afrika korps  

Updated 11/14/2008

Grognard Pre-Con
2008 WBC Report  

 2009 Status: pending 2009 GM commitment

John Popiden, CA

2008 Champion

Offsite Links


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
2006       Vince Meconi      34
2007       Bert Schoose      23
2008      John Popiden      24

PBeM Event History
2003      Ed Menzel     26
2008       Bruno Sinigaglio      26

 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Bruno Sinigaglio   AK    08    135
   2.  Vince Meconi       DE    08    130
   3.  Jonathan Lockwood  VA    08    128
   4.  John Popiden       CA    08     87
   5.  Randy Heller       MD    05     78
   6.  Ed Menzel          CA    08     76
   7.  Bert Schoose       IL    08     75
   8.  Lane Newbury       TX    03     48
   9.  Greg Smith         PA    08     44
  10.  Barry Smith        NY    08     30
  11.  Doug Burke         MD    03     24
  12.  Mark Gutfreund     KY    08     21
  13.  James Tracy II     OH    04     16
  14.  Phil Evans         VA    01     15
  15.  Bill Morse         VA    07     12
  16.  Gary Dickson       CA    05     12
  17.  Johnny Hasay       PA    04     12
  18.  Joe Beard          AZ    08      9
  19.  Andrew Miller      GA    03      9
  20.  Robert Hahn        NY    02      8
  21.  Ted Drozd          IL    08      6
  22.  Steve Likevich     OH    01      6
  23.  Chris Godfrey      MA    06      3
  24.  Pat Mirk           FL    03      3

2008 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists

Bert Schoose, IL

Vince Meconi, DE

Joe Beard, AZ

Greg Smith, FL

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
2002, 2006

Jonathan Lockwood, VA

John Popiden, CA
2005, 2008

Bert Schoose, IL

 1994 champ Joe Beard (left) returned to WBC after a 14-year absence. His game wasn't very rusty althugh he fell to Bert Schoose in the semi-finals.

 Over 40 years after its release, there are still a row of Afrika Korps games being played ... only at WBC.

once more behind the sand dunes with the grognards...

If there was a descriptive phrase to capture the semi-finals of this year's tournament, it would be "tournament of champions." Although the field for the Grognard Pre Con and free form Swiss rounds was smaller than in years past, the quality was arguably higher, as all four semi-finalists had won at least one title previously, with a couple of two-time champions gracing the field. In all, eight of the former 12 champs were present. Would this be the year for the first three-time WBC AFK champ? Surviving the cut were two-time champion (1993,1994) Joe Beard, returning to championship play after a long hiatus; two-time champion (2002,2006) Vince Meconi, 2005 champion John Popiden, and defending champion Bert Schoose.

The first semi-final pitted Joe Beard as the British against Bert Schoose. Although Joe managed to avoid early trouble by not falling for Bert's infamous "down and out" maneuver that can take Tobruch on May I 1941 against an unwary player, Bert still maintained the initiative by driving the British back into Tobruch and mounting the customary offensive towards Alexandria. As November I approached, however, Joe unleashed the strategy which has become his hallmark. He withdrew all of his heavy armor from Tobruch, leaving just 1-1-6s to hold the fort against the Italians. Although Tobruch could now be taken by a determined German assault, the Germans would have to abandon their eastward offensive to do so, giving the British time to consolidate their armor with the Crusader reinforcements in November. And although the Germans would now have Tobruch, the British would have enough concentrated power to hit a 7-7-10 in the open at 3-1 odds, given careless positioning by the Germans. Joe had also prepared a series of defensive lines in front of Alexandria, starting with the El Daba line, that he would use to maximum effect to delay the German advance. Against most German players, this strategy proved effective. Bert, however, countered with a methodical grinding advance that utilized his shortened supply lines and substantial reinforcements to push his way through Joe's defense, never giving Joe an easy shot. The result was an eventual German victory, as Bert's Germans won the battle of attrition, sending him to keep a date in defense of his championship.

The other semi-final saw Vince Meconi's Germans take on John Popiden. Vince took a leaf from Bert Schoose's book and used a 7-7-10 to overrun a 1-1-6, and the 21-3 Recce took Tobruch on May I, 1941.  Two Captured Supplies were taken, and both sent to sea.  Popiden responded in his May I turn by isolating the 7-7-10, surrounding Tobruch, and holding the G18-H17-K18 line.  They could not attack on May I because their nearest supply was at their Home Base.  On May II, the Germans continued to bring up their troops but did not launch any attacks; they had to land one supply unit in Tobruch to prevent isolation.   On the Allied May II they abandoned the G18-H17-K18 line and abandoned the isolation of the 7-7-10, but hit Tobruch at 3-1 surrounded and scored a D Elim.  Vince counterattacked on June I and eliminated a 2-2-6 but lost a 2-2-4 in a soak-off.  At this point the Germans had succeeded in re-isolating Tobruch, but were no better off than had they not taken Tobruch, and may have been worse off, having lost the 2-2-12 Recce unit.  (They did however have one remaining Captured Supply unit.)  The Germans slowly pushed the Allies toward their home base, but in September it became obvious that they could not take the Home Base before November.  The Germans raced back and hit Tobruch (garrisoned with a 4-4-7, a 2-2-6, and a 1-1-6) at 1-1 vs. the 2-2-6/1-1-6 and a 3-1 vs. the 4-4-7.  The 3-1 was an Exchange and the 1-1 was an A Back 2.  The Germans were now down 12 factors but had enough units for the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (1-1 assault against Tobruch), now occupied by a 4-4-7, a 3-3-7, and a 2-2-6.  It resulted in an indecisive A-Back 2.  The next turn's Holy Hand Grenade yielded a very decisive A Elim and the Germans surrendered in October, 1941 with just four factors on the board

The Final was a rematch of the 2005 match between Bert Schoose as the Germans and John Popiden as the British. Bert opened with his customary "down and out" opening once again. And surprisingly John, who had lost Tobruch on May I 1941 versus Vince, against this same opening, almost allowed Bert to take Tobruch on May I again!  He saw the error of his ways before finishing his turn and decided to just drop back to the outskirts of Tobruch on the April II turn. Tobruch was besieged quickly without any German losses and then the Germans headed east, having left the Italians to watch the British garrison. Unfortunately, what happened to GM Lockwood last year against Bert happened to Bert in even worse fashion this year, as the supply line dried up quickly. In total, the Germans only got four successful supplies from the start of the game through November. Taking advantage of the supply situation, Popiden counterattacked and killed a 3-3-10 on a 4-1 attack. Seeing the handwriting on the wall, the Germans headed back to try and take Tobruch near November. Trying to force the issue quickly rather than engaging in a methodical siege, the Germans tried not just one Holy Hand Grenade attack against Tobruch, but FOUR, all over the next six turns! But fate would have none of it - all four attacks resulted in an A back 2, and the game ground on.

It was now the end of January 1942. Popiden's British kept advancing westward with his Crusader reinforcements that were coming extremely close to launching an attack on the Germans that might have trapped them within a perimeter outside Tobruch. Faced with the prospect of having to drive eastward once again against a substantially strengthened British force, even if he should manage to take Tobruch on one last desperation assault, Bert conceded the match to John at that point, making John Popiden the fourth two-time champion.

2008 PBeM Tournament

The Second BPA PBeM Afrika Korps tournament drew 26 grognards some 44 years after this game was first published. After 26 games, only the GM Bruno Sinigaglio and the defending champ, Ed Menzel, remained. Bruno resorting to his old tricks, took the Allies and trusted to his navy to sink Axis supply, leaving defending champ Menzel in command of the Germans.

In April 41, Germans 21 Panzer occupied the escarpments southwest of Bir Hacheim while the Italians starved the Brits in Benghazi. The 21/3 Recce drove as far west as R31, forcing the Allies to string out from the K18 escarpment all the way to L36. The Malta force sunk the only Italian convoy attempting passage in April.

In May, Rommel landed two supply convoys and brought in the 15 Panzer. On May II the 21/3 Recce moved further west into the escarpments south of Matruh while the Afrika Korps hammered to death a 2-2-6 on G23 at 6-1 with Bologna surviving a 1-3 soak. The Recce unit near Matruh forced the Allies to send two infantry brigades east to counter the threat to the home base while a 4-4-7 demonstrated outside Tobruk.

Rommel decided that the bait was easy pickens and attacked the 4-4-7 on H25 at 3-1 surrounded and a 1-1-6 on H26 at 3-1 while Bologna soaked against the rest at 1-5. The big 3-1 went well with a D Elim, unfortunately Ed rolled an exchange vs the 1-1-6 and Bologna could not resist the offer of spaghetti and wine by the Brits and deserted. At the end of June I, the Brits were hunkered down in Tobruk and screening Halfaya Pass while all else retreated east. The Malta dudes were doing their share, as Ed landed only enough supply to replace the two used in attacks.

On Jun II, the Afrika Korps swung around Halfaya into the escarpments. Bruno countered by falling back out of attack range with most units while leaving a lone brigade at Halfaya, another as a nuisance at K49 and one that was too slow to escape and thus acting as good counterattack bait at R53.

Rommel landed supplies on Jul I and being at full strength decided to isolate the lone 1-1-6 at Halfaya while killing the blocker at K51 and the bait at R53. At the end of July, the unit at Halfaya would starve and Ed would be bearing down on El Alamein with 24 factors while Bruno would be holding with 15 factors at most plus the four scheduled for August. So on Jul I Bruno sent the Recce unit south to enable a 1-2 surround vs 21/5 Panzer on Q52. A two was rolled - it is always better to be lucky than good - the Brits lost four one factor units and the Germans lost a 7-7-10. Ed landed another supply on Jul II and then waited in good defensive positions until the Brit at Halfaya crapped out. On Jul II the Brits dropped all the way back to the El Alamein - Ruweisat line with only ten factors alive.

On August I, the Afrika Korps was at full supply, but could not garner a good attack due to the previous hold up at Halfaya and the fall back by the chicken hearted Brits. On August I four more British cannon fodder brigades strengthened the El Alemein line to 14 factors. At this point, the bad luck rolls by Ed at Tobruk and the good luck roll by Bruno vs the 7-7-10 posed a dilemma for Ed. The Afrika Korps could possibly take the home base before Nov I, but two consecutive supply convoys would need to survive on the Sep I and Sep II turns - the odds were against Ed. So on August II, the Afrika Korps dropped back to Tobruk for the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch" and rolled an exchange vs 18 factors. Thus the Afrika Korps ceased to exist and the forlorn wops hanging around at the end of turn surrendered.

Bruno finishes first. Ed finishes second to follow up his win in the previous BPA PBeM Africa Korps tournament. Another BPA Afrika Korps PBeM tournament will begin soon.

 GM      Jonathan Lockwood  [9th Year]   P.O. Box 3436, Reston, VA 20195-1436   703-476-5237

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