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Thread: Mission 4 OTT EYM - Bombs and Blondes - 4th February 1917 by Baz

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    Post Mission 4 OTT EYM - Bombs and Blondes - 4th February 1917 by Baz

    On 22nd December 1916, Admiral von Holtzendorff composed a memo which became a pivotal document for the resumption of unrestricted U-boat warfare in 1917. He proposed breaking Britain’s back by sinking 600,000 tons of shipping per month, expecting Britain to sue for peace within 6 months.
    On 9th January 1917 the Kaiser met with Chancellor Hollweg and military leaders at Schloss Pless to discuss measures to resolve Germany’s increasingly grim war situation. The campaign was bogged down in France and Allied divisions outnumbered the Germans. The military staff urged the Kaiser to unleash the submarine fleet on shipping travelling to Britain. On 31st January 1917 the Kaiser duly signed the order for unrestricted submarine warfare to resume effective from 1st February 1917.
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    On 3rd February 1917, in response to the submarine campaign, President Wilson of the USA severed all diplomatic relations with Germany, and the US congress declared war on 6th April 1917.
    The German plan was initially successful and led to food rationing in Britain and propaganda material.
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    Meanwhile the Americans, although not actively involved at this stage, sold Liberty Bonds to fund the Allied war effort.
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    In lieu of the above order from the Kaiser, construction of U-boat pens and bunkers was started to house the fleet in striking positions. One such construction started in Zeebrugge harbour in 1917, it was in the area of 80m x 10m constructed of concrete piles and a thick concrete roof.
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    La Dame Blanche
    Around the same time, a network of spies (many of them women), in German-occupied Belgium was formed and provided valuable information of German troop movements and construction progress, ship and U-boat movements, etc. By watching the Germans, they provided important data on daily movements of the Germans to British Intelligence in the Netherlands.

    The Mission

    The British wish to bomb the ongoing construction of the submarine pens at Zeebrugge to delay and frustrate the Germans.
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    Setup
    Two maps, countryside to the left, Coastal to the right (or equivalent). The whole area is German occupied. If necessary, the scouts need to exit the north eastern edge up to the centre join.
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    Mission 1
    A bomber (Short, Caudron, Handley 0/100 or a two seater if not available) has been sent to undertake this mission, however things are complicated due to the high level intensity of city defences (Archie, etc) around Zeebrugge. For this reason, the bombing must be carried out at high level (at or above altitude 5) to negate the enemy fire which will make it more difficult. The target area is indicated below. It will need to exit the W edge for safe return to base.

    Mission 2
    The Belgium spy who provided this information has been compromised, and for her own safety must be extracted, a makeshift landing strip has been cleared north of the city for this purpose protected by local resistance groups. A two seater (no observer) must be used for this purpose (Sopwith 1 1/2, RE8, Fe2b, Be2c). It will need to exit the W edge for safe return.

    Please use the RAP rules for bombing and landing/takeoff except where noted differently below.

    For landing, the plane must be at Altitude 1 and execute Dive (centre peg must finish over landing strip for this manoeuvre or the plane will crash and is eliminated) - Straight -Stall ( if the plane finishes either the straight or stall with it’s peg off the landing strip it will take and A damage for each).
    The plane must be stationary for 1 complete turn (3 phases) for the spy to get into the plane and the resistance to swivel/turn the plane on the airstrip ready for takeoff. Double this (2 turns) if the plane landed off of the strip to allow the resistance to wheel it back on course.
    Once in place, the spy has had basic machine gun training so can fire, load and unjam the gun. However, she has never fired from a moving plane before, only on a fixed tripod, so to allow for this, all damage cards will be at -1 and unjamming will be take 5 phases rather than 3.
    Takeoff will be as per the RAP book.

    Entente forces

    Bomber (or relevant two-seater) starting at Altitude 5 one ruler from the SW corner.
    Two-seater (no observer) starting at Altitude 3 behind the bomber straddling the SW corner (see diagram)
    Scout escorts x2 (Pups, Tripes, DH2, Nieuports) starting at Altitude 4 1/2 ruler to the left and right of the bomber.
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    Central forces

    NB Kogenluft has issued an order grounding all Albatros D.III’s pending resolution of the lower wing/strut issues so none to be used.(use Alb. D.I/II, Halberstadt D.III, Fokker D.II, etc).
    Scout patrol (x3) starting at Altitude 4 in NE corner 1/2 ruler from E edge, then 1/2 ruler between each plane.
    Landing strip ( approx 25cm x 7cm) to be 1/2 ruler from centre map joint edge and middle. Target card at mouth of canal on Coastal map or 1 1/2 rulers in form E edge and 1 1/4 rulers in from N edge.
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    NB if playing Central forces, you will either need to control the bombing sequence and landing/takeoff for the Entente or to contrive a scenario switching forces around (use AEG G.III or Friedrichshafen bombers and relevant two seaters)

    Victory Points
    Entente
    Bomber hits target. 20pts
    Near miss. 10pts
    Scout shot down 5pts
    Scout FRTB 2pts
    Spy returned to base 10pts

    Central
    Bombs miss target altogether 10pts
    Bomber SD or FRTB a before dropping bombs 15pts
    Bomber SD or FRTB after dropping bombs 7pts
    Scout/2-seater shot down 5pts
    Scout/2-seater FRTB 2pts

    Any questions please ask


    Note from Uncle - The bomber will be from an independent unit so no need for Bulldog crew to be created or used.
    If you don't have a P2 available for the spy mission, use a scout pilot.
    Last edited by flash; 02-01-2023 at 08:25. Reason: Note added re crew.

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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeemagnus View Post
    Looking good so far Baz
    All done now Mike

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    Aah thanks Baz - Looking forward to setting it up and playing it. Nice one.

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    Cheers Baz

    The orientation is a bit off, in reality north of Zeebrugge is the emptiness of the North Sea; West is also the North Sea & then Kent; East is (occupied) Belgium & then the Fatherland; South is also (occupied) Belgium & then finally France. Nor'east along the coast gets you to Holland, Sou'east along the coast will get you to allied held Belgium.
    I will adjust my game accordingly for escape routes.
    Last edited by flash; 01-31-2023 at 08:12.

    "He is wise who watches"

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    Baz just a quick question, are you intending to limit the scouts to altitude 4 maximum so shoot at the Bomber when within 1/2 ruler or can they climb to alt 5?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    Baz just a quick question, are you intending to limit the scouts to altitude 4 maximum so shoot at the Bomber when within 1/2 ruler or can they climb to alt 5?
    No limit so can choose to go after the bomber, but may then find it difficult to get down to the spy plane, which may be an easier target as it is stationary on the floor and the bomber can climb too?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    Cheers Baz

    The orientation is a bit off, in reality north of Zeebrugge is the emptiness of the North Sea; West is also the North Sea & then Kent; East is (occupied) Belgium & then the Fatherland; South is also (occupied) Belgium & then finally France. Nor'east along the coast gets you to Holland, Sou'east along the coast will get you to allied held Belgium.
    I will adjust my game accordingly for escape routes.
    Not a problem, re-orientate (swap) the maps or exits as you wish.

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    Think I will use one of my O/400 but with the XA deck and damage limit etc. per the unofficial stats.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    Cheers Baz

    The orientation is a bit off, in reality north of Zeebrugge is the emptiness of the North Sea; West is also the North Sea & then Kent; East is (occupied) Belgium & then the Fatherland; South is also (occupied) Belgium & then finally France. Nor'east along the coast gets you to Holland, Sou'east along the coast will get you to allied held Belgium.
    I will adjust my game accordingly for escape routes.
    Just found that there were some German airfields west of Zeebrugge before the front line, Nieuwmunster for example, so not unreasonable to exit that way to closest airfield?

    Surprisingly very little info available for West Flanders German airfields.

  11. #11

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    I will be interested to see how you chaps tackle this one.

    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baz View Post
    No limit so can choose to go after the bomber, but may then find it difficult to get down to the spy plane, which may be an easier target as it is stationary on the floor and the bomber can climb too?

    Ok, I'm going to have to practice high level bombing again, I think I was pretty hopeless last time out.
    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    I will be interested to see how you chaps tackle this one.

    Rob.
    With nonchalance and grace.

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    Water all around, eh? This looks like a job for the Short 184 seaplane! It hasn't been out of the barn since that fiasco of a scenario that saw the Short 184 picking up a spy from a lake on the Swiss-German border in the dead of night. What idiot dreamed up that lunacy, I wonder? Might as well have been flying around in a cloud... Oh wait, flying around in a cloud is much worse. Things go "boom" inside clouds - and you never know why.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    With nonchalance and grace.
    That's sounds about half right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    Water all around, eh? This looks like a job for the Short 184 seaplane! It hasn't been out of the barn since that fiasco of a scenario that saw the Short 184 picking up a spy from a lake on the Swiss-German border in the dead of night. What idiot dreamed up that lunacy, I wonder? Might as well have been flying around in a cloud... Oh wait, flying around in a cloud is much worse. Things go "boom" inside clouds - and you never know why.
    "I wandered lonely as a cloud" have you not heard that poem? You need to find your own cloud, not go sharing it with other pilots.

    Or to quote the Stones "Hey you get out of my cloud" ........ well almost quite them.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baz View Post
    Just found that there were some German airfields west of Zeebrugge before the front line, Nieuwmunster for example, so not unreasonable to exit that way to closest airfield?
    That's SW of Zeebrugge seafront - not sure my chaps would want to go there, it being German and all !
    I'll make it work, cogs turning, smell of burning !

    "He is wise who watches"

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    This looks like a job for the Short 184 seaplane!
    Ditto

    The rest will be down to imagination methinks - and why not. A wonderful challenge

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    With nonchalance and grace.
    Sounds right up your street then John!
    Who the heck is Grace?
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by flash View Post
    That's SW of Zeebrugge seafront - not sure my chaps would want to go there, it being German and all !
    I'll make it work, cogs turning, smell of burning !
    Ah, was thinking of the German exit

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baz View Post
    Ah, was thinking of the German exit
    I thought as much!

    "He is wise who watches"

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    OK Baz, ready to go, so long as you agree to a big change I made to the setup. I reversed things, so I could use existing terrain boards. This setup permits my Entente aircraft to leave home territiory, fly up the channel then head inland towards Bruges via Ostend, before turning North East to Brugge. The Germans then keep out of Dutch territory, head out to sea via Knokke-Heist and then turn back, over the coast before heading south west and past Brugge for the clash. How does that sound? I've marked the playing area with bomb crater markers and the target submarine pens are currently marked with a submarine, which I'll replace with a target card when required. Are you OK with this?

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    PS At what range are you assuming that the German aircraft spot the RFC? I say this because the RFC have a target area(s) to fly towards, but the German aircraft do not unless they respond to archie for example. Otherwise they have no reason to alter course. Or am I missing something here? Wouldn't surprise me - getting dippy in my old age.
    Last edited by mikeemagnus; 02-01-2023 at 10:13.

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    Sounds fine Mike, feel free to use the U-boat nstead of a target card (say the conning tower as target?).

    The Germans are on defensive patrol over the city so feel free to fly along the coast until you think they will spot the incoming planes.(perhaps a random die roll each turn, Turn 1 1-3 on d6 they spot, Turn 2 1-4, etc.)
    Last edited by Baz; 02-01-2023 at 11:37.

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    My game has been played. The photos have been edited and the game reviewed. I just need to write up the story. A good, fun scenario. A couple of suggestions:

    1) Have the Germans see the British from the start. I rolled and the Germans weren't able to plan until the 2nd turn, which gave them only a fleeting chance of stopping the bomber.

    2) Maybe separate the target area and the landing strip a bit more. I ended up with too many planes doing different things at different altitudes but with bases overlapping for several phases in a row. I had an error (to be explained in my write up) that I should have backtracked but it would have been a nightmare due to the overlapping issue. Whether or not my post-game "fix" will satisfy Uncle remains to be seen.

  26. #26

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    Same here Paul. Have played this excellent mission, dealt with all of the photos and now need to write the AAR to go with them. Your experience sounds similar to mine. Given the orientation of the CP aircraft at the setup, they might have just flown up and down without making contact for ages. However, I decided to have them spot the RFC aircraft the moment any were within four range sticks, peg to peg. It meant that, just as in your game, the CP reacted from turn two. But I saw nothing unusual in this. The rest was down to the luck of both manoeuvre and damage deck cards, except for the two seater. I wasn't going to try and land that using AI, so I flew it myself. Turned out just fine for my guys, again, as you will see. Used the H deck for the bomber and flew the scouts with it until contact was made. Whether or not that will be seen as erroneous I'm yet to find out.

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    Hi both thank you for your comments. I too have played the game and had the German patrol spot the danger on Turn 2 (die roll). Using a Short Bomber with a pilot that had Lucky Pilot skill I never thought I would be able to bring it down, especially as using the Halberstadts with a 4 climb rate it was going to take a while to get to it (it had climbed to Alt 6 by the time it turned towards the target). The Germans decided early to target the escort scouts and the spy pick up plane at low level once they had seen it. Needless to say it didn’t turn out well for the German patrol even once the bomber had dropped a couple of levels once clear of Zeebrugge to get some rear gun action. I need to prepare the photos and write up the AAR. I didn’t find it too congested around the harbour area as most planes were all at different altitudes, might have been a problem if not using altitude though. Will be interesting to see your write-ups.

    I did change orientation of map, etc following Dave’s comments. The scenario is meant as a framework please alter it to suit your circumstances as necessary.

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    Hi Barrie, by congestion I meant it increased my bumping of planes, bases and cards. I did play altitude and there were no game collisions (ie plane to plane ones). It was hands to everything else collisions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    ...1) Have the Germans see the British from the start. I rolled and the Germans weren't able to plan until the 2nd turn, which gave them only a fleeting chance of stopping the bomber.
    2) Maybe separate the target area and the landing strip a bit more. ...
    I played mine this weekend too. I had the planes spotted straight off the bat or the Hun would have had no chance of having a go at the bomber.. It didn't help them much but you never know what damage will be drawn. I moved my landing strip to a place similar to Mike's on the other side of the harbour due to orientation & egress routes I'd decided to use but still used the same start locations as that can be handled by the storyline.

    "He is wise who watches"

  30. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowDragon View Post
    Hi Barrie, by congestion I meant it increased my bumping of planes, bases and cards. I did play altitude and there were no game collisions (ie plane to plane ones). It was hands to everything else collisions.
    With mitts my size I always have bumped bases, chits falling off, target cards moving, plane bases falling off as I move them, etc!! I treat it as a normal issue and often have to review earlier photos to see where something should be.

  31. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baz View Post
    With mitts my size I always have bumped bases, chits falling off, target cards moving, plane bases falling off as I move them, etc!! I treat it as a normal issue and often have to review earlier photos to see where something should be.
    That was the core of my problem. I was using my digital SLR for this game instead of my iphone. It was very difficult to review photos. I'll go back to the iphone for future games.

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    Looking forward to reading your AARs guys. The slightly different takes on the mission all sound very interesting.

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    Oh boy. I just lost my entire compliment of tandem crew in mission 3. Looks like recruits will be on this job!



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