Four Rounds to Glory
Greg Smith vs Mike Mishler
Michael Kaye vs the still smilin'
VIP champ, John Sharp.
Jim Kramer vs a game beginner,
Designer, GM and champ Ray Freeman
vs Bob Hamel.
As always happens, several veteran players were unable to
attend which definitely hurt the quality of the field. However,
five former champs joined three newcomers to keep the Tigers
on the move for another year.
Round 1: Defending champion Charlie Drozd was held
to a draw by Bob Hamel when Bob's Germans were able to capture
Marche on the last impulse. Ray Freeman's Germans defeated Thomas
Melton in a teaching game. Bryan Eshleman beat Dave Wong's Germans
as Bryan held Bastogne until the 19th, but then defended stoutly
and gave up little space thereafter. In a minor upset, veteran
Mike Kaye's Germans lost to John Sharp. Apparently Mike saved
his good dice for his first Breakout Normandy title. He was able
to take Bastogne on the 19th and release 2SS Panzer the same
day, but then ran out of gas. Mike did note some wild battle
results like four 1-SP units killing 9 CCR on the 16th and an
8-3 which killed one of the 7th armored tank units. However,
he also noted two 8-1 attacks whiffed ... which can be devastatingly
bad for the Germans when it happens in the wrong place. Former
champion Mike Mishler's Amis defeated new player Gregory Smith.
Round 2: Bryan took the Americans and won a quick concession
from Thomas Melton. Ray played the Germans against John and had
a phenomenal dicefest on the 16th. Virtually the entire American
OB got obliterated on the first day. By 16-3, the US had no way
to form anything resembling a line and the Wehrmacht was out
of the gates. Bastogne held until 18-1, which avoided the TKO,
but the Germans were in Grandmenil and La Roche on the 17th.
Basically, the Germans advanced so far so early that they had
no way to make real progress once US reinforcements showed up
on 17-3. The Wehrmacht had to spend the 18th staging troops forward.
Marche finally fell on 21-1 which sealed the win, although there
were tense moments as John's defenders fought tenaciously on
the 19th and 20th.
The defending champ continued to have trouble as his Germans
lost to Dave. Although he was able to get a spearhead across
the Ourthe River on 19-1, Bastogne held out until the 21st. Rick
Young joined in with a game against new player Glenn Petroski.
Rick's Germans were deadly and the game ended quickly with the
loss of Bastogne on the 17th. Bob rolled as the Germans against
Jim Kramer. Bastogne fell on the 18th and Marche on the 21st
for a textbook German win. An early 2SS Pz release certainly
helped the German cause.
3: The two critical matchups for the round were Eshleman-Freeman
and Hamel-Wong. Ray bid 1 to play the Americans and things went
wrong for Bryan almost immediately. The Germans were unable to
kill much of anything on the 16th. The one glimmer of hope was
the capture of Lullange on 16-3, which is very unusual. However,
the US had lots of troops survive elsewhere, and they dealt out
much destruction. Bryan was able to grind through the stiffening
defenses on the 17th while incurring serious losses, and was
able to attack Bastogne on that second day, but lost five SP
in the battle while killing only one defender. The last straw
was at Vielsalm on 18-1, when a 10-6 attack using the Greif teams
for battlefield confusion raised the defenders ire so much they
killed seven steps with eight shots. With perhaps half the German
OB in the dead pile, Bryan resigned.
Meanwhile Bob's US parlayed a stout defense of Bastogne into
a win. The key crossroads held out until the 20th. Dave did release
the 2SS on the 18th, but without a decent road net, he could
not use them to make sufficient progress.
Tom Melton took the Allies against Jim and held Bastogne until
the 21st. Jim released 2SS on the 19th, but as is typical, Bastogne's
road net is worth far more than an SS panzer division. If you
can't get the panzers into action, they can't make a difference.
Charlie took a bye when his scheduled opponent failed to show.
Round 4: We had four games in the last round, with
Ray up against Bob for the championship. Both Bryan and Charlie
had a shot at some wood however, so their game was quite important
to the final standings. Tom, playing the Amis, took on Bill Alderman.
They left behind no detailed records, so all I know is that Tom
won and there was not a bid. Scott Beall played the Americans
against Nick Smith. The Germans conceded on the 18th after their
offensive stalled, then bogged down completely.
Bryan bid 1 to play the Allies against Charlie. Bryan no doubt
was looking forward to avenging his loss to Charlie last year.
Charlie got off to a fast start. German recon units sped ahead
to seize the Baraque crossroads on 17-1, a sure sign that the
American line had been shattered on the 16th. Bryan managed to
stave off an instant loss by holding onto Bastogne through the
17th. However, the crossroads fell on 18-1 and 2SS Pz was released
on the following impulse. But Bryan stacked up his defenses and
they held firm through the 22nd. Charlie could not take Marche
nor breakout and a draw resulted.
Round 4 between Ray and Bob started off with a bid of 1.2
DRM for the Americans. Ray would therefore get arty on a 1-7
during the first two turns. Bob's logistics chief faced the firing
squad as on the entire first day, the Germans got only three
successful artillery calls! This is unprecedented. 1 SP of the
106th escaped Bleialf, allowing 1121 engineers to go to Noville.
The pesky 106 unit then survived a 2-1 on the third impulse to
hold St. Vith. Further south, the bridge at Gemund was repaired
and Bob tried a 5-1 followup at Holzhum which cleared the defender.
The Dasburg bridge was repaired on 16-2, and Bob launched a 6-2
attack on Marnach on 16-3. The defenders survived and Bob's hope
for a breakthrough in the center died. Ray shifted 1A/526 to
Houffalize and 1128 eng to Echdorf where they dug in.
Bob used the Greif teams on 17-1 at the Goesdorf bridge and
the area fell when the bridge stayed up. High odds attacks at
Burg Reuland and St. Vith vaporized the defense. The arty DRM
had some effect as Ray missed two calls. The US then formed the
line Vielsalm-Houffalize-Noville-Bastogne-Fauvilliers. The latter
was perhaps too conservative. I later decided that defending
Martelange might give me a couple of shots at a naked 3 Pz. Bob
made a 6-1 attack on longvilly against my screening unit, and
it survived. This unexpected bonus to the defense allowed the
Americans to reinforce Bastogne to 6 SP on the 17-3 impulse.
The following comment probably occurred sometime during the
17th, but it is entirely possible that once the second attack
on Marnach failed I was feeling pretty golden. "I could
tell I was in trouble the moment Ray stopped swearing and started
It was one of those games where the early dice were consistently
blessing one side with plenty of hits while dissing the other
side (in this case Bob). On 18-1 the Germans made four attacks,
at Fauvilliers, Bastogne, Noville and Vielsalm. Noville was cleared
at 9-2, but the other three attacks (at 6-4, 10-6, and 9-6) knocked
out only five SP of defenders. Bob's follow up attack on Houffalize
at 9-6 killed a single SP. The American line is very strong for
this time in the game and no significant territory had been given
The disastrous results on the first seven impulses meant that
the German could do little but position themselves for another
try on the 19th.
19-1 saw six strong attacks by the Germans. 6-3 at Fauvilliers
did nothing. 10-4 at Bastogne gained three German hits, but the
last defender survived. Sprimont fell to a 6-1 as the Germans
tried working around to encircle Bastogne from the north. A bridge
demo roll failed and the Germans hit La Roche with 10-6. The
battle was a desperate affair. Defensive fire massacred the Germans,
killing six steps, but their riposte was deadly and four US defenders
died. Attacks at Houffalize and Vielsalm however caused only
minor casualties to the Americans. Bob tried a 1-1 cheapo at
Bastogne. The US missed, but so did the Germans leaving the area
fully stacked. Another bridge demo attempt failed and the Germans
made a 6-3 attack on Moircy. The US held, but lost two steps.
On the 20th, La Roche and Bastogne fell as did Baraque. Hitler
finally agreed to release the 2nd SS. On 21-2, the Germans managed
to take Neufchateau and Petit Han, but it was clear that the
offensive was way behind schedule. A last throw at Baillonville
and Marche took the former, but Marche held easily. Elsewhere
the Germans could not get in to Wellin, Rochefort, or Ouffet
and Bob resigned without playing out the 22nd. This was Rays
first win in this event since 2006. Bob made it to the championship
game for the first time, and deserved better dice than he got.
Results: Second place came down to a tie-breaker between
Bob and Bryan. Bryan had a significantly tougher schedule based
on his opponents won-loss record, so hewas awarded second. Andy
Lewis of GMT donated a couple of copies of the game in ziplock
envelopes and asked that they be donated to new players. Tom
Melton got one by scoring two points and playing all four rounds!
The other I will give out next year to a newcomer who commits
to playing a few rounds and shows promise.
German Wins: 4
American Wins: 11
The results were completely reversed from last year when the
Germans held a significant advantage. Again there was very little
bidding, all for the US. Only four games featured bids, with
one at 0.5 and two at 1.0 and one DRM 1.2 game. The Americans
won two and drew one of these.