b-17 [Updated October 2005]  

2005 WBC Report    

 2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

Keith Hunsinger, OH

2005 Champion


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Event History
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
2002    Paul Risner     32
2003    William Rohrbeck     34
2004    Stephen Quirke     37
2005    Keith Hunsinger     36

 Laurels

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Paul Risner        FL    05    109
  2.  Keith Hunsinger    OH    05     90
  3.  William Rohrbeck   NH    05     66
  4.  Stephen Quirke     WI    04     55
  5.  Judy Krauss        PA    02     42
  6.  Jim LeVay          MA    01     40
  7.  John Conlon        OK    00     40
  8.  William Burch      MD    00     38
  9.  Tim Evinger        PA    04     25
 10.  Don Del Grande     CA    01     24
 11.  John Ellmann Sr    MD    00     24
 12.  David Gantt        SC    03     20
 13.  Eric Stranger      OH    02     16
 14.  Bill LeVay         MA    01     16
 15.  John Poniske       PA    00     16
 16.  Roger Knowles      OH    04     15
 17.  Anthony Musella    VA    05     12
 18.  Ralph Gleaton      SC    02     12
 19.  Rob Navolis        OH    01     12
 20.  Steve Sheldon      NY    00     12
 21.  Evan Hitchings     DE    04     10
 22.  Paul Weintraub     MD    03     10
 23.  Kevin Coombs       GA    05      8
 24.  John Emery         SC    02      8
 25.  Joshua Dunn        VA    02      8
 26.  Michael Haley      NY    00      6
 27.  Even Hitchings     DE    04      5
 28.  John Poniske Jr    PA    05      4
 29.  Henry Richardson   VA    03      3
           

2005 Laurelists

Paul Risner, FL
2nd

William Rohrbeck, NH
3rd

Tony Musella, VA
4th

Kevin Coombs, GA
5th

John Poniske, Jr. PA
6th


Past Winners

Frank Alexander, FL
1992

Kevin Coombs, GA
'93-'94

Paul Risner, TN
1995, 1997, 2002

Robert Hamel, CT
1996

Paul Weintraub, MD
1998

William Burch, MD
1999

John Conlon, OK
2000

Jimmy Levay, MA
2001

William Rohrbeck, NH
2003

Stephen Quirke, WI
2004


Mission 42 ...

The squadron in flight ...

HEADLINES FROM ENGLAND, midsummer 1943:

The 14th Annual B-17 Tournament Wrap Up - New Twists to the Tourney: New Targets, the New Toby Mug (12 O'Clock High), a New After Action Briefing, Awards Ceremony AND Prize Table (everyone goes home a winner) on Friday evening, and a New Champion which was a First-ever Wood for an Old-timer B-17 Veteran

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2005 B-17 WBC Tournament After Action Report - GM David Terry 8th USAAF

2004 marked the 13th year, and we were all happy to get by that unlucky number 13. So with 2005 - the 14th year in our bombsights, the grizzled veterans of the Mighty Eighth U.S. Army Air Force took to the skies for three more historical missions, to battle the Luftwaffe and attack key U-Boat installations in 1943 with one big surprise for Mission 42.

This year's missions started off against the familiar U-Boat pens in St. Nazaire, France, (28 June 1943), which at six Zones turned out to be the SHORTEST of our three missions. Little did the flyers know what the GM had in store for them, but the ruthless Air Commander warned everyone that 2005 was going to be special.

The second mission (#41) was against the lock gates, port area and U-Boat pens at La Pallice, France, (4 July 1943, Independence Day) which is near La Rochelle and eight Zones from our friendly airfields in England. La Pallice is not in the game's original target set, but WBC's squadrons have been to that location before, wreaking havoc.

And then came the third mission of the day (#42) and the FIRST NEW TWIST to the tournament. Reaching far beyond the game's original target set, and requiring a lot of late night research by the GM to even find the place on a map, the twisted Air Commander sent the entire squadron to a new country - NORWAY. The target was the nitrate works, aluminum and magnesium plants that were part of the aviation industry in HEROYA, NORWAY (24 July 2005). Where the heck is Heroya? Well, one piece of advice - don't try to find it on an atlas ­ that was a waste of about five hours. Satellite imaging was how the GM found it, and if I hadn't, it just wouldn't have been right to send the bombers out to a place that the Air Commander wasn't even sure where it was on the map. But it was found, color target maps were provided, and we lit it up like a Christmas tree, knocking the plants out of the rest of the war. The Germans didn't bother trying to repair them after we were through with them. Oh, and by the way, Heroya, Norway was in ZONE TEN, the longest mission we have ever flown in the tournament, and it was a real nutcracker. It assured that whoever won the 2005 tournament had survived our hardest three missions yet. So the GM threw the biggest hurdle yet at the fliers. Who would overcome the most adversity ever? The answer is revealed below.

The Norway mission included an optional rule that permitted fliers to land in Sweden and be interned for the rest of the war. The GM feared 20 pilots might choose that option, but fortunately only four planes out of 36 wound up in Stockholm. Of note, Pilot David Long, in a plane called "Conscientious Objector", got worn out and deliberately flew to Sweden instead of taking the long ride back to England. Finally, the Air Commander actually broke someone's morale. Well, sort of. Pilot Long looked very happy sitting in Sweden.

Next year's historical missions will continue the European bombing campaign. We are inching ever closer to the Regensburg/Schweinfurt raids of August 1943, which will involve new maps and shuttle missions to Africa.

The SECOND NEW TWIST was an unfortunate one. For the first time in a long time, Assistant GM Mike Lam could not make the tournament. He got stuck having to work and couldn't make the annual trek from California. But here is why the B-17 tournament values him so much: despite being absent, Mike graciously provided the sets of medals to award all of the players again this year. This costs Mike a lot of money. At about $4 per medal, Mike has contributed about $200 to $300 worth of medal to this tournament for SEVEN YEARS in a row, not counting the airfare to get to the east coast. Mike is the iron man assistant GM, and as announced at Friday's 1st Annual B-17 After Action Meeting, if I ever have to step down as GM for any reason, Mike Lam is my choice as a replacement. He goes the extra mile every year, and we all appreciate him and his help with the tournament and the medals that he provides. A list of medal winners follows below.

Service medals and medals for first year players were not given out this year because of Mike's absence, but he assures me he will be back and resume these next year. We took notes as to who the new folks are this year - welcome aboard Nathan Trent and Mike Windle. The Luftwaffe especially enjoys shooting at new replacements.

The squadron continued its run of having more than 30 planes in the air. This year we had 36, which was near an all time high and was welcomed because we were worried about the effects of moving to Lancaster, PA. And Lancaster turned out to be great.

The THIRD NEW TWIST was adding a third assistant gamemaster, who is Mark Yoshikawa. Mark earned this honor by creating an electronic database to automate the complex scorekeeping which has me pulling my hair out in between answering rules questions. Mark's database prototype worked very well, and he and I had a contest to see if his laptop program could get the answers out faster than my back up paper calculations. To his credit, Paul Bunyan lost again and the machine beat the human (me).

The FOURTH NEW TWIST was Friday's After Action Meeting. But I should describe the FIFTH NEW TWIST first. I found a replica copy of the Toby Jug that was used in the film Twelve O'Clock High. What's the Toby Jug? Well, it is a ceramic jug made with the shape of a face that is masked and looks a bit like Robin Hood. The jug was used in the movie, and normally sat on the mantle in the Officer's Club facing the wall. The "Turning of the Toby" to face the room was a way to alert crew members in the Club of an upcoming mission. The "Turning of the Toby" is actually based on fact. In World War One, similar codes were utilized by the RAF to signify that a mission was upcoming. Many of the heavy bomber groups of the 8th Air Force used the "Turning of the Toby" to signify that it was time to stop drinking and get ready for a mission the next morning.

So, to start off the missions for 2005, we displayed the Toby Jug 918th Bomb Group (Heavy), and we faced it toward the wall initially. After the first mission briefing of the morning at 0900, the Toby Jug was turned outward to face the B-17 fliers. And off we flew to St. Nazaire.

At the end of the third mission and the end of Thursday's hostilities, Pilot Tom Pavy was the last straggler to return home to England, and at that point, the Toby Jug in the Officer's Club was turned back toward the wall, and packed away so there will be a respite until next year when we will pick up the dice and see what fate holds in store for us once again when we fly out of our new Lancaster home field.

So, back to the FOURTH NEW TWIST - the After Action Meeting, Awards Ceremony and Prize Table at 2300 hours on Friday evening. In what became a usual long-winded debriefing by the Air Commander, who promises to make it shorter next year, we talked a little about the tough missions, particularly Norway, and what went in to that scenario design. Then we awarded the medals, announced the final standings from bottom to top and gave out the B-17 WOOD. And that brings us to the SIXTH NEW TWIST. Assistant GM Keith Hunsinger, who has been through a lot in recent years, was awarded the B-17 Championship Plaque, based on his outstanding score of 180, just edging out his wing bomber Paul Risner who came in second with a score of 176. This was Keith's FIRST EVER wood, in any tournament dating back to 1992. After all that Keith has been through, and what he has done for the B-17 tournament over the years as an assistant, it gave me great pleasure to award him the B-17 plaque at our After Action Briefing. It was also great to see that he repeated the experience on Saturday night at Slapshot. I still have to find out why he was wearing an orange vest on Saturday night though. Congratulations to Keith, and as we all knew, he was flying with more than just good luck this year. He had spirits with him, and wasn't flying alone. So this was an altogether fitting outcome for this year. We're proud that B-17 was your first ever WBC tournament win. Congratulations and godspeed.

The SEVENTH NEW TWIST was the 1st Annual B-17 Prize Table, in which each participant was encouraged to bring one or two gifts (B-17 books, or air war books, model airplanes, VHS or DVD videos, pictures, etc.) for the prize table. Participation is optional, and the GM doesn't want anyone spending more than $10 to $20 or so on their prize offering for the table. The result turned out well. Of the 36 tournament participants this year, we had 25 people show up at the After Action Briefing. Everyone went away with something new for their B-17 collections. Also, during the Briefing, it was suggested that one or two prizes be official "rotating" prizes which are brought back year after year and re-donated, with the one who got it signing their names to it as a record of being a B-17 tournament veteran. Two prizes were thus established as rotating prizes - one is a book "Castles in the Air" by Martin Bowman, and the second is a framed picture of a B-17 that was donated by John Jacoby, the GM of Circus Maximus, who graciously donated six items for the prize table (and he doesn't even play in the tournament). Thanks again John ­ you always go beyond the call of duty.

We will conduct the B-17 Prize Table again next year, so if you are going to play B-17 next year, please bring something for the prize table.

(By the way, in case you are wondering, I have to credit Alan Moon, a former AH employee and author of one of my favorite columns in the AH General - "The Asylum", for coming up with the prize table idea.)

To conclude the After Action Briefing, pilots were dismissed and we started up the film projector to show an episode from The World at War and the very first episode of the TV series Twelve O'Clock High. Only four of us managed to make it through the wee hours of the morning, with Paul Risner bailing out a bit earlier than Mark Yoshikawa, David Terry and guest Bruce Monnin. There were a lot of audiovisual difficulties, so if you missed it, we will replay the Twelve O'Clock High TV first episode in 2006. And by the way, the Officer's Club was a good time during the Briefing. You'd have to be there to understand that, because the whole event took on a twist that I didn't expect, mainly thanks to Paul Risner and Mark Yoshikawa, who probably started a new tradition.

And finally, a description of the medals and consolation awards:

Consolation prizes were awarded to Joseph Burch who came in last with a score of 19 after failing to get anyone back to England during Missions 40 and 41. Joe's award for having such a tough time was a new paperback restricted copy of the B-17 Pilot's Handbook, which will also become a new tradition for last place. The GM still has photocopies of a smaller version of the B-17 Pilot's Handbook, and a copy was given to both Kevin McCarthy who came in next to last with a score of 49 and to Henry Richardson who was next up from the bottom rung with a score of 57. Middle of the pack awards went to Chris Storzillo, Evan Hitchings, and Tom Pavy, with scores of 114, 113 and 116, respectively.

Also, many medals were given out for mission performance, as follows:

Gunner's Wings: Paul Risner, whose tail gunner became a double ace with a total of ten kills over the course of the three missions.

Bombardier's Wings: Jon Izer, for best overall bombing accuracy, with a 98% hit on Mission 40, 40% on Mission 41, and 0% for Mission 42. That is a 46% average over the three missions.

Air Medal: Bombing accuracy - Jon Izer, Mission 40, 98%. Rookie Nathan Trent, Mission 41, 98%, and David Gantt, Mission 41, 97%. None on Mission 42 as an accuracy of 75% or better is required.

Distinguished Flying Cross: Steve Munchak, Mission 41, who was badly shot up, out of formation in the target zone, lost his bombardier and starboard waist gunner, yet completed the mission and successfully returned to base.

Distinguished Service Cross: Rookie Mike Windle, Mission 1. His bombardier landed the plane back in England with a dice roll of 12. Mike's enjoyment increased many fold on that one roll!

Silver Star: none this year as no pilot braved frostbite at altitude to get back to England safely.

Bronze Star: Barry Shoults, most evaders, 5 airmen escaped becoming POWs, Mission 41.

Purple Heart: All ten crewmembers perish on a mission. BIP - Burst in Plane is the usual method, but some also ditched at sea, out of formation and without an operational radio to notify the Royal Navy. No Purple Hearts awarded for Mission 40 (St. Nazaire), but Mission 41 (La Pallice) had three and Mission 42 (Heroya, Norway) had four. These were awarded to:
1) Stephen Quirke, the 2004 champion, took a BIP on Mission 41 in the target zone 8 from the only plane that attacked him the whole mission. Thus is the luck of B-17, from riches (2004) to rags (2005).
2) Henry Richardson also had a BIP on Mission 41, in Zone 7 outbound. 3) Joe Burch, just as he was about to drop his bombs on the target, got a BIP on Mission 41.
4) Paul Weintraub ditched at sea on the way out to Norway, only in Zone 3, all presumed KIA, on Mission 42.
5) Bruce Peckham had the same fate - ditching at sea and all presumed KIA, but he had managed to make it to Heroya and was in Zone 5 heading home when the Luftwaffe did him in.
6) Barry Shoults got a very early BIP in Zone 3 heading away from England to Norway on Mission 42 and
7) Jon Izer got a BIP in zone 6 on Mission 42, thus ending his good bombing accuracy luck. The Luftwaffe went after our best bombardier this year.

Prisoner Of War: Brian Conlon, most POWs, 14 total (eight on Mission 40, six on Mission 42).

Many thanks once again to Assistant GM Mike Lam for providing the medals despite his absence. As usual, Mike goes well beyond the call of duty.

Overall, it was another great year. I thank everyone for their participation - including participation in the new Friday evening awards briefing and new Prize Table. Veterans from past years are encouraged to return in 2006 (there are service medals for five- and ten-year veterans). And we always welcome new flyers - replacements are always needed. Please join in on the fun in 2006 and be sure to participate in the optional After Action Briefing and Prize Table too.

 GM      Dave Terry  [14th Year]  NA 
    david.terry@jhuapl.edu   NA

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