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MBT WBC 2022 After Action Report

Doug Smith's Soviets surge to victory
     Although attendance was down in this COVID-19 rebound year, eight enthusiastic MBT combatants faced off in some exciting hypothetical 1980s era NATO/Warsaw Pact battles.  Reigning champion Jon Squibb and 2018 Champ Doug Smith were back, as were veterans Ron Jongeling, Nathan Trent, Pierre Massar and Rob Schoenen. Two welcome new players were added to our group as Jack Proksh and Ted Drozd engaged in battle.
     In addition to the many published scenarios, interesting player-designed scenarios were available for contestants to contest, based on guidelines in MBT’s Playbook.
     Heat 1 began with three different scenarios chosen amongst 8 players:
Out of the Woodwork: Soviet T-64s and BMP-2s try to fight their way through a screening force of British Scimitars and Challengers. Nathan’s British defeated Jon’s Soviets in an upset of the reigning champ. A misplayed rule resulted in Rob defeating Jack’s Brits. Apologies to Jack from the GM, who should have known the scenario better.
Late to the Party:  A late-arriving platoon of T-72s work with BRDM-2s trying to beat an understrength company of American M60s to two hilltops. Ron’s T-72s and BRDM-2 anti-tank units held off Pierre’s M60 company.
1st Clash: MBT scenario #1 features a straightforward slugfest between nine T-72s and fifteen American M60s. Doug’s superior numbers managed to defeat Ted’s higher quality Soviet tanks.
     Heat 2 saw four returning players compete:
Late to the Party: Another Soviet win in this scenario, with Doug defeating Nathan.
Another Desperate Salient: In this new design for the 2022 tournament, isolated German troops brace for the inevitable ground assault after a Soviet air raid. Jon’s Germans first bloody the nose of Ron’s Soviet attackers, then fight a successful fighting withdrawal to ‘run out the clock’ for the win.

Heat 3  saw six returning players compete:
Late to the Party: The American M60s (Rob) fail to defeat the Soviets.  Ted’s Soviets held off a desperate close range assault at the very end for the win.
Check-In Time: Elements of a Soviet reconnaissance company are tasked with securing road junctions meet a depleted NATO mechanized infantry company (scenario by former MBT and Attack Sub Champion Dave Sidelinger 1/10/64 – 2/11/2020, Rest In Peace): This meeting engagement featured a clash of prior champions.  Doug’s American forces managed a close win against Jon’s Soviets in a cagey game of maneuver. Outstanding play by both was displayed in this game.
Rearguard Action:  A handful of battle-tested M1 Abrams tankers try to hold two bridges against the onslaught of a motor rifle regiment tank company. In what was probably the closest match of the three heats, Nathan’s Soviets fell marginally short of defeating Ron’s defending M1s, being stopped short of capturing a key bridge.

     Doug Smith emerged from three heats with an undefeated record and proceeded to the final.  Ron Jongling’s narrow victory over Nathan in Heat 3 earned him the right to challenge the former champ in the 2022 Final.
     The competitors chose the Out of the Woodwork scenario for the final, with Ron playing the defending British and Doug the Soviet attacker.
     One of Ron’s reconnaissance sections set up to defend the town code-named Echo-2. The other section provided an overwatch AFV on the peak of Hill 13.19 while the other Scimitar was in mobile reserve at a central road junction.  The Soviet commander chose a concentrated attack, with all forces entering the south edge of the map near the eastern edge.
     Doug’s east-edge concentration initially unhinged the British defense, causing some of the recon units to scatter and reposition.  A Scimitar moved to outflank a part of the Soviet group, knowing their lightly armed AFVs needed flank shots to kill their advancing assailants. 
     On Turn 3 a platoon of British Challenger tanks arrived to support the outnumbered and outgunned defenders.  They moved in a pincer maneuver in hopes of slowing the Soviet advance, as Doug’s Soviet armor leaders find themselves in a traffic jam at a bridge.  A brief stalemate results.
     Doug’s Soviets found themselves in a difficult situation during Turn 4.  A number of vehicles were struck by fire on both sides and resulted in immobilizations.  Soviet forces would need to “run the gauntlet” or blast their way to victory. Two Challengers arrive in defensive positions in the northeast part of the battlefield and threaten the Soviet’s axis of advance.
     Turn 5 proved pivotal in the battle. Ron’s northeastern Challengers were struck by flanking Soviet ATGM fire from BRDM-2s.  One hit resulted in a catastrophic kill, and another immobilized its British target.  The remaining Challenger in the northwest fired a 2500 meter shot at a BRDM, resulting in a brewed-up wreck.  A Scimitar was knocked out by a T-62 as the Soviets proceeded past the bridge bottleneck.
     The immobilized Challenger scores a catastrophic hit against a T-62 that was trying to find its way to crush an immobilized Scimitar during Turn 6. Moments later a BRDM-2 takes out the destroyed tank’s target with an ATGM. 
     On Turn 7, Doug’s Soviets charged three tanks in the immobilized Challenger’s direction near their board-edge victory condition area.  Ron’s Challenger kills one of the Soviet tanks, but the other two exit to score Soviet victory points.
     Continual attrition through the battle makes it “too little too late” for Ron’s British defenders, as Doug’s Soviet column manages to fight its way through NATO’s screening force.
     Congratulations to Doug for his second MBT championship in three years, and to Ron and other competitors for a fun and communal tournament. 
     Special thanks to MBT designer Jim Day for again sponsoring the tournament into WBC this year!

   The third match of Round 3 featured Doug and Jonathan facing off in a much-anticipated battle of recent WBC champions.  The close-fought affair featured Overruns, Close Combat, Dismount Attacks, and other tactics that had observers glued to the action. Each roll of the dice was crucial.  When the dust settled, Jonathan’s Soviet forces had wrested control of objective “Hotel-10” from their American adversaries.  Doug was eliminated from the tournament (1-2) while Jonathan joined the ranks of the 2-1 players.
     Having three players with equal face-to-face tiebreakers is about as undesirable a situation as possible for a 2-player wargame, but unfortunately it happened this year.  The GM will need to do better going forward.
     In MBT fashion (percentile dice), Ron Jongeling, Ted Drozd and Jonathan Squibb rolled to determine which two of the three equally qualified players would face off in the final.  Having rolled the lowest, Ted graciously accepted his fate and bowed out for a well-earned third place in the tournament.
     Ron and Jonathan decided to play “Late to the Party”, the GM-designed scenario dating back to the origin of the GMT Games edition of MBT.  Jonathan commanded the NATO M60s, while Ron led the Soviet T-72s and BRDM anti-tank vehicles.  Per the scenario narrative, both sides seek to gain high-ground advantage for their (theoretical) follow-up forces by controlling hills 3.20 and 7.21.
     In this scenario, each side secretly determines which of two entry locations they will use for their reinforcements.  Both opponents chose the northern options, foreshadowing a clash at Hill 3.20.
     By turn 3, as Soviet forces climb Hill 3.20, two T-72s break off the main force and head towards a potentially easy capture of Hill 7.21. Seven of NATO’s 9 M60s head for Hill 3.20, while two advance toward 7.21 to provide some defense against the Soviet aggressors.
     Cross-hill fire resulted in a brewed up M60 and damage to another in ensuing turns.  But the Soviet force took more damage than it dished out.  ATGM wires and wrecks are strewn across the battlefield, and at the end of the match, NATO prevailed. Jonathan Squibb regained his crown as MBT champion while Ron Jongeling earned 2nd place for a second year in a row.Many thanks to all the dedicated participants that continue to support this small tournament year after year, especially our Sponsor and game designer, James Day

MBT WBC 2023 After Action Report

Jonathan Squibb regains his crown  

     MBT tournament participants battled through three qualifying rounds to earn a spot in the 2023 championship match.  The small field of competitors included three repeat champions, including the two new-edition MBT WBC champs Doug Smith and Jonathan Squibb.
     Round 1 action included three matches of homegrown scenarios.  Two matchups of “Out of the Woodwork” resulted in a NATO win for Jonathan over Ted Drozd and a Soviet win for Ron Jongeling (last year’s runner-up) over Charles Eastman.  In the third match, Doug’s M1 Abrams tanks held off perennial MBT tournament player Steve Proksch’s advancing Soviet armor for the win in “Rearguard Action”.  Three wins for past champs & last year’s runner-up in this round.
     Things got more interesting in Round 2 when Ron faced off against Jonathan in the Rearguard Action scenario, resulting in a Soviet (Ron) win over NATO.  Doug’s Soviet forces failed to overrun GM Rob Schoenen’s Bundeswehr defenders in the “Another Desperate Salient” homegrown scenario.  Meanwhile, Ted’s British reconnaissance force held of Steve’s advancing Soviet armor in another playing of Out of the Woodwork.
     The standings after Round 2 set the stage for some drama in Round 3, with the possibility of needing a dice-off to determine the two qualifying finalists.
     Round 3 matches again featured 3 homegrown scenarios “Check-In Time” (by the late Dave Sidelinger), and the previously played Salient, and Rearguard scenarios. 
     Being mathematically eliminated from the final did not dissuade Steve from playing in Round 3.  He used excellent fire & maneuver tactics vs. Rob’s defending American forces to earn a win for his Soviets in Rearguard, going out of the tournament with a win at 1W-2L.
     Ron’s Soviet forces were caught in the open when assaulting Ted’s dug in German defenders in Salient, resulting in a resounding victory for Ted’s NATO side.  Both Ted and Ron were at 2 wins and 1 loss after this match.

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