22.9.1944, 0915 AM, Veghel, Netherlands
A what if scenario of Market Garden during 22.9. In reality the German kampfgruppes (KGs) attacked the Club Route (allied main spear head/supply line towards Frost's paras) piece-meal and never cut the road permanently. Several attempts were made at the Veghel bridges, both by KG Walther from east and KG Huber from northwest. This is a what-if of the situation where these KGs actually managed to co-ordinate the attacks so that the KG Huber stopped reinforcements from west, while KG Walther makes a two pronged attack at Veghel, SS KG Richter from northeast and Grenadier Regiment 16 along the canal, with the final aim of capturing and blowing up the road bridge over the canal.
Sorry for the quality pf the pictures, forgot to charge batteries for a real camera.
See map of the general area:
Defenders: Dog Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR)
501 PIR along with other 101st Airborne units have been tasked with capturing and holding the Club Route highway. 2nd battalion is holding the Veghel bridges and Uden highway.
Dog coy is holding the road bridge and Aa canal approach, while Easy and Fox are covering rest of the village. Rest of the 501 has been engaged in limited offensives near Schindjel. Colonel Sink's 506th PIRhas been dispatched to area, but has been delayed by another attack. Enemy is currently attacking Veghel from northeast with strong armored forces and despite communications having been cut, sounds of heavy fighting and tanks can be heard from the west side of Aa canal.
1 platoon of Dog coy has been attached to LC Ballard's battalion reserves and is now engaged in heavy fighting north of your position. As the patrols report large enemy tank formations (both tanks and self propelled guns) approaching, a platoon of pioneers and light AA have been assigned to bolster your sector.
- Company HQ
- BM-IV, two BM-III, four bazooka teams
- Two parachute rifle platoons, each with BM-III
- each two 10-man squads, one bazooka team, one 60mm mortar team, one attached LMG team
- LMG section with BM-II
- four LMG teams
- one bazooka team
- Two snipers
- Two dummy Blinds
- One parachute pioneer platoon with BM-III
- Three 10-man squads, two LMG teams, two bazooka teams
- Two 57mm anti-tank guns with jeeps and a BM-II
- Four .50 AA machine guns with jeeps and BM-II
- dug-in position for 1 platoon
You will be supported by 81mm mortal battery firing from Veghel.
Troops are well trained and highly motivated, with a strong core of veterans.
Bad weather has grounded planes, most of heavy artillery is currently on the move and out of our radio network. There is a probability of enemy air force making appearance.
You are to hold the approaches to road bridge (3) and Veghel at all costs, there is nowhere to withdraw. Strong reserves are sent to you, but they are now bogged down in fighting enemy, ETA unknown.
Enemy composition is unknown, at least Panthers and SPGs on Panther hull have been reported (latter being almost immune to 57mm grenades), in addition to FJ and SS infantry. Enemy is well motivated, but tired, poorly trained and badly supplied. It is unknown whether enemy is attacking along the canal, or from the direction of Havel village. Apart from roads, terrain is passable but not very good for vehicles.
Attackers: Grenadier Regiment 16, 1st battalion
During the last days, large number of enemy airborne troops have been deployed along the Nijmegen-Arnhem corridor, with the intent of creating a salient to attack Reich. Enemy is using Arnhem highway to supply the forward troops. Cutting the highway would both halt their attack and allow us to counterattack.
You are Hauptman Stross, Grenadier Regiment 16, 1st battalion. As part of KG Walther, SS KG Richter is attacking on your right towards Veghelalong the Erp-Veghel highway (battalion of SS infantry, zug of panthers). You are to provide flank security to KG Richter and to accompany pioneers to the Veghel road bridge (3). Attack will start at 9 AM, with KG Huber on the west side of Veghel launching a simultaneous attack to capture the railway bridge (1).
Your attack will jump of from village of Havel, after Erp has been cleared, highway along the Aa canal can also be used for approach. Your main mission is to capture the village of Leest and clear the canal highway up to the bridge so that the 107 PzPioneer company can pass you and demolish the bridge.
After that, you are to form defensive screen on the east side of thecanal. Weather permitting, Luftwaffe will support the attack. Your main artillery asset will be company 81mm mortar battery in Havel and 105mm Pz Artillery will support you when situation permits. KG Richter main effort will be on your right, capturing the Uden-Veghel road and then attacking Veghel from east-northeast.
Enemy units are light airborne troops with very limited heavy weapon support and occasional medium tanks on the highway. Due to bad weather in the west, enemy air force is expected to be unoperational until 12 AM.
- Three StuG with a BM-III
- Four recon AC+ recon motorcycle team with a BM-IV
- One Grenadier company (3 platoons) with one BM-IV and three BM-II
- One panzer pioneer Coy 107, 1st platoon w/ halftracks and BM-II
- 105mm and 81mm FOs
- 75mm infantry gun w/car
- hmg42 w/car
- Three dummy Blinds
Troops have been marching and countermarching for last two days, so they are dead tired and most of heavy equipment and ammunition are Somewhere Else. Core of your officers and NCOs are experienced, but most of your landsers are just wet behind the ears boys and old men. Terrain outside roads is passable for vehicles, but wheeled vehicles should take care.
Germans decided to use the Stugs as "snowploughs" to clear the canal highway, while everything else would make a show of force on the other flank. This would hopefully draw defender to the wrong flank and allow the HT mounted pioneers to reach the road bridge, just outside the table.
Paras, on the other hand, were really unsure what they were facing, so deployed in depth, with pioneers as a reserve.
Game started with Germans pushing lots of recon dummies to table, with US snipers quickly identifying these ("Just an old man and bicycle, again").
Next wave of blinds turned out to be something else altogether, withaplatoon of Stugs appearing along the canal highway and armored recon cars on the low road alongside them. First shot of the game saw the lead Stug go out in flames and second Stug managed to shrug of three bazooka shots before the pesky AT team was gunned down. Then began a duel between a brave 57mm atg and the Stugs - Stugs would shrug of a multitude of hits while completely unable to hit the puny gun. Luftwaffe also made an appearance in a form of lone FW - no targets were identified, so pilot continued circling around.
Several minutes passed while Stugs shrugged of hits, the motorcycle team from the German recon platoon continued a very lopsided firefight with a whole para platoon, but by some miracle managed to survive with only one casualty. Germans deployed a lone infantry gun and HMG on their right flank to harry the paras, but these were quickly cut down when 2nd US platoon revealed itself.
And then the Germans got their act together. First the FW pilots finally identified a target, made a bombing pass, barely managed not to crash and scattered his bomb a long, long way - directly on top of a US company adjutant, who was bringing up some reinforcements in the form of a couple of bazooka teams. They disappeared in a flash. Meanwhile the recon platoon made a short work of the lead para platoon - those 20mm guns are just murder against infantry. ( A good reminder not to defend from the visible forward positions, if enemy is expected to have heavy hitting guns.)
Finally Germans started applying pressure to their right flank, as company HQ and two platoons of grenadiers deployed there, apparently to flush out the 2nd para platoon. Unfortunately for them, US had a preregistered artillery target at the same place, so one German platoon was truly and well pinned down. A long firefight developed - Germans had 1.5 platoons vs. a undermanned US para platoon, but paras were dug in and supported by mortars.
Several lucky rolls (17 after 17) saw Germans wipe out all para support teams, but this cost them the fighting strength of a whole platoon. (German troops were tired, so lost actions quicker than normal to casualties.)
A fierce fight continued alongside the canal road, 57mm kept hammering the leading Stug, which kept killing the bazooka teams that tried to ambush it. After several agonizing minutes, paras had lost half a dozen bazookas, but the leading Stug finally went up in flames. Meanwhile the other US gun had located the recce platoon - what should have been an easy kill turned out quite an equal fight. The leading armoured car managed to survive 3 direct hits without even shock, and the following halftrack (with even less armor) also survived multiple shots. Recon platoon did not get many activations, but finally managed to KO the gun with one light scout car surviving.
At this point, the German right flank was bleeding, but had managed to tie down the 2nd para platoon, canal highway was guarded only by the lone atg and US center was open, so para pioneer platoon was committed to plug the gap in the center, just as the Germans have hoped. Panzer pioneers were committed to the highway and started a cavalry charge behind the Stug. US player did see the danger, but moving the pioneers laterallyfailed, as the Stug and advancing German reserves kept pinning them down. US anti-aircraft machine guns did their best, but were also overwhelmed by the number of targets.
The leading pioneer section got hammered, but in return managed to knock out the 57mm gun and when the command halftrack finished the 0.50" heavy machinegun, US admitted a defeat, as he no longer had units capable of defending the highway, even if his force otherwise has still in fighting condition.
So Veghel road bridge was blown and Club Route cut for good. Not a good day for allies.
Quite successful game overall, even if it showed that we had not played IABSM for some time.
US paras had a nice layered defense with reserves (only mistake was defending from the front against tanks), but this was countered with German cunning: Germans used one strong unit to clear the real axis of attack, while most of his troops tied enemy units to a secondary area. A classic feint which worked perfectly.