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Flames of War

 

Bridge At Remagen Design Notes

Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes Bridge At Remagen Design Notes
with Mike Haught & Dr. Michael L. McSwiney.

The US Army is charging for the Rhine, the last physical barrier to the German heartland. Leading the march of the US First Army is Combat Command B of the 9th Armored Division. The Rhine has always been the objective, but no one expects the Germans to leave any of the bridges across the river intact.

On 7 March 1945, lead elements of Task Force Engeman discover that Remagen’s Ludendorff Bridge is still intact and Brigadier General Hoge instantly recognises that a decisive battle is upon his troops. He orders the bridge to be captured.

Meanwhile, Major Hans Scheller, commander of the German defenders, gives the order for the bridge to be demolished. As the first American soldiers set foot on the bridge, it explodes in a massive plume of smoke and debris. After the dust settles, everyone is stunned to find the bridge still stands. The fight for the industrial heartland of Germany is on!

This product is no longer in print, but is available on Forces of War and Flames of War Digital.
What Is Bridge at Remagen?
Bridge at Remagen covers the decisive battles in the Ruhr, Germany’s industrial heartland and centre-stage for the last major fights between US and German forces in the Second World War. American players are presented with US armoured forces, including tank, light tank, armoured rifle, and cavalry companies. German players can field lots of powerful, heavy tanks as well as the fanatical infantry forces of SS-Panzerbrigade Westfalen.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
The US Army: 1945
The war has been going on for many long and deadly months now. Few American units felt that keener than the 3rd Armored Division, who had been fighting the Germans since they landed in Normandy nearly a year previously. They have been fighting with virtually the same out-dated equipment and casualties were getting high. Still, the Germans appeared to be on the run and that’s all it took to keep charging on for Berlin. Meanwhile, other divisions, such as the 9th Armored, have emerged from the winter offensives a tighter, more professional force, and are ready to take up the advance.

As the US Army advances on the Rhine, new equipment and reinforcements arrive and bolsters the morale of the fighting men. This means that for the first time, troopers begin to think they might actually survive this damned war!
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
Across the Rhine: US Forces
Bridge at Remagen includes all of the usual army lists that you might expect for a book about US tank forces, including a Tank, a Light Tank, an Armored Rifle Company, and a Cavalry Squadron.

Tank Companies
The Tank and Light Tank Companies follow the standard organisation, but they have a lot of new equipment. The M4s and M4A1s have been generally replaced by the new M4A3 model, which is now the basic US battle tank. More 76mm guns have been made available to the divisions, allowing players to take three 76mm-armed Sherman variants per platoon (including the new 76mm Jumbo!).

By 1945, the Sherman was showing its age against the modern German tanks. With a heavier tanks not forthcoming in large numbers, the Sherman maintenance crews took matters into their own hands by adding extra armour plates and replacing co-ax .30 cal machine-guns with .50 cal ones instead. Not to let the removed machine-guns go to waste, they were then attached to the commander’s hatch on the turret.

The US Army learned some tricks fighting in urban terrain. The biggest impact on the armoured divisions was the use of tank escorts. Typically a half-dozen armoured infantrymen would be paired up with a tank. The infantry would stay with the tanks and deal with enemy anti-tank weapons, such as Panzerfausts hiding in buildings. This means that medium and heavy tanks have access to Tank Escorts, to help them overcome enemy positions.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
Armored Rifle Companies
The armoured infantry are a tough and professional fighting force in Flames Of War. Their platoon organisation looks and operates a lot like a self-contained combined-arms unit, with its own artillery, machine-guns, infantry, and anti-tank weapons. It’s fully mobile with the use of M3 half-tracks, making it fast as well.

At Remagen and across the front near the Rhine, the terrain was muddy and the half-tracks had trouble navigating the rough going. So the ‘Blitz Doughs’, a nickname for the armoured riflemen, left their half-tracks behind and mounted up on any fully-tracked vehicle they could find. This allowed task forces to be formed with the infantry and tanks that both reduced the road space needed to move as well made it easier to refuel and supply the column.

In Flames Of War, this is represented by the option to Dismount your entire Armored Rifle Company, saving points by removing the half-tacks from the force. They then benefit from the new Task Force Riders special rule, allowing them to ride on the back of tanks and retain their 3+ infantry save, rather than the normal 5+ passenger save. This combination will make it easier to get a lot of firepower to a specific spot quickly and decisively.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
Cavalry Squadrons
The cavalry has been leading the armored divisions to victory since day one, matching their division’s experiences and morale. The 83rd Armored Recon Battalion scouts for the 3rd Armored Division using a larger patrol organisation. Putting more eyes on the target will help keep your tankers alive.

Also featured is the Lucky 38th Cavalry Squadron, which earned its nickname through incredible good fortune throughout the war (the most recent example being holding the northern shoulder of the Battle of the Bulge).

When the M24 Chaffee light tank entered service in the cavalry squadrons starting in late 1944, many squadrons released their older M5A1 Stuarts to the cavalry patrols to replace M8 Greyhounds. Virtually identical in technology, the armoured car crews took to the light tanks well. With better off-road capability and overhead protection, the patrols were better equipped for scouting missions.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
New Equipment
Perhaps the most anticipated and exciting thing in Bridge at Remagen for American players is all of the new kit. Top of the list and most eagerly sought after is the M26 Pershing heavy tank. This vehicle entered service in the final months of the war and made its presence felt immediately. With roughly the same the basic stats as the German Panther, this tank will give the Americans their first heavy-hitting tank, easily capable of dealing with German tanks. Players will not be disappointed with this powerful
new weapon!

During the winter of 1944-1945, the tank battalions received kits to upgrade a platoon of M4 Shermans into Calliope rocket launchers. A massive rack of sixty rockets were installed on the turret of each tank and used to support the tank battalions with an incredible suppressive bombardment. These tanks will help you get cheap artillery to support your tanks.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
As the Pershings arrived, the units were also getting their first batches of the new M24 Chaffee light tank. Built to replace the older Stuart, the Chaffee became the new standard for US light tanks (while some divisions soldiered on with the M5). The light tank company’s mission remained the same, exploit gaps in the enemy’s line and out-flank tough opponents.

By late 1944, the M36 Jackson tank destroyer was in high demand, but there were not a sufficient number of hulls available. To make up the numbers a batch of M36s were produced by dropping a Jackson’s turret into the hull of an M4A3 Sherman. The combination of the two provided the crew some more protection and an additional machine-gun. This model was designated the M36B1 and hit the front during the winter of 1944/45.

Experience from the Normandy landings proved to the US Army the value of engineering tanks. Special tank battalions were created to help give infantry and tank divisions the breakthrough tools needed for breaching the Siegfried Line. These included the British-made mineflail Sherman Crab tanks, the American T1E3 Aunt Jemima mine-roller tank, and the hybrid Sherman Crocodile. These tanks were always in high demand and helped clear the way into the heartland of Germany.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
Provisional Rifle Platoons
One last new feature for American forces is the addition of Provisional Rifle Platoons. These were formed from rear-echelon units to supplement the manpower shortages on the front line. The men were all African American volunteers, eager to prove their mettle in combat. Their service record was exemplary and their comrades had nothing but great things to say about them. Their efforts went a long way toward ending segregation in the US Army. These Fearless Trained troops will be a valuable asset to your armoured units.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
Defending the Rhine: German Forces
When the Americans hit the Rhine, they were met by a disjointed, but stern opposition. The Germans focused on the bridges, opting to blow them up rather than let them fall into enemy hands. When Remagen fell, Field Marshal Walter Model threw everything at the bridgehead, including Schwere Kampfgruppe Hudel and its collection of heavy tanks. Though it failed to halt the Americans, it inflicted a terrible toll on the advance columns. From there it was up to the fanatical SS-Panzer Brigade Westfalen to delay the Americans for as long as possible.

Bridge at Remagen follows the action of these two battlegroups and will offer a variety of interesting and powerful untis to field on the table top!
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
512. Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung
Formed in early 1945, 512. Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung is armed with the mighty Jagdtiger tank destroyer. Albert Ernst’s 1. Kompanie, rated Confident Veteran, was made up of seasoned Jagdpanzer crewmen and successfully utilized the massive vehicle to great effect. Otto Carius’s 2. Kompanie, rated Reluctant Trained, was first thrown into action against the Remagen bridgehead as a part of Schwere Kampfgruppe Hudel. Unfortunately, the Jagdtiger proved to be unpopular with the men of the second company as they were converted from heavy tank crews. Even so they were able to take a heavy toll on Allied forces in the Ruhr Pocket.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
654. Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung
Initially equipped with the massive Ferdinand tank destroyer, 654. Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung has been fighting the Western Allies in the more nimble Jagdpanther since July 1944. After the retreat from Normandy, the battalion was reconstituted and supplemented with several Hornisse during Operation Nordwind. Reconstituted once more after being reduced by attrition, the battalion found itself in the middle of the Ruhr Pocket committed to the counter-offensive against the Remagen bridgehead. Even after the failure of the offensive, the unit continued to resist until the last
vehicle.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
506. Schwere Panzer Abteilung
Activated in 1943, 506. Schwere Panzer Abteilung was equipped with the legendary Tiger Ausf E tank and took a heavy toll on Soviet armour on the Eastern Front through mid-1944. The unit was then withdrawn from the front and re-equipped with the new King Tiger tank just in time to oppose the Allied Market Garden operation at Oosterbeek. By March 1945, the unit was equipped with a mixture of Tiger II and Tiger I tanks and served as the core of the counter-attack against the American forces across the Ludendorff bridge as a part of Schwere Kampfgruppe Hudel. Though the offensive stalled, the brigade continued to fight as a fire brigade against the Americans until losing its last Tiger in April, 1945.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
SS-Panzer Brigade ‘Westfalen’
Desperate for forces capable of organized resistance against the encroaching Allies, the Germans scraped together brigades from any available forces. Formed from the remnants of training and convalescent companies in the vicinity of Paderborn, SS-Panzer Brigade ‘Westfalen’ had little time to develop unit cohesion and was desperately short equipment. Despite these shortcomings, Westfalen resisted the Americans fanatically. The brigade made masterful use of the Panzerfaust, so much so that one of their strongholds was known simply as ‘bazooka town’. Supported by 507. Schwere Panzer Abteilung and the under-strength third company of 512. Schwere Panzerjäger Abteilung, Westfalen conducted a masterful defence of the area and delayed the American armies by several days. They went on to resist to the end in Festung Harz.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
Wunderwaffen
The war is being fought on German soil, and Hitler is determined to stop the Allies by any means. He has dispatched his most advanced weapons, such as the Arado 234 Blitz bomber and the Me 262 Sturmvogel to knock out the Ludendorff Bridge. These advanced aircraft are available for your forces.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Volkssturm. These are militia, formed from personnel previously declared unfit for combat, such as old men and boys. Armed with Panzerfausts and whatever other weapons they can muster, these militia units were put into the line to by the regular army time to organise a proper defence.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
In Flames Of War, these platoons will be available to your force as cheap but highly effective blocking forces. Use them to protect your heavy tanks’ flanks and hold objectives.

They come with the ability to never be counted for determining what you have to place in reserve. This will reduce what you have to place off-table and help protect your objectives long enough for your force to inflict maximum damage on the enemy.
Bridge at Remagen Desgin Notes
The Battle for the Ruhr
The battle for the Ruhr is a fierce battle, fought by fanatical defenders, green troops eager for action, and worn-out veterans ready to end this bloody war. It’s time to enter the endgame on the American front, and the conclusion is still anyone’s call.

~ Mike & Michael.