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Subject: The Oil Campaign rss

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Tim Korchnoi
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Richmond
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I've been assigned 7 squadrons to execute oil campaign. Initial Luftwaffe deployment indicates squadrons placed in the following hex areas (hex number then number of Luftwaffe squadrons)
8-4
6-1
11-2
12-1
13-2
5-1
14-1
15-1
20-1



Two things concern me. First, Goering is taking personal command and has ordered his men to execute group attacks. Second, we have received information that the enemy is beginning to launch frontal attacks on our formations as well. Handling both of these tactics could be very tricky.
The good news is our spies report the Germans are working on no new technologies at this time.

I have assigned two excellent commanders to assist in this campaign. LeMay to the 305th and Raper with the 92nd.


August


Week One

As oil is the name of the game I am going to launch the first two missions against oil facilities in France and Germany. The French one will go to my recruit and green boys, Germany to the more experienced men.

Mission 1

Very little goes as planned in what should’ve been an easy mission. The Luftwaffe commitment is high and my boys get beat up some. Their inexperience does them in as only medium damage is inflicted on the target. All but one squadron suffers a level one loss. The 303rd distinguishes themselves by destroying two enemy bandit formations.

Mission 2

This has been a bad week. Same issues as the first group: very little damage to the target but did take down 4 bandit groups at the cost of 9 squadrons. I think I will need to make adjustments for next week and maybe hit airfields and factories first to soften things up for September and then hammer to oil.

Week Two

My plan this week is to focus on German airfields near the oil targets. So I am sending two missions to destroy a pari of airfields in hex 12. Three squadrons each will participate with Hitler’s Hearse recuperating from it’s 7 hit mauling.

Mission 1

Once again German fighters swarm on my boys. The group tactic is beginning to take a heavy toll. The 305th gets savaged by flak over the target too and reaches almost the end of its rope losing 10 units. Once again 2 bandits are downed but this battle of attrition is no good if we don’t hit the targets.

Mission 2

Finally a bombing success!!!! It was close but the target was destroyed. Again the B-17 hammered the bandits but also took a beating in return.

This week showed a glimmer of hop but I think I need to pull some strings and get a fighter group here pronto. So with that in mind, I will send out some groups to destroy already damaged targets next week while resting the majority of my boys and saving my SO

Week Three

Mission 1

The return visit to the damaged oil target was another FUBAR mission. Despite sending some of my best crews the target damage only increased from medium to heavy. The 487 took 8 losses which put them on the edge of being OOA (Out of Action). Once again 2 bandits bit the dust so if there is a silver lining to this menacing looking cloud, it is the fact that the Luftwaffe has had to withdraw 3 squadrons since the start of the month.

Mission 2

I sent 2 squadrons back to the damaged German airfield. Luck was finally on our side as the Luftwaffe response was poor. Another savage air battle as Paradise Lost took heavy losses. Again a pair of Luftwaffe bandits were also rendered combat ineffective. This time the job was finished resulting in another Luftwaffe squadron being stricken from the rolls. Things are finally looking up. Now to press the brass for that fighter group!!

Week Four
The final week of August began with the 359th Fighter Group arriving on base. The heavy losses my boys suffered forces me to rest Homesick Angels, Hell’s Angels, Outlaws and LeMay’s 305. Still, I must give the Nazis no rest so I’ll send two squadrons to strike a new airfield while I boldly send a lone group to finish off the heavily damaged oil target.

Mission 1

Easiest one of the campaign thus far. Hitler’s Hearse swooped in, finished the job and came home without a scratch.

Mission 2

This mission at first looked a little hairy but the Luftwaffe response was only average allowing the 359th FG to intercept the enemy. The dog fights were fierce and the new Mustang boys shot down 4 bandits and the bombers destroyed the enemy airfield.

Monthly Assessment

So August finished on a strong note. However, the overall ledger balance still leaves something to be desired.

One the plus side we wracked up 17 VP, shot down 14 bandits, destroyed 4 targets and eliminated 5 Luftwaffe squadrons.

On the minus side, we lost 50 planes with LeMay’s and Hell’s Angels taking the brunt of the blow.

Outlaws-6
Hell’s Angels-9
Berlin Sleeper-5
Homesick Angel-7
LeMay’s Boys-9
Paradise Lost-7
Hitler’s Hearse-7
359th FG-2

The strategic picture remained mainly the same except the Russians drove into Western Poland which panicked the Germans as they ended up sending 6 Luftwaffe squadrons there.

4 targets destroyed was one too many and Goering was relieved. Graf takes over but his U-Boat program failed (DR=4!!) But the Germans have flak radar coming down the pike anytime now.

I was able to replace most of my losses for the month and brought all the groups back up to full strength with the exception of Homesick Angels.

September 1944

My overall plan for this month is two fold. First, attack oil targets every week with missions supported by the 359th FG. Second, continue hammering airfields. I know that factories are important for the long run, but I believe focusing on airfields will weaken the Germans enough to allow me to complete my mission of hammering their vital oil chokepoint.

Week One

Plan for the month is one mission of experienced bombers on oil with newer guys on airfield runs. I’ll take my chances on the factories since you never know where the Luftwaffe may deploy those and, given the current situation on the Eastern Front, a number may again be siphoned off there.


Mission 1

3 groups on oil including LeMay with the lone fighter group as escort. Luftwaffe on high alert and brutal battle happens on way to the target. The 359th FG downs some bandits causing the removal of an enemy squadron, but they lose 11 planes in the process!!! Things get worse from there as the bombers only cause medium damage and, it add insult to injury, contrails are visible on the way home!!! shake In the end total losses for the mission are 19 planes and no target destroyed.

After reflection, I take full responsibility for this. I should’ve sent out the other group first to destroy the airfield and whittle down the enemy more. I won’t make that mistake again! angry

Mission 2

My greener boys are headed to an airfield near Paris. The Luftwaffe must’ve spent too much time patting themselves on the back after the oil run as the response is only poor. That’s good. I need these guys to gain experience so, if necessary, I can have all runs be oil runs in the future.

Luck smiles on these flyers as the Luftwaffe response is poor. This finishes as the best mission yet with not a bandit sighted, the target is destroyed, and only 1 bomber is lost.

Week Two

This week it is all about France as both targets lie within that imprisoned country.

Mission 1

Given the Luftwaffe response at the end of last week and now they are only able to muster an average response I can only conclude that the fighting on the Eastern Front has increased. This mission becomes the 2nd “milk run” to date. Only 2 planes are lost, the airfield is again smashed and, to boot, the elimination of this target will help the allies as they try to advance out of Normandy (+1 to ETO roll). And the capper? Another Luftwaffe squad is removed for the OB!!

Mission 2

Once again my veteran group has run into a high response (I am starting to wonder if the walls truly have ears). Once again numerous bandits swarm causing heavy losses. The target only suffers medium damage. The men are starting to talk about this group of squadrons as the Bad Luck Boys. shake I need to nip this in the bud and mix up the squadrons for next week.

Week Three

As my fighter group continues to rest I send another healthy group after another airfield while planning to send some dinged up units to finish off the damaged oil.

Mission 1

As I planned I make a slight adjustment breaking up the Bad Luck Boys by sending LeMay’s 305 to assist with the airfield strike. Despite having 5 bombers missing LeMay insists on flying lead and I reluctantly allow this. Once again the enemy bandits swarm on LeMay’s boys but they deftly handle the enemy losing only one more bomber. The target is destroyed resulting in yet another Luftwaffe squadron removed from the campaign. The only troubling aspect of the run: LeMay’s boys only score 2 points of damage keeping the Bad Luck Boys stigma firmly attached.

Mission 2

The Luftwaffe is loaded for bear as they launch an all out assault on the latest oil raid. There are some losses but the oil target is finished off. Sadly, on the way home, the Berlin Sleeper squadron loses its very capable ATG leader Raper to enemy action. cry He will be sorely missed. soblue

Monthly Assessment

So the campaign at least stayed on track more oil targets destroyed and 17 VP (the equal of last month) scored. 4 targets were destroyed, 3 bandits smashed and 3 Luftwaffe squadrons removed.

Monthly losses were slightly better with 42 total. However, 11 of those came from FG 359 so only 31 bombers were lost down from 48 in August.

The breakdown
Outlaws-2
Hell’s Angels-5
Berlin Sleeper- 0 (but lost Raper)
Homesick Angel-6
305-6
Paradise Lost-9
Hitler’s Hearse-3
359 FG-11

On the strategic front the Med stayed put, the Russians were pushed back into Eastern Poland, but the West Front moved into Paris and Antwerp. On the down side, Graf remains commander so the group attacks will continue. And the Germans were able to complete their radar flak project so now we have to deal with that. shake

I had enough replacements to bring all squadrons back to full strength with the exception of Paradise Lost who are still missing 4 planes.

October 1944

The big question this month is do I stay the course or shift strategy a bit? The airfield approach yielded results including helping the West Front advance. However, leaving the German factories has resulted in there now being 20 Luftwaffe squadrons packed into 9 hexes so any target is going to be rough going. Losing Raper was a blow as his skill at air to ground will be sorely missed. I also have stockpiled some supply which I could use for another fighter group or for another squadron. Fighters would be nice, but if they take a huge beating the first mission (a la the 359 last month) they’ll be OOA whereas another bomber group could give some of my boys a rest.

On the planning front I think I have three options now:
Stay the course and take out beatings as we go.
Focus solely on oil since we’re going to take beatings we may as well do so going after the primary mission objective.
Split missions between factories and oil.

I need to carefully mull this over. I think I’ll meet with LeMay and get his thoughts as well.


Week One

So after lots of thought (and some discussion) I have decided to focus on the oil targets choosing the damaged facility in hex 15 and a fresh on in hex 12.

Mission 1

3 squadrons are being sent to finish off the damaged oil target. The Luftwaffe launches an all out effort to stop us even lighting smile pots to hamper our bomb run!!
As expected heavy dogfights occur with the 359th FG. In two engagements, the fighters lose 8 planes but take down 2 bandits which results in the first Luftwaffe squadron removal of the month thumbsup However, there are tons of emery fighters and a group pounces on Hitler’s Hearse battering the unit.
The new German technology with the flak is devastating as well as we lose 7 bombers. All future missions must have chaff!!
Once again the bomb run does not go so well as only medium damage occurs but then the incendiaries kick in and the resulting fire storm destroys the refinery!!

Mission 2

The second mission involves 4 squadrons including my new green boys of the Jive Bomber group. These lads head toward the North Sea to hit oil in Germany. I cannot give them fighter coverage as the 359th is badly beaten up. This time the Luftwaffe is caught napping and thanks to the chaff only 4 bombers are lost. Once again the bomb run only initially causes medium damage but incendiaries cut loose and destroy the target in the end.

So the first week of October is a great success! In one week the boys wracked up 14 VP nearly as much each pervious month total. The chaff is going to be critical to success and from now on it will be all oil, all the time (until we run out of targets to smash!)

Week Two

This week I will rest three squadrons: the fighters, Hitler’s Hearse, and Paradise Lost.
And oil again is the hot topic of the day.

Mission 1

The oil target along the coast in hex 14 is the focus as its production is hurting the Russkies. At first it seems that the Luftwaffe is going all out but then new intel reports their effort is downgraded to high. The mission is a bloody one with Berlin Sleeper losing 4 planes as 4 bandits come screaming in. Heavy damage is recorded on the target and the incendiary fires just miss raging out of control. On the way home experienced Luftwaffe pilots jump the Jive Bomber squadron resulting in 3 losses. All told (including flak) the mission loses 11 planes the worst result since August.

Mission 2

After relentless Luftwaffe assaults we are pleasantly surprised that the response is poor as the second group destroys the target with minimal losses.

Now, after 16 oil supply points have been pulverized our intelligence reports that the Luftwaffe not only does not have fuel to fly maximum rounds but now there will be one less bandit in the air. The hard work is beginning to pay off!!

Week Three

Last week was rough so I will be resting the FG (again shake ) Berlin Sleeper, Jive Bomber and Outlaws to ready them for the final November push.

Once again oil is the name of the game.

Mission 1

Sending out two bombers to finish the heavily damaged oil facility.

LeMay’s 305 is in the group. He wants to fly lead (again) but I order him not to as he’s missing more planes than Hitler’s Hearse. He is not happy angry but I am the boss so that’s that!!

Luftwaffe responds with high effort. The experience crews of both squadrons are on the ball and two bandits are shot down with no loss!! The losses stack up and another Luftwaffe squadron is removed.
Oil target is finished off. The cumulative oil supply points are now 20 so the Luftwaffe response will now suffer a -2 modifier.
In the end we took some light losses from flak while adding another bandit to the see you later list.
Good mission

Mission 2

Despite the new oil problems the Luftwaffe launches a high response. Bad weather causes one of the squadrons to turn around and it was the lead group of Hell’s Angels who had the chaff!! Hearing this makes my stomach turn. My remaining boys are in for a rough go I fear.

It turns out, my fears were well founded.

Before even reaching the target Paradise Lost was rendered combat ineffective as they took a stagger 9 losses! To add insult to injury, the target was not damaged at all. The two squadrons limped their way home.

Worst mission of the campaign soblue

End of the Month

So October finished with 28 VP (all oil) from 4 targets. 10 bandits were smashed leading to 2 Luftwaffe squadrons being removed.

Our losses, however were staggering. 52 bombers and 8 fighters lost. The breakdown

Jive Bombers-9
Outlaws-5
Hell’s Angels-2
Berlin Sleeper-10
Homesick Angel-3
305-7
Paradise Lost-10
Hitler’s Hearse-6
359th-8

On the strategic level, the Mediterranean front was pushed back to Algiers while the Russians held firm and the Western Allies failed to make any headway into Germany.

The Luftwaffe focused their new squadrons on us sending 6 west while only 1 to the USSR. Our intel reports they now have 7 squadrons in reserve although why and for what, no one knows.

Graf is staying on to command

My replacements, as one might imagine, we not enough to cover losses. So as November begins I will have Paradise Lost, Berlin Sleeper, and Jive Bombers all on rest. No choice.



November 1944

I have to admit I am seriously contemplating a revenge strike on Pechelbronn. Those lousy Son of a *&$#@ Nazis can’t hurt my boys that much and get away with it.

Slept on it and decided yes I will flatten that oil facility flying one mission of 5 squadrons. All others will rest.

Week One

Mission 1

Pechelbronn will never produce oil again in this war, I tell LeMay. LeMay looks me straight in the eye and says, “No sir, it will not.” I like a quietly confident man.

The 5 squadrons depart with fighter cover from the 359 against high Luftwaffe resistance.

The dogfights turn out to be brutal and savage. The 359 loses 7 planes without hurting the enemy at all. While that is disappointing, they did their job by keeping the enemy off the bombers.

The bomb run results in overkill on the target exactly as planned. On the way home there was a tense moment as LeMay’s plane was hit hard, but he survived to fight another day.

Week Two

Plan this time is to hit two oil targets in hex 14. Try to tire out the Luftwaffe some.

Mission 1

LeMay and company draw the harder assignment with the higher destroy threshold.
As they soar into the sky, I think about last month a lot.
Word soon comes back that the Luftwaffe response is average.

Going out was not so bad. One bandit was encountered and destroyed. The target was blasted too although it was a near run thing.
Going home was a bit tricker as the Luftwaffe suddenly launched an all out effort. LeMay and his boys were pounced on by 3 bandits and a flak gun but only lost 1 plane while knocking out another bandit.

Mission 2

Oil target in the same hex. Luftwaffe has a poor showing. Another “milk run” as only a few losses incurred and the target was destroyed.

Week Three

Final week of the campaign. Another 2 oil targets chosen. I’ll send 4 bomber squadrons including LeMay to the target in hex 3 and send the other three combat effective groups to hex 14 which will have less resistance.

Mission 1

Luftwaffe seemed indecisive (I forgot to add some modifiers blush ) but eventually they settled on an all out effort. The second hex on the way to the target was scene of a big battle with the group attack tactics of Graf still in full swing the enemy assaulted Paradise Lost full blast. But those veteran boys hammered a bandit without losing a single plane despite 4 bandits attacking them. This battled was a good example of the impact of our oil campaign as all 4 bandits only had enough fuel for one round of combat thumbsup After flattening the target, the boys beat down another 3 bandits for one of the best missions (if not the best) of the campaign.

Mission 2

The Luftwaffe responded poorly to this attack along the coast. The only tension in this mission was the bomb run where the group just missed destroying the target by one measly little point shake

Monthly Assessment

November was a good month.

29 VP scored. 4 targets destroyed, 9 bandits defeated and 2 Luftwaffe squadrons destroyed.

Our losses were the lightest of the campaign. Only 19 bombers and 7 fighters

Jive Bombers-2
Outlaws-1
Hell’s Angels-4
Berlin Sleeper-0
Homesick Angels-4
305-4
Paradise Lost-1
Hitler’s Hearse-4
359th FG-7


End of campaign tally
91 VP
16 targets destroyed: 10 oil and 6 airfields
35 Bandits
10 Luftwaffe Squadrons
152 Bombers
28 Fighters

Final thoughts
So in the end this total almost matched my previous oil campaign of 92 VP. Focusing on oil was risky but I was lucky that Goering and company decided to put a lot (7) Luftwaffe squadrons in reserve. Initial deployment was lucky too as 5 of the starting 14 were in Western France effectively out of action.

Losing the bombers was tough a total of 1,520 men. Even if one allows for a 75% survival rate that is still nearly 400 men.

So the campaign was a success but, like the book I a reading mentions often, it really was a war of attrition until almost the end.
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