Friday, 7 March 2014

Biggles Pulls It Off

Once again German bombers are on their way to Paris. Only the RFC stands between them and the French capital ...

It's been a while since I played 'Spandau and Lewis', so I ran a game of it tonight at the club; Geoff took the RFC, whilst I took the Germans. All aircraft were 1/600th models from Tumbling Dice.

I had three Friedrichshafen G.IIIs escorted by three Halberstadt CLIIs. The bombers had two experienced crews and one veteran, but their escorts were fresh out of flying school - two inexperienced crews and one experienced.

Geoff had two flights of scouts - the first was made up of three SE5a, all with experienced pilots.

The second flight consisted of two rookies and an experienced pilot, flying Sopwith Camels.

The German objective was to get the bombers off the end of the table. The RFC had to shot down two bombers without losing three or more of their own planes.

The first exchange of fire; a Halberstadt and an SE5a go head to head. The Halberstadt had detached from the main formation and, after this exchange, never got back into the fight. This left me one escort down. It was the only one with a decent crew.

The bombers come under attack, despite a close escort. The German firing was woefully inaccurate at this stage.

An escort in trouble. Generally, though, Geoff kept his eye firmly on the objective, prioritising shots at the bombers rather than taking on the escorts. For most of the game the escorts were little more than a nuisance anyway.

A badly position Camel comes under fire. At this point, though, two of the bombers were starting to take serious hits.

The final moments of one of the bombers.

An overview of the game towards the end. This was the last picture I took. Two bombers were badly damaged, and the RFC were taking minor hits only.

In fact, not long after the picture was taken, one of the rookie Halberstadt crews took two British planes under fire. And SE5a fell to the pilot's gun, it's pilot shot through the head, whilst the observer fired a burst at a pursuing Camel, causing its engine to catch fire. In two shots the British were only one plane away from having to break off the action.

Unfortunately in the same turn they shot down a second bomber to win the game. But it was close.

I don't think that we identified any rule changes, aside from a suggestion that pre-measurement of movement not be allowed (a player has to declare their speed and potential turns/sideslips before testing to see if they can achieve them). I need to make a few tweaks to the prototype spotting rules, but I think that they are almost there - not complex, but in keeping with the spirit of the rest of the  game certainly.

Meanwhile on the other table Austen, Bryan Ralph and Caesar were playing a four-handed game of Bolt Action. Based (or, more accurately, derived) from a real incident during the Battle of the Bulge when General Eisenhower broke lose from his guards after going stir-crazy, this saw four factions competing to seize or rescue the general from a farmhouse in the centre of the table. German regulars, Skorzeny's commandos, American military police and Belgian resistance fighters were all competing for the prize

Some of them had tanks. Or a tank.

And here's General Eisenhower himself, who had slipped away for a little bit of 'me' time in a pretty frock and some cute shoes, as his alter ego, Ingrid*.

Aside from the apron I actually have this outfit, although my red frock doesn't have a slit up the side.
Anyway, I think at some stage all of the factions held the General at some stage, before being blown away by their opponents. I'm not sure of the final result. I do know that it was a bit of a learning experience for all involved.

*May not be historically accurate.


  1. I love WWI aerial combat, but find opponents few and far between. Many have gone to Wings of War (I bought the aircraft for alternated systems - the cost was expensive but when you looked at the cost of 1/72 and the time to paint etc, you may as well buy the prepainted). I have previously used The Blue Max (which I see has been given a new life recently).
    As always fun reading your posts.

    1. I've not played The Blue Max, but I recall it's hex-based, which I wanted to avoid in a game. Wings of War I have played and enjoyed, but it has limited solo playability, and uses specialised card decks, which is something I don't really go for in a game, especially when you need one deck per plane. These are all part of the reason I wrote my own rules :)


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