"A Bridge Too Far 2004” Arnhem ASL Tournament
Last updated: April 21, 2010
Information about the 2004 tournament:
The 2004 Arnhem ASL tournament was won by
Melvin Falk (Sweden, 5-0)
Albrecht Dekker (The Netherlands, 4-1)
Klaes-Eric Ryberg (Sweden, 4-1)
Other 4-1 finishers: Jamie Roberts
(Canada), Philippe Briaux (France), Bo Siemsen (Denmark), Christian
Koppmeyer (Germany), Luis Sagaz (Spain), Daniel
Qvarfordt (Sweden) and Randy Rossi (USA).
The ASL Event started on Thursday, September 16th 2004, when an Operation Veritable Battlefield Tour took place. A group of 36 visited the Goch-Kalkar area of Germany and explored the HASL "Riley's Road" Historical Mapboard. We then crossed back into Holland and visited the Dutch War Museum in Overloon, Netherlands. Thursday evening was reserved for friendly gaming at the Tournament Venue.
Tournament prizes for 2004 were provided by
Multi Man Publishing,
Canuck Publishing and Trojan
After Action Reports
Two AAR's are posted here. The first one is from Bo Siemsen, the second one from Albrecht Dekker. You can read the AAR Chris Milne posted on the warfare HQ forum. More are welcome and will be posted as we receive them!!
Bo Siemsen wrote this AAR:
Arriving in Arnhem Wednesday
evening with fellow Danes Michael Hastrup-Leth, Magnus Hindsberger, Jes
Touvdal and Torben Jørgensen we were treated to a great event at the
bridge in Arnhem. Due to the 60 year anniversary the bridge was closed
for the everyday traffic, instead there was a memorial event including
fly-by’s of a B-25 a mustang and paratroopers jumped from a couple of
Hercules planes and landed nearby. To top it all off there was a
bag-pipe lead parade across the bridge of veterans from the Market
Garden operations. They received a standing ovation from the thousands
that were there.
Thursday was the day of the tour of the Operation Veritable battlefield. We drove up the H1-H10 paved road – stopped at the milk-factory (the original building was still there), continued down the Goch-Kalkar road making stops around JJ12, AA24 and C19. Most of the roads were still there, but it sure wasn’t easy to see what was to supposed to be level -1, 0 and 1. The afternoon was spent in a nearby dutch museum which unfortunately was a bit low on detail in describing the various pieces and mostly in dutch ... but the impressive Panther made up for most of it.
Thursday evening it was time for a bit of friendly gaming. I hooked up with one of the participating americans Randy Rossi. We played a smallish scenario called Panzers in the Park (TEF1 – nr.3). A pretty simple – “take the house in the field of orchards” scenario.
Since I had to go to the cash machine and get some Euro’s to pay for the tournament (not to mention bar tap) Randy got to play the German defenders while I would attack with the Russians. My initial approach was fairly cautious, though in turn 2 when I tried to more or less overrun the German flank Randy rolled back-to-back snakeeyes with the 2 Panzer IV’s he had in support. That routed a 3rd of my infantry – but the rest bravely stood infront of the german machinegun fire and survived forcing the Germans back into the building and into hiding on the first floor. When my tank crew after bailing out advanced onto the last german tank and destroyed it (a leader helped) was more or less a matter of time before the completely surrounded and encircled germans would crack. And they did. Randy was a great pleasure to play against … and apparently he knew I was kicking his ass before I realized it myself.
In the first round I was matched up against a friendly Canadian Serge Lemay. We opted for the Balkan Dawn (PB-CH (c)) scenario, I took the croats and he selected the Partisans. The partisans had to take a number of buildings to win the scenario, the number could be increased if I managed to exit some infantry off the board edge. Setting up in nice sturdy stone buildings I felt pretty good about this game. Serge had misjudged line of sights from the woods of his choice, which meant his gun (after initially failing a smoke attempt) never really was a part of the scenario. Add to that that one of the partisans squads guarding my exit route broke early – and the other one went berserk charging across the street into a hail of bullets and a less than glorious death, so I could exit squads and crews if necessary. Serge conceded the game short after. 1-0.
I was paired against French player Phillipe Rohmer. The late friday scenarios were significantly bigger than the first round, which was fine by me. We agreed on Hitlers Samurai (waffen-ss 2: FF12), but both went for the Russian attacker. He won the dice roll and kept the Russians.
I set up with just about all my forces in the village, including the roadblock protected by anti-personal mines including some very nice MG positions covering the mines and roadblock and a HIP Panzershreck adjacent to the roadblock. My guns both were set up behind the village in trenches on level 2 from where they could overlook most of the battlefield. We were ready for the onslaught of Russian infantry and 10 tanks.
Phillipe’s original plan of attack was disrupted before he had moved one single counter. He was counting on a Barrage of smoke coming down in a pre-registered hex in the prep fire phase, but drew a red chit for the OBA. Instead the infantry was scatterede all over taking a few losses to machinegunfire. I lost my only AT-Gun (75L) thanks to nice set of boxcars … and subsequent ‘6’ roll to repair. Lucky for me, Phillippe did exactly the same thing with his .50 cal MG – Boxcars followed by a 6. He also managed a set of boxcars for one of the T-34’s immobilizing it – and when two of his T-34/85’s drove right into my PSK/Roadblock trap things quickly looked decent for me despite the loss of my only long range AT weapon.
Phillippe continued his cautious approach looking for mines and the other HIP guy while using his 120mm OBA for smoke only, so by the time my 2 JagdPanthers and Mortar halftracks arrived he still hadn’t penetrated the outer perimeter of my defence. The two Tankdestroyers … well … destroyed some tanks while the infantry failed to get organized and coordinated in their attack. When Phillippe conceded the only thing I had lost was the 75L gun that I had disabled myself. 2-0
In the early Saturday morning scenario I was teamed up against the laughing swede Claes-Erik Rydberg. Each eliminating a scenario we ended up playing Moshoof Melee (MLR 3) with me as the German defender. I set up just about everything in or around the farmhouse that we would be fighting for and the 80mm Mortar in the woods covering the most logical approach for the brits. I was not too interested in dividing my forces against the horde of brits. The objective was either to capture/hold all 4 key buildings by either side or otherwise get 3 more vp’s than the other guy.
As expected Claes-Erik comes through those woods with just about all his forces, unfortunately my 80mm Mortar doesn’t do any damage like I had hoped - and it only gets one or two firephases before it is eliminated by a critical hit from a 50mm mortar. Having fortified the front building I am able to hold off the british until my turn 5 of 6. When the squad in there finally breaks in defensive fire the intensity of the game boils over when Claes-Erik loudly shouts “YES!!!!” clenching his fists. Not only does the broken squad allow him to take the all-important building it’s also worth 4 vp’s as the squad surrenders rather than routing. I try to move into a position to reclaim the building in my 6th turn by advancing squad/HMG/9-1 adjacent to that house. Unfortunately anoher well placed snakeeyes from Claes-Erik on a 4+1 breaks the squad and I have to take a more cautious approach. Heading into overtime (the 7th turn, as the game was undecided after 6) he’s in a position to win due to the vp’s from the prisoners. I go for the knockout punch trying to capture his isolated infantry – I get the 9-1 with a squad adjacent to his squad/leader but my guys pin. So, I draw some more fire from his various units trying to get an opening for the encirclement of his squad/leader we go down to the last move when my 8-1 and a squad has to run through a 6-1 (and possibly there could have been subsequent 2+1 or 2flat shots on the way, but that’s all).
But the 6-1 was all that was needed – another pair of snake eyes. Claes-Erik wins and continued his quest for glory … while I quickly head over to Mel Falk (the eventual tournament winner) to purchase a set of precision dice for myself. Apparently those things really know when to roll snakeeyes : - ). A very tense and exciting game – I can’t wait to get a chance for a rematch against this guy. 2-1
After being the defender for 3 straight rounds – generally I prefer to attack in ASL – I requested that Peter should find me an opponent who was willing to be the defender in Bloody Bobruisk (OB 8) which was the smallest of a set of really big scenarios and luckily Peter was able to provide me with an opponent – Lars Thuring.
Having finished the 3rd round late Lars and I don’t get to start the scenario until around 7.30-8.00 which was unfortunate considering the monster scenario – so I decide to play somewhat gung-ho so we could get as much of it done as possible. Up against some really remarkable german panzer’s I lose quite a bit of the Russian armor to only a few of the German tanks. The first 3 of his panzers really stand their ground fending off the Russian armor in very superior numbers. One of the German panzers I’m sure will not be remembered fondly by Lars. That guy drives into a really poor position attracting the 120mm OBA to fall right on the Germans key defensive position and the OBA ends up taking out the 75L AT gun he had on the first floor of a fortified building – and also temporarily clears out the ground-floor machinegun nest. The 2 other Panzer IV’s take out 4 other tanks, shocks 2 more and effectively was the reason one of the Russian tanks were immobilized due to ESB before I finally am able to destroy them. Lucky for me the 2 shocks return to fight (including the flamer).
Meanwhile the infantry battle is going much better, in the 4 turns we manage to play I have mobbed up 4 buildings and the 5th was about to fall as I melee was goingg on with 3 of my squads to one of his. I think that I would eventually get that building – despite his intention to reinforce with a hip halfsquad he had hidden in a wood.
Around 2 o’ clock at night we had to stop playing and decide a winner. We both agreed that there was plenty of game left on the board. We’d played just 4½ of 8½ turns. Lars brought out his remaining hidden guns. The 88 did cover the majority of the attack-path that was the most obvious. We agreed that the chances were 60-40 in his favor and then we rolled a dice to determine who would get the tournament ‘win’. Roll 1, I got the win. In retrospect I actually think my chances were better than 40% – in our discussions we didn’t consider that the gun could be distracted by a tank charging it’s position outside the covered arc or the OBA I still had could put down a layer of smoke on the road I had to cross. Then I probably would have been able to make the significant advantage I had in infantry count and capture that final building I needed … but there really was half a game left to play, that was a real shame that we didn’t get any further than we did. Lars, I hope we can get a re-match fairly soon. I’d really like that. 3-1
On sunday morning I was paired up against Luis Calcada of Portugal. We decided to play First and Inches (PBP #25). First and Inches is an absolutely smashing scenario with Germans and Americans taking turn to have the initiative … attacking and defending, both Luis and I had played it before. I got the Americans.
I set up my only bazooka with the only 9-1 leader, hoping to make it look like a machine gun. I was able to get a few decent (6 to hit) shots at his vehicles early on, without success though. I felt Luis was a bit too cautious, not trying to score enough points early on before my reinforcements would arrive. When my reinforcements did arrive they charged on aggressively, captured one building and securing 2 others while also sending vehicles and infantry round the flanks and the Germans started crumbling fairly quick. I surrounded his isolated FlakVierling with 2 bazookas and it was quicky destroyed, while I had some luck to hit one of his stugs in advancing fire with a Tank destroyer. Luis conceded the game after 3 turns. 4-1
The 4 wins was enough to finish 6th in the tournament, well above my own expectations. The prize I got was a scenario pack called Panzer Aces. I already had that one though, but I was so lucky that swedish Daniel Qvarford was willing to trade the scenario pack he’d won (Wacht am Rhein) for Panzer Aces. All it took was a bit of convincing from fellow swede Peter Rogneholt. Thanks a lot guys.
I also have to thank our hosts Peter and Liz Struif for arranging such a terrific tournament and event. They did everything they could to make sure everybody had a great time and got to play what they really wanted to play. Most tournaments tend to have a completely random draw in the tournament, but Peter went to great lengths to make sure people didn’t play someone from their own country unless unavoidable … and even that we got to play exactly the scenario we preferred. Great work Peter and Liz.
Albrecht Dekker wrote about the tournament:
The third bridge after action report.
It was Friday very early in the morning. Boudewijn and I were entering the competition. I saw people from al over the world. Many Swedes and Danes. It was a pity that the only Swiss entrance had to leave before the tournament.
First round: Where the bullet meets the bone.
Both my opponent a Swede and I wanted to play the partisans. My opponent won the dice roll, so he decided to take the Italians and gave me the partisans. My first approach was an overrun with both my tanks over an Italian squad. This was the first and last thing my tanks did other than to disable the main armament of the first tank and abandon the second tank. The abandoning crew helped me more outside the tank. The first three turns went bad. I didn’t get a real foothold in the city. Only a lonely squad charged a squad and killed it in a 1-1 close combat. Because I threw snake eyes the squad delivered their own personal leader. The leader broke and never rallied. Still this leader did a very important job. He prohibited routing towards him and so caused a failure to route for several squads. But still my attack made hardly progress. Some squads attacked via the gully. If the Italian had counter attacked and put an afv on the far side of the gully, my attack would have failed and I would have been in big trouble. Luckily the Italian was afraid he would lose his tank and kept his tanks out of the fray. In turn 4 the cvp where accumulating on my side and a lucky shot on his tank destroyed his tank, so it was easy to take the 31 VP (actually it were 42)
Second round: Cats Lair against Lars Thuring.
A friend of mine thought that Cats Lair was an imbalanced dog and the German could not win because of the mighty power of the Russian armour. I thought the armour wasn’t the main weapon to win the game. The infantry should carry the day. I deployed my tanks on board 44 so I could win every long-range dual with the Russians. My Infantry I left in the village with some halfsquads with lmg in a foxhole and building looking as if those units were a real defending force. My psk was with my 9-2 and two 8-3-8 in the village defending against a terrible OTA. The tank battle went not as good as I hoped it would. After turn two two of my panthers were burning and the last one was stunned. In return I killed one T 34, a SU 85 and another 85 went with a disabled gun home. Still my infantry was holding the village. In turn four my opponent could make a move he could increase his change to win. If he would have exited three T34/76 he needed only one exit victory point to meet his first VC an could with all of his force attack the village. Instead he kept his T34/76 onboard as pray for the tigers. In my turn my tigers destroyed two t34 and my infantry took care of the third. Now the balance tipped to my side. Lars was off balance and attacked with his OTA my Tiger and so transformed his tank into a blaze. This was the last mistake he made. I would repeat him in round four to attack with my ota a marder. (USE OTA always against infantry!) So a fine win and again did my opponent slip me through his hands.
Round three: Obstinate Canadians against Randy.
It was a long time ago I played a night scenario. My night scenarios are more prone to yield some war stories. I’ve once lost a night scenario because I illuminated all my forces and my opponent could walk past me with out any resistance. My Canadians had to hold one of two buildings or an obscure hill hex. I decided to defend f16 with an extra-fortified cellar. I put my leader with radio in side and with my pre registered hex this was a good defendable position. In front on the road I put my 9-2 with a squad + lmg to fire lane the road. Randy putted wrong stacks in wrong cloaking counters. So he saw his attack taking a strange direction. He wanted to decide the game very early and attacked my 9-2 with his 9-1 with 5-4-8 in cc. Unfortunally his men all got killed and I got his mmg, which I didn’t fire in the night. His other force went through the woods and got stuck in my harassing fire even his fanatic squad got broken or pinned at crucial times. Talking about artillery the chit draw of the battery access was very much fun. Randy had the Iraqi card game. And yes Saddam’s card meant more fire on those jerries. I nearly blundered myself into disaster. Randy later told me that he nearly could enter the building and kill my leader. Luckily I managed to pin his squad on the right moment. So my leader with the radio could safe the day. On the other side of the board I recaptured building e14. So the last turn should be decisive for Randy the only way to win was crashing his tanks into my building and hoping they would dive into the cellar. This last resort went to far for Randy so he hoped for al lucky shot. And yes there was a lucky shot. In building e14 there was a concealed German squad at ground level. So my squad fired his piat end…. Yes here it was the lucky shot. Snake eyes and you could scrape of the Germans of the ceiling.
Round four: Bloody Bobruisk
So it was three out of three! And I came to play bloody Bobruisk. This is a real nice one. Real bloody and much fun. I began with a blunder. I didn’t look to well at Melkers setup and I attacked at his strongest side, because I would defend other buildings in this scenario. And ignored his other flank. So my attack went against te bulk of his defence so my progress was very slow. In a snail tempo I advanced towards my enemy. A tactical blunder was my advance move with a leader and two squads,… into a minefield. Was it only blundering? No, I could on the other side do many casualties to his men defending from the second floor. So the first three turns the game progressed even. Then Melker tried to drive a tank away out of building u2. This tank bogged and immobilized. This was strangely good luck for Melker. This tank managed three times to clear the building of Russian squads. Those man deserved the Ritterkreuz erste klasse, mit eichenlaub und hütte käse. On my left flank, I eventually broke through and threatened to capture an important victory building. With good craftsmanship Melker managed to keep me out of the building until he could occupy that building. Now I realized that with amny broken squads two turns weren’t enough to try to tak on of his three buildings. So after a good and fun game I resigned. We made it a very bloody bobruisk. At the and I had only one AFV that wasn’t immobile in a dumb place and only ten squads. The German had only 4 ½ squad.
Round five: First and inches.
Yesterday I played a unbeaten player. Today I was again matched up against an unbeaten player. I wanted to play the Americans so I pressed my opponent with the balance in the German side. The game began very well for me. The German drove his whirlwind point blank to a squad and I managed get a NMC out of my shot. My opponent decided that was now the moment to throw boxcars. Still he could manage to infiltrate the village some way and I saw his vp increase to much. He made one mistake, he didn’t defend the buildings in the back of his assault and so I could re capture some of those buildings in turn two and three. Now I could make out of the chaotic situation, a positions, that was more ore less like a frontline. In this case the American fire and man power did save the day. The scenario was won in turn 5, but it would have bin a hole different bal game when I didn’t recall the whirlwind.
I won four games; I lost against the winner and eventually I came in second. So it was a fun tournament with a winner who deserved it. I hope to see you all next year. Peter the organisation was perfect. You’ve done a hell of a Job!