afrika korps [Updated October 2004]   

 2004 WBC Report  

 2005 Status: pending 2005 GM commitment

Randy Heller, MD

2004 Champion

2nd: Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

3rd: Johnny Hasay, PA

4th: Ed Menzel, CA

5th: James Tracy II, OH

6th: Vince Meconi, DE

Event History
1991      John Poniske      12
1992      Mike Crowe      15
1993      Joe Beard      20
1994      Joe Beard      17
1995      Phil Evans      16
1996      Bruno Sinigaglio      10
1997      Bruno Sinigaglio      25
1998      Gregory Smith      23
1999      Gregory Smith     24
2000      Randy Heller     20
2001      Lane Newbury     29
2002      Vince Meconi     29
2003      Jonathan Lockwood     22
2004      Randy Heller      30

PBeM Event History
2003      Ed Menzel     26

Offsite links:

AREA Ratings


Rank Name


 1. Bruno Sinigaglio


 2. Jonathan Lockwood


 3. Vince Meconi


 4. Randy Heller


 5. Ed Menzel


 6. Lane Newbury


 7. Greg Smith


 8. Doug Burke


 9. Barry Smith


10. James Tracy II


11. Phil Evans


12. Johnny Hasay


13. Mark Gutfreund


14. Andrew Miller


15. Robert Hahn


16. Steve Likevich


17. Pat Mirk



Past Winners

John Poniske - PA

Mike Crowe - VA

Joe Beard - AZ

Phil Evans - VA

Bruno Sinigaglio - AK

Greg Smith - PA

Randy Heller - MD
2000, 2004

Lane Newbury - TX

Vince Meconi - DE

Jonathan Lockwood - VA

once more behind the sand dunes ...

The tournament reached an all-time high of 30 players this year, thanks largely to an influx of new players to supplement the "old guard" veterans. Next year's event will feature a Mulligan first round on Tuesday evening with the regular first round start on Wednesday morning to give newer players a second chance and more playing opportunities. It also promises to increase the overall numbers of interested players for this classic wargame.

A couple past champs meet as Bruno Sinigaglio (left) and Randy Heller battle in the sand dunes.

Play balance this year swung back in favor of the Germans overall, with 16 German victories to the British 12. This was partly because of the veteran players being able to take advantage of some newer players, and also in part to some upsets by journeyman players over the favorites. But this would make little difference to the eventual champion.

The first round saw the greatest number of German wins, with nine to the British six. First round survivors included 2002 champion Vince Meconi (who defeated 1995 champ Phil Evans in a tough match), John Clarke, 2000 champ Randy Heller, two time champion Bruno Sinigaglio, GM and 2003 champion Jonathan Lockwood, Chris Godfrey, James Tracy II, Kurt Kurtz, (who defeated two-time champ Greg Smith in a stunning upset), Johnny Hasay, newcomer Bill Borys, 2003 PBeM champion Ed Menzel, newcomer Todd Bogen, 2001 champion Lane Newbury, Victor F Hogen Jr, and newcomer William Morse.

The second round showed a reversal of fortunes, with four British victories to the German two. Defending champ Lockwood advanced on a bye, while Chris Godfrey advanced via forfeit. In the feature match, past champs Newbury and Heller squared off, with Lane taking the Axis forces. Lane invested the Tobruk perimeter without having first driven all defending Allied units into the fortification. By November, Axis forces were within a hex of the Allied Home Base. At this point, Allied November reinforcements broke out of the Tobruk perimeter on a 3-1 attack, threatening to envelop the Italians in the immediate area. German forces were too far east to provide help so the Axis conceded. In other action, Sinigaglio (GE) def Hogen, Tracy (GE) def Borys, Hasay (BR) def Bogen, Meconi (BR) def Clarke, and Menzel (BR) def Kurtz (GE).

In the third round, Johnny Hasay as the Germans scored a major upset by defeating GM Lockwood in a lightning fast game which saw the British attempting to score an early knockout by attacking and destroying the last German supply on board in a risky soakoff attack. Hasay responded by counterisolating the British units, and eventually scored an automatic victory breakthrough which gave him Tobruk and an early British concession by June I. In other action, Heller (BR) def Tracy, Menzel (GE) def Godfrey, and Sinigaglio (GE) def Meconi in a classic confrontation between two who have played each other for four decades.

Ed Menzel choose to forfeit to Randy Heller so that he could continue in the VIP tournament, leaving Sinigaglio (GE) to face Hasay (BR) in the only semifinal match. Bruno won, but Hasay finished third in his best AFK finish to date.

In the final round, Bruno Sinigaglio and Randy Heller repeated their 2000 WBC experience, with Bruno taking the Axis forces. By II June, the Axis player had rolled only one sunk on the supply table. The first round of German attacks consisted of: 3-1, 4-1, and two soak-offs. All were successful, with no Axis losses. Only one hex in front of Tobruk remained in Allied hands. Randy offered up a 2-1 attack vs Tobruk, which would have captured the fortification while trapping one 4-4-7, a 3-3-7, and a 2-2-6 in front of the escarpment, effectively ending the game. Bruno accepted the gambit and rolled an A back 2 on the 2-1, with no loss on the soak-offs. The Allied player positioned the retreating units to allow the incoming June reinforcements to surround both German 7-7-10s while attacking an accompanying Italian 2-3-4 at 3-1 odds. The soak-offs survived while the 3-1 Exchanged. The resulting position forced the 7-7-10s to be lost prior to combat due to lack of supply. Bruno followed up with a 1-1 attack in front of Tobruk that may have placed the counterattacking Allied units out of supply, but the attack failed with an Attacker Elim. This abruptly ended a short but exciting game, making Randy Heller another two-time AFK champion (joining Greg Smith and Bruno Sinigaglio), and doing it all once again with defense!.

2003 PBeM Tournament

The First Afrika Korps BPA Play by email Tournament has ended. Veteran wargamer, Ed Menzel, defeated a very tough opponent, Doug Burke, for the championship. The Single Elimination Tournament started with 26 entrants and lasted 20 months. Ed finished 5-0, while Doug went 4-1. There were no easy games for either of these gentlemen. Ed defeated Richard Van Vugt, Dan Tierney, Greg Smith, Jonathan Lockwood and finally, Doug. Smith and Lockwood have a total of three WBC Afrika Korps plaques. Doug defeated Bruno Sinigaglio, Mark Gutfreund, Vince Meconi and Randy Heller - dudes who collectively own four WBC Afrika Korps plaques.

The Championship - Ed Menzel (Axis) versus Doug Burke (Allies)

The Axis made the standard opening drive toward Tobruch. The arrival of the 15th Panzer Division forced the Allies off the escarpment blocking access to the Tobruch heights. On II May 41 the Axis attacked the Tobruch perimeter driving the Allies back. The two recce units were diverted to the south to block two Allied brigades attempting to reach the Axis rear supply lines. On I June, the Axis AV'ed the brigade occupying the last hex outside Tobruch plus another blocking brigade in the pass east of Salum.

The Axis drove toward Alexandria leaving Italians to guard the Tobruch garrison. Over the next two months, several Allied brigades that were harassing the German rear areas and blocking the coast road were eliminated through isolation. A 1-1-6 astride the coast road was isolated rather than attacked, because the Axis did not want to use a Supply unit to eliminate one factor. On the other hand, the Allies didn't want the Axis nailing two units with one supply. The 1-1-6 was positioned so that, while it blocked the road, it didn't prevent units from going around it.

While the Axis were busy isolating this unit, the Allies decided to get in a first strike before the Axis could hit their main line. Thus an Axis 3-3-10 was attacked at 3-1. The result of the attack was a DB2. Though at the time, it didn't appear to be that critical, in hindsight this attack pretty much dictated the crucial events of the next couple of turns. It turned out that it was essential for the Allies that the 3-3-10 be eliminated. Had it died in the attack, even via an exchange, subsequent moves would have been altered quite a bit. Four 1-1-6's that were eliminated on the next turn, might not have been attacked and coupled with the exchange of Ariete, it would have been impossible for the Axis to get a 3-1 versus Tobruch.

On I Aug, the Axis attacked the Allied defense line around Fuka. The Allies were aggressive and counterattacked Ariete getting an exchange. But in doing so, they weakened the Tobruch garrison so that the Axis could scoot west and get a 3-1 on the fortress.

The Axis had a choice of continuing the assault toward Alexandria or taking Tobruch. It is a difficult choice, as the Allies are weak enough that there were good prospects of taking Alexandria before the horde of Nov reinforcements arrived.

Rommel finally decides to go for Tobruch. But the Allies fight hard taking out 10 Axis factors in exchange before Tobruch falls. In addition, the Allies exchange out an Italian blocking the coast road. The Axis is now down to six units. They are able to muster one more attack on II Oct and then fall back to a north-south defensive line around Matruh to await their own November reinforcements.

On I Dec, the Axis again attack the Allied defensive position around El Alamein eliminating four brigades with AVs. Because the Axis can concentrate their forces better, they have excellent prospects of being able to grind down the Allies in a war of attrition even though the two armies are essentially even in strength. Realizing this, the Allies launch a desperate counter-attack including two 1-1s on the 7-7-10s. Both result in AE, and the Allies graciously surrender their now hopeless position.

It was a tough exciting game, well played by both sides. Lady luck was fairly even-handed. Supplies were not a problem for the Axis, although they attacked sparingly and used isolation to starve out a number of Allied units. The Allies had some poor luck, as they could not get any DEs with their attacks on Ariete and a couple other units. But the Axis got hurt rolling two exchanges on two 3-1 attacks on Tobruch. All in all, an exciting game befitting the end of an enjoyable tournament.

 GM      Jonathan Lockwood  [5th Year]   P.O. Box 3436, Reston, VA 20195-1436   NA

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