Category Archives: Wings of Glory

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.

Breaking out the Stukas

Over recent months Ares have relaunched their Battle of Britain aircraft range and as result I took the opportunity to bolster my German and British squadrons. For the Germans I purchased a couple of Stukas and for the British I bolstered the number of Hurricanes.

Unlike the original releases the new aircraft are supplied in squadron packs. Basically, you have the default aircraft and then apply various transfers so that two or three aircraft have a similar camouflage pattern but with different individual aircraft markings. A much improved model for World War II. Of course I’m disorganised and having been focussed on some other projects I’ve yet to sit down and apply the transfers, but I suspect they will add considerably to the overall look.

Anyway, with the aircraft unpacked the last couple of Tuesday evening games have seen the dreaded Luftwaffe in the skies over 1940 Britain.

The Stukas are of course reasonably slow, and not particularly well armed. However add in a couple of Bf-109s and the British Hurricanes have a tough challenge with plenty of potential tactical options.

Above, a close up view of a veteran Hurricane – the new Hurricane model was mostly in the wrong place tonight so didn’t make many photos – except for the first photo at the top of this post. Below, a Hurricane heads in for a kill on a Stuka, only to be engaged by a Bf-109.

We are still clearly novices and our tactics somewhat simplistic. Worse, the Stuka pilots are struggling to locate the targets and complete their dive bombing mission. However, despite all this a very enjoyable series of games.

Snoopy’s Christmas

It’s almost an institution that a few of us gather for “Snoopy’s Christmas”, a Wings of Glory gaming session, just prior to Christmas. This year five of us took to the air last night somewhere over the Western Front. So to set the scene:

The Baron had Snoopy dead in his sights
He reached for the trigger to pull it up tight
Why he didn’t shoot, well, we’ll never know…

Our first scenario was the ubiquitous air superiority mission with initially three allied aircraft tackling two German machines. The allies fielded two Spad XIII and a Sopwith Triplane. The Germans meanwhile managed to place a couple of Albatross in the area.

Above, a Spad goes almost head to head with an Albatross. The Spads lived up to their reputation of being fast but lacking in manoeuvrability. The German aircraft, in contrast, repeatedly out turned the Spads.

However, the Germans didn’t have it all their own way. Below, the Sopwith Triplane flown by Pilot Officer Sutton. His first burst of fire, earlier in the battle, caused a massive explosion in an Albatross.

This kill, as well as a series of others, resulted in several additional reinforcements to be substituted. Below, an Albatross D.Va prepares to engage a Spad.

By the end of the mission all but one machine, a Spad with a wounded pilot, was suffering some form of engine damage reducing their ability to manoeuvre. All were heavily damaged, forcing the survivors to head for home.

Next up was a photo reconnaissance mission by a Breguet BR.14 B2 supported by a DH.4. Below, the Breguet flies toward the monastery while the DH.4 attempts to disrupt the Hun.

The Germans put up a series of aircraft. These included initially an Albatross, a Fokker DR.1 and a Aviatik D.1. Unfortunately the Central Powers pilots were woefully ineffective and as a result suffered heavy casualties for their inexperience.

No less than five German or Austrian pilots were shot down as they tried relentlessly to disrupt the allied aircraft. However, the allied pilots, and their expertly trained rear gunners, fought off all attacks.

Another great evening of Wings of Glory.