still fighting the Bulge ...
Forrest Pafenburg and Bruno Sinigaglio
repeat the grognard scene ...
... while Phil Evans keeps the new
blood at bay for another year.
Open Swiss Phase
A total of 26 games were played in the preliminary rounds by
21 different participants, allowing Battle of the Bulge 1981
to crack the 16-player threshold for the eighth consecutive doncon.
Contributing to this success is the flexible format pioneered
by El Lingle that allows grognards looking for tournament games
to play after they have been eliminated elsewhere.
Of the 26 games played in the preliminary rounds, 16 were won
by the Americans and 10 by the Germans but in the elimination
rounds the Germans won all three games. The overall tournament
totals were Germans 13 - Americans 16. The eight-turn tournament
scenario developed by Randy Heller has been playing right at
50-50 for 18 years. The results since Bruno took over for our
late friend John Grant in 2003 are now Germans 111 and Americans
111. Making it to the Final Four was three-time defending champion
Phil Evans (52 points), first time contender Vinny Sinigaglio
(38 points), Frank Sinigaglio (35 points) and perennial runner-up
Forrest Pafenberg (27 points).
Single Elimination Phase
Semi-final: Phil's German opening attacks saw all of Forrest's
U.S. units in the south escaping engage or exchange results;
D Elims on 14th Cav, 99/394, and 106/422; An exchange vs the
stacked 2/9 and 2/12; a DB4/AA3 vs 28/110 with German advance
into Clerf; a DB3/AA2 vs 28/112; and engage and contact results
vs the remaining U.S. units. The advance into Clerf was significant.
The DB3/AA2 vs 28/112 was not an optimal result, but proved to
be significant on the 16 pm turn.
Forrest responded to Phil's opening attack by retreating into
rough terrain hexes immediately to the west of Clerf, and evacuating
the two remaining regiments of 106 ID into rough terrain hexes,
barring any immediate German threat to St. Vith. Endeavoring
to save the frozen 333 Arty, Forrest moved a unit into 333 Arty's
hex. 9/CCB moved into the nearby rough terrain hex JJ19.
Phil's 16 pm attacks yielded excellent results. Most significantly,
9/CCB was attacked with a concentrated German artillery die roll
modification, resulting in DB3/AA2. German advancing units then
cut off the only retreat hex for 333 Arty and the unit stacked
with it. The subsequent attack here resulted in both units being
eliminated; Phil moved the entire 12 SS Pz Div to the bridge
hex MM18 to ensure favorable combat odds in this critical attack.
Subsequent turns saw Phil taking every opportunity to get attacks
that had chances of D Elim or exchange results. North of St.
Vith was a slow grind for Phil, but Forrest was obliged to keep
enough units in this sector to defend Malmedy, Stavelot, and
Trois Ponts. U.S. Air interdiction helped slow Phil's drive
in the south. Phil used a 4:1 (-2) Blitzkrieg attack to take
the rough terrain north of Bastogne and hexes adjacent to Houffalize.
Both towns fell the following turn. Although Bastogne was fortified,
Forrest had to spread out units of 10th Armor to defend the Ourthe
river bridges, leaving only one 7-factor combat command available
to defend the town. To guarantee seizure of fortified Bastogne,
Phil had to get a 5:1 (-1) attack, which required almost all
the 7th Army and 5th Pz Army nebelwerfer and artillery units
available (41 factors).
Forrest managed to keep Phil from advancing out of Houffalize
towards Parker's Crossroads by mounting a 3:1 counterattack in
the dense woods nearby, but this netted an Engaged result. Knowing
that Forrest would be unable to pull off the engaged U.S. infantry
units, Phil maneuvered other German units north west of the Houffalize-Parker's
Crossroads road and along the road from Vielsalm. This allowed
a concentric attack on both the crossroads and the engaged
U.S. units. Parker's Crossroads was seized with stacked Peiper,
F. Escort, and 12/2 Pz regt. (34 factors). Arriving units of
the 82nd and 101st Airborne proved insufficient to retake the
crossroads, and the game was concluded, with Phil the victor
with four objectives achieved: capture of Bastogne, Parker's
Crossroads, more than 18 U.S. combat units eliminated, and less
than three German mech/arty units lost.
Semi-final: On the 16AM turn Vinny's Germans killed 14cav,
106/24, 28/112,and 28/110. There were mixed results in the north
and the south with retreats, contacts and engages, but the loss
of four American units in the center made it difficult to from
a good defensive line in the center where the Americans are weakest.
Frank tried a strategy not seen previously. On 16PM the Americans
retreated in the center to positions that no German infantry
could reach. It was successful and disastrous at the same time.
The Germans picked up a great deal of ground in the center, but
risked exchanges of mech units, because no infantry was present
to help in the attacks. Vinny obliged by rolling three exchanges,
which killed three German mech, but also left the American center
Frank delayed as best as possible under the cimcumstances, but
Vinny was able to capture Bastogne on 17PM. At this point Vinny
was nursing three Victory Points and should have been able to
cake walk to victory, but he forgot to protect his rear and cover
bridges to the east. Frank brought 10th Armor in behind Vinny's
krauts and was lucky to blow every bridge that could provide
supply. As a result, the entire German 7th Army and most of the
5th were placed out of supply.
On 19pm the Germans captured Trois Ponts for 4 VP. The Americans
mounted a counterattack at 2-1 (-1) plus an attack to kill a
fourth mech unit, but both failed. Thus, Vinny earned a hard
fought victory over his big brother. Frank commented to their
father that with that 16AM opening Vinny can never again complain
Final: Phil's 16AM German combat results were a mix of
good and bad. In the south, 4/12 was engaged and 28/109 exchanged.
At the Our River, a lucky DB4/AA4 vs 28/110 and a DB3/AA2 vs
28/112 fell into his lap. In the north: attacks vs 99/395 and
the stacked 2/9-2/38 resulted in AB1; 99/394 and 14 Cav were
eliminated. In the center 106/422 was killed, but 106/423 and
106/424 escaped with Contacts. Overall, the repulse of the German
attacks in the north were offset by the favorable results in
the south and center.
On the US 16AM turn Vinny placed 9CCA at KK31 adjacent to Ettlebruck,
infantry into rough terrain hexes west of Clerf, a surviving
106 ID regiment into rough terrain hexes to the east of St. Vith,
and the remaining units forming a line hinged on Rockerath-Krinkelt
- rough terrain - Monschau. In addition, Vinny placed units
in an attempt to save the frozen 333 Arty by stacking a unit
Apparently, lighting can strike twice in the same place. On
his 16PM turn, Phil executed an attack that repeated the trapping
and killing of 333 arty and its reinforcing regiment. By the
way, that unfortunate arty unit was also overrun in 1944. Elsewhere
on the board, massed German artillery assured the fall of Rockerath-Krinkelt,
and German advances occur between Monschau and Elsenborn and
in front of St. Vith. In the center, Phil attacked down the
road towards Bastogne.
On his 16PM turn, Vinny fell back into St. Vith and occupied
the crossroads hex HH17 between the Ourthe river and Vielsalm,
backed up by an arty in HH16. On his 17AM turn, Phil attacks
the U.S. unit in HH17 with a 4:1(-2) blitz, and rolls a "1"
(Blitz 4) with major consequences. The Blitz 4 sees German PzGr
units advance towards Houffalize, the rough terrain hexes adjacent
to the Vielsalm - St. Vith road, and directly behind St. Vith,
surrounding the unit there. Phil's subsequent attack vs St.
Vith results in the elimination of the defending U.S. unit, and
a robust German advance down the road towards Vielsalm. Near
Elsenborn, a solitary, exposed, U.S. arty unit is attacked and
eliminated and the German advance after combat surrounds an adjacent
U.S. unit, which is also eliminated in the same combat phase.
Exchanges near Monschau and Martelange exacerbate Vinny's precarious
In the following turns Phil pressed his advantage in the center.
Vielsalm and it's adjacent bridge were taken with German units
thrusting north towards Trois Pont and west towards Parker's
Crossroads. To the west of Houfflaize, Phil again executed a
4:1 (-2) blitz attack, resulting in German mech units taking
the bridge in hex Y23, the river confluence in hex Z21 and hexes
behind Bastogne. Attrition of U.S. units is heavy as Phil attacks
all along the front using high attack odds and maximum use of
artillery and air support.
By the end of Phil's 19AM turn, the Germans have La Roche, a
bridgehead in X22, Bastogne, Parker's Crossroads and Trois Ponts
and more than 18 U.S. units eliminated. Phil has successfully
defended his title and pulled into a tie with the game's designer,
Bruno SInigaglio, with four titles each.