Don’t mistake this for an easy mission. You can lose your whole company here if you’re not careful. Difficulty-wise and geographically, it’s really the culmination of a campaign in which you are expected to have developed great toughness and resourcefulness.
There is an initial offensive phase of this mission, in which you have to take the points below and above a bridge at the south of the map, and then send a force all the way up the map to the north bridge and clear the German-held point at the south end, which your CPU ally usually won’t do on his own.
Then you must return to your forward base at the south bridge, for the defensive phase, in which there is a massive German counter-attack from the N, W, and E—likely to include Tigers, Jagdpanzers, StuGs, Panzer IVs, and lots of elite infantry. You have to hold the south bridge through this long battle. To win gold, you have to succeed in taking the two bridges at the start and then defending the south bridge in the second phase. Officially, gold/silver/bronze depends on “how intact the bridges are” at the end of the mission—practically speaking it’s the same thing.
At the start of the mission, immediately take the point above and to the left of your base (a half-strength German volksgren squad is there), while building up for your main attack. The next point up the map is a German-held point at the south side of Ouren’s south bridge. There is an HMG there and a volksgren squad, and the point is covered by a mortar team to the north of the bridge. There is also a German MG at the north end of the bridge, plus a Pak, panzerfusiliers, and fallschirmjaegers, at the territory point just north of the bridge, which is your main goal in this phase.
What you’re going to do is charge through the point below the bridge and keep going across the bridge and then take the point north of the bridge. If you’re using Rangers, bring at least 4-5 squads and a tank. Baker Co. needs at least a couple of halftracks with LMG infantry. Dog Co. can do it but needs several well equipped squads plus a mortar team to first wipe the MG crew at the first point. I have not tried this with Able, but they should bring a force that can deal with both HMGs and elite German infantry.
It’s actually ludicrous that you could survive, let alone win this initial skirmish, with such a small force, considering what the Germans have in place where you’re going, but you can, even if it’s a challenge. You also have to get going within a few minutes of the start of the mission, or the defensive phase will start and you’ll quickly run out of time to take the northern bridge.
So you’re going to charge right through the first strongpoint, leading with your vehicles if you have any. When your lead units get onto the bridge the German units they have just passed, including the MG crew, will retreat, and your infantry usually will have a clear path (except for mortar fire). The real tangle is at the point north of the bridge, your soon-to-be forward base, where you’ll have to kill a lot of squads including the aforementioned elite infantry, an MG crew, a Pak-40, and a mortar team. Even when you’ve accomplished that feat, you may get no rest, for a swarm of other squads often will hit you from the adjacent fuel point, and that swarm will include a Pak-40, an HMG, volksgrens, panzerfusiliers, etc.
Once you’ve fended off those attacks and things are getting quiet, get your ambulance in, and heal and build up asap. If you have the strength, take the adjacent fuel point (killing the command truck there). Note that if you don’t man the house at the north edge of your forward base, the Germans will do so with an HMG—and if that happens it could be game over for you. I have learned to man it as soon as I take the point, but rotate units out due to the high casualty rate units in that building (which are partly blinded) will take, and then level the building before the main German counterattack starts.
Send, when you can and ideally when you have artillery on call, a force to the north bridge where your allies are trying to cross. Ideally, get a Sherman before the main German counterattack starts and run it up to take the north bridge point, while mostly using artillery to kill German units nearby. If you have no vehicles you will need a few squads and plenty of artillery or CAS, and you will take casualties. Once you take the N bridge point and your CPU ally starts crossing that bridge, you don’t have to keep any units there—the ally will handle that part of the map—so really all you have to do is hold the forward base territory point at the north end of the S bridge, against the big counterattack that will come from E, N, and NW.
Against that counterattack the rest of your units will have to set up defenses as soon as they take that point north of the south bridge. Use RE squads to lay TTs and make FPs covering especially the E and N approaches to that point. Man abandoned Paks, MGs, and mortars. Upgrade FPs with HMGs and man them with reduced-strength RE squads which will throw grenades.
- A Sherman, switching between AP and HE rounds as appropriate, is a good anchor for your defense.
- A Major unit is useful because it has its own call-in artillery and also because it can serve as a forward base for retreating units. A major unit can also carry weapons such as schrecks or LMGs.
- The counterattacking Germans have superior numbers and firepower but arrive in a series of small waves that you (usually) can defeat one by one if you are set up properly and can reinforce quickly. On levels 3 and up you can expect to see heavy German armor such as a Tiger tank and Jagdpanzer, sometimes all at once.
- Keep the ambulance where it’s out of the main line of fire but can still heal/reinforce units.
- Use the small building below the point for cover but beware (a) grenades, and (b) a sudden collapse from grenade, mortar, or tank-fire, that kills your units inside.
- Many of the German units on this mission have a completely ridiculous ability to crawl through multiple streams of MG fire and toss grenades at your weapons crews. Keep strong LMG-equipped or flamethrower units where they can block those grenad-ers.
- There is a bug on this map: if you build a fuel or muni cache at the territory point below the S bridge, your tanks coming up from your main base will not be able to get onto the bridge.
- A bonus mission involving the assassination of a VIP in the upper left corner of the map can usually be left to your CPU ally to achieve for you, provided that you have taken the N bridge for him.