squad leader [Updated August 2001]

SQL  4 prizes Experienced Swiss Continuous 
   9  Round 2 12  Round 3 16   Round 4 20     


Peter Pollard, TN

2001 Champion

2nd: Michael Day, AZ

3rd: Warren Day, AZ

4th: Mike Hennessey, MI

5th: David Von Bronkhorst, VA

6th: Eric Filipkowski, MD
Event History
1991    Scott Romanowski      12
1992    Jeff Miller      19
1993    Brian Laskey      14
1994    Eric Stranger      15
1995    Kevin Welsh       8
1996    Eric Stranger      10
1997    Kevin Welsh      12
1998    Peter Pollard      17
1999    Peter Pollard      19
2000    Mike Pacheco     18
2001    Peter Pollard     20

AREA Ratings:

GM: Peter Pollard

Ra-ta-tat-tat ... and other assorted combat sound effects optional

The Squad Leader event for this year's WBC drew 20 players which appears to be the norm for this event, yet many of the
players each year are new to the event. There is a core of the die-hard players who seem to make it here every year, yet it is good to see new ones making it to the convention. The number of returning players seems to remain around 50%; this at least tells us that many players still enjoy this classic game.

The event's new format, instead of only having Squad Leader level scenarios, provided opportunities for players to choose from any level of the series. Though most of the scenarios chosen were at the Squad Leader level of play, a few enjoyed playing at the Cross of Iron level. The format to select the scenarios differed from last year. This year, one scenario was available from each level of play for each round. The opponents would agree upon the level of play, then roll dice to see who would play what side (example: even to play as the German, odd to play as the Allies). This streamlined the process to allow for more gaming time. The scenarios selected were relatively short and each round was completed on time (a definite improvement over previous years).

27 games were played, 21 at the Squad Leader level and the remainder at the Cross of Iron level with Allies winning 14. The most balanced scenario in the tourney was Alan Yngve's Delta Zero "Back to the Sea" with an even record and four
games played. The least balanced scenarios were the Squad Leader scenario "Stalingrad, 20 October 1941" and the Cross of Iron scenario "Pavlov's House". Both are from the same design and had a 3 to 1 record, however, "Stalingrad" favored the Germans and "Pavlov's House" favored the Russians.

The following is the list of the scenarios available during the event:

Round One "The Banks"
Squad Leader: On All Fronts Scenario 36.1 "Stalingrad October 20, 1942"
Cross of Iron: Scenario TS2: "Pavlov's House"
Crescendo of Doom: Scenario TS2: "Pavlov's House"
GI: Scenario 308: "Han-Sur-Neid"

Round Two "The Ranks"
Squad Leader: On All Fronts Scenario 35.1 "Russia 1941"
Cross of Iron: On All Fronts Scenario 62.2: "Mogilev"
Crescendo of Doom: Scenario 23: "Silent Death"
GI: ASL Annual Scenario A6: "A Meeting of Patrols"

Round Three "The Tanks"
Squad Leader: On All Fronts Scenario 46.3 "Winter War"
Cross of Iron: Scenario 101: "Blocking Action at Lipki"
Crescendo of Doom: Scenario TS1: "First Crisis of Army Group North"
GI: Scenario 300: "Trial by Combat"

Round Four "The Yanks"
Squad Leader: Alan Yngve's "Delta Zero - Back to the Sea"
Cross of Iron: Scenario E: "The Niscemi-Biscari Highway"
Crescendo of Doom: Rogue Scenario R217: "The Whirlwind"
GI: General Scenario O: "Strayer's Strays"


PLC Competition

Along with the flexibility of choosing various levels of play for each game, the competition included a Personal Leader Counter (PLC) competition. Each participant was provided a leader that continued his progression of advancement, or demotion, throughout the tournament. This PLC usually was substituted for an 8-1 leader in the scenario force, so that the overall force strength was minimally changed. Many of the PLC's were given a 21-gun salute as they joined their fallen comrades in the storage box. However, a few shining stars were recognized for their bravery as they attacked the enemy with ferocity. A special plaque was developed by the Wargame Academy for the PLC competition.

Winning this year's competition was Mike Hennessey, whose leader rallied his troops and directed their fire better than his opposition. Mike's PLC was more like 'Sgt. Rock' during the first round. His leader was instrumental in repelling the German assault on Pavlov's House. After the smoke cleared, Mike's PLC was left standing in an otherwise vacant building. His heroism in the first round carried the lead throughout the tournament, at least, until the last game. There. he took the better part of valor and congratulated his opponent on a game well played. Though he lost the last game, his leader took the plaque for the PLC competition.

Also in this PLC competition, Bill Thomson, of the Wargame Academy, included a plaque for anyone who killed the reigning PLC from the previous year. This award is named "The Pollard Memorial" plaque and the artwork depicts a squad leader centered in a sniper scope. This was named after Pete Pollard, whose PLC had dominated the PLC competitions in previous years. Unfortunately for this year's competition, Paul Risner, who won the PLC competition last year, dropped out of the event early in order to play another event. Therefore, no one had 'removed' Paul's PLC from the competition, so the plaque will return next year, challenging a future marksman to the task. Next year's sniper challenge will be to knock off Mike Hennessey's PLC. As a side note, Pete Pollard's PLC was held to second place for the PLC competition so perhaps the "bounty" achieved its purpose after all.

Round 1 "The Banks"

The first round scenario selection was chosen to depict street fighting. As it was, three of the scenarios dealt with fighting on the banks of the Volga and the fourth on the Normandy coastline in "Han-Sur-Neid". The fighting remained in Stalingrad. Combining the results from Squad Leader and Cross of Iron play, the day brought a stalemate since neither force could claim victory. The fighting was quite bloody, in two games only a handful of men were left standing and one game was concluded with a mutually destructive close combat.

In one game, Bruce Young's Germans stormed the Russian defenses led by Chuck Morford. Bruce's armor support malfunctioned its machineguns from the start and never recovered them. However, it didn't seem like he needed them. After the Russians showed that they had some bite to that bark, the Germans returned the favor. First, the Germans lost a stack of squads due to a leader breaking. Then in successive fire two well-placed shots eliminated two stacks of Russian defenders (something they could not afford in a small scenario like this). Chuck also lost his PLC in the second KIA result. I guess Bruce was enjoying the power and accuracy of his 9-2 leader stack!

The PLC competition had an auspicious start with four PLC's dead and one leader on the road toward demotion for cowardice. Michael Day's PLC joined the ranks of the fallen while in close combat, however, he did take out a Russian squad in the process! Larry Felton's Russian leader went berserk and was finally eliminated in close combat. Mike Hennessey's PLC smoked his opponent and received a promotion before the second round.

Round 2 "The Ranks"

Round 2 saw primarily Squad Leader level games played except for one Cross of Iron game. This round saw the Russians on the defensive. In the "Russia 1941", the Russians were defending the village on board 3. The German attack group was supported by a few half tracks and must take control of the majority of the stone buildings in the village. This round's fighting was again a split decision with the Russians winning four of seven games. On the winning side for the Russians, Eric Filipkowski kept Eric Stranger's Germans from victory, just as David Van Bronkhorst prevented Allen Kaplan from taking the day.

Francis Spencer's Russians were pushed out of the village by Michael Day's Germans. Francis' PLC also joined the dead pile when the Germans overran his position. Chuck Morford's Russians saw a similar fate as Warren Day's (yes, Michael's brother - a tag team of Squad Leader players!) Germans removed the Russians from the field of battle. Chuck's PLC lived, but his highlights were not to be recorded into the annuls of heroism, his leader broke causing his squads to rout from the fight.
Included in Chuck's PLC action was that he broke while two of his squads went berserk. Needless to say, the PLC was happy to be cowering in the house while the two squads ran out in the streets to get mauled by German fire.

In the only Cross of Iron game, Bruce Young's Germans were repulsed from the hill on board 2 in On All Fronts "Mogilev". Bruce never expected such a stalwart defense from Russian conscripts (nor did Pete Pollard, the Russian player!). The conscripts held up the mobile German force from breaking through and taking the hill before reinforcements could arrive. The dice were certainly on Pete's side for the game. One example was when Bruce was trying to destroy the center of the conscripts' thin line; the Russians stunned both an armed half track and forced Bruce's only self-propelled gun to button up. This effectively removed Bruce's firepower from the start of the game.

Round 3 "The Tanks"

Only five games were played, since some of the participants left for other events or simply only hung around to watch the rest of the action. All of the fighting for round 3 was found on the steppes of Russia as the Russians tried to break through the thin German defensive line in On All Fronts "Winter War". Snow had covered the battlefield, slowing the Russian infantry advance, but the T-34's plowed through to quickly overwhelm some of the defenses.

David Van Bronkhorst's Russian tanks and squads moved quickly up the road to take a central and dominating position. Bryan Van Nortwick's squads in their entrenchments took a beating, but left one Russian tank in flames after an immobilization. This first victory wasn't enough to keep the Russians at bay. Bryan's PLC (using a SS counter from the Cross of Iron tray - which had "Van Nortwick" on it! Bryan was one of the original playtesters for Cross of Iron, so his name will always be in the game.) toting a light machinegun was the last German defender on the board. His PLC passed countless morale checks, but this lone defender could not keep the Russians from their victory conditions and David took the victory.

Michael Day's Russians saw a similar fate, but his forces were stopped by a lone German squad entrenched in the road to his exit area. The one squad immobilized a T-34 and removed three Russian assault squads from the fight before Michael's concentrated attack removed them from play. The Cross of Iron was awarded to everyone in the squad for that valiant defense.

It had become quickly obvious that this round would find the last two undefeated players for the tournament. There were still many who were in the running for the plaque, but at the end of the round only Pete Pollard and Mike Hennessey remained undefeated. However, many games were played in round 4 in order to help determine the remaining contestants standing for the tourney.

Round 4 "The Yanks"

All of the games in this round were played in Alan Yngve's "Delta Zero - Back to the Sea" scenario. Here, the Germans had to infiltrate the American lines on board 2, but must cross board 4 to get there. The results of these games were similar to the scenario's record, a 50 -50 split in victories for both sides.

Chuck Morford, whose record will remain a secret, takes away the "Most Diligent" award from the Game Master. Chuck's forces didn't fair too well for the day, but he kept up a good demeanor throughout the event. Good luck next year Chuck,, it can only get better. Chuck met Michael Day in the fourth round. His Americans were going toe-to-toe with the Germans, keeping them from their victory until turn 4. Mustering up his courage, Michael's 10-2 leader grabbed a light machinegun and sprayed fire into the American heavy machinegun nest. Rolling snake eyes, Michael decimated the core of the U.S. lines and opened the way to victory.

The deciding game of the tournament was between Pete Pollard (as the Germans) against Mike Hennessey (as the Americans). Mike's forces were spread across the possible lines of advance, covering the broad front. Pete decided to use a 'schwerpunkt' style of attack and hit up the middle, using the large wheatfield in the middle of board 4 for cover. With a little luck, the artillery dropped exactly where Pete needed it and before Mike knew what hit him, his troops were in the middle of a smoke barrage.

Using the smoke for cover, Pete raced his troops around Mike's left flank and onto board 2. Then, when the smoke cleared, Mike's troops were hit hard with heavy crossfire. The remaining German force advanced to complete the encirclement. Mike saw that the end was near and called it a game.

 GM      Peter Pollard  [3rd Year]   7855 Autumn Hollow Dr. #5, Cordova, TN 38018
    Pete4258@aol.com    (901) 753-4382

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