Category Archives: Wings of Glory

A Return to the Skies

Last night the gaming room hosted its first multiplayer event as our little part of the world returns to something of a new normal. While I have had a few games over recent weeks, as social distancing here in New Zealand has now ceased, the return to a multiplayer game is something of a milestone.

What better way of marking the occasion could there be than a light hearted evening of Wings of Glory? While a few regulars where unable to attend we still managed a respectable six players.

Our first scenario was a traditional dogfight with three German players, flying two Fokker Dr.Is and an Albatross, taking to the sky against three allied pilots flying two Spads and a Camel. Trying to recall the aircraft involved is hard enough, but the antics involved are for me, the following day, all but impossible. However as machines clawed their way through the skies and the burst of machine gun fire filled the air it seemed only the smell of oil and burning canvas that seemed to be missing.

One new pilot ventured into the sky for the first time, yet to his surprise Pilot Officer Shield, flying the Camel above, had an outstanding first encounter. A sharp contrast to one German pilot whose machine exploded when first coming under fire!

Our second scenario involved a bombing mission where a Belgian Breguet was escorted by a Bristol F.2B and Camel. Opposite them the three German pilots flew a combination of two Fokker D.VIIs and a Albatross D.Va. Above, the Albatross D.Va and below one of the two Fokker D.VIIs.

Below, a Bristol F.2B is hoping to manoeuvre against an Albatross in the foreground. Meanwhile while a Fokker D.VII, just visible in the background, has similar intentions on the F.2B.

Expert flying by the Belgian pilot found the bombs being successfully dropped, However, his return towards Allied lines was more difficult. The German pilots stuck to him like glue, despite him evading and repeatedly dropping altitude. Unfortunately the Germans could finally claim a victory as the Breguet went down just feet above the trees.

Our final mission of the evening was an Allied balloon busting mission. A Nieuport armed with rockets was to be the main attack closely supported by a Camel and a Bristol F.2B.

However, such plans quickly come adrift as the Nieuport pilot repeatedly failed to line up his attack. Further, the various machines soon become increasingly crowded around the German balloon as allied fighters attempted to escort the Nieuport, while dodging the Germans. My own machine, the F.2B, managed to fire several bursts of fire into the balloon and this increasingly this became my focus.

Then on the second pass a well aimed burst of fire from the front guns hit the balloon and ignited it. In a moment a massive explosion erupted which destroyed three other aircraft, two German and one British!

A dramatic, if somewhat abrupt ending to an excellent evening of gaming in the sky. I must say these rules really do provide a most enjoyable evening of entertainment.

Christmas Bells

A regular event here is the annual “Snoopy’s Christmas” Wings of War evening held just prior to Christmas. It’s a great way to finish the gaming year and now something of a tradition. Therefore on Friday evening a group of us gathered to once again test our skills in the air. The colourful biplanes and the odd two seater was unpacked and the missions determined.

Our first encounter was a simple dogfight over the Western Front in the mid war period. Unfortunately the details the combats are now lost to time. For my part I fielded an Albatross D.III and was supported by another Albatross and a Fokker Dr.I.

Our second scenario was a balloon busting expedition with the allies fielding a rocket firing Nieuport 16 supported by a Sopwith Camel and rather colourful Spad XIII. The Nieuport is an interesting machine. The standard armament is a single Lewis machine–gun, set in a difficult to reach position over the upper wing but when used in balloon busting missions it can also be armed with four Le Prieur rockets on each side. There are of course a few special rules to consider when using rockets.

The Germans would be defending the observation balloon with an Albatross D.Va and a Fokker D.VII. The ensuing game was full of confusion as allied aircraft spent much time avoiding the massive balloon while try desperately to pour fire into it.

Despite a couple of failed attempts to fire the Le Prieur rockets the Nieuport pilot finally managed to launch the rockets and destroy the already heavily damaged balloon. Below, the Nieuport pilot prepares to unleash his rockets.

Finally, we finished the evening with an enjoyable late war dogfight with a mix of aircraft taking to the sky.

These included a Breguet 14, a Spad XIII and a Sopwith Snipe while the opposing them were a hopelessly outclassed two seater UFAG and an Aviatik D.I. of the Austrian-Hungarian airforce.

Above the UFAG gets a parting shot from the tail gunner on a Spad. Below the much dreaded Breguet.

The UFAG C.1 pilot, while dishing out some damage to the Breguet, was finally shot down leaving the Aviatic pilot to finally make a break for home. 

With that we finished another excellent evening of Wings of War and Snoopy’s Christmas celebrations for 2019.

Those Magnificent Machines

Last night, as part of The Grand Opening of my new wargames room, seven of us gathered for a little Wings of War action. Having previously settled on the period of the Great War a mix of aircraft were unpacked. Then, their engines were started and the canvas and timber machines clawed their way into the sky over the Western Front for what was to be a most enjoyable evening.

The first scenario was particularly simple affair simply based on dog fight between a mix of Allied fighters and the determined German pilots.

Above, a Spad flies past, narrowly missing one German machine while a Fokker Dr.I and a Fokker D.VII prepare to engage.

Below, having engaged each other a selection of aircraft break-off before trying to gain some advantage in the next attack runs.

Below, another view of the dogfight as the aircraft all attempt to fly in the same space.

Our next scenario found a Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI making a rather brave daylight raid over the front line with, what would turn out to be, totally inadequate fighter support in the form of a Aviatik D.I.

Now, I thought the Staaken would fly a generally straight course to its target but instead it weaved back and forth trying to dislodge the gaggle of fighters that gathered to its rear.

Above and below views of the engagement with the Staaken. The size of this aircraft never fails to impress me.

Alas for the Staaken an engine explosion made its task increasingly difficult and eventually she was shot down, well before reaching her target.

Our final mission of the evening of was an Allied bombing mission involving an Airco DH.4, Breguet 14 and an RE.8.

Above, the three Allied bombers fly in formation while below a the DH.4 is about to be engaged.

The DH.4 was the first casualty of the mission the aircraft being shot down some distance from the important town and rail junction which was the focus of the raid. However, the other two Allied machines delivered their bombs and returned to base, though it must be admitted the RE.8 was particular worse for wear!

Another fine and colourful evening in the skies above the Western Front with those magnificent flying machines.

Rising Sun in the East

For many weeks our regular Tuesday evenings gaming slot has been earmarked for DBA. However, over the last two Tuesdays my regular opponent and I have taken to the skies for a little Wings of Glory action. For my part I have opted to get several Japanese aircraft in the air. After all they have been in their hangers for far too long!

I thought I would post a few photos of this evening’s two games along with a brief of description. Combined I hope they provide some interest and capture a little of the flavour.

First up a lumbering Val is tasked with a dive bombing mission. Here, the Val seems somewhat isolated. The supporting Zeros having opted for a wide sweep in support, coming in from the left.

Above and below the fighters engage. The Spitfire on the right suffered the concentrated fire of two Zeros. The Val is visible in the centre distance.

The Spitfire suffered heavy damage initially and was the target for another burst from one of the Zeros, while the other focussed on the Hurricane. Below, the situation just prior to the Spitfire going down.

The Zeros, now tailing the Hurricane, pursued with determination until the Hurricane also went down.

This first encounter was soon followed by a second game again pitting a Hurricane and Spitfire against Zeros but without the Val. The Japanese pilots attempted to maintain their formation while the British pilots conducted more complex manoeuvres.

In particular the Hurricane broke left early in an attempt to flank the Japanese. This complex manoeuvre was particularly risky and resulted in the Spitfire facing the two Zeros initially unsupported.

Head on passes are particularly dangerous in World War II and the Zero’s were tonight particularly effective. Alone, the Hurricane pilot opted for a battle of manoeuvre.

Turning, diving and looping he was difficult to catch. So difficult in fact that one Zero pilot, attempting to complete a Split-S, miscalculated his airspeed and lost control of his aircraft! I really need to check the rules more often!

Despite watching a Zero fall from the sky the Hurricane, now heavily damaged, broke off and ran for home. Another victory for the pilots of Japan, well at least until next time…

Bag the Staaken

Friday evening found a group of us gathered in Robin’s new games room with plans to dominate the air over the Western Front during the Great War. In all we would play three multiplayer Wings of War games with all set in the period 1917 to 1918.

It’s impossible to provide a clear overview of the encounters as they can at best be described as free wheeling seat of your pants encounters, especially those involving fighters. During the course of the evenings Spads, Triplanes, Albatross, SE5 and others weaved, climbed and dived across the table.

One particular interesting game was that involving a four engined Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI. It was the first time most of us had seen the model and after discussion decided that the Staaken would undertake a bombing mission and intercepted by six fighters over London.

Only 18 of these monsters were built during the war. Wikipedia states that the Staaken Squadron on the Western Front had an average of five R.VI’s available for missions and conducted 11 raids on Great Britain between September 28, 1917, and May 20, 1918, dropping 27,190 kg (27 long tons; 30 short tons) of bombs in 30 sorties. Flying at night the aircraft flew individually to their targets on moonlit nights, requesting directional bearings by radio after takeoff, then using the River Thames as a navigational landmark. Missions on the 340-mile (550 km) round trip lasted seven hours. None were apparently lost in combat over Great Britain but two crashed returning to base in the dark.

Armed with one forward firing machine gun and four rear firing machine guns we all tried to engage the beast from the front. However, once past it gaining the front was slow work and instead a gaggle of aircraft soon formed biting at its rear as it slowly manoeuvred for its bombing run on Buckingham Palace.

Above the Staaken being pursued by Allied aircraft.

While German propaganda would declare the palace was bombed successfully in fact only one bomb fell any where near the palace and that fell harmlessly in the palace gardens. The Staaken of course failed to make it home, finally succumbing to the constant fire of the pursuing fighters, resulting in a victory for the Allies.

A first rate series of games which was ideal on a cold winter’s evening.