Volume 28, Number 7
October Gaming Draws Good Attendance
The Indy Squadron gathered for three Dawn Patrol games at the Meister's home on the east side of Indy last weekend. Michael Morgan and Kevin Richeson returned to the gaming table in addition to the Skinners and the host family. As always, Mrs. Meister kept the crowd well fed with an award winning meal and a buffet of desserts all day long.
The first game was set in May 1917 and featured a pair of British RE 8's (Michael and Bob) escorted by a single Nieuport 17 (Ethan). The English flight was met by a pair of German ground attack machines (Stephen and A. J.) under the watchful eye of an Albatros DIII (Stephen Dale).
The second game pitted four French SPAD 13's (A. J., Stephen, Bob and Kevin) against three outclassed Roland DVIb's (Stephen Dale, Ethan and Michael) in June 1918. In one of the most bizarre victories ever scored in Dawn Patrol, the upper wing of Stephen Dale's Roland was sawed in half by 10 center wing hits from Stephen and two more from Kevin. The pilot bailed out successfully and survived. Stephen's pilot (CPL Vladimirez Kaskaskia, 8/3) won the cut for the game's only kill. Ethan and Bob were both plagued with gun jams, the latter also being stuck in a left bank for one turn. Kevin withstood 19 hits in his SPAD but suffered no critical hits.
The third and final game was set in September 1918 with Kevin, Bob and Stephen flying BMW-powered Fokker DVII's against the French SPAD 13's of Stephen Dale, Ethan and Michael. Although Michael fought well all day, in this engagement his SPAD was hammered repeatedly by the Fokkers of Stephen and Kevin. On the game's fourth turn, the engine in Michael's SPAD reached maximum capacity and caught fire. He was unable to extinguish the flames and the pilot jumped to his death. Stephen and Kevin again cut for kill credit, with Kevin's pilot winning this time. Also noteworthy was Stephen Dale's French SPAD pilot, SLT Constantine Bertrum, who successfully returned to log his 7th career mission, and Ethan, who flew extremely well and survived every mission of the day.
Pen & Sword Books
Hard back, 192 pages
Readers love a book that delivers what it promises, and the latest offering from veteran WWI aviation author Norman Franks does just that. Franks, who co-authored what is still regarded as the authoritative list of Manfred von Richthofen's victories two decades ago, now brings us one of the finest photo collections of the Red Baron in his new book.
"The Red Baron, A History in Pictures" is suitable for readers new to the topic because it also provides a concise narrative of the pilot's life and death in a chronological and easy to understand sequence. The information is readable, enjoyable and engaging for both the hardcore WWI aviation enthusiast and the reader of casual interest.
However, the text does not pretend to bring volumes of new information to light and those expecting yet another investigation into the Red Baron's mysterious death will be disappointed. Yes, Franks does a fine job of recounting Richthofen's death as it is now understood. But this book is about photos. Lots of them. Some familiar, many not so familiar, yet all faithfully reproduced in good quality and more importantly, suitable size. This is perhaps the best single chronological collection of Richthofen photos yet produced and in that regard, this book is a gem.
In the book's final chapter, Franks almost apologizes for tackling the topic of the Red Baron again since so many other works on the subject are also available. But no apology is necessary. The book's photos are so complete and thorough that a reader could take this book to France and use it as a guide to successfully relocate the positions of the guns that shot at the Red Baron on April 21, 1918 and the exact field where Germany's leading ace crashed to his death.
For those new to the subject of WWI aviation, this book will entertain and stimulate the imagination. For those who have studied it for decades, it is an indispensable collection of must-have photos, all easily accessible in a single volume. Either way, it makes a wonderful addition to your library.