|Wings of War | Published 23 April 2009|
"The Battle of France is over. I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin..."
- Winston Churchill, 1940
The Wings of War aerial combat game enters a new dimension this Summer with the addition of the first wave of miniatures for the Second World War setting of Wings of War: The Dawn of World War II. These beautifully-painted and historically-accurate miniatures presented in 1/200th scale are an essential addition to the collection of anyone interested in taking the fast-paced and innovative gameplay of Wings of War to a new level.
Each sculpt comes in three different paint jobs, signifying three different WWII pilots, making it easy to tell whose plane is whose in a tense game of Wings of War. In addition to adding a new visual presence to the game, each Wings of War miniature also comes with its own maneuver deck, so that each player with a miniature can participate in the game, allowing for epic-scale recreations of some of the most famous aerial battles of World War II history.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be featuring planes of the first wave of Wings of War World War II miniatures and taking a look at some of the historic battles that made them famous. Our first look is at the Supermarine Spitfire (FFG product code WW17a-c) of the Royal Air Force, a plane of immense historical significance as it was the only British fighter plane to be manufactured before, during, and after the Second World War. Moreover, the Spitfire's presence in the Battle of Britain, the first major campaign to be fought entirely by air forces, has earned it a permanent place in the history of air combat.
The Battle of Britain derives its name from a speech given by Prime Minister Winston Churchill after a series of Allied defeats in France by the German blitzkrieg offensive, leading to a British withdrawal from France. From that point, during the Summer and Fall of 1940, the German Luftwaffe would attempt to press its advantage against the British forces by taking to the skies and launching a massive assault on Southeastern Britain in an effort to control the British Channel. By attacking airfields, radar stations, and coastal towns, the Luftwaffe hoped to cripple the RAF defenses and create an opening for a full-scale naval and ground invasion. It was in this confrontation that the Spitfire was put to its first major test.
The Spitfire, a single-seat fighter aircraft originally designed by R.J. Mitchell of the Supermarine Aviation Works, began as an addition to the Royal Air Force to fly alongside the earlier Hawker Hurricane fighter plane. The Spitfire immediately distinguished itself from the Hurricane through its higher top speed and altitude capabilities, although the Hurricane would continue to be used throughout World War II and would also hold a significant place in the history of the Battle of Britain. Given that it was more numerous than the Spitfire, the Hurricane, in fact, had more kills than the Spitfire, overall.
The Spitfire, from its inception, would quickly become the backbone of the RAF and with its elliptical wing shape would become an instantly recognizable symbol of British air power. Given its speed and altitude capabilities, as well as its small, streamlined size and high maneuverability, the Spitfire was used in the Battle of Britain mainly to engage the fighter escorts of bombers (usually Messerschmitt Bf 109s), while the Hurricanes were directed at the bombers themselves.
The Battle of Britain began with the Luftwaffe making exploratory assaults against military targets in the hopes of essentially grounding British forces. However, as the battle raged on, the attacks escalated into what would later be remembered by the British as The Blitz.
In the early stages of the Battle of Britain, civilian targets were considered off-limits to the attacking Luftwaffe. Nevertheless, as the Luftwaffe perpetrated attacks day and night over Britain, inevitably civilians targets were hit in the pursuit of military targets. This initiated a retaliatory strike against Berlin by the RAF. Acting on direct orders from Hitler - infuriated by the attack on Berlin - the Luftwaffe began targeting the civilian population in an effort to demoralize the British. The Battle of Britain soon became a series of bloody attacks against British cities by the Luftwaffe. This had the effect of easing the attacks against British radar installations and airfields, thus allowing the RAF to regroup and rejoin the defense against the German onslaught. Hitler’s stratagem only hardened the resolve of the British to resist the assault rather than negotiate a surrender.
The fighting of the later stages of the Battle of Britain was characterized by vicious dogfighting between the escort planes of bombing missions, leading to massive casualties on both sides. Although the easing of attacks against British industry and airfields allowed more planes to be produced and put into the air, experienced fighter pilots were more difficult to replace and novice pilots were sent into the air, with increased casualties as a result.
Ultimately, the combined exhaustion on both sides, coupled with the worsening weather of the Autumn of 1940, led the German Luftwaffe command to conclude that it could not defeat the RAF over Britain and it withdrew its forces, redirecting them to the Eastern Front. Despite the relentless bombing by the Luftwaffe, the RAF in its Spitfires and Hurricanes managed to hold back the assault, preventing an invasion of England.
At the height of the Battle of Britain, Winston Churchill would deliver a speech before the House of Commons, summarizing the the contribution of the RAF to the war effort:
|"The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty [referring to the Axis], goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."|
We hope you have enjoyed this brief look into the history of the Spitfire. Next week, we present its main adversary, the Messerschmitt Bf 109, the next plane in the first wave of Wings of War World War II miniatures.
With help from Sr. VP and WWII specialist John Grams.
Wings of War is an innovative card game that realistically simulates aerial combat in both World War I and World War II. Wings of War miniatures are three-dimensional accessories for Wings of War that couple the same revolutionary game play with beautifully-sculpted and historically-accurate models.
Kaufschtick! I was one of thoe poor AAM gamers suckered into the game by the promise of a Spitfire. I can't tell you how disappointed I was to have a 109 in RAF colors, though my wife will tell you I obsessed about it for way too long.
I admit that as the Spitfire is my favorite aircraft of all time, I would purchase multiples of each miniature (to repaint) even if I didn't play Wings of War.
Glad that WWII minis are on the way. I've pondered the WWI game for a while, but the planes and time period just aren't that interesting for me. At around $10 per plane, I can manage to keep up, like in the Cthulhu LCG.
LOL! I'm a former AAM gamer, and I couldn't but help remember how in that game when they "introduced" their "Spitfire" miniature, it was actually an Me-109 painted in British colors! When I saw the title of this preview, I though how appropriate it was (and funny)!
The WWI miniatures for Wings of War are far and above, in terms of quality, anything else on the market. They are fantastic looking, sturdy and extremely accurate for their size, not to mention agreat value for the money. I can't wait to see the WWII miniatures! Too bad they can't release them any faster!
These too are going to be a must have, and this game is very rapidly growing into a monster mega-hit for anyone interested in the subject!
Keep up the good work Nexus & FFG, and keep those planes coming!