Bridging Scenario

This scenario demands some fairly specialist figures. It involves an advance by British forces, equipped with vehicles for bridging rivers, and dealing with fixed defences. The defender has resources for dealing with both tanks and infantry, but few armoured resources of his own.

The table has on it two streams, one about a fifth of the way in from one end, and the other about two fifths in from the other end. The first has a bridge on it, capable of taking the weight of tanks. The second has a ruined bridge, or no bridge at all. The attacker must advance from one end of the table to the other. To do so, he will have to bridge the second river.

Brown areas: lots of fields, woods, hills (sight-blocking terrain), as well as the usual mix of rough ground and other types.
White area: mainly open terrain, though perhaps with some rough ground patches, and a depression or two (big enough for a tank or three). Note that these terrain types do not block sight. Should be of a width such that one or two smoke missions will not block sight across the whole open area. There must be a clear path somewhere for the bridging tank to get from the bridge to the second river, though this needn't be straight.
Blue lines: rivers, impassable to vehicles, three move actions to cross for infantry. Right hand one has central bridge strong enough for tanks.
Dark green blob: sight block, perhaps a forest section, placed so that the defender cannot easily block the bridge by knocking out a tank as it crosses the bridge.
Red octagons: pillboxes, with all-round field of fire, and entrances on defender's side, positioned on hills. Must be out of range of petard mortars fired from right of the right hand river.
Red oblong: main central well-defended anti-tank gun emplacement, with good view over open area and bridge. Room for at least three AT guns. Perhaps includes trenches for defending infantry.
Black dots: line of telegraph poles, which hampers the bridge-layer's progress.

The Forces

These are the forces I used, but of course you will probably have to fudge them a bit according to the figures you have.

British (attacker)

  • One Churchill Crocodile flame-thrower tank
  • One Churchill minesweeper tank
  • One Churchill fascine carrier tank with petard mortar
  • One Churchill small box girder bridge layer tank with petard mortar
  • One Churchill VIII 95mm howitzer tank (may fire smoke from main gun)
  • Six Churchill tanks (mainly VIIs) in two troops of three (with 2" smoke mortars)
  • One FOO team with 2x 3" mortars on land line
  • Two stands of assault engineers
  • Four Vickers MMG teams (an MG platoon with command)
  • Two platoons (companies at the published scale) infantry, each with one 2" mortar and one PIAT

Just to makes things a bit more awkward, I played this scenario with Sikhs as the British infantry, and ruled that only the pale-skinned officers spoke good enough English to co-ordinate with the tanks, and so only they could attach infantry to tanks.

German (defender)

  • Three PaK 40 75mm (pretty good) anti-tank guns
  • One 37mm (less good, but with HEAT shells good PEN) anti-tank gun
  • Two pillboxes
  • Three minefields to be placed hidden or not (defender's option)
  • Six sections of barbed wire
  • Emplacements for the AT guns
  • Two platoons infantry (companies at published scale)
  • One FOO with radio link to 81mm mortar
  • Three tripod-mounted MMGs

Plus potential re-enforcements:

  1. One StuG III self propelled gun
  2. Another StuG III SPG
  3. One Marder III SPG
  4. Infantry section (platoon at published scale)
  5. Infantry section
  6. Infantry section
  7. Infantry platoon command (Coy. command)


The locations of the main ATG emplacement, and of the pillboxes are shown on the map. The defender chooses where to put his ATGs, with little emplacements for those not in the main emplacement, his minefields, wire, and all his infantry. These, he can deploy anywhere to the left of the bridged river.

The attacker starts off table, and comes on from the right hand table edge (see map).


After six defender's initiatives, the defender rolls 1d6 at the start of his initiative. On a result of six, he rolls a further 1d6-2 and gets that many rolls on the re-enforcement table (above). If he rolls for some unit that has already arrived, he rolls again. If he rolls 4-6 and thus gets an infantry unit (section the way I play, but platoon at the published scale), and he then rolls again, and gets the platoon's command section (company's command at published scale) on a result of 5 or 6 as well as the infantry unit.

Re-enforcements arrive at a randomly determined point anywhere along the defender's end of the table and both long sides. The defender may not choose where or when the re-enforcements arrive. They represent forces from neighbouring areas rushing in response to the rumour of an attack. Since the attack is a penetrating one, it is even possible that the re-enforcements will arrive on the attacker's side of the bridged stream.

Terrain rules

The pillboxes have all-round fields of fire, and can be assaulted from any side, but only entered or exited from the defender's side. The pillboxes are on hills, and can see over neighbouring fields.

The streams are fordable to infantry, taking three move actions as normal. They are impassable to tanks.

The emplacements for the guns confer a penalty die's protection to the occupants (if you don't like penalty dice, try counting 6s only as hits, but not dropping a die as well, so they are better than ordinary cover, but not as good as bunkers)

The Funnies

The Churchill fascine can drop its fascine in a trench to make it passable to tanks. It can also drop its fascine in a river, to make the river easier to bridge. It may not fire forwards, or reload, until the fascine is dropped.

The Churchill bridge-layer's bridge will support the weight of any tank, if it has a fascine under it. On its own, with no supporting fascine, it will bear the weight of a tank on a roll of anything but a 1 on 1d6, for every tank that crosses it. On a roll of 1, it buckles, and the tank on it is immobilised. It may not carry its bridge through buildings or woods, or under telegraph wires (telegraph poles may be rammed down by other Churchills, or blown up by infantry in contact with them undisturbed for a whole initiative). If it moves through rough ground, roll 3+ per move action or else the bridge sways too much and falls off. Moves one move action per initiative. Roll 2d6 to drop bridge. 10+ position good, bridge in place; 6-9 position close - manoeuvre on the spot for one initiative and then drop bridge; 4-5 position bad, move at least 3d6" and try again; 3 bridge dropped in poor position, troops and light vehicles only may cross; 2 disaster - bridge falls in gap - useless. In this scenario, it is vital that the river be bridged, so one could forego the die roll, or rule rolls of 2 and 3 to give the result of 4 and 5 instead. If the bridge is used to allow tanks up a steep rise, such as a coastal wall or ridge, roll 2d6: 8+ position good, bridge in place; 5-7 position close - manoeuvre for 1 initiative then drop bridge; 3-4 position unsuitable - move 3d6" along and try again; 2 rise cannot be bridged for some reason (ground too soft, ground angle wrong, mechanical trouble). There are no steep rises in this scenario, but I thought I'd put in the full rules while I was at it. The bridge-layer may not fire its petard mortar in the front ninety-degree arc, until it has dropped its bridge.

The Churchill Crocodile is a Churchill VII with a flame-thrower instead of a hull machine gun. The flame thrower has a range of the length of the vehicle, has a forty-five degree arc of fire, does 6d6 to troops in the open or in fields and rough ground, 5d6 to troops in woods and trenches, and 4d6 to troops in pillboxes (5s needed, not 6s). Troops in pillboxes or trenches or other enclosed spaces who are suppressed flee the space, and are placed immediately behind the space at a place chosen by the infantry's player. The flame gun may not be used if friendly forces are within two base distances of the target. Wooden buildings and corn fields and similarly flammable terrain catch fire on 4+ on 1d6, the fire spreading by a base distance per initiative on a roll of 3+, forcing all troops there to move away at the same speed, regardless of pins and suppressions. If the fire roll comes up 1, or the fire runs out of flammable terrain feature, the fire burns out. Against vehicles in range, 3+ to destroy.

The Churchill mine-sweeper will detect a minefield when it drives into it on a 3+ on 1d6. To keep the attacker guessing, the defender could ask him to roll for the mine-sweeper every time he moved it. If it drives all the way through a minefield (by choice or in ignorance), roll 1d6: 1 = tank immobilised, 2 = tank made it though, 3 = tank made it through and mine field partially cleared (drop a die versus infantry and -1 to die roll to destroy a vehicle), 4+ tank made it through and a lane cleared. These tanks were used mainly for detecting minefields, and were imperfect clearers of them. The usual drill was to send one ahead, and if it detected a minefield, then either another route could be tried, or else infantry or a plough would do the clearing. The good thing about them was that the turret could be used to engage the enemy as the tank went forward, unlike the crab flail tanks which were better at clearing mines.

The Churchill "Flying Dustbins" petard mortars have a range of the two vehicle lengths. They may not fire the petard if there are friendly troops within two base distances of the target. They do 4d6 against infantry, and as AT guns have the stats ACC -2 PEN +2. Against a pillbox they roll 1d6 twice: First roll for effect on st.ructure 1-2 no effect, 3-4 pillbox damaged (counts as normal cover from fire from ninety degree arc centred on tank, and +1 (cumulative) to subsequent petard attacks), 5-6 = pillbox destroyed (counts as normal cover from all sides). Second roll for effect on occupants 1 = no effect, 2 = no effect, 3 = all troops in pillbox pinned, 4 = all troops in pillbox suppressed, 5 = all troops in pillbox flee to immediately outside pillbox, where they end up in previous state (pinned if previously pinned etc.) 6. All troops in pillbox killed. To reload gun counts as an action, which can be reacted to. During reloading, loader is partially exposed, and counts as a target in bunker (-1 die, -1 pip per die). The mortar was loaded by breaking the barrel upwards, to point at the sky, and by pushing the forty-pound bomb up through a special hatch in the top on the hull, into the barrel, and then pulling the barrel back down to its firing position, with the aid of a powerful spring. A Pin result is ignored; a suppression forces the tank to retreat to out of sight of the enemy to reload. A kill means that the bomb was hit and set off by enemy fire, and the tank is destroyed. The petard can also clear mine-fields, by airbursting in front of the tank. Once a minefield has been detected by any means, the petard can fire into it (speculative fire on undetected suspected minefields is forbidden). Roll 1d6-2 and subtract that from the effectiveness of the minefield, so on a roll of 4-2=2, the minefield would do 2d6 not 4d6 to troops, and would subtract 2 from its roll to disable a tank.

You may like to have a look at some of my models of Churchills, including the funnies, which appear in the modelling section.


The attacker has a problem, in that he has vehicles that are great at taking on pillboxes, but vulnerable to the AT guns with their good field of fire. His best strategy is probably to use smoke from tanks and mortars to cover an infantry attack down one side of the table. This might be able to by-pass the defending pillboxes. If the infantry can take out a couple of the enemy AT guns, then the Churchill funnies can make short work of the pillboxes afterwards. Ideally, the infantry should get across the second river, then use the depth of the table to get round behind the main AT gun emplacement, and attack it from the rear.

It would be a mistake to attack with the tanks alone. A PaK 40 has a PEN of +1 and a Churchill VII has front armour of 6, and so the ATG needs a 5 to destroy a Churchill from the front. If you use different tanks and AT guns, try and keep this figure about the same (e.g. tanks with armour of 3, and AT guns with PEN of -2). Similarly, it would be a foolish move not to use the tanks to help, since the attacking infantry might become out-numbered if enough re-enforcements arrive. It is also a good idea to get ordinary Churchills in position to head off the possible threat of a German SPG's suddenly turning up and threatening the bridge-layer, or perhaps appearing to the rear.

The defender would probably be wise not to put all his AT guns in the main emplacement, where they might all get smoked off at once. When playing the defender, I put two good AT guns in the emplacement, and the other two dug in behind the hills where the pillboxes were, facing inwards, also threatening the central area, but not visible from the bridge. Worked a treat. The defender would probably be unwise not to have infantry in front of the two pillboxes, either side of the clear area, but there are more ways than one to skin a llama.


Victory goes to the attacker if he can destroy all the enemy AT guns and pillboxes and get at least five tanks off the far end of the table. Later following units can mop up any further resistance. Victory goes to the defender if the attacker loses too many tanks, or if the bridging tank is destroyed, or if the bridge is destroyed before enough tanks have got across. To destroy the bridge, the defenders can try bringing a box of explosives from the main gun emplacement, and placing it on the bridge. It takes a full initiative undisturbed to place the charge, and this will blow up the bridge in the next defender's initiative, at a time either of his choosing or at the end of it if the initiative ends before he's ready, on a 4+ on 1d6. There is no limit to the number of attempts, but if the men placing the charges are next to the bridge when it blows, they suffer a 6d6 attack.


Click here to go back to the home page