Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Bloody April - 1916 style!

Wings of War Campaign, Part 4

Scenario: Spring 1916. After weeks of fighting in this sector, the Aéronautique Militaire is caught in a bloody stalemate against the men and machines of Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches. Which side can gain the advantage - the French or the Germans?

Last Wednesday night I ran another Wings of War game in our ongoing 1916 campaign. From the last game, the Germans and the French tied the scenario, so we had to refight the mission again...

Mission 1: Battle Over The Trenches

Looking east, at the bottom of the photo below a pair of French Nieuport 17's can be seen. In the distance, a pair of German Albatross D-III's can be made out. Conscript Frederick, running the German planes, looks on.

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The French planes eased south a bit, to try and double team the German flight leader's plane (painted in the colours of Hermann Göring!). The German wingman angled in, to support his superior.


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Flying head on at each other, the two lead ships fired at point blank range. The German flight leader's twin Spandaus were surely aimed better, since the silver Nieuport was heavily damaged and set on fire. (Actually, the Germans were really hot with respect to the draw of damage cards for the entire evening.)


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As the two flight leaders passed each other, it was the turn of their respective wingmen to try conclusions. Again, Spandaus trumped Vickers, as the camouflaged Nieuport started to emit smoke.

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In a tricky move, the lead German plane pulled up just short of a stall, and applied full rudder to yaw his aircraft around. This put his aircraft facing down at the French wingman. The wingman was shot out of the air, crash landing into No-Man's Land.

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The remaining French plane prepared to perform a similar manouver, placing the appropriate cards for an Immelmann. However, the flames proved too much for his airframe. At the start of the turn I drew a "5" for damage from the fire, and the last French pilot was also forced down into No-Man's Land, wounding him in the process.

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This was a decisive win for the Germans, who gained priority and choice of the next scenario.

The night was young, so we decided to play another game. As the victor, Frederick elected to play another scout vs. scout scenario.

Mission 2b: Dawn Patrol

Drawing randomly, both sides had a ground target, whose identity was kept secret from their opponent (for example, were they anti-aircraft gunbs?).

Looking west this time, the Germans flew with the flight leader slightly trailing the junior man. To the west and north, the two Fremch planes can be seen.

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In a banking turn, the German flight leader ended up following the other pilot's plane.

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The French also adopted a line astern formation, and the two lead ships closed the  range.

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The German wingman overshot the French leader's plane. However, the German flight leader poured on a deadly fire. Unbeknownst to Frederick, I drew 9 points of damage cards; added to the bonus for range, that was 11 of 12 damage points gone in one phase of shooting! Plus, the French leader was spewing smoke.

The French wingman squeezed off a burst at the leading German plane, but his guns jammed.

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Choosing the better part of valour, the silver Nieuport banked south and dived back west to the French lines. The other Frenchman, with both guns jammed, Immelmenned out of the fight and dived west.

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As the game closed, the victorious German planes decided to break off their pursuit . They couldn't catch the Frenchman and, since he was flying towards the ground target chosen at the beginning, he might be drawing them into an amubush from ground fire.

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"Cheese eating surrender monkey!"

Scoring:
  • Frederick's German Flight Leader: 2 (two sorties flown) + 8 (two planes shot down) + 2 (drove off enemy aircraft) = 12 campaign points
  • Frederick's German Wingman: 2 (two sorties flown) + 2 (drove off enemy aircraft) = 4 campaign points
  • Dave's French Flight Leader:  2 (two sorties flown) -4 (being shot down) = -2 campaign points
  • Dave's Fench Wingman: 2 (two sorties flown) -4 (being shot down) = -2 campaign points
This was another decisive victory for the Germans. For the next game, the Germans will get to choose between three scenarios:

  • Mission 3a: Hold The Line
  • Mission 3b: Balloon Busting
  • Mission 3c: Supply Search

2 comments:

The Angry Lurker said...

"Cheese eating surrender monkey!", brilliant report!

Dusty said...

Great report, Dave. It was a good night for Die Fliegertruppen des deutschen Kaiserreiches. In your description of my leader's manoeuvres, the stall and full rudder was actually an Immelmann which reversed my direction to try and get on the French leader's tail. Instead it set me up for a kill shot on his wingman.