The Indy Squadron rang in the new year with a pair of enjoyable online games utilizing the popular Vassal gaming system. The New Year's Day games were originally scheduled at the Lacy's house, but due to an illness it was decided that we should play online instead.
The day's first game featured an Italian front mission with two Oeffag Albatros 153's (Rick and Ethan) against a pair of 150-hp SPAD VII's (Stephen Dale and Stephen). The Austro-Hungarian Oeffags double-attacked Stephen's SPAD, scoring 13 hit factors in the first two turns.
Although he wasn't yet in serious trouble, Stephen chose to escape since the Italians were flying single-gun airplanes against twin-gunned Oeffags. The flight quickly broke up after his departure with no casualties on either side.
Ethan and Rick sided again, this time in American Nieuport 28's, opposed by the Albatros DVa of Stephen Dale and the Halberstadt DII flown by Stephen's crew. This game also broke up quickly with no casualties. The only notable factor in the game was Stephen's Halberstadt crew drawing within a few missions of Experienced level (LTN Mortiz Wetzel, pilot, 9/1 and LTN Leonard Alken, observer, 11/1).
Nevertheless, the day was enjoyable in that these games were the first official Indy Squadron games to ever be held online with the Vassal gaming system.
The Vassal system is easy to download, simple to use, and fun. There are certainly aspects to an online game that differ from face-to face matchups, but they offer a new and unique type of enjoyment. We look forward to playing more online games in the future and our first experiment with them was successful.
Tim Carlson's new oil-on-masonite rendition of the November 1990 showdown between German super-ace Heinreich von Beinmeir (Frank Ferrero, 92/75 at the time, later retired on kills) and Indy Squadron Camel pilot Christopher Foxxe (Stephen Skinner, 26/17 at the time, now 73/59) is complete.
This massive, original painting measures more than four feet in width and took more than two years of painstaking research to produce. Three of the players from the 1990 game were contacted to procure original mission logs, to determine what aircraft counters were used in the game, and to gather all the data necessary to make the final painting reflect the actual game in every possible detail.
The angle of the sun and lighting conditions in France were studied in order to better replicate the game's weather conditions in the artwork. Any pilot characters who were fictional members of actual WWI squadrons were researched in order to combine their aircraft counter markings with the actual markings of their corresponding historical squadron in 1918.
The movements of each aircraft counter in the turns prior to and after the moment depicted in the artwork were recreated using original game mission logs to determine the correct angle of the airplanes in the painting, as well as the correct position of ailerons, stabilizers and rudders.
The result is astounding. Tim Carlson's artistry and research have given us what must surely be one of the finest Dawn Patrol-related works of art ever produced (yes, quite a few such paintings and drawings were done in the 80's).
This painting will be unveiled in the next issue of ISD.
Pen & Sword's new book on the Middle Eastern air route established shortly after the First World War is a rare gem that tackles a topic that is virtually unique in its field.
Author Clive Semple spares no one in this tell-all work. Aside from being an excellent explanation of the beginnings of the Middle East mess as we know it today, Semple reveals how the British betrayal of the Arabs after WWI was met with armed resistance. This resistance required air support for the British army in the field. As a result, 51 English bombers flew from Britain to Cairo in the summer of 1919 to participate in the hostilities.
Only 34 of them made it, leaving a trail of airplane wreckage and dead bodies from Paris to Palestine and spurring an official inquiry that was prevented from publicizing any fault with anyone of high position.
Aside from its amazing content, "Airway to the East" is perfectly suited for convenient reading. The hard-bound copies measure 6.5 x 9.5 inches; small enough to be a suitable travel companion, yet featuring large, easily-read type. The page stock is of unusually high quality and the photos are plentiful and spread throughout the text rather than stuffed into a single photo section.
This is more than a story of war. It is a story of intrigue, corruption, and a compelling testament to the adage that the first casualty in any war is the truth.
This book is affordable, handy in size, easily read, and highly recommended. "Airway to the East" may be purchased at Pen & Sword's official web site for $39.95 (US).