“Squadron Scramble” Card Games (R112-8A & R112-8B)
During World War II, the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin, issued a series of World War II Booklets, trading cards, and Airplane Game Card sets. The trading cards and Airplane Game Cards sets were all of the standard PLC format with rounded corners. Whitman Publishing Company issued two distinct sets of Airplane Game Card set series during World War II. The two sets were “ZOOM” and “Squadron Scramble.” Both the Zoom and the Squadron Scramble games had two different sets of card games associated with them.
Recently, we noticed a posting on the Vintage Non-Sports Cards Chat Board³ (Network 54) that mentioned the existence of a R112-8A “Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 1” “Fancy Back” set that had a red dot or “meatball” in the center of the U.S. star roundel. Our (Skytamer Images) R112-8A “Fancy Back” set does not have the “meatball” in the center of the U.S. star roundel.
As you may know, the U.S. Military star roundel with the red center circle or “meatball” was used from May 1917 to Jan 1918, and from Sept 1918 through May 1942. From June 1942 through June 1943, the star roundel was modified and the red “meatball” was removed. The reason for its removal was to reduce the chance for shooting down a “friendly” during air-to-air combat. The red flash of the “meatball” could easily confuse a “work-loaded” pilot during combat, so bye-bye meatball. A new U.S. roundel with a circle disc, star and bars with a red border surround was then introduced. This roundel lasted for only two months … July and August 1943. The red surround was then changed to a blue surround in Sept 1943 and has been used up to the present. The red surround was most likely dropped for the same reasons that the meatball was dropped. Example of the U.S. roundels are shown below.
The new roundel with the star and a red surround and horizontal bars appears in “Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 2” with the “Simple” green Back. This suggests that the artwork for the “Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 2” was most likely completed during July-August 1943 timeframe.
Now Back to the R112-8A, “Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 1 — Fancy” Back deck with the “meatball”. This was most likely printed prior to June 1943. This would mean that there are the following four, not three, variants in Whitman's “Squadron Scramble Card Game” series.
We would appreciate it if anyone can could provide us with some scans of the “Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 1 — Fancy-Meatball” cards. Who knows, there might even be a “Simple-Meatball” set out there! Use the “Contact Us” link on the left.
Both of the “Squadron Scramble” card game sets consist of 54 cards each: 3 cards each for 16 different types of American, British, German and Japanese military planes, 3 “KEEP 'EM FLYING” cards, 1 “VICTORY” card, and 2 “Instruction” cards. The first set of cards … “Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 1,” is comprised of two subsets: (1) cards with “Simple” blue Backs, and (2) cards with “Fancy” blue Backs. The American Card Catalog reference designation for this set is R112-8A. The second set of cards … “Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 2,” is easily recognized by its green color “Simple” Back. The designation for this set is R112-8B.
Neither of these sets were packaged with gum. Instead, they were marketed as complete sets and sold in variety stores, a.k.a. “Dime Stores” during the war. Both sets were packaged in small card boxes or packs. Both of the boxes are shown below along with the fronts and Backs of all the cards.
Squadron Scramble Card Game Instructions
R112-8A “Squadron Scramble” Card Game No. 1 Image Guide
The “Squadron Scramble” Card Game No. 1, squares off the Allies forces represented by American and British aircraft, against the Axis forces represented by German and Japanese aircraft. The fronts and Backs of all the cards in the “simple” and “fancy/” subsets of this game set are shown below. All of the images have been computer enhanced for presentation purposes.
R112-8B “Squadron Scramble” Card Game No. 2 Image Guide
Squadron Scramble Card Game No. 2, also squares off the Allies forces against the Axis forces. However, this set adds the Russians to the Allies and the Italians to the Nazi forces. The fronts and Backs of all the cards in this game set are shown below.
The Card-O “Squadron Scramble” Card Games No. 1 and No. 2 (R112-8A & R112-8B) checklists may be downloaded by clicking the “PDF” button below. This document is presented as an Adobe® Acrobat® PDF 8½ × 11 inch format document.
In 2002, U.S. Games Systems, Inc. issued an authentic reproduction set of the “Squadron Scramble&rdqup; Card Games. Both games were combined into a single set. When purchasing Squadron Scramble sets or cards, be aware that there are distinct differences between the original cards and reproduction cards. The reproduction cards have a “F” or “B” superimposed onto a white circle and also have “Axis” or “Allied” notations. The reproduction cards are also nicely coated whereas the 1942 original cards are not. The reproduction set may be easily found on the internet and is reasonably priced.
A very special thanks to Albert B. Kramer, President of Roll-EZ Wheels, Inc. for helping us with this collection.
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