The Pontville Bridge / Race for the Last Bridge – A Crossfire Scenario

This is Anders Christian Böss’s Crossfire scenario “The Pontville Bridge / Race for the Last Bridge”. It is 6 June 1944 and a German force is defending against US paratroopers and ground troops. This scenario is one level of organisation lower than normal Crossfire, so a stand is a fire team not a squad; so, although it might not look it, that means this is a pretty big scenario by Crossfire standards. All words and photos by Anders.


Map set up

Table size: 8′ x 4′ (2.4m x 1.2m)

A town situated on the bank of a river. One road bridge crosses the river in the town, and two foot bridges cross the river outside of the town. South of the river, three access roads are joined in a crossroads. North of the river, outside of the town, there are two AA emplacements. The river is fordable.

Pontville Bridge Map

Pontville Bridge Map

Pontville-sur-Mere

Pontville-sur-Mere – View from the North

Landscape prepared for a defence in depth

Landscape prepared for a defence in depth


Order of play

  1. The axis player receives a situation report.
  2. The axis player deploys his troops.
  3. The allied player receives his mission briefing.
  4. The allied player deploys his troops.
  5. The axis player receives his mission briefing, detailing how the game will proceed.
  6. Roll to determine in how many initiatives reinforcements will be en route. Both players roll 4d6. The highest and the lowest dice are removed, and the remaining dice are added up (effectively 2d6 now). Multiple this by 15 minutes e.g. a score of 7 means the reinforcements arrive 1 hour 45 minutes after the start of the game. The hour of arrival is written down, and is not shown to the other player until the time when reinforcements arrive. The axis player, must secretly choose whether his (or her) troops will arrive through access B or C. Vehicles will arrive first in a single file column on the road specified by the axis player. Unmounted infantry arrives on the next turn, through the same access.

Axis Play Defending

Important!

The axis commander must only have access to his own briefing and unit roster. The allied commander must therefore be a trustworthy person, of impeccable integrity, as he (or she) will be performing the duty of umpire, unless an umpire is available.

Axis situation report

Normandy, garrison of Pontville-sur-Mere, June 6th,1944.

00:45
Enemy aircraft have entered our airspace. Parachutists have been spotted in the area. Make sure all flak batteries are prepared to fire, and be alert to enemy infiltration attempts!

01:00
The Kriegsmarine reports a large enemy fleet opposite the Pas-de-Calais. All forces between the Orne River and Saint-Malo must prepare for an enemy offensive in our sector.

01:11
More enemy paratroopers are landing near Saint-Lô, far to the west of your position.

01:30
General Dollman has ordered all of 7th army to general alert. This could be the invasion!

01:45
Enemy paratroopers are attacking Sainte-Marie-du-Mont and Sainte-Mére-Eglise, just west of your position.

02:15
Invasion alert is cancelled on the orders of High command. There have been no major attacks, only small unit action. Hold your position but keep your eyes open.

03:40
Enemy bombers have attacked fortifications of the Atlantic wall to the North-West of your position. More paratroopers have been dropped in the area, but only battalion sized units.

04:00
Heavy fighting at Sainte-Mére-Eglise. Reinforcements are on their way, and should drive the attackers out of the town shortly. At Carentan our forces are attacking the enemy paratroopers south of their position.

05:00
ENEMY AIRCRAFT INCOMING! Man all batteries!

Enemy transport planes pass overhead at low altitude. No planes are seriously damaged.

05:10
Parachutes can be seen descending south of your position! Deploy your forces to defend the bridge!

The allied player leaves the room! Axis player may deploy troops and obstacles to defend the bridge. The Troops may deploy anywhere, and may be hidden, but must not be moved afterwards!

05:10
Explosions can be heard north of your position.

05:20
Several enemy warships are bombarding the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall at several locations. There are reports of landing craft approaching at Port-en-Bessin.

05:58
The sun is rising, but the sky is covered in clouds. Fire from enemy warships and our own coastal batteries can be heard constantly. A few bombers have passed our position at high altitude, after attacking the fortifications by the sea. No sign of the enemy.

06:20
LOW FLYING ENEMY AIR CRAFT APPROACHING! OPEN FIRE!

5 enemy aircraft drop bombs on Pontville-sur-Mere, apparantly aiming for the bridge. The bridge is not hit, but a few houses are detroyed. Only civilians are killed in the attack. One enemy bomber is dragging a tail of smoke across the sky.

06:30
Enemy infantry and armor have landed on the beach to the North of your position, near Colleville. 21st Panzer Division are engaging enemy forces beyond the Orne River, East of your position.

06:45
More enemy troops are landing on the beach just North of your position! Make sure the road to the beach is passable, in case reinforcements are needed!

07.15
Enemy troops are landing on the beaches to the North-East of your position.

07:35
Enemy paratroopers are attacking the causeways leading from the beaches to the West of your position.

07:45
Enemy tanks have breached our lines near Colleville-sur-Mere! We should be able to close the gap shortly.

08:45
Enemy forces keep coming ashore, and there are several reports of breakthroughs, but high command is still convinced, that this is only a diversion. We have lost contact with some positions, but the line North of our position is still holding.

10:30
There is still heavy fighting going on North of our position. We have lost radio contact with several positions. We must prepare defences, in case the enemy makes a major breakthrough! The bridge is the only way to reach the beach after the enemy has captured the causeways. You must hold it, if we are to drive the enemy back into the sea!

If you have any obstacles and troops left, they may be now be deployed.

12:00
American troops are attacking Colleville-sur-Mere.

1:41
Our forces have retaken Colleville-sur-Mere, and await reinforcements before the can drive the Americans back to their starting point.

3:00
American forces have again captured Colleville-sur-Mere. Expect enemy infantry advancing in your sector. General Marcks has ordered Oberst von Oppeln-Brokinowski to counterattack with the 21st Panzerdivision. They need to cross the bridge of Pontville-sur-Mere!

Forces, axis

This scenario is one level of organisation lower than normal Crossfire, so a stand is a fire team not a squad.

I organised the German troops, as they would have been in Normandy, meaning their units are always lacking replacements. This means, that the German platoon is smaller than the American platoon. The germans in the town had a number of Panzerfausts attached. This is a single figure with a PzFaust, which is removed after firing. German elite troops had Panzerschrecks, each with 3 rockets.

German Initial Force

  • 1 x CC (+0)
  • 1 x Rifle Platoon
    • PC (+1)
    • 3 x Rifle Squads2
      • 1 x SMG or Rifle Fire Team stand acting as Squad Leader (+0) 1
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand
      • 1 x MG42 Fire Team stand
      • 2 x Panzerfaust stand (one shot)3
  • 1 x Rifle Platoon
    • PC (+0)
    • 3 x Rifle Squads2
      • 1 x SMG or Rifle Fire Team stand acting as Squad Leader (+0) 1
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand
      • 1 x MG42 Fire Team stand
      • 2 x Panzerfaust stand (one shot)3
  • 1 x Flakvierling with crew at AA1
  • 1 x 88mm AA gun with crew at AA2
  • 1 x PAK 38 with crew
  • Command & Control: Good
  • Morale: Regular

Notes:
(1) One fire team stand of the squad is the Squad Leader. It can coordinate movement like a normal PC but not rally or direct a crossfire.
(2) A squad comprises three fire team stands: Squad Leader, Rifle Fire Team, MG42 Fire Team.
(3) Panzerfausts are carried by individual figure stands. They are one shot.

Reinforcements

German reinforcements arrive from the south (access B or C).

German Reinforcements

  • 1 x CC (+1)
  • 1 x Kubelwagen (can carry the CC)
  • 1 x Elite Motorised Rifle Platoon
    • PC (+1)
    • 3 x Rifle Squads2
      • 1 x SMG or Rifle Fire Team stand acting as Squad Leader (+0) 1
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand
      • 1 x MG42 Fire Team stand
      • 1 x Panzerfaust stand (one shot)3
      • 2 x Panzershrek (3FMs each)4
    • 2 x Hanomags (Capacity: 1 squad + PC)
    • 1 x tractor (Capacity: 1 squad)
  • 1 x Elite Leg Rifle Platoon
    • PC (+1)
    • 3 x Rifle Squads2
      • 1 x SMG or Rifle Fire Team stand acting as Squad Leader (+0) 1
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand
      • 1 x MG42 Fire Team stand
      • 1 x Panzerfaust stand (one shot)3
      • 2 x Panzershrek (3FMs each)4
  • Mortar section
    • 2 x 81mm mortars with FOOs [Unlimited FM5]
    • 1 x Opel Blitz1
  • 1 x Panzer V, Panther
  • 2 x Panzer IV
  • 1 x Sturmgeschütz III
  • 1 x Sturmhaubits
  • 1 x Marder III
  • Command & Control: Good
  • Morale: Veteran

Notes:
(1) One fire team stand of the squad is the Squad Leader. It can coordinate movement like a normal PC but not rally or direct a crossfire.
(2) A squad comprises three fire team stands: Squad Leader, Rifle Fire Team, MG42 Fire Team.
(3) Panzerfausts are carried by individual figure stands. They are one shot.
(4) Panzershrecks and Bazookas are separate crew stands. They have FM missions which need to be tracked.
(5) The Opel Blitz can transport both mortar teams and their ammunition. The 81mm mortars have unlimited FM if in the same feature as the Opel Blitz truck.

Deployment and fortification

Initial force is deployed anywhere on the map, except for the AA batteries. The Axis player receives briefings suggesting the allied route of approach. All forces may be hidden.

Barbed wire and tank traps may be deployed. The bridge must be passable.

Reinforcements arrive in a single file column. Vehicles arrive first, and are deployed on the road specified by the axis player. The allied player may perform reactive fire against the column, once deployed, if he has units within range. Unmounted infantry arrives on the next axis initiative.

Mission briefing Axis commander

The allied forces have launched a major offensive in Normandy. Despite suffering heavy casualties, they have broken through the Atlantic Wall in several locations. They will probably attempt to expand their bridgehead as quickly as possible, so they can safely land more troops. Right now our troops are keeping large units of infantry and panzer engaged around Colleville-sur-Mere. Oberst von Oppeln-Brokinowski is sending the 21st Panzerdivision to counterattack. American paratroopers have infiltrated behind our lines, and have secured several routes inland. The bridge at Pontville-sur-Mere is the only direct route leading to Colleville from the south. If we can attack from this direction we can hit the enemy flank. Of course the Americans know this, so they will probably try to capture or destroy the bridge. Do not worry about air strikes, the Luftwaffe is ready to shoot down all incoming planes!

Your orders are to hold the bridge, so the Panzers can cross, and attack the enemy positions to the North.


Allied Player Attacking

Mission briefing Allied Commander

We have landed in Normandy. After hard fighting, we have secured a beach head, and must now advance further inland. Your mission objective, is the small hamlet of Pontville-sur-Mer, where you must capture the bridge. The bridge was supposed to be destroyed by bombers, because it enables the krauts’ 34th motorized division to attack the bridgehead with the strong armoured forces stationed nearby.

Intelligence suggests, that the bridge is only lightly defended. Move swiftly, secure the bridge and hold tight until our tanks arrive from the beach to help you secure the far side of the bank. Our fighter bombers should be able to stop anything moving in your direction, but prepare your defences, just in case.
A: Capture and hold the bridge of Pontville-sur-Mer until reinforcements arrive.
B: Secure all roads leading inland.

Forces, allies

This scenario is one level of organisation lower than normal Crossfire, so a stand is a fire team not a squad.

The nature of troops and direction of attack, is decided by the roll of a d6: Even=regular infantry, odd=paratroopers. The axis player must not be aware of this!

US regular squads have three fire teams including a BAR team. The US paratrooper squad is closer to the Germans squad, because they usually have Browning .30 cals instead of BARs, one in each squad, replacing a rifle stand, just like the Germans,

Regular Infantry from the north (access A)

  • 1 x CC (+1)
  • 2 x Rifle Platoons
    • PC (+0)
    • 3 x Rifle Squads2
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand acting as Squad Leader (+0) 1
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand
      • 1 x BAR Team stand
    • 1 x Browning 30cal. Team
    • 1 x 60mm Mortar teams (5 FMs each)4
  • 2 x FOOs for naval artillery (5 FMs each)
  • 3 x Bazookas (3FMs each)3
  • 2 x Assault engineers
  • Command & Control: Okay
  • Morale: Regular

Notes:
(1) One fire team stand of the squad is the Squad Leader. It can coordinate movement like a normal PC but not rally or direct a crossfire.
(2) A squad comprises three fire team stands: Squad Leader, Rifle Fire Teams and a squad support weapon (BAR or 30cal).
(3) Panzershrecks and Bazookas are separate crew stands. They have FM missions which need to be tracked.
(4) PC acts as FO.

or

Paratroopers from the south (Access B or C)

  • 1 x CC (+1)
  • 2 x Rifle Platoons
    • PC (+0)
    • 3 x Rifle Squads2
      • 1 x SMG or Rifle Fire Team stand acting as Squad Leader (+0) 1
      • 1 x SMG or Rifle Fire Team stand
      • 1 x Browning 30cal. Team
      • 1 x 60mm Mortar team (5 FMs each)4
  • 2 x FOOs for naval artillery (5 FMs each)
  • 3 x Bazookas (3FMs each)3
  • Command & Control: Okay
  • Morale: Veteran

Notes:
(1) One fire team stand of the squad is the Squad Leader. It can coordinate movement like a normal PC but not rally or direct a crossfire.
(2) A squad comprises three fire team stands: Squad Leader, Rifle Fire Teams and a squad support weapon (BAR or 30cal).
(3) Panzershrecks and Bazookas are separate crew stands. They have FM missions which need to be tracked.
(4) PC acts as FO.

Reinforcements

Regular Infantry from the north (access A)

  • 2 x Rifle Platoons
    • PC (+0)
    • 3 x Rifle Squads2
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand acting as Squad Leader (+0) 1
      • 1 x Rifle Fire Team stand
      • 1 x BAR Fire Team stand
    • 1 x Browning 30cal. Team
    • 1 x 60mm Mortar Teams (5 FMs each)4
  • 2 x FOOs for medium artillery (10 FMs each)
  • 3 x Bazookas (3FMs each)3
  • 3 x Sherman M4A3
  • 2 x Sherman M4A3 76mm
  • 1 x Stuart light tank
  • 1 x 2,5 ton truck with ammunition 6
  • 1 x jeep
  • 3 x fighter bombers5
  • Command & Control: Okay
  • Morale: Regular

Notes:
Notes:
(1) One fire team stand of the squad is the Squad Leader. It can coordinate movement like a normal PC but not rally or direct a crossfire.
(2) A squad comprises three fire team stands: Squad Leader, Rifle Fire Teams and a squad support weapon (BAR or 30cal).
(3) Panzershrecks and Bazookas are separate crew stands. They have FM missions which need to be tracked.
(4) PC acts as FO.
(5) Fighter bombers may make 2 attack runs each on infantry, trucks, halftracks or tanks in the open (not in woods or buildings) with 5d6 and EFF: 2sq. Attacks against halftracks or armoured vehicles have ACC: -1, PEN: +1
(6) The ammunition truck gives unlimited FM to any friendly stands that use FM

Deployment, allies

The allied deployment is specified in the briefing.

Fortifications

If the axis player is completely annihilated or withdraws and takes a defensive stance south of the river while waiting for reinforcements, the allied player may move one obstacle or mine one feature for each passed initiative, until axis reinforcements arrive.


Victory Conditions

Axis Objectives

A: Hold the bridge and town.
B: Defeat the allied forces (the allied player is annihilated or concedes defeat, or the Axis player can travel freely on all roads.

Allied Objectives

A: Hold the bridge and town.
B: Defeat the axis forces (the Axis player is annihilated or concedes defeat, or the Allied player can travel freely on all roads).


Special rules

Figure to man ratio

One stand of 2 figures, represents a fire team of 3-4 soldiers. So 3 fire teams make a squad. So figure-wise, the scale is really 1:2, but in terms of organisation, it works like 1:1, since one mg stand represents one mg, one tank is one tank etc.

Each squad consists of 3 fire teams. One acts as squad leader. For the germans, it is a SMG/rifle squad, and for the Americans it is usually a BAR team. The perform as SMG and rifle team. They may also direct movement but not rally or command crossfire.

The germans in the town had a number of Panzerfausts attached. This is displayed by a single figure with a PzFaust, which is removed after firing. Paratroopers and German elite troops had bazookas and Panzerschrecks, each with 3 rockets (we kept tally on a piece of paper). Multi fire AT units act as individual attached support weapons.

Ammunition Trucks and Unlimited Ammo

The ammunition trucks provide unlimited ammunition for their side. Unlimited ammo is for on board mortars, bazookas and Panzerschrecks, which have limited ammo otherwise. Units have to be placed next to the truck to resupply, and the AT units will need to end their initiative. Mortars with limited ammo is a very powerful weapon, but this is countered by the possibility of air strikes. The Germans usually do not have access to air support, but rely on their better armor instead.

Fighter bombers

Fighter bombers may make
– 2 attack runs each on infantry, trucks, halftracks or tanks in the open (not in woods or buildings) with 5d6 and EFF: 2sq. Attacks against halftracks or armoured vehicles have ACC: -1, PEN: +1.
– 2 attack runs with .50cal.

Flak

Antiaircraft guns may perform reactive fire once per initiative at one attacking plane. The Flakvierling shoots with 3d6 and the 88mm shoots with 2d6. The two batteries may combine their fire, i.e. roll 5 dice against one plane.
The Flakvierling may fire once per initiative at ground troops and light vehicles as well. Against infantry it fires with 4d6. Against soft vehicles, it fires 5d6.

Clock

The clock moves 15 minutes on a roll of 3-6. The game ends at 2000 hours, when darkness falls.

Waterways

The river is fordable in 3 moves for infantry (in – cross – out), and 2 for vehicles (in – out).

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