Casting Calls ...
The Combat Commander enclave.
John Wetherell and Mary Ellen Powers
The tournament went Hollywood as we took our chances refighting
scenes and situations found in five epic World War II films.
The tournament again used the Swiss-Elim format with four opening
rounds advancing the top four scoring players to Single Elimination
The swiss portion consisted of four games played in successive
rounds wherein many of the 40 entrants persevered to complete
all four rounds. The games were new scenarios with these stellar
titles: Objective Claremont - "Kelly's Heroes";
Where the Iron Crosses Grow - "Cross of Iron";
A Midnight Clear - from the film of the same name; and The Bridge
Too Far whose film context should be obvious. Each was received
with much mirth as the players attempted to recall the actors
that the scenarios were based upon. Most games were tight with
both scenario attackers and defenders winning their share. One
game in particular found JR Tracy's Germans holding a slim lead
against Bryan Collars' US led troops with Sudden Death looming
when Lucas, the US Hero emerges out of the woods to secure a
key objective giving Bryan the VP edge. JR's return fire to eliminate
the hero sees a Time! event drawn by Bryan ending the game. At
the conclusion of the swiss round two players were undefeated
and six more stood at 3-1. The top two, based upon a tiebreaker
of opponent's points scored, joined the pair of unbeatens in
the medal rounds.
The semi-final offered the scenario Saving Pvt. Reno and if
you need help identifying the film affiliation, you aren't a
wargamer. Two-time champion Bob Heinzmann squared off against
Joe Chacon while GM Bryan Collars faced Bill Powers. In both
games Pvt. Reno was indeed saved but it was a near thing in the
Standing in the way of Bob's third title was Bryan who was
revisiting the Final for the first time since 2008. The lower
ranked player chose the scenario and the higher ranked player
selected which side to play. Bob chose to return to Arnhem in
1944 by reprising his role in The Bridge Too Far scenario. Bryan
opted to take the British and force Bob into attack mode. Bob's
Germans, using their HMG, applied intense pressure on the defending
Limeys, killing the best Brit leader. The Airborne proved resilient
though and traded just enough space for time to see the game
set with Bryan holding a 1-point lead.
As always, players have the ability to influence how the event
will work next year by discussing it in the Combat Commander
topic on ConsimWorld. I look forward to seeing any and all
erstwhile Combat Commander's at the next WBC.
GM Bryan Collars downs Bill Powers
in the semi-finals en route to pulling a Coussis.
Joe Chacon goes down to two-time champ
Bob Heinzmann in the semi-finals.
As usual, a tribute
to the excellent rule book, rules questions were almost non existent.
Chris Byrd went 4-0, defeating last years champion Bob Heinzmann
in Round 3. By Round 4 just Chris and Chad Mekash were left undefeated
and they played for the title. Here is Chad's write up of the
We played Hold The Line from the base CC:E box. Looking it
over, I thought I'd rather play the Germans but rolling for sides
stuck me with the Americans. My lack of interest in the scenario
stemmed from its small size and the terrain/setup. The Germans
attack with four SS squads and a HMG team. Two public objectives
put 4 VPs on a hex near the American side and a single level
2 hill hex in the middle of a larger level 1 hill toward the
German side of the map. But this was all skewed when both of
our random objectives ended up being public as well, adding 10
VP to the level 2 hex and doubling elimination points.
The notable thing about the scenario is an immobilized Sherman,
represented by a bunker with a team manning a pack howitzer and
a leader manning a .50 cal MG. The team could not leave the bunker.
The bunker had to set up in an open ground, non-hill hex which
did not allow it to fully guard any attack path up the hill by
the Germans. I set it up near the hill with a Line team adjacent.
I set up the rest of my non-bunker guys (a squad, a team, a leader,
and two satchel charges) on a level 1 hill hex adjacent to the
level 2 but not on the crest. So I allowed his units a path up
to the hill rather than set them up on the level 2 objective
hex and get chewed up by his HMG sooner or later (without recourse
since my hill guys had no MGs).
As expected, he came for the hill, out of sight of the bunker.
So I had my leader and his HMG exit the bunker into the adjacent
hex and pass the HMG to the waiting Line team. On the next turn
they advanced onto the hill into a waiting foxhole, adjacent
to the level 2 objective hex with the hex where my other guys
were in another foxhole on the opposite side.
On the first turn Chris had a squad and leader on his right
flank intending to go up the side opposite the hill, likely to
go for the other objective hex and possibly board edge exit.
But he set them up on a hill hex along his board edge, not realizing
they were in view of the bunker. I quickly killed the squad with
fire from the bunker and the leader wandered forward a bit but
was otherwise out of the game, as was the pack howitzer in the
Back on the hill, Chris edged his guys onto the hill, out
of LOS of my HMG. He recovered from any breaking and then proceeded
to pound my initial hill guys for three turns, breaking them
all, I'd recover them all, then rinse and repeat until he finally
killed them all. He smoked the level 2 hex and moved onto it
but my HMG hex broke all of his guys there. He then tried a gutsy
move by advancing his broken leader, squad, and team onto my
leader and HMG team. He played two ambushes, killing my leader,
and then my team killed all of his guys.
In the meantime, time was marching along, bringing with it
a new reinforcement squad for me each turn. One had been killed
by fire from his HMG. A second got onto the hill but was killed
by his remaining squad after the melee described above.
So I was one unit away from surrendering and he was two away.
On the hill, on opposite sides of the level 2 hex which was worth
14 VPs and currently in his control, was my HMG team and his
LMG team. I smoked the level 2 effectively and moved in. He advanced
in and played an ambush card. He was up by 4 firepower but I
had the Initiative card. I rolled a 4. Arghh. Tossed him the
Initiative. Turned over the next card. I rolled a 3! Game over!
My team died and my surrender level was reached.
Chad Mekash, NJ
Bob Heinzman, FL
James Terry, NJ
Michael Johnson, MA
Bill Edwards, VA