MERLIN v GRIFFON, 7 January 1949

Briefing: On 7 January, an Israeli convoy radioed for air support as it was being attacked by enemy fighters. Two pilots, Canadian John McElroy and American Chalmers "Slick" Goodlin, are scrambled. Thick sandstorms make visibility difficult, but after picking up some unidentified radio chatter, two shapes loom out of the dust.

Map: Ground Terrain (OTR)
Aircraft: Israeli:Two Spitfire 16E
British:Four Spitfire 18E
(equivalent to Mk XIVe)

Set Up: The British Spitfires set up in 3131 and 2830, speed 5.0, wings level, facing E, altitude 1.5. The Israeli Spitfires set up exactly 8 hexes away (including altitude differences) at any speed up to maximum level, within two hexes of each other, anywhere the Israeli player desires.

Game Length: 20 turns

Rules of Engagement:
1. Cockpit Visibility: Neither side has the cut-down rear fuselage and bubble cockpit version of their respective marks.
2. Pilot Quality:McElroy is a Veteran-Ace-Hero-Crack Shot. Slick is a Gifted Veteran. The British are generated on the "Average" table.

1. Add a P-51D flown by Lee Sinclair (Veteran) to the Israelis.

Debriefing: McElroy's first burst caused his target to explode, and his own plane was damaged by debris. He turned back for base in his damaged aircraft, noting that Goodlin was chasing the other aircraft. Goodlin pursued his quarry out of the dust, at which point it turned and attacked him. Only then did Goodlin see the British insignia - until then he thought they were Egyptian - but by then the fight was on and Goodlin managed to get behind his opponent and scored hits on its engine.

The RAF's 208 squadron lost all four Spitfires on their tactical reconnaisance - two to ground fire, and one each to McElroy and Slick. The British claimed that they were on a "peaceful reconnaissance mission" and were attacked without provocation, which the Israelis denied.

Designer's Notes: The source for this version is No Margin for Error. This source quotes Goodlin, and according to him, they never saw any smoke cloud, strafing, or other hostile action from their targets. McElroy simply ordered an attack while the enemy were still just shapes in the dust, but it wasn't until the plane he was following broke into the clear and attacked him that Goodlin saw its RAF insignia. McElroy also appeared to assume the Spitfires were Egyptian, as Goodlin's account notes McElroy's genuinely surprised reaction when he was told they had just shot down two RAF planes.
This account also includes part of the testimony of Flying Officer Cooper, the leader of the flight of four. Two were flying low for visual inspection, the others were at 1,500 feet and photographing the terrain. The lower two were shot down by ground fire, and one pilot was killed; the other two were searching for them when they were attacked. Both pilots baled out and were picked up.
McElroy was ex-RAF, a WWII ace with 10 confirmed and eight probable victories for which he had received the DFC and Bar. Apart from his WWII experience, McElroy was one of three Mahal pilots who, between them, accounted for one-third of the Chel Ha'Avir victories in the 1948 war, hence his high rating. "Slick" Goodlin was a former Bell test pilot, who had flown the X-1 before the USAF took over the program, and Lee Sinclair, who was going to fly with them in a P-51D before it was declared unservicable, was an ex-RAF Wing Commander.

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Version History:
1.0 Initial Version