SE 5's Destroy Balloon Train
Jonathon Shepherd designed a fun and unique mission for the Indy Squadron featuring a German train carrying supplies for balloon units at the front. Jonathon, Benjamin and Ethan flew SE 5's (not SE 5a's) carrying four bombs each, opposed by Rick, Bob and Stephen in Albatros fighters.
The German flight struck first, with Rick and Stephen's Albatri attacking Benjamin's SE 5 from top and bottom. Benjamin's airplane took 18 total hits, his pilot was wounded and his engine caught fire. Things only got worse when his pilot passed out and crashed to his death and Bob's Albatros pilot scored a 9-hit burst in Ethan's SE.
Six players attended gaming at Stephen's 1917 Room in eastern Indiana on Saturday. The day featured four games, sausage and pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut, Alice's amazing homemade chili, chips and salsa (the official snack of the Indy Squadron for 30 years and counting) and lots of fun.
The first game pitted Ethan, Jonathon and Rick in Albatros fighters against Ben, Stephen and Bob in Sopwith Triplanes. Ben's Albatros pilot struck first, hitting Stephen's rookie Triplane pilot with a light wound. Then the entire Sopwith flight dove on the nearby German balloon and sent it down in flames. Their mission complete, Britishers quickly split up and made their way home. Stephen's wounded pilot passed out just a few yards short of an emergency airfield and became the game's only casualty when he was killed in the crash. Benjamin needs to roll his chance at getting this kill confirmed at our next game day.
The day's second game featured Stephen, Jonathon and Bob in Italian Hanriot HD-1's against the Austro-Hungarian Phonix DI's of Ben and Rick. The outnumbered Austro-Hungarians held their own by repeatedly double attacking Bob's Hanriot which took quite a beating. Bob put his pilot in harm's way to reduce the damage taken by his ace wingman, SGT Melchoire Giovanni (Stephen, 24/14), widely recognized in Dawn Patrol as a chivalrous and courageous act.
The third mission was over the North Sea with Jonathon, Stephen and Bob in French Hanriot HD-2 seaplane fighters against the vastly superior Germans in Fokker DVII's (Benjamin and Rick) and a Ethan's Hansa-Brandenburg W.33 monoplane two-seat seaplane fighter. Just as Benjamin and Rick's Fokkers were swaying the battle toward the Germans, Ethan's observer chose to fire forward through the arc of his own propeller. As luck would have it, he rolled a "1" and hit his prop, forcing the Hansa-Brandenburg to make an emergency landing on the ocean waves where they were later picked up and returned home safely by the German navy. Meanwhile, Stephen's seaplane tailed Rick's Fokker for three turns, limiting the effectiveness of the faster DVII. The Germans ultimately decided to disengage, leaving the French team with an unexpected moral victory.
The fourth and final game of the day is described in this issue's lead story. The all-stars of the day included Bob for his selfless act of protecting an ace wingman, Ethan for manhandling his Hansa-Brandenburg as the most effective fighter in the sky until losing his propeller, Benjamin for singlehandedly knocking down a Sopwith Triplane and Jonathon for diving back into battle and destroying a train despite being outnumbered.
Military Aviation of the First World War
by Alan C. Wood and Alan Sutton
This tome is among the finest overviews of the topic available anywhere. Wood and Sutton are veteran writers on First World War aviation and this offering is indispensable. Each section of the book outlines the aviation efforts of a different nation during the war. Additionally, the major airplanes and aces of each nation are listed and briefly defined along with an extensive photographic section to illustrate most of aircraft flown by a given country. The photos are of high quality, well presented and clearly reproduced on acid free stock.
Not only are all of the major and mid-sized powers listed in detail, even the nations with a minor presence are represented. Japan, Portugal, Greece and Russia are all listed in addition to several more. For a single, easy to read overview of all military aviation by all nations, this book will be hard to beat.