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Subject: A dogfight long ago... rss

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Ethan Thomas
United States
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Wow...Dawn brings back so many memories for me. Years ago, my friends and I would host a Dawn Patrol game night every Sunday which was soon given the moniker "Sunday Night DP." We had a solid run which lasted about 3 years back in the 1990's. Not bad, considering nearly all my friends weren't into board games at all, but they were awfully competitive, which is why I think the game held so much appeal for them.
We didn't play any of the "canned" scenarios, but instead we each had 2 rosters of pilots (Central and Allied) and would randomly determine sides each game. We would then individually roll aircraft...not historically accurate of course, but it did make for some interesting dogfights.
And dogfights were, of course, what we wanted. We tried flying a two-seater a few times, with one person playing the pilot and another player taking on the roll of observer. That, however, really didn't fly (pun intended) with this group, so we stuck to single-seater combat.
Some of my friends were pretty un-historical with the names of their pilots as well, choosing the names of popular sports stars, movie actors, historical figures, etc.. but in the end none of that really mattered because all we were after was a bit of competitive fun, and we definitely got our fill with this game.
Anyway, on to the session report. My friends and I probably flew over 100 missions over the course of a few years. Most of them were 2 on 2 or 3 on 3 fights and they are, alas, lost to history. I did, however, write up a couple of session reports when we managed to get 10 people together for a real fun tangle..

# of Players: 10 (5 on 5)
Date of Combat: 6-7-92 (Jan 1918)
Starting Altitude: 16,400'
Clouds: none
Location: Allied Side

Allied Pilots
Sterling Sharpe Sopwith Dolphin 6k 16m*
Sal Jennings Se5a 0k 0m
Spam Koslowski Se5a 2k 14m
"Spliffs" Sopwith Dolphin 3k 5m
Mark Messier SPAD XIII 1k 11m

Central Pilots
Gunther Istav Pfalz DIII 2k 12m*
Reinhold Weege Albatros DVa 0k 6m
Al Vandervit Albatros DIII 1k 4m
Ignati Cornell Albatros DVa 1k 1m
Vladimir Ruzicka Albatros DV 3k 8m

*=Flight Leader

As soon as the date was determined, I knew trouble was looming for the Germans. If you are a Central pilot, you prefer t o fly at the beginning or at the end of the war. Although t he Allied aircraft at the beginning of the war are faster, many of them mount only one gun, while the Central planes mount two. Near the end of the war, German planes are equal if not slightly superior to the Allied aircraft available. In the middle of the war, however the Allies possess superior planes with two guns, while the Germans are generally flying weaker planes (Pfalz DIII, Albatros DIII, DV). In addition, the battle was fought over the Allied side and there were no clouds in the sky, creating yet more trouble for the hard pressed Germans.

The 1st round of combat was nearly even, with the Allies landing 12 hits and the Germans 11. The 2nd round, however, was a dose of ill luck for the Germans. Ignati Cornell was shot down by Sterling Sharpe, who dealt out 8 hits and two crits. Ignati, despite the odds, managed to land on the Front(!) and escape to his side of the Lines. The Germans, despite being outnumbered, turned p the pressure in the 3rd round when they connected with 17 hits to the Allies' 10.

The 4th round was the beginning of the end, as the Allies landed 18 hits, 9 of those coming from t he guns of Sterling Sharpe. The Germans returned fire, but they were only able to scrape up 7.

Round 5 action consisted of yet more vicious dogfighting, as the Germans landed 14 hits and the Allies 9. The Germans were unable to knock an Allied plane from the sky however, something they needed desperately to even the odds.

Round 6 belonged to Spam Koslowski, as he knocked Al Vandervit out of the fight, landing 2 crits. Vandervit returned to the German lines and landed safely; credited with a mission but unable to return to the skies. "Spliffs" contributed as well, landing a single critical to Istav's Pfalz that sent him gliding home.

With the odds now at 5 to 2, it was a simple task of mopping up for t he Allies. In the 7th round, Ruzicka was shot down when his engine exploded, the result of a Messier attack. Sal Jennings was credided with the kill however, as he had landed more hits.

By round 8 the scenario was over. Sterling Sharpe picked up his 2nd kill of the day, hitting Reinhold Weege (previously wounded) in the throat, killing him instantly. Yet, it was not a total victory for the Allies: Sal Jennings suffered a crash landing and was killed.

Sterling Sharpe was the pilot to beat, as he posted a solid 5.8 TRA, shot with perfect accuracy (6/6), landed 34 hits, and posted an impressive +22 +/-. Sal Jennings experienced minor problems in the +/- column (-2), but managed to shoot perfectly (3/3). Spam Koslowski had a mediocre day at best. He shot only 60% (3/5), had an unremarkable TRA (8.1), and ended with a -10 +/-. He did, however, land two criticals without receiving any. Although "Spliffs didn't miss a shot (4/4), and flew well (7.1 TRA), he managed only 8 hits, the lowest total for both flights. Mark Messier few well and fought well, dishing out 17 hits and posting an incredible Flight-leading TRA (5.1)

If there was one positive for the Germans, then it came in the form of Gunther Istav, as he was the only German to shoot with perfect accuracy (5/5). He also lead his Flight in Pbg (16h), Pbt (9h), and in +/- (+7). His TRA was respectable as well (6.6). Reinhold Weege, despite posting a 6.8 TRA, shot poorly (3/7, 43%) and experienced problems in the +/- department (-10). Al Vandervit had an unremarkable day, ending with an 8.1 TRA. He shot reasonably well (3/4, 75%) and managed to land 15 hits, but his +/- performance was lackluster (-4). Ignati Cornell posted a 5.0 TRA but was only in the combat for two rounds, during which he took 2 criticals and ended up with a -5 +/-. Vladimir rolled well (7.1 TRA), but shot poorly (2/5, 40%. He landed 15 hits, but couldn't stay away from enemy guns (-8 +/-).

Allied Flight

Pilot TRA Shot% Pbg Pbt +/- Cg/t

Sterling Sharpe 5.8 6/6 34h 12h +22 2/1
Sal Jennings 7.5 3/3 17h 19h -2 2/1
Spam Koslowski 8.1 3/5 10h 20h -10 2/0
"Spliffs" 7.1 4/4 8h 5h +3 1/0
Mark Messier 5.1 6/7 17h 10h +7 1/0

Central Flight

Gunther Istav 6.6 5/5 16h 9h +7 1/1
Reinhold Weege 6.8 3/7 13h 23h -10 1/2
Al Vandervit 8.1 3/4 15h 19h -4 1/2
Ignati Cornell 5.0 1/2 7h 12h -5 0/2
Vladimir Ruzicka 7.1 2/5 15h 23h -8 0/1

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John Buckland
United States
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Great report. There are still groups playing around the country.

We got in four missions last Tuesday in Minneapolis.

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