afrika korps [Updated Sept. 2008]   

Grognards Pre-Con

 2007 WBC Report  

 2008 Status: pending 2008 GM commitment

Bert Schoose, IL

2007 Champion

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Event History
1991      John Poniske      12
1992      Mike Crowe      15
1993      Joe Beard      20
1994      Joe Beard      17
1995      Phil Evans      16
1996      Bruno Sinigaglio      10
1997      Bruno Sinigaglio      25
1998      Gregory Smith      23
1999      Gregory Smith     24
2000      Randy Heller     20
2001      Lane Newbury     29
2002      Vince Meconi     29
2003      Jonathan Lockwood     22
2004      Randy Heller      30
2005      John Popiden      20
2006       Vince Meconi      34
2007       Bert Schoose      23

PBeM Event History
2003      Ed Menzel     26
2008       Bruno Sinigaglio      26


 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Bruno Sinigaglio   AK    08    132
   2.  Jonathan Lockwood  VA    08    128
   3.  Vince Meconi       DE    06    118
   4.  Randy Heller       MD    05     78
   5.  Ed Menzel          CA    08     76
   6.  Bert Schoose       IL    07     57
   7.  John Popiden       CA    07     57
   8.  Lane Newbury       TX    03     48
   9.  Greg Smith         PA    99     38
  10.  Barry Smith        NY    08     30
  11.  Doug Burke         MD    03     24
  12.  Mark Gutfreund     KY    08     21
  13.  James Tracy II     OH    04     16
  14.  Phil Evans         VA    01     15
  15.  Bill Morse         VA    07     12
  16.  Gary Dickson       CA    05     12
  17.  Johnny Hasay       PA    04     12
  18.  Andrew Miller      GA    03      9
  19.  Robert Hahn        NY    02      8
  20.  Ted Drozd          IL    08      6
  21.  Steve Likevich     OH    01      6
  22.  Chris Godfrey      MA    06      3
  23.  Pat Mirk           FL    03      3

2007 Laurelists

Jonathan Lockwood, VA

Bill Morse, VA

John Popiden, CA

Mark Gutfreund, KY

Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

Past Winners

John Poniske, PA

Mike Crowe, VA

Joe Beard, AZ

Phil Evans, VA

Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

Greg Smith, PA

Randy Heller, MD
2000, 2004

Lane Newbury, TX

Vince Meconi, DE
2002, 2006

Jonathan Lockwood, VA

John Popiden, CA

Bert Schoose, IL

 Greg Smith (left) maneuvers his Allied troops against the Afrika Korps of Mark Gutfreund during the Pre-Con.

 Over 40 years after its release, there are still a row of Afrika Korps games being played ... only at WBC.

once more behind the sand dunes with the grognards...

Although attendance did not approach last year's record level for this most enduring of the Grognard classics, Afrika Korps still maintains its reputation as "the unforgiving game", in which a single mistake can end the game for either side if properly exploited. One such match during the early Swiss rounds occurred between 2002 champion Jonathan Lockwood as the Germans and two-time champion Bruno Sinagaglio as the British. Lockwood, employing the same opening that Bert Schoose had successfully employed against him and defending two-time 2006 WBC champion Vince Meconi two years earlier, exploited a weak point in Bruno's lines near Tobruch with an automatic victory using 21/5 Panzer (boosted by Rommel bonus), then exploiting the gap with Rommel and 21/3 Recce to take Tobruch on the May I 1941 turn! A stunned Bruno, exclaiming that this was the first time in the 42 years he had been playing the game that ANYONE had done that to him so early in the game, then bought drinks for all of the Grognards assembled in the room (nonalcoholic, of course). Sufficiently distracted, he then promptly returned the favor to Lockwood by retaking Tobruch on the British turn with a 1-1 surrounded counterattack. Lockwood countered by sealing off Tobruch and driving east against a weakened British force, eventually taking Alexandria in early October and staving off an attempted British breakout from Tobruch during the next two turns to seal the victory and earn another trip to the semi-finals. Joining Lockwood there would be last year's runner-up John Popiden and 4th place laurelist Bert Schoose. Making his first appearance at the WBC aemis would be Bill Morse.

The semifinal match between Popiden and Lockwood was in fact a rematch of their initial meeting earlier in the Swiss rounds, where Popiden's Germans had beaten Lockwood's British by successful use of a 1-2, 3-1 combination attack against Tobruch, then remorselessly grinding down Lockwood's forces to take Alexandria, despite abysmal supply luck. The semi-final match between the two followed the same pattern early on, with Popiden again sending 21/3 Recce down the coast road in Cyrenaica to prevent Lockwood from using his favored Paleveda Gambit defense, which sends a supplied blocking force of two 2-2-6s into Cyrenaica to hamper German movement. Lockwood shifted into a modified Standard defense, then began a successful delaying campaign to take full advantage of Popiden's once again horrendous supply rolls (he would lose nine supplies before the match was over). The game ended in November II 1941, but this time with a British victory, as Popiden's forces were unsuccessful in their last ditch assault against Tobruch on October II 1941 with an unorthodox 1-2, 5-1 combination using a 7-7-10 and an Italian 2-3-4 on the 1-2! Unfortunately the combination used the last remaining German supply on board, and Popiden was forced to surrender following sunk supplies during the next two turns, sending GM Lockwood to his third Final.

The other semi-final between Morse and Schoose was likewise a rematch of their earlier encounter during the Swiss rounds, as Schoose's Germans had easily handled Morse's British in that contest. Not wishing to repeat that experience, Morse opted for the Germans this time, and would be rewarded with above average supply luck during the match, losing only four supplies to the British navy. Unfortunately for Morse, Schoose's British forces were up to the challenge of harassing the Afrika Korps, starting with a successful 1-1 on May I 1941 that eliminated 21/2 Recce. Schoose then successfully delayed towards Alexandria, encouraging Morse to expend his supplies. Morse expended supplies heavily in his efforts to wear down the British, at one point expending two supplies on the Jun I 1941 turn to drive the British into Tobruch and force a British retreat towards Alexandria. Morse would pay for his heavy supply use when his Alexandria drive stalled, forcing him to chance a 1-1, 2-1 combination attack on Tobruch on the Nov I 1941 turn. Afrika Korps then demonstrated again why it is "the unforgiving game" when Morse executed his 2-1 attack first, rather than the 1-1. Morse got an A back 2 on the 2-1 attack, which would open up an escape corridor for British forces from Tobruch with their Nov I 1941 reinforcements. This made Morse's subsequent D Elim with the 1-1 of no consequence, since British forces came out and surrounded the Afrika Korps, compelling Morse's surrender and sending Schoose into the Finals against Lockwood. Executing the 1-1 first would have kept Morse in the game.

The Final was a fast moving affair, with Lockwood taking full advantage of perfect early supplies to drive the British into Tobruch with no casualties and begin a swift drive towards Alexandria. Opting to eliminate the delaying units opposing him, Lockwood's Germans had stormed up to the El Alamein line by June II 1941, where he established a 3-1 proof defensive line with the Afrika Korps facing a smaller British force and awaited the supplies to catch up before beginning the final push into Alexandria. Unfortunately, those supplies would not arrive for another six turns, as the British navy successfully hamstrung Lockwood's forces and left him open to low odds counterattack. Realizing that his only chance at this point was to kneecap the Afrika Korps by eliminating the 7-7-10 Panzer regiments, Schoose unleashed a series of 1-1 counterattacks to drive back the Germans. The first 1-1 counterattack was a D Back 2 on 21/5 Panzer. Lockwood fell back and reestablished the 3-1 proof line. Schoose was rewarded on the next 1-1 counterattack with an exchange on the 7-7-10. Trying to regain the initiative, Lockwood counterattacked with his last supply at 4-1 to eliminate several 1-1-6s, but this left Lockwood's Germans without supply and still vulnerable to counterattack. Schoose followed up on the August I 1941 turn with a 4-1, 1-2 combination attack which eliminated 21/3 Recce and compelled Lockwood to retreat to Tobruch. After receiving supplies in early September, Lockwood would later hurl the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (1-1 assault on Tobruch) in a desperate attempt to regain the initiative. This attack failed, and Schoose denied Lockwood's bid to become the fourth two-time Afrika Korps champion, while taking his own first crown. He so enjoyed the experience, he added two more championship plaques before the week was over.

2008 PBeM Tournament

The Second BPA PBeM Afrika Korps tournament drew 26 grognards some 44 years after this game was first published. After 26 games, only the GM Bruno Sinigaglio and the defending champ, Ed Menzel, remained. Bruno resorting to his old tricks, took the Allies and trusted to his navy to sink Axis supply, leaving defending champ Menzel in command of the Germans.

In April 41, Germans 21 Panzer occupied the escarpments southwest of Bir Hacheim while the Italians starved the Brits in Benghazi. The 21/3 Recce drove as far west as R31, forcing the Allies to string out from the K18 escarpment all the way to L36. The Malta force sunk the only Italian convoy attempting passage in April.

In May, Rommel landed two supply convoys and brought in the 15 Panzer. On May II the 21/3 Recce moved further west into the escarpments south of Matruh while the Afrika Korps hammered to death a 2-2-6 on G23 at 6-1 with Bologna surviving a 1-3 soak. The Recce unit near Matruh forced the Allies to send two infantry brigades east to counter the threat to the home base while a 4-4-7 demonstrated outside Tobruk.

Rommel decided that the bait was easy pickens and attacked the 4-4-7 on H25 at 3-1 surrounded and a 1-1-6 on H26 at 3-1 while Bologna soaked against the rest at 1-5. The big 3-1 went well with a D Elim, unfortunately Ed rolled an exchange vs the 1-1-6 and Bologna could not resist the offer of spaghetti and wine by the Brits and deserted. At the end of June I, the Brits were hunkered down in Tobruk and screening Halfaya Pass while all else retreated east. The Malta dudes were doing their share, as Ed landed only enough supply to replace the two used in attacks.

On Jun II, the Afrika Korps swung around Halfaya into the escarpments. Bruno countered by falling back out of attack range with most units while leaving a lone brigade at Halfaya, another as a nuisance at K49 and one that was too slow to escape and thus acting as good counterattack bait at R53.

Rommel landed supplies on Jul I and being at full strength decided to isolate the lone 1-1-6 at Halfaya while killing the blocker at K51 and the bait at R53. At the end of July, the unit at Halfaya would starve and Ed would be bearing down on El Alamein with 24 factors while Bruno would be holding with 15 factors at most plus the four scheduled for August. So on Jul I Bruno sent the Recce unit south to enable a 1-2 surround vs 21/5 Panzer on Q52. A two was rolled - it is always better to be lucky than good - the Brits lost four one factor units and the Germans lost a 7-7-10. Ed landed another supply on Jul II and then waited in good defensive positions until the Brit at Halfaya crapped out. On Jul II the Brits dropped all the way back to the El Alamein - Ruweisat line with only ten factors alive.

On August I, the Afrika Korps was at full supply, but could not garner a good attack due to the previous hold up at Halfaya and the fall back by the chicken hearted Brits. On August I four more British cannon fodder brigades strengthened the El Alemein line to 14 factors. At this point, the bad luck rolls by Ed at Tobruk and the good luck roll by Bruno vs the 7-7-10 posed a dilemma for Ed. The Afrika Korps could possibly take the home base before Nov I, but two consecutive supply convoys would need to survive on the Sep I and Sep II turns - the odds were against Ed. So on August II, the Afrika Korps dropped back to Tobruk for the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" and rolled an exchange vs 18 factors. Thus the Afrika Korps ceased to exist and the forlorn wops hanging around at the end of turn surrendered.

Bruno finishes first. Ed finishes second to follow up his win in the previous BPA PBeM Africa Korps tournament. Another BPA Afrika Korps PBeM tournament will begin soon.

 GM      Jonathan Lockwood  [8th Year]   P.O. Box 3436, Reston, VA 20195-1436   703-471-7906

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