying, his target. The F4Us recovered and zoomed up to 20,000 feet. Suddenly Blackburn found himself on a Zero's tail; he fired, it blew up, and his Corsair flew right through the resulting fireball. Meanwhile his wingman, Doug Gutenkunst, briefly chased a Val northwards, returned to rejoin the main fight, ducked into a cloud to escape a Zero, and then headed back to Ondongo when he couldn't locate the others. Ens. Jim Streig and Tom Killefer flamed two more Zeros. Thad Bell's second division followed Blackburn's and made one abortive firing pass. Bell and Earl May then headed back; Ray Beacham and Don Malone got separated, but Beacham pounced on a Zero. The pilot mistakenly tried to dive away, but the heavier Corsair caught up, and Beacham's burst from 200 yards blew him up. This was later determined to be the Jolly Rogers' first combat victory. Then a pair of Zeros bounced Beacham from out of the sun and shot up his right wing beyond repair. Beacham dived away and struggled home by himself.
Beacham's wingman, Malone, joined up with Blackburn for the trip home. They spotted a P-40 far ahead with a Zero about a mile behind him. The Corsairs couldn't hope to catch up but, in desperation, Blackburn fired at extreme long range. Incredibly, the Zero turned back toward them, and then, even more incredibly, motored straight in without any evasive action. With a short burst at 200 yards, Blackburn sent him down in flames.
The results of the day's first mission: 5 Zero kills and 4 damaged, no losses to VF-17.
F4U-1A-100% of Allied Forces. US Rolls from A12
The US objective is to defend the Naval and Marine landing forces (represented by the carrier fleet) at Cape Torokina (harbor south of A18).
Altitude Cap of 25,000ft. US planes may not fly north of the 13 line. Allies may not land or refuel on carrier. Allies must rtb to A12.
A6M5b-50% of Axis Forces (A6M5B substituting for A6M3)
D3A1-50% of Axis Forces
Japanese roll A20
Japanese objective is to attack US naval force off of the coast of Cape Torokina (harbor south of A18) and destroy US attackers.
IJ rolls at T+5 mins or at CMs discretion. Zeroes may not carry bombs. Altitude cap of 25,000ft.
All Planes -10 pts
Successful plane landing - 5 pts
1. Terrain - Slot2
2. Icon Range - Short
3. Wind - None
4. Time - 08:00 x1
5. Fighter & Bomber Warning Range - 52,800 (about 10 Miles)
6. Enemy Collisions - On
7. External view for bombers (F3) - on
8. Visibility - 7 miles
9. Friendly Collisions - off
10. Fuel - 1.5
11. Ack - 0.4
12. Kill shooter - off
13. Tower Range - 52,800 (for display to aid players, set to match above setting)
14. Radar - off
The Japanese used a 60% Val and 40% Zero attack force in the real life mission. For playability purposes, this ratio has been adjusted to 50/50 for this design.
IJ is to roll no earlier than T+5 mins. CM is to give IJ final clearance to roll. The harbor south of A18 will represent Cape Torokina and the Allied fleet there will represent the US naval and landing force.