The Allies Have Their (D-)Day

It finally happened. The long lamented Allies swept to an overwhelming 6-0 sweep in the final round to claim their first victory in seven years at D-Day with the Allies claiming victory in 18 of the 32 games played in the tournament. It is fitting perhaps then that our resident Englishman, Andrew Cummins, led the Allied onslaught and became the first two-time champion of D-Day with a 4-1 record.

Andrew was the only undefeated player after four rounds and threatening to become only the second player ever to run the table in five rounds at D-Day, but for the second year in a row Henry Jones played the role of the giant killer to the kilt and took down the undefeated champion. That win left Alan Applebaum's legacy of being the only champ to run the table intact. Although the win assurred Henry of second place, there was no way that Andrew could have been defeated in the tie-breakers given the luck of the draw which paired the final round. Somehow, I had neglected to inform Andrew of that, however, so the suspense remained high to the end.

Leading the Allied onslaught was Mark Gutfreund who went 3-1 with the good guys to take the Eisenhower honors over Ken Nied who went 3-2 and was the only player to specialize with the same side throughout the event. Four players went 2-0 with the Allies. No player won more than twice with the Germans, leaving Don Greenwood with the Rommel prize at a mere 2-0.

Bids were again artifically lowered by some new players who actually preferred the Allies and Ken Nied who remained true to the tan and olive green throughout. Despite that, the bids averaged 20 in Rd 1, 19 in Rd 2, and 25 in Rds 3, 4 and 5. The top bid was 40, which was achieved twice.

No After Action Report is complete without a few war stories so I'll share a few of mine. My weekend looked to be getting off to a rough start when I was matched with Andrew in Round 1. I used the aggressive four-bridge opening at Utah which is traditionally my disaster beach no matter which side I play. This time everything worked to perfection and I was the proud owner of St Mere Eglise before sunset of June 6th. The good news ended there, however, as the wheels proceeded to come off the cart. Two assaults to contest Caen were repulsed and my progress at Carentan was slowed by a string of seven ineffective bombardments. Still, a legitimate shot at victory remained until my third assault vs Caen was also repulsed on the 10th and I dispatched Andrew to continue his rampage against other unfortunates.

My Round 5 match against Scott Fenn was a more memorable game. It was one of those roller coaster rides the game occasionally provides where each player takes turns surveying the board and claiming he hasn't got a chance. I again used the aggressive four-bridge opening at Utah and again was blessed with great results. I also had the great good fortune to penetrate Bretteville early and send the defenders from the 21st Panzer scampering for cover. My cup runneth over, but it was too good to be true. A "3" diceroll ended the day on Impulse 4. Normally a short June 6th is very much in the Allies favor, but I was drunk wih illusions of what might lie ahead so I spent the Advantage for a reroll and instantly regretted it, fearing a weather change that would enable my opponent to recover. Fate was not as cruel as it could have been, however. Scott did indeed get his weather change and was able to mass considerable force in Carentan. He also took the magic bridge, but I countered with another strong dose of luck - liberating St Mere Eglise with a 7-5 assault with my last regiment of the 4th before he could reinforce it. I was surprised and relieved when he chose not to reroll the 7-5. My relief would not last, however. The dice gods were not yet through playing with us.

Several bridge demolitions and constructs later, my last fresh unit assulted Villars at 5-6 and took it. Again, Scott chose not to reroll the assault as the day mercifully ended on Impulse 12 - but not without a fight as I rolled an 11 - just missing a maximum 13-impulse June 6th. Scott surveyed the map and starting talking concession. I couldn't blame him. It looked like a hopeless position. But the dice weren't done.

June 7th proved to be as horrific for the Allies as the 6th had been terrific. Scott had kept his 352nd Artillery on Omaha to take a shot which scored five APs. It now retreated to Trevieres where it threatened Omaha again. Four bombardments later, it still remained - as fresh as ever - threatening any actions on Omaha. But the real problem occured on Impulse 2 when the weather changed to overcast. Any student of the game knows that the single most devestating event is an Impulse 2 weather change. The defense stiffened everywhere, and the consequences of three failed assaults on Caen remained fresh in my mind and kept me from pulling the trigger on the necessary fourth attempt.

Things did not improve on the 8th when yet another Impulse 2 Weather change struck, turning Foret, St Lo and Caen into artillery park chokepoints of the first order - with the Americans still sitting behind the now-down Isigny bridge. As I surveyed the board on the 9th - a scheduled overcast day - I couldn't believe how badly a terrific Allied position had deteriorated into what looked to be a sure loss. Fortunately, for me, the dice had not stopped playing games. A string of great bombardments blew out Carentan and led to a German concession on the 11th - in a game played primarily under overcast skies throughout.

Andrew Cummins, UK

Henry Jones, PA

Don Greenwood, MD

Bryan Eshelman, NC

Marl Gutfreund, KY

Ron Fedin, PA

Final Standings for the weekend were:

1st. Andrew Cummins 4-1 [SoS: 16]
2nd. Henry Jones 4-1 [SoS: 13]
3rd. Don Greenwood 4-1 [SoS: 12]
4th. Brian Eshleman 3-2 [SoS: 15]
5th. Mark Gutfreund 3-2 [SoS: 14]
6th: Ron Fedin 3-2 [SoS: 12]
7th: Ken Nied 3-2 [SoS: 10]
8th: Jim Eliason 3-2 [SoS: 9]
9th: Scott Fenn 3-2 [SoS: 8]