Ultra-Simple WWII Air Combat
These are simple, fast-playing rules designed for use with 1:300-scale aircraft. They make no apologies about, nor any claims to, realism of any sort. All dice are the 6-sided kind. To speed play, it is recommended that miniatures are based on circular stands marked off like the face of a clock, in 30-degree segments starting from the plane's facing.
Each plane can operate at up to six levels, depending on their "service ceiling":
The altitude is indicated with counters (use a small six-sided die) or with height of stands. A plane cannot exceed its "service ceiling" level as shown in the plane stats chart below.
Each turn, every planes has orders written for it. These can include:
Planes at Ground/Sea level must make a straight climb move to get off the ground, at which point they may maneuver normally. Planes landing must make a straight dive move in line with the airstrip/carrier on which they are landing.
Note that planes given orders to climb above their service ceiling will stall involuntarily. This will happen when a roll is made such that the service ceiling is exceeded also.
All movement is conducted simultaneously, according to orders. When complete, all firing is conducted simultaneously. Note that there is no such thing as a mid-air collision. Planes will always use their full movement allowance as shown in the plane stats chart, based on their activity. Thus, you either use your level, climb, or dive distance as your basic move. The capacity for other operations (turns, loops/rolls, etc.) are based on this movement factor.
Guns have an "arc of fire": For fixed, forward-facing guns, this is a cone of fire from the center of the aircraft model going out 30 degrees to either side of facing. For rear-facing guns, this is a cone of fire going out 30 degrees to either side of the rear facing of the model. For turret-mounted guns, this is generally 360 degrees, depending on mounting, and may not be able to fire down or up an altitude level (see plane stats, below).
Any enemy plane at the same or one level different altitude, within the arc of fire, and within range may be rolled on as a target.
Range is based on weapon types:
For each gun, roll one die to hit:
Fighters and bomber powered mounts have a base 4, 5, or 6 to hit; bombers have a base 5 or 6 to hit.Add +1 if target is within 1/2 range and on the same level.
For each hit, roll damage:
When damage points equal the planes' damage rating, it is destroyed.
Bombing runs are made in straight level or dive moves over the target (depending on capabilities of the bomber), and torpedo runs in level or dive moves in line with the target, up to 6" away. Bombs and torpedos are considered to be dropped/launched during the movement segment - their release is not disturbed by subsequent fire.
For each bomb (1000 lbs), roll one die:
Torpedos must be dropped from Level 2, and have a 4-6 on target.
Targets should be assigned a damage factor as to how many hits they can sustain before being functionally destroyed. Typically, this is one for ground targets. For an aircraft carrier or battleship, use 6 to 10; for a cruiser, 3 or 4; for a destroyer, 1 or two; for anything smaller, one.
When a bomb or torpedo hits a naval target, roll a die: on a 1, the torpedo or bomb does no damage. On a 6, double the damage. Note that some large torpedoes will do 2 points of damage.
These are abstracted to simplify play, and are assumed to have 360-degree mounts, although arc of fire may be restricted by scenario.
Planes may be targeted by AA when they are:
Each AA emplacement rolls three dice, with a 6 to hit. Damage rolls require a further 6. Numbers of dice may be modified by scenario.
Clouds may be placed at any altitude on the table. They restrict vision, and thus stop fire: you cannot fire through or into clouds. They have no effect on movement. Bombs dropped through clouds, or while the bomber is in them, will have a -1 modifier applied to their accuracy. Torpedos may not be launched from within clouds, nor while clouds stop the launching plane from seeing its target.
|Type||Level Speed||Climb Speed (# of turns)||Dive Speed||Turn||Loop||Roll||Damage||Service Ceiling||Guns|
|Peggy (Twin-Engined Bomber)||5"||2" (2)||6"||2"||NA||NA||3||6||1 x 20mm cannon in rear turret, 180 degrees coverage; 1 x .50 MG fixed forward; 1 x .50 MG fixed rear; 1 x .50 MG left side, 180 degrees; 1 x .50 MG right side, 180 degrees|
|Zero (Fighter)||6"||4" (1)||7"||1"||5"||4"||1||6||2 x .30 MG and 2 x 20mm cannon, fixed forward|
|Kate (Torpedo Bomber)||4"||2" (2)||5"||1"||NA||NA||1||5||1 fixed rear-firing .30 MG; 1 bomb or torpedo||Allied|
|Hawker Hurricane Mk I (Fighter)||5"||3" (1)||8"||1"||6"||6"||1||6||8 x .30 MG, fixed forward|
|F4F Wildcat||5"||3" (1)||7"||1.5"||5"||6"||1||6||Six 50-caliber MGs, all fixed forward.|
|F6F Hellcat||6"||3" (1)||8"||1.5"||5"||6"||1||6||Six 50-caliber MGs, all fixed forward. One bomb.|
|F4U Corsair||7"||3" (1)||9"||1.5"||5"||6"||1||6||Six 50-caliber MGs, all fixed forward. May carry one bomb.|
|P-38J Lightning||7"||3" (1)||11"||2"||7"||10"||3||6||One 20mm cannon and four 50-caliber MGs, all fixed forward. Up to 4 bombs.|
|Devastator (Torpedo Bomber)||3"||1" (3)||5"||1.5"||NA||NA||1||4||1 x .50 MG or .30 MG, fixed forward; 1 x .30 MG in rear, 180 degree coverage, same level or above; 1 bomb or torpedo|
|Avenger (Torpedo Bomber)||5"||1" (3)||6"||2.5"||NA||NA||2||5||1 x .30 MG fixed forward; 1 x .50 MG in rear turret, 180 degrees same level or above; 1 x .30 fixed rear gun, same level or below; 2 bombs or one "double" torpedo|
The following rough template will speed play, especially with large numbers of planes. Each side of the (partial) dodecahedron should measure 1". Copy this onto clear acetate, and then count the lines from 0 (straight forward) to the left or right, depending on direction of turn. Subtract 1" for each side of the turn covered, and then move remainder of allowance along the dotted line. For 1.5"" turning radius, copy 50% larger, and count 1.5" along each segment. Do the same for 2" and 2.5", etc. The turn radius of each template should be clearly marked with a permanent marker.