The Battle of the Netherlands lasted until the Dutch forces surrendered on May 14, 1940. There was some isolated resistance that continued to fight until the 17th when the nation was completely occupied. The key turning point was the bombing of Rotterdam by the Luftwaffe, and with the threat of other cities being similarly decimated. The Dutch General Staff knew they had no ability to stop the aerial bombardment and surrendered in order to spare the civilian population.
This operation saw the first major use of paratroopers to seize and occupy tactical targets in advance of the arrival of traditional ground forces reaching the area. However this did not end well for the Germans as many transport planes were downed by Dutch anti-aircraft batteries, culminating in the operational failure of the Fallschirmjäger in the attack on The Hague.
The default AI difficulty setting for the scenario is Easy, so I change this to Normal which grants the AI a 20% movement bonus, a 25% combat bonus, and a 50% transfer bonus. All other settings are left to the default that loaded with the mission.
Germany starts the scenario with eight Victory Points and needs a total of 22 to win. The Dutch currently have 17 points and needs to keep at least four in order not to lose. Germany can win the scenario however if it forces the Netherlands to capitulate by reducing their base morale to below 40 at any point.
Both German and Dutch losses at the start are at 0%, and Germany needs to keep excess losses to a minimum by staying under 10% (if this were a campaign scenario, excess losses would carry over and affect future battles).
Germany is facing a timed deadline however in that it must secure the necessary VP by May 17 (or have forced a capitulation by the Netherlands). Due to the smaller scale of the scenario the default speed has been reduced from two day turns to a single day turn.
Strategy and Tactics
Most of the Victory Point locations are worth a single point, while a few are worth two points (such as Rotterdam). There is no pregame setup phase where I can drag and drop units to my heart’s content, so I have to play the hand that the scenario designer dealt me. I would have to gain 14 additional location points (and not lose any of the eight that I presently have) in order to win. As far as I know about this game there are no points awarded for kills, and that all points come from obtaining locations that offer them (or by forcing an alternative outcome such as described above).
Therefore my strategy is to rush west as fast as possible and avoid conflict to the greatest extent that is feasible. That assault, combined with some cards that will be played during the scenario will apply maximum pressure to the Dutch to force a capitulation before the end of the scenario (or so I hope in gaming terms).
I feel that simply going after location points cannot secure the victory in the time allotted.
It’s a blitzkrieg after all.
There are a number of cards tied to various leaders on the map, and then there are these global cards available in the scenario: Extra Division, Terror Bombardment, and the 7th Flieger Division (German paratroopers). Depending on how long the mission lasts, there may be additional cards that become available here.
Georg von Kuchler is the on-map superior unit as the head of the 18th Army located in hex 56-23. Although the Germans moved both the 6th and 18th Armies to the Dutch border, only the 18th conducted the invasion of the Netherlands.
Of all of the units participating in Fall Gelb, the 18th Army was perhaps one of the weakest on the battlefield. It consisted of only four infantry divisions and three reserve divisions that had little experience (save for some WWI veterans), and was overall insufficiently trained.
This commander has two cards available at the start of the scenario: Ready Unit and Rally Unit.
Order of Battle
This consists of the following components: 18th Army, X Corps, XXVI Corps, IXL Corps, along with several non-frontline units. There is a lot of information in the OOB panel and at this point I am still on the fence as to how much detail to present with an AAR for the DC series of games.
Given that this is a very small and short scenario, I am bypassing more fully developing this section for the moment.
May 10, 1940: SS Der Fuhrer has taken Arnhem without opposition while the 254th Infantry Division utilized Group Move to seize Nijmegen. Both towns are only worth one Victory Point each, however they are vital crossroads to the advance towards Rotterdam.
The first direct combat with ground forces against the enemy: Here the 56th Infantry Division eliminates a Dutch unit along the road to Eindhoven.
At the end of the first day my losses are at 1% while the Dutch are at 2%.
Score: Germany 10, Dutch 15
May 11, 1940: The most concentrated push at the moment is along the road through Arnhem and northwest towards the Victory Point locations of Utrecht, Amersfoort, and Hilversum.
I decided to do an aerial reconnaissance of Dordrecht which is just southeast of Rotterdam, with the aim of using the 7th Flieger Division Card to deploy paratroopers behind the lines. However there are approximately 8,000 Dutch Infantry in the immediate area supported by the 3rd Flak Regiment so I digress for the moment.
At the end of the second day my losses are at 1% while the Dutch are at 5%.
Score: Germany 10, Dutch 15
May 12, 1940: The 18th Army Engineers were able to race forward and beat the 56th Infantry Division into Eindhoven to capture the 1 Victory Point available at that location.
An aerial reconnaissance was again performed on the Rotterdam area, and at that point I decided to play the Terror Bombardment card that will lower Dutch base morale by 10% points (this is played against several cities, not a specific one identified by the player).
War is hell.
At this point I also decided to play the 7th Flieger Division Card to deploy paratroopers near the seemingly open Victory Point location of Delft.
The drop is successful and the spread of forces is acceptable. The key here is the deployment also revealed the status of The Hague Victory Point location worth 2 points (it was later determined to be defended by a flak regiment and some Dutch Marines).
In real life the attack on The Hague was a disaster for the paratroopers, with many Germans having been taken prisoner by the Dutch. It didn’t help that the division commander was shot in the head in a friendly fire incident.
At the end of the third day my losses are at 1% while the Dutch are at 6%.
Score: Germany 12, Dutch 13
May 13, 1940: In the southwest of the map at the Tilburg objective a significant battle is looming as I have moved in the 256 Infantry Division, the 9th Panzer Division, the 56th Infantry Division in reserve, and the 26th Corps Artillery in support.
In the north the town of Hilversum has fallen uncontested to the SS Leibstandarte, while the SS Verfugungstruppe has a long road to hoe on its way towards Leiden.
At this point I move several of my headquarters units forward to bring them closer to the front.
May 14, 1940: I am declared the victor through a Dutch capitulation, with the final score being 25-0. German losses were only 2% while the Netherlands experienced 100% losses.
Germany won the scenario four days early, securing an additional 40 Political Points for a total of 65. Had this been a campaign scenario I believe these points would have carried over to the next mission.
During the entire scenario I enjoyed clear weather and 100% Command and Control.
Review Final Situation
Full size image is available here.
Although this is a small scenario given the scale represented in the game, the map composite is quite large. There were several divisions that were lagging far behind the front as I have yet to grasp how to utilize the Group Strategic Transfer mechanism as it always seems to cost far more in Rail Transfer Points than what I have available just to move a group a few hexes.
From my limited gameplay experience it always seems better to utilize Group Move to travel large distances.
The only complaint that I have with this image is that all of the Dutch forces have been removed.
The Netherlands scenario is a good introduction to the series and is fun to play. Although the Germans are expected to win, not pressing the issue early on and utilizing the available cards can result in it dragging all the way to May 17 and a Dutch victory.
I also have the second game Case Blue, and there was an announcement this week that the new game Barbarossa is coming to Steam (with a huge update). While this is no War in the East (or West), it fills a nice gap that exists between Flashpoint Campaigns and the more gronard type titles that are out there.