b-17 [Updated August 2001]

B-17  4 prizes Experienced Swiss Continuous 
    9 Round 2 12 Round 3 15    

  Salon A  

Jim LeVay, MA

2001 Champion

2nd: Don Del Grande, CA

3rd: Bill LeVay, MA

4th: Rob Navolis, OH

5th: Keith Hunsinger, OH

6th: Joshua Dunn, VA
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
2001    Jim LeVay     32

AREA Ratings:

GM: Dave Terry

[Best GM Award 1996, 2001]

5 Top-Six GM Nominations

Medals Galore for our Gallant Airmen ...

This year marked the tenth straight year that the B-17 tournament has been held, representing the 27th, 28th, and 29th tournament missions (there were only two missions in the inaugural year 1992). The missions are historically based, with an emphasis on longer missions for tournament play. This year the flyers of the Eighth Bomber Command ventured forth to Bremen, Germany (seven zones, April 17, 1943, 8th AF mission #52), St. Nazaire, France (Flak City, six zones, May 1, 1943, 8th AF mission #53), and Kiel, Germany (eight zones, May 14, 1943, 8th AF mission #56). B-17 contestants are supplied
with mission scenario handouts which are similar to ASL scenario cards, complete with information on the aftermath of the real battles.

Three players have participated in the first nine tournaments, completing 26 missions. They are Keith Hunsinger, Paul Risner, and Rob Schoenen. Rob decided, after completing 25 missions by the end of 2000, that he had been shot down enough and took a year off in 2001. We welcome him back any time - there are lots of contestants that would like to shoot him down again. Rob's departure leaves Keith and Paul as the two Mighty Eighth Bomber Command's IRONMEN ... the Cal Ripken's of this cadre of B-17 players. There is no telling how many times each of them have been shot down, but they keep coming back for more. And there are several other players (like Bruce Peckham, Jim Miller, Henry Richardson, Stephen Shedden, the Ellmans, Paul Weintraub, Judy Krauss and many others - I unfortunately can't list them all!) who make it to every B-17 tourney that they possibly can and are veterans of several years and many calamities.

This year also marked a return to Salon A, where the air conditioning held up and the players didn't sweat quite as much as they did in 2000. We were in a club room in 2000, cramped and hot and, well, miserable. A friend (not in the tourney) who will remain nameless dropped by to see what was going on (Bill Cleary) and quickly took me aside and said "Dave, it smells
in here." Yeah, but Life is Difficult. So? We were having fun regardless, and that is what mattered. Still, in 2001 we appreciated being back in our old home in Salon A on Thursday, which has served as our airbase for seven of ten years, with two years in Camp Hill, PA, and one in the dreaded club room from hell. For those that love the club rooms, please note I had 30 people crammed in there in 2000, with no AC, and barely room for anyone to move. We were running out of oxygen too. Frostbite was not a problem in 2000. And as far as the smell goes, well, I go backpacking occasionally and like not taking baths for extended periods of time, so it didn't bother me. I've smelled worse, including smelling myself. As many B-17 players will tell you, I tend to sweat a lot during these things. So I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to being aromatic.

The B-17 camaraderie, even amid death and destruction, is something that has to be experienced to be understood. In the biggest testament to our event, Don Greenwood himself stated back in 1993 that he didn't understand us. He didn't in 1993, and he probably still doesn't understand us in 2001, because he hasn't joined into the fray yet. We always seek new
recruits, so if you have never played the game, search on E-bay and buy an old copy before they disappear completely. Or if you have an old copy, dust it off and join us next year. Rumor has it that there may be a new medal
for rookies next year. We also encourage Don Greenwood to join us for a change as well (fat chance!). If he does, we'll have to have a raffle to see who gets to be his German opponent - to have the honor of shooting down the mighty Don.

As for 2001, the same tournament scoring format was used that was developed in 1992 and modified only once in 1993. The scoring system awards points for reaching the target zone, bombing accuracy, returning safely to England, number of crewmen safe, and number of fighters shot down. To win requires skill and lots of luck. There have been two repeat winners
in event history: Kevin Coombs repeated in 1994, back to back, and Paul Risner repeated his 1995 victory in 1997. Five other winners have failed to repeat yet, and some of them are still out there trying. John Conlon was the winner in 2000, but he had a tougher time in 2001, finishing 26th out of 32 contestants, with 81.5 points.

This years top four finishers were:

1st: Jim Levay, 187.3 points - thus extending that gallant WBC tradition of sons bringing home more wood than their dad.
2nd: Don Del Grande, 171 points
3rd: Bill Levay, 165 points, father of the champion
4th: Rob Navolis, 153 points

Assistant GM Keith Hunsinger just missed out on the WBC prizes, finishing fifth with 149 points.

As a measure of how well Jim Levay did, consider this: A score in the160s is very good, 170s excellent, and 180s off the scale. Jim Levay had a very fortunate tournament posting a 187.3, and his score was derived from lots of fighters being shot down, one gunner recording eight kills, and a 93% bomb run on the mission to Bremen. Don Del Grande and Bill Levay had 40% bomb runs on the St. Nazaire mission, while Assistant GM Mike Lam had a 60% run on the mission to Kiel. It should be noted that the 2001 missions were the longest and most difficult in tournament history. It was a long day and a hard fought battle during the three missions, with many planes struggling to make it back to England.

There are many medals and consolation prizes that are provided by Assistant GM Mike Lam. Mike goes to great effort to prepare the medals, which come with a card describing the player's accomplishments. Mike does this at his own expense and for his love of the game. It's also a bit of distraction to himself, as he finished 28th this year, but that is probably more to bad luck than distraction. This year's consolation prizes go to Joseph Burch, who finished last with 66 points, and John Ellman III who finished next to last. Joseph received a B-17 videotape while John got a B-17 book. Both received operating manuals on how to fly a B-17, for future reference.

The following is a list of medal recipients at this year's B-17 tournament. Again, these medals are provided by Mike Lam, and they have really spiced up the tourney, by awarding both meritorious achievement as well as misfortune.

Bremen mission:
Congressional Medal of Honor - Paul Weintraub
Distinguished Flying Cross - Bill Place (fell out of formation)
Air Medal - Jim Levay for 93% bomb run

St. Nazaire Mission:
Congressional Medal of Honor - Josh Dunn and Dave Gantt
Silver Star - William Burch for having pilots braving frostbite in order to keep their B-17 in the safety of the formation.
Distinguished Flying Cross - Wade Fowble (fell out of formation)
Air Medal - Bill Levay and Don Del Grande for 40% bomb run
Purple Heart - Andy Lewis, lost entire crew on mission for a bad ditching

Kiel Mission:
Congressional Medal of Honor - Bill Place, Evan Hitchings, and Mike Lam
Distinguished Flying Cross - Keith Hunsinger (-2 Landing mod) (fell out of formation but made it back to base alone)
Distinguished Flying Cross - Jim Miller (-1 Landing mod) (fell out of formation but made it back to base alone)
Distinguished Flying Cross - James Cleland (-5 Landing mod) (stayed in formation, taking lots of damage)
Air Medal - Mike Lam for 60% run

Tournament Awards:
POW Medal - Henry Richardson, Jr. - for having the most POWs in tourney, three missions, (16 POWs)
Air Medal - Jim Levay - eight kills by One Gunner (Flight Eng)
Legion Of Merit - Jim Levay for highest bomb total - 153% for three bomb runs, one bombardier
Bronze Star - Judy Krauss for having most evaders (3) in tourney

Notes: (from Mike Lam)
1) May be a record of six CMHs for this year. Six attempted landings, no successes.
2) No Purple Hearts awarded for a B-17's bombs exploding. Very strange.
3) DFC usually awarded to players for falling out of formation but managing to return to England. Cleland was exceptional in that his aircraft stayed in formation, while accumulating a -5 LM along the way.

In summary, B-17 is a peculiar event. We have diehards who love the game and who die hard during it. Mike Lam and Keith Hunsinger, my assistants, provide yeoman-like efforts in keeping records straight (there is a lot of paperwork in managing 32 flyers) and in running the medal award program. Mike has added a lot of flavor to the tournament by adding the medals over the past three years, and a lot of the success of the tournament can be attributed to the service of my assistants Mike and Keith.

A final word: we always hover near 32 entrants, and I would like to have a more comfortable level of 36 to 42 and thus be a bit further from the 32 prize threshold. If you haven't joined us before, get a copy of the game and see us in 2002. Our players welcome fresh blood. And veterans are always welcome back as well. Those of you that have played before, come
join us again as we take it to the Luftwaffe and bomb the dickens out of Germany. The missions are longer and tougher, yet the challenge remains the same: survival.

See you next year,
David Terry, Gamemaster, B-17

 GM      Dave Terry  [10th Year]  7308 Summer Cypress Ct, Elkridge, MD 21075
    david.terry@jhuapl.edu   NA

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