After Action Report 08

Nick Luft - Int officer 1 Parachute Army

I eventually took on the role of 1 Para Army - Intelligence
officer. We formed a perfectly formed but small team of
three - Daan as Logs Officer; Michiel as CO - one of our
team had to leave as they were feeling unwell.

GAME NARRATIVE
The first part of the game for us was very confusing. We
lost contact with our superior HQ - Army Group B and had
very little idea of what happened north of Nijmegen and were
receiving confused and confusing reports from our many units
distributed over the board.

The CO of 1 Para Army released the 59 ID immediately from
s'Hertogenbosch to assist 88 Corps on the west flank. This
was successful, but had the problem that we had no reserves
to hand and nobody to communicate with upwards. As the 88
and 86 Corps had been split by the XXX Corps advance we were
not able to coordinate attacks on the ground. So the early
part of the game was watching.

After a few moves we got more reinforcements in the shape of
the 107 and 280 Panzer Brigades. One had a battalion of
Panzer IVs and a bn of PanzerGrenadiers and the other had a
bn of Stug IVs and bn of PanzerGrenadiers. We decided to
move these into a position to the east of Uden. This took
some time, especially as we had to look carefully to find
bridges to hold them. We decided to hold onto them as
German armoured doctrine was to hold an armoured reserve to
use for a counter strike. We knew that our Corps were hard
pressed especially the 88 Corps. There were some excellent
little attacks that we thought at the time delayed the
advance of the XXX Corps. So we were quite confident at one
point that we were holding the attack back, and we thought
the Allies were having supply problems!

The newly formed Panzer Battle Group, hid in some woods,
rested and sent out light recce to spy out the ground ahead.
We received little else in reinforcements, I was busy
looking at what the enemy was doing to notice what we got.

Then we got back in contact with Army Group B who started
making all sorts of suggestions for the Panzers - there
seemed to be a new suggestion each turn. We deflected these
suggestions by arguing that we knew we could not hold up the
main XXX Corps attack for much longer but we had done quite
well so far and had to try and snuff out any penetration
over the last brideges between the River Aa and the Maas.
We were tempted to add the Panzers to assist 59 ID in
defending Veghel. However, we thought that if we threw them
into a defence we would blunt them and as we had seen
earlier, another bridge would have been built to the west or
east of Veghel and the thrust would have gone on.

We were then reinforced by elements of the 2nd Para Corps -
this turned out to be 8 bns of infantry with HQ - a weak
division I would call it. We were tempted by the idea of
counterattacking at Grave from both sides of the bridge
after infiltrating the Paras through Groesbeek. However, we
were uncertain and wanted to use the armour to hit any
spearhead.

I now regard this point in the game as the turning point.
We had also at this point reacquired the 59 ID into reserve.
And had to decide where to send the 2 Para Corps - first 4
bns of veterans. It was then that we should have gone for
Grave! We would have had good fresh infantry (paras) and
armour with artillery from the 59 ID. I think we could have
taken it, especially if we had pushed the paras through
Groesbeek and attacked both sides of Grave at the same time.

As it was in the next turn we had to counterattack what
turned out to be the 43 Wessex as it approached our
positions, which was splendid but futile. As I now realise,
XXX Corps Intelligence had worked out we had a reserve, and
we had exposed ourselves in our counter attack. Our counter
attack did not achieve anything other than a temporary
reverse and did not take any tactically significant
position. Two moves later this little force was hit for 6
just as the King Tigers were coming up.

CONCLUSION
I think the Allies won. Even if the Germans had recaptured
the bridge at Arnhem, the Allies had got there in such
strength they would have been able to push on - either in an
amphibious assault or over the bridge. My only caveat to
this would be did the Allies have sufficient artillery
support available after their rapid advance?

The German's have to do two things to win:

1. delay, frustrate and nibble at the flanks of the advance
at all times with what they can

2. take and hold Nijmegen - looking at the map that is the
major bottleneck and defensive position south of Arnhem.

I thought we could do just the first one and win!

COMMENTS
GERMAN HISTORICAL HQ SETUP
As an aside I think the German histroical HQ structure was a
little poor. We had 2 Corps HQs running two divisions each.
And we had an Army Group HQ running two subordinate HQs. At
times it seemed we were a over HQ'd for the size of the
units we had. This was compounded by the the fact that many
of our units understrength or overnamed - eg some of our
Brigades and were only two battalions strong.

LOGISTICS
I heard some complaints from both players and umpires about
the logs. I also heard that XXX Corps was passing logs to
flanking Corps and that XXX Corps was driving towards a well
stocked supply dump protected by the airborne perimeter
south of Arnhem. From the German point of view logs did
make us think where was best to go so we could remain in
supply but at no time did it really impinge on our
movements. At this level I would suggest that logistics are
probably secondary to tiredness and fatigue as limiting
factors. It would seem that all units were in supply at all
times, the main limit was the need to rest and recuperate
units. Perhaps logs could be simplified to this level of
abstraction - two successive attacks and the unit has to
rest.

[Game Designer's note: The logistics system was mainly designed to give the Allies a big headache trying to move a Corps up one road - not surprisingly, that wasn't a German problem. Logistics can't be simplified very much more and still give the Allies the correct problems. That said, we are working on some small degree of simplification for the next outing.]