Wanted to use my new desert mat that I bought at Historicon for my version of Bag the Hun. Decided I would paint up some P-39s for the occasion. I have some in russian colors but none for the USA. Figured I could use them in the desert, New Guinea and Guadalcanal. So painted them up in a camo scheme that was used on the 'canal and in Tunisia and rolled up the 91st Fighter Squadron using Squadron Forward. This is obviously a new squadron put ashore 10 days after the invasion. Historicaly they flew many cap missions until it became apparrent the P-39 was outclassed as a fighter. I will keep them in 1942-43 and see how they do. They have 1 vet ( Capt Filarto ) 3 average ( one with a drinking problem) and 4 green pilots. You could already say the cards are stacked against them but they don't know it yet!
Capt Filarto needed to pick who would accompany him on the squadron's first mission in Tunisia. After several orientation flights they were now going on a combat patrol just east of the beaches looking for trouble. He wanted the other element lead to be sharp and figured he could take 2 of the less experienced pilots as wingmen because everyone had to learn quick now that they were here. He decided on 2LT Mike Myers as the element lead. Mike was a natural born pilot ( flying demon skill) but he had a bit of an attitude. He was up from the enlisted ranks so was older than everyone but Filarto and seemed to blow hot then cold towards his squadronmates. Still he could fly. As his own wingman he chose 2Lt Andrew Sampson. Andrew was a quiet clean cut kid trying to do the right thing. Steve felt he would be steady once the shooting started. He chose 2Lt Jacob Hamm as Mike's wingman. If Mike had a friend in the squadron it was Jacob.
Lead Capt Filarto lazy/position Veteran
2LT Andrew Sampson Cultured/ family Green
2LT Mike Myers Fickle/ position Average Flying demon mustang
2LT Jacob Hamm Cultured/ family Green
Traffic control broke into the net, "Gold team leader, bandits inbound to beach. Change to course 206 20 angles to intercept." This is it! thought Steve.
He would take the fighters and told Mike to go down and break up the stukas.
At this point there were 2 P-39s against 4 ME 109Fs. ( Jacob managed to get off the table and Mike had damaged Jacob's assailant enough that he left as well.) Capt Filarto positioned himself for a diving pass at the stukas with a continuation away from the battle. He picked one and told Andrew to do the same...
Steve concentrated on aiming for the center of the plane and...
The only drama to play out now was 2LT Hamm's landing at the dirt airstrip. The airacobra is not particularly difficult to land ( unlike the ME 109) but Hamm was green (-1) and the aircraft was damaged (-1). Unfortunately, Hamm skidded left and cartwheeled the plane. It is a write off but he was only wounded.
Post game the squadron celebrated their first two kills. Capt Filarto told off Lt Gordon's the intel officer so that relationship is a -1 right now. Even though 6 stuka's got through and both sides lost two ships the squadron didn't lose a man and, as the Group commander said, "4 airacobras against 5 veteran messerschidts? I'd say you started out with the cards stacked against you."
for those of you that want to try your luck Squadron forward generated 1 ace, 2 veteran, 1 average and 1 green pilots for the germans.
PS Still haven't used my new desert cloth!