Command Ops 2 : West of Arnhem
The Highway to the Reich scenario pack contains 13 scenarios ranging from 55 units all the way up to 881. It covers Operation Market Garden and makes for a very challenging Allied experience. We’re going to take a closer look at a smaller, and shorter, scenario : Arnhem Second Wave.
10km west of Arnhem – September 18, 1944 : 0500
The bulk of the 1st Para is pushing eastward toward Arnhem and Major-General Urquhart has left the 1st Airlanding Brigade behind on the LZ’s to provide security for the second wave, expected this afternoon. As Oberstgruppenfuerher Bittrich hurls the 9th and 10th SS Panzer Divisions against the paratroopers clustered around the bridge in Arnhem, Generalleutenant von Tettau is marshalling several weak formations of training and rear-area troops on the Western edge of the battle area.
The 1st Airlanding Brigade has the tough job of securing the landing zones for the follow-on forces in the second wave. Not only must the Brigade ensure the safe arrival of the reinforcements, they must also protect the Western flank of the embattled paratroopers in Arnhem itself.
The scratch formation of Kampfgruppe von Tetau must destroy the follow-on forces, and break through along the main roads to Arnhem thus threatening the paras there with encirclement and annihiliation.Scenario Description
We’ll be playing with historical and standard settings. Note that we’re doing Regular orders delay, not realistic or painfully realistic. I feel this is a nice compromise.
Above is the full screen layout. Normally I’ll just focus on the map or particular sections. I show this as it is what I normally display during the scenario. You can, if you so desire, drag these tabs onto a second monitor. I normally don’t but I’ve seen it done with a great degree of success. Upper left is Orders, below it our Time Control and minimap, with the pathing tools below. Just below that is our Task Editor. Far right is the force, this gives more detail on whoever is selected.
CO2 plays best when you act as a Brigade or Divisional commander.
- Individual units may not be ordered unless it is a recon element.
- Formations may be created from units in the area, it is not necessary to follow the strict OOB.
- Artillery may be suborned to formations and not micro-managed.
Some of these rules will be challenging in this scenario as our forces are scattered about in rather odd contingents.
Purple lines show our scenario objectives. Holding the Landing zone, Highway, and Wolfheze provide a significant quantity of our points.
Reinforcements are robust but drop in an area that is likely to be hostile. This provides a unique challenge as I can’t just withdraw towards Arnhem and must keep myself extended. Of any issue in the scenario this one is the most challenging.
Ouch. That’s not a very robust OOB. The 7 KOSB Bn Hq group is in a decent position. In the south the 1 Borner Bn is also decent but fairly spread out. Lastly we have the mish-mash of units that make up the remainder of the Division.
Our greatest liability is lack of efficient and ranged anti-armor. We have some anti-armor but not enough. We’ll try to get each group to have some anti-armor capability. Division in particular will be in a rough spot.
We will consolidate our units as above. 7th KOSB will fall back into the forests to the east if sufficient pressure requires it. 1 Border will fall back to objective Highway Early if Heelsum is under significant pressure. Division must hold the hill.
How about the Axis forces? There’s an easy way to give ourselves a visual of both hostile, and friendly, strength. We’ll be using the Overlay button.
On your lower bar you’ll see where it says Enemy-APer. If you click this you can cycle through overlays for both the hostiles and your own units. I always do this quick like as it gives me an idea of my unit strengths. First thing I see is that the Axis units all have strong anti-personnel ratings.
On the friendly side we have decent anti-personnel strength but as you can see, it’s scattered. My anti-armor is pretty dismal though. We’ll have to use cover and overlapping areas of strength.
First we’ll do the Border Battalion. In case you’ve never done this, you just select the units you want and give them an order as a group. The game automatically combines the units into a unit that will act together.
We’ll use a single defense order with the combined unit. I do all-around defense as well as ticking Ambush. I’ve also attached one of our artillery batteries. These guys will fire in support of the 1st Border.
7 KOSB will have a similar arrangement. I’ll be attaching some units direct to Division as well from Airlanding BDE HQ.
We don’t have a lot going on here, but the Plan button gives a quick and easily clickable display of who is doing what.
The order of battle will also reflect this. I would love to be able to drag and drop units here as well, but alas you have to do it with a selection on the map or CTL-clicking on the OOB.
I give the initial orders. It will take some time for this to propagate out to the units.
Around 0516 I start to see unit movement plans. These get defined in our task edit, here they will follow the road, but I could have set them to covered, quickest, avoidance, you get the idea.
If you click a unit and have the Force tab open you’ll see the Terrain identifier. This will tell you exactly what sort of area the unit is sitting in. This is helpful because the mortar unit I selected looks to be on the woodline and in the field. In reality though they are just inside of the woods.
At 0523 we make our first contact. It appears to be a Motorised Infantry Company, but that may change. I once watched a supposed Panther Company turn into Bicycle Infantry at night. A few minutes after contact we find that they are the 3 Coy, Kampfgruppe Helle. The motorized part here means trucks and not Panthers. Still a stout little force.
At 0600 the sun rises and we encounter more Axis forces. So far nothing critical, but hopefully my units have an opportunity to dig in a bit. Unless something critical happens or I have a change in plan, I’ll do bi-hourly screenshots.
If you look at the Time Control tab you’ll see an R button, clicking this will allow me to set how long to run for. This makes it handy to not step away for a moment and see 12 hours have passed. No, of course I didn’t do that.
At 0800 all of our defensive positions are in contact. But we have a solid defense except around Division HQ where a German motorized company snuck in. Our units in Heelsum feel like they could get encircled, but we need to hold that spot. If all else the infantry can fall back into the river valley and depart to the east. I think I’m going to continue on with this configuration. Our reinforcements arrive started at 1500, so 7 more hours.
The next 2 hours are brutal. We face heavy pressure near our northern landing area and the Division HQ now has a solid Kampfgruppe pressing in. Heelsum is in a very difficult spot. To prevent a rout I’m pulling these units back to the east. We’re also pulling back Airlanding BDE as it’s in a precarious position in the midst of the field. They will support the Division HQ defense of Wolfhezen.
1200 finds things about the same. Our units are taking a beating. Luckily it’s only 3 more hours until the reinforcements start to arrive. We’re barely holding our landing areas. Our 7KB HQ has been forced away from the bulk of the unit and is in a precarious position. In the south the 1 Border Bn is performing a decent withdrawal.
1400 has a tenuous pause. At this time we see the German units stalling, or at least it seems that way. 7 KB is still in a rough spot, though hopefully in an hour we’ll see the first paratroopers drop nearby. Retaking Heelsum is going to be tough. We’ve been lucky enough that no armor has presented itself. Yet.
At 1515 the 4th Para Brigade arrives. We will bust them into two groups and attack the two known hostile groups. This should also allow 7KB to link back up with the rest of the unit. Any additional units that drop in the next few hours will be sent towards Division HQ at Wolfhezen.
At 1600 we get 5 distinct groups of reinforcements. Some, like the Polish AT Trp are in a fairly terrible position. Others are looking pretty decent. I’m hopeful we can secure some objectives before night fall. I’ve given some attack orders in the north as well as some consolidation orders by Division.
By 1700 the reinforcements are moving. The three groups in Groote Heide are now into the woodlines. Several of the German units are pushed into a rout. Things are holding in the south, but only because the German marine infantry hasn’t moved out of Heelsum.
1900. The units in Groote Heide are facing stiff resistance on the southern flank. I send the 7KB in on the flank to assist. Further south the defence is fragmented, I’m attempting to consolidate but the units may have to wait until sun down to escape. Division is in a very defensible position, but is facing stiff pressure.
By 2100 the sun has set and we have more gold crosses on the field, unfortunately. One interesting combatant, modified French Char B1’s with flamethrowers! You don’t see those everyday. Maybe that’s why we’re having such a difficult time re-taking the highway?
At 2300 things are settling and I’m allowing our units to get some rest. Others have orders to run like hell. The large concentration in Groote Heide is having difficulties as the Germans are putting up stiff resistance.
0100 finds us in the same relative position. Units are digging in and resting. It’ll be interesting to see what morning brings. Supply is proving to be sporadic and I’m sure the Germans are having as much issue as we are.
0500 brings things in a mess of a situation. The units near Groote Heide are holding, but just. Division is inundated with axis troops, but still seem to be holding. Our units in the south are doing well and have managed to stall two German counter attacks.
At this point my original units are quite tired and will focus on fire support. The fresher units will attempt to dislodge the German units holding the highway. As it stands this is going to be tough. Division looks to be in a good position and we’ll continue to shore up the defenses.
By 0700 we’ve dislodged the central Highway point but have not managed to secure it (Point #1). Other units are reforming (Point #2) to push on the main Highway objective. 7KB is reforming to offer fire support. In the south 1 Border Bn encountered Kampfgruppe Knoche but repulsed the probe quite easily.
0900 – The units in Groote Heide are still consolidating. We had an airstrike available so I directed it onto the main German units near the highway. Division is holding, but the objective is not held by either of us. 1 Border is going to probe towards Heelsum.
1100 finds our Probe towards Heelsum progressing nicely. The units near Groote Heide will reform to prepare for an attack on the objectives.
Heelsum is a lost cause. I retract the assault even before it begins. All of those units are dug in. At the least it’s keeping them from attacking elsewhere.
1300 finds continuing operations. We’ll roll until 1500 and decide on any final operations. We lacked sufficient artillery or support to dig out any real stout defense.
1500 shows some promise. My fresher units have been able to push the Germans back from the objectives but they counter attack fairly quickly and we are finding it difficult to secure the locations. Division is holding, but has the same issue.
1700 shows us in control of the Groote Heide north objective. The center objective is being fiercely contested. The southern Groote Heide objective is being defended by a company of those French Char tanks. We lack any real AT strength to dislodge those beast.
1900 shows us heavily engaged across all sectors. The Germans just seem to boil up from every direction. You’d think we para-dropped into enemy territory or something.
Night falls and combat is heavy everywhere. The once quit front near Heelsum erupts. We set up a delaying action but it’s going to be tough. Groote Heide is heavily contested. I’m losing ground steadily across all fronts. This is not going to end well.
Off to the Cocos islands it seems! It was a fairly even trade in units with me being unable to secure the objectives sealing the deal.
There’s the final map. Areas that I thought were close to falling apart actually had decent reserves. Though areas I thought were tough were indeed tough! This was a challenging scenario and it felt very Market Garden-eque. Definitely recommend that you give it a try. The match plays in under an hour or two and it has enough moving pieces to be interesting without so much to be overwhelming.