Here it is.
We’ve reached the final mission in the Mid-1943 season in the Staffel Roy campaign for Storm Above the Reich.
Yes, this is the game where you are running a German fighter squadron attempting to save the Fatherland from American bombing.
And things aren’t looking too badly!
After the last mission, we are only 3 VP away from actually winning the season! At the beginning, I was worried that we would even come close to the “not lose” VP level. And now we could win!
I think I’ve learned a few things, namely making sure the bombers are “inbound” as much as possible because that’s where the major points were.
But maybe that shouldn’t always be the case?
Maybe I’m messing things up?
I’m very capable of that.
Mission #16 is the last mission in the “1943 Mid” campaign season, and things are looking pretty good. I’m so optimistic! Three points away from winning the season.
What could go wrong?
Let’s take a look at the mission, because I don’t even remember. It’s been a while!
(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. For a rules walkthrough of everything, here’s my review!)
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.
Once again, the first thing we need to check is the status of our wounded pilots. Clausen and Doppler have been doing pretty good for themselves in the hospital.
But miracle of miracles, Clausen returns!
Doppler was heartbroken.
I guess he’ll have to run the business by himself.
Once that’s done, it’s time to set up the mission!
And here’s royal mess-up #1 (and really my only mess-up, though it caused some major problems).
We are on Map #5 again and I spend 7 EP to get us Inbound again.
WTF was I thinking? I only need 3 points! Couldn’t I spend the EP on something better and just take the “Outbound” or “Near Target” mission? Sure, each downed bomber is only worth 1 VP, but I could have used those EP to get more Operations Points and more fighters.
Nope, and I paid for that mistake.
I only had 5 Operations Points (OP) after subtracting for last mission’s Bf-110 crashing. That’s not a lot of pilots.
I could have taken 4 of mine and 3 Bf-110 auxiliary fighters again, but that didn’t seem like a good idea.
Instead, Ahrens, Clausen (he’s risen!!!), Iffland, Knoken and Specht came out against the American bombers. I didn’t want any Green penalties, so sorry Zilla. Your guy Ullmann sat this one out.
I also rolled Escorts because I couldn’t adjust the roll with my EP. Five P-38 Escort fighters that would be there for the entire mission.
Two of them went Forward and three Below Trailing.
No anchoring and no sun, so coming out of the sun to reduce hits is not an option.
One bomber was damaged ahead of time (3-point Fuselage/Cockpit hit).
Here’s where it got rough.
The mission would only last 5 turns, though I rolled 6 Tactical Points (TP).
By the time you get your fighters into position and make an attack, the mission’s half over! There’s no way you can really get two attacks in.
I was really tempted to fudge this roll, but I kept my integrity and did not.
This was going to take some skill and luck.
On Turn 1, all my fighters came in at 2:00 Low to enable them to move to the Tail position.
One Escort moved to Nose Level, which was never going to be a problem.
On Turn 2, the fighters moved to Tail High to get ready for their approach. One Escort moved to Tail Low (again, not going to be a problem.
On Turn 3, all of my fighters approached. Thankfully, the bombers are in one big element so I don’t have to worry about dividing my forces at all.
The Escorts didn’t effectively move, so they’re still in the same position.
Ahrens goes after the center bomber. Specht & Knoken go after the wounded bomber while Iffland and Clausen go after another one. Both Clausen and Knoken have the “Flyer” skill, so get to choose two collision chits and choose which one they want.
Both collision checks were passed with no problems. Only two advantages since the Position advantage requires somebody coming in from a different angle and altitude. But the Schwarm is the most important thing!
Specht takes a hit but nullifies it with the Rotte advantage.
Knoken does a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit and uses the Schwarm to do a 2-point Fuselage (Turret) hit.
Ahrens knocks his bomber down with an Engine hit! (1 EP for him and for the Staffel).
Iffland knocks his down with an Engine hit too! (1 EP for him and for the Staffel) but he takes a Fuselage hit himself.
Clausen has no target to shoot at since Iffland knocked it down. I’m sure he will still take a hit and be wounded, though.
He does take a Fuselage hit, as I predicted. He does use the other Schwarm hit and does a 1-point Wing hit to the damaged bomber.
Now it’s time for Continuing Fire.
Specht takes a Wing hit but Knoken’s fine.
Ahrens is fine but gets a “Strafe” event. Sadly, both rolls are odd so nothing happens (would have been cool if that had worked!)
Clausen gets “Fall Away” so turns Evasive.
Iffland gets the “Bounced” event, which means he has an Escort to deal with!
And the Escort shoots him down. Iffland is killed!
Wow, what a horrible sequence.
On Turn 4, Ahrens & Knoken return and both hits (Clausen and Specht) are superficial, so we still have 4 fighters going.
But there are only 5 turns and we’re on Turn 4. Two bombers have fallen and I need 3 VP (each bomber, if destroyed, would net 2 VP).
One Escort leaves and the formation loosens, but there’s not enough time!
Ahrens & Knoken leave to pursue the fallen bombers. Clausen and Specht return.
Unfortunately, I need one more turn for Clausen and Specht to be able to go after the bombers, so only Ahrens and Knoken can do anything.
Here’s the final map, with a close-up of the affected bombers.
So close on the wounded bomber!
Anyway, only Ahrens and Knoken are pursuing.
Both are automatic pursues because they exited shortly after the bombers fell.
Knoken’s bomber has an Engine hit but doesn’t fall, so he has to attack it.
He does get 2 more Tactical Points because of the Engine hit.
He comes in Tail High (it seems that’s the best, though I might be wrong!)
This bomber is stubborn!
Knoken does no damage on the first pass. He’s Quick so turns Evasive and avoids a hit.
He uses 3 TP (Two plus 1 TP to move from Evasive box) to go back to Tail High for a second pass.
He does a 2nd Engine hit but the bomber stubbornly refuses to go down!
That does give him some more TP to use, though.
He returns and spends 2 more TP to go Tail High one more time.
He does a 1-point Wing hit but still doesn’t knock it down!
Is this bomber made of lead or something?
He spends 2 TP to go Tail High one more time.
He did take a 9-Engine hit, but rolled a 10 and it’s superficial!
He only has 1 TP left and comes in Tail Level (as he can’t go Tail High anymore).
A third Engine hit finally knocks the bomber down! He took a Wing hit but it’s superficial.
There’s a reason Knoken is my ace right now.
That’s 2 VP, 2 EP for Knoken and 2 EP for the Staffel.
And we’re up to Ahrens.
I need one more VP to win! But that requires Ahrens to knock his bomber from the sky.
The bomber doesn’t fall ahead of time due to the Engine hit but Ahrens does get 2 TP to use.
He comes in Tail High as is the usual thing.
And he takes a 9-Engine hit, doing no damage himself.
This hit knocks him out and the mission is over.
Yes, I managed to get 39 points (2 VP this mission) and the season requires 40 points to actually win it.
I didn’t lose it, though! Which means I get to continue.
Ahrens crashed but bailed out, so he gets an EP. Iffland was unfortunately killed, so welcome our new green pilot (who Zilla may take under his wing), Imboden!
Clausen, miraculously, managed to stay alive and unwounded, even though he didn’t do anything. Poor Doppler’s going to have to convalesce by himself.
With that “not a victory, but not a defeat” result, it’s time to go into the 1943 Late Season beginning with Mission #17!
This should be interesting because the formation maps will be totally different and it’s probably going to get a lot harder.
So come back next week and see how I began the season!
Staffel Roy Campaign