The report of the Wings of Glory event at HexaCon, the gaming convention held in May at Braunfels, Germany - by Martin Schwalbach.

"For the 4th time a mass combat game was hosted at the yearly event of the German "Society of Historical Conflict Simulations" (GHS), called "Hexacon", in the historical town of Braunfels.

This time I was helped in the preparation by K. Peters, who supplied a gorgeous map of a nice little area of the Somme (close to Frise and Vaux), where the scenario took place apart from other very professionally prepared cards, flak units, etc. Twenty pilots of which the youngest had just 11 years participated in the event.

Players at the Wings of Glory event at Hexacon, in Braunfels, Germany

The missions were this time preset as Dawn Patrol, Artillery Spotting and Bomber Support as well as a mission for novices to fly over Vaux in the center of the map for the Germans, while the Allied had similar missions as to the Dawn Patrol, Artillery Spotting but then had also to intercept some bomber heard of.

As a lot of new players participated, only few people were aware that the bombers would be some Gotha - the latest addition of the Wings of Glory Series.

While pilots made themselves ready to take off, the first events happened. The Artillery Spotter of the Germans left early the Airfield and went off before his escort left.

Then the Dawn Patrol followed the trenches - almost uneventful while the German Bomber escort when arriving in the center of the map ran into a scrap with some British fighters, who had appeared in the meantime.

The same happened to the two German novices (which turned actually to be very experienced players) with Albatross DIII and they scored quickly against the more agile Sopwiths. In the meantime, to the astonishment of all, the first Gotha appeared on its way back from his bomber mission. Quickly the flight of four Nieuports attacked it and killed both Gunners.

Now the Gotha was helpless and of the three German Albatros DVa, only one arrived - the other two seemed to go after the two Spads. Now the four Nieuports quickly disposed of the lonely escort and then attacked the Gotha. Two Fokker Dr1, which were doing the Dawn patrol, scrubbed their mission when they saw the Gotha Bomber in distress and came to their help. For whatever reason those two made such an impression on the Nieuports that they turned off (and the Gotha survived with two hitpoints from the 27).

The Gotha bomber recently released in one of the scenarios played at Hexacon

In the meantime the Allied Two Seater (a D.H.4) had started to successfully range in the Artillery, and was at the point of going home when the two Albatros DIIIs appeared plus one of the DVa and was shot down very close to getting home. During this time the Allied finished their Dawn Patrol having somehow miraculously evaded further combat and started to join the fight - especially as now a 2nd Gotha trailing smoke had appeared. Obviously it had suffered some damage during the bombing run. Later it started to burn and then fell to earth, victim to a Nieuport.

The last Fokker Dr.I (the Baronesse - the red Fokker flown by a lady from the Netherlands) shot down a Spad. As the weather had been getting worse during this time, some airplanes started to retreat, especially as the losses for the British started to increase the "scrap over the Somme", ended after about 3 hours playtime.

Again it was a very exciting event, starting with the preparation and initial discussion of the situation with a lot of players, and many unforeseeable events.

Thanks to K. Peters, as a 2nd referee, the game could be run smoothly and the comments of the participants (like one player commenting as his pilot being shot down "what the heck is that mole doing in my cockpit here" signaling the touchdown on Earth) during and after the event have made this an unforgettable experience.

The airplane models and especially the Gotha's were a real eye-catcher - also for people just watching the game from afar.

Those who would like to participate next year, feel free to contact me at FlyingCircus2012[at] or visit us directly in Braunfels next year in early May."

Ares Games thanks Martin Schwalbach for the Wings of Glory session at Hexacon and for the report and pictures.

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