Brinkmann’s Bridge: Turn 12

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:

28 Comments

  1. Turn 13 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following units (A maximum of TWO units per commenter. Embarked infantry and their taxis count as single units until separated. Split squads also count as single units. Units on the west side of the canal answer to subscribers only.)

    (anyone)
    – NE group –
    *SPW U304(f)-10 halftrack (63HE, 45AP) unbuttoned, [blue k14/15]
    *Fusilier squad 1 (8 men) split into two teams – Bulau’s team (6 men) tiring [blue l25] and Grill’s scouts (2 men) fatigued, moving [blue g11]
    *Light mortar team (30 HE) hunting [blue l10/11]

    – E group –
    *Fusilier squad 2 (6 men) split into two teams – Meister’s team (3 men) [blue l34] and Woikin’s team (3 men) tired [blue k37]

    – SE group –
    *Fusilier HQ (4 men) [blue l/m42]
    *Fusilier squad 3 (3 men) split into two teams – Hirsch’s team (2 men) tiring/rattled [blue c/d55] and Wilberg (1 man) [blue k47]
    *Light mortar team (22 HE) tiring [blue k54]

    (subscribers only)
    *Panzer 35R (32HE, 22AP, 2CAN), buttoned, reversing [black h41]

    *Platoon HQ (4 men) [circa black l28]
    *Fusilier squad 5 (9 men) split into two teams, one stationary [black q22] and one moving [circa black v21]
    *Fusilier squad 6 (9 men) split into two teams, both tired and moving southward [black g33 and black i33]

    *medium mortar team (4 men) deployed [circa black b25]
    *Kubelwagen(black b24)
    *SPW 251/1 halftrack (black n18)
    *Truck (black e19)

    (latest reinforcements)
    *Major Belin (4-man battalion HQ) in Kubelwagen [black v3]
    *Sniper team (2 men) [black v4]
    *Self-propelled howitzer (18 HE, 2 HEAT, 2 SM) [black x3]

    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. Tim, is it possible for the mobile half of squad 5 to plot a route into the building at Y27 without entering the LoS of the infantry visible just to its south? And would their MG armed squad mates have LoS to that green infantry marker there?

    • > is it possible for the mobile half of squad 5 to plot a route into the building at Y27 without entering the LoS of the infantry visible just to its south

      Yes, but they’d need to put that building (the pumphouse) between themselves and the threat by moving eastward along the finger of woodland.

      https://tallyhocorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/bridge12r.jpg
      (pic shows current order NOT the dog leg under consideration)

      The MG portion of squad 5 seems to have LoS to the scout slayers’ last known position.

    • Ok then!

      ORDER: Squad 5 to assault that pumphouse at Black Y27.

      Mobile element to plot QUICK movements through that finger of woodland, then assaulting the pumphouse itself in a dash. Firebase to TARGET BRIEFLY the house itself for about 20s, then TARGET BRIEFLY the last known enemy position to the south of the house.

  3. How did I only just find out that you had started this Tim? I was even vaguely keeping an eye out! Well I’ve spread the word now I’ve found out anyway.

    Just dropping in to say hi. Will start catching up then consider a command…

    • Thanks. There are more Axis units than Comment Commanders at present so we’re in need of some new blood.

      • Anyone object to an inject of pace for the new reinforcements?

        Bring the major down in his taxi fast towards the woods currently held by squad five, disgorge him at a suitable point and have him hunt/crawl forward to get into a spotting position or push on to the pump house if they have cleared it.

        and have the howitzer advance se around the stables and towards the canal to get a better view south? If necessary it can offer Brinkmann a Sampson…

        It looks like most of the ground should already have been reconnoitred so not too banzai? But I generally play far too aggressively in these games 🙂

        • The house between the major and that finger of woodland SEEMS clear. We’ve had a halftrack overwatching that spot for a couple of minutes and nobody’s fired on it.

          I’d be more comfortable risking the snipers and the kubelwagon (minus the major) before risking the major or the assault gun.

          If either of those two make the crossing without drawing any fire, then we can push our CO and big gun down south!

          Our vehicles are bottled up by that 6 pounder, though. I think everyone’s a little gun-shy since we lost a full halftrack and one of the squads. (You can see on the map that the 6 pounder has LoS to the woods exit) Technically the 6-pounder was suppressed this turn…

          • Alright let’s not risk both, but I don’t se the point of stripping the major of his steed.

            ORDER Howitzer to cross country and take up position at red g 18 to pop out and have a shot later.

            I don’t really see an ideal target for the snipers, how about the pump house?

            ORDER New Sniper team to range south to black z 22. To move into the pump house once cleared.

          • @Blastaz

            No issue with pushing the snipers down. We haven’t cleared the woodlands to the east so it’s a bit of a gamble pushing the assault gun down, but we can chance it.

            You might want to double check the LoS with Tim though: the map icons aren’t very reliable in showing where the foliage is. G18 might potentially be in LoS of that AT gun

            The alternative is moving the Assault Gun down the road the halftrack is at (Black O18) and holding it there in reserve for when the AT gun is cleared out. It’s not a tank, so probably shouldn’t range too far independently.

  4. I can’t believe Woikin’s guys are tired again, they only moved one square! If we want to run, do we need to be tiring, or can we be tired and still run?

    • You’d think crawlers in CMx2 were free-climbing from the way movement exhausted them. I suspect the subject has sparked many forum debates over at battlefront.com.

      • Alright, given we just spotted the balcony guy, I’m going to give Woikin’s crawlers one more turn to sort themselves out, and then they’re sprinting.

        ORDER: FS2 Woikin’s team [blue k, 37] to rest again. They will be sprinting to the house next turn.

        ORDER: FS2 Meister’s team [blue l, 34] to continue toward [blue l, 36]. When they get there, target the [red t, 37] sandbag riflemen. Next turn they’ll be laying down some more aggressive cover, then heading south to the the L-shaped forest.

  5. Sorry for the trouble Tim, but wanted to check how far south the Eastern halftrack needs to move to get LoS on that VIckers on the balcony. A HE shell should sort out that MG position quickly enough, provided we can reposition the halftrack safely.

    Is it possible to fire through the woodline on the western bank. or does the halftrack need to move all the way down to the main road?

    • Since the NE mortar team didn’t hear the order to board the halftrack over the din of its engine, a bren gun and a vickers, feel free to send the vehicle off on a hunt.

      The mortar crew can lug their heavy metal tube the whole distance now. That’ll teach ’em.

      • Werner, the U304 commander, is a stickler for Health & Safety rules. He refuses to carry passengers or cargo.

    • It looks like the SPW U304 can see the balcony from its current position:

      https://tallyhocorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/bridge12s.jpg

      Obviously there’s a slight risk of hitting Brinkmann if you decide to take the shot.

      • I’m sure it’ll be fine. Nothing to worry about! Werner’s a solid, sensible vehicle commander.

        Er, probably.

        ORDER: SPW U304 to TARGET the balcony and deliver a half-dozen sternly-worded 37mm missives to that Vicker’s gunner.

  6. @Tim
    Does that shot of Wilberg show him firing his MG42 while still having a rifle slung on his back?

    ORDER: Fusilier squad 3 (3 men) split into two teams
    Hirsch’s team (2 men) [blue c/d, 55]
    – Cower / take cover / whatever. If they need instuctions, then move them up against the western wall of the house.

    Wilberg (1 man) [blue k, 47]
    – I guess the bridge has a balustrade rather than a solid parapet. Disengage current targets; (crawl backwards / withdraw 5 metres south by east, if necessary); and target the Vickers on the balcony.

    ORDER: Light mortar team [blue k, 54]
    – Target the Vickers on the balcony for 30 seconds; then move south sufficiently that they might fire on the 6-pounder, hopefully while still being able to hit the woods on the western bank where the hazy enemy unit icons are.

    • > Does that shot of Wilberg show him firing his MG42 while still having a rifle slung on his back?

      It does, and the rifle isn’t just for show. It saw some action this turn:

      https://tallyhocorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/bridge12t.jpg

    • If I’m not mistaken, you seem to be ordering the light mortar team to drop ordinance on the building holding herr Brinkmann, who is hiding in the attic. Don’t you think that this might be more dangerous to Brinkmann than the vickers squad, considering how inaccurate mortars can be?

      • That’s what I thought too, at first, but on second look there are two separate buildings about 3 squares apart. I think each square is 8m, so it’s still cutting things close, but perhaps not as bad as if they were all under the same roof. This mortar team has been pretty on-point so far, but they are tiring so it is a gamble. I’m not sure how much impact the HQ has on the morale and performance of nearby troops, but I think I’ll move them south a bit to see if their zone of influence can steel the nerves of the mortars.

  7. Any of the east side commanders want to do something with our HQ in the L-shaped woods? They’ve just been sitting there the past few turns. I’m not sure how much moral support they’re still providing. Can we get them closer to FS3, perhaps? It seems they are too far back from the railroad embankment to provide eyes or fire support.

    • ORDER: East-side HQ in the L-shaped Woods [Blue L/M24] to hunt onto the rail line [Blue K24], set up their MGs and shoot anybody in a red beret.

      ORDER: Fusilier squad 1 Bulau’s section [Blue l25] to hunt onto the rail line [Blue k25], set up their MGs and shoot anybody in a red beret. They need a rest but might as well do it somewhere useful while they wait for the other two.

    • Alright, I’m going to make an executive decision!

      ORDER: FHQ at [blue l/m, 42] to nudge south a little bit. Let’s aim for the long grass at [blue l, 45]. No need to crawl. I’m hoping they should be fairly safe behind the rail embankment, but perhaps will have a bit more luck peeking over the canal from the new position. Also, hopefully, they can send some good vibes to our tiring mortar team and “Rambo” Wilberg in the 47 row.

      If anyone strongly disagrees with this order, please feel free to belay it or send a revision.

      UPDATE: please ignore this order and follow cederic’s, above.

  8. Turn execution underway.

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