Tuesday, 22 December 2015

The Bridge at Remagen : 'Hollywood' rules for Spearhead 6mm.

Ian put on a pre-Christmas special on at his house on Saturday.  Watch the film then fight the battle. The subject...the Bridge at Remagen.

The film is a highly fictionalized version of actual events during the last months of World War II when the 9th Armored Division approached Remagen and captured the intact Ludendorff Bridge. Instead of the real week-long battle and several artillery duels fought between the Americans and German defenders, the film focuses on the heroism and human cost in gaining a bridgehead across the Rhine before the Allies' final advance into Germany.

Star of the show is Lt Hartman (George Segal), his sidekick Sgt Angelo (Ben Ragazza) and - on the other side of the Rhine, the honourable German Maj. Paul Kruger (Robert Vaughn). In the film, the Americans win through and capture the bridge intact (although damaged) as the Germans were not provided with sufficient quantities of industrial explosives.  

Our battle went slightly differently....

A few scenario rules - the Germans had much more strength than in the movie and also had a panzer division coming in by train on Turn 8.  The Germans also had a Hitler Youth in a spider hole anywhere on the map (to simulate the youngster in the hotel in Meckenheim).  The Americans had lots of tanks (Pershings) - fast tanks but not great against AT fire - and motorised infantry.

The Germans got points for killing units of Hartman's recon team, blowing the bridge once the Americans had had a bloody nose or keeping it open after a certain number of turns.  Basically the German player (Russ) had to get a better result than Kruger did in the film (being shot and the bridge being captured).

The opening position.  Rhine, bridge, forest, Remagen.

The opening position.  Rhine, bridge, forest, Remagen.

Close up of the bridge ans the town (before German deployment).

Another bridge shot 

The town of Remagen - about to get a kicking

The possible routes

As the Americans, Mark and I saw that we had to get our tanks over to the embankment overlooking the railway as soon as possible but not getting bogged down on the roads.  We expected an ambush by the Y junction in the forest so we planned to take the tanks along the road, take the first left then hard right parallel to the road (but away from the AT batteries that would be positioned on the other side of the river.  The infantry would de-bus and run down the road and hence be immune from the At guns.  The tanks take the embankment, the troops take the town, panzer reinforcements killed ont the train - take the bridge. Easy!

American tanks move up as does Hartman's recon.  The tanks on the right go half speed so they can shoot at the AT on the other side of the river

The motorised division gets tangled up with the tanks as they aim for their objectives.  Hartman smashes a German recon unit blocking his way.

Hartman's recon leads the way as the traffic jam gets worse.  The American tanks have taken out a 76mm ATG on the other side of the Rhine.  The Hitler Youth has popped up miles from the hotel and takes a pot shot from the woods.

Hartman swings around and heads for the town but a hidden ATG takes out a couple of American tanks and the not-hidden ATG's across the Rhine take out the Infantry Division's lead vehicles.

Hartman engages the enemy as the Pershings come up behind.  The infantry division reaches the town and Mark chucks them in piecemeal and they die in droves.

The Pershings are thinned out by the hidden ATG (Russ rolling a succession of 6's)

What remains of the Pershings round the hill as Mark's infantry form an orderly queue to die,

He loses his HQ stand - the Germans are loving it!

Hartman loses a unit of recon but sees off a mortar team on the hill.

Hartman's recon take on a motorcycle unit while more German infantry are revealed in the woods.

Tanks make it to the top of the hill to overrun the German defenders but lose their recon unit.  The other tanks open up on the German infantry in the woods as Hartman jumps another German unit in the other woods.

The German infantry rout but the train is about to arrive with tanks on board.  Its now a race against time.  Meanwhile SMG armed German infantry hold the town easily.

Tanks on the hill - only one can shoot and anything but a '1' kills the train and the German tanks.  I roll a bloody 1.  Cheers from Russ, groans from Mark.  We decide to commit our reserve tanks to take the town and give Russ another bonus point.

The German tanks unload...11 of the buggers!

In my best ever shooting ever I clear 5 tanks in one round of shooting - not one miss! Russ is not happy.

After exchanging fire (and a hand to hand combat between Hartman's unit and a German tank) the German tanks rout as well!  Maj. Kruger goes for reinforcements.  The Germans try to blow the bridge but it ends up just cratered.  Russ sends off for more explosives!
I've left out a few shots of the American reserve tanks coming down the road.  Essentially night fell, Hartman was waiting for orders, the American reserve steamrollered through the town and the defenders routed.  By daybreak Kruger was in front of the firing squad (so no German reinforcements and no explosives).  So Russ did much better than Kruger in the film, but he failed to hold or destroy the bridge.

Americans take the town and as there is nothing to stop them, will take the bridge.
Great fun, great scenario and definitely one for another try :)


  1. Great game, top looking table and nice photos / AAR Phil.

    I thought the result was fair, getting there was the roller-coaster fun part!

    Because we opted to employ "Hollywood" style game play none of the units bar the HQ's & SMG armed / veterans were stronger so it was really 4s and 5s with a 6 for kill for everyone which made the game a lot more fun and not as "serious" as per our normal clashes.

    Thanks to Ian for another well thought out Christmas game.

    Just for the record in case we play again its 8 points to beat for the German player!

  2. Well played in good company. I wouldn't have dared put that game on without us all seeing the film first - could you imagine the howls at the stats and dispositions. I'll have to think of another film for next year - Zulus, fawzends of em!

  3. We'll have to get Mark to sing Men of Harlech as the Zulus come in