Brinkmann’s Bridge: Turn 6

I’m torn between permanently relaxing the “one unit per Comment Commander” rule and accepting its inevitable (?) consequence – a few untasked German units each turn – as accidental realism… a de facto activation system. The fact that the Panzer 35(t) and one of the newly arrived halftracks spent Turn 6 doing sweet Fanny Adams doesn’t seem completely inappropriate when you’re simming a battle as fragmented and multi-directional as this one.

(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 turn covers one minute of WeGo action. For a scenario outline, click here).

It has to be said, the inaction and indecision of certain German units in the west is more than compensated for by the boldness of two fusilier teams in the east.

When the clock stopped on Wednesday, Elm’s reduced-to-two-men half-squad was fighting for survival on the edge of one of the L-shaped woods. Early use of their MG 42 and the sight of comrades coming to their aid, suggests that both men might live to see Turn 7.

But it’s not to be. A few seconds before Hirsch’s flanking force eliminates the Sten gunner near the ditch…

…supported by previously unspotted pals firing intermittently from the embankment circa blue k51, the Red Devil with the SMG removes one of Elm’s two remaining boughs.

2 Squad’s turn is every bit as exciting as 3 Squad’s. To Woikin and his three companions the pasture between the high hedge and the low railway embankment seems endless.

Their reward, on reaching a patch of weeds near the armoured car is a greeting from the canal bridge Bren gun and a glimpse of bobbing HSAT on the other side of the tracks.

One wayward shot from a smartly levelled Kar98k elicits a response as lightning-quick as it is deadly.

Before the body of the riddled German rifleman has hit the ground, revenge, in the shape of a potato masher, is in parabolic transit.

The grenade blast suppresses the embankment defenders. Whether it reduces them is hard to ascertain. When the turn ends Woikin and his men are weathering further bursts from the LMG at red y40.

The situation at the start of Turn 7:

Woikin has eyes on the British unit that helped out the Sten gunner in the L-shaped wood. It’s a light mortar team.

Meister’s hedge huddlers drew some fire away from Woikin this turn, but provided little in the way of active support. As fine positioning of infantry is, sadly, all but impossible in CMx2 and bocage can be ‘occupied’ and fired through, they might actually fare better ‘behind’ the high hedge (blue x26-29).

While the SE mortar team fired a few speculative rounds at the railway embankment this turn, the NE one, for unknown reasons (they seemed on the verge of firing at least once in the turn) failed to execute its order. A slight tweak of aiming points might cure their constipation.

The halftrack at the head of the reinforcements convoy is a few seconds away from reaching its destination (black m26).

The Kubelwagen and Opel Blitz also reached the main road this turn.

After ending the turn occupying the same ‘hotspot’, the two halves of 1 Squad have rejoined.

There are signs that a squad of Britishers is moving westward through the strip of woodland south of the monastery.

25 Comments

  1. Turn 7 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following 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.)

    (anyone)
    – NE group –
    *SPW U304(f)-10 halftrack (65HE, 45AP) unbuttoned, [blue l8]
    *Fusilier squad 1 (9 men) [blue n19]
    *Light mortar team (45 HE) weapon deployed [blue u9]

    – E group –
    *Fusilier squad 2 (9 men) split into two teams – Meister’s team (5 men) [blue x25] and Woikin’s team (3 men) [blue l33]

    – SE group –
    *Fusilier HQ (4 men) [blue y42]
    *Fusilier squad 3 (7 men) split into two teams – Hirsch’s team (5 men) [blue q47] and Elm’s team (1 man) [blue t48]
    *Light mortar team (42 HE) weapon deployed [circa green a42]

    (subscribers only)
    *Panzer 35t (32HE, 22AP, 2CAN), buttoned, [black j42]
    *Scout team (3 men, MP 40s) [black o49]

    *SPW 251/1 halftrack + 1 Squad (9 men) [black j23]
    *Kubelwagen + medium mortar team (4 men) [black g19]
    *SPW 251/1 halftrack + platoon HQ (4 men) + mortar ammo bearers (2 men) [black c3]
    *Opel Blitz + 2 Squad (9 men) + 3 Squad (9 men) [black c19]

    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. Apologies to Alison! More unintentional Clausewitzian friction:

    https://www.clausewitz.com/readings/OnWar1873/BK1ch07.html

    I’ve just realised it was Meister’s team that was meant to dash to the embankment NOT Woikin’s team. I really need to start executing these turns in the morning when I’m fresh, not in the evening when I’m weary.

    • @Tim
      – it might be wise to post “Turn Execution Underway” messages to save any effort on out-of-time orders.
      – any chance of a summary of what SE mortar team can target?

      • The only target available to the SE mortar at present is the British team near the armoured car. Obviously there would be a friendly fire risk taking this on.

        I’ll post “Turn execution underway” messages from now on. As a general guide, going forward I’ll be executing turns in the morning so any orders posted before 0600 hrs GMT on a Wednesday or Sunday should get seen and executed. Turn reports will appear at midday on those days.

    • No problem! I’m sure that in real-world battles the orders get muddled too. It’s sad to lose a man, but there’s no guarantee it wouldn’t have turned out the same way with the 5-man team. On the macro level this move has given us clear eyes on the mortar, the Bren gunner and a bit more of an idea of where that rifle team has been crawling around for the past few turns, so I think we can work with it!

      • So what’s it going to be? You could withdraw Woikin 20 metres to the east, and hope that Meister, SE mortar team and potentially 1st Fusilier squad put a few rounds on target.

        The overhead view has the British rifle squad greyed out, so I don’t think they’re in direct visual contact at the moment; unlike the Bren gunner and light mortar team.

        • I’m not sure! I think the heavy grass in that square is the best cover on offer in the field, so as long as the enemy doesn’t target blind it might be better to hunker down there than try to pull back. I am not too worried by the Bren gunner, since I think we can stay prone behind the embankment to avoid getting hit, but if the mortar takes a shot things could go poorly for us. But if we turn to engage to him, then we’re leaving ourselves open to a charge from the rifle team on our flank! Decisions, decisions.

          Either way, we know Meister’s team is pretty much useless for providing covering fire at the moment, so I am tempted to bring them forward a bit. I could either move them to the hedge gap where Woikin originally had the MG set up, or more into the field, with a hope that our own mortars are laying down enough suppressive fire to keep the advance safe. I’ll ponder it some more and come back later in the day. It might be interesting to see what FS1 gets up to in the north.

    • Okay, I’m going to continue being the bold/foolhardy squad this turn, mainly because I’d like for us to be across that embankment by the time the western reinforcements are in position.

      It doesn’t seem that anybody can see over the embankment unless we are one square away from it, so it should be safe to advance across the open field, as long as the riflemen in the vicinity of [blue j, 31] don’t pop their heads over again.

      ORDER: FS2 Meister’s team [blue x, 25] to pause 15 seconds, then move to [blue r, 29] in hunting mode. Target arc from the tree at [blue e, 27] in the north to the railroad crossing at [blue l, 39] in the south. This should cover anyone popping up from behind the embankment to cause trouble.

      ORDER: FS2 Woikin’s team [blue l, 33]. This is a tough one. I want to get out of the way of the mortar, which I think we won’t be able to reliably hit from this distance, at least not with bullets flying over our heads. Let’s crawl to [blue m, 33] and then immediately turn back around to face westish. No explicit target arc, because where they’re situated it could be useful to either toss another grenade over the tracks toward the riflemen or get the MG set up to loose some rounds at the mortar. I’ll trust the team to do what’s right!

  3. B####r, that dawdling half track has our command unit in it. They must be spitting teeth… What feckless Feldwebles (or perhaps a lamentable Leutnant?).

    ORDER: Hapless Halftrack [NE: black C, 2] to move post-haste to [black J,22] and disgorge its overdue occupants. Probably best to follow the track and road, as the other vehicles did.

    I suggest we should get the other new infantry squads out and scouting the tree line – for a view of the large clearing that dominates the western side of the map. Then we can move the tank up too and support an advance either/and on the building at black y,27 and the monastery/hornets nest. I’m not seeing obvious alternatives bar fairly direct infantry advance, possibly (re)mounted up, but that might be a failure of imagination… Any exciting suggestions for flanking maneuvres, perhaps around the track that runs along row 18? Better to send ifantry in a halftrack than a truck though, so might want to use one of the two available for that. Happy for my order to be altered/overuled accordingly.

    • We know there is some infantry in the orchard, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some kind of defensive line holed up in the woods along red columns s and t. If any of them are facing east, that will definitely ruin our day when we eventually make it over the rail embankment, so sending a squad over there to back us up would be nice.

      I wonder if it’s worth trying to sneak a squad through the woods south of the monastery? I’m not sure if we have enough time to quietly get someone in a useful position down there, though.

    • Agreed. Lead infantry squad should disembark and work through the woods to the north of the pumphouse. When they’re in position if the halftracks can move up and fix any defenders spotted so the infantry can move in to take the pumphouse and give us a firebase overlooking the orchard to provide cover for any units moving in from the east.

      ORDER: Halftrack and squad at [Black J23] to continue to [Black N27]. Squad to disembark and move quickly into forest to the east of the road, working around to [Black W21/W22]. Halftrack to continue after down the road to the drive to the Pumphouse [Black S31].

  4. I presume the following will occur in the next turn in the SE:
    – Hirsch’s team push SW to target the light mortar
    – Elm’s sole survivor to join them with a view to regrouping with them
    – HQ also to make it’s way to that second L-shaped wood (maybe after a delay to let Hirsch get established)

    Consequently:
    ORDER: Light mortar team [circa green a, 42]
    Continue to Target Briefly what ever it is they’re currently taking pot-shots at for 30 seconds. Then pack up, and move to [blue y, 43].

    • I’ve just done a quick experiment and, if left in his current position, the lone survivor of Elm’s team will dress the wounds of the hors de combat light machine gunner and then take his MG 42. I had it in my head that CMx2 didn’t support this kind of weapon upgrading (scavenging enemy weapons definitely isn’t modelled) – it seems I was wrong!

  5. Ok, time for some heroics.

    ORDER: Fusilier HQ [Blue Y42] to sprint to Blue N42 where they’ll bunker down and provide support to the damaged squads north and south from that position.

    They may get line of sight on that blasted bridge Bren, a bonus becoming brave bolting bunkerers.

  6. ORDER: Halftrack (Blue l8) to push up next to Squad 1’s position on the railway itself to act as fire support.

    (I’m open to other moves or taking charge of one of the Western half tracks)

  7. ORDER: NE Group – Squad 1 – SLOW into green house

  8. Order: Scout team (3 men, MP 40s) [black o49], Slow [black p44]

  9. Turn 7 will be executed at 0600 tomorrow. If anyone fancies taking responsibility for a second unit (availables include the Panzer 35(t), lead halftrack, truck, kubelwagen, NE mortar, and Hirsch’s team) please issue your orders within the next 23.5 hours.

    • I was hoping the NE mortar team would actually execute last turn’s order 🙂

      (I appreciate that the order was given and the game engine is adding its own drama)

    • I’m sorely tempted to order NE mortar team to target [blue j/k, 30], but I guess discretion is the better part of valour, whatever that means.

      ORDER: Fusilier squad 3 (7 men) split into two teams
      Hirsch’s team (5 men) [blue q, 47]
      – Primary task to aggressively engage the enemy light mortar team at [blue k, 53].
      – Secondary task to move to [blue n, 48/49].

      Elm’s team (1 man) [blue t, 48]
      – No orders. Let him act on his initiative.

  10. Apologies if this doesn’t work, but we should get the tank back in action. Hopefully things have shifted since he last withdrew into the woods.

    ORDER: Panzer 35(t) move to Black M 42 and fire on any targets of opportunity.

  11. Unless they are already tasked, debus the infantry from the lead halftack and the truck, get them into concealment in the woods (one squad either side of the road), split out a scout team from each and push them forward to the edge of the woods to see what they can see.

  12. Thanks, everyone. Turn execution is underway.

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