The first "hit" wargame
Defending champ Greg Tanner
tackles John Sharp (right). The VIP GM should have stayed at
sea. He was less prepared for panzers on the steppes than subs
Gordon Stewart (left) goes up
against the Bert Schoose steam roller. Bert rolled all the way
through the Final to his first WBC championship.
The Panzers Keep Rolling
The classic eastern front tactical level game saw lots of
play in the Grognard precon as well as in the full blown convention.
This event, while still quite popular among many of the wargamers,
does not seem to generate the intense scoreboard watching and
jockeying for positions that several of the other Grognard games
seem to do. In any case, the players remain quite passionate
about competing well and having fun as they engage in a variety
Among the highlights was a three-board match with lots of
units that lasted eight hours. On the other side of the spectrum,
the legendary grognard himself, Bruno Sinigaglio played a match
in which each side was allowed only six minutes per turn since
each PanzerBlitz turn is representative of six minutes
of real-time action.
Once the semi-finals were set, we saw the same four players
return to the single elimination phase that had been there in
2006. The Friday night matchups were different this time as Rick
Northey earned the #1 seed and was paired off with Bert Schoose.
Last year's finalists, defending champ Greg Tanner and Marty
Musella were matched in the second semi-final.
Both played scenario # 45. To avoid the problem of having
to deal with an outcome that ended in a draw, the participants
agreed that one player would automatically win the draw while
the other player could choose the side that they would play.
In Rick and Bert's match, Rick chose to win the draw and Bert
then selected to play the Germans. Marty had the choice in the
other match and he also chose to win the draw leaving Greg to
select the Germans, too.
For those who are not familiar with this scenario, it represents
a surprise Russian attack in 1944 against a fairly strong German
position. Using only board 3, the Russian player starts in Grabyosh
and the nearby woods, he moves north and attempts to surround
the city of Opustoschenia, trapping and killing as many German
units as he can find in that city. At the start of the scenario,
ten German units are in the city. Next, he needs to head further
north and get across the gully, usually through a single hex
chokepoint at 3Z9, since vehicle units are not permitted to enter
the gully during this scenario. The German player, who starts
with some heavy firepower in the trapped city can usually shoot
a hole through the Russian trap and get two units out of the
city to safety before his big guns are silenced. He attempts
to hold the chokepoint as long as possible, picking off Russians
with a goal of killing eight units to achieve the tactical victory
Surprisingly, based on the play of this scenario in the preliminaries,
the German player won both semi-final matches outright without
the need for the tie-breaker. Rick's Russians killed all of the
big gun targets in the central city on his first attempt (4-1
+1 attacks) but he lost five units in the process, including
his infantry killing SU153's. As he maneuvered to the gully,
Bert's Germans were able to pick off several more Russian attackers
while he held the chokepoint hex through the end of the scenario.
In the end, Rick was a unit short of the marginal level while
Bert had achieved a tactical victory level to advance.
Greg won the rematch of last year's finalists as he was able
to have his Hummel unit survive the initial volley and then last
throughout the scenario to wreak havoc on Marty's Russian advance.
In the end, Greg returned to the Final by reaching the decisive
The two finalists both agreed that it would be better to have
the Final match played late Friday night instead of Saturday
morning since the players wanted to avoid conflicts with other
events they had scheduled for Saturday. Again, they agreed to
play # 45. This was a rematch of a preliminary game, won by Greg,
using this same scenario. Given the choice, Greg took the Germans
and deferred the possible draw outcome to Bert's Russians.
While commenting that Bert's initial assault was strong versus
the center city, Greg still easily shot a hole through the blocking
units to allow a halftrack and passenger to escape and run past
the chokepoint. Bert had kept two infantry units loaded so that
they could assault the gully or chokepoint as needed. This left
the units surrounding Opustoschenia more vulnerable than in the
other matches that had used this scenario. Greg missed kills
on several overrun attacks on the first turn, settling for dispersals,
which would turn out to be critical.
The Russian attacks were not too good either as two city hexes
survived the (4-1 +1) opening attacks. Fortunately for the Russian,
the follow-up CAT attacks (2-1 -1) resulted in a kill and a dispersal.
That dispersed hex, with a silenced Wespe was able to survive
two more turns of (4-1 +1) attacks before finally succumbing
to a CAT attack on Turn 4. Despite surviving three different
direct fire attempts, the Wespe never did get another shot off
and was not able to add to the German kill total due to the Russian
guards keeping that unit pinned down with CAT attacks.
Bert broke through the chokepoint by firing his SU153's at
the blocking infantry units. Further, he dropped his two loaded
infantry units adjacent to the eastern portion of the gully so
that they could try to march into the gully to expose the weak
German guns. Greg fired off 1-1 attacks versus each unit in am
attempt to thwart this plan but it resulted in only one of the
infantry units being dispersed.
On the second to last turn, Greg abandoned the chokepoint
hex and allowed the Russian tanks to pour through in an attempt
to surround, expose and then shoot the German units. Most of
Greg's infantry were located in the city of Zabvenia while the
guns were in the woods hexes in the center and east. Bert chose
to ignore the city for fear that Greg might get some kills on
adjacent tanks with CAT attacks. The Russian death total stood
at six units and the German needed two more to elevate his side
to the Tactical victory level. He combined his DF forces to secure
one automatic kill but needed to add one more killed unit and
some missed shots by the Russian on the last turn. The best that
Greg came up with was a CAT attack (1-2 -2) that had a 1 in 6
chance of getting the first part of that job done. It did not
As it turned out, Bert did manage to miss two more (4-1 +1)
attacks on his final turn which left both players at only the
marginal victory level. Greg's own poor shooting on his initial
overrun attacks left him just short of taking full advantage
of the poor shooting by his opponent. Based on the initial side
selection, Bert Schoose won the draw and his first ever WBC first
place finish. It wouldn't be his last in this WBC.
2005 PBeM Tournament Results
Eduardo de Nucci of Argentina defeated Peter Bertram of Georgia
in the fourth and final round of the First BPA PBeM tournament
to claim the championship of the Single Elimination event over
18 other entrants. Both players bid for sides using S-4b: Panzer
Peter bid 7 turns to cross the board with 25 units for the Germans.
Other laurelists were Joe Avinger (GA), Randy McInnis (NJ), Fred
Schwarz (MI) and John Sharp (FL) who claimed third through sixth