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Thread: AAR - BrisWingsofGlory WGS Campaign 1, Mission 8 - Polish Air Force 1939-45

  1. #1

    Default AAR - BrisWingsofGlory WGS Campaign 1, Mission 8 - Polish Air Force 1939-45

    France 1940 Mission 8 Escort Mission Sedan 14/05/1940

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    The Luftwaffe raid on Luxeuil-les-Bains on 10 May 1940 had hit GC II/7 hard, with more than half the Escadrille's aircraft destroyed on the ground and more damaged in the air. Supervised by chief mechanic Sergent Tadeuz Szablewski the Polish ground crew were forced to convert Morane MS.406 'White 6' to components in order to repair 'White 7'. Fortunately two more Moranes were assigned to GC II/7's 'Patrouille Polonaise' on 12 May 1940, but with the caveat not to expect more anytime soon. Every major Armee del'Air airfield within range of the Luftwaffe had been hit on the first day of battle and losses had been heavy. It was worse further north with the Belgian and the Dutch air forces almost completely destroyed on the ground.

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    On 13 May 1940 Władysław Gnyś welcomed S-Lt. Tadeusz Kowalewski back to flying duties, his uniform adorned with a Znak za Rany i Kontuzje. The blue 'wound stripe' with one gold star was presented to the young officer by General Sikorski himself while Kowalewski was recovering in hospital. There was little time to celebrate his return however as news reached GC II/7 of the German panzer attack through the Ardennes Forest, previously deemed impassable to mechanised units. The shock news was compounded by reports the Boche had already crossed the Meuse River at Sedan. Within hours GC II/7 was ordered to provide all available aircraft for an operation to crush the enemy bridgehead, and the 'Patrouille Polonaise' was dispatched north.

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    The following morning Sous Lieutenants Władysław Gnyś (White 15), Tadeusz Kowalewski (White 6) and Adjutant Władysław Chciuk (White 7) were airborne heading towards Sedan at 5000 metres. Their orders were to escort Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV bombers of the Royal Air Force being sent to bomb the bridges over the Meuse. The objective was to slow down the German advance and give the French Army time to rally and crush the enemy forces west of the river.

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    For this mission we gathered together six pilots – from left to right Dan (form member Slexlaw), Steven (Rod’s son flying his first WGS mission), Rod, Wayne (forum member Whiskysierra) and Paul (proprietor of Emperor’s Legions). Dan was originally slated to fly the Blenheims but had to bail early. Paul, Wayne and Rod flew their Polish Moranes and also took a bomber each. Steve and I provided OPFOR flying two 109s each.

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    The Patrouille Polonaise approached Sedan from the west, keeping their eyes peeled for the British bombers and any German aircraft.

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    Three Blenheim bombers of 139 Squadron RAF deployed to France as part of the Advanced Air Striking Force (AASF) approached from the north west, Blenheim ‘B-XD’ leading the flight with ‘I-XD’ to port and ‘E-XD’ to starboard.

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    The Luftwaffe were up in force, with a Schwarm of Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3s providing cover for the XIX Panzerkorps at Sedan. The 109 formation was commanded by Hauptmann Wilhelm Balthasar of 1.JG1, also moved north to support the Wehrmacht’s Schwerpunkt for the invasion of France and the Low Countries.

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    As the GC II/7 Moranes rendezvoused with the RAF Blenheims Balthasar's Schwarm banked in to intercept.

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    The GC II/7 Moranes attacked the Luftwaffe fighters head on, with aircraft damaged on both sides. The DB601 engine of Hptm. Balthasar’s Emil ‘White 1’ was badly hit and all three Moranes took significant damage, the worst being Adj. Chciuk’s ‘White 7’ which also took engine damage.

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    As the Morane flight passed through the Messerschmitt Schwarm the Luftwaffe fighters turned in above and behind the RAF bombers as they began their run on the bridge over the Meuse.

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    Diving down behind Blenheim ‘I-XD’ Hptm. Balthasar opened fire with his twin MG17 machine guns and two MGFF 20mm cannon. Shells tore into the bomber’s unprotected fuel tank, igniting the petrol fumes. But even as the fire took hold of the Blenheim the turret gunner Leading Aircraftsman Harold Baker returned fire, ball and tracer rounds fired from his Vickers K gun severing a fuel line on Balthasar’s 109. In seconds the Luftwaffe fighter was likewise wreathed in flame.

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    Flying Officer Reymond De Montmorency commanding Blenheim ‘B-XD’ dropped his bombs. Behind him in burning ‘I-XD’, F/O. John Newberry opened the bomb bay doors in readiness to deliver his bombload. On his tail however Hptm. Balthasar continued to fire at the stricken Blenheim, assisted by his Rottenkamerad Obergreiter Hans Lass in ‘White 8’.

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    Having brought up almost 300 heavy and light Army and Luftwaffe flak guns to defend his bridgehead, the commander of XIX Panzerkorps General Hans Guderian ensured any Allied aircraft would have to brave a wall of flak to reach their targets. Despite this F/O. De Montmorency’s aircraft escapes damage from the hail of fire directed against ‘B-XD’.

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    Blenheim ‘I-XD’ would not be able to complete its bombing run as Hptm. Balthasar’s two cannon finish off the RAF bomber. F/O. Newberry stays at the controls bringing the burning aircraft in for a crash landing on the west bank of the Meuse. By some miracle all three crew are able to escape the wreck without serious injury, however within moments they are captured by German troops.

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    After seeing his target crash in flames Willi Balthasar decides to get out of his own aircraft before the flames can claim him. Putting the aircraft into a shallow dive he releasing his harness and opens the canopy, launching himself out into space. Successfully deploying his parachute Hptm. Balthasar makes a safe landing amid the advance troops of the 1. Panzer Division.

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    F/O. De Montmorency pulls his stick over to starboard as his bombs explode on the west bank of the Meuse River just short of the bridge (miss, full load). His Blenheim is again targeted by ineffective anti-aircraft fire.

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    A view of Sedan and the bridge from an 88mm flak position on the east bank.

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    With his Schwarmführer out of the battle Obgr. Hans Lass in ‘White 8’ moved up to engage the lead Blenheim ‘B-XD’, passing over the third RAF bomber ‘E-XD’ that had dived down to 3000 metres. His first burst holes a fuel tank causing a stream of vapourized fuel to stream behind the Blenheim. The other two 109s ‘White 2’ and ‘White 3’ flown by Ltn. Ludwig Franzisket and Uffz. Emil Clade still at 5000 metres move to cut off the bombers’ withdrawal.

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    The third Blenheim ‘E-XD’ commanded by Pilot Officer James Power drops his bombs on an enemy anti-aircraft battery (partial hit, full load). The bomber is targeted by flak but takes no damage.

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    Obgr. Lass fired burst after burst at De Montmorency’s smoking Blenheim with little effect.....

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    ..... while 'White 6' and 'White 7' of GC II/7 reform to the north west. 'White 7's' engine damage forces Adj. Chciuk to break for home.

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    With the French fighters moving back into the battle Obgr. Lass fires one last burst into 'B-XD'. After dodging the German's fire for so long the Blenheim is hit hard as 20mm shells explode along the fuselage and tracer rounds ignite the vapour trail of fuel setting the fuel tank alight. De Montmorency fought to control the burning Blenheim, which crash landed in the German bridgehead. In another miraculous escape De Montmorency and his crew get out of the Blenheim before it explodes, only to be taken prisoner by German troops.

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    Having scored his first victory Hans Lass pulls up in his 109 ready to turn towards the approaching French fighters. It is then the dorsal gunner of Blenheim 'E-XD' Aircraftsman 1st Class Walter Parker fires a burst at the German fighter stitching up his cowl and damaging his Daimler Benz engine. Obgr. Lass curses realising his fight is over and he must run for home - with two Morane's between him and his base.

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    Fortunately for Lass the Polish Flight has their own problems as Adjutant Władysław Chciuk exits the battle to fight another day......

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    ..... and with the 109s 'White 2' and 'White 3' of 1.JG.1 pursuing the remaining Blenheim to the west, Gnyś and Kowalewski head off to intercept.

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    As Gnyś (White 15) and Kowalewski (White 6) manoeuvre to engage the two remaining 109s the Luftwaffe pilots decide to call it a day and head for home. Realising their much slower Moranes will not catch the speedy Messerschmitts they let them go.

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    Skirting the flak zone around Sedan Obergefreiter Hans Lass in 'White 8' nurses his damaged Emil back to Germany.....

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    ....while P/O. Power's Bristol Blenheim Mk.IV 'E-XD' manages to evade the pursuing 109s and makes it back to base with remarkably little damage. The sole survivor of the flight from 139 Squadron RAF is returned to the flight line by 18 May 1940.

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    Uffz. Emil Claude risks flying over Sedan in his shot up 109 and attracts quite a bit of 'friendly' fire, but his luck holds.

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    Obgr. Hans Lass in 'White 8' makes it back to his airfield. The 109's damaged engine and airframe are fully repaired by 18 May 1940.

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    Despite the considerable damage to both their 109s ‘White 2’ and ‘White 3’ flown by Ltn. Ludwig Franzisket and Uffz. Emil Clade make it back to base. While 'White 3' is repaired by 21 May 1940, but 'White2' has sustained so much damage it is scrapped for parts.

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    Władysław Gnyś and Tadeusz Kowalewski return their damaged aircraft to base. Both 'White 6' and 'White 15' are repaired and ready for action again four days later on 18 May 1940.

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    As the smoke clears over the Sedan bridgehead the bridge still stands and the XIX Panzerkorps continues to cross the Meuse , the panzer vanguard already pushing deeper into France.

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    Last edited by Carl_Brisgamer; 07-18-2017 at 08:24.

  2. #2

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    Excellent story again Carl. Very enjoyable read.
    Just wish I had a game store close that would play and help promote something other than Magic.

  3. #3

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    Shop owners chase the money I suppose. Since I started running public campaign games on Saturday mornings about a month ago sales of Wings of Glory at Paul's shop have skyrocketed - one customer alone bought ten Hurricanes. I have said before that I strongly believe Campaign play is where Wings of Glory really comes into its own, with the potential to bring in a much wider player base. The official campaign and tournament rules can't get here soon enough.

  4. #4

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    Great action & presentation again Carl, well done all involved.

    "He is wise who watches"

  5. #5

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    Yes, very nicely presented, and well played!

    Glad to hear the minis are selling well.

    Same thing happened at "Entoyment" here in the U.K., but without a campaign - repeated Wings of War/Glory play sessions resulted in rapid sales of shop stock, so they re-ordered more; plenty still there for new punters when the next game session is on!

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Helmut View Post
    Yes, very nicely presented, and well played!

    Glad to hear the minis are selling well.

    Same thing happened at "Entoyment" here in the U.K., but without a campaign - repeated Wings of War/Glory play sessions resulted in rapid sales of shop stock, so they re-ordered more; plenty still there for new punters when the next game session is on!
    Thanks Tim, it is great to hear that Wings is doing well all over

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    Great action & presentation again Carl, well done all involved.
    Thanks Dave. The Polish pilots have a couple more missions to fly before they transition from their slow Morane MS.406 fighters to the Dewoitine D.520 - and they can't wait!

  8. #8

    Thumbs up

    Great historical action Carl backed up by good photos & story!

    Rep Inbound.

    "Its a fine line indeed between going out in a Blaze of Glory or having Crashed & Burnt!"
    Member Australian Society of WW1 Aero Historians

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by gully_raker View Post
    Great historical action Carl backed up by good photos & story!

    Rep Inbound.
    Thanks Barry. Mission 9 being played this Saturday, and maybe Mission 10 if we have time.

  10. #10

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    Another great read, Carl.

    As you say, campaigns are the way to go.

  11. #11

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    Your campaign has shown us all the way to go. Keep on playing I am really enjoying reading the exploits of the Polish lads. (I missed this one as I perused them all earlier today). Love the Blenheims Ares should make one with either a JU88 or Dornier.
    See you on the Dark Side......

  12. #12

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Skafloc View Post
    Your campaign has shown us all the way to go. Keep on playing I am really enjoying reading the exploits of the Polish lads. (I missed this one as I perused them all earlier today). Love the Blenheims Ares should make one with either a JU88 or Dornier.
    This campaign will continue until May 1945, so you will have plenty of missions to peruse in the coming months (actually years). So far I have planned out the campaign missions up to the Dieppe Raid on 19 August 1942. By the time the players reach that point they would have played 4 missions over Poland 1939, 16 missions over France 1940, up to 15 missions during the Battle of Britain and another 80 missions on the Channel Front. Not every pilot will have played that many due to death, recovery time due to wounds and aircrew rotations which will also be a feature of the campaign. By May 1945 I estimate the players will have completed around 200 missions in Europe, North Africa and possibly even Russia if any players decide to go that way. At the moment we are playing about 10 missions a month, so if that tempo is maintained I estimate the campaign will take about two years to complete.



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