The Lakota Scalpers.

 Formed in '33, after the formation of the Lakota Territory and People's Collective, he Lakota Scalpers are not your typical pirate gang.  Rather than a large group, made up of members from across the region (possibly even continent), the Scalpers are formed totally from four families, and continue to draw pilots and members from ever-farther branches of the family.   

The Thorsteads are a ranching family, who had been ranching the Missouri River Breaks ever since the first settlers had entered the region.     John and Mary were the family leaders, and had five kids, the oldest being 20 in 1933.      At first reluctant to join in "criminal activity", the high value on liqour, raids by Lakota, and threat of the People's Collective, along with increased costs and difficulty of ranching persuaded them into it.    

Collins, Deborah, and Jacob, and their twin boys Aaron and Orville, were refugees from the Dakotas and their parents before them refugees from Ireland.      Given a choice by the tribal council, the Williams chose to leave North Dakota with their small herd of cattle rather than divide it and their land with the Lakota.      Part of this reason being that Jacob Collins had been making a small fortune making illegal whiskey for sale.   Upon arriving at Thorsteads ranch, the two struck a deal to partner in cattle and the illegal booze business, the latter of which quickly became the most profitable venture.

Jane and Adam Smith were stunt pilots that travelled the US as part of a flying circus.  With the breakup, it took them only several years to realize that smuggling, while more dangerous, paid far better.     They happened to join the group after making an emergancy landing in a clearing in the Missouri Breaks.   After meeting the Thorsteads and Williams, the two stunt pilots immediately added their aircraft to the venture, greatly expanding the group's operations and quantity of movable liqour.

The Logans are from the People's Collective.  Pete and Linda were both pilots in the Collective Air Militia.    The two deserted in early '34 after becoming disguisted with the Collectives policies, handing power not to "The comrades in the fields", but a tight knight council and dictatorial leader.  Their two PR-1 Defenders were a good early boost for the Scalpers, being the two most modern aircraft of six in the beginning.  

The families have knit together well, the tough initial year of formation, followed by the Lakota War turned them from a loose alliance of strangers into a close-knit clan.   Of course, not all changes have been for the good,  Pete Logan was shot down in '35 during a booze run into Lakota Territory,  baby boy Danny Thorstead was shot down on his first mission in '36 into the People's Collective, while the Scalpers lost three planes and half a dozen people in the Lakota War.

There are a handful of others working for the Scalpers, mainly cousin's, nephews or in-laws to the main four families.  Man power needs far outstrip the small families and the money brought in from liqour sales are a strong draw to the hardscrabble region.

All pilot training was provided by the Smiths and Logans,  Originally only four aircraft, the group has grown to eight.    At first only Boeing Peashooters and Curtiss Hawk bi-planes, the eight planes the Scalpers now have are relatively modern, including their pride and joy, a N100 Beheamoth.  An aging design, it is in tip-top shape and can carry large loads of booze, while still providing heavy support to it's escorts.   While larger, they still are a small band, and often hardpoints are empty during runs.

The Scalpers are spread out along what was formerly the Montana Highline.    The main buildings are in the Missouri Breaks, stills and aging barrels scattered amongst the riverbends and even in the nearby Little Rocky Mountains and Bear Paw mountains.    The group has established a  dozen of airstrips, many little more than a simple dirt strip, with only a one being all weather.   Keeping their planes and booze operations spread out offer little in the way of targets for roving Lakota raiders.

The name comes from the band's first armed engagement with a Lakota air patrol.   One Lakota pilot attempted the Navajo trick of "counting coup", only to accidentally graze the belly of Pete Logan's Defender, skimming off the cockpit while miraculously, leaving the native pilot unharmed and both planes still flying.      The name is about all the group share, having no common paint scheme other than camoflage and no official emblem for the group, being a "homespun operation" if you will.  

The band primarily runs booze into the Lakota Territory and People's Collective, occasionally taking a load westward, however for the most part, avoiding Utah and the wrath of it's air squadrons.    They have been known to commit some acts of piracy, however the group is picky about such targets, preferring to focus on providing a personal luxury than outright theft.

The group is on good standing with the locals.   The regions SDF (Skyline Defence Force) militia, and local sheriffs ignore the Scalpers.   The band has never attacked a local target, and on occasion have lent air support to law enforcement to apprehend criminals or pirates dangerous for anyone in the region.        

The Scalpers are on good terms with the Montana Raiders, another local-based band, often checking their several bases and making sure no scavengers try to make off with Raider's equipment.       One of their few arch-rivals is the People's Collective unit, the 26th Peoples Air Squadron based in South Dakota.  The same squadron that the Logans deserted.  Commanded by Davis Johnson, the squadron has three times left it's desginated patrol area and based from closer People's Collective bases just for the opportunity to strike at the band.

Unit Rules:   Before each mission, roll a 1D6 per hardpoint.  On a result of 1 or 2, that hardpoint remains empty.    No Beeper-seeker rockets, Drill rockets, or Aerial torpedoes allowed for this group.   No MG rounds either, all because they are too expensive.

Unit Biographies:

Linda Logan:  5-4-5-8-4-4
De-facto leader of the aircraft of the Scalpers, Linda is easily the most skilled pilot of the band.   A good pilot, she has learned to quickly and easily unjam her guns (for many years being used to the cheaply made Czech copied machine guns in her Defender) and able to place rounds with deadly accuracy.

A slim blonde, she has a decidedly cynical view of the world since her husband was shot down over North Dakota.      
Aircraft: Linda pilots a modified PR-1 Defender.   The 1930 vintage Juarez engine was given a makeover that left basically only the original shell, and the inferior wing guns were replaced with Sperry-Brownings.      (No longer has Inferior Engine or Inferior guns).

"Harvey" Logan:   4-2-4-3-4-2

 "Harvey" Logan is Linda Logans adopted son.   He was a refugee from the Lakota territory, and just turned 17 in '36.         He showed up in the local town the raid after Pete Logan was shot down.     "Harvey" wouldn't speak of his past, but had a large chip on his shoulder in regards to the Lakota, and Linda took him in, making it her personal goal to make him into a pilot.    

He took the name Harvey in jest as the old western outlaw that haunted the same area.     A quiet, reserved young man, he has a knack for fighting dirty and vicious, in the air and on the ground, considering any tactic valid as long as it wins the fight.   This has led to several tense confrontations with the other Scalpers, but thus far has avoided any major problems.  

Aircraft:   "Harvey" pilots a NAA Thunderbird, with extensive modifications done to it.  The plane with the longest history in the Scalpers, it has two kills under Logan's piloting, and two previous ones from other Scalper pilots.    

It has had a radio installed, the .50's have been replaced by fire-linked .40 caliber Brownings, and an additional three hundred pounds of armor installed.     Additionally it has had two hardpoints welded into the top of the lower wings.

Edward "Big Ed" Thorstead:  4-3-4-4-7-3.
Ed is the oldest of the four Thorstead boys.   Being the oldest, he was the first trained as a pilot and he took to it far quicker and easily than he had to riding horses at a younger age.     A mountain of a man, he is nearly immune to any damage inflicte don him, in the plane or on the ground.       Quiet and withdrawn on the ground, he is usually the muscle on ground meets, his demeanor lulling most into a false sense of security.  

Aircraft:  "Big Ed" Flies a plane not often seen this far north, a TNCA Aguila.   A stock model, the group has attempted to work out the sticky throttle on the engine, however with little success. Nonetheless, Ed has used the aircraft successfully, downing two Lakota aircraft with it.  

Mathilda "Maddie" Thorstead:  5-2-5-5-3-1

Eighteen years old, Maddie has a natural flair for piloting.  Not the best pilot, or the best gunner, she is nonetheless excellent in both roles.    Her toughest problem is her tendancy to lose track of what is happening around her.       She was assigned the Beheamoth due to the better pilots being assigned more nimble aircraft.  

Her tendancies to become absorbed in one target has been somewhat offset by the Williams brothers, who usually alternate riding in the add-on turret (Also alternately competing for her affections, which she attempts to play off each other, enjoying every bit of her power over the two brothers).

Aircraft:  The N100 Beheamoth has had several modifications done.  The most noticable is the addition of a powered turret.  This gives the unweildy bird a far safer tail.   supplied with a single Bruin Armament .60 caliber heavy machine gun, it packs a powerful punch on any fighter stupid enough to close with it.    This has necessitated dropping the forward pair of .60's and reduced cargo space by 100 pounds, but it has been seen as a worthwhile tradeoff for the increased security.    Combined with rear-facing hardpoints, aerial mines and heavy armor, the Beheamoth weathers most battles better than it's escorts.

Aaron Collins: 5-4-4-2-3-2
The pilot of the two William brothers, more of a pilot than his brother, nearly the only reason he hasn't completely given up turret-riding is allowing his brother more time with Maddie.
Orville Collins:  3-1-7-2-3-1
Brother to Aaron Williams, Orville is a gunner first and foremost, pilot second.  Only adequate in the cockpit, he usually crews a gun in the Beheamoth.

Aircraft:  The Williams alternate piloting and turret-riding.  The plane the brothers share is a F4 Bandit.  Unmodified, the aircraft is one of the earliest ones to roll off the assembly line.  

Jane Smith:   7-4-4-2-3-4
Originally a stunt pilot, then smuggler, Jane's combat skills never quite adopted as well.   Her piloting skills are exemplary and has no trouble making her stock, nose-heavy Fury as nimble as any Bloodhawk or Valiant.  

Aircraft:  Jane pilots an unmodified J2 Fury.

Adam Smith: 6-4-5-3-4-3
Probably the second best pilot in the group,  Adam has adopted to a combat role easily.   Although beginning to age, his reflexes and eyes are sharp, making him a deadly pilot in the air.

Aircraft: Adam pilots the group's newest fighter, a Big Sky Dragonfly.     With it's heavy armament, and his good gunnery skills, it usually pairs up with the groups Beheamoth.    The main criticism is it's relatively light armor for it's size, and at some point when funds are available the .40's will be replaced by .30 calibers and the wing armor upgraded.  

Kelly Olson: 4-4-4-2-4-3
 A Cousin of the Thorsteads, he joined the group, bringing his own Devastator with him.    Cousin to the Montana Raiders leader.
Aircraft:   Kelly flies an unmodified Hughes MKII Devastator. (Using Montanaraiders modified Devastator stats.  Swapping Speed and G's and adding40 points of armor).