Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Market Garden Campaign, Game 1 "September Snow: Arnhem"

Our gaming club ran a pretty neat game this past weekend using the opening fight for Arnhem on 17-18 September 1944 as the scenario.  I was the GM and John and Richard provided very high quality models for it.  Special mention must go to John's scratch-built table, which is without a doubt the best urban table I have played on in all my years.  It was super fun.

Richard provided a good write-up and some bangin' in-situ wargame photos over at his blog, here.

The game had two parts.  Part one (17 September 1944) was done on-line with the attacking team planning the routes and rate of march for the battalions of 1sts Para Brigade, along with the mounted reconnaissance squadron, from the landing zone to the bridge.  The defenders, meanwhile, developed a concept for Kampfgruppe Kraft in their initial defense west of Arnhem.

The results of this initial phase were interesting in several ways.  First, John Frost and 2nd Battalion never made it to the bridge, ending up (along with 1st battalion) on the eastern side of Oosterbeek, blocked by two companies of SS NCO students.  On the other hand, the reconnaissance squadron managed to avoid contact and made it to secure the Arnhem bridge (and this next part is really important for the campaign) before the 9th Pzr reconnaissance battalion crossed to go to Nijmegen.  Phase 1 and we have consigned the dustbin of history to the dustbin of history.

Part 2 (18 September 1944) was a tabletop fight pitting the 9th Pzr (reconnaissance) against elements of 3rd BN, 1st Brigade British Airborne.  It was, not surprisingly, a bloody house-to-house slog.  The challenges of urban combat were clear as the Germans ran into tenacious British Paratroopers the moment they entered the board.  The German forces had a considerable advantage in both numbers and firepower, but the psychological effect of not knowing where the Red Devils were hiding took its toll on the speed of the German advance.

After getting hung-up mid-game (exacerbated by a flare up of "never say die" from some bypassed paratroops in their rear), the Germans finally gained some momentum with successful coordinated attacks between their tanks and their infantry, but it came a little too late in the game and the British managed to retain control of the Bridge through sundown on the 18th of September.

There are plans to continue this campaign, but students of history will see that, unlike the events of history, this campaign is still very much in the balance going into September 19th.  Next up, the XXX Corps Breakout....

I will post more links to photos of the game as they come in.

Like now: UPDATE, John posted in-game pics here.  Enjoy.

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