…being the story of a wargame, now in arrears… Unfortunately my detailed report has vanished into the depths of the internet, but the synopsis is that we chased off the crew of a 105mm howitzer, captured or scared of a German supply company, deployed two sections of the RA 25 prs which helped drive the enemy at least into cover, and consolidated our position.
Game note. The Germans having been driven mainly away from board 2 and totally from board 1, board 1 was removed and a new board added to the German side, with all their reinforcements deployed. The new situation is shown above. And thus we will start the next day with a German counter-attack.
Situation: 3rd Polish Parachute Battalion (3 PP) and 7th Battalion King’s Own Scottish Borderers (7KOSB) had joined forces across the rail bridge west of Arnhem. Two companies of 3rd Panzer Grenadier Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division (3/9SS) werestill holding out in bunkers at each end of the bridge. A flight of German fighters was threatening the allied troops.
General Urquhart sent his congratulations and ordered that the remaining enemy troops in the bunkers be eliminated.
7KOSBs – Move Out (4 infantry units) The three companies moved to positions to close assault the northern pill box. A. 2 infantry. 2 hits B. 1 infantry, 1 star. 1 hit. Unit eliminated and pill box captured.
3/9SS – Behind Enemy Lines. Fighters left the table with no appropriate command card. The company in the south bunker made a break-out. Moved 1hex, attacked a Polish rifle company in a defended position. 1 flag, so Poles retreat.Moved 3 +1 for the road and exited the board, so a successful break-out was acheived.
It is a well known fact that in our household very few purchases (except food) are used for their intended pupose. So it was no surprise that when I spotted in the centre aisle of our local Lidl a pack of brown felt pads for the protection of shiny floors against furniture legs for less than 2 pounds/dollars/euros that I snapped them up for potential wargames use.
(I since bought a supplementary pack of beige ones, which have vanished after arriving home.)
The pack has circular pads of 32x10mm, 36x15mm and 48x20mm; square pads of 20x20mm and one sheet 200x200mm. All are about 2mm thick.
Coincidentally, within a week I needed to create for the Market Garden campaign a wargaming area of heathland in 6mm.
Some time ago I bought from eBay some Chinese model trees as an alternative to the “flocked bottle brush” type of which I already have plenty. Examples below.
In the pack were lots of tiny trees which remained in the box for potential future use.
“Aha!” thinks I, “This is my serendipitous moment.”
By twisting the miniscule tree trunks together and pressing them onto to the sticky side of the felt pads I managed to create clumps of bushes. The felt underside helps prevent them from being inadvertantly moved against the flocked base terrain hexagons.
I may decide to use my previously described method of coating the bushes with diluted PVA glue and baking in the oven at a low heat to solidify the models, but for the time being they will suffice, when properly placed, interspersed with occasional trees, to represent my heathland.
The battle for the Arnhem road bridge continued with elements of 2nd and 3rd Battalions, Parachute Regiment of 1st Brigade, 1st British Airborne Division, combined with the 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron holding the northern approaches.
From the west 1st and 11th Battalions of the Parachute Regiment were trying to break through to the bridge to support the defence and to bring much neededsupplies.
On the German side 16th SS Training Battalion, supported by the Bridge Defence Company, were trying to block any reinforcements from the west.
At the same time 1st (armoured) Battalion, 9th SS Panxergrenadiers, attacked from the north-west.
9th SS, aware of the need for speed in cutting off the enemy attack, charged down the road in their half-tracks until the first vehicle was knocked out.At that point the infantry de-bussed and deployed to attack the enemy in house-to-house combat.
The battle see-sawed back and forth.The Bridge Defence Company was soon wiped out, but the 16th Battalion kept up the pressure until 9th SS could take up the attack.The British reinforcements struggled on and made contact, but were soon pushed back, struggling to hold the road to the drop zone.
The artillery of 10th SS Panzer Division began to register, not only again the British paratroopers, but also on the homes of the citizens of Arnhem, as street after street burst into flames and fell into ruins.This became as much of a hindrance to the Germans’ advance as did the defence of the enemy.
After two hours or so, the British had fallen back to a small perimeter stretching from the bridge approach to the road north of the river.
It is 06:00, dawn on the second day of Operation Market Garden. The British airborne forces hold the main road bridge at Arnhem, but are under severe pressure from German forces of 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions.
Forces deployed are as below:
1st Airborne Recce Sqn. with machine guns, 1 rifle company of 2nd Bn, Parachute Regt., 2 rifle companies of 3rd Bn, Parachute Regt. (one supported with 3” mortars). These forces hold the northern approach to the road bridge across the Rhine.
1st and 11th Battalions, Parachute Regiment, approaching from the west.
1st Panzer Grenadier Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Regt., approaching from the north:
16th SS Training Battalion, now including the Bridge Defence Company, in the centre of Arnhem:
1st Artillery Battalion, 10th SS Panzer Division, in the east of Arnhem, north of the Rhine.
Purists will note that many of the German forces are equipped with 1940 period uniforms and vehicle paint schemes, and that some of the British airborne forces, particularly machine gunners, are represented by regular infantry. Also that many bases still need to be scenically completed.
In the interests of pushing the campaign forwards, I intend to overlook these minor issues for the time being.
Continuing the saga of Operation Sealion, it is now 10:00 am on 17th September 1940 and British reinforcements moving towards Lympne run into a German Parachute Battalion near Postling.
Here is the battle report. In hindsight it appears from the photographs that the spitfire mentioned in the report is actually a hurricane, but as far as the Germans were concerned it felt like a spitfire!