We’re now 5 missions into the second season of the Staffel Roy campaign of Storm Above the Reich and things are looking up!
Last week, the Staffel gained 6 Victory Points, bringing us to the point where we might actually be able to salvage this season.
We’re currently at 13 VP with 5 missions left, and we’re required to gain 30 VP to “not lose.”
Could we maybe even manage to get to 40 VP and win?
Before I continue, I thought you might be interested in seeing how much table space is used for this game, or at least my playthroughs.
As you can see, the table is not the biggest and it’s a bit tight, but it’s easily manageable as long as all of the extra stuff is off to the side somewhere (all the extra unused fighters and auxiliaries, the unused markers, that sort of thing).
Anyway, it’s time for Mission #12.
And for the first time in a while, I’m actually not afraid of what’s going to happen.
I have faith in my boys!
I post this in the briefing room so it’s the last thing they see before they hit their fighters.
They haven’t figured out that this guy is an Englishman from the future.
And as the pilots man their planes, let’s set up the situation.
(Reminder, you can always click on a picture to see it full size. Also, for the specific rules of what I’m talking about, see the Mission #1 & #2 report and the Pursuit rules are detailed in Mission #7)
Just to remind you, I am using the “Advanced Rules” for pursuing Fallen bombers, which means that I have to actually destroy a bomber to get VP. I don’t get any for just knocking the bomber out of formation.
As always, the first step in the mission is to see if the wounded folk come back! Is Grislawski succumbing to Clausen’s evil influence? Or maybe just really dig’s Clausen’s nurse’s sister?
Will the new guy, Frisch, fall under their spell?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Thankfully, Frisch did avoid it and recovers from his wounds, but the other two are gallivanting around the hospital.
I truly don’t understand them.
Anyway, the roll for mission type wasn’t Inbound, so I spent 7 EP to change it to Inbound.
We gotta get those victory points.
The roll for Operations Points isn’t as good, with only 5 (normally would be 6 but we lost an auxiliary fighter last mission which reduces that by 1).
I decide to bring Ahrens again, along with Ehrhoff (have to keep Zilla engaged!), Frisch (freshly out of the hospital and still Green), Knoken, and three Bf-110 fighters.
I keep losing one Bf-110 a mission and costing myself Operations Points, but I need quantities of fighters as well. That makes 7 fighters.
Unfortunately, the Escort roll was really bad. For the first time since I can remember, the Escort cover is Heavy (all 7 Escort markers instead of 5 randomly-chosen ones) and they will be around for the entire mission.
Thankfully, 4 of them start Forward and 3 start at Below Trailing. There’s a chance for the latter to actually leave and they’re less likely to jump your fighters directly. Instead, they will just go into boxes which a fighter may or may not be in.
The bomber formation is Anchored at 10:00 Low, so no fighters can go into that space. It can also add to the lethality of some spaces in the attacking zone.
The Sun is coming from Nose High, though. Right in the bombers’ faces!
I begin the mission with one bomber having a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit on it. Not much to start with.
On Turn 1, my pilots all come in at 10:00 Low. It’s imperative to keep 4 fighters together to get the Schwarm Advantage, which gives you extra hits. Twelve missions in, I’m finally learning!
The Bf-110s come in at Nose Low. They’re going to try coming out of the Sun to give them some advantage.
One of the Escorts moves to Tail Low (that’s not good!) while another one moves to Above Trailing (see what I said about this above…not good!)
On Turn 2, my guys all move to Tail High while the 110s move to Nose Level.
Another Escort moved to Tail Low but thankfully I didn’t get jumped.
On Turn 3, it’s time to attack! Mostly.
One of the 110s moves to Nose High while another one stays put. The third goes into attack position.
And my guys all move to attack from Tail High. It’s a Schwarm!
Before that, though, one Escort moves to the Tail High Return box (as shown in the picture above). This means that both Tail Low and Tail High are covered with bad guys!
This will be the last attack from the Tail if I can help it.
What was actually a benefit, though, is that the Element of bombers that I’m attacking actually Loosens! Basically, you count up the number of damage (and some other as well) markers in the Element. Then you roll a die and if you roll equal to or below that number, the Element loosens up.
There’s only one damage marker out there…and I rolled a 1!
That makes it less lethal for the fighters.
My guys decide to take advantage of that, all concentrating on the same Element to get maximum advantage.
Ahrens and Ehrhoff attack one bomber from the same space (to take advantage of Ahrens’ “Flyer” ability to avoid potential collisions). Frisch and Knoken take on their own bomber. All of these are coming from Tail High.
The 110 attacks Frisch’s bomber from Nose Level in Evasive Mode (to lessen the chance of it getting hit).
This will give us all three Advantages as long as nothing happens to Ahrens and Ehrhoff.
The Collision check does take advantage of Ahrens’ ability, as one of these would have been bad!
Frisch goes first (I learned my lesson last mission and will save the auxiliaries for last) and does a 2-point Wing hit to his bomber. The 110 then goes and does a 3-point Fuselage (Cockpit) hit on it but runs out of ammo.
Ahrens attacks his and does a 1-point Wing hit to it. Not much, unfortunately. Ehrhoff, however, knocks it out of the formation with an Engine hit! (1 EP for him and the Staffel)
He also did a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit on the same bomber, but those were his last bullets. He ran out of ammo too. Curses!
Knoken runs out of ammo without doing anything, unfortunately.
Remind me to fire the Staffel Quartermaster.
Frisch uses the Schwarm advantage on his bomber. These do a 2-point Wing hit and a 2-point Fuselage (Turret) hit. The bomber’s at 9 points of damage! Ten will blow it up.
Now it’s time for Continuing Fire.
So far, I’ve been lucky. None of my fighters have been hit.
Frisch has a Power Bleed so he turns to Evasive Mode and breaks away to Tail Low (remember how I said no more Tail attacks if I can help it?). This will actually become important later.
Ehrhoff and the 110 take hits that are nullified by advantages.
Knoken would normally not take a hit, but his “Slow Climb” event raises the Lethal Level of the space and that results in a Wing hit, and he has to break away to Tail Low.
On Turn 4, the remaining 110s move into attack position (Nose High and Nose Level). Ahrens and Ehrhoff return.
Frisch, being unhit, moves from the Evasive Return box to the Return box (where Knoken already is). Knoken, being hit, doesn’t move.
Thus, the Escorts at Tail Low jump them!
During the Escort phase, another one comes in!
This isn’t good at all.
Thankfully one of the Escorts at Below Trailing actually exited so there are fewer around.
Now the Aerial combat starts.
Knoken exits, but Frisch is killed! (oh no, Zilla!)
Since this is the second “F” pilot to die, there are no more replacements for him.
Knoken exits, but he was hit so I have to roll for that immediately. Sadly, the Wing hit knocks him out rather than exiting cleanly.
With all of those damage, Fallen, and Collision markers, the Element loosens even further and becomes Kaputt (That’s -2 to the Lethal Level of spaces in it).
The two attacking 110s come at the badly wounded bomber. Something is going to knock it down if I can help it.
To get Rotte advantage, they have to come in Determined Mode (more dangerous to them.
The first attack…guns jam! That’s not as bad as “No Ammo” (at least there’s a chance for him to do damage in the future). The second one…No Ammo! But the 1-point Fuselage hit finally sends it down in flames.
That was closer than it should been. Two VPs and two EPs for the Staffel.
Both of the 110s took hits but one was nullified by the Sun and the other by the Rotte Advantage.
They also didn’t take any damage in Continuing Fire.
On Turn 5, Ahrens and Ehrhoff (without ammo) approach from Nose High. While Ehrhoff can’t do any damage (and can get hit) without ammo, he can contribute to a Rotte Advantage so he’s coming along for the ride.
Some Escorts are jockeying for position but aren’t endangering my guys any.
The Element tightens up before they get there, which unfortunately makes it a little tougher.
Thankfully there was no collision as Ahrens’ Flyer ability has already been used (only once per mission per skill, though I’ve since discovered you can gain the skill more than once!)
Ahrens does a 2-point Fuselage hit and both avoid damage, both in this phase and Continuing Fire.
On Turn 6, all three 110s leave to chase down the Fallen bomber. Two of them have no ammo and one has jammed guns, but they’re after it!
On Turn 7, Ahrens and Ehrhoff do the same.
This is the situation in the formation after they all have left.
And you can see another reason to leave…both Tail and Nose positions are untenable.
In the Pursuit Phase, you have to roll separately for each fighter group to intercept the fallen bomber.
The three 110s fail to pursue.
Probably for the best, with hardly any bullets left.
Ahrens and Ehrhoff do succeed, however.
With the Pursuit map set up, it’s determined that the crew bailed out due to the Engine hit.
Two more VP and Staffel EP! Though the pilots don’t earn any EP since they didn’t actually cause it to go down.
Now it’s time for the aftermath, where we determine what happens to my downed pilots.
Knoken manages to land from his Wing hit, nursing the machine down to the ground. He gets an EP for that, giving him 5 which he quickly exchanges for the Quick skill (allowing him to change mode immediately).
Frisch unfortunately died, which means we now have two letters I can’t use (F and R) and we’re down to 16 pilots.
While 4 VPs aren’t bad, and they are above the average I need to “not lose”, I had been hoping for better.
Still, I didn’t lose any auxiliaries! So my Operations Points will be normal next mission.
Which I will be very thankful for.
We are at a total of 17 VPs with four missions left. If I can get 13 points in those 4 missions, we get to continue!
Can we do it?
Wild Bill thinks we can! (Yes, I know, wrong nationality again, but I don’t care).
Stay tuned to next week’s edition of the Staffel Roy campaign to see if we can!
By the way, can you name the movie?