Arnhem 18 September – the destruction begins

This morning I have played the first 30 minutes of the fight at Arnhem with 1st and 11th Battalions, Parachute Regiment attempting to break through to the road bridge, held by five companies of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Battalion and the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, Parachute Regiment.

They were opposed by the remnants of the Bridge Defence Company (Korps Feldt), now incorporated into 16th SS Training Battalion and the 1st Panzergrenadier Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division, with support from the east from the 10th SS panzer Division Artillery Battalion with its 105mm and 88mm guns.

Fighting has been confused.  At the outset the general positions were as in the photograph below:

Arnhem 180944 0600

1st Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Grenadiers opened the action by charging in their half-tracks into the town, to get troops into action as quickly as possible.  They were stopped at the corner of the main road by two companies of 11th Battalion Parachute Regiment.

At the same time 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment advanced and secured the road junction at the centre, only to be send back by a mortar stonk from the original Bridge Defence Company, which set the area on fire and rendered it unpassable for some time.

While 11th Para battled against, and threw back the 9th SS PanzerGrenadiers (now fighting on foot), 1st Para moved to its right through a ruined industrial zone, and came close to capturing the HQ platoon of 16th SS Battalion.

By 06:30 the reinforcements of 1st Para Bn and the beleaguered, out of supply, troops of 1st Airborne Recce Sqn were within 250 yards of each other, but separated by German infantry.