World Wars One and Two

On Good Friday I got along to the Conquest 2011 convention for the Wings of War ‘Bloody April’ competition. I had taken along my Albatros D.V so I was Ernst Udet for the day.

As well as a couple of free form dogfights there was a bomber escort mission and the defence of an observation balloon. I found that my mid-war plane was a little outmanoeuvred by the SE 5s that formed most of the opposition, but in the last game I scored two kills and on two other occasions my targets were relieved to find that the SE 5 has 16 damage points rather than the more common 15 for a fighter. I was shot down four or five times, but in a couple of games I confounded my opponents by accumulating vast stacks of 0 or 1 damage cards. It was great fun and everyone played in a good natured way. Here’s a report from the organiser – I’m ‘Steve’ in the report and in the photos mine is the black Albatros with pinkish lozenge pattern on the wings. I actually did score two kills in the last round so my points should be a tiny bit higher.

Shopping went well, and I now have plenty of aircraft. I would have liked a late war Central Powers fighter to match the SE 5, so I asked about buying a Fokker D.VII, but I was dismayed to find out that the makers of Wings of War do not re-release their aircraft – once a batch has sold out that’s it. D.VIIs now carry a huge premium on eBay so it looks like I’ll have to wait until a Siemens-Schuckert D.IV is released some time, unless I buy a Skytrex kit, and a set of Manoeuvre cards. That wouldn’t be bad value actually, but it can wait for now.

I got out to Michael’s place last Friday where we played Crossfire – the Reconnaisance before Pontecorvo (rather an aptly named place for a battle!) scenario from the Hit The Dirt supplement.

The map in the scenario book. Michael's setup was very close to this.

I was the Canadian player and my company had to locate any Germans in the buildings and fortifications and leave the table by 12:00, with the clock moving forward by 30 minutes on a roll of 4+ at the end of the German turn.Michael’s Germans deployed hidden, so it was quite realistically tense moving around. We worked out that I could have scored a minor victory by leaving the table on the first turn without finding anything, but I decided to actually try to find some Germans. After the game we decided that making the threshold 17 points would solve any issue. Two of my platoons advanced through the woods on the right side of the road, while the third stayed on the left side of the road as a reserve.

My forces entering along the east edge.

I made contact pretty quickly and pushed some Germans from their initial positions to a cornfield. By this stage I had destroyed two German squads and a platoon commander with no losses, but as (real) time was getting on I decided to start extracting troops.

The Canadians encounter Germans

I had a few squads in contact and I hadn’t made any effort to cover their retreat, with the result that I lost one. That loss left me with a bit less than what I needed for a minor victory, and if it hadn’t been 11PM I would then have gone back on the offensive to try to get more victory points. It was only my second game of Crossfire and it went pretty well. I still find the long detours to avoid being shot at somewhat counterintuitive, but I’m getting the hang of them.

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