It’s the penultimate mission in the Mid-1943 season for my “Staffel Roy” Storm Above the Reich campaign and things are actually looking pretty good.
Maybe I’m starting to figure this game out a bit?
Yeah, that’s probably it.
For those of you just finding this, Storm Above the Reich is a solo wargame, published by GMT Games, where you run a squadron of German fighter pilots trying to shoot down American bombers over Germany.
(I should probably do a review of this thing so I can just point to that, eh?)
After last week’s mission, I was at 29 VP with two missions left in the campaign. You need 30 VP to “not lose” and you need 40 to win.
How did this mission break down?
Did it end in ignoble defeat with me not even getting a point?
Spoilers! (nah, not really).
Let’s take a look because I’m not even sure I remember anymore.
(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.
Of course, the first thing is to check our wounded! See if that slacker Clausen and his sidekick, Doppler, are still goofing off. There’s also Grislawski who I’m hoping isn’t getting any ideas.
No, he’s not! Grislawski returns, though the other two are still lollygagging.
Or maybe writing a musical.
Once that’s done, it’s time to start setting up the mission.
I rolled for an Inbound mission on Map 6 so didn’t have to spend any EPs for that. Unfortunately, I only rolled 3 Operations Points so I spent the EPs for that instead. Now I have 7!
It’s been working so well in the past that I keep it going with the following line-up: Ahrens, Iffland, Knoken, Specht, Ullmann (Zilla’s new favourite greenie!) and Wurzer. To supplement that, I bring three more 110s (tempting fate, I know).
Even more importantly, no Escorts! I actually rolled that.
The bomber formation is Anchored at Nose High, so I can’t enter that box. That’s ok, though.
The sun’s actually at Tail High, which is where I like to come from.
It’s like somebody’s shining on us!
As my fighters approach, they discover that one bomber has already fallen out of formation.
I have 6 Tactical Points and 8 turns to complete the mission.
This is going to be fun.
On Turn 1, everybody comes in as usual, with my FW-190 pilots coming in 2:00 Low and the 110s coming in at Nose Low.
Here’s the entire map at a glance.
On Turn 2, the 190s move to Tail High to come out of the sun while the 110s move to Nose Level.
On Turn 3, everybody moves into their Approach boxes, and the formation with the Fallen bomber loses cohesion and becomes Loose!
That will make it easier to attack.
Since only six fighters can be in a wave, I have to split the 9 fighters into 2 waves.
For the first wave, I send Ahrens, Iffland, Knoken, Ullmann and one of the 110s after the two bombers left in the Loose element.
My guys are coming out of the sun, which may help with avoiding hits.
Both Knoken and Ahrens have the “Flyer” skill, which means that for Collision checks, I can draw two chits and choose which one I want.
That comes in handy this time, avoiding collisions at the cost of 2 TPs.
Everybody’s diving, with Ahrens and Ullmann attacking one bomber (with the 110 also attacking it) while Iffland and Knoken attack the other one. We manage to gain all three advantages and have the sun.
This could be amazing!
It doesn’t turn out that way, though it’s not too bad.
Iffland does no damage and has the sun nullify his hit.
Knoken also has a hit nullified by the sun. He ends up doing a 2-point Fuselage hit. He also uses one of the Schwarm extra hits to do a 1-point Wing hit.
Ullmann does an Engine hit on the bomber he’s attacking and uses the other Schwarm hit to do a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit.
This Schwarm didn’t really do a lot.
Ahrens gets hit but uses the Rotte advantage to nullify that. He does no damage.
The 110 is the best of the bunch, doing a 3-point Fuselage (Cockpit) hit and knocking it out of formation.
Continuing Fire is when things can get nasty. But hopefully all of the Dive Rolling will help with that.
And it does!
No hits (the 110 got hit but uses the Position advantage to nullify it.
For the 2nd Wave, Specht, Werzer and one of the 110s come in to attack the wounded bomber while the other 110 goes off by himself. Hopefully he’ll get lucky!
Sadly, Specht and Werzer do not have the Flyer skill and they end up breaking off to Tail Low (that’s what the “V” collision check chit means).
The 110 does do a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit but takes a hit himself in the Collision Check that’s called for by the card.
The other 110 goes after an unwounded bomber and does a 1-point Wing hit and runs out of ammo!
Continuing Fire is ineffectual.
On Turn 4, all of the fighters Return except for the wounded 110. His Cockpit hit knocks him out of the fight.
Both elements with wounded bombers lose cohesion. The one I’ve been attacking becomes Kaputt (-2 to the Lethal Level of all spaces in it) and the other one becomes Loose.
On Turn 5, Iffland peels off to go after the Fallen bomber (remember, I have to Pursue them in order to get any points for them)
Wurzer and Specht spend a TP to move to Tail High from Tail Low, joining their mates who have also Returned into Tail High. The 110s are still Returning. The Kaputt element tightens up, unfortunately.
On Turn 6, all fighters enter their Approach boxes again (the 110 is at 10:00 Low just so he can match up with the 190s at Tail High). The 110 with no ammo exits since he’s pretty worthless and could harm me if he gets shot down.
Miraculously, both elements lose cohesion and become Kaputt again!
I decide to attack the element with one wounded bomber rather than the one with Fallen bombers because otherwise I won’t be able to get the Schwarm advantage (which requires you to string fighters into 3 consecutive spaces).
Unfortunately, that ends up being moot because Wurzer and Knoken have to veer off due to the Collision Check!
Ahrens also has to break away to Tail because of a Collision check. Knoken needs to get that second Flyer skill! So does Ahrens.
Thus, the only advantage I have in this fight is the Position advantage (and the sun for my guys).
After all that, the 110 does a 1-point Wing hit and Ullmann does a 1-point Fuselage (Elevator) hit.
Specht then proceeds to knock his bomber down with an Engine hit! He avoids his own hit with the Position Advantage. (1 EP for Specht)
Continuing Fire is ineffective (I’ve never seen Continuing Fire this bad before).
On Turn 7, all of my fighters Return, and both Kaputt elements have a bomber fall out of formation.
That’s four Fallen bombers that are eligible to be pursued!
On Turn 8, that’s what I do. All of the fighters leave to pursue.
Here’s the final map.
The question is…do I go for it all and pursue all four bombers and risk not taking one or more out?
Or do I play it safe and swarm 2-3 of them and make sure they all go down?
Hell, why not? Let’s go for them all!
First, Iffland goes off to pursue the first bomber that fell. Pursuit is automatic because he’s only 2 spaces away from the bomber (you have to roll equal to or higher than the number of spaces between the bomber and your pursuing fighter(s) in order to successfully pursue).
It doesn’t fall to the earth due to prior damage so it has to be attacked.
The sun is at Tail High, which again is where I like to come in from.
Iffland takes a Wing hit but does a 2-point Wing hit that knocks it down! That’s 2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel and 2 EP for Iffland.
His Wing hit is superficial.
Wurzer and Specht go after the second bomber that already has two Wing hits.
And it goes down before they can engage it (2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel).
Ahrens and Ullmann go after the third bomber. Maybe Ullmann could do something to remove his Green status?
Sadly, the Wing hit it already has knocks it down before they can engage.
Finally, Knoken and the remaining Bf-110 go after the last bomber.
It doesn’t fall, so they get to engage it!
Both come in at Tail High.
Knoken does another Engine hit (that’s 2!) but it still doesn’t go down.
Finally, the 110 does a third Engine hit that knocks it down, even though he took a Wing and Rudder hit as well. (2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel)
The Wing hit knocks it out of the fight.
All that’s left to do is see how the knocked out pilots fared.
Good news: none of them are my squadron.
Bad news: if neither 110 lands safely, that’s two fewer OPs next mission.
Thankfully, only one fails to land! So that’s -1 EP for the Staffel and one fewer OP next mission.
What a mission! I couldn’t believe how things went.
The only downside is that my individual pilots really didn’t excel. Only Iffland got 2 EPs and Specht got one.
However, that is 8 VPs and 9 EPs for the Staffel, which will let me choose one of the rolls leading into my final mission of the season. Four bombers destroyed! No deaths! No wounded!
That puts me at 37 VP with one mission to go. I only need 3 to win!
Can I do it?
Will Clausen actually leave his hospital bed to join his mates? If he does, will I include him or will I keep him home so he stays out of the hospital?
Tune in next time to find out…and then we’ll head into the Late 1943 season after that.
Staffel Roy Campaign
Missions 1 & 2
Mission 4 & 5
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What a tremendous turn of events in your last two games. From “will I manage to get 30 VPs and barely survive” to “I am at 37 and maybe will manage to win!” Great!
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We’ll see how the last mission goes. It isn’t over yet!
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What an amazing mission! You’re so close to winning now.
Prediction: Clausen comes out of the hospital, shoots down the last bomber needed for campaign victory and then pretends he did all the work. Telling stories of his heroism and how Staffel Roy “entirely relies on their one ace… that’s me” to all the nurses.
Can’t wait for the Mission 16 AAR!
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Tomorrow, my review of this game is going live and then the Mission #16 AAR is going live on Wednesday. So you won’t have to wait long!
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