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

Subject: Flight Four- Abbeville rss

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Phil Davies
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Shrewsbury
Shropshire
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Dear Mom,

I’m almost sad to say that that life here pretty much carries on as normal. I’ll admit that following Charlie’s death I expected some recognition of the fact, but following the quiet night at the mess things were back to normal next day. In fact I came across Benny and Gonny returning from a night out on the town that very evening and when I challenged Gonny about his lack of respect he replied:
‘S_____ you Chalky! Did you think the guy who was Port Gunner before you just retired? You need to open your eyes.’
'J______ Gonny. You can't even remember his name can you?' I said and walked away before things turned nastier.

The next morning Mac introduced us to our new Tail Gunner. A morose guy by the name of Bill Williams, ‘So good they named ya twice!’ Gonny said. Bill’s look told of a man who’s heard this comment many times before. Following brief introductions and handshakes Mac then introduced our next target, an airfield near the French town of Abbeville.

We all ran across the runway and I noticed Bill wince at the usual welcoming scream from Jennie’s second engine something he was going to have to get used to. We climbed aboard and took our stations. Following clear guidance from David Hampson on the radio, Mac and Gillie took a safe position in the middle of the squadron.

Fritz let us fly across the English Channel without any problems and what with the target being just a short distance into the French mainland we were hoping for an easy sortie. Certainly the weather seemed to be on our side as skies were clear with little sign of changing. The effect of this was twofold though, we may have had a clear sight to the target area but also Fritz had a clear sight to us all as we dropped altitude to begin the bombing run. Consequently a heavy curtain of flak tore up the sky around the squadron of bombers.
The archie got a couple of good hits on the Jennie and shrapnel peppered the main body of our plane.
‘Joe, take a look around.’ Mac said over the headset ‘The plane feels a little sluggish on the starboard side.’
Tiny, as ever stood next to me, peered through the window.
‘Aileron is ruined Mac’ He replied. I pointed out the control cables that were now hanging from the ceiling of our compartment.
‘Control cables in the waist are ruined too’ he continued.

Sammy Whelan noticeably groaned into his own headset at this news and made to leave his position at the top turret when 3 enemy 109s turned toward us. Our ever present fighter screen engaged and chased off one of the planes. Sammy Whelan immediately retook his position and along with Benny in the nose opened fire on one of the approaching 109s. Although they scored no hits they managed to turn the enemy fighter away. The same was also true of the second plane which swooped in from our starboard side. Tiny, Gonny and exchanged fire with the enemy plane but all failed to connect.

Maybe it was the combination of heavy flak and the following attack or perhaps the flak had caused more damage than our quick lookover had noticed but something had put Benny the bomb off his game and like our previous mission none of our payload hit. Disappointed we turned back toward England and headed toward the coast.

A second wave of enemy planes took this opportunity to attack. Despite heavy resistance from those planes flying with us, three made it through. Two of these planes were rapidly approaching directly toward us. Teddy was too busy making calculations and adjusting our return flight path, so Benny took his place at the MG in the Jennie’s cheek hoping to relieve his frustrations on the attacking fighter. Sadly both he and Sammy Whelan were unable to register any hits. Fortunately, unnerved by the attack, Fritz peeled away.

A final 110 was flying in from behind us. New guy, Bill Williams and Gonny ripped into the enemy plane which plummeted toward the ground with a firey tail.
‘Hell yeah!’ Shouted Gonny ‘That’s one less home for dinner!’
‘Good kill Gonny.’ Gillie congratulated him.
As soon as the sky was clear of enemy fighters Gonny was out of the ball turret and holding court with Joe and me in the waist.
‘And that is how it’s done guys! You see, the trick is not to lead too much when blah, blah, blah...’ True to form Gonny was pretty well unbearable for the rest of the return journey.

Your loving son
Peter

PS. I’ve decided that unlike the others I don’t want to forget those I’ve flown with, so I’m going to start my own Roll of Honour:

Charles ‘Tailend Charlie’ Trent – R.I.P.
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David "Brother" Eicher
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Just want to let you know, I'm enjoying reading these. Please keep 'em coming!
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Phil Davies
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Brothereicher wrote:
Just want to let you know, I'm enjoying reading these. Please keep 'em coming!


Thanks v much for the kind words of support and encouragement.

I'm hoping that I can show how narrative a game B-17 can be, however I must admit that fleshing out the characters to the extent I have been has made me very much attached to them. I find myself dreading some of the results...
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Carl Sonson
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Withnails liver wrote:
...however I must admit that fleshing out the characters to the extent I have been has made me very much attached to them. I find myself dreading some of the results...


Yes, Phil, you do get attached to your crews. Sometimes I find it hard not to pull the punches.
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