Eight players turned out last Saturday for the biggest Red Baron Fight since 2011. The result was a bloody, high scoring affair with half the field becoming casualties. Players chose their aircraft according to random die rolls and the sides stacked up like this:
- Stephen Dale Skinner (UNT Lucius Wulfcraft, 5/0), red Fokker DrI
- Ethan Skinner (VZFW Scott Bob, 2/0), Fokker DrI
- Larry Ulrey (rookie pilot, 1/0), Albatros fighter
- Robert Meister (rookie pilot, 1/0), Albatros fighter
- Michael Morgan (2LT Peter Wolfgang, 11/6), Sopwith Camel 130 hp
- George Henion (CPT Eric Wasenko, 3/0), Sopwith Camel 130 hp
- Stephen Skinner (CPT Purvis Leiter, 49/30), Camel 130 hp
- Rick Lacy (LT Neville Higham, 13/4), Sopwith Camel 130 hp
After a brief exchange of gunfire, Bob Meister's Albatros fighter struck quickly by scoring a critical wound on George Henion's Australian Camel pilot, the only non-ace pilot on the English roster. George's luck went from bad to worse after jamming a machine gun the prior turn. His pilot immediately lost consciousness and plummeted to his death, awarding a surprising solo victory and a strong early lead to Bob. It also gave the Germans precisely what they needed most - a numerical advantage to offset their shortage of player experience.
A few turns later, the pendulum swung heavily against the German team when the Camel pilots of Michael and Stephen - both aces - fired on Bob's Albatros and scored 14 total hits. Bob's pilot was critically wounded and passed out, waking up after falling out of control for one turn. After regaining consciousness, Bob flew his Albatros back over German lines and used his parachute to bail out. His pilot died of his wounds moments later, cutting short Bob's attempt to score an upset victory in his sophomore appearance in RBF.
For the Germans, Stephen Dale acted as flight leader, encouraging his wingmen and directing traffic as best he could. Ethan's Fokker Dr I was giving as good as he took, and Larry kept the pressure on by scoring several good bursts of gunfire just when the Germans needed it most. One of those bursts smoked the engine of Rick's Camel, limiting his offensive capabilities severely. Ethan fought well but, in particular, he was bitten by a continual inability to roll a low initiative number when he had to have one.
Stephen Dale's pilot successfully bailed out of his stricken Fokker and made his way safely back to German lines. Nevertheless, the Germans had lost their flight leader and were now outnumbered.
This left Ethan and Larry - the two least experienced players remaining in the game - alone in the sky against three Camels. Ethan's Dr I had been hit fairly hard by this time, and Larry's Albatros was the weakest airplane left in the game.
At a crucial break in the action, Ethan and Larry had decided to turn back into the fight and extend the game rather than take their brief window of opportunity to escape the fight. Just as Ethan turned to face the British Camels, Larry announced his intent to leave the game and flew away, leaving Ethan in an utterly hopeless position.
Finally, when it mattered most, Ethan managed a series of reasonably good initiative rolls, while Michael could get none at all. Out of position and unable to fire, Michael could only watch helplessly as Stephen closed in and fired on Ethan's fleeing Dr I. For his part, although Stephen's numbers were outstanding, his shooting was miserable. He could fire only one gun at a time, and with only 6 rounds of ammo in one gun and 2 in another, he could only fire short bursts.
Ethan hung on bravely until his right wing's hit capacity was reduced to one. With no other alternative than certain death, he finally shut down his engine and glided to a successful landing at a forward field in German lines. This act awarded Stephen his second solo kill and ended the 26th Red Baron Fight.
And by some miracle, although every player was limited to 25 rounds of ammo per machine gun, the game still consumed 25 turns of movement. The final scores were as follows:
- Stephen Skinner, Camel 130 - 179 points
- Michael Morgan, Camel 130 - 99
- Rick Lacy, Camel 130 - 57
- Larry Ulrey, Albatros - 49
- Robert Meister, Albatros - 38
- Ethan Skinner, Fokker Dr I - 33
- Stephen Dale Skinner, Fokker Dr I (red) - 17
- George Henion, Camel 130 - 0