B-17: DEALER’S CHOICE
240TH Bomber Squadron, 87th Bombardment Group
Target: Kairouan, Tunisia - Marshalling Yards
Date: 6 January 1943
Squadron Position: Low Bomber Position: TAIL
AFTER ACTION REPORT:
Some members of the Spare Pool were given the opportunity to take up Dealer’s Choice for a mission; the catch was they were Tail End Charlie.
In our briefing, we were told, "After our last mission to Kairouan, the Germans claimed we had bombed nearby Muslim holy sites. Obviously we hit something when we visited there a couple missions ago, and photo-reconnaissance showed us the damage we had done. Last time I checked, German warehouses and marshalling yards were not holy sites, unless your name is Rommel. We are going back today to finish off those supplies and trains. Weather should be clear so we will have a good look at the facilities." Ummm - We missed the target. Wonder what the Colonel will say?
Over Algeria, all the enemy fighters that were spotted were attacking other sections of the formation. The only significant event was the discovery of a Rabbit’s Foot. (This little smile from Lady Luck would be critical before the end of the mission.)
Once over Tunisia, the Axis discovered that there was a tail to the formation. In Zone 5A, four Bf-109s headed for us, with the quartet turned into a duo by our little friends in the P-38s. Then it was our turn, with our Navigator damaging one, while the Ball Turret and Tail gunner teamed up to dismantle the other one coming up from our six.
Entering the Target Zone (5B), three waves slashed at the formation, with two of them paying extra attention to us. The first wave pulled away the P-38s, so the next wave was had only one E/A run off. The remaining two Jerries both hit us, in spite of the fact that one was smoking courtesy of bullets from our Tail gunner. Our starboard elevator was detached from the tail, while the port wing root took a jolt, but most damage seemed superficial. While his buddy limped away smoking, the other one tried another pass at us, missing. Soon, it was the Italians’ turn. Four C.202s ALL headed for our exposed tail. Our escort came back just in time, driving away two, while we hit the other two – one a Probable, but the one coming in low was the day’s second confirmed kill by the team of the Ball Turret gunner and the Tail gunner. All the damage inflicted on us was cosmetic.
It was then the flak’s turn to harass the group, with one blast knocking out our Port Waist Gunner’s heat. Eventually we moved him to the heated Radio Room to avoid frostbite. (Campaign house rule)
With the distractions of the flak our Rookie bombardier somehow dropped late, missing the target. (Rolled a 3, minus 1 for the Bombardier having fewer than 5 mission. After the Bomb Run I rolled one wave of enemy fighters and it was the Random Event “Extra Tight Formation”, which if rolled just a little earlier would have resulted in an “On Target” bomb run.)
Back in Zone 5A and we faced four 109s and a 110. Our escort culled off one attacker, and we significantly damaged two more. We took some minor damage, but the incident that had us all sweating was when one of the fighters came within inches of colliding with our bomber. We took some more damage, and dealt out damage, on successive passes, but are still shaking over the collision that almost was. (I did roll for a collision!, but then I remembered the random event “Lady Luck Smiles” from the beginning of the mission and rerolled to almost certain death into a near miss.)
In Zone 4B we faced three waves, totaling eight 109s. Half of them fell to our escort, one we killed, and the remaining three we can only count as Probables – though it took a couple passes before we winged the last one.
The remainder of the flight was quiet and the landing was smooth, in spite of the degrading weather back at the base.
Superficial x17 (17)
P. Wing Root (25)
S. Elevator inop (10)
PWG Heat out (10)
S. Elevator n/e (5)
Peckham Points: 67
Total # of Enemy Encountered: 24
19x Bf-109: 2 Destroyed, 6 Probables, 1 Damaged, 7 Driven Off
1x Bf-110: 1 Probable
4x C.202: 1 destroyed, 1 Probable, 2 Run Off
Great stuff, thanks for sharing. Digesting the rules right now and getting ready to start. Jacked. And this stuff doesn't hurt.