Operation Market Garden: Day 1

A summary of the events of day 1 of the play-by-email campaign.

14:00.  Allied parachute drops and glider landings north of Eindhoven, east of Nijmegen and west of Arnhem.  Guards Armoured Division moved north from the Belgian border, but was ambushed south of Valkenswaard.  Irish Guards armoured group lost several light tanks in the breakout.

14:30.  German infantry attacked from the Groesbeek area against 82nd US Airborne.  This attack was repulsed with heavy casualties on both sides.  9th SS Recce Battalion and 16th SS Training Battalion attacked British airborne forces east of their landing area.

44BC91B4-3C49-4E07-8CF9-CA4D8FE04887

15:00.  505th PIR, 82nd Airborne Division discovered that the railway bridge and a minor road bridge across the Waal-Maas Canal had been blown.  101st Airborne Division secured Uden, Vehgel and St Oedenrode.

15:30.  9th SS Panzer Division elements fought with British gliderborne and parachute troops between Arnhem and the landing area north-east of Oosterbeek.  The British Airborne Recce Squadron captured the Arnhem road bridge from the south end.  101st Airborne secured Schijndel.  The German garrison at Helmond was ordered to Eindhoven.

19440917 1515 Arnhem d

16:00.  82nd US Airborne reported Groesbeek was secure, and turned their attention to the road and rail bridges across the Waal.  101st US Airborne secured the bridges over the Wilhelmina Canal.

16:30.  The fight for the British landing zone was won by the British.  The German forces concentrated on re-taking the road bridge at Arnhem.

17:00.  59th Infantry Battalion of 15th Army arrived from the west at Best and split.  One battalion attacked St Oedenrode, the second moved to take the bridges on the Wilhelmina Canal north of Eindhoven.  82nd US Airborne took the Grave Bridge intact.

17:30.  10th SS Armoured Recce Battalion attacked the Arnhem road bridge from the north.  They suffered casualties on the approach but one company managed to charge across the bridge despite the mines laid by the British advanced forces.  A fight began around the north end of Arnhem bridge as both sides moved up reinforcements to the area.

18:00. The Americans approached the Nijmegen bridges from the south while 10th SS Recc Bn raced to reinforce them from the north.

Nijmegen

18:30.  The fight developed around the major bridges at Arnhem and Nijmegen.  These battles would continue until after dusk, with neither side gaining a firm advantage.  St Oednrode was attacked and both sides fought to a standstill.

19:00 59th Infantry regiment attacked 502nd PIR of 101st Airborne on the Wilhelmina Canal rail bridge.  The attack was defeated.

19:30  3rd Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Grenadiers attacked the Arnhem rail bridge and took it from 2nd and 3rd Battalions Parachute Regiment.

Arnhem Rail bridge

By 21:00 the situation was that 101st Airborne held all their first day objectives.  82nd division held the Nijmegen rail bridge while the Germans still controlled the road bridge.  At Arnhem the Germans had captured the rail bridge while the British had the northern approaches to the road bridge.

It started to rain.

Just before midnight the lead elements of Guards Armoured Division, ordered to push on through the night, reached the southern outskirts of Eindhoven, where the Dutch underground informed them the Germans were occupying the town.

To be continued…

The Taking of Arnhem Bridge

 

The second attempt at adding this post.  The content vanished on publication last time.

The continuing story of Market Garden re-created as a play by e-mail campaign.

Arnhem Bridge
17th September 1944, 15:15
1st Airborne Recce Squadron attacks the bridge from the south.
Defenders. 1 company of infantry, including 1 platoon in a bunker on the south side of the bridge
Game notes

British take first turn. As there is only one unit on each side, 
command cards are not used.

Victory is determined by either the British capturing the bridge 
or the Germans eliminating the British.
The jeeps raced up the road and opened fire on the defenders, scoring 2 hits.
19440917 1515 Arnhem a
The Germans returned their fire.
One jeep was hit and the other two fell back 200 yards.
19440917 1515 Arnhem b
The jeeps moved around to the left flank and tried again. A third German platoon was wiped out.
19440917 1515 Arnhem c
The last platoon, in the bunker, fired back causing no casualties.
It now came down to a straight firefight which the British won.
By 15:35 the bridge was in British hands, but for how long…?
19440917 1515 Arnhem d

Market Garden: First Contact

A pre-campaign taster

Today I fought a wargame of the XXX Corps advance through Valkenswaard towards Eindhoven on 17th September 1944.

This was a play-test of my “tweaked ” tactical rules based on the Memoir 44 game system before embarking on the main campaign which involves 6 generals contributing by e-mail.

The battle takes place about 5 miles south of the main campaign map area, and will determine the initial starting strength of the British Guards Armoured Division for the campaign game.

And so to the battle report:

19440917 1400 Valkenswaard

 

A bit of conversion

In one of my slowly progressing projects I am playing the board game “Axis & Allies”, starting in 1939, but each engagement is resolved using the “Memoir 44” game using 1/285 models on a Kallistra hexxon game board.
The Axis & Allies game board has been added as a background to an Excel spreadsheet and movement is not by terrain area but by grid square. Movement has been reduced to weekly time periods and resource gathering to monthly. I believe the original game works in approximately quarterly turns.

So when two forces meet in adjacent squares they, and any supports within one move, are converted as below. This means that strategically I may be moving the 3rd Tank Army, but the commander on the field has to work with whatever is available on the day.

Conversion from Axis & Allies to Memoir 44.

For each full strength Axis & Allies unit, roll all 8 battle dice.
Battle Dice have faces showing 1 tank, 2 infantry, 1 grenade, 1 star & 1 flag.  As the campaign progresses, units are weakened in battle and fewer dice are rolled.

Infantry piece
Infantry face = Rifle unit (4 Rifle bases)
Tank face = Tank unit (3 medium tanks)
Grenade face = Artillery Unit (2 towed guns)
Re-roll Flag and Star faces.
Infantry face = MG unit. (1 MG + 3 Rifle bases)
Tank face = Anti-Tank unit. (1 ATR + 3 Rifle bases)
Grenade face = Mortar unit. (1 Mortar + 3 Rifle bases)
Flag face = Cavalry unit. (4 Cavalry or 4 tankettes)
Star face = Supply trucks. (3 Trucks)

Tank piece
Tank face = Tank unit (3 medium tanks)
Grenade face = SP Artillery unit (2 SP guns)
Flag face = Armoured Car unit. (3 armoured cars*)
Star face = Half-tracks. (3 half-tracks)
Re-roll Infantry faces.
Infantry face = Infantry (4 Rifle bases)
Grenade face = towed artillery (2 towed guns)
Tank face = Light tank unit (2 tanks)
Flag face = Heavy tank (1 tank) (use Tiger rules)
Star face = Supply trucks (3 trucks)
* Armoured cars battle as patrol cars, target as armour.

Fighter piece
Star face = Fighter aircraft (1 ME109, Spitfire. etc)
Grenade face = Fighter-bomber aircraft (1 Stuka, Typhoon, etc)
Flag face = Reconnaissance aircraft (1 Storch, Lysander, etc)
All other faces ignored

Bomber piece
Grenade face = Bomber aircraft (1)
Star face = Transport aircraft (1)
Flag face = Glider (1)
Other faces ignored

Transport ship
Infantry face = troopship
Tank face = cargo ship
Grenade face = cargo ship – munitions
Star face = oil tanker
Flag face = convoy escort

Battleship
Flag face = Battleship
Star face = Cruiser
Tank face = Destroyer
Grenade face = Anti-Submarine Destroyer
Infantry face ignored

Aircraft carrier
Flag face = Carrier
Star face = Cruiser
Tank face = Destroyer
Grenade face = Anti-Submarine Destroyer
Infantry face ignored

Submarine
Infantry = submarine
Flag = supply ship
All other faces ignored.

Thus: for example, my next conflict (Polish counterattack 4th September 1939)  has these forces:
Polish forces:
2nd Infantry Army (8)
5 Infantry = 5 x rifle units of 4 rifle bases
1 Tank = 3 medium tanks 7TP 37mm
1 Grenade = 2 x horse-towed 75mm guns
1 Star re-rolled as tank = 1 AT Rifle base +3 rifle base.

Support (1st Tank Army) (4) (May arrive Polish left flank when left flank cards are played. Units as card)
1 Tank = 3 medium tanks 7TP with 2MG
1 Grenade = 2 towed 105mm guns with half tracks
1 Flag = 3 Armoured cars
1 Infantry rerolled as infantry = 4 rifle bases

German forces:
1st Tank Army (5)
1 Tank = 3 medium tanks (PzII)
1 Flag = 3 armoured cars (SdKfz222)
3 Infantry rerolled as Flag, Grenade, Tank
Flag = 1 Heavy Tank (PzIV)
Grenade = 2 Towed guns (105mm) with half-tracks
Tank face = 1 AT Rifle base + 3 rifle bases

Support (2nd Infantry Army) (8) May arrive German left flank if “Direct from HQ” card played.
1 Infantry = 1 Rifle unit of 4 rifle bases
2 Grenades = 2 units of 2 towed 105mm guns
2 Stars = 2 units of 3 Supply trucks
3 Flags = 3 units of 4 cavalry bases or 4 Pz1 tanks

Support (1st Infantry Army) (6) may arrive in German rear if “Direct from HQ” card played.
5 Infantry = 5 units of 4 rifle bases
1 star = 1 unit of 3 supply trucks

Support (1st Jagd Luftflotte) (8) – fighter – may arrive from German rear if “Air Power” card played.
4 Grenades = 4 JU87 Stukas
1 Star = 1 ME109
1 Flag = 1 Fiesler Storch
2 Tanks ignored

Support (1st Bomber Luftflotte) (8) – bomber – may arrive from German left if “Air Power” card played.
1 Grenade = 1 HE111 Bomber
5 Infantry ignored
2 Tanks ignored

NOTE that it is no relevance which elements were engaged previously. For each battle the dice are rolled anew.

My life. Upate 5th February 2018

What’s been happening since my last post on 24th January?
I have asked three times for the scaffolding around our house to be removed, so far to no effect. Actually it may be a “Good Thing” that it is still there because I discovered that the builders have installed guttering to the side of our flat-roof extension but have forgotten to divert the down-pipe into that guttering.

This not only makes a disturbing noise when it rains but is not useful for the long-term preservation of the felt roof.


There is no progress yet on re-roofing of the man-cave/workshop. The inside of the roof and joists are developing mildew, so I have installed an oil-filled radiator to help keep the place dry until a proper roof can be fitted.
Over the weekend my wife and I independently came up with the idea that a clear plastic corrugated roof would have drained better and let in more light at the expense of temperature. Ho-hum. Spilt milk, no use crying over.

Some of my MDF war game tokens in use in the shed  have also gone a bit “furry” in the past week, and needed a clean-up.

I have progressed the end stages of the Battle of Brighton by another five minutes (Wow!). The British are extracting their forces while the Germans keep up the pressure. Once the Germans hold Brighton they will have another port (Shoreham) to begin unloading armoured forces. Currently only Rye and Newhaven are available. Brighton is area 38 in the map below.


On other wargaming fronts most of the progress is with evening painting sessions. Due to my recent extreme fatigue from mid-afternoon onwards I have not made much progress, but to keep up the variety I am using one paint-pot at a time for at least four projects. Lately it has been grass-green bases for my 2mm 1700 and 3mm WW2 troops, and for the “Battle Chess” game that I am developing for our young re-enactors.


I have now moved on to “Horse Tone Brown”, which will give me plenty to do.

Health-wise, I continue to improve, apart from the general feeling of lassitude.  I walk the dog twice a day which keeps me active. I try to walk at least 4-5 Km each day.  There are good days and bad days.  I am sure that I will feel more positive WHEN (not IF) I get the “all-clear” from cancer* at the end of the month.

Last Thursday we made a trip to North Somerset (near Minehead) – a 7 hour, 300 mile round-trip, to visit the yard where one of our British Racing Club horses is in training. Festival Dawn (photo) looked to be in good form on the gallops, and we had an interesting tour by the yard manager who showed us all his lists and procedures.

I was impressed by the way that Philip Hobbs runs His training yard, particularly that the employees who look after and ride the horses on a daily basis where possible accompany “their” horse to the races, rather than having  separate travelling staff and yard staff.  A good day out with my wife and dog.

* With the recent news that Prostate Cancer is now killing 7,000 men each year in the UK and has overtaken Breast Cancer in numbers, I am campaigning for the charity Prostate Cancer UK, and for a nationwide screening programme.  I think (and hope) I am one of the lucky escapees.  Please, gentlemen, get yourselves checked and donate if you can.  A heart-felt “Thank You”

Life and wargaming – an update

In addition to making a little progress on the longest running wargame move I have ever experienced – the Battle for Brighton currently set up in my cold, damp shed – I Brighton 18 0815 front lineshave had a few wargaming and other diversions.

The builders have finished restoring our house. Their company has closed the case. A pity nobody has thought to inform the scaffolding company that their decoration to our property is no longer required.
Just a bit more arguing with the insurer’s agents about replacing the gravel removed from the side of the house and maybe we can bring the caravan home.

gravel

The new man-cave…shed

is going to have a new roof, yes – already! Half of the second botched covering over the first leaky roofing blew away in the recent storms. I have hired a professional company (who re-roofed both my lost sheds) to torch on a decent roof. I do have electricity, and therefore heating, installed. When the wargame is finished I can continue with putting up shelving.

My hospital check-up revealed that my cancer was further advanced than the doctors or surgeons had expected. They believe they removed it all, but further tests towards the end of February should confirm or deny the fact. It is some relief, but still a nagging doubt.  Things in the underpant department are no longer as they used to be.

(No photo here. I think it may be inappropriate!).

So, back to the wargaming.
Projects that have emerged from my in-tray recently and been progressed:

1. Preparation of 3mm scale counter-mounted replacement gaming tokens for “Memoir 44” games, in particular Arras 1940. A lot of the infantry are on back order from Magister Militum, but most of the artillery and tank units are based, and some are painted. I have designed the bases to be used with “Memoir 44” and “Panzer Leader” rules on the same boards. I also have 3mm scenic models to be used with 3D terrain for World War II

new units

2. The naval Battle of Sevastopol, 1902. Part of my “Diplomacy plus” solo campaign and covered in this post.

3. Basing and painting my 2mm horse-and-musket cavalry units in preparation for the next campaign battle in 1702. Each unit needs three sets of bases: Deployed, March column and Routing. Each cavalry base is around 50 “figures”. Eventually this will represent a troop, but for the next game will be 1/3 of a regiment (maybe a squadron?).

DSCF0003

4. Painting my bargain basement 20mm plastic 30 Years War figures in preparation to introduce the younger chaps in my English Civil War Society cavalry unit to the joys of playing with soldiers. I am developing a game on a squared card table that I call “Battle Chess”. It will be a bit like a table-top version of a re-enactment battle, but with dice, and the casualties will not be recycled! Rules to follow after play-testing. (No photo yet)

5. Preparing the 3mm models for the first engagement in my Operation Market Garden campaign. Gough’s jeeps against a similar number of obsolete armoured cars. The scenario calls for only 3 models on each side, but I have 15 of each – should I shrink the ground scale and quintuple the chaos? – answers on a postcard please (or reply to this post).

To be fair, most of the recent progress has been painting the black bits on all the models in preparation. By using the “next paint pot in the queue” method I don’t get so bored, even if every painting project takes an age to complete.