Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lieutenant Colonel F.W. Smith - Weird War 1 16th Welsh Battalion commander

16th Welsh Battalion

" The Commanding Officer of the 16th Welsh, Lieutenant Colonel F.W. Smith,  realised immediately that his right flank would be exposed to fire from the area of Flatiron Copse and he suggested that the plan be altered to allow him to attack at first light.  This was not possible because the attack had to be co-ordinated with the 17th Division. 
When the attack took place two battalions were used. The 11th South Wales Borderers attacked with its left flank as close to Caterpillar Wood as possible and the 16th Welsh were tight against their right flank.  Each battalion would have no more than a 250 yard frontage for the attack.  It was planned that the problem of flanking fire was to be eased by the use of a smoke screen."

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6,
Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation d8, Knowledge (Battle) d10,
Notice d6, Persuasion d8, Riding d6, Shooting d8
Charisma: –2 (enlisted); Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Sanity: 6;
Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Overconfident
Edges: Academy Graduate, Command, Command
Presence, Hold the Line, Inspire, Leader of Men, Rank (Officer)

Gear: Uniform, steel helmet (+1), Webley revolver

Terror From The Skies - the fourth bit

I Love Paris In The Fall

The flight circle Paris and land at the air strip at Issy-les-Moulineaux , located in south-western outskirts of the city.  If any of the group makes a smarts roll, they remember that  Issy-les-Moulineaux  was the aerodrome that the start of the Paris-Madrid air-race, aviators across Europe  mourned the "catastrophe of Issy-les-Moulineaux," where a competitor suffered engine trouble and trying to land, crashed onto the race officials, killing the minister of war and seriously injuring the Chairman of the Board . 

A consequence of this is that the spirits drawn there by the tragedy are hostile to aircraft and pilots, all piloting rolls are at -2 and the planes feel buffeted as if by angry fists and engine faults are increasingly common.

As they pilots land and taxi to a halt, they can see across the airfield a small well dressed man, with a group of mechanics and officials surrounding a bizarre aircraft, it looks like a conventional airframe, but in front of the pilots compartment there is a long thick pole, with truncated biplane wings bolted to it, as the pilots approach, the pole suddenly starts to rotate rapidly shuddering with engine backfires, and as the revolutions increase, the whole aircraft lifts vertically off the ground!

The man in the smart suit is Raúl Pateras Pescara, an Argentine inventor and entrepreneur. 

Recently released from the jail of Health, where he was interred as a suspected spy, he is showing off his helicopter design before it is packed and shipped to Spain where he will carry on his development of rotary flight.

If the group approach him, he eagerly speaks to them about all manner of aeronautical details, with massive amounts of enthusiasm.  If he is sufficiently impressed with the pilots, he offered to lend them his Renault 40CV automobile with the understanding they return it to the airfield.

Travelling to the centre of Paris is relatively easily, the streets are full of Belgium refugees and soldiers either back from the front or heading east, this close to the battle lines the thump of the German artillery can be heard.  Following the Seine, the group can drive to the world famous cathedral.

Notre-Dame de Paris is French for "Our Lady of Paris", also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, it is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. Outside as the group draws up, there are priests and nuns administering aid to the wounded, as the Ile de La Cité is being used as a temporary triage point for soldiers being transferred to Hôtel-Dieu.

If the group ask about Father O'Connor, they're directed to a tall, well built priest, who looks more like a pugilist than a man of God.

When they mention MI-13 or Parkhurst, he stops his ministrations, and motions them inside the cathedral.

Once inside he leads them to the sacristy to the right of the Chapel Of Martyrs. Inside, he speaks.

"Parkhurst, that old swine. I told him I wanted nothing more to do with his kind of war. Can't you see the carnage around us? I need to be here and helping those most who need me. Unless you have a damn compelling reason, I'll get back to my ministering."

Assuming the pilots can convince him to help, O'Connor will grudgingly take a look at the arcane shell.

He clears a space on his desk and opens the box, a notice roll reveals that the vast majority of work on his desk is to do with the catholic interpretation of the occult, books on exorcism and magic from antiquity are in neat stacks.

After studying the casing for a while and taking notes, he leafs through several tomes and makes a few notes.

"Well gentlemen, I'll give you some credit, this is most interesting. See the design here on the casing? This is a truncated ritual of summoning, similar to the ones found in the Grimoire of Pope Leo.  This pentacle and runes in conjunction with the spar here, along with the incantation on the parchment summons a spirit, a devilishly powerful one unless I'm mistaken. Using this in this manner is like a spiritual beacon, wherever this is, the spirit will be summoned."

He takes a small silver crucifix and phial of water from the desk, and intones deeply in Latin while splashing holy water on the bomb. The water fizzles like oil on a skillet, and a sound like fingernails down a blackboard screeches from the device.

"Just as I thought, this is a powerful binding. It'll take all of us to break it. Gentlemen, give me a hand please."

He asks the pilots to help him push the desk to one side and starts to inscribe in chalk on the floor a series of symbols and words with the bomb at the center.

"Now then, each of you stand at one of these points, and don't move. The spirits involved here won't take kindly to this kind of exorcism. Anything you see or hear is meant to break your concentration, stay strong and this'll be over soon."

As the Priest intones the Latin exorcism rite, the spectral form of Captain Schmidt starts to form in the center of the pentacle, forming from the yellow fog seeping from the bomb casing.

This is a dramatic task again spirit rolls. On a club card, the roll is at -2 and a failure means a roll on the fright table.

Once the device is disabled, O'Connor sits down and mops his brow. From the desk draw he removes a bottle of whisky and offers the pilots a dram.

"Unpleasant, but successful, phew. Now then, As I see it, someone is creating this device and directing the bombing. They'd need access to the site of the crash, think of it as a mass un-interred grave, unhallowed ground where the spirits rise. This Schmidt, he's the focus. He's the captain, this haunting is because of him, something about him has prevented him and his crew leaving this mortal realm."

"I think this will take some more research I'm afraid. I'll have any more information I can gather sent by dispatch to you fellows, this horror is like nothing I've ever seen."
Back To Front

The journey back to Vert Galant is rather uneventful, the pilots are able to fly straight from Paris back to the allied aerodrome.

Once back on the ground and their kit safely stowed, Captain Herbert requests their presence in his office. After they're sitting and have been offered cups of tea, Herbert begins.
"Well chaps, how was your trip?"

Terror From The Skies - the third bit

Things That Go Boom In the Night

If the pilots follow the advice of Pankhurst, Mctavish can be found over in the isolated ordinance shed to the rear of the aerodrome.  Private Mctavish is a short oil stained Glaswegian with tools and bits of wire poking out of every open pocket of his uniform. 

If the group asks him to take a look at the bomb, his eyes glaze over and he gratefully accepts it and immediately starts looking it over.  After a few minutes, he stops, sniffs and says.

"Aye, yon's a strange beastie t'be sure.  F'all need tae tak a wee shoofty at it."

He carefully carries the bomb inside to a sectioned off work area, immaculately clean and places it carefully in a vise.

He adjusts a spanner and places it midway down the casing of the bomb and tightens it till it's gripping the section.  He then takes another longer spanner and grips the nose of the device.

"Plese Sah, if y'id be sae kind.  Tek yon spanna and give her a rare tug. Carefil mind"

He steps back and allows one of the pilots to take the other wrench.

This requires a successful strength roll as both spanners are twisted clockwise and counter clockwise, unscrewing the casing.

Inside the casing is a carefully bracketed piece of twisted, heat scorched metal about 6 inches in length.  Wrapped around the metal is a piece of stained parchment covered in pictograms similar to the ones on the outside of the casing.

With a successful notice roll it can be discovered that the twisted metal has a stamped serial number on it.

LZ33 - L8

If the group decide to investigate the matter further, Parkhurst can use his connections to have the air ministry look up the serial number, alternately, a pilot with knowledge (battle) can roll at -2 to discover the same information.

The restraining spar belongs to the Graf Schmidt, an Imperial German Zeppelin that was lost with all hands in March. 

The Graf Schmidt.  First flight 17th December 1914,  Primarily used for reconnaissance and bombing missions along the Western front. Brought down by anti-aircraft fire to the West of Mametz on 5 March 1915.  The crew of 21 were all killed.

Later that evening, Parkhurst joins the squadrons in the officers mess, guest of Captain Herbert.  As the pilots relax and drink, Parkhurst and Captain Herbert gab away. Out of the corner of their eye, they see a small brough-ha-ha in by the door to the mess.  Notice rolls reveal its Mctavish arguing with the mess waiter.

"Pash!, away an sook ya heid, ye Teuchter! ah'm no wantin' te see yous, Captain! Captain!"

He furiously points at the ranking officer of the flight as the waiter physically ejects him from the mess. 

If the group intervene he thanks them, and adds:

"Yon's an awffie wee man, Awfy sorry te' bother ye's, but ah needs yer"

He grabs the officer's arm and points


From the ordinance shed, a sickly red pulsing light is seeping from under the door and through the window.

As the airmen decide what to do next, roll notice.

On a successful roll, they can hear a powerful engine drone from above, near the end of the North airstrip, a thick yellow fog is seeping across the field, covering the nearby trees .  From the leading edge of the fog, a conical form emerges, the huge nose of a Zeppelin.  On the front is painted a sneering enormous shark mouth.  Ground tethers drag across the field, gouging deep scars in the earth.  From either side of the gondola, machine gun fire erupts strafing the fleeing group personnel and buildings.
After a moment's hesitation, Captain Herbert joins the stunned airmen,

"Chaps, get into the air, bag that bugger and we'll have a nice wee campfire, what?"

The pilots need two successful sprint rolls to get to their planes and take off.  As they launch into the air, they can see the Zeppelin has begun to rain bombs down on the airfield.  As they circle the airfield and move into attack positions, roll notice.  On a success they realise that the gondola and airbag of the airship are bullet scarred, with glass shot shattered in the window frames and great rends in the hydrogen filled airbags.  The damned thing should not be in the air.  As they fly past the ship avoiding machine gun fire they can see the crew manning the guns are all dressed in rotting Imperial German army uniforms, and their flesh is decayed and missing in some places revealing white bone underneath.  Green fire smoulders hatefully in their rotting eyes.

The Graf Schmidt

Area Appearing: Western front.
Acc/Top Speed: 2/44;
Toughness: 16 (0); Crew:
18 (Commander, 2 pilots, navigator, wireless operator, bombardier, 4 mechanics, 4 riggers, 4 gunners), +2d6
other damned souls who serve as guards.
Notes: Aircraft, Climb 2. Flight range is
seemingly limitless.
Armament: 6 pintle-mounted MG08 machine guns on top, 2 forward gondola, 2 rear gondola, tail (each has limitless ammunition)
Ordnance: 3,500 lbs. of bombs. Those killed by the Graf Schmidt’s bombs arise as walking dead (see Savage Worlds).
Special Abilities:

Night Flyer: The Graf Schmidt only flies
at night. When touched by the rays of the
sun, the vessel vanishes, only to reappear
elsewhere after twilight. This may leave
behind any intruders or foreign matter
within the craft at the time it disappears
in mid-air, of course adding a ticking
clock to any attempt to board the zeppelin.

Spectral Durability: The Graf
Schmidt may appear derelict, but
it is actually quite difficult to
disable due to the supernatural
forces that have permeated every
bolt and spar. It has an increased
Toughness, already reflected in the
statistics above.
Weakness: The Graf Schmidt’s
reign of terror will only cease
when Captain Schmidt is slain.

Run this as a normal fight, with the pilot making a piloting roll to close range to the airship, a success means no penalty to shooting, a failure means -2 to the roll because they're out of position.  Assuming they manage to destroy the Zeppelin, as it starts to fall from the sky, the yellow fog starts to dissipate, and the ship itself starts to fade to nothing as it crashes into the ground, leaving behind nothing but tendrils of fog over the airfield and smoking craters and fires.  Luckily, no one from the aerodrome was killed.

Further Investigations

After the battle is over, Captain Herbert and Parkhurst approach the pilots as they land.  Parkhurst holds his hat against the prop wash, and speaks.

"We clearly need to get that damn thing out of here, it's acting like a bally beacon for that monstrosity.  We all saw the thing disappear, for all we know it might come back.  It's therefore imperative we find out more about the markings and how to counteract them.  Speaking to Captain Herbert, we've decided you need to take that damn thing to Father O'Connor in Paris.  The good Father is an ally of our department, and has helped us in an advisory capacity in the past.  If anyone can understand that damn thing, it's him.  Time may well be a factor, from your report and the attack last night it seems that the Graf Schmidt only flies at night.  Get that bomb to Paris and speak to O'Connor.  We can discuss the matter further when you return for good old Paris, hopefully armed with some information about how to stop this unholy thing."

He continues,

 "Get some sleep, get yourselves washed and fed, then we can get you on your way to Paris. Time is of the essence here, so take your kites.  You should be able to land at the Paris aerodrome with no bother, I'll arrange that,   commandeer a car or truck, find Father O'Connor, we believe he was working in the secure document section stored in Notre Dame on the behalf of the Vatican."

The next morning after a fitful sleep, the pilot assemble on the airfield.  Over night the sappers have hastily refilled the craters and removed all the debris from the field.  Two of the mechanics hand the flight leader a small crate with the bomb casing inside.

Heading south over Amiens, the C flight can follow the line of the trenches towards Paris, after an uninterrupted flight of just over two hours, they can see the sprawling city of Paris with the Eiffel tower spearing the centre.  The city is in a state of preparedness for the war, with cannon and anti-aircraft emplacements strategically placed, even the Eiffel tower has machine gun nests.

Terror From The Skies - the second bit

Assuming the pilots take up the Captain's request, they can either take to the skies in the DH 2's or take the Albion truck to the small village. 

Village of the Dammed

If they fly, it's a short flight to Frévent, lasting about twenty minutes.  From the air as they circle overhead they can see with a notice roll that the entire village has been subjected to some kind of artillery barrage.  The centre of the village is pockmarked with craters and debris.  Small fires still burn where the bombs fell.  Luckily, the village was evacuated as the battle lines extended to this sector, so civilian casualties will be low.  Near the centre of the village the pilots can see the burned out husks of the missing ambulances.  A stunted field to the west of the village is flat and clear enough for the pilots to land safely with a piloting roll.  From there it's a five minute walk into the village. 

The village of Frévent is eerily quiet, even so close to the front.  The footsteps of the pilots echo in the still morning air, and every blown out window and doorway seems to be watching them.

As they approach the ambulances notice rolls reveal that there are several British army soldiers scattered around the burned out transports, all of them have been machine gunned or burned.  With a smarts roll (-2) the pilots can determine that the trajectory of the bullets is from about a 120 degree angle, as if the soldiers were shot from above. 

Blast craters surround the ruined vehicles, with severe damage to the surrounding houses.  With a notice roll, the pilots realise that one of the craters is significantly smaller than the others.  If they approach it, they see the tail fin of what looks like a small bomb.  On closer inspection, the bomb is partially buried in the roadway.  Having some experience with ordinance, it looks like no bomb the pilots have ever seen.  Filigreed markings cover the exposed surface, in strange esoteric designs.  The metal of the bomb casing is not steel, it looks like a strangely hued bronze.  If the pilots remove the bomb, it moves easily and is far too light to have any explosives inside.  As soon as they touch the bomb, the shattered forms of the dead soldiers and medical personnel start to move. 

The walking dead stand and attack the flyers, their horribly mangled bodied cause fear checks.  There are two plus one for each pilot.

Undead Soldiers
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4,
Spirit d4, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Intimidation
d6, Notice d4, Shooting d6
Pace: 4; Parry: 5; Toughness: 7
Gear: Varies, but they can use weapons!
Special Abilities:
Claws: Str.
Fearless: Zombies are immune
to Fear and Intimidation.
Undead: Undead: +2 Toughness, +2 bonus to recover from Shaken, no additional damage from Called Shots, immune to disease and poison.
Weakness (Head):
Shots to a zombie’s head are +2 damage.

Assuming the group survive the attack they can investigate the bomb further.  Once removed from the crater, they can see that the nosecone of the bomb can be easily removed, but would take a set of appropriate tools and some careful manipulation.  This is best done back at Vert Galant.

Homeward Bound

After a successful flight back to the aerodrome at Vert Galant the pilots are debriefed by Captain Herbert.  Given what the flight has been through, and a few words from Conan Doyle, he is less inclined to question the validity of their report.  Rather, he is somewhat shocked by the news.

"Distressing news chaps, rather disturbing.  Some strange new Bosche weapon perhaps? This is an unsettling turn of events, more so that they would fire on ambulances.  Best take that thing you found over to the ordinance chaps and get them to have a wee peek at it.  Maybe get some clues, what?"

He salutes and turns to leave.

"Oh, dash it, I almost forgot, that Times chappie is here, in your barracks, large as life if you please! He's wanting to speak to you all"

The Man From The Times

Lounging in the officers barracks is the man from the Times.  Mr Parkhurst is a small bulldog of a man with a thickset beard like a privet hedge.  Pince nez spectacles perch on his nose and he's dressed in tweeds that make him look like a holidaying prep school teacher. 

"Ah, the famous flyers.  Good to see you all, I'm Lawrence Parkhurst, as our mutual friend has no doubt told you, ha ha.  Now, as far as MI-13 goes, it's all very hush hush, we're to make ourselves invisible.  There are other groups and organisations out there who would take a very dim view of our activities.  Ostensibly, you are to continue your duties here under the command of Captain Herbert.  In reality, you are all seconded to MI-13.  I'm here to liaise with Sir Conan Doyle and other members of our group, if you have any problems or questions, I'm here to help.  Till then, keep mum."

He stands and turns to leave.

"Oh, by the way, reports of your bravery and promotions are on the way to the London office for immediate publication, good for morale and all that."

If the group think to ask him about the strange bomb they recovered or to update him on their findings at Frévent he ponders it for a moment. 

"Gads you fellows are keen.  Another engagement with the enemy already?  As to this strange thing..."

He taps the shell with a pencil and pulls on his beard thinking.

"Best get it disassembled and examined I think, take it over to the ordinance shed and speak to a fellow called Mctavish, he's your man"

Monday, 27 June 2016

Raúl Pateras Pescara de Castelluccio - Weird War 1 inventor

Raúl Pateras Pescara de Castelluccio (1890 – 1966), marquis of Pateras. Pescara was an engineer and inventor from Argentina who specialized in automobiles, helicopters and free-piston engines.

Pescara is credited for being one of the first people to successfully utilize cyclic pitch, as well as pioneering the use of auto-rotation for the safe landing of a damaged helicopter. Pescara also set a world record (at the time) in 1924 for achieving a speed of 8 miles (13 km) per hour in a helicopter.

In Paris in 1915 after being detained as a suspected spy, Raúl is exonerated and goes to Spain to develop his theories on flight. 

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d4, Vigor d6
Skills: Driving d6, Knowledge (Science) d8, Notice d4, Repair d8, Weird Science d10
Charisma: 0; Pace: 6; Parry: 2;
Toughness: 5
Hindrances: Curious
Edges: Arcane Background (Weird Science), Power Points, Rich
Powers: Fly (Prototype helicopter)
Power Points: 15
Gear:  Tool kit, Renault 40CV

Test flight of Pescara's helicopter - 1922

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Siemens-Schuckert R.I

Siemens-Schuckert R.I

The R.I was a large three-bay biplane with unstaggered wings of unequal span and a fully enclosed cabin. Power was supplied by three 112-kW (150-hp) Benz Bz.III engines mounted internally in the fuselage, which transmitted their power via drive shafts to two propellers mounted tractor-fashion on the interplane struts nearest the fuselage. The main undercarriage consisted of divided units, each of which carried dual wheels, and the tail was supported by a pair of tail wheels. The rear fuselage structure was forced into an upper and lower section, which allowed a clear field of fire to the rear of the aircraft. The entire structure was of wire-braced wood, covered in fabric.

Siemens-Schuckert R.I Specifications
Siemens-Schuckert Werke
Heavy bomber
Entered Service:
Number Built:
Three Engines:
Benz, 6-cylinder liquid cooled inline, 150 hp
Wing Span:
91 ft 10½ in (28 m)
57 ft 5 in (17.5 m)
16 ft 1 in (4.90 m)
Empty Weight:
Gross Weight:
11,910 lb (5,402 kg)
Max Speed:
81 mph (130 km/h)
12,500 ft (3,800 m)
320 miles (515 km)
2 machine guns
830 lb (376 kg) of bombs

Acc/Top Speed: 5/75; Toughness: 12 (1); Crew:7

Notes: Biplane (Climb –2). Flight range of 320 miles. Flight ceiling of about 12,000 feet.

Type/Caliber     Range     Damage  RoF   AP   Shots     Weight
MG08 7.92mm 30/60/120     2d8        3       1     250B        140

Notes: Auto, Snapfire


Size Range  Damage   Burst     Notes
20-pound    4d8       2 Med    AP 6, Heavy Weapon

Incendiary  3d6 Med             Heavy Weapon, targets may catch fire

(see Fire in Savage Worlds).

Monday, 20 June 2016

Terror From The Skies - the first bit

Terror From the Skies

The Homesian Method

The pilots are motioned to sit in a loose semi-circle as the famous author joins them.

Sir Conan Doyle sits down before the assembled fliers and pours you all a tot of rich smelling brandy.  He eases back into the camp chair, unbuckles his tunic and eyes you all carefully.

"Now then, you've all seen things unexplainable, weird and strange.  I read your report to command and had it suppressed.  Wouldn't do to tarnish your reputation or scare the johnnies back home.  I represent a particular branch of the government, newly formed.  Our unofficial designation is MI-13.  As of now, you chaps all work for me.  There are strange things afoot out there, under the pall of this war, things that cannot be explained.  That's where we come in.  It's our job to stop this, I hesitate to use the words, supernatural phenomena.  As far as we can discern, these strange occurrences are appearing piecemeal here and there over the entire theatre of this worldwide war.  We've had reports of strangeness from the western front to the colonies."
He pours you all another drink.

"You gentlemen, are unique.  You survived.  This makes you very valuable to the war effort, we need men of sterling character and steel backbones.  I've read the dispatches and interviewed Captain Herbert, I believe you can fight and fight back against this menace.  As agents of MI-13 you will have access to specialised weapons and resources, intelligence and contacts.  I have the utmost confidence in you all.  For the moment, I want you to carry on following your duties here at Vert Galant.  One of our agents, a Mr Parkhurst will shortly be joining you.  He is ostensibly a correspondent for the Times, and will be your chief liaison to me.  He is a most resourceful man, and will be in direct contact with my office in London. 

In the meantime, I have a small surprise for you all.  As you are no doubt aware, the press are labelling the prevalence of the Eindecker, 'the Fokker scourge'.  You men encountered and bested a flight of them I believe.  I have taken measures to ensure the odds remain squarely in our favour.  A small contingent of Airco de Havilland aircraft await you at the RFC depot at Candas.  Captain Herbert has arranged for you gentlemen and mechanics to travel to that place tomorrow, at dawn."

One Good Deed

Candas is 5 miles to the West of Vert Gallant,  and is sited to be the main supply depot for the airfield.  Currently, there are Royal  Engineers and a small contingent of sappers constructing the site, work is scheduled to be completed in December.  Up to this point in the war, the depot has consisted of only temporary sheds and  a number of Bessonneau hangars. However, contracts were raised through the RE Works Directorate for the construction of workshops and repair sheds, including a dope shop and carpenters’, fitters’ and sail makers’ shops as well as four small fuselage sheds. 

The following day after breakfast, Captain Herbert true to his word has an Albion truck waiting for the pilots with two of the base mechanics already on board and waiting to depart. 

After an uneventful half hour journey across the battle scarred French countryside, the pilots eventually reach the site of depot 2.  Engineers are hard at work already in the cold autumn morning, assembling the prefabricated building and stores.  Before the furthermost Bessonneau hangar, a line of brand new Airco DH 2s sit neatly.  The experimental pusher aircraft are unpainted and have crates next to them with Lewis guns packed in grease, with drums of ammo in boxes.  With a repair roll by either the pilots or mechanics, the ordinance can be simply attached to the cockpit mounting and loaded ready for action.  As the pilots mill around the aircraft, a Royal engineer officer approaches and salutes.

Tall, crisp and clean shaven, Captain Baxter carries a clipboard under his arm.

"Morning chaps, lovely morning for it, what? Name's Baxter, 3rd Lancashire, care to put your moniker on here?"

He hands each of the pilot's his clipboard and has them sign for the aircraft.

"Thank'ee gents, hope you can get these things in the air sharpish, what? heard you chaps had a spot of bother last night."

With a smarts roll, or Knowledge (battle), the player realises that there were no operations last night, certainly not from Vert Galant.

If questioned further, Baxter can reveal more details.

"Some of the lads heard explosion and machine gun fire from about 20 miles or so north of here, we assumed you chaps had been in a scrap, Thompson over there swears he heard a plane circling before the fighting."

If anyone thinks to look on a map, Baxter can provide a detailed ordinance map inside the staff office, with a navigation roll, it can be determined that the explosions and sounds of combat came from near the village of Frévent, about 17 miles to the north.

There is a polite knocking at the door, and a young engineer enters and salutes.

"Begging your pardon Sir, Sergeant Armstrong asked me to speak to you.  We completely forgot Sir, Yesterday, those ambulances heading for Calais, they was heading towards Free-vent."

Baxter cringes as he remembers,

"Good God, that's right! from the field hospital at Doullens, four, no, five ambulances, taking casualties from the Northumberland's casualty clearing station.  They would have passed right through that area.  Gentlemen, we're not a fighting unit, our men are engineers not front line soldiers.  D'ye think you chaps could take a look into this? perhaps, reconnoitre?"