I love Combat Mission, but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to its faults. Trying to turn the Comment Commanders’ intricate infantry instructions into in-game orders can sometimes feel like trying to paint miniatures with a tar brush. The game’s hidden movement grid is half the problem. In second-gen CM you can only place waypoints in the centre of fairly large grid squares. This makes fine control of squads almost impossible. Factor in absent infantry spacing and formation controls, and a TacAI hopeless at social distancing, and all too often unlikely/unnecessary casualties are the result.
(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).
Hirsch’s half-squad are ‘veterans’ but CMBfN, in its wisdom, decides they’ll sprint the short distance to the thicket on the other side of the railway in a Bren-friendly bunch. Result? A previously unspotted British LMGer near the vacant pillbox makes hay while the sun shines. Hirsch and the kamerad panting at his side go down in a hail of lead.
Turn 10’s other German casualty is targeted by a disappointingly unchivalrous foe. One of Meister’s men is binding the wounds of an incapacitated pal close to the burning armoured car when an impossible-to-trace rifle shot brings his ministrations to a premature halt.
On the bright side, the glider riders lose more men than we do this turn.
Two of the pumphouse party are eliminated by the busy Schmeissers of the scouts and the chattering coaxial Reibel MG of the Panzer 35R (Sorry, I’ve been misidentifying this Renault-made AFV as a Skoda-produced Panzer 35(t) for most of the battle!)
And the windmill clearance goes like clockwork. Because a rifle grenade fired from the vicinity of the railway bridge disables the marksman’s spotter…
…the British sniper has no-one covering his back when Grill’s gatecrashers burst into his dusty roost at T+34.
Other Turn 10 developments of interest…
Our medium mortar is ready for action and one of its pairs of eyes – 2 platoon HQ (Lehrer) – is nearing the eastern edge of the conifer plantation.
The stump-circling shrews must be fascinating because, maddeningly, “cautious” road-split 6 squad didn’t move an inch this turn (A ‘move’ rather than a ‘hunt’ order might spur them into action – it’s possible they are glimpsing the pumphouse defenders and instantly halting). Advancing on the left of the sedentary rodent watchers is 5 squad and the surviving SPW 251/1.
The SPW U304 and the NE mortar scenery-scanned to no avail this turn.
Woikin’s team end the sixty engaged in a half-hearted firefight with a foxholed rifleman on the far side of the canal.
From its new position on the embankment, the SE mortar has LoS to the white, balconied house by the canal bridge and the patch of canal bank occupied by Hirsch’s killer. Wilberg, also now on the embankment, can see the garage and the pumphouse.
And – I saved the best news until last – more reinforcements have arrived! Say ‘Guten Tag” to a two-man sniper team, a self-propelled 105mm howitzer (20 x HE, 2 x HEAT, 2 x smoke) and…
…the Kubelwagen-conveyed Major Belin*, a gung-ho brasshat eager to enlarge his medal collection. The trio are currently waiting for orders north of the stables.
* Like Lehrer and the SPW U304, Belin has the authority to task the medium mortar.