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Subject: The Badger II, Mission #7---no, really, this time it counts rss

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Tony Holt
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Mission 7a and links to earlier missions: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1806610/badger-mission-...

Another 7 day wait since the aborted mission has let the crews stew about not getting mission credit. I’d hate to be a German fighter going up against this group today.

Sept 24, 1942. The mission today is to bomb the industry targets in Antwerp Belgium. It’ll be the first time the 613 has actually bombed Belgium, after flying over it on their way to other missions. The weather at Polebrook is starting to turn Autumn-Like, and today the weather is classified as Poor for takeoff.

Despite the inclement weather, takeoff for the entire squadron goes off without a hitch and the B17’s form up for the short flight. While expecting Light fighter resistance over the Channel, we do not encounter any actual fighters until we reach the Belgian coast in Zone 3, where the Badger was attacked by 3 separate waves of German planes. First to come in were a pair of Fw190’s. The first came in from 12:00 High (hey, that sounds like a good movie picture title….file that away for future reference). The Badger gunners started letting loose some of their pent-up anger over the “non-mission”. Top Turret Gunner Irwin and Nose Gunner Nichols scored a direct hit on the engine block, destroying the plane. The next fighter came in from 10:30 High, and despite some minor hits by the Badger, managed to get some hits of her own, but it was just minor damage to the Right Flap and Tail. Maybe thinking he had an advantage, the pilot turned in for another attack from behind at 6:00 High, but Irwin, Tail Gunner Ericson and Radioman Leach all got a piece of it, shattering the cockpit. The 2nd wave of fighters consisted of 3 Me110’s. The lead fighter came in from 1:30, and Nichols and Irwin both got some minor damage on it, but enough to send it down. With that kill, both Irwin and Nichols were now Aces, joining Ball Turret Gunner Edward Weston to give the Badger 3 of the deadly gunners. The 2nd fighter in this wave also came in from 1:30, this time a little lower. One hit was made by the Badger, and the fighter also got in a minor hit on the bomber. On pulling out of the attack, it looked for sure like the plane would collide right in the mid-section of the Badger, but by some miracle, it managed to just slide under the plane. Weston claimed it passed so close he could count the dental fillings the German pilot had. Weston didn’t have that much time to count, as he made short work of the 3rd attacking 110, sawing it right in half to send it down to the Belgian landscape below. The 3rd wave was actually a lone 190, that Weston and Left Waist Gunner Ivanova sheared the left wing completely off of.

Before we knew it, we were over the target zone at Antwerp. Prior to starting the bomb run, the Badger was jumped by a couple of waves of German attackers. The 1st wave had 2 Me109’s and a pair of Me210’s. Both 109’s were damaged on their fly-by, but were unable to get any hits on to the Badger. The 210’s weren’t quite so lucky. Left Cheek Gunner Unger nailed the first, while Weston and Ivanova took care of the 2nd. Another lone 190, coming in vertically from above, tried its luck against the Badger II, but missed entirely. The fighters broke off just as we entered some heavy flak, but perhaps due to the 50% cloud cover, none of the flak burst hit home. Even though the target was just slightly obscured, the Badger failed to hit the target, and had a dismal, squadron-low of 0% of bombs on target. The rest of the 613th faired much better, with an average of 30.6% of bombs on target. The “Maid ‘En America” had a best of 60%, while the “Just Right” was “Just Wrong” in joining the Badger with 0%.

On the return trip, we again met heavy fighter resistance, and 3 190’s, but despite getting several hits on the Germans, no planes were knocked down. Good news was that the Germans were only able to get a few superficial hits on the Badger.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, and the entire squadron was able to land safely at Polebrook.

Through 7 complete missions, the 613th Squadron is hitting bomb targets with 30.8% of its bombs. The lead bomber is the “Schnozzle” at 43.3% and the “Screwball Express” a 42.5%. The “Tail End Charlie’s” are the “Devil’s Coming” at 20.0% and “The Big ‘1’” at 21.3%. The squadron has brought down 37 German Fighters in 8 sorties for the squadron, while damaging another 30.

Ball Turret Gunner Edward West, from Breezewood, PA, leads the way with a whopping 10.33 kills in only 5 official missions. Bombardier George Nichols from Los Angeles has 5.33 while Engineer Jack Irwin from Morgantown, KY has an even 5.

Rumor has it that the squadron may get back to an optimal 24 bombers at the beginning of the new month. Would allow some of the crews to get some much-needed rest instead of going up after another “Target for Today”
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Adrian Prodi
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i think the gunners are way too deadly
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Tony Holt
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Oh, I agree completely, but it's what is in the rules and what the campaign started with. I'm not going to change rules in mid-campaign. If/when I start a new campaign, I'm sure I will modify the "kill" ratio. Others here on BGG have already offered alternatives, and that's a good starting point.

I've seen data that states that it was a roughly 2% chance to actually down a fighter on a sortie. Keep in mind that this percentage does not take into account how many actual planes were encountered during the flight, only the average (# of fighters shot down / number of sorties flown). If you fly a full 18 squadron combat box formation, that works out to approximately a 30.4% chance that at least one fighter would be shot down during the mission by one of those 18 bombers. This wouldn't make for a very engaging game. For gameplay's sake, I'm sure something in below the current levels, but higher than historical levels, would be appropriate.

Tony
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Lou Correia
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An exciting and dramatic game vs. a mathematically realistic game has been a debate since B-17 QOTS came out.

My feel so far is it seems I have a greater chance of hitting attacking fighters than in QOTS, but I'm getting more damage results.
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Kurt
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ThePrody wrote:
i think the gunners are way too deadly


I'm starting to think that too after a few games. It would be an easy enough fix. Just up the minimum hit from 8 to 9.
 
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David Janik-Jones
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Up Front fan, Cats were once worshipped as gods and they haven't forgotten this, Combat Commander series fan, The Raven King (game publisher) ... that's me!, Fields of Fire fan
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Slywester Janik, awarded the Krzyż Walecznych (Polish Cross of Valour), August 1944
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Agreed. My very first mission in Miss Solitaire (B-17F) out to Antwerp this evening bagged me a Bf-109 quite easily. I like the idea of bumping to a 9, after this current run of missions.
 
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Tony Holt
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I'm not sure bumping the "To Hit" die roll is the right way. I'm thinking that the number of hits achieved may be accurate (honestly, I doubt there's any way to measure this), but those hits were not nearly as lethal as what they seem to be in TfT. I'm thinking that maybe the number of Destroyed and FCA/FBA's (those hits that can destroy a fighter) need to be modified to more FCOA's...fighter isn't destroyed/damaged, but breaks off attack.

Again, until I finish this first campaign, I'm going to continue to use the rules as written, but then I may put some time into studying that chart and modifications.

Tony
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Brian Krich
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These reports are awesome. I am brand new to the Genre and I just ran my first mission last night. I may need to post some AAR's myself. Not sure I can match this kind of detail though.

Agreed on it may be too easy to destroy incoming fighters. I also agree that the answer may not be too many hits, but the lethality of those hits, and a higher chance FCOA is probably more realistic. That said I've only run one mission so far, so I'm not sure if my results (I had 7 kills), were simply luck rolls of the dice or if it's truly a trend.
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Tony Holt
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Brian,

I am a copious note taker, and every shot, every encounter is noted when I play. It really, really helps when I go back and write the AAR. No way I could possibly remember even a tenth of it without them.

The more I think about the "to hit" vs damage modifiers to adjust the kill ratio, the more I'm thinking that maybe there needs to be an adjustment to both. An unmodified gun has a 41.7% chance of scoring a hit, and unless your bombers or guns are damaged in some way, your modifiers are generally going to leave this as is or raise your chances to over 50%. The only negative modifiers I can recall off the top of my head (no charts in front of me at work) that don't come along with damage are the Ace Pilot and Vertical Dive ones, and they are fairly easy to overcome. But there are lots of positive modifiers...3/9/6 o'clock attack positions, 12:00 Level, Green Pilot, Me110 (and other planes), powered turret, etc.

I think everyone agrees that the Destroyed/Killed planes are way too high in TfT, but if it were somehow modified to the historical level (around 2% chance per sortie, meaning a full 18 plane combat box formation has about a 30% chance to bring down at least 1 fighter in a mission), then that wouldn't be a very exciting/enticing game to play. There needs to be a "happy medium" in there somewhere.

Tony
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Brian Krich
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Tony,
All excellent points.I agree there needs to be a balance between 100% historical accuracy and playability/fun. Just need to find that happy medium.
 
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