The titular bridge is in German hands at last. If the Comment Commanders are to hang on to it for the next five turns, recent arrivals such as this ferocious feline will need to be both forthright and fortunate.
(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).
T+3 A vague sound contact icon emblazoned with the silhouette of a tank appears in the SE corner of the battlefield.
T+5 Bustle at the bridge. While Griess makes for the upper floor of the white house and the remains of 2 Squad bee-line for the foxholes behind the low hedge, on the other side of the water the HQ and NE mortar hurry towards waypoints placed amongst the canal-bank poplars.
T+10 Determined to disrupt the 3-inch mortar team in the courtyard, the Panzer R35 heads south.
T+16 One of the sharpshooting Stenographers in the monastery gardens is silenced by impressive SMG fire from the pumphouse.
T+17 As Griess & Co. pile into the white house, Brinkmann opens fire on a Bren gunner he’s spotted near the monastery entrance. A firefight develops.
T+19 The British tank in the SE seems to be bound for the railway embankment, and looks to have two companions.
T+29 A rifle round chips paint off the lower front hull of our exasperatingly-reluctant-to-fire SPG. You have to admire Best’s optimism.
T+32 Arriving at its destination, the Panther begins a turf ruffling turn to the east.
T+37 A mortar bomb strikes the bridge deck a few feet from a panting Granatwerfer crewman. He dies instantly.
T+38 The Panther is still pivoting when the projectile fired by this patient/sly PIATist detonates against its starboard Schürzen.
T+40 Phew. It looks like the spaced armour did its job. According to the GUI, the Pz VG has got away with light damage to tracks and radio only.
T+43 Retaliation isn’t slow in coming…
T+44 …but like the Panzer 35R’s HE efforts, appears to do more damage to the monastery wall than the men in the foxholes.
T+50 Perhaps a burst of coaxial MG fire will be more effective? As the Panther hoses its tormentor, the plucky PIATman pops up and takes a second shot.
T+51 Clambering up the corpse-strewn railway embankment near the culvert, a Cromwell close support tank comes into view for the first time.
T+52 Himmel, another PIAT hit!
T+53. No penetration but the detonation against the upper front hull turns the little green GUI squares next to “Optics” and “Nahverteidigungswaffe” yellow.
T+54 The Panther’s second shot manages to clear the wall. It craters the lawn behind the foxholes.
T+56 Halting a few feet from the rails, the Cromwell quickly spots and engages both the SE mortar team near the bridge and 3 Squad in the bocage ‘T’. With grim efficiency its coaxial MG neutralises one mortarman and two of the three fusiliers in the thick hedge. Naturally, one-man army Wilberg is the 3 Squad survivor.
T+57 They might be under fire, but the SE mortar team is sufficiently composed to spot this armoured car trundling towards the railway bridge.
T+58 Assailed from the west, a member of the 3-inch mortar team looks over his shoulder and sees the lead looser is a Pz 35R.
T+59 This turn’s final casualty is British. The combined firepower of Brinkmann and Griess ultimately proves too much for the Bren gunner at red j46.