Arnhem Crunch Time

Arnhem, Netherlands: This scenario is a fictitious engagement between the Axis 1st FJ Army represented by the 1st SS Panzer Division consisting of 13,259 men, 543 armored fighting vehicles and 269 field guns, and the Allies 2nd Army represented by the 7th Armored Division consisting of 11,096 men, 747 armored fighting vehicles and 240 field guns.

The battlefield is just north of Arnhem, surrounding the Deelen Airfield. Both sides have the same objectives: Four strategic locations worth 20 victory points each, all awarded upon completion of the scenario. Each side also has a “Destroy the enemy” objective that builds up as the battle commences and caps at 40 victory points.

My initial set of orders is as follows: The 131st Queens Infantry Brigade (3,794 men, 118 armored fighting vehicles and 110 field guns) is assigned to attack the Imbosch objective with maximum agro, rate of fire and losses. This objective is surrounded by varying elevation and terrain, from mostly heide to light and heavy woods, with little clearing in the southeast corner which is where I had the assault forming-up point located.

The 22nd Armored Brigade (2,984 men, 436 armored fighting vehicles and 48 field guns) is assigned to attack the Deelensche Start objective. This is the most accessible objective of the four for armor units, so I have the brigade move across the clearing into the airfield, with the assault forming-up point at the end of one of the runways. The attack was also with maximum settings.

I ordered the remaining elements of the 7th Armored Division (3,564 men, 187 armored fighting vehicles and 66 field guns) to attack the Velperberg objective with maximum settings. I did take command of one artillery unit, the 84th Medium Artillery Regiment (16 5.5 inch guns) but left all other indirect fire elements attached to their organic superiors.

Generally it is not wise to send a HQ unit to attack an objective, but this is an all-hands on deck kind of scenario, and in the end they had the highest survivability of the three battle groups. The other two battle groups would face far different outcomes when fighting the Germans onslaught.

My strategy going into these orders was fairly straightforward – Obtain a Marginal Victory by securing two objectives while denying a third to the Axis, yielding a fourth as no contest and hoping the points for destroying the enemy would put me over the top. There was no illusion of trying to attack all four objectives and/or obtaining a Decisive Victory outcome.

The only adjustment that I had made was to take the 131st Queens Infantry Brigade who was up to that point making no progress is breaking through the entrenched German line, and swing them around in a flanking maneuver supported by artillery and airstrikes. This modification to the plan on D3 at 06:00 worked, however the amount of enemy units in the objective area were too great to take the objective.

I would finish with a disappointing Draw outcome, having secured two objectives (Velperberg and Deelensche Start); yielding Deelen Village to the enemy and what I had thought was denying another, the Imbosch objective. The final outcome was the Allies with 55 Victory Points to the Axis 54 Victory Points. I received 20 points each for the objectives I had secured at the completion of the scenario, plus the accumulated 15 out of 40 points for the “Destroy the enemy” objective.

The only way the Axis could have had 54 points is if the game awarded them credit for securing the Imbosch objective. The kill numbers were similar (I killed 5,344 men to their 4,174) so it made sense I would have 15 points for that objective and they would have 14 points for the same objective. With my ignoring Deelen Village which gave them 20 points, the other 20 had to come from Imbosch.

The problem that I have with this is that a ratio of 10:1 is required to secure an objective according to the tutorial for this game. I had 590 troops at that objective facing down 2,627 enemy combatants. That is not a 10:1 ratio for the Axis, and all of my units were inside the radius. It was barely over a 4:1 ratio.

Of the 4,174 men I lost in this effort, the bulk came from the infantry brigade attack on Imbosch, which as painfully described above was not successful in denying the objective to the enemy, so in that regard my strategy failed. Had they denied that objective, the score would have been 55 to 34, which would have been sufficient for a Marginal Victory outcome.

The 131st which started out with 3,794 men ended with 966, a horrific loss of over 75% of the brigade. The 22nd which started out with 2,984 men ended with 1,725, a much more palatable loss of 43%, but still disastrous. The 7th Armored Division remaining units of 3,564 finished the scenario with 3,477, a loss of less than one percent of the force, mostly due to the artillery units deployed out of harm’s way.

After-action report

Review final situation screen

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