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Thread: OTT-EYM Mission 12 - Last Man Home - March 27th 1917 - by Mikeemagnus

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    Default OTT-EYM Mission 12 - Last Man Home - March 27th 1917 - by Mikeemagnus

    OTT-EYM - Mission 12 - Last Man Home - March 27th 1917 - AAR by Mike

    Have you ever been in a fight where you had absolutely no idea what was going on? I remember a late summer evening, in school term time, when a gang of local teenage lads decided to have a go at some of our fourth formers. News got around and before you could say “Bobs Your Uncle”, it seemed like the whole school was charging off to the bottom of the field. Loads of angry yelling and shouting young males; boys running everywhere; arms and fists flying in all directions – absolute chaos, until we all realised that there didn’t seem to be anybody even vaguely resembling a foe, anywhere near us! It was silly, but hilarious at the time. Nobody got hurt and the sport was fun. The locals had all run off the moment they heard us approaching!

    Well that was what F/Sgt Charles Drake, known to his friends as “Charlie”, was experiencing right at that moment. Only this wasn’t about sport with the locals. This was war!

    When you can see your enemy, you can try and plan something to do about it. But this was unnerving. One minute he had been in the middle of a dogfight, involving so many aircraft that it was a wonder nobody collided or was sent spinning earthwards in a ball of flames – then nothing! He couldn’t see swat! Only, he knew they were all out there somewhere, and that at least some of them were willing to blow his head off if they spotted him before he spotted them!

    Then, woosh! Some brightly painted stripey thing suddenly appeared right before his eyes and was gone in a flash!

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    That was it, that was an enemy aircraft. Suddenly he could see that the skies around him were, once again, alive with buzzing black specks with wings. But they all seemed to be in the same kind of stupefied state as he had been. Flying around, looking for somebody to kill but unsure who was who or where!

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    It had all kicked off when his line patrol spotted a lone enemy two seater, an Albatros by the looks of him, trying to sneak home with whatever evidence it had gathered about the movements of our lads down on the ground.

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    The flight leader, 2nd Lt Baz Stark on this occasion, had sent up a flare and signalled his intention to attack. Only, the EA wasn’t alone. Nor was this flight the only one in the area. One of our “Tandems” was also trying to leg it home with information and was being chased by a gaggle of scouts bearing the insignia of our venerable foe.

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    A lot of the latter in fact. And before anybody could decide it was a good thing to do or not, the whole lot of us were screaming around in the sky, bullets were flying in all directions and there were so many near collisions that the place seemed extremely unsafe!

    Somehow, the whole dogfight drifted to the east, probably on the prevailing westerly wind, before it broke up into a kind of nothingness! So when Charlie Drake (Pup red spot) finally came to his senses and looked around, he realized that they were all now over enemy held terrain, with a long way back, across enemy trenches and no-man’s land, before any of them could call the space they occupied vaguely safe! Not good.

    But, still that eerie lull in the fighting dragged on, whilst each pilot looked nervously this way and that for something positive to do or something negative to avoid.

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    Next thing you know, the shooting began again! The shiny, stripey, red and white thing that Drake had been taken aback by, turned out to be an Albatros DIII (Orange spot), flown by Ltn Oskar von Freden of Jasta 24, the Kaiser’s Eagles. Freden screamed towards our tandem, opening fire at long range. But today was his unlucky day I’m afraid. His rounds missed their target and to add insult to injury, his guns jammed! Turning away sharply to try and find space to sort this out, he found himself sandwiched between the Armstrong Whitworth he had just attacked and two Sopwith Pups, piloted by 2nd Lt Baz Stark (Pup Blue spot), today’s flight leader for the Bulldogs of 52 Sqn RFC, and our erstwhile F/Sgt Charles Drake (Pup Red spot) who delivered the coup de grace.

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    The end result found von Freden taking the short route home to a friendly field, situated comfortably and peacefully by a pleasant stream below. No, it really wasn’t his lucky day!

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    We could be forgiven, therefore, for believing this fight was going a very nice way for the good guys – I mean, the Bulldogs! First blood to them indeed! But never count your chickens, or eagles for that matter, before they hatch. It can only go wrong if you do. Which, of course it did!

    The contest continued, with the opposing side’s tandems doggedly lumbering their way towards one another, as two enemy scouts did the same, only in more sprightly fashion.
    2nd Lt John Palin and his observer, AM3 Graham Jones, were not feeling very confident in their Armstrong Whitworth FK8. A very reliable machine it must be said, but following earlier action, Palin was feeling rather unwell, resulting from the wounds he had already suffered. Never-the-less, Palin let fly with his mg just as soon as he thought he was in range of the oncoming Albatros two seater. What he was unaware of, was the exact same condition of that EA’s pilot, Vzfwbl Hans Achterberg, also severely wounded in the earlier part of the fight. But the woozy latter, too, felt it essential to do his bit for Kaiser and country and promptly returned fire with interest. Palin may be excused for missing his target completely, but his gun jamming was to have dire consequences in a few seconds, for which the only excuse would be his wounded condition.

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    Palin looked down at his mg in disbelief and promptly ran his FK8 into the Albatros C type.

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    The responsibility for this collision, it must be argued, lies equally with the wounded German pilot, although little damage was done to either aircraft. However, by this time Palin was so distracted by his wound and by everything else going on around him that he failed to notice a friendly scout reversing direction, directly in his line of flight.

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    He took no evasive action, and hit the poor little Pup so hard that it spiralled earthwards with its pilot, 2nd Lt Justin Aminet (Pup Yellow spot) screaming blue murder at him from within. Aminet was really not very impressed, especially as he had just successfully attacked another Albatros scout (Blue spot) from the latter’s three o’clock, setting it on fire. Had it not been for the clumsiness of the tandem pilots, he was certain he would have claimed a kill. Instead, he was about to become one himself.
    As it is, the Albatros (Blue spot) flown by Ltn Gerhard Keudell was able to fly on its way, surviving for a while longer, whilst Aminet took a holiday in the fields.

    Meanwhile disaster turned into catastrophe, for the Bulldogs, when Ltn Franz Hennig, the observer in the Albatros C type, aimed carefully at the retreating FK8 and pulled the trigger. A brief, long range, shot passed through AM3 Graham Jones’ shoulder and continued on to hit John Palin in the back. This second wound knocked Palin unconscious and sent the Big Ack down to join the Pup on the ground. Perhaps all these chaps on the ground might meet up for a pint somewhere nearby. Well, perhaps not!

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    Two one to the Eagles thus far then!

    And while that little fiasco was going on, Baz Stark (Pup Blue spot) had managed to fix a temporary rudder problem, turn back and narrowly avoid colliding with the Albatros C type, without even upsetting Hennig’s aim!

    F/Sgt Drake (Pup Red spot) on the other hand, was having a red letter day. Following behind, in the footsteps of his flight leader, he found himself rushing head on towards the enemy tandem. Machine gun fire was exchanged in the usual noisy fashion and yet another fire broke out aboard a German aircraft!

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    Drake then quickly reversed as the Albatros C type passed, gave him another burst of mg fire and BOOM.

    Two all now!

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    Down went the bird and Drake was so excited he didn’t even notice the bullets hurled in his direction by Gerhard Keudel (DIII Blue spot) whose gun promptly jammed! “Scheisse, fire and now this” he thought angrily.

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    Then, as Drake flew away from the scene, followed by his flight leader, 2nd Lt Baz Stark, not only did Keudell turn sharply and almost ram the latter, but Ltn Heinrich Gabriel (DIII Green spot) finally decided to join the fray.

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    Stark aggressively turned to follow Keudell’s DIII, hoping to get a close range shot at it, but instead found himself along side his foe. Keudell was at that moment trying to unjam his gun and without actually intending to do so, turned to port, right into the path of the Sopwith Pup alongside.

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    There was an almighty, frightening, BANG, and Keudell too headed off to the spectators gathering in the field below, his Albatros still burning as it fell almost gracefully to earth.

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    Three, two to the Bulldogs – that’s more like it – if you happen to be a Bulldog of course Only was it? Actually, no! Three all, because the collision had caused so much damage to his Pup that Baz Stark was in no position to continue the fight. He too was out of it and headed off towards his own lines in the hope he could make it back to the barn. Leaving the final two contenders, F/Sgt Charles Drake for the Bulldogs and Ltn Heinrich Gabriel for the Eagles to fight it out to the bitter end. Would either of them survive; would Baz Stark make it to his barn in one piece; or would one of them be the last man to make it home?

    Ratatatatatatata, dadadadadadadadada, went their respective weapons. The greater damage, by far, being done by the German.

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    At which point any hardened gambler would have bet all their hard earned money, or indeed their ill gotten gains, on ------ Well, who would you bet on huh?

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    A mistake was made by Herr Gabriel who maintained his course in order to avoid yet another collision, whilst Mr Drake side slipped and opened fire again at short range. Honours pretty even at this stage, as they passed like ships in the night – oops, no ships to be mentioned here please!

    And while Heinrich Gabriel flew off in a wide arc in order to try and get on the Pup’s tail, Charlie Drake took the short route, reversed quickly and headed back in the direction from which he had just come, thinking to have his opponent by the short and curlies.

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    “Ha ha!” thought our brave Eagle. “Got you now you Tommy swine” as he headed towards the port side flank of the Sopwith.

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    But hold your horses guys. You cannot collect your winning yet. Because the redoubtable Herr Gabriel had forgotten what he had been taught about the agility of the Pup, which suddenly turned sharply in his direction, making Gabriel’s gun sights lose track of him altogether, before a rather unpleasant thought entered his head. Round about the same time as a rather unpleasant stream of bullets entered his Albatros, raking it from nose to tail and causing an extremely unpleasant explosion.

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    BOOM - Game over boys and girls – some of you backed the wrong horse! Four, three to the winners – the Bulldogs.

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    F/Sgt Charles Drake, known as Charlie, looked around and around and up and down, then around and around again, with a sense of deja vu. But there really were no more enemy aircraft to be seen. Only a friendly looking Pup wobbling it’s injured way west over no-man’s-land.

    He heaved a sigh of relief, but also looked down at the mess that were broken machines below him and spared a thought for the men that had been inside them. He wondered if he would meet any of them again. In this world or the next.

    The End


    Butcher’s Tally

    Central Powers

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    Ltn Oskar von Freden: Albatros D.III (Orange spot): EXP-FT / 0 kills
    Rolled 7 -3EXP = 4 - Injured - Skip 1D6 Scenarios, rolled 6 = skip 6


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    Vzfwbl Hans Achterberg: (P2) Albatros CIII: EXP-FT / 0 kills
    Rolled 6 -3EXP = 3 - Injured - Skip 1D6 Scenarios, rolled 4 = skip 4

    Ltn Franz Hennig: (O) Albatros CIII: EXP-FT / 1 kill (FK8)
    Rolled 8 -3EXP = 5 - Injured - Skip 1D3 Scenarios, rolled 1 = Skip 1


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    Ltn Gerhard Keudell:Albatros D.III (Blue spot): EXP-FT / 0 kills, 1 Probable (Pup blue spot FRTB D)
    Rolled 5 -3EXP = 2 - Dead !


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    Ltn Heinrich Gabriel: Albatros D.III (Green spot): EXP-FT / 0 kills
    Rolled 8 -3EXP = 5 - Injured - Skip 1D3 Scenarios, rolled 2 = Skip 2


    Entente

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    2nd Lt Justin Aminet: Pup (Yellow spot): EXP-ET / 0 kills
    Rolled 5 -3EXP = 2 - Dead !


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    2nd Lt John Palin: (P2) FK8: SD-ET / WIA (Initial wound not counted in tally) / 0 kills
    Roll 4 -1SD -1WIA = 2 - Dead !

    AM3 Graham Jones: (O) FK8: SD-ET / WIA / 0 kills
    Rolled 11 -1SD -1WIA = 9- All well when you land well !
    E&E: Rolled 7 -1WIA -1BEL = 5 - In hiding! - Skip 1D2 Scenarios, rolled 6 = Skip 2


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    2nd Lt Barry Stark: Pup (Blue spot): FRTB-D / 1 kill (DIII blue spot)
    FRTB Roll: 4+4 = Crashed
    Roll 3 -1 FRTB +1RTB = 3 - Injured - Skip 1D6 Scenarios, Uncle rolled 5 = Skip 5
    (If they crash - roll for the C/W result and include both the +1RTB and the -1FRTB modifiers.)


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    F/Sgt Charles Drake / Pup (red spot) / RTB / 3 kills


    Notes
    Mistake number one for me was deciding to go without using the altitude rules. The result was three collisions which could easily have been avoided. However, they could also just as easily have happened in reality so there it is.
    Mistake number two – One of the DIIIs (Blue spot) received a rudder jam in turn 4, which I completely forgot about when planning turn 5. This resulted in me turning the DIII right for one card, but it only delayed the collision it then had with Pup (Blue spot) by two cards. So I really don’t think the outcome of the mission was affected. I hope not anyway.
    I used a different set of damage decks for each side, so if anybody believes the number of booms and gun jams drawn was somewhat slewed one way, all I can say is “Blame my shuffling” after putting damage cards of SD aircraft back in the packs. I do try to shuffle well!
    This was a fitting way to end the current campaign, with an awful lot of my pilots either dying or taking a holiday What a blood bath!
    Despite that, I did thoroughly enjoyed the mission. Many thanks to Dave Fowler / Flash / Uncle or anything else he likes us to call him not only for providing the final mission in this campaign but for running all the admin throughout – yet again

    Happy Christmas All and here’s to the next campaign if there is one, after a break
    Last edited by flash; 12-10-2023 at 13:01. Reason: Tally Tidy

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    I thought Bloody April was next month???


    3 KIA and for your Bulldogs and 1 KIA 2 Long Term Injury for our Adler.


    My God I don't think I have ever had that many KIA in one outing.
    Looks like 'Fresh Meat' will be the norm for the next campaign.

    Interesting 'argy bargy' that's for sure, Mike.
    I noticed a few extra effects added to your presentation.
    Looks like Paul may have serious competition soon.


    I was thinking of giving one of my new guys that candy-striped D.III for my outing (the one I 'won the toss' for with Teaticket last June, courtesy of malachi)
    Do I dare?

    REP on the way.
    Have a good Christmas, Mike. Perhaps some extra alcohol will soothe your pain.

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    Lovely photos of the lovely terrain and planes. Nice special effects added - note that I believe competition to be a good thing. Finally, a cool way, or is that a booming hot way, to clear out the stables of the lesser used aircrew.

    Happy Christmas to you as well.

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    Wow, bloody after effects of the action with all those booms and jams. You can now see why some of these pilots do not fly regularly, especially with the collisions too!
    Thoroughly enjoyed your stories and effects Mike for the whole year.

    Merry Xmas to you, enjoy your Turkey and pigs in blankets with the customary brussels too.

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    What a way to end the year Mike.
    It will be hard to fill all those chairs over Christmas.
    Have a good one.
    Rob.
    "Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death."

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    What a scrap that was! And I again have to marvel at the terrain, backdrops, photography, and explosions/fires, etc. Just stunning visuals!

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    Many thanks gentlemen. I have had an extraordinary run of good fortune, with the dice and cards, throughout this campaign, with very few pilots going west. But the worm has turned, sadly. I just could not get away from low scores on the dice rolls during tally time on this one. Even the pilot who made it back FRTB was killed in the crash! Quite amazing. But there you go - had they been more experienced pilots I think it may have been an even harder lesson to take. The scenario was always going to lead to a lot of aircraft being forced to land or crash somewhere. I just wasn't expecting it to be quite as bad, especially as I had already written the AAR before discovering what actually happened to the pilots.

    Thanks for all of the comments above, guys - a nice Christmas present. I wish you all a peaceful and enjoyable celebration in any way you normally do that at Christmas time and I shall certainly use this AAR as an excuse to toast my guys and their opponents many times!!! And here's to a future gathering of us all

    PS I'm afraid I don't see the minor creative work I do on photos as in any way part of a competition I simply enjoy the excitement of learning to use Affinity - a Photoshop type of programme I have neglected for far too long recently. Plenty of others do the same and I have taken inspiration from the likes of Paul and John Vagabond in trying to improve the photographic experience. For me it is just part of the fun - I am not trying to outdo anybody

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    Oh my giddy aunt. How many dead and wounded pilots???? That was certainly a bloodbath and no mistake. Uncle will be busy on his roster.

    As the others have said, great photos and special effects added to a very enjoyable tale to create a super AAR.

    Rep and a virtual mince pie on its way to you. Hope your Christmas and New Year are everything you wish for.

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    Mike, maybe I should have entitled this mission 'Going Out With A Bang !' as you certainly managed to do that this time out. Though one less KIA than you thought as you got that calculation wrong. (If they crash - roll for the C/W result and include both the +1RTB and the -1FRTB modifiers.)
    Still carnage throughout though, the battle area is strewn with bodies and smashed machines - well played !

    Uncle says:
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    A shocking day for the Bulldogs, a couple of chaps gone west, another out of the fight for a good long while and one yet top make it back to the field, balanced with a striking series of victories for one of the survivors.
    Looks like I'll be in the sergeants Mess tonight as Charlie will certainly be in the chair and ringing the bell !

    F/Sgt Charles Drake is awarded the Military Medal (MM) for his 3rd, 4th & 5th victories this day for the King
    Those French chaps have also pitched in with a Croix de Guerre with bronze palm for him too

    Mike, let me know if you want Charlie promoted to 2lt or not and Mike, please PM me a replacement for Palin (assuming you wish to continue with this madness !)


    On t'other side:
    Ltn Franz Hennig is awarded his Observer's badge and the Iron Cross 1st class for his victory and service to the Kaiser und Fatherland

    Ltn Cäsar Fischbacher (inherent stuntman) joins the Eagles to replace Keudell
    Last edited by flash; 12-11-2023 at 02:13.

    "He is wise who watches"

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    Well thank you kindly Uncle. Relieved to have made the error with Stark's Tally - one less to bury and he gets a good long holiday. I wonder if he'll run into Nurse Schulz whilst he's away! Thanks for sorting that one out. So its over to the mess where I think Charlie Drake deserves his promotion to 2nd Lt and several rounds to celebrate his gongs. I think someone has found a gramaphone and Charlie would like to hear the 1812 overture as a kind of reward, although the rest of the chaps just groaned when they heard that. We'll drink many a toast to absent friends and welcome the arrival of Palin's replacement. A young chap fresh from training; former cavalryman named Timothy Brooke. Dad owns a men's outfitters or something like that! Just hope he brings a few goodies to the party and manages to last longer than a week.

    And it would be most ungallant not to applaud the bravery of our opponent Ltn Hennig and salute his award. In another life, he and Palin might well have been friends, one likes to think!

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    Noted, Mike, I'm sure we'll continue the madness in the new year.
    I'm sure once he's up and about Baz will give nurse Schultz a run for her money !
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    "He is wise who watches"

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    Great AAR, pictures and storyline Mike. Love the scenery. My warra lot of explosions n collisions. Will definitely try this two tandem scenario

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    Yikes! What a bloodbath. Great show as usual, Mike, but to the fallen!

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    Sorry I'm late to the party, again! As always Mike you put in a lovely show for us all, it's a joy to just look at your table photos, thank you.

    But the game, as has been said, was a bloodbath. What a desperate way to end the campaign!!! Even though Charlie Drake did well, 3 kills and promotion, I'm not sure it makes up for the rest. Ah well, sometines that's the way it goes.

    Hope you have a Happy Christmas and see you in the New Year.
    Cheers

  16. #16

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    Many thanks John, and a Merry Xmas and a peaceful new year to you and yours too !

  17. #17

    Default

    Well what a to-and-fro! Never really got a feeling that either side had the advantage but the Grim Reaper will have the score.



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