I played the new Wing Leader: Supremacy 1943-1945 (GMT Games) today. I own and have previously played the original Wing Leader: Victories 1940-1942 that covers the early war years. Supremacy comes with new v2.0 rules that both clean up and clear up several rules issues from the earlier edition. The changes are few but enough that I went back to the “starter” scenario to relearn the system.
Scenario S01 Climb the Matterhorn recreates an August 1944 B-29 raid by XX Bomber Command against Kyushu. Defending are two squadrons of Ki-84 (Frank) and one squadron of Ki-61 (Tony) fighters. The Americans have to get across the board (exit the edge) before losing too many of their numbers.
The lead B-29 squadron took the brunt of the Japanese attacks and suffered three losses (out of a 9-ship squadron) and had a straggler. The squadron also ended up disrupted before it could exit the battle space. The second B-29 squadron also lost a bomber and had another straggler. This day the vaunted defenses of the B-29 did not appear up to the task for they shot down just one Tony. The Americans were actually pretty lucky for their loses could of been worse. The second Ki-84 squadron (with Green pilots) broke after their first attack and left for home without shooting down a single bomber. The Ki-61 squadron was hapless; scoring several hits but only shot down a single B-29 (and made a straggler out of another) before it too broke and headed home. Amazingly, the lead Ki-84 squadron hung around the entire fight and attacked each B-29 squadron at least once. This Ki-84 squadron refused to break for home even with depleted ammo and when fighting in a disrupted condition. It eventually accounted for three B-29s going down.
In the end, the Americans scored 16 VP (6VP x2 for each unbroken squadron exiting, 3VP for the disrupted Squadron, 1VP for the shot-down Ki-61). The Japanese scored 12 VP (3VP x4 for each B-29 shot down). This +4 differential for the Americans was not enough to avoid a Japanese victory. Given the fact that one Ki-84 squadron broke early, and the second was hapless, this loss is certainly not as bad as it could of been!
Wing Leader is more fun than I remember. I also really like the fact Supremacy comes with a mounted map. As I ease back into Wing Leader it will be interesting to go back to Victories and try out some of the early war scenarios and eventually move onto Supremacy with its late war aircraft (Me-262!). I really like the Wing Leader series because it gives context to air combat. Each side has a mission and keeping that mission focus is important even as planes flame down out of the sky and squadrons break for home after losing cohesion.