Mission 8: Doodlebug Blitz brings us our first outright failure. The mission, as stated by Wing Commander Biggins, was to bomb five V1 rocket launch sites before eight V1 rockets had been launched. He even counted the objectives out on his fingers so we’d get it. Unfortunately, Left_Empty didn’t get it, because he kind of spazzed out as we passed over the second site and dropped a rack of bombs on the AA emplacement just before the launch pad passed into his bombsight. To his credit, he quickly selected another rack and dispatched the launch site anyway, but when he took off his glove to count his fingers, he realized he still had three sites to bomb, but there were only two racks of bombs left. Boy, was Biggins going to let him have it back at the base! He sheepishly turned to Pilot Officer Brooski and told him the bad news, staying off the intercom so that RichVR, who was becoming known on board as kind of the wiseacre of the crew, didn’t make up some awful play on words involving his name. “I guess you sure left that bomb bay empty, eh Left_Empty!” He could at least wait until they got back to the barracks to hear it.
The only thing we got out of this mission was 2000 experience points, which was enough to level RichVR up on his pilot secondary skill and teach him how to Corkscrew. He’ll probably be bragging about that back at the barracks as well.
Mission 9: Sub Hunt. After that fiasco, Wing Commander Biggins sends us on a sub hunt, which is a relative milk run. It’s either to build up our confidence, or because he doesn’t trust us with a big mission. “Three subs,” he says slowly, counting them off on his fingers. It almost turns into a disaster of disasters as we are unable to find a single sub before it submerges. After about five subs escape, we are pounced on by fighters that set fire to both starboard engines. RichVR is too busy making jokes at the expense of Left_Empty to put the fires out with the extinguishers, so they burn down and the engines both go out. At that point, we have some major miscommunication because I start crawling out onto the starboard wing to fix them instead of flying the plane. RichVR, proud of his cross-training as a pilot, remembers from flight school that we were specifically told that a bomber requires a pilot in order to fly. Not like those fancy fighters. So he jumps into the pilot seat while I’m crawling around on the wing. Since I don’t know the first thing about actually fixing engines, I crawl back in, and explain that yes, it all checks out — the engines are broken and the engineer needs to fix them. So RichVR climbs out there and fixes them both, even while we’re banking to finally take down a sub that lingers on the surface a bit too long. However, by then, we are down to about 1/4 tank of fuel. RichVR puts us on a “Lean” fuel mix to extend our flight time, and we manage to fend off a wave of fighters and sink two more subs, then make it back to base on fumes. We ask Biggins for a tougher mission because we are bored. He eyes us quizzically.
Mission 10: Todt Ammo Dumps: A mission that seems to be going great turns sour as we once again miss a target by not having the bomb bay doors open quite in time. I’m going to have to have a talk with Left_Empty about systems function theory on a bomber aircraft when we get back. Because we miss the target and have to circle, even if it’s just for about 15 seconds, those are 15 precious seconds as we get hit by a timed wave of fighters that we would have tagged before they hit us had we not had to be paying attention to the bomb run. This is something Bomber Crew purposely times, I’m sure, to punish these kinds of mistakes. So it’s all over again with the damage, and the engines, and two catch fire and fall off while we extinguish another, and Eric_Majkut gets hit and goes down, followed by MrCoffee. RichVR first saves Eric_Majkut with a med kit, then saves MrCoffee, and I pilot us back in across the coastline just out of the reach of fighters. All along up in the top turret, Juan_Raigada just keeps doing his job, until we notice that he has about 2% of his hit points left. By the time we realize it and tell him to get to sick bay, we have landed. We buy him a beer at the officer’s mess.
By completing this mission and getting two recons, we collect ₤7,300 and upgrade our whole fuselage to Armored Mk 2. Plus, we’ll have two missions in which enemy damage is down, thanks to the bonus perk from the ammo dumps mission.
Mission 11: Ammo Dump at Bruges. Apparently, there is a big munitions depot in Bruges. We’ve seen that movie, so we eagerly get flying. On our way out of the briefing hut, Biggins mentions something about “ace pilot Felix Feder” whom we don’t remember as being a character in that film. He shows up as a German fighter pilot, with a convenient “ace” over his plane to make it easier to shoot him. Protip: when an ace is on your tail, wait until he commits and then hit the “Focus” ability on both your tail gunner and top gunner. Make sure they have plenty of ammo. Felix gets hit by a Juan_Raigada/MrCoffee tandem and we collect a nice ₤2,000 bounty.
Despite me going to high altitude to lose the fighters but instead losing my bearings, fishpockets navigates us by dead reckoning to somewhere north of London, I bring us in to low altitude, he finds the Thames, and we’re drinking beer by morning. Hey, it was a night mission!