38 players manned battle stations for the 29th War at Sea tournament. There were 67 games played during the five rounds of open Swiss competition, followed by the four quarterfinal matches, two semifinal matches and the final match for a total of 74 games played in the tournament.
The top eight advanced to the single elimination after the five Swiss rounds and tie-breakers. Top seed 1) Bruce Monnin was followed by (in order of seed) 2) Alan Applebaum, 3) Ben Gardner, 4) Andy Gardner, 5) Jim Eliason, 6) Don Greenwood, 7) Robert Frisby (last year’s Rookie of the Year) and 8) Robert Hamel.
Final standings: Champion – Bruce Monnin (fifth time!); 2nd – Alan Applebaum (last year’s champion); 3rd – Ben Gardner; 4th - Jim Eliason; 5th Andy Gardner (yup, Ben’s dad); 6th – Don Greenwood; 7th – Robert Frisby; 8th – Bob Hamel.
In the quarterfinals, Bruce Monnin’s Allies quickly crushed Bob Hamel’s Kriegsmarine fleet in the Barents on turn one by sinking all seven (7) German ships. Ben Gardner bested Don Greenwood in a youthful enthusiasm vs mature experience contest. Alan Applebaum overcame Robert Frisby’s beginners luck. Jim Eliason battled Andy Gardner and finally came out on top.
Semifinals began with Jim Eliason playing the Axis against Alan Applebaum’s Allies, bid of zero (0). In a tough, hard-fought match, Alan’s Allies bested Jim’s Axis forces by a single point to advance to the final.
Bruce Monnin faced Ben Gardner in the other semi-final. Ben’s Allies, grabbed for a 2 POC bid, squared off against Bruce’s Kriegsmarine and Regia Marina. The friendly banter never stopped as Bruce’s Axis took the victory.
The final pitted Bruce Monnin as the Allies for a bid of 1.5 POC against Alan Applebaum’s Axis. Turn 1 Bruce tried his newest defense of the North Sea featuring four (4) 444s and three CVs – Glorious, Courageous and Eagle. Alan tried to force the North Sea with his entire Kriegsmarine but found the defense strong enough to inflict two sinkings of German ships and enough damage to make a withdrawal the smart move. POC at the end of turn 1: Allies +2.
Turn 2 Bruce loaded up both the Barents and North Sea to maintain the blockade of the German fleet. Sending four BBs and a CA to the South Atlantic and two CVs to the North Atlantic rounded out the Allied defense. Alan repaired a damaged 357 battlecruiser, sent the remaining Kriegsmarine to the Baltic (safe sea territory) and four U-Boats to the North Atlantic. The Regia Marina split to patrol the Mediterranean and keep the Italian ports safe. In the North Atlantic, six ASW factors sank one U-Boat. The other three whiffed on Eagle and scored one (1) damage on Glorious, killing her airstrikes but not her ASW capabilities. POC after turn 2 still was Allies +2.
Turn 3: Bruce got no Russian help from Stalin as the Russki 333s were unable to leave port. Once again, the Allies loaded the North Sea and Barents to maintain the blockade, with just four BBs to the SATL and the Convoy 1A, Glorious (for ASW only) and another CV to the NATL. Speed rolls – Bruce got all three 456s and both 336s into the Barents. Alan’s German fleet sailed to the Baltic. The Regia Marina once again split the Italian fleet to cover the Mediterranean Sea and Italian ports. Axis U-Boats head for the South Atlantic where ASW fails and the subs disable one BB and cripple another. LBA from the Axis sinks an Allied CA. Bruce’s fliers in the Med sink two Italian cruisers. Turn 3 ends with the POC still at Allies +2. The Convoy advances to the Barents.
For turn 4 Alan’s Axis have five (5) U-Boats. The Russians both roll 5 or 6 and are available to sail. Roosevelt gets stingy and no USN ships can find a six on the dice. Bruce’s patrols include Convoy 2B to the North Atlantic along with CVs for ASW protection. The blockade is strong with Russia now as a port for the Barents ships. Alan sends his U-Boats to the Baltic where four U-Boats sink both Russian 333s! The Kriegsmarine heads for the Barents. LBA causes no casualties in the Med vs the Italians. LBA and airstrikes in the Barents result in Axis losses of Gneisenau plus a 225 being disabled and one 225 being sunk. Axis strikes only inflict one (1) damage point on a 336 battlecruiser. In the surface battle in the Barents, the Allies and Axis each sink only one ship before the battle ends. The convoy lands and the Allies hold all four Atlantic and Barents sea areas with no Axis patrol in the Baltic, so the POC after turn 4 is Allies +7. Convoy 2B advances to the Barents.
In Turn 5, Roosevelt releases one (1) cruiser only on the required 5 or 6. The Axis have seven (7) U-Boats. The U-Boats try to break the blockade, and the Luftwaffe Condors search the Barents. The weakened Kriegsmarine heads for the Baltic again, waiting for the North Sea to open. In the Barents, the LBA makes a vain attempt to sink or disable Convoy 2B, but fails. With the score about to max for the Allies, Alan resigns, giving the win to Bruce’s Allies.
My thanks to all of the Assistant GMs who helped me fill in for Vince Meconi this year: Bob Hamel, Rob Drozd, John Pack and Charlie Drozd. Without their help throughout I would not have been able to get it all done. Special thanks to Bruno Passacantando for his uncanny ability to calculate strength of schedule for players all in his head faster than two assistants with calculators. Impressive!
| John Sharp [1st Year]