Scenario:Bridges of Nijmegen

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Bridges nijm.jpg

History

This event took place in an intermission from February 17-20, 2011. Result: Axis Victory

Set Up

The Allies have a brigade stranded in Nijmegen and another in Hatert representing the airborne troops that were surrounded in Arnhen and Oosterbeek as part of the Nijmegen operation. Infantry brigades on both sides will not have armored units in them at all for this event.

Objectives

Both sides have the bulk of their forces back from the front lines forcing them into the situation of having to move them up to either reinforce (Allied objective at Nijmegen) or defeat (Axis objective at Nijmegen) their opponents. It's essentially a race to see who can get there first and win.

There will also be secondary objectives, no less important than the primary ones. The Allies will want to buffer Nijmegen by capturing the town of Lent. They also need to capture Grave and Mook to buffer the airfield town at Hatert. Both of these are set to be "neutral hostile" at the start, which means both sides can capture them but the AI is hostile against all approaches.

These two towns are equally important to the Axis as well, because they can push into and defeat the Allies in Nijmegen and capture it for big scenario points.

The Allies have two other secondary objectives of some importance: Eindhoven is the closest Axis air asset to the battlezone, and the Allies need to capture it. The Axis will need to put up tough defenses to keep it secure.

Finally, Antwerp. This is the main source of supply for the Allied push to link up their forces moving east with those desperately hanging on to the Nijmegen sector. If the Axis can tie up more than 50% of it's resources (represented by all the capturable facilities in the city) this will impact the supply reaching the Allies at the front. But first the Axis have to reach Antwerp, which means Schilde becomes the meat-grinder it has been in the past. The Axis have sufficient forces available in the Geel sector to put strong pressure on Antwerp where most of the Allied forces in that city are airborne and support or headquarters units.

Nijmegen plan.jpg
(Example from plans for Operation Market Garden)

Bridges

Another tactical twist in this will be the bridges around Nijmegen. The Allies have to keep them all up and the Axis want to keep them all bombed, except where they need one or two for crossing the river. However, as a general rule, "bridge up" is an Allied point-getter and bridge down is a Axis point bonus. Once destroyed, bridges can be rebuilt. We'll look at their state when we call the event to a close to see if bonus points are in order.

Since so much depends on the success or failure of achieving these differing objectives, and their impact on each sides forces in the field in terms of altering supply and brigade composition, we don't know how long this event will run for. Players may wind up completing all objectives and putting victory beyond doubt in as little as a couple of days. It might take a week. No one knows!

It all depends on you, Battleground Europe players, because once again you are scripting your own history based on your deeds and actions and how you won the war.

Victory

To be decided.

Day One

From Doc:

With the British Special Air Service brigade stranded in Nijmegen and the 1st Paratroop brigade holding Hatert, the days operations opened with massive allied air drops in Mook and Grave. Most attention was on Mook in order to form a buffer south of Hatert to protect those securing a perimeter in Nijmegen.

The 1st Panzer Division was having none of that. The 1st kampfgruppe was in Lent just east of Nijmegen and was spoiling for the fight. They immediately began advancing on the SAS in Nijmegen and a rough brawl broke out as soon as missions were posted. this soon developed into the anticipated meatgrinder and the fight was on in earnest.

Mook was a quieter affair intially. The Allies got the drop on the town so to speak, flying in massive amounts of paratroops with support from the airborne troops holding onto Hatert. Initial probing attacks from the 2nd Kampfgruppe of 1st Panzer met with stiff resistance and Mook was soon in Allied hands, followed swiftly by an almost simultaneous air drop on Grave.

This was just the beginning however.

Both sides brought up nearby naval units with riverine gunboats and naval infantry, making use of the extensive docks facilities in this canal region. The fight for Nijmegen began to get bloody.

3rd Panzer Division was moving up from it's positions south of Milsbeek to pressure the small number of Allied units holding Mook, and to some extent Grave, although Mook was the focus being in front of Grave lying further down the canal. with them was the 3rd Kampfgruppe and it's armoured brigade.

As intense as this fight would turn out to be, it paled in comparison to the epic duel that took place in Nijmegen itself. 1st Panzer fell on the town like a tropical hurricane and it became a living nighmare down every street and alleyway. The 3rd Kampfgruppe with a full tank brigade, including Tiger tanks; moved west from as far as Kleve and punched their way into Nijmegen. They had travelled at top speed from Wyler and regrouped quickly in Lent. The Allied armour columns were still making their way forwards from Zaltbommel on the Albert Canal, and the hard pressed SAS in Nijmegen were under enormous pressure with nothing but their infantry anti-tank weapons to hold back the tide of tanks making their way into the rubble strewn streets of Nijmegen. Even the dropping of more and more paratroops in an effort to reinforce this surrounded brigade seemed powerless against the crushing tide of 1st Panzer pressing into town.

Things were not made easier with the presence of Luftwaffe fighters hunting down the paratroop transports as they flew on the deck under the low ovrcast in desperate attempts to get the troops over the target.

Allied objectives to take Eindhoven and reduce the presence of the Luftwaffe over the target failed to materialize successfully and the 4th Panzer division actually slipped into Veghel in order to push onto Boxtel and place the Allied air brigades at S-Hertogenbosch under threat.

Boxtel turned into a vicious little cockfight and a much bigger show than one might have thought initially. Both 5eme and 2eme Divisions of the Allied forces helped the 4th Panzer to bathe the town in blood, but after a full day of fighting it finally fell to the Germans to move into town.

Allied air brigades have had to fall back to Eindhoven. The Allied units in Mook and Grave, bolstered by the deployment of the 3rd Infantry division with it's 9th Tank Brigade who had motored along the canal at top speed, and further assited by the timely arival of 1st Divisions 3rd Commandos into Grave itself, has secured those canal towns and so far the bridges across the canals.

The scene is set for the Allied push to retake Hatert and Nijemegen, but the Germans have moved further west now and in addition to fighting to gain the airfield at S-Hertogenbosch have additionally captured the canal town of Druten.

The bloodbath of Nijmegen seems only to have begun.

Day Two

A totally rejuvinated German army counterattacks against the Allied capture of Nijmegen and it's attempts to push armour and troop re-inforcements along the northern canal region to secure its planned advance into Germany through the Netherlands. The first signs of trouble showed up in the little canal town of Mook, where the Allied plan was to buffer Hatert from Grave and retake Nijmegen.

3rd Panzer put an end to that idea. After a number of deadly skimishes outside of Hatert which the allies defended stoutly, the fighting moved into the woods between Hatert and Mook, and east towards Milsbeek. Moving it's tanks with strong infantry support, 3rd Panzer crushed the Mook defenders.

But the tide of battle didn't end there. A monumental hold at all costs defense was unfolding at the western point of the rejuvinated German thrust in Druten. 2nd Panzer were hanging on through grim determination as the Allies threw 2 divisions at this battle, 1st Infantry and 5eme complete with tank support. That they held on at all .... came down to what occured in

S-Hertsogenbosch

...glory be was that a bloodbath of epic proportions! The Allies had lost it and the forward airpower it made possible, during the previous day; but they retook it again today. The battle to see who would get this valuable airfield town was truly, stupendously, in your face and over the top. At one point, among the exposions and gunfire, all you could hear it seemed was the cries and groans of soldiers dying all around you. I swear, if I hear "aahhh" or "oooo" one more time I'm going to have nightmares about it.

In the end, the Allies won out and took S-Hertogenbosch. Then they lost it again. While this epic duel was taking place, the Germans had begun an attack on Tilburg, obviously looking to threaten Gilze which now had even greater importance to the Allied plans after the loss of S-Hertogenbosch, and another epic duel; resembling more some kind of hell after the apocolypse, was unfolding in Heesch ... with 4 Panzer backed up by the rampaging 3rd Panzer who were bounding out of the gates through Grave having just taken that town following their great success at Mook.

The Germans were attacking everywhere it seemed!

The epic defense of Druten by 2 Panzer wasn't hurting their momentum either. With Boxtel secure in 4th Panzers hands following the 2nd recapture of S-Hertogenbosch, the initial probing attacks in Tilburg transitioned into a full blown battle for the city.

Things were becoming much more dire elsewhere on the frontlines.

The strong and rapid push around Empel following the succesful defense of Druten, and the retaking of S-Hertogenbosch allowing a southern pincer led by 1st Panzer to move through Tilburg and Waalwijk into Dussen, linking up with naval support forces assembled to secure Gorinchem on the northern edge of the Allied flank ... ended up cutting off and surrounding 4 Allied divisions in Huesden. Until Dussen fell to the Germans they had an escape route, but by the end of day two they were trapped.

By the end of Day 2 those 4 divisions are fighting for their lives, but they cannot be resupplied. It's looking grim within that shrinking perimeter around those 4 divisions.

Diverting as many resources as the Allies had available to try to rescue the situation, the Germans capitolized elsewhere. They moved 16th and 17th Infantry into the Grobbendonk front, and attacked Schilde. They captured Schilde after an intense battle as the Allies knew full well what it meant if Antwerp was compromised. Antwerp is the sole port of supply for most of their armour and heavy equipment, petroleum, diesel and ammunition.

The Battle of Antwerp had begun in earnest. Allied supply everywhere is slowly being chewed up and not replenished while Antwerp, the very source of that supply, crumbles under the inescapable cauldron of war. The Allies are making do with 50% of their normal supply in armour, vehicles and heavy ammunition until they can once again secure Antwerp as a port of supply.

Is this the end of the bold plan to drive into Germany through the Netherlands ? It sure looks that way. Day 3 is going to be the deciding day it seems certain now.

Day 3

After half of Antwerp had fallen into German hands, creating panic in the Allied lines and complete havoc to the Allied supply ... the defenders dug deep and refused to give it up. If the Germans could consolidate this signifigant hold on the major Allied port of supply in the low countries it would represent a massive defeat for the Allied forces in this war.

They might never recover!

But deep within the almost panic struck psych of the embattled Allied defenders, short of tanks, anti-tank guns, mortars and machine guns, the will to win was still beating. From depot to factory and factory to depot the streets were littered with dead bodies as the fight ground grimly on to it's inevitable climax.

And then, against all the odds, they had done it. The Allied defenders had liberated Antwerp !

About this time, the 4 trapped divisions in Huesden ... fighting for their lives with no supply at all, finally routed under the crushing strangelhold they had endured. This represented 40% of all Allied forces in this war!

This had a profound effect to come for the defenders of Antwerp. With nowhere else to demand their efforts and able to throw everything they had at Antwerp, the German divisions fell on the city like a juggernaut. Fully supplied from the rear in the face of the previosuly attrited Allied forces, there was to be no quarter given in the following, furious; chaotic storm of bullets and bombs.

Only the Germans didn't stop at Antwerp. They took Brussels as well. The victory of the Axis forces was complete.

We'd like to thank all those who took part in our 3rd scenario break from regular intermission, of particular interest was the huge number of new players (visible as "greentags" in the game) that were to be found everywhere, and that overall population numbers were consistantly higher than we normally experience during a campaign break.

We hope you all had fun and look forward to more alternative events and game play in the future.

S!