tigers in the mist   

Updated 11/17/2011

2011 WBC Report  

 2012 Status: pending 2012 GM commitment

Bryan Eshleman, NC

2011 Champion



Event History
2000    Ray Freeman     16
2001    Robert Mull     19
2002    Rick Young     14
2003    Ray Freeman     16
2004    Tom Thornesen     17
2005    Tom Thornsen     18
2006    Ray Freeman     17
2007    Bryan Eshleman     18
2008    Bryan Eshleman     19
2009    Mike Mishler     16
2010    Mike Mishler     16
2011    Bryan Eshleman     17

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Ray Freeman        CA    11    214
  2.  Bryan Eshleman     NC    11    122
  3.  Tom Thornsen       NY    11     97
  4.  Mike Mishler       CA    10     96
  5.  Jim Winslow        ME    09     90
  6.  Rick Young         NC    10     73
  7.  Brad Jones         FL    09     60
  8.  Robert Mull        CO    01     36
  9.  Murray Cowles      uk    02     32
 10.  John Ellsworth     IL    08     30
 11.  Ric Sciacca        FL    11     25
 12.  Jim Kramer         PA    11     15
 13.  Jack Morrell       NY    01     15
 14.  Bob Hamel          CT    08     14
 15.  Dave Wong          NJ    10      9
 16.  Mark Kolenski      MA    09      9
 17.  Eduardo DeNucci    ag    04      9
 18.  Dave Schubert      MD    03      9
 19.  Raymond Hall       IL    00      9
 20.  Charles Drozd      IL    11      6
 21.  Nathan Trent       VA    05      6
 22.  Bill Hodges        VA    03      6
 23.  Larry Hiemenz      MD    04      3
 24.  Aaron Silverman    NY    00      3

2011 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists:

Ray Freeman, CA

Tom Thornsen, NY

Jim Kramer, PA

Charles Drozd, IL

Ric Sciacca, FL

Past Winners

Ray Freeman, CA
2000, 2003, 2006

Robert Mull, CO

Rick Young, NC

Tom Thornsen, NY

Bryan Eshleman, NC
2007-08, 2011

Jim Kramer and Bryan Eshleman

Charles Drozd and Mike Mishler

Four Rounds to Glory

Five people attended the demo at 6 pm, and of those, two played in the Tuesday night round. In fact, we had four new players in the tourney. Unfortunately, this was offset by a number of absent regulars, primarily due to work and economy issues.

Round 1

Top seed and two-time defending champion Mike Mishler was immediately upset, losing his first game since 2008. Charlie Drozd, a relative newcomer to Tigers and our ninth seed, but a deadly WAS and VIP player (runner-up in both this year) did the honors. Mike's Germans were unable to take Bastogne until the 20th, and his offensive never jelled.

Second seed Bryan Eshleman (also a two-time champ) had no such problems as his Germans rolled over Jim Kramer, taking Bastogne on the 19th and gaining an early release of the 2SS Panzer division on the 18th. This deadly combination led to a breakout to the Meuse.

Third seed, and designer-turned-perennial bridesmaid, Ray Freeman faced 2002 champion and fourth seed, Rick Young. Ray's Germans had a poor start on 16-1, clearing only three areas and not touching the 28th inf defender in Marnach. But three areas were cleared on 16-2 and a 3-1 on Lutzkampen killed it's defender on 16-3. The real disaster for the Amis occurred on 17-1, when three bridges failed to blow, including the one at Wiltz defended by engineers. During this impulse the entire US front line was annihilated. On 17-2, the Wehrmacht blew through 1-SP units at Noville and Rambrouch, seizing Martelange. Rick failed to notice that the 10th armor on 17-3 would allow him to rebuild a line behind the Ourthe, and resigned, thinking a breakout was a foregone conclusion.

Tom Thornsen, the fifth seed and another two-time champ, faced sixth seed John Sharp. John's Germans never really got any traction. Bastogne never fell, and the critical crossroads of Baraque was only finally captured on the 20th.

Rick Sciacca, who spent at least three rounds atop the PBeM ladder over the past two years won as the Germans, seizing Bastogne on 17-3 for a relatively rare automatic victory.

Bob Hamel, who has been playing at the WBC and on the ladder for years, played a teaching game against TIM-newbie (and EOS champ) Dennis Culhane. Bob, in the role of Generaloberst Manteuffel, smashed through and grabbed Bastogne on 18-1 and released the SS on 18-2. Although Dennis was able to prevent a breakout, Bob took Marche on 20-1, guaranteeing a minimum score of 13 VP, more than enough to win.

Round 2

Ray Freeman faced Bob Hamel's Americans (Bob bid 1). The Germans got off to a horrid start, clearing only Vianden and Habscheid, and repairing neither bridge. Bob also killed three SP of panzergrenadiers at Marnach, which would be repaid in full. However, the Germans caught a break on 16-2, clearing the south and actually killing the engineer in St. Vith with a 2-1 attack. This compromised the entire north. The magic bridge at Marnach was repaired, and with renewed élan, Ray's Panzers overran Marnach with the help of two artillery barrages!

On the 17-1 every US unit on the map was destroyed except the rangers. Still, the Germans were only able to clear the approaches to Bastogne before exhausting their strength. However, Bob's position was now very shaky, with a hole at Noville/Bertogne. On 18-1 Ray took Bastogne and La Roche, and although the Germans were stopped at Houffalize and Vielsalm, a total of four US steps died defending these key locations. On 18-2, a suspect 7-6 attack, primarily made to prevent the US from entrenching, was made at Libramont, and shockingly managed to kill three SP of Americans. These were the Wehrmacht troops of 1940, not 1944!

On 19-1 Houffalize, Viesalm and Libramont all fell, followed by Baraque on 19-2. The German spearheads also reached Grupont and Bande. The 20th saw a quick end. Petit Han and Ouffet both fell on 20-1 and Marche on 20-2. Despite what sounded like a rout, the Germans paid with heavy casualties. We counted 21 one-SP German units on the map at the end.

Tom Thornsen switched to the Germans facing off against Charlie Drozd. Bastogne fell on 18-1, the SS were released on 19-2, and Baraque fell on 19-3. In addition, the Wehrmacht gained an uncontested bridgehead across the Ourthe on 19-3. The Germans continued to grind forward, taking Neufchateau on 20-1 and Marche on 21-1, leading to a 12 VP win.

Mike Mishler had to play up against Rick Sciacca, and Rick put his PBeM experience to good use, taking Bastogne on 17-1 for an automatic victory (Mike bid 1.5).

Jim Kramer's Americans forced an early resignation of Mike Tracy's Germans, chewing them up over the first three days and holding all key territory. Apparently American artillery never experienced any ammo shortages.

Bryan decided to take a bye in Round 2 in order to get in his annual game of Breakout:Normandy.

Mike Kaye's Germans faced Don Tatum and won, but no details are available. They did play for at least three hours IIRC.

Round 3

Tom Thornsen took the Americans for a bid of 1 against Bryan Eshleman. Bryan's Germans got off to a lackluster start and could not reach Bastogne until the 17th, but was able to form up a 10 sp attack for 18-1. Unfortunately, Tom had stuffed Bastogne with seven American sp from 10th Armored and remnants of retreating units. From the German point of view, the results of the attack were an absolute disaster. The Bastogne defenders eliminated seven sp of the attackers, while only suffering one themselves. Victory was certainly within Tom's grasp at that point. However, there were a few other battles to fight that impulse.

The American 7th Armored division was strung out protecting the Allied left flank, with three sp units in Noville and Houffalize. The 4 sp armor unit (of the 7th) was in Vielsalm. Bryan had gone "all in" and attacked those three positions with roughly nine sp each. In every attack, the Allied dice went cold, and the German dice came through. All three American units went "poof", and suddenly there was no more Allied left flank. Although the Allies had both the 82nd and 101st divisions arriving on 18-1, it still proved difficult for Tom to deal with the gaping hole since neither of those divisions could reach the troubled area. Tom did what he could by stripping units out of Bastogne to try to cover the left. He even counterattacked at Bastogne with the 101st reinforcements and knocked the remaining Germans out. But, the combination of a strongly defended Bastogne and the scramble to put up a defensive line to the North, meant that the Allied right and center were weakly held.

German forces surrounded Bastogne and achieved bridgeheads across the Ourthe River. 2nd SS Panzer was released on 18-3, which added to the Allied difficulties. Eventually, the Germans achieved further breakthroughs on the 19th and 20th that could not be contained as the Allies receive few reinforcements during that timespan. Tom fought in desperation mode, trying to extricate units from surrounded Bastogne to help plug new gaps in the line, but it proved futile. It became a wargame version of "whack-a-mole" with way too many moles and nothing to hit them with. Over the years this pair of former champions had played many times, but neither could recall such a dramatic shift of fortune within one impulse as happened here. Tom eventually ran out of defenders and Bryan scored a breakout win.

Jim Kramer bid 2 to take the US versus Bob Hamel. Jim had a good week, finishing high in TIM, WAS and VIP. Bastogne never fell and Jim had enough troops left on 20-1 to form a double line. Apparently, Hitler forgot to issue ammunition to Bob's troops.

Charlie Drozd faced Bruno Sinagaglio's Americans. Bruno misplayed the defense and Charlie blew through some unfillable holes and took Bastogne on the 17th.

Ray's Germans faced Rick's Amis (bid of 1). On 16-1, Vianden, Holzhum and Habscheid were cleared and the Gemund bridge repaired. On 16-2, Hoscheid's defenders fought heroically and held, but Diekirch, Lutzkampen, St. Vith and Bleialf were all smashed. Marnach stubbornly held out.

17-1 was the usual US bloodbath, with the Germans managing a 6-3 at Bastogne on 17-3, but killing only 1 SP. On 18-1, Bastogne fell, but strong attacks at Houffalize and Vielsalm were repulsed. However the defense in the south was severely compromised by the fall of Neufchateau and Nives late on the 18th. The US resorted to a counterattack at Neufchateau on the 19th, which went well for them. However, in the north, Houffalize and Vielsalm fell on 19-1, followed by Trois Ponts and Grandmenil on 19-2, releasing 2SS Pz. Sprimont's 3 SP defense also was crushed. The Germans contested La Roche on 19-3.

The 20-1 was somewhat of a mixed bag with Libramont, Hotton and La Roche all falling to the Germans. Mean held against an opportunistic 1-1, and a promising 7-2 at Ouffet failed to carry the position. Lignieres fell on 20-3. The end came on 21-1 as a powerful attack carried Marche.

Round 4

The final round was a busy one, with four games played! Ray Freeman and Bryan Eshleman faced off for the championship, but no less than four other players had a shot at second if Ray won.

Bob Hamel took the Germans for no bid against Nick Smith. The Germans got all the dice that deserted Bob in Round 3, and he seized Bastogne on 17-3 for a knockout win.

Jim Kramer took the US for 1.5 against Charlie Drozd. Jim held onto Bastogne until 20-1, but gave up Baraque on 18-2 and Big Black was released on 19-1. Charlie was able to keep pressure on, taking Marche on 21.1, but came up just short as Jim held enough territory to score a 12 VP win.

Tom Thornsen took the Germans for no bid versus Rick Sciacca. Apparently the miracle weapons program actually came through on the 16th and Rick could not hold Bastogne, which fell on 17-1; an almost unheard of event in this scenario. In fact, I'm not sure it's ever happened before. Both Rick and Tom are excellent players, so the dice gods must have intervened with real vigor.

Ray made a serious mistake, giving Bryan the US for 0. Never again. He should have known better as Bryan is a brilliant defender as he has proven many times in the past. The Germans got off on the right foot clearing Vianden, Holzhum and Lutzkampen, but Habscheid held. This would prove to be critical later. The bridges stayed down such that a follow up attack on Marnach was not possible. However, Diekirch, Hoschied and Burg Reuland also fell. However, the 106th in Bleialf survived. Both units of the 106th retreated to St. Vith and Recht.

On 17-1, St. Vith, Beho, Marnach, Wiltz and Goesdorf all fell, but frustratingly, an 8-1 at Ettelbruck failed. The special forces went to Baraque to interdict traffic. Bryan pulled the surviving battalion of the 106th from Recht into Bertogne, sealing off a potential breakout move. On 17-2 Eschdorf fell but Bryan's Bastogne defenders held (a 3+1 stack ... 1 SP survived). On 17-3, a German engineer recon seized Martelange.

18-1 was a disaster for the Germans. Bertogne and Bastogne both fell to high odds attacks, but every other area held (four other attacks) with heavy German and very light US casualties. The Germans were unable to attack on 18-2 and 18-3. Bryan started stacking the defenses.

On 19-1 Ray attacked at Neufchateau, Vielsalm and La Roche, killing two steps while losing eight. The attrition rate, which had seen heavy early German losses, suddenly became a huge factor, as the Germans had nearly no 3's left on the map. 19-2 saw three more attacks, at Champion, Lignieres and Baraque, with the Germans losing nine steps to three. Baraque fell on 20-1, but Lignieres again held as did Champion.

By the end of 20-3, the US line was still Neufchateau, Moircy, Champion, Lignieres, and Grandmenil. Ray made a series of desperation attacks on 21-1, but all of them failed and there was nothing left to do but resign.

Bryan played his usual extremely precise game and got favorable attrition to claim his third title. Ray was able to take Bastogne on the 18th, but could not make any significant progress after that against Bryan's fierce defense and had his bid for an event-leading fourth title denied again.

Jim Kramer and Charlie Drozd picked up Tigers tee shirts for scoring at least two wins to become the newest members of the Tigers elite club.

The final order of finish was: 1. Bryan Eshleman 3-0 2. Ray Freeman 3-1 3. Tom Thornsen 3-1 4. Jim Kramer 3-1 5. Charlie Drozd 2-2 6. Rick Sciacca 2-2, and 7. Bob Hamel 2-2. 11 games had no bid, four games had an Allied bid of 1.0, two 1.5, and three 2.0. No one bid for the Germans. In a significant departure from past events, the Germans dominated dramatically, winning 14 of 20 games! Stubbornness awards go to Jim Kramer, 3-1 as the US and Ray Freeman 3-1 as the Germans.

 GM      Ray Freeman  [12th Year]   NA
    Rayfreeman3@comcast.net   NA

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