Heartbreak Ridge

Ede, Netherlands: This scenario pits the Allies Guards Armoured Division against the Axis KG Knoche Group in a one day battle to control three strategic (albeit close together) locations northwest of Arnhem. The Axis forces are in place and entrenched, whereas the Allied forces must move and make contact with the enemy over varied terrain, elevation and line-of-sight challenges.

The Guards Armoured Division is more than sufficient for the task at hand, totaling 7,752 men, 530 armored fighting vehicles and 224 gun units for an Anti-Personnel rating of 3,103, an Anti-Armor rating of 5,532, a bombardment rating of 732 and an Armor rating of 2,835. These forces are organized into three distinct fighting elements and a headquarters component.

There are four objectives to this mission: Destroy the Enemy (100 Victory Points), Secure Centre Ridge (50 VP), Secure West Ridge (25 VP) and Secure East Ridge (25 VP). The intelligence provided by the scenario designer indicates that the objectives are already overrun by the German forces, approximately 3,893/5/42, 1,340/1,530/413/37.

In reality the force is approximately twice that size but a mix of Tiger’s, Puma’s, second-rate marine and security regiments pretending to be infantry and a mixed bag of artillery (Flak 36 & 38 and some 105mm howitzers). They also are deployed on the primary objective, the Centre Ridge worth 50 VP.

The Irish Guards Group (1,434/110/42, 673/1,180/86/742) is comprised mostly of Cromwell’s and Challenger’s. They are ordered to attack the West Ridge Objective by taking the main road leading northeast and attacking through the woods.

The Welsh Guards Group (1,434/110/42, 628/1,195/86/616) is comprised of Sherman 75’s and Firefly’s. They are ordered to attack the Center Ridge Objective through the clearing between the two forests. This would prove to be a tactical blunder as they were initially delayed by being visible and out in the open which is where I would take most of my losses.

The Grenadier Guards Group (1,434/110/42, 628/1,195/86/616) is comprised of Sherman 75’s and Firefly’s. They are ordered to attack the East Ridge Objective by taking the main highway leading to Arnhem approximately six km then making a left hook along the outer edge of the eastern most forested area in AO.

The headquarters component (2,016/90/56, 546/767/388/245) would remain in place some 4km away from the objectives using the in-situ defense order. They have two complements of artillery to assist in the attack:

The 55th Guards Field Artillery Regiment which consists of 24 Ordnance QF 25 pounder artillery guns and the 153rd Guards Artillery Regiment which consists of 24 Sexton 25 pounder self-propelled artillery vehicles. Along with two airstrike sorties during the day, this array of bombardment capability is more than sufficient to drive the Axis off of the objectives.

The attack and assault on the objectives were very straight forward affairs as each of the three battle groups reached their objectives in time to consolidate forces on the positions and have them secured by the end of the scenario (all Secure objectives have the VP’s awarded on completion). The only group that had any trouble was the Welsh Guards Group attacking over open terrain in sight of enemy forces who called in artillery on their position.

This was clearly my fault for making such a Pickett’s Charge kind of blunder when I could have just as easily ordered those forces to follow along with either the Irish Guards Group or the Grenadier Guards Group, attacking through their positions to the Centre Ridge Objective.

I would finish the scenario with a Decisive Victory outcome, 100 victory points to 13 victory points. My forces would kill 1,687 men, and destroy 30 armored fighting vehicles and 56 gun units. The Axis forces would inflict some damage, killing 795 men, and destroying 105 armored fighting vehicles and 30 gun units.

After-action report

Review final situation screen

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