b-17 [Updated October 2006]  

2006 WBC Report    

 2007 Status: pending 2007 GM commitment

Paul Risner, FL

2006 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
2006    Paul Risner     39


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Paul Risner        FL    06    169
  2.  William Rohrbeck   NH    06    102
  3.  Keith Hunsinger    OH    05     90
  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.  Richard Moyer      MN    06     24
 11.  Don Del Grande     CA    01     24
 12.  John Ellmann Sr    MD    00     24
 13.  David Gantt        SC    03     20
 14.  Bill Beckman       SC    06     18
 15.  Eric Stranger      OH    02     16
 16.  Bill LeVay         MA    01     16
 17.  John Poniske       PA    00     16
 18.  Roger Knowles      OH    04     15
 19.  Scott pfeiffer     SC    06     12
 20.  Anthony Musella    VA    05     12
 21.  Ralph Gleaton      SC    02     12
 22.  Rob Navolis        OH    01     12
 23.  Steve Sheldon      NY    00     12
 24.  Evan Hitchings     DE    04     10
 25.  Paul Weintraub     MD    03     10
 26.  Kevin Coombs       GA    05      8
 27.  John Emery         SC    02      8
 28.  Joshua Dunn        VA    02      8
 29.  Marty Musella      VA    06      6
 30.  Michael Haley      NY    00      6
 31.  Even Hitchings     DE    04      5
 32.  John Poniske Jr    PA    05      4
 33.  Henry Richardson   VA    03      3

2006 Laurelists

William Rohrbeck, NH

Rich Moyer, MN

Bill Beckman, SC

Scott Pfeiffer, SC

Martin Musella. VA

Past Winners

Frank Alexander, FL

Kevin Coombs, GA

Paul Risner, TN
1995, 1997, 2002, 2006

Robert Hamel, CT

Paul Weintraub, MD

William Burch, MD

John Conlon, OK

Jimmy Levay, MA

William Rohrbeck, NH

Stephen Quirke, WI

Keith Hunsinger, OH

 The Greenville Squadron reports for duty (from left): Bill Beckman, Bryan Collars, Dan Lawall, Scott Pfeiffer, and Ken Richards. Airman Collars is out of uniform.

 The Toby Mug faces out symbolizing the squadron will soon fly. It is surrounded by door prizes donated by the fliers for the After Action Meeting.

 Three of the last four champs populate this wing. Note the bomber motif sported by many of the players as they get in the spirit of the campaign.

Mission 45 ...


The 15th Annual B-17 Tournament Wrap Up - The B-17 Tournament sets a new record with 39 participants - next year we try to break 40!!!!


2006 B-17 WBC Tournament After Action Report - GM David Terry 8th USAAF

First, let's look back a year. 2005 marked the year when veteran Keith Hunsinger finally won the B-17 tournament after 14 tries and then proclaimed that he was "no longer a virgin." Or, at least, no longer a virgin at winning tournaments, otherwise I had some questions about how he fathered his daughter... his being a man of the cloth, I was beginning to think that Keith had pulled off the immaculate conception years ago, but winning the B-17 tournament in 2005 was probably immaculate enough for him.

And, Keith's partners in his squadron made sure Keith had a good ride to the targets in 2006, but they managed to let the Germans shoot him up enough that he went from FIRST (2005) to LAST (2006). This actually takes a lot of luck (good and bad) to go from first to worst, but Keith managed to do it. Which did he enjoy the most? Well, if you go to the WBC web site and see photos of him running around with his wood for winning in 2005, I am sure you know which he preferred the most. Winning.

But, if you join us - our merry band of demented folks who are involved with the B-17 tournament year after year, you know that the story isn't completely about winning. Sure, doing well is the icing on the cake. But the camaraderie of getting together again at the convention, seeing old friends, and then shooting them down, probably ranks well up there with winning. It doesn't get any better than that (unless beer is involved).

This year's first mission tied into the horrific bombing of Hamburg, Germany (Operation Gomorrah) with the 8th USAAF mission #76 on 25 July 1943. We targeted a diesel engine factory but weather forced the bombing to hit the city's shipyard areas instead.

The second mission was against two rubber factories and the rail yards of Hannover, Germany (26 July 1943). Of course, the military target was intended to disrupt tire production and not prophylactics.

In 2005, the third mission sent us to NORWAY, but this time around we went for the deepest penetration of German airspace yet - to the town of Oschersleben, Germany which is halfway between Hannover and Berlin. This attack was designed to hit an Fw-190 aircraft plant. This was also a zone 9 mission, aided by the fact that the P-47s could now protect the bombers out to five zones with their new fiberglass belly drop tanks.

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.

Assistant GM Mike Lam made it back to the tournament this year and handed out all kinds of medals for years of service, achievements in the air, and all kinds of bad things usually involving the air and the ground. More details on some of the medals he handed out will be mentioned later on in this after action report.

Assistant GM Mark Yoshikawa returned with his computer to help with the new electronic scoring system that he developed. Again, I keep paper records as a sanity check, and Mark and his computer has now beaten me two years in a row at spitting out the final tournament order. We old timers do occasionally catch a few things though. But Mark's contributions have been a very big help.

Assistant GM Keith Hunsinger assisted with rules and some scoring, but he also serves as the Group Chaplain and with the bad luck he was having with his own plane, he kept himself fairly busy hoping for better luck. And if you ever get a chance to talk to Keith, ask him what happened when he took a break to go get his car from the repair shop. He heard some music on the radio that makes you wonder if things really happen by chance or for a reason.

Friday's After Action Meeting at 2200 hours continued to be a big success as we reopened the Officer's Club, turned the Toby Jug back toward the wall indicating that the missions for the year were over, and showed the very first episode of the TV series Twelve O'Clock High. After that, we gave out Mike Lam's medals, WBC Wood, and we conducted our Second Annual B-17 Prize Table, in which each participant was encouraged to bring one or two gifts (B-17 or air war books, model airplanes, VHS or DVD videos, pictures, etc.) for the prize table. Participation in this 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 39 tournament participants this year, we had almost 30 people show up at the After Action Briefing. Everyone went away with something new for their B-17 collections. Also, the prize table features a couple of 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 veteran. Two prizes were 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. Paul Weintraub, who suggested the concept of "rotating" prizes, reframed that B-17 photo and was the first to bring it back and it looks in great shape. After 30 years, all of our names will be on it. Great idea, Paul! Dave Long returned the Castles in the Air book, so both rotating prizes are out there waiting to come back in 2007.

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

As a reminder: 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 Twelve O'Clock High, 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 I, 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 2006, we displayed the Toby Jug 918th Bomb Group (Heavy), and faced it toward the wall initially. As we started the first briefing of the morning at 0900, the Toby Jug was turned outward to face the B-17 fliers. And off we flew to Hamburg.

This year, some of our officers placed side bets as to how long I would talk at 0900 and when we would actually begin playing the game. Fortunately for everyone, I got everyone set up and running much quicker than usual, so the side bet was won by one of our rookie fliers. I do enjoy it when the grizzled veterans bet against me and lose.

At the end of the third mission and the end of Thursday's hostilities, as our last straggler landed in England, the Toby Jug in the Officer's Club was turned back toward the wall, and there was peace until next year when we will pick up the dice and see what our luck is all over again.

Consolation prizes were awarded to Keith Hunsinger and Tony Musella for coming in last with a score of 55. The tiebreaker system is designed to not only see who comes in first in the event of ties, but it also is designed to see who comes in last. Keith only reached the target twice while Tony managed to reach it three times, so Keith was last. First to worst was secured.

When the last plane had landed we had our closest finish ever, with Paul Risner winning yet again, this time being his fourth victory (1995, 1997, 2002 and 2006). He beat out 2003 champion Bill Rohrbeck by only HALF OF A POINT. Paul came in with a score of 190 while Bill had a score of 189.5. Rich Moyer was third with 175 points, Bill Beckman had a 173.2 for fourth, Scott Pfeiffer had a 166 for fifth, and sixth went to Marty Musella with a score of 165.

And the scoring went downhill from there, with so many calamities happening, the GM could only wonder how a few folks like Paul and Bill had escaped.

A few words on this: with a score of 190 and 189.5, the difference came down to not just one single die roll during the day. If Bill had one more crew member get back to England safely, or shot down one more German fighter, or done a bit better on his bombing rolls (where he was already outstanding), then he could have edged Paul out for the title, and these events could have happened on several different rolls of the dice throughout the day. Paul obviously has a strategy, and many are out there searching for what it is so that they can try to knock off the defending champion next year.

One thing Paul has not done yet is repeat as champion. Only Kevin Coombs pulled that off, and that was back in 1993 and 1994. Kevin couldn't make it to the 2006 tournament this year because of work, but vows to be back in 2007.

Congratulations to Paul and all the rest of the participants on another fine year. I am always looking for ways to improve the event and welcome your suggestions.

When I get a chance, Mike Lam and I will try to list all of the medal winners. The medals fall into several categories, as follows:

Gunner's Wings: I think this one went to Paul Risner again for having a tail gunner become a double ace and shoot the lights out of the Germans.

Bombardier's Wings: Bill Rohrbeck, for best overall bombing accuracy, with a 50% run on Mission 1, 75% on Mission 2, and 60% for Mission 3. That is a 61.7% average over three missions.

Air Medal: Bombing accuracy ­ Bill Beckman, Mission 2, 92% and Bill Rohrbeck, Mission 2, 75%. No Air Medals were given out on Mission 1 and Mission 3 as an accuracy of 75% or better is required.

Distinguished Flying Cross: This award involves something horrific happening, yet the crew makes it to the target and back to England. We'll look up the notes and see who some of these winners were and edit them later.

Distinguished Service Cross: This award usually goes out to a non-pilot (like the bombardier) landing the plane back in England with a dice roll of 12.

Silver Star: This involves surviving frostbite at altitude to get back to England safely.

Bronze Star: We didn't have any Bronze Stars for evading the Germans on the ground to avoid becoming POWs. All the missions took us over Germany and the Netherlands, which meant everyone got captured and are now ldoing their steve McQueen imitations.

Purple Heart: All ten crewmembers perish on a mission. There is usually a very long list of Purple Heart winners. I have to check with Mike Lam and we'll try to list all of the walking wounded from this 2006 B-17 Tournament. From my notes, it looks like Evan Hitchings lost everyone at sea; Kyle McCool had a BIP (burst in plane) that caused 10 KIAs; Bryan Collars also had a BIP with 10 KIA; Henry Pfeiffer also had a BIP 10 KIA, and maybe a second Purple Heart in the third mission as he scored zero points in that disaster. Paul Weintraub had his plane explode (fuel tanks), while Jon Izer also got a BIP 10 KIA. Matt Spitznagel lost his crew at sea after they ditched with no radio contact and they were out of formation. Anyway, those are just a few of the Purple Hearts given out in 2006, and you can imagine that the game designer did a fairly good job of making the game remind you of how deadly the actual air combat in World War II was for these fliers.

Prisoner Of War: Mark Guz, most POWs, 16 total (nine on Mission 2, seven on Mission 3). Mark named his plane for the third mission the "Death Wish" and he got what he wanted, apparently.

Overall, it was another great year. I thank everyone for their participation - including participation in the Second Annual Friday evening After Action Briefing and Prize Table. Veterans from past years are encouraged to return in 2007 (there are service medals for five and ten year veterans). Also, we always welcome new players. Please join in on the fun in 2007 and be sure to participate in the optional After Action Briefing and Prize Table too. And remember, we had 39 folks this year, so our goal is to break 40 in 2007, while having a LOT of fun.

Take care between now and next August. This briefing has been brought to you by:

David Terry, Gamemaster, B-17, rules, tourney format, herder of crazy B-17 players, circus ringleader,

Mike Lam, Assistant Gamemaster, B-17, rules and medals,

Keith Hunsinger, Assistant Gamemaster, B-17, rules, Group Chaplain and scoring

Mark Yoshikawa, Assistant Gamemaster, B-17, rules and electronic scoring

Paul Risner, Officer in charge of the Officer's Club (and he and his wife just had a baby in October 2006, so congrats Paul! And we expect cigars next year.)

And of course all the other B-17 players who are the supporting cast of fliers that make this such a fun tournament each year. Thanks to all and see you in 2007.

 GM      Dave Terry  [15h Year]  NA 
    david.terry@jhuapl.edu   NA

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