Brinkmann’s Bridge: Turn 22

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.

24 Comments

  1. Turn 23 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 that started the game on the west side of the canal answer to subscribers only.)

    ****anyone****
    *Fusilier HQ (4 men) foxholed, PF [red t37]
    *Griess (3 men) tiring, rattled, upstairs [red p41]
    *Fusilier squad 2 (4 men) tiring, foxholed, PF [red r41]
    *Light mortar team (NO MORTAR AMMO LEFT) (1 man) foxholed, rattled [red z41]

    ****subscribers only****
    *Panther Ausf G, immobilised [black o39]
    *StuH 42 [black l36]
    *Self-propelled howitzer (3 HE, 2 HEAT) commander incapacitated [red i25]
    *Panzer 35R (27HE, 22AP, 1CAN), buttoned [black s48]
    *Kubelwagen [black b24]
    *Truck near conifer plantation (passengers = Platoon HQ + 1 straggler) heading for pumphosue [black p28]
    *Brinkmann [red o41]
    *Fusilier squad 5 (2 men) downstairs at pumphouse [black y27]
    *Fusilier squad 6 (9 men) split into two teams, PF + 2 x AT grenades [circa black q45]
    *Medium mortar team (4 men) (6 SM) and ammo bearers (2 men) LoS to monastery [black l34]

    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. That surviving NE mortar crew man is getting court martialled and shot just as soon as we finish off these Amerikanische Kampfwagen. I’ve already sent the state police to arrest the wife and parents of the other two. Their failure in this battle can not be accepted in the greater German reich.

    Must be a bit smelly in the Panther right now, four hits received and immobilised. Still, at least it stops the reckless commanders on that bank sending it to certain doom; sat back there it won’t be flanked and will win any big gun duels – as that Sherman just discovered.

    Between him and the StuH the remaining enemy armour should be swiftly dispatched, so there’s no need for the HQ by the bridge to take risks. Their panzerfaust is our insurance policy so..

    ORDER: Fusilier HQ (4 men) foxholed [red t37] to continue to keep their heads down and ‘return fire’ only.

    • ORDER: Fusilier Squad 2 [red r, 41] same as the HQ, same as last turn, keep a tight target arc to the east at Panzerfaust range. No small arms fire unless we’re fired on first and want to knock out that Cromwell commander.

      I have to agree about our hapless NE mortar team. The mortarless SE mortar team were always in a bit of a bind – situated too far back to make it across the bridge and engage the infantry in the monastery woods – but at least they gave us some good support in the earlier half of the battle. The fact there’s still one SE survivor cowering in a foxhole when our NE team who actually had ammo to spare made it all the way across the bridge and into the poplars only to get shot dead by enemy armor from up in the NE anyway… Gah! It all feels so pointless! War is hell.

      Apropos, RIP Wilberg.

  3. Interesting! Our armour seems to be in an okay position over-watching the main bridge.

    I’m honestly at a loss as to what to maneuver; getting our howitzer into a good keyhole position might be a good idea, but without actually seeing the ground I don’t know where the gaps in LoS to the east bank are.

    I guess we could move some of the more exposed squads to cover in the houses?

      • Sure, happy for you to give the order.

        I honestly don’t know what will be visible through those trees, especially since the howitzer commander is unable to spot, as he is currently ill with a bad case of lead poisoning. We might get lucky though.

        Bear in mind that ‘target arcs’ are a combat mission quirk. They’re actually a limitation on what your pixeltruppen is allowed to shoot, not a ‘focus here’ command. They don’t help units spot better or give them any accuracy bonus at all. A ‘Face’ command is usually sufficient.

        • Thank you for the clarification on target arcs, I was under the impression it was in the “focus here” category. Already low expectations of success have fallen a little further, though not sure it changes much as our options appear limited. Btw apologies if my suggestion gave the impression I wanted to take command, that was not my intention. More than happy for you do so.

          • Oh, no need to apologise 🙂 The internet doesn’t convey text well: it was a genuine invitation for you to give the order, since I’m ambivalent on what to do.

            I’ll put your suggestion into practice.

            ORDER: Howitzer to face East, hopefully to get a spot through those trees, and set to Target Armour only out to max range

  4. Hi everyone.

    Here is my two pfennigs worth.

    Suggest-Fusilier squad 6 supported by Pz 35 should press home the attack on the Monastery grounds sweeping through to eventually link up with our east comrades, perhaps occupying the café the following turn. If successful this should remove the allies’ ability to readily spot our tanks, enable an alternative escape route west for Brinkmann and reinforce our bridge defences.

    The medium mortar has a LoS to the monastery grounds so can add fire support if required. I think it could also provide an indirectly fired smoke screen along the east bank (called in by east units) to help obscure the white house and HQ, perhaps someone with more experience can confirm this is possible?

    Suggest-Griess consider moving to the ground floor it should offer more shelter, it’s probably just a matter of time before something heavier than small arms shows up.

    Finally the Hapless Howitzer-We could leave it and hope for a keyhole shot at the Staghound or Cromwell if they move into its field of view or sneak it into the Orchard and hope for a possible side attack on anything that manages to cross the bridge later on.

    All/any comments welcomed.

  5. P.S.
    I’m a subscriber but it appears I’m not as colourful as some others. I’m sure Tim will sort it out.

  6. @SunderLad: I like your way of thinking. With that PIAT team near the Panzer still potentially alive we need to pin it down as we move up. The Pz 35 will need to find a way to support that advance without coming into LoS of the Cromwell though.

    ORDER:
    Squad 6 northern half AREA TARGET BRIEFLY 30s the one brit in the foxhole [black y44].
    Squad 6 southern half. PAUSE 30. QUICK to [black w48] on the western side of the wall.

    Tim, what’s the LOS from the Pz 35 to the brits at [red k48]? Is there an angle near its current position where it could get a line of fire on them? Is there any information we have about how easily the Cromwell can see through the woods in between it and the monastery?

    • Right now the monastery’s main building stands between Panzer 35R and the unit(s) Griess and Brinkmann are engaging. If our tank moved south a square or two it’s possible it would be able to contribute to that fight.

      It’s hard to say what the Cromwell can see from its current position but there seems to be a very narrow LoS keyhole connecting the embankment close to its position to black s48 (the Panzer 35R):

      https://tallyhocorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/bridge22zzz.jpg

      • This might take a little bit of geometry on your part, but I think the idea is relatively simple.

        I want to put the two small buildings (on the right of that screenshot) between our tank and the Cromwell’s environs, and I want the destination point to be able to draw a straight line to the front entrance of the monastery and the brits facing Griess and Brinkman.

        ORDER: QUICK our Pz 35 south east to that point. FACE the front of the monastery.

    • @Oneknown: Thanks.

      I assumed the PIAT had bought it, but then again thought that about Best, agreed its worth checking out, hopefully there aren’t any more lurking. It never occurred to me the Cromwell was a threat – good spot.

  7. Hi Tim,
    Do you create all these scenarios using the map editor? Or find them online?
    Keep up the great work! I love this series.

    • Morale +1. Thanks.

      The scenario is bespoke, the map a heavily modified version of one included in the Market Garden module.

  8. Tim.
    Can you clarify how the medium mortar handles indirect fire? I’d like to be able to lay a smoke screen on the east side to try and limit the amount of incoming fire on our west bank bridge defenders but I doubt the mortar has a LoS, was thinking of targeting a line along Blue C, 40-42. Thanks.

    • I don’t agree with the plan as I want clear line of sight for our armour so their superior firepower can take effect at range, but: If you want the Fusilier HQ in the foxholes by the bridge to call in fire support then subject to game mechanics I can add that to their turn orders for you.

      • From Tim’s response it looks like the HQ spotting idea wont work, which is unfortunate as this should have given more effective fire control of the mortar.

        Regarding the LoS issue- that was considered which is why the road and the area north of it was not included. As far as I can tell from the 2D map it appears most of the “smoking” area is not visible because of the buildings.
        Whilst I agree with your main point regarding the qualitative superiority of our armour, I strongly suspect we are outnumbered and so its possible they will be engaged by simultaneous attacks (historical tactic) bearing in mind the flat terrain ie multiple LoS solutions, so if inadvertently the smoke blocks an enemy LoS that could be a good thing?

      • Thanks Tim.

        ORDER:
        Medium mortar fires two rounds of smoke circa Blue C41. Two further smoke rounds along southern LoS circa Red Z44? If turn time permits, H.E rounds in the area of allied unit in monastery foxhole circa Black Z43.

        ORDER:
        Howitzer to face east and fire at any viable target.

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