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Author Topic: B-17 Queen of the Skies: Boardgamegeek Bombing Campaign  (Read 9299 times)
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raydude
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« on: February 02, 2012, 02:23:26 PM »

I've had fond memories of playing the Avalon Hill boardgame: B17 Queen of the Skies. Its a solitaire game where you create a crew, name your plane, and try to survive 25 missions so you can be rotated home. Its not so much a simulation as it is a game narrative, as I tend to root for my individual crew members and dread the roll of the dice to see what happens to them. I put the game away a long time ago because it seemed a bit lonely playing by myself and because it just seemed so cumbersome dealing with the charts.

Well two things changed that this week. One was the discovery of a B-17 Vassal module. Vassal is a open source java engine which lets you load modules to play virtual boardgames on your computer. The other was the discovery of an ongoing play-by-forum bombing campaign on boardgamegeek. I decided to jump right in since the folks there seemed nice enough and they're always looking for new B-17 crews in the campaign.

If you have fond memories of playing B-17 then I recommend you check out both the vassal module and the ongoing bombing campaign. Or you can just enjoy the after action reports and root for my B-17 crew:

After Action Report

B-17: Maid'n America (1)
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
151st Squadron
Mission: 83
Date: August 16, 1943
Target: Le Bourget, Aerodrome
Position: Low squadron, middle

Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby (1)
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr (1)
Bombardier 2LT Derric Benzing (1) - SW, recovered, non-mission capable
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel (1)
  -probable Me109
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener (1)
  -confirmed Fw190
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney (1)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann (1)
  -confirmed Me110
Port Waist Sgt. Clyde Everton
  -probable Me110
Starboard Waist Sgt. Dustin Brady (1) - SW, died of wounds
Tail Gunner Sgt. Tim Shoulders (1)

Fighters Claimed (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 0/2/2

Bomb Run: on target, 30%

B-17 Status:
engine fire extinguisher out
starboard aileron inop
port tailplane root hit 1
stbd waist gun out

Replacements:
Bombardier: 2LT Neil Gosser
Stbd Waist: Sgt. Max Junkins

Debrief:
Outbound trip to target generally uneventful due to excellent fighter cover. Noticed numerous enemy aircraft driven off by P-47s. It was only over the target that our gunners were able to draw some blood, in return for damage to our starboard wing. Still, it did not affect our ability to bomb the target, tail gunner reports seeing a few good effects on target.

Flak over the target was initially light, then turned heavy during the turn to head back home. Luckily no bursts damaged our plane. Germans decided to hit
us with everything just as we were leaving the target area. An Me110 at 9 level came close enough to rake us all along the fuselage. Engine fire extinguisher controls and starboard waist gun rendered inoperable. Ground crew reports several holes in the bomb bay, right where the bombs would have been if he had caught us before they dropped. Thank God for small favors.

Shrapnel from a second Me110 wounded Lt. Benzing in the leg, causing severe bleeding. He managed to apply the tourniquet to himself. Doc says he may lose the leg but at least he's still alive.

A quintet of Fw190s hit us near the French coast. Three were driven off by our little friends. The remaining two 190s were so rattled that they fired off
short bursts at long range before disengaging. Would like to pass on our formal thanks to the fighter squadrons on the inbound trip.

Thought we were home free over the channel but were attacked by two more 190s. One coming in at 12 level was destroyed by our engineer. The other took his revenge on Sgt. Brady who suffered severe wounds to his neck and chest. He died on landing.

1st Lt. Lester Husby
151st BS, 281st BG(H)
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« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2012, 07:20:21 PM »

I remember the game Raydude, but I never got much play time with it. I remember a few gaming buddies being into it in a big way back in the day. By the time I had time in my life to feed my aviation bug again, my buddies weren't playing it any more and I discovered PC flight sims. slywink I'll download the vassal module and check it out - are the rules available anywhere for download?
BTW, in the past few years there's been some other very good solitaire flight games released - in particular Phantom Leader and Hornet Leader are 2 I'd recommend checking out.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2012, 07:30:15 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2012, 04:05:58 PM »

I am unclear on the copyright issue for B-17 and hence for the rulebook but I can say that google is your friend  ninja.

Also, I have played hornet leader and enjoyed it very much. Not as much as thunderbolt-apache leader (A-10s and AH-64s) - which is fortunately being re-released by the designer. I put in a pre-order for that as well as one for The Hunters, which is being billed as "B-17 Queen of the Skies" for u-boats.
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2012, 03:41:41 AM »

Quote from: raydude on February 08, 2012, 04:05:58 PM

I am unclear on the copyright issue for B-17 and hence for the rulebook but I can say that google is your friend  ninja.
It's pretty much standard practice now for boardgame publishers to provide a living rules webpage where you can download the manuals & FAQs for free. Any publisher that's allowed, or developed their own, Vassal module just often excludes a critical part of the game from the module or from their download page. I.e the Vassal module for my Warrior Knights game has everthing minus the descriptive text on the Event cards, whereas my Labyrinth The War on Terror game doesn't have the critical dice rolling tables available for download or in the Vassal module. I was just wondering if the publisher of B-17 QotS has done the same. IIRC though its long OOP, so maybe not.

Quote
Also, I have played hornet leader and enjoyed it very much. Not as much as thunderbolt-apache leader (A-10s and AH-64s) - which is fortunately being re-released by the designer. I put in a pre-order for that as well as one for The Hunters, which is being billed as "B-17 Queen of the Skies" for u-boats.
I'll have to look out for those. A boardgame I'm highly anticipating which is supposed to be close to shipping is Bloody April 1917 from GMT. It will feature WWI air combat and looks very promising. slywink
« Last Edit: February 09, 2012, 03:57:11 AM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2012, 06:19:15 PM »

Quote from: raydude on February 08, 2012, 04:05:58 PM

I put in a pre-order for that as well as one for The Hunters, which is being billed as "B-17 Queen of the Skies" for u-boats.

I had a chance to check that out and it does look promising. If you're into u-boats and like games with solitaire play, you owe it to yourself to check out Silent War. It's a terrific U-boat game set in the Southern Pacific with very solid solitaire play.

I looked into B-17 a bit more and it's long been discontinued by Avalon Hill and no other publisher picked it up, so no PDF rules avaiable for download. About the only way to get the rules is to buy a preowned copy. Personally, preowned bgame at high OOP prices = I'm no longer intersted in having or playing it. Just too many other good games out there at much more affordable prices. slywink
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 06:21:22 PM by kronovan » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2012, 02:43:01 AM »

Mission 84: Schweinfurt! Deep raid into Germany!

After Action Report

Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America (2)
151st Squadron
Mission: 84
Date: August 17, 1943
Target: Schweinfurt, Ball Bearing Factory
Position: Middle Squadron, middle

Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby (2)
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr (2)
Bombardier 2LT Neil Gosser (1)
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel (2) *
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener (2) **
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney (2)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann (2) *
Port Waist Sgt. Clyde Everton (2)
Starboard Waist Sgt.Max Junkins (1)
Tail Gunner Sgt. Tim Shoulders (2) Light Wound

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 4/1/2

Bomb Run: on target, 40%

B-17 Status:
multiple superficial damage to pilot compartment
superficial damage to bomb bay, radio room
ball turret inoperable
port wing root hit 1


Debrief:
Outbound trip to target generally uneventful. Looks like some other bombers drew the short straw this time. No attacking waves came near us until zone 6, where Sgt. Harshman claimed a probable on an Me109 and Lt. Stenzel damaged his wingman.

An ace Me110 pilot gave us a lot of trouble over the target area. Walked hits all over the fuselage, knocking out the ball turret, wounding the tail gunner, and giving us a scare in the pilot compartment with shrapnel zinging around. Sgt. Harshmann was stuck in a non-functioning ball turret for the rest of the flight. I said a silent prayer to keep the landing gear safe and functional. I'm sure Sgt. Harshmann did too. The Ace 110 came around again and bounced more shrapnel around the pilot compartment. He came so close that I ducked down during his second pass. Good thing too, because a bullet cracked the windshield right about eye level. Luckily Sgt. Havener in the top turret nailed him when he came around for a third pass.

Moderate flack over the target, no damage to us. Our replacement bombadier had a steady eye and put the bombs in the pickel barrel. Can't ask for more than that. We were jumped by four 190's during the turn to head back. Sargeants Junkins and Havener damaged two of them and scared them into missing. Their two friends also shot wide and high.

No more action for us until zone 4. Sgt. Havener damaged a 109. A lucky 109 pilot hit us in the port wing root and cracked some glass on the instrumentation. The ground crew is amazed that nothing critical was hit after seeing all of the holes in the pilot compartment. Not so lucky on his second pass. Lieutenant Stenzel must have gotten him right in the engine because that 109 exploded like a firecracker. Nice to have a navigator who is also a pretty good shot.

No further action inbound. Good landing.

1st Lt. Lester Husby
151st BS, 281st BG(H)
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2012, 09:25:00 PM »

After Action Report

Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America (3)
151st Squadron
Mission: 85
Date: August 19, 1943
Target:  Gilze-Rijen, Holland. A/D
Position: High Squadron, middle

Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby (3)
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr (3)
Bombardier 2LT Neil Gosser (2) **
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel (3) **
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener (3) ***
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney (3)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann (3) **
Port Waist Sgt. Clyde Everton (3)
Starboard Waist Sgt.Max Junkins (2)
Tail Gunner Sgt. Tim Shoulders (3) Serious Wound, long-term recovery, no more missions

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 1/2/5

Bomb Run: on target, 0%

B-17 Status:
superficial damage to bomb bay, port wing
tail gunner suit heater out

replacement: Sgt. Dave Welk, tail gunner

Debrief:
Jumped by five 109s over the channel outbound, no little friends nearby. One of the bastards did a crazy vertical dive on us. Never seen that before. He came at us so fast no one had time to put a bead on him. Luckily he and two of his pals outright missed. The 109 on our tail got shot up by Tim and broke off. His friend at our 3 o'clock gave Tim a bad gut wound and he was out for the rest of the flight. Lieutenant Neil got revenge on the last 109 though, and nailed him as he came around for a second pass. The waist gunners pulled Tim out and tried to make him as comfortable as possible.

Curiously enemy fighter defense was light over the target. Some knucklehead in an Me110 decided to do a vertical climb on us. Made a nice fat target for Sgt, Harshmann, who notched another kill.

Clouds obscured the first pass so we had to go around. Flak still hasn't gotten our number, even with the multiple chances it had. Neil must have been a bit disoriented by the go-around because he couldn't find any target reference points at all. He dropped on what he thought was the target but missed completely.

Coming back out was a bit more hectic. Although I don't know what got into our gunners. They managed to score 3 out of 5 kills and all our probables and damaged claims coming back home. I guess they just wanted to make sure Tim got back okay.

Speaking of which, of all the luck the heater on his suit went out. Lucky hit by a Fw190 as we made the turn to go back home. I made the decision to stay in formation, figuring that the cold would help the blood clot more and stop him from bleeding out on the way home. I guess it worked. Doc says Tim will be okay in a few months. We won't see him again before our tour is out though. I hope he makes it.

1st Lt. Lester Husby
151st BS, 281st BG(H)
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"Oh yeah?" Bush replied. "50% of the people were wrong."
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 12:21:07 AM »

I should add that, at the time I submitted my AAR to the 281st bombardment group, they had 9 AARs submitted. 6 B-17s were lost, 1 aborted. Tough mission.

Update as of yesterday. Out of the four squadrons in the bombardment group, here's how many made it back:

151st - 100% survived (4/4) (including my crew! yayyyy!)
152nd - 60% survived (3/5)
153rd - 40% survived (2/5)
154th - 25% survived (1/4)

We were flying the high squadron position. So no modifiers to the die roll for enemy fighters. The poor guys in the 154th were in the low-low position, +1 to die rolls to see how many waves of enemy fighters attacked.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2012, 03:33:19 PM by raydude » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2012, 08:31:40 PM »

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America (4)
151st Squadron
Mission: 86
Date: August 24, 1943
Target:   Villcoublay, France. A/D
Position: low-low Squadron,

Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby (4)
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr (4)
Bombardier 2LT Neil Gosser (3) ** LW
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel (4) **
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener (4) #*
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney (4)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann (4) **
Port Waist Sgt. Clyde Everton (4)
Starboard Waist Sgt.Max Junkins (3)
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk (1) *

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 1/2/4

Bomb Run: on target, 40%

B-17 Status:
superficial damage to bomb bay, pilot compt, foward fuselage,  port wing
starboard waist gun inop
minor damage to tail rudder
port tailplane elevator inop

Debrief:
Two waves of fighters attacked us just as we started crossing the Channel. Our escort must have been busy helping other bombers because only one was driven off. One from the second wave, all 110s, managed to knock out the starboard waist gun. I ordered Sgt. Jenkins to continue moving and tracking inbound fighters to disguise the loss of the gun. I think they still figured it out since we encouintered more than the usual number of attacks from 3 o'clock high and low.

Sgt. Havener in the top turret did an excellent job in covering our weak spot. More on his actions at the end of his report.

Enemy fighters seem to using more vertical dive tactics, probably as an attempt to minimize defensive gunnery.  We experienced no less than 3 vertical dive attacks during the mission, one of which came from out of the sun, so no one saw him till he zoomed by. I guess the only good thing I can say about this is that the Germans still have not gotten the skill needed for these high speed attacks, as all diving attacks missed.

Lieutenant Gosser sustained minor wounds to his face and arms from shrapnel, courtesy of a head-on attack fron a 190 prior to the bomb run. Despite this he was still able to operate his bombsight and drop on target for 40% accuracy. In addition he managed to damage a 109 as it was coming around to 12 o'clock for another pass. That same 109 had just knocked out our port tailplane elevator in the first pass. For these actions of gallantry and skill while wounded I would like to reccommend the Air Medal for Lt. Gosser.

Sgt. Welk also claimed a kill prior to the bomb run, an Me109 at 6 o'clock high.

As for Sgt. Havener, he scored a probable while we were outbound over the channel, a 109 at 3 high. That was followed by a kill at 3 high over the target, a second kill on the return leg over France (again at 3 high) and the third kill inbound over the Channel at 3 level. All three kills were Me109s. Therefore I would like to recommend Sgt. Havener be awarded the Air Medal in recognition for his skill and marksmanship, conducted in defense of his plane and fellow crewmen, while covering a weakened defensive sector.

Finally I would like to commend the coordination of all the gunners in the 151st.  On no less than two occasions my crew witnessed enemy aircraft driven off by other bombers in the squadron; these were planes that clearly had us in their sights. I'm having Lt. Lohr pass the word that drinks are on me for all our 151st boys. That is, on our first leave off base.

1st Lt. Lester Husby
151st BS, 281st BG(H)
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"Oh yeah?" Bush replied. "50% of the people were wrong."
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« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2012, 08:30:43 PM »

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America (5)
151st Squadron
Mission: 87
Date: August 27, 1943
Target:   Watten, France. V-weapon sites
Position: Low Squadron,

Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby (5)
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr (5)
Bombardier 2LT Neil Gosser (4) ** LW
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel (5) ** LW
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener (5) #*
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney (5)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann (5) **
Port Waist Sgt. Clyde Everton (5) SW
Starboard Waist Sgt.Max Junkins (4) LW *
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk (2) *

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 0/1/1

Bomb Run: Jettisoned bombs, aborted due to two engines out

B-17 Status:
moderate damage to tail rudder (2hits)
minor damage to starboard wing root
port engine #1 and #2 out
control cables out
port gunner heat out
superficial damage to nose, forward fuselage, radio room, port wing
moderate damage to starboard wing
starboard wing inboard fuel tank damage (self-sealed)

replacement: Sgt. Russell Wakefield, port waist gunner

Debrief:
We thought this was going to be an easy run, just two zones out. In fact enemy fighters didn't even come near us over the Channel. Over the target our neighbor B-17's showed tight formation flying, such that only two 110s got even near us and they missed. Another attacking wave of fighters were driven off by the defensive fire from the tight formation.

Then the flak came. I guess it was just our time to get hit. Two shells hit the tail rudder and starboard wing root. Not so bad. Then two more hit near the port wing and nose. Both the bombardier and navigator suffered light wounds from the shell fragments flying through the nose compartment. Our #2 engine went out, died so fast we didn't even have a chance to feather the prop. Then Lieutenant Lohr saw fuel leaking from our starboard wing, inboard tank. We prayed real hard and fast for that tank to self-seal, and it did. I was just about to turn control over to the bombardier when the final flak shell hit the #1 engine. It coughed a few times and died. We feathered the prop but even so we knew we had to jettison the bombs and drop out of formation.

Then the fighters came at us with a vengeance. The first wave of three 190's and a 109 came at us, engines screaming. Sgt Junkins at starboard guns downed one of the butcher birds on its first pass. Another 190 shot up the radio room, damaging the control cables then came around again and walked shells right along the fuselage. He knocked out the port gunner heat unit, but luckily we were already near 10,000 feet so Sgt. Everton didn't get frostbite. Then on his third pass he stitched holes in the starboard wing. The last 190 and 109 made three separate passes each, but they just kept missing. Must have been rookies, thank god.

Another round of 190's and a 109 came at us again. One fighter hit the control cables along the waist and stitched more holes in the starboard wing. That wing was starting to look like swiss cheese. He came around again to 9 o'clock high where Sgt. Havener hit him with the top turret guns, causing him to miss and break off the attack. That's about when Sgt. Everton got hit in the chest from a 190 coming in at 1:30 High. Fragments from the shell round hit Sgt. Junkins, who was wounded but still able to render aid to Sgt. Everton and then resume manning his starboard gun.

Since we were still over the target we had to endure another round of flak just to get the hell out of there. Luckily all shell bursts missed. I guess they were still calibrated to hit the formation and the flak gunners had better targets than us.

I think we were all holding our breath until we saw the grey waters of the Channel. It was even better when we saw those Spitfires coming towards us. They drove off three of the 5 enemy fighters that were coming in for their attacks. Those three had us bracketed at our nose and tail. The other two missed on their first runs and were driven off before they could come around again.

Sgt. Everton is expected to recover in about 6 months. We will miss him and his jokes.

1st Lt. Lester Husby
151st BS, 281st BG(H)
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"Oh yeah?" Bush replied. "50% of the people were wrong."
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2012, 03:10:09 PM »

I missed the deadline for submitting an AAR for Mission 88, hence the Mission counter for 89:

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America (6)
151st Squadron
Mission: 89
Date: Sept 2, 1943
Target:   Hamm, Germany, M/Y
Position: High Squadron, Middle
Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby (6)
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr (6)
Bombardier 2LT Neil Gosser (5) ***
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel (6) **
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener (6) #**
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney (6)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann (6) ***
Port Waist Sgt. Russell Wakefield (1)
Starboard Waist Sgt.Max Junkins (5) SW,DOA *
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk (3) **

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 3/2/4

Bomb Run: Off target due to damaged bombsight, 0%

B-17 Status:
stbd wing root
pilot compartment sup damage
norden bombsight knocked out
tail sup damage
radio room sup damage
stbd tailplane root hit

replacement: Sgt. Daniel Peterson, stbd waist gunner

Debrief:
Our outbound leg was relatively quiet compared to previous missions. Our escort drove off contacts in Zone2 and it wasn't until Zone4 that we encountered enemy fighters. Then from Zone 4 to the target zone we had about zero help from the escorts. Luckily we seemed to be facing the Junior Varsity of enemy fighters because they either missed or flew right into the tracers of our ball and nose guns.

It started getting dicey once we were in the target zone, but again, not as hairy as previous missions. It wasn't until a lucky sonuvabitch in a 190 came in on our 3o'clock that I started getting worried. He walked his shells from nose to tail, knocking out the norden bombsight, poking holes in the starboard wing and tail. That's when Max, er, Sgt. Junkins got hit. He didn't cry out or anything though, just gave a loud grunt. Sgts Wakefield and Sidney tried to stabilize the bleeding as much as they could but I knew something was wrong when they stopped calling out his status on the intercom.

The bombardier couldn't do anything without the bombsight so I just told him to drop the bombs when he saw the other planes drop theirs. Of course we didn't hit the target, but at this point I wanted to stay in formation and get back out of there.

After that it was back to the Junior Varsity attacks. Even Sgt. Welk at tail guns racked up a kill when a 190 tried coming up on our tail. We started seeing some good fighter cover from zone 5 onwards. I was really appreciative in zone5 when 3 out of 5 190's were driven off. Zones 3 and 2 saw no enemy aircraft at all.

Only Sgt. Junkins death keeps me from calling it a good mission. Sgt. Wakefield tells me he died sometime after we left the the Netherlands and were back over the Channel.

1st Lt. Lester Husby
151st BS, 281st BG(H)
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"Oh yeah?" Bush replied. "50% of the people were wrong."
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2012, 02:05:56 AM »

For any still reading, the Bombing Group still bombs every week, even if individual bomber crews (like mine) can't play on a given week. Which is why we're up to Mission 92.

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America (7)
151st Squadron
Mission: 92
Date: Sept 7, 1943
Target:   Brussels, Belgium A/F
Position: Middle Squadron, Middle
Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby (7)
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr (7)
Bombardier 2LT Neil Gosser (6) **** KIA
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel (7) **
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener (7) #**
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney (7)
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann (7) ***
Port Waist Sgt. Russell Wakefield (2)
Starboard Waist Sgt.Daniel Peterson (1)
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk (4) **

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 0/0/1

Bomb Run: On target 60%

B-17 Status:
minor damage to nose

replacement: 2LT Charles Morgan Bombardier

Debrief:
Ours was a bittersweet return to flight duty. Nothing much to report on the way to the target. Flak was light, enemy opposition was light. Neil, I mean, Lieutenant Gosser, put the bombs in the pickle barrel this time. He was so proud of it too. Kept crowing about it all the way till we saw the white cliffs of Dover.

I think that's when we, and our little friends decided to let our guard down for a little bit. That was all the time that Jerry needed. We got jumped by five Fw190's. Our little friends managed to drive off the ones on our Six and Nine o' clock. Neil actually nailed the one coming in at Twelve o' clock High. And that's when the bastard at Ten-thirty level killed Neil with a 20mm round to the head. He died instantly. He was a good man, and a damned fine bombardier. He will be missed.
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2012, 02:53:20 AM »

 Bring your own!
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2012, 02:29:56 AM »

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America ( 8 )
151st Squadron
Mission: 93
Date: Sept 8/9, 1943
Target:   Boulogne, France. G/B
Position: N/A. Nighttime bomber stream
Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby ( 8 )
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr ( 8 )
Bombardier 2LT Charles Morgan ( 1 )
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel ( 8 ) **
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener ( 8 ) #**
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney ( 8 )
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann ( 8 ) ****
Port Waist Sgt. Russell Wakefield ( 3 )
Starboard Waist Sgt.Daniel Peterson ( 2 )
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk ( 5 ) **

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 0/0/1

Bomb Run: Off target 5%

B-17 Status:
landing gear inoperable (-3 to landing)
rudder hit
tail superficial damage

Debrief:
RAF Bomber Command had helped us out recently by lending us some of their crews to fill out our bomber squadrons. Bomber Command had called on our bomber group to return the favor by participating in a nighttime bomb raid. It was a short raid, to Boulogne on the coast of France to silence some long range heavy guns.

We saw no enemy fighters (codename Tame Boars) on the way to the target. We saw searchlights criss-crossing the sky, trying to find a bomber to hit. Karl, our ball turret gunner called out in shock as the glare from the searchlight hit the Maid's belly. "I think they found us" he yelled on the intercom. I alerted Sgt. Welk to be alert for any Wild Boar fighters on our tail, now that we were lit up like a Christmas Tree. Flak also increased as it seemed all the guns decided to turn on us.

We got hit by three shell bursts. One lucky hit took out the landing gear and we suffered some damage to the tail rudder. Then a Wild Boar snuck up on our tail and started his attack. Luckily our luck held and none of his bullets even touched the Maid. He peeled off and dove under us, trading altitude for speed. Then he came around underneath and tried a vertical climb to get in range. Sgt. Harshmann squeezed off a nice burst and got Herr Rookie right in the canopy. Solid kill.

I wish I could say good things about our bomb run, but Lt. Morgan is fresh from the States and this was his first bomb run. Off target with only 5% accuracy. Flak completely missed us as we headed out of the target area and turned home. Sam and I actually managed to land the aircraft with no further damage to the plane or crew. Despite our light damage I can say with all honesty that I hope to never do another night raid. The Brits can keep the night. I'll take my chances with the light of day.

Lt. Lester Husby
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2012, 07:53:54 PM »

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America ( 9 )
151st Squadron
Mission: 94
Date: Sept 10, 1943
Target:   Dovai, France. A/D (Vitry-En-Artois Airdrome)
Position: middle, low squadron
Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby ( 9 )
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr ( 9 )
Bombardier 2LT Charles Morgan ( 2 )
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel ( 9 ) ***
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener ( 9 ) #**
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney ( 9 )
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann ( 9 ) ****
Port Waist Sgt. Russell Wakefield ( 4 )
Starboard Waist Sgt.Daniel Peterson ( 3 )
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk ( 6 ) **

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 0/1/1

Bomb Run: On target 30%

B-17 Status:
moderate damage to pilot compartment
 
Debrief:
This is the first mission that I can safely say is a milk run. No enemy aircraft approached our position from the start of the mission through the bombing run. Interestingly enough it was over the target area that bombers in our vicinity started drifting apart, resulting in a fairly loose formation. Flak was light, and our new bombardier was able to see better in the daylight, as opposed to last mission. Estimate 30% of bombs landed in the target area.

The loose formation allowed for more enemy fighter activity as we made the turn for England. Still, enemy fighter cover was relatively light over the target. Of four Me109s that attacked us one was driven off by our little friends. Another went down in flames after Lt. Stenzel gave him a good burst with the starboard cheek guns. An Me109 did manage to get through and strafe the heck out of the cockpit. Its a miracle nothing vital got hit, including Lt. Lohr and myself.  He came around again to our 3 o'clock where Sgt. Peterson gave him a good burst, forcing him to break off the attack. Unfortunately no one else could confirm whether the enemy fighter was destroyed, so he is still scoreless in confirmed kills.

Ironically our loose formation seemed to help the other B-17s drive fighters away from our aircraft. Fritz made one last attempt over zone 2 with two Me109s, but the little friends arrived to drive them off. All the boys are back safe and sound.

Lt. Lester Husby
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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2012, 08:47:39 PM »

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America ( 10 )
151st Squadron
Mission: 95
Date: Sept 15, 1943
Target:   Romilly Sur-Seine, France. A/D
Position: middle, low squadron
Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby ( 10 )
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr ( 10 )
Bombardier 2LT Charles Morgan ( 3 ) SW
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel ( 10 ) ***
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener ( 10 ) #**
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney ( 10 )
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann ( 10 ) #
Port Waist Sgt. Russell Wakefield ( 5 )
Starboard Waist Sgt.Daniel Peterson ( 4 )
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk ( 7 ) ** LW x 2

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 0/0/1

Bomb Run: Off target 0%

B-17 Status:
top turret inoperable
bomb bay superficial damage
waist superficial damage
starboard wing, superficial damage
 
replacement:2LT Douglas Nark, bombardier

Debrief:
If there's anything this war has shown me, its how things can change so much from the efforts of one man. For Fritz it was the lucky SOB who dove on us and raked our fuselage. And for us it was the efforts of Sgt. Havener. But let me start from the beginning.

Enemy contact was light on the way to the target. In fact, we had just one, as we passed over Le Bourget. An overeager pilot in an Me110 came at us from below in a perfect vertical climb. It was almost like he was standing still, which let Sgt. Harshmann pour hot lead right into the engine. He exploded in a bright fireball, giving Hashmann his ace status.

It wasn't until we were approaching Romilly that this lucky SOB came at us. He was approaching our formation, about 5000 feet above us, then rolled inverted and went into a vertical dive, headed straight for our bomber. It was so fast our fighter cover couldn't do anything about it. Nor could Sgt. Sidney or Sgt. Havener, in the radio room and top turret guns. He walked his shells from nose to tail, hitting Lt. Morgan in the leg, knocking out the top turret guns, nicking Sgt. Sidney in the right arm, and Sgt. Welk in the left arm. He came at us again on our 12 o'clock but missed. Never saw him again.

Sgt. Havener took the opportunity to get the first aid kit and attend to our wounded, since the top turret guns were out. Lt. Morgan was first, since he was the only one seriously wounded, requiring a tourniquet to keep from bleeding out. Meanwhile we went on our bomb run as the navigator, Lt. Stenzel, took over the bombardier station. He didn't know the first thing about using the bombsight but I told him to just open the bomb bay doors and drop when I told him to drop. I was going to take our cue from the bomber ahead of us.

And the flak came. Superficial damage to the starboard wing, but Sgt. Welk got hit again, this time in the left leg. He was wailing something fiece, but Sgt. Havener told him he was going to be fine. I couldn't tell at the time, but his efforts led to Sgt. Welk only suffering from slight loss of blood from his two light wounds.

Obviously our bomb run was off target. But still, we managed to dodge all the flak on our turn home. The three Me190s who wanted to see us off were shooed away by little friends. After that it was back to almost no enemy contact all the way home, either from not having any contact at all, or fighters being driven away by our fellow bombers. All our wounded will recover, thanks to the efforts of Sgt. Havener. Unfortunately the base doctor tells me Lt. Morgan will lose his leg, and thus not be flight capable at all. But at least he gets to go home.

Lt. Lester Husby
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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2012, 06:20:35 PM »

A summary of mission 95 was put up on boardgamegeek and it was pretty sobering. Of 17 bombers dispatched, 5 were lost, 1 was damaged so badly it will never fly again. Two had to abort on the way to the target. Our aircraft losses equal 35% of the squadron. Fifty men KIA, 8 in the hospital with serious wounds, 18 with light wounds, 9 missing in action.

Of the aircraft lost, first one to go down was the one at the tail end of the low-low position. She was blown up by an Me109 whose shells cooked off the bombs in the bomb bay. Two were shot down by flak over the target. One with a direct hit in the port wing, and the other a direct hit in the starboard wing. The fourth went down after completing the bomb run - crew bailed out over France. The last crashed on landing with a poor soul stuck in the ball turret because it was jammed.

Our squadron claimed 29 fighters destroyed, 20 probables, and 13 damaged. 20% of bombs were dropped within 1000 ft of the target.

With so many aircraft and men lost the 281st bombardment group is to stand down for 5 days as new aircraft and replacement crews come in from stateside.
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2012, 08:53:46 PM »

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Lester Husby
B-17: Maid'n America ( 11 and final)
151st Squadron
Mission: 96
Date: Sept 16, 1943
Target:   Montlucon France
Position: middle, middle squadron
Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Lester Husby ( 11 ) KIA
Copilot 2LT Sam Lohr ( 11 ) CAPTURED
Bombardier 2LT Charles Morgan ( 4 ) LW CAPTURED
Navigator 2LT Tim Stenzel ( 11 ) *** CAPTURED
Engineer Sgt. Wesley Havener ( 11 ) #** CAPTURED
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney ( 11 ) RESCUED
Ball Gunner Sgt. Karl Harshmann ( 11 ) # CAPTURED
Port Waist Sgt. Russell Wakefield ( 6 ) RESCUED
Starboard Waist Sgt.Daniel Peterson ( 5 ) CAPTURED
Tail Gunner Sgt. Dave Welk ( 7 ) ** CAPTURED

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 1/5/1

Bomb Run: Aborted due to inoperable bomb bay doors

B-17 Status:
bomb bay doors inoperable
starboard wing aileron inoperable
tail gunner oxygen supply out
port wing root
starboard wing root
bomb bay fuel tank hit over Zone 4, causing fuel fire in bomb bay
 -piloted into ground by 1LT Husby
 
replacement: TBD

Debrief:
<Transcribed from oral debriefing supplied by Sgt. Greg Sidney>
This was a FUBAR mission from the get-go. Sir. I knew that having a fuel tank in the bomb bay was just asking for trouble. Why they couldn't have stood down the crews in the 'F' models I'll never know, but I do know that if it weren't for that fuel tank the Lieutenant would be here giving the briefing instead of me. (light sniffle) I think for damn sure we all would have made it back. If not for that damn fuel tank.

We were attacked by three FW190s right out over the Channel. Its like Fritz was saving his Varsity team for this one day. Luckily those all got chased off by little friends. Contact was not too bad until we got around the Meulans area. This lucky dumsonuvabitch in an Me110 comes up low on our 6 o'clock and nails us right on the bomb bay door mechanism. Its all jammed up. Can't open, not even manually. So the Lieutenant officially declares an abort and turns us around for home.

You'd think we'd all breathe a little easier but no, we can't. Cause our bay is still filled with three 1000 pound bombs and a big fuel tank that's still pretty full of gas.

Fritz hit us with everything he had once we got close to the Rouen. Its like he wasn't going to let us go. Not this time. Five 190's and a lone 109 hit us hard. Our little friends weren't too friendly this time around, only chasing off one of the German fighters. We managed to get one of the initial attackers at 9 o'clock high to break off the attack. Then another as he was coming around to 3 high on his second attack. A third 190 was heavily damaged on his third successive attack but he kept coming in and gave us a scare with several shell hits. Luckily none of them hit anything important.

It was the third 190, who missed his first attack, then his second, that did us in on his third. When his shell hit it sounded kinda like "plunk", like a rock hitting the water, you know? Then I saw the flames start coming out of the bomb bay and I knew we had to bail out. I kept count of everyone as they bailed out and kept calling for the Lieutenant on the intercom. Lt. Lohr came back and said that Lt. Husby was going to stay. He said he was going to stay and fly the plane straight and level to make sure everyone else got out.

Well he did. We all got out. And everyone except me and port wast gunner Sgt. Wakefield got captured. Sir.
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2012, 08:57:25 PM »

 tear
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« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2012, 06:42:46 PM »

After Action Report
Pilot: 1st Lt. Allan Brannigan
B-17G: Polka Dotty ( 1 )
151st Squadron
Mission: 99
Date: Sept 22, 1943
Target:  Hannover, Germany
Position: N/A, night operations
Crew Status:
Pilot 1LT Allan Brannigan ( 1 ) Bailout, captured
Copilot 2LT Kurt Parkey ( 1 ) bailout, captured
Bombardier 2LT Cody Wengerd ( 1 )  bailout, captured
Navigator 2LT Johnny Patel ( 1 ) KIA
Engineer Sgt. Gregory Trent ( 1 ) bailout, captured
Radio Op Sgt. Greg Sidney ( 12 ) bailout, captured
Ball Gunner Sgt. Justin Martineau ( 1 ) KIA
Port Waist Sgt. Russell Wakefield ( 7 ) bailout, captured
Starboard Waist Sgt.Jeff Durrett ( 1 ) bailout, captured
Tail Gunner Sgt. Kevin Looper ( 1 ) bailout, captured

* = 1 kill
# = 5 kills

Fighters Claimed this mission (Dmg/Prob/Kill): 0/0/0

B-17 Status:
lost over target zone
 
Debrief compiled from various eyewitness accounts:
Polka Dotty reported as having a good run to target, no enemy fighter interceptions.
A searchlight found and fixed on bomber during target run. Bomber reported to be trailing a plume of fire on her right wing. Most likely due to a flak hit on the inner starboard fuel tank. Eight chutes reported exiting the craft. No word on which of the crew survived. Due to the location of the target all hands presumed killed or captured.
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