I've been doing quite a bit of thinking about how to include aircraft in WW1 games, so here's my initial thoughts. They're just ideas at this stage (having not been tested on the field of battle) so all constructive comments are welcome.
These rules aim to provide a fairly straight-forward way to include aircraft in games of TGW. They do not aim to provide an accurate simulation of early combat aviation. Also, they are by no means complete (or playtested) so a certain amount of gentlemanly discretion and good sportsmanship will be required. However, those qualities should prevail during any good game of toy soldiers.
It is assumed that the aircraft model is mounted on a tall base or 'stick', but there is no need to make the height adjustable. No particular account is made of altitude. Aircraft are assumed to be providing support for ground troops and are thus swooping back and forth across the battlefield at fairly low altitudes.
It is not necessary to wear a stiffened white scarf, a large handle-bar moustache or to loudly say phrases such as "Tally ho chaps!" but to do so will surely add to the enjoyment of all.
Move in the controlling player's movement phase just like other troops.
Min speed 12"
Max speed 30"
Turns are made at any point during movement.
Slow speed is 18" or less, up to 3 x 45 degree turns.
Medium speed is 24" or less, up to 2 x 45 degree turns.
Fast speed is 30" or less, only 1 x 45 degree turn.
Flying off table
The aircraft returns in the players next movement phase, at the point where it left the table. It may only fly at Slow speed that turn.
Depending upon the type of aircraft and whether it's EW or LW the pilot and aircraft may be equipped in a variety of ways. This is up to the players to agree.
When firing weapons assume that the plane is flying sufficiently low so as to be able to hit targets on the ground. This also means that troops on the ground can shoot back! Pilots (and each extra crewman if applicable) may do one of the following actions whilst flying
- fire a weapon (usually the aircraft's machine guns)
- drop a grenade
- drop a bomb
Measuring range to the target
Range from/to the aircraft is calculated as 12" plus the distance from the point on the ground immediately below the aircraft. The aircraft is not bound by the rules requiring troops to shoot at the nearest target.
Rifles / Pistols
Pilots carry a pistol. For EW they may be equipped with a carbine or shotgun, etc. To fire these the aircraft must be moving slowly.
Place the small blast marker on the ground at any point below the aircraft's path.
Roll the Artillery and Scatter dice.
Accuracy (or otherwise) depends on the flying speed of the aircraft
Slow => A 'hit' indicates that the grenade has landed on target, otherwise
scatter half the number on the Artillery dice in the direction indicated.
Medium => Always scatter the full distance rolled on the Artillery dice.
Fast => Pilot is too busy flying to mess about with grenades.
On the roll of a misfire the grenade is a dud, or explodes mid-air, and has no
Assumed to be Lewis Gun(s), MG08/15's or equivalent. Two shots per gun. Range 24".
Flying at Slow or Medium speed => Require 5+ to hit.
Flying at Fast speed => Require 6+ to hit.
Aircraft are assumed to be equipped with sufficient ammunition to last the
battle. Note - you may wish to vary the required to hit score, perhaps depending
upon whether the pilot is ace? This is left entirely to the players discretion.
Determine target as per grenades. Resolve as per off table artillery.
If the aircraft is equipped with more than one bomb then players should keep a
note as to how many have been dropped.
Ground to Air Shooting
Aircraft have a Armour Value of 9 on all sides. Whilst they are not armoured, this represents the difficulty of hitting a sufficiently vulnerable point on a aircraft weaving through the skies. It also will (hopefully) encourage troops on the ground to use LMGs and/or HMGs in an anti-aircraft role as the higher strength gives a better chance of damaging the aircraft.
Measure range as 12" plus range to the point on the ground immediately below the aircraft.
For any penetrating / glancing hits roll on the appropriate aircraft damage chart
Note - Aircraft flying at fast speed can only receive glancing hits
Aircraft Damage Chart - Glancing Hit
1-2 - Pilot attempts to evade the shooting - must fly straight next turn to regain control
3 - Ailerons damaged - reduce number of turns by 1
4 - Engine damaged - may not fly faster than 24"
5 - Pilot hit - Resolve as normal, if killed then next turn the plane will crash
6 - Engine destroyed - next turn the plane will crash
Aircraft Damage Chart - Penetrating Hit
1-2 - Pilot attempts to evade the shooting - must fly straight next turn to regain control and may not shoot
3 - Rudder damaged - must roll 4+ on D6 in order to perform a turn
4 - Engine damaged - may not fly faster than 18"
5 - Pilot killed - next turn the plane will crash
6 - Engine destroyed - next turn the plane will crash
Move the aircraft before any other troops.
Roll the Scatter dice and 3D6. The aircraft hits the ground at this point.
Resolve blast as per off table artillery.
Air to Air Shooting
Aircraft may shoot at other aircraft that are within range and arc of fire.
Aircraft generally have a 45 degree arc of fire to the front.
For aircraft with dedicated gunners or pintle mounted guns, determine the arc(s) of fire as appropriate.
Measure range from the shooting aircraft to the target aircraft. Unlike air to ground shots, the difficulty of the shot is determined by range as both shooter and target are highly manoeuvrable.
Range up to 6" hit on 4+, up to 12" hit on 5+, otherwise hit on a 6+.
Resolve hits as per ground to air shooting
Note - as mentioned earlier more experienced pilots may be a better shot.
Take-off & Landing
Aircraft can only land on (or take off from) designated runways, not on open areas of battlefield.
Aircraft land / take off at slow speed and may not shoot that turn.