b-17 [updated August 2000]

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John Conlon, MD

2000 Champion

2nd: John Ellman Sr, MD

3rd: John Poniske, CA

4th: Stephen Shedden, NY

5th: Mike Haley, NY

6th: Bill Burch, MD
Event History
1991    None      -
1992    Frank Alexander      32
1993    Kevin Combs      35
1994    Kevin Combs      32
1995    Paul Risner      31
1996    Robert Hamel      32
1997    Paul Risner      34
1998    Paul Weintraub      32
1999    William Burch     32
2000    John Conlon     29
AREA Ratings
 1    None      -
 2    None      -
 3    None      -
 4    None      -
 5    None      -
 6    None      -
 7    None      -
 8    None      -
 9    None      -
10    None      -

Medals Galore for our Gallant Airmen ...

The Mighty Eighth U.S. Army Air Force again took to the skies over wartorn Europe, to battle the Luftwaffe and attack key wartime industries. This year's historical missions were to Rennes, Paris, and Lorient, all in France. That's not a typo - yes, we bombed Paris this year, but only the outskirts where a key motor works was benefitting the German war effort. No important landmarks were destroyed.

The skies were crowded with tightly packed bomber formations, and the atmosphere was heated accordingly. A change of our home airfield's venue created consternation among the overtasked aircrews, and the tension was high with displeasure. Much cussing of the 8th Air Force's leadership ensued. Censors rapidly squelched the chatter and radio blackout became necessary. As the day wore on, the heat took its toll. The fire from the German fighters and the bursts from the anti-aircraft fire only intensified the heat. By the end of the day, the smell of death and destruction permeated the air. As crews awaited the return of their comrades, the scores were tallied and the final stragglers made it back in for a well deserved rest. Everyone was then sent back to their barracks for much needed showers.

The final tally revealed that John Conlon was this year's winner of the B-17 tourney, with a combined score of 172 which is based on such things as reaching and bombing the target, bombing accuracy, German aircraft shot down, crew survival, and returning the B-17 safely. This was John Conlon's first B-17 tourney victory. In 2nd place with a score of 168.2, participating in his first B-17 tourney also (who says experience matters?) was John Ellman, Sr., father of none other than the notorious John Ellman, Jr. veteran of many previous B-17 events. Father outdid son this time around. In 3rd place was John Poniske - on leave from the Marines - with a score of 165. Close behind were Stephen Shedden with a 157, Mike Haley with a 156, defending champ William Burch with 152.5, and Jim Miller finishing seventh with 151. Infamous John Ellman, Jr. (8th) edged out Bruce Peckham (9th) based on a bombing accuracy tiebreaker, to separate their identical 147.5 scores. Evan Hitchings placed 10th with a 143.

Which brings us to Assistant GM Mike Lam, who finished 11th with a 141. However, as in previous years, Mike spent a lot of his time giving out medals for merit and ignominious actions in battle. Here is a brief summary of this year's medals:

Mission#1 (Rennes):
Two DFC's (one B-17 fell out of formation and made it home without two engines, the other one stayed in formation but was badly shot up with half the crew SER or KIA).

Two Silver Stars (for Pilots staying in formation after losing pilot's compartment heat - one of these was the badly shot up B-17 above who stayed in formation for about seven zones without Frostbite!).

One Air medal (for highest bomb % for that run)                     

One Purple Heart (one B-17 with all KIA)

Mission#2 (Paris):
Two Air Medals (two bombardiers got 97% each!)

Three Purple Hearts (three B-17 crews all KIA - this was surprising since they were in the middle formation)

Mission#3 (Lorient):
One DFC (He was one of the last to finish - fell out of formation & returned alone)

Two Purple Hearts (two B-17 crews all KIA)

Two Air Medals* (A poor bomb run with two highest tied at 40%)

* One of the winners of this medal, John Poniske (3rd place), also was awarded the Silver Star & DFC from mission #1. He won a total of four medals in all; the Silver Star, the DFC, this Air Medal and a Purple Heart from mission 2.

Other Medal Winners for combined results for the 3 missions:
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR (2): To John Ellman II (second year in a row for him with this "honor") and Mark Yoshikawa.

LEGION OF MERIT (1): Awarded to the bombardier with the highest combined bombing total with 122 (he was the player with a 20, 97 & a 5 in his three missions - barely beating out a player with 120 by getting that 5% on mission 3).

AIR MEDAL (1): Best Top Gunner, who shot down seven German fighters. Mike Lam also had seven kills by his Flight Engineer (who was one of three who survived the bailout over the Channel coming home from mission 3 after the fuel tank
caught fire). Might have won the tourney if it wasn't for that fire.

BRONZE STAR (1): Awarded to the player with three evaders (Henry Richardson - shown above)

POW MEDAL (1): Awarded to player with 16 POWs (he was one of the sons of a father/son entry)

As you can see, the inclusion of these medals has added a lot of flavor to the tourney and made it a much better event over the past three years. Mike Lam does this at his own cost and his efforts are greatly appreciated by all participants including, of course, the GM. Our hats are all off to Mike for another great year.

And last but not least, this year's winners of the consolation prizes for coming in dead-last and next-to-dead-last, emphasis on the word "dead" are past champions: Paul Weintraub, next to last (26th place), with a score of 59.5 and Paul Risner, last, 27th place, with a score of 52.

That wraps up this year's coverage. Next year we will change airfield locations again, preferably back to a Salon. Find a friend, teach them the game, and bring them to the next convention - let's get our squadron strength back above 32 entrants.

[Air Commander Greenwood confirms change of homefield in 2001].
 GM      Dave Terry  [9th Year]  7308 Summer Cypress Ct, Elkridge, MD 21075
    david.terry@jhuapl.edu   NA

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