Rick Wins RBF XXXIV, Charles Joins Squadron
The Indy Squadron celebrated 34 uninterrupted years of Red Baron Fight history on April 22nd by re-enacting Manfred von Richthofen's last dogfight yet again. For the first time since 2014, this year's event matched up Camels against Triplanes with no Albatri in the field.
Fokker DrI Triplanes - Ethan Skinner, Dory Oda, Bob Meister
Sopwith Camel 150's - Charles Teague, Stephen Skinner, Rick Lacy
The next pivotal move came when Bob's DrI pulled a Tail Spin maneuver to evade Stephen's Camel. The move worked but Bob continued his dive and found himself 1500 feet below the main fight, knowing the DrI's low level performance would offer an advantage and hoping his wingman would dive down to join him... which didn't happen.
On the following turn Dory's Tripe hit Stephen's Camel five times from the top, leaving Stephen with four engine hits and a smoking motor that would haunt him for the rest of the game. Charles did his best to defend his wingman, hitting Dory's DrI six times from the bottom.
With Bob below the fight and Ethan's pilot now dead, Dory was effectively outnumbered three to one. Every good opportunity she had to rejoin Bob's Triplane some 1500 feet below was overshadowed by a good shooting opportunity, so the game's only remaining Germans could not regroup.
The standoff was finally broken on Turn 8 when Stephen's smoking Camel dove on Bob only to miss. Charles' Sopwith soon joined in to make it a three way fight at 4200 feet altitude, while Dory and Rick battled it out at 5500 feet. Severely damaged, Stephen was eventually forced to escape when the fight drifted over German lines.
Bob and Dory's disjointed DrI flight continued a running scrap with the remaining Camels of Charles and Rick, but when the smoke cleared at the end of Turn 15 no further damage had been done and the skies were empty.
Bob had actually shot better than anyone in the game with 46 points on hit factors alone, but it was the pilot wound over Ethan that gave Rick his 5th Silver Goblet. Flying 29 mission ace James Sladen, Rick fired only four times due to repeated gun jams.
To demonstrate the scattered nature of the fight, consider that the winner (Rick) fired only 8 times in 15 turns with only four of his shots hitting. Stephen's experience was similar, hitting on only 3 of his 5 shots over the same 15 turns. Charles won the card cut and got credit for Ethan's Camel and the final scores stacked up like this:
Rick Lacy, Sopwith Camel 130 87 points
Charles Teague, Sopwith Camel 130 63
Bob Meister, Fokker DrI 61
Dory Oda, Fokker DrI 47
Stephen Skinner, Sopwith Camel 130 41
Ethan Skinner, Fokker DrI (Red Baron) 8
Game 1 matched three 130 hp Camels (Dory, Ethan, Stephen) against an Albatros (Bob) and a pair of Fokker DVII's (Charles, Rick). Dory's Camel scored 22 hit factors on Bob's Albatros, which was eventually forced to cut its engine and land behind German lines. Dory won a cut with Ethan for kill credit.
The significance of Game 1 was Bob's revival of the Indy Squadron's Formation Flying rule. It was invoked multiple times throughout the mission and the results were useful and enjoyable. The rule will be slightly reworded to absorb some questions that arose during the game, but overall the first use of Formation Flying in many years went pretty well.
Game 2 was Red Baron Fight XXXIV (see lead story in this issue).
Game 3 pitted a pair of 190 hp Bristols (Rick, Stephen) against two Albatri (Bob, Ethan). Ethan's Albatros ace, Dolf Meinhart (14/6), was hit hard on the first turn and wisely dove into the clouds shortly thereafter. Bob's Alb pilot had multiple shots at Rick's Bristol crew but couldn't land a telling blow and the fight broke up after four turns to end the night's gaming.
by Rick Lacy
I attended the annual Society MiniCon in Milawaukee last weekend. Approximately 20-25 other FitS players also attended. Games kicked off Wednesday afternoon with a couple of Italian Front missions and a British SE-5a balloon attack.
Thursday saw the beginning of the scored missions. For that day, I had British Camel/DH5/Bristol/SE-5a missions. The German side saw Roland D-IIa/Alb D-Va/Fokker D-VI/D-VII 185/Hansa Br D-I (AH) flying.
Friday the 28 th I had games with French SPADs and an American Nieuport 28 while the Germans put up a Fokker D-VII 200, a Halb CL-II, and a Berg D-1 160. Friday also included the annual trip to Final Approach for the Fish Fry.
Saturday saw the Milwaukee Cup game and the Nash/Christensen memorial game (I did not play in either). I had games with SE-5a/Pup/and Nieuport 11 (Belgian) for the Allies paired with two D-VII 185, two Alb D-III, and one Oeffag 153 for the Central Powers. On Sunday I had three quick games in Alb D-II/Alb D-V/Alb W4 and in the big event – the Society Open – I was in an Italian Nieuport 27.
I will have to say that my game in the Society Open may be the best game I’ve ever played. The
scenario was two Nieuport 27's (randomly rolled) against two Bergs and two Oeffags (randomly rolled). The twist was that everyone had a player name from the other side as their nemesis (mine was Ken Mrozak while Andy Priest had my name). On Turn 1 I opted to double attack Wyatt and put a slug in him with a 2/2 roll, resulting in a light wound. The results of this were not immediately evident, other than he passed out shortly thereafter and was not a factor for several turns because of it.
George Mohoi was a wingman and had the misfortune to take all four enemy shots Turn 1. He survived but didn’t get any better numbers and was out of the game by turn 3. Meanwhile, the two sides kept the fight tight with an overall edge in scoring hits going to the Allies. Then on Turn 7 I took my first shot at Andy and flamed his engine. He tried three times to put it out. The next turn he dove away but I followed to shoot again (which I don’t normally do, but since it was a scored game I figured I had to). Ken Mrozak pulled into the gap nose up between our planes for a 50 foot head-on to keep me off Andy. The resulting exchange gave me an engine, a center and one in each wing while my 7-point burst put 5 in Ken’s engine and gave him an oil pump critical plus smoke. Diving away, Ken’s engine seized as he left the battle and approached ground to land. We consulted Mike Carr who ruled that (since I caused the issue) I was awarded a second solo kill for both roster and scoring.
This left Wyatt as his fourth wing man, Tracy Ramsay had already departed due to heavy damage as the lone German. The Allies boxed up and Wyatt came in for a bottom shot on
his nemesis for minor damage – but the next turn he lost numbers to me and opted to escape into the clouds. He went unconscious trying to land and died. As this was after the game was concluded we rolled for a third kill (which I was awarded by dice roll) but not for points scored.
My final score was 119 points for 1st place in the Society Open on a triple kill mission.
Central Powers: Wyatt K, Andy P, Tracy R, and Ken Mrozak
Allies – Steve P, George M, John B, and myself.
Personal results: Overall, I played 34 missions and had 9 kills. I lost 1 pilot to a critical wound.
Allied Total – 15 missions, 4 kills (one pilot with a triple)
Central Powers Total – 19 missions, 5 kills (one pilot with a double)
Ten time Indy Squadron champion and author of "THE STAND: The Final Flight of Lt. Frank Luke, Jr.," Stephen Skinner, has been contacted by a major motion picture studio seeking the right to adapt the book to film. The contact was facilitated by his publisher, Schiffer Books, who received a message from the film producers.
Full details cannot be made public since film rights are now under negotiation. Suffice to say that it's a known, successful film company with multimillion dollar budgets and experienced producers who have worked with established Hollywood actors including Gina Carano, Kurt Russell and Patrick Wilson. Stephen has spoken with the producer and screenwriter and another meeting is set for the coming week to discuss contract terms.
The resurgence of World War I in popular culture and film is evident with the successful release of movies such as "1917" and the remake of "All Quiet On The Western Front." If terms are not reached, the likelihood of more interest from another studio is high. Watch this page for more details as they are established and publicly released.
by Alan Roesler
Veteran World War I aviation researcher and author Alan Roesler is back with the amazing story of three American airmen from the 1st Aero Squadron. "A Pair of Aces and a Trey" recounts the interwoven lives of 8-victory two seater ace William Erwin, top-scoring observer ace Arthur Easterbrook and fellow observer Byrne Baucom, who scored three kills of his own.
The 1st Aero Squadron was in heavy action throughout the summer and fall of 1918 flying the heavy, powerful Salmson 2A.2 deep into German lines. Rather than avoiding combat, Erwin frequently sought it. Both Easterbrook and Baucom flew as his observer during his storied career, all three of them having been taken prisoner at some point.
But Roesler's work doesn't end on November 11, 1918. The author chases each of our three characters throughout the rest of their lives, with a special emphasis on the postwar career of Erwin. This commitment to tell the entire story with three biographies intertwined as one sets "A Pair of Aces" apart from other works. It is not merely a thorough story; it is an engaging story.
Casemate Publishers has done its usual stellar job with printing and packaging. The book is offered in a manageable 6x9 size with a font style and size that can be read without glasses by most people. The copious photos are sprinkled throughout the text, placed in the spot most relevant to the topic. The reader is not required to leave his current chapter and find a photo section in the center of the book in order to locate pictures of the people and places that he's reading about in a given chapter.
Five full color aircraft profiles are also included as well as the extensive footnotes expected from an author of Roesler's talent and experience. All in all, "A Pair of Aces and a Trey" is readable, enjoyable, well researched, properly illustrated and a superb addition to any enthusiast's library.