Sunday, July 29, 2007

AAR: FotB6 - To Battle By Air #1

Michael Hawash

Chris and I played one of the latest from Lone Canuck: To Battle By Air #1, Scenario #6, Flames on the Borders. The scenario pits a company of 1st and 2nd line SS (4x548, 5x447), supported by two captured French Char B1s converted into flame panzers by SSR, against elite British glider troops during Operation Market Garden. The object of the Germans is to breakthrough a defensive line of Brits (6x458, 9-1, 8-1,assorted SW, and 7 dummies) and exit off the opposite edge of mapboard 24. Since the game was only 5 turns long, there was no time to dawdle. As usual, I took the Germans.

On Turns 1 and 2, luck was with the SS -- both first shots from the flame panzers rolled snakes on two advanced British stacks. Unfortunately, both stacks were filled with dummy counters and failed to score a single kill. Arrrgghhh -- dang nabbit -- Col. Buehler is a crafty one!

On Turns 3 and 4, with hardly a shot fired in anger and minor losses on both sides, I managed to do an end run around the bulk of the British forces skulking in a large forest in the middle of the board. Using the flame panzers to suppress the opposition, my SS were able to quickly advance near the goal of the western edge of the board, killing both British leaders in the process.

Finally, Turn 5, the end game -- I was positioned perfectly for the win. There are no units of consequence between my SS and victory! My men, already behind the British lines, only had to walk backwards to exit the board. Without any transport and both their leaders dead, Col. Buehler could not get his men between my forces and the map edge. An SS win was certain . . . or so I thought.

As everyone who plays ASL knows, in the jaws of victory, lies the decay of defeat. Although my men had an almost clear shot to the mapboard edge, a leadership movement bonus was needed. Therefore, I had no choice but to stack a leader with 3 squads. Since this was a tempting target, I put a flame panzer between the stack and the British forces to deter any pursuit.

In an act of desperation, a lone British 458 ran forward to try and enter into close combat with my blocking flame panzer. Hah! Too little, too late I thought. Much to my chagrin, the loan 458 survived a blistering defensive fire from 6 squads and two flame panzers, the loan Brit then fired a 2 up 1 shot on my 3 squads and leader. The result was a normal MC. No problem. I could afford to lose a squad or so -- plus, I have that nice SS morale working in my favor.

How quickly the best of plans can unravel. My trusty SS leader rolls snakes on the MC and goes berserk! Now the 8 morale of the SS men with him works against me. Instead of thumbing their noses at the lone British squad, they all go berserk as well and subsequently follow the leader on the last game turn in the wrong direction! Instead of simply moving off the board into victory, they turnaround and charge the British lines. Arrrrrrrrggggghhhhhhhhh!!!!! Noooooooooo!!!!!! Victory was mine, my precious!

Defeat is at hand. Col. Buehler wins the game! Back to the drawing board.


Chris Buehler

I might as well add in my two cents.

Michael made a nice move to secure a corridor along my flank for his SS troops to dash through to victory. During turn 4 the British scrambled to move squads in an attempt to close the gap. A few squads broke.

During British turn 5, with a non-DM’d squad of paratroopers and their best leader (DM’d and with a DM’d squad) failing to rally, one squad of paratroopers assault moved adjacent to both flame panzers. This squad survived defensive fire and delivered NMC result on a 2+1 attack on the leader and three SS squads. After seeing the leader go berserk and take all three squads with him, they failed their PAATC for close combat with one of the flame panzers. Had they destroyed a flame panzer with their gammon bombs, I would agree they earned style points.

Michael rolled snakes four times in this scenario with no box cars. Unfortunately for him, the first two were for flame thrower attacks against dummy stacks, the third was a weather roll, and the fourth was on NMC for his 7-0 leader. D’oh!

However the moral of this story is that it’s never over until it’s over. I managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

On a side note, there seems to be something wrong with this scenario as printed. With no errata for this pack on the Lone Canuck website, Michael has sent an e-mail to George Kelln requesting clarification. We’ll pass along what we learn.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

AAR: A71 Patton's Prayers

Steven Miller

Americans: Tom Gillis
Germans: Steven Miller

Tom and I gave this one a try last Saturday. It pits a reasonably good sized/mixed force of Americans trying to clear a road from a company of Germans. They are attempting to open up a path to the Bastogne pocket during the Battle of the Bulge. The Americans have eight squads (6-6-7's), four leaders (8-1's being the best), seven halftracks (two are the types loaded with extra MG's and a squad), two "Jumbo" shermans and two 76L type Shermans. The ground snow conditions and the short amount of turns (five) mean the Americans can not waste any time getting into the village and clearing the road from board edge to board edge. The boards used are 6 and 3 put together side by side. The Germans have a company from the 5th Fallschirmjager Division. They are not, however, the quality paratroopers of early war glory. They are mostly expendable sailors and luftwaffe personel culled from rear area forces to create the divisions needed for Hitler's Wacht am Rhein offensive. They have four 4-6-7's, four 4-4-7's, four 4-3-6's, four leaders (an 8-1 is the best), two MMG's, four LMG's and a panzerschreck. The good guns and armor the Americans have on some of the shermans is somewhat wasted as the Germans have no armor or AT guns available. The Germans do have panzerfausts which always seem to make a spectacular wreck when they hit.

On the first turn Tom approached the village from the south ,with about half of his forces, getting into position to unload MG's (one a 50 cal.) from the halftracks into the chateau on board 6. From there they could keep most of the Germans fairly well pinned down in the village. With the rest of his troops (except for one halftrack and a squad) he ran down a road that entered the village from the east. In their way was a small outpost of Germans (two squads with the Psk) with the sole purpose of slowing him up enough and forcing him off the road. They did force him off the road but as far as slowing him up...I don't think they did that much more than the snow would have! They rolled a 6 on the panzerfaust try and the Psk had a major miss. In the ensuing fire fight both Germans broke, one surrendered and they dissappeared from any effect on the game. One lone halftrack he sent over the hills and throught the woods around to the west side of the village. On turn two Tom set up his firebase in the chateau and positioned his tanks to blast the only level two building in the village I had, which is where my MMG's were. He was able to place smoke on the building and with the threat of HE coming soon I left the upper levels to the safty of the ground. A lone 4-4-7 repeatedly survived several turns of Tom's attacks, passed it's morale checks and managed to absorb up enough of Tom's fire to spare others from getting attacked. Finally they did break and opened up the door for Tom to enter the village from the north. During all of this Tom managed to have two tanks malfunction their main armament. He rolled two "12's" in a row! One of them was eventually recalled. He also immobilized a third tank on ESB. The lone halftrack approaching from the west was stunned by my MMG's in the building. Losing those vehicles from the assault certainly did not bode well for him. From the east Tom's constant pressure got him over the hill and into the village. It came down to the last turn. It looked good for me. I had three stacks of units, in the village, in position to deny him control of the road. I also had one lone conscript squad, concealed, sitting in a woods by the road at the exit hex. We will get back to him later. In his turn Tom was very effective with his fire and movement. He got all three of my stacks locked into melee effectively taking them out of the game. My only good defensive fire was blasting a tank with a panzerfaust. It now did not look good for me. Now we get back to the 4-3-6 hiding in the woods. Ten of the worst troops the Wehrmacht had to offer were all that stood between Tom and victory. During the final assault on the village Tom manages to capture some of my troops. Of course he interrogates them. What do they do? Why of course they give up the location of their comrades hiding in the woods. The squad I was putting my last hope on now loses their concealment and stands out for all to see. I see it as the Kreigsmarine dregs ratted out the Luftwaffe slackers in some sort of navy/air force rivalry. My squad does rise to the occasion however. With the vengeance of one betrayed he gets a panzerfaust and toasts one of Tom's halftracks. He passes his morale checks from Tom's three attacks on him and by the slimest of margins I win the scenario. The game just reinforces what we all know about ASL. It is never really over until the last turn and the last roll of the dice. It did not look good for Tom and he came back very well and almost won. If he would have had the preverbial "one more turn", I'm sure he would have won. The next scenario we are going to try is CELLES MELEE (OA7) from the Out of the Attic package. It has some interesting options for the Germans. They have to accumulate A LOT of VP (casualty and/or exit) but they can exit some troops right away on turn one that the Americans can not stop. The bad part however is that they may need those troops on the board.

Monday, July 23, 2007

AAR: SP30 Evicting Yamagishi

Zeb Doyle

Japanese: Zeb Doyle
Russian: Nathan Hoin

Nathan and I had decided to play a Russo-Japanese scenario and settled on SP30 Evicting Yamagishi. This is a late-war Manchurian struggle with a powerful Soviet force trying to clear a road against some decent Japanese opposition on the dense terrain of boards 32 and 39. We diced for sides and Nathan got the Soviets, as befitted his uniformed status. That left me formulating a set up as the Japanese but since I'd played the scenario once before, it didn't take a lot of effort to take the tough terrain and my OB-given fortifications to make some nasty choke-points. With that, we started play and Nathan immediately ran into some horrible luck. The Soviets get two pre-registered hexes that are hit by 120mm OBA on the first turn, and although Nathan had done a masterful job of guessing where my HMGs would be positioned to cover the road, both OBA missions drifted off-target and did no damage at all.

The poor Soviet and good Japanese luck continued throughout the first few turns, with a HIP 'brave defender of the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere' immobilizing a 'Godless Commie oppressor' T-34 with a daisy chain and then killing it with a THH. I also managed to break the FT-toting 6-2-8 riding the tank, kill him, and capture the FT. This worked out well a few turns later when Nathan brought up his second FT to try and suppress my defensive position. This was described by Toreki as some 'hot FT on FT action,' featured a Berserk Japanese squad charging the Soviet FT and eating a 4KIA, and ended with both FTs destroyed, lots of dead Soviets, and worst of all, some Gust-aided blazes torching most of the forest that Nathan needed to move through.

That pretty much shut down one flank of the Soviet attack, but over on the board 39 hill, things weren't going quite as well for the Japanese. An ISU-122 lobbed a shell right through the vision slit in one of my pillboxes, with the resulting 3KIA erasing one of my HMGs. An escorting T-34 didn't do quite as well, managing to disable his CMG, BMG, and MA before being immobilized by a THH and being ignored for the rest of the game. Still, the loss of my HMG hurt quite a bit and Nathan was pushing me back far too fast for my liking until a big concealed Soviet stack advanced against difficult terrain onto one of my 4-4-7s. The ambush mods were even but I caught a big break by ambushing an entire platoon. My 4-4-7 went with a 1:4 HtH attack, needing a 7 to kill everyone and got it, which really took the pressure off. At that point, the Soviet threat on the hill had dwindled down to two 6-2-8s and when I got another good roll to K/2 one of the squads, I felt confident enough tomake some silly joke that "of course the remaining 3-2-8 will pass the 2MC. It's Darwinian survival...all the weak Russians have been killed off and only the strong remain."

It turns out that comment was a big mistake, because the 3-2-8 did pass the 2MC and because Nathan is one of those great opponents that will keep playing hard and staying focused no matter how badly the dice are hurting him. Over the next three turns, the 3-2-8 and his lone 6-2-8 wing-man cut a bloody swath over the hill leaving numerous Japanese bodies in their wake. Aided by a leader creation, a battle hardening on the leader, and a hero generation, the squad and a half ran unscathed in and out of minefields, shrugged off large amounts of firepower, and generally wreaked havoc. They eventually died, but not before they'd done as much damage as the rest of the Soviet force combined. If Darwin had been there, he would have written on that HS, not those dumb finch beaks.

In the end though, despite the heroics of the brave hilltop 'Novo Homo Sovietus Indomitablus,' Nathan ran out of time and wasn't quite able to clear the road. Had his luck been better (I haven't mentioned the other ISU that ran out of ammo after three shots or the numerous boxcars or the 9-1 that wouldn't ever rally or the...), it would have been a very tight and tense finish. Overall, the scenario was pretty fun but not quite top-notch. Despite the bad luck leaching some of the suspense out of the game though , I still had a great time thanks to Nathan's encyclopedic knowledge of all things Russian (I would never have guessed that the Soviet LMG has only seven moving parts, among many other interesting pieces of trivia I learned). Also adding to the fun was Scott's great's great to finish up a Japanese scenario with sake and banzai cake!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

AAR: U5 Point D'Appui

Steven Miller

Germans: Steven Miller
Americans: Scott Hopkins

The second game we played was POINT D'APPUI (U5). The Americans have six squads, two leaders (one a 9-2), a MMG and some bazookas. They have to keep the Germans from controlling a road intersection.The Germans have four squads, a 37L, 20L and four regular halftracks. SSR's limit play to about 2/3rds of the boards, add a roadblock and two of the major hills on board 3 are converted into woods. I was the Germans. I loaded up the halftracks and did an end around the edge of the boards to enter the village from the side. I put the 37L halftrack and a group with a LMG covering the front of the village. They mangaged to break one of Scott's squads but at that point Scott took over my job in getting rid of his units. He proceded in following rally phases to completely eliminate that entire squad with some of the several boxcars he rolled in the game. Meanwhile, the flanking halftrack assault gets into the village and unloads. I move units up from three sides to get to the road intersection. I moved a halftrack to the intersection to try and give the sacrificial half-squad some cover when he moved onto the intersection to get the necessary "control." Scott had about five tries with a bazooka on that halftrack and missed them all. And of course I am unable to break him so we spend several phases just blasting away at each other. The sacrificial half-squad was indeed just that. But the onus was now on Scott to retake the intersection. I loaded up the intersection and adjacent hexes with my halftracks to try and stop the last turn dash we both knew was coming. I tried to get as much of my remaining infantry there to help but his covering fire and timily breaking of several squads reduced that to a single, but courageous, squad. On the last turn my only hope to stop his 9-2 and squad from jumping on the intersection was to try and lock them in melee. I rolled a "12" on my attack and he chose not to withdraw as it would put him away from the intersection. At this point, once again this day, luck was not with Scott. He rolls on a 3 to 2, down two attack...can you guess? Yes it is a "12" also! So as the game ends there we are locked in melee, him just one hex from victory.Victor claims to be the boxcars king, but from what I have seen Scott can could challenge that claim.

AAR: J98 Lend-Lease Attack

Steven Miller

Russians: Steven Miller
Germans: Scott Hopkins

This will be my first attempt at some AAR's. Any comments or helpful criticism would be welcomed. Scott and I got in two games at his house on the game-day on the 14th. Scott, please correct any details I've left out or have in error! The first was LEND-LEASE ATTACK (J98). Scott was the Germans and it appeared that the Russians were heavily favored so he was given the balance of adding an armor leader. As it turned out the balance was not enough to off-set what I believe is a problem with the scenario. I think the German set-up restriction of being able to set-up only on board 4 is the real problem. I would recommend that the Germans be able to set-up some units on board 19. The Germans have three squads, two leaders, a panzershreck and two Tiger I's to try and stop two groups of Russians. The Russians win by getting 28 CVP either exiting and/or casualties. The Russian groups are almost
equal, two Sherman III(a)'s, a SU-85, a truck, two 4-5-8 squads and a leader in each. One group enters on board 4 and the other on board 19. On turn one I was able to advance 2/3'rds the way down board 19 unimpeded and unloaded my infantry. I got onto board 4 and engaged one of the Tigers. I put a smoke round on him so neither one of us had good shots. He withdrew to a different postion further into board 4 next to the other Tiger trying to cover the several approaches/exit routes available to me. I moved again to engage the Tigers but this time I had them flanked by the SU-85's. I was able to kill one with a flank shot. Meanwhile, my infantry is working it's way through the woods, buildings and other cover, chasing his infantry, on our way to the exit area. My Shermans are making the mad dash for the exit area since their *75 is just about worthless on the Tigers. Scott managed to get some infantry, one with the panzershreck, to positions covering the exit area. At this point luck was not with him. In an attempt to ESB the remaining Tiger to a good firing position he immobilized it. I also managed to exit three of the four shermans past the Tiger, panzerfausts and the panzershreck. One of the shermans fell to the Tiger. I was able to exit enough points, along with the destroyed Tiger, to win the game.

AAR: SP81 Betje Wolf Plein

Nick Drinkwater

British Commandos: Nick Drinkwater [ELR 5,SAN 3]
Germans: Stephane Graciet [ELR 3, SAN 4]

Pre-Game Thoughts: A big case of deja vu as Stephane and myself sit down to play our second tour of Board 51 in two months, in the same configuration that we used for Extracurricular Activity a month ago - namely rows A-P with the big stone 'university' building at the very back of the board. This time we have swapped the ruins of Budapest for the ruins of Flushing on the island of Walcheren in November 1944. The commandos have just landed in the flooded town and are about to receive a fast and brutal counter-attack from a bunch of surprisingly tasty late war Germans. An Interesting SSR means that the German gets to place four rubble counters with the chance of generating cascading, falling rubble stacks - especially useful to try and restrict use of upper building levels by the retreating British or maybe create some cover to block the big LOS down the long avenues which dominate this board. Unluckily Stephane came up with squat and no rubble decided to fall, which curiously probably made both our jobs harded. The commandos have a tough task in this one - they have to hold out for six and a half turns and stop the Germans exiting 8 CVP off the back of the board, but they have only been given 4 x 648s, 3 x 338, 2 x DC, 2 a LMG, an 8-0 and the all importnat key piece of the day, the 9-2. Normally, that would be a tasty force capable of dishing out a lot of nastiness to anyone who tries to take liberties with them, but they are facing an unusually powerful force for such late war Germans - 8 x 467, 6 x 447, MMG, 2 x LMG, a couple of -1 leaders and a 8-0. That's a 2-1 squad advantage in numbers at the beginning and the Brits have to start out dispersed across the map to cover all approaches so they can concentrate and perhaps overwhelm the line locally. I've already had one recent lesson in the difficulties of defending on this board, especially when trying to make lateral switches across the board due to the problem with the long avenue lines of site, so I need to take care here. Again, the natural stop line is the straight cross-board road that the attacking Germans must cross. Like the last time on this board, it is the critical job of the defenders to make crossing this road as painful and as bloody as possible - having done this, the Commandos need to slowly withdraw back along the avenues to the backfield to fight out a desperate last ditch defense on hexrow A, the exit row. The end game in this one is interesting. As they stand, the at-start Brits though powerful, are inherently brittle due to their very low numbers, so these guys must plan on a large degree of force preservation until the "cavalry" arrive on Turn 3. Any loss of any key units to fate or sniper shots and there could be a very obvious hole through which the Germans will pour, so keeping concealment and trying to use the dummies construc'tively is important, as again the threat of a concealed squad is often greater than the reality of their possible impact. The "cavalry" for the Brits are two Commando half-squads, an 8-0, and critically, two MMGs - it is important that these guys get onboard safely in one piece, preferably concealed, as two small woods in hexrow A mean there is a perfect opportunity to throw out two firelanes that will make exiting movement especially fraught with peril for the Germans. These really are the last-ditch defense positions and no matter how well the initial defense has gone, the Brits will be fighting hard in Turn 7 right on the back line to stop the Germans cold.

AAR: For this one, I repeated my spread-out defense of the lateral road which I had used the month before. With no vehicles this time, Stephane went for a crushing attack on my right side and maneuvered carefully to keep a big two-hex Firegroup of both -1 leaders plus MGs and six squads intact. He sent a small platoon down the middle to test the centre defenses, but I shot these up easily at range and they quickly ran out of puff. I also advanced a concealed half-squad out across the road in the centre to try and posture and threaten the Germans for some behind-the-line mayhem. This concealed stealthy 'mystery' stack scared the bejeezus out of a concealed 447 who went scurrying backwards to get away from instant death ambush...a great moral victory for the defense - its always the threat value that works! By turn two, Stephane was up to the lateral road where he was facing the teeth of my frontline defense - his big stack was in place and things were looking really horrible when my 9-2 and 648 lost concealment to a measly 16+4 attack, and then were horribly destroyed with a 30+2 attack that resulted in 1KIA. I got really lucky and missed the yahtzee, thank heavens, but my 9-2 was broken for two turns and the loss of one quarter of my squads was grim. I was however still putting the hurt on the Germans and scoring some small and important victories with the odd squad going down to -1 shots and also to fate. Importantly, through a lot of skulking and some crucial missed massive FP attacks by Stephane, I was able to neutralise his big foregroup with my right-most 648 which continued to stop the six squads of the Firegroup from crossing the road, the central attack having already ground to a halt. Eventually however, I just didn't have enough units to put enough Residual Markers down and some squads leaked through to start to threaten my middle. Then came the big one - another 648 broke to some cheap shot 8+3 shot, but then went berserk when rallying to attack two of the 467s with an 8-0 leader they had also generated. Surviving the 30+2 move into the enemy hex, they succesfully killed a squad in CC and then locked up the other squad for the rest of the game - this was huge move, as these two 467 squads would have easily marched off with little to stop them apart from these berserkers. The Germans did manage to slip one squad through to the very back in the 'university', but these got nailed by a snakes from one of the MMGs which by now were nestled into position. By the end game, Stephane was reduced to some fairly desperate moves with suitably horrible results. Another snakes and a three consecutively did for two more squads in the backfield, and it all came down to whether he could find enough of a combination of units to get off the required CVP, even though he was going to have the run the gauntlet of two parallel MMG firelines and a 648 and 9-2. I was by then really happy that I had the game in the bag at this point as that was a really touigh ask, but the great thing about Stephane is he always goes on to the bitter end and there are no cheap victories. He deployed as many squads as he could and then started his own "Run through the Valley of Death". I scored another snakes and got both firelanes working straight away and stopped almost all of it in its tracks. However, one full squad did make it and we could see that he had to get two more squads AND the 8-1 off the board for the desired 8CVP needed for the win - still do-able, but one of the squads was going to have to survive two 2-2 Residual FP attacks, even though the 8-1/467 only had to go through a 2-flat residual firelane. The first 467 survived my first shot (a nine - eek!), and then I rolled a eight for the second attack: a Pin Test! Up comes the dice and Stephane rolls a 9!! Game over, hard fought British win. We played out the last squad and -1 leader escape attempt to see what could have happened, and they sneaked off unscathed, so the pin result had been absolutely critical. Awesome game and awesome fun! Good little scenario this, thouigh the British need handling with care - a bad result or two and the Germans will be streaming off in no time. We got through this all-infantry slug-fest in 3 three hours, so it was a perfect night's entertainment. Stephane surprised me a little as I didn't get a usual half-squad opening blitz testing all my stacks, and he missed the fact that I had dummies for a turn or two. The loss of the 9-2 / 648 early in the game threatened to disrupt me completely, but I fought a staid and solid defense that generally quickly blocked up any holes Stephane was able to punch through. Even still, it could easily have gone the other way in those last desperate rolls - any win versus Stephane is valuable and I was very happy.

Friday, July 13, 2007

2007 Tourney Overall AAR:

Nick Drinkwater


Only my second tournament and what an outstanding weekend it was. Rick and the gang put on a momentous event that was simply awesome...I was mentally and emotionally shattered by Sunday night, so I can only imagine how Rick felt. Awesome job all around and a huge thanks to you for your efforts. Really appreciated the sponsors chipping in with so many excellent door was great that everyone who attended went away with both great memories and a cool item! I think we all wanted the simply excellent signed print from the Journal 6 cover, and I would have definitely liked to have picked up MMP's A Victory Lost, both Dezign Packs, both Melee Packs and many of the other prizes if I'd had the chance (particularly the Zombies! What's not to like?), but I was very pleased with my copy of the newly released "Stalingrad" Campaign Series book from Osprey Publishing. VERY cool, adds to my growing collection and that was a great donation from them.

It was also really cool to see so many people from so far - attendees from Oklahoma, Kansas, Dallas, San Antonio and of course our own Houston contingent, as well as all the Austies. Mr. Gillis - you are a gentleman and a complete star and fully worthy of the honour of the first Sportsmanship award...I can only hope to endeavour to be half as gracious and fun as you in all the games I play, and it is a testament to you that you are on everybody's play list! Looking forward to the next meeting old man!


And the coffee. Well, let's not mention the coffee!! Not a low fat, double shot, medium foam Colombian caramel-roast macchiato in sight? What's going on Austinites? All mouth and no trousers in your continual bluster on your superior form of coffees...! It got to the point where Gillis and myself were having to create our own chocolate sprinkles from a hot-chocolate powder pack poured onto thermos flask "La Quinta" domestic blend to try and get something even remotely potable - don't ask how we got the foam! (Blackadder joke...). Probably the best coffee I had all weekend was the bottle of Starbucks Mocha Frappacino I managed to pick up from the Shell Gas Station down the road from the hotel...a telling indictment of Austin coffee prowess if ever there was one....


And the AARs. A couple of these may be a little bit shorter than my usual outpourings as I don't have access to the original OOBs and the games are starting to mentally merge into each other, but I will try and illuminate the tactical with the comical. Hopefully, you'll enjoy them.

More to follow...



Tourney Game 1 AAR - A59 Death at Carentan

Nick Drinkwater

German: Nick Drinkwater [ELR 4, SAN 4]
American: Scott Hopkins [ELR 5, SAN 3]

An age old, quick playing favorite and a great place to start as a warm-up game for both Scott and myself. This is an all-infantry, meat and potatoes scenario with no odd game breaking weapons, or clumsy AAR to worry about and yet despite this apparent blandness, the scenario still retains a great ebb and flow momentum to it as both sides get to attack and then hang on desperately in this one.

Pre-game thoughts:
A small section (9-1, MMG, LMG, 1x 548, 3 x 238) of Van der Heyte's 91st Airlanding Division paratroopers are holding out just after D-Day in a small manor-complex in the middle of Board 17 - their demise is imminent from an onboard section (9-2, 3 x 747 and a Bazooka) of the 101st who are quickly going to evict them from the farm under the cover of a pre-programmed Smoke FFE. They will receive a ton of help from an offboard tough force of 7 x 747s with a 8-1, 8-0 and 7-0 leaders, 100 mm OBA radio and MG support driving hard from the north board edge on Turn 2, though there is no radio support allowed until Turn 4 by SSR.

Having hopefully totally eliminated the holdout Germans in one swift, brutal assault, the reinforced company then has to hang extremely tough as a very hardened relief force of 11 x 548, 9-1, 8-1, 8-0, 7-0, a PSk and some MGs arrives from both / either the east or the west sides of the boards to envelop the Americans in Turn 3. To win, the US must have control of five of the seven buildings of the central manor-farm complex at Game end after 8 turns, one of which is a two hex level building which would give some defense for the Americans against the German relievers. Four Orchard overlays have been added to make some cover "appear" for the American initial approach from the north in particular and the few walls and hedges that are present here are all Bocage. Although the Bocage is limited in its abundance in this scenario, the +2 TEM has a great effect on the game if you can get to it and use it - it's clearly a natural place for the Germans to launch their counter attacks from.

Looking at the board and the setup timing, it was clear to me that for my initial force to have any chance of survival, it would need to set as far back as possible. Initial SSR meant that the on-start MMC must all set up separately (one half-squad HIP) and hence dispersed and also unable to move at all in Turn 1, but I was able to create a couple of dummies to at least try and put a little bit of doubt in Scott's mind. I did leave one half-squad forward plus a dummy stack to at least try and cover some of his approach path and put some caution into him, but the other three units went to the very back to try and hang on until the much needed help arrives. This meant giving up at least 5 of the 7 farm buildings to Scott's attack, but that worried me less than not having any kind of force left when my relief guys arrived.

The Americans, with a double-pronged approach through the grainfield from the NW and the NE, swiftly ran through the smoke and into the village and one of my two half-squads rapidly went down to a double-break, but the others, including the leader and the MMG, all managed to survive and hold on there, albeit desperately, with some low odds passing of 1 and 2 MCs. Scott's 9-2 stack was particularly troubling and causing some damage from a building on the eastern side of the farm and I needed the relief to arrive asap.

The great thing about the relief force is that they can come from either side and hence the possibility for encirclement and proving problematic to broken American rout paths is quite high. The approaches from the western side are probably the better ones for the Germans as there is a small wood to come on into and this links directly into a nice bocage line that runs east-west right up to the southern most building of the manor complex, where my survivors were holed up. Most of my relief force came on from that side, but I was also able to sneak on a platoon from the northeast and southeast corners too which started to cause Scott all manner of grief. On the northeast side, there is another east-west bocage line that separates the farm from a big grain field - this is another great place to get the German's running up to, as they can dominate the northern side of the manor complex from may even be worth sacrificing a US squad here to at least try and stop the Fallschirmjaeger from moving quickly on to this and putting the US Paras in so much subsequent trouble.

On the southeastern side of the village, the Germans are again able to get relatively close to the village due to a large orchard complex; again, another US squad in here to delay German's from that side may have actually knocked them off their quite tight timetable. Despite some breaking of the odd squad or two by Scott's 9-2, through careful maneuvering through this orchard combined with an assault to the northern bocage line, I was able to get Scott's 9-2 stack encircled. This was a key part of the game: he tried to maneuver out of the hole he was in, but one squad got whacked hard for FTR and the others were starting to hurt from the encirclement.

At the same time, as well as this southern and northern envelopment, on the west side, I was able to link up my relief team at the western bocage line with the at-start survivors and their MMG so that pinned in place the majority of Scott's squads in the main part of the farm, effectively signing their death warrant. Scott's force slowly attrited to a batch of 12 and 16 FP attacks from the resultant large firegroup I was able to form, and squads started to go down one by one. This game of attrition continued to Turn 5 when the last of Scott's squads were eliminated, by which time I had finally retaken almost all of the buildings.

Great little game and a nice start for me against one of my own brethren from Houston - as remarked to all and sundry at the time, this was the first occasion we had played each other, so it was not as odd as it looked - we actually live over 40 minutes drive from each other in the Greater Houston metropolis so opportunities to play FTF are rare. I liked this scenario a lot as it was just a classic infantry game using well-led, top-notch units with lots of maneuver to boot - it's not your usual stand-and-die defense that you see in so many other small scenarios - I can see why it is a favorite.

Scott was a little bit unlucky with the dice as he went through a crucial period of high-rolling in Turn 3 as I was maneuvering and forming up my bocage-line firegroups, a better result from which could have definitely have cramped my attack. Getting the western firegroup into place and enforcing the encirclement were the key moves in this match and were the ultimate path to victory. I'd play Scott again any time as he's a great guy and a lot of fun! Also, he was a complete star for driving both Tom and myself up to Austin and back - many thanks Scott!

1-0 for the tournament

Tourney Game 2 AAR - A114 Hamlet's Demise

Nick Drinkwater

French: Nick Drinkwater [ELR 2, SAN 4]

German: Roy Connelly [ELR 3, SAN 3]


I think I remember reading somewhere, probably on the ASLML, that
Hamlet's Demise has some pro-German balance issues...can't remember
exactly, and to be honest, and it didn't impact this scenario one little
bit. My opponent in this one was Roy Conelly from Kansas and one of the
funniest and nicest guys I met all weekend - it was great that Roy and
the other Kansas guys made the 10(?)+ hour drive down to Austin - hope
you all got back OK - looking forward to catching up with you next year
with luck!

Pre-game thoughts:

There's a witty truism going around saying that you should never play
the losing sides in those scenario's whose name aptly describes their
outcome..."Smashing the Third" and "Panzer Graveyard" come to mind
immediately. Well, I've not played enough to comment on the veracity of
that statement for those two scenarios, but at first look at this one,
you just end up scratching your head, wondering how the French have got
any chance at all - you could easily see a batch of other witty names
for this one like "French get Crushed", "Les Francais get Stuffed" or
even "Freedom Perishes" (- think Freedom Fries!), but Hamlet's Demise is
catchy and it works too.

We rolled for sides (in fact I rolled for sides all weekend and did not
invoke the balance once) and I lucked out and got the French! WooHoo!!
We're on Board 24 in a Belgian village for this one - it is mild, breezy
day in mid-May 1940 and a German Unstoppable Force is about to run over
a French Very Movable Object - a multi-building overlay replaces the
Board 24 stone factory and lumberyard, but the roadnet and the rest of
the village is in play, and also valley terrain is present, so most of
the Board is at level -1. The interesting split level building at the
back of the village is at Level 0 / Level 1, so that the French do get
some height advantage to pick off unwary fritzes. The Germans have a
great attacking force for this - to win, they must amass 16CVP whilst
losing less than 20CVP themselves, and they are given a Mk Ib, a Mark
IIf and a stonking Mk IIIf, perhaps the most potent gun platform from
the early war.

They also get a strong infantry component to assist in clearing the
French out of their predominantly stone building defense, consisting of
2 x 467, 6 x 447 and a single 838 engineer with a Flamethrower together
with the usual assortment of machine guns and 9-1s and 8-1s we've all
come to expect. The play area is actually the central portion of the
board between (both edges have been trimmed), and so the German's don't
need to come very far to do this either. Hmmmm. Why did we choose this
one again?

The gallant, or possibly idiotic, French chosen to repel this latest
barbarian invasion aren't going to set your world on fire. They are
assisted by an H39 tank with 4 armor (turret is a superior 6, so hull
down positions would be useful) and the world class 37* mm Gun and the
mighty 2FP coaxial machine gun, and it is radioless away, run
away!! In addition, they also get the AT Gun with an inferiority complex
- the stunning 25LL AT Gun, though it does have a ROF of 3. Again, not
exactly confidence inspiring! The basic TK of both these weapons is 7,
so the MkIb may be in trouble, but the other two panzers have much less
to fear. Infantry support is from a yeoman set of six 457s, two
resolute, old hand sergeatnts (8-0), an odd LMG and a MMG.

Distributing these meagre forces to repel the Germans was a major
challenge - good spots to tuck away the AT Gun are at a premium: there
is one wooded level 0 knoll that sticks out from the left of the board
that looks good but it is very obvious...perhaps too obvious and a bit
too far forward. Instead I opted to put the 'little gun that could' in a
woods hex at the back of the village, adjacent to the split level
building. It has a good view along both flanks of the main built-up area
and hopefully will be able to catch an odd tank napping. More
importantly it has the greatest chance of still being alive at the
scenario end (after 6 Turns) - maybe the ROF 3 and 1 HE FP equivalency
will prove useful against the Germans. But then again, maybe not!


The MMG and an 8-0 go in to the split level building to do the overwatch
job and I try to present a concealed staggered defense of the rest of
the troops scattered throughout the buildings and trust a bit, errr,
scratch that, a LOT to luck. With only one board's width available,
there is not much room for the Germans to maneuver and Roy came up the
middle hard and fast. I gack my first long-distance 4-2 shot (a running
theme all weekend), and Roy rolls over the front defenders quickly.
However, they are able to retreat safely backwards and one gallant squad
takes out a German squad in CC - this combines nicely with the removal
of the Mk Ib as the 25LL shows itself.

Roy continues grinding his way down through the town, but I am able to
keep a bit of resistance here and there and break the odd squad or two.
I even get a sniper that wounds an 8-1 leader and that again contributes
to a general stalling of the German attack. Key events in the game
really happen in Turn 4 - I drive the H39 out to take on the challenge
of the MkIIIf - it actually wins this one by immobilizing the MkIII and
the crew bails out - I again fail to take advantage of the -2 "kill the
crew" moment however and they are soon re-manning the tank, causing
problems again.

I do get one stroke of luck as my H39 recovers from a Shock at its first
attempt, and this was symptomatic of the way the game progressed -
slowly and surely, the dice started to turn against Roy. The biggest
moment of the game is when facing certain death in CC, my 8-0 and a
squad infiltrate, generate another 8-0 leader and escape to fight again
- a key moment as I'm now getting ahead on the infantry numbers as well.
Despite this, Roy is also still finding things when he needs to - his
engineers eventually wake up to the fact that there's a war on, and
manage to reduce one of my squads to crispy toast with a snakes with the
FT - there next shot reduces my H39 to a smoking pyre...impressive

In the last turn, I just need to keep the necessary squads alive...we've
both almost resigned ourselves to the fact that I can do a batch of
voluntary breaks, run up the hill onto the back Level 0 plateau and
escape with an uncommon but solid French win; the Germans will not have
enough MP to both cross the last road and get up the hill to capture my
guys in the last turn. Just then it occurs to both of us that doing this
will enable Roy to capture the AT Gun for much needed and necessary VP
and deny me the win. Realizing this, I have to quickly re-think the end
game - most things can still Voluntarily Break, but the gun crew must
stay in place and also survive: a couple more key rolls go my way and I
am just able to survive the return fire to claim a tough but fun win.
Its never over till its over, and you must always keep an eye on odd but
crucial opportunities to win. Great game by Roy as he just kept plugging
away hard, but the return from the shock and the massive infiltration
roll were just enough to tip the balance my way.


I can see how this would be a quick German blow-out: like all small
scenarios, the French are just a single sniper check or an AT Gun
malfunction away from being crushed, but....but....if, they can keep
their weapons fighting to the end, then they have a chance. A rearward
fallback defense is definitely the way to go on this one.

2-0 for the tournament now, 1-0 lifetime vs. Kansas (!) and I am like,
seventh on the overnight leaderboard...something upside down in the
universe today!

Tourney Game 3 AAR - RB1 One Down, Two to Go

Nick Drinkwater

Russian: Nick Drinkwater [ELR 3, SAN 5]

German: John Hyler [ELR 4, SAN 3]


Having been put through the emotional wringer in Hamlet's Exaggerated
Demise by Roy, and having been heard muttering audibly by several people
that I just want to "play something small", the insane, stupid part of
me kicks in and agrees with John "I live and breathe to become Major
Johnson" Hyler that it would be a really great idea to play something
big! John is a fun guy, now returned to Houston, with a great dry, sense
of humour - he's keen to retry "One Down, Two to Go", which is perhaps
not everyone's choice of ideal tournament fare, but is classic,
well-balanced and the first scenario out of the big-mamma pack of all
time, Red Barricades. I wasn't completely new to RB, having played a
series of games vs. Ken Havlinek two years ago, but I was rusty on all
the ins and outs and subtleties of the RB map and unfortunately it

Pre-Game Thoughts:

This scenario represents the opening shots in the battle for the
Barrikady - the Germans have marched their way through the Tractor
Factory to the north, and this scenario represents their initial assault
on the northern peripheral buildings that fringe the main Barricady
complex. All the usual RB stuff is in play, so I won't go into an
in-depth analysis on this - Mike Seningen has done an excellent job of
that in a recent Banzai issue (5.2) previously and I would recommend
everyone read this analysis if they want to play this scenario. Mike's
skilful analysis breaks the Russian defense into three zones: an
"unlikely to be attacked" eastern sector that is furthest away from the
German setup area, the central sector dominating the big central
northern debris field and the all-important and hardest to defend,
western sector, behind the railway tracks - Mike, you are prescient!
Unfortunately when playing this, I didn't have access to Mike's article
and I had to figure out a defense on my own - some bits I got right but
some bits I got very, very wrong!

Unlike our normal perception of RB, the VC (Germans need to control 20
Stone building, cellar or rubble locations) for this scenario really
don't require any fighting to take place in the factories themselves -
as a result, the nine reinforcement Russian conscripts will act just
like Russian conscripts always do: get hit, fail morale check, disrupt!
Also, the all important SSR that all non-HIP Russians in locations
greater than co-ordinate 7 take a MMC hit me really, really hard and I
broke about 60% of my units in those locations, but especially in the
key F5 northernmost building. This one is really difficult to plan for,
and the results were gruesome.

In my rushed setup, I missed the importance of another key SSR – all
buildings in hexes less than 4 must roll to see if they are on fire. So
what you ask? Well, lots of them are on fire, and this crucially reduces
many of the places where the HIP German observer can hide out, something
that I realized much later. Also, as Mike recognizes in the Banzai
article, the corner stone building (F5) in the NW corner is just really
difficult to defend, but as the Russian, you are really reluctant to
hand over 8VP straight off the bat. I just didn't realize HOW difficult
it was to defend, and put too much in there from the start: Mike's
advice to accept this as a death trap and effectively abandon it is
well-advised as, after a shocking start there, I just couldn't get going
again. John was instantly able to suppress all the obvious defenders
from the start, after a little bit of trouble getting in and through one
of my own connecting trenches was able to threaten much of the real
estate to the south - it never really improved from there.

I think also my performance was hampered to a degree by general fatigue
allied to an overall rustiness with the RB rules in general. In setup, I
had to remove one of my tunnels as I'd marked it up to exit in a rubble
location, I had to eliminate a minefield during play as I'd routed a
broken squad through it prior to John moving a juicy stack into it, I
had seriously misplaced my Observer and Phone at the east rather than
the west end of the N6 building so that it was unable to see much of the
westernmost railroad approach, I had written down a meaningless FBL hex
coordinate on my scenario prep card, and in Turn 2, I completely forgot
to pull a chit and call in the OBA on John's juicy stack when it was in
relatively open ground approaching the railroads.

To compound this, during the NMC phase someone had come and talked to us
and when replacing counters after the NMC, I realized I had mistakenly
replaced both a HMG and a MMG in the N5 building with only one squad who
was now broken. All horrible mistakes, but the loss of those two support
weapons without firing at all was critical, and I paid for these with
the massive hole that then developed in the northwest corner of the map
which John proceeded to pour through.


The main issue with all of these flaws was that I was in no place to
really interdict John at all in the next three main turns. John had
developed an awesome attack in which everything, and I mean everything
came on through the Railroad track offensive corridor - this was brutal
and most of my stuff was off balance, and the bad positioning of the
Phone Observer was particularly problematic. He skillfully concentrated
everything together and pushed really hard south - scouting by his tank
found two more of the AP minefields between the rail tracks (although we
both missed bogging from debris for the first turn or two). On the one
occasion I really could get to hurt a big stack of John's, I fluffed a
4-2 and a subsequent 2-2 and his sturms leapt over the tracks into
adjacent open ground (11 and 10 in succession).

I did manage to surprise and hold up John with the hidden 76* field gun
in building F5, and these guys heroically shrugged off three or four
30FP + 4 attacks in a row, before going down to a miserly 8+4 shot from
the MkIVE machine guns - typical! I also managed to whack and burn
another MkIV in CC with a 2, but in the westernmost wooden buildings, my
defenders there kept repeatedly missing a bunch of 12+2 attacks and went
down instantly to the massed firepower of the 10-2 directed sturms.
Weirdly, we both received our reinforcements at the earliest point
possible (Turn 1 for me, Turn 2 for the tanks for John) but again this
helped John more than me as my Commissar-led guys had SO far to crawl
and John successfully pinned them repeatedly as he got air support for
each and every turn of the 5 turns possible!

His bombing it has to be said was generally terrible, but it did reduce
two conscripts to 'rupties going nowhere. In contrast, John's tanks were
swiftly into the action and starting to hurt me even more. In terms of
the little OBA I had available, my one FFE corrected to the only hex
where it couldn't do anything at all (I was chasing his now revealed
observer), while in contrast, John's corrected perfectly to the exact
position where he could completely smoke in the western view of the
entire N6 building and stop my sole surviving HMG from doing anything
for 2 turns. Even with my SAN of 5, I can't remember a single effective
attack. It really was just one of those games...

A couple of things did pay off for me: I had a great lateral tunnel
connecting the western C13 stone building under the tracks to F13, and
this one is a must for any defense of the west as the Germans will
definitely get a nasty MMG firelane setup to interdict the E hexrow
along the railtracks, stopping reinforcements in their tracks. I also
placed the armored cupola in Debris J5 which has a great view of the
western and central entry approaches - this did manage to put some hurt
on one of John's stacks and I did do some casualties but overall, it was
far too little and far too late as my attacks were rolling horribly on
any and all of their IFT resolutions.

By the time my second batch of reinforcements were due on in Turn 5,
John had successfully pushed me out of the F5 building-plus-rubble, was
in the rubble of the western approach of the N6 building, was pushing
hard through the F8 and F9-G10 rubble and had just eliminated all my
defenders in the C13 building. He had effectively broken through into
the stone buildings in the C18 area and was over 25 stone locations to
the good and in place to get at least another 10 more. I quickly
conceded defeat to this expert and well-planned attack and can only
offer some apologies to John for being too tired and inpatient to setup
a more rigorous defense and give him a tougher match. Well-played John!


2-1 for the tourney overall after a game played over two days. My big
takeaway from this is to actually slow down and recognize the warning
signs earlier in this kind of tourney scenario - I sadly don't have the
stamina of an ox and I really compromised my chances with my rush to get
started and to get a turn in, and also not realizing that I really need
to spend much more time refreshing myself on all the nuances of the RB
rules and conundrum, and the very different series of questions it asks
of you. Perhaps, the monster HASLs with their plethora of extra things
to think about over and above everything in the 2" thick rulebook are a
step too far and a little bit too ambitious in this environment -
certainly some of the other guys looked at us like we were aliens for
trying this one on, but I did see Bill D tackling "The Bushmasters"
which is another monster, so each to their own I guess!

On the bigger scenarios, I think there is some truth that they can be a
lot more forgiving of the odd bad dice or misplaced setup, but in this
one I had compounded my numerous setup mistakes far too much through
some very average play and some fairly horrible dice let me down when I
needed them the most. Misplacing the observer was a major faux pas and
then forgetting to place the SR marker just made it worse. Again, read
Mike Seningen's review and discussion on how to win in this one - it
really is excellent!

Tourney Game 4 AAR - SP97 Twilight of the Reich

Nick Drinkwater

German: Nick Drinkwater [ELR 2; SAN 3?]

Russian: Matt Shostak [ELR 4, SAN 2?]


Phew. After the meat grinder of Stalingrad, its onto the last desperate
death throws of the dreadful Third Reich, and my fourth new opponent!
And what a new opponent it was....the eventual Tournament 10-3
winner....Roll up Mr. Matt "I write articles on how to kill AFVs"
Shostak! (I think you can see where this one is going....).

Awesome AAR and many kind words from Matt on this one recently - I am
blushing here as I write this, but here's my view!

As Matt has related, this was our first meeting and we'd both been
looking forward to this one to happen, Matt because he wanted to meet
the guy who writes all the AARs, and me because I wanted to play one of
the top-ranking players in Texas and learn something. Due to an insane
work schedule prior to the tourney, I had had no chance to compose a
want-to-play scenario list for the weekend, so for all my opponents, I
was quite happy to play anything they had lined up. As you've seen, this
was the scenario for last year's tournament final and Matt wanted to
give it a spin: it looked fun, a bit quirky and there was some cool
terrain challenges to boot so we rolled for sides and I pulled the

Pre-Game Thoughts:

The scenario is set on half boards of Boards 43 and Boards 51(?) I think
and is a short and brutal Schwerpunkt affair from SP10. The VC requires
the Germans to have one of their three (!) Jagdpanthers both armed and
mobile within a 5-hex radius of hex J1 on Board 43. The key part in this
6 turn scenario is that the Russians retain the final initiative as they
move last, so if there are any German TDs left at game end, they are
going to need to be in Motion and hopefully covered in Smoke to pull
this off. The Germans have a micro-force to begin with, 2 x wires, 3 x
Foxholes, 2 x 436, 1 x 447, 2 x467, a 9-1 and an 8-0, plus HMG, LMG and
PsK - of course being May 1945, they have an abundance of Panzerfausts
and a three hex range so the Russians need to keep their distance.

However, they are not the only fausters in town...oh no. The Russians
also have PF capability and find and shoot them like June 1944 Germans
so they have a 2-hex range. Hmmm - they have just become quite tasty. To
go with this attack, they have something like 8-9 combined 458 and 447
squads, they are Guards so have Elite Ammo benefits, a 9-1 and 8-0
leader and a horribly effective armored force of 4 x T34 85s and 2
SU152s!! They even have an armor leader which by SSR can only be placed
in an Assault Gun. Yowza.

I have to set up my meagre forces within 5 hexes of the J1 victory hex
and this creates the first problem: the Russians have an entry
requirement that allows them to drive on anywhere on the southern board
edge AND half of the western edge, so trying to prevent some kind of
encirclement is going to be extremely difficult. There is one option to
try and defend at the back of the setup area on the edge of a small
one-street village and create a small Festung for the Germans, but this
would mean relinquishing all tactical initiative by ceding the very open
southern approaches directly to the Russians.

The alternative I chose was to try and defend a small semi-circular wood
in the center of the board with the few infantry assets I did have and I
tried to use the two wires to create some bog potential in open ground
gaps between the trees. This would hopefully force the powerful armor
force to go around the extreme flanks rather than slice through the
defenders and break them into smaller and smaller trunks. Like always, I
struggled a little bit to place the foxholes usefully, but in the end
placed my HMG and 9-1 in one in the point location of the woods: here
they could dominate both the western and southern approaches, but also
throw out quite a tasty lateral firelane to the east if required to
block flanking attempts. One of the 436s was deployed in a small walled
compound on the extreme west to increase the number of potential PF
shots going out - I am really going to need to kill a couple of these
tanks the hard way.

To counter the huge tactical flexibility available to the Russians of
the western approach, I tried to create a "refused eastern flank"
through use of my at-start Jagdpanther and a 436 in the foxhole below
it. This scenario is set on lonely beach terrain in northern Germany on
the very last day of the war and to represent the presence of Sand
Dunes, all grain was sand (with all the adjacent bog penalties) therein
and by SSR, two low dunes were placed on the western side of the board.
Interestingly the board configuration meant that both my Turn 2
Jagdpanthers were going to have to brave some '12' bog checks when
adjacent to the sand just to get to the victory area or cut across a
long east-west lateral gulley - more on this anon. The on-start
Jagdpanther started hulldown behind one dune crest at the beginning
facing west and we set up for the inevitable.


As expected from the quality player he is, Matt deployed an excellent
and powerful two pronged attack: four tanks and all the squads bar one
came on cautiously from the southern edge to be met by some dismal long
range shooting by the MG (rolls an 11). Matt quickly fires up both
Assault Guns to get some acquisition and my HMG / 9-1 is already
starting to feel the pressure from the big -1 acquisition counters lit
up on their heads! On the west flank, the game breaking movement
actually happened in Russian Movement phase Turn 1: Matt brought a T34
at the extreme northern edge of the entry area which meant he was in my
covered arc for only 1 MP - clearly now, this should have been the
boresighted hex for the Jagdpanther in that position, but I think my
lack of experience showed through as I had boresighted elsewhere, and I
missed with a 10 when needing a 5 To Hit (no rate, and 11 and 10 from my
first two shots of the game!!).

Now of course it is the painful decision I spin and declare IF
or try and gamble and ride out the storm on the +4 or more shot from
Matt from the bounding fire Sherman? I tried the latter as I was very
aware of the other Sherman waiting to come onboard and do the dance of
death on my Panther ass, but of course this was perhaps the wrong
option. As the Russians were guards, their APCR was an impressive 7 and
Matt waxed me straight off the bat. The crew did survive, and I was able
to burn the T34 from the entrenched T34 with the 436 on their second
shot (at last, a 4 on the To Hit!), but my principle AT asset was gone
from the get-go and Matt knew it. Matt quickly brought the other T34 on
to loop around right down to the northern board edge and put in some
nasty encirclement options from there.

It was a great move by Matt and really put me strongly on the back foot
from there on. In discussion afterwards, we both decided this really was
the key move as once the Jagdpanther had shot its one and only bolt from
the hulldown dune location, there was only one likely result. It really
needed to be much more centrally located, tucked in behind the woods
with a much longer field of view to the western edge to increase its
chances to hit the marauding Russian armor, and also its survivability.
Without it, my infantry guys were doomed to struggle against the machine
that was rolling towards them...

Anyway, back to the middle. Realizing just how uncomfortable my HMG guys
were feeling, they tried to get out of dodge, but the bloody foxhole did
its usual trick and they got swiftly broken by one of the big guns. Then
of course, the fickle hand of fate played its games again as my 9-1
leader turned berserk and took the accompanying 247 hs with him. I
wasn't even able to lay out my planned for firelane to stop his flanking
attack in my Defensive fire because of course, I'm no longer Good Order.
Hmmmmm. Well, never daunted, my guys determine to go on their last
heroic charge for the Fatherland and pit man against machine. Matt has
told us about the possible 8 or less to score the Critical Hit that
these guys could have faced from the 152* - they'd have been finding
pieces of these boys on the moon if that one had gone off! Wasn't to be
however as they went down in a hail of more normal gunfire.

After those two disasters, it really was just a case of seeing if I
could sneak an extremely unwarranted victory by some cheap move from the
Jagdpanthers. These two came on only to be immediately faced with an
interesting duel with Matt's flanking T34 which he won (by surviving)
through me missing him 4 times (the last two being by one each time on
To-Hits of ~7 – again, typical!). He then sent his rider squad to
threaten both these tanks with his inherent Panzerfaust option in the
gulley, but I managed to get out of that hole with the "Squid" off Smoke and then Reverse vehicular bypass out of there
as fast as possible. From then on, Matt swiftly mopped up my remaining
speedbump and leaderless infantry and was well placed to threaten me
both with his 5 surviving armor assets and all his infantry at the choke
point where the gulley met the sand and village. After exploring a ton
of Motion, Smoke Discharger and other options including a couple of
interesting rules questions, the first of my relief Jagdpanthers took
one roughly from behind through Smoke and Motion from a T34. The other
was busy trying to make its last turn victory dash when typically,
unbelievably, I went and rolled a 12 on a bog check on a sand accessible
hex and that was the game.


2-2 after this and so out of all running for the tournament but I'd
learnt several useful tips from one of the Zen masters of ASL. The dice
didn't help me at all, but I think my setup was a little bit flawed and
I needed to be game perfect to have any kind of chance as the defense in
this one. I think that for this scenario (and many other of the less
forgiving scenarios), it is perhaps better for the less experienced
player to take the attackers, as one small mistake will swiftly be
exploited by a skillful opponent, as Matt ably demonstrated. It was a
lot of fun to play Matt however and I picked up several little gems on
the details of ASL, and I look forward to crossing swords with him again
in the future.

0-1 to Austinites now (but still 0-0 vs Zeb!), but our coffee's still

Tourney Game 5 AAR - HP28 A Meaningful Diversion

Nick Drinkwater

German, Italian: Nick Drinkwater [ELR 4, SAN 3]

British: Bud Garding [ELR 4, SAN 4]


Second time out for me in the Heropax after my mauling at the hands of
Gillisov in Ligneuville Halt a month ago. This time its Anzio in early
1944 against a gentleman, in the true sense of word, from Kansas, Bud
Garding. We both wanted something slightly bigger than small, but
smaller than medium and this 6 turner (?) seemed to fit the bill nicely.
With no real 'wish-list' to play from either of us, we just trawled
through Bud's scenarios, saw this one with a mixed force of Germans and
Italians vs the Brits and rolled for sides. Very easy, and no checking
ROAR either (in fact I didn't check ROAR all weekend), though it
turns out it was 0-8 in the British favor! Luckily, as the dice turned
up showing me with the always difficult challenge of winning with
Italians, I didn't know this and we carried on anyway.

Pre-Game Thoughts:

This scenario is played lengthwise on Boards 18 and 24 and the valley is
in play, so there's actually quite a lot of terrain in this game for the
British to defend - stone houses everywhere, but SSR means that many of
the stone buildings in Board 24 are replaced by two large marsh
overlays. SSR means no roads are in play and that all movement by
vehicles costs an extra 1MP to cross a hexside - it will be a long slow
crawl to get off this one, and there will be no help from any Smoke
either which is also prohibited by SSR.

To win, the Germans have to exit 20 Infantry-only CVP off the back edge
by game end and they are given a tasty force to do this: 6 onboard 548s,
a 9-2, MMG, a hero, a LMG and a 75 non-emplaced RCL. In turn 2, a force
of 6 x 447 Italians appear with a FT amongst their toys and a 9-1
leader, and they are supported by a Stug IIIg and Stuh42. Finally, a
small force of 3 x 548 and another 9-1 can choose to enter along either
of the flanks on Turn 4 to slightly bypass any forward British defenders
and help with the push to the end.

To defend against this motley crew, the British are forced to spread
their forces thin across the width of both boards. Bud has a mixed force
of 457s, 458s (approximately 10 squads I think), a MMG, three PIATs,
some good and abundant British leadership and a hero. They are supported
in Turn 3 by the presence from the back edge of two Sherman IIas which
by then will know exactly what the Germans are going to do and where
they are going to go. Bud has to set up dispersed and he does all the
sensible options of entrenching guys on the Board 18 hilltops and
scattered among the various villas and woods both above and within the
Board 24 valley.

Looking at this, I really don't like the approach options to get through
Board 24 at all - it will be a long, hard choking slog through all the
marsh, brush and village but which will also involve moving along some
really exposed causeways through the marsh too. Not pretty. On the other
hand, trying to assault over and across the Board 18 Drumlin field also
has its own peculiar lack of charm as I will be brutally exposed in both
the initial setup and in the climb up and over in some very open ground.

Despite this, I think this route potentially offers more approach
options as if I can puncture the British line, the ridges are then going
to shelter me from a lot of shots from the valley and I can bypass a
chunk of Bud's force, hopefully pretty quickly. The initial two or three
turns out in the open are going to be critical however, and I may have
to suffer some pain first. Bud also has 24 factors of AP mines, but
those are just one of those things I just can't sweat...if they are
there, they are there and I can't do anything about them - to reduce
casualties, I will be using a half-squad blitz anyway and that's
probably my best protection against that threat.


Turn 1, first defensive shot from Bud's light mortar and he crits one of
my paratrooper squads to a half-squad. OK, that's not so good.
Hopefully this won't be a sign of things to come...

Well, it wasn't. I have to say now that I right royally diced the crap
out of Bud for the entire remainder of the scenario. I just couldn't
fail. I pushed straight up and over the outlying hill without a scratch,
I got the Italian Flamethrower (?!) running in no time and started to
reduce the defenders, I pushed an Italian half squad straight up a
lateral road into the face of a British squad in the backline: 1 MC.
Result? Surrender? Hero? No - Berserk! EVEN better - these guys just
went through that British squad like a knife through better and even
managed to whack their victims in CC! Italians!

Elsewhere, I continued to grind on forward, generated another hero and
went fanatic - all the more to hurt Bud with! At one point he had one
die-hard squad on the last frontal hill that refused to break either to
the Italian flamethrower or a hero led stack. Problem? No problem! Bud's
dice will take care of that...rolls a 3 on a MC, generates my sniper,
sniper falls straight on top of the problem squad and breaks them.
Problem gone away. Two shots later: I'm worried about a 9-1 and 457 that
can interdict my escaping forces...Problem? No problem! Bud's dice will
take care of that...rolls a 3 on a MC, generates my sniper, sniper falls
straight on top of the leader, kills him and breaks the squad with him.
Problem gone away. Next problem: I have a Sherman tank sat on one my
escape routes just waiting to grind me up...Problem? No problem! Get the
Italians to use a Captured PIAT to toast the tank!! (Mundo style points
for that one...). And off we all merrily hop for a nice win.


Due to the tough terrain configuration, it was very difficult for Bud to
get his Board 24 forces lateral to impede me - the few that did were
easily held off by the Germans and I think I was able to exit the entire
Italian order of Battle from the Board - possibly an ASL first?!! My
only casualty in the entire game was from that CRed German para squad
from the Crit with the Mortar in Turn 1 and a dead hero who sucked up
some fire doing some hero-ey thing - the rest were not scratched. In
contrast, I was able to burn both tanks and at least two-thirds of the
British infantry were dead or prisoners by the end, it was that bad.

My only failure weapon in the entire game was the RCL which gallantly
strived to hit anything, but continuously managed to achieve nothing.
What about the mines, you ask? What mines? Unluckily for Bud, at the
last minute he's swapped his mines around as he thought the Board 24
force needed some more help so scattered them in the obvious choke
points there, having removed them from the same pathway at the base of
the hill that I subsequently funneled all my forces through - as he said
at the time, once you've placed 'em, leave them - your reasons were good
the first time!

So, I move to 3-2 for the tourney and 2-0 lifetime against Kansas (all
of it). One against the odds for an Axis win. Deserving of a 0-8 record
for the Brits? Balanced? I haven't a clue. It was one of the freakiest
games of ASL I have ever played so its hard to know - this was surreal
and my hugest sympathy goes out to Bud who took this one squarely on the
chin with exceptional grace: no-one deserved that kind of treatment and
it felt like a bit of a mercy winning at the end. I can certainly see
why it would be hard for the Axis to win this particular scenario as
they have an unrelenting assault over very open ground into the teeth of
the dispersed, non cowering British defense, but if they do punch a hole
through then they have a good shout at winning this, assuming the
casualties have been light in the run-in. I would definitely steer clear
of the valley if played again – it looks better protected for the
Axis, but the approaches are actually more open than the hill approach,
and it would perhaps be a long slow slog through the marsh and dense
village with a tough gradual retreat by the Brits – I could easily
envisage the Axis just running out of time on that side.

I've now played two Heropax scenarios, the first having a hint of
the canine, and this one, with a very odd resolution, but compared to
many other older Critical Hit efforts, these packs look like they are
quite fun, and I may obtain them in the future.

Tourney Game 6 AAR - AP4 L'Abbey Blanche

Nick Drinkwater

German: Nick Drinkwater [ELR 5, SAN 2]

American: Cory Sosabee [ELR 4, SAN 3]


On to the last game of the weekend for me, played on Sunday morning.
Corey is a nice, quietly spoken and very patient guy from Dallas –
it was a pleasure to play him and even better, this one went right to
the wire in an absolute nailbiter. As the crowd had thinned out
considerably by then, we were both looking for something small and quick
playing as we both had significant drives home that afternoon. Cory was
keen to try the tactical challenge offered by L'Abbey Blanche, a
small, but interesting scenario from the first of the Action Packs put
out by Avalon Hill in the late 90's, set on the mythical Board 42.

Pre-Game Thoughts:

We diced for sides and I got the easy job of trying to kick the
American's out – Cory had the much tougher task of trying to put
me back in to my place and design a killer, stop them dead in their
tracks defense amongst the dense bocage and orchards in the summer of
44. SSR meant that the big pond was covered by orchard overlay which
provided a great but obvious approach route on the right side.

To win this, I had to exit a minimum of 16 infantry-only CVP off the
back edge in 5.5 turns. Nice and straightforward then. Not so. The real
kicker is that for every CVP the US inflicts on me, I have to add one to
my exit CVP level…OUCH! Talk about a dire need for force
preservation – every VP counts and even the loss of a measly
half-squad counts. From the OOB, Matt told me that if lose 6VP or more,
I can't win – great! This one has to be approached with much
caution and keep the -1/-2 shots to a minimum.

The big problem I have is that every single US unit starts HIP! This
alone almost guarantees that the Germans HAVE to come on through the
big, right sided orchard patch instead of the more open left side, which
makes Cory's job a lot easier. Cory is given a single 666, a 336
half-squad, 2 x 228 crews, 2 x 126 crews, a 9-1, 8-0 and 7-0, 3 x MMG, 1
Bazooka and 24 AP Mines to play with. In addition, he is given two of
the 76L AT Guns to stiffen everything up – it doesn't look a
lot, but like everything the real threat lies in the unseen part of the
OOB. SSR means that single leaders can throw out 1FP attacks like
leaders, and even these lowly shots could hurt me on the CVP cap issue,
so I need to take care.

I shouldn't complain too much as my own force is really tasty –
it consists of 10 x 658s, a 9-1, 8-1, 2 x 7-0, MMG, 3 x LMG, 1 PSk, 1 x
DC and 2 of the 75* HT, but as stated I have to be really wary of the
CVP cap here. Ideally, I'm really going to need the HT to throw some
Smoke around and also to be a useful block to any tricks from exit-row
firelanes that Cory may be planning – clearly I'm going to need


So, all that said, my first move is brainless and in the first Defensive
Fire I drive both half-tracks right in front of the hidden AT Gun and
they are both reduced to smoking wrecks. Oh-KAY. That's the end of
that plan then. Staring imminent disaster in the face, I do a quick PMC
and push on – my 9-1 and a 658 end up straight in the first
minefield at the front of the orchard, and then they get whacked hard as
the first MMG drops cover and shreds them – down a half-squad and
its Turn 1. Great. Big PMC test here. Keep pushing on, and walk on into
another minefield, then find a third the hard way too – only two 12s
on the effects rolls save my bacon here. Eventually, I wake up and
search out the last minefield hex, but its been painful as another
half-squad is dead.

I am however, pushing hard into the walled compound on the right and
able to force back the crew and MMG plus a 7-0 and 9-1 leader, and also
kill the Gun crew in CC – the limited LOS due to bocage is actually
proving to be friend and I'm getting a great refresher on claiming
wall advantage. Cory then springs the next part of the trap and shows
the 667 and MMG in a flanking shot where he unluckily fails to hurt me
significantly. I luckily whack him with an AFPH snakes on Assault Fire
and he has to recoil broken backwards. From this I continue to push on
through the walled compound, kill off the 7-0 for FTR, but the 9-1 and
the rallying crew with MMG escape into the backwood.

The removal of the squad with the MMG opens up an opportunity to me to
punch a couple of squads diagonally through the woods – all going
swimmingly until I walk point blank in front of the other AT Gun on a
woods / road hex. I get lucky and only break, and at the same time I
have pushed hard through the main part of the woods with all my other
squads. We're now in the last turn and a half and every move is
critical. I still have the numbers to do it, but Cory has a line of
broken, rallying and unbroken units in every hex – tricks like
Infantry OVR aren't going to work here due to the costs involved. I
bump concealment from his hs and a MMG and then assault move my 8-1 and
a squad adjacent – Cory breaks both! No worries, they'll rally
in Turn 6 and be ready for the rush. I also am bale to kill off the
other Gun crew in CC and open up the woods road for the last turn dash.

The last US movement turn is not so good – Cory rallies a crew and
worse, is able to rally his 666 with the MMG which is now in MY
backfield. Oh. He also survives a batch of heavy defensive fire with
only a pin on a crew with MMG and 8-0 leader adjacent to the outermost
woods hex – I really needed that one to break! On the left side, the
only threat he will be able to offer is a 9-1 leader, but that can still
dish out a 1FP Residual attack and I am awful when it comes to passing
those… Most worryingly, the 666 and MMG self-rally and come running
back to DM my 8-1 and half-squad, which is exactly not what I need for
Turn 6. Cory quite correctly spends a lot of time thinking about and
planning how he wants everything in place for the last turn rush, and
does everything I would have done. All is ready.

Things are still looking good for me – we carefully tot up who is
still alive, who needs to rally, and what margin for error there is and
I think I am least one squad to the good. Then a massive disaster
strikes in my Turn 6 rally: my 8-1 goes and rolls boxcars and then
shoots himself – a tragedy in itself, but that means I have to now
get off 19 CVP – stupid fool! It now becomes supercritical that the
broken squad blasted by the hidden gun self-rallies - thank heaven they

Quickly, I move all the easy stuff that is no imminent danger with few
worries, including the odd outlying squad or two through the grainfield.
I then get a couple of more difficult squads past the lone 9-1
leader's 1 FP attack on the left flank, and I am quickly at 17CVP
offboard. However, since the 8-1 is dead, I now have one squad left to
get the victory and zero margin for error. This squad has to move
through trees adjacent to the MMG crew that only pinned – he takes
the first 8-flat shot, loses rate, Cory rolls a 9 and I must take the
Pin check – passed with an 8! PHEW!

Cory then declares Sustained Fire on the Second Movement Point, and
rolls a 7 for a second pin check….

The tension is horrible – 9 or more and I suck on the bitter taste
of defeat, 8 or less and its gold medals all around.

Throw the dice….a six!

Victory at the very death.


My heavens, this was a close one…we had a crowd of onlookers
watching us at this point and you could feel the tension in the air. All
or nothing, but I managed to win on passing two successive pin checks.
It was brutal on Cory as he had played a masterful defense and I had
pretty much wandered into every trap all the way – well played by
him and I felt really pleased to have scraped this one out as it really
made me work after the farce with the two half-tracks in Turn 1. We
really stretched all the first fire, wall advantage, bocage and
concealment options and this is a great primer for anyone who wants to
learn up on all of these. It turned into a classic and an excellent
game. England international cricketer Ashley Giles has been known to
refer to those really, really close cricket matches as
"arse-nippers" – this was arse-nipping indeed.

I can easily see how this could easily blow out – if handled
incorrectly, the SS could blow straight throw the Americans with little
problems as they are an extremely strong force. On the other hand, I
could easily see you could easily blow it as the SS to a bad sniper and
the loss of a key unit or two would push you straight over the CVP cap.
However, if both players take it carefully and either of those two
situations could be avoided then it will turn into a
`to-the-wire' special where every single firepower and every
single movement factor will count.

Awesome, and the best game I played all weekend.

So 4-2 overall for the weekend and I have had an absolute blast. Six new
players as opponents and some great new friends and excellent memories
to add to that. Once again, thanks to Rick for his unstinting efforts
and hope to see you all again next year for some more!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

2007 Texas ASL Team Tournament Final Results

Player Scores
Player                      Score   Wins  Losses

------------------------- -------- ------ ------
Matt Shostak                6.0      7      1

Zeb Doyle                   5.0      6      1
Mike Seningen               4.0      4      0
Jim Ferrell                 3.0      4      1
David Longstreet            3.0      4      1
Randy Shurtz                3.0      4      1
Eric Gerstenberg            3.0      4      1
Jeff Toreki                 2.0      2      0
Ed Beekman                  2.0      3      1
Nick Drinkwater             2.0      4      2
Sam Tyson                   2.0      4      2
Dan Ryan                    1.0      1      0
Tom Gillis                  1.0      2      1
Bryan Register              1.0      3      0
Clinton Howell              1.0      3      2
John Hyler                  1.0      4      3
Mike Rose                   0.0      2      2
Chris Buehler               0.0      2      2
Jeff Taylor                 0.0      2      2
Norman Harman               0.0      2      2
Doyle Motes                 0.0      2      2
Jerry Simmons               0.0      3      3
Jack O'Quin                 0.0      1      1
Glen Gray                   0.0      2      2
Bill Zopff                  0.0      0      0
John Garlic                 0.0      0      0
Matt Schwoebel              0.0      0      0
Cory Sosebee               -1.0      3      4
Scott Hopkins              -1.0      2      3
Glenn Schools              -1.0      1      2
Rick Reinesch              -1.0      1      2
Manabu Matusuura           -1.0      1      2
John Farris                -1.0      1      2
Russell Mueller            -1.0      0      1
Roy Connelly               -2.0      2      4
Mike Cadieux               -2.0      1      3
Walter Eardley             -2.0      1      3
Scott Bell                 -2.0      1      3
Allen King                 -2.0      1      3
Bill Dorre                 -2.0      0      2
Chuck Anderson             -3.0      1      4
Steven Miller              -3.0      0      3
Kevin Kenneally            -4.0      0      4
Brian Roundhill            -5.0      1      6
Bud Garding                -6.0      0      6

Major Johnson Scores
Player                     MJ Total

------------------------- --------
John Hyler                19940.0

Brian Roundhill           19309.5
Matt Shostak              16932.5
Zeb Doyle                 14522.0
Jim Ferrell               13795.25
Sam Tyson                 13746.0
Jerry Simmons             12488.0
Bud Garding               11319.75
Randy Shurtz              11112.5
Cory Sosebee               9597.0
Clinton Howell             9445.1
Jeff Taylor                8508.0
Doyle Motes                7794.0
Mike Rose                  7723.5
Roy Connelly               7462.0
Ed Beekman                 7152.9
Allen King                 7134.0
Bryan Register             6953.75
Mike Cadieux               6942.0
Nick Drinkwater            6937.5
Scott Bell                 6513.0
David Longstreet           6316.0
Glenn Schools              5539.0
Bill Dorre                 4802.6
Kevin Kenneally            4347.2
Chris Buehler              3784.0
Scott Hopkins              3636.75
Rick Reinesch              3548.75
Norman Harman              3455.0
Glen Gray                  3337.0
Walter Eardley             3196.4
Chuck Anderson             2698.75
Steven Miller              2554.5
John Farris                2552.5
Eric Gerstenberg           2035.0
Mike Seningen              1958.6
Jeff Toreki                1510.0
Manabu Matusuura           1341.0
Tom Gillis                 1314.0
Bill Zopff                  585.0
Jack O'Quin                 536.0
Dan Ryan                    245.0
Russell Mueller             181.5
John Garlic                   0.0
Matt Schwoebel                0.0

Team Scores
Team                                    Score     Wins    Losses

------------------------------------- ---------- -------- --------
David Longstreet,Zeb Doyle,             8.0        10       2

Dan Ryan,Mike Seningen,                 5.0        5        0
John Farris,Matt Shostak,               5.0        8        3
Clinton Howell,Ed Beekman,              3.0        6        3
Jeff Toreki,Norman Harman,              2.0        4        2
NORTH TEXAS                             2.0        17       11
Jim Ferrell,Scott Hopkins,              2.0        6        4
CENTRAL TEXAS                           1.87       38       24
Jeff Taylor,Tom Gillis,                 1.0        4        3
Bill Dorre,Randy Shurtz,                1.0        4        3
Glenn Schools,Sam Tyson,                1.0        5        4
Jack O'Quin,John Hyler,                 1.0        5        4
Nick Drinkwater,Scott Bell,             0.0        5        5
Chris Buehler,Glen Gray,                0.0        4        4
Eric Gerstenberg,Steven Miller,         0.0        4        4
HOUSTON                                -0.4        20       22
Bryan Register,Roy Connelly,           -1.0        4        5
Jerry Simmons,Mike Cadieux,            -2.0        4        6
Allen King,Doyle Motes,                -2.0        3        5
FOREIGNERS                             -3.0        13       25
Chuck Anderson,Mike Rose,              -3.0        3        6
Brian Roundhill,Manabu Matusuura,      -6.0        2        8
Bud Garding,Walter Eardley,            -8.0        1        9

Audie Murphy
Player                     Snakes

------------------------- --------
Jeff Taylor                32

Jim Ferrell                24
John Hyler                 24
Sam Tyson                  23
Ed Beekman                 22
Brian Roundhill            19
Bryan Register             19
Tom Gillis                 18
Doyle Motes                17

Col Klink
Player                     Boxes

------------------------- --------
Brian Roundhill            33 (Ok, he stopped counting at 33)

Bud Garding                32
Sam Tyson                  25
Jim Ferrell                23
Doyle Motes                22
John Hyler                 21
Ed Beekman                 18
Tom Gillis                 18
Mike Rose                  16