Warren Bruhn
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Played another session on Saturday, December 1, 2012, with four players, Roger playing 82nd AB and some of Guards armored, Doug playing 1st AB and some of Guards armored, Myk playing von Tettau and some of Hohenstauffen, and me playing the rest.

Korps Feldt

This session started out with the Korps Feldt artillery in serious trouble, stacked three deep just east of Zyfflich, with 82nd AB artillery being called in from a spotter on Devil's Hill. But the artillery was limbered up and ready to move, provided it didn't get pinned by a heavy barrage. In my desperation, I spent two dispatch points to put the Korps Feldt artillery formation chit in the bag for the 1700 turn in the hope of giving the artillery an extra chance. This expenditure paid off big, as the Korps Feldt artillery chit came up early, before any 82nd AB chits. This allowed the three batteries of Korps Feldt to race away to the north, out of command, but beyond the 8 hex spotting range from Devil's Hill.

The other Korps Feldt battery was still shooting at US targets, but without effect. The 82nd AB brought down a barrage and killed the second to last company of KG Jenkle, the only Korps Feldt infantry KG left on the board and available to spot! Fortunately, the other remaining company (HUS, Reichtbdnst?), one of the worst companies in the game, didn't rout. It moved out into the open looking to spot US targets for the one Korps Feldt battery still in command and in contact, while a rather brave, and foolish, independent company of low quality assaulted the US company on Devil's Hill in the 1900 turn. It's fate was to die after being repulsed in its own attack, and then assaulted in turn by the crack US paratrooper company. The remaining crappy KG Jenkle company then had to run for the woods during the night to avoid meeting the same fate.

The reduced US battalion near the SE edge of the orignal drop zones started to move north, or at least the mortar company did. This move was met by another independent company of infantry from Korps Feldt moving up next to the mortar, which had not yet entered an entrenchment (several of these are scattered about), while two Korps Feldt independent flak or infantry support gun companies unlimbered two hexes away (mortars exert no fire zone, so this did not trigger oportunity fire). When the mortar then tried to enter the entrenchment on a later activation, only one of the three Korps Feldt companies was able to fire (low quality and out of command), but that one rolled a step loss result against the US mortar. All that is left of this US battalion is two entrenched paratrooper companies and the entrenched and now single step mortar unit. They may be swamped by arriving Korps Feldt units in the morning, but they will be hard to dig out of those entrenchments (bravery checks required to assault, and defender is an armored target).

The last bit of excitement on this front came from the arrival of two British armored car companies. One of them drove right up next to the one Korps Feldt battery still in action. This battery, sitting just inside the border of Germany (I probably forgot to increase the task quality for the unit being in Germany), tried some shots at the armored car over open sights, but to no effect. At 0700 there will be four KG of Korps Feldt arriving (Becker, Goebbel, Greschek, and Herman). Hopefully these troops will save the battery and chase off those pesky armored cars. Perhaps these three KG will be able to distract some of the now huge allied force from the impending attack on Nijmegen.

I'm finding it especially irritating to have no off board movement boxes available for the Korps Feldt entry areas. It's almost impossible to redeploy or shift attacks based on where the American strength is. Korps Feldt units come on the board and can't always effectively deploy, especially the artillery. And the British seem to have no movement restrictions on them at all. They can drive virtually anywhere. Perhaps it might have been better to shift the map about 8 hexes to the east or something. There is a strip of unused hexes along the west edge, and Korps Feldt could really use more room along the east edge.

Speaking of Nijmegen...

What took place in Nijmegen during these three turns was an artillery duel that was initially furious, and some digging. I thought that the 82nd AB would try some assaults, but many of those companies were only one deep, and some still had cohesion hits on them. I think that Roger may have been looking for some positive results from the several mortars and three batteries of 82nd AB artillery, and waiting to get companies stacked two deep, before launching assaults.

The Germans got lucky on the chit pulls, and were able to lay down artillery fire first during the remaining daylight turns. Using the strong points in Nijmegen to spot over blocking terrain, the Germans were able to bring down fire on mortars and artillery behind the American lines. This was not too effective against the American mortars after Roger figured out that he could move the mortar and then shoot during division and formation activations. I schlepped the die roll against an American artillery battery in the open, and it promptly limbered up and drove out of danger.

A couple of the German batteries were still too far away to hit all targets around Nijmegen, so I limbered them up and moved them closer. In the meantime, Group HOT provided the Germans with a very tempting target when a row of companies drove into Nijmegan and ended their activation still in column, still in transport mode, and within spotting range of the German held strongpoints. The resulting hail of German artillery fire eliminated two of these companies, prompting the Allies to dismount the remaining ones in considerable haste! (This is a lesson that I had learned on the first day in Arnhem.)

As more and more British batteries arrived, the Germans began to really feel the weight of the Allied firepower. KG Henke's best company, holding one of the strongpoints, took a step loss, and the low grade company stacked with it was suppressed.

In other action, a Frundsberg engineer was finally able to entrench one of the low grade companies at the south end of the railroad bridge. Rather than stay there and attempt to entrench the other company, that engineer succeeded in forced marching to the south end of the road bridge, where the best remaining company of Knaust and the best company of Euling were trying to dig in, covered by artillery barrages that blocked line of sight for potential American spotters. In the end, the forced march wasn't needed, as an engineer company from Hohenstauffen's KG Moller had dashed into town and gotten these two crack companies entrenched quickly. One of Henkes best remaining companies is entrenched one hex to the south of them, stacked with an 88 battery in an improved position. Both engineers then got out of town during the night to the north bank, as they will be needed to dig roadblocks and entrenchments there in the new blocking line.

The 88 finally got a good target when a line of Sherman tanks drove into town, forced to remain in column by the city terrain, and started to spot for the Guards armored artillery. But the 88 missed! Bummer!

The last German chit that came up during the night was the Frundsberg artillery. After ringing the town in fire from afternoon through night, this was the Germans' last chance to "bowl for zeroes" in Nijmegen. It was a real bust, as some batteries recently moved didn't get into contact, while others rolled NINES and lost contact. Now only two of seven Frundsberg batteries are in contact to start the next day. Ouch!

As day is about to break, the Allies finally have a line of double stacked infantry companies backed by massive artillery and mortar support, along with tanks. Some hexes are overstacked just a bit (more than four steps), but that only matters if I can remember to use that modifier on fire (it is proving difficult for all of us to remember all of the rules all the time). The allies didn't buy any formation chits for the 0700 turn, perhaps waiting to see if the weather will be good.

The Betewe:

Just north of Nijmegen, a new row of entrenched units, along with two sperre (roadblocks), has appeared. Engineers are working overtime (and engineer KG Moller's chit will be the first to come up for the 0700 turn). Unfortunately, not every move has been efficient. For example, a KG Moller engineer (from Hohenstauffen) built a roadblock on one of the raised roads before a Frundsberg engineer in transport mode and column could drive past. Because units can only go quickly through roadblocks built by their own division, the Frundsberg engineer is now taking hours to drive back around to near the Pannerden Ferry in order to get on another road! Oops!

Also, troops from Knaust and Reinhold (Frundsberg Division) marching toward this new line on foot caused a traffic snarl with flak batteries from KG Svoboda (Hohenstauffen Division), also destined to take their place in the new blocking line. This is causing a serious delay in setting up the line. Some infantry units had to be rerouted down the railroad line. KG Svoboda was hoping to have all units out of transport mode and column by morning, but that isn't happening. Only the three light flak towed by trucks has unlimbered at the west end of the new blocking line. This is a clear lesson in the danger of marching troops in column from different divisions down raised roads. When the chits don't come out in the right sequence, valuable time is lost unraveling the resulting traffic snarl.

There may be time to finish building the new line, however, as there are potentially 5 engineer companies in action (even though one is currently driving in the wrong direction back towards the Pannerden Ferry!). And the Allied attack to clear Nijmegen and seize the bridges may take all day on Sept 20. The entrenchments and support from the whole of the Frundsberg artillery may delay the Allies for hours. Then again, a lucky string of zeroes, as experienced in the battle for Arnhem, could substantially shorten the time the Allies need to cut through the well dug in Germans in Nijmegen.

Further north, the whole of KG Harder is camped out on DZ/LZ* K, while four armored units are camped out on DZ/LZ* K Alt. The Poles aren't going to land for at least another day, however, so Doug gets a chance to try to reschedule their drop at 0700 on Sept 20 and 0700 on Sept 21. Two chances to reschedule are better than one, as there is a slim chance of a failure on the die roll to reschedule (relocate) the drops.

1st AB:

Again, a lot of the action took place around the SDPV. The lone company from 1st AL Bde in an improved position in a village on the north edge of the SDPV was assaulted by a company from von Allworden and the 280 brigade assault guns. This first assault during the 1700 turn was repulsed, with the von Allworden company losing both steps, but cohesion hits were left on the 1st AL company. A subsequent assault by the German 280 brigade assault guns and a company from Sperrlinie Spindler during the 1900 turn finally killed off this British company.

Four new batteries of very welcome SS artillery drove onto the map during the 1700 turn, and were assigned to Hohenstauffen. This brigade set up to start firing and its first shots came down in the 1900 turn. Units of KG Kraft, which had first pulled back during the 1700 turn (I'm cautious), were moved forward to spot for this artillery during the 1900 turn (Myk is not cautious). One step loss was inflicted on the new line that Doug was forming to the west of Oosterbeek. But by the end of night enough NINES had been rolled to put two out of four of these batteries out of contact. This seemed similar to the results for the Frundsberg artillery in the south. Perhaps the German radios just don't work as well at night.

Doug started to pull back 1st AB units in most areas, attempting to form a more compact line around Oosterbeek. Some of these units have only one step left, and much of the new line is in the open. About half of 4th Para brigade is still in the far west part of the forest to the west of Oosterbeek, blocking KG Bruhn near the Neder Rijn, and blocking KG Lippert to the south of Wolfheze. Two other companies are left blocking KG Erbwein along the railroad, and KG Knoche along the northern road. However, Myk has been moving a lot of von Tettau's companies though the woods in column, so they are swarming all around the British blocking companies. Part of 4th Para is trying to dig into Oosterbeek itself now.

Only one hex on the far west side of the SDPV, and adjacent to it, is still in British hands, occupied by a 1st AL company and a single step 6 lbr AT gun battery. The best remaining company of KG Kraft has moved adjacent to this hex, shortening the range for the AT battery to one hex, allowing the 280 assault gun unit to move up to within range 2 of this hex without provoking shots from the British AT guns. The other KG Kraft company, the 10/3 Orpo (police) have again proven to be the most aggressive of the Hohenstauffen companies, moving into woods right adjacent to the new "thin red line" that Doug is forming in the open ground to the west of Oosterbeek, so close that some of Doug's batteries in Oosterbeek itself could not indirect fire on the German company due to being within 3 hexes of it.

Not sure if Doug feels much confidence in his new line in the open ground around Oosterbeek, but the Germans have to advance out into the open ground to get at them. Both sides may take some hits from opposing artillery and mortars as this situation develops during Sept 20.

Perhaps Myk was right to want to use KG Svoboda in this area, as those flak batteries do have the range to reach out and touch the British across the open ground. But I had made the decision to drive KG Svoboda south to the new blocking line just north of Nijmegen (and then got them into a traffic snarl on the raised roads). Myk's idea of using the flak to reduce the Oosterbeek pocket may have been the better one, as that firepower might have made up for the lack of Hohenstauffen infantry in this sector.

Oh well, there are only so many command points to use for fire attacks anyway. And the Germans have definately been running out of command points, especially in the Hohenstauffen and Frundsberg divisions. Firing so much artillery all the time is consuming all the command points. And we are having to buy formation chits for the artillery in order to get more firepower out of it.

A low quality Spindler engineer finally succeeded in entrenching a good Spindler company at the north end of the Arnhem road bridge, and then moved onto a single step Spindler company at the church one hex to the north. The 1st AB pullback is tempting me to throw every Hohenstauffen company available into the attack on the Oosterbeek perimeter. But the game's victory conditions aren't about killing the 1st AB, they are about stopping XXX Corps from crossing the rivers. It's hard to be patient, though, when there will be a Polish brigade dropping someday, and when it is taking so much time for the full weight of von Tettau to be felt. Another von Tettau KG came in during the night in the northwest corner of the map, and KG Helle returns at 0700 on Sept 20 after its rout on Sept 18. But von Tettau is still far away from a linkup with Hohenstauffen.

The Germans could really use some panzers near Oosterbeek, now that there is some open ground on which to deploy it, but only the weak old French tanks of Pz company 224 are clinking up to support von Tettau, and assault gun brigade 280 is working as hard as it can in support of Hohenstauffen. A Hohenstauffen flak halftrack is driving on now through Arnhem. But two Pz IV companies from Knaust are just driving through town heading south. Where are these "tigers" that are mentioned in accounts of battle? They are sitting on the reinforcement track, and will still be there for a few more days.

Conclusion:

The Allies are now set up to grind though Nijmegen, but the German artillery and entrenchments will not make this a walk in the park, and there is a potential distraction that will arrive in the form of four KG of Korps Feldt. The new blocking line north of Nijmegen will be a tough nut to crack. 1st AB is holding on against masses of von Tettau and harassment from the new Hohenstauffen artillery brigade. Will the "thin red line" be able to hold long enough for relief from the Poles and from XXX Corps? Will the "cavalry" arrive in time?

We won't be playing another session until the new year. At some point we may lose Myk due to changes in his family's schedule. I may not be able to play as much due to a need to invest time into a recently started brewery business. But hopefully we'll scrape up enough players to keep this game rolling slowly along. The situation is quite tense and dramatic. Except for the rapid collapse of 1st Para bde in Arhem during the afternoon of Sept 18, we are pretty much on a historical schedule.
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Michael K.
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Hoe, hoe, hee, hee!!? Zo werkt dat niet!!
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Great report! How do you manage the activationchits with four players?

And one small remark; the city is called Nijmegen.
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Jim F
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Who knew trench warfare could be such fun?
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Ashwin in front of Tiger 131
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Can't stop now!

Enjoying the AAR's. Keep em coming.
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Warren Bruhn
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Fixed the Nijmegen spelling. Sorry. Spelling is not my strong suit.

We are using a single bag for the chits. That is probably slowing us down a little. But we've played with as few as two players, and as many as five. Most sessions we've had four. But we are also spectating on games of World in Flames and The Battle of Corinth: Standoff at the Tennessee, October 3-4, 1862 that are occuring in the same room, while also looking up rules and collaborating on ideas for moves in different parts of the map. So we haven't had a totally clear division of command, at least not on the German side. The game would move faster if we always had four players and used two bags for the chits divided into northern and southern areas. We have three Hohenstauffen KG (Harder, Moller, & Svoboda) south of the Neder Rijn now.
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Jack Bennett
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Always a pleasure to read these, Warren. My game of this stalled. Wish you all weren't on the other side of the country! I know there's vassal, but I still haven't seen this bad boy spread out!
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Warren Bruhn
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pusherman42 wrote:
Always a pleasure to read these, Warren. My game of this stalled. Wish you all weren't on the other side of the country! I know there's vassal, but I still haven't seen this bad boy spread out!


This is a pretty good grognard oriented game, so it is certainly worth attempting to play it at least once in life. Then again, if it's possible to get enough space and players to hook it up to Where Eagles Dare and play them together, then that would probably be the ultimate way to do it. An alternative might be to have two groups playing WED & TDC in two different locations, feeding XXX corps onto the TDC map depending on what is happening in WED.

I am finding it a little bit exhausting however. Maybe that is just because I drank a beer for lunch last session (a Sgt. Cutter's IPA from Santiam Brewing Co, of which I am part owner) instead of my usual mid-session Starbucks coffee (forgot to grab one from the fridge). And I had worked at the brewery late the night before because we got a big rush of customers after 8pm, followed by an hour long drive in the dark with heavy rain.

The game is not really very complicated, but there are enough rules that learning them all and keeping them all memorized in spite of multi-week breaks in play is hard. I spend hours and days pouring over the rules and searching the Consimworld thread for answers by Nick in order to try and play this game correctly. The group of us keeps forgetting things, especially the many modifiers to TQ and firepower.

Another thing that takes some research is the order of arrival of units. Because this game is grand tactical, players need to study the timing and location of reinforcements in order to develop a plan for this large game. That takes quite a bit of work too.

The TDC game by itself is also too big for just two players, one Allied and one German, to remember all the many things that need to be done all over the map. It's really better to play TDC with four players who are regularly present, and who each focus on a different part of the map. I tried to focus on too much of the map last session, and the result was a traffic jam on the raised roads just north of Nijmegen, and changes in the German plan of attack around the SDPV drop zone.

While the game is not hard to play, it is a challenge to play it well.
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Mark Drake
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Warren,

Thanks for continuing to post your AAR's of this game.
Really enjoy reading them!
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Runs with scissors
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Warren Bruhn wrote:
This is a clear lesson in the danger of marching troops in column from different divisions down raised roads. When the chits don't come out in the right sequence, valuable time is lost unraveling the resulting traffic snarl.


Sorry about that. Everyone came on the board with a division activation, and I wasn't thinking about what would happen with individual unit activations. I was just trying to get units to the front as quickly as possible. I was worried that I was being too aggressive, but Mike moving troops in column through the woods around around the British definitely makes me look moderate in comparison.

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Warren Bruhn
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Dan, I was speaking there of my own moves late on Sept 19, not yours, which got parts of Frundsberg and Hohenstauffen mixed up on the raised roads just north of Nijmegen.

As for moving guys in column within range of enemy artillery and within range of spotters, Andrew and I did that in Arnhem with a Frundsberg unit on Sept 18 (forgetting about the OP spotters), you did it on Sept 19 with KG Bruhn (losing Bruhns really hurts for me!), Roger did it later on Sept 19 with Guards Armored (forgetting the SP spotters), and Myk did it during the night of Sept 19 with a Hohenstauffen unit (apparently expecting fog or rain to cover that movement in the morning at 80% chance), and we may be doing a bit of that with Korps Feldt on Sept 20. It's very tempting to push forward at breakneck speed in column in order to try and hit the enemy before they get more prepared.
 
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Warren Bruhn
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Next session is scheduled for Saturday, December 29, 2012. Hopefully we'll have a lot of players.
 
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Warren Bruhn
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The session we had scheduled for December 29 fell apart rapidly on December 28. Not sure when this game might be played again.

For the curious, here's the losses so far by formation:

Korps Feldt:
5 immobile independent flak
5 independent infantry
2 independent direct fire batteries (PAK)
1 independent mortar
1 independent panzer ersatz
1 KG Goebel infantry
3 KG Jenkel infantry (not sure on this, maybe only 2)
2 KG Greshik infantry (not sure on this one either, maybe only 1)
2 KG Becker armor (I think the armored car & flak, but can't remember)

Division von Tettau:
1 immobile independent flak
1 KG Helle infantry (the best company from that KG)
1 KG Bruhn infantry
1 KG Knoche infantry

Hohenstauffen:
5 immobile independent flak
2 KG Kraft infantry (lost near Wolfheze)
1 KG von Allworden infantry (lost on north edge of SDPV)

Frundsberg:
8 immobile independent flak
1 independent recon infantry (lost in Arnhem)
1 independent recon halftrack (lost in Arnhem)
1 independent naval infantry (lost in Nijmegan)
3 KG Henke infantry (two ersatz low quality, one good ULK company)
4 KG Knaust infantry (excellent companies lost in Arnhem)

Guards Armored:
2 Group Cold infantry

82nd AB:
1 independent reece (jeeps)
1 independent AT
1 504 rgt infantry
1 505 rgt infantry
1 505 rgt mortar
2 508 rgt infantry

1st AB:
4 independent glider crew
1 independent engineer
7 1st Para Bde infantry
2 1st Para Bde mortar
1 1st Para Bde AT
1 1st Para Bde engineer
10 1st AL Bde infantry
2 1st AL Bde mortar
1 1st AL Bde AT
1 4th Para Bde infantry

There are, of course, several step losses scattered about the map. Of particular concern to 1st AB division are the step losses on two out of three 25 lbr artillery, and the step losses on the only two remaining infantry companies and two remaining AT of the 1st AL Bde. All that's on the map for 1st AB division at this point is the equivalent of a reinforced brigade (11 full strength infantry, 4 single step infantry, 5 full strength mortars, 1 full strength 25 lbr, 2 single step 25 lbr, 3 single step AT, 1 full strength engineer, 1 single step engineer, and the reece jeeps still at full strength. The Polish brigade, when it finally drops, might double the remaining strength of the division!
 
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Warren Bruhn
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A group of four, Doug, Myk, Dan, & Roger, played TDC again on Jan 26, 2013, starting with the 0700 turn of Sept 20, 1944. The weather roll resulted in Fog 3, and the roll to reschedule drop zones was unsuccessful with a 9 (Nein!).

The KG Moller (Hohenstauffen engineers) chit was first up (left over from the last turn). Given that there were only 3 engineer companies involved, that was quickly resolved.

The Hohenstauffen artillery chit came up next. One battery failed to get into contact. Another battery got into contact, but then a roll of 9 (Nein!) for fire effect caused the newly acquired contact to be lost. A third battery put a light barrage on a British glider crew company in the open. And a fourth battery got its company bonus, scored a step loss against the single step company from 1st AL Bde at the west end of the SDPV, and placed a heavy barrage in the hex. The hit on the infantry forced the AT gun battery in the same hex to take the S? roll, which it failed. Because the AT battery was already suppressed, that resulted in a cohesion hit. I'd say that AT gun battery looked ripe for an assault.

The Frundsberg artillery chit (just purchased for 2 dispatch points) came up next. And the Germans were plotting how to place a ring of fire around their defenses in Nijmegen. It was going to be tough because 5 out of 7 batteries started this activation out of contact. Beyond that, I don't know what happened. I had to leave to work at long shift at Santiam Brewing Co. Am trying to get any of the other guys to write the sessions report.
 
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