Thursday, January 30, 2014

1930's Airpower

After Christmas I ordered some air power for my VACW game. I had ordered four different planes but it turns out the Travel Air Mystery Ship was out of stock. So I ended up with three planes. 

The first is the Curtiss P-6E Hawk. This plane entered service with the United States Army Air Corps in 1929 and served until they wore out. The last one leaving service in 1942.

The second plane that I have put together is the Gee Bee R-1 race plane.  There were only two R-1 planes built, along with two of the the earlier Y version and one Z version of the plane. Not to mention, that if I remember correctly, they all crashed, and did so well before 1937. However the airplane is so iconic that I just had to have one. Perhaps secretly rebuilt by Wiley Post before his death in 1935, then shoved to the back of the hanger and forgotten about. Works for me!

The last plane of the bunch is the Stearman PT-17. It is still in the box waiting for me to put it together. After the difficulty of  putting the struts together on the P-6E, I am not really looking forward to doing it again so soon. Hopefully I will be able to get these painted up in the next week or so. I'm still not sure of how I am going to paint them up. I am thinking to paint the communist plane green, you know the green I mean, like all other communist planes and throw some red stars on it. Then I think, well heck maybe I should paint it bright red and use a green star to set it apart. As for the Black Legion plane I'm thinking of painting it black obviously, but what to put on it? Human skull decal? or maybe some sort of raven design if I could pull it off.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Glenpool Strike: Hanger no. 1 (Game #3)

This is a photo of hanger no. 1 at the Tulsa Municipal Airport sometime in the early to mid 1930's. The small building in the foreground is the Spartan School of Aeronautics owned and built by William Skelly. I had started working on the Spartan building but to many other things keep getting in the way, and it kept getting put aside. I probably could have finished it yesterday, but opted instead to work on my partisan army that I have been putting off for a long time now. It will get used, as the KVOO radio station building is very similar.

Hanger no. 1 in the early 1930's

Back on topic, hanger no. 1 was the first hanger at the Tulsa airfield that opened in 1928. The previous airport, located closer to town, was part of the 1927 Ford reliability tour but was barely able to manage all of the planes that took part in the tour that year. The town of Tulsa was told that if they wanted the tour back again in 1928 that they needed a larger airfield. So in 1928 William Skelly with the help of other prominent business men bought the land and built the new airport. It was then bought by the city of Tulsa in 1929. It was the busiest airport in 1930, or so it was claimed. While it did handle more passengers in February and April of that year than any other airport in the world. Including, London, Paris and Berlin, the claim seems a bit dubious. Most of this traffic having to do with the local oil field business, but there were also many wealthy people in Tulsa at this time and it seems that Tulsa was a happening place. After all, more money was made on the Oklahoma oil boom than the California gold rush and Colorado silver rush combined. As a result, Tulsa was largely unaffected by the Great Depression. While the rest of the state of Oklahoma lived in crushing poverty that caused many farm laborers to migrate to California, the people of Tulsa were living large.

On to the game.

After assaulting the south gate of the Tulsa Municipal airport, the Cherry Street Irregulars (the local IWW chapter) pause momentarily to regroup, redistribute ammunition, and to bring up reinforcements including the Weinerwerfer.

Meanwhile, members of the first squad, Company M of the Black Legion arrive at the hanger after hearing the sounds of gunfire at the south gate. They bring with them a light howitzer, several volunteers and the two members of the Tulsa police department who are at the airport at the behest of the Mayor of Tulsa, to investigate the Black Legion presence. Upon arriving at Hanger no.1 the police officers spot Walt Little* leading the communist rabble. Having lost said felon on a previous occasion they are eager to apprehend him and regain their lost rank.

* A wanted felon and the former owner of “A Little Used Book Store” on Cherry Street in downtown Tulsa Oklahoma. Mr. Little’s store was found to have a copy of the communist manifesto for sale, a felony under Oklahoma state law. After his arrest an angry mob of pro-MacArthur supporters smashed the stores windows, looted the cash register and coke machine, then set the store ablaze. After spending three days in jail the prisoner was to be transferred to a state correctional facility. Officers Buckner and Visage were escorting the felon to the train station, where they were to be met by state police officers to complete the transfer. On the way they made an unauthorized stop at a local speakeasy just a block away from the police station. Their intention was to speak with police Chief Gunderson as to whether the prisoner should be transferred as planned, or shot for attempting to escape. Upon exiting the squad car they noticed a woman driving a car pull up and park in the space behind them, she then exited her vehicle and brandished a shotgun. After first attempting to reason with the woman, later identified as Mrs. Little, they were fired at several times, whereupon they ran into the speakeasy for cover. Mr. and Mrs. Little managed to escape before the other twelve Tulsa police officers stumbled out of the door to arrest Mrs. Little.

My humble attempt at creating hanger no. 1

The IWW forces lead the assault by firing the dreaded Weinerwerfer to put the fascist pigs in disarray. While the original target survives unscathed, the same cannot be said of a second squad nearby.

A stray rocket flies through the widow of the hanger and lands among the members of the first squad. The explosion kills two of the members of the squad and lightly wounds a third.

Though out of range, the Lewis gun lays down a barrage of fire as the other communist forces move forward firing at various targets.

The Black Legion forces respond with a Legion NCO accompanied by two of Tulsa’s finest, and two local MAC volunteers moving forward and firing at the oncoming communist forces. The first squad, quickly recovering from the shock and awe of the mighty Wienerwerfer exit the hanger and take cover behind a truck along with the spotter for the light howitzer. The second squad moves further back into the hanger hoping to out flank the commies and catch them unaware.

Two heroes of the communists uprising respond by gunning down the officers Buckner and Visage. There will be no redemption today.  

Shortly thereafter the shriek of rockets firing is heard again, and the spotter for the howitzer crew, standing behind the truck in this photo, is incinerated by a homemade HE rocket.  


Back on the other side of the Hanger, the second squad of communist move out from their positions in the trees and enter the hanger through the side door. They are met by fierce small arms fire as they and the second squad of the Black Legion fascist oppressor monkeys battle in close combat and hand-to-hand. In the end, no man (or oppressor monkey) lives to tell the tale.

Back at the other end of the hanger, the MAC militia decides to take cover despite the urgings of commander to assault the commies. The IWW squad, also having taken a few casualties decides to take cover as well.

Again, the shriek of rockets firing fills the air. Again, for the third time today, the Weinerwerfer finds it’s mark and the rest of the first squad of Black Legion soldiers is obliterated (mmmmm BBQ pork). Shortly after this, the communist LMG team moves forward and guns down Commander Vogel.

Unable to inspire his comrades to assault the remaining MAC volunteers, comrade commander Little decides to show them “how it’s done”. The command group launches an assault and weathers the return fire without harm. The two MAC volunteers are sent to meet their maker.

Having lost their spotter, the howitzer team is forced to move their gun in order to fire at the communist forces. After the two MAC volunteers are brutally cut down, the howitzer team fires at the IWW command team. Their shot goes long and an fuel storage tank behind the command group goes up in flames in a huge explosion (oops!).

Whether through adrenaline soaked courage or primal desperation, comrade commander Little, his wife, and his runner charge the howitzer. No longer will the football players of the world mock the manhood of those who major in the Library Sciences! The men manning the howitzer manage to reload the howitzer before commander Little and his team can reach them. [So at this point, all I need is a two or higher to hit the command team. Anything but a one! Well you can see the result in the picture. Of course it turns out that I forgot about the point blank bonus, it turned out the same at any rate.] The howitzer fires and the second oil tank goes up in flames.

The assault doesn’t go so well for either side and after a desperate fight, only Mr. Little and a Black Legion NCO remain up. Comrade Commander Little shows the men manning the Lewis machinegun why he is the comrade commander.

After tending to his wife’s wounds he quickly organizes the remaining men and women of the Cherry Street Irregulars. Among the comrades is a man who was working on his pilots license before the stock market crash in 1929. Though rusty, his skills are adequate enough to get one of the planes parked in the hanger off the ground before the dirty rotten fascists can get more forces to Hanger no. 1. Satisfied with the day’s gains comrade Little orders his forces to take everything they can. The communist convoy back home includes two new trucks, a pick-up truck and a police care. In addition they score hundreds of gallons of fuel, a howitzer, small arms and ammunition.  

 The prize for the this particular game was first pick of the three airplanes that I bought, and am working on for this game. So we will see which plane the communist menace chooses.