ukraine '43 [Updated August 2001]

U43   Trial Experienced Single Elim Continuous 
   10  Round 2 17  
  Round 3 9  Round 4 16 Final


Stephen Campbell, NH

2001 Champion

2nd: Martin Sample, NH

3rd: Michael Arrighi, CA

4th: Rob Franz, VA

5th: -

6th: -
Event History
1991    None      -
1992    None      -
1993    None      -
1994    None      -
1995    None      -
1996    None      -
1997    None      -
1998    None      -
1999    None     -
2000    None     -
2001    Stephen Campbell      8

AREA Ratings:

GM: Michael Arrighi

Ukraine '43

The inaugural Ukraine '43 event saw Stephen Campbell take home the "wood" defeating his gaming partner, Martin Sample, in the finals. Stephen and Martin were the two most experienced players having played each other a half dozen times prior to the WBCs. However, this was Stephen's first victory against his buddy and no doubt Stephen will tout his victory in front of Martin on every occasion. The moral of the story is that practice does make perfect. Martin's downfall was his desire to play the Soviets; bidding eight victory points; this was the highest bid for the Soviets in the tournament. Regardless, Martin made the final a challenge by capturing the requisite total of eight victory points by the seventh and final Soviet turn. However Stephen was able to claim the title by retaking one of the key cities in the last player turn of the game.

Martin did demonstrate an exquisite handling of the Soviets using a broad-based operation with a multitude of low odds attacks of 1:1, one-and-a-half to one and 2;1. He coupled this strategy with excellent placement of the Soviet guards to negate German tactical superiority. He would methodically advance the Soviet artillery, one hex each turn to avoid disruption penalties and keep them in the fight. Martin's Soviets generally ground all Axis players in his path on the road to the finals.

Stephen had a somewhat easier task making the finals by virtue of a bye. His first opponent in the tournament was a relative newcomer to the system, Rich Ogata; Rich is no slouch to wargaming, captured the Bitter Woods title this year. Stephen did show remarkable ability in winning as both the Soviets and the Germans; the only player to achieve a victory handling both sides.

The optimal handling of German troops was by Rob Franz who consistently formed fire brigades of Panzer Corps to slow the Soviet onslaught. He rushed these ad hoc formations to and fro across the board to hit and disrupt Soviet Tank Armies, combining this strategy with a defense in depth, in key sectors, to minimize the Soviet advances. Unfortunately for Rob, he did not pay homage to the dice deities, as he had the most atrocious run of luck whether or not he rolled the dice. While he made an early exit from the tournament, the opponent to defeat him was heard to mutter something to the effect of its "better to be lucky than good."

A special mention is warranted to Nick Frydas who, as the Soviets, took Kharkov in the last turn to reach his victory point bid. Nick captured Kharkov despite it and the two adjacent hexes having German troops in fortifications. His opponent was so demoralized by this action that he offered to resign. The special mention is not for the taking of Kharkov against all odds but for refusing to accept his opponent's resignation and subsequently pointing out the counterattack possibilities to the German
player. Based on Nick's advice, his opponent captured a victory point city and eliminated Nick from the tournament. While Nick may not have won the tournament, in the end, he is a real winner.

David Lindsay was in his first face-to-face game of Ukraine '43. While he did face one of the most experienced players in the tournament; his entry does demonstrate that the tournament is open to all players regardless of experience. Hopefully, David will profit from the experience and make a return appearance next year.

A total of six games were played due to winners dropping from the tournament to continue in other events. Four games resulted in Soviet victories. The tournament used scenario 2, the initial Soviet breakout. Players bid to play the Soviet, with the bid equal to the number of victory points that they would achieve. The bids ranged from a low of 5 to a high of 8, with a median bid of 6.

All participants received a t-shirt with artwork by Mark Simonitch, who not only designed the game but also did the counter and map graphics. Purely by coincidence, the Ukraine '43 participant's t-shirts were the same forest green as the BPA t-shirts. The significant features on the Ukraine '43 t-shirt are the silhouettes of a Tiger and KV-1 facing each other below the words "UKRAINE '43." These shirts are bound to be collector's items, as they were only available to tournament participants. A limited quantity was produced and will unlikely be replicated, although the remainder of the shirts may be available at future tournaments where the WBC GM is in attendance.

The Soviets players exhibited two distinct strategies. There were the broad based attacks with few attacks achieving more than 2:1 odds, but attacking every adjacent German unit or stack, particularly, Panzer Corps or isolated Panzer divisions. Here the Soviet Guards units are used in those low odds attacks to counter German tactical superiority. The alternate Soviet strategy was to allocate one or two assaults at odds of 4:1 or higher, to virtually guarantee an advance, with other attacks at lower odds. The alternative strategy results in fewer combats per turn but generally ensures a successful push somewhere along the front. Time will tell what the optimal Soviet tactic should be for either the tournament or campaign scenario. Perhaps a reflection of the lateness of the starting time for the tournament, Soviet airborne units saw decreased action throughout the tournament. No doubt, this reflected the Soviets' commanders declining mental facilities as tournament fatigue took its toll.

German strategy typically involved massing the Panzer corps to counter attack and disrupt key Soviet stacks and remove these units combat during the ensuing Soviet player turn. This approach was generally coupled with a defense in depth, at key locations, to limit the penetration of Soviet attacks. There was also the tactic of leaving sections of the front virtually undefended to relocate the precious few infantry divisions to more vital sectors; although, this is likely not an optimal strategy in the campaign game.

A PBEM (play by e-mail tournament) is in development. Sixteen players are needed for this tournament to qualify as an official BPA sanctioned event with a championship plaque. The tournament format will be single elimination, using the historical setup with the specific hexes as designated. However, the German player will have the option to specify which four mechanized units are reduced.

Given the length of time that scenario 2 (the initial Soviet breakout) requires, inquiries have been made as to whether a viable three- or four-turn scenario may be developed for the early rounds of face-to-face tournaments. Such a scenario may reduce the playing time by half, to about four hours. This should encourage more players to enter and allow a Swiss-Elimination style of format, with two rounds - one as each side, with the top players advancing to the quarterfinals and beyond.

While Ukraine '43 did not draw the requisite 16 players to ensure continuation as part of the WBC's century group; a PBEM (Play By E-Mail) tournament is in development. See for details. Hopefully, this will entice additional players to Ukraine '43 and form a veteran cadre for next year's WBCs. If this GM has anything to say about it, Ukraine '43 will again be a trial event at next year's WBCs, as the organizations current charter and by-laws allows tribunes and sponsors to host trial events at any event that drew at least eight participants.

 GM      Michael Arrighi  [1st Year]   2179 Flintridge Ct., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362   NA

2001 Preview Page
View the Icon Key