Action Opens on Palestine Front
The Indy Squadron held its first-ever game set on the Palestinian Front during May 14th gaming in Union City, Indiana with a pair of British SE 5a's (Stephen Dale [LT James Wright, 9/2] and Rick) against a Turkish LVG CV (Ethan) and a captured Nieuport 17 flying for the Turkish army (Stephen). The Brits were flying some two miles inside enemy lines and it was this fact that eventually saved the Turkish effort in a game that lasted only four turns.
The Turks were caught napping at 3,000 feet over the Arabian desert but the SE's couldn't capitalize, missing one shot and scoring minimal damage on the other. Ethan's LVG missed a head-on shot at Rick's SE, which jammed its deck gun while attempting to return fire. Stephen's captured, single-gun Nieuport fired a bottom shot at Rick and scored five hits. Rick was forced to fly the rest of the game with only his upper wing Lewis gun still functioning.
Stephen Dale's SE 5a (LT James Wright, 9/2) lined up for a bottom shot on Stephen's Turkish Nieuport and squeezed the triggers. Seven bullets ripped into the captured airplane and it exploded in a flash with critical damage to the engine. Stephen's Turkish pilot fell 1,900 feet into a pile of soft sand, miraculously surviving the fall and making a cross country trip through the desert to rejoin his outfit.
Stephen Dale's SE pilot collected his 2nd kill in 9 missions. Rick escaped soon after due to gun jams and Ethan's LVG crew escaped unscathed from the Indy Squadron's first foray over the Palestinian Front.
Indy Gains New Recruits
Let's be honest. Most Dawn Patrol players are experts at board games of all types who endlessly pontificate about World War I but actually know very little about it. So the arrival of Jonathon and Benjamin at the Indy Squadron is especially exciting because both are well versed in World War I aviation even at the young ages of 12 and 10 (respectively).
Both boys have had the benefit of great families, lots of outdoor activities and limited screen time, which makes them patient, intelligent beyond their years and unusually well read. Everyone at the table agreed that they picked up the game faster than most adults, and both of them survived their first two aerial combats. Both are now eligible to compete for the Armistice Day Fits Tournament championship this fall. Welcome to Indy Squadron, Ben and Jonathon!
May 14 Gaming Report
Six players held a total of four games at the Indy Squadron's 1917 Room in Union City, Indiana on May 14th (Ethan, Stephen Dale, Jonathon, Benjamin, Rick, Stephen).
Game 1 featured Ben and Ethan in Albatros DV's against Rick, Jonathon and Stephen in British DH5's. It was an enjoyable learning experience for our two novices and the game's focus was on gaining experience at the table rather than winning. The dogfight was indecisive.
Game 2 was more competitive with the Germans flying a Fokker DVIII (Ethan), a 185 hp Fokker DVII (Stephen) and a Fokker DrI Triplane (Benjamin). The Allies flew a pair of American Sopwith Camels (Stephen Dale and Rick) with a single SPAD XIII (Jonathon). Benjamin's Triplane seemed to be everyone's favorite target. After being hit by all three Americans his DrI was loaded with hits as well as critical damage to his tail and right wing. And just when he thought it couldn't get any worse, he missed a shot and jammed one of his guns. Overall, the Allied team of Stephen Dale, Rick and Jonathon got the better of the fight and the Germans were fortunate to escape with no casualties.
The third game has already been described in this issue's lead story (see "Action Opens on Palestine Front").
The fourth and final game of the day was deliberately set in March 1919 - after the conclusion of the war - featuring airplanes that were in final planning and design when the war ended. Two Martinsyde Buzzards (Ethan and Stephen) flew against two Fokker DVII's (Stephen Dale and Rick). Stephen's Buzzard spent the first three turns getting pounded by relentless machine gun fire from both Stephen Dale and Rick. In fact, Stephen didn't return fire at all until Turn 4 when he scored a modest 4-hit burst into the side of Rick's Fokker, but the result was surprising. Bullets tore into the BMW engine and caused an oil leak. The next time Rick rolled an "8" for initiative, his engine would seize... and he was nearly three miles behind enemy lines.
The only sensible option for Rick was to point his Fokker DVII homeward immediately. Just three turns later his engine seized and he had just enough altitude to glide back to the front, across the lines, and make a safe emergency landing in a farm field. Stephen's badly shot up Buzzard had critical damage in the tail and both wings, so Stephen Dale's Fokker DVII gave chase. Ethan was quick to come to his wingman's aid and fired a burst that hit Stephen Dale hard enough to make him reconsider his position, now outnumbered 2-to-1 and still far behind enemy lines. Stephen Dale outrolled both British Buzzards on the next game turn and immediately escaped the combat.
Rick Lacy on Mini Con '22
I was the sole attendee from the Indy Squadron this year. Made it up to Milwaukee on Wed, April 27 and we had a few "warm up" games that night. Official gaming started Thursday morning. We had enough players over the course of the weekend to keep two tables running with optimal player numbers. Attendees came in from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida and Indiana (me). We played three event games – the Nash/Christensen memorial game on Friday night, the Masters Game on Saturday and the Milwaukee Cup game on Sunday morning. The next issue of the Aerodrome will detail these games.
On Thursday night Mike Carr and I drove into downtown Milwaukee for dinner at St. Paul Fish and it was quite delightful. I had the blackened swordfish while Mike had blackened Sea Bass (no idea if they were ill tempered or not). Afterwards we wound our way back through town and I got a bit of local history. All in all, I have to say I liked Milwaukee a bit more than I expected.
Friday night saw a sizeable number of us hit the Final Approach for the Fish Fry (an every year tradition for me). George brought in a sizeable number of personal books to give away aside from event prizes, and I managed to get a copy of "The Killer Angels" (the book the TBS miniseries Gettysburg was based on) which I am quite enjoying. I left early afternoon and made great time on the way home.
Gotta say that this is probably one of my favorite minicons as the number of players was about perfect and everyone had pleasant interactions. The one drawback in my mind was not running the Palestinian game. Hopefully next year.
VIDEO: Fokker DVII in Flight
BOOK REVIEW: "The Mountain War" by Isaak Barasch
Precious few books are available to American readers regarding the Italian Front in World War I, and even fewer are translated into English from the Austro-Hungarian side. Written by a Galacian doctor (now the Ukraine) stationed in the Dolomite mountains in 1916, "The Mountain War" fills a slot on your book shelf that few others can manage.
Dr Barasch served nearly three years on the bloody Italian front and describes his experiences in detail in this newly published diary, which was preserved by his family for generations and is now available in English. Barasch does not hide his disdain for his military superiors, or the feeling of hopelessness that came over him after watching so many lives wasted in combat.
Barasch gives considerable detail on where he served and even the individual mountains that he climbed to work at various observation posts and artillery units. Many of these trails still exist in the Dolomites today and his detailed instructions make it possible to retrace his steps, either using trail maps online, or by actually going to Italy and eastern Europe today to re-live his experiences.
"The Mountain War" stands as a rare treat. Readable, unique and well illustrated, this is mandatory reading for World War I enthusiasts.