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German Delaying Action, NW Europe, September 1944

This report details one of the initial battles that was fought during the BlitzkriegCommander Market Garden campaign. The battle sees recce elements of XXX Corps engage two German paratroop battalions as they set-out towards the bridges at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem. In the context of the campaign, this is actually a British advance as well as a German delaying action.

The Battlefield

Below is a picture of the battlefield, played down the length of a table approximately 120cm by 160cm. The road is the main feature, with the surrounding country-side being pretty flat, with scrub and a few scattered trees.

The Battlefield

British Order of Battle

The British battlegroup is the 2nd Armoured Recce Battalion of the Welsh Guards.

  Command
        CO (Command Value 10)
    2 x Recce Troops (Staghound)
    4 x Infantry Platoons & M3 Half Tracks
    1 x Support Platoon (MG) & M3 Half-Track
    1 x Support Tank Troop (Challenger)
    3 x Engineer Platoons in Trucks
 
  Formation A
    HQ (Command Value 8)
    4 x Infantry Platoons & M3 Half Tracks
    1 x Support Platoon (MG) & M3 Half-Track
    1 x Support Platoon (Mortar) & M3 Half-Track
 
  Formation B
    HQ (Command Value 8)
    4 x Infantry Platoons & Carriers
    2 x Support Platoons (MG) & Carriers
    1 x Support Platoon (Mortar) & Carrier

As this was a campaign battle, points weren't taken into account nor the limits for creating battlegroups. The breakpoint of the battlegroup was 10.

German Order of Battle

The German battlegroup was the 2nd Fallschirmjäger Regiment (two battalions), split into four formations as follows:

  Command
        CO (Command Value 9)
    8 x Paratroop Platoons
    2 x Support Platoons (MG)
    2 x Support Platoons (Mortar)
 
  Formation A
        HQ (Command Value 8)
    6 x Paratroop Platoons
    2 x Support Platoons (MG)
 
  Formation B
        HQ (Command Value 8)
    3 x Paratroop Platoons
    1 x Support Platoon (MG)
    1 x Support Platoon (ATG, 75/76mm) & Truck
    1 x Support Platoon (AA, 20mm, Quad) & Truck
 
  Reserve
    1 x Paratroop Platoon
    1 x Support Platoon (MG)
    1 x Support Platoon (ATG, 75/76mm) & Truck

The German battlegroup had a breakpoint of 15.

German Deployment

German deployment.

The game was limited to 12 turns, with the British needing to break the Germans in order to win. The Germans, on the other hand, needed to inflict casualties and delay the British advance. In game terms, this meant that each side had to break the other.

The Battle

The British entered the table using mobile deployment and all three formations arrived on the first turn. Formation Command went down the road, with the infantry breaking off to engage Germans in the scrub to the right. Formation A took the left-flank, advancing across the first hill and on to the foot of the hill in the distance. Formation B took the right flank, advancing round the back of the Germans on the right-hand hill and on to the rough ground behind that. That was the extent of the advance...

Formation Command took the positions in the scrub and the hill on the right, suffering a few casualties. Formation B moved round the right flank, with the lead troops advancing to the rough ground, pushing the Germans back there, whilst the rearward elements broke off and supported the assault on the hill. Formation A made it's way round the left flank, only to find itself under assault from Germans on the far hill and in the scrub. The entire British left-flank was wiped-out after some fierce fighting against the tough German paras.

Meanwhile, the armoured elements advanced down the road, taking fire from both sides and eventually losing a Staghound troop to the reserve anti-tank gun platoon at the far end of the battlefield. They did, however, manage to push the Germans back from both sides of the road as they made their advance.

Casualties on both sides were heavy, but unfortunately for the British, they broke first, at the beginning of the the tenth turn. The Germans themselves were beginning to make their way off the table by this time, so whilst the British made their retreat, the German positions were abandoned as they didn't have sufficient troops to hold them.

After The Battle

British casualties amounted to one HQ, one Staghound troop, one engineer platoon, six infantry platoons, two MG platoons, one mortar platoon and five half-track platoons. The Germans lost seven paratroop platoons, two MG platoons, two mortar platoons and one anti-tank gun platoon. It was a costly battle for the Germans, losing almost a battalion of paratroops in a successful attempt to slow the British advance.

The battlefield at the end of the battle, before the British withdrew.

 
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