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Subject: Angel Among the Clouds – Mission #3 rss

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Mike Spoto
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Omaha
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At a famous Air Force base in the Midwest, there sits a silent guardian near one of the gates. She has faithfully stood watch there for as long as I can remember. Built from the wreckage of two B-17’s, she has never flown as she is. But her heart, her very soul, has been through the fire that was World War II. The fire returned her remnants to the earth that gave her birth. The reverence of good men returned those remnants to what they once were. It is time for her to fly among the clouds once more…

Angel Among the Clouds – Mission #3

The first thing I felt was the light. It was warm, like a summer day back home. My world slowly went from darkness to a warm red haze. I opened my eyes and was blinded by the radiance around me. I could just make out a figure as it slowly glided towards me from the edge of the brilliance.

“You’re no Angel,” I said to Joe as I blinked the morning sunlight streaming in the hospital window out of my watering eyes.

“Are you sure about that?” Joe asked with a smile.

“Yep,” I said, “my Angel has long blonde curls, no five o’clock shadow, and looks a lot better in a white robe than you do. So what’d I miss while I was away?”

“Well, let’s see,” Joe said. “First the 110 came back and shot up the Nose. Lee and J.D. both got hit, but nothing serious. Then Ben and I got you tucked away for the trip home. We didn’t run into any more trouble until we got ready to land. The starboard gear was dead, so we had to belly-land her. Thank the Lord Glen’s turret was still working.”

“How’s Homesick?” I asked.

“Well, the ball turret’s shot of course,” Joe explained. “The props need replaced, the starboard landing gear and aileron need replaced, the tail root needs repaired, the rudder needs repaired, and there’s a few hundred holes to patch up. Then there’s the paint job to be done.”

“Will she live doctor?” I asked.

“Yah,” said Joe, “but she won’t enjoy it. We’re batting .500 Capin, fully half the crew is up for the Purple Heart. Chief says it’ll be a few days getting Angel put back together again, but that works out since the Doc says it’ll be a few days ‘till you’re together again too”

“I’ll talk to the Colonel when he drops by and see if I can get the guys some time off,” I said. “Have them do some gunnery practice in the mean time. I’m tired of always being on the wrong end of the bullets.”

“You and me both, Sir,” Joe laughed.

I saw the rabbit’s foot Joe had given me sitting on the bed stand. “It’s still here,” I said. “I though those things disappeared once they were used.”

Joe looked at the bed stand and said, “I guess you were just naturally lucky. We’ll be needing it later I’m sure.”

I yawned very loudly just then, so Joe said his goodbyes and left. My eyelids were already drooping as I watched Joe walk away. Soon the red haze surrounded me again. And then the darkness came once more.



The Colonel dropped by for a visit the next morning. He agreed that my crew should get a break, but it meant we wouldn’t get a leave after our 5th mission. I said we could live with that.

“Is there anything I can do for you, Mike?” the Colonel asked.

“Yes Sir,” I replied. “You know that specialty shop in London you told me about?” He nodded. “I’d like you to place an order for me…”



Joe stood in front of the mirror adjusting his best uniform. The Captain had gotten the crew a leave as promised, and he’d now have to watch over the men while they were in town for the evening. The crew had been working hard on the gunnery drills he’d made them do. They were ready for some serious R&R, and that was exactly why Joe was worried. Satisfied with his appearance, he quickly headed to the motor pool to join the guys as they waited for the supply truck to leave for town. The men grew more boisterous as they waited.

“All right guys, listen up!” Joe barked. Everyone stopped talking and looked at him. “The Capin told me to keep you mooks outta trouble, so we’re all gonna keep together. We’re all gonna watch each other’s back. We’re all gonna have a good time, and then we’re all gonna come back on the truck. Got it?!”

“Yes Sir!” shouted the men.

“Good,” Joe said. “I promised the Capin we wouldn’t embarrass him tonight. Any man who does will answer to me. Then the Capin can have what’s left. Got it?!”

“Sir, Yes Sir!!” shouted the men. The supply truck pulled up just then, and everyone piled in.



The truck dropped them at the edge of town. The driver told them to meet him back there at midnight, or they’d have to walk home. Joe led the men into the town. It wasn’t very big, but several near-by bases kept the local businesses supplied with a constant stream of customers. As the group turned a corner, they ran into a pair of “ladies” standing in front of a dubious looking establishment. The words “OFF LIMITS” had been painted on the side of the building, and could just be read through a layer of grime.

“Ay there love,” said the heavily painted red head. “Out for a little bird hunting?” she asked as she batted her eyelashes at Joe.

“Umm, please excuse us miss,” Joe said. “We’re late for an appointment.”

“What about you, then?” asked the brunet. “You look like the huntin’ type ta me.” She cooed to a blushing Tom.

“He’s busy too,” said Joe.

“O’re you?” she spat at Joe, “his bleedin’ mother?”

“Oh, he’s a mother all right,” said the red head. “I recognize ‘is type. Bloody do-gooder!”

“Let’s go guys,” Joe said. “We have someplace to be.”

As the crew walked away, the brunet called, “Come back when you’ve grown up a bit boys! We can help you cut those apron strings!!” The pair could be heard laughing as the crew headed deeper into town.



Joe had never felt so relieved to be in a bar in his life. The Colonel had recommended The Faithful Hound as a “safe” Pub to spend the evening at. Some of the locals had given them unfriendly looks on the way here. Once inside the Hound, the service was friendly and the large hearth added a homey cheer to the place. The beer was good, once you got used to it being warm.

The door opened, and in walked a group of young women in R.A.F. uniforms. They looked at the men, and after a moment took a table on far side of the Pub from them. Joe could see the men were already getting ideas.

“Remember what the Colonel said,” Joe told them quietly. “Let them make the first move. Otherwise we leave them alone. Got it?!”

A disappointed “Yes Sir” was muttered around the table.


A few more rounds later, one of the R.A.F. girls came over to their table. “Excuse me,” she said, “are you fellows from the 8th?”

“Yes mam,” said J.D. “We’re a 17 crew.”

“Oh good,” she said. “My name is Margaret. The girls and I work at the air defense center. Tonight is my sister Liz’s birthday, and she’s been wanting to meet one of the men we’ve been helping watch over.”

“I’d like to meet her,” said Ben.

“Well, she is my sister,” Margaret said, “So it needs to be someone special. I’m sure you’ve all been through some tough scrapes up there. Which of you is the bravest?”

Everyone looked at each other for a moment. “Glen!” everyone replied in unison.

“Which one of you is Glen?” she asked.

“That’d be me, miss,” Glen said as he stood up and reached up to offered her his hand.

“I don’t mean to be rude,” she replied as she took Glen’s hand and shook it, “But you don’t look, ahhh, as fierce as the rest of these fellows. What makes you the bravest?”

“I’m the ball turret gunner,” Glen said.

“Well then,” she said, “That’s good enough for me!” And with that, she walked Glen over to their table.



Joe was herding the rest of the crew back through town. Some of the men had to work to keep it on the sidewalk. Glen was beaming. Someone would have to tell him to clean off all that lipstick when he got back to the base. Joe was just glad nothing bad had happened. As they turned a corner, they came upon a group of locals heading the other way.

“You Yanks think you’re pretty tough, don’t yah?” slurred one man. “Flashin’ your cash, poachin’ our birds, stealin’ our Pubs!”

The crew clustered around Joe and Glen. They were almost all a lot bigger than the locals, and they had had enough grief for one night.

“Ere now Henry. Let’s not bite off more than we can chew,” said another of the locals. “Pardon ‘im gentlemen, ‘s been a tough week.“ And with that, he pulled Henry along and they walked on by.

Joe let out the breath he’d been holding. “Next time the Capin can baby-sit his own crew,” he said to himself. “At least I can look him in the eye at the next Rook game and tell him the men behaved themselves.”



I sat alone, watching the sunrise over the fields of England. I was still a little stiff, but I was good enough to fly. When I saw Joe coming towards me, I stood up and stretched. It was time for another briefing. I had mixed feelings when I heard we were going back to the aircraft factory near Meanlte in France. I suppose it at least gave us a chance to make up for missing it the last time.

The crew was ready when we arrived. Lee seemed determined not to repeat his last performance when he heard we were going back. “May our Angel watch over us,” I said. We fired up, and were soon winging our way towards France for the third time.

We met up with a light escort and headed out over the channel. The crew checked their intercoms and settled into what was becoming routine. When we saw our escorts peel off, we knew they were coming.

“190 at 10:30 high!” called Ben from the top turret.

“I’ve got him too!” added J.D. from the nose.

“I’ll get him on the way by!” said John from the tail.

Streams of tracers passed back and forth high above the blue waters. One flashed across the top of Homesick Angel. Ben cried out, “Damn it, they nicked me again! That really hurts this time!”

“I hit him!” cried John. “He’s running. Looks like it’s over.”



Our escorts settled back in place. It was quiet until we reached the French coast, then the Luftwaffe came calling again. This time our little friends didn’t let any through. As we neared the city, the flak made its presence known. They weren’t as close to us this time, so we didn’t get the un-nerving tin roof sounds. As I lined us up behind the leader, I told Lee to get his fixes and take over the run. We all held our breath waiting to see if Lee could do it this time.

“I’ve got the target. The line looks good. Bombs away!” The seconds ticked by. “Looks like a hit!” shouted Lee. “I’d say about 30%.”

We all cheered. “Let’s go home,” I said.



They hit us again on the way out. Our escorts drove off the first wave. The second one got through.

“190 at 10:30 high!” shouted Ben from the top turret.

“I’m on him,” said James form the port waist gun.

“190 at 3:00!” called Glen from the ball turret.

“I see him too,” said Craig from the starboard waist gun.

Bullets filled the skies. The wolves’ fangs tore at us. That bad feeling was back. I knew things were going to get worse.

“Dang Capin!” exclaimed Tom, “They just got the radio.”

Then Angel shuddered as more rounds pounded her. Pained screams came over the intercom. “Capin, this is J.D. Lee took a bad hit in the hand. They got me bad in the leg too!”

“One’s coming back at 3:00!” warned Craig. “Turrets get on him!”

“He’s clear, looks like he’s running,” said Glen.

“More inbounds!” shouted Ben. “Wait, our escorts are bouncing them! We’re clear!”

“Tom, “ I ordered, “Get down below and help out Lee and J.D. Everybody else keep your eyes wide open.”

A good while later, Tom called to say Lee was in the radio room. “His hand’s pretty bad. I’ve wrapped it up as best I could. J.D.’s having a hard time staying awake. I’m gonna stay with him in the nose till we get home.”

“OK Tom,” I said, “Keep him awake. I’ll get us home as quick as I can.”



The weather started closing in as we hit the coast. By the time we neared the field, it was a pretty nasty storm. Joe and I had to fight some bad cross winds and heavy rain to bring it in. The men piled out into the downpour and quickly helped Lee and J.D. into the waiting ambulance.

We stood there for a moment squinting into the blowing wind, watching the ambulance take our friends away. Then lightning flashed quickly followed by booming thunder. We all ran for the cover of the mess hall. There would be warm coffee, and food waiting. I told Joe to see to the men and headed for the hospital. It was going to be a long night.






TALES of TRIVIA

The current crew of the Homesick Angel:

Bombardier: Lee Brimmicombe-Wood – Designer of The Burning Blue
Navigator: J. D. Webster – Designer of Whistling Death
Pilot: Mike Spoto – A real Iowa Farm Boy
Co-Pilot: Joe Steadman – Podcast Superstar
Engineer: Ben Knight – Designer of London’s Burning
Radio Operator: Tom Vasel – Podcast Superstar
Ball Gunner: Glen Frank – Designer of B-17 Queen of the Skies
Port Waist Gunner: James Dunnigan – Designer of Panzer Blitz
Starboard Waist Gunner: S. Craig Taylor – Designer of Air Force
Tail Gunner: John Hill – Designer of Squad Leader
 
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Joe Steadman
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Another good report... I'd like a small paragraph in game terms in the bottom talking about the rolls and the way the game went down without the story.
 
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Mike Spoto
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JoeSteadman wrote:
Another good report... I'd like a small paragraph in game terms in the bottom talking about the rolls and the way the game went down without the story.


Joe,

Here's a game summary from the mission record:

B-17 Formation Position: Middle

B-17 Squadron Position: N/A until mission 6+

Fighter Cover
=============
Zone: 2 3
Out: F P
Back: F G

Fighter Waves
=============
Zone: 2(-2) Out: 51 Back:
Zone: 3(0) Out: 41 Back: 51/32/43

Combat Summary
==============
Zone2(Out)Wave(51)190:10:30H: Top/Port Cheek/Port Waist(all miss)
190 hits: Tail Gun(Hits: Fighter Breaks Off)

Zone3(Out)Wave(41)109:12:00H: Fighter Cover Gets Him
Flak: Medium: Miss, Miss, Miss

Bomb Run: Weather Good: On Target: 30%

Zone3(Back)Wave(51)190:10:30H: Fighter Cover Gets Him
Wave(32)190:10:30H: Port Cheek(Fighter Continues)/Port Waist(miss)
190 misses: Tail(miss)

190:3:00: Top(miss)/Ball(Fighter Continues)/Starboard Waist(miss)
190 hits:
190 returns 3:00: Top/Ball/Starboard Waist(all miss)
190 misses

Wave(43)190:12:00H/109:1:30/109:3:00: Fighter Cover Gets All!

Hit Notes
=========
190:10:30H:SD/Pilot/Radio

190: 3:00 :Radio/Waist/Nose/Tail

Damage Notes
============
Top Turret:Engineer Hit/SD

Radio Out/SD/Bombadier & Nav Hit/SD

Landing: Weather Bad! Successful Landing
 
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Joe Steadman
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Cool, thanks.
 
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Troy Davidson
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KineticKill wrote:

Fighter Cover
=============
Zone: 2 3
Out: F P
Back: F G



I thought the rules state you have Good fighter cover for the first five missions?

Anyway, doesn't really matter. Great session reports. I hope to have some up soon that I will be doing.
 
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