Stephen Dale Nabs 1st Indy Title
The longest losing streak in the history of the Armistice Day Fits Tournament came to an end last weekend when Stephen Dale earned his first Indy Squadron title after 16 tries, topping the 11-year drought established by Scott Jones from 1989 until his only championship run in 2000 and the 12-year winless streak by Rick Lacy from 2000 to 2012.
The 29th annual edition of the Indy squadron's championship event was held on November 18th, 2017 at the home of Bob and Donna Meister on the east side of Indianapolis. Seven players were in attendance. All of them were eligible for the championship, with three of them seeking their first title.
The teams stacked up like this:
Bob Meister, SPAD XVII
Rick Lacy, SPAD XVII
A J Meister, Camel 150
Ethan Skinner, Seimens Schuckert DIII
Stephen Skinner, Pfalz DVIII
Dory Oda, Pfalz DrI
Stephen Dale Skinner, Fokker DVII 185
The fight was randomly set to start just above 17000 feet altitude.
Dory immediately attacked Rick's SPAD and tailed him into the following turn. Moving unexpectedly away from the tourney box, Rick performed a Turn Right and lost Dory, who performed a small Loop in order to end her turn inside the box. (Con't below)
Moving first, Rick dove down to the 15000 foot bracket, successfully splitting the Allied flight. Stephen Dale followed, scoring several points of damage on Rick's SPAD.
Rick would eventually turn the tables on Stephen Dale and score a critical hit in his rudder that forced the German to move straight on the following turns.
Stephen and Ethan jumped on the tail of AJ's fleeing Camel, scoring heavy damage. AJ was eventually able to lose Ethan, but Stephen's Pfalz DVIII remained on his tail for the next four consecutive turns leading up to the game's pivotal moment.
Seeking the help of his wingman, AJ dove down to the 15 thousand foot bracket, with Stephen following. Rick flew in to assist AJ, scoring 8 bottom hits into to Stephen's German fighter. The results were devastating.
Rolling "001" twice in a row for criticals, Stephen's airplane was hit with both the worst wing critical in the worst tail critical in the game on the same turn. Unable to loop, climb, perform fancy maneuvers or dive more than 800 feet, Stephen did his best to fight for another few turns before he was forced to abandon his attack on A J and escape.
With 11 hits in the right-wing of his Sopwith Camel, A J thought he had escaped certain death. Then he realized that he had ended his turn directly in front of Stephen Dale's damaged German fighter.
With a damaged rudder Stephen Dale couldn't turn, but then he didn't need to. He flew straight ahead to take a bottom shot on A J's Camel. His burst was the final coup de gras that shot down the battered Camel, giving Stephen Dale the only solo kill of the game.
The fight broke up and the 29th annual Armistice Day tournament came to a close.
Despite flying most of the game with jammed guns, Ethan flew well and was a significant factor to help the German team. Likewise, A J flew what was clearly his best and most calculated Armistice Day tournament ever despite getting shot down in the end.
Bob and Rick dished out plenty of damage but never managed the perfect shot to score a kill and put themselves in contention for the win.
Stephen and Dory were both victims of severe critical hits that removed them from contention and changed the outcome of the game.
Stephen Dale's single-shot kill over A J's Camel stood as the event's only solo victory. His 87-point total was the lowest winning score of the modern era (post-1993), but it was enough to earn Stephen Dale his first Victory Medal in 16 years of trying.
Thanks to the Meister family for hosting the Indy squadron's premier event and providing delicious food all day long.
All Armistice Day records have been updated to include the 2017 event, click here to see the all-time Armistice Day records from the past 29 years.
2. Stephen Skinner (Pfalz DVIII), 69
3. Rick Lacy (SPAD XVII), 63
4. Bob Meister (SPAD XVII), 53
5. Ethan Skinner (Seimens Schuckert DIII), 51
6. A J Meister (Sopwith Camel 150), 48
7. Dory Oda (Pfalz DrI), 19
Meinhart Nears Acehood, Foxxe Returns for 74th Mission
Gaming Report from November 18, 2017
The day's first event was a short, uneventful warm-up game featuring French SPAD 7 150's against a mixed bag of German fighters in November 1917. No kills were scored and the game was called after four turns to start the Armistice Day tournament.
The day's second event was the Armistice Day Fits Tournament, described in the headline article.
The final game of the day was an interesting and fun balloon mission set in November 1917. Ethan flew one of his leading pilots, OS Dolf Meinhart (8/4) in an Albatros DIII with Bob flying on his wing in a 160-hp Fokker DVII. The Germans were attacking an 800-foot British balloon defended by Stephen's Sopwith Camel 130 (Squadron Commander Christopher Foxxe, 74/59) and Rick (Belgian SPAD).
Bob and Ethan bravely mixed it up with the superior Allied flight before diving on the balloon. Bob took the worst of the anti-aircraft fire (operated by Rick with his traditionally painful accuracy), sustaining five hits in his engine. With a 75% chance of sustaining an engine critical, Bob's luck held and he rolled a "76." He scored seven hits in the balloon while Ethan scored eight more, but the balloon refused to go down.
Bob was forced to escape the combat, leaving the clean up work to Ethan's Albatros pilot. Ethan braved the ground fire but his guns jammed on a short burst. He scored only one hit on the stricken balloon, but it was enough. The gasbag burst into flames for Meinhart's 4th kill. Ethan's Albatros was also severely battered by the anti-aircraft defenses and he narrowly escaped to fly home safely.
No other kills were scored in the game, but notably, the second-ranking Allied ace in Dawn Patrol, Squadron Commander Christopher Foxxe (Stephen) returned to action to log his 74th mission.
New Year's Day Gaming Set
The Indy Squadron will continue its New Year's Day tradition with gaming on January 1st, 2018. The venue is yet to be determined but the location and starting time will be announced to members by email prior to the event. This will be the first event of the squadron's 30th year of existence, honoring a New Year's Day tradition that goes back to the early 1990's. Hope to see you there!