Welcome back to the ongoing campaign for Arnhem! Over the last two weekends, I’ve been posting my progress on the Nations at War five-scenario campaign that takes place in September 1944 during Operation Market Garden. In the last two scenarios, the British had taken Arnhem and defended the city against a vicious counter-attack that came pretty close to eliminating the British 7th Paras.
On September 19th, 1944, the British have to clear the road for reinforcements and supplies to arrive in the city. We can’t spend our refit points (RPs) in this scenario as I guess we’re dealing with a different group of Paras. However, the British paratroops in this scenario can earn more refit points for use in the next scenario. The Germans losses from this scenario will also carry over into the next one.
The action takes place on a new map board as the Germans try to hang on to Chatereaux, Ste. Jeanne, and the hill to the northwest. These are towns or cities near Arnhem so ignore the French names.
The Germans set up within one hex of Ste. Jeanne and Chatereaux. Their setup is pretty good since they’re well concealed from British long range mortar fire. They’re in a good position to launch an ambush once the British approach if they can just sit still and keep their heads calm. Also notice that the German defenders are close enough together so they can move to help the other units defend against the oncoming Paras.
|Germans set up near Ste. Jeanne and Chatereaux.|
For the British commander, the Paras get five platoons (these are new paras, not the survivors of the previous scenario) along with a couple of machine guns and a 3 inch mortar. The German defense will probably be tough to crack and sending all the units against one location will bring the other Germans crashing down on them. As a result, the general tactics here will be to send a main body to capture Ste. Jeanne while keeping the Chatereaux defenders at bay by providing a small infantry force to threaten their location.
|The British set up to the east.|
So here’s how it all played out:
Turn 1: The British Para commander starts sending the bulk of his units southwest into the woods to provide cover for their advance towards Ste Jeanne. A single platoon edges towards Chatreaux. The British commander is teamed up with some paras and the mortar unit on the hill to the east of Ste. Jeanne.
|The British send their main force to Ste. Jeanne through the woods.|
Turn 2: The German commander sees the British coming from the southwest and decides to send the Stug tanks to the south of the city to fire on any infantry that try to use this area from which to stage an assault. German infantry pour into the northwest of the city and take up defensive positions.
Turn 3: The British Paras will soon be in Ste Jeanne so the German HQ has no choice but to make a run to protect it. The German infantry moves south from a wooded area towards the city and comes under very accurate machine gun fire from the British Paras HQ position to the east. The German HQ unit is in disarray and out in the open.
|The German HQ unit is disrupted as it attempts to reinforce Ste. Jeanne.|
Turn 4: The Germans are lucky enough to move their battered HQ and units into the city, linking up with the fresh German infantry unit sent in earlier.
The British Paras make their move and begin their advance. The HQ directs mortar fire into the city but the fire is inaccurate. The infantry crosses a small amount of open ground and comes under tank fire from the German Stugs to the west. The Germans miss and the British storm Ste. Jeanne. One unit approaches the German HQ and is disrupted but the wave after wave of Paras soon arrive and assault the German HQ, disrupting and reducing its units.
|The British Paras assault the German HQ with wave after wave of infantry.|
Turn 5: On the next turn, the British Paras activate and immediately resume their push on the German HQ and its units. They retreat outside of the city before being destroyed by two platoons.
This has the unfortunate side effect of putting the British Paras out in the open and adjacent to the Stug platoons, which quickly overrun them. The Stugs completely eliminate two full platoons of Paras. Meanwhile, the Germans start moving infantry from near Chatereaux into Ste. Jeanne. This is it. The Germans are making their stand.
|The Stug overruns one British Para platoon…|
Turn 6: Two End Markers are pulled. No one moves. Ste. Jeanne is contested territory. Both sides lick their wounds before the inevitable.
Turn 7: The British Paras activate and wipe out the Stug with an assault. The HQ, with its machine guns, eliminates the German infantry with the HQ. The British hold Ste. Jeanne. The Germans have little to do but to use their last remaining infantry to cover any British approach to the hill on the northwest. The Germans cannot win but they can disallow the British from gaining any more RPs.
|The Germans cover the approach to Chatereaux and the hill to the northwest.|
Turn 8: The Germans activate and wait for the British to approach. The British send a unit towards the hill but it is disrupted. With Ste. Jeanne firmly in their hands, the British decide to call it a day.
Conclusion: For capturing Ste. Jeanne, the British get 3 RPs and an additional RP for each of the surviving Paras platoons, for a total of 6 RPs. The Germans have come out with severe losses in this battle but it could have been much worse – they have held on to two key locations and prevented the Brits from gaining a total victory. The Germans have only one full strength platoon left and have suffered four step losses, which means they will have 1 fewer full strength infantry units in the next scenario. The Brits now have a total of 14 RPs to spend from the start of Scenario 4. Let’s see if it’s enough to hold Arnhem.