Fall Gaming Season Begins
at Hometown Comics
The summer break ended and the new gaming season began for the Indy Squadron on October 14 at Hometown Comics in Greenfield, Indiana. Five gamers were present for the first gaming since Dory Oda won Indy's Red Baron Fight in late May, including new player Thomas Hood.
An important and enjoyable feature of the day was allowing players some control over airplane choice. Rather than playing only with strict adherence to random charts, the basic scenario was determined after which players were allowed to roll percentile dice with the highest roll choosing their nationality. In the final game, the date was determined and players chose any aircraft available that month. The Indy Squadron did this regularly throughout the 1990s and it was a fun and refreshing way to allow players to build their rosters in needed areas rather than entirely by blind, random rolls.
The first of the day's four scenarios was set on the Italian Front. Ethan and Stephen flew Italian Hanriot HD-1's equipped with single deck guns, while Stephen Dale and Rick flew Phonix and Berg fighters.
Stephen's Italian ace, Sgt. Melchoire Giovanni, scored his 12th kill in 19 missions when he hit Stephen Dale's rookie pilot with a critical wound. The Austro-Hungarian dove down to an emergency forward airfield but passed out during his landing attempt, dying in the crash.
Ethan and Stephen Dale flew Albatrosses over German lines in an attempt to stop the British airplanes of Rick and Stephen from completing their artillery spotting mission. The game featured no aerial victories, but a great deal of enjoyable strategy and a full roster of successful pilots on both sides.
Rick's Bristol Fighter (275 hp) was piloted by Dennis Bennett with observer Adam Powell, both of whom survived their 12th mission. Stephen's RE 8 artillery spotting plane completed it's assignment to oversee the destruction of a train depot. His pilot, 2LT Hominy Lightwater, survived his 12th mission and his observer, SGT Peter Snackett, is nearing experienced status with 11 missions to his credit.
Stephen Dale chose to promote his Austro-Hungarian Albatros pilot, LTN Milan Sova, to the German Air Service on the Western Front where he completed his 11th mission. The high point of the dogfight came when Ethan's Albatros pilot, VZFW Friedrich Knorr (2/0?), chose to target Rick's ace Bristol crew with a 300-foot head on shot. Ethan missed but Rick's crew returned fire and hit Ethan's pilot with a light wound. Ethan bravely continued the fight and his pilot eventually made it home safely to survive his wounds.
Aces continued to fill the sky as Stephen's Hannover CLIIIa observer, LTN Leonard Alken, logged his 13th mission and his pilot, LTN Mortiz Wotzel, survived his 11th. Stephen Dale again promoted an Albatros pilot for this mission. This time it was Albatros DII pilot LTN Samuel Dreisbach, who was promoted to fly a high compression Albatros DVa on his 9th mission.
Ethan flew a Sopwith Camel 150 hp with pilot LT Samuel Pease (3/1) while Rick's SE 5a was piloted by his long time double ace, Percival Stuart, on his 31st mission.
No kills were scored in this game despite a heart-stopping moment when Stephen's experienced Hannover crew took a 350-foot head-on shot at Rick's SE 5 ace. Both airplanes scored hits, but no casualties occurred and all players made it home safely.
The evening's final game was set in February 1917 and included new Dawn Patrol player Thomas Hood, a regular at Hometown Comics and a fan of the film "Flyboys" who decided to try his hand at the game.
On the Allied team, Thomas and Ethan flew French Nieuport 17's while Stephen's British pilot, LT Humphrey Packerton (11/1) flew a 150 hp SPAD. They were opposed by two Albatri flown by Stephen Dale and Rick's experienced pilot, Johann Schoffler, on his 24th mission.
The game's only kill occurred when Schoffler flew in for a top shot on Packerton and gave the 11-mission Brit a critical shoulder wound. Packerton was able to land behind German lines but died of his wounds.
Armistice Day Set for November 18
The 29th annual Indy Squadron Armistice Day Fits Tournament is slated for 11 am, November 18 on the east side of Indianapolis. A venue will be announced shortly, but the east side of Indy is the most central location that is advantageous for everyone.
Hometown Comics is a good venue with adequate space, but it does get rather loud for a few peak hours on Saturday afternoon. Some of us prefer a private location, but someone will have to volunteer a location to make that happen.
The 2016 classic drew a solid field of nine players with Michael Morgan taking both the tournament and squadron titles. The 2017 Victory Medal has already been created and engraved and we look forward to seeing you on November 18th.
Scott Campbell Starts Wichita Spirit Squadron
Former Indy regular Scott Campbell started the new Spirit Squadron in Wichita, Kansas this summer. Their first gaming session drew a total of six players and Scott was kind enough to draw up a thorough and well-written report for us to enjoy. ISD will continue to print Spirit Squadron news when it is available so his former wingmen can keep up on the latest from out west.
Bill Loon Burns Balloon!
Snoopy Waipa Nearly Nixed
In a barn burning first time Dawn Patrol gaming session with the Spirit Squadron in Wichita Kansas (Scott Campbell's house in Rose Hill) Lt. Bill Loon (0/0 Mike Mosier) got his first kill.
Bill Loon took off with a flight of two other American Nieuport 28s (Matt, Maverick Hanna 0/0 and Keoki, Snoopy Waipa 0/0) in July of 1918 looking for a balloon to burn. They found one over the St. Quentin area just inside the German lines. Led by Lt. Loon they began spiraling in from 3000 feet and they approached the 500 foot balloon delicately avoiding the AA defenses. But they weren't alone.
At 1300 feet a flight of 3 Fokker D.VIIs led by Bolko Bergman (10/0 Scott) was waiting to ambush them. The Nieuports dove
in from 2000 feet for perfect 100 foot shots on the balloons except for one lagging Nieuport (Matt) that couldn't manage a shot on the balloon without overdiving his aircraft. The wind in the wires was nearly deafening and the strain in the wings was a sign of times to come for the left wing. He pulled out of the dive screaming at 450 feet for a 250 foot shot on the balloon and promptly missed.
Meanwhile his comrades pummeled the balloon with 12 hf and downed it immediately in a brilliant ball of fire. The AA opened
up and did minor damage to Snoopy Waipa's plane. This was just the beginning of his troubles. He banked away from the burning mass of hydrogen and fabric and shoved his stick forward hitting the deck at treetop height heading west and home avoiding the AA fire. All was going well when suddenly behind and above he heard the unmistakable staccato of Spandau machine guns. He suddenly found himself in a hail of lead from two Fokker D.VIIs above and behind. It was Bergman (Scott) and Heinz Gzumby (0/0 Eric Esparza) pouncing on the unsuspecting Nieuport.
Waipa's Nieuport shuddered under the hurricane of lead dealt mostly from above by Gzumby. Smoke immediately poured forth from the straining rotary engine and fabric and wood splinters flew back as well. Bill Loon dove in to help his troubled wingman taking a glancing side shot on Bergman and seeing some strikes on the red and white striped Fokker. Meanwhile, Maverick Hanna pulled up into the vertical and rolled level grasping for every ounce of altitude he could get heading back to allied lines. Seeing his wingman in trouble he made a gradual right hand turn back to help when suddenly he to herd the fear gripping sound of Spandau machine guns from behind. Another Fokker, Rudolf "Lucky Shot" Singer (0/0 Peyton) had dove in from above and latched onto Maverick's tail tearing wood and fabric from the machine.
Bill Loon pulled up and rolled trying to go to the aid of Maverick as well but unable to get a shot on the other Hun machine. Down on the deck, Waipa barrel rolled right passing over a stream and nearly missing a few trees still heading west with both Fokkers latched on to him their guns hammering away at him. Then he tried a tight circle to the right to no avail still seeing the Fokkers above and behind him. He glanced over at his left wing. There were holes everywhere and fabric fluttering behind it didn't look good. Suddenly he found himself in a complete furball as planes, both friendly and enemy, came at him from all directions mixing it up with bullets and tracers flying everywhere.
A loud crack occurred near his right ear followed by a puff of feathers. A bullet passed through his flight jacket above his right shoulder. Shocked with fear he hunched down and flew straight. He noticed his plane was a little faster than the Fokkers when he flew straight so he centered the stick and stayed down in his cockpit waiting for the inevitable sound of rounds striking his machine or him. He looked back and saw both Fokkers still there with Bill and Maverick trailing behind. He decided to take his plane on the deck and dove down flying right down a train track and parallel to the train station.
The office manager and several waiting civilians looked on in a drunken stupor unable to believe there eyes as the Nieuport blazed by at eye level with a pair of Fokkers not far behind further followed by another Nieuport machine guns hammering. Bergman soon realized Loon was drawing a bead on him and getting some strikes into his tail feeling the effects in the rudder pedals but he was target fixated and focused on getting his prey. After passing the train station Waipa looked back and seeing only one flashing light of fire coming from both Fokkers he thought now might be a good time to take evasive action. He yanked the stick left and kicked left rudder turning the plane hard left. It almost worked.
The flight of following planes continued straight he had shaken them all but Bergman who continued to hammer away at the Nieuport. The left wing a complete shambles and the right one now taking fire Waipa thought this was the end for him. He tried his straight flying and gradual climbing strategy again and began to pull away from Bergman. Bergman still hammering away with one machine gun was suddenly enraged. His single firing gun fell silent with a shell jammed in the receiver as well. He cursed under his breath and began hammering away at both guns trying to get a fresh round into both Spandaus chambers. Looking ahead he saw the Nieuport slowly pulling away and gaining height on him. Waipa realized he didn't hear machine gun firing anymore and looking back saw the German hitting his guns with his fist getting further away with each passing minute. After nearly an eternity, the German was just a small speck behind him and he turned and slumped back into his seat his hands and fingers shaking at the prospect of nearly being six foot under.
The smoking Gnome rotary continued to drone on as Waipa flew back to allied lines. He listened for the unmistakable sound of the sputtering rotary coming to a stop but it wasn't to be. Finally, ahead he saw it. His field. He lined up and put the plane gently down on the ground and idled up to the his planes tent. Just as he approached the tent the left fell limp (1 hf left) and dragged on the ground causing the plane to ground loop. Waipa flicked the switch and the rotary came to a stop. His mechanic approached the plane and said that plane saw its first and last flight! "Glad you're ok Lieutenant!"
The evening was a success for all players as all pilots survived and much chips, cheese queso, salsa, and sodas were consumed. Bergman logged his 11th mission and now stands one mission away from the 12th mission/5 kill bonus that he'll probably lose as soon as its achieved because Scott has never been able to get a Fokker DVII pilot past the 12m/5k level because they promptly get shot dead in the saddle on their 13th mission which is why he refuses to promote his beloved Albatros D.Va pilot Alfred Horstmeijer (26/5) to Fokker D.VIIs.