Christ on a Welbike! Combat Mission turn replays don’t come much more exciting than the one that I’ve just watched. Let me tell you what happened.
(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).
Within a second of the clock restarting the bruised Panther spits another HE round in the direction of the prone PIAT man in the monastery garden. Once again the shot fails to clear the wall.
Braving coaxial MG fire, the Red Beret promptly replies.
Third time lucky?
In a way, yes. The projectile detonates below the Pz V’s bow MG cupola, severing the tank’s right track. Our big cat is now a 75mm pillbox!
Understandably annoyed, the pillbox proceeds to demolish the wall shielding the plucky Englander.
And then finish the job with its next Sprenggranate 42 delivery.
At almost exactly the same time as the PIAT man is being blown to smithereens, the chap keen to become Brinkmann’s chauffeur is suffering a similar fate near the orchard. As the Kubelwagen shortcuts toward the cafe, it’s lifted into the air and barrel-rolled (in my imagination, at least) by a hurtling HEAT round.
This is the unit responsible – a Sherman on the row 39 road, near Van Barneveld Farm.
Having dispatched the “bucket-seat car” the Allied medium tank scours the scenery for more deserving round recipients and spots our disabled Panther through the uprights of the canal bridge.
Moments after the Sherman’s main gun begins sweeping anti-clockwise, someone in our Pz VG exclaims “Achtung Panzer!” and the Panther’s oviposter of doom does likewise. The British gunner is faster on the draw than the German one, but only by a fraction of a second.
The above screenshots were both snapped at precisely T+35. The top one shows a Panzergranate 39 AP round setting out on its journey, the second one a British-made equivalent halfway to its destination.
Obviously, the Sherman’s emission arrives first. Here it is ricocheting into the sky after failing to penetrate the Panzer’s cunningly-angled upper front hull armour.
The Panther’s round strikes a more receptive surface, the M4’s turret, and drills straight through it.
Scratch one Sherman!
There were, of course, many other events of interest during the sixty.
At T+5 the Panzer 35R finishes off the courtyard mortar team.
At T+12 one-man army Wilberg marches off to Valhalla with a slightly surprised look on his face.
At T+23 the Cromwell’s stubby main gun reduces the mortar team in the east bank foxholes to one extremely nervous individual.
At T+30, as the Staghound rolls towards the railway bridge, it catches sight of grey figures moving beneath the poplars on the west bank, and gives them grief. Two Granatwerfer crewmen stop bullets.
The white house loses a lot of stucco this turn.
Griess’s mob spend portions of the sixty cowering from the fire sent their way from units in the woodland to the SW, but the lead traffic isn’t entirely one way.
Ignoring Best’s best efforts, the howitzer flings a couple of smoke rounds into the gap between the wrecked 6-pounder and the Koffiehuis de Onionmancer.
A Bren gunner – possibly the last man left alive in the monastery foxholes – swaps fire with what’s left of the pumphouse posse.
6 Squad advance.
And the StuH trundles to a new position.