In Lock ‘n Load’s “Line of Fire” magazine issue 10, there’s a 5-scenario campaign for the WW2 platoon-level combat game, “Nations at War”. The campaign features scenarios based around the unsuccessful Allied attempt to liberate the Netherlands in September 1944 known as Operation Market Garden.
The first scenario in the campaign is based on British Major-General Urquhart’s attempt to capture Arnhem and the bridge that linked both sides of the town. The British player gets command of a handful of paras and a recon jeep, which is a new counter for the Brits to use and is included with this issue. The Germans get only a tiny contingent of men (one full platoon and a reduced platoon) to defend Arnhem with reinforcements from a recon vehicle unit coming in later. Fortunately for the Germans, there is only one bridge in the city (the other two bridges on the map are ignored), which makes it easy for them to decide where to make a stand.
|Paratroopers land in Holland during Operation Market Garden.|
Since this is a linked campaign, the British player keeps the same forces (including losses) throughout. Luckily, the he gets “refit points” by achieving certain objectives in each scenario, which can be used to purchase replacements, weapons, air support, etc. In this first scenario, the Brits get refit points (RPs) by taking the north side of Arnhem early on in the game and they get additional RPs for capturing the far side of the bridge. They can also set up their units on the far side of Arnhem in the next scenario if they manage to do the latter.
Although things look a bit hopeless for our German player right from the outset, he does get reinforcements in the form of a Puma recon vehicle about halfway through the scenario. Since this is a campaign, it may not be possible to “win” this scenario as the Germans but it might certainly pay off to hurt the British as much as possible and make them pay for any gains they make.
Here’s how it all went down:
The Germans are just outside of Arnhem in their troop transports and they zoom into the south side of the city and unload near the bridge.
|Germans to the south of Arnhem.|
|British Paras are disrupted upon landing.|
The British drop was a bit nasty and several units are disrupted. They quickly get their act together, however, and start advancing to the north side of Arnhem. One of the para squads doesn’t move due to a lingering disruption.
The Germans are now set up near the bridge and ready for the British to enter. Of course, it would be suicide for them to enter the north side of the town, where they would be quickly overwhelmed by the paras. It’s much better to funnel the British onto the bridge and take care of them there.
|Germans set up near the bridge while Para Recon jeep advances.|
The straggling Para unit recovers from its disruption and 7th para starts capturing the north side of the city. The recon jeep sits outside the city, spotting Germans sitting near the bridge and reporting their positions to the British commander.
Turn 3: The British Paras are almost in Arnhem. The Germans sit back and wait for the Allied assault.
|The British close in while the Germans wait.|
Turn 4: The British recon jeep manages to score a disruption on the German heavy machine gun. The rest of the British paras capture the northern part of Arnhem.
|The British take the northern part of Arnhem without resistance.|
The Germans bring their Puma on board and it starts making its way north, determined to destroy the nasty recon jeep.
Turn 5: Two End Markers are pulled and no one does anything.
Turn 6: The Germans are unable to recover their disrupted infantry. The Puma makes its way closer to the recon jeep north east of the city.
The British paras disrupt the second German infantry unit and start their assault. This should be a cakewalk.
The Paras HQ crosses the bridge and completely eliminates the Germans. However, the Germans manage to score a disruption on an assaulting British unit and this reduces the British HQ. From hell’s heart, I stab at thee.
|The British cross the bridge and begin their assault!|
Turn 7: The British fail to activate but the German formation marker is pulled. As the British start celebrating, they hear a loud explosion to the east and the recon jeep is turned into a flaming metal wreck by the German Puma, which fades out of sight. With several dead and wounded officers as well as their recon ability destroyed, the celebrations are muted and finished quickly. Tomorrow will be the real test for these men.
|The German Puma utterly pulverizes the British Para Recon jeep.|
Well, I’m not sure that actually went well for the Brits. For what was supposed to be a walk in the park, they actually suffered quite a bit as their HQ was reduced and their recon jeep was destroyed. The Brits gain 7 RPs from this scenario, which they use to bolster their HQ back to full strength (3 RPs) and restore one of their reduced platoons (from the scenario’s start) to full strength. With these meager forces, they will be forced to defend the city from a German counter attack in the next scenario.
|HQ goes back to full strength along with one platoon. This is all I have to face the coming counter attack.|