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B-17 (B17) WBC 2018 Report b
Updated October 17, 2018
97 Players Paul Risner 2018 Status 2019 Status History/Laurels
  2018 Champion   Click box for details. Click box for details.


FEBUARY 20, 1944, first day of Big Week, Operation Argument, the week where the allied air forces hoped to destroy both the aircraft production and the Luftwaffe of Nazi Germany. One of the key elements needed to ensure the success of D-Day, which is less than four months away, and eventually, victory in Europe. This is the situation pilots of the 2018 BPA B-17 Tournament faced. 97 participants slogged through three missions of Big Week trying to first survive the three missions and hopefully gain wood in the process.

B-17 is an unusual tournament in several ways: it's a solitaire game using a unique scoring system developed by Dave Terry 27 years ago. People are placed in a six plane “squadron” formation where at times fellow pilots are dependent on each other to make sure that they are able to succeed in the mission. People must be able to have at least One crewmen survive the previous mission in order for the score to add up from the previous mission. A historic timeline is used in developing the missions used for the tournament. To make things interesting, only a handful of people know what the actual missions are and how “tough” it's going to be in trying to hit targets in occupied Europe and Germany.

This year, all of the missions were deep in Europe attacking the aircraft industry of the German war machine. They included:

  • Mission #1 Tutow, Poland – Airfields and aircraft industry in and around the area. (Mission #226 for the 8th Air Force 20-Feb-44)
  • Mission #2 Oschersleben, Germany – Aircraft industry (Mission #230 for the 8th Air Force 22-Feb-44)
  • Mission #3 Scheinfurt, Germany – Aircraft and Ball Bering Industry (Mission #233 for the 8th Air Force 24-Feb-44)

After a year hiatus, former B-17 GM Dave Terry was able to attend the tournament. Instead of handing out the next missions and making sure that the paperwork was done correctly, Dave for the first time was able to participate in the tournament being a squadron leader, and for those who have known movie trivia, was required to name his plane “LEPER COLONY”. He then saw why this is one of the longest tournaments in the convention.

Like Big Week, heavy casualties were logged by the squadrons for the three missions. After the smoked cleared a new record in the scoring of B-17 was attained along with the number of “Purple Hearts”, medals given to pilots who have all of their crew KIA/MIA in a mission, given out to pilots. Although a low score of 11 points for the three missions was recorded, it didn't match the record of 0 points for the three missions.

Breaking the 200 point score for the first time, Paul Risner was able to gain his 6th First Place with a score of 211.5. Coming in second was Brad Pickelsimer with a score of 199. Pete Pollard at 190, Eric Stanger at 178, and Pierre Massur at 176 were the pilots rounding out third through fifth place. B-17 is one of the few tournaments that is able to award plaques to all six places at the convention. Patrick Gallagher was able to get the coveted 6th place plaque with a score of 176. For those that want to know, David Terry wasn't even close to winning wood with a final score of 72, having all of his crew being KIA in the second mission losing continuity to the third mission.

All of the scores, wood, and medals were awarded the next day at the After Action meeting in the Foggy Bottom where, like the actual pilots in WWII, stories are told of how close they came to being shot down or how they were able to survive a particular mission. One of the reasons people fly all three missions is that a trophy is awarded to the squadron that has the “Best” and “Worst” overall score. The best squadron belonged to pilots, Bradly Pickelsimer, Pierre Massur, Marina Westfield, Tim Packwood, Derek Miller, and Devon Gallagher. While the worst, well let's just say the names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

With this year's missions in the books, next year's missions are right now being considered. For those who need a hint, it is now spring of 1944................

2018 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 1
Brad Pickelsimer Peter Pollard Eric Stranger Pierre Massar Patrick Gallagher
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
Squadrons take to the Air.
The Mafia joins the Air Force!
A young Squadron determining strategy for
the next mission
GM Mark Yoshikawa [2nd Year]  NA
 mtyoshikawa@cs.com  NA