The Aerodrome journal's "Pages from the Past" series offers historically accurate Dawn Patrol scenarios that can be played by various gaming groups around the country, the current scenario being "The Successful Combat Debut of the SPAD VII" by the late Al Christensen. The results of each game are then written into reports to be compared to each other in the next issue.
The Indy Squadron's version of this mission will undoubtedly be the shortest and most unproductive of all due to freak circumstances in the fight. Bob Meister and Ethan Skinner flew the 150-hp SPADs while the German Rumplers were piloted by Rick Lacy, Stephen Skinner and Garrett LaRue.
Almost unbelievably, both SPADs suffered gun jams on the opening turn of combat. Since the SPAD VII is a single-gun airplane, this left the entire French flight unarmed, outgunned six to none and at an altitude disadvantage. No one really blamed them when the SPADs flew straight at top speed and dove away from the Germans, ending the fight almost before it had begun.
Germans Down Balloon, "The Python" Steals Dory's Kill
The Indy Squadron had seven players in action for four games on February 27, 2021 (Dory, Marci, Garrett, Ethan, Rick, Bob, Stephen) at Nelson Skinner's home in Lewisville, IN. It was great having two new players, Marci Tidball and Garrett LaRue, join us for the day.
The first game featured four 180-hp SPAD VII's (Rick, Bob, Garrett, Stephen) against a trio of Albatros DIII's (Ethan, Marci, Dory). The engine on Marci's DIII began smoking early in the game after taking head-on fire from Stephen's SPAD. The game progressed slowly in order to help the new players learn, but it turned out to be an enjoyable mission. Dory's Albatros tailed Bob's SPAD for much of the game, but it was Ethan "The Python" Skinner's Albatros that delivered the coup de gras. The wing of Bob's SPAD was destroyed and Ethan's pilot was awarded the kill, much to Dory's chagrin. "I've been tailing him since the beginning of the darn game," Dory said as Bob failed his crash survival roll. "I put 11 bullets in him in just two turns. I was very invested.".
The second game was the day's most interesting, with three German Fokker DVII's downing a French balloon in a single pass. Bob (LTN Peter Wagner, 200 hp DVII) and Rick (LTN Bruno Becker, 18/3, 185 hp DVII) scored 15 total hits into the balloon while Garrett's rookie DVII pilot missed. The balloon went down in flames and both of the experienced German pilots headed for home at ground level while the two SPADs pounced on Garrett's Fokker.
Both Frenchmen were aces. Jean Fabio (Ethan, 6/5) and Stephen (CPL Vladimirez Kaskaskia, 13/5) tailed Garrett's DVII until its wing sheared off. "I tried several evasive maneuvers but they shot me down before I could get back to the front," Garrett said. Stephen's pilot then tailed Rick's German ace for three turns and scored ten hits before the Fokker escaped to end the game.
The third game is described in this issue's lead article; see "Debut of the SPAD VII."
The day's fourth and final game was on the Italian Front with three Nieuport 27's (Rick, Stephen, Garrett) against a pair of Oeffag Albatros 253's (Ethan, Bob). Stephen's Italian ace (SGT Melchoire Giovanni, 22/13) tailed Bob's Oeffag for three turns but shot poorly and lost position when Bob dove away. Ethan's Nieuport suffered a gun jam and escaped, after which the fight broke up and ended inconclusively.
The last three issues of the Dispatch have featured - or attempted to feature - all three parts of "The World War I Conspiracy" by documentary filmmaker James Corbett. YouTube has responded by attempting to censor the documentary. Click the 3-minute video below for details on YouTube's censorship of open source, documented facts regarding the plot to start World War I, then FOLLOW THIS LINK to watch the entire documentary, unedited and uncensored.