THC’s first play-by-comment Combat Mission marathon has just sixty seconds left to run. Annoyed that the bloodletting is about to come to an abrupt halt, heartless hope-dasher Mars decides to cull five combatants during the final turn. The majority of his victims are, I’m sorry to say, friendlies.
(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 and summaries of earlier turns, click here).
Five seconds after the clock restarts, a camera-jostling explosion destroys 78% of the Koffiehuis de Onionmancer’s china. Ten seconds later, a second howitzer round smashes the remaining 22%. Surely, the Stenographer who darted into the cafe last turn, can’t have survived?
Gosh, it appears he has! Joining Brinkmann on the ground floor, Griess’s team peep from the western windows of the white house and spot the Britisher on their very doorstep.
Preparing, no doubt, to charge into the occupied abode, the wounded foe is in the process of reloading his SMG. His timing couldn’t have been much worse. A single round from a hurriedly aimed Kar. 98K stills busy, blood-badged hands.
It will take more than a rifle to stop the Allied unit approaching the VL from the east. After the briefest of pauses beside the bocage ‘T’, the Cromwell makes for the bridge. With two Panzerfaustists, a Panther and a StuH watching the eastern end of the canal spanner, the rambling Roundhead may have just signed its own death warrant.
The British heavyweight seems intent on lifting the spirits of the Comment Commanders right up until the moment it halts in a spot circa blue a40 that a) can’t be seen by the Panther or StuH, and b) is outside the range of our rather feeble Panzerfaust 30s.
Rubbing salt into the wound, the caterpillared cad then begins hosing a fusilier at red t37 who, ignoring a ‘hide’ order, is giving first-aid to a wounded comrade.
Chattering Besa MGs quickly reduce the foxholed HQ to two men. Complete annihilation looks to be on the cards. However, the Cromwell glimpses our Opel Blitz between fruit-laden boughs and starts spraying that instead. CM’s TacAI routines save the life of the truck’s driver. Two of his passengers are not so lucky.
If you’re an attentive arithmetician you’ll realise we’re still one death short of the turn bodycount mentioned in the intro. The last man to perish during the Battle of Brinkmann’s Bridge is a Brit and suffers death by Panzerfaust.
Unlike the fusiliers near the bridge, 6 Squad seem to realise that the time for ammo frugality has passed. As one half of the unit sprints for the angle in the monastery wall, everything that can be hurled at the foes in the nearby foxholes is hurled.
Bullets, grenades, and rifle grenades deluge the British positions without drawing blood, before a direct hit from a ‘tank fist’ spawns the game’s last red cross.
Does the Cromwell parked next to the VL mean I should declare the Battle of Brinkmann’s Bridge a draw? Should the Unit of the Unpleasantness award go to a German or a Brit? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on these subjects ahead of Friday’s results/epilogue article.