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Squad Leader (SQL) WBC 2017 Report
Updated March 20, 2018 Icon Key
20 Players Pete Pollard 2017 Status 2018 Status History/Laurels
2015-2017 Champion Click box for details. Click box for details.

Threepeat For the Master Squad Leader

The Squad Leader event for 2017 drew twenty players who completed forty-one games. Over a third of the games played were of the Cross of Iron level, two games of Crescendo of Doom, one GI: Anvil of Victory game, and the remaining games played were the original Squad Leader level. Many of the Squad Leader level scenarios played were developed Alan Yngve as a series of training scenarios including Forced March and Hasty Assault.

Since the Squad Leader event moved to the Grognard format, the number of games played have increased dramatically and it would not be a success without the support of Bruno Sinigaglio and Bill Morse. Bruno takes the Squad Leader event under his wings for the Pre-Con portion while Bill manages all of the score keeping and player rankings. These two gentlemen have helped the Squad Leader event become a more enjoyable tourney, allowing more games played throughout the WBC timeframe.

This year, as in many of the previous years, saw many new players join the ranks of Squad Leader players. However, we have seen old players return to the game, including Eric Stranger, Michael Day and Chuck Leonard. After the demonstration on Monday evening, one of the attendees did play a couple of games in the tourney. It is good to see both groups since it shows that this game has an appeal for return play while still providing an opportunity for new players.

Many of the games throughout the week were hard-fought battles which ended on the last dice roll. However, when Scott Bramley played George Bott in the Avalon Hill scenario, Cannes Strongpoint, it ended on the first turn! George’s Americans took the risk of moving into adjacent positions of the Germans at the start. His main assault group then survived a 2MC and advanced into close combat. After losing the close combat, Scott then had to pass a NMC with his senior leader, and 10-3. All he had to do to keep the game progressing was roll a 10 or less, Scott rolled boxcars and lost.

On Saturday, the two semifinal matches saw the two veterans of the tournament pitted against each other, Pete Pollard and Eric Stranger and two new players to the semifinals also matched up, Michael Day and David Sherwood. Michael and David played Faugh A’ Ballagh, a GI: Anvil of Victory scenario where Michael’s Irish had to remove David’s German force from the shattered village. David had an upfront defense with his sole tank holding the key space in between the main buildings.

Michael advanced his infantry and three tanks forward under cover on turn one, then advanced into position for the assault. On turn two, the real fighting broke out as David chose to stand and fight. Heavy infantry fire was exchanged and Michael brought his three lesser tanks simultaneously out to engage the superior German assault gun. The German tank destroyed one of the Irish tanks, but, with luck on Michael’s side, the other rolled a critical hit and destroyed the assault gun. Undeterred, David tried to hold his line, and did so for the next few turns. He refused to fall back. By turn five Michael's superior numbers and two tanks broke the German line. Michael was then able to secure the victory buildings by turn seven and advance to the final match.

Pete and Eric played a scenario designed by Bill Thomson, Tooth and Nail. Eric’s Germans set up a defense in depth again Pete’s Russian army. The Russians swarmed across the narrow front in an attempt to wrest the Germans from multiple victory locations on board 11. Pete maneuvered his T34 tanks out of reach of Eric’s anti-tank guns and limited Eric’s response to the Russian advance. The Russians were able to advance across the valley separating the two major hills and gain key territory.

The main fight was on the south where Eric had set up a hedgehog defensive position around a few victory locations. The Germans main defense held for many shots, but were eventually pushed back by the sheer numbers of Russians assaulting the positions. Eric’s reinforcements arrived against a forward Russian screening force and this limited his advance to the southwest corner of the board. Though outmaneuvered, Eric fought his way back into good position and forced the game down to the last turn and the Russians had to make some desperate moves. With luck on his side, Pete was able to remove the Germans from the last two victory locations and secure a win for an opportunity to play in the final match.

In the final match, Michael Day selected the Avalon Hill scenario from the Cross of Iron module, The Capture of Balta, to play. Pete deferred the side selection and Michael choose the Russians to play. This scenario pits a strong German assault group, with plenty of toys, various support weapons, and supported by a lone StuG IIIB assault gun and a few Rumanians. The Russians start off with a fairly large infantry force, but it is scattered throughout the village of board 3 and in entrenchments on board 4.

The attack started well for the Germans as they gained a foothold in the village and knocked out the only anti-tank gun the Russians had. By turn 3, the Russians had lost one of their T-26 tanks and a few infantry squads. When Pete’s reinforcements were able to apply pressure on the village from another side, the Russian defense began to break.

With two turns left, it looked like Michael’s Russians would hold, but the breaking wave crashed into the brittle defense. With many of the Russian squads broken, the village center quickly crumbled and Michael’s Russians had one last holdout. Now, all of the Germans were racing the clock and moving as quickly as possible to eliminate the last position.

The last turn of the game and the few Russians left to fight were prepared for the attack. The Germans had to throw everything at them, even the StuG IIIB made an overrun attack into the Russian building to break one of the defenders. The remaining Russian troops were eliminated in close combat, taking this game to the wire.

And so the final game ended. Through maneuver and firepower, Pete’s Germans pushed through the Russian defense of Balta to victory. Pete Pollard wins another Squad Leader tournament.

2017 Laurelists Repeating Laurelists: 3
Michael Day Eric Stranger David Sherwood Scott Bramley Greg Tanner
2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th
All smiles as veteran grognards get a chance
to play a classic
Bob Jamelli takes on a young foe
GM Perry Cocke watches over
the moves of Andy Maly
Squad Leader in the Ski Lodge, a good afternoon
GM  Pete Pollard [12th Year]  NA
 Pete4258@aol.com  NA