Offenheimer Downs Balloon on 5th Mission
The Indy Squadron held its final gaming day of 2017 on Saturday, December 9th, with Ethan, Bob and Stephen in attendance. The Meister's east side home again served as our venue and we graciously thank them for having us over and for all of Donna's amazing cooking. Both Bob and Stephen had potential fourth players in line who weren't able to attend, so in keeping with Dawn Patrol tradition, we played a handful of balloon missions while waiting in vain for their eventual arrival.
The first mission had Stephen's 190 hp Bristol Fighter (2LT Clayton Butterworth, 12/1 & LT Delbert Cassidy, 10/0) defending a British balloon floating at 800 feet altitude. The attackers were Ethan's Albatros pilot, Dolf Meinhart (9/4) and Bob's most experienced German pilot, Rudy Offenheimer, on his sixth mission.
The Germans eventually deflated the balloon but Bob won the cut for victory credit, preventing Ethan's Albatros pilot from scoring his fifth kill. Stephen's long time Bristol pilot, 2LT Clayton Butterworth, logged his 12th mission to gain experienced status.
The night's second scenario had Ethan's veteran Albatros pilot, Nicolson Bob (11M) standing guard over a pair of German balloons hanging 500 feet above the trenches. The attackers, both in Sopwith Dolphins, were Bob's most experienced pilot (Johnny Wilson, 6M) and Stephen (CPT Nathanael Morgan, 11/6).
Despite being badly shot up by Ethan's Albatros and the incessant ground fire of both balloons, the Dolphins managed to work together and down both balloons. The first was burned by Morgan for his fifth kill. The second was hit by both Sopwith pilots with Morgan winning credit for his sixth confirmation. This is the third Camel ace on Stephen's roster, with Morgan backing up CPT Purvis Leiter (49/31) backing up Squadron Commander Christopher Foxxe (71/59).
Ethan Gets 1st Ace/Experienced Pilot
The third and final mission of the evening was a tactical bombing scenario in which Bob's British SPAD VII pilot (Billy Bishop, 2/2) was the designated balloon shooter with Stephen's DH 4 crew (LT Dennis Woodbridge 13/1 & 2LT Stephen Clay 12/2) assigned to ground fire suppression.
The twin 600-foot balloons were guarded by Ethan's Albatros DVa pilot, Nicolson Bob, flying his 12th mission.
The DH 4 successfully bombed two anti-aircraft guns on its first turn of attack while suppressing the fire of two more on its second pass. This opened the door for Bob's SPAD pilot to attack the first balloon and send it down in flames on his second firing run.
Stephen's DH 4 was shot up badly by the ground fire and Ethan's Albatros. He was forced to escape after the first balloon went down. Unwilling to attack the second balloon single-handed, Bob fled the scene as well after scoring his pilot's second victory.
Although Ethan didn't score a kill, he did manage to log his 12th mission for his Albatros pilot, Nicolson Bob, giving him his first-ever ace/experienced pilot in Dawn Patrol.
Although our final player(s) never arrived, the few missions we managed were fun and enjoyable and each of us accomplished something of value to our respective rosters. It was a short but pleasant night and we're grateful that the Meisters hosted us.
2018 Indy Calendar Released
Although the usual last minute changes are expected as real life takes its toll, our 2018 Indy Squadron calendar is now complete and published (see right side bar on home page).
The year will feature a host of Indy Squadron traditions including New Year's Day Gaming, the 5th Whosyercon Open, the Fits Society Spring Mini Con, Red Baron Fight XXIX, the 30th annual Armistice Day Fits Tournament and much more. Mark your calendars now and make plans to join us in 2018!
New Year's Day Gaming Opens 2018 Season
Believe it or not, Indy's holiday gaming tradition began way back on December 29, 1988 in what is believed to be the first-ever Dawn Patrol game flown by the Indy Squadron. The scenario featured Stephen and Dory (Christopher Foxxe and Edward Stove) in 130 hp Sopwith Camels flying against Scott Jones (Pfalz DIIIa), Clark Sigmund (Fokker DrI) and Nelson Skinner (Albatros DVa).
It is known that the Indy Squadron flew for the first time between November and December 1988. The December 29 game described above is the earliest game for which we have a firm record, and is most likely the first game in the squadron's history.
So our holiday tradition dates to the earliest days of the Indy Squadron. Over the years we gamed regularly during the week between Christmas and New Year's, and eventually moved to the current New Year's Day format on the suggestion of Scott Jones.
This year's event is to be held at the Skinner's house in Union City, Indiana on Monday, January 1, 2018, starting a 12 noon. Be sure to join us!
Book Review: De Havilland Enterprises
The latest offering from Pen & Sword Books is a clear winner that will interest any World War I aviation enthusiast. "De Havilland Enterprises; A History" by Graham M. Simons is a careful reconstruction of every known model of airplane created by the world famous De Havilland corporation, both before, during and after the Great War.
The first seventy pages of this 318-page volume will interest our readers the most, as it deals with the great (and not so great) offerings from the company during the 1914-1918 war.
As one would expect, the sections devoted to the DH 4, DH 9 and DH 9a are broadly expanded to present a thorough and interesting history of each model. But the lack of information on the DH 5 single seat fighter is a bit surprising, given the model's tremendous impact on the British air war on the Western Front in the summer of 1917. The DH 5 section is not disappointing or poorly presented, but it is a bit shorter than this reviewer had hoped.
Still, the overwhelming research and information presented in this book is more than sufficient to justify the $45 US suggested price tag. You won't want to stop reading at page seventy. The inter-war years, the fascinating failures and lesser known successes, and the company's World War II history will keep you turning pages long after the Great War era.
The book is a bit heavy and extremely dense. At 10x7 inches, it will fit into a backpack or briefcase but you'll know it's there because of the weight. Packed with photos and printed on thin stock paper, this volume is weighty and lets the reader know that you're holding a serious literary work in your hands.
Pick up a copy of "De Havilland Enterprises: A History" for the holidays this season. You'll be glad you did.