Somme Like It Hot
Using ideas from 'Algernon and the Brown Hatta Jasta, Chapter 6 - England Expects' from the TFL Summer Special of 2007.  

In order to get effective photographs pilots need to fly at altitude 3 or 4.  A ‘Snap’ card is included in the deck.  Whenever it is drawn
that hex in which the plane is located is considered to have been effectively photographed.  The observer must be doing no other
tasks but manning the camera, so spotting and firing its parabellum is not an option.  

I also designated the camera plane as a 'Character' (Eric Shun and Isaac Cox) and stipulated that the photo could be taken on either
that card, or the snap, but not both in the same turn.

Well initially all went rather well for our dashing chaps.  The 'Archie' was heavy but the sky empty apart from our good selves so we
headed over the target and 'Snap' came up obligingly.  One pic taken successfully.

We headed round in an easy turn, ever watchful for enemy scouts but none seemed to be about this morning.

Lining up on the target we flew onto it and once again 'Snap' came up rather nicely.  This was turning out to be a doddle.

Then it all went horribly wrong.  

Suddenly our Top Ace was hit by Medium 'Archie' when Nige rolled an 11 on 2D6.  Rolling a subsequent five he had inflicted 'really
critical damage' on us and rolled 2D6 on the necessary column on the damage table, scoring a Nine...



To make matters worse for us Clive rolled a five, enemy bogeys arrived.  No doubt they had seen the Archie and had decided to
find out what their Kameraden where shooting at.  Frequently in WW1 Anti-Aircraft  would alert patrolling scouts to the presence of
enemy planes.  Infact, later Archie would signal to their own scouts using such a system, planes not having any communication
with ground troops.

The bogeys were easily spotted and turned out to be Veteran pilot Hermann Zermitz in his Halberstadt D.III with two Eindeckers
piloted by a Regular and Sprog pilot, respectively.

Max managed to roll successfully when out when RFC 'Bogeys' came up so the on flew four markers.  Again these were easily
spotted as three DH2's and a dummy.

Veteran pilots Archie Pelegow and Titus Balsac, with a Regular comrade.

The two remaining Strutters decided to make a big circuit of the table and get out of the way for a while.

However the enemy Archie proved to be incredibly effective.  
I had stipulated that any plane flying within 5 hexes of trenches was liable to suffer from the attentions of Archie when suddenly
heavy Archie made a direct hit on Titus Balsac's Airco....

...Another catastrophic structural failure...down in flames (again)...jump Titus, jump!


Nige then decided to get in on the action and rolled a five for his three bogeys arrival.  We diced randomly for entry points with a
higher likelihood that planes will arrive from over their own side of the table.

These again were easily spotted and placed on the table.

With the odds firmly in the Huns favour Veteran Willi Flascher in his Albatros D.I, with a Regular pilot in a Halberstadt, and a Sprog in
an Eindecker appeared.  However, four more RFC bogeys also turned up.  

These casued some consternation amongst the Boche players but were later spotted as fakes.

Max and I were undeterred however and soon Max managed to get in behind Flascher.

I am beginning to think a 2" hex isn't big enough and that I really ought to get a 3" hex.  ;-(

....DAKKA...DAKKA...[eight second burst]...Structural damage on Flascher.  

His Albatros's performance advantages now nullified somewhat, plus considerably more draughty now due to loads of holes in it.

Zermitts managed to get on the tail of my Sopwith Strutter, carrying two lovely photographic plates.  
Sopwith Strutters aren't bad aeroplanes, infact their performance is actually quite reasonable.

DAKKA...DAKKA...DAKKA...[eight second burst]...

Ah, apart that is from their robustness....only two?


....Pilot hit
...Pilot killed

...Poor Eric Shun and Isaac Cox.

...There goes the camera and the photographic plate.

BUGGER [Again!]

This was becoming a disaster for the RFC.

Fortunately, though slow at speed 4, the DH2 can make a snap turn to the left by virtue of its pushing rotary engine having a right
hand torque.

Archie Pelegow being a Veteran I snap turned successfully onto the tail of Nige's Eindecker.

DAKKA...DAKKA...DAKKA [Five second burst]

Fuel tank hit!

Max is at it again.  On the tail of Nige's Halberstadt.  Nige has this richly deserved reputation as our group's 'Shit Magnet'.  No matter
what he does, or what genre of game we play he always seems to cop it.  

Two damaged planes out of three Nige and now your only undamaged plane has a tail?

Oh very dear.

However, help is at hand as first Nige's Eindecker....

Then Clivey's Eindecker, line up Max.

DAKKA...DAKKA...Rear deflection shots.

Whew.  No damage fortunately, but Max isn't locked on the tail any more, having been fired at, and so flies off to escape his
erstwhile pursuers.

Max blots his copy book however when, in trying to line up a Sprog Eindecker with the only remaining Strutter, he fails to execute a
hard manoeuvre and goes into a spin..from which his regular pilot cannot pull out.


Silly boy!  [Much mirth and hilarity]

The smoke markers below show the burning remains of shot down/crashed RFC planes.

...and it just gets worse.

Herman Zermitts now lines up Max's last DH2.  Max just can't shake him.

The staccato of Maxim machine gun fire sounds out...


Pilot Hit!

Pilot Killed!  Zermitts second confirmed kill of the game.

At this point Archie Pelegow the only surviving RFC pilot decided discretion being the better part of valour it was time to exit the
table are report the loss of eight air crew to the respective Squadrons.  He did manage to wing Nigel's Halberstadt jamming its
rudder and so the 'Shit Magnet' reputation showed its true colours again.  

As Nige was at pains to point out though he did manage to survive.  Lets be honest Max and I weren't in any position to argue that
one too strongly.
I invited the chaps over for a game of Too Fat Lardies 'Algernon Pulls it Off' the other evening.  After the fun game we recently had at the Wessex Wargaming
Society of Southampton I was keen to get my models on the table again.  Plus Clive and Max hadn't seen my cloth yet and I was keen to show it off.

I fairly recently bought Halberstadt D.III, Fokker E.III Eindecker's and Airco DH2s from the Wings of Glory Early Fighters range from Dom at
Dom's Decals, and
was keen to try out the Huns in particular.  Also I have just finished some
Shapeways Sopwith Strutters, which though aren't properly decaled yet  needed to
see some action.

I decided to set the action in October 1916 towards the end of the
Somme Offensive.  The early JagdStaffeln (Jastas) of the German Air Force had recently
been formed and were flying a mixture of obsolete
Fokker E.III, Halberstadts and Albatros D.I scouts, whilst the RFC relied largely upon the Airco DH2 and FE2

As we usually have about three and a half hours of an evening to play, and Clive and Max haven't played Algy for a couple of years I decided to keep it quite
small.  One of the nicest things about Algy is that you can have a cracking game with only a couple of planes per side.

Rather than throw planes at each other in a line them up and get at it I like to start the narrative of the game with a mission/objective.

Three Sopwith Strutters are on a photo reconnaissance of a portion of the German second line.  One machine has the camera, the other two are close
escorts/decoys.  In the vicinity was a flight of three
Airco DH2's which may come to their assistance, or may not.  Max and I opted for the RFC.

The Huns were two separate flights each of three planes which were on the look out for enemy Corps planes.  Clive and Nige decided they'd like to be Huns.

I marked three areas as the target areas for the camera and deployed the
Sopwith 1½ Strutters on table, within six hexes.   We rolled randomly for the pilot
ability and got a Top Ace, Veteran (Camera plane) and a Regular.  All Observers I kept as Regulars.  Max had the Top Ace, I the other two planes but Max would
control two DH2s and myself only one.  Three planes apiece.  I prefer two-seaters and bombers anyhow.  

I told all players that no other planes were on table and that these needed to be rolled for on their Bogeys cards, each player needing a 5 or 6 for their planes to

The table set up is shown below.  The playing surface is a 2" hex European Fields Hotz Mat that I've oversprayed and marked trench lines on with permanent
marker pens.

I shall try to describe the action that occurred...
A quite dismal performance from the RFC but one heck of a lot of fun in a game packed with dramatic incidents.  We lost five planes, including the plane
with the photos, and only damaged three Huns.  All agreed it was a really interesting game with planes we haven't really used before.  

DH2s proved to be a double edged sword.  Awkward not only to fly, but also to target and stay on the tail of.  Being slow the faster Albatros was in
danger of overshooting the target and laying itself open.  The DH2's Lewis gun was a pain in having to be reloaded after eight seconds of fire too.

Their one saving grace was their rotary pusher engine. By not using the throttle dice, and climbing one level, the plane could essentially almost hang
there and make a snap turn, then descend upon the enemy.  In a turning fight they were quite tough and surprisingly robust.

The Strutter had much better performance being faster, more manoeuvrable AND still having a rotary engine.  It was also the first RFC plane which
featured a synchronised Vickers MG firing through the arc of its propeller.  However, their lack of robustness was disturbing.

Fokker E.III's seemed pretty shite, but then two of the pilots were Sprogs and one Regular and so they couldn't really use the rotary engine of the
Eindecker to its proper effect.  The Albatros D.I with two Spandaus and speed should have been a game winner but didn't get the chance to shine
whereas the Halberstadts seemed to be the business.

We all had a real laugh though, which is as it should be, and agreed we shouldn't have left it so long since we played Algy.  Expect more action and jolly
japes soon.

All models from my collection.  Flight stands and markers by Litko.  Cloth by Hotzmats.  Gimbal mounts and ballbearings from Aerodrome Accessories.

Click here to view my Luftstreitkrafte and Royal Flying Corps Planes.

See also
'Bloody April' April 1917