Brinkmann’s Bridge: Turn 1

The only things that bark during the first sixty seconds of hands-off WeGo action are restless farmyard dogs. The only thing that booms is a faraway bittern in search of a mate. Although free of weapon reports, Turn 1 isn’t, I’m happy to say, entirely free of interest. Through gaps in the shrapnel-holed roof of the Koffiehuis De Onionmancer, concealed Luftwaffe celebrity Bernhard Brinkmann gathers some potentially useful information, and above the squeaky rumble of the nearby SPW U304(f)-10 halftrack, Feldwebel Bulau’s fusilier squad discerns the sound of an enemy vehicle on the move.

(Brinkmann’s Bridge is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy in which the commenter-controlled Axis forces are out to recapture a Dutch canal spanner recently snatched by Red Devils. Each daily turn covers one minute of WeGo action. For a scenario outline, click here).

Before secreting himself in the attic of the cafe by the bridge, Brinkmann had the foresight to grab a Feldfu backpack radio. During Turn 1 he uses this device to share the following information:

“Four Red Devils have just emerged from the orchard and are walking west. It looks like they are making for the pumphouse.”

“There’s also activity on the drive of the monastery. I can make out two, no, three Britishers and a deployed 3-inch mortar.”

“Something is going on at the western end of the bridge. I can hear voices and footsteps emanating from that vicinity.”

Trees and an embankment mean none of this activity is yet visible to the two groups of fusiliers cautiously probing in the east, or the Panzer 35(t) and scouts approaching the monastery from the west.

Other than Brinkmann the only Axis unit to get a sniff of the enemy in turn 1 is the NE fusilier squad. As Bulau’s men advance they hear the sound of a small wheeled vehicle on the move beyond the embankment. The way the sound contact icon shifts during the sixty, suggests that the Allied vehicle started its journey near the windmill and left ‘The Island’ via the railway bridge. If it maintains its current heading it could be visible to the SE fusiliers within the L-shaped wood shortly.

^ 3 Squad in the easternmost of the two L-shaped woods.

^ 1 Squad (Bulau) on the island.

^ 2 Squad skirt Van Barneveld farm.


  1. Turn 2 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following nine units (A maximum of one unit per commenter. Embarked infantry and their taxis count as single units until separated. Split squads also count as single units.)

    – NE group –
    *SPW U304(f)-10 halftrack (65HE, 45AP) [green b10]
    *Fusilier squad 1 (9 men) [blue y13]
    *Light mortar team (45 HE) [green c9]

    – SE group –
    *Fusilier HQ (4 men) [green e42]
    *Fusilier squad 2 (9 men, 2 sections) [circa green k33]
    *Fusilier squad 3 (9 men, 2 sections) [circa blue y47]
    *Light mortar team (45 HE) [green k48]

    (subscribers only)
    *Panzer 35t (33HE, 22AP, 2CAN), unbuttoned, [black j45]
    *Scout team (3 men, MP 40s) [black h50]

    Please start all order comments with ‘ORDER’ and any later revision comments with ‘REVISED ORDER’. This will help me distinguish firm instructions from suggestions and advice.

  2. Order: Pz35 buttoned, move [black oscar 42]. Hull facing 090 degrees east. Turret face 032 degrees NNE (approx pumphouse) load HE. Engage targets of opportunity at pumphouse and monastery. Catch as catch can. If under large caliber fire, reverse to [black juliet 44] and reconsider life choices.

    • I’ve only played Shock Force 2, but if I understand CM’s system there isn’t a ‘retreat under fire’ command, and it’s the AI’s call to disengage or not. The closest might be a ‘scout’ command, but I’m not sure if that affects the chance to retreat, or just speed/spotting.

      The AI does typically disengage when outgunned (so in SF2, IFVs will always pop smoke and pull back if they spot an MBT).

      Just a heads-up that it’s up to our AI tank commander!

  3. @Tim
    a) Aren’t the Four Red Devils who emerged from the Orchard and are heading to the Pumphouse, going West?
    b) No orders for the SE mortar team? Bugger.

    ORDER: Light mortar team [green k48]
    (Cease comparing the tulip bulbs they’ve got saved for retirement). Move fast to intersection of squares [Green b/c, 42/43]. Move on at normal pace to [Green a, 41] and deploy. They should hopefully have a field-of-fire from the building E of the canal bridge to just S of the railway bridge.

    • After my horrific misuse of the mortar team in the Olive Grove I’m staying well clear of orders for mortars here.

      Isn’t Green A41 within the trees? That will give the mortar team excellent cover and prevent them being spotted but are you confident they can thread their rounds through the canopy?

      Given the range (mentioned by Tim lower down) and the unidentified vehicle on the rail tracks is there scope for keeping the mortars a little further back? The primary challenge will be finding them LoS, and I’m not sure Green A41 offers many advantages for that over a safer spot further East.

  4. Ah, so there ARE jeeps / bren carriers after all!

    ORDER: *SPW U304(f)-10 halftrack (65HE, 45AP) [green b10] to Quick forward to Blue X 13, shifting just a hair to the west to try and get LoS on more of the railway tracks, and hopefully catch that light vehicle.

    • British airborne troops did use Tetrarchs too but I’m willing to assume we’re not facing one of those – they weren’t delivered in Horsa gliders – but my instincts nonetheless are to keep the halftrack as reserve firepower rather than use it for scouting.

      Were you looking to use that building as cover, or is the intent to reverse back behind in the event of incoming fire?

      (Comically the map shows the British vehicle as a Ford minibus, which feels a little anachronistic)

      • Hmm…yes, I initially planned to use the house as cover, but looking at the LoS from Blue Y 13 which Tim put up in the last post, i was afraid that it wouldn’t allow the half track to support the SE fusiliers. I agree on not using it too aggressively (hence why I didn’t push it further south).

        I’m open to reverting to the old order to move it to Blue Y13 and use the house as cover!

  5. That new aerial reconnaissance view with the labels on it is very helpful, thank you.

    I can read a map but that shot really helps with things like the hedgerow around Van Barneveld Farm.

    QUERY: What’s the range on mortars? Just that.. I see targets 🙂

    • The German light mortars can hit targets up to 520 metres away. That’s roughly the distance from the centre of the eastern map edge to the pumphouse or monastery.

      They will need direct LoS to engage though.

  6. Exciting stuff! Thanks for the new pictures, it helps a lot with trying to figure out positioning.

    Looking at the windows of the van Barnefeld farm, it seems like the southern building [green d, 31] doesn’t have any useful vantage points. To confirm: can anyone tell from here if there is a west-facing attic window?

    Another question: several views are showing a “gap in the hedge” at [blue x, 30], with the gap filled by a tree. Is that the same kind of tree that the SE fusiliers are current walking through? Specifically, can our men walk through or post up under that tree to get an unobstructed west-facing view, or will they need to move around the hedge in the gap by the canal [blue x, 25]?

    It seems movement through the trees is a little slower than I hoped, and given nobody from the NE group got sniped out of the farm windows, my bet is there isn’t anyone here. Now I’m leaning toward splitting FS2 again and immediately putting two fire teams into the north and south buildings to make sure they’re clear while sending the MG fire team to the hedgerow gap (whether row 25 or 30). Is that something Combat Mission can handle, or is it a bit too complex?

    • As 2 Squad are already split into two teams, in order to split into three they’d need to end a turn in the same square (in order to amalgamate) then execute the tri-split the following turn.

      Here’s a pic showing the western side of Van Barneveld Farm:


      And one showing the view through the hedge gap:


      • Now I understand why cederic was worried about my splitting the squad too early last round! Thanks for the pictures clarifying the hedge gap situation. The rail embankment is both inconvenient for line of sight and convenient for giving us a bit more space to advance stealthily. I’ll mull it over and come back with an order later today. Or someone else is welcome to move ahead with their ideas! Interested to see how it all plays out.

        • That’s kind but unwarranted. I was keen that one of your two sub-squads didn’t get left behind and unable to provide support. The split itself I was entirely fine with 🙂

          It seemed your initial plan was a slow advance through the trees with covering fire if required from the MGs who would otherwise stay hidden until needed. That plan still feels a good one, even if you adjust the pace and direction of the advance now we have additional information.

      • ORDER: With the sense that things are fairly quiet on the van Barnefeld property, let’s set the northern fire team of Fusilier Squad 2 to rush west across the compound and breach the northern building at [green e, 27]. If it’s clear, at least taking a look around from the higher vantage point might show up some enemies.

        The team who paused at row 32 should be scanning the windows of both buildings, ready to fire the moment they see or hear anything. The hedge gap looks like an enticing destination for turn 3, so if there’s something else they need to do to get ready to move, might be prudent to do it now.

    • I’m not sure about this precise version of combat mission but in earlier versions, foliage & flora were not modelled as precisely as you’re implying. The visuals were pretty graphics used to represent features with different gameplay effects – e.g. thick woodland blocked line of sight from afar, with a short spotting distance for units within the woodland, and units within the woodland but close to the edge can be hidden but have LoS outside the woodland.

      So units in woodland likely need to get to (or near) the edge of it to see out of it.

  7. ORDER: NE Group – Fusilier squad 1 – Split into two teams – Team with 4 men: target arc 125 m + advance (HUNT) directly south to tree line by river [to blue z21] – stay east of nearby building while advancing

    • I think you can order the other team as well! They were initially heading to the little house by the railway bridge, but am ok with redirecting them. Both teams will have some support from that halftrack.

  8. Copy, badgerbadger – I’ll order them into the nearby house to cover the advance of the 4-man team – in the next turns we shall direct the two teams towards the little house by the railway bridge in a pincer move.

    ORDER: NE Group – Fusilier squad 1 Team with 5 men: target arc 125 m + QUICK into nearby building

  9. I’d like to execute Turn 2 tonight and post the resulting account tomorrow (It may have to go up in the afternoon as I’m busy in the morning). If anyone wants to issue instructions to any of the following units – the scouts near the Panzer 35(t), the fusilier squad in the L-shaped wood, the HQ in the L-shaped wood, or the light mortar team in the NE – you’ve got about 12 hours in which to do so.

    • The fusiliers in the L shaped wood feel sensible staying where they are to avoid detection by the vehicle, and the HQ unit haven’t completed last turn’s orders (which continue to feel appropriate).

      So no orders to them from me.

      ORDER: Kubelwagon to lean nonchalantly against the wooden picket fence, perhaps whistling innocently.

  10. Thanks for flagging missing orders!

    Order: NE mortar team to move to (blue) u, 9, then face SW to hopefully cover the railway bridge and building.

    • How quickly will they move? I was exploring potential options for them yesterday, and although I do like the spot you’re sending them to it, feels a bit exposed, especially if the vehicle dodges incoming fire by crossing back over the rail bridge.

      At the same time, mortar crews in CM are darn slow, so it may well be necessary to get them chugging along now so that they get into position before it’s too late to participate.

      I don’t know 🙁

      • I thought the same, it’s an exposed spot but lacking spotters they need to have LOS of targets – which means exposure. If the fusiliers are advancing through the wood they can’t cover the mortar, and it would be reckless for infantry to approach the bridge over open country.

        The mortar is light, so should be more portable, but realistically it’ll take several turns for them to be setup even at this location.

        The mortar is most/only useful against infantry and we don’t yet have a fix on any in this map area – so it’s hard to know what we’re need to target. I’d assume the railway bridge might both be defended and should be the NE detachment’s first objective.

        Happy to be overruled! And don’t worry about the olive grove! 🙂

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