Sunday, September 13, 2020

WWI Western Front Aerial Campaign - Episode 4

Pick Up

This is the fourth 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

Alphonse Lacourt and St John Featherstonehaugh, two of the 1er Escadrille International's pilots, had just received brand new Sopwith Camel scouts. 

Lacourt had just returned from leave in Paris, where he met an eccentric scientist. The scientist, Professeur Le Fou, gave Lacourt one hundred 7.7 mm rounds for his machine-guns. These were very special and valuable as they were made from gold. Le Fou wanted Lacourt to test them in combat, and Lacourt now had fifty rounds loaded in each of his Vickers machine-guns.

Featherstonehaugh, for reasons none of his fellow pilots could fathom, had his erks paint two large red hearts on his top wing. 

They were test flying their new Camels far behind their own lines.

A German spy has identified two very unusual enemy canon. They was much larger than any artillery piece that the spy had ever seen before. He sent a carrier pigeon with a little information and a request to be picked up behind enemy lines. In order to move freely behind the enemy lines, he was in disguise, as a nun. 

Because of its reputation as a crack unit, the Kaiserliche und Königliche und Kaiserliche Jagd-Schlachtstaffel was tasked with recovering the spy. Florian Meier and Jörg Fritzl-Falconi will take the LFG Roland C.II to pick up the spy. The Roland’s deep fuselage, which earned it the nickname Whale (Walfisch) and which contained windows, was big enough to squeeze the spy into. They would be escorted by a Fokker D.VII piloted by Gaspard Hauser.

The Hun Pilots - by MW

The Action

Alphonse Lacourt and St John Featherstonehaugh, in their Camels, two Hun aircraft at 1,000 ft, almost treetop level. The two Camels descended 2,000 ft and the could clearly identify a Fokker D.VII and a LFG Roland C.II. 

Both Camels moved forward while slipping right.

The Huns continued forward, the Roland entered a shallow dive and gained speed. 

Yet again, both Camels moved forward while slipping right.

The Huns still continued forward, with the Roland maintaining its shallow dive. 

Both camels continues straight ahead.

Gaspard Hauser in his Fokker D.VII decided to try and draw the Camels away from the Roland so he turned left. Florian Meier in the Roland decided that he could dive under the Camels and he would be so much lower that the Camels that they wouldn't be able to react. Unfortunately this meant that his rear-gunner, Jörg Fritzl-Falconi, couldn't get off a shot because the range was too great.

Gaspard Hauser in his Fokker D.VII continued straight ahead, having succeeded i getting the attention of both the Camels. 

St John Featherstonehaugh was now tailing the D.VII and got a long range shot which damaged the D.VII's rudder so that it couldn't turn left.

Alphonse Lacourt was also tailing the D.VII but as soon as he opened fire, both his Vickers machine-guns jammed. Could this have been because the bullets he was firing were make of gold, a very soft metal?

Florian Meier was now at only 200 ft, he turned right (away from the fighting) and slowed down preparing to land. 

Somewhat surprised not to have been bothered by the Camels, the Roland touched down gently in a field close to the spy's hiding place.

The D.VII turned right, still followed by the Camels. Gaspard Hauser was leading them on a wild Fokker chase.

St John Featherstonehaugh was still tailing and got a long burst at the Fokker..

Alphonse Lacourt was following the D.VII while desperately trying to unjam his guns.

The D.VII continued straight ahead, using it superior speed over the Camels at low altitude to inch ahead.

St John Featherstonehaugh was still behind the D.VII but his guns didn't quite have the range..

Alphonse Lacourt was following the D.VII while still desperately trying to unjam his guns.

What appeared to be a nun, came running out from hiding in the trees. The nun ran towards the Roland, holding her habit up round her waist to keep her somewhat hairy legs free. Jörg Fritzl-Falconi reached down and pulled the spy into the Roland. As soon as the spy's feet left the ground, Florian Meier gunned the engine and started rolling forward for a take off.

The spy, dressed as a nun, runs out from the trees to the waiting aircraft - by MW

Gaspard Hauser saw that the Roland had landed, so he decided that he had led the Camels far enough away, he half-looped his D.VII and started to fight back.

Alphonse Lacourt was still following the D.VII while trying unsuccessfully to unjam his guns. The D.VII opened fire on him.

St John Featherstonehaugh didn't expect the D.VII to half-loop, so he turned his Camel right.

The Roland struggled into the air, now heavily loaded and manoeuvring even worse that normally. 

Florian Meier slowly turned the Roland right while trying hard to gain both speed and altitude.

Lacourt turned his camel tightly left.

Featherstonehaugh half-looped his Camel, to continue hunting the D.VII which in turn slipped left and opened fire on the Camel. 

Florian Meier continued to slowly turn the Roland right while trying hard to gain both speed and altitude.

Gaspard Hauser accelerated and headed for home. This confused the Camels who expected him to stand and fight, the Camels turned tightly but missed the D.VII.

As the Camels turned to chase the D.VII, Gaspard Hauser looped his aircraft and opened fire on Alphonse Lacourt's Camel and wounding him.

The Roland was very slowly gaining speed and altitude.

Gaspard Hauser now turned his D.VII away from the fight. This confused the Camel pilots, who couldn't work out if the D.VII wanted to fight or run. 

Even the Roland was confused, Jörg Fritzl-Falconi hadn't opened fire once for the whole mission, and was eager to take a few pot shots at a Camel with his Parabellum MG14 machine-gun, so he indicated to the pilot that he really wanted to close with the Camels.

But Gaspard Hauser in the D.VII and Florian Meier in the Roland had completed the mission and headed for home, they were fast enough that the Camels could never catch them.

Alphonse Lacourt and St John Featherstonehaugh gave up the chase and turned for home. Both landed safety despite Lacourt’s nasty wound. Lacourt was sent off immediately to the local field hospital to be patched up. 

St John Featherstonehaugh wandered into the 1er Escadrille International’s officers’ mess where he found a serious dispute under way. The French inspecteur général Hippolyte St Prix was in conflict with the squadron commander Major Brackton. Inspector St Prix had determined that their pilots were drinking too much English beer. English beer is bad for the constitution. So Inspector St Prix ordered that all the English beer in the officers' mess be sent to the nearby County of Dampshire infantry regiment. He then ordered a Bréguet BR 14 to fly to his family’s vineyard and there he purchased with squadron funds two dozen crates of 1897 vintage Côte de St Prix. Drinking such a vintage is healthy for the pilots, not like English beer, he explained to Major Brackton.

The hard-nosed Brackton used words that would have made a navvy blush, to explain what he thought of St Prix. He then rushed out and jumped into the squadron’s only DH.4. He soared off, heading for the Dampshire’s camp in the hope of rescuing at least some of the beer.

When the Roland landed at the Kaiserliche und Königliche und Kaiserliche Jagd-Schlachtstaffel's aerodrome, the spy was immediately debriefed by the squadron commander Major Fritz Detterman. Still in the nun's habit, the spy explained that there were two huge artillery pieces ready to stop our St Crupelle offensive. "Wunderwaffen" he exclaimed.. But the sly Brits have disguised the canons so that from the air it looks like a simple camp, this they did by covering the emplacement with camouflage netting onto which tent like structures were painted. Detterman noted down the exact position of the encampment.

The Result

Central Powers Victory

Campaign results:

  • Gaspard Hauser:  +2 XP, +1 luck 
  • Florian Meier:  +2 XP, +1 luck 
  • Jörg Fritzl-Falconi:  +2 XP, +1 luck 
  • Alphonse Lacourt:  +1 XP
  • St John Featherstonehaugh:  +1 XP, +1 luck

Campaign Log

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

   Missions   Kills   XP   Luck   Notes 
Premier Escadrille International
Charles “Half Pint”
Carruthers (GB)
2 0 8 2  
“Dirty” Bertie Parker (AU) 1 0 6 1  
Captain Jack Yates (GB) 2 1 9 2  
Alphonse Lacourt (FR) 2 0 2 1 Miss episode 5 because of wound.
St John
Featherstonehaugh (GB)
2 0 6 2  
Kaiserliche und Königliche und Kaiserliche Jagd-Schlachtstaffel
Udo Lockbach (DE) 2 0 2 1 Miss episodes 4 & 5 because
of wound & food poisoning.
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  

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