MISSION PLANNING (This takes 2-3 minutes to complete.)
Advanced/Optional in Italics.
1. The date is September 8, 1943. The campaign is JULY TO OCTOBER 1943, 8th AF SUPPORT COMMAND, 8th Air Force and I roll on this Target Table in the Target Lists & Gazetteer Booklet.
2. I roll D6 & D6 and the result is 1 & 6 (i.e. 16). This is Ship Yard and the area is Le Trait. I make a note on the front of the Mission Chart.
3. I look at the next page and find Le Trait in the Gazetteer. Target Size is M (Medium). I put that on the Mission Chart as a reminder when I am over the target and the bomb run. The size will affect the bomb run.
4. At the back of the Mission Chart I copy the values from the Gazetteer (GAZ) in to the boxes where you have Route/Zones & Terrain/GAZ.
ZONE 1: E-W/-5 *(England and Water is the terrain you'll be flying over in this zone. -5 is the modifier you have on the dice roll on Mission Table 2, Luftwaffe Early Warning Operations (MT-2). The asterix (*) tells you that this zone is Me109 heavy and will give you -2 on Combat Table (CT-A) Type of Attacking Fighter, a greater chance of encountering an Me 109 than a FW 190 or another type of fighter.
ZONE 2: W/-2
ZONE 3: F/+0 ¤ t (This is the Target Zone, as you have no more zones in the gazetteer with information that must be copied onto your Mission Chart. The little star (¤) marks this as a FW190 heavy area and you have +2 on Combat Table A. the "t" marks this zone as a Special fighter area and you have +2 on CT-A and if the result is SPECIAL, 110, 410 or Special, you roll on the Special Fighter Table at the bottom of CT-A. In a “t-area” roll on 7/43. (CT-A has columns with different time periods.))Target: F (The Terrain where the Target is located. A Target can be close to the ocean (W-F) or another country (N-G) and if you are shot down over the Target you may have to let a die roll decide where you land. Some Targets located in Zone 7 or 8 are also in this column with the Terrain and a GAZ Mod.
6. MP-1b, Weather Forecast
5. Mission Planning Table 1a (MP-1a), Season Modifiers. It is September 1943, so the Season Modifier is +0. This is applied on MP-1b, Weather.
a. I roll 2D6 for weather at Take Off and then on Landing. (I always roll 2x 2D6 (four dice) to save some time and dice rolls.) "5" at take off is Good. "3" when landing is very good!
b. Roll now for weather forecast over the target. "10" is poor. This will affect fighter attacks in the target zone and flak over target.
7. MP-2, Mission Altitude. The altitude on which you fly will affect flak, your bomb run, and there might also be a chance to be affect by lack of oxygen and heat. (B-26s usually flew with out heat and oxygen. On this table you roll D6 to decide Column A-D and 2D6 for altitude. "3" is Column B and "4" is 8000 feet. Column A-C means no Oxygen and heat and in B you have +1 to hit on your bomb run.
8. MP-3, Initial Point. Roll D6 to decide how far from the target your IP is. It will affect your chance of identifying the aim point, your bomb run to hit and flak. I roll "2" and the to hit is -1 and flak intensity is +1.
NOTE: When you are flying as the leader of the formation (Box 1, Lead) you may choose your altitude and IP (This option is not in the rules.) If you'd like you can chose on MP-2 & 3 already from Mission 1.
9. MP-4, Expected Flak over Target. The Type of flak guns which will fire at you depends on your mission altitude from MP-2, step 7 above. On this mission I will be at 8000 feet over Le Trait. In B-26 heavy flak guns will fire at you if you are at 8000 to 15000 feet. Roll now to check if the guns will be controlled by radar. I roll "4" which means that they are radar controlled and thus poor or worse weather will not affect their offensive fire.There were different types of anti-aircraft guns, and they were effective at different altitudes. The Germans had 20 mm light flak guns, 37 to 50mm medium flak guns and 75 to 150mm heavy types of flak guns. One B-26 Pilot Training Manual categorizes the guns into light (20-50 mm) and heavy (75-155 mm, although the largest gun according to other sources is one of 128 mm and still others refer to a 150 mm caliber flak gun). Flak batteries of various sized guns were placed around potential targets with search lights for night defense. There were also flak trains with guns on flat cars which could be taken quickly to areas that needed protection. Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna were defended also by 128s in pairs on top of large flak towers which could be used as bomb raid shelters. Heavy guns were usually aimed by radar which calculated the range and altitude and could be fired accurately even through heavy clouds. “Window,” strips of aluminum, could be dropped by “Window Ships” to disturb the radar. Light and medium guns were manually aimed and more or less effective depending on the weather and altitude.
10. Enemy Air Force Resistance. The level of Enemy Air Force Resistance (EAR) can be Token, Light, Moderate or Heavy. It will give you a greater or lesser chance of encountering enemy fighters. There can be several factors behind the resistance level. For example, the number of fighters available and how many fighter units in the area, weather over a fighter base, enemy communications and friendly operations. The modifiers on Table MP-6, Enemy Air Force Resistance, are based to some degree on the progress of the war. You can find a high modifier in the beginning and a very low at the end of the war. Roll 2D6, modify the result, check the effect and make a note of what the modifier on Table MT-2, Luftwaffe Early Warning Operations, will be (see Table MT-2 & 6.0 Luftwaffe Early Warning Operations.)
I roll "10" then +2 for 5/43 - 11/43. 12 is heavy resistance.
11. MP-6, Fighter Cover. To simulate the fighter cover provided in B-26: The Marauder Strikes!, roll D6 on MP-6 during the Mission Planning to decide what type of fighter cover that will be provided for the mission. After the type has been determined, roll D6 again to find out the strength of the fighter force available, and if it is Close Escort it is either Poor, Fair or Good. Area Cover gives only a modification on MT-2, Luftwaffe Early Warning Operations.My roll is first "3" then "4" and I have Fair Close Escort.
12. MP-7, Formation Position. In B-26: The Marauder Strikes! your B-26 will be positioned in the Lead, High or Low Flight of Box 1 or 2. You will also be a Box Lead, Flight Lead, Deputy Lead or Wingman. You may also be in the Lead or Tail Group. My first roll is for Position in Flight. "7" and -2 for my pilot's experience. I am flying lead wing and then I let a D6 decide if I am #2 or #3. My D6 says I am #3, on Lead's right wing.
The second roll is for my Flight Position and that is "5" Box 2 Lead, and my third roll ("3") determines that I am in the Lead Group.
13. Mission Planning is done and I will take off. See Example of Play - Le Trait, Ship Yard (Part 2a) to follow the mission from england to Le Trait.