Category Archives: Wings of Glory

Eisenseiten: The Messerschmitt Bf-110

This evening we managed a couple of WWII Wings of War encounters set during 1940 during our regular mid-week gaming slot. My opponent was particularly keen to try some alternate aircraft and as a result the Messerschmitt Me-109s were replaced by Me-110s.

I’ve used the Me-110s previously as escorts for Heinkel bombers with poor results, but this was the first time I’ve seen them in action against Spitfires in scenario released from bomber escort duty. Both scenarios started in a situation which could have easily resulted in a head to head pass, something I wished to avoid given I was controlling the Spitfires and was apprehensive of the frontal armament of the Me-110. I of course wanted to break around the Me-110s and ideally attack from the side, or at least the rear. Achieving however would be harder than I expected. To frustrate my plans further in both encounters the Luftwaffe pilots were focusing on ensuring the Messerschmitts were kept together, thus providing mutual support.

The first encounter found both Spitfires breaking right with the intention of approaching the Messerschmitts from their left. Unfortunately the German machines turned more quickly than I expected. Pushing their machines forward at full throttle the Me-110s caught the Spitfires in their frontal arc. 

Above, the Spitfires caught in front of one of the Messerschmitts. In the next turn one Spitfire will be in the front arc of the second Messerschmitt.

In the ensuing engagement, which was notable for its briefness, one Spitfire was trailing smoke and was riddled with shell holes, while the second Spitfire’s engine was spluttering along having taken a 20mm cannon round into the engine. In contrast the Me-110s had suffered minor damage. Clearly the Spitfires needed to avoid the front arc of the Me-110s at all cost! Back to the tactical drawing board…

The next encounter was more interesting and was one of manoeuvre. The Spitfires separated with one breaking left the other right. The Me-110s, maintaining formation, focussed on one Spitfire. In theory this let the second Spitfire to manoeuvre against the rear of the Messerschmitts. Alas, too much time was lost breaking right swinging meaning the Spitfire Mk1 was out of range. Meanwhile the Messerschmitts chased the other Spitfire. Here the manoeuvrability of the Spitfire started to show. Playing with the Me-110s it moved right before dropping altitude and breaking left allowing it to turn behind the Me-110s. 

Below, a Spitfire starts to break left and is now at a lower altitude.

In an attempt to catch the Spitfire one Messerschmitt now dropped altitude, but it couldn’t turn quickly enough and over shot. The combination of turns and altitude changes had broken the strong supporting German formation. Yet in all the manoeuvring no shots had been fired. 

At this point the positions seemed to favour the Spitfires. One was about to move to level four, and had closed the range, while the other was one on level two. With the ability of the Spitfire to climb more quickly and turn more tightly there looked to be opportunities to concentrate fire in upcoming turns on one of the Messerschmitts. Unfortunately however, that was where we had to leave the encounter, so the outcome was still unknown. Perhaps next time…

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Messerschmitt Mayhem

This evening, during our mid-week game, we decided on a 1940 encounter which would see the Luftwaffe tangling with the RAF using Wings of Glory. Jim was keen to use his Spitfires again while I hoped my Me-109s would perform better than they had the previous week. Now, I won’t try and compile a report of our game but instead I will just try and describe, briefly, a couple of photos.

The Germans opted for a simple tactic of a rapid high speed attack run towards a Spitfire Mk II in a staggered formation. In the initial pass one of the Me-109s clipped the Spitfire. Below, the Messerschmitts sweep through. The lead Me-109 suffered some rudder damage from a burst of enemy fire. In the background a Spitfire Mk I (light grey), sweeps in in a wide arc to support the MkII visible on the left.

Below, another view of the initial pass.

An airborne melee soon developed. The Spitfire pilots weaved back and forth often conducting Immelmann turns which ensured they were potentially on the tail of an Messerschmitt soon after a pass. However, such tactics could sometimes be expected.

Below a Messerschmitt runs in on the Mk I Spitfire that has just completed a turn. A well aimed burst caused the Spitfire to explode moments later.

Now outnumbered the remaining Spitfire gained altitude and played cat and mouse with the Germans. Both the German and English pilot able to achieve the odd burst of fire in these manoeuvres. However, the German pilots eventually reformed and manoeuvred for another run, the rear aircraft providing a level of support as a wingman. Below, the first Me-109 pumped the Spitfire in a head on pass, suffering heavy damage in the process.

Below, an alternate view from the perspective of the Spitfire with the Me-109s coming in. In the distance the second Me-109 can be seen closing at speed.

It was this following Messerschmitt that delivered the final devasting burst of fire. The second Spitfire erupted in a ball of fire.

An excellent evening using Wings of Glory. Rumours abound of Spitfires and Hurricanes tangling with incoming Me-110s next. It will likely be a very different encounter.

War in the Air

Wings of War is, in my view, a great game. Why do I think it is such a good game? Well, I’ve been playing it for many years and it continues to hold my interest because it uses simple mechanics yet it has significant depth. This ensures continued interest and variety. Over recent weeks we have had a number of games using Wings of War with last night providing another example of the real strengths of the system. Four players gathered to tangle in the sky over the Western Front.

Alas, I took no photos of the three games played, this seems to be a recurring theme of many of my games of late. However, I’ve included a selection of art and period photos in an attempt to add some flavour to the summary.


The first scenario involved some early war aircraft, including an Fokker E.III and Morane-Saulnier Type N along with an early Albatros III and Nieuport 17. Clearly the early war planes were outmatched yet surprisingly when flown by experienced pilots they performed rather well. Particularly important was the altitude rules which soon had aircraft operating at three different altitudes. Below a Nieuport 17.

Next up was a recon scenario where a R.E.8 supported by a SPAD tangled with an Albatros III and Albatros D.Va. This was a hard match for the Germans as both Albatros aircraft had real difficulty catching the R.E.8 after it slipped past them. The rear firing twin Lewis on the R.E.8 came as a surprise to me, expecting it to be s single machine gun. An early burst of fire caused engine damage on my Albatros further ensuring the R.E.8 would soon widen the gap. The result was a clear victory to the allies, though with the loss of a SPAD.


Above, an Albatros D.Va. A wonderful example can be found in the Canberra War Memorial Museum.

Finally, the last scenario of the evening was a balloon busting mission involving an Albatros D.Va and D.VII against defending Sopwith Camels. One camel was shot down early but was soon replaced by a third. Again altitude played a critical component in the engagement as aircraft dropped and weaved around the observation balloon. The ability of these aircraft to regain altitude contrasted to the early war aircraft which struggled to climb.

Incendiary bullets played a critical role in the German victory with two fires on the balloon. Yet the game was far from one sided and was arguably the most balanced of the evening. The picture above of course shows a German balloon under attack, however it illustrates the general concept of the scenario and well, just looks excellent.

Another enjoyable evening of gaming using Wings of War, which that famous ace “Snoopy” would feel right at home so near to Christmas I’m sure.

Heinkels Over Britain  

As regular visitors will have noticed we have been playing a few Wings of War games of late. With the recent arrival of some new Wings of War models, specifically some Heinkels and Messerschmitt 110s, a simple Battle of Britain scenario for our Wednesday evening gaming session seemed on the cards.

The Germans fielded a single Heinkel with escort provided by two long range Messerschmitts. The British vectored two Spitfires and a Hurricane to engage. As can be seen below the Heinkel, centre, is flanked by the Messerschmitts which it was hoped would provide protection against a frontal attack.

The British pilots broke into two groups. Attacking from the front was a single Spitfire which gained height before beginning its attack run. Meanwhile the remaining Spitfire and Hurricane broke right and prepared for an attack against the German left.

The left most Messerschmitt countered the Spitfire and Hurricane and engaged with her forward guns inflicting damage as the Spitfire and Hurricane swept past. However, the 110 struggled to manoeuvre and was soon well out of the action. While the pilot slowly turned and moved back to provide support for the bomber, the British aircraft focused their attacks on the slow moving Heinkel, as seen below.

The Spitfire originally closing from the front, swung out at the at moment. Having gained a height advantage swept in from a 10 o’clock position slightly above the Heinkel. Soon three British aircraft weaved in and around the Heinkel. Below, from the perspective of the Hurricane pilot, two British Spitfires weave in. The one on the right was originally from the front and is at a higher altitude.

Of course the pilot of second Messerschmitt should have joined the dogfight by now. Unfortunately the pilot had miscalculated and was now very poorly positioned. While he struggled to regain his position all three British aircraft pressed repeated attacks on the now isolated Heinkel. Despite the actions of the Heinkel gunners, who hammered out streams of lead, the British attacks were devastating. Soon, with one engine hit the Heinkel pilot attempted to evade, but it was too late. One final burst and the Heinkel exploded in a fireball. Scratch one bomber.

Next time the Luftwaffe will have perfected the concept of close support fighter support, perhaps…

Aerial Antics with Wings of War

Another busy evening of gaming here in “The Wargames Room” with four very enjoyable multiplayer Wings of War encounters. Over the last few weeks several players have either purchased additional aircraft or their first aircraft. It therefore seemed fitting to get some of the aircraft into the air.

As it transpired five of us took up the challenge. Our evening started with two Great War encounters which found Albatross, Fokkers, Spads, Sopwith Triplanes and Hanriots grappling for advantage.

Above, an Albatross DIII on the left and a Fokker VII break as a Spad closes in the distance. Below, a view from the perspective of the Spad XIII. I find it fascinating that such simple mechanics produce such interesting and varied games with each aircraft having a very individual feel. The Spad for example being very quick but is unable to turn tightly. The result is it requires a very different tactical approach than say a Fokker DrI.

Moving forward a couple of decades it was time for an encounter, or two, over the Pacific. Now it’s been a while since I’ve had my World War II aircraft out and I was rusty with the rules. However, we soon settled on a scenario where three Zeros were engaged against a pair of Wildcats. Below, two of the Zeros tangle with Wildcats in a head on pass…

Interestingly the World War II version of the rules plays very differently from the First World War version. Aircraft move more rapidly due to a different movement sequence and two movement speeds. Further, combat especially at close range, can be very deadly. A mistake can be very unforgiving. Indeed, I lost a Zero in my first game from two bursts of fire without drawing an explosion chit. Certainly it pays to gain some tactical advantage to exploit.

Above, a Wildcat tangles with two Zeros, the second Zero is visible in the distance and will soon swing to its right allowing it to follow the first Zero in. Below, during the second game, two Wildcats pass each other flying in opposite directions. In subsequent turns the Zero in the distance managed a series of close range bursts resulting in the destruction of another Wildcat.

Another superb evening of gaming with plenty of great wargame moments for all. Now, about those Spitfires…

Since first posting this report one of the players involved has also posted some photos of the games. They can be found on Robin’s Wargamingnz blog.