Eurocon 2009 AAR


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For the 10th time a Dutch group of WW2 gamers organized a European mini con in Holland. The group is known as the 1st Royal Orange Fire 322st Dutch squadron. It is not really active anymore, but they have thousands of flight hours in Warbirds, Aces High 2 and of course Battleground Europe. The mini con once started as “their yearly squad day” and currently attracts war sim addicts from all over Europe.

Besides the Dutch there were Germans, a lone Brit, 3 Polish guys, a lot of Fins and a guy from Spain. 40 men varying in age from early twenties to mid  fifties put together their equipment in a former monastery in the south of Holland, next to Heerlen. The game room was the old chapel of the monastery, the rooms were the cells. It was quite a bizarre experience seeing all the fragging going on beneath pious paintings and crosses. One of the Fins (KOKO) brought his complete setup incluiding one of the replica BF109 sticks.

After setting up our gear on Thursday afternoon we started to get acquainted with everyone, which of course meant drinking the first couple of beers. After dinner we started doing some serious stuff: flying. The first sorties were planned, wingmen formed up and we took off. Later that evening we had the privilege of talking to the Rats. MOTORMOUTH set up a webcam session from RatHQ with us. It took some time before all troops were rallied because when MOTORMOUTH started the call somebody began handing out Spitfire beers. That caused all focus to move from the screen to the bar…  


The Ratchat with the camera was much fun. MOTORMOUTH had gathered all the Rats (except KILLER and one other, can’t remember who) and they were trying to fit everyone in the camera frame, which was funny. Especially BLOO who was on side. DOC was clearly posted in the middle, sitting there as the pater familias.  He really should change his nick to DON. Lots of questions were answered, mostly by using paper signs containing the famous words “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe” and “Soon”.

Here we are gathered behind Flower, who was chatting with the Rats. Flower is sitting behind the screen, with Sweepy on his left and Bijl on his right. Klaas is standing right behind Flower, with Postme on his left and Tettie on his right. The conversation was a bit chaotic at some times, but all in good fun. The conversation lasted about 30 minutes, then the Rats went back to work and we started to shoot at each other again.

On Friday it was free gaming for all. The first guys were starting up their computers at about 10.00 am and pressed the “turn off” button at about 3.00 am Saturday morning. But not before the tradition of the Fins was carried out. On all conventions were the Fins (namely Kossu) are involved a very nasty drink is served: Flak Panzer Oil. Flak Panzer Oil, FPO in short, is a legendary drink that the Finnish virtual pilots have distributed in the domestic and foreign virtual pilots' conventions. FPO is black as moonless night, strong as acid and has claimed numerous kills over unwary pilots in various conventions around US and Europe. It's ingredients are secret and only a few people are trusted with its recipe. Kossu was the master of ceremony, yet again. Here he is holding the bottle and handing it to Tettie.


On Saturday morning those of us who still could walk were heading off to fort Eben-Emael. This fort was constructed in the late 1930’s to fill a gap in the Belgian defensive line between the Dutch border and the fortresses of Liege. It took 3000 men 2 years to finish it, it took 127 Germans 37 hours to take it. A local guide gave us a nice tour through the tunnels and fortifications. It was really impressive to see a replica of one of the tiny gliders that each held 11 German soldiers. The gliders landed on top of the fort, a meadow. The German troops used shaped charges to eliminate all of the gun batteries within 2 hours after landing. One of the batteries was opened up and the Germans got inside. Downstairs the Belgian soldiers quickly barricaded the steel door to the gun batteries. The German soldiers had no trouble blasting the doors, unfortunately killing six Belgian men. Ironically enough the Germans also destroyed the only stairwell leading to the opened doors in the same blast, so they remained stuck in the battery. Here is Tettie looking at one of the 75mm guns that was pointed in the direction of Maastricht.

We took the obligatory group picture outside of the fortress of Eben-Emael. A Walker-Bulldog tank was used as decoration. Lunch was served in a nice water mill outside, where we all were sitting outside, basking in the sun. Kossu was clearly the only one suffering from the flak panzer oil, he fell asleep on during lunch. Here is Klaas having a nice cold beer, with Postme keeping an eye on him.

In the afternoon a local guy from Valkenburg gave a nice presentation about the liberation of that town in late ’44. After dinner we only had the evening left for flying, checking out equipment, drinking beers, chatting and generally having a great time. Three and a halve days had passed way too quickly. At Sunday morning addresses were exchanged, invitations for cons in Finland handed out (the urban blitz and mosquito meeting) and everybody went home with a big smile. Cya next year!