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THE GENERAL Mar-Apr 1975, Vol.11 No.6

Three More Campaign Games

THE CAMPAIGNS OF JASTA 11

Of all the units that took part in the first war in the air, no other British or American Squadron, French Escadrille, or German Jasta had quite the mystique or charisma of the German Air Service's Jasta 11. The pilots of Jasta 11 and the air battles they fought were, without a doubt, legendary. There were few Allied airmen who did not both respect and fear the wildly painted airplanes of von Richthofen's "Big Red Circus."

Most of the high scoring German aces flew with Jasta 11 at one time or another during their careers. Many of these men have become legends in the same right as von Richthofen himself:

Karl Allmenroeder (30 victories), Richthofen's deputy Jastafuhrer during the first half of 1917 and the man who led Jasta 11 in their first encounters with the Sopwith Triplanes of RFC No. 8 (Naval) Squadron.

Ernst Udet, Germany's second highest scoring ace with 62 victories. Richthofen was so impressed by Udet's abilities that he had him transferred from Jasta 37, where he was commander, to take command of Jasta 11 in March of 1918 (The Rittmeister at that time was leader of Jagdgeschwader Nr. 1).

Erich Lowenhardt (56 victories) who would later become commander of J. G. 1.

Werner Voss (perhaps the most famous of Richthofen's protégés who, at the ripe old age of twenty was transferred from Jasta 11, on Richthofen's recommendation, to become leader of Jasta 10 and rolled up a score of 48 victories before he was finally brought down by six pilots of the RFC's No. 56 Squadron in an air battle that is considered an epic in aviation history. Voss was considered to be a pilot whose acrobatic flying abilities were superior to Richthofen. He may have only been Germany's fourth highest scoring Ace, but he was without a doubt her best dogfighter. So much so, that the first two Fokker Dr.I's delivered to the front were sent to Richthofen and Werner Voss.

Between March, 1917 and April, 1918, Jasta 11 was involved in two major offensive campaigns and numerous other air battles. Of those, "Bloody April," the campaign against the R17C No. 10 (Naval) Squadron, and the second Arras offensive proved to be the most influential. The first saw Jasta 11 arise as a force to he reckoned with, the second almost proved their demise, and the third saw the death of their beloved Richthofen.

BLOODY APRIL

Take the cylinder out of my kidneys,

The connecting rod out of my brain my brain,

From the small of my back take the camshaft

And assemble the engine again.

RFC Mess Song

During April, 1917, Jasta 11 saw action against many of the British squadrons operating in the Arras area of the Western front. One of these squadrons, No. 48, was equipped with the new Bristol BR/f2a. The squadron leader was a man named Leefe-Robinson who had the good fortune to shoot down a zeppelin and the bad luck to be awarded the Victoria Cross for it. The British High Command, therefore, thought that he would make the perfect man to lead the new "Brisfit" squadron. But Leefe-Robinson knew nothing of the air war and he and his men were totally unfamiliar with the new aircraft. On April 5, 1917, while on their first offensive patrol, six Brisfits of No. 48 were jumped by von Richthofen and Jasta 11. Leefe-Robinson was the first to go along with three of the others. Two fell to the guns of Richthofen himself. In less than 10 minutes, No. 48 lost eight men and four aircraft, a quarter of their squadron!

But it was later realized that the Brisfit was no ordinary two-seater, and in the hands of an experienced pilot was, to say the least, a highly lethal airplane. For when attacked, the Brisfit's best defense was to break formation and be used as a fighter with the observer's gun to cover the tail. Captain A. E. McKeever of No. 11 Squadron scored most of his 30 victories flying the Brisfit as a fighter. Jasta 11's later encounters with the Bristol fighters would not be quite as easy as the first.

THE BATTLE WITH THE BLACK FLIGHT

One must first overcome the inner “schweinehund"

Manfred von Richthofen

Later that year, Jasta 11 would encounter a squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service that would almost cost them their reputation, and did cost them the life of their deputy commander. In June, 1917, No. 10 (Naval) Squadron was sent from the relatively quiet Flanders sector to the Ypres sector to aid the disconcerted RFC units in that area. There the Sopwith Triplanes of No. 10 wreaked havoc across the Ypres salient. Its core was Lt. Raymond Collishaw and the four other Canadian pilots who comprised the "Black Flight of Naval Ten. Their reputation developed so rapidly that a price was put on their heads by the German high command and Jasta 11 was sent to the Ypres sector to deal with ravaging Tripehounds of Naval Ten. This little gun battle went on for two months with the end result of three pilots, including Allmenroeder, lost and von Richthofen himself being shot down and wounded by the observer in an obsolete two-seater that was being escorted by the Black Flight.

Late July saw three of the Black Flight killed and Collishaw sent back to England. Thus came to an end the brief, but fiery career of Naval Ten and the gallant company of Black Flight were disbanded. The end of the service life of the Sopwith Triplane came about soon afterwards with the introduction of the Camel. The Sopwith Triplane, although fragile, difficult to maintain, and under armed was to be one of the best Allied fighter planes of the First World War. Anthony Fokker copied the Triplane design for his Dr.1, and, again a very good aircraft design gave birth to yet another very good aircraft design.

THE SECOND ARRAS OFFENSIVE

Despite the victory and even if it is a hard wrested victory, there is always that sad regret, that human sympathy for the victim, who was, after ail, another pilot like oneself ...

Hermann Becker

In March, 1918, German Chief-of-Staff Erich Von Ludendorff launched his offensive against the British forces in the Arras sector. The purpose of the offensive was to drive the British back across the Somme River. His plan was to defeat the Allies on the battlefield before the American entry into the war could have any effect. Unfortunately, the plan didn't work. After two separate offensives through two different parts of the Front (Michael and Georgette), the end of April saw an end to the fighting and the German Army was pushed back to where it started.

Despite the fact that the British were equipped with a much improved generation of aircraft, their' losses, as usual, were heavy. This was due to the fact that the RFC's high command ordered its squadrons to bomb and shoot up anything and everything that wasn't on their side of No-Man's-Land - no matter what the cost. But quantity once again saved the British and quality kept it from being the German turkey-shoot it was the year before.

During this period, the German Jastas were beginning to suffer from a shortage of quality replacement aircraft and pilots. Even the crack Richthofen circuses had become a potpourri of different aircraft types and models. The highly maneuverable Fokker Dr. 1 was in short supply and went only to the more experienced pilots (who were also in short supply). The Albatross D-V and D-Va had reached their obsolescence and the new Pfalz III, while able to sustain a lot of punishment and dive like a brick, was, at best, only a mediocre fighter.

The great strain was beginning to show on Jasta 11 in March of 1918. But the greatest blow was yet to come; on April 21st, von Richthofen was shot down and killed, and the effects were felt throughout the Jastas. For the German air service, after the second Arras offensive, the handwriting was on the wall...

THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BLACK FLIGHT

TIME: June 25th and 27th, 1917.

PLACE: The Ypres sector of the Western Front. UNITS INVOLVED: RFC No. 10 (Naval) Sqd. and Jasta 11.

THE SITUATION: Jasta 11, under the temporary leadership of Karl Allmenroeder has been ordered to the Ypres sector to seek out and destroy the Triplanes of No. 10 Squadron.

HISTORICAL NOTES. This campaign against Naval Ten actually lasted over a period of two months. This time span, however, is too great to condense into campaign -Scenario form, so only the first two days in which the units engaged are covered. During these two days Jasta 11 engaged only the planes from Naval Ten's Black Flight. SPECIAL GAME NOTES: This Campaign Game is recommended only for multi-player games due to the number of aircraft allowable on the board simultaneously. The limit of 3 planes per side on board at one time is suspended. Players may put two boards into play.

GAME RULES: Tournament level Campaign Game rules No. 10, 11 and 12 and Forced-Landing rules.

ORDERS OF BATTLE

No. 10 (Naval) Sqd: 5 SOP/Tri, 5 pilots (designate one ace), one replacement aircraft and pilot available for the second day.

Jasta11: 6 ALB/d3, 6 pilots (designate 2 aces), two replacement aircraft and pilots available for the second day.

MISSION SCHEDULE

April 25th: 5 SOP/Tri at 2500 meters vs. 6 Alb/d3 at 3000 meters. British player moves first.

April 27th: all available Allied aircraft at 3000 meters vs. all available German aircraft; half of which enter at 2500 meters, the other half at 3500 meters. British player moves first. German player enters low squadron on turn 1, high squadron on turn 3. Victory Points system as per Dogfight scenario card.

THE FIRST ARRAS CAMPAIGN

TIME: April, 1917 - Prelude to the Arras Offensive.

PLACE: The Douai-Oisy sector of the Arras area.

UNITS INVOLVED. RFC No. 6 (Naval) Sqd, RFC No. 48 Sqd, and Jasta 11.

THE SITUATION: While most of the British squadrons involved in the Arras Offensive were assigned to line and close offensive patrols, the 6th and 48th were assigned to conduct distant offensive patrols as far east as Douai and south to Oisy.

HISTORICAL NOTES: The greatest disad­vantage the British had was the fact that the Douai-Oisy sector lay well behind the German lines. They had, however, the advantage of the use of the new Bristol BR/ f2a instead of the slow and fragile FE/ 2's and BE/ 2's. They also had the great misfortune of working the sector patrolled by von Richthofen's Jasta 11.

SPECIAL RULES:

1. Because this area was so far behind the German lines ignore all trench lines and apply the Forced-Landing Table only to German aircraft.

2. The German player may enter and exit anywhere on the east map board edge only.

3. The British player may enter and exit on the west though hexes AA39 to A52 only.

4. Because of the critical shortage of pilots and observers during this period, the British would often send replacements to the front with only the minimum of training and little or no experience with the aircraft type they would fly in combat. To portray this deficiency, subtract 1 from the die roll for all attacks made by British replacement pilots and observers during their first day in combat.

5. Photo-recon targets (11 road hexes each): E31 to E21; W20 to O25; W20 to GG14; KK16 to NN10; Q29 to X21; S38 to P31; F34 to P31; Q29 to X24; HH17 to FF10.

6. Bombing targets: W20; X19; Z18; KK16; HH17; II13; JJ12; LL11; FF10; F32; Q29; V19.

7. Use BR/ f2b counters for No. 48 Sqd. The capabilities of the BR/f2a can be found on the Auxiliary Aircraft Capabilities Chart in the Battle Manual.

8. Use the Victory Point system on the Campaign Game scenario card.

MISSION SCHEDULE

DATE  PHOTO-RECON        BOMBING     

4/5/17              2                           2    

4/6/17              1                           3    

4/7/17              2                           1    

4/8/17              2                           0    

4/9/17              2                           1    

4/10/17            3                           1    

4/11/17            2                           1    

ORDERS OF BATTLE

                         GERMAN                              ALLIED                       ALLIED          

                         JASTA 11                               No. 6 (Naval) Sqd.      No. 48 Sqd.    

AIRCRAFT     12 (8 ALB/d3, 4 ALB/d2)        10 (all NIEU/17)          12 (all BR/f2a) 

PILOTS           12 (designate 3 ACES)             10 (designate 1 ACE)   12 (no ACES) 

OBSERVERS  0                                               0                                12       

RESERVE AIRCRAT 3 (ALB/d2)                     4 (NIEU/17)                4 (BR/f2a)     

REPLACEMENT PILOTS 3 (4/9/17)*             4 (4/8/17)*                   4 (4/8/17)*    

REPLACEMENT OBS.     0                             0                                  4 (4/8/17)*    

*Earliest date of arrival for replacements.

GAME RULES: Utilize all Tournament level and Campaign Game rules including photo-recon, tactical bombing, and Ace rules. Game lasts one week.

THE SECOND ARRAS OFFENSIVE

TIME: March and April, 1918 - The Ludendorff Offensives on Arras

PLACE: The Lys Battlefield

UNITS INVOLVED: RFC Sqd. Nos. 54 & 84 and Jasta 11

THE SITUATION: During this period air-to-air combat took a back seat to air-to-ground tactics as both sides concentrated on the close support of infantry troops. The British were ordered to bomb and strafe advancing German infantry no matter what the cost. The Jagdstaffeln assigned to the sector were ordered to achieve local air superiority.

HISTORICAL NOTES: During the offensive, each side came to regard the poor weather conditions as much an enemy as the other's aircraft. Fog became the German ground force's most effective “air cover". For although it meant their own air force could not support them, it kept the British on the ground as well.

SPECIAL GAME NOTES:

1. British may assign joint squadron flights (to the three-plane-per-side maximum). Either squadron may bomb or strafe.

2: British player must attempt to fly four missions per day-two missions per each 'AM' and 'PM' portion of the day.

3. To depict the poor weather conditions the British player must roll the die and consult the Weather Effects Table prior to each day's AM and PM missions to determine if flying is possible. Mission scheduling must be done prior to determining weather conditions. Missions that must be "scrubbed" in the AM portion of a day may be flown in the place of those scheduled in the PM portion of those AM missions, if successful, would give the British player more victory points.

4. Ground fire was responsible for many losses on both sides. To depict this allow both sides the use of six machine gun units to be placed within two hexes of each side's trench lines. Once placed these units may not be moved. However, they may be redeployed prior to each day's flying.

5. Target hexes for British bombing missions may be selected from those appearing on the Tactical Bombing scenario card.

GAMES RULES: Tournament, Campaign Game, Anti-aircraft fire, Tactical Bombing, Trench strafing, Ace and Double-Ace rules.

VICTORY POINT SCHEDULE

BRITISH:

a.) 10 points for each successful bombing mission.

b). 1 point for every three trench hexes strafed. Retain fractions.

c). 3 points for each enemy aircraft destroyed.

GERMANS:

a). 8 points for each scheduled bombing mission NOT successfully completed by a British player.

b). 6 points for each enemy aircraft destroyed.

MISSION SCHEDULE

DATE  TRENCH-STRAFING            BOMBING     

3/24/18            3                                        1   

3/25/18            2                                        1   

3/26/18            3                                        0   

3/27/18            3                                        1   

4/6/18              2                                        2   

4/7/18              2                                        1   

ORDERS OF BATTLE

            GERMAN                                           ALLIED                       ALLIED          

            JASTA 11                                            No. 54 Sqd.                 No. 84 Sqd.    

AIRCRAFT

12 (4 FOK/dr1, 5 ALB/d5, 3 PFAL/d3)          10 (all SOP/Cam)         10 (all SE/5a)  

PILOTS          

12 (1 Double-Ace and 2 Aces)                         10 (no Aces)                 10 ( 1 Ace)    

RESERVE AIRCRAFT          

4 (1 FOK/dr1, 3 PFAL/d3)                               4 (SOP/Cam)                4 (SE/5a)      

REPLACEMENT PILOTS     

4 (3/27/18)*                                                      4 (3/25/18)*                   4 (3/25/18)* 

*Earliest date of arrival for replacements.

WEATHER EFFECTS TABLE

            March 24 to 27                        April 6 and 7               

DIE ROLL       AM      PM      AM      PM     

1                        F        F          F          F         

2                        F        F          F          C        

3                        F        C         C         C        

4                        F        C         C         C        

5                       C        C         C         C        

6                       C        C         C         C        

F - Fog (No flying possible)

C - Clear (Flying possible)