Mission 16: Ammo Dump at Bruges: I have been told that in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war. I suspect this is a small taste of that, since we are going to bomb Bruges again when we just did it not too long ago. Practice must make perfect, though, because it is the smoothest flight we’ve had in days. We even manage to pick up two recon opportunities. That’ll come in handy for our plane upgrades! I suspect the “enemy armor down” and “enemy flak down” that are both in effect for this mission have something to do with this. We also earn an “enemy damage down,” so our next mission will have both enemy armor and damage reduced. It would be great to have these both up for the critical mission, which is Operation Chastise against the Ruhr dams, but I can’t fly that until I fly the test mission to see if the bomb works. Since I have two awesome bonuses in effect, I think we should go for another tough mission. The crew is not of the same opinion, but I’m the boss.
I have almost ₤11,000 to spend on upgrades. I want better fuel tanks, but my engines aren’t up to the task until I upgrade them. So I upgrade both outboard engines to Standard Mk 3, which gives me that engine across the board, and I grab both improved fuel tanks and improved radar.
Mission 17: Truck Factory near Paris. I’m going to take responsibility for this one right off the bat and say that when I told Miguk to go ahead and get in the ventral turret for extra protection, I didn’t realize he was the only one who could operate the radar. Which is why we were all shocked when we got jumped over France by what seemed like a dozen fighters without any warning. “Hey, where did that come from?!” shouted Juan_Raigada, as we all looked around frantically, trying to figure out where the bandits had gone. Miguk dashed back to the radar console, and told us we had at least eight fighters closing on us from all points of the compass. At this point I should have just aborted and told Wing Commander Biggins it was my fault, but I stubbornly pressed ahead and got us to the target with a less-than-intact aircraft. The gunners did a sensational job, because in the midst of it all, we intercepted a distress call from yet another German ace! We must have shot him down in the melee. The mission itself, though, didn’t benefit from this stroke of luck. I didn’t even get Left_Empty into a position to bomb when I decided it wasn’t going to work out and hit the “Abort” button. This informed fishpockets that we needed a plotted route home on the double, which he did admirably. Once again, our airframe came this close to failing, but God was on our side once more. How could he not be?
Mission 18: Doodlebug Blitz.
Before we take off on this one, I sit down with Left_Empty. We talk about the usual stuff for a while: girls, football, what class our highest-level D&D character is and where he lives in Greyhawk. Eventually the subject turns to our upcoming mission, and I just flat out tell him: we’re doing the Doodlebug Blitz again. “But I know you can do it. You’re totally on it, just like you did the oil farm without a hitch. Remember how crazy that was?” He smiles shyly. “It’s gonna be dope,” I tell him. Nobody in 1943 even knows this word. So it’s like our special call sign.
Things go off pretty much perfectly. We are in such a groove that between the fourth and fifth V1 launch sites, we take a short detour to score an optional recon opportunity. Left_Empty even gets in the nose gun briefly to engage some Me-109s that come at us from dead ahead, before getting back in the bombardier’s position just in time to smash the last rocket launch site. Then we peel off over the English Channel like it was nuthin’. And we come home with 7.6k XP and ₤16,000. I buy all the crew an extra drink at the officers’ mess.
I upgrade our inner engines to Standard Mk 4, and the entire fuselage and wings to Armored Mk 3.