Brinkmann’s Bridge: Turn 14

Erich Woikin is eleven again, sprinting through an orchard with a satchel of scrumped cherries bumping against his sweat-soaked back and a baying hound snapping at his heels. He’s a few strides from the spot in the barbed wire fence where the broken strand makes for easy vaulting when something grabs his satchel straps, pulling him off his feet. “How odd” he thinks to himself as he struggles unsuccessfully to get up “that I should fall on my back yet wind up with so much cherry juice staining my shirt front. How very odd.”

(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).

Despite generous covering fire, poor old Woikin doesn’t make it to the Autobedrijf Van Der Ley.

His two comrades are luckier. The Comment Commanders seem certain to start turn 15 within spitting distance of the VL when 2nd Squad’s pointman rushes through the door of the garage by the canal bridge and isn’t immediately cut down by a flurry of Sten fire.

Although the building appears to be deserted, the “tired” and “nervous” German gatecrasher clearly isn’t comfortable in his new surroundings. Towards the end of the turn he skedaddles, almost knocking down his panting pal as he does so.

Another Axis warrior that ends up retracing his steps during the sixty is the lone survivor of this pumphouse-bound half-squad. The portion of 5th Squad that assaults the building at black y27 from the north arrives unscathed.

Their squadmates, however, come under fire from both the woods to the SSW (presumably the scout eliminators) and the monastery grounds and are all but wiped out.

For a terrible moment at the tail end of the turn, the self-propelled howitzer looks like it’s history too. Ordered to hunt onto the north-south road west of the canal, our uneasy marriage of German firepower and French mobility fails to spot the 6-pounder despite a slim cover arc.

Bulau’s mob by the rail bridge and Baumeister on the embankment do their best to pin the AT gun but can’t stop the olive barrel sweeping clockwise. The chance of a setback seems high until whirling shrapnel from an 81mm mortar bomb – the third fired by our Granatwerfer 34 – slices British flesh, interrupting the gun laying.

Also this turn…

The eastern halftrack dawdled disobediently while Grill’s scouts rejoined 1st Squad.

Wilberg ensured the re-crewed Vickers didn’t stay re-crewed for long.

Baumeister silenced the pillbox Stenographer and the troublesome pumphouse one was wounded.

Belin began his medal hunt in earnest.


  1. Turn 15 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.)

    – NE group –
    *SPW U304(f)-10 halftrack (55HE, 45AP) unbuttoned, moving [blue k18]
    *Fusilier squad 1, Bulau (7 men) fatigued [blue l25]
    *Light mortar team (30 HE) hunting [blue k26]

    – E group –
    *Fusilier squad 2 (6 men) split into two teams – Meister’s team (3 men) [blue l37] and Woikin’s team (2 men) tired [blue b37]

    – SE group –
    *Fusilier HQ (4 men) [blue k42]
    *Fusilier squad 3 (3 men) split into two teams – Hirsch’s team (2 men) [blue c/d55] and Wilberg (1 man) [blue k47]
    *Light mortar team (19 HE) [blue k54]

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

    *Platoon HQ (4 men) [circa black l28]
    *Fusilier squad 5 (6 men) split into two teams, 1 tired individual at [black q22] and 5 in the pumphouse [black y27]
    *Fusilier squad 6 (9 men) split into two teams, both tiring [black f36 and black j36]

    *medium mortar team (4 men) (25 HE, 6S) deployed [circa black b25]
    *Kubelwagen(black b24)
    *SPW 251/1 halftrack (red i19/20)
    *Truck (black e19)

    (latest reinforcements)
    *Major Belin (4-man battalion HQ) [black z19]
    *Sniper team (2 men) [black z20]
    *Self-propelled howitzer (18 HE, 2 HEAT, 2 SM) [red i19/20]

    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. Hang on, did both halves of 5th squad rush for the pumphouse? I thought one half (the western one) was ordered to be a stationary element.

    That was a very costly rush…drat.

    • Sorry. It looks like I misinterpreted this instruction:

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

      I thought it was an assault order for the chaps at black q22. It did strike me as a tad daring.

      • I thought that must be what had happened! Well, chalk it up to an overzealous German NCO, an excess of élan, and Major Belin’s striking resemblance to Lord Raglan.

        Well, the rump of 5th squad will have to make do in that house. Hopefully they’ll be better protected in there, and if not, maybe somebody handsome will get to portray them in the after-the-fact commemorative movie.

  3. RIP Woikin.

    RIP half of 5th squad.

    Hooray for mortars! We won’t get lucky with that AT gun again.

    ORDER: Howitzer at Red I20 to TARGET BRIEFLY the most approximate position of the AT gun for 20 seconds, right away.

    ORDER: Accompanying halftrack at Red I20 to plot a QUICK MOVE around the Howitzer’s position (so as not to obscure LoS), and HUNT forward to Red I21 or so, to just ahead of the Howitzer (again, not obscuring the howitzer’s LoS). As it clears the Howitzer it can TARGET BRIEFLY the approximate AT gun position for about 15 seconds or so.

    Hopefully that hail of HE will make those 6 pounder gunners reconsider their life choices.

    • REVISED ORDER: Based on Tim’s uploaded picture the western halftrack already looks to be in a good position. The halftrack will instead STOP in place and TARGET the approximate AT position for the full turn, just to be sure. The howitzer can keep its TARGET BRIEFLY order, to conserve limited shells.

      Both the halftrack and the howitzer to UNBUTTON for better spotting.

  4. ORDER: Bulau’s squad split into two teams – HQ team pause 15 seconds, then quick to blue L32 – other team quick to blue L35 (*Both teams stay east of rail line during movement, try to get fire on enemies located at red T35)

  5. @Tim
    – Any idea who tagged Woikin? Sandbags NW of the bridge, Vickers on the balcony, Stenographer or someone else? Perhaps the mild-mannered janitor?
    – Has SE mortar team done anything since early in Turn 13 when they launched a few shells at the balcony? (Hmm…, they do appear to have loosed 2 HE at something)

    – Don’t listen to those perfidious West Coast commanders. With their “let’s push on the bridge from both sides”, they’re like children saying “you go on ahead, we’ll be right behind you”. They’re at least two turns from being able to do so.

    • Woikin’s killer was the chap near the pillbox. Pretty impressive shooting considering the range (140m) and the weapon (Sten).

      The SE mortar lobbed a couple of bombs at the canal-bank foxholes this turn. Unfortunately they missed this Bren gunner (currently the only visible enemy in the area):


    • There is no east or west-team. We all have to work together and coordinate as one unit. Or we might as well pack up and go home.

    • You asked all the questions I wanted to! I don’t mind your friendly east coast/west coast ribbing, by the way, keeps our spirits up in these dark times. RIP Woikin! Both FS2 fire teams lost their commanders now.

      ORDER: FS2 Woikin’s team [blue b, 37] to move into the house at [blue a, 37] and go upstairs. If they still have it in them, set up by the window to rain some lead down on those pesky chaps in the [red t, 37] sandbags.

      My original plan was to send Meister’s team across the road to the south, but it seems Baumeister’s HQ and Wilberg are laying down so much fire we’d be shredded if we tried to go that way. So, instead, I’m going to gamble that with the pillbox chap dead and the balcony under close watch, cautiously advancing will be reasonably safe.

      ORDER: FS2 Meister’s team [blue l, 37] to hunt west across the open field to [blue b, 37]. If they make it there safe and sound then next turn maybe they can hole up in the [red y, 40] emplacement and ready their panzerfaust.

      Definitely open to revising the order for Meister’s team if someone suspects there might be more resistance.

  6. Good job on suppressing that 6 pounder. Does *Platoon HQ (4 men) [circa black l28] have LOS to the 6 pounder so that they can dial in our medium mortar?

    • Unclear on the HQ’s LoS, but the mortar team somehow has a clear LoS through all that foliage to right next to the 6 pounder’s position: that’s why we had HE on target so quickly

      In theory they could be ordered to continue the barrage, if we think it’s worth expending the ammo

      • This pic shows the results of the medium mortar bombardment in turn 14:


        The AT gun (orange box) is pinned and has now lost two crewmen.

          • Blastaz, I recommend very strongly against unbuttoning that “Panzer” (it’s an R-35 and we need to treat it as such). It can’t shoot while unbuttoned anyway, and since the commander is also the gunner, a single stray bullet can take out the whole tank.

            That tank is helpless if it doesn’t have infantry support, and Squad 6 is prepared to sell itself dearly to keep that 37mm gun in the fight. I fully expect them to get torn to ribbons, but I’d rather lose them than the tank.

            ORDER: The half of Squad 6 closest to the building at [black l38] will FAST to that building and FACE SE. The other half will FAST across the tree gap to [black i42]. Give the squad running to the trees an 80m circular COVER ARC.

  7. Alright, I want to get Squad 6 and the Char back into the fight.

    Tim, are both halves of Squad 6 still Tired? Can they make a Fast move at their current level, or just Quick? Also, is it possible to split off an AT squad from whichever half has the Panzerfaust without recombining the teams? Can you let me know which of the two half-squads has the Panzerfaust?

    Fellow commanders, my plan is for the team closer to the building to Quick move into it and hopefully get us some visibility on the scout killers, while the other team pauses for 30 and then rushes across the small gap. Anyone think that’s a terrible idea?

    • Possible, though there’s heavy fire coming from the monastery grounds: enough to wipe out half of 5th squad at range.

      The house will protect them some, but they might be locally outgunned without help from our halftracks

    • The two halves of 6th Squad are ‘tiring’ (one rung below ‘tired’ on the CM exhaustion ladder). They will accept a ‘fast’ order. Both halves have AT capability (the team nearest the cottage has the PF, the other one has AT rifle grenades). Creating a separate AT team from a half-squad doesn’t look to be possible.

  8. In fairness to the halftrack it probably had to pause to avoid running over and entire squad and its mortar carrying friends. Hopefully with Bulau’s goons getting out of the way it’ll be able to complete last turn’s order.

    The mortar by the rail bridge should set up and it would be foolish to advance them further at the moment, the Eastern HQ and Wilberg are probably the only things keeping the East flank alive right now and I’m not sure what the intention was for the rest of Fusilier Squad 3 but the two of them are probably due a break in the safety of their current abode.

    ORDER: SE Light mortar team [blue k54] to briefly target, for 20s each, assuming LoS, in this order:
    – Red T35
    – Red J42
    – Red C49
    – Red R46
    – Red N30

    Yes, I know that’s too many targets but I’m very confident that at least two, probably three, maybe even four of those are not in LoS and so can’t be targeted without moving.

    • “Umm” maybe the SE light mortar team will finally have an impact! About time those sniveling weasels did something significant. Bulau’s “goons” have already taken a sniper position and provided bulk covering fire, losing only one man in the process.

      • Bulau’s goons have made a vital and appreciated contribution, and I look forward to them contributing further by not getting run over by a half track.

        My fear is that they cause it to pause in line of sight to the AT gun, with painful consequences.

  9. ORDER: Fusilier squad 3 (3 men) split into two teams

    Wilberg [blue k, 47]
    – Operate with a free hand, again.

    Hirsch’s rump [blue c/d, 55]
    – Move to [blue g, 55] and face NW.
    – Hunt to [blue i, 54] and face WNW.
    – If it’s possible to add another order after a hunt command (one that will not be acted upon if they spot an enemy), then Move Fast to [blue i, 48] and face W.

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