In what I would consider to be an off year, we had 17 players between the Mulligan and subsequent rounds.
In the first semifinal, two longtime players of the game, Henry Jones (Allies) and Mark Gutfreund (Germans), battled to be in the finals for the first time. Unfortunately for the Germans, it did not end well. On the 7th, with Sword cleared and at full force, the British naval guns flipped everyone in Caen and the Trail of Tears did the rest. Between Pz Lehr and the 12SS, only 3 units made it to Caen and the most of the rest were d1 somewhere south of that city. At the 7th’s end, the Germans had a single d2 unit and Caen and it fell on the 8th. The game ended in the GM’s surrender on the 9th.
The other semifinal was between Kevin Wojtaszczyk (Allies) and Jim Eliason (Germans). Early on the 6th, with Gold Beach cleared, Kevin landed his armor and 350th infantry and attacked into Bretteville against the usual suspects there. After only garnering 3 cp’s on his first roll, he flipped the Advantage hoping for more and he got his wish. Bretteville was cleared and his armor advanced into Villars and subsequent landings got Caumont, coming close to cutting the board in half. Despite valiant efforts by Jim to come back, he was unable, and Kevin advanced to the finals.
Kevin has already provided me with his excellent report, and I am simply copying it here with some very light editing. Thanks Kevin. Kevin is also a first time winner of the tournament and well-deserved.
BKN 2022 Final
Germans : Henry Jones
Allies : Kevin Wojtaszczyk
Henry chose to play the Germans and Kevin chose to play the Allies with no supply bidding needed.
The initial Merville result was a push, with Pegasus bridge being seized and fresh CA remaining. The Allies used the 4-bridge opening in St. Mere and began the bombardments. Utah, Gold and both Sword units flipped, while Juno remained fresh. For Omaha, the 352nd infantry was the target instead of the CA. A couple extra pips caused 6AP, so the FA and other infantry were both spent heading to Air bombardments. Air into Juno missed and a follow up to the Omaha 352nd targeting strategy had US Air target the spent 352nd. Even dice were rolled and that forced both infantry units to D1. It is a different approach and requires just an even dice roll on the naval and air bombardments to cause two d1 infantry units at Omaha (assuming the CA isn't flipped instead) before an assault is attempted and also reduces the DV at Omaha, pushing the risk to interdiction over the assault roll, so less units need to risk landing at Omaha initially which prevents a possible stack of d1 units with a failed assault roll.
On to the landings, the allies landed:
- Sword: Armor, 3x3rd, 2xRangers
- Juno: Armor, 1ca/inf
- Gold: 56th
- Omaha: 2x1st, 2xRangers
- Utah: 1x4th
German interdiction managed to find the Sword armor and a ranger and both Omaha rangers were knocked to D1. On the assaults, the 56th had it's likely failed assault to be D1 so it would not be an "Allied magic bridge" game, Juno's forces managed to land and d2 the CA, Utah was cleared, the Omaha 8:7 managed a land with units optionally retreating and the Sword weakened 9:8 assault managed squeak on to the beach, knocking that CA to d2 and infantry retreating to Caen.
June 6th: 6G0 - 8A9
The Germans covered Bretteville and found Allied pilots combing the areas around Caen which D1's both Zone A units and the 21pz/armor who attempted to get closer to Caen. The Constance units had a bit better luck avoiding interdiction as they moved closer to the center after the remaining Omaha units landed to clear the beach. Juno and Gold beaches were cleared after some tries and the day dragged onward. Both Utah follow-ups were stopped with German interdiction pushing them both to d1 and the German managed to make it a Magic Bridge game of their own, seizing the St. Mere-Montebourg "Magic Bridge". The A57 Cap de la Hague infantry and NW101 moved through Cherbourg flak cover to Valogones and then a late impulse of clouds allowed the Cherbourg units to race across the map and stuff two flak into St. Mere.
June 7th: 7A0 - 7A8
With the magic bridge taken and heavily defended the Allies shifted their focus to Caen and the middle. The US troops in Omaha managed to mop up the remaining CA's adjacent to the beach and shifted their naval and air bombardments to Isigny from St. Mere or Carentan, which allowed an early contest of Isigny, in part due to lacking fresh units from the early Omaha d1 results. Assuming a Caen game, the US Corps/FA also moved to Gold after landing. The Germans started to setup their line of defenses to prevent any early incursions into Foret or St.Lo, flowing units away from an unthreatened Carentan.
Around Caen, the Naval and Air bombardments managed to flip a few Caen defenders and allowed the 3ca and 50th divisions lead by an armor to contest and run through Douvres while the other armor assaulted Bretteville, knocking the defending flak to D2 and allowing the Germans to destroy all the bridges. Some 12SS successfully ran to support Caen and kept it from being under any immediate threat and a few were spent in interdiction. The d1 Zone A units from the 6th weakened Caen's flank which drove the focus of the British. A ranger and 3rd division cleared the beach and on the OR the 3rd division knocked out the Merville CA, however clouds returned. To cover Troarn, two Lehr units moved in while the FA moved to Caen and one moved to Foret, keeping a 3-unit divisional strength assault force fresh in Zone C. The 3rd/FA bombarded the Lehr in Troarn to D1 and changed the weather back to clear, continuing the day. The remaining Sword Armor and Ranger's 8:4 assault into Troarn initially failed but an Advantage reroll got the +1 to kill both units and capture Troarn. Due to the change back to clear weather no counterassault was attempted, and a final impulse had the last fresh British para move into Mezidon.
June 8th: 8GB - 8A9
With St. Mere bottled up, all the Allied 7th reinforcements moved to the Omaha off board to start the day. The Germans started the day with a number of issues around Caen and in the center, along with protecting against a breakout into Zone A. So a defensive line started to be formed to try and limit the US options and a number of small skirmishes occurred causing Mezidon to change hands multiple times during the turn. The Allies started with the US units and locked down the lightly defended Isigny and Bayeux, while bridges kept being blown by the Germans. Caen was hit by Naval bombardment and Bretteville was captured with overrun into Verson. Then on 8A2 Bretteville bridges were attempted to be repaired to find a target for Brit Air, but the EOD roll came up snake eyes! The rain began and clouds rolled it on impulse 2! Unfortunately, much of the German army were tied up in defensive positions and were waiting to see what Allied plans might be. The early clouds grounded the Brit Air and the focus shifted to using field artillery to try and soften up Caen. Some units were knocked to d1 and d2 in Caen, but the FA's were never effected and a few other defenders moved in. No counter-attacks were launched and after the sixth impulse of clouds the weather changed back to clear, allowing the Brit Air to finally land some supply costs to the Potigny units. By the end of the day Mezidon was still in Allied hands in hopes of stopping the Zone A flak reinforcements movement onto the map.
June 9th: 9G0 - 9A6
The Germans had a long defensive line to cover due to the early Omaha success in the middle of the map and strong British surround of Caen in progress. The 3ca/FA and Brit Corp/FA had regrouped into Troarn to threaten Potigny and Bourgebus while a US Corp/FA and other Brit FA's surrounded Caen. Two divisions of US units and the other US Corp/FA were in Bayeux putting pressure on Tilly and Foret while an off-board armor division and 29th units were ready to exploit areas past Isigny. British reinforcements also massed in the Sword offboard box, with the lone fast armor landing in Juno. Only the Utah sector and Carentan were safe from any Allied threats.
The 12ss/FA started off the day to flip a couple units in Troarn to whittle down the British attack strength. The Allies then took a shot at possibly breaking through the German defenses. The Verson Armor+50th division assaulted into Evercy and cleared the d1 defender with OR allowing the Armorto continue and assault the d2 defender protecting Aunay. The 6:5 assault successfully cleared and the Advantage reroll also knocked the unit out as the clouds of the 8th dice turned hot for the allies. The Germans raced the Zone E units to defend the open areas beyond Aunay and the Allies then raced Bayeux US units through the Brit areas into Aunay to shore up defensive positions. Some were flipped in a German bombardment from Villars but then the Troarn Brit Corp/FA bombarded Bourgebus, disabling any German attack forces. Troarn was then hit by another German bombardment to knock out their remaining attack forces, but the Brit Armor in Bretteville raced around Villars through Aunay to assault the d2 unit protecting Caumont, clearing it. More US units raced through the British held areas to bolster defenses and a final British infantry unit to liberate the vacant Torigini.
With the Allies at 8.5 VPs and not much to stop another 1.1 VP from falling over the course of the remaining games, the Germans conceded. Overall it was a great game and Henry played well to try and bottle up Kevin's Allies, but the early d1's in Omaha and Zone A units allowed too much early progress for the Allies that stretched the Germans defenses too far with too few units to cover them all.