Mission 1: Motor Factory at Zeebrugge. This almost ends in disaster as both the electrical and hydraulic systems go out pretty much on takeoff, then I get so absorbed in fixing them that I tag the first wave of fighters late, and then I compound it by not getting Left_Empty into the bombardier’s station fast enough to open the bomb bay doors in time to hit the target on the first pass. Plus, the port outboard engine gets set on fire. Fortunately, I get things together fast enough to swing back and hit the target, and RichVR does stellar work fixing the engine once the fire dies down and makes the engine kaput (shown). But we don’t get the optional recon photo, which I think is essential to building up your bomber quickly. I satisfy myself with woolen gloves and leather boots for everybody. I also protect everyone by buying Armored Fuselage 1 for the whole plane, because I’m a mensch.
One trick is to select each gunner (tail gunner, mid-upper turret, and nose gunner) and hit “R” right as you are taking off from England, as this will immediately send them to the ammo bay to get an extra ammo box while you’re still over Wessex. Er, Sussex? Whatevs.
Missions 2 (Sub Hunt), 3 (Todt Ammo Dumps) and 4 (Search & Rescue) go off without a hitch. I pick up a bunch of extra photo recon opportunities, and use my second job as a war photographer to subsidize some equipment upgrades. I also get my first secondary skill opportunity, and choose gunner for Left_Empty, who has to man the nose gun as well as drop bombs as the bombardier.
Mission 5: Operation Chariot (critical mission): Critical missions are the gates to the further steps in the campaign, of which there are eight total. It seems like things are going great until they are simply not. My orders are to follow a boat (the HMS Campbeltown, historically) on the raid on St. Nazaire (Operation Chariot, historically) where it is to smash into the drydock and blow itself up. I first need to rendezvous with the ship, then sink some subs, and finally bomb coastal artillery that is shelling the Campbeltown as it makes its run in. Everything goes great until I fail to tag a finger four of Me-109s until after they get two passes at me. Then they knock out the electrical system, which takes the radar offline, and I fail to pick up the next flight of incoming fighters, one of which is a Bf-110 with Schrage Musik that proceeds to sit under the Lancaster and shoot up into the fuselage, which wounds RichVR while he is fixing the electrical system, but he is a hero and keeps working with about 2 hit points remaining. Meanwhile, fighters from abaft critically wound both Mr_Bismarck and Dan_Theman, leaving me defenseless from a gunnery standpoint. Leaving his radioman position, Eric_Majkut races to the rear and revives not one but both of them with med kits. Unfortunately, there are only two medkits, and the fighters critically wound both of them again before either one can get to sick bay to heal up. An engine catches fire, but RichVR is still in the back working on the electrical system, so he cannot get to his console to trigger the fire extinguishers. The plane is falling apart (shown). In fact, I think if we had taken one more hit, the whole fuselage would have disintegrated. But the English coast saved us, just like it saved William Penn and Eric the Red. We landed at our base, but Mr_Bismarck and Dan_Theman, both gunners, died defending our aircraft from the Boche. Sorry, guys. You will be memorialized.
MrCoffee and Juan_Raigada take their places. “Welcome” aboard, gents.
Since we did complete the mission, we move to the second step of the campaign.
Mission 6: La Coupole Construction. We complete the mission but don’t do any extra recon. Several crew train in various secondary skills. Mission 7 against the Bremen Tank Factory has recon included in the objective, which is a cheap way of getting out of paying us for our photography skills. Again, we almost buy the farm due to critical damage. I’m really blowing it by missing the target on the first go-round. But we land safely, even with one wheel out.