Red Devils Over Arnhem

The following post is intended not to be a step-by-step after action report as I have written in the past, but a side by side comparison between the Highway to the Reich “Arnhem Coup de Main Campaign” and the Command Ops: Highway to the Reich scenario “Red Devils Over Arnhem”.

I will be borrowing heavily from this post I made after having won a Decisive Victory in the original version. While my intent was to follow my original battle plan as closely as possible, you will be able to see very early on that the Axis forces (and the new game) blew that plan to pieces.

The scenario played with the default realistic orders delay, historical weather, historical reinforcements and normal supply schedules provides initially what appears to be a similar scenario to that in the original game, however it becomes quickly apparent that the reinforcement arrival times are quite different.

This poses a serious problem as there are no Polish units on the map to secure the main road leading north into Arnhem until after the armored units begin showing up on day five. In the original game scenario, these units arrived with the historical reinforcement schedule on day one at 18:00, along with the 4th Para Brigade.

This factor alone contributes significantly to the disaster that unfolds at the Arnhem Rail Bridge objective.


HTTR Briefing


COHTTR Briefing


HTTR D01 09:01 - Initial Deployment of Forces


COHTTR D01 14:01 - Initial Deployment of Forces


HTTR D01 12:30 - Attack orders for Arnhem Rail Bridge objective


COHTTR D01 17:35 - Attack orders for Arnhem Rail Bridge objective


HTTR D01 17:35 – Deployment orders for the 4th British Para Brigade and the 1st Polish Para Brigade


HTTR D02 00:00


COHTTR D02 00:00


HTTR D02 06:00


COHTTR D02 06:00


HTTR D02 12:00


COHTTR D02 12:00


COHTTR D02 16:30 - Deployment orders for the 4th British Para Brigade


HTTR D02 18:00


COHTTR D02 18:00


HTTR D03 00:00


COHTTR D03 00:00 - With my supply lines cut and many units running out of ammunition (namely my on call artillery units), I begrudgingly detach the 11th Para Battalion and send them south in an effort to clear the pressure on the supply entry point and the divisional base.


HTTR D03 06:00


COHTTR D03 06:00


HTTR D03 12:00 - The orders given to the 4th Para Brigade are coming back to haunt me as they are broken apart and suffering great fatigue. I issue new attack orders to a location closer to the 1st Para Brigade and 1st Airlanding Brigades defending at the Arnhem Rail Bridge Objective in a vain attempt to regain some cohesiveness and not lose the 4th as an effective fighting unit this early on.


COHTTR D03 12:00 - Wholesale panic sets in at the CP as I issue orders to relocate the 1st Airborne Division HQ element to an area NW of the SEP, and order the remaining parts of the 4th Para Brigade to attack the threat that is being posed to my supply system.


HTTR D03 18:00 - The 4th Para Brigade is making essentially zero progress with the orders issued six hours ago, so I issue them again in what could be the most poorly planned movement of forces during this entire scenario.


COHTTR D03 18:00 - SNAFU


HTTR D04 00:00 - Having given up hope on regaining some control over the flagging 4th Para Brigade, I finally admit defeat and issue a simple withdrawal to the clearing at the crossroads above Hartenstein. At the same time I also move up another AT Gun off of roadway defense and bring them into the Oosterbeek area of operations.


COHTTR D04 00:00


HTTR D04 06:00


COHTTR D04 06:00 - Not wanting to lose the entire force attempting to retake the Arnhem Rail Bridge objective, I order a tactical withdrawal to the NW. Perhaps if enough units can disengage from this debacle, I might be able to salvage a respectable probing force to distract the enemy later on.


HTTR D04 12:00


COHTTR D04 12:00


HTTR D04 13:30 - The 4th Para Brigade has regrouped and is ready to join the fight in a proper manner this time. I issue an attack order directly into the phalanx of enemy above Oosterbeek in an effort to relieve the pressure on the 1st Para Brigade and 1st Airlanding Brigades defending at the Arnhem Rail Bridge Objective.


HTTR D04 18:00


COHTTR D04 18:00


HTTR D05 00:00


COHTTR D05 00:00


HTTR D05 06:00


COHTTR D05 06:00 - With little more than a battalion left (661 men) I consolidate the withdrawn forces into a defensive position just outside of Bilderberg.


HTTR D05 07:35 - Hammer Time: The Irish Guards Group (1,119 men, 97 armored fighting vehicles and 30 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 558, Anti-Armor of 819, Armor of 502 and Bombardment of 38) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Elst Objective.


HTTR D05 08:26 - The Guards Armored Division (2,774 men, 214 armored fighting vehicles and 66 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 972, Anti-Armor of 1,485, Armor of 932 and Bombardment of 206) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Highway Checkpoint 4 Objective.


HTTR D05 08:39 - XXX Corps (7,899 men, 240 armored fighting vehicles and 194 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 1,877, Anti-Armor of 1,837, Armor of 380 and Bombardment of 1,412) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Highway Checkpoint 5 Objective.


HTTR D05 09:11 - The 43rd Infantry Division (5,283 men, 367 armored fighting vehicles and 126 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 1,414, Anti-Armor of 1,570, Armor of 915 and Bombardment of 435) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Elden Objective.


HTTR D05 10:47 - The 214 Infantry Brigade (3,216 men, 203 armored fighting vehicles and 84 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 892, Anti-Armor of 1,180, Armor of 629 and Bombardment of 170) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Arnhem Highway Bridge South Objective.


HTTR D05 10:57 - The 179th Field Artillery Regiment is dispatched to a fire base location above Bemmel and added to my direct fire control component.


COHTTR D05 12:57 - Hammer Time: The Irish Guards Group (1,222 men, 116 armored fighting vehicles and 26 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 1,277, Anti-Armor of 1,668, Armor of 862 and Bombardment of 31) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Highway Checkpoint 5 objective.


COHTTR D05 14:08 - The 43rd Infantry Division (4,256 men, 259 armored fighting vehicles and 115 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 3,034, Anti-Armor of 1,678, Armor of 474 and Bombardment of 265) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Elden Objective.


COHTTR D05 14:40 - The Guards Armored Division (2,409 men, 162 armored fighting vehicles and 54 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 2,098, Anti-Armor of 1,780, Armor of 916 and Bombardment of 151) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Highway Checkpoint 4 Objective.


COHTTR D05 14:43 - The 214 Infantry Brigade (2,562 men, 95 armored fighting vehicles and 66 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 1,701, Anti-Armor of 703, Armor of 130 and Bombardment of 100) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Arnhem Highway Bridge South Objective.


COHTTR D05 15:51 - The majority of the 1st Polish Para Brigade lands and I order 2nd Battalion to attack the Highway Checkpoint 4 objective, the 3rd Battalion to attack the Highway Checkpoint 5 objective, the Para Brigade HQ to defend at the drop zone and collect some rogue Polish AT units and a Glider Squadron from destroying themselves.


HTTR D05 18:00 - Three distinct groups can be discerned at this point as the advance continues.


COHTTR D05 18:00 - This is me trying to be cute with available forces: The 1st and 3rd Airlanding Light Batteries that I had setup in a firebase SW of the Deelen airfield have been out of artillery ammunition for about two full days now because their supply line to the 1st Airborne Division Base has been cut off. I order them grouped with G Squadron to move to the basing area with the time set for D06 00:00. I take the four rogue Polish AT units and set them up with a tactical line-of-sight kill box along the main road running into Arnhem.


HTTR D06 00:00 - As the advance progresses, I issue the first set of new orders to an element of XXX Corps, namely the Irish Guards Group that was initially ordered to the Elst Objective are now ordered to the Highway Checkpoint 5 Objective.


COHTTR D06 00:00


HTTR D06 05:17 - The 13/18 Hussars (603 men, 121 armored fighting vehicles and 12 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 442, Anti-Armor of 553, Armor of 544 and Bombardment of 56) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Highway Checkpoint 5 Objective.


COHTTR D06 06:00 - Nothing to see here, move along.


COHTTR D06 11:49 - The 13/18 Hussars (583 men, 120 armored fighting vehicles and 10 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 866, Anti-Armor of 1,426, Armor of 864 and Bombardment of 42) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order (with Attacks option selected) to the Highway Checkpoint 4 Objective.


HTTR D06 12:05 - I detach two artillery units and move them north to the Highway Checkpoint 1 Objective to start obtaining some of the Victory Points allotted. I also re-deploy the Guards Armored Division that was initially ordered to the Highway Checkpoint 4 Objective are now ordered to the Highway Checkpoint 5 Objective.


HTTR D06 13:58 - The 69th Infantry Brigade (2,696 men, 85 armored fighting vehicles and 72 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 470, Anti-Armor of 631, Armor of 114 and Bombardment of 114) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Highway Checkpoint 4 Objective.


HTTR D06 18:00 - The 214 Infantry Brigade has made their way to a position north of Huissen where I issue attack orders on a group of Axis units that are a threat to the right flank of the main advance.


COHTTR D06 18:00 - Tiring quickly of the incessant fatigue of the units I throw all caution to the wind and take the bastardized group withering away NW of the Arnhem Rail Bridge objective and group them together (544 men, 0 armored fighting vehicles and 0 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 326, Anti-Armor of 72, Armor of 0 and Bombardment of 6). This battalion sized unit is led by the 1st Para Brigade HQ unit and the only consideration I give to their plight is to allow for maximum rest.


COHTTR D06 19:48 - The 69th Infantry Brigade (2,398 men, 94 armored fighting vehicles and 69 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 1,599, Anti-Armor of 710, Armor of 131 and Bombardment of 114) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Highway Checkpoint 4 Objective.


HTTR D07 00:00


COHTTR D07 00:00


HTTR D07 03:01 - The 130th Infantry Brigade (3,047 men, 85 armored fighting vehicles and 96 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 578, Anti-Armor of 783, Armor of 114 and Bombardment of 283) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Elden Objective. The 179th Field Artillery Regiment is re-attached to its organic superior.


HTTR D07 06:00


COHTTR D07 06:00


COHTTR D07 08:01 - The 130th Infantry Brigade (2,784 men, 100 armored fighting vehicles and 83 gun units for a combined Anti-Personnel rating of 1,883, Anti-Armor of 836, Armor of 138 and Bombardment of 234) arrive on the scene and are dispatched with a Move order to the Elden Objective.


HTTR D07 12:00 - The 214 Infantry Brigade is heavily fatigued by their advance and subsequent new orders, and falls into a rest state where they are while taking fire from the Axis units just north of their position.


COHTTR D07 12:00 - I modify the existing move order for the Guards Armored Division to the crossroad NW of Baal, an area that is currently being infiltrated by the lead elements of the 130th Infantry Brigade.


HTTR D07 18:00 - Most of the units ordered to the staging area in and around the Highway Checkpoint 5 Objective have arrived and are either dug in or are in rest mode. This force is covered by the 43rd Infantry Division defending at the Elden Objective.


COHTTR D07 18:01 - With over 4,300 Axis forces interfering with my advance north into Arnhem, in particular over 3,000 sitting along the main road between Elst and Elden, there is no “moment of truth” here other than the brutal realization that this effort is a complete loss if I cannot bypass this gauntlet of Germans and somehow press into the greater Arnhem area and find it completely devoid of the enemy.


HTTR D07 19:30 - This is the moment of truth - the success of the following attack on the Arnhem Highway Bridge North Objective - and the entire campaign scenario - rest on the following commands to the AI subordinate commanders:

I order a six-pronged attack over the heavy road bridge and into the Arnhem Highway Bridge North Objective area with the 129th and 130th Infantry Brigades taking up positions on either flank of the box, the Irish Guards Group to the left of center mass and the 13/18 Hussars to the right of center mass (both inside of the infantry brigades on the outer flanks), with XXX Corps and the Guards Armored Division forming the tip and base of the spear.

This force (albeit operating on separate orders to six different HQ units) will collectively be known as the Arnhem Assault Group.

The remains of the 43rd Infantry Division are left defending at the Elden Objective.


HTTR D08 00:00


COHTTR D08 00:00


HTTR D08 06:00 - The lead elements of the Arnhem Assault Group have broken through the Axis defenses and have spilled over into Arnhem.


COHTTR D08 06:00 - Using the 69th Infantry Brigade as a brace attack against the Highway Checkpoint 4 objective, I am able to bypass the Irish Guards Group, the 43rd Infantry Division, the Guards Armored Division, the 13/18 Hussars and the 130th Infantry Brigade around the right flank and threaten the Arnhem objectives.


HTTR D08 12:00 - The push into Arnhem across the heavy road bridge has succeeded and the Arnhem Assault Group has achieved the Arnhem Highway Bridge North Objective. The area is surprisingly barren of Axis units who are split up in their focus on multiple objectives.


COHTTR D08 12:00 - The equivalent of a heavily reinforced battalion sitting outside of Huissen is causing some delay with the 214th Infantry Brigade, the Guards Armored Division and the 13/18 Hussars however I am not inclined to issue any modifications to the existing orders for these units as time is of the upmost essence.


HTTR D08 18:00 - Elements of the 1st Airborne Division HQ move into the Oosterbeek area are encountering heavy enemy activity along the railway line. I should have brought up the 1st Airborne Recce Squadron to reconnoiter the area before committing my troopers to crossing that area. It would prove costly and result in my having to abandon a key element of my plan.


COHTTR D08 18:00 - Present orders that have been issued throughout the past few days for a last-ditch push into Arnhem. The remains of the 1st Airborne Division situated NW of Oosterbeek had their orders issued a day before with a jumping off time of D08 21:00.


HTTR D09 00:00 - XXX


COHTTR D09 00:00 - XXX


HTTR D09 06:00 - XXX


COHTTR D09 06:00 - XXX


HTTR D09 12:00 - XXX


COHTTR D09 12:00 - XXX


HTTR D09 18:00 - XXX


COHTTR D09 18:00 - XXX

To be continued...

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