Monday, January 28, 2013

The Corpo Aeronautico Militare Arrives

Waiting at my door for me when I got home today was a pair of Nieuport 10s from Shapeways. The aircraft are very nice, even better than the lovely models of the Eindecker IIIs.

I am looking to paint these up for the 1a Squadriglia Caccia of early 1916. I looked on Wings Palette but they only have 2 examples of the Nieuport 10 in Italian use and neither were for this squadron.

Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Crash and Burn: How Not to Start a Year

Ok. Last week was not my favorite. Start with my wife going to the ER for a kidney infection. Then my son gets a high fever and its his trip to the ER. Not enough? Well, to end the week, I get the flu. Yuck! Lastly, on Sunday night, my laptop just bit the dust. 2013 is not going my way.

The only thing I have managed to do is undercoat two eindeckers and pain most of one of them. Well now I need some decals to finish them off. It is only going up from here.

You can see the failed attempt to cover up my atempt at making a stencil for the crosses. Have to go with the decals.

In terms of writing, I have been as productive as closing my eyes and firing a shotgun straight up in hope I might get a duck. I have gotten a great book from inter-library loan on the South Carolina Navy in the Revolution. Turns out it was some fellows Master's Thesis. Seems like just what I am looking for. I now have five complete scenarios for the CSIR campaign and have laid out three more. I now have three mini campaigns defined and all of the scenarios complete for one of them. Most of that was done pre-flu. I also am distracted by Algy as is seen by the miniatures that I have painted. I am working on figuring out who was where on the Isonzo front in 1916. Over Italy, the air war was outfight boring in 1915. The Italians only scrored their first air to air kill in April 1916!

Well, its only up from here.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

kuk LFT Reinforcements

I just received my first Shapeways aircraft yesterday. I had ordered a pair of Fokker E.III's and I am happy to report that they arrived. I am very happy with the aircraft.

The planes were well packed and kept very safe during their voyage over to my aerodrome.

The aircraft are very nicely detailed. I managed to get these scrubbed last night.

Tonight, I will be loading it in Future as a sealant then spray priming them later. These will be painted up as 03.51 and 03.52 of the kuk LFT.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Getting the New Year Started Right

Well, mostly right. I had posted a while back on my goals for 2013. Among them was getting more East Front Terrain for my CSIR project. I have two buildings to paint from JR Miniatures. (Any idea when they will be back up under new ownership?)

I really want to get some plank fences done as well. The plan is for me to work on fences tonight. Lets see how it goes.

Happy New Year. Lets Fly

Happy New Year ya'll. I hope you all are looking forward to a new year of Wargaming as I am.

In keeping with my theme of not staying on target, I have distracted off to WWI Air Gaming again. I purchased a few aircraft for the Italian Front. A pair of Nieuport 10s for the Italians and a pair of Fokker Eindecker E.IIIs. These should prove interesting to paint up as Italian and Austro-Hungarians.

Now the question becomes how were these used. I have two books that cover this: Above the War Fronts and Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 1914-1918 by Martin O'Connor. O'Connor's book is an awesome tome that provides much more detail than anything else I have found. Looking at Amazon, I feel like I got a steal when I bought it for $75 back in the mid 2000s. Searching through the Austro-Hungarian Aces list, you find very few aces that claimed kills using an Eindecker. This is probably due to the lack of them.

At the tail end of 1915, the Austro-Hungarians a shipment of 13 E.I and E.III aircraft from Germany with stipulations that they could not under any circumstances fly them over enemy held territory. These were parceled out across the front with the airbase at Haidenschaft receiving 4 of them to be shared among three FliK's (4, 8 and 19). These FliK's (AH Squadrons) were mixed use squadrons in 1915 & 1916 with pilots flying both two seater Hansa-Brandenburg C.I's and and Fokker Eindecker aircraft. The E.IIIs were numbered 03.41 and 03.42. The E.Is were 03.51 and 03.52. These numbers were displayed prominently on their fuselage. The 03.52 aircraft was nicknamed the Snow Bird by Leutnant Ludwig Hautzmeyer who scored two of his kills in this aircraft. Thanks to the Wings Palette web site, we can link to one of these images.

FliK 19 became one of the premier two-seater squadrons of 1916 with many of its pilots and observers scoring kills. Top Aces such as Oberleutnant Benno Fiala started in this FliK and eventually achieved 28 kills. Fiala served in the unit as an officer observer from January 1916 to February 1917 before attending flight school to become a pilot. The commander of Flik 19, Hauptmann Adolf Heyrowsky was one of the few men in the Austro-Hungarian airforce to score a kill with an Eindecker. His first Eindecker victory was not until August 15th of 1916. He shot down an Italian Voisin aircraft. He is also credited with shooting down the Italian airship M.4 from a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I two-seater with future ace Benno Fiala as his observer.

Hauptmann Heinrich Kostrba is another pilot to score multiple kills with an Eindecker. He was the deputy commander of FliK 4 from January 1916 to March 1916 when he was posted to command FliK 23. Hauptmann Mathais Bernath was the commander of FliK 4 at the time.

The most successful of the Eindecker pilots was Oberleutnant Ludwig Hautzmayer. He joined FliK 19 in February of 1916. He is officially credited with 2 Eindecker kills. The first on February 18, 1916 and the second on August 9, 1916. In between his first and second Eindecker Victories, he also shot down a bomber while piloting a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I.

In late August, the Austro-Hungarians began to reequip with Albatross D.III aircraft. The Fokker Scourge, as it was over Italy, was at an end. The switch to newer aircraft coincided with the change in tactics by the Italians. Beginning in August 1916, bombers were now assigned fighter escorts. By the end of the year, the ITalians had suffered 176 losses and claimed 56 victories. The Austro-Hungarian pilots claimed some 35 Italian aircraft as confirmed kills. Both sides greatly expanded their air programs. The Italians closed the year with 42 squadrons totaling 328 aircraft and 369 pilots. The AH Empire had ordered the creation of 48 FliKs but only 37 were active by years end.

The kills scored in 1916 reflect the importance that the Italians placed on bomber formations. Up until mid 1916, they had no scout planes at all. To make up for this, they utilized the two-seater Nieuport 10s in a scout role but with no success.The Italians began to replace their Nieuport 10 fighters with the new Nieuport 11 scouts in April of 1916. The first Italian victory was claimed in a Nieuport 11 on April 7, 1916. This was by their greatest ace Francesco Baracca. He claimed a Hansa-Brandenburg C.I.

Some fantastic maps are available online that cover the area of the front. The 3rd Military Mapping Survey maps from 1910 are available here. This is the index page. You can find the Haidenscaft area in the map just to the right of the Trieszt map. You will find it on the left hand side of the map close to the middle. As you can see, the area where these aircraft could reliably operate was very limited. The steep mountains could not be overflown by these early aircraft.

Anyway, here are the links to what I ordered: Nieuport 10 and Fokker Eindecker E.III. I am supposed to receive them on the 9th of January. Will post pictures once they come.

I also ordered Alexis Mehtidis' book on the Italian Air force: Italian Military Aviation in WWI: 1914-1918. I am really looking forward to this. Alexis helped me out with the orders of battle for the 11th battle of Isonzo when I had written an article for the Summer 2008 TFL special. He has another book out on both the Italian and Austro-Hungarian airforces that I have not been able to find yet.