b-17 [Updated December 2007]  

2007 WBC Report    

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Dave Long, NC

2007 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
2007    Dave Long     42


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Paul Risner        FL    06    169
  2.  William Rohrbeck   NH    06    102
  3.  Keith Hunsinger    OH    05     90
  4.  Dave Long          NC    07     60
  5.  Richard Moyer      MN    07     60
  6.  Stephen Quirke     WI    04     55
  7.  Judy Krauss        PA    02     42
  8.  Eric Stranger      OH    07     40
  9.  Jim LeVay          MA    01     40
 10.  John Conlon        OK    00     40
 11.  William Burch      MD    00     38
 12.  Kevin Coombs       GA    07     26
 13.  Tim Evinger        PA    04     25
 14.  Don Del Grande     CA    01     24
 15.  John Ellmann Sr    MD    00     24
 16.  David Gantt        SC    03     20
 17.  Bill Beckman       SC    06     18
 18.  Bill LeVay         MA    01     16
 19.  John Poniske       PA    00     16
 20.  Roger Knowles      OH    04     15
 21.  Bruce Peckham      NY    07     12
 22.  Scott Pfeiffer     SC    06     12
 23.  Anthony Musella    VA    05     12
 24.  Ralph Gleaton      SC    02     12
 25.  Rob Navolis        OH    01     12
 26.  Steve Sheldon      NY    00     12
 27.  Evan Hitchings     DE    04     10
 28.  Paul Weintraub     MD    03     10
 29.  John Emery         SC    02      8
 30.  Joshua Dunn        VA    02      8
 31.  Mike Windle        DE    07      6
 32.  Marty Musella      VA    06      6
 33.  Michael Haley      NY    00      6
 34.  Even Hitchings     DE    04      5
 35.  John Poniske Jr    PA    05      4
 36.  Henry Richardson   VA    03      3

2007 Laurelists

Rich Moyer, MN

Eric Strager, OH

Kevin Coombs, GA

Bruce Peckham, NY

Mike Windle, DE

Past Winners

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

Dang! ... no wonder the Germans lost ...

... look at the size of that squadron!

Mission 47 ... & Still Growing


The 16th Annual B-17 Tournament Wrap Up:

If you have never experienced the WBC B-17 tournament, you might want to consider doing so in 2008. Each year, we fly three historic missions. Scenario handout sheets designed loosely on Squad Leader scenario charts are given to each flier at the start of each mission to brief them on the game setup, target, air cover, and weather, complete with a detailed historical synopsis to let everyone know what really happened on that mission in WWII.

We are now into August 1943. If you know your history, you know we are about to fly some some of the most famous "signature" missions of the air campaign. It's been a long time coming, but for those of you who have made the trip this far, 2008 will be a very interesting year.

We've been flying for 16 years now, three missions per year, with the exception of the first year when we had only two missions (due to time constraints and, well, the painful first year learning curve of what works and what doesn't work in a tournament, including, yes, GM screw ups that the Royal Air Force would laugh about). So, we have just completed our 47th mission together. Next year, we will knock out missions 48, 49 and wrap up with our 50th mission. So, our GOLDEN anniversary mission is on the horizon.

We are NOT giving out GOLD next year to increase attendance. Speaking of anniversary gifts, here is something relevant to WBC plaques: a friend of mine had his fifth wedding anniversary a few years ago, and was describing to us how he was looking for a traditional gift of WOOD to give to his wife. I asked him "just what KIND of WOOD are you talking about giving your wife?"

Now, as tournaments go, many people avoid B-17 because they think it is too lucky, way too dependent on the dice, and doesn't involve enough skill (ask four -time winner Paul Risner about that), and therefore, not worth the investment of most of one entire WBC day, especially if you are obsessed with getting WOOD.

But, if you join us, you will know that the story isn't completely about winning and WOOD. 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.

I do not fully understand what the B-17 tournament means to everyone who plays in it. It can mean many things on different levels. As the GM, I try to stress the historical accuracy of the missions and remind people that this is much more than just a boardgame. I hate the term "just a game." It is a historical simulation of a brutal aspect of WWII, and when you study the strategic air campaign, you will realize just how significant the air war was to the success of D-Day and the ultimate outcome.

But more than the history, the puzzling thing is why do so many participants keep coming back to get shot to pieces year after year?

For the most part, it is because they are having fun doing so. Maybe not as much fun, but still, you'd be surprised at how well people take getting shot down in this tournament. Sometimes, people think it was just not their year (Risner has come in last). Fate definitely plays a role. Others may be drawn back in the same way they hope they will hit the lottery some day. And Mike Lam's medals probably bring more people back than anything else. Mike contributes a LOT to the success of this event. But one thing is for sure ... while the vast majority of WBC events gradually grow smaller over the years, our squadron continues to grow! We must be doing something right.

If someone makes a game based on "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" I think most of us B-17ers would be ready to join right in. We're nuts.

Anyway, enough with the introduction -- just remember that 2008 will be a signature year. Now on to a description of this past year's event.

This year's first WBC mission attacked the Heinkel aircraft factory at Warnemünde, Germany (Zone 9) which was the 8th USAAF's Mission #79 on 29 July 1943.

The second WBC mission (USAAF Mission #80) was also against an aircraft factory. This time the target was the Waldau Fieseler Aircraft Works in Kassel, Germany (30 July 1943).

The third WBC mission (USAAF Mission #81) was against manufacturing facilities at Bonn, Germany in the Ruhr Valley. This mission was conducted on 12 August 1943, so again, if you know history, you know a date with some ball bearing plants is just around the corner.

A few words of many thanks to my Assistant GMs:

Assistant GM Keith Hunsinger, serving as rules and scoring help as well as Group Chaplain. Keith also donated some full size wings as contributions to Mike Lam's medal awards.

Assistant GM Mark Yoshikawa, who has computerized the scoring system and, he was the first person who was allowed to try to shoot me down and notably failed. At one point, I wondered why he was having so much fun and then I realized he was getting into some kind of bloodthirsty frenzy.

And I can't say enough about Assistant GM Mike Lam, who again handed out all kinds of medals for years of service, achievements in the air, and all kinds of bad things that can happen to a B-17 and her crew.

Here is Mike's summary of medals awarded during the 2007 tournament:

Medal Of Honor: 1
Distinguished Service Cross: 1
Silver Star: 2
Distinguished Flying Cross: 7
Air Medal: 1
Purple Heart: 10
Prisoner Of War: 1
Legion Of Merit: 1
Good Conduct: 5
European Theater of Operations: 7
Pilot Wings: 1
Co-Pilot Wings: 1
Navigator Wings: 1
Bombardier Wings: 1
Flight Engineer Wings: 1
Radio Operator Wings: 1
Ball Gunner Wings: 1
Tail Gunner Wings: 1
Waist Gunner Wings: 2

Mission 1: Warnemünde

Medal Of Honor - Ruth Evinger - Flight Engineer KIA landing plane with three seriously wounded crew onboard

Silver Star - Tim DuFour - Pilot chose to remain in formation risking frostbite

Distinguished Flying Cross - Mike Backstrom - Successful Ditching in North Sea

Purple Hearts - Mike Lam, Nathan Trent, Henry Richardson, Paul Risner, Bill Beckman - These involve loss of entire crews from ditchings, fuel fires, and the dreaded BIP, bombs burst in plane.

Mission 2: Kassel

Silver Star - Bill Beckman - Pilot chose to remain in formation risking frostbite

Distinguished Flying Cross - Josh Weintraub - Successful Ditching in Channel

Distinguished Flying Cross - Jim Miller - Successful Crash Landing at base, crew safe

Distinguished Flying Cross - Andy Chitwood - Flew back from Zone-8, Out Of Formation plus x2 turns every even zone

Distinguished Flying Cross - Steve Munchak - Flew back from Zone-8 Out Of Formation

Purple Hearts - Bill Rohrbeck, Henry Richardson, Joe Birch - the usual total crew loss disasters.

Mission 3: Bonn

Distinguished Service Cross - Claude Stone - Flight Engineer Successfully Landed plane with -11 roll modifier

Distinguished Flying Cross - Eric Stranger - Flew back from Zone-8, x2 turns each zone

Distinguished Flying Cross ­ Nathan Trent - Badly shot up, wheels up landing, no ammo left

Air Medal - Kevin Coombs - 75% bomb run

Purple Hearts - Paul Risner, Tim Dufour - 2006 champ Paul shot down twice in one year.

Medals for Overall Performance, 3 missions cumulative:

Kevin Coombs (Bomb Wings): 110% total, 3 missions by 1 bombardier

Steve Munchak (Navigator Wings): Navigator navigated B-17 Out Of Formation for 7 Zones

Jon Izer (Pilot Wings): 0 Crew Lost (won tie-breaker over Eric Stranger and Kevin McCarthy, both also with 0 crew lost).

Steve Munchak (Co-Pilot Wings): CP flew B-17 alone for 7 Zones after pilot was SW

Dave Long (Flight Engineer Wings) - 11 Kills

Roger Knowles (Radio Operator Wings) - 2 Kills

Dave Long (Ball Gunner Wings) - 6 Kills

Rich Moyer (Port Waist Wings) - 5 Kills

Josh Weintraub (Starboard Waist Wings)-3 Kills

Dave Long (Tail Gunner Wings)-9 Kills

Evan Hitchings (Prisoner Of War): 19 Total POWs

Service Awards:

Kevin Coombs (Legion of Merit): 10 year service
Steve Munchak (Good Conduct): 5 year service
Roger Knowles (Good Conduct): 5 year service
William Rohrbeck (Good Conduct): 5 year service
Bill Beckman (Good Conduct): 5 year service
Robert Hahn (Good Conduct): 5 year service
Andy Chitwood (ETO): 1st year
Josh Weintraub (ETO): 1st year
Mike Masella (ETO): 1st year
Claude Stone (ETO): 1st year
Carl Sykes (ETO): 1st year
Frank Cunliffe (ETO): 1st year
Tim DuFour (ETO): 1st year

Friday's After Action Meeting at 2200 hours continued to be a big success as we reopened the Officer's Club (with Paul Risner and Mark Yoshikawa providing refreshments), and we turned the Toby Jug back toward the wall indicating that the missions for the year were over.

We gave out Mike Lam's medals (with some wings from Keith Hunsinger), awarded WBC Wood, and we conducted our Thid 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 42 tournament participants this year, we had almost 35 people appear 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. We will conduct the Prize Table again next year, so if you going to play, please be on the lookout for an appropriate addition to the prize table. It adds a lot of fun to the event and everyone goes away a winner. Thanks again to John Jacoby who donated several B-17 related items that he has found at various yard sales. John doesn't even play in the event but his contributions to the prize table are greatly appreciated!

After all of that, we showed the third episode of the TV series Twelve O'Clock High for those few of us night owls that managed to stay awake.

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 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.

Since this is supposed to be an After Action Report, a few words about the final scoring and standings for 2007.

Consolation prizes were awarded to Dave Gantt for coming in last (42nd) with a score of 24, and to 2006 champ Paul Risner for coming in next to last (41st) with a score of 32. Evan Hitchings was third from the bottom (40th) with a score of 33, Keith Hunsinger (39th), frequent cellar dweller and one-time champ, had a score of 50 and Chris Storzillo (38th) rounded out the bottom five with a score of 53.

Next came 37th Joe Burch (whose plane names needed some censoring), Henry Richardson (36th), Barry Shoults (35th), Mike Lam (34th, who spends a lot of time awarding medals and getting shot down too), and Tim DuFour (33rd).

The middle of the pack, working upward, were 32nd Bill Rohrbeck, 31st Michael Masella, 30th Andrew Chitwood, 29th Stephen Shedden (a returning vet last seen in Hunt Valley, welcome back Stephen), 28th Frank Cunliffe, 27th Mike Backstrom, 26th Nathan Trent, 25th Bill Beckman, 24th Roger Knowles, 23rd Bill Burch, 22nd Mark Guz, 21st John Ockelmann and 20th David Terry, thanks to Mark Yoshikawa doing a lot of damage during my second mission.

The top went to 19th Bryan Collars, 18th Joshua Weintraub, 17th Ruth Evinger, 16th Jim Miller, 15th Claude Stone, 14th Carl Sykes, 13th Robert Hahn, 12th Don Del Grande, 11th Stephen Munchak, 10th Mark Yoshikawa (I shot him up a bit), 9th Paul Weintraub, 8th Jon Izer and just missing out on wood, 7th Kevin McCarthy.

For the first time ever, due to the event size, we had wood for the top six places. These went to:

6th: Mike Windle in his plane Rocky, The Flying Squirrel
5th: Bruce Peckham in Plane Jane
4th: Kevin Coombs in Atlanta Belle
3rd: Eric Stranger in Down In Flames
2nd: Richard Moyer in Wee Willie

and top wood went to

1st: perennial bottom dweller Dave Long, who was completely surprised at the After Action Meeting because Mark Yoshikawa and his computer told him that we thought he was in second place on mission day, but I insisted that all results were preliminary until I went through the paper calculations. Well, Mark had a bug this year and the old diehard slow paper way beat his computer for the first time in three years. So, we unexpectedly held Dave Long in suspense. He knew he was near the top, but not THE TOP.

Dave flies missions against / with Jim Miller, and Jim has made Dave wind up near the bottom of the standings year after year, but Dave takes an incredible toll on Jim too. It's like they show up each year to kick each other in the butt and then laugh about it. They are also the kings of the double entendre so you have to watch what you say around them.

Dave decided to name his planes this year based on the amount of grief he has suffered in the past. He had a theme for all three missions, and named his planes as follows (with partial censorship):

Mission 1: DENIAL: No (expletive deleted) Way Jim Shoots Me Down
Mission 2: DEPRESSION: I Scored 64 On My First Mission. I'm So (expletive deleted).
Mission 3: ACCEPTANCE: (Expletive deleted) It. We All Know Paul's Gonna Win.

The last plan name was, of course, a reference to Paul Risner being the defending champ from 2006. Well, now Dave Long is the defending champ and Jim Miller probably already has his German ammo loaded and ready to blast Dave from first to worst in 2008. It happens. Risner went from first to next to last. Keith Hunsinger has had similar experiences.

So, congratulations once again to Dave Long and all the rest of the participants on another fine year. I am always looking for ways to improve the experience and welcome your suggestions. I can be reached at david.terry@jhuapl.edu

Overall, it was another great year. I thank everyone for their participation -- including the Friday evening After Action Briefing and Prize Table. Veterans from past years are encouraged to return in 2008 (there are service medals for five- and ten-year veterans). We also always welcome new players as Mike gives out an ETO first year award. Please join in on the fun in 2008 and be sure to participate in the optional After Action Briefing and Prize Table too. And remember, we had a record 42 folks this year, so our goal is to keep having fun in 2008. For an out of print boardgame, this attendance record is pretty good. Join in on the 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; pen and paper scoring system,

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 of course all the other B-17 players who are the supporting cast of fliers that make this such a fun experience each year. Thanks to all and see you in 2008.

 GM      Dave Terry  [16h Year]  NA 
    david.terry@jhuapl.edu   NA

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