|Last Flight of the Albatros
|The Veteran crewed Albatros makes yet another pass over the target, Archie bursting dangerously closely.
However I just couldn't manage to score the necessary five or six score required to successfully range a gun on no less than three attempts.
"Verdammt! Ze enemy above us"
Arriving as Bogeys but spotted fairly immediately a flight of five SPAD S.VII of 19 Sqdn RFC. These are F-toy repaints.
It was Paul's first game of Algy so I decided to use one of each pilot type to show their strengths and weaknesses.
Paul got two planes as I didn't want to overburden him. He got the Top Ace and a Regular.
Max, more experienced, could handle three planes easily and got a Junior Ace, Veteran and the Sprog.
Each RFC player got a 'character' each, both being Aces.
However, fortunately Nigel rolled well and German 'Indians' arrived. "Indians are what the Huns called Bogeys, don't you know Old Bean?".
Once again these were spotted immediately.
Four Albatros D.III and a D.II of Jasta Boelcke.
The 'Blue Maus' is an F-toy with Werner Voss's being a Wings of War plane. The other Albatri are Shapeways.
I decided, as with the RFC, that each pilot level ought to be represented, with the Sprog flying the Albatros D.II at the rear.
Nige I decided should have the Top Ace, Veteran and Sprog. I got the Junior Ace, Regular and also controlled the Veteran Albatros two-seater.
Nige and I both had an Ace 'character' and I decided to make the Albatros two-seater pilot a character also.
This is a good idea if you've got a single two-seater on any sort of observation mission.
Quick as a flash Paul's Top Ace broke the formation on his Ace card and dived on the Albatros, keen to dispatch it before the German scouts
Not on the tail but a five second burst from one hex range is tellingly effective.
Not surprisingly Really Critical Damage sustained. The Albatros catches fire, the Observer leaping to his death as the plane slowly begins its
descent, whilst the pilot battles trying to extinguish the flames....a probable Paul.
Paul decides to make it a confirmed kill by making a large turn and then engaging from the front. However the German pilot manages to
squeeze off a burst first. As Paul flew away light Archie hit the Albatros forcing it to sideslip into the ground. KER-UMP!
OK so Paul has his first kill in Algy.
It was indeed the last flight of the poor Albatros.
First blood to the RFC.
It was beginning to look very good indeed for the RFC when Max's Veteran snook up and tailed Nigel's D.II Sprog.
Straight away the fire card came up!
DAKKA...DAKKA...DAKKA....[eight second burst]
Nigel managed to throw a hat full of sixes saving the Sprog!
Next turn Max's fire chip comes up immediately....
Amazingly, Nigel repeats his saves with a plethora of fives and sixes. Minor damage again.
Max has used 16 seconds of ammo and managed to hit nothing vital. Oh dear another surely not another black day for the RFC?
...and it gets much worse.
My Junior Ace peels off from his Kameraden and lines up a target. Once again a fire chip is drawn straight afterwards
OK an eight second burst...
"He's hit, he's hit..."
Nigel's Top Ace (Werner Voss) now gets involved lining up the climbing RFC Top Ace of Paul.
Too late, Paul is off.
I manage to get another good burst into Paul's Regular on my Ace card.
Catastrophic Structural Failure. DOWN IN FLAMES!
Nigel's reputation as our group's 'Shit Magnet' is in tatters as his Sprog manages to shrug off Max's Veteran with some deft flying.
Admittedly Max throwing a one in his staying on the tail test did help, a bit.
The twisting dogfight begins to fragment and open out as each side climbs and turns to gain advantage.
In aerial gaming altitude is king.
There are numerous near misses as each side tries to line up deflection shots to no avail.
Max's Junior Ace on Nigel's Top Ace is one.
Paul's Top Ace behind the 'Blau Maus'
...and again for the third time the fire card comes up straight away. Crazy, crazy?
Paul's dice throwing lets him down just when he needs only to average to get hits, where I threw loads of fives and sixes. Minor damage.
My Junior Ace's Albatros D.III has a higher ceiling than Paul's SPAD so I climb to altitude 11 to lose my tail.
Now Max can't hit anything either. Nige throws more fives and sixes for saves. It IS one of those days for the RFC, all over again.
Voss is chasing a SPAD!
He's hit, and he's off and running for home, off table.
Doubtless Voss will claim it as a kill and say that it was going down but there being behind British lines no one will confirm it.
Nige just can't shake Max at all.
Paul is too far away to get on the tail and lines up a long distance shot against Nigel's Sprog.
An Archie near miss and a sideslip. That was lucky Nige. "It really is your day mate."
At last Max get a proper burst in on Nigel's Veteran.
Fuel tank hit! He's trailing vapour.
Run away, run away...
The RFC are making a proper fight of it now. Paul's Ace is at last tailing Nigel's Sprog.
Voss is trying to shoot him off the tail....
However, action moves on before he can get his thumb on the trigger.
Paul is so close that the faster SPAD overshoots the slower Albatros D.II
He's in front of the Sprog!
But before the Sprog can fire, Paul makes a hard turn and suddenly he's got a deflection on Nigel's Top Ace.
This is amazing stuff its hard to see who has the upper hand. The SPADs are really able to challenge the Albatri Scouts.
Max gets another burst in on Nigel's veteran...
Lots of hits, +3 for effect on damage from last time as his plane is a flying bomb.
..and amazingly Max survives being so close and flies through the smoke and wreckage.
Maybe luck is with the RFC after all?
Voss escapes and lines up on another SPAD.
You'll notice that thus far, apart from a kill early on, my Junior Ace has kept out of it all by climbing to his ceiling and choosing his moment.
This is important. Its how Aces get to BE Aces. You pick your moment.
My Regular lines up Paul's Top Ace with my own Ace gradually using his extra moves to descend down.
He needn't have bothered. My Regular damages the RFC Ace and he wisely flies off table.
This is how you get to SURVIVE as an Ace. You know when to quit.
I actively encourage players to fly off table if they sustain damage. There are no prizes for dead airmen or bragging rights in our group if you get
your pilot killed.
The German's now outnumber the SPAD's and really go over to the attack with even Nigel's Sprog determined to put up a good show.
Max does a magnificent controlled spin to evade his pursuer shaking Nige off the tail.
This is a great manoeuvre, especially in a SPAD as its a fast plane and only uses three hexes of speed, leaving four plus throttle for other
Also a spin is rated as a Hard manoeuvre for staying on the tail tests.
Nige's Sprog can't live with this.
Max's Junior Ace has company.
Two Hun Aces and a Veteran in pursuit of Max's Junior Ace.
"Come 'ere you little Fokker?" as Max emerges from his controlled spin.
"Er...that's a SPAD, surely Kev?"
"I know what I meant"
"Und ver do you zink you are going, eh Englishman?"
Remember folks. You pick your fights, you get in close...
You are victorious again. You get to go home.
Another RFC pilot going down in flames.
Two Kills for my Junior Ace!
Two SPADs shot down, three damaged and heading for home.
One Albatros D.III shot down, but also the Albatros two-seater.