Updated 11/23/2010

Grognards Pre-Con
2010 WBC Report

  2011 Status: pending December Membership Trial Vote

Rich Northey, MA

2009-10 Champion

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Event History
1991    Bart Rigg      12
1992    Johnny Hasay      10
1993    Tom Kearney      12
1994    Johnny Hasay      12
1995    Dave Giordano      10
1996    Eduardo De Nuccia      14
1997    Dave Giordano      20
1998    Chuck Leonard      16
1999    Dave Giordano     16
2000    Bill Scott     20
2001    Bill Scott     12
2002    Marty Musella     18
2003    Bill Scott     16
2004    Chuck Leonard     34
2005    Marty Musella     21
2006    Greg Tanner     19
2007    Bert Schoose     22
2008    Bert Schoose     23
2009    Rich Northey     23
2010    Rich Northey     25
PBeM Event History
2005    Eduardo DeNucci     19

Rank  Name              From  Last  Total
  1.  Marty Musella      VA    10    134
  2.  Bill Scott         VA    10    133
  3.  Chuck Leonard      PA    10    108
  4.  Bert Schoose       IL    10     85
  5.  Rich Northey       MA    10     74
  6.  Greg Tanner        AZ    09     50
  7.  Dave Giordano      NJ    01     47
  8.  Alan Arvold        IL    09     36
  9.  Eduardo DeNucci    ag    05     26
 10.  Johnny Hasay       PA    05     21
 11.  Donald Webster     MD    05     21
 12.  Tom Cooper         OH    05     15
 13.  Bill Thomson       TX    10     12
 14.  Peter Bertram      GA    05     12
 15.  Dave Talmage       VA    01     12
 16.  Jay Zollitsch      WI    00     12
 17.  Steve Andriakos    TX    07      9
 18.  Joe Avinger        GA    05      8
 19.  Matt Spitznagel    MD    03      8
 20.  Tim Greene         TN    00      8
 21.  Randy MacInnis     NJ    05      6
 22.  Kurt Kurtz         OH    03      6
 23.  John Sharp         FL    05      5
 24.  Fred Schwarz       MI    05      4
 25.  Mark McBride       OH    02      3
 26.  Bill Riggs         VA    03      2
 27.  Tom Shaw           MD    02      1

2010 Laurelists                                       Repeating Laurelists:

Chuck Leonard, PA

Bert Schoose, IL

Marty Musella, VA

Bill Scott, VA

Bill Thomson, TX

Past Winners

91: Bart Rigg, KY
Tom Kearney, NC

Johnny Hasay, PA
1992, 1994

Dave Giordano, NJ
1995, 1997, 1999

Eduardo DeNucci, ARG

Chuck Leonard, PA
1998, 2004

Bill Scott, VA
2000-2001, 2003

Marty Musella, VA
2002, 2005

Greg Tanner, AZ

Bert Schoose, IL

Rich Northey, MA
2009, 2010


Steve Andriakos and John Sharp push tanks.

Now he's a first-time successful defending champ.

The first "hit" wargame

The sun came peaking over the mountainside, the air was calm and there was a slight mist in the air as the day broke. It was Saturday morning and folks from all over the countryside were beginning or in some cases concluding their trek towards the Lancaster Host where cordial hostilities were expected to commence in just a couple of hours and then rage for much of the next week. The battles would be intense but fair as the combatants wanted to add to their spoils but only if they could do so through honorable competition.

As they gathered into the initial battle location, the PanzerBlitz players began to unfurl the map boards that in many cases had not seen daylight for the past twelve months. Next, those sleek silhouetted clipped counters were released from their garage trays or baggies. The other playing aids soon followed and the initial combatants selected a scenario and shortly thereafter the first game was commenced. It did not take long before there was first blood as the die tumbled around and produced a 'X' result. The time had come to remove an armored unit from the board and replace it with one of those flaming wreck counters! Despite its age, there are few components in our hobby more exciting to see taking its place on a board than one of your opponents wreck counters in PanzerBlitz. They remind both players and all the passerby's of the coup that has recently been counted.

Such was the beginning of the Grognard Precon event that is so popular with the two player games due to the schedule flexibility that its free form format offers. As the WBC week rolled onward, the scene was often repeated as 25 players completed in 29 preliminary matches of this favorite from yesteryear. The highlights of the early action included two matches so closely contested that they ended up in a draw, including one between eventual finalists, Rick Northey and Chuck Leonard. Alan Arvold, the PanzerBlitz guru that has contributed the most published information about the game was in the field once again. After an opening victory, he ran into a rough stretch of four consecutive defeats.

This year, in addition to the well balanced tournament scenarios that have been used for the past few years, a couple of scenarios that had been contested back at Gen Con #4 and were published in The General (issue 8-4) were reintroduced. These scenarios had mostly positive reviews as many players were happy to have new (to them) battles to reinact.

13 players logged just a single match but many spoke of the desire for more time so they could have gotten additional matches completed. Such is the ongoing dilemma of this week of gaming nirvana that is the WBC each and every year, "which game do I play...?" One of the matches featured two younger players new to PanzerBlitz, Alex Gregorio and Vinny Sinigaglio who were introduced to the game mechanics by the GM. Their match, which was closely contested, had both players intrigued enough by the action that they commented that they might want to get a copy of the game. Not bad for a 40+ year old classic game that has aged quite nicely.

After all of the preliminary fun was concluded by Thursday evening, the final four was set for a Friday kick-off of the semi-final action. In the first match, # 2 seed and defending champion Rick Northey took on two-time champion Bert Schoose. They decided to play scenario 51R2 with Rick as the Germans against Bert's Russians. In this scenario, the fast mobile German needs to menace and then hold off the superior Russian numbers. This match was decided early as Bert sent two of his cavalry to the board edge in order to get them marching towards the German city through the available cover. On Turn 4, Rick dispersed one of the cavalry units exposed on a slope with direct fire and killed it with a follow-up CAT attack. This kneecapped the Russian player, who compounded his initial error of leaving the two units unstacked (thus making the CAT attack a viable option) by sending more units to extract the other cavalry unit. While this action ended up being successful as the second cav unit was salvaged, the turns were quickly marked off as Bert never mounted another serious threat against Rick's forces.

The other semi-final match pitted a pair of two-time champs, the #1 seed from the Preliminaries, Marty Musella against the #4 seed, Chuck Leonard. Their match used scenario 1A and was a much tighter contest befitting the elimination rounds. Marty's Germans had to receive the attack of Chuck's Russians. The Russian opened as tanks loaded with infantry quickly spread to threaten all four channels of advance into the initial German positions. The Cavalry entered on the West edge to threaten the lone CP in the woods in the northwest corner of the board but lots of blocking terrain intervened. Partisans were deployed in the center and west to assist in the Russian advance. Marty's Germans responded by blocking all the channels of advance so that they could see where Chuck would have to commit his mobile forces. Turn 2 saw the Russians mass three tank companies to the east while sending the other tank company to support the cavalry on the west flank. The wagons and mortars were left in a gathering area waiting to move to their firing positions on the flank to support the cavalry. The Germans responded with a continued block of the Russian's ability to advance.

On Turn 3, the Russian attack commenced with two companies off loading on the south slope of hill 129 preparing for close combat on Turn 4. The other company below hill 129 and the single company on the west flank close assaulted separate German platoon targets, dispersing both of them. The German responded with artillery fire from hill 132 that dispersed two Russian cavalry companies but the important 2-1 attack against the Russian infantry companies on the 129 slope completely missed.

In addition, the German's launched a counteroffensive sending two half track platoons in search of the Russian mortars in the rear and they sent a force to try and pin three of four Russian tank companies in the woods south of hill 129. The objective of this pinning action was to try and force a trade of a truck platoon for a Russian tank company. Shots had been fired but neither side lost anything yet.

Turn 4 saw the Russians successfully eliminate the German 120mm heavy mortar unit that anchored the German defense of hill 129. The pinning attempt had failed as all three Russian tank companies evacuated their positions to head to the western front of the battlefield. This left the three large infantry companies on foot, far from the victory point road without combined arms to support their advance. On his turn, the German responded with a shift of their armor to the west to reinforce their right flank. Meanwhile, Chuck's cavalry brushed off the German attacks with no effect.

On Turn 5, the Russians killed an infantry platoon and dispersed another as he concentrated his tanks on the west side of the terrain. The Germans dispersed two Russian cavalry units and the rest of their forces closed in to reinforce the defensive line. This turn concluded with Marty in the lead with nine points to Chuck's five.

The momentum shifted on the sixth turn as Chuck exploited a mistake by Marty that left a hole in his line and allowed a Russian tank company to move through the line and end up adjacent to the CP in the woods on the West side of the board. The Germans responded with their first kill of a Russian cavalry unit and they plugged the damaging hole in their line while also trapping the suicidal tank unit that had advanced next to the CP.

On subsequent turns, the CP was killed and so was the tank unit but the German advantage had slipped away. The two sides traded kills over the remaining turns but the hole in the German line resulted in the Russian victory.

The Final was now set with Chuck Leonard advancing to take on Rick Northey, again using scenario 1A, which is what the players agreed upon. This was a rematch of their 2009 semi-final match, which used that same scenario and had ended in a 13-13 tie (a win for the Russians). Unlike that previous match, this time Rick took the Germans and Chuck the Russian side.

Rick began the game with the 120 German mortar on hill 129 supported by several units with decent firepower creating a formidable position. A smaller force protected the swamp approach on Board 1 as well as the valley on Board 2 at the swamp's exit. During his opening, Chuck deployed two of the Russian Recon units in the swamp and three in the center woods on Board 1.

In Russian Turn 1 Chuck sent two loaded tank companies to the east to threaten the Hill 129 position, one up the middle to reinforce the three recon units and one to the west behind the western-most slope on Board 1 in an effort to dominate that position early on. The Russian cavalry entered on the western edge. After seeing the Russian opening, the Germans consolidated their scattered forces.

The second Russian turn began as the eastern T-34s opened fire on a mortar located on the slope of hill 129 without effect. Because they fired, the T-34s lost a turn of mobility. The Russian Cavalry committed to the swamp and began their long slog through the most difficult terrain on Board 1. In the middle, the Recons advanced and were joined by a Rifle unit as the Russian attempted to clear a path to permit better access to hill 132.

The German's used Turn 2 to tighten up their swamp defenses on Board 2 as they moved halftracks and infantry into key blocking positions. These maneuvers were bolstered by the JagdPanther IV moving onto the southern slope of hill 132, while one Whirblewind was positioned to cover the western approach to the swamp.

Turn 3 saw Chuck's Russians swing a T-34 back to the center of the board while mostly pulling back from the eastern flank. One T-34, with a loaded Rifle company remained deployed close enough to hill 129 to continue to threaten that position and prevent its evacuation.

Meanwhile, Rick continued to adjust the defense facing the Russian attack through the swamp as some of the Russian infantry and tanks begin to close with the first line of German defenders. In the center, a Russian mistake had exposed a loaded T-34 to a 1-3 close assault. The attack, that offered a 50% chance of dispersal, was successful as a collective moan was heard throughout Mother Russia. The Russians were just too spread out to react in force to retaliate to this blow.

On the fourth turn, the Russians focused on the Western part of the battlefield. With two of his strongest units dispersed, Chuck began to retract from the center and the east to reinforce the swamp attack. On their half of the turn, the Germans combined the firepower of numerous armored units to bear on that trapped T-34 and they successfully eliminated the first major unit of the battle. The unloaded Rifle unit was flipped back to good order status but it was now left without the sorely needed transport to get back into the fight.

The next two turns saw the Russians make progress through the swamp area on board 2. The Germans continued to adjust their defense as he continued to adjust his units to meet all of the contingencies that might arise. The two sides exchanged direct fire and CAT attacks but neither side drew any more blood as only dispersals resulted for both players. The net effect of this created a significant delay for the Russian forces which was the intention of the defenders.

On the next turn, the Germans failed on a CAT attack and this left an infantry company exposed in the open. The Russian counterattack killed the exposed infantry which tied the score in units killed, but time was quickly running out for the Russian.

On Turn 7, the Germans executed a significant withdrawal action that contracted his lines into the valley, the seven- hex slope and woods area. The Russian's attempt to force an engagement at this stage fell short and was ineffective mainly due to a lack of loaded rifle units. The score is now Germans 10 (three CPs still alive are worth three pts each and one dead T-34) and Russians 4 (each mortar can see the road = 3 pts plus the one dead infantry).

Desperate tactics are required at this point if the Russian is to have any chance. Two of the CPs were situated in the town on hill 132 so Chuck ordered all of his armored units and infantry support that can make it onto the hill to charge those CPs looking for the most favorable combat results to give him a chance of making it close. Rick's Germans responded deftly to the attack and systematically decimated the attackers via direct fire and then follow-up overrun attacks. A number of the Russian units survived the onslaught and left them with a chance to kill one CP and its stacked companion units with a direct fire attack and a subsequent CAT attack.

Unfortunately for the Russian's, Turn 9 began with a direct fire miss on the low odds attack that was critical to allow any chance of the suicide assault being successful. This ended the game with a decisive win for the Germans at a final score of 13-4. Rick Northey had successfully defended his title.

As the echoes of battle faded, the maps were folded and pieces were once again carefully stored away for another year. Don't worry, the friendly combatants will return to the scene as they do every year looking to extract revenge for past memories and more importantly to create new ones. Don't you want to join them?

 GM      Bert Schoose [3rd Year]  NA   NA

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