still playing the bulge ...
We had eight stalwart players this year, including past champions
Bruno Sinigaglio and Randy Heller. The tournament scenario played
(as in prior years) lasted eight turns and required the German
player to attain four victory conditions to win. Two of those
conditions are 18+ Allied units eliminated and less than three
German mech/artillery units destroyed. The rest depend on capturing
strategic hexes or fuel dumps. Here are the highlights:
Randy, as Allies, played Paul Koenig in the first round, and
reported that the game was much closer than Randy desired. Bastogne
fell to a 2-1(-1) attack in 19AM. 22 Yank units were eliminated.
St. Vith proved a thorn in Paul's side, as Randy fortified the
location and held out until 19AM. The game came down to the final
attack on Stavelot for the fourth victory condition. Paul was
unable to muster the needed 2-1 to have a chance to dislodge
Randy from the town.
Steve Likevich played Bruno Sinigaglio. Steve's Allies suffered
a disastrous 16AM turn, with five eliminated units, a D4 result
at Clerf, and an engaged 4/12 in the south. Bruno obtained an
exchange against 7/CCB in the south in 16PM, blowing the southern
part of the front wide open. 6th Panzer Army shifted forces to
the center. In 17AM, Steve brought in his southern reinforcement
(4/8/22) to isolate the German 7th Army, and made desperate counterattacks
in the center. Bruno took Bastogne in 17PM. Steve's effort to
kill a second mech unit near Houffalize failed and he resigned
in 18PM, with 18 units destroyed, Bastogne and Neufchateau captured
and more objectives threatened.
The other two first round games had John Grant besting Bob
Ryan , and Forrest Pafenberg beating Tom Shaw.
In the second round, John played Bruno, with Bruno taking
the Allies. John enjoyed excellent 16AM and 16PM results. In
a similar run to Bruno's game with Steve, the Allies lost five
units in 16AM and suffered a D4 at Clerf. Bruno came up with
a strong defense in 16PM notwithstanding the losses, allowing
only low odds attacks in many locations, but lucky exchanges
favored the Germans by eliminating another five units. The losses
allowed a German victory as further advances occurred toward
Randy, as Allies, played Forrest in the other semi-final game.
Again the Germans had a successful 16AM, with five Allied units
destroyed. Randy had two chances to blow the Stavelot fuel dump,
both of which failed. Forrest lost three mech/artillery units,
but Randy was unable to destroy the fourth despite having surrounded
a NW unit. Randy surrendered on 19AM when Forrest captured Stavelot
and its fuel dump, giving him four victory conditions including
the 18+ Allied units.
The final game took place between Forrest's Germans and John's
Allies. Forrest started with poor results - only two Allied units
eliminated and no long advances in 16AM. Two 2d Infantry regiments
were engaged and then surrounded. The Germans pushed hard through
the 17th and 18th, causing increasing casualties, but the Allied
line held. In 19AM, Forrest took a 2-1 (-1) against Bastogne
and succeeded, eliminating three Allied units in the process
and achieving two victory conditions. He needed only one more
since German mech and artillery losses were less than 3. However,
now the luck factor again swung to the Allies. A 2-1 against
Stavelot yielded an "Attacker Back" result. John then
counterattacked to prevent a 19PM attack against Stavelot. All
other victory locations were blocked except the crossroads at
AA17. However, Forrest was unable to reach the hex with more
than a single Fallschirmjager regiment, which was counterattacked
and destroyed in the Allied 19PM turn. John won with three victory
conditions in German hands.