london's burning [Updated October 2002]

LBG   Trial Beginners Single Elim Continuous 


Eric Stranger, OH

2001-2002 Champion

2nd: Scott Cornett, FL

3rd: Steve Munchak, VA

4th: Chris Lefevre, AZ

5th: Pete Pollard, TN

6th: Bob Runnicles, FL

Event History
1996    Michael Sims      16
1997    John Coussis      12
1998    Eric Stranger      18
1999    Chris Reidy     12
2000    Andrew Maly     16
2001    Eric Stranger      8
2002    Eric Stranger     13

AREA Ratings

GM: Steve Munchak

Past Winners

Michael Sims

John Coussis - IL

Eric Stranger - OH
1998, 2001

Chris Reidy -

Andrew Maly - MD

A Little Slice of the Battle of Britain

Once again, the best time I had during the WBC was the time spent playing the LBG tournament. I think most participants would agree with this, although there were some inequities in the rules between returning and new players that need to be addressed before next year. The tournament is a multi-year continuation of the Battle of Britain. In the tournament format, two players sit at a board and are the pilots for a section of two RAF fighters. The GM draws German raiders and randomly determines their flight path. One player, each turn, is chosen as the temporary Squadron Leader and he is in charge of vectoring all the pilots into intercept position, but once he calls for the engagement, players at each board can plot their own routes into the target (e.g., climb before engaging, try to come in from out of the sun).

In 2001, we played the days of 11 through 15 August, 1942; in 2002, after allowing two rain days for repair, we played 18 through 21 August. Returning players from 2001 were allowed to fly Spitfires and carry-over any kills from last year. New players started as new pilots and flew Hurricanes. This turned out to be a bigger advantage to returning players than intended. Another drawback we faced in the tournament was that we had 13 pilots but only five boards. To remedy this, the GM allowed three of the boards to have three pilots each. To counter the additional RAF firepower, the three-player boards also faced one extra German raid aircraft (increased to two extra aircraft for the last three days of the scenario). Here is where unintended consequences crept into the game. The three-aircraft sections were better able to engage raiders (fighters and bombers) than the two-plane sections. First the extra raider aircraft did not offset the extra RAF fighter (the extra German could be a bomber or a fighter ­ this is why we increased the extra raiders to two). Second, the additional German aircraft meant that the raid had a higher probability of being engaged. This happened because prior to the attack, the true altitude of the raiders is determined and sometimes certain raid fighters are assigned as top cover and fly at a higher altitude. With more raid aircraft, there is a better chance that the aircraft are spread over several altitudes and hence there is a better chance that the raid will be intercepted.

Because of the Spitfires, the Ace pilot advantages, and the three-aircraft sections, players really racked up kills on the German raid aircraft. In 2001, the RAF exchange ratio was about 2:1. In 2002, it bloomed to 10:1. The 2002 tournament had nine raids occur over the four game days. A total of 240 German aircraft took part in these raids against the five sections of RAF fighters (an average of 5.3 aircraft per raid per section). 82 German aircraft were shot down and only eight RAF planes were destroyed (six Hurricanes, one Spitfire, one Defiant) with seven pilots killed or wounded.

The winner of the tournament, for a second year in a row, with 13 kills was Eric Stranger. Four others had nine kills during the four day period. Each day was eventful, but I will only list the basic data and any highlights of note.

Day 1 had three raids with a total of 98 enemy aircraft; 33 were killed with only four RAF losses. The first day highlight was Eric shooting down four aircraft with fivebursts of ammo (the rest of the squadron suspects him of finishing off the damaged planes after his wingmen had done the hard work) and landing as an Ace (he had four kills carried over from last year). The negative highlight was Terry Stiles' Hurricane pilot parachuting from his damaged plane, getting fouled up in the rigging and plunging 20,000 ft to a rather messy ending.

Day 2 had only a single raid with 34 aircraft, 16 were shot down with no losses.

Day 3 had two raids with a high number of German fighters. Of 52 raiders, only six were shot down, with two RAF Hurricanes lost in the attack, and four pilots killed or wounded. This was also the first time the bombers had reached London itself to inflict some minor damage.

Day 4 consisted of three raids with 66 aircraft. 27 Germans were shot down with only two RAF losses; however no raiders were shot down on the first raid of the day. Although the raid was intercepted before bombing, it was heavy with fighter cover and all pilots, save one, broke off the engagement. A lone Defiant pilot, living up to his aircraft's namesake, ignoring the fact that his wingman was returning for an early tea time, boldly pressed the attack against the German fighters. And, even though, he was wounded and shot down before he could fire upon the enemy, he was able to successfully parachute to the ground, where he found himself to be merely grazed by the jerry bullet. He will return to base in time for next year's tournament where he will serve as an inspiration and symbol of courage to all the squadron's pilots.

In the 2003 tournament, the scenario will continue on 24 August 1942, but everyone will start on equal footing. Players will start with pilots trained on both Hurricanes and Spitfires (and Defiants if he owns one). Each player has one active Spitfire and one active Hurricane. He chooses which he wants to fly and places the other in Reserve along with one Defiant. He flies his aircraft until it is shot down. He must then switch to his reserve plane. If two planes are shot down, he must use the Defiant. If during a night repair phase, the GM declares a plane is rebuilt, the player can rebuild a plane of his choice. Otherwise the tournament will use the same rules used in the last two tournaments.

 GM      Steve Munchak  [1st Year]   NA
    NA   NA

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