It came as a bit of much needed light relief to just pop into the "club" and take to the air in a fabulous French flying machine for a one-off night of Wings of War, a WWI dogfighting game of minimal fuss and maximum fun. I unwrapped the cards for my whimsical Nieuport 17 (the only one of my collection I had not yet tested in combat), flying solo rather than as part of a Escadrille "Jacques" searched for the Hun. The game was well underway so I just joined in by setting up in a what I thought was a patch of clear blue sky and tried to remember how to "fly" again (see below).
No sooner was I airborne than a buzzing sensation around my eardrum meant that the Boche had found me. A stubby little Pfalz III with "grinning devil" pilot was gunning for me. I ducked and weaved but the "Hun from the Sun" had me dead in his sights. Drawing the requisite damage cards first one for his long range pop, then two more for his shorter range pop (with the dreadful salad dressing of +1 additional damage for a successful follow on shot) I wondered if it was going to be my shortest ever game (see below for the German's perspective, how could he surely miss?).
But behold, I had the luck of the devil himself as all three cards were zero damage and even better a strange symbol meant the "grinning devil's" guns had jammed! My name was now "Lucky Jacques". With fists clenched in rage (lyric nicked from American Pie) the Hun swerved away as a friendly RFC SE5a swooned in after him. Laughing like a madman, I turned and nearly crashed into a Sqad flown by "Hat in the Ring" Rickenbacker (US) himself. With friends like that who needs the Hun? Nearing the "edge of the world" I practised an immaculate Imelman which meant that I had an unexpected head-on with a equally astonished German flying "something white with stripes". What the alarmed German saw of me is shown below.
It all became a bit of a blur as the short-range exchange gave me a new central parting and an aeroplane full of holes that could not turn right for three turns. I saw holes appear in his fabric, but he flew on. Off in the distance there was a bright ball of flames denoting the demise of the Pfalz III at the hands of the rampaging SE5a. As I finally righted my crippled plane I saw with some satisfaction my "something white with stripes" nemesis disintegrate at the hands of that unstoppable SE5a (again, I think that was number three for the night). For me it was time to go home as I had less than half a plane left, I was badly in need of a glass or red wine and the satin sheets of a "feme fatale" .. ""vive la France".