Showing posts with label aircraft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label aircraft. Show all posts

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Spandau and Lewis - Proper Release

I first started writing the game which would be known as 'Spandau and Lewis' back in 2008. Ever since then it's been in what I've always described as a 'Draft' status, as I constantly tinkered with the mechanisms. Well, having had it back out on the table this week, I finally decided to stop messing around, tidy it up and call it a release.

You can find it here:

Spandau and Lewis v1.0

There's a lot missing that I was planning to include. I still have notes for attacking ground troops (and their shooting back), AA fire, balloons and bombing, as well as a few more oddities. But what's in that document should be enough to get you flying and shooting with the aircraft of your choice. The sample aircraft lists at the back represent those I have i my own collection, plus a few I've used in scenarios I've tried out. It should be easy enough to extrapolate your own designs, but I will post a more complete list one day, since I have a pile of aircraft stats derived from those in the old Aces High boardgame.

As a bonus, here's a link to a thread by an artist called Peter Hill, who seems to specialise in WW1 air-warfare paintings. There's some interesting pictures in it, including this one of Alphonse Pergoud, who features in my previous post.

'Random WW1 Subjects' by Peter Hill


Pegoud - The First Ace

Adolphe Pégoud holds a number of distinctions. He was the first man to make a parachute jump from an aircraft, and the first to fly one inverted. He was also credited with being the first pilot to fly a loop, but in fact a Russian pilot beat him to it by just over a week. Nevertheless he was a pioneering aviator and after a period as a flying instructor, quickly became a combat pilot when WW1 broke out. Flying a Maurice-Farman two-seater, he and his observer were credited with two kills and an a forced-landing in February 1915. When he switched to a single-seater he claimed two more kills in July and a third in August. His total of six kills made him the first pilot to be awarded the title 'ace'.

On 31st August 1915,  Pégoud was targetting a German reconnaissance plane when he was attacked and killed by one of his former pupils, Unteroffizier Walter Kandulski, flying a Fokker monoplane.

His last fight sounded like it was worthy to be a Spandau and Lewis scenario, so I set it up. A German two-seater is off on a mission. I used the stats for the Aviatik C1, with an experienced crew.

Pégoud appears, closing in steadily on the German plane. Pégoud was flying a Nieuport 10.

A cloud provided some last-minute cover.

Pégoud swoops into the attack.

The damaged Aviatik tried to turn and bring its guns to bear, but Pégoud slipped onto its tail, and a second burst downed the German.

However Kandulski's Fokker Eindecker was in the area.

The German initially had the jump on the Frenchman, putting a few bullets through his fuselage.

Both pilots turned their aircraft hard, trying to get on the other's tail. In a fight of this nature, the Nieuport's better handling, and Pégoud's greater pilot skill counted for a lot.

The blue markers show an aircraft that has lost power due to a tight turn. The German managed to get another shot at Pégoud, damaging his plane.

Pégoud soon regained the upper hand, though. This long-range shot had no effect, but the German was now in trouble.

Another shot badly damaged the Fokker ...

... and a third saw it fall apart in the sky.

So this game saw a reversal of history, with Pégoud gaining two more kills. His plane was, in fact, badly damaged, but luck was with him, and his superiority as a pilot, plus his more agile plane gave him the win. Had the Aviatik survived the first attack, Pégoud would have been harder pressed.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Hawker's VC Again

It's been over three years since I last had my WW1 aircraft out and gave my 'Spandau and Lewis' rules a whirl. The last time I played them I was in the middle of modifying them, but all that fell by the wayside when something new and shiny caught my eye.

However Kevin of Warwell's Wargames recently picked them as one of his Six By Six Challenge games, so I thought I'd best try and tidy up the rules a little, if only for his sake. And whilst that's still ongoing, I did manage to fit in a quick game this evening.

I replayed my Hawker's VC scenario in which depicts Major Lanoe Hawker's exploits on 25th July 1915. Flying a single-seater Bristol Scout, with an improvised Lewis gun mount, he drove off or shot down three German two-seater reconnaissance planes.

Hawker in his Bristol Scout. In 'Spandau and Lewis' terms the plane is Speed 5, Agility B+, Power 1, Hits 8 and has a single gun firing into the left arc, but restricted. Hawker is an Ace, with the Marksman ability.

The first German appears, and Hawker stalks it using a cloud. I had one German plane appear every four turns. Two of the planes had experienced crews, whilst one had a novice crew. Hawker was assumed to have spotted the Germans, whilst each German plane had to spot him. Until they did, they would fly in a straight line towards an assigned objective, changing speed only to end a move over it. They would then turn and fly back to their base-edge.

Accounts of Hawker's VC don't seem to be clear as to what type of planes he engaged, aside from one I found which mentions that the third plane was an Albatros C1. So I made all three this type. The stats are Speed 4, Agility C, Power 0, Hits 10 and a single gun fired by the observer into the left, right and rear arcs.

Hawker managed to get behind the German unnoticed. But with his gun firing out to the side, lining up a shot was going to be tricky.

The opening shot saw the German plane damaged, but not critically.

The German pressed on to the objective, relying on Hawker not being able to line up a second shot. But he did, and this one caused the Albatros to go down in flames.

A second Albatros was working its way towards one of the other objectives. Hawker flew towards it, but was quickly spotted.

The Germans managed to overfly the objective but Hawker was soon on them. Both planes turned hard, the Germans so they could get a shot without the Albatros's tail spoiling the aim, and Hawker simply trying to get a shot. The blue markers show that both aircraft are suffering from power loss; performing a tight manoeuvre on one turn generally limits the plane's speed and ability to turn on the next.

I ran out of board; my playing area was really too small for this game. Hawker kept turning hard, and scored some serious damage on the Albatros. He took a few bullet-holes in return, but nothing to be seriously worried about.

The Albatros headed for home, with Hawker in pursuit.

It took a few more hits, but managed to make the safety of a cloud.

Hawker now had a single burst left for his gun, and a third German was heading home having flown over its objective.

Using the cloud for cover, Hawker lined up another attack. One burst might be enough to down the enemy.

It wasn't. The crew of the Albatros spotted him, costing him the element of surprise. He fired his last burst, putting a few holes in the German machine, and received a few holes back. The planes then parted ways.

Hawker got one kill, and badly damaged the second German. He received a couple of minor hits in return. Two Germans got home having achieved their mission. So overall this was a minor win for the Germans, but really Hawker has a difficult task to achieve, with his unusual gun-mount making it hard to fire effectively.

The Power rules worked fine; in an early war scenario like this the aircraft are seriously disadvantaged if they turn too tightly, and Hawker has no real advantage over the Germans in that respect. I played with reduced ammo loads; only 8 bursts per gun. But I gave the planes a larger number of hits as well. I still need to find the balance there, between the potential number of bursts a plane can fire, and how much damage the targets can take. This scenario isn't the best test of that, since the firing is, by its very nature, relatively ineffective. I need to try aircraft with more powerful offensive weaponry to see how the numbers play out.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Flight of the Ophelia Vitrix

In 1685, eccentric nobleman, inventor and patron of the sciences, Sir Robert Abney was a wanted man. Implicated as a supporter of Monmouth during the rebellion against James II, his land holdings were almost certainly forfeit, and his very life in danger.  He hatched a bold plan to flee the country. His salvation lay in a product of his genius - the airship gunboat Ophelia Vitrix. With a band of loyal