Chock

Bullets, flak and collisions

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The continuing adventures of 'Bouncing Brenda' on her third mission deep into Germany, when she encounters vicious flak over Lubeck which takes out a B17 in the low squadron with a direct hit to the starboard wing. We count seven 'chutes appearing from her before she disappears into the low clouds. Soon after, twelve bf109Gs come in for an evil head on pass with devastating results, but it doesn't end well for one of them as it collides with another Fortress in the low squadron as the rest of the formation's gunners blaze away, scoring several hits on the remaining bandits, before they can swing around for another pass...

As much as I love the B17, and indeed the 109, I certainly don't envy the real guys who flew those things, it must have been horrific to see friends go in a matter of seconds. Some pics...

Flak over Lubeck takes out a 17, whilst most others in the formation also take damage, but we see at least seven chutes blossom out from her as she goes down. Our crew understandably forget intercom discipline and yell encouragement for their friends to bail out:

going%20down_zps00zlexnu.png

The remote Bendix chin turret, operated by the bombardier, blazes away at the 109s:

collision%203_zpsikyqkgdu.png

External view of those fighters coming in from 1 o'clock low at a closing speed of probably more than 500 mph. You can see that we've already taken some flak hits prior to their attack, and we've still got a long way to go to reach the target:

collision%202_zpsajbbw9pn.png

The inevitable result of four 109s in close formation coming through the tight formation of the Fortresses, as one collides with another unlucky 17. No 'chutes from this one as she comes apart, narrowly missing another Fortress alongside, but there's no time to dwell on losses, those fighters will be coming in again:

collision_zpslzohc54l.png

 

 

 

 

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Such a good simulator that still has a lot of fun left in her!

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Great shots Alan, what is the sim please, would be very interested in flying in it, thanks!

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2 hours ago, cimgrp501 said:

Great shots Alan, what is the sim please, would be very interested in flying in it, thanks!

It's Microprose B17, The Mighty Eighth, which was originally released in 2000 (which is why I've still got it on CD lol), but you can still buy it, because it was reissued in 2015 as a download (be sure to patch it so it runs on more recent windows versions). A quick Google search will find it on sale at a few places, and it's cheap too (£4.99 on Steam for example, and about the same price at most other download stores). Just remember to unlock the tailwheel and release the parking brake or you'll never be able to taxi it lol - they forgot to mention that in the manual, which is actually really good apart from that. You do need to read it because you'll never figure out the Norden bombsight if you don't lol.

It is a very accurate simulation of operating a Flying Fortress, in that you can start it up realistically (i.e. cowl flaps, booster pumps and fuel on, energize an engine and then mesh thr prop to crank it. It flies pretty much as per the real thing too and can take a lot of realistic damage to various bits, so feathering props, shutting down damaged engines, fighting fires in the compartments, fixing crew members up if they are wounded, swapping crew positions if someone is incapacitated etc is all part of keeping the thing in the air.

You also have to navigate it as per the real thing too, using a drift meter and taking sightings of the terrain so you can update the position plot on your map; if you don't do that, you will get lost and not find the target, since there is accurate cloud cover and even cloud shadows, which was way ahead of its time for 2000. That also adds to the tactical element, since you climb high above the cloud layers to throw off flak gun accuracy en route, but it means finding landmarks to navigate will be harder, and if you bomb from a lower altitude, there is less chance of a miss, since winds are accurately simulated, as is bomb trail fall speed drag etc. I was getting hammered by flak on that mission above, so I went up to 25,000 feet to bomb the secondary target since that was only three tenths cloud cover and there were reports of storms and an overcast at the primary target, but the good news is, I absolutely hammered the target thanks to spending some time on the bomb run at the navigator's drift meter to predict the winds accurately for the release.

The simulation of the Norden bomb sight is pretty accurate; you having to input tracking, altitude and drift data to accurately get a target lock for the bomb realease, in addition to that, you can arm the bombs and set the release pattern and interval of them to best suit the target type.

In addition to manning any or all of the crew positions in your B-17, or leaving them to AI if you prefer (or commanding a bomber squadron if you like as well as flying lead), you can also fly all of the fighters in the sim too, including the German ones if you fancy being the 'enemy', so that's the P38 Lightning, the P47 Thunderbolt, the P51 Mustang as well as the Messerschmit bf109 Gustav and the Messerschmitt Me262 Schwalbe. So it's kind of a bit like a role play game and a flight simulator at the same time, which is in fact what makes it so good.

If you've never played it, you are in for a treat, they simply don't make detailed simulators that good any more, which is why it still stands up very well in spite of the fewer polygons on the aeroplane models, which to be honest, you won't even care about because it is so immersive.

Some more mission pics from that same raid, including good old 'Bouncing Brenda' taxying in after that mission, having had to shut down and feather both inboard engines owing to flak hits. Yup, she made it despite lots of wounded crew, and we nailed a few fighters into the bargain as well:

Game%202017-04-03%2023-29-29-52_zpsoeq5m

Game%202017-04-04%2002-30-09-10_zpsbxdq5

Game%202017-04-03%2023-23-46-11_zpscwp5c

Game%202017-04-04%2002-43-38-38_zpsjvi1k

Game%202017-04-04%2003-04-52-90_zpsmqewi

Game%202017-04-04%2003-06-31-11_zpsuwwsx

 

 

 

 

 

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Can't tell you how much I appreciate your reply and the additional info Alan.  Long been enamored with the B17 since before MAM "Chuckie" restoration days.  Will purchase and enjoy with your kind help; thanks for the immense contributions you have made to all of us for whom this is more than a hobby!

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It's a great simulator, but I must stress that if you don't read the manual, it can lead to frustration, especially with bomb aiming and how to correctly use the Norden sight, because - as with the real B-17 in combat in WW2 - in this sim it's an achievement just to make it to the target in one piece having flown through enemy airspace for hundreds of miles at less than 200 knots with flak and fighters doing their best to kill you (thank goodness for time compression on the sea crossings etc), so to make it all that way and then miss the target would be absolutely infuriating.

What I tend to do with missions is start the aeroplane myself, taxy it out and perform the take off and formation join up, then switch to the navigator's position and let the AI pilots follow my manual navigation, since doing that gives you a good idea of the wind conditions and keeps you accurately on track. As with all crew members, if you manually operate their position, and do a good job, it increases their AI skills too, so it is worth spreading the love a bit. When it gets to the sea crossing, I study the flak and fighter airfield concentrations and may adjust the planned route and altitude a bit, since some places are definitely to be avoided if you can, such as Berlin and the surrounding cities, where the flak is murderous, so steering around such places, or at least passing over them in a climb or a descent to confuse the flak burst altitude is a big help. Obviously if some fighters show up, I switch to gunner positions to have a crack at those, usually favouring either the ball turret (statistically that was one of the safest positions on a B-17 in real combat believe it or not), or the top, chin or tail guns. As per the real thing, the waist guns were not hugely effective, since beam attacks were rare and the waist guns are not a powered turret and only a single gun too (except on a very few B-17s which had twin waist guns).

When it gets to near the decision point, I switch to the radio operator and get weather reports on the primary and secondary targets and make a decision on which to go for based on expected cloud cover (any more than 5/10s cloud cover is risky at high altitude but doable from 15,000 feet unless totally overcast, in which case it'll be the secondary target or a target of opportunity if that is also socked in). If the crosswind is expected to be strong at the target, I may choose to bomb from 15,000 feet, to minimise its effect on bombing accuracy, whereas if it is a headwind or a tailwind, I'll often bomb from around 25,000 feet to lessen the risk from flak when flying straight and level on the bomb run, but may make the aim point a bit long or short in order to compensate for that wind. If there is time, I switch back to the navigator and make some last minute wind drift readings if the cloud cover permits and some fine course corrections too. Then I'll switch to the bombardier and set up the arming panel and Norden settings and try to get the best target lock possible for the bomb release, if there is time, I might also try another last minute navigator drift correction and then switch back to the bombardier and update the Norden sight settings.

After the bomb run I try to get the Fortress in either a climb or a descent to throw off the flak at the target, then take a visual update from the navigator's position and switch to the gunners in case fighters show up again, every once in a while taking another nav sighting or drift fix. Of course by then you are usually also fighting fires, feathering engines and fixing wounds etc as well. When (or if) the aircraft makes it back to the friendly coastline, I will normally update the nav fixes and then take over flying for the last leg of the flight, the formation break up, approach and landing and to taxy the thing back to the hardstand.

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Thanks again Alan, you have gone way above the call of duty to assist.  I have copied your tutorial and will enjoy immersing myself in the manual and all the nuances of this sim...far more inclined to this challenge and old school analog cockpits than FMC manuals and programming.

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Wow! I can feel the enthusiasm through the posts. It must have been a labour of love for Microprose.

              

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Could you please post a cockpit shot? I bought it back in the day but couldn't ge it to work, can't remember what the problem was but I was so frustrated. Would love to get my hand in now, just the thing for my old rig!

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5 hours ago, sascha said:

Could you please post a cockpit shot? I bought it back in the day but couldn't ge it to work, can't remember what the problem was but I was so frustrated. Would love to get my hand in now, just the thing for my old rig!

CD version won't work on later versions of Windows unless you patch it. Patch is here:

http://www.patches-scrolls.com/b-17_flying_fortress2.php

Another realism enhancement patch (adds numerous things):

http://www.combatsim.com/memb123/htm/2001/02/b17patch105/

Cockpit shots:

Game%202017-04-05%2019-25-26-93_zpsyhsus

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-10-32_zps3ydm2

Game%202017-04-05%2019-25-40-58_zpskiowc

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-15-82_zpsgaeem

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-23-23_zpsbsiur

Game%202017-04-05%2019-27-02-06_zps5dxzq

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-50-51_zpsu7v6n

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-39-18_zpsrx4tg

 

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More action from 'Bouncing Brenda', on her fourth mission, which looked like it should be a bit of a milk run, to bomb troop concentrations in northern France, however, it turned out to not be quite so easy. Despite having an escort of P47s and P38s assigned, and being a relatively short mission, the German fighters attacked as we crossed into the English Channel, which was before our fighter escort had rendezvoused with us, so it was up to the gunners to fend them off until the P38s joined us very late in the attack. Luckily the gunners were on form and it ended badly for the Germans, but sadly one bf109 was hit and went out of control through the formation, hitting the B17 alongside Bouncing Brenda, with both aircraft being destroyed, although we did see three 'chutes come from the falling Fortress.

Poor weather over the target area meant the primary target was a no go, with storms and heavy cloud, so we went for the secondary target - Cherbourg Harbour - BDA after the mission listed it as completely destroyed, so we obviously clobbered it, however, on the bomb run, the bomb bay doors didn't open owing to damage to the door motors, so the engineer hand-cranked them open which worked fortunately, and then hand-cranked them closed again after the bomb run. The number two engine appeared to be hit - again - but it kept running, albeit roughly, only quitting on the runway at touchdown. Some pics:

A bf109 (possibly damaged by our bombardier with the chin turret guns) collides with a 17 alongside us, seen from the starboard waist gun position:

Game%202017-04-05%2021-23-20-94_zpshbry2

The port waist gunner is wounded by flak, with holes appearing in the fuselage nearby:

Game%202017-04-05%2022-05-31-72_zpstu8lj

Cherbourg Harbour clear of clouds and locked in the Norden bombsight, the release markers on the right are moving toward one another, being about one second from relasing the bombs:

Game%202017-04-05%2021-53-38-54_zpsudmmy

Cluster munitions falling from the bomb bay:

Game%202017-04-05%2021-53-46-99_zpsgncdq

Bombs hitting their mark:

Game%202017-04-05%2021-54-25-16_zpspywhq

Bomb bay doors stuck open, after bomb release:

Game%202017-04-05%2021-55-21-61_zpsh4emm

The flight engineer cranking the doors closed, with them almost done:

Game%202017-04-05%2021-56-29-31_zps2ezbc

An escorting P47 passes over the formation after the bomb run as we head back out for the English Channel toward the turn for home, Bouncing Brenda is in the lead position with a damaged Fortress just to the left of her trailing some smoke:

Game%202017-04-05%2022-03-00-68_zpsvusjq

Bouncing Brenda touching down with a smoking number four engine and the number two engine having just quit a few seconds before. She has a hole in her tail fin and some flak damage on the starboard wing:

Game%202017-04-05%2022-18-30-29_zps4c6ag

 

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Almost as good as playing Alan to follow your adventures!  Got the patches and hope to get started next week.

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14 hours ago, Chock said:

CD version won't work on later versions of Windows unless you patch it. Patch is here:

http://www.patches-scrolls.com/b-17_flying_fortress2.php

Another realism enhancement patch (adds numerous things):

http://www.combatsim.com/memb123/htm/2001/02/b17patch105/

Cockpit shots:

Game%202017-04-05%2019-25-26-93_zpsyhsus

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-10-32_zps3ydm2

Game%202017-04-05%2019-25-40-58_zpskiowc

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-15-82_zpsgaeem

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-23-23_zpsbsiur

Game%202017-04-05%2019-27-02-06_zps5dxzq

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-50-51_zpsu7v6n

Game%202017-04-05%2019-26-39-18_zpsrx4tg

 

Damn, I remember now what I was missing back then! This is amazing, they don't make immersive sims like that anymore (well maybe DCS without crew management) :) Thank you for posting these!

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Ohhhhhh.. nostalgia lane.    I remember taking great care of every bomber in my squadron and screaming out NOOOOOOOO anytime I saw one go down on a mission.   When you start to approach the Flak field your gut will tighten up while playing this sim.    The fear starts to build!   Is there a golden bee-bee in there with your name on it this time out?    You get a small feeling of what it was like to be a B-17 crew entering the fray over Germany.

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Brenda hits a landmark, completing her fifth mission. Historically, less than 25 percent of crews on B17s actually made it past their fifth mission, and the crews used to say that if you made it past that one, your chances of making it all the way to 25 missions was greater, although that would be more down to the experience of the crews making them less likely to make mistakes which result in a mishap, such as colliding during forming up over the base, or whilst en route, rather than it in any way improving the odds of not being hit by a fighter or some flak. As the war progressed, some crews in the later months of the war actually flew all 25 missions and never saw a single enemy fighter, but in 1943, it was still a big threat, especially when the F190D showed up, as it did on Brenda's fifth.

Of the eighteen Fortresses which set off for that fifth mission, only thirteen made it back to base, with one of those exploding upon landing and another skidding off the runway ending up with severe enough damage to render it a write off, meaning we lost nearly half the Squadron on just one mission. And of the eight escorting P-47s, over half of them were lost too, which gives us an idea of how much of a threat the Fw190D actually presented:

Bomb bay had to be hand cranked open and closed again:

Game%202017-04-06%2018-42-30-56_zps22sfu

A Fw190 in the Ball Turret gunner's sights:

Game%202017-04-06%2018-16-16-72_zpsikccc

A Fortress explodes after a fighter collides with it:

Game%202017-04-06%2018-18-44-29_zpsz0lfn

A Focke Wulf 190 comes in for an attack:

Game%202017-04-06%2018-15-40-28_zps95acv

The target - an oil production facility in Hamburg:

Game%202017-04-06%2018-40-22-40_zpsg0o3t

Bombs on the target:

Game%202017-04-06%2018-41-05-84_zpsphabt

Game%202017-04-06%2019-24-40-40_zps0z25f

Brenda's Crew get some praise:

Game%202017-04-06%2019-26-56-78_zpsl61dc

 

 

 

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Just bought B17 - The Mighty 8th, it's 75% off at Steam right now. 1, 74 Euro :)

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