Rocky, the Flying Squirrel Mission #3; Amiens, France
I did a bit of research after the second mission was completed. I think it was the last mission that I said we were flying B-17E bombers, when in reality, these bombers are B-17Fs. The B-17E did not come equipped with cheek guns for the navigator, and was considered a major weakness in the planes defenses. B-17Fs, added the cheek guns in an attempt to increase the defensive capabilities of the plane, and was a major upgrade from the B-17E.
Having survived 2 missions now, we need to replace a crewman. Sergeant Tim Denker was sent back to the States after suffering serious wounds in the skies over France.
Replacing him at the starboard waist will be Sergeant Jason Coigny (pronounced coin-ee), so our crew now looks like this:
Pilot: Colonel Robert Hogan
Co-pilot: Lieutenant Tony Shields
Engineer: Master Sergeant Ken Shike
Navigator: Lieutenant Brian McAllister
Bombardier: Lieutenant Chris Miller
Radio operator: Sergeant Dan Anderson
Port waist gunner: Sergeant Steve Miles
Starboard waist gunner: Sergeant Jason Coigny
Belly gunner: Sergeant Rick Cerulli
Tail Gunner: Sergeant Steve Wright
We get our mission from high command. Today’s mission will be the rail yard at Amiens, France. Amien is almost directly due south of Abbeville, but still within the same zone. Once again, we are in the middle formation. This provides a -1 when rolling for interceptors.
On our trip to Amiens, we also receive a -2 DRM to being intercepted over water (-3 overall), and no DRM for interception over land (-1 overall).
As we fly out over the English Channel, we are met by good fighter cover, a big difference from the last mission. All is quiet over the Channel as the Germans don’t intercept our mission. Is this going to play out like the last one, where they wait until we turn for home before jumping us?
As we approach our target, the weather turns poor. This results in a -1 DRM for our bomb run, a -1 DRM for flak over the target, a -1 DRM for the number of waves of interceptors that we face, and a -1 DRM for our fighter cover.
The weather reduces our fighter cover to “fair”, and we face two waves of interceptors. Our fighter cover is unable to drive off any of the interceptors (again), and we are left to defend ourselves.
We luck out on the first wave, as no attackers appear in the skies. (When rolling for interceptors, the dice came up ‘NO ATTACKERS’)
Our luck doesn’t continue as we approach the target. A single FW-190 comes screaming in from out of the sun, in a vertical dive. Master Sergeant Shike and Radioman Anderson take aim at the plane diving from above, and miss (what else is new?).
The German also misses, and continues its dive through the formation towards the ground, to not be seen again.
Now comes the bomb run. Because of the poor weather, we have no AA fired at us, so we should be able to make a decent run, but we should have had a decent run last mission, too.
The bombardier lines us up as best as he can, considering the cloud cover, and lets the bombs go. We still hit the target despite the cloud cover, with 30% of our bombs hitting within 1000 feet of the target. The rail yard at Amiens goes up in flames and smoke.
Our mission complete, we turn for home.
We still have fair escort coverage, and our escorts drive off the only wave of interceptors. We continue our journey to the English Channel, where we still have fair escort coverage.
Over the Channel, the Germans intercept us again, and once again our escorts drive them away.
As we approach our base, the weather is bad and stormy, giving us a -2 DRM to our landing chances. Colonel Hogan keeps his cool, and gets us back on the ground safely. Another mission is over.
No wounds, no damage to the plane, and we hit out target. Compared to our other two missions, this was a milk run.
Tally so far:
Mst. Sgt. Shike: 1 kill.
Purple Heart recipients:
Col. Hogan, Sgt. Miles and Sgt. Denker (sent home).
Two more missions in the safe zone, and then it gets much harder.