afrika korps [Updated October 2005]   

 2005 WBC Report  

 2006 Status: pending 2006 GM commitment

John Popiden, CA

2005 Champion

Offsite links:

AREA Ratings


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
2005      John Popiden      20

PBeM Event History
2003      Ed Menzel     26


Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Bruno Sinigaglio   AK    05     93
  2.  Jonathan Lockwood  VA    03     89
  3.  Vince Meconi       DE    05     88
  4.  Randy Heller       MD    05     78
  5.  Ed Menzel          CA    04     58
  6.  Lane Newbury       TX    03     48
  7.  Greg Smith         PA    99     38
  8.  John Popiden       CA    05     30
  9.  Doug Burke         MD    03     24
 10.  Bert Schoose       IL    05     18
 11.  Barry Smith        NY    00     18
 12.  James Tracy II     OH    04     16
 13.  Phil Evans         VA    01     15
 14.  Gary Dickson       CA    05     12
 15.  Johnny Hasay       PA    04     12
 16.  Mark Gutfreund     KY    99     12
 17.  Andrew Miller      GA    03      9
 18.  Robert Hahn        NY    02      8
 19.  Steve Likevich     OH    01      6
 20.  Pat Mirk           FL    03      3

2005 Laurelists

Bert Schoose, IL

Gary Dickson, CA

Vince Meconi, DE

Randy Heller, NH

Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

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 field of 20 players was down sharply from last year's record total, owing in part to competition with other classics that have gone to a Free Form Swiss Elim system. Next year's format will feature a change in tournament format to a similar system to increase ease of scheduling matches and opportunities for players to simply play as many games as they want, with their best three games used to qualify for the single elimination semifinals.

Even with a reduced field, however, there were plenty of surprises, with new players and returning veterans making their presence known. Play balance shifted in favor of the Germans, with 14 German wins to the British 11. The first round mulligan format would prove to be the salvation of some players, and the bane of others. The first round (mulligan matches included) featured 13 matches, with six German victories. Those surviving the gauntlet to the second round included newcomer Bert Schoose, John Popiden, prior champions Bruno Sinigaglio, Randy Heller, GM Jonathan Lockwood, Greg Smith, and Vince Meconi, Russian Campaign veteran Gary Dickson, Paul McCarthy, Victor F Hogen Jr, Joe Collinson, and PBEeM champion Ed Menzel.

The second round revealed the first of a series of shockers, as "newcomer" (actually a returning veteran) Bert Schoose dispatched GM Lockwood in three moves as the Germans, using a variation on the down and out that caught the British by surprise and took Tobruch. Gary Dickson advanced on a bye after having won his mulligan first round to advance. Other matches had John Popiden (Ge) def Joe Collinson (Br), Vince Meconi (Ge) def Victor F Hogen Jr (Br), Randy Heller (Br) def Ed Menzel (Ge), Bruno Sinigaglio (Ge) def Greg Smith (Br), and Paul McCarthy (Br) def Robert Hahn (Ge).

The third round featured Bert Schoose playing the role of "giant killer", as his Germans defeated defending champion Randy Heller's British in a match in which Randy said he "was simply outplayed" by Bert. Other matches had Gary Dickson continue his advance with a strong defense as the British to grind down and outlast McCarthy's Germans, while perennial opponents Vince Meconi and Bruno Sinigaglio met once again, with Vince's Germans getting the better of Bruno's British this time.

The semifinals had yet another Schoose shocker in store, this time for Vince Meconi, as he was defeated as the British by Schoose's Germans in three moves ONCE AGAIN, as Bert used precisely the same opening that he used to defeat Lockwood in similar fashion back in Round 2. Meanwhile, John Popiden, deciding to rely on his defensive skills in the later rounds, halted Gary Dickson's advance by defeating his Germans, leaving Gary to finish in third place, a superb showing for his first appearance in this tournament.

The championship match was indeed a classic, with Bert Schoose attempting to make a perfect run as the Germans all the way to the championship against Popiden's British. But Popiden spotted Schoose's initial "down and out" trap and refused to fall for it, instead falling back slowly towards Alexandria against Schoose's relentless assault, one that had the Germans at the gates of Alexandria on October II, 1941, but with only one supply remaining on board. Gambling that he could get one supply in the next two turns (75% chance overall) and hold off the British Crusader counteroffensive by crowding the British attack space, Schoose continued his assault. But Popiden saw what Bert did not; namely that his British could get a 3-1 on one of Bert's 7-7-10 units. On November I, Popiden unleashed his counterattack against 21/5, destroying it and effectively kneecapping the German offensive. This would be practically anticlimactic, however, as the Germans failed to get supplies on the next turn. Popiden continued his counteroffensive against Ariete, driving the Germans back once again. The Germans then failed to get supplies for a second consecutive turn, forcing a German surrender, and giving John Popiden a well earned wood against a truly formidable German opponent.

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  [6th Year]   P.O. Box 3436, Reston, VA 20195-1436   703-471-7906

2005 Preview Page | View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page