Two Spitfires scramble in the skies above Albion.
Dear readers, as September the 15th is the official ”Battle of Britain day”, what can be more appropriate for this week’s blog post than a pair of Spitfire MK1s?
Excellent and fast playing rule for aerial wargaming!
Fellow wargamer Mark (follow his blog here) recently turned me onto Check Your 6. I found the rules easy to learn and fast playing, while at the same time adding a lot of reality to the aeronautic element.
After one test game I had to succumb to the charm of aerial wargaming and face it – I was hooked on yet another unforeseen diversion. This time, however, a very affordable and quickly painted one.
The Battle of Britain - fought between July and October of 1940.
Since Mark have a very extensive and nice WW2 aircraft collection in 1/285, boasting some sharp looking Messerschmitt 109s, I went for the Raiden Miniatures 1/285 Spitfire MK1s, offering us a chance to play some of the Check Your 6 Battle of Britain scenarios.
Check Your 6 offers an great scenario book
on the Battle of Britain.
Assembling my first Spitfire plastic kit already as a young teenager, the charm of this very graceful “English lady” has always had a certain sway over me. I love the dynamic shape, the silhouette of the wings, and perhaps if you will, the myth of this plane that seemingly saved a nation if not the entire war, and became a symbol of British resilience in an otherwise very dark time. I love the story of these brave young RAF pilots, sometimes limping in with shot-up planes, while 10 minutes later scrambling off in a replacement in the 24/7 drama of these days in 1940, when the fate of Europe was decided in the skies over Britain.
A German bomber has its sight seeing tour cut short.
Fought between July and October of 1940, the Battle of Britain was essentially the “big push” of Göring’s Luftwaffe to damage British defenses, gain aerial superiority and open the door for a naval supported invasion of with the seemingly unstoppable Nazi land forces – Operation Sea Lion.
Raiden Miniatures offers a very nicely
sculpted Spitfire model and easy to apply decals.
As Luftwaffe raids commenced, the German bombers would be under fighter support from the very advanced and also incredibly beautiful Messerschmitt Bf109Es. In many ways arguably the better plane, the Messerschmitt however had a few challenges when pitted against the British Hurricanes and less numerous but more famous Spitfires.
Two well designed adversaries.
The Supermarine Spitfire Mk1 & the Messerschitt Bf109E.
The Bf109Es only had two machine guns and two low velocity canons against the RAF’s standard eight 7.7 mm Browning machine guns. At the same time, the fuel consumption of the German Daimler-Benz motor paired with the lengthy raid radius over the Channel, would have pilots stressed during combat with one eye on the fuel gage – every Messerschmitt pilot knew when it was time to break off, and head home before fuel the level would be too critical. The RAF had thus the advantage of closer supplies of fuel and ammo, meaning many squadrons could and would do several “scrambles” per day.
Despite a hot tail, this old boy made it home for tea
- with a great story to tell.
The slight advantage in aerial maneuverability of the Messerschmitt was thus nullified by the factors above. Nevertheless the Germans gave it their best shot, and went all in, even with the much feared bombing raids on London, aimed at zapping public and political morale. However, offensive operations costing the Luftwaffe 25-30% casualties during September, something that the Nazi war machine could not replace in a 1:1 timeline, took its toll on the striking power of the Luftwaffe. Eventually Hitler had to face the facts. The Nazis had attained their first defeat, and Operation Sea Lion was subsequently archived for good.
The back bone of British moral.
No further introductions needed.
Churchill’s famous words from a speech made during the fateful days of the battle, would resound to form the corner stone of public sentiment: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.
Thank you very much for reading!