First Triple Crown Winner
It took seven years, but the Indy Squadron's Triple Crown finally has its first winner. Stephen Skinner became the first player in Indy Squadron history to win the Whosyercon Open, Red Baron Fight and the Armistice Day Fits Tournament in the same year during gaming at Rick and Pam Lacy's house in Indianapolis on Saturday, December 19, 2020. .
Rick Lacy designed a wonderful North Sea mission and sides were rolled up as follows:
Bob Meister, French Hanriot HD-2 seaplane
Stephen Skinner, French Hanriot HD-2 seaplane
George Henion, Hansa-Brandenburg KDW seaplane
Stephen Dale Skinner, Hansa-Brandenburg KDW seaplane
Rick Lacy, Hansa-Brandenburg KDW seaplane
But the French missed a golden opportunity on Turn 5. Bob's Hanriot was tailing George's KDW, which dove away from the fight to avoid Bob's attack. This left Bob open to target Stephen Dale instead, and Stephen's Hanriot joined in for a double attack that seriously threatened Stephen Dale's KDW. But rather than scoring a game changing kill, Bob missed entirely while jamming his left machine gun and Stephen's Hanriot landed only two hit factors in the target. Worse yet, Rick's KDW returned fire at Stephen and scored a critical hit in the Hanriot's right wing (#4/5). This reduced Stephen's turn speed to 70 mph, nullifying his 10 mph advantage over the German KDW's.
At this point, the Whosyercon Open and Stephen's shot at the Triple Crown hung in a delicate balance. With no kills yet scored, Stephen appeared to lead the game on hit factor points alone. But if Bob's Hanriot went down, someone on the German team would get a 30-point bonus and Stephen would likely get massacred in a 3-on-1 battle. Further complicating matters was the fact that everyone was low on ammunition by design, due to Indy's tournament ammo limitations.
Two turns later nothing had been resolved. Stephen Dale's KDW was tailing Bob's wounded Hanriot off the game board, leaving Stephen to spar from a distance against the German KDW's of Rick and George.
For the next three turns, Stephen climbed and waited. On Turn 18 he finally had enough altitude to attack, diving on Rick for a 50 foot bottom shot that scored 8 more hit factors of damage. The other KDW's were unable to cover Rick, leaving him to absorb two critical hits while Stephen continued to score points. Halfway across the board and a thousand feet above, Bob finally unjammed his machine guns and turned back into the fight to assist his wingman in spite of his severely shot-up wings.
The 20th turn appeared to be the last. Rick dove his damaged Hansa-Brandenburg KDW out of the fight, never to return. George declared his intent to escape just as Bob's Hanriot rejoined the scrap.
Then George saw a critical opportunity on Turn 21. Headed toward his own lines with only one round of ammo left in each gun, he made a bee-line for home and snapped off one final shot at Bob's Hanriot as he left the fight. Four hit factors were concentrated in the right wing, which folded up and collapsed. Bob's pilot crashed to his death from 7000 feet and George escaped with credit for the game's only kill. But was it enough to surpass Stephen, who had just added one final burst and another 8 points to his total?
Stephen Skinner, Hanriot HD-2 107 points
George Henion, Hansa-Brandenburg KDW 87
Stephen Dale Skinner, Hansa-Brandenburg KDW 53
Bob Meister, Hanriot HD-2 42
Rick Lacy, Hansa-Brandenburg KDW 33
It is really difficult to describe this game because it was so well played by all five of the competitors. Listing all of the superb, Masters-level maneuvers would fill three issues of ISD. "Almost maximum damaged was handed out but for some reason, none of us happened to go down," Stephen Dale said. "I thought it was a very well played game."
Bob agreed. "The Whosyercon was a very well fought game. I enjoyed how my team stayed together. I think that's the only reason we stayed in the game."
"| came up with several different scenarios which were the same plane against the same plane," Rick said. "But we opted to go with the one that had floatplanes. Honestly, I thought that the game worked out amazingly well. We had situations where Stephen and Bob, in the Hanriots, were very, very tentative. Much more so than they normally are. Especially Stephen. On the German side, we were just never able to concentrate and focus our fire on one person, with the exception of the turn when I pulled a Turn Left in the tailing chain (see Turn 13 above). That allowed George and Stephen Dale to pound Bob's wing. That turned out to be pretty critical later on. Overall, this was probably one of the best things I've seen us do as a group for a long, long time."
George's thoughts on the game were not captured when someone failed to hit the red button on the voice recorder, but we're sure they were wise and articulate.
Stephen said, "I think the 70-80 mph turn speeds and the ammo limitations are really what resulted in such a great game. This was one of the best games in the history of the squadron. This is the kind of game that reminds you that Dawn Patrol is actually about enjoying each individual game, not just pilot building."
Someone doesn't want you to watch this video. It has been flagged as "age restricted" although nothing in the video's content is graphic or sensitive. Please click the link below to see Part 2 of The Corbett Report's ground-breaking investigation into the origins of World War I. Part 1 of this series featured in the previous issue of ISD and the final part will be featured in the next issue.
Stephen Dale's Top Ace Barely Survives Wound
December 19 gaming began with a quick, 4-turn scenario that pitted a pair of Albatros DVa's against DeHavilland DH-5's and George's Armstrong-Whitworth FK8 which went down with conflicting wing critical hits (credit to Rick's pilot). The 2020 Whosyercon scenario (see story in this issue) was followed by a final, hair-raising mission that lasted only three turns.
George had to leave for his lengthy drive back to Milwaukee, leaving Stephen and Rick to fly a Bristol 275 and SE 5a, respectively. The Germans were represented by Bob's Pfalz DXII and the top ace on Stephen Dale's roster, LTN Milan Sova, flying a Fokker DVII 185.
A miscalculation on turn speed allowed the Brits to double attack Stephen Dale's DVII on the first game turn, scoring 15 hits and a light wound in the pilot. Fortunately, the fight began more than 14,000 feet over No Man's Land, allowing Stephen Dale to cut his engine and glide for miles back to his airfield. The heart-pounding process of maintaining consciousness the whole time was achieved without a hitch, and Sova landed safely at his home field. He then managed to survive the scary survival roll that always accompanies "light" wounds which for some reason seem to be incredibly deadly in Dawn Patrol.
Sova has now survived his 14th mission along with three confirmed air-to-air kills. And better yet, he's still alive.
2021 Indy Calendar Published
It is nearly impossible to schedule anything with The Great Covid Hoax still being propagated worldwide, but we're doing our best. See the sidebar of the Indy Squadron home page for our earliest efforts at the 2021 docket.
Four players are already committed to Indy's New Year's Day gaming tradition beginning at noon in Lewisville, Indiana. We hope to hold at least one and possibly two more gaming days before Red Baron Fight XXXII on April 17, followed by the squadron's usual summer break. November 13 is reserved for the Armistice Day Fits Tournament.
Whosyercon 2021 is still very much in question. At this point the official web page has no information on a 2021 convention, so we will wait and see what develops.
We do know from the enthusiastic response of local players that the Indy Squadron's Whosyercon Open tournament will continue, regardless of what happens to the convention for which it is named. The Indy Squadron values its traditions, many of which date back to the late 1980s. So Indy's Whosyercon Open is here to stay and will be held next year one way or another.