Designer Wins His Own Game ...
There were 16 entrants in this year's event. Sixteen games
were played, resulting in ten German wins and six Allied wins.
Last year's winner, Phil Evans, was unable to attend this year
to defend the wood, but assures all that he will return next
year to take back the crown. Three rounds were played on Wednesday,
with the final round and third place consolation round played
Thursday morning. As usual, the majority of the German victories
occurred in the early rounds. Eight German wins against two Allied
victories resulted from first round play. Newcomer, Kevin McCarthy,
offered an early play challenge to veteran, Paul Koenig, who
provided his typical verbal commentary with each move. Paul's
Panzers were precipitously punished in the second round by John
Grant's aggressive Allied play. Paul threw in an early towel
when his 5th Panzer Army units were thrown back across the river
and forced to vacate Clervaux.
The semi-finals really began to
reveal a highly competitive level of play. Veterans Bob Ryan
and John Grant squared off while Tom Gregorio and Randy Heller
jostled for sides. At this point, Tom was resting on an overall
10-0 win/loss record and seemed unstoppable. Bob described his
game against John as "a real barn burner." All three
regiments of the 106th surrendered on 16PM due to three straight
6's rolled by John! That put Bob at 5 for 6 in surrender die
rolls as the German player in two consecutive games. The 12SS
became engaged at Hofen on 16PM, which slowed the drive toward
Eupen by a full turn. The 16PM turn also saw the 28/112 regiment
trapped, but the price paid was the failure to conduct the typical
infantry infiltration south of Clervaux. The German had the advantage
early, but the pendulum slowly swung back toward the Allies.
The game continued through the 19PM turn very much in doubt.
The Germans had three victory conditions (less than 3 mech losses,
18 Allied dead, and Eupen). John was able to prevent the fall
of Parker's Crossroads and Trois Ponts with leader units. Bob's
chances started to go up in smoke with the destruction of the
Francorchamps fuel dump on 18AM. Even so, the Germans had a 1/6
chance of taking the Samree fuel dump on 19PM. Had it occurred,
the Allies may have been able to counterattack in their 19PM
turn and retake it. Tom's Germans had a strong opening against
the Allies, capturing Monschau, Rocherath-Krinkelt and the Our
River Bridge on the opening turn. On turn 2, Tom blasted through
Hofen to trap a key regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division. The
Allies were really reeling back from Tom's excellent play and
were never quite able to regain the initiative. Two bright spots
kept them in the game the blowing of the Francorchamps
fuel dump and the construction of a fortification in Bastogne.
A tactical error by Randy on 18PM nearly cost him the game. Bad
positioning of an armored regiment in front of the Ourthe River
bridgeheads left it without a viable retreat route. The Germans
jumped on this opportunity, leaving the Allies with few units
in the center. By game's end, Tom had destroyed an impressive
22+ Allied units. The Samree fuel dump failed its destruction
die roll, leaving Tom with an excellent chance to win the game
on the last turn. On 19PM, the Germans had a 2/3 chance to take
the dump and a 1/3 chance of capturing Trois Ponts. Luck was
not with Tom as both die rolls failed, leaving the Allies victorious.
John and Randy met the following morning to determine a tournament
winner, while Bob and Tom played for the third place plaque.
A die roll determined that Randy would once again take the beleaguered
Yanks. As in Randy's previous game, a second turn loss of Hofen
trapped a key regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division. Allied play
seemed not to be as desperate as in the previous game. Much centered
around a 2-1(-1) 18AM attack on Noville. John received a strong
advance, but made a tactical error in failing to bottle up Bastogne,
allowing an additional Allied unit to enter the fortified town.
The Francorchamps fuel dump declined to blow up. Its capture
left John with three victory conditions and a generous two turns
to take a fourth. The most likely target was Trois Ponts. Randy
defended it with two full regiments and a leader, but overconfidently
failed to provide artillery support. On 19PM, John cleverly bombarded
the town and shocked half the defenders. This provided a 1/3
chance of success, which would have won John the final round
game and the tournament. As luck would have it, the Allies retained
the town, giving Randy a hard earned victory.
Bob's Germans defeated Tom's Allies in the third place consolation
round. Bob trapped Middleton and Artillery 174 along the road
west of Clervaux. In addition, the German 7th Army made good
progress in the far South. Both 9/CCA and 9/CCB were eliminated
for a total of nine destroyed Allied units. Peiper broke out
by conducting a post mechanized movement attack along the road
to Eupen, destroying a reduced regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division
and advancing into Eupen after combat. After trapping additional
Allied units in the woods southeast of Trois Ponts, Tom conceded.