Last week, our small group of Rebel pilots met up for the next story in our local X-Wing campaign. Our objective was to destroy an Empire recruiting-ground. Heavily armoured and well-defended with entrenched anti-air cannons, not to mention a local garrison of Black Squadron TIEs, our reconnaissance had also reported that Rexler Brath himself would be at the facility. We decided to try and power down one flank together, hopefully avoiding one of the cannon emplacements and buying ourselves a turn or two’s respite from the TIE swarm. This mission would certainly be a challenge…
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As the sun rose above the craggy snow-capped mountains, the roar of engines broke the early-morning silence. Skimming low across the water, Rebel ships opened their engines to full-throttle as they rocketed towards the base. Two heavy-set Y-Wings from Wookie Squadron, laden down with dambuster bombs fitted under the front fuselage, were flanked by the fighter escorts of Grey Squadron, s-foils locked into attack position. Ahead of them, the concrete bulk of the base loomed like a canker on the landscape. Klaxons droned and alarms blared as the Rebels ships approached, Imperial turrets cranking round to traverse the skies and the nerve-shredding screech of TIE engines splitting the air as Black Squadron took to the skies.
Flanking one of the lumbering Y-Wings, Toni’s A-Wing skimmed fast and low, systems prepped and ready as amber runes blinked on the control panels. She slowed her A-Wing, keeping in formation with her wingman… before an ion cannon shot from Brath hit the little craft, short-circuiting her electronics. The A-Wing locked into its course, cruising forward as she fought with the controls and electricity crackled across the ship. Flashing red lights indicated that the recently-fitted stealth device had been short-circuited by the ion blast, though one of the shields remained functional. Regaining command of her ship, she focused as the second Defender flew into her sights, readying her proton rockets… before Rexler Brath used Swarm Tactics to allow the PS1 Defender to shoot first and, with a spectacular roll of two hits and two crits against three blanks (!), Toni’s A-Wing crashed into the waters of the lake. Downed turn four without firing a single shot – not quite the impressive dogfight I’d hoped for my freshly-repainted ship.
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Despite the early loss of my A-Wing, followed shortly after by one of our X-Wings being shot down in a similarly spectacular / brutal fashion, our Y-Wings managed to push through the volleys of fire to fire their dam buster ordnance and, with a bit of support from the remaining X-Wing, we managed to destroy the bastion and complete the mission! A win, though at a heavy cost of two of our three ships being shot down. (Not to mention one of the Wookie Squadron Y-Wings, which was crippled by friendly fire from the other Y-Wing after a dam buster shot detonated too close to it.)
Luckily, hiring a mechanic at the start of the game paid off and the Rebel ground crew were able to recover my A-Wing from the lake for repairs. Toni herself also survived unscathed, though sadly no closer to elite pilot status thanks to obtaining zero kills that mission. Push The Limit continues to elude me for another game!
There’ll be a few weeks break before the next campaign game. Which gives me plenty of time to decide about painting the rest of my A-Wings, I suppose. I like the red and blue colours as well as my green repaint, but it sort of feels like all of my ships should be in the same colours to look like a coherent squadron…