Tally-Ho Corner’s first play-by-comment Combat Mission game is approaching its halfway point, and no-one – not even the scenario designer – can tell you which side has the upper hand. East of the canal, the Comment Commanders have fought their way to a north-south railway line, KOing a jeep, de-snipering a windmill, spotting a shy AT gun, and eliminating several British teams on the way. West of the canal, German losses have been higher – largely due to a halftrack ambush in turn 7 – and progress less pronounced, but, bolstered by reinforcements, the players are now pushing forward determinedly.
(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).
Hiding-out in the loft of a cafe near the all-important canal bridge, stranded Luftwaffe ace Oberst Bernhard ‘Der Sperber’ Brinkmann spends most of turn 12 picking fragments of shattered porcelain out of his hair while trying to avoid the glassy stare of a doll that’s missing half a skull. The bullet that trashed the toy’s cranium came from the vicinity of the rail bridge and was meant for the 6-pounder at red j41. Happily, some of the rounds fired by Bulau’s mob are more accurate. The crew of the British AT gun end the execution phase pinned and a man down.
Things might have been worse for them if Wilberg hadn’t devoted much of the turn to swapping lead with enemies in the foxholes north of the canal bridge. Although my pre-turn map inspection indicated our one-man-army was well-placed to spot and hose the 6-pounder, and shielded from the foxholers by the bridge parapet, his behaviour suggests the LoS situation is actually more complicated. At T+60 Wilberg still seems unaware of the potential target near the cafe.
The ammo bearer for the SE mortar team has reason to look back on turn 12 with satisfaction. Not only did one of the bombs he unpacked silence the Bren on the canal bank, the efficiency/enthusiasm of his quick-firing comrades reduced his cumbersome burden by more than a third.
The Britisher that whittles down Hirsch’s team to a two-man rump at T+52 may well find himself on the receiving end of one of Tappe’s remaining shrapnel sprayers soon.
Shortly after entering the cottage at blue d55, Hirsch’s trio set about suppressing the Bren gunner. Their muzzle flashes persuade a previously unspotted party on the balcony of the white house to throw his hat into the ring. The ponderous RAT-TAT-TAT of a Vickers HMG swells the battle cacophony and one of the men firing from the window of the cottage staggers backwards clutching his side.
Another fusilier who won’t be participating in turn 13 is the remaining scout west of the monastery. His last stand isn’t entirely futile. It buys time for the myopic Panzer 35R which retreats seemingly unaware there are tempting canister/MG targets to its front.
5 squad’s MG 42 operator is more observant than Thylin. His fusillade is the reason the British flankers disappear from view at the close of the turn.
The situation at the start of turn 13: