This report refers to various unit types. During the narrative I may refer to individual vehicles, guns or aircraft. Each mechanical model represents 3 to 5 real vehicles/guns/aircraft. One base of figures represents a platoon equivalent (30-40 men) at about 1:10 ratio. A wargame company is 3-5 platoons, normally 4.
07:00. It is 15 minutes before dawn. At Arnhem Bridge the 43rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment, supported by a company of 1st Somerset Light Infantry, advances into the town of Arnhem. This is not good tank country. The area for about 1km around the north end of the bridge is a smoking mess of ruins. There is no sign of the British or Polish Airborne troops that should have been in possession of the bridge.
Fortunately there is no apparent German presence either.
The Somerset Light Infantry advance cautiously along the rubble-strewn main road, supported by Cromwell tanks of 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment.
To the north of Arnhem the remaining airborne troops had been ordered to regroup in the woodland at map square 1430. The company-strength group from 10 Para makes their way along the railway line towards the RV point, occupied by three companies of 2nd Bn. South Staffordshire Regiment.
On the German side, the remaining infantry of 9th SS Panzer Division have orders to move towards map square 1428, the area north of the bridge, and to continue to prevent British Airborne forces from linking up with the newly arrived ground forces. The machine gun platoon of 16th SS Training Battalion makes the greatest progress through the ruins.
Two of the 75mm anti-tank guns of 1st Artillery Battalion, 10th SS Panzer Division, are able to see and fire on the enemy.
The first gun fires at the Cromwell. The second gun fires at the infantry. Neither gun scores a kill.
The time is now 07:13.
Reacting to the enemy fire, the Somersets attack the enemy guns, supported by the fire from the tanks.
The Germans are disordered by the tank fire, and when attacked by the infantry they fall back, abandoning their guns.
10th Battalion Parachute Regiment links up with 2nd Battalion South Staffordshires.
9th SS Panzer Division continues to move south towards the north end of the bridge.
HQ 1st Artillery Battalion 10th SS Panzer Division calls in howitzer fire against the Somersets. Two 75mm guns and two 105mm guns open fire. Neither battery had any success.
The time is now 07:28
A British resupply drop arrives. 1st Airborne Division have been able to organise this by a radio link from 2nd South Staffordshires via 82nd US Airborne Division in Nijmegen. The aircraft fly in at low level to ensure that the containers are dropped in the designated area. But they fly over a battery of 88mm guns in the south of Arnhem. Taking avoiding action, the supplies are accidentally dropped about 250 yards short of the intended area.
One company of the 2nd South Staffordshires charges forwards into the northern outskirts of Arnhem to retrieve the much-needed supplies. The Machine gun and mortar companies remain in position in the woods.
10th Battalion Parachute Regiment closes up and occupies a large warehouse building.
The Somerset Light Infantry attacks the AA guns that fired on the supply aircraft. Already disordered, the gunners fall back, abandoning the guns.
43rd Reconnaissance Regiment tanks are unable to make any progress through the rubble-strewn streets.
16th SS Training Battalion Machine Gun Platoon opens up at short range on the Somersets in the ruins, but no casualties are inflicted.
One company of 1st Battalion, 9th SS fires at the tanks of 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment to no effect. A second company moves forwards into the church.
The company of 2nd Battalion 9th SS advances along the main road.
It is now 07:46
An RAF Spitfire arrives over the battlefield. The pilot has been briefed about the ground situation and will attack only the centre of Arnhem.
(Apologies for the crappy painting of roundels. This is a model from the new Memoir ‘44 expansion pack, hastily painted for the game.)
The company of 1/9SS in the ruins at the road junction dives for cover. The Spitfire flies off, job done. The pilot returns to base, reports a successful mission and enjoys tea and a tot of rum.
Meanwhile, back at the sharp end…
The SLI company attacks the 105mm howitzer company (2 guns) in the ruins to their east, but are beaten back with no substantial casualties.
43rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment are still unable to move through the ruins, but open fire against the enemy company at the crossroads, to no effect.
105mm battery of 10th SS Panzer Division fires over open sights at the Somerset Light Infantry company in the ruins.
The Machine Guns of 16th SS Training Battalion fire at the Somersets company at close (250 yards) range. HQ 1st Bn. 9th SS Panzer Division, with a spotter in the church tower, orders the mortar company to fire at the Somersets, who withdraw in good order to the main road junction.
The rifle company of the 1st Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division advance south towards that road junction.
The company of 2nd Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division attack the South Staffordshires as they are collecting the supply canisters. The attack is beaten back.
It is now 08:02
Behind the stalled 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment two more infantry companies of the Somerset Light Infantry are waiting.
The Somerset Light Infantry company in the city is ordered to move to the west into the ruins beside the river and attempt to outflank the enemy. The first part of the order is achieved. The tanks of 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment are still unable to pick a way through the rubble-strewn streets. However, they continue to fire on the infantry they see ahead, but do no damage.
To the north of the town the composite company of 10th Battalion Parachute Regiment and 1st Company, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshires and their 3” mortar company attacks the company from 2nd Battalion 9th SS Panzer Division.
This all-out attack eliminates the enemy company, but leaves all the attackers low on ammunition and unable to attack again without resupply. In the woods there is an unrecovered supply drop sufficient for one company. 10th Parachute Battalion takes over the road previously held by 2nd Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division, but in a defensive mode only.
The Machine Gun Company advances from the railway southwards into the woods towards the warehouses.
The 88mm Gun battery personnel were reorganised without their guns to operate as infantry.
The 81mm mortar company of 2nd Battalion 9th SS Panzer Division fires at the Somerset Light Infantry, directed by the HQ spotter in the church tower, but again to no effect.
No other units are able to make progress through the ruins.
The time 08:14
1st Company, 2nd Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment advances southwards into the town of Arnhem.
A Squadron, 43rd Armoured Reconnaissance Regiment manages to move forwards, followed by the HQ squadron.
1st Company, Somerset Light Infantry advances through the ruins.
South of the Rhine, two more companies of the Somerset Light Infantry have arrived.
The mortar company of 1st Battalion 9th SS Panzer Division attacked the Somersets. The Somersets were shaken but not seriously damaged after taking shelter in the ruins. They were then assaulted by three platoons of the 1st/9th SS. The German infantry were pushed back.
16th SS Training Regiment attacked the advancing enemy tanks to no effect.
The time is now 08:29
South Staffordshires mortar company fires at the mortar companies of 1st Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division. The bombardment is followed by an infantry assault, which is repulsed.
The Somerset Light Infantry and the lead squadron of 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment attack the disorganised infantry of 9th SS Panzer Division.
The Panzer Grenadiers flee. The tanks push on along the road.
The German 105mm howitzers fire direct at the tanks of the 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment, but no tanks are damaged.
The company of 1st Battalion, 9th SS Panzer Division in the church fires at the Somersets, but also does no damage. The commanding officer attempts to move to rally the fleeing company, but is unable to reach them.
The 16th SS machine guns fire at the tanks. The lead tank commander is shot and the others close down, throwing the squadron into confusion.
It is now 08:44
The South Staffordshires mortars on the railway line fire at the fleeing enemy infantry, directed by the officer of the rifle company in the town.
The Somersets then charge the disorganised panzer grenadiers. The company, surrounded, surrenders. One platoon of the Somersets is detached to guard the prisoners.
The South Staffordshires rifle company reorganises after the earlier repulse.
The company of 10th Battalion Parachute Regiment rushes forward to greet the Somerset Light Infantry, but the remaining 9th SS company opens fire from the church, spoiling the fun.
At 08:52 a joint attack on the church is mounted by 10th Battalion Parachute Regiment and the Somersets. The Church is taken and the last German infantry run. The Cromwells of 43rd Reconnaissance Regiment meet up with the airborne troops. Of the fourteen battalions dropped into Arnhem, little more than the equivalent of one battalion remains.