Red Baron Fight XXVIII Set for May 27
Rick, Michael Early Favorites
The 28th edition of Indy Squadron's annual Red Baron Fight will be held on Saturday, May 27, 2017 at the home of Dory Oda in Franklin, Indiana. Gaming starts at 1 pm. We expect one short warm-up game followed immediately by Red Baron Fight.
Defending champion Rick Lacy will be seeking his 4th RBF title in 18 appearances, but the competition will be stiff. Two-time winner Michael Morgan has confirmed his attendance; he has won four Indy Squadron tournaments in the last eight years and is certain to put up a good fight. Between them, Michael and Rick have won half of the RBF events over the last decade, proving that momentum has a place in this game.
After a 13-year drought, Stephen Dale finally got the monkey off his back when he won the 25th anniversary Red Baron Fight in 2014. Other previous winners expected to be in attendance include Ethan and Stephen Skinner. No word yet from RBF XVI winner Kevin Richeson but we hope to hear from him soon.
As always, Indy's engraved Silver Goblet awaits the new champion and players may fly any pilot from their roster. Be sure to see the Red Baron Fight Rules page and come fly for the cup on May 27th.
That Changed Dawn Patrol
Depending on whom you ask, the Indy Squadron has long been considered either the cutting edge of the Fits Society or a rogue group using its own set of rules.
But every now and then it's nice to remember that even the most outspoken critics of Indy Squadron rules now use some of them in every game.
All of those nights at Dory's Dawn Patrol Basement early in the squadron's history paid off with helpful rules that are used by whole Fits Society some 25 years later.
Here are four house rules pioneered by the Indy Squadron that have changed the way the Society plays Dawn Patrol:
- The Indy Squadron's "Evasion of Capture Rule" reasoned that simply because a pilot went down behind enemy lines does not automatically mean he was captured. History books are replete with examples of WWI pilots who were shot down behind the lines and successfully made their way back without ever being captured at all.
In 1990 the Indy Squadron passed the "Evasion of Capture Rule" that allowed a 5-10% chance (depending on troop concentration) to avoid capture entirely and return to fly again. Failing this, he could still attempt to escape from prison camp per the usual rules.
Today most of the society uses a similar system that allows a downed pilot to roll "1" on a 1D6 to evade capture, followed by another such roll to escape prison camp should the first roll fail.
When the Society adopted our principle, the Indy Squadron dropped its house rule and now uses the Society's nearly identical rule instead.
- In 1989 the Indy Squadron saw an issue with the Parabellum machine gun's 10-round capacity. British Lewis guns historically held 97 rounds, represented by 10 rounds of ammo in Dawn Patrol. Hence, Dawn Patrol relied on a 1:10 ratio. But the Lewis gun was drum fed while the Parabellum was fed by a large, circular belt roll holding far more bullets.
The Indy Squadron increased the capacity of Parabellum guns to 20 rounds in 1989 and kept this house rule until the Society adopted a similar rule years later, at which time the Indy rule was rescinded in order to stay current with the rest of the Society.
- Indy's "Single Gun Firepower Effectiveness Table" increased the firepower of single, deck mounted guns by one table on the hit chart back in 1989. The game's original table was clearly under-powered and single deck guns were tragically anemic in Dawn Patrol combat. This rule stood for many years until the Society adopted an identical standard and obviated the need for a local house rule. Today, every squadron uses Indy's increased firepower for single deck guns.
- The Indy Squadron's "Rear Fuselage Critical Hit Table" was voted into effect on May 19, 1990 when local players realized that the game experience as well as historical accuracy could be enhanced by including possible damage to the equipment used by the observer of a two-seat aircraft.
Our early chart reflected possible damage to the rear cockpit machine guns, camera and glass negatives, observation gear and bomb sights. Indy's rule remained in effect until 1996 when the Society's new critical hit charts were adjusted to include rear fuselage damage. At that point we discontinued our house rule and adopted the new critical hit charts offered by the Society.
“Camel Combat Ace: The Great War Flying Career of Edwin Swale”
Barry M. Marsden, Pen & Sword Books
Dawn Patrol enthusiasts, war gamers and historians alike will be delighted with Pen & Sword's latest offering in the World War I aviation genre. Author Barry Marsden has uncovered the wartime diary, letters and flying log book of Lt. Edwin Swale of RAF 210.
Swale flew Sopwith Camels in combat in early 1918 and his letters home show just how oblivious a 20-year-old can be to danger. It is striking how many times Swale sees an ally or opponent get shot down over the Western Front without the slightest hint of vulnerability entering his thoughts.
Equally amazing is how similar Swale's account is to that of other WWI aces. He repeatedly attacked enemy airplanes and recounts in detail how they would appear to simply absorb 100, 200 and even 400 rounds of ammunition without going down. Yet once he finally achieved the first of his eventual 15 air to air victories, the rest would come quickly and with relative ease. There truly was a knack to scoring "kills" in the first air war.
Swale was also fortunate to fly under the command of William "Mel" Alexander, formerly of the famed "Black Flight." As a member of Black Flight, Alexander flew with 61-victory Canadian Captain Raymond Collishaw, J. E. Sharman, Ellis Reid and Gerald Nash, all of whom achieved acehood while flying Sopwith Triplanes in the Royal Naval Air Service in 1917. Swale mentions Alexander on numerous occasions and gives the WWI air enthusiast a bit of new insight into one of Black Flight's original members.
The second half of the book is devoted to Swale's post-war career, his experiences in the Second World War and his married life with his teenage sweetheart, Dolly.
At 100 pages, Marsden's "Camel Combat Ace" is a relatively short read, full of action and an easy choice for aviation fans. It comes in a handy 6x9 hardcover format, with well spaced lines of an easily read, medium sized font. It is highly recommended.
A "unique" network of tunnels used to train soldiers to fight in the First World War has been found along with graffiti they scrawled there.
Archaeologists working with the Ministry of Defence, which is building hundreds of military homes at Larkhill, Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, made the discovery. The site was used to emulate conditions soldiers would face in trenches in France and Belgium during the war.
More than 100 pieces of graffiti have been uncovered in the chalk walls of the trenches and tunnels. Soldiers training on the site who left their names include decorated heroes and one recorded deserter.
The names feature Wiltshire men as well as West Yorkshire coal miners. Two brothers wrote "Semper Fidelis" (Ever Faithful) beneath their signatures.
Archaeologist Si Cleggett, who described the Larkhill excavation as "unique", said: "It has been a humbling experience to stand and read the names of young soldiers in the very spaces they occupied before leaving for war. "Having stood in their footprints a century after their time at Larkhill, we really will remember them."
Training relics such as grenades, ammunition and food tins were also found. Read full story and watch video here.