The 50 Mission Crush!
The skies were full as WBC sent out
the largest squadron ever in the 17-years of this event. How
appropriate for the landmark 50th mission!
Past champs Bill Burch and Paul Weintraub
head a wing (row) of B17's. Paul consructed 42 of those white
replica dice towers seen in the center of the row for this year's
Assistant GMs Mark Yoshikawa
and Mike Lam help out with the record keeping. Mike provides
replica medals as auxiliary prizes and almost everyone brings
something for the prize table.
|| New this year was the replica
control tower dice tower built by Paul Weintraub along with smaller
versions for all players. No one beats B-17 for esprit
HEADLINES FROM ENGLAND, midsummer 1943:
The 17th Annual B-17 Tournament Wrap Up:
True to last year's build-up, we had a record turnout for
the 50 Mission Crush. The largest field in B-17 history,
46 daring pilots, turned out for the climax of 17 years of tournament
planning, gaming and history!
Heading the participants were the iron-men of B-17: Paul Risner
(4-time Champion) and Keith Hunsinger (2005 champion). They are
the only players to complete all 50 missions, over the 17-year
history of the event, albeit the Reverend's record comes with
an asterisk as he phoned it in one year. Other returning Champions
were Kevin Coombs ('93 &'94) Paul Weintraub ('98) and our
most recent: Dave Long. Filling out the field were veterans and
rookies who, like the champions of past years, had come to test
their fate in the skies over occupied Europe
As in every WBC B-17 tournament, we flew three historical-based
missions. Scenario handout sheets, representing nearly a year
of research by the GM and the command staff of the Squadron (the
asst. GM's), designed loosely on Squad Leader scenario
charts were given to each flier at the start of each mission
to brief them on the game setup, target, air cover, and weather,
complete with a detailed historical synopsis to let everyone
know what really happened on that mission in WWII.
The three missions took us to the heart of Nazi Germany, delivering
tons of Army Air Force ordnance to the munitions, war materiel
and war-fighting ability of the Third Reich. This series of missions
featured our longest deployment of the war, with longer range
fighter cover (P-51's with drop tanks), and our squadrons landing
in Tunis, North Africa, after a flight across the whole of Germany!
Many brave paper men and cardboard planes went down in flames
as the ferocity of the defense of the Luftwaffe fighters and
flak cannonen took its toll. Our squadrons suffered their
heaviest losses to date, but every pilot/player did his/her best
to complete the missions.
Mission 1 took us to Schweinfurt, to bomb the
ball-bearing factories essential to fighter and tank production.
Even though it is a cliché of every war-movie you've ever
watched, the strategy, as you may recall, worked! It was a high-priority
target and well defended. Losses were heavy and many veterans
were knocked from the sky. Less than half made it to the drop-zone
able to deliver their bombs and over 120 crew members were killed
or captured. Needless to say, this was an inauspicious start
to the campaign.
Mission 2, our 50th mission as a squadron,
was a record-breaker! The bombers were directed to Regensburg
in the heart of Germany to destroy an aircraft factory. The kicker
was: we didn't have the fuel to return to England once we reached
the target zone. To survive this mission, we would have to fight
our way across Germany, over Italy (to be faced by Luftwaffe
and Italian fighters!) and all the way to North Africa and
land in Tunis. Of the 46 forts making the raid, only 33 reached
the target and again over 120 crewmen were killed or captured
in the effort. The few tired, depleted crews who made it to Tunis
earned a day off as the ground crews readied their flying fortresses
for a return trip to England.
Mission 3 saw us take to the sky with the news we were
headed to Bordeaux, and those that made it through were
to land in England. Losses were lighter on the outbound leg of
this mission, with 36 planes reaching the target. Heavy fighter
defenses took their toll on the inbound leg, with 22 planes lost,
As the stragglers of the third mission wobbled home, it became
apparent that yet again, fortune had favored a new player. After
all the scores were tabulated, the "Squadron by the Door"
(the resident squadron of Risner and Hunsinger and sometimes
Bill Rohrbeck, Champion in '03) had produced yet another Champion:
Dan had scored a rare rookie 1st place, playing in the tournament
only after hearing how much fun it was last year from friends.
I can only sum up Dan's enthusiasm during the day-long tourney
by saying: Dan had a great time (which he told us over and over),
thinks the people in the game are as much fun to play with and
against as any he has met, is a big fan of the tournament and
plans to play in B-17 from now on, for as long as we have
them! That is about as big a rave review from the leader of Dan's
World as a game and a bunch of gamers could get!
I could sum up the number of planes that flew, the bombing
percentages, the gunner's kills, the medals awarded and many
other interesting statistics, but I think that we who played
and flew and succeeded or failed already know what happened.
To us, there are more important statistics that we want you to
· We are among the oldest continuously running
tournaments at WBC, having just completed our 17th year.
· Besides Risner and Hunsinger, we have many players
who have competed 10, 12 or 15 years with us.
· The B-17 tournament keeps growing, even though
the game has been out of print for 25 years! We are one of the
few events strong enough to award a 6th place plaque!
· Rookies can and do take home 1st place
wood! Even if you don't know the system, you are welcome and
the veterans will help you through the missions. Try asking your
opponent in ASL, Puerto Rico or For the People
to help you win and see what you get.
· With every mission, you get the history of the
time (usually in an enthusiastic briefing by "Col."
Terry), and a chance to talk "air-war" with people
who read lots of books on the subject and like to discuss everything
and anything about WWII.
· We have a great wrap-up at the Officer's Club,
usually 11 pm on Friday, during which we pass out the medals,
award the plaques, take pictures, enjoy some laughs, movies and
take a prize from the prize table (no one goes home empty handed!)
· We want you to come game with us because it
As always, we owe a debt of gratitude to the "Command"
structure of the tournament. We all have a great time, enjoy
some history with our gaming and a fun wrap-up at the Officer's
Club, because of the hard work and planning from the guys listed
"Col." David Terry, Gamemaster, B-17, rules, tourney
format, herder of crazy B-17 players, plotter of 51 missions
(so far), operator of the pen and paper scoring system and Command
Pilot of "Projectile Delivery";
"Capt." Mike Lam, Assistant Gamemaster, B-17, rules,
medals and Command Pilot of "Donny Brook";
"Maj." Keith Hunsinger ('05), Assistant Gamemaster,
B-17, rules, Group Chaplain, designer of the Italian Fighter
cards and chief planner for the shuttle mission to Tunis, scoring
and Command Pilot of "Sweet Sue";
"Capt." Mark Yoshikawa, Assistant Gamemaster, B-17,
rules, electronic scoring and Command Pilot of "Kamikaze
"Maj." Paul Risner ('95, '97, '02, '06), Officer
in charge of the Officer's Club, Command Pilot of "Pretty
Baby," resident gunnery champion and author of this summary.
And of course all the other players, our friends all, who
are the supporting cast of fliers that make this such a fun experience
each year. Thanks to all and see you in 2009.
This event not only holds their attention
for eight hours to fly three missions, it also draws them back
for a midnight debriefing to hear the results.
A voluntarily stocked prize table
of appropriately themed B17 memorabilia lets everyone walk home
a winner. Unsurpassed camaraderie.