Saturday, October 3, 2020

WWI Western Front Aerial Campaign - Episode 7

Dawn Patrol

This is the seventh episode of a campaign representing fictitious battles in the air over the Western Front during the First World War. It was initially planned to use the Wings of Glory rules, but these were modified to use hex based movement in order to facilitate remote play over the Internet due to Corona restrictions.

The cast of the campaign can be found here.

Mission Briefing

Before dawn, Corporal Boyd went into the officers’ quarters and woke up Captain Jack Yates and then St John Featherstonehaugh. The pilots jumped out of bed, dressed and went to the mess expecting a hearty breakfast before taking off at the first light of dawn.

Upon entering the mess, they saw the French inspecteur général Hippolyte St Prix sitting at the large dining table. “Good moaning” said St Prix, in way of greeting “please sit down, I have ordered breakfast for you”. The pilots sat down and a French waiter, as opposed to the usual British cook, entered the room. He placed a small thimble sized cup of black coffee in front of each of the pilots followed by plate with a bite-sized croissant. This is the perfect meal before a dawn patrol explained St Prix.

As Yates and Featherstonehaugh walked out to their Sopwith Snipes, they wondered what had happened to Major Brackton. He had flown off in search of the County of Dampshire infantry regiment and the missing beer, but had yet to return. “We must get him back”, said Yates, “this squadron is going to the dogs, French dogs!”  Featherstonehaugh agreed, “I really miss the bacon and eggs, and who in their right mind drinks coffee for breakfast, I need a good cuppa to set me up for the day”. Corporal Boyd and his erks had finished preparing the Snipes, so Yates and Featherstonehaugh took off with the ground in darkness, just as the sky was beginning to brighten.

The two Sopwith Snipes climbed to 15,500 ft and headed towards the trench lines.

Meanwhile at another aerodrome, not that far away, Udo Lockbach and Florian Meier were sitting down to a breakfast of bratwurst served with curry sauce, pommes frites and a crispy bread roll. “Delicious”, said Meier, “when I get home to Berlin I could start a restaurant that only serves currywurst”. After their hearty breakfast, Lockbach and Meier walked out to the hanger where their Fokker D.VII’s were ready to go. After a quick briefing by the squadron commander Major Fritz Detterman, they took off for their dawn patrol. 

The two Fokker D.VII's climbed to 15,000 ft and headed for the trench lines.


The Action

Captain Jack Yates spotted the two Fokkers and was pleased that he had a height advantage and that he had the sun behind him. He waggled his wings causing Featherstonehaugh to wake up from his daydream about the toast and bacon he didn't get for breakfast.

All four aircraft turned right, to close with the enemy.

The Snipes headed towards the D.VII's with Featherstonehaugh leading Yates.

Florien Meier in the striped D.VII near got in a burst of machine-gun fire, but Featherstonehaugh's Snipe was too high.

Featherstonehaugh's Snipe met Lockbach' speckled D.VII head on and exchanged fire. Featherstonehaugh must have been distracted, because Meier's striped D.VII got on his tail and opened fire.

Yates continued straight ahead and Lockbach turned his speckled D.VII tightly onto Yates's tail and opened fire. As Yates later described it to his fellow officers in the mess, he must have had the luck of the devil, because as Lockbach opened fire, something caused Yates's Snipe to slide sideways and Lockbach's hail of bullets missed by a hair's breadth.

Both Meier and Featherstonehaugh performed a half-loop which reversed their situation and now Featherstonehaugh was tailing Meier's striped D.VII. Featherstonehaugh opened fire on Meier, causing the D.VII rudder damage before Featherstonehaugh's machine-guns jammed. 

Meier went straight ahead while ferociously kicking at his rudder pedals to get the rudder working again. Yates performed a split-s.

Featherstonehaugh and Lockbach went head to head and Lockbach fired off a quick burst at Featherstonehaugh before the machine-guns jammed. Featherstonehaugh who was busy trying to free up his own jammed machine-guns, probably didn't even see Lockbach and the next second their aircraft collided damaging both aircraft's' wings.

Both Featherstonehaugh and Lockbach headed away from the dogfight while trying to unjam their machine-guns. Yates and Meier circled round each other, both trying to get in a burst of fire but neither succeeding.

Both Featherstonehaugh and Lockbach headed back towards the fight. Yates turned sharply right and Meier headed over to join up with Lockbach.

Featherstonehaugh flew straight ahead into the fight, but unfortunately for him both Lockbach and Meier predicted this and turned in to open fire on him.

Meier was concentrating so hard on shooting at Featherstonehaugh, that Yates managed to sneak in behind him and a bullet from Yates's machine-gun wounded Meier.

The Snipe opens fire - by MW 

Featherstonehaugh tried to dive away but Lockbach's turned his speckled D.VII tightly onto Featherstonehaugh tail and opened fire. Featherstonehaugh's Snipe was beginning to look the worse for wear.

Yates and Meier turned towards each other and opened fire nose-to-nose. Strangely enough both of their machine-guns jammed after firing a short burst.

Featherstonehaugh skilfully shook off Lockbach's speckled D.VII which had been tailing him.

Yates and Meier tried to un-jam their machine-guns.

Featherstonehaugh in his hole-ridden Snipe dived away steeply followed by both Fokker D.VII's. Meier got in a parting shot.

Featherstonehaugh's hole-ridden Snipe continued to dive and was now too far bellow Meier for him to get in an accurate shot.

Lockbach turned away and Yates entered the dogfight again.

Featherstonehaugh turned his hole-ridden Snipe sharply left causing Meier in the striped D.VII to overshoot. Lockbach in the speckled D.VII closed in the hope of finishing off Featherstonehaugh.

Even Meier wanted a chance at finishing off Featherstonehaugh, but he was too fast and too low for the Fokkers to catch.

His aircraft full of holes, Featherstonehaugh dived his Snipe away from the dogfight before the enemy could get in a fatal burst.

His aircraft nearly as hole-ridden as Featherstonehaugh's, Meier dived his D.VII away from the dogfight before the enemy could get in a fatal burst.

Yates and Lockbach circled round each other, both try to get on their opponents tail but without success. With dark storm clouds gathering, they both headed back to their aerodromes.

Rain had started to pour down as Featherstonhaugh turned in for landing in his bullet-ridden aircraft. So much of the canvas has been shot away that he more or less lands vertically. As the aircraft came to a halt, the landing gear collapses. Featherstonhaugh jumps out, surprisingly unscathed.

Yates follows in an almost undamaged plane. Through the rain he sees Featherstonhaugh's Snipe collapse, so he side-slips his aircraft in order to land further over and avoid his wingman. However because of the bad visibility, he discovers too late that someone has tied up the squadron's mascot, Malcolm the goat, out on the runway where he is happily chewing the grass! Collision is inevitable and even Yates's Snipe will need to be scrapped. 

Yates is sure someone tried to kill him or Featherstonehaugh through this ambush, but who could have done such a thing?

The Landing - by MW

With tears in his eyes, Corporal Boyd carried Malcolm to the squadron's doctor. While somewhat tipsy, Boyd had tethered Malcolm on the runway to graze. He'd been given wine by Half Pint and this was the first time young Boyd had tasted French wine. Overcome with  remorse, Corporal Boyd sought out Reverent O´Hara, the squadron chaplain. After long discussion, Boyd swears to become tea-total. The next morning, St Prix wakes up to the noise of bottles shattering and Salvation Army hymns as Boyd pours out the wine cellar of the squadron.

The Result

Draw

Campaign results:

  • Captain Jack Yates:  +2 XP, +1 luck 
  • St John Featherstonehaugh:  +2 XP, +1 luck 
  • Florian Meier:  +2 XP, Wounded
  • Udo Lockbach:  +2 XP, +1 luck 

Campaign Log

The Score:
1er Escadrille International 3     -     KuKuK Jagd-Schlachtstaffel 3     -     Draws 1

   Missions   Kills   XP   Luck   Notes 
Premier Escadrille International
Charles “Half Pint”
Carruthers (GB)
3 1 17 3 Skill: Sniper
“Dirty” Bertie Parker (AU) 2 1 15 2 Skill: Acrobatic Pilot 
Captain Jack Yates (GB) 4 1 18 4 Skill: Luck of the Devil.
Alphonse Lacourt (FR) 3 0 3 2
St John
Featherstonehaugh (GB)
3 0 8 3  
Hank Snapmulder (US) 1 1 8 1  
Kaiserliche und Königliche und Kaiserliche Jagd-Schlachtstaffel
Udo Lockbach (DE) 3 0 4 2
Erbprinz Rupprecht
zu Sachsen-Zenda (DE)
2 0 3 2  KIA Episode 6.
Florian Meier (DE) 4 0 11 3  Wounded, miss Episode 8.
Jörg Fritzl-Falconi (HU) 3 0 9 3  
Gaspard Hauser (DE) 2 0 3 2  
Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie”
von Salzbach (DE)
2 0 4 1  
Slobomir Kraijnc (HR) 1 0 1 0

Saturday, September 26, 2020

WWI Western Front Aerial Campaign - Episode 6

Bombing the Wunderwaffen

This is the sixth episode of a campaign representing fictitious battles in the air over the Western Front during the First World War. It was initially planned to use the Wings of Glory rules, but these were modified to use hex based movement in order to facilitate remote play over the Internet due to Corona restrictions.

The cast of the campaign can be found here.

Mission Briefing

One month earlier, Jörg Fritzl-Falconi had been so happy with his successful bombing mission that he had his portrait painted by the famous artist Toulouse Vinplage. He wrote a letter explaining how he had bombed and destroyed a secret photographic unit that the dastardly Engländer had hidden in a brasserie. He sent both back home to his mother, the Countess Fritzl-Falconi, who lived in the Schloss Schönbrunn.

The Countess Fritzl-Falconi was so proud of her son, that together with her lady companions, she immediately started knitting a sock to cover a bomb on which they embroidered the text Gott Strafe England. It was soon in the post on its way from Schloss Schönbrunn to her son's aerodrome on the Western Front..

The Bombensocke - by MW

Only a few days earlier, the squadron had picked up a spy from behind enemy lines and he was debriefed by the squadron commander Major Fritz Detterman. Still in the nun's habit, the spy explained that there were two huge Wunderwaffen (artillery pieces) ready to stop the St Crupelle offensive. But the sly Engländer had disguised the Wunderwaffen by covering the emplacement with camouflage netting onto which tent like structures were painted so that from the air there appears to be a simple camp. 

Detterman had noted down the exact position of the emplacement. He called Erbprinz Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda, Florian Meier and Jörg Fritzl-Falconi into his office. They were tasked with destroying the Wunderwaffen. Meier would fly the bomber with Fritzl-Falconi in the back seat and zu Sachsen-Zenda would escort them in a scout.

After leaving the office, Fritzl-Falconi explained to the other two that he had just received a Bombensocke from his mother the Countess. He wanted to use it on this mission to destroy the Engländers Wunderwaffen. The problem was that the sock was rather large, too large for a bomb that the Roland C.II could carry. So Meier decided that he would fly the Gotha G.V and that they would take Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie” von Salzbach as their third crewman and that zu Sachsen-Zenda would escort them in a Fokker D.VII.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the trench lines, Captain Jack Yates (two hearts) and Alphonse Lacourt (white stripes on fuselage) were on a routine patrol in their Sopwith Camel scouts.

The Action

The Gotha and Fokker took off and climbed to 6,000 ft. The didn't climb higher as they needed to be able to pinpoint the target. They crossed over the trench lines. Shortly thereafter they spotted two Sopwith Camels patrolling in the distance in the vicinity of their target. 

When Yates spotted the huge Hun bomber, he signalled Lacourt to turn towards the incoming aircraft and follow him down to 7 000 ft so that they retained the height advantage

Note: The target is hidden under one of the white markers,
it's second from the right, but only the Germans know this.

Both Camels headed towards the Huns, slipping right as they did so.

The Germans continued straight ahead, the Fokker accelerated to full speed and the Gotha entered a shallow dive in order to speed up.

Both Camels moved straight ahead towards the Huns, while loosing altitude.

The Gotha continued straight ahead in its shallow dive, and the Fokker did some fancy manoeuvring to stay next to the Gotha.

The Gotha continued straight ahead in its shallow dive.

Yates in two-hearts continued straight ahead. Both gunners in the Gotha aimed at Yates, but the altitude difference made shooting impossible.

Lacourt in the other Camel slipped right behind Yates.

Erbprinz Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda in the D.VII slipped left and then turn in right.

The D.VII opened fire on Yates causing slight damage to the Camel.

Lacourt opened fire on the D.VII doing some damage, but then his machine-guns jammed. Could it be that Corporal Boyd, the erk, had forgotten to remove the golden bullets from Lacourt's guns. Perhaps the bottle of wine that Half Pint had tossed to Boyd, had caused him to forget his duty.

The Gotha continued straight ahead in its shallow dive while the Camels continued to dogfight with the Fokker overhead.

Lacout turned his Camel sharply to the right, while trying to un-jam his machine-guns. 

Yates in the "two-hearts" Camel performed a half-loop.

Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda slipped his D.VII to the right.

The Gotha turned right towards the target.

Yates in the "two-hearts" Camel performed another half-loop. 

The D.VIII turned left. 

Lacourt turned right then left while at the same time succeeding in un-jamming his machine-guns.

The Gotha flew straight and level over the target. The white hex was turned over to reveal that it was the actual target.

The D.VII turned right, following after the Gotha.

Lacourt turned right onto the tail of the D.VII and opened fire.

Yates turned as sharply as possible to the left and even he opened fire on the D.VII.

"Bomben weg!" shouted Jörg Fritzl-Falconi as they crossed over the target.

Bomben weg! - by MW

The Gotha turned slowly right, heading for home.

The D.VII flew straight ahead while somehow managed to confuse Lacourt on his tail who turned away, but Yates slipped right and continued to fire into the D.VII.

The Gotha continued to turn slowly right, heading for home.

Despite his damage, Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda half-looped his D.VII to return to the dogfight and protect the Gotha. Lacourt turned his Camel sharply right and came face-to-face with the D.VII and they both opened fire.

Yates missed the D.VII's half-loop and overshot his enemy. Jörg Fritzl-Falconi, in the Gotha's front gunner position, aimed his Parabellum machine-gun at Yates' Camel but the altitude difference was to much for him to be able to hit anything.

The Gotha headed straight homeward bound in a shallow dive for maximum speed.

The D.VII turned back towards the Gotha, which confused the Camels who had expected the dogfight to continue.

The Gotha headed straight in its shallow dive for maximum speed and the D.VII turned to follow the Gotha.

Both Camels chased after the D.VII and Yates opened fire wounding Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda.

Both the Gotha and the badly damaged D.VII were heading straight home as fast as they could.

But Yates managed to get on the tail of the D.VII and opened fire. The D.VII could take no more punishment, and plummeted into the ground killing Erbprinz Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda.

Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda had courageously taken on both Camels in order to distract them from the Gotha's mission and thus allowing the Gotha to successfully bomb the Engländers Wunderwaffen

The Gotha was now far ahead of the Camels and was crossing over its own trench line. More Fokkers could be seen diving down towards the Gotha so Yates and Lacourt turned away, satisfied that they had downed a Fokker D.VII.

Back at the KuKuK Jagd-Schlachtstaffel's aerodrome, the Gotha's crew went into the dining room where they met the other of the two identical men who both had claimed to be the heirs of Sachsen-Zenda. They explained that the other claimant had been shot down and killed by die Engländer. There and then, Erbprinz Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda vowed to go out and avenge the death of his brother. He explained that it was obviously his brother who was the illegitimate son and had no valid claim to the title and certainly not to the fortune, but it did not matter now and that his death would be avenged.

The Result

Central Powers Victory

Campaign results:

  • Captain Jack Yates:  +7 XP, +1 luck 
  • Alphonse Lacourt:  +1 XP, +1 luck 
  • Florian Meier:  +3 XP, +1 luck 
  • Jörg Fritzl-Falconi:  +3 XP, +1 luck 
  • Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie” von Salzbach:  +3 XP, +1 luck
  • Erbprinz Rupprecht zu Sachsen-Zenda:  KIA

Campaign Log

The Score:
1er Escadrille International 3     -     KuKuK Jagd-Schlachtstaffel 3

   Missions   Kills   XP   Luck   Notes 
Premier Escadrille International
Charles “Half Pint”
Carruthers (GB)
3 1 17 3 Skill: Sniper
“Dirty” Bertie Parker (AU) 2 1 15 2 Skill: Acrobatic Pilot 
Captain Jack Yates (GB) 3 1 16 3 Skill: Luck of the Devil.
Alphonse Lacourt (FR) 3 0 3 2
St John
Featherstonehaugh (GB)
2 0 6 2  
Hank Snapmulder (US) 1 1 8 1  
Kaiserliche und Königliche und Kaiserliche Jagd-Schlachtstaffel
Udo Lockbach (DE) 2 0 2 1
Erbprinz Rupprecht
zu Sachsen-Zenda (DE)
2 0 3 2  KIA Episode 6.
Florian Meier (DE) 3 0 9 3  
Jörg Fritzl-Falconi (HU) 3 0 9 3  
Gaspard Hauser (DE) 2 0 3 2  
Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie”
von Salzbach (DE)
2 0 4 1  
Slobomir Kraijnc (HR) 1 0 1 0

Saturday, September 19, 2020

WWI Western Front Aerial Campaign - Episode 5

Bombing Supply Columns

This is the fifth episode of a campaign representing fictitious battles in the air over the Western Front during the First World War. It was initially planned to use the Wings of Glory rules, but these were modified to use hex based movement in order to facilitate remote play over the Internet due to Corona restrictions.

Mission Briefing

A motorcycle messenger arrived at the aerodrome, not long after Major Brackton had departed flying the squadron’s only DH.4 in search of the County of Dampshire infantry regiment and the missing beer. He ran into the officers’ mess looking for Brackton.

The messenger had an urgent mission for the Premier Escadrille International. The Hun offensive at St Crupelle was gaining ground and the squadron was ordered to bomb the advancing German infantry. This caused great distress, Major Brackton had taken the squadron’s only DH.4 bomber and nobody knew when he was likely to return.

The French inspecteur général Hippolyte St Prix immediately grasped the chance to put Brackton down, so he told all the officers gathered in the mess that l'aviation militaire française would come to the aid of the squadron. He will supply a superb Bréguet BR 14 bomber for the squadron to use and an excellent SPAD XIII to escort it.

Charles “Half Pint” Carruthers and “Dirty” Bertie Parker offered to fly the BR 14 and Hank Snapmulder took the SPAD XIII. 

The erks loaded the BR 14 with bombs, and then Half Pint and Snapmulder jumped in. There they found a nice surprise, the cockpit still contained a few bottles of 1897 vintage Côte de St Prix. As they taxied away from the hanger, Half Pint tossed one bottle to Corporal Boyd who had been responsible for arming the aircraft.

Entente Powers Officers - by MW

They climbed slowly to an altitude of 7,500 ft and when they were over the village of Saint-Benoît-du-Saucisse they turned toward the front line and St Crupelle.

As they neared the front, Snapmulder spotted two enemy Fokker D.VII scouts, a red and white striped D.VII flown by Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie” von Salzbach and a speckled D.VII flown by his Croatian brother-in-arms Slobomir Kraijnc. 

Central Powers Officers - by MW

The Huns were slightly lower at an altitude of 7,000 ft.

The Action

As they approached the front at St Crupelle, Half Pint spotted four German supply columns which looked like juicy targets.

The Huns were now directly overhead of their supply columns. It was going to be tricky bombing the supply columns with the Hun Fokkers in the way.

The Huns headed straight for the incoming bomber.

The BR 14 slipped to the right, hoping to avoid the Fokkers.

Snapmulder used the superior speed of his SPAD XIII to move protectively in front of the BR 14.

Half Pint performed a straight dive with the BR 14, hoping to pass safely under the Fokkers. Both Fokkers slipped left so as to meet the BR 14 head on. Snapmulder guessed correctly what the Fokkers would do, and turned in on them with perfect timing.

Both Fokkers opened fire on the BR 14 with their twin Spandau machine-guns as Half Pint returned the fire with his single Vickers machine-gun.

Snapmulder in the SPAD XIII opened fire on the a red and white striped D.VII flown by Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie” von Salzbach.

A lucky bullet from Half Pint's machine-gun caused Slobomir Kraijnc's speckled Fokker D.VII burst into flames.

The rudder of von Salzbach's D.VII had jammed and he could only turn right and Snapmulder in the SPAD XIII followed him round. Half Pint and “Dirty” Bertie in the BR 14 continued straight ahead to get closer to the supply columns. The flaming speckled D.VII flown by Slobomir Kraijnc turned slowly left.

“Dirty” Bertie in the back seat of the BR 14 opened up with his twin Lewis guns on Kraijnc's D.VII and Snapmulder  in the SPAD XIII continued pouring bullets into the striped D.VII.

Half Pint turned the BR 14 right and headed for the first enemy supply column. Despite the flames shooting out from his engine of his speckled D.VII, Kraijnc turned to chase after Half Pint. Kraijnc opened fire on the BR 14 and “Dirty” Bertie in the back seat returned fire.

Von Salzbach turned his D.VII sharply left as Snapmulder closed in for a close range shot.

Snapmulder fired a long burst into von Salzbach's D.VII and it began to spin earthwards. Hank Snapmulder had his first kill.

Half Pint flew the BR 14 over the enemy supply column and dropped his bombs.

With the flames still shooting out from his engine Kraijnc closed in on the BR14 and opened fire as the two-seater finished its bomb run.

Snapmulder turned to help the BR 14 fight off the D.VII.

“Dirty” Bertie opened fire from the back seat of the BR 14 and Kraijnc's D.VII went down. 

Slobomir Kraijnc's D.VII crashed into the ground, Kraijnc was scorched and wounded but survived the crash.

Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie” von Salzbach just managed to exit the spin before crashing into the ground, he managed an emergency landing and escaped the ordeal without any serious wound.

Now unhindered by enemy aircraft, Half Pint and “Dirty” Bertie continued to bomb the supply columns until their supply of 8 kg bombs ran out, when the head home.

Snapmulder in the SPAD XIII circled protectively nearby, in case any Huns should show up.

The Result

Entente Powers Victory

Campaign results:

  • Charles “Half Pint” Carruthers:  +9 XP, +1 luck 
  • “Dirty” Bertie Parker:  +9 XP, +1 luck 
  • Hank Snapmulder:  +8 XP, +1 luck 
  • Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie” von Salzbach:  +1 XP
  • Slobomir Kraijnc:  +1 XP, wounded

Campaign Log

The Score:
1er Escadrille International 3     -     KuKuK Jagd-Schlachtstaffel 2

   Missions   Kills   XP   Luck   Notes 
Premier Escadrille International
Charles “Half Pint”
Carruthers (GB)
3 1 17 3  
“Dirty” Bertie Parker (AU) 2 1 15 2  
Captain Jack Yates (GB) 2 1 9 2  
Alphonse Lacourt (FR) 2 0 2 1
St John
Featherstonehaugh (GB)
2 0 6 2  
Hank Snapmulder (US) 1 1 8 1  
Kaiserliche und Königliche und Kaiserliche Jagd-Schlachtstaffel
Udo Lockbach (DE) 2 0 2 1
Erbprinz Rupprecht
zu Sachsen-Zenda (DE)
2 0 3 2  
Florian Meier (DE) 2 0 6 2  
Jörg Fritzl-Falconi (HU) 2 0 6 2  
Gaspard Hauser (DE) 2 0 3 2  
Freiherr Friedrich ”Dickie”
von Salzbach (DE)
1 0 1 0  
Slobomir Kraijnc (HR) 1 0 1 0 Miss episode 6.