Arnhem 17-25 Sep 1944

In the English speaking world at least, Arnhem is one of the defining battles of World War II. Vince Lody from the Shed ran a multi-player Crossfire game based on the last stand of the Paras at Arnhem. A last stand poses certain challenges for a scenario designer, i.e. you know the defender has to lose, so I wondered what other aspects of the battle would make for interesting gaming. I’ve sketched out the course of the battle and outlined what I think might make interesting scenarios.

British Paras

Most historical details taken from the Arnhem Archive site.

Scenario Idea – Arnhem Campaign

Arnhem just screams out “campaign” to me. This could either be complete free form, or it could be more pre-programmed with a set sequence/number of battles.

If pre-programmed then something like the 3 Round Campaign might work, but probably with even more rounds. The campaign objectives would be:

  1. Control / block the Arnhem bridge
  2. Possess the Oosterbeek Perimeter. i.e. save the Division.

Rounds would be something like the following (of course there are other possibilities):

Arnhem Three Round Campaign

Round 1: 1st Para Brigade’s advance on Arnhem

This represents the 1st Brigade advance via “Lion”, “Leopard” and “Tiger” routes. I’d suggest a game involving three sub-tables, one for each route. A British battalion advances down each, although it is likely only a company is on table. the British objective is to breakthrough the German defenders and get off table with a substantial number of stands. Success affects Round 3.

Round 2: Second Lift and Landing Zone X

British are trying to defend the landing zones. Success affects Round 4. I’d suggest that it is a timed game, i.e. the British are trying to hold on to the landing zones for a certain duration. The longer they hold on the more troops they can have in later rounds.

Round 3: Last ditch stand at Arnhem Bridge

The number of British forces present would depend on the result of Round 1. I’d suggest a full company from each British Battalion that succeeds in round 1, and a much depleted company from any that fail. In addition the British would get some support troops, e.g. Engineers, ATG, what have you.

Success affects round 5 and is determined as follows:

British Win: British control one end of intact bridge so XXX Corps will be able to
pass north of the River.
Draw: Bridge is blown hence denied to both XXX Corps coming north and Germans heading

German Win: Germans control both ends of bridge so forces can head south to confront
XXX Corps.

Round 4: Breakthrough to Oosterbeek Perimeter

This simulates the British forces, largely those of the Second Lift, trying to reach the Perimeter at Oosterbeek. British forces depend on result of Round 2, the longer the British held on during the Second Lift the more they have in this round. Success affects Round 5.

Round 5: Defence of Oosterbeek Perimeter

British forces depend on result of Round 3 and 4.

Round 3 British Win: Some German forces are redirected to confront XXX Corps at the Bridge. Some XXX Corps infantry and guns are available to the 1st Airbourne.

Round 3 Draw: With a blown bridge, all the of the Germans north of the Rhine can be used to attack the Oosterbeek Perimeter. Some XXX Corps infantry and guns are available to the 1st Airbourne.

Round 3 German Win: Some German forces are redirected to confront XXX Corps south of the Bridge. Only some XXX Corps guns are available to the 1st Airbourne, no infantry.

Round 4: The greater the British success the more troops broke through and are available in Round 5.

This can could be one big table, although I suspect that three sub-tables would work better. If using sub-tables then it should represent the two river side flanks, plus one other sector – probably the north.

Success determines overall victor. If using sub-tables then the side that wins in two of the three sub-tables wins the game.

Sunday 17 Sep 1944

First Lift

At 1240 hours the 186 pathfinders of 21st Independent Company dropped near Arnhem. A platoon dropped on each of the three Drop/Landing Zones (S, Z, X).

At 1300 hours gliders containing part of the 1st Airlanding Brigade began to descend on LZ-S,. Only 134 of the 153 gliders that set out for this zone arrived.

At 1319 hours gliders containing Divisional Units such as the jeeps of the Reconnaissance Squadron and the Light Regiment’s artillery guns, as well as the 1st Para Brigade’s vehicles and anti-tank guns began to land on LZ-Z. 150 of the 167 gliders landed.

The 1st Airlanding Brigade and Divisional units remained on their drop zones to await the arrival of the Second Lift on Monday morning.

Soon after landing the men of the Divisional Signals group realised their radios were useless or near to it.

The nearest German unit was a Company from Battalion Krafft that had been training in woods east of Wolfheze, right on the edge of LZ-Z,. Hearing of the landing Sturmbannfuhrer Josef Krafft immediately gathered all the men he could and immediately set out to oppose the threat. With his under-strength battalion (435 men) Krafft created a thin blocking line covering the most obvious routes into Arnhem. His defence was centred around the Hotel Wolfheze, chiefly covering the routes down which the British Reconnaissance Squadron and the 1st and 3rd Battalions would proceed.

At 1530 hours the jeeps of Major Gough’s Reconnaissance Squadron headed toward Arnhem Bridge along the “Leopard” route. Scattered elements of the Squadron ran straight into Krafft’s troops losing eight men and two jeeps. Reconnaissance Squadron abandoned its coup-de-main attempt on the Bridge and settled in to await fresh orders.

1st Para Brigade (1st, 2nd 3rd); from DZ-X to Arnhem

At 1350 hours 2,283 paratroopers jumped over DZ-X suffering few casualties. Brigadier Lathbury’s 1st Parachute Brigade assembled quickly and headed for Arnhem. 2nd and 3rd battalions set off at 1500 hours, whereas the 1st Battalion set off half an hour later allowing it to act as a reserve if any trouble developed. The battalions took different routes:

  • 2nd Battalion, with Lathbury’s Brigade HQ in tow, began to move along the southern “Lion” route following the river. 2nd Battalion was intended to arrive at Arnhem first.
  • 3rd Battalion took the middle “Tiger” route along the Utrechtseweg into Arnhem.
  • 1st Battalion took the northern “Leopard” route, with a view to capturing the high ground north of Arnhem. This terrain overlooked a main road, along which German reinforcements were expected.

Paras defend hedge

Krafft’s defence was centred around the most obvious routes into Arnhem, including “Tiger” and “Leopard” routes.

2nd Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; “Lion” route to Arnhem

The southern “Lion” route on the river road was only lightly covered by Krafft’s men, so Lt-Colonel John Frost’s 2nd Battalion avoided the heavy opposition faced by the rest of the 1st Para Brigade. Major Tatham-Warter’s A Company took the lead. Lieutenant McDermont’s No.3 Platoon ambushed a convoy of lorries just outside the drop zone, killing or taking prisoner the 30 Germans. A Company was attacked and mortared in the woods beyond, but Lieutenant Grayburn’s No.2 Platoon charged in under a smokescreen and drove off the defenders.

As 2nd Battalion entered Oosterbeek Major Dover’s C Company split off to secure the nearby rail bridge with a view to approaching Arnhem bridge along both banks. German sappers, however, demolished the centre span as Lieutenant Barry’s No.9 Platoon was advancing over the bridge. No one was injured as a result of this, but Barry was wounded by an enemy sniper another man killed. As a consequence Frost ordered C Company to abandon this objective and rejoin 2nd Battalion.

A Company arrived in Arnhem just as it was getting dark. Occasional light resistance was met but dealt with almost immediately. Armoured cars began to appear sporadically, and rather than get bogged down in tackling this threat, Major Tatham-Warter chose to move his men towards the bridge through houses and back gardens in order to avoid confrontation.

Major Tatham-Warter’s A Company arrived in Arhem as darkness fell and moving through houses and back gardens reached the northern end of Arnhem Bridge at 1930 hours. They faced only light resistance in the town, including occasional armoured cars, but managed to kill or capture 150 Germans en route. Their own casualties were a single man dead and a few wounded. Lt -Colonel Frost was relieved to find that the Bridge was still intact. 2nd Battalion twice attempted to capture the opposite end of the Bridge but was driven back by fire from an overlooked pill-box on one side of the Bridge, and later by an armoured car. British Engineers attempted to deal with the pillbox by using a flame-thrower but missed their target and set fire to several huts next to it. The ammunition stored within the huts exploded setting the Bridge alight. Several German lorries then attempted to cross the Bridge from the south but were blown up by defensive fire, adding to the blaze. The whole area was now brightly lit up and the heat from the fire made the bridge unapproachable.

Major Crawley’s B Company were allocated capture a small pontoon bridge, half a mile to the west of the main bridge. From 2000 to 0000 hours the German occupiers of Den Brink – a position on high ground outside of Arnhem – prevented B Company advancing. The Company pushed on when it became too dark for Germans to interfere. As expected they found the centre span the pontoon bridge moored alongside the riverbank, but they didn’t find boats to improvise a crossing onto the southern bank.

German infantry made several attempts to infiltrate the British positions at Arnhem Bridge. They loosely mortared the area and then charged the occupied buildings. The futile attacks cost them dearly, and also convinced Frost that resistance was much stronger than expected – he radioed for help. 3rd Battalion did not receive the message but 1st Battalion did and acted on it

The only organised German action against Frost’s defence on Sunday night was when German infantry attacked Captain Eric Mackay’s Engineers from A Troop of the 1st Para Squadron in a library. The Engineers drove off the attack but Mackay subsequently moved his men into the more secure school house next door.

Lt-Colonel Frost ordered B Company, 2nd Battalion, to return from the incomplete pontoon bridge to his positions at the north end of Arnhem Bridge. B Company had to fight its way through German positions, and whilst doing this their rearguard – No.4 Platoon – were cut off and took refuge in a house. No 4 Platoon held off German attacks for 24 hours until their ammunition ran out and they were forced to surrender.

C Company, further in the rear, were also ordered to the Bridge, but with strengthening German resistance they were surrounded in the narrow streets of Arnhem and were forced to surrender.

3rd Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; “Tiger” route

B Company at the head of 3rd Battalion on “Tiger” route, encountered a German blocking line of
infantry and an armoured car. After a short exchange the Germans withdrew. B Company also killed
General Kussin, the German Area Commander for Arnhem, in his staff car.

From 1830 to 2030 hours Germans located in a wood engaged the rear of 3rd Battalion (Major
Dennison’s A Company) with effective machinegun and mortar fire. Because progress was so slow
Lt-Colonel Fitch sent Major Lewis’s C Company north along the railway line in an attempt to
outflank the German resistance. By chance both Urquhart and Lathbury were with the 3rd Battalion
and were obliged to remain with 3rd Battalion until circumstances enabled them to return to their
respective HQ.

Para Platoon

Although he did not receive Frost’s radio message, with over 3 miles still to go to the bridge Lt-Colonel Fitch wanted to keep his men moving through the night. None-the-less Urquhart and Lathbury told him to halt the Battalion until early morning .

1st Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; “Leopard” route

1st Battalion on “Leopard” route soon met the Reconnaissance Squadron who told him of the resistance ahead. Lt-Colonel Dobie altered course and headed north through woodland in an attempt to flank the enemy. It was here that Major Timothy’s R Company swept aside some German infantry. R Company stiffer resistance (infantry supported by tanks) on the Amsterdamseweg main road where fighting continued until dusk. T Company resumed the lead but their light armaments were no match for the armoured resistance and the paratroopers abandoned the Amsterdamseweg road and pressed on through the woods.

Upon receiving the radio call from Frost late in the day, Lt-Colonel Dobie chose to ignore his orders and directed his Battalion towards the Bridge. T Company led the advance. Jeep engines were switched off and these plus the anti-tank guns were silently pushed passed patrolling enemy units. Despite the darkness German patrols continued to hinder the Battalion’s progress and casualties were consistently rising. By morning the Battalion strength of 600 men had been reduced by half, with 12 men dead,100 captured or wounded and the remainder unaccounted for. Nevertheless, Dobie remained undeterred and continued to press ahead.

Scenario Idea – “Lion”, “Tiger”, “Leopard” routes

1st Para Brigade’s advance on Arnhem looks a good contender for a scenario.

I’d suggest:

  • Each Battalion is controlled by a different player.
  • Each Battalion’s advance is fought on a small table / sub-zone with very little or no interaction between the Para Battalions.
  • Each Battalion gets one company to fight with at a time.
  • The fighting company might be the vanguard, centre or rearguard – not sure of implications of this. Possibly nothing as it seems which ever part was attacked the entire battalion halted.
  • A clock should be running.
  • As time goes on more Germans arrive, not necessarily on table, but in the area and particularly at the Bridge.
  • Krafft’s initial force should be too small to block all routes effectively. Some routes must be more strongly defended than others.
  • I’d suggest the Germans have a Orbat table with options from very weak to very strong. Roll randomly. The German team gets four points of modifiers which they can allocate to one or two of the tables (e.g. +2 on two tables, or +4 on one)
  • Para players can abandon a route and try for another “easier” route. This might be simulated by replaying on the same table, but the Germans roll for a different defending force. As time goes on a modifier is applied to the rerolled force (e.g. get an extra +1 for each reroll). .
  • Might include objectives for each route, for example, capturing/exploring nearby bridges, but this involves detaching units to do it.
  • In a series of games this scenario could affect the British forces available latter, whether it is British or Germans defending the Arnhem bridge, the direction the British can attack from (for example they get some men across a pontoon or railway bridge) and can attack both ends of the Arnhem bridge.

Monday 18 Sep 1944

2nd Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; Arnhem Bridge

By dawn the fires had died down and a steady supply of reinforcements had brought the British contingent at the northern end of the Arnhem bridge to 740 men.

  • 340 men of 2nd Battalion
  • 110 men of 1st Para Brigade HQ (less Brigadier Lathbury)
  • 105 Royal Engineers
  • 40 men of an Anti-Tank Battery
  • 40 men of a RASC platoon
  • 45 men of C Company, 3rd Battalion
  • 8 men from the Reconnaissance Squadron and their commander Major Gough
  • Several other small parties.

However, with strong German infantry and armoured cars in position on the southern approaches to the Bridge, Frost had to settle for guarding the northern end until the rest of the Division arrived.

Early morning brought several probing attacks by German tanks and infantry – all beaten back. Later in the morning lookouts saw armoured cars approaching on the Bridge. Initially these were identified as a forward group of XXX Corps’ Guards Division but the vehicles were soon identified as German. They were in fact from the Reconnaissance Squadron of the German 9th SS Panzer Division under Hauptsturmfuhrer Viktor Graebner. The Airborne men held their fire and at the last moment pounded the German vehicles with PIAT bombs and Anti-Tank shells. Supporting German infantry were met with heavy gunfire and were unable to advance more than half way across the Bridge. Other German units were brought in as reinforcements, but they made very little progress. Two hours of fighting the Bridge littered with German dead and burning wreckage; the heavily mauled Germans withdrew to safety.

During the day the men of the 1st Para Brigade’s Defence Platoon and of the 3rd Battalion repulsed several German infantry and tanks attacks on the eastern side of the perimeter. Several German tanks were destroyed; although the defenders had to abandon a few of the positions they held.

1st Airlanding Brigade & Second Lift; Landing Zones

With Major-General Urquhart missing in action, Brigadier Hicks of 1st Airlanding Brigade assumed temporary command of the Division. Hicks sent Derek McCardie’s 2nd South Staffords Battalion forward to assist the 1st Para Brigade. The Battalion still had only half of its men and equipment, but these would be dispatched after them as soon as they arrived with the Second Lift, which was expected in only a few hours time.

Unfortunately for the British a map was captured further south at Nijmegen in a . wrecked American glider. This detailed everything about the Market Garden plan, including when and where subsequent lifts and supply drops would come. German commanders were suspicious of the maps authenticity but acted upon it anyway. Dense fog made take-off impossible thus delaying the Second Lift for over four hours, but when it did arrive over the drop zones the two Battalions of the 1st Airlanding Brigade below them came under fierce attack.

The 1,914 men of Brigadier Hackett’s 4th Para Brigade, had been told that DZ-Y would be both secure and peaceful when they arrived, so were surprised to discover that they were about to drop right on top of a raging battle. Despite heavy flak and obscured drop zones the 4th Para Brigade were dropped as close on target as was possible. Only a few men came down in the woodland east of the zone. Some helpless troopers were shot as they dangled from the trees but in other cases, the German defenders panicked and deserted the area.

Shortly afterwards 273 gliders approached landing zones S and X. Despite heavy flak and the wreckage from the first lift, the 69 gliders heading for LZ-S, made safe landings. Similarly, the 204 gliders that landed on LZ-X, carrying Divisional vehicles and artillery, landed with few casualties, despite coming under fire from a group of Germans who had infiltrated between two groups of the defending 1st Border companies on the western side of the zone.

B Company, 1st Border, were fortified within the brickworks at Renkum a mile from the other three companies. They overlooked areas where German reinforcements were expected. Sure enough a German Battalion arrived during the day but B company waited until night before launching a savage ambush. The British retreated to the brickworks where they repulsed several attacks before withdrawing safely along the bank of the River to join the other 1st Border units.

The Germans had already overrun much of the area around LZ-L, so when 33 RAF Stirlings dropped supplies there the British only managed to retrieve 12 of the 87 tons.

Scenario Idea – Second Lift and Landing Zone X

The defence of the landing zone for the second Lift seems to have potential for a scenario. Something based around LZ-X where Divisional vehicles and artillery landed. This was defended by 1st Border and would include some option to simulate B company ambushing the German reinforcements. The Germans objective might be to get LOS onto the LZ – the more LOS they get, the more victory points (VP) they get. This might be time based, i.e. the gliders are coming in from a certain time, so LOS during that time counts for VP but not earlier.

In a series of games protecting the LZ would mean more stuff was available later in the campaign.

You could extend this so more than one LZ was on table. For example, The “Germans had already overrun much of the area around LZ-L” suggests considerable scope for action.

4th Para Brigade (156th, 10th, 11th, 7th KOSB); DZ-Y to LZ-L

As soon as they landed 11th Battalion was detached from 4th Para Brigade and redirect to join 1st Para Brigade at Arnhem. In compensation 7th KOSB was joined 4th Para Brigade from 1st Airlanding Brigade; however, this unit was allocated to defending the landing zones.

The remainder of 4th Para Brigade advanced toward high ground known as Koepel, north of Oosterbeek. This route route, however was to lead them straight to a strong force from the 9th SS Panzer Division.

156th Battalion, 4th Para Brigade; LZ-L

At 1700 hours the 4th Brigade’s leading Battalion, the 156th under the command of Lt-Colonel Sir Richard Des Voeux, advanced along the railway line and made good progress until after dusk they arrived on the edge of LZ-L. Here the leading platoon from C Company came under intense enemy fire from Kampfgruppe Spindler (from 9th SS Panzer Division) and was halted. Deciding that resistance was too strong, C Company fell back with the intention of waiting for reinforcements to come up to enable them to move forward in strength.

7th KOSB, 4th Para Brigade; LZ-L

Shortly afterwards, the 7th KOSB also came up against strong opposition at LZ-L, which they had been sent to secure, . They withdrew to await a coordinated attack the next morning.

3rd Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; “Tiger” to “Lion” route

3rd Battalion abandoned their attempts on the heavily defended “Tiger” route, and at 0430 hours headed for “Lion” route – the route 2nd Battalion had taken. By 0700 hours they reached the outskirts of Arnhem, just over a mile away from the Bridge. However German snipers had been holding up the men further down the line causing the Battalion to split into two completely separate parts.

Fitch was accompanied by B Company of 3rd Battalion, a few Engineers, and Brigadier Lathbury and Major-General Urquhart. German troops spotted them and pinned them down for the next 6 hours.

Lathbury was wounded when he and Urguhart attempted to make their way through the German positions. They were then trapped in a house for several hours.

Both HQ and A Companies of 3rd Battalion, together with the mortars and most of its anti-tank guns took a different route from their commander.

1st Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; north-west of Arnhem

1st Battalion left their original route in search of 3rd Battalion’s hopefully easier “Tiger” route. They advanced quickly south-east through Oosterbeek in darkness. At about 0500 hours they were halted by enemy fire when the leading company – Major Stark’s S Company – where trying to pass under a rail bridge. The exchange left 7 men dead. The paratroopers were about to mount another attack when Lt-Colonel Dobie decided to instead turn the Battalion south towards another rail bridge, the same that forward elements of the 3rd Battalion had successfully passed through earlier. At 0800 hours they reached the rail bridge and met up with those elements of the 3rd Battalion that had become detached from their commander.

In the daylight German troops supported by armoured vehicles were seen to be occupying defensive positions on the other side of the rail line. For the remainder of the day 1st Battalion, with T company leading, fought house to house along the railway line. At dusk they were close to the positions of the remainder of the 3rd Battalion, just over a mile from the Bridge. The days fighting had lost 1st Battalion a considerable amount of time and casualties.

At 2000 hours the 2nd South Staffords from 1st Airlanding Brigade arrived, followed shortly after by 11th Battalion from 4th Para Brigade. Lt-Colonel Dobie of 1st Battalion took overall command of the reinforced group.

Scenario Idea – Sleeper by Sleeper

1st Battalion’s progress along the railway line would make an ok stand alone scenario, although I can’t see how to make it part of an integrate mini-campaign unless it continues the scenario for “Lion”, “Tiger”, “Leopard” routes

Tuesday 19th Sep 1944

3rd Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; Arnhem

The advance of Lt-Colonel Fitch and the remnants of 3rd Battalion was blocked in the area of the St Elizabeth Hospital. The 50 men in the Battalion still fit for duty could not break through alone and retreated. As they were falling back, they stumbled into the 1st Battalion coming forward and Fitch immediately offered to support Dobie’s troops.

1st Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; Arnhem

At 0400 on Tuesday morning, Dobie’s group tried to break through to the Bridge. The 1st Battalion advanced along the “low” road on the embankment, nearest to the river. Facing them were Spindler’s original Kampfgruppe and elements of SS Panzer Grenadier Regiments 19 and 20.

To their left the South Staffords took the “high” or main road. Facing them were SS Gropp in houses beyond the railway line and Moeller’s SS Engineers in the St Elizabeth Hospital and Municipal Museum.

The 11th Battalion were the reserve.

1st Battalion advanced quickly in the darkness, but light dawned they came under heavy fire both from the steep bank in front of them and from the high road to their left – where the South Staffords had yet to arrive. The survivors of Graebner’s Reconnaissance Squadron also poured in fire from their position in the Brickworks south of the River. 1st Battalion was cut to pieces. Only 39 men were still able to fight when Dobie ordered them to make for houses on their left; few made it. By 0630 hours all of 1st Battalion was killed or captured. Lt-Colonel Dobie was one of the captured.

Paras assault village

3rd Battalion’s support to the 1st was no more successful. They were driven back to the Pavilion by mortar and machinegun fire, taking casualties as they went – including but Fitch himself, killed by an exploding mortar.

South Staffords, 1st Para Brigade; Arnhem

The South Staffords set off at 0430 with four Companies and 340 men in the lead and C Company in reserve. By daylight they had reached the Museum and St Elizabeth Hospital, but had suffered many casualties and were out in the open and at the mercy of snipers, mortars, and later the armoured vehicles of Assault Gun Brigade 280. The Para’s anti-tank capability was limited to a dwindling supply of PIAT bombs, and once this was exhausted the German armour roamed at will.

Some time before 0900 hours the South Staffords liberated Major-General Urquhart and his fellow officers from their hiding place and the General set out for Divisional HQ.

McCardie asked 11th Battalion for support, but at 0900 hours Urquhart ordered 11th Battalion were to hold their position and not make any attempt to intervene in an action that could only result in their unnecessary sacrifice.

At about 1200 hours Lt-Colonel McCardie and most of the South Staffords were captured. Major Cain escaped with some men, most of whom were from C Company.

Scenario Idea – Outskirts of Arnhem

This would represent either the attacks or 3rd and 1st Battalion in the vicinity of St Elizabeth Hospital, or the attack of the South Staffords in the same area. Neither attack succeeded in reality, so figuring out some balanced objectives would be tricky.

I can’t see how to make it part of an integrate mini-campaign unless it continues the scenario for “Lion”, “Tiger”, “Leopard” routes

11th Battalion, 1st Para Brigade; Arnhem

At 0900 Urquhart forbad George Lea’s 11th Battalion to aid the struggling South Staffords.

At 1100 Urquhart ordered George Lea to capture an area of high ground known as the Heijenoord-Diependal. Control of this position would open up a gap for the rest of 4th Para Brigade and the Division to enter Arnhem.

Lea utilised Major Cain and the surviving South Staffords and told them to grab the neighbouring high ground known as Den Brink in order to support his attack. This they succeeded in doing, but the Germans heavily mortared the area and the South Staffords took many casualties and were eventually forced to withdraw.

It took the 11th Battalion until 1430 hours to disengage from the enemy. However the Germans saw the 11th Battalion were preparing to head north and caught Lea’s men out in the open with mortars and tanks. The Battalion was effectively destroyed and only 150 men managed to get away from the area, not including their commander, who was wounded and captured.

So ended the final attack of the 1st Para Brigade at Arnhem. Those that survived were ordered to withdraw from Arnhem and head to Oosterbeek.

4th Para Brigade (156th, 10th, 7th KOSB)

As dawn arose on Tuesday 19th, the men of the 4th Para Brigade prepared to attack the blocking line and push on into Arnhem. Ahead of them lay Kampfgruppe Spindler from the 9th SS Panzer Division, a strong force reinforced by armoured cars and self-propelled guns. The German line in woodland and followed a road, known as the Dreijenseweg, that ran between the railway line and the Amsterdamseweg. Beyond the German front line was a steep bank rising further into woodland which would render the paratroopers extremely vulnerable to enemy fire as they negotiated it.

156th Battalion, 4th Para Brigade; Driejenseweg near LZ-L

The plan for Lt-Colonel Des Voeux’s 156th Battalion was to take the high ground overlooking the Johannahoeve Farm near LZ-L, move through the woods and onto the high ground near Lichtenbeek House, and then proceed onto their target at Koepel.

Major John Pott’s A Company took the lead initially made good progress dense woodland, however, as they approached the Driejenseweg the trees thinned out and the forward platoon was pinned down by German fire from several machine guns. Pott sent another platoon to the flank, but this too came under fire from nearby woodland. A Company then fixed bayonets and charged but the defence was too strong and paratroopers and they suffered high casualties. The wounded Major Pott and six of his men broke through but were captured soon afterwards.

Lt-Colonel Des Voeux, believing A Company had reached the road without much trouble, sent Major John Waddy’s B Company to their left flank. Upon reaching the Driejenseweg B Company came under heavy fire from snipers, machine gunners, armoured cars and anti-aircraft guns. Losses were high and Brigadier Hackett ordered the 156th to withdraw – 50% of its men were either killed, wounded, or captured during the attack.

10th Battalion, 4th Para Brigade; Amsterdamseweg

Lt-Colonel Ken Smyth’s 10th Battalion advanced on the 156th’s left flank as they moved along the Amsterdamseweg. The Battalion advanced uneventfully on the Amsterdamseweg-Driejenseweg junction until German outpost positions ahead of the Driejenseweg opened fire on D Company south of the Pumping Station with armoured cars and heavy weapons. D Company was pinned down with no opportunity for a flank attack. D Company engaged in a long fire fight with their German adversaries until the British mortars opened fire. Although ammunition was in short supply they had the desired effect on the enemy.

Captain Lionel Queripel’s A Company made a flank attack, but met with heavy opposition and pulled back. Casualties were only moderate, but it was clear that pushing the attack would prove futile, and so the 10th Battalion withdrew.

7th KOSB, 4th Para Brigade; LZ-L

Meanwhile the 7th KOSB were occupying defensive positions around LZ-L waiting for the Polish gliders of the Third Lift. Aside from German fighter aircraft strafing the area, the KOSB saw little enemy activity.

Third Lift; Landing Zones

164 RAF transport aircraft were tasked with carrying supplies to Arnhem. Over two thirds were damaged by the heavy German flak and 13 were shot down. Survivors dropped their supplies accurately, unfortunately it was the Germans, not the 1st Airborne, who benefited from the bravery of the British pilots as the radio blackout meant the RAF didn’t know the Germans had overrun the supply drop point.

Fog caused the Polish paratroopers to postpone their lift until Wednesday 20th.

Dense fog also delayed the 43 Polish gliders from taking off until 1200 hours. 13 had to abort for one reason or another and only 30 made it to the Landing Zone . They came down through a barrage of flak and small arms fire. Several gliders were hit, and one glider was brought down with the loss of of its complement of Polish soldiers and a jeep. Once below the cover of the tree-tops the remainder were able to land without interference. Many, however, made a heavy landing and much of the equipment they carried could not be salvaged. Only three out of the ten Anti-Tank guns that left England were in serviceable order.

The10th Battalion, retreating in good order, arrived on LZ-L as the Polish gliders were being unloaded. German armoured vehicles and infantry fired upon the rear of 10th Battalion and created some confusion between the Polish and British units and iolated groups of Poles and British exchanged shots. The Allies scrambled to get off the open landing zones and into the woodland to the south, and in the confusion some glider loads were abandoned. The Germans pursued the Airborne men as they withdrew.

From the LZ-L to Arnhem there were only two possible points where the Allied vehicles and guns could cross the rail line – the stations at Oosterbeek and Wolfheze. One had to be secured so the 10th and 156th Battalions were sent to Wolfheze. This left the 7th KOSB highly vulnerable as the rear guard around the landing zone. To the north the HQ and D Company’s of the KOSB threw back the now greatly reinforced Battalion Krafft as they came out of the woods. To the east, A Company were could not withdraw with 10th Battalion as planned and found themselves surrounded by Germans; the majority were eventually forced to surrender, with only 30 men rejoining the Battalion.

The 4th Para Brigade (and attached Poles) was redirect to join the Division now gathering at Oosterbeek. 10th Battalion was the Brigade’s rear guard to the north and west, and B Company of the KOSB in the east.

The Brigade used a drainage tunnel underneath the rail line a quarter of a mile east of Wolfheze to transfer the Brigade’s vehicles and guns to the other side.

156th Battalion successfully crossed the rail line, but a breakdown in communication meant half the battalion continued on in the direction of Wolfheze – the two groups were never reunited. A part of the 10th Battalion also arrived in Wolfheze and began to construct a defence with the help of some glider pilots and the misrouted men from the 156th. As the sound of German fire approached some units were passed through Wolfheze Station.

As night fell, the Germans attacked Captain Queripel’s A Company of the 10th Battalion in woodland north of Wolfheze. The Paras clung on fiercely but were evicted on Wednesday morning and the survivors retreated as Captain Queripel covered their rear. The captain was fatally wounded, and earned a posthumous Victoria Cross.

Frost’s Men, 1st Para Brigade; Arnhem bridge

With the Division unable to fight their way through to the Bridge, John Frost’s 740 men would just have to hold out until XXX Corps relieved them. On the other hand, the Germans had to take the bridge to allow men and armour to move south of the Rhine to block the approaching Allied forces.

At 0300 hours some Germans assembled alongside the building occupied by engineers of the 1st Parachute Squadron together and men from the 3rd Battalion. To conserve ammunition the defenders lobbed grenades at the intruders, killing approximately 20 while suffering no casualties themselves.

Paras defend field

Later in the morning German tanks rolled in from the east and positioned themselves of of sight from the British Anti-Tank guns. The paratroopers responded by stalking them with PIAT guns, knocking out some and causing the remainder to withdraw.

The threat of tanks forced Lieutenant Andy McDermont, commanding No. 3 Platoon, A Company, 2nd Battalion, to withdraw his men from the building he occupied near the bridge. Infiltrating German soldiers immediately occupied it. Under orders from A Company’s commander, Major Tatham-Warter, McDermont retook the house, although the he was mortally wounded in the process.

Shortly afterwards the Germans suggested John Frost and his men to surrender. Frost didn’t reply assuming either the 1st Airborne or XXX Corps would be arriving shortly.

The Germans started a systematical bombardment of Frost’s perimeter on Tuesday afternoon. Occupied buildings were levelled from top to bottom, but as buildings were demolished and set on fire the men were assigned to new positions. Snipers were everywhere. Heavy tank and infantry attacks were frequent but the Paratroopers repelled each attack. German infiltration was counted by British patrols within the perimeter.

German Tiger tanks appeared for the first time during the evening. Infantry anti-tank weaponry was virtually useless against the Tigers. The Paratroopers could do little as the tanks moved down the street and shot at each of building at point blank range. Men of the RAOC abandoned one position due to this attack, but two other were maintained despite the buildings sustaining heavy damage. Three British Anti-Tank gun crews singled out a Tiger and attempted to draw it into a trap, but the tank’s machine guns neutralised one crew, and the tank withdrew before other other guns could get a shot.

Shelling and mortaring continued relentlessly through the night, although there were no major attacks. Many of the buildings in the defences were ablaze. Up to 150 men were now lying wounded in the cellars, and all supplies were desperately low.

Scenario Idea – Arnhem Perimeter

It is possible to game a generic defense of the perimeter at Arnhem.

Wednesday 20 Sep 1944

Frost’s men, 1st Para Brigade; Arnhem Bridge

German shells and mortars pounded the area, although more phosphorus ammunition was used than previously – to set the buildings on fire.

By dawn German sniper fire isolated the British positions on either side of the Bridge. Movement between buildings was no longer possible. The paratroopers had to either dig in and defend their position or surrender.

Infantry and tanks assaulted all sides of the perimeter. With few anti-tank weapons available to the British, the Germans tanks, more or less, had free reign.

A brief radio connection in the morning meant Frost knew there was no hope of relief from the Division, and there was still no sign of XXX Corps.

Several time German engineers (support by tanks and infantry) and British engineers (supported by the 2nd Battalion’s A Company) fought over the area around one of the pillars supporting the Bridge. The Germans were trying to blow the bridge and the British trying equally hard to remove the fuses and thwart the attempt.

Arhem towards bridge

Lt-Colonel John Frost was wounded by a mortar round during the afternoon and Major Gough of the Reconnaissance Squadron took over command of the Bridge defence.

At the same time the Germans forced the men of the 1st Para Squadron and 3rd Battalion out of the school. The building was virtually demolished and heavily ablaze. Thirty men were still able to fight, but had little ammunition. A tank German arrived and was blowing the building apart. Attempts to carry the wounded across to the defenders, west of the Bridge, failed. Captain Mackay and a small group of sappers took a Bren gun each and attempted to break through. They ambushed two Tiger tanks and inflicted heavy casualties on the accompanying fifty German infantry. All of Mackay’s men were subsequently captured.

Effective defence was crumbling and all men were ordered to move to the large garden area behind Brigade HQ. The British from the eastern side, together with members of A Company forced out of their ruined houses to the south, charged from beneath the Bridge, across the 180 yards separating them from Brigade HQ through a mortar barrage and a lethal German cross fire. Those that made it dug themselves into slit trenches in the garden.

In the evening, despite British endeavours, German tanks and troops began to cross Arnhem Bridge and head south for Nijmegen.

Major Gough sent approximately 120 men of non-2nd Battalion origin north into the town, in the hope that they could individually reach the Division at Oosterbeek. Gough remained at the Bridge with the 2nd Battalion.

A two hour truce allowed approximately 280 wounded British soldiers to be moved out of collapsing buildings and placed in German care.

Major Tatham-Warter noticed that German infantry were violating the terms of the truce and were relocating themselves in positions closer to Brigade HQ. He protested to a German officer, but under the circumstances had little to bargain with.

With the resumption of hostilities the Germans commenced a relentless mortar bombardment of the 2nd Battalion’s positions. To allow his men to escape from the shelling, Major Tatham-Warter split them into two parties and ordered them to scatter and hide for the night, then to re-take their positions in the morning. Almost all were discovered and captured. Some refused to give up the fight, and there were several cases of paratroopers continuing to defend the Bridge armed only with knives and bare hands.

Scenario Idea – Last ditch stand at Arnhem Bridge

Defending the bridge would make a great scenario. The Germans tried and failed to blow the bridge using Engineers, but later captured it allowing traffic to flow across – both options should be victory conditions. Perhaps blowing the bridge earns a Minor Victory and capturing it a Major victory.

Lonsdale Force, 1st Para Brigade; Oosterbeek perimeter

Major-General Urquhart realised it was now impossible for the Division to fight their way through to the Bridge, so he ordered them to form and hold a defensive pocket around the Oosterbeek area, with its rear to the River. Urquhart’s forces, being scattered and pressed hard, only slowly came together into what became known as the “Cauldron”.

In Oosterbeek to the east, Major Dickie Lonsdale had an under-strength battalion made up of the remnants of the 1st Para Brigade (11th Battalion, and 2nd South Staffords). They were withdraw to take up their positions in the newly formed Perimeter, however, the Germans were hitting them with everything they had. In fierce fighting the battered paratroopers held off the German infantry and tanks. Lonsdale Force, however, was so weakened they had to withdraw closer to the Perimeter and took up positions around the little Church on the outskirts of Oosterbeek, directly behind which lay the Division’s artillery in the form of Sheriff Thompson’s Light Regiment. The German’s did not pursue Lonsdale Force, allowing the men their first moments of rest in over three days.

Scenario Idea – Lonsdale Force

The holding action of Lonsdale Force would make a good scenario.

4th Para Brigade; west of Oosterbeek

In the west the 4th Para Brigade were fighting their way through heavy German opposition in order to get to Oosterbeek. They faced repeated assaults ranging from continual mortar bombardment to infantry attacks supported by tanks, including flame-thrower tanks. Brigade casualties were heavy and progress towards Oosterbeek slow.

Paras cross field

The majority of 10th Battalion in the lead were lost in the woods and soon captured, however at 1310 hours the 60 survivors made a dash through the enemy defences and entered the British Perimeter.

Brigadier Hackett took temporary command of 156th Battalion when they lost their commander, Lt-Colonel Des Voeux. Hackett ordered the 150 remaining men of the Battalion to take some hollow ground a few hundred yards ahead of their position, and although the desperate charge was successful, they were pinned down there for the next 8 hours. Half of the men who charged became casualties. Eventually Hackett ordered another desperate bayonet charge which allowed the survivors to make contact with A Company of the 1st Border’s.

A strong Germans force drove B Company of the 7th KOSB, together with stragglers from the 156th Battalion, out of their positions in Wolfheze and then surrounded the British group as it headed for the south-western edge of the Perimeter. Surrounded, tired and hopelessly short of ammunition the KOSB surrendered without a shot. The men from the 156th, slightly apart from the KOSB, slipped away only to be captured soon after.

4th Para Brigade’s withdrawal into the Oosterbeek Perimeter was complete. They had abandoned most of their anti-tank guns, and only 500 men were able to assemble out of the 2,170 who had flown to Arnhem two days previously.

Scenario Idea – Breakthrough to Oosterbeek Perimeter

You could try a Breakthrough scenario representing some of 4th Para Brigade trying to reach the Oosterbeek Perimeter. Good candidates would be those units where somebody made it :

  • 10th Battalion – probably depleted
  • KOSB and 156th – both much depleted at the start of the game

1st Airborne Division; Oosterbeek perimeter

By the end of Wednesday all those who were going to reach the Oosterbeek perimeter were inside. 1st Airborne Division now had shrunk to 3,600 men of the original 10,000. Exhausted, hungry the men dug themselves in to await XXX Corps.

Major-General Urquhart set up his Headquarters inside the Hartenstein Hotel. Brigadier Hicks commanded the largely glider-borne troops along the western and northern edges of the Perimeter. Brigadier Hackett had the predominantly paratrooper forces on the eastern side.

The east was Initially undefended. Some German enemy infantry advanced along the Utrechtseweg and captured the unarmed medical staff before withdrawing. Lt-Colonel Ken Smyth’s recently arrived 10th Battalion occupied the buildings in front of the Main Dressing Station to ensure that they would not return. The Germans failed to exploit the British gap in the east as they were preoccupied with attempting to move the Lonsdale Force away from the river.

By the end of the day the perimeter was as follows (from river bank to river bank):

  • East
    • Lonsdale Force / Thompson Force
      G Squadron of the Glider Pilot Regiment
      10th Battalion
      D Squadron of the Glider Pilot Regiment
      D Squadron of the Glider Pilot Regiment
      156th Battalion
      Reconnaissance Squadron
  • North
    • 7th KOSB
      21st Independent Company (until Thursday night)
      Part of 4th Para Squadron (withdrawn into reserve on Thursday night)
  • West
    • E & F Squadrons of the Glider Pilot Regiment
      A Company of the 1st Border
      Part of 4th Para Squadron
      9th Field Company
      261 Field Park Company
      C Company of the 1st Border
      D Company of the 1st Border
      B Company of the 1st Border

Bear in mind that some units were heavily under strength. 10th Battalion for example had only 60 men in the Perimeter, i.e. an under strength company. 156th Battalion would have been in a similar state.

Air Supply

164 RAF Stirlings and Dakotas made yet another re-supply run. The 1st Airborne arranged for the supplies to be dropped inside the Oosterbeek Perimeter. Only half the supplies ended up in British hands, and 12 Stirlings and 2 Dakotas were shot down.

XXX Corps

XXX Corps secured Nijmegen Bridge leaving a mere 11 miles to the Rhine.

Thursday 21 Sep 1944

Oosterbeek perimeter

At 08:00 on Thursday morning, the Germans began a concentrated attack on the 1st Border positions in the west of the Perimeter. C and D Companies held, however, despite high casualties a strong German armoured and infantry attack pushed B Company of the 1st Border out of the Westerbouwing Restaurant. This position was next to the Rhine and the German success halved the base of the Perimeter along the river (to 700 yards). It also put the Driel-Heveadorp ferry crossing, which the Poles were intending to use, in German hands. Many B company men were captured during the fight, although some fought a fierce rear guard action against the pursuing tanks. A British attempt to retake the area failed. Major Charles Breese reorganised the B company survivors, amounting in size to an under-strength platoon (Breeseforce) and placed them in a firm defensive position which the Germans did not challenge.

During the morning the Germans also attacked the eastern side of the Perimeter. Lonsdale Force – closest to the Rhine – repulsed a German infantry assault. The Germans then heavily shelled Lonsdale force and the nearby Light Regiment. In the afternoon Lonsdale force beat off a renewed attack of infantry and tanks.

Slightly to the north Lt-Colonel Smyth’s 10th Battalion beat off heavy attacks from the direction of the Utrechtseweg. A German self-propelled gun was brought up to systematically demolish the occupied buildings. Lacking anti-tank weapons 10th Battalion sustained many casualties. German infantry then slowly began to evict the British from their positions. Many paratroopers were killed or captured, however, some made their way back to the reserve. Little ground was lost and the pathfinders of the Independent Company soon reoccupied it.

At 1630 hours the Germans launched a determined attack approximately 300 men of the 7th KOSB holding the Dreyeroord Hotel near to the Oosterbeek Hoog Railway Station on the northern face of the perimeter. The German pushed deeply into the defences, but all of the lost ground was retaken in a series of bayonet charges organised by Lt-Colonel Payton-Reid, and then Lieutenant Jim Taylor with No.12 Platoon. Half of the Borderers, however, were now casualties and the Battalion withdrew south. 21st Independent Company and part of 4th Para Squadron, exposed by the retreat of the KOSB, also pulled back.

Radio contact was established with XXX Corps and would now endure until the battle’s end. This allowed the British artillery stationed at Nijmegen 11 miles to the south to support the 1st Airbourne,

Scenario Idea – Oosterbeek perimeter

The attacks on 1st Border, Lonsdale Force, KOSB, and 10th Battalion would all make good scenarios. 1st Border has the best possibilities for a huge Crossfire game ala the Shed, although KOSB would probably be ok too. 10th Battalion and Lonsdale Force would probably suit a smaller game. Don’t forget the XXX Corps artillery.

Air Supply

117 Stirling and Dakota aircraft flew to Arnhem without fighter escort. A combination of heavy flak and German fighters brought down 29 aircraft. Most of the supplies fell into German hands.

Polish Brigade

At 1700 hours 1003 paratroopers of Major-General Sosabowski’s Polish Brigade dropped at Driel, one mile to the south of the Perimeter and on the other side of the Rhine. All jumped safely despite five of their transport panes being shot down by Flak. Small arms fire accounted for five killed and 25 wounded. The planes of a further 500 parachutists of 1st Battalion were recalled due to deteriorating weather.

There was little opposition in the sector and the 2nd Polish Battalion marched towards the ferry which normally ran between Driel and Heveadorp. Unbeknown to either side the ferryman had scuttled his ferry when he saw the Germans take Westerbouwing. During the night Polish engineers moved to the crossing point, and unaware that the men on the far bank were now Germans, launched a signal flare to try to draw the attention. The Poles immediately came under fire although none were hurt.

Meanwhile the 3rd Battalion had taken up a position on the river bank, directly to the south of Lonsdale Force at Oosterbeek Church.

Various attempts were made to bring the Poles across the river:

  • the 1st Airborne attempted to retake the Westerbouwing area and the ferry crossing.
  • the 1st Airborne engineers constructed makeshift rafts out of jeep trailers. This was a very slow process and by dawn they were nowhere near complete.
  • Major-General Urquhart asked his Polish liaison officer to swim the Rhine and inform Sosabowski of the efforts being made.
  • The Poles failed in their attempts to improvise rafts and boats.

Sosabowski ordered his Brigade to take up defensive positions around Driel.

In response to the Polish landing the Germans moved many troops south of the Rhine in order to form a blocking line to counteract any Polish move to cut the road or retake Arnhem bridge.

Friday 22 Sep 1944

Oosterbeek Perimeter

German snipers infiltrated deep into British territory via the woods behind the 1st Border positions and south-west of the Hartenstein Hotel. Glider pilots were usually given the task of hunting down these men. The Pilots were also commonly responsible for night patrols between gaps in the perimeter defences.

From this time the Germans relied on massed barrages and confined themselves to probing attacks with tanks and infantry. 110 German heavy guns were also moved into position around Oosterbeek and started pounding the British in their slit trenches.

Para HMG

German infantry still chipped away at the Airborne defences, by attacking buildings of strategic value, but their advances were negligible. The entrenched British anti-tank guns also kept the German tanks at bay. Even the Light Regiment knocked out several enemy tanks using direct fire. However the paratroopers found the Piat to be the most effective killer, unfortunately ammunition for this weapon was limited.

Polish Brigade

The Poles again tried to cross into the Perimeter. This time using a small number of boats linked together with signals cable by the the 1st Airborne engineers. With a shuttle carrying 15 men at a time it was hoped 200 Poles would have crossed by dawn. Unfortunately, the signals cable broke often and German patrols on the north bank opened fire on the Poles. At dawn only 52 Poles had ferried across the river.

XXX Corps

XXX Corps fought through the German tanks and infantry that had poured over the Arnhem bridge and the leading tanks reached Driel.

Saturday 23 Sep 1944

Air Supply

73 Stirlings and 50 Dakotas with a solid fighter escort. Flak brought down 6 Stirlings and 2 Dakotas on what was to be the last major re-supply mission.

Polish Brigade

On Saturday night the Poles again tried to cross the Rhine, this time using powered boats belonging to XXX Corps. There was some confusion in the operation and between 0300 hours and dawn only an additional 153 Poles were ferried to Oosterbeek.

Sunday 24 Sep 1944

Oosterbeek Perimeter

By Sunday morning the British had 1,200 British and German wounded within the Oosterbeek Perimeter. Colonel Graeme Warrack, the 1st Airborne’s senior medical officer, organised a truce with the Germans and 250 stretcher-bound men and 200 walking wounded placed in German care at the St Elizabeth Hospital.

During the night the Light Regiment intercepted German radio communications and learned that a heavy attack on the Lonsdale Force in the south-east section of the Perimeter was imminent

Air Supply

A small number of 575 Squadron’s Dakota’s flew sorties to Arnhem. None were shot down, but the supplies largely failed to find their targets.

XXX Corps

Against the advice of Sosabowski the allies tried to ferry the 4th Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment directly into the perimeter. It was a disaster. The 4th Dorsets got 315 of their men across, but these landed amongst German positions and the majority were rounded up. Only 75 men made it into the Oosterbeek Perimeter.

Monday 25 Sep 1944

Air Supply

575 Squadron’s Dakota’s flew again, but with similar results to the Monday.

Oosterbeek Perimeter

Shortly after 0600 hour Urquhart was informed that XXX Corps had abandoned all hope of reinforcing the 1st Airborne. Urquhart was instructed to withdraw his men back across the river at a time of his choosing.

Tiger tanks and SS infantry attacked Lonsdale Force throughout the day. Although some positions were overrun, all attacks were repulsed by paratroopers supported by their anti-tank gun and the artillery of XXX Corps. In one attack on the South Staffords, a gun of Light Regiment’s guns was used at point blank range demolishing a German occupied building, killing all but one of the attackers.

Scenario Idea – Lonsdale Force

Another holding action of Lonsdale Force to turn into a scenario.

Other attacks were made all around the Perimeter, but all were thrown back.

At 2200 hours in the dark and rain, the 1st Airborne began to withdraw from its positions and assembled upon the riverbank. All the men blacked their faces, tied their weapons down, and wrapped their boots in rags to dull any possible noise that they might make. Any equipment, such as radios and artillery guns, were to be destroyed. The guns of the Light Regiment and XXX Corps provided cover for the withdrawal.

Non-walking wounded remained behind in the defences to give the appearance that the British were still holding their positions, and radio operators also stayed behind to continue the illusion as well. Those who stayed behind would continue fighting until morning, at which time they were ordered to surrender.

Canadian boats and crews made a total of 150 crossings that night. The already small number of boats were steadily depleted by German fire until no more boats were able to cross. The remaining troops in the Perimeter either swam to safety, drowned, or were captured. Of the approximate 10,600 men who fought north of the River, only 2,398 returned. Of all forces, including the Poles south of the river, 1,485 died and 6,414 were taken prisoner. German suffered between 3,300 and 7,725 casualties depending on who you believe.

Special Rules

Generally I’m assuming Crossfire for the scenarios but it doesn’t have to be.

British Anti-tank ammunition

British Anti-tank weapons of all kinds are short of ammunition from the morning of Tuesday 19 Sep. If a double one (snake eyes) is rolled by British Anti-tank weapon during any anti-vehicle fire attack, that weapon is out of ammunition. Infantry squads with Piat permanently lose the ability to shoot in anti-tank mode. Anti-tank guns are converted to Rifle Squads with only 2 fire dice, but still conduct close combat like a Crew Served Weapon stand.

Moving Clock

A fighting day is from 0600 hours to 2100 hours.

Use clock ticks to track the passing of time. Basically at the end of the defender’s initiative 1d6 is added to the Clock; when the Clock reaches a certain number special events occur, or the game ends. For example, the German player might throw 3 on 1d6 at the end of their first initiative; this corresponds to 3 clock ticks. A 6 at the end of the second initiative means a total of 9 clock ticks have passed. A clock tick is approximately 5 minutes in any Arnhem game, so an hour passes with every 12 clock ticks.

Indirect Fire on Buildings

The buildings of Arnhem absorbed a lot of the artillery and mortar fire directed at the British. Often the Paras were only driven from a building when it was reduced to rubble or was set alight. When indirect fire is used against buildings, then give the occupants the normal protective cover, but throw the extra die anyway. This extra die is directed at the building itself. Four hits and the building is destroyed – NOT SURE WHAT EFFECT THIS HAS??


Arnhem Archive (broken link)

The original site has disappeared but it might be the same as the Pegasus Archive: Arnhem.

Defending Arnhem – The Battle of Arnhem from the German Point-of-View – Sept 1944.

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