This is going to be a short summary of a six hour period during an overcast day, Sept 19. Out of seven guys who've played in this campaign so far, three were able to show up to continue the game on Nov. 19, but Myk was going to be late, and Doug and I didn't know that because we had not seen Myk's email. We wasted about and hour and a quarter waiting, and then we got started. A little bit into the game, Myk showed up and helped out on the German side. Doug was playing all of the Allies.
We got the 1100, 1300, and 1500 turns done. Since I had missed most of the 0700 turn, and all of the 0900 turn the previous session, I was a bit confused, and started off making some bad decisions. Things were not quite as I expected them to be.
Korp Feldt vs 82nd AB:
First, in the Korps Feldt sector, I was wrong about all the KG except for the artillery having routed. Actually, the KG with the blue stripe still had two weak companies on the map. There were two independent infantry companies still on the map, two independent direct fire batteries, and the four batteries of the division artillery. Three of these were hiding in hex 60.71 behind the village of Zyfflich to the east of Devil's Hill.
The 82nd AB had evacuated some trenches east of the original DZs, but there were still three companies of infantry and a mortar in the southern part of these eastern DZs. The rest of 82nd AB was either pushing into Nijmegan, holding Grave, holding Mook, or marching toward Bergen en Dal and Beek. Doug, planning for the return of two large Korps Feldt KGs at 0700 on Sept 20, intended to set up delaying companies southeast of Mook, near Reithorst and Katerbosch, at Beek, and in Bergen en Dal.
The four batteries of Korps Feldt had only one visible target, a US company in a trench. Repeated shots by multiple batteries over a period of about four hours resulted in two rolls of zeroes, enough for two step loses and elimination of the company.
Being a nice guy, I mentioned to Doug that he could get a shot at three of the Korps Feldt artillery batteries by moving a spotter to Devil's Hill, hex 55.73, which he did (it's a friendly game). Because it is a strongpoint, it allowed spotting over one blocking terrain hex. So the village of Zyfflich was no longer cover for the Korps Feldt artillery. One battery of the 82nd AB artillery was within 17 hexes. The first shot laid down a heavy barrage and suppressed one German battery. The low TQ German's were unable to pass TQ checks to move out of the heavy barrage, but two of them limbered up anyway. The next US shot rolled a 9, which broke radio contact with the spotter. So the German hope for the 1700 turn is that the Korps Feldt batteries will be able to move away before the US battery can get back in radio contact and shoot another heavy barrage into their hex.
Other units of Korps Feldt are now moving north and northwest towards Devil's Hill, to attack the 82nd AB spotter. The 2 paratrooper companies and the mortar battery near the southeast edge of the original drop zones probably should start moving away. They won't be able to stop the two big KG of Korps Feldt that are returning on the 0700 turn of Sept 20 after their routs on Sept 18.
The other guys had agreed to use a changed Club Route rule, which I think is based on the rules for the combined game. I'm really not sure what it says, as I didn't read it. But when Group HOT came on near Grave at 1100, the armored cars raced northeast at blazing speed. No slow crawl with whatever rules we are using now!
The armored cars first dashed to the still wired bridges at Neerbosch. Gott Mit Uns! The Germans succeeded in blowing both these bridges. That left the only available Club Route through the bridge at Hatert. The armored cars then moved up next to two independent Korps Feldt companies that still exist west of the canal near Hatert. The British wish to eliminate these companies before proceeding with the rest of the next XXX Corps column toward Nijmegan. Did I mention that XXX Corps is moving really fast with the new rules? Yikes!
When I arrived, there was a ring of 82nd AB companies, mostly stacked only one deep, with cohesion hits on most paratrooper companies around the perimeter of the German defenses. It looked as if the 82nd AB had made some progress, killing some crappy companies of KG Henke and one of the independent Kriegsmarine companies, and penetrating into hex 37.85. The 82nd AB had deployed a lot of supporting mortars and all available artillery batteries for the attack on Nijmegan.
Over the next six hours, the 82nd AB kept up the pressure, laying down barrages every turn and launching a series of assaults. An independent Kriegsmarine company in hex 38.85 got suppressed, and that attracted a series of assaults by 82nd AB companies, all of which failed! The Kriegsmarine company still has not rallied from the suppression, but has been joined by a low quality flak replacement company in the hex. In the meantime, on that side of town, a German engineer is taking a very long time to entrench German companies at the south end of the Nijmegan road bridge. Dig faster! Schnell! Schnell!
On the other side of town, a pair of 82nd AB companies assaulted hex 42.85, which was defended by one of KG Henke's best companies, from hex 43.86, but were repulsed with some cohesion hits. One US company then moved back out of contact in order to try to rally from cohesion hits. At that point, I got too aggressive, and tried assaulting the remaining US company in hex 43.85 with Henke's good company. All I got for my trouble was cohesion hits on the German company, which later proved fatal when the Americans came storming back and took hex 42.85, eliminating the quality German company.
But by then, more and more of Frundsberg's artillery batteries were setting up, mostly in the orchards in the vicinity of Bemmet. They were getting into contact with spotters from KG Henke and were beginning to rain down fire on the American lines. A company of American AT guns which had unlimbered in hex 40.86 was destroyed. One of the companies of paratroopers that had taken hex 42.85 was also destroyed. The Germans even managed to lay a barrage on an American mortar that was two hexes from a German strongpoint in Nijmegan. With seven batteries coming on line in the defense of Nijmegan, the Allies are going to have to counter with power from XXX Corps. The Germans even slipped a crack company from KG Knaust, the best one that Knaust has left, into the hex just south of the Nijmegan road bridge, and it promptly improved its position.
Units from KG Reinhold are digging in at hexes 37.80, 39.80, and 42.79, with help from Hohenstauffen engineers. A KG Knaust company with a step loss has also arrived from Arnhem, and another of these is on the way. The KG Knaust bicyle company is also peddling south through the orchards in order to reinforce this new defensive line just north of Nijmegan. Two other KG Reinhold companies, lacking organic transport, are marching there as quickly as possible from the Pannerden Ferry.
Speaking of the Pannerden Ferry, the other players had come to a Gentlemen's Agreement to allow the engineers manning the improved Pannerden Ferry to dismantle the ferry on either side of the river. The two German engineers from different divisions elected to dismantle the improved ferry on the west side of the river. It took time for them to get their vehicles sorted out, but they are now driving for the new defense line being built just north of Nijmegan. There will be entrenchments and roadblocks in abundance just north of Nijmegan by the time the Allies can cut through the defenses of Nijmegan and take the bridges.
The railroad bridge at Nijmegan will also have to be improved before it can carry the heavy Allied vehicle traffic over the Waal. And the heavy flak KG Svoboda of the Hohenstauffen Division is also on the road heading south, though it has not yet driven through Arnhem. We Germans blundered and brought KG Svoboda on north of Deelen Airfield because Myk wanted to use them to attack 1st AB, We should have brought them on at Velp to get them closer to Nijmegan. Oh well!
Hohenstauffen's KG Harder is setting up camp on the Pole's projected drop zone DZ/LZ* K. Various independent and KG Knaust panzers, halftracks, and armored cars are setting up camp on DZ/LZ* K Alt. Apparently, somebody in the German command gave credence to the captured Allied drop schedules and maps. So the Poles will most likely have to roll during the 0700 turn to reschedule themselves to drop at DZ/LZ* V, north of the river, just south of Oosterbeek. If they fail to do this, they will risk very high casualties during their drop. By the time they do drop, some units of KG Svoboda may also be set up on these drop zones in the Betewe. The Germans do not want to have to deal with Poles in the Betewe helping to pave a route for XXX Corps there.
The biggest battle of this six hour period took place around SDPV. When I left early in turn 0700, I expected Hohenstauffen to wait until the artillery came on at 1700 before launching any attack. After all, Hohenstauffen's only indirect fire support came from the KG Kraft mortar that I had saved early in the game. But Myk and Dan had been much more aggressive while I was gone. Stug Brigade 280 had come on, and Myk had pushed it all the way to hex 44.21 in an effort to reach the supply drop zone. Stug Brigade 280 had already destroyed a British company, though it was held up by British paratroopers dug into hex 43.21, two 6 lbr AT batteries on the south and west sides of the supply drop zone, and barrages from the British mortars and 25 lbr artillery.
Adjacent to Stug Brigade 280, in hex 44.22, was KG Kraft's best company, and in hex 44.23 was a suppressed British engineer company that had been attempting to entrench a British glider company in an improved position in that hex. Just to the south of them was another glider company entrenched in hex 44.24. I thought, "what the heck?" If Myk had already started an attack on this area, I might as well go ahead and attack. And when Myk arrived he concurred and helped conduct the attacks. Over the next six hours, KG Kraft's mortars laid down barrages, and various companies from KG Kraft, KG von Allworden, and Sperrlinie Spindler assaulted these two hexes.
It was quite difficult, because the British were backed up by a mortar and 25 lbr artillery, and because of the bravery checks needed to assault the British entrenchment. About half these bravery checks were failed, which prevented multi-company assaults on the entrenchment. But at the end of the six hours, not only had the Germans taken these two hexes, killing the three British units in them, but the glorious KG Kraft Orpo (police) company had also killed a company of glider crew that had moved into hex 43.24, taking that hex as well! Now the Orpo company is next to the British 6 lbr AT battery in hex 42.23. That battery has been plinking away at the Stug Brigade 280 on the other side of the SDPV, which has also been under barrage for most of this six hour period.
Due to this German pressure on the SDPV, Doug is throwing up another line of units, including jeeps, glider crew, and single step companies of glider troops. He's getting desperate to maintain some sort of perimeter around Oosterbeek. While he was able to keep Germans off the SDPV in time to keep his supplies for the next 24 hours, he will probably have to try to relocate his supply drop zone to DZ/LZ* V (if the rules allow for that, which I think they do). He will also probably need to get the Poles to drop on DZ/LZ* V in order to help the 1st AB maintain the Oosterbeek perimeter.
West of Oosterbeek:
Dan had been pushing Division von Tettau hard. A leading company of KG Bruhn, the 2nd company of Pz Gren 361, had marched in column to within range of a British mortar from 4th Para Brigade. A step loss was the result, and that's how I found it. I thought about spending a command point to get this reduced company ought of column during the German direct command, but decided to gamble on the von Tettau Div Act coming up before the British chits. That gamble did not pay off, and the next mortar rounds killed off that good quality company. Doh! Live and learn... Fortunately, KG Bruhn did not rout. That would have been damaging and personally embarrassing for me. Not only is that my namesake KG, which induced me to play this game, but it was an avoidable loss if only I had spent a command point earlier.
But otherwise things went pretty well for the Germans west of Oosterbeek. One company of glider crew was killed by direct fire HE support weapons from KG Erbwein & KG Knoch)in hex 18.12, but behind them were other delaying units on the northern road. Another company of glider crew was destroyed in hex 22.28, or thereabouts, due to assaults from companies of KG Lippert & KG Bruhn.
The Division von Tettau troops have not yet cut through all of the delaying companies that Doug has left behind on the northern roads and the railroad. Von Tettau has not come up against the main lines of 4th Para Brigade, which is digging in quickly at Wolfheze and in the woods to the south. Given the dangerous situation developing northeast of Oosterbeek, I wonder if Doug will consider sending part of 4th Para Brigade to help. Probably not, but it's a thought.
In the south, the Germans lost one good quality company and a valuable hex in Nijmegan, but the 82nd AB lost 3 companies and is now under a rolling barrage from the Frundsberg artillery. In the north the Germans lost one high quality company from KG Bruhn, and the 1st AB lost an engineer, three glider crew units, and two air landing companies. Ouch! But the Germans have not yet achieved a complete breach in the Oosterbeek perimeter. At most, the Germans have likely forced an attempt to shift the supply drop zone (if the rules allow for that), and a probable shift in the drop zone for the Polish brigade.
Two more daylight turns are left on Sept 19. Enough time for some speedy movement by the Germans and by XXX corps, which is now pouring onto the map. What a race!
- Last edited Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:50 pm (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:58 am
Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
Ashwin in front of Tiger 131
Gripping stuff Warren. Keep it coming
Wow - great story, please continue!
Our next session is scheduled for December 1. Expect another report after that.
By the way, I finally read the drop schedule rules. I had been thinking that the whole Polish parachute brigade, drop 4, might arrive on Sept 20. But now I can see that only drop 3 can arrive on Sept 20, assuming the weather is good, because we had overcast on Sept 19. That means that, at most, the Allies could get the Polish AT battery on Sept 20, and then only if the weather clears. So the earliest that the rest of the Polish brigade could arrive is Sept 21, and then only if the weather clears on both Sept 20 and Sept 21.