February 10th Gaming Report
The Indy Squadron enjoyed three games at the Meister's home on Saturday, February 10th, our second Indy Squadron gaming day of 2018 with Bob, Stephen, Ethan and Stephen Dale in attendance.
Offenheimmer Scores Solo Kill
The first game featured Bob's Albatros DVa (Rudy Offenheimmer, 6/2) and a Hannover CLIIIa (Stephen, LTN Moritz Wotzel12/1, LTN Leonard Alken 14/1) attacking an Allied balloon floating 800 feet above and behind the French lines with a SPAD XIII assigned to defend it. Ethan's pilot was LT Jean-Pierre Autois, a "4-for-4" pilot on assignment with a French western front unit.
Returning safely, Rudy Offenheimer is now the most successful pilot on Bob's young roster, having logged six missions and scored his second kill. The Germans made a successful escape, and Ethan's SPAD pilot returned safely as well.
Caproni Destroys Balloon From 11,000 Feet
We cannot be entirely certain of this, but all evidence indicates this mission produced some historic results. The game began with Stephen's Italian Caproni Ca.3 crew on a high level bombing mission over Austro-Hungarian lines, escorted by Ethan's SPAD XIII fighter (LT Jean-Pierre Autois, now on temporary duty at the Italian Front). The balloon was defended by Bob's Hansa-Brandenburg CI rookie two-seater crew.
If Stephen's Caproni crew could return home safely from the mission, it would produce what is believed to be the world's only Dawn Patrol pilots to have reached ace/experienced status while flying the Caproni bomber exclusively.
Unable to find their designated target, the Caproni crew chose a target of opportunity - an Austro-Hungarian balloon being hauled down for the night, hanging at only 400 feet altitude. The Caproni released ten 25kg bombs on the target, with the charts showing a 15% chance of a direct hit. Stephen rolled a "10" to the amazement of all, with four bombs striking the balloon emplacement and three of them striking the gasbag itself. The balloon did not ignite, but it was deflated and destroyed along with the rest of the balloon's ground crew and equipment. We're going out on a limb here, but this may also be Dawn Patrol's only confirmed balloon kill scored by a Caproni. The credit went to the crew's co-pilot who actually dropped the bombs.
Bob's rookie-flown Hansa-Brandeburg CI made a game effort but was just unable to keep up with either of the attacking planes, and everyone made it home safely. Two of Stephen's four Caproni crew memebers finally made experienced status after more than 22 years on his roster:
- TN Matteo Sabelli, 12/0 (pilot)
- STT Paulo Scalletti, 8/1 (co-pilot)
- SGT Lido Sanatto, 8/0 (front gunner)
- SGT Salvatore Crossetto, 12/2 (rear gunner)
Thurmanator Pilots Gotha on 4th Mission
The final game of the day was equally epic. Inspired by events from the previous mission, Ethan requested a Gotha GIV bomber while Bob was strapped with an outdated Halberstadt DII fighter armed with a single Spandau machine gun. Stephen's British DH 4 crew (2LT Hominy Lightwater [p] 13/1, SGT Peter Snackett [o] 12/0) was tasked with defending a 400 foot Allied balloon along with Stephen Dale. However, Stephen Dale's time was very short and he had to leave without establishing mission credit.
Ethan's crew featured some of his top two-seater crewmen in the Gotha. VZ Victor Thurmanator (4/0) was the pilot with front gunner VZ Charles Bickle (3/1) and rear gunner VZ Buckler Marat (6/1). The Gotha crew let their bombs fly from 8000 feet but missed their target. Meanwhile, Stephen's DH 4 managed a pair of tail shots on Bob's Halberstadt.
With the Gotha's bombing run complete, the escorting Halberstadt of Will Kreiger (Bob, 2/1) dove on the Allied balloon with the DH 4 chasing it down, followed by the Gotha. Failing his surprise roll, Bob wisely chose to attack the 400-foot balloon from an altitude of just 100 feet, staying safely below the anti-aircraft explosions. His Halberstadt pilot fired an interrupted burst and scored two hits on the balloon from a range of four hundred feet, which deflated and destroyed it.
Bob was elated at his good fortune and bolted for home, only to have Stephen's DH 4 crew dive onto his tail and score a 6-hit burst from the Vickers gun of pilot 2LT Hominy Lightwater. Bob's Halberstadt suffered critical damage and was stuck in a bank, so Ethan's Gotha crew dove to the rescue.
The Gotha's rear gunner, VZ Buckler Marat, fired a solid burst into the DH 4's underside, but Stephen's observer, SGT Peter Snackett, used the Indy Squadron Observer's Defense Rule to squeeze off a quick burst at his attacker as it approached. Snackett's gunfire hit the Gotha's front gunner in the chest, killing VZ Charles Buckler instantly. The wounded Gotha swerved away and made for German lines where it landed safely.
Still tailing Bob's Halberstadt at only 100 feet, the DH 4's front Vickers gun jammed. With the Gotha no longer behind them, the DH 4 pilot remained on the Halberstadt's tail but dove to 50 feet altitude to permit the observer to swing his Scarff-mounted Lewis gun toward the front and continue the attack. SGT Snackett fired two bursts. The first scored one hit, with three more the following turn.
The Halberstadt's left wing slowly folded, turning the airplane over on its back as it slammed into the ground, killing Will Kreiger (Bob, 2/1) just moments after he scored his first and only aerial victory. Stephen's DH 4 crew made it safely home, with observer Peter Snackett scoring his first kill in 12 missions.
The Indy Squadron's Rick Lacy will once again host multiple games at Whosyercon this spring. On Friday, March 30, Indy Squadron Dawn Patrol games will be held at noon and 5 pm followed by Saturday games at 10 am and 3 pm. Remember, these are official Indy Squadron games run under Indy house rules, so participation makes a player eligible for the squadron title at the Armistice Day Fits Tournament in November.
Red Baron Fight XXIX will be held on April 21, the exact 100th anniversary of the death of Manfred von Richthofen. Although it is traditionally a springtime event slated for late April, this is only the fourth time in the 29-year history of RBF that our commemorative game will be held precisely on April 21st. It is a fitting memorial for what is literally a once-in-a-lifetime event (I don't think any of us will be here for the 200th anniversary of the Red Baron's death).
The Society Mini Con rounds out the spring season on May 4-6 in Milwaukee. Featured games will include the Masters tournament, the Kerry Nash Memorial game, the traditional Big Game and much more.
Indiana players dominated last year's event with Indy's Ethan Skinner winning the Society Open, followed by the Region's George Mohoi and Indy's Stephen Skinner, while the Region's Vakis Potamianos won the Kerry Nash Memorial.