SPECIAL THANKS. I would like to thank Paul Watson for his sponsorship of several lead figure collections on this blog. Having decided to clear his spare/surplus figures, he generously forwarded them on with no other requirement than they deserved to be restored. I would also like to mention George S. Mills, who kindly furnished a quantity of plastic figures which allowed me to complete another five or six military units, serving in several collections.

Tuesday 2 July 2024

THE BRIDGE AT BRUMMAGEM (late WW2 Wargame) PART ONE

The following Wargame has no connection to the town of Remagen, or the bridge at Remagen, or the film that was made about them.  Please note, the Old English meaning for Brummagem is 'Cheap, Showy, or Counterfeit', which sort of covers what you are about to experience here. 

THE LANDSCAPE

THE SCENARIO

This important bridge is held by a number of understrength German units. This includes an engineer detachment instructed to destroy the bridge with detonation charges if there is any risk of it falling into enemy hands.


Now two six sided dice were thrown to determine how many moves this would take to install. On completion, the German commander may order the bridge to be vacated (if compassionate) and detonated by throwing another dice. A D6 will successfully blow the bridge. If it fails to detonate the German commander must order the engineers to revisit the charges and confirm they are working, which will take a further three moves (visit, inspect, return). The German commander can then throw a dice to see if it will now blow the bridge (a D5 or D6).  Repeat a third time, if required, now with a D4 or higher....., etc.

At the start of the game, the American player must also throw two dice, to determine when his initial reconnaissance force (those below, right side) enter the gaming table.


On their arrival, the American reconnaissance force may immediately request reinforcements, and also air support (by throwing a dice for each, indicating how many moves before they arrive). The German commander will no doubt wish to do the same when he spots American troops entering the table. The objective is to capture the town, preferably with the bridge intact. Military units can cross the river elsewhere but it takes four moves, and with no ability to fire weaponry.

THE WARGAME

MOVE ONE The Germans (commanded by a member of my family, Chris) required five moves for their engineers to install the bridge explosives. The American Reconnaissance force (commanded by myself) expected to arrive in the area on Move Seven. MOVE TWO The German engineers were ordered to begin working on the bridge. MOVE THREE, FOUR, FIVE The Germans carried on their work while refugees, et al, crossed the bridge.


MOVE SIX The German commander ordered the bridge to be evacuated. MOVE SEVEN On spotting the Americans, the German commander ordered the bridge to be detonated, D1, failed. Chris ordered the engineers to find out what went wrong. The Americans immediately called for reinforcements and air support, they were informed the former was expected to arrive on Move Eleven, but air support should arrive on Move Ten. The German commander also requested reinforcements and was advised they would arrive on Move Thirteen, and would comprise an entire division (actually, a dice on Move Thirteen would determine what turns up). He also requested air support, and after everyone had stopped laughing, the dice indicated Move Eleven,..... perhaps. 

MOVE EIGHT The German artillery sought to delay the advancing Americans. Those refugees unable to cross the bridge scattered across the fields. The Americans rushed headlong towards the bridge, but movement was slow due to the vacated transport and baggage blocking the road. Chris ordered his 88mm and a PAK38 to open fire on the approaching Americans. Typically lucky with the dice, a casualty on the engineers, and a hit on the jeep turned it over, also with a casualty. 

MOVE NINE The Americans were forced to halt on the road for one move, during which the PAK scored another hit on the overturned jeep, killing two more crew. MOVE TEN, the German's attempt to destroy the bridge, D6..... it explodes! Three US aircraft arrived and dropped three bombs..... paper cutouts dropped from a metal ruler some forty inches above the tabletop....... great fun! They float down with little or no accuracy, a Shepherd with a lamb are hit, and the church roof was slightly damaged!

I wanted the bomber to knock out the artillery position, not the sheep!
MOVE ELEVEN Chris thanked his engineers for their efforts, and then ordered them to take up rifles and support some armed Empire Labour Corps which were fortifying a house. The main (2nd) American force entered the table. The German civilians vacated the town. The German airforce actually made an appearance (a dice determined what arrived, he scored a D6, again), two aircraft dropping bombs! But they missed the vehicles on the road. The US engineers occupied the schoolhouse. The German PAK hit the schoolhouse with a D6, inflicting a casualty. A follow-on D6 had the building catch alight, and must be vacated next move. Chris requested more air support, they would arrive on move sixteen..... perhaps. 

MOVE TWELVE The PAK scored a hit on the M30 halftrack, a crewman is injured. German LMG positions opened up but with little effect. Likewise, the American bazookas missed their targets. Casualties so far...... US Jeep with three crew, two engineers, a crewman on the M30 halftrack. One German farmer.

Careful of the furniture, please.
MGB

REPLIES TO COMMENTS FROM FRIENDS

Hello MJT. Both Chris and I are very much enjoying the game, we just play a move or two, and then return a day or so later. I have often viewed documentaries on Youtube, having got rid of my television about eight years ago. The documentaries on WW2 air support seem to support your Italian friend's comment. As do many of the additional public comments made about the documentaries. I heard one which suggested the British were more accurate than the Americans in Europe simply because they were so limited in their resources.... I could believe that! 

Hello Tim. The air support (sic) is proving rather entertaining and works well on my small table. The Americans are guaranteed three aircraft bombs, the Germans dice to see if anything turns up! That artillery piece is a subject of interest. It was gifted by Paul Watson, and it is probably pre-WW2. Neither Paul or myself have been able to find markings, or who manufactured it, but it is a lovely collectable. Would like to find out who made it, some day. It appears to me to be some kind of AA gun, so it serves as my German 88mm. It arrived without paint, just plain alloy.

Cheers Donnie. The visual spectacle dominates my wargaming. It's why I just can't get excited about boardgames, and my rules have remained very simplistic, or Featherstone. I want to get lost in the terrain and pageantry....... combined with a fair dose of nostalgia.

Thank you, Brad. Despite only very light casualties it has still been full of interesting events, the next few moves are likely to see heavy fighting. And Chris has some potential reinforcements arriving...... to be diced for! I am going to limit the game to another eight moves, I think that will add some stress to the Americans (guess who).

Thank you, Quinn. I wasn't planning to engage in a WW2 game during this season, but some movie photos reminded me of the Remagen film, and I wanted to capture in miniature something of the situation faced by the respective commanders. Chris is into WW2 computer games, but he has also played a fair number of miniature wargames.

5 comments:

  1. Fantastic looking game MGB!
    Accurate bombing cannot have been easy; I remember talking to an old Italian guy we met whilst surveying in Southern Italy. He told us about his experience watching the USAF in action - first they bombed their own troops, then the British and eventually they hit the Germans.

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  2. Great stuff and excellent photos! I look forward to the sequel - surely a war crimes trial about the bombing of churches and sheep. Nice German AA gun - please tell us more about it.

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  3. Great looking game and populated by so many lovely figures and scenery, great stuff!

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  4. Your table looks magnificent as usual Michael! The game itself seemed to be a great deal of fun, the dropping bombs were marvelous and quite unpredictable! I look forward to your next installment!

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  5. Amazing terrain, beautiful armies of toy soldiers in colourful ceremonial uniforms and nostalgia seems like a recipe for a lot of fun. Well done again simply fabulous. Quinn

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