Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Bridge at Remagen battle report

Well it came and it went.  Loads of interest in the battle before, during and afterwards.  But what transpired?  Who did what?  How did it turn out?  read on...

Most of the set up had been done by the time I arrived from Wallasey after a gruelling 2 hours and 30 minute drive over the misty mountains.  I just plonked a few hundred trees down as the battlefield was set up. 

As myself and Russ had won as the Germans last time, it was time to switch sides and take the Americans.  Our plan was simple - run EVERYTHING up to the ridge overlooking the railway station as soon as possible to blat the 15th Army train before it could disgorge the Panthers.  Then take the town and let Hartman and his Recon boys storm the bridge.

The boys rest after a mammoth tree laying exercise and before the battle gets underway,

We set up the information boards (so people passing by knew what was happening on the table).  These proved quite popular and as we were in a 'high traffic' area there always seemed to be 2-3 people around at all times.

Our information board so passers by know what's going on
The board is ready - with lots and lots of trees
I'd made another 300 bases of trees for the event - in the end we found we only used about 1/3 of the trees available so someone (me) miscalculated.  You can see the general overview here - go down the river road, the 'back streets' road or cross-country.  We need to get to the railway track (top middle) by turn 8-9.

The lads then all disappeared to have a look at the other tables and stalls so I did a bit of PR by talking to curious visitors for half an hour.  Then we got down to it.

Mark gets into character as Maj Kruger. "Club!"
And we're off...

Our plan was simple - go down the back road to get away from the German guns across the Rhine.  The tanks took to the road as the armoured infantry took to the country rout.  Meanwhile Hartman's recon went down the river road but being recon are virtually invisible.  Our other cunning plan was to bring on the reserve straight away.  This gave the Germans 1 point (they needed 4 or better to get a result as good as the movie) but the idea was to swamp the defenders.

German anti-tank shooting was brutal and the Chafees were soon being whittled down before they'd gone any distance at all!

The first two objectives - the farm and the village

Hartman ploughed up the river road as the tanks and armoured infantry converged on the farm and village guarding the back road.  The anti-tank guns across the river could shoot to any distance based on line of sight and they were joined by the ATG in the farm.

Didn't we start with more Chaffees than that?
The tanks by-passed the farm - leaving the armoured infantry to mop up.  But they were still being shot to pieces.  The armoured infantry lost a couple of stands on the way in (including one to the Hitler Youth) but sheer weight of numbers told.  The farm and village fell - but such had been the damage inflicted that the Chaffees failed a morale roll and they routed (as did the Germans holding the village).  The road to the ridge was clear BUT it was down to the armoured infantry to now stop the train carrying the German 15th Army.

Hartman's recon meets some Germans
Hartman completely failed in his role as hero.  His recon troupe bounced a German motorcycle recon unit but then found themselves in spotting range of the town and lost a unit.  The Germans now had 2 points so we decided to park Hartman near the bridge but out of spotting range and wait for the armoured reserve to assault the town.

We also got a couple of bombing runs onto units on the bridge.

Hartman's recon hides as the bombing run goes in.
The armoured reserve appeared from the American lines and followed Hartman up the same road as the armoured infantry carried on around the back.  This had the added bonus of deflecting fire away from them meaning more stands would survive to attack the train and then the town / bridge.

Here comes the reserve

The armoured infantry swung around the rear of the town.  The objective was to hide behind the ridge (and so be out of 88mm fire) UNTIL the train arrived and then they would pop out and shoot it to bits.  The Germans saw the danger and blew the bridge with their poor quality explosives - cratering the approach.  They then sent off for better quality explosives to do the job properly.

First attempt to blow the bridge.

The armoured infantry get into position behind the ridge overlooking the railway.  The Germans blow the bridge but its intact - for now.
Bridge is blown - but not blown up.  Hartman stays well away

The 15th Army could still get across and we were informed that the arrival was imminent.  The Americans therefore braved the 88mm fire and breasted the crest. Hartman sensibly backed away from the town (not wanting to lose stands to fire and give the Germans easy points) - and also to avoid the smoke from the blown up bridge!

The Americans crest the ridge to get ready to pour fire on the incoming train as their colleagues assault the church to knock out a mortar and the rest line up to take the town.

Basically all the action boils down to this...
The 15th Army arrive!
The train turned up just after the Americans had lost a stand or two to 88mm fire.  Mark insisted in lining up the Panthers even though just one hit on the train would kill them all.  And so it proved - Russ rolled a few dice and the train blew up - taking all German hope (and potential points) away. 

Smiles all around on the American side - it was all coming together.  Meanwhile the military grade explosives had turned up and the German engineers had them rigged in record time.  Just as well as the American armoured reserve was minutes away and the town was in severe danger of getting swamped on three sides.  The past German troops were holed up there and if the town fell, the bridge would soon follow.

Another two airstrikes came in - there was some argument about who the planes could bomb (the rule said ANY unit within 12" of the bridge).  As it turned out Hartman was more than 12" away (the cowards!) and so the Germans got another bombload on their heads. 

The 15th Army departs - in a mass explosion.
With the train blown up, the only way the Germans could now score points to win was to kill Hartman's recon team.  However, they were lined up way out of town and any Germans foolish enough to come out of the town to attack them were likely to get a) mowed down by Hartman's team or b) run over by the Chaffees coming down the road behind them. 

In the end it didn't matter.  The Germans decided to try to blow the bridge again and rolled a 6!  Success!  The bridge went up with no Americans on it or even near it.  The Germans in the town were doomed (as was any unit on the American side of the bridge).  Kruger was on the German side of the Rhine and so safe (and indeed had followed the Fuhrer's orders to the letter - at the cost of the 15th Army).

Boom!  Kruger (on the German side of the Rhine) throws honour and respect of his CinC out of the window to save himself from the firing squad.  Similarly Hartman's recon team were nowhere near when it went up.

So basically we got nowhere near the film's result.  The Americans failed to take the bridge intact but did trap and kill the 15th Army.  Kruger failed to save the 15th Army but blew the bridge.  Hartman's recon team had only one casualty so lived on to fight another day.  As the train was killed the Germans got no points for keeping the bridge open for each turn after 15th Army detrained.

The Germans therefore only secured 2 points (Americans bring on the reserve and lost 1 unit of Hartman's recon).  The result was essentially worse than the film so the Germans lost and the Americans survived. 

I love it when a plan comes together!


  1. https://www.baccus6mm.com/news/20-07-2016/TheJoyofSix2016-PartOne/

    We got a nice mention :)

  2. Yes we did and the arial photo looks great. Well done everyone it was a great day.