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Somewhere over Arras, 1917


Misc., WWI Aerial Combat, Wings of War, 1/144 scale

While I wouldn’t call this “proper” wargaming, it was great fun. A new craze in the club is First World War air combat, prompted by Jules of Figures in Comfort coming in and selling everyone planes and rules. I was suckered into it too, and not only bought half a dozen Albatrosses, but a shiny carrying case to hold them in. This was their first outing.DSCF2957Being a wargaming geek I repainted them in the garish colours of Jasta 5, so every pilot had his own identifiable plane. This was a straight dogfight against 6 allied planes – a lone Belgian and American aircraft (both Spads I think), and four Sopwith camels from – of course – Biggles’ 266 Squadron.DSCF2951Six of us played the game, and everyone took command of two planes. When the dogfight began the British players were crowing that they’d managed to enter the scrap in two waves, so their rear pair could fire on the Germans as they shot past the Camels in front. That was the last example of tactics I saw all evening, as the game soon degenerated into an almighty dogfight, with everyone whirling and shooting as fast as they could!DSCF2941The Belgian was the first to go, shot down by my own Jasta leader Richard Flashar. His own plane was badly damaged, and after piling into the fray against the Camels he too was shot down. After a few turns the casualties came thick and fast, as three Camels, two Albatrosses and the American Spad were lost in quick succession. One German player flew his damaged planes from the table, leaving just my own remaining pilot and a sole Camel (Biggles’ himself apparently) to fight it out.DSCF2947At that point I turned “gamey”, and flew off the board, thereby guaranteeing a German victory. The final score was five Allied planes lost for three Germans. Given the fact that we were up against the formidable Camels I think the kammeraden of Jasta 5 did fairly well in their first outing, despite the three empty places in the mess that evening!DSCF2937This was a highly enjoyable game – something completely different – and it looked very pretty. The planes (supplied by the Wings of War people) looked great, but the real crowd-pleaser was the dogfighting mat – a 4×4 foot terrain mat from terrainmat.com, covered in an aerial view of a section of the Western Front. It was a real pleasure to fly over it.

 

 

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