still fighting the Bulge ...
Steve Likevich (left) and Frank Sinigaglio
in Final showdown.
Alan Hayes checks out the young grognards
in the next generation.
While most of us are fighting a different type of "bulge"
problem, WBC remains the place for grognards to meet and vie
over the AH classic Battle of the Bulge, 1981 edition.
A few classic style war games are hanging with the newer games,
as they provide an easy sojourn into some tense competition.
Open Swiss Phase
A total of 28 games were played in the preliminary rounds
by 18 different participants, allowing Battle of the Bulge
1981 to crack the 16-player threshold for the seventh consecutive
doncon. Contributing to this success are two things: The flexible
format pioneered by El Lingle allows grognards looking for tournament
games to play after they have been waxed elsewhere.
18 of the 28 Preliminary games were won by the Germans, while
the Allies won two of three in the playoffs. The overall tournament
totals were Germans 19 - Americans 12. The eight-turn tournament
scenario developed by Randy Heller has been playing near 50-50
for 17 years. The results since Bruno took over for our late
friend John Grant in 2003 are now Germans 87 and Americans 77.
Making it to the Final Four was hard luck runner-up Forest Pafenberg
with 50 points, 2006 champ Bill Morse at 48, upstart Frank Sinigaglio
also with 48 and four-time champ Steve Likevich bringing up the
rear with 42 points.
Single Elimination Phase
Semi-final: Frank Sinigaglio's Germans seriously hosed Bill
Morse's Americans on 16AM with a spectacular opening. The 395th
and 12th Infantry were tied up in Engaged battles, while 394th,
424 inf and 109th inf were eliminated by various means. To make
matters worse, the panzers advanced four vs 110 inf. The problem
for Bill was a lack of units in the south with 109 dead and 4/12
engaged. The solid opening by Frank was held off by Bill's stubborn
defense, but the kills mounted and Frank hammered Bill with a
plethora of successful blitzkrieg attacks. The number of eliminated
Americans combined with panzers slipping past strongpoints forced
Bill to take low odds counterattacks to hold exposed positions.
Alas, Bill 's defense eventually crumbled and Bill sent his sword
over to Frank in exchange for some pistachios.
Semi-final: Forrest Pafenberg's German attacks exchanged the
9CCA and 110th Infantry, which would usually spell serious trouble
for the Americans in the south; however, Paffy's other attacks
were lousy and Steve Likevich was left with a boatload of units
for defense on 16AM. On the other hand, Paffy's attacks were
not as bad as those from previous years, as Paffy did not approach
his legendary bad dice from 2003, at which time he rolled zero
kills of the Americans on the 16AM turn -- a one time event in
802 chances of occurrence. The German attacks then petered out
significantly, but Like committed his trademark blunder on 18PM
- allowing a lone arty to get automatically eliminated - with
the advancing units taking Trois Ponts. Like failed to retake
Trois Ponts with an 18PM counterattack, but he positioned units
to prevent German reinforcements from entering the fray. Like
did retake Trois Ponts on 19AM, but the effort allowed Paffy
to mount a 2-1 (-1) against Stavelot that would give him the
required victory conditions. Alas, Paffy's luck was true to form
as he blew a potential game winning roll for the third consecutive
Frank's 16AM attacks yielded the following results:
#1: 1-1(0) vs 4/12 in Echternacht. Exchange. A German +.
#2: 1-1(-1) vs 9CCA. Contact. An Allied +.
#3: 3-1(0) vs 28/109. Engaged. A German +.
#4: 4-1(-1) vs 28/110. D back 3, A Adv 2. An Allied +.
#5: 5-1(-1) vs 28/112. D back 2, A Adv 1. An Allied +.
#6: 2-1(0) vs 106/424. A Back 1. An Allied +.
#7: 1-1(-1) vs 106/423. A Back 1. An Allied +.
#8: 4-1(-1) vs 106/422. D Elim, A Adv 1. A German +.
#9: 8-1(-1) vs 14cav. D Elim, A Adv 1. A German +.
#10: 7-1(-1) vs 99/394. D Elim, A Adv 1. A German +.
#11: 2-1(-1) vs 99/393. D back 2, A Adv 1. An Allied +.
#12: 2-1(-1) vs 2/9 and 2/38. Engaged. A German ++.
#13: 1-1(0) vs 99/395. Engaged. A German +.
The German 16AM attacks eliminated four units and trapped
four more. A very good start and referred to by those in the
know as "four dead guys in Ohio!"
On 16PM, the Allies allow the Germans a free run in the south,
but it is limited by the roadblock caused by the engaged 28/109,
which gets engaged a second time. The Germans get adjacent to
St. Vith and break the Clerf River line.
On 17AM, it looks like there could be a rout in the making
as the Germans Blitz adjacent to Bastogne, but a bit of bad luck
in the center as 16/116, which is just behind the Allied line,
is eliminated on an unlucky exchange. If 16/116 rolls anything,
but the exchange, the road from the north would have been cut
through Vielsalm. Steve counterattacks at Bastogne to hold the
line, but a fort cannot be built in the intersection.
On 17PM, there is no movement anywhere except in the south,
where Frank's Germans get across the Sauer River east of Martelange.
The German attacks all along the line yield contacts or engaged
results, which give Like's Americans a significant respite. The
Americans again roll a stick at Bastogne.
On the 18AM and 18PM turns, the Germans again roll crap, allowing
Like to hold a fort-less Bastogne. The Germans do get next to
Neufchateau causing consternation at SHAEF HQ back in Columbus.
Eventually, the Germans take Bastogne, eliminate 18 Allied units
and lose less than four mechanized or arty, but they fall one
short of the required four Victory Conditions.
Congratulations to Steve Likevich for winning his fifth Bulge
81 championship despite various conspiracies and collusion
among many disgruntled and gruntled players who wish to deny
Like the credit he certainly deserves as the best Bulge 81
player. Perhaps we should get Bruce Reiff to reinstate Like on
the "Girly Men" team, wherein he would be more apt
to choke with Bruce looking over his shoulder.