still fighting the Bulge ...
GM Frank Sinigaglio challenges 2006
champion Bill Morse in the swiss rounds.
The head grognard, Bruno Sinigaglio,
keeps tweezering the opposition in the senior center of WBC.
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 wargames are managing to hang around due
to free form scheduling with nostalgic trips to yesteryear for
the older set.
Open Swiss Phase
A total of 27 games were played in the preliminary rounds by
23 different participants, allowing the event to crack the 16-player
threshold for the tenth consecutive year. Making this possible
is the flexible start format pioneered by El Lingle that allows
grognards looking for tournament games to play after they have
been eliminated elsewhere.
Of the 27 preliminary games, 18 were won by the Germans, but
when it counted the Germans lost two of three in the playoffs.
The results since Bruno took over for our late friend John Grant
in 2003 have the Germans sporting a slim 130-122 advantage. Making
it to the Final Four this year was 2006 champion Bill Morse (44
points), 1992 champion Rob Beyma (40 points), the unpredictable
Vinny Sinigaglio (38 points) and perennial hard luck runner-up
ForestPafenberg (34 points).
Forrest's opening attacks in the south allowed 9cca and 109 inf
to escape Engage or Exchange results, while 12 inf was trapped
by an Engaged. In the north, four infantry units, 395, 393, 9
and 38 were all Engaged. Attacks in the Losheim Gap were good
with 394 inf eliminated and 14 cav running on a D back 4. In
the center things were abysmal - all of the 106 infantry escaped
to play defense, 112 inf was Contacted and 110 inf retreated
in good order with a D back 2.
In effect, the Germans were hosed in the center. It should be
noted, however, that Paffy in no way approached his legendary
infamous dice from 2003, at which time he rolled zero American
kills on the 16AM turn - a feat which we have since estimated
to be a 1-in-820 likelihood. It is also noteworthy, that since
2003, only in 2010 has Paffy not had bad German attack dice in
every play-off game. Of course, that was because he played the
Americans in 2010. In any case, with no push in the center and
Bill flush with defenders, things got congested for Paffy's Panzers.
On 17PM, he was still attacking St. Vith and Bill had backstops
for every front line unit. After uneventful rolls on his 17PM
attacks, Paffy reluctantly threw in the towel yet again.
In the other semi, super-grognard Rob took on the younger generation
and proved he still had what it takes after a long absence from
'B81 play. His Germans killed 394 inf, 14 cav, 106/422, 106/424
and 28/112 - great results at Losheim and in the center. There
were mixed results within the north and the south with retreats,
Contacts and Engages, but the loss of five American units in
the center made it difficult to form a defensive line where the
Americans are weakest. Somehow, Vinny fabricated a decent line
shifting units from the north and south and Rob helped by rolling
bad dice on the 16PM and 17AM turns, but two more US units were
added to the losses.
On 17PM, Rob advanced significantly on a 4-1(-1) Blitz near Bastogne
and on an Advance 4 versus units in Vielsalm, which resulted
in Germans adjacent to Trois Ponts and Stavelot. Vinny counterattacked
at 1-1(0) to hold both towns and rolled Engaged on both attacks
- good enough. On 18AM, the Germans captured Bastogne and Trois
Ponts on attacks at 2-1(-1) and the crossroads on an attack at
6-1. At this point, with 16 dead US units, Vinny conceded.
Two former champs met in the Final although their respective
titles came 14 years apart. On the 16AM turn, Bill's Germans
rolled poorly in the north with an Engaged vs 395 inf, a Contact
vs 9 and 38 inf. At Losheim, the Germans killed 394 inf and 14
cav. In the Schnee Eifel, 106/422 died, 106/423 escaped and 106/424
was Engaged. In the center, Bill again rolled poorly, with a
D3 vs 122 inf and crummy D2's vs 110 inf and 109 inf. In the
south, 9cca escaped unscathed, but 12 inf was killed in an Exchange.
Overall, the results were just fair with only four units lost,
and too many units available to move into the usually vulnerable
The Germans ground through the next two days with Bill doing
everything possible to thin the US line. Of course, Rob is not
your usual cannon-fodder and, as usual, he played flawlessly,
giving Bill nothing by mistake. On the German 19AM turn, Bill
had a 1/6 chance to take Bastogne, but the roll was unsuccessful.
By the end of the turn, the Americans had lost 16 units and the
Germans had only lost two mechanized, so Bill still had a slim
chance for victory on 19PM: take Bastogne and Stavelot, kill
two Yanks and lose no more than one more mech. Rob, however,
seeing a chance to assure a win, surrounded, counterattacked
and eliminated two more mech units thus crippling Bill's chances
before Bill could attempt his 19PM hail mary.
Congratulations to Rob Beyma on gaining his second Bulge 81
Championship - some 19 years after the first. Rob, (aka Colonel
Hessler), was one of the original Bulge 81 play-testers
and even with a long lay-off, retains his prowess in the Ardennes.
Marty Musella opposes Rob Beyma in
the swiss rounds as Rob returns to the grognard games.
Bill Morse is denied his second B81
title but Rob Beyma gets his - exactly 19 years after his first.