Success is not something I’m used to.
Things don’t usually go so good for me.
But this 1943 Late season of Storm Above the Reich is actually going pretty well after two missions.
This is so unlike me! Is it possible that maybe I’m just good at something?
Ok, that’s probably good advice.
Anyway, we’re on Mission #19, the third mission in the 1943 Late season and I’m already at 18 VP! I need 40 VP to “not lose” and 60 VP to actually win the season, and there are still 8 missions left.
What do I do with this bounty?
Can it last?
Why don’t we jump into the mission and find out together, since I have no idea.
That happens sometimes.
I still haven’t tried any of the new stuff like rockets or the Ju-88 Stukas (aka Bullet Magnets). (Edit – Ok, not Stukas. Thanks to Alex for the correction of my brain fart! They’re still Bullet Magnets in my heart, though)
Instead I just stuck with the sturdy and reliable IAR-80 Romanian fighters that have really been pulling their weight around here.
(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.
Doppler is still the only guy in the hospital…and he still is.
He seems to be enjoying himself too much.
Once again we have an Inbound mission without me having to spend EPs to choose.
I could get used to this!
We’re also still on Map 7.
I rolled 14 Operations points, same as Mission #18. Thus, I went for the same configuration (but some different pilots).
This time I chose the following FW-190 pilots from my own Staffel: Ahrens, Clausen (still tempting fate!), Imboden (a Zella greenie!), Knoken, Oesau, Piffer, Specht, Ullmann (another greenie, trying to get these guys some EPs to get rid of their Green penalties), Wurzer and Zick. That cost 10 OPs.
I gave 9 of them cannons (all but Wurzer) for 3 OPs and then chose two auxiliary IAR-80s for the final OP.
As for the Escort, my luck finally ran out and I rolled an Escort.
However, when you’re rich with Staffel EPs (I had 21), you can spend 7 to avoid getting an Escort again.
The bomber formation was anchored at 2:00 Low with the Sun at 10:00 High. It probably wouldn’t be a factor in this mission.
Preliminary damage was one bomber with a 2-point Wing hit and one bomber already fallen.
I had 3 Tactical Points (TPs) and the mission would go 7 turns. That would give me enough time for two runs at them (maybe).
As I did last time, everybody came in at 10:00 Low on Turn 1.
This would let my 190s move to Tail High on Turn 2 while the IAR-80s stayed where they were.
On Turn 3, all fighters went into their approach of the bomber formation.
Two waves of 6 fighters each! Five from Tail High and one from 10:00 Low for each one, giving me all the advantages as long as there was no collision.
For the first wave, all fighters were Dive-Rolling (I got lazy and didn’t put the markers on them since they were all doing the same thing…same for the blue blocks for altitude)
Piffer, Ahrens, Zick and Imboden, along with one of the IAR-80s, attacked the element with the wounded bomber. Ahrens and Zick were in the same space, so hoping to get the Schwarm advantage (giving you two extra hits). Ahrens’ Flyer ability would let me choose two collision check chits and pick one to implement.
Meanwhile, Specht went off on his lonesome and attacked a fresh bomber in the element that already had a Fallen bomber.
No collision, so I got all three advantages!
Piffer knocked his bomber out of formation with an Engine hit but took an Elevator hit himself. That’s 1 EP and 1 EP for the Staffel.
Zick did no damage to his bomber, followed through into a more dangerous space, and used Position Advantage to nullify the hit he took. Unfortunately, he also had a collision check which resulted in a Fuselage hit.
He did use one of the Schwarm hits to do a 1-point Wing hit, though.
Ahrens attacked the same bomber and knocked it out of formation with an Engine hit (1 EP, 1 EP for Ahrens) but he took two hits himself! He nullified one with the Rotte Advantage but had to live with the Wing hit.
Imboden did as greenies do (come on, Zilla, get working on these guys!) and missed completely while taking a Fuel hit.
His Green penalty makes him turn Evasive when he gets hit, but he did use the other Schwarm hit to do a 1-point Wing hit.
The IAR-80 coming from the side, however, knocked it out of formation with another Engine hit! (1 EP for the Staffel)
He also passed through to a dangerous zone, though.
Specht attacked his bomber, doing no damage and taking a Fuel hit (no advantages when attacking by yourself).
In the Continuing Fire phase, Piffer got a Friendly Fire event and rolled a 10! That adds a damage marker to the nearest bomber, which is the only one left in the element. It falls out of formation with an Engine hit (1 EP, 1 EP for Piffer, knocking 2 bombers down on the same turn).
He didn’t take any further damage himself.
Now all four bombers were out of formation.
That made things a lot easier in Continuing Fire!
Ahrens avoided getting hit.
Zick and the IAR-80 were in a 5 (!) Lethal Level zone but with four fallen bombers around them, it was reduced to a 1 Lethal Level zone.
Both avoided getting hit.
Specht took a Wing hit.
Now it was time for the second wave.
One element gone, so they went after fresh meat.
Knoken, Wurzer, Clausen and Oesau also came in Tail High while the other IAR-80 came in 10:00 Low on that fresh element.
Ullmann went after the bomber that Specht attacked.
No collision so all advantages again.
Knoken’s guns jammed but he did a 1-point Fuselage (Gunner) hit to his bomber.
Wurzer knocked his bomber out of formation with an Engine hit (a lot of Engine hits), and this got him an EP and a Staffel EP.
He nullified the hit he took with Rotte Advantage.
Clausen now had nothing to shoot at, but he took a hit himself which he nullified with Position Advantage.
Oesau did a 2-point Wing hit to his bomber but ran out of ammo!
The IAR-80 attacked the same bomber and did a 4-point Wing hit. While it was still hanging in there, if it fell out of formation and was pursued, it would go down immediately because in Pursuit, Wings can only take 5 points of damage.
Ullmann attacked his bomber and did a 2-point Fuselage hit.
It was in Continuing Fire that things got interesting.
Knoken got a “Strafe” event (expert only, which he is) and did a 4-point Wing hit on his bomber.
I decided to use the first Schwarm hit on the same bomber, and an Engine hit knocked it out of formation! That’s 1 EP and 1 EP for Knoken.
Wurzer and Knoken didn’t get hit at all.
Clausen took an Engine hit (oh no x2!)
Oesau fell away (turned evasive) and didn’t get hit.
The IAR80 would use the final Schwarm hit if it could. It fell away too, but did do an Engine hit to the bomber.
Ullmann got hit in the Wing by falling debris, turning Evasive due to his green penalty. This kept him from getting hit again.
There were a lot of hit fighters to deal with next turn.
But there were 6 bombers fallen out of formation! Sadly no kills yet, though.
On Turn 4, the unhit fighters returned from their various boxes (Wurzer, Knoken, and Oesau).
How about a list of the hit fighters?
Ullmann’s Wing hit knocked him out. Imboden’s Fuel hit knocked him out.
Clausen’s Engine hit was superficial! (he must really be enjoying his freedom…let Doppler have all of the responsibility!)
Ahrens’ Wing hit was superficial, as was Piffer’s Elevator hit.
Zick’s Fuselage hit knocked him out and Specht’s Wing hit did him in as well.
Four downed fighters! Not good.
One element loosened as well.
On Turn 5, the IAR80, Wurzer, and Knoken (with his jammed guns, but at least he had ammo!) left to pursue fallen bombers.
The other fighters returned.
One element went Kaputt.
On Turn 6, all of the fighters except Oesau left to pursue fallen bombers.
Oesau had no ammo and plus there’s a chance that the wounded bomber in the Kaputt element would fall out of formation. If everybody had left, the mission would be over and I wouldn’t be checking that.
And the bomber did fall! That’s another EP for the Staffel.
Here’s the final bomber map before I go into all of the pursuits.
That’s a lot of fallen bombers.
And here’s how the Time Track looked before I started the pursuit!
I managed to pursue all of them, so let’s go in order.
Knoken and his jammed guns went after the bomber that was going to fall as soon as a fighter jumped it. No way I wanted to test his guns.
With 8 points of Wing damage, that bomber wasn’t getting away, and it plummeted to the earth (2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel).
Ahrens went after a bomber with an Engine hit.
It didn’t go down, but Ahrens got 2 TP for his trouble, giving him a bit more flexibility. I was already using one of the 3 from the original mission.
There was no sun.
He came in Tail High and did no damage. He took a Wing hit that was superficial.
Spending 2 of his precious TP, he came in Tail High again, doing a 1-point Wing hit that didn’t knock it down.
The final TP was spent to come in Tail Level.
That probably wouldn’t be good.
He did another Engine hit but took a Fuselage hit himself. The Engine hit did not knock it down, but his Fuselage hit knocked him out of the fight. The bomber limped away.
Wurzer pursued another bomber with an Engine hit (there were a lot of them).
It didn’t fall, so he decided to come in Nose High because that’s where the sun was.
On his first pass, he did a Cockpit hit that forced it down!
That’s 2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel and 2 EP for Wurzer.
Piffer went after another bomber with an Engine hit.
It didn’t fall either (these were pretty resilient bombers).
He came in Tail High and did no damage. The Rudder hit he took was superficial.
He spent 2 TP to come in Tail High again.
Again he did no damage and the Fuel hit he took knocked him out.
The bomber got away.
Clausen went after the bomber with a 1-point Wing hit.
The Wing hit knocked it down before he could engage (2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel).
The IAR-80 pursued a bomber with an Engine, a 2-point Wing hit and a Gunner hit.
The Wing hit knocked it down before he could engage (2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel)
The other IAR-80 pursued a bomber with an Engine, a 4-point Wing hit and a Gunner hit.
It didn’t go down so he got to attack!
The sun was Tail High, so he came Tail High as well.
He did an Engine hit that didn’t knock it down and a 2-point Wing hit that did.
The sun nullified the hit he would have taken.
That’s 2 VP, 2 EP for the Staffel.
Two of the bombers got away, but five were downed so that’s not bad!
But we had a lot of knocked out pilots.
Let’s see what happened to them.
Zick Fuselage hit: Catches fire but he bails out (tough way to get your first EP of the campaign)
Ahrens Fuselage hit: Crashes…and doesn’t bail out! Oh no!
Yes, Ahrens, one of my most veteran pilots, is dead.
Zilla, please welcome greenie Adler to the Staffel.
Ullmann Wing hit: Crashes…but bails out! That’s 1 EP, which finally gives him enough to remove his Green penalty.
Specht Wing hit: Lands safely (1 EP, which gives him 5 so he spends those to get the Flyer skill in honour of Ahrens)
Imboden Fuel hit: Catches fire and is wounded, but still gets 1 EP for that. He’ll get to join Doppler Inc!
Piffer Fuel hit: Explodes!!!! However, his fellow pilots spot the parachute drifting to the ground.
In other words, he rolled a 9, so is just wounded and may also intern at Doppler Inc
(He renamed it since Clausen wasn’t showing any signs of coming back).
Let’s recap the mission.
10 VP (28 in total), 17 EP (31 in total).
We’re already almost to the “didn’t lose” total and we’re only 3 missions in!
Sadly, Ahrens paid the price.
One KIA pilot and two wounded. Still counts as a win in my book.
We have one KIA expert and also a new expert.
We have a new greenie but also a graduated greenie.
Let’s hope Adler can follow in Ahrens’ big footsteps.
Come back in a little while (hopefully next week, but I’m not sure yet) to see if that happens.
And see if maybe I hit the “didn’t lose” threshold before I get half-way through the season.
Or it could all fall apart.
Staffel Roy Campaign