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Subject: Hellene Queen first mission rss

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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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I've always had an affinity for the 15th Air Force and the B-24 along with their operations in the Med. Don't get me wrong, I still love the 8th Air Force (Grandfather on my Mother's side was a Top Turret Gunner/Flight Engineer with them on the B-24 and then converted to B-17s) and the B-17 but the 15th and the B-24 doesn't always get their fair shake.

The B-24 was uglier, considered more temperamental and at times had a reputation about not being able to sustain as much battle damage. (Granted those that were brought home by her under dire circumstances would argue otherwise, not to mention the '24 being used for more low level missions which tends to skew loss rates, looking at you Ploesti raids) The B-24 however could carry the same bomb tonnage, faster, and further than the '17.

That said, given my Greek Heritage, I wanted to roll up a Greek crew and ship, back story being they were a group of Greek nationals that escaped the fall of Greece and found their way into the bomber program.

Also there is a lot more going on in this game than B-29 so I'll have to just hit the highlights.

Bomber: B-24D 'Hellene Queen'
Date: 11/43
Base: Foggia, Italy
Crew:
Lt. Stratis - Bombardier
Lt. Papadapoulos - Navigator
Capt. Nikitas - Pilot (My surname)
Lt. Angelis - Copilot
MSgt. Contos - Top Turret/Flight Engineer
Sgt. Galatas - Radio
Sgt. Pulos - Ball Turret
Sgt. Mellas - Left Waist Gunner
Sgt. Thanos - Right Waist Gunner
Sgt. Zika - Tail Gunner

Mission: 1
Target: Porto Marghera, Italy - Oil Facilities - Zone 7
Escort: Poor
Low Cell:+1 Me-109/wave @12 o'clock Level
Cell Leader:+1 Me-109/wave @12 o'clock Level

First mission, bottom cell and the cell lead. Not fun. Always two extra Me-109's playing with us if any aircraft are attacking. yuk

We were harried all the way to the bomb run by the time we arrived at the bomb zone the Queen had sustained the following damage:
Right Wing - Aileron - Inop
Bomb Bay - Bombs - NE (Talk about a pucker factor roll)
SD x 6

A lot of hits, but a lot of luck with the Superficial Damage.

Over the target, the site was completely obscured by 100% cloud cover, yet Stratis still put the bombs on target and obtained a 30% hit rate. Impressive to say the least.

This seemed to wake up the Luftwaffe even more though, in Zone 7 we added the following damage, all from fighters:
Instruments - Oxygen out - Must drop to 10,000 feet
Nose - Navigator - Heat Out
Waist - Oxygen Supply - No Fire
Nose - Nose Wheel Inoperable - -2 on Landing Roll
Left Wing - Flap Inoperable
SD x 9

Having to drop to 10,000 feet or less helped us with the lack of Frostbite checks and the lack of Oxygen in general. However in doing so, it also meant we were out of formation. Wonderful.

After turning back for home, we had an electrical short in the bomb bay area that started a fire. Radio Operator Galatas put the fire out with a portable fire extinguisher.

We limp along back over the water, fighting off attack after attack, none really connecting until we got to Zone 3. We were almost home free then out of no where the Luftwaffe deemed our lone bomber worthy of a Bomb Drop (Proximity or time fused bombs dropped from above usually in an attempt to break up a formation)

The bomb went off below us, near the bomb bay setting the Left Wing fuel tank on fire. Time to get out, now.

Each crew member bailed out safely, with the pilot going last in order to keep the bomber as steady as possible.

Despite the long odds everyone was picked up by the Italian Resistance and returned to base in time for the next mission.


Of 14 total kill claims 6.3 were awarded as follows:

Navigator Papadapoulos +2 kills
Top Turret Gunner Contos +3.5 kills
Ball Turret Gunner Pulos +.5 kills
Tail Gunner Sgt. Zika +.3 kills

Captain Nikitas was denied his medal recommendation for staying with the burning bomber until the last crew member had bailed out.

MSgt. Contos was awarded the Air Medal for the confirmation of his 3.5 aerial victories.

Talk about a helluva first mission bomber completely shot out from under us but home safe.


Hellene Queen (Far left) leading the low cell formation over the Italian countryside to the rendezvous


Flight path and crash site of Hellene Queen

Thoughts:
Very glad I picked this up. I was very wary of the initial errata issues, but was clued in by a fellow BGG'er that they really were blown out of proportion. I wrote maybe 8 sentences into the charts booklets and was good to go. Nothing insurmountable and didn't need to print everything again.

I really like having the charts all in books. I know exactly where they are. Even with fewer charts games like The Hunters, sometimes I struggle with remembering to put them back in order.

That said, this game is way more intense than B-29. To be expected though, the Luftwaffe gave us a run for our money until around '45 and they had the fighters capable of reaching our altitudes. I had to take breaks to just finish this mission, as there were times I as sure we were doomed. Then when everything seemed clear we went down. That said, completely different games and feels which I really enjoy.

Upside is it is easy to put away after a mission and play something a bit lighter to give your jaw a break. Then pulling it out you haven't lost anything.

Next bomber is going to be named 'Athena Polias' (Athena the Protector), I have a feeling we are going to need it.
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Jonathan OBrien

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My first mission was over in an unbelievable 4 zones when another bomber collided with mine and forced us down over Axis territory. Everyone was captured or died.

My second mission my fuel tank was hit over the target and I made it back to base on the final turn before crashing.

According to the rules, on your 1st five missions you cannot be a Cell Leader and so your mission might / should have gone a bit different without those extra fighters every zone...
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Jonathan "Spartan Spawn, Sworn, Raised for Warring!"
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J0n0 wrote:
My first mission was over in an unbelievable 4 zones when another bomber collided with mine and forced us down over Axis territory. Everyone was captured or died.

My second mission my fuel tank was hit over the target and I made it back to base on the final turn before crashing.

According to the rules, on your 1st five missions you cannot be a Cell Leader and so your mission might / should have gone a bit different without those extra fighters every zone...


Talk about bad luck!!

Ah good catch. Sadly the one that forced me out of formation was an Ace FW-190. So it probably would've went much the same. laugh
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Jonathan Townsend
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Great report thanks. Looks like an exciting game.
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