February Game Report
The Indy Squadron gathered at the Meister's home in Indianapolis on February 2nd for a trio of games featuring five players (Ethan, A. J., Bob, Michael and Stephen). Mrs. Meister served a delicious round of bacon wrapped mini dogs, Magic Bars chocolate desert and an array of snacks (thank you!).
This session had a different feel entirely. Instead of the DP's infamous Chart Patrol slavery in which we played only the scenarios dictated by the random charts, we let anyone at the table design their own mission. We played three interesting and fun filled scenarios and here's how they turned out.
Set in June 1917, the first game pitted three French Nieuport 17's flown by Bob, Michael and Stephen against a pair of Albatros DVa's piloted by Ethan and A. J. Although the German team appeared to be underdogs on paper due to their lack of experience, they actually flew a flawless game and fought the French Nieuport's to a draw despite some expert tailing by two-time Red Baron Fight champion Michael Morgan. No aerial victories were scored and all participants flew home safely.
The second game featured two Gotha GV bombers on a trench attack mission. Ethan's pilot flew the first bomber with A. J's gunners manning the front and rear cockpits. Michael filled all crew positions on the second Gotha. hey were opposed by a pair of 150 hp Sopwith Camels flown by Bob and Stephen (CPT Purvis Leiter, 50/31).
The Gothas used the clouds to their advantage. With the Germans flying just 50 feet above the cloud bank, the English were forced to accept head-on fire in a brief exchange before the Gotha's descended into the clouds. The moment was punctuated by Stephen's ace pegging Michael's Gotha for 4 hits from 600 feet range, giving a No Effect wound to his rear gunner. The Gotha's emerged on the low side of the bank and lined up for immediate bombing runs on their target trenches.
The Germans pounded the trenches with bombs and destroyed their assigned targets in spite of stiff resistance. Stephen's super ace was even able to score and 11-hit mega-burst on Michael's Gotha, but it was all to no avail. Michael, Ethan and A. J. fought off all attacks, completed their mission and safely and returned home with no fatalities.
Big bombers took to the sky again in the day's final battle scenario, set in the Mediterranean Sea in June 1917. A. J. and Stephen flew Caproni Ca.3 torpedo bombers with Ethan's Italian Hanriot HD-1 flying escort. The Italians were opposed by the Albatros W.4 seaplanes of Bob (Rudy Offenheimer, 9/2) and Michael.
A German cruiser had sailed into the Mediterranean and slipped behind Italian lines, pummeling the Italian forces from the rear. Help from the Italian navy was too far away, so a pair of Caproni torpedo bombers were dispatched on an emergency flight to deal with the crisis. The Aerial Torpedo Warfare charts of Stephen Skinner were used for the mission.
A. J's Caproni seemed to draw the wrath of the Albatri more than Stephen's. The Albs closed in for repeated shot's at A. J's Caproni which also served to protect the Italians from the three anti-aircraft guns aboard the German cruiser. The Caproni's dove to sea level and released their torpedoes between 600 and 900 feet from their target, before turning away from the battle to watch the results.
Meanwhile, a torrid dogfight was taking place between the fighter planes. Bob's Albatros was being tailed by Ethan's Hanriot, which was also being attacked by Michael's Albatros. While this battle raged, all four torpedoes struck the German cruiser (including one that malfunctioned) and sank it with massive explosions amidships.
Ethan managed one final burst into Bob's Albatros and scored a pilot hit, after which the dogfight broke up and everyone went home except Bob's best pilot (Rudy Offenheimer, 9/2), who had suffered a light wound in his left shoulder and a critical hit in the tail of his airplane.
With hundreds of German sailors in the water after radioing for help from nearby Axis vessels, it stood to reason that Bob's pilot had a pretty good chance of getting rescued at sea if he landed nearby. So he succeeded in his 75% chance at a successful sea landing on calm waters and was rescued by Axis naval forces, recovering fully from his wound. This is the second time the fortunate Offenheimer has survived a battle wound in addition to evading capture after once being shot down behind enemy lines. His skill and luck continue to entertain every time he takes to the air.
The Italians made out like bandits with the military brass after this mission. Ethan's pilot, LT Antonio Pasta, was credited with his first kill after Bob's Albatros went down to a water landing.
The crews of Michael and Stephen's Caproni's were awarded the Italian Medaglia d'Argento al Valor Militaire (AVM) for bravery in sinking a German cruiser.
Stephen's Caproni pilot, LT Matteo Sabelli (13/0), also earned an unrelated award for service (Croce di Guerra) although he was turned down for a promotion and an additional bravery medal. His co-pilot, STT Paulo Scalletti ((9/1), was given the French Croix de Guerre. SGT Lido Sanatto (front gunner, 9/0) was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre. Stephen's rear Caproni gunner, SGT Salvatore Crossetto (13/2), was also awarded the French Croix de Guerre and promoted to Sottotenente (2LT).
All of the Italians in the air that day came home with kill credits, promotions or medals to go with their victorious mission.
by Scott Campbell
It all started after getting a group of guys from Spirit Aerosystems to play Dawn Patrol.
We were playing with the original old map that I used when I started to play the game with high school friends back in 1981. I decided it was time to make another because I gave the first board I made to the Indy squadron before my departure to Wichita in 2005.
I was trying to decide what terrain to put on it when I realized that next April would be the 100th anniversary of the death of the Red Baron. I Googled "Dawn Patrol game board" and I saw a map a guy painted for Dawn Patrol on the aerodrome forum based on the Knights of the Air game map. I loved the higher view of the terrain and I knew I had to make my new board based on that. Also the game map was painted from a photo of where the Red Baron was shot down over Vaux sur Somme along the Bray-Corbie road.
Realizing that 2018 was the 100 year anniversary of the red Baron's death, I decided to paint the board for the upcoming Indy Squadron Red Baron Fight. It wasn't until March 2018 that I realized that it would be the twentieth anniversary of my 1998 win in Red Baron Fight IX and I knew I had to go back to Indy to play. Additionally, a friend of mine who had been playing, Brad Campbell, talked me into going and expressed interest.
The board began as a typical 36x72 inch sewing board my wife used to teach Bible timelines to the kids. Previously, my first board started with spray enamels but the board I saw online used artist's oils. When my grandmother passed away in 2012 she left me her collection of artist's oils that she used to paint many outdoor scenes in West Virginia, which won many artistic competitions in her lifetime. I decided I should use her paints to do the board.
I pulled up a Google image of the Somme valley where the Red Baron crashed using the search terms “Red Baron crash site.” I then laid in the basic colors based on the Google maps image working outward from the Baron's crash site. I wanted the board to have the appearance of being about 5,000-8,000 feet altitude, so I painted the land property and roads based on that scale. This was the altitude that the dogfight occurred at.
The forest got a healthy dose of dark green while this color was used to dab in clumps of trees which followed roads and property lines. The roads were initially laid in with a light gray and then followed by light brown and white highlights. Farm fields were painted a base color and then highlighted with various colors for rows of vegetation.
The Somme river was laid in with a light blue with white highlights. It actually looks dark green from the air but I got so many “oil slick” comments about the river in my first board that I decided not to paint the river that color again. Houses were painted a dark red with black outlines and light brown driveways.
Finally the square grid was applied with a fine point Sharpie and straight edge level. The grid at the edge of the sewing board was used as the starting line to maintain the grid locations. Overall I'm quite pleased with the result and the board gives the feel of being high above the fields of France swirling around and fighting for supremacy of the sky like falcons of prey.
It was great to see everyone in Indianapolis again although Dory Oda and Scott Jones were sorely missed. To see Bob Meister flying the red Triplane around the board with other swirling triplanes and biplanes was truly a slight glimpse of the past taking us a hundred years back in time to the final hour of Manfred von Richthofen.