Bloody April

The scenarios in this folder came from solo games of scenarios from the boardgame “Bloody April” (by GMT). The scope of the games was reduced to only involving the First Air Brigade in support of the First Army on the north wing of the Arras offensive. When aircraft counters sighted one another and came within a range of two to three miles the encounter was transferred to the tabletop (6′ x 7′) and played out using 1/300 miniatures. While the game includes historical rosters/counters for the Squadrons and Jastas involved, a generic name generator was used to create identities of the pilots/crew. Their experience, skills, and ‘pluck’ were also determined randomly (with modifiers where appropriate) to create the statistics that would influence their performance and behavior during the games.

2 April

The game begins on the morning of 2 April. The weather is grim with heavy, low clouds at 4000′ that foreshadow a continuation of yesterday’s rain/snow, but only a week remains before the PBI is scheduled to go ‘over the top’, so into the air the RFC goes to gather information on the Germans and help the artillery destroy the enemy batteries. Rain soon comes, hindering the work, but also the ability of the German patrols who have trouble spotting the British aircraft reported to be in the area.

The first encounter to go to the tabletop is between 25 Squadron (5x Fe2b) that is returning from a recon mission and is intercepted by Jasta 30 a couple miles from the lines.

The second encounter of the morning comes as the rain turns to snow and involves a recon mission of 43 Squadron (4x Sopwith 1-1/2 Strutters) that is stalked from behind by the three undamaged aircraft of the earlier patrol from Jasta 30.

Those are the only encounters/games for the day (2nd), as the next weather roll saw the snow get heavier and everyone head back to base. The three artillery cooperation missions by the British managed to get done before everything closed down without any interference from the Jasta patrols – though they had a very hard time of it in the rain/snow, the same weather kept the Germans from spotting them. The photo mission by 25 Squadron was successful but cost them a flight leader. All of 43 Squadron’s Strutters made it back, but they brought no useful photos/information with them so the RFC is 1-for-2 in the reconnaissance department for the day. The Germans lost no pilots, but three of their Albatros will need some time in the shop for repairs.

8 April

Today saw flights from two British Squadrons (43 and 8N) tangle with two German Jastas (11 and 30). The Brits were outnumbered ten to six (and twenty to nine in guns) but managed to concentrate their forces on the Huns.