Bomber Crew: USAAF

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  • The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF or AAF) was the major land-based aerial warfare service component of the United States Army and de facto aerial warfare service branch of the United States during and immediately after World War II (19).
  • The American bomber arm excelled to new heights by the end of the war in 1945 - resulting in larger, pressurized designs carrying remote-operated guns and heavier bomb loads. There are a total of 80 WW2 U.S. Bomber Aircraft (1941-1945) in the Military Factory.
  • In September 1943, the USAAF formed the Fifteenth Air Force, uniting its Mediterranean heavy bomber forces together at bases in southern Italy. The USAAF could now mount major strategic raids in southern and eastern Europe, creating even more pressure on.
  • Bomber Crew is a Roguelike video game made by Runner Duck in the vein of FTL: Faster Than Light. In the game you'll manage the crew of a World War 2 bomber based off the Avro Lancaster, flying missions against Nazi Germany. The game was released.
Usaaf

Bomber Crew: I’m a Real American Edition

Steam: Released
Type: Single-player
Genre: Simulaton, Strategy
Developer: Runner Duck
Publisher: Curve Digital
Release Date: 23 Oct, 2018

Overview

Bomber Crew: USAAF

I will include a disclosure here that in regard to all things related to Bomber Crew and its functional and aesthetic attributes, the actual game review was done by my colleague Zorder. So, if you wish to check out how the overall game is, you can read his review (I personally agree with most of it but would maybe give it a slightly higher rating, so there’s that). The review I am writing here only addresses the DLC itself and nothing more.

So… how is it? It’s a pure expansion on the Bomber Crew experience but with some issues that make me recommend it with far more caution than the original game. It feels like a step back on the formula.

The Bomber Crew: American Edition bundle (including the base game plus USAAF DLC) is also available with a 20 percent discount for two weeks. The USAAF DLC arrives following its PC release last October and features a host of new content to keep would-be Dambusters in the skies until at least tea time.

That being said, there’s fun to be had here, and the content is definitely worth the asking price. It’s worth it already just from playing with Hulk Hogan’s theme in the background, brother! (Some classic Vietnam style songs should work too)

THE CONTENT

The core gameplay, UI, and aesthetics remain the same, so there’s nothing to talk about that already hasn’t already been mentioned. The levels look roughly the same, but they were never the focus as the game plays linearly throughout the levels. While the gameplay is itself the same, there are definitely some new items and content added here: you now use a really big bomber plane (The American B-17), a nine person-crew (that enhances the strategy the original already encouraged) and a couple of new enemy planes and ships. The playable parts (crew and plane) and upgradable like the rest encountered in the main game.

The plane has a substantial amount of gun-power, with seven machine guns that can be manned by one crew member each. The new enemies are a nice change of pace and the new campaign (yep, you heard me, a brand new, surprisingly long campaign was added!) make the game feel fresh at first.

ahem. At first!

This all sounds great (and to be truthful, it is) but the game lacks direction from the first critical mission (and pretty much after that as well) about how it approaches its difficulty. In the original, there was a decently appropriate rate of enemy spawns and what those enemies were. Here it feels messy and almost infinite, for no reason. It’s hard, but doable, of course. It’s not broken or anything but it hardly feels like there was thought put into it at all. It’s just making it harder by giving us more enemies rather than making you perfect your strategy and tactics. The bigger crew exists for this but it also helps remove the sense of role-playing in the management: you probably have to send more people to the gunning positions than you’d like to be relatively successful, which is unfortunate as this game is very deep in how you can role-play an actual bomber crew squad. Even the added hazards help assert this feel of realism to the whole environment you’ll be playing in.

I can handle my hard games fairly well, even the unfair ones and I did the same with this one, but by the end, the fun factor wasn’t that big… at least not even half of the fun I had by the time I finished the original’s Operation Nemesis (and boy, did that push my crew to the limits). I think it’s this lack of pacing or cohesion in the enemy waves in this DLC that ultimately make it feel a bit rushed in the mission design. I say “mission design” because the rest is relatively well done. The crew is made by yourself as is tradition for Bomber Crew, the plane is absolutely gorgeous and a joy to maneuver around and inspect and the upgrades, while maybe a little bit too steep in their prices, are fun to fight for and break a bit of the game’s needlessly fast and illogical mission pacing.

Verdict

In the end, I have to say that this review ended up a bit too short and it may seem like the negatives outweigh the positives but in all fairness, if you wished for a harder version of Bomber Crew, this is exactly it: the content given is phenomenal, the details in the plane and levels and the campaign itself are pleasant to experience and see the fighting break out around you. That being said, I can’t agree that the difficulty is balanced or it made me keep playing with the same fun I had originally. I’d compare it to maybe XCOM‘s (the most recent ones) Classic/Impossible difficulties vs. Normal: it’s doable but you can’t stop feeling the game is against you in the RNG for the sake of hard instead of actually handing your ass to you and making you realize it was your fault all along and not the game’s. Just keep all this in mind before buying.

Bomber crew usaaf dlc

Bomber Crew Usaaf

Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident
Air combat
Date20 December 1943
SummaryBomber v. fighter dogfight
SiteOver Germany and German-occupied Europe
Total fatalities1 (B-17 tail gunner)
Total injuries9 (aboard B-17)
Total survivors10
First aircraft
TypeBoeing B-17F Flying Fortress
OperatorUnited States Army Air Forces (USAAF)
Flight originRAF Kimbolton
DestinationBremen, Germany
Crew10
Fatalities1
Second aircraft
TypeMesserschmitt Bf 109G-6
OperatorLuftwaffe
Crew1
Survivors1

The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident occurred on 20 December 1943, when, after a successful bomb run on Bremen, 2nd Lt Charles 'Charlie' Brown's B-17 Flying Fortress (named 'Ye Olde Pub') was severely damaged by German fighters. Luftwaffe pilot Franz Stigler had the opportunity to shoot down the crippled bomber but did not do so, and instead escorted it over and past German-occupied territory so as to protect it. After an extensive search by Brown, the two pilots met each other 50 years later and developed a friendship that lasted until Stigler's death in March 2008. Brown died only a few months later, in November of the same year.[1][2]

Pilots[edit]

2nd Lt Charles L. 'Charlie' Brown ('a farm boy from Weston, West Virginia', in his own words) was a B-17F pilot with the 379th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces' (USAAF) 8th Air Force, stationed at RAF Kimbolton in England.[3][4] Franz Stigler, a former Lufthansa airline pilot from Bavaria, was a veteran Luftwaffe fighter pilot attached to Jagdgeschwader 27.[5]

Bremen mission[edit]

The mission was the Ye Olde Pub crew's first and targeted the Focke-Wulf 190 aircraft production facility in Bremen. The men of the 527th Bombardment Squadron were informed in a pre-mission briefing that they might encounter hundreds of German fighters. Bremen was guarded by 250 flak guns. Brown's crew was assigned to fly 'Purple Heart Corner,' a spot on the edge of the formation that was considered especially dangerous because the Germans targeted the edges, instead of shooting straight through the middle of the formation. However, since three bombers had to turn back because of mechanical problems, Brown was told to move up to the front of the formation.[6]

For this mission, Ye Olde Pub's crew consisted of:

  • 2nd Lt Charles L. 'Charlie' Brown (October 24, 1922 - November 24, 2008): pilot / aircraft commander[7]rr
  • 2nd Lt. Spencer G. 'Pinky' Luke (November 22, 1920 - April 2, 1985): co-pilot[8]
  • 2nd Lt. Albert A. 'Doc' Sadok (August 23, 1921 - March 10, 2010): navigator[9]
  • 2nd Lt. Robert J. M. 'Andy' Andrews (November 25, 1925 - August 3, 2013): bombardier[9]
  • Sgt. Bertrand O. 'Frenchy' Coulombe (March 1, 1924 - March 25, 2006): top turret gunner and flight engineer[10]
  • Sgt. Richard A. 'Dick' Pechout (September 14, 1924 - January 5, 2013): radio operator[11]
  • Sgt. Hugh S. 'Ecky' Eckenrode (August 9, 1920 - December 20, 1943): tail gunner[11]
  • Sgt. Lloyd H. Jennings (February 22, 1922 - October 3, 2016): left waist gunner[11]
  • Sgt. Alex 'Russian' Yelesanko (January 31, 1914 - May 25, 1980): right waist gunner[12]
  • Sgt. Samuel W. 'Blackie' Blackford (October 26, 1923 - June 16, 2001): ball turret gunner[13]

Bomb run[edit]

Brown's B-17 began its ten-minute bomb run at 8,320 m (27,300 ft) with an outside air temperature of −60 °C (−76 °F). Before the bomber released its bomb load, accurate flak shattered the Plexiglas nose, knocked out the #2 engine and further damaged the #4 engine, which was already in questionable condition and had to be throttled back to prevent overspeeding. The damage slowed the bomber, Brown was unable to remain with his formation and fell back as a straggler, a position from which he came under sustained enemy attacks.[14]

Fighter attacks[edit]

Brown's struggling B-17 was now attacked by over a dozen enemy fighters (a mixture of Messerschmitt Bf 109s and Focke-Wulf Fw 190s) of JG 11 for over ten minutes.[15] Further damage was sustained, including damage to the #3 engine, which would produce only half power (meaning the aircraft had at best 40% of its total rated power available). The bomber's internal oxygen, hydraulic and electrical systems were also damaged, and the bomber lost half of its rudder and its port (left side) elevator, as well as its nose cone. Many of the gunners' weapons then jammed, probably as a result of loss of the on-board systems leading to frozen mechanisms (the ground crew did not oil the guns correctly), leaving the bomber with only two dorsal turret guns and one of three forward-firing nose guns (from 11 available) for defense.[16] Most of the crew were wounded: the tail gunner, Eckenrode, had been decapitated by a direct hit from a cannon shell, while Yelesanko was critically wounded in the leg by shrapnel, Blackford's feet were frozen due to shorted-out heating wires in his uniform, Pechout had been hit in the eye by a cannon shell and Brown was wounded in his right shoulder.[17] The morphine syrettes onboard froze, complicating first-aid efforts by the crew, while the radio was destroyed and the bomber's exterior heavily damaged. Miraculously, all but Eckenrode survived.[17]

Franz Stigler[edit]

Brown's damaged bomber was spotted by Germans on the ground, including Franz Stigler (then an ace with 27 victories), who was refueling and rearming at an airfield. He soon took off in his Messerschmitt Bf 109 G-6 (which had a .50-cal. Browning machine gun bullet embedded in the radiator, which risked the engine overheating) and quickly caught up with Brown's plane. Through the damaged bomber's airframe Stigler was able to see the injured and incapacitated crew. To the American pilot's surprise, Stigler did not open fire on the crippled bomber. He recalled the words of one of his commanding officers from Jagdgeschwader 27, Gustav Rödel, during his time fighting in North Africa, 'If I ever see or hear of you shooting at a man in a parachute, I will shoot you myself.' Stigler later commented, 'To me, it was just like they were in a parachute. I saw them and I couldn't shoot them down.'

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Twice Stigler tried to get Brown to land his plane at a German airfield and surrender, or divert to nearby neutral Sweden, where he and his crew would receive medical treatment and be interned the remainder of the war. Brown and the crew of the B-17 did not understand what Stigler was trying to mouth and gesture to them and so flew on. Stigler later told Brown he was trying to get them to fly to Sweden. He then flew near Brown's plane in a formation on the bomber's port side wing, so German antiaircraft units would not target it; he then escorted the damaged B-17 over the coast until they reached open water. Brown, unsure of Stigler's intentions at the time, ordered his dorsal turret gunner to point at Stigler but not open fire to warn him off. Understanding the message and certain that the bomber was out of German airspace, Stigler departed with a salute.[14]

Landing[edit]

Brown managed to fly the 250 mi (400 km) across the North Sea and land his plane at RAF Seething, home of the 448th Bomb Group and at the postflight debriefing informed his officers about how a German fighter pilot had let him go. He was told not to repeat this to the rest of the unit so as not to build any positive sentiment about enemy pilots. Brown commented, 'Someone decided you can't be human and be flying in a German cockpit.' Stigler said nothing of the incident to his commanding officers, knowing that a German pilot who spared the enemy while in combat risked a court-martial. Brown went on to complete a combat tour.[1] Franz Stigler later served as a Messerschmitt Me 262 jet-fighter pilot in Jagdverband 44 until the end of the war.

Postwar and meeting of pilots[edit]

After the war, Brown returned home to West Virginia and went to college, returning to the newly established U.S. Air Force in 1949 and serving until 1965. Later, as a U.S. State DepartmentForeign Service Officer, he made numerous trips to Laos and Vietnam. In 1972 he retired from government service and moved to Miami, Florida to become an inventor.

Stigler moved to Canada in 1953 and became a successful businessman.

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In 1986, the retired Lt. Col. Brown was asked to speak at a combat pilot reunion event called a 'Gathering of the Eagles' at the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Someone asked him if he had any memorable missions during World War II; he thought for a minute and recalled the story of Stigler's escort and salute. Afterwards, Brown decided he should try to find the unknown German pilot.

After four years of searching vainly for U.S. Army Air Forces, U.S. Air Force and West German air force records that might shed some light on who the other pilot was, Brown had come up with little. He then wrote a letter to a combat pilot association newsletter. A few months later he received a letter from Stigler, who was now living in Canada. 'I was the one,' it said. When they spoke on the phone, Stigler described his plane, the escort and salute, confirming everything that Brown needed to hear to know he was the German fighter pilot involved in the incident.

Between 1990 and 2008, Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler became close friends and remained so until their deaths within several months of each other in 2008.[4][18]

The incident was later written about by Adam Makos in the biographical novel A Higher Call (released in 2012), as well as the Swedish Power Metal band Sabaton's seventh studio album Heroes, on the second track 'No Bullets Fly'.

References[edit]

  1. ^ ab'Two enemies discover a 'higher call' in battle', CNN (9 March 2013)
  2. ^'Charles L. Brown Obituary'. The Miami Herald. 7 December 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  3. ^'Veteran Tributes'. www.veterantributes.org.
  4. ^ abBrent Gilbert. 'WW2 German fighter pilot saved U.S. bomber crew'. CTV News. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  5. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 192.
  6. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 159-162.
  7. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 135.
  8. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 136.
  9. ^ abMakos & Alexander 2012, p. 144.
  10. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 166.
  11. ^ abcMakos & Alexander 2012, p. 149.
  12. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 151.
  13. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 150.
  14. ^ ab'Chivalry in the Air – Chivalry Today'.
  15. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 181.
  16. ^Makos & Alexander 2012, p. 184-185.
  17. ^ abMakos & Alexander 2012, p. 186-189.
  18. ^'Charles L. Brown Obituary'. Miami Herald. 7 December 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2011.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Makos, Adam; Alexander, Larry (2012). A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II (1 ed.). New York: Berkley Caliber. p. 127. ISBN978-0-425-25286-4.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]

  • Video of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown discussing their encounter during their first reunion on YouTube

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