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Posted on Jan 18, 2013 in Boardgames

Wings of Glory World War 2 Miniatures Game – The Bombers Arrive!

By Rick Martin

Wings of Glory World War 2 Bombers. Miniatures game review. Publisher: Ares Games. Designer: Andrea Angiolino and Pier Giorgio Paglia. $30.00

Passed Inspection: Beautiful, high quality fully painted miniatures. Solid construction.

Failed Basic: Expensive. Lack of accuracy of side guns not factored in to rules. Rules for modifications of the bombers not included.

Since Ares Games of Italy acquired the rights to the Wings of War series of World War I and World War II games and miniatures, they have not only continued the fine line of games under the new title Wings of Glory, but have also added to the mix with new airplanes and updated rules.  The newest release in their World War 2 series of rules and airplanes are two of the most famous bombers of the war—the Heinkel 111 and the B25 Mitchell.

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History of the Heinkel and the B25
Both the German Heinkel and the American Mitchell were two-engine medium bombers and were actually very similar in performance.

The Heinkel 111 had a maximum air speed of around 270 mph and range of around 1,400 miles.  It had a crew of five men and was armed with up to seven 7.92mm machine guns, one 13mm machine gun, and some models had a 20mm cannon in the nose.  The Heinkel could carry a bomb load of up to 7,900 lbs of bombs on the wings or 4,400 lbs in the internal bomb bay.

The B25 Mitchell had a maximum air speed of around 272 mph and a range of around 1175 miles.  It had a crew of six and was armed with from twelve to eighteen .50 caliber machine guns. One model used for ground attack was even armed with a 75mm cannon in the nose.  The B25 could carry a bomb load of up to 3,000 lbs of bombs, 8 five-inch rockets or one torpedo.

The Heinkel gained its reputation as the primary German bomber and was used extensively from the campaign in France to the Battle of Britain.  It was later superseded by the much more adaptable Junkers 88, but Heinkels flew right up to the end of World War II.  In fact, the Spanish air force still had Heinkels in active service until 1973! During the war years, over 7,000 Heinkels were produced.

The B25 gained fame when, in April, 1942, 16 modified B25s took off from the carrier USS Hornet and became the first planes to bomb Japan’s home islands after the Pearl Harbor attack.  The Doolittle Raiders became heroes, and the B25 Mitchell bomber became a legendary plane.  During World War II, over 10,000 B25s would engage the enemy in all fronts of the war.  The B25 proved adaptable in a ground attack role / close support role, in shipping strikes and in its originally intended role as a medium bomber.  There are still around 20 flyable B25s and, as in the case of the recent gathering of the Doolittle Raiders at the Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, these planes can still shake the ground when they fly over in mass. (Click here to see a video of that gathering of B25s.)

World War II Medium Bombers in the Wings of Glory Game
Rule additions for these special bomber packs are included in a small booklet enclosed with each plane. For multi-engine airplanes like these bombers, there is no longer a single center to the mini for tailing purposes or figuring out if the mini has left the play surface. Instead, the airplane stand or the blue dot at the center of the airplane data card is used to decide whether the plane is outside the gaming surface and the blue dot at the tail of the plane is used to figure tailing. Additionally, each plane has multiple firing arcs for the machine guns. Based upon the position of the guns, some of the arcs may overlap, allowing multiple guns to fire on an attacking airplane. Some of the gun positions, such as ventral or dorsal gun turrets, can only fire above or below the airplane. This makes taking on a bomber a formidable task. Also, the multi-man crew of the bomber is factored in so that each plane has at least a pilot/co-pilot and gunners. Some crew members must move from gun position to gun position during the course of play. More rules for bombing and multi-engine planes are included in the new core set.

Each “special pack” in this new expansion to the Wings of Glory set includes one of these legendary bombers plus a rule packet, two data cards, stands and bases and counters for damage and crew members.  There are two models of each bomber, with two different paint schemes.

The green B25 is the Doolittle Raiders version of the plane.  It should be somewhat faster than the other model B25 as many of the defensive machine guns have been removed (The two rear .50 cals were replaced by black painted broom sticks!) and, if endurance were factored in to the game, it would have a greater endurance.  It has a top-mounted turret and a nos- mounted machine gun.  It is somewhat more maneuverable and a little faster than the Heinkel 111 as well.  Its machine guns are mostly .50 cals, so they tend to do a little more damage at short range.

The two-tone camouflaged B25 is the C variant of the plane and is complete with the machine guns that were stripped from the Doolittle variants.

The Heinkel has more guns than the Doolittle variant of the B25, but each gun is the standard German .30 caliber, which means they tend to do less damage than the American .50 cals.

Each plane behaves differently in turning and side slipping but both can take a licking and keep on ticking.

The green-toned Heinkel and the winter camouflaged Heinkel have the same stats.

My complaints with this system are few.  The cost of collecting a decent sized air fleet can be daunting.  In addition, it seems like the bomber gunners can hit enemy air planes a little too often since the damage is a result of drawing the same damage chits that fighter air planes use.  There should be rules for creating variant of the planes included with the minis.  It would have been nice to be able to outfit a 75mm armed B25 for a mission against Japanese shipping or a 20mm armed Heinkel for some ground attack fun.  None-the-less, these complaints are minor and don’t really detract from the fun of the game.

All Wings of Glory airplanes are backwards compatible with the original Wings of War rules and airplanes.

As a gamer, I prefer Wings of Glory for the casual game and J.D. Webster’s Fighting Wings system for a detail-oriented simulation of World War II air combat.  It really depends on my mood and available time to play a game.

If you are interested in World War II air action and have some money to spend on highly detailed miniatures, Wings of Glory will not steer you wrong and these bombers are a fine addition to any players’ air fleet! Click here to see Ares‘ preview of the new, wider bases used for bombers and the information they contain.

Armchair General Rating: 93 %

Solitaire Rating: 4 for bomber scenarios.

About the Author A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

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