Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thunderbird Tournament AAR - Part I

Matt Shostak

The Oklahoma tournament is run a little bit differently than ours (Texas Team Tournament). Friday's games were used to qualify for the main tournament, which would occur on Saturday and Sunday. In conjunction with that, there would be an "other" tournament for the non-qualifiers. Since there were 24 players, that easily split into 16 for the main tournament and 8 for the other (or perhaps the "rest of the best" or something like that). Each of these tourneys was single elimination. Scenarios were to be chosen from a preselected list, which was available on the Oklahoma ASL website ahead of time.

First up for me on Friday was Patrick Ireland, and we chose "Out of the Shadows" from Dispatches for our contest. We diced for sides and he got the Germans, attacking. Highlight of the game for me was my Wolverine getting a lot of rate to erase a German squad that had crept a little too close to my frontline troops. The highlight for Pat was probably when his Panther lobbed a critical hit on the steeple of the village church, whacking my 9-2-led MMG and half squad, which had been harassing his troops quite effectively in the early game. Overall though Pat's approach was probably a little too cautious, and when my reinforcing squads arrived it was obvious that the Germans would not be able to seize their objectives. It was great seeing Pat again and I look forward to more games with this fine gentleman.

Next was the redoubtable Greg Schmittgens from Kansas. Many of you know the Kansas guys from their repeated appearances at our tourney, although I think it's been a while since we've seen Greg. At any rate, he's a great pleasure to play, as are all the Kansans: very knowledgeable about the rules, good with his tactics, and all the while thoroughly enjoying himself. And why not? He acted the part of a crazed pyromaniac (is there any other kind of pyro?) in our game of "Penetrate This!" which I think is from Schwerpunkt. We diced for sides, and he got the defending Russians, armed with plenty of molotov cocktails, holding onto a couple of factories in an urban area strewn with rubble, in the late war.

I think this one may be a bit tough on the Germans, but others who played it at the tournament disagreed, so perhaps it's just a case of Greg making it seem difficult. The Germans have to take two factories, plus exit 10 pts. from the far end, at least 5 of which must be infantry. Fortunately, prisoners count in this one. Greg packed the factories with most of his force, with a couple of outliers guarding the flanks and looking for exit attempts through the constricted terrain. Early on I broke his MMG squad upstairs in one of those buildings, and mopped up at the next opportunity, taking them prisoner. I haven't done mopping up in a while. In general I thought that I didn't have much time to prosecute an assault on the factories, so I had to risk my two Panthers in the front line. The first one quickly succumbed to a molotov attack. The other managed to briefly freeze a squad, which allowed some of my assault engineers to get their foot in the door. Later this same Panther got drilled by a point blank APCR shot from one of the reinforcing T-34/85s as it tried to plow through another factory location. It seemed to me that, sensing victory, Greg pushed his Russians forward a bit in the factories to try to put the game away for good, instead of playing it safe and skulking like crazy and burning the clock. At one point I think we had each reinforced a melee enough so that I had an 8-0 and 3x8-3-8 against 2x6-2-8 and 1x3-2-8. That's working it old-school. This melee eventually went the Germans' way big time, and the factory defenses started collapsing. The endgame arrived with the Germans still needing to get one last factory location, but that was almost certain, and still needing to exit 2 or 3 points on the last turn. It's all a bit of a blur, but the Germans just pulled it out, barely. Great game. 2-0 and ready for the main event.

End of part 1.

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