WhoyserCon 2017 Report
by Rick Lacy
We had a successful Con in my opinion. We had enough players to get in all 4 regularly scheduled games along with 3 pickup games on Friday and another 3 pickup games on Saturday, and we had a couple of newcomers stop by to learn.
Friday’s pickups included an Italian Front mission and two Western Front 1918 missions (one British Camel 150s vs Alb DIIIs, the second being French SPAD VII 180s vs a mixed bag). Saturday’s pickups included Alb D-Va’s making a balloon attack, another Camel vs Alb game, and an A-H attack on an Italian balloon that resulted in both defending Nieuports going down (one kill to Bruce Yoder and one to Rick Lacy) and the balloon also being shot down (kill to Rick Lacy for a double).
The first scheduled scenario had Pfalz D-VIIIs vs Camel 140s in a straight up dogfight in late August 1918. This served as a good warm up for the Whosyercone (WYC) Open later on Friday. Players included Rick Lacy, George Henion, Bruce Yoder, Bob and AJ Meister. The game was over relatively quickly with no real damage, although one person did get a fair amount of damage in a wing. Mostly everyone warming up their dice.
Game 2 - 4th Annual Whosyercon Open
The second scheduled scenario was the WhosyerCon Open. We had five players this year - Bruce Yoder, George Henion, Rick Lacy, Bob Meister, and our friend from previously years Larry (I forget his last name). My idea for this game was to have a scenario where everyone was flying a plane as equal as possible and everyone being a third mission pilot. I felt this would be a good way to make sure no advantage on either side was present.
However, a spanner in the works showed up of course, in the form of a request from Larry. He indicated that he had always been Allied previously and wanted to be German this time. He is such a nice old guy I saw no reason to make him roll and said sure. Then we had only 5 players, and with Larry being new enough to be considered a noob, I opted to make the sides 3 Germans and 2 Allies. My selection of planes changed due to this.
Assignments ended up as:
Larry – Fokker D-VIII
Bob Meister – Fokker D-VII (high compression)
Bruce Yoder – Fokker D-VII (high compression)
Rick Lacy – Sopwith Snipe
George Henion – Sopwith Snipe
The battle occurred over the Front at 11,000 feet. Rick moved first, moving away and giving a long shot to the Germans. Larry and Bruce obliged, moving in for a 300 tail and 400 side respectively. George moved in for a 100 ft tail on Larry, and Bob went for a 100 ft tail on George. In spectacular fashion, everyone missed – except Bob.
Second turn saw Bruce move first with Rick close behind, settling for a 200 ft right side shot. Larry threw a Split S and lost George, so George moved over for a 50 bottom shot on Bruce, and Bob successfully tailed, ending up with a 50 tail on George’s nose up plane. Rick hit Bruce for 2, George hit Bruce for 4, and Bob hit George for 5, declaring a tail again.
Third turn saw George moving first and shaking Bob off his tail. He ended up with no shot this turn. Bob, left with no valid targets, moved away from George. Larry tried to get himself back in the fight, which allowed Rick to dive down for a bottom shot on the Razor, landing a solid 5 hits. Bruce followed down and hit Rick with 8 hits to the bottom resulting in a 6/2 engine critical. This loss of top/turn/climb would end up being decisive in a couple of turns.
Fourth turn saw Larry move first again, and with no target move west. George moved in for a 100 tail on Larry, delivering a punishing 8 points of damage and declaring a tail. Bob comes back and takes a 100 bottom on George hitting for 5 points. Bruce comes in for a tail shot on George and hit for a measly 2 hit factors, but declared a tail. Rick dives down on Larry as well and also takes a tail shot for 4 hits and a declared tail.
Fifth turn begins as Larry pulls another stunner and shakes both tails. Rick banks right and George climbs away. Bruce and Bob both take off after Rick. Both get 200 ft RS shots, both do 2 points of damage. Rick’s engine is up to 4 hits now.
Sixth turn has Rick climb straight away. Since his engine is damaged, he can’t get far enough away to avoid a 100 ft tail shot from Bruce Yoder and a 200 tail from Bob. Bruce hits for 2 and Bob for 6. Meanwhile, Larry is still away from the battle and George comes in for a bottom shot on Bob for 7 hits.
The decisive moment happens when Bruce rolls his one pilot chance and hits Rick. The wound check indicated a head wound similar to that of JFK, and Rick’s plane began its long fall to the ground out of control.
Turn Seven saw George, now outnumbered 3 to 1, declare escape. Based on facings, he extends and climbs at max throttle, giving Larry a 500 ft HO, Bruce getting a 400 ft RS on George and Bob a 300 ft right side. All the Germans missed, and George declares escape again.
Turn Eight initiative order had Larry and Bob moving, the George, with Bruce bringing up the rear. Larry picked a direction, Bob climbed, and George moved away from everyone followed by Bruce, who scored no damage but was too far away to tail.
Turn Nine initiative had all three Germans moving first. George escaped and landed ok. Game over.
I had initially reported that Bob was the winner, but as I was checking my math I discovered an error (not surprising to anyone who knows my math skills). Bruce Yoder actually edged Bob by 4 points for the win. My apologies to Bob and Bruce for not getting it correct the first time.
Scoring summary for the game:
Bruce Yoder, Fokker DVII h/c, 75 points
Bob Meister, Fokker DVII h/c, 71
George Henion, Sopwith Snipe, 53
Rick Lacy, Sopwith Snipe, 22
Larry (?), Fokker DVIII, 15
The third scenario was a North Sea Mission. We had only 4 players – Bruce Yoder, Rick Lacy, George Henion, and a friend of George’s named Kim (she was a first time player). The mission had a British DH4 making a low level photo recon over a small port facility trying to find a German sub that had been chased away after an encounter with an antisub patrol. Escorting the DH4 was a SPAD VII that was scraped up hastily. Bruce Yoder was in the DH4 and George Henion was in the SPAD. Opposing them were Rick and Kim in HB KDW seaplanes.
Bruce charged in with little regard for the tactical environment, dead set on getting his photos. His actions were totally justified however, because his observer jammed the rear gun on a head on shot at Kim’s approaching plane. He need to take two shots, so he grabbed the first one heading in toward the pier, then reversed course while his observer changed plates and then passed back over the pier heading back out to sea. All this time Rick was trailing underneath, shooting bottom shots into the DH4, pumping 21 points into it in the first 5 turns.
George tried his best to keep us off the DH, but his crappy initiative kept him above and away from the action for the whole game. Bruce grabbed his second exposure, then dove and extended away. Rick and Kim gave chase briefly, but Bruce made it out without further damage.
About 45 squares out to sea George finally got a good initiative roll and moved in for a short range shot on Kim. This allowed Rick to get a 200 bottom on George, hitting him for 6 hf and giving him an oil leak critical. George immediately headed back for the beach and his engine seized just over land. He glided in to land behind the German lines and was captured and made a POW, giving Rick a kill due to the engine crit. Bruce made it safely home with his photos.
This leads us to the last scenario of the Con. I call this the "Red Baron Fight – WhosyerCon edition."
I call it this because this event was supposed to be the official Indy Squadron Red Baron Fight XXVIII. However, several of the IndySquadron members that normally would have attended were unable to do so due to illness. Because of this there has been discussion as to having a second RBF as the official version this year. If we do make that decision, the time and date will be posted in this forum. If we do not, this will become the official version.
There is a valid reason to have another go at it – more Indysquadron members will be in attendance at the second date – but I felt that since I had put it on the Con schedule I needed to run it anyway so the people who attended did not miss the chance to participate. I am hopeful that should a second date be played the two scores can be merged somehow. Again, if that happens, we will post that information here.
Now, on to the mission. [See News Update on RBF XXVIII below]
Turn 1 had Rick moving first. He moved back and to the left of the Germans, showing requisite leg and giving each Tripe a 300 ft LS shot. Bob moved last for a tail shot on George hitting for 4 points and declaring a tail.
Initiative for Turn 2 ended up with Bruce moving first. George shook Bob’s tail, so Bob opted for a 200 tail on Bruce instead with George moving away from the battle. Rick came in for a 50 bottom shot on Bruce, hitting for 7 points.
Turn 3 had Rick moving first again, so he extended out and was able to pull away. Bruce moved next, and since he was under cards could only get to a 650 ft shot. Bob successfully tailed Bruce and George dove in to get on Bob’s tail. Bob missed his shot but declared another tail, and George hit Bob for 3 points.
Rick and Bob moved first and second on Turn 5, boxing up toward the Allied edge of the board. George looked us over for a second, then turned around and left, not wanting to continue to mix it up with two Camels. The game concluded with the results posted below:
Rick Lacy, Sopwith Camel 150, 69 points
Bob Meister, Sopwith Camel 150, 23
George Henion, Fokker DrI, 21
Bruce Yoder, Fokker DrI, 15
This concludes the 2017 WhosyerCon report.
by Stephen Skinner
The Indy Squadron's Red Baron Fight XXVIII, originally scheduled for April 1st, was canceled in the last week of March due to several issues. Two attendees were sick (myself and Stephen Dale).
Of greater importance was the fact that we were assured of also missing at least four more players (Kevin, Dory, Ethan, Michael) who were unaware of the situation and/or rideless and of course, I was unable to send out the usual pre-game notices and invitations due to illness.
This led to the definite cancellation of RBF XXVIII last Thursday. The 4th annual Whoyercon Open was to go ahead as planned with a filler game plugged into the vacant RBF game slot, which Rick was kind enough to run as a "Con Special."
Red Baron Fight XXVIII will be held at a later date.
“Voices from the Past: The Zeebrugge Raid 1918”
Paul Kendall, Pen & Sword Books
The British raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend are well known to most aviation enthusiasts and especially World War I gamers, who have re-lived the famous events through several historical Dawn Patrol scenarios at Midwestern gaming conventions.
In a desperate effort to stem the German U-boat attacks originating from these Belgian ports on the English Channel, the Royal Navy staged a daring raid on April 23, 1918. The plan was to scuttle three old naval vessels at the mouth of the Zeebrugge port to physically block the entrance and make the vital facility useless to the German U-boat fleet that depended on it so heavily.
Paul Kendall's treatment on the subject, released by Frontline Books and Pen & Sword Ltd., is unique in its class and perhaps the most readable work on Zeebrugge to date. As part of the publisher's excellent “Voices from the Past” series, Kendall's work relies heavily on first-hand accounts and memoirs from those who lived through the heavy fighting.
The author allows scores of participants to speak and thankfully avoids the temptation to heavily edit their memories. The reader is treated to lengthy quotes directly from the survivors, each of which is carefully denoted with the name, rank and frequently the unit and location so that the reader never feels lost. It is worth noting that the story is told almost entirely from the viewpoint of the Royal Navy with virtually no input from their opponents.
Kendall is adept at arranging the accounts in such a manner as to tell the overall story without detracting from the personal recollections. I would have preferred a few more maps and a more expansive photo section, but these are minor issues in a book that delves into the Zeebrugge raid at a gritty, ground level and allows the reader to see the event through the eyes of those who were there.
“Zeebrugge Raid 1918” is a fistful. Printed in Pen & Sword's familiar 9 ½ x 6 ½ inch format, it is easily carried in a briefcase or backpack. The font is relatively small but that is necessary to keep the physical product at 314 pages and prevent it from becoming too thick for convenient handling.
The eight-page photo section is somewhat brief but still contributes greatly to the overall product. It includes a pair of remarkable photos taken immediately following the battle as well as a series of German photos showing the scuttled vessels late in the war.
From the British perspective, this certainly qualifies as one of the finest accounts available on the Zeebrugge Raid. It is highly readable, well organized and makes for a worthy addition to Pen & Sword's “Voices from the Past” series.