Highway to the Reich Eindhoven Historical Campaign Day Three

The following post is Day Three of the Historical Campaign for Eindhoven, a nine day nine hour scenario in Highway to the Reich by Panther Games. Breaking the blog post up into structured segments for each day should allow for better tactical analysis and reassessment of the battle plan based on the situation on the ground (as well as a more organized approach to writing an after-action report for a scenario as long as this).

The Eindhoven scenario is one of three historical campaigns (Arnhem, Eindhoven, and Nijmegen) that form the backbone of the Operation Market Garden representation in the Airborne Assault engine at that time (preceded by Red Devils Over Arnhem and succeeded by the HTTR expansion pack for Command Operations). The missions feature various elements of the Allies 30 Corps fighting against the Axis 1st Fallschirmjäger Army and 2nd SS Panzer Corps.

Please refer to the previous entry covering Day Two action for detailed information about how the battle progressed to this point. Note: all links used in this post are to actual articles containing additional information about the subject matter referenced and are not any form of automated link advertising.

Day Two Analysis

I am currently in control of 11 out of the 16 total location objectives. The significant exception is the Hulstheuvel Highway Bridge Objective (10 VP) because the troops that I have dispatched there have not yet arrived. The total force strength is 11,831 personnel, 110 armored fighting vehicles, 175 gun units, a 3,183 anti-personnel firepower rating, a 6,954 anti-armor firepower rating, a 661 Armor rating, and a 603 bombardment rating.

From this point forward combat power values will be abbreviated (armored fighting vehicles=AFV, etc.)

If the scenario were to end right now, I would have killed 1,140 Axis personnel and 98 gun units (five destroyed by fire and seven by surrender). Allied losses would be 346 personnel, six armored fighting vehicles, and seven gun units.

Combat Action

At midnight I do a check of formations and find a couple of forces that despite being in a defensive stance and dug in are still aligned to the Road Column formation from their Move order. Using the concealment of darkness I issued some realignment orders to better defend the assigned objectives.

2nd Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (558P/140AP/304AA/25B) which is defending the Phillips Factory Objective (7 VP) has D, E, and F companies dispersed so that their frontage and depth footprints are still within the perimeter in order to keep their Combat Power ratings continually calculated in determining who is receiving the victory points for the objective.

The HQ unit is also given a simple Defend order but in-situ is not selected so as to allow the AI commander some discretion on whether he wants to move the attached mortar platoon or not. Once the individual companies are in place, I plan on regrouping the whole battalion and issuing an in-situ Defend order.

1st Battalion 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (570P/143AP/313AA/25B) which is defending the Woensel Junction Objective (7 VP) likewise has A, B, and C companies dispersed as detailed above for 2/506th Bn.

2nd Battalion 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment (274P/184AP/389AA/25B) which is defending the St. Oedenrode Highway Bridge Objective (17 VP) is also dispersed, but not from a move order but the original attack order to seize the crossing point. They were augmented with B Company 326th Airborne Engineering Battalion which allows for a better alignment of D, E, and F companies.

3rd Battalion 327th Glider Infantry Regiment (465P/152AP/249AA/25B) which is still in the assault phase of its Attack order to clear out the pocket of Germans in Veghel is re-tasked to form a defensive line running parallel to the Veghel Canal.

2nd Battalion 327th Glider Infantry Regiment (465P/152AP/249AA/25B) arrives at the staging area and is ordered to attack the Hulstheuvel Highway Bridge Objective (10 VP). 1/327th Bn which have also arrived is ordered to attack the Uden Objective (7 VP) by moving to the right and around the attack of 2nd Bn.

  • Formation – Line
  • Aggro – Max
  • Losses – Max
  • Frontage – 600m
  • Depth – 300m
  • Secure Crossing (2nd Bn only)

Once both forces have succeeded in taking the objectives they will be further realigned to best defend against any Axis incursion. It is interesting to note that all three battalions were able to make it to their initial destinations (one attacking and two moving) without losing a single soldier.

The crossing point is re-built by the engineers which reactivate the Veghel River Rail Bridge Objective (7 VP). The American unit A/326th is sent south to the primed crossing point (where the 3/327th Bn is presently resting) in order to remove the charges. The remaining British engineer units are left in place to defend the newly activated objective.

2/327th Bn has achieved their objective and are in the process of un-priming the charges to clear the crossing point while 1/327th Bn has reached its forming-up point and are shaking out to begin the assault phase of their Attack order.

The 2nd Bridge Platoon 30th Corps (70P/8AP/4AA) arrives at 11:40 and is ordered to move to the Best Rail Bridge Objective (3 VP) with a Secure Crossing order.

Later in the afternoon there are three distinct concentrations of German forces which are being spotted by lookouts and pummeled by the On Call artillery units. With no reinforcements coming until day five of the scenario, I am left with what I have for the moment to hold off the various Axis probes and attacks.

Veghel is being swarmed on opposite ends as A/326th is regrouped with the British engineers and the three units are given a new defensive line order on the opposite side of the river to allow the lead units to fall back somewhat. This area is presently outside the range of any deployed artillery asset that I have.

There are several areas of concern as the third day of operations winds down. The biggest issue for the moment is that there are no reinforcements scheduled for day four (and the next are scheduled for late in the afternoon on day five).

This is because of the way the scenario was designed, as indicated in the general briefing:

Only those elements of 30th Corps which historically participated in securing this sector are represented. Other elements, including the Gds Arm Div and the 43rd Inf Div are assumed to transit the corridor through to the Nijmegen sector.

Now to be fair this iteration of the Airborne Assault engine did not have Exit Objectives (which did not appear until Command Operations: Battles from the Bulge). To have the main elements of the British armor available would allow them to be used to contest objectives that they may not have in real life, and although wargames are to allow for a certain amount of "what-if" license, here the designer most likely felt it would be far outside the historical scope of this specific operation as best it could be portrayed in the capabilities of the game engine at that time.

To be continued…

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