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B-17: Queen of the Skies» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Unlikely Missions rss

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Mike W
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I would guess all of us have lost planes to the unlikely Flak BIP result, as well as a myriad of other unlikely events as the dice roll in B-17. I have come across several unlikely results in some of my recent missions. I thought it would be fun to share those stories.

1. "Too Much Bad Stuff"

Part 1: "Needed 3 (or More) Rabbit’s Feet" was already documented in a separate session report.

Part 2:
Sometimes the only way to describe the fate of a plane is as "Multiple Issues".
The target was the U-Boat pens at Brest. No enemy fighter activity was encountered in Zones 2, 3, or 4 Outbound. That was a good thing too, since friendly fighter cover was Poor in all zones. Two waves attacked in Zone 5 Out, including one of those hated 5x FW190 strikes. But somehow managed to get to the target zone without damage. Two more waves attacked in Zone 6 Out. Six hits were scored by a Me110 attack from 6 o’clock Low. Five of those hits were nicely superficial but the one with effect made the Bomb Bay Doors inoperable. I hate that result - it causes an Abort after you’ve already reached the target zone and puts you in a world of hurt if an engine gets knocked out.

I decided to head to the target anyway so that I could stay in formation. Unfortunately Flak was Heavy and scored 3 hits, for a total of 6 shell hits. No BIPs this time, but the Flak did give the Tail Gunner a serious wound, cause a leak in the Port Outboard Fuel Tank (5 turns),and knock out the #2 Engine. With the bombs stuck on board, that meant dropping out of formation and slowing down to 2 turns per zone. Clearly with the fuel tank leak, this plane was not making it back to England. The decision was made to ditch in Zone 5 Back rather than try to land or bail-out in France. Hopefully the crew would then get rescued.

But before then, she still needed to make it through 2 turns in Zone 6 Back and a possible attack in Zone 5 Back. Three waves attacked in Zone 6 Back. The Bombardier was seriously wounded and the Port Waist Gunner was KIA. Then the #4 Engine was hit...oil tank...self-seal! (I played that the engine was still ok. Please let me know if you think that was wrong.) One final wave needed to be faced before ditching in Zone 5 Back. More damage was scored: the Starboard Outboard Fuel Tank sprung a leak and the #1 Engine was knocked out. With 2 engines out and the bombs stuck on board, she was forced down immediately. The surviving crew was rescued.

So the fate of this plane was:
- 2 Engines Out,
- Bomb Bay Doors Inoperable (with bombs still on-board), and
- 2 Fuel Tanks Leaking
..."Multiple Issues"


2. "Short and Random"
I had a short hop to Cherbourg. But I only made it half-way there, and without a German plane or flak gun in sight. The roll for enemy fighter activity over Zone 2 Out produced 1 wave. The roll for the wave composition was 66 - Random Event! I always love getting the Random Event roll since that is the only way to secure the coveted Rabbit’s Foot.

But rather than getting that Rabbit’s Foot with the most likely result on the Random Events table, I instead rolled one of the least likely results...#2 - Engine Out. So had to jettison the bombs and turn for home.

The odds of this sequence happening:
- Wave encountered in Zone 2 Out = 33.3%
- Random Event occurring = 2.8%
- Random Event being Engine Out = 2.8%
Total Probability = 1 in 3888

Then again, maybe the Random Engine Out is not all that unlikely. I had it happen again. And not just once, but two more times! Both happened in Zone 5 Out, once to Lorient and once to Bremen.


3. "Endin’ at Emden"
Sometimes a certain city just seems to have your number. Lately for me that city has been Emden. Whenever Emden comes up on Table G-3, I sigh and assume that plane is not making it back. It has gotten so bad, that sometimes planes are lost 5 or 6 zones away from Emden.

Part 1: She took off on her 5th Mission bound for Emden in the Middle squadron. That most likely meant that little Luftwaffe activity should be expected over the North Sea on the way there. But barely off the coast of England in Zone 2, a whole 5 Me109s attacked. Poor friendly fighter cover did not help. The Tail Gunner knocked one down, and 2 of them missed. The other 2 each scored one hit, a light wound to the CoPilot and some superficial damage. On the successive attack only one hit was scored from 10:30 Level: Port Wing...Fuel Tank...Fire...Explosion! Immediate uncontrolled bail-out over water. Only the Engineer made it out of the plane alive, but he was then Lost-at-Sea.

The odds of this sequence happening:
- Wave encountered in Zone 2 Out = 16.7%,
- Wave not a "No Attackers" wave = 83.3%
- Me109 scores hit from 10:30 Level = 33.3% (ignores possible FCA/FBOA modifiers from defensive fire effects)
- Hit scored on a Wing = 33.3% (assumes only 1 shell hit)
- Hit on Fuel Tank = 11.1%
- Hit causes Fuel Tank Fire = 33.3%
- Fuel Tank Fire causes Explosion = 16.7%
Total Probability = 1 in 10,500

Part 2: This plane actually succeeded in making it to Emden, bombing the target with a 20% run, and returning to England. Along the way, 8 fighter waves were encountered. She knocked down 4 of the Luftwaffe fighters, and only suffered some nuisance damage - Starboard Wing Root hit, 2 Starboard Tail Root hits, Port Aileron out, and a Tail Oxygen hit. Once in England though, the Weather turned BAD. And the Landing Die Roll was... 2... weather modifier -2... B-17 irrepairably damaged!!!

The odds:
- Returning from a mission to Emden (or Zone 7 in general) = ~75%
- Bad Weather in England = 5.6%
-Landing Die Roll of 2 = 2.8%
Total Probability = 1 in 864


4. "St. Over"
My loss-less streak at St.Omer is over. Made it home safely from the short trip the first 12 times, but unlucky mission 13 ended with an unlikely event. The first wave encountered in Zone 2 Outbound consisted of 3 Me109s attacking from 12:00 High, 12:00 Level, and 1:30 Level. Poor friendly fighter cover did not help, and defensive fire was ineffective. Two of the Me109s scored hits, 2 superficial damage results from 1:30 Level and a single Port Wing hit from 12:00 Level. Damage location was #2 Engine...Oil Tank hit...Engine Fire...First Extinguisher ineffective... Second Extinguisher ineffective!...Immediate Bail-Out over water. Half of the crew was rescued and the other half Lost-at-Sea.

The odds of this Me109 12:00 Level Kill Shot happening:
- Wave encountered in Zone 2 Out (Target Zone) = 93.4% (from Low squadron, subtracting odds of "No Attackers" waves)
- Will ignore the odds of having an Me109 attack from 12:00 Level
- Nose Gun Does Not Kill (note - Top Turret aimed at 12:00 High) = [1 - (1/6)(1/3)] = 94.4%
- Me109 scores hit from 12:00 Level = 33.3% (ignores possible FCA/FBOA modifiers from Nose Gun defensive fire effects; decent assumption in this case)
- Hit scored on a Wing = 33.3% (assumes only 1 shell hit)
- Hit location Engine = 11.1%
- Hit on Oil Tank = 16.7%
- Hit causes Engine Fire = 33.3%
- First Extinguisher Fails = 33.3%
- Second Extinguisher Fails = 33.3%
Total Probability = 1 in 14,900

If we want to factor in the odds that this all would happen over St. Omer, with the 1 in 36 chance St. Omer comes up on table G-3, then that pushes the odds to 1 in 536,000.


5. "Long Shot"
This is the mission that inspired this thread. The target was Lorient. Despite Low Squadron position, only 1 enemy wave was encountered on the way to the target zone. And it was a single plane that missed. The first wave encountered in the target zone was 2 Me109s attacking from 1:30 High and 9:00 Level. The fighter at 9:00 Level should not have even gotten a shot off. It was facing aimed defensive fire from an Ace Engineer and an Ace Ball Gunner, as well as spray fire from the Port Waist Gunner. But it survived all that and scored the hit, a total of 3 shell hits. And then it got worse...Walking Fuselage hits.

The Nose lost the Port Cheek gun and the Tail lost the Turret. The Bomb Bay and the Radio Room escaped with superficial damage, but the Port Waist Gunner was KIA. Then came the Pilot Compartment...Instruments...Electrical System Out!...Immediate Bail-Out required.

The odds of this Me109 9:00 Level Kill Shot happening:
- Wave encountered in Target Zone = 93.4% (from Low squadron, subtracting odds of "No Attackers" waves),
- Will ignore the odds of having an Me109 attack from 9:00 Level,
- Defensive Fire prevents Me109 from firing... this will take some calculation, the possible results are:

1. Ace Engineer Kills Me109 = (3/6)(3/6) = 25%
2. Ace Ball Gunner Kills Me109 (and Engineer does not) = (3/4)(3/6)(3/6) = 18.75%
3. Neither Ace Kills, but Waist Gunner does = (3/4)(3/4)(1/6)(1/3) = 3.1%
4. Ace Engineer and Ace Ball Gunner both score FBOA damage = (3/6)(2/6)(3/6)(2/6) = 2.8%
5. Ace Engineer and Waist Gunner both score FBOA damage = (3/6)(2/6)(1/6)(2/6) = 0.9%
6. Ace Ball Gunner and Waist Gunner both score FBOA damage = (3/6)(2/6)(1/6)(2/6) = 0.9%
7. Triple Hit scoring FCA(Eng)+FCA(BG)+FBOA(WG) for a kill = (3/6)(1/6)(3/6)(1/6)(1/6)(2/6) = 0.04%
8. None of above, Waist Gunner Spray Fire causes Break-Off = (3/4)(3/4)(1-0.028)(2/6) = 18.2%
Adding all of that up gives the odds of no shot from the Me109 = 69.6%

- So odds that Me109 gets a shot off = (1-0.696) = 30.4%
- Me109 scores hit from shot = 50% (ignores possible FCA/FBOA modifiers from defensive fire effects; this is admittedly a bad assumption since achieving not a single hit from the 3 defensive guns has odds of only 20.8% = (1/2)(1/2)(5/6); so total probability will actually be worse)
- Walking Fuselage Hits scored in 3 shell hit rolls = 8.1%
- Pilot Compartment Instruments Hit = 11.1%
- Instruments Electrical System Hit = 2.8%

Total Probability = 1 in 28,100

Closing Comments
I think a lot of people really hate this game. The main complaints against B-17:QotS include limited decision-making and control over events for the player, that the game almost "plays itself" and you are just there to roll dice, and that the game is nothing but a random number generator where each specific random number is tied to something related to a B-17 and her crew.

But for me, I really enjoy seeing those random numbers come out. The way the permutations and combinations of those random numbers come together to make a mission, whether good or bad, is a lot of fun. And experiencing exceptional results like those above just add to that fun.
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Jim P
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Sterling Heights
Michigan
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But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you… And I will beat you.
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B-17: Queen of the Skies » Forums » Sessions
Re: Unlikely Missions
Great Piece!! I love the number crunching, though I haven't a clue how you come up with these number from multiple % inputs.

team_bonnie wrote:

But for me, I really enjoy seeing those random numbers come out. The way the permutations and combinations of those random numbers come together to make a mission, whether good or bad, is a lot of fun. And experiencing exceptional results like those above just add to that fun.


...But you are a sick person when you see numbers in there faces during a mission, Neo?!
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michael white
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Good read....I enjoy the unexpectedness of the game...but I never forget this is based upon reality.....and when things get tough I remember that guys actually lived it and my enjoyment it tinged with a guilt feeling. We're here 'cos they're not.
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Jason Winter
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i agree,it is a random number generator for sure. i think the only real strategy is in removal of fighters during fighter cover and picking the right one or more, hopefully, to remove lessens or changes the damage done. i also have often thought at its core the game is really about being "one lucky sob" since that's what it took to survive the 25 then later 50 missions. I do love the game though and now my 8yr old dose too
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