On Monday I had a game of Purple Heart Valley. I have only ever come across these rules at the
Falkirk club and have not been able to find any reference to them online so I thought I would start with a review of the rules.
They are subtitled ‘Wargames Rules for the American Daylight Bombing Offensive against
1943 – 1944’ which sums them up quite neatly. The author is NP Roberts, they were published by phv games in 1992 and run to 24 pages. Germany
There is a historical introduction setting the scene and describing the tactics used by both sides. These essentially consisted of American bombers flying in box formation to maximise defensive fire supported by fighters which were often operating at extreme range. German single engine fighters would attempt to occupy the escorts leaving their twin engine colleagues to deal with the bombers.
The rules are designed to be played on a hex mat. Bombers fly straight and level to the target and back with fighters from both sides able to operate above and below them. The Germans attack, the American fighters attempt to intercept but those that get through try to shoot the bombers down
A key feature of the rules is the damage tables. When a plane is hit there is a wide range of damage that can be done from cosmetic which has no effect to a fuel tank or bomb bay hit which will blow the plane up. The results are decided by throwing percentage dice and vary depending on the angle of attack.
There are optional rules covering the likes of rocket attacks, aces, collisions etc. and also some campaign rules.
At the club we play a simplified version of the rules. The bombers still trundle across to board to bomb the target and return to base but there is no hex movement. The effect of the fighter escorts is abstracted into an interception phase. The German fighters are either intercepted or not. If they are the players roll to see if attacker or escort is shot down and in any event intercepted German fighters cannot press home an attack on the bombers that phase. The damage tables are used fully and provide much of the drama as the bombers take hits and the effects are assessed.
The number of turns the bombers take depends on the target and how deeply they have to penetrate over occupied
Europe. If casualties are high the raid can be aborted. If German losses are high they may choose not to pursue the bombers on their homeward journey.
The games are very light-hearted affairs with plenty of banter going on and Monday was no exception. Three German players took 4 fighters each against 9 or 10 bombers. Mine planes were FW 190s. I keep a record of missions flown and had an ace together with a pilot on a score of 3 in one pair with the other pair both being rookies.
My ace had little luck being bounced by American Thunderbolts each time but my other experienced pilot was able to take down a B 17 and so is now only one kill away from being an ace himself. The other two were happy to survive unscathed. Between us we accounted for 4 B17s and a Thunderbolt at the cost of some damaged planes but no pilot casualties. The Americans decided to abort the raid so it was a good day for the Luftwaffe.
I have a game of Force on Force planned for next week so watch this space for a report on that game.