In the midst of all this Cold War playtesting, Dave and I managed a game purely for fun last Friday as Algy took to the skies yet again. We have decided to run a mini campaign and this was the first game, set in Jan 1917. We’ll leap forward in 3 month bounds aiming to get to the end of the war in about 7 games. This will allow us to see new types of aircraft come and go as both sides seek supremacy in the sky.
So, the game! The Brits had set out to photograph the German reserve trenches – there were 3 sections and they would get 2 victory points per section photographed (assuming the photos got home safe!!) This was to be done by the newly introduced RE8 with a veteran crew. To escort them, we had elements of 2 other squadrons – a pair of Nieuport 17s with an experienced and a sprog pilot and then a pair of Pups with a Junior Ace and an experienced wingman. The Germans were 3 Albatross DIIs, with a Junior Ace, Veteran and an experienced pilot.
The Brits decided to approach from the North, dicing for each formation needing a 4+ to come on. The RE8 and Nieuports duly arrived, the former at level 6 and preparing to dive to 4 (the height for photography) whilst the Nieuports were at 10 providing top cover. The Pups, due to come from the south, failed to arrive – something to become a bit of a repetitive event! The Germans needed to throw a 6 to come on first move and then a 5, 4 etc representing their reaction. They threw well and all came on together towards the middle of their baseline.
On the left, the Brits arrive with the Germans coming on on the right.
Now to simplify the action! The Sprog failed to do pretty much anything he tried, including diving to join the other British aircraft. He duly flew off towards Germany in his own merry way, failing to complete manoeuvre after manoeuvre. He started to turn gently to try to reverse his course before heading off the table – with some success. But he still needed to turn harder and duly put his aircraft into a spin!! That said, this must have focused him somewhat – he recovered first time, ending pointing for home and duly flew back safely. In short, no contribution to the fight at all!! Here he is all on his jolly todd:
The breakfast in the Pups’ Mess was also clearly top notch – they were VERY late, so we’ll ignore them for the moment.
So, back to the RE8. He duly dived and began his run but the Hun was soon on his tail, specifically the Veteran pilot. A first burst at some range and his rudder jammed. The Albatross closed despite some fire from the rear gunner and a second burst caused a fuel leak. The RE8 pilot finally freed the rudder and turned for home, diving again to try and outrun the Hun. The Albatross stuck like glue and closed for the killer burst. Knowing it was now or never, the rear gunner focused, took careful aim and let rip – KABOOM, the Hun exploded in mid air (double 6s are great!!).
Here we see the Germans closing, the RE8 starting his run, and the Nieuport Flight Leader diving in to mix it.
All the time the Nieuport Flight Leader was trying to clear the RE8’s tail all on his lonesome. He got off a burst at the German Junior Ace, hitting but causing no real damage. The Hun replied and the Nieuport also sprang a fuel leak. With no other real option, he cut and ran for home, paralleling the RE8.
The German Veteran on the tail of the RE8, leaking fuel and struggling to free its rudder before breaking for home.
Oh, and what’s this on the horizon – not a pair of Pups, surely not? Yes, they finally made it and their speed allowed them to close rapidly on the Hun. Now let’s deal with the wingman first – he failed even to dive, and then turn and then everything else and just flew off the far end of the table – useless!
The Junior Ace less so, he dived straight for the 2 remaining Huns and caused the Germans pause for thought, but their Junior Ace was a man of determination and he decided to risk facing the Pup to finish the RE8. He closed, got on the tail and let rip – the RE8 burst into flames and headed for the deck. The Pup Junior Ace had rounded on the German experienced Pilot, getting right on his tail at point blank range – he’d have to be quick or he would overfly (the Pup is much faster than the Albatross DII). The Hun was desperate and tried to pull a hard manoeuvre to shake off the Pup and went into a spin! The ground rushed up, he had one chance and he pulled it off, hugging the deck and running for home. The German Junior Ace, job done, did the same and the British Pup also headed for home, knowing he wouldn’t catch the retreating Germans.
The British Junior Ace mixing it. On the left you can see the crashed RE8 and the Nieuport Flight Leader diving for home.
So, both sides had lost an aircraft and a veteran crew, so we ruled that equal. But the Germans had foiled the attempt to photography their lines and so took the victory. We considered the pilots and their progression. We decided the Junior Aces would need 3 kills to upgrade to Top Ace, so the German is on the way! We decided that, for Sprogs to upgrade, they had to prove their ability to fly. We defined this as successfully completing 2 hard manoeuvres with recovery from a spin counting as a hard manoeuvre and doing so first time as 2 hard manoeuvres. So the Sprog becomes experienced. For the Experienced to become Veteran, we decided he had to have mixed it – firing his guns and hitting the target. The Nieuport Flight Leader qualified so is now veteran, the German didn’t, nor did the Pup wingman.
The Germans diced and got an experienced replacement.
So, next time it will be April 1917 and I feel a German bombing raid in the offing!!
Monty the Desert Rat