Update - in Rostov M1 I received a the Bronze medal with 9 kills. My ship sustained moderate damage ("Looks like it got a little hot out there, sir."). I had read that a damage-free mission was required for the medal. Looks like that was incorrect.I have started my "path of most medals," looking to earn the most Gold, Silver and Bronze Stars possible for WC1. Here's how it goes:
Enyo - lose but get Bronze on mission 2
Gateway - save the Claw for Silver on M2, lose the Drayman but get all 8 kills on M3(including Bhurak) for another Silver . You lose the sequence and get a chance at more medals by going to Chengdu before Brimstone
Chengdu - M1 Gold (not sure if you need to be perfect), you must get all 10 including Dakhath on M2 for Bronze (challenging), M3 Silver. You are winning this series to go to Brimstone.
Brimstone - A perfect 9 kill M3 gets you Bronze. Win Brimstone to advance to Dakota.
Dakota - 8 kills M1 Silver, 8 kills M2 Silver, 12 kills + Knight lives (send his butt home) M3 Gold (yeah, baby!). You are winning Dakota to advance to Kurasawa.
Kurasawa - Lose M1 (of the 3 Dorkirs, take out only the 2nd OR 3rd plus fighters if you are looking for kills), we all loooove M2 and you must get 6 kills plus save the good ol' Ralari to get your Silver Star, M3 save your old commander on the Exeter if you want - it doesn't matter you are still losing and heading to Rostov for some more medal action!
Rostov - according to http://www.adrr.com/wing/01.htm you must return home damage free to get the M1 Bronze (not sure but will confirm), 9 kills net a Silver Star on M2, another 9 kills (including Khajja and Fralthi) net a Gold Star on M3. From there you are Venice bound.
Venice - a perfect 9 kill score may get you NO MEDAL for M1. However, I will try to do this damage free to see if this will trigger the Silver Star mentioned here http://www.cheatchaser.com/pc/w/wing-commander-guide.html, a perfect 13 kill score gets you NO MEDAL on M2 , another perfect 9 kill run on M3 earns you a Bronze.
As far as I could figure, following the mission tree this way leads to entering Secret Missions with: 5 Bronze, 8 Silver (if I'm right about M1 Venice), and 3 Gold. These would be added to your Golden Sun, Medal of Honor, and rank of Major for the most hardware possible at the end of WC1. Yay!
So far I have 4 Bronze, 6 Silver, and 2 Gold. Almost done...