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I'm not sure I understand how the medal system works. I understand that cadet difficulty gets you silver medals and veteran difficulty gets you gold medals, but what determines how many you get after a mission is complete?
For the Birds of War missions, spend some time observing how the mines move (or if they don't move, how they're arranged). There's generally a large gap you can enter the minefield from without attracting them. You'll also want to use a fast airplane if you're not already doing so for a faster time.
The trick to the zeppelin is getting it to release its shield as fast as possible. To do this, you destroy the enemy planes as fast as possible. You'll notice they spawn towards the bottom of the zeppelin; hang around there as they're about to spawn and use the Blunderbuss like a madman to do a lot of damage to a lot of airplanes in a short amount of time. When they're destroyed just slow down and spam your other weapon on the blimp when the shield is down. Rinse and repeat until finished.