‘Bombs Over Europe’ using 3-inch squares and paper models

By Mike Crane

Although I am quite happy with the original game as it appeared in Lone Warrior 179, there is a part of me that wants to use colored paper models from past games. Whether playing chess, Monopoly or wargames, there is something subconsciously satisfying about pushing three-dimensional objects across a board. So, here is the way the BOE rules can be adjusted to accommodate this fantasy.

The game remains the same with the exception of the equipment needed and changes in the flak phase. The playing area that was composed of three poster boards with 2” squares was replaced with two picture frame mat boards gridded into 3” squares. The picture frame mat boards were purchased at Hobby Lobby for about $8 each. They were sprayed with green and tan camouflage paint bought at Walmart and divided into 3” squares using a yard stick and a 2B pencil. (Actually, I had already been using these boards to play land games.) Each board is 10 squares deep and 13 squares wide with a little room left over on the sides. These two boards represent the Fighter Zone and the procedures for movement and combat are the same as before. The Flak Zone, however, is no longer represented by a playing board.

Although crossing the Flak Zone is a very exciting part of the original game (to me, anyway), using the larger boards and models for combat meant removing the flak board and replacing the procedure to indicate the effect of flak. Roll 1d6 for each bomber that crosses the far edge of the Fighter Zone: 1-4 = the flak misses; 5 = 1 hit; 6 = 2 hits.  If a bomber has already suffered 1 hit from combat in the Fighter Zone a roll of 5 or 6 on the flak die will down it. If an airplane was not hit in the Fighter Zone it will require a roll of 6 to bring it down with flak. Surviving B-17s will bomb and the score will be tallied as before.

(Colored paper models are linked below.)

The models below were used in previous games, but they will work well for this game too. There are far too many so you will be able to choose whichever you want to use. Remember, only the P-51 has the extra movement point; all of the others will be the same.

Choose the airplanes you want to use, use your computer’s printer to print them on white cardstock, score them along the lines at the wing and elevator roots (on the B-17s the line extends from the nose along the fuselage to the tail of the bombers), cut each half out, and glue the halves together using white glue (Elmer’s).

Print the stands on olive green cardstock, score vertically and horizontally on the dotted lines in the center and again at the top where the phalanges of the stand will attach to the bottom of the wings, cut along the solid lines of the stands, and bend the stands inside-out so the printed lines will not show when glued. Glue the fighters to the tall stands and the bombers to the short stands. Gluing a piece of mat to the base will make the models more stable on the playing board but is not absolutely necessary. You can paint a colored dot at the bottom of each stand to represent the order of movement and combat for each plane: red = first, white =second, blue = third, yellow = fourth, green = fifth, and black = sixth.

For the bombers’ damage markers, use a pair of wire snippers to cut a piece of black chenille wire (pipe cleaner) about 2.5” long. Bend about .75” of the wire completely backward and slip the marker over a wing between the engines when a plane receives a hit. You will only need six markers.

If anyone plays this game or uses the models to make his own game, I hope you will write a comment or an article for the LW Blog. Your response would be interesting and appreciated.

Below are links to the various sheets of colored bomber and fighter models:

1. B-17s, mc, a, b.

2. B-17s, mc,c,d.

3. B-17s, 2.

4. B17s, 3.

5. B-17s, h,i.

6. B-17s, i,p.

7. B-17s, m.

8. Airplane stands.

About mike crane

I am a retired high school teacher living in Texarkana, Arkansas, USA. Although I enjoy wargaming in all periods, my favorite eras are WWII, Colonial, ACW, and Napoleonic. I enjoy making rules that are simple, fast, and fun.
This entry was posted in Air gaming, Periods - World War II. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to ‘Bombs Over Europe’ using 3-inch squares and paper models

  1. George Arnold says:

    Love the drawings, Mike! Great stuff!
    Here’s a question: What do the letters on the planes’ tails and fuselages mean? I assume they’re unit designations — squadrons, groups, etc. But what’s the code? And which ones mean what?


  2. Mike Crane says:

    Hi, George. Thanks. I drew these planes about ten years ago to play games and did not have a way to share the colored models until the Lone Warrior Blog came along.

    Your question is rather embarrassing. You are correct in assuming the letters and numbers on the fuselage are an identification code, but I do not know what the codes for the German planes mean. I will tell you what I have learned about the American identification system and I hope that one of our readers will be able to fill us in on the rest.

    Although exceptions may be found, the American planes based in Britain used a system that placed two letters in front of the national insignia to represent the squadron ID and a letter behind the national insignia to identify the individual aircraft within the squadron: http://www.bomber-command.info/sqdncodes.htm .
    Apparently some US fighter groups in Europe could be identified by the colors and patterns on the noses (8th AAF) and tails (15th AAF) of the aircraft.

    In the 8th AAF US bombers used symbols, color, and letter identification codes to help them form up for bombing missions. Large symbols (triangles, boxes, and circles) on the right wing and tail identified the bomber division. Colors and patterns on the tail identified the bomber wing. Capital letters within the symbols identified the bomber group. And, finally, letters on the sides of the fuselage identified the bomber squadron and the individual plane. The official ID number would usually be written in small numbers on the stabilizer in front of the rudder.

    Check out this site and be sure to go to the end of the article and click on each of the “extended links” that show all the tail colors of the B-17’s, B-24’s, and B-29’s in WWII: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USAAF_unit_identification_aircraft_markings .

    George, the markings on my planes are not accurate. I made up a lot of the ID letters on the sides of the aircraft simply because they were easy to draw (A, H, I, L, etc.). The planes were made to be playing tokens and were not intended to replicate actual airplanes. They just looked right and I have had a lot of fun with them over the years.

    Although I did not draw any bombers of the 15th AAF, you can find a good site showing the tail markings of their bombers here: http://www.airpower.at/news03/0813_luftkrieg_ostmark/15USAF.htm .

    I hope this helped.

    • George Arnold says:

      Thanks, Mike. All that’s very informative. Now I’m wondering about the German identification system.


  3. Mike Crane says:

    George, I did a bit of looking around on Google and found three articles that are particularly informative about Luftwaffe aircraft markings. Check them out. They are very interesting. I just wish they had been there ten years ago.


  4. George Arnold says:

    Fantastic! I should have googled!

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