LAFAYETTE WEPT, 8 November 1942

Briefing: In 1917 the Americans arrived in France as long-time friends. A quarter-century later, they returned to French soil as new-found enemies. American ground troops invaded French North Africa and took over Tafaraoui aerodrome near Oran. American-flown Spitfires of the 31 Fighter Group were despatched to their new base from Gibraltar. The first group were landing when four Hurricanes joined the circuit. It was only when one of the "Hurricanes" shot down a Spitfire as it came in to land that their true identity was realised.

Map: Ground Terrain (ASP)
Aircraft: Allied:Four Spitfire Vc (Trop)
Vichy:Four Dewoitine D520

Set Up: Set up the D.520s in the followings hexes at the altitudes and speeds indicated: 2225, altitude 0.1, speed 3.0, 2025, altitude 0.2, speed 3.0, 1720 altitude 1.0, speed 4.0, 1521, altitude 1.5, speed 4.0. All are banked level and facing NE. The Spitfires set up in 4127 and 4328, altitude 2.0, speed 3.0, facing W, and 2716 and 2915, altitude 1.8, speed 3.0, facing SW

Game Length: 30 turns

Rules of Engagement:
1. Ammo: The lead Dewoitine has used 1 point of ammo from all guns.
2. Pilot Quality: Generate pilots for both sides on the "Good" table, except no American pilot can be an "Ace", and neither side may have "Recruit" pilots (treat as "Green" if one is rolled).
3. Exit: If any aircraft leave the map, shift them all 10 hexes directly away from that edge. If for any reason a French aircraft exits the North edge, it remains in play and its position is recorded using an extra map or an unused portion of the game map. Unless the exit was caused by shifting, the American receives 1 VP per turn per aircraft off the edge of the map (if caused by shifting, it still may not leave the original map boundary - that is, it must remain within 10 hexes of the new edge of the map). If a French aircraft leaves the West edge (for any reason) it is automatically considered shot down.
4. Disengagement: If the French player attempts to break-off, the attempt is not valid unless he finishes it (i.e. after 5 turns) South and/or West of the hex where he began the attempt (i.e. all break-off attempts must be in a general south-westerly direction).
5. Tropical Spitfires: The Americans' Spitfires were fitted with a large Vokes sand filter on their air intakes. Reduce their Max level Speed by 0.5 in all bands as a result of the drag penalty this imposed.


Debriefing: The Spitfires that were still airborne gave chase as the Dewoitines tried to escape, downing three of them. Among the victors was Major Frank Thyng, who was still flying Spitfires on 6 May 1943 when he and Major Frank Hill became the first aces of the 31 Fighter Group.


Designer's Notes: My sources are Fighter! by Robert Jackson and the USAAF Spitfire Operations In The Mediterranean website. With respect to pilot quality, many French pilots in North Africa were veterans of the 1940 Blitzkreig, and had plenty of time to train since then. The Americans were in the reverse situation, having been flying operationally over NW Europe (including during the Dieppe raid) for some months after a long training period. I felt both sides would have reasonable quality pilots, but I had to prevent any Americans being Aces to be historically consistent! I also had to force the French to try to escape in the historical direction of their field; furthermore, to fly North or West would mean flying into the invasion covering force, not a healthy option.


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Version History:
1.1: Added Rule of Engagement 5.