afrika korps 

Updated 11/14/2009

Grognards Pre-Con
 2009 WBC Report  

 2010 Status: pending 2010 GM commitment

Vince Meconi. DE

2009 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
2009       Vince Meconi      20

PBeM Event History
2003      Ed Menzel     26
2008       Bruno Sinigaglio      26

 Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
   1.  Vince Meconi       DE    09    161
   2.  Bruno Sinigaglio   AK    09    141
   3.  Jonathan Lockwood  VA    09    140
   4.  John Popiden       CA    09    105
   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.  James Tracy II     OH    09     25
  12.  Doug Burke         MD    03     24
  13.  Mark Gutfreund     KY    08     21
  14.  Phil Evans         fr    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.  Pat Mirk           FL    09      6
  22.  Ted Drozd          IL    08      6
  23.  Steve Likevich     OH    01      6
  24.  Chris Godfrey      MA    06      3

2009 Laurelists                                          Repeating Laurelists

John Popiden, CA

Jonathan Lockwood, VA

Jim Tracy, OH

Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

Pat Mirk, FL

Past Winners

John Poniske, PA

Mike Crowe, VA

Joe Beard, AZ

Phil Evans, fr

Bruno Sinigaglio, AK

Greg Smith, PA

Randy Heller, MD
2000, 2004

Lane Newbury, TX

Vince Meconi, DE
2002, 2006, 2009

Jonathan Lockwood, VA

John Popiden, CA
2005, 2008

Bert Schoose, IL

 2007 champ Bert Schoose (right) tangles
with Mark Gutfreund in the Preliminaries.

A pair of former champs met in the semi-final,
with Vince Meconi (left) besting Jon Lockwood.

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

This year's tournament produced a different mix of semi-finalists from last year's "Tournament of Champions."  This year was the debut of versatile journeyman wargamer James Tracy, who had always been competitive in years past, but always just missed the cut for the semi-finals.  That changed this year, as he joined a trio of former champions in the advanced rounds.

The first semi-final matched Tracy as the Germans (with a one-sunk supply bid) against defending champion Popiden's British.  Tracy's supplies were below average, made even worse by his bid for the privilege of playing the German side.  Undaunted, he resorted to a well executed maneuver strategy from April through the end of June, corralling the British inside the Tobruch perimeter and driving towards Alexandria, using the threat of outflanking the British to compensate for his lack of supplies.  Indeed, Popiden nearly overlooked the deadly surprise that Tracy was preparing to unleash, namely a series of automatic victory overrun attacks that would have enabled the Germans to take Alexandria early and convert the game into a siege of Tobruch (and probable German win).  Fortunately for Popiden, he spotted the threat and was able to counter it.  Realizing that his chances of taking Alexandria prior to the arrival of the British November reinforcements were now slim, Tracy massed his forces against Tobruch for the last resort "Holy Hand Grenade" (1-1 all-out attack on Tobruch) in August 1941. Unfortunately for Tracy, fate handed him an "A Elim", sending Popiden to the championship match and Tracy to an eventual fourth place finish, his personal highwater mark in this event.

The other semi-final match pitted GM Lockwood's British against Vince Meconi who was looking to become the first three-time AFK champ.  Vince opened by sending the 21/3 Recce unit racing along the coast road in order to prevent Lockwood from using his infamous Paleveda Gambit defense (which sends two 2-2-6's and a supply into Cyrenaica to set up a supplied blocking force and hamper Axis maneuver).  Lockwood responded by converting to a Modified Standard British defense, which features 7/3I/Mtr occupying N-19, thus delaying the German ability to outflank the British positions in the western passes.  To make the situation more complicated for the Germans, they had three of their first five supplies sunk (they would eventually eight convoys).  Lockwood made the situation worse for Meconi by setting up a series of three defensive positions outside of Tobruch, forcing the Germans to expend a supply unit for each one.  He then strung out delaying units on the road to Alexandria to either force additional expenditure of German supplies or compel the Germans to take the time to eliminate them through isolation.  He set up his El Alamein line with his remaining forces and awaited the German advance.  Meconi, like Tracy, realized that he could not take Alexandria by November, and also massed his forces for the inevitable 1-1 assault on Tobruch.  The first attempt on August II was an "A back 2", nearly exhausting German supplies.  A convoy arrived on September I, however, and Meconi's second 1-1 assault was rewarded with a "D Elim", drawing a concession and sending Vince to the Final.

The Final was a rematch of a previously played 34-turn marathon game several years before (the maximum game length is 38 turns).   Popiden's Germans had average supply results from April through June (two sunk), and engage din an initial siege of Tobruch rather than an all out assault.  His first attack of 6-1 surrounded on May I eliminated a 2-2-6 at no cost to the Germans.  His next attacks on May II eliminated another 2-2-6 with a 5-1, and one of two 1-1-6 infantry with an exchange on a 1-2 attack.  After a brief pause on June I, Popiden resumed the attack on June II, but sustained heavy casualties in the process, getting an exchange on a 3-1 surrounded against 2/3 Armored (4-4-7), another exchange on a 3-1 surrounded against a 1-1-6, and a "D Elim" on a 1-1 surrounded versus the remaining 1-1-6.  The Germans were now down to 24 factors and seven units (including one still at their home base in Tripoli).  Popiden then resorted to his own version of the Holy Hand Grenade in July I, launching a 1-1 attack against a 4-4-7 and 3-3-7 in Tobruch that resulted in an exchange, with devastating casualties.  Even though Ariete was able to advance into Tobruch following the subsequent 3-1 attack on the remaining 1-1-6 (which also resulted in an exchange), this left the Afrika Korps with only four units totaling 10 factors remaining on board.  Even worse, the British were now in position to seal up Ariete inside Tobruch and produce a siege of their own until the November reinforcements could arrive.  Popiden conceded the match at this point, making Vince Meconi Afrika Korps' first three-time champion.   

The Final matched a pair of two-time champions with Vince Meconi (right) topping John Popiden for his third title.

After 30 qualifying games, it all comes down to this. Vince Meconi became the first to reach three titles after only 19 years.
 GM      Jonathan Lockwood  [10th Year]   P.O. Box 3436, Reston, VA 20195-1436   703-476-5237

2009 Preview Page | View the Icon Key | Return to main BPA page