Brinkmann’s Bridge: Turn 13

Will the easterners manage to cross the canal before the Allied tanks show up in around seven turns’ time? Your guess is as good as mine, but if they don’t they will at least be able to console themselves with the knowledge that most of their ammunition made the crossing. A prodigious quantity of lead and High Explosive flies west across columns red v, w, and x in unlucky-for-some turn 13.

(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).

Many of the peril pellets are directed at the crouching men on the balcony of the white house. Pounded by the U304 support halftrack…

…and the SE Granatwerfer…

…and peppered by Wilberg…

…and Baumeister (the Platoon HQ)…

…it isn’t long before the Vickers falls silent.

Bulau is inspecting the dust- and smoke-wreathed balcony with his fieldglasses when a kerfuffle to his left snuffs out his satisfaction.

Moments before it succumbed, the British HMG claimed another victim.

While most of their comrades vandalise the Vickers, 2 Squad (Meister and Woikin) fling lead at the sandbagged positions opposite them. Under the poplars sandbags bleed and helmets descend, but no casualties are caused.

West of the canal, 5 Squad’s pumphouse assaulters refuse to go to ground when harassed from the orchard late in the turn. Not short of pluck, they opt to return fire and press on.

Currently the dashers are receiving little assistance from their squadmates at black q22. Rattled and semi-pinned by a lone Sten gunner in the pumphouse thicket, the stationary support team (3 x rifles, 1 x LMG) didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory in turn 13.

At the start of turn 14…

If left to its own devices, the self-propelled howitzer may well vapourise the Stenographer (Its main gun is traversing in that direction). The fact that our AFV can see though the finger of woodland in certain spots is probably worth bearing in mind; LoS lines are, after all, reciprocal.

One Englander seems to have survived the fierce mortar stonk near the pillbox.

In the SW, the two halves of 6 Squad have reached their destinations and the reversing  Pz35R has broken contact.

The weary windmill scouts are about to rejoin their parent squad and the NE light mortar team is a few seconds away from its last waypoint.

41 Comments

  1. Turn 14 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 (55HE, 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 k22]
    *Light mortar team (30 HE) hunting [blue l19]

    – E group –
    *Fusilier squad 2 (6 men) split into two teams – Meister’s team (3 men) [blue l36] and Woikin’s team (3 men) tired [blue k/l37]

    – SE group –
    *Fusilier HQ (4 men) [blue l/m42]
    *Fusilier squad 3 (3 men) split into two teams – Hirsch’s team (2 men) tiring [blue c/d55] and Wilberg (1 man) [blue k47]
    *Light mortar team (21 HE) tiring [blue k54]

    (subscribers only)
    *Panzer 35R (32HE, 22AP, 2CAN), buttoned, reversing [black d41]

    *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 z23/24]
    *Fusilier squad 6 (9 men) split into two teams, both tired [black f36 and black j36]

    *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 y18]
    *Self-propelled howitzer (18 HE, 2 HEAT, 2 SM) [red f18]

    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
    – in the picture of Wilberg, in the centre of shot are men moving south; am I right in presuming that’s 6th Squad?
    – can Wilberg target the 6-pounder?
    – can SE mortar team target the British unit icon on the west bank?

    @chamoxil
    – Quote: “Don’t you think that this might be more dangerous to Brinkmann than the vickers squad, considering how inaccurate mortars can be?”
    – I did have a long answer about Victory Disease, horizontal momentum of the U304’s weapon vs mortars, distribution of fall-of-shot from a mortar and how many brick walls a MG42 round might go through; but I guess it boils down to hoping Tim has Friendly Fire Damage set to 0%.

    • – Yes.
      – He hasn’t noticed it yet which suggests he’s out-of-LoS. However he can ‘area target’ ground very close to the gun’s position which might produce results.
      – The SE mortar team can’t see the Sten gunner near the pillbox, but his last known location is targetable.

    • As though Tim would betray the dramatic comedy of friendly fire by turning it off.

  3. @Tim What can the howitzer actually see at the moment? When did we last have eyes on the field gun?

    • In LoS terms the finger of woodland south of the howitzer isn’t as solid as it first appears (or as solid/scrutable as it would be if this was CMx1). There are various gaps that are really only detectable if you search for them using the ‘target’ order line. This montage is my attempt to show a few of the holes:

      https://tallyhocorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/turn13p.jpg

      Not shown in the pic is the fact that the howitzer can target the white house, but can’t see the pumphouse, the monastery, or the 6-pounder’s location from its present position.

      Bulau and Baumeister can see the 6-pounder right now. It’s at red j41 pointing NW.

    • Since the howitzer’s there, do you want to push it forward to try and hit the AT gun? Targeting the ground around it should still be effective: it’s a big HE shell.

      I can push up the surviving Western halftrack to assist

      • Actually on second thoughts, giving it a few extra seconds to target that Sten gunner might help the pumphouse assault: I realised the Sten gunner has line of sight to 5th squad as they run across open ground to assault the pump house.

        Your call @Blastaz!

        • So I think the field gun is the bigger target. And I think using the jeep from the western forces as a distraction, or the half track as a duel, is a good idea!

          I’ve only played CM 1&2 so I’ll let you call the shot on this one. But now our fun is there I do think we should deploy it.

          • Ok then!

            I’ll let you order the field gun to move up and target the 6 pounder. I’ll move up the half-track!

            ORDER: Western half-track to FAST to Red G18 then HUNT Red I21.

          • ORDER: Howitzer to wait 15 seconds (if the difference in time delay to orders with badgerbads half track doesn’t make this stupid!) then move by road to red I 20 targeting the field gun at red j 42 so the barrel is in the right position as it rounds the corner.

            Snipers at black y 14 to hunt south south east to red a 22 and support the attack on the pump house.

  4. I think its assault-time for both east and west forces. This is the moment a 2-side pressure might shatter the bridge forces, they have foolishly sent many of their squads westward through the south-forest.

    I think if we wait any further, allied tanks will arrive on the scene, and when the german panzer reinforcements will arrive, these will be to lackluster to cope with allied reinforcement.

    • Agree. Eastern forces are pretty attrited, but the further they move west the further they are from the cavalry when it shows up!

    • I think having Squad 6 get in on that assault will expose them to lots of fire from the monastery, as well as the scout-killers to the south of them (whose size is unknown). I recommend they stay with the tank and catch their breaths. They’ll be vital in taking/flanking the monastery once the bridge is in our command.

    • Agreed! I’ve given Woikin’s team two turns to recover and they seem to be stuck. Time to push them. For glory!

      ORDER: FS2 Woikin’s team [blue k/l, 37] to make a run for the house at [blue a, 37], as fast as they can given they are tired. Maybe hurdling that fence will wake them up. I’d like to send a gentle request to FS3 Hirsch’s team to keep the guys near the pillbox distracted, if possible!

      ORDER: FS2 Meister’s team to edge west from [blue l, 36] to[blue k, 36] and keep their attention focused on the sandbags. I think the balcony is dealt-with, so we just need to keep the sandbag guys’ heads down long enough for Woikin to enter the house.

      Next turn Meister will head for the T-shaped hedge south of the main road. Maybe Wilberg can lead the charge?

  5. I’m going to get in early this time.

    ORDER: NE Mortar Crew to sprint across the rail bridge and set up on the rail tracks at Blue K26.

    ORDER: SPW U304(f)-10 halftrack to drive at full speed, no stopping across the rail bridge, avoiding crushing the mortar team, cut down to Blue N25 then drive(still at pace) down to Blue N39 where a skidding sliding turn will leave them poised to hunt towards Blue A39.

  6. Tim, does Baumeister’s eastern HQ [blue l/m, 42] have eyes on the pillbox guy in the vicinity of [red t, 47], or do they need to advance a bit?

    • No, but I think that’s because the para in question is currently hiding or cowering. Baumeister has LoS (admittedly not perfect LoS – it’s a grey rather than a light blue line) to the section of canal bank where he was last seen.

      • Thanks! I was leaving this here for a couple days to see if other commanders wanted to step in, but it seems not, so I will just remind the HQ of their orders from last move.

        ORDER: keep moving from [blue l/m, 42] onto the embankment (column k).

  7. Hmm…does the scenario end the moment the Allied armour shows up? I was under the impression we had to contend with them. We shouldn’t move all our squads over the bridge: that would render our squad-based AT assets pointless.

    I think we should start moving out panzerfaust-toting pixeltruppen into ambush positions.

    Iirc we were also promised armour reinforcements?

    • Oh yes, Tim, was our Western HQ able to call in a mortar strike on the 6 pounder? How many minutes would it take to target?

    • >> does the scenario end the moment the Allied armour shows up?

      No. You’ll get a chance to use those Panzerfausts.

    • Nobody has said that the scenario will end when allied armour shows up. Iirc the strength of the panzer reinforcements where questionable, and therein lies the problem.

      • But it rather fits late ww2 history, for german forces, to wait for salvation-grade reinforcements that dont show up, or are anemic at best.

        • I do rather sense we’re trying to retake the bridge so that we can hold it for long enough for engineers to blow it up.

          • From the scenario description: “Your task, Comment Commanders, is to retake it within 25 turns without accidentally killing one of Germany’s most famous and highly decorated fighter pilots in the process.”

            “You’ve been promised additional armour, but heaven knows when this will arrive. Waiting around until it turns up could prove a very costly mistake.”

      • Hm. I’m asking because in the comments above, some commenters seemed keen to move all our Eastern soldiers across the bridge.

        Getting our AT-toting squaddies killed rooting out the British on the western bank / moving all our eastern squads across the main bridge would be a waste of those panzerfausts.

        • We can do that, but lets not leave them standing far enough east so their retreat oprions are cut off.

          • Hmm, it’s tricky. My understanding is that handheld AT weapons in WW2 have embarrassingly low ranges. 30m for a panzerfaust is already pushing it. I think we either commit the teams to an ambush or pull them out entirely. Something half-half would be the worst of both worlds imo: an ineffective ambush, but still vulnerable to return fire.

          • Do we know any of the squads have panzerschreks? Those should have an effective range of atleast 100 meters?

          • Tim shared a list of AT weapons way back in Turn 10. Let me dig it up.

            EDIT:
            (in the east)
            – Bulau (Panzerfaust + AT rifle grenade)
            – Meister (Panzerfaust)
            – HQ (Panzerfaust)

            (in the west)
            – HQ (Lehrer) (Panzerfaust)
            – 5 Squad (AT rifle grenade x 2)
            – 6 squad (Panzerfaust + AT rifle grenade x 2)

  8. Who votes we should command Brinkmann to man that Vickers?

    • I don’t believe enemy crew served weapons (or weapons of any sort really) are capturable in CM. A shame! Brinkmann can continue to send positive vibes our way instead.

  9. ORDER: Medium mortar to directly target the patch of ground next to the 6-pounder, as Tim mentioned above (if possible, set to very brief duration, light intensity, anti-personnel).

    Too bad about 5th squad: it looks like that Sten gunner has caught the mobile half out on open ground. I was hoping that the squad would plot an approach with the building to mask them to avoid exactly this, but alea iacta est etc etc. No change to their orders, here’s hoping they make it.

  10. Order: Fusilier squad 5 (9 men) split into two teams, one stationary [black q22] –> Assault [black z29]

    Incase their orders got cancelled or something

  11. Order : Major Belin (4-man battalion HQ) in Kubelwagen [black v3] drive fast to [black z19] shout encouragement along the way and unmount on arrival.

  12. ORDER: Sniper team at black y14 to move quick but cautiously toward the edge of the woodland @ red h22 to support the attack on the pump house (as per Blastaz’s suggestion)

    Bulau and Grill will be reunited as a squad after the following turn, at which time they can join Meister and Woikin in their assault on the allied forces on the west side of the river.

    Hopefully all of our forces on the east side of the river can get the hell across the bridge and in a safe position ASAP before the allied armored group arrives on the east side of the map (they would likely be massacred unless the Panzer and Howitzer get in position to fire across the river).

  13. Does anyone have orders for Hirsch, Wilberg or the SE mortar team?

    • As no newcomers have appeared, willing to lead them to death or glory, I have vague instructions that might cause death and under-appreciation. (I don’t want to start a feud, but I feel West Coast commanders are a bit premature in sticking their oar into East Coast matters).

      Not that it’ll make much difference, but I’m assuming that HQ Baumeister is keeping watch on the balcony in case the Vicker’s ammo bearer (or whatever) sticks his head out.

      ORDER: Fusilier squad 3 (3 men) split into two teams
      Wilberg (1 man) [blue k, 47]
      – Has three potential targets: the 6-pounder, balcony and foxholes NW of the bridge. I don’t feel like limiting his choice and will back his selection.
      – Hunt one grid square north to [blue k, 46] – I’m not expecting him to move, just take on a hunting mindset.

      Hirsch’s rump (2 men) [blue c/d, 55]
      – Move back to the windows and look for targets to the north-west.

      ORDER: Light mortar team [blue k, 54]
      – If they are able to target the 6-pounder, do so. If they are able to target any other spotted unit (ie. sandbags in orchard, sandbags NW of bridge), do so.
      – Otherwise, move rapidly south along the railway line to a point with line-of-sight to the 6-pounder and engage it.
      – If no such position can be found, then move rapidly a grid square or two north, if that gives them a better view of the west bank.
      – (I suppose I should be a good programmer and put in an endstop) If there are no better locations nearby, then remain where they are.

  14. Turn execution underway.

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