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.

The Battle of Sevastopol, September 1902

Part of my “Diplomacy plus” campaign.

Situation:  The Turkish navy has been ordered to move into Sevastapol harbour.  The Russians have been ordered to move into the Black Sea.

The two Russian battleships in the harbour at Sevastopol were ordered to break the blockade and move out to the Black Sea.  However, a Turkish squadron of three ships was stationed to the east of the port to prevent such an excursion. The Turks wanted to capture and use Sevastapol for their own expansion into eastern Europe.

The battle was resolved on a 6’ x 4’ table with a 6cm hexagon grid superimposed. The model ships were painted models from the “Axis & Allies 1914” game. The rules were locally adapted from the “Axis & Allies Naval” game for World War 2, and further tweeked as the game progressed.

The Turkish battleships Abdülmecid I, Abdülaziz I and Mahmud II were cruising southwards off the western shore of Crimea. The Russian battleships Feodor II and Boris Gudenov attempted to break out to the south-west.

On first contact the enemy, at long range for their main guns, could barely be seen through the telescope. Here is a sample the opening view from the bridge of the Abdülaziz I

The Turks, having spotted the Russians to the north-east, began to turn to engage. The Russians turned north-west to engage with their full broadside while attempting to escape to the west.
The Mahmud II and Abdülaziz I were within long range but failed to score any hits with their first volley. The Russian ship Feodor II returned the fire and scored 3 hits on the Abdülaziz I but caused no damage.

The Turkish squadron turned to the north-east while the Russians steamed north-west with all speed.
The Mahmud II engaged Feodor II with its bow armament, scoring 6 hits, but no significant damage. Abdülaziz I joined in with her forward guns but with 7 further hits did not damage the enemy ship.
Feodor II returned fire with a broadside. 9 hits were scored causing 1 damage point, reducing the capability of the Mahmud II.
(Rule. If the armour points of the ship are equalled or exceeded by the enemy hits in one firing, all the ship’s factors are reduced by 1).
The Boris Gudenov also fired a broadside at Mahmud II, scoring 12 hits with the primary guns and a further 3 hits with the secondary guns. Mahmud II sank with 100 of the crew. (Most of the rest made it to the shore and spent the foreseeable future in a Russian PoW camp).

The Russians continued to make all speed to the north-west. The two remaining Turkish ships turned north to intercept them.
Feodor II fired at Abdülaziz I and scored 6 hits. Superficial damage only.
Boris Gudenov also fired at Abdülaziz but scored a paltry 2 hits.
(Note. Although the combined firing would cause a damage point, each ship’s firing is decided individually. Let us assume that between volleys the Damage Control Parties have been active.)

Abdülaziz I fired back with the forward turrets against Feodor II, hitting 6 times to no effect.

The Turks moved north to intercept the Russians. Abdülaziz I turned north-west to engage the Boris Gudenov with her broadside. The main guns scored 8 hits and the secondary batteries a further 5. this was enough to send her to the bottom with 400 crewmen lost.
Feodor II returned fire with her stern guns. 3 hits were scored on Abdülaziz I, who continued north-west to intercept the Russian escape.
Abdülmecid I continued north, having been the southernmost ship at the start of the engagement.
Feodor II turned south-west to use her broadside against the enemy.
Abdülaziz fired a broadside and scored 8 more hits on Feodor II, sufficient to reduce her capability. However, still fighting, she returned fire and with 10 hits damaged the Abdülaziz still further.

Abdülaziz I crept slowly onwards to the north-west despite the extreme damage. At the same time Abdülmecid I, who had been out of the battle, closed quickly and turned north-west to use her broadside.
Feodor II could only move north-west at a slow rate.
Abdülaziz I fired another reduced-power broadside at Feodor II, scoring 9 further hits and leaving her dead in the water. Abdülmecid I added to the damage.
Before finally going down Feodor II managed to score significant hits on Abdülaziz I, crippling her so that she needed to be towed back to port by Abdülmecid I.

A Turkish narrow victory. 2 enemy ships sunk, one friendly ship lost, one badly damaged and one survived.

Operation Sealion. The Battle of Brighton – 06:30-07:00

Eventually I have reached 90 minutes into the German attack on Brighton.  This battle is beginning to look like the representation of Stalingrad refought by Lionel Tarr in the 1960s and referenced in Donald Featherstone’s books “War Games” and “Advanced War Games”

The following are the reports sent at 07:00 to the German and British overall commanders in this Play by E-mail campaign.  The battle has now reached 07:30 but for security reasons I am publishing one half hour in arrears.

Brighton 18th September 1940 British 0700

Brighton 18th September 1940 German 0700