DOPPELGANGER! 24 February 1944
Background:When a lone, unmarked B-17 joined his formation over Holland, but kept his distance, Captain Detrick Stern was suspicious of it. When his aircraft was damaged by flak and dropped out of formation towards it, the stranger shied away. At that moment, enemy fighters appeared. Stern was certain that this B-17 was a German shadower. Four FW190s arrowed down towards him. Before the other B-17 pilot could react, he closed in on it, almost putting his left wingtip through the right waist window. Holding this position, he watched the FW190's begin their attack run... then break away without firing a shot. This confirmed Stern's suspicions - they couldn't fire without possibly hitting their comrades. To put the matter beyond doubt, the enemy Fort's gunners opened fire. The two bombers' gunners exchanged fire as Stern stuck close to the enemy plane to put off the FW190's attack runs, all the while calling for help from their escorts. Finally, two P-51s came down and joined the battle, who were then joined by two more.
|Map: ||Blue Sky||
Set Up:Set up the German B-17 in 3014, facing E, altitude 18.0, speed 4.0, banked level, and the American B-17 in 2814, altitude 18.0, speed 4.0, banked level. The four FW190s begin in hexes 1914, 1815, 2016, and 2116, facing W, altitude 19.0, speed 6.0, banked level. Two P-51s start in 2026 and 2126, facing W, altitude 19.5, speed 7.0, banked level. The final two P-51s enter the East edge of the board on turn 5 at any desired altitude and bank angle and with any speed up to Maximum Level.
Game Length: 20 turns
1. American B-17: The starboard-inner engine of the American B-17 is stopped and feathered. It has taken a total of 3 points of damage. It also carries eight 500lb M58 bombs (16 load points).
2. German B-17: The belly turret has been removed. All Defensive gunfire is modified by a +1 and all turns/manoeuvres incur an extra decel to reflect the crew's lack of familiarity and training with their aircraft.
3. Bomb Jettison: If the American B-17 jettisons its bombs, the German player gains 5 VPs.
4. Pilot Quality: Generate the Americans on the "Average" column and the Germans on the "Limited" column.
1. Use the historical starting situation, with the American B-17's port outer engine also knocked out and feathered.
2. Remove the waist and cheek guns from the German B-17, reduce all its armor factors to +0, and increase its power ratings by 0.25 per engine.
Debriefing:The first burst of fire from the renegade put the port outer engine out of action. Even on two engines and with a full bombload, the American was able to stay with its German counterpart through a series of manoeuvres for several minutes, due to his greater familiarity with his aircraft, both planes' gunners firing away the whole time. The whole time the FW190s could do nothing but circle, fearful of destroying their own precious B-17. When the first pair P-51s returned from the main force to help, one of the FW190s was swiftly shot down and another damaged. The size of the battle gradually increased, with as many as ten German fighters trying to protect "their" Fort as more and more Mustangs arrived on the scene and attacked it. The German B-17 was finally downed, but the American version was able to return to England on 2 engines, after dropping its bombs on a "target of opportunity" near the German border!
Designer's Notes: The source is Big Week by Glenn Infield. Historically, the American should start with two engines out and a full bomb-load still on board. However, by the Fighting Wings rules, this would reduce its flight performance to the point it would be a sitting duck and completely incapable of staying with its counterpart. I chose to ignore this damage in the set-up, although the German player may still be able to inflict this damage himself.
On the other side of the coin, information I have on KG200's planes and operations is scant, and what I do have concentrates on their clandestine "spying" operations - although their role as "shadowers" is mentioned in passing. This information indicates that the B-17s they operated were stripped down to improve flight performance, removing guns (including the belly turret, waist and cheek guns) and armor. Given its possible "combat" role in this case, I have assumed these modifications would not be carried out in full, but included them as a variant. I did assume the belly turret would be missing if the Fort had been captured after a force-landing.
Best of British
1.0 Original Version