The maximum heart rates of selected German combatants during this turn:
Oberst Brinkmann: 93 beats per minute.
Unteroffizier Thylin: 116 beats per minute.
Feldwebel Bulau: 130 beats per minute.
Unteroffizier Meister: 145 beats per minute.
Gefreiter Tappe: 183 beats per minute.
(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)
The cause of Bulau’s short-lived BPM spike is pictured above. In the opening seconds of the turn the fusiliers on “The Island” get a fleeting glimpse of a British jeep churning ballast near the railway bridge. The beetling 4WD veers right and disappears, hidden by the embankment, before the half-squad’s G43 and MP 44 can be brought to bear.
A heavily-armed (2 x Bren, 2 x Sten, 1 x two-inch mortar) section of red devils is responsible for gently boosting Brinkmann’s BPM. In the latter half of the turn, our Luftwaffe loft dweller watches five paratroopers emerge from the monastery’s main gate, cross the road, and vanish into the strip of scrubby woodland opposite.
Nothing specific alarms Unteroffizier Thylin, but as the Panzer 35(t) slips from the shelter of the western woods and halts to better contemplate the pumphouse, monastery, orchard and bridge road, its commander/gunner/loader finds his lips drying and brow moistening.
Scrutinising the suspiciously quiet scenery ahead eventually pays dividends. Although the apple pickers last seen making for the pumphouse are nowhere to be seen, Thylin does identify a fidgeting para in a foxhole close to the canal bridge.
The knowledge that an MG 42 and three Karabiner 98ks are covering his run, and four loyal comrades are a few paces behind him, fails to make Meister’s dash to the Van Barneveld farmhouse any less tense. The Unteroffizier’s heart is beating cat-quick by the time his jackboot unlocks the front door and, with Schmeisser levelled, he enters a parlour as cosy as it is empty. Apart from a patriotic piscine circling a bowl on the dresser, the building turns out to be deserted.
Running while carrying a cumbersome Grantwerfer 36 mortar is guaranteed to tax the ticker. Throw in some flying lead and unhelpful heart rates like Gefreiter Tappe’s become eminently achievable. The three-man light mortar team in the SE is making for the L-shaped wood ahead of it when the bullets start whipping past. The ditch by Van Der Voort Farm? The railway embankment circa blue k51? It’s impossible to identify the precise origin of the (thankfully) inaccurate and short-lived flurry of automatic fire.
Some things worth bearing in mind when issuing the next round of orders:
A few of Meister’s men have LoS to the railway bridge and the building beside it, but their view westward is blocked by the high hedge.
In the closing seconds of the turn, the most southerly fusilier unit – half of 3 Squad – hears a vehicle moving on the far side of the nearby ditch. If the vehicle is where it appears to be and continues travelling eastward (the impression given by the contact icon) it should become visible very soon.
Tappe’s mortar team and the fusilier HQ are both approaching positions on the edge of the L-shaped wood from which they should be able to observe and fire upon any targets on the embankment.
The NE mortar team is in the process of deploying their weapon in a spot with LoS to several areas beyond the embankment, and some structures (white balconied house near the bridge and the main monastery building) on the western side of the canal.
Both sections of 1 Squad have poor LoS westward from their current positions, but the halftrack has the building next to the bridge and a sizeable stretch of the embankment in view.
The scouts are “tiring” after spending much of turn 2 advancing cautiously on hands and knees.
^ Some of the green Allied icons on this image indicate “last seen here” positions not present locations.