Here is a short report of the first mission in the new 1917 campaign. The mission was one of two played simultaneously as the opening games in our new 1917-18 campaign (the other mission being an attack on a Zeppelin).
Set-up: A dogfight mission, 3 French fighters, two old Nieuport 11s and a Nieuport 17 met 3 Germans all in new Albatros D.IIIs, a little behind the German frontline. The Germans all good pilots and on the paper easily outmatching the French in older planes and with pilots of lesser caliber. However, this was not going to be easy for the Germans.
Both sides broke their close starting formation in the first turn to attack the opponent’s in individul combat. And in turn two, or 10 seconds into the match, the German pilots led by novice Friderich Fuchs, cut into the French formation and coming in for a killing shot on a French Nieuport 11 flown by Gruyere. Fuchs however , underestimated the maneuverability on the Nieuport 17 flown by Langress who came up behind him in an attempt to protect his mate. But Fuchs wingman, Werner Scharff, flew closed in from the side of Nieuport 17 to protect Fuchs.
Meanwhile Heine Hoffman pulled into a steep curve and took aim for a side shot at the Nieuport 11 flown by Gruyere.
In the same second as Scharff killed Langress with a well-placed salvo in his face, Hoffman shot the Niuport 11 on fire, and the pilot, Gruyere had to throw him self out of the cockpit engulfed in flames. Fuchs had to watch his victim burn up before he even got to fire a shot.
Note the missing Nieuport 11 between the two lilac Albatros D.III’s to the right.
Now there was only one Nieuport 11 back on the French side .. With a very inexperienced pilot with a Reaction score of 13 versus the 16 score of all the three Germans. It looked like a sure win for the Germans and one that might well end in a total wipe-out of the allied side. Things however was taking an unexpected turn
The third round started with Hoffman, proud of his first kill, decided just to roll his Albatros around and cut back toward the lonely Nieuport lagging behind him. But the Albatros rolled to slowly around and Hoffmann did not finish up close enough to his opponent. Lt. Brioche had no difficulty in taking a side shot on Hoffman, on his way to his own lines. The other two Albatrosses could not get in position to help. Lt. Brioche spent all the luck he had, to be able to hit Hoffman. Shots from the lone wing mounted Lewis machine gun, cut the Albatros main spar in half and 30 meters further ahead, the wing flew of and disappeared backwards, Hoffman crashed to death.
Lt. Brioche, now with a full overview of the match, used round 4 to get close to Werner Scharff, who unfortunately had lost sight at Brioche this critical moment. Lt. Brioche spent his last salvo in the magazine and flames poured out of the Albatros.
Back was now only Lt. Brioche and Fuchs. In the next 6 rounds an epic dogfight was played out between the fragile, under armed but nimble Nieuport 11 and the heavy, powerful and heavily armed Albatros D.III. Fuchs got himself placed in a disadvantage, as Brioche pulled up behind him. Fuchs squeezed everything out of the Albatross he could, Brioche could not push the Nieuport enough to get a shot, but was still behind Fuchs. Fuchs stalled his plane, only to end up in a spin, but still it got him off the hook. Lt. Brioche used the chance to pull away and headed for France. In the last round Fuchs was trying to catch Brioche but he had no chance, and turned his own nose against his aerodrome. The last he saw before he left the sector was Scharff in his still burning plane, failing to make an emergency landing, his plane cartwheeling over the rough ground and scattering into pieces..
An outcome like this is rarely seen in ICOG – The lone underdog had outfought not one but three superior opponents over 7 turns, killing two of them and coming home with tie and a lot of experience points. It was epic…