Sunday, October 2, 2011

FOW Totalwar: Market Garden @ the Cavs

Adam was there as a non-combatant and can provide more of a global overview than I can. Pooch and Jason were down the end where Allied armour was allegedly trying to break through and must have been doing something right so hopefully they can fill in the gaps there on their own blogs too.

All quiet on the Oosterbeek
All that action took place up that long table in the pic above - looks peaceful right now, doesn't it? Dave D was my fellow German and was tasked with taking Arnhem from Lionel (Colonel Frost)'s British Paras. They faced off in the main city to the 'left' of these pics. All around the board, Josh (Lionel's Son - and did he ever make his old man suffer) commanded Panzer reserves that would arrive at random locations. Meanwhile 1200pts of Sperbervande Harzer (me as Oberst Gerhard) had the job of holding the line outside Arnhem and preventing twice my points in Allied Paras from joining the fun and reinforcing the bridge.

Two companies of Paras vs one company of blocking troops.
 Here you can see the defensive line. There is a row of houses to the right of the street. The pair of houses that run next to the road at the top of the pic contain Sperr Pioneers, which I was hoping could assist my fellow countrymen in Arnhem, once I quickly saw off all those Paras. Then that line of two story buildings running down toward the bottom of the pic on the right-hand side of that road contained two Sperr platoons including some observers for supporting 75mm IGs and 8cm mortars and four integral HMGs. Stephen S's Paras are deployed bottom right of pic and Jeff L's Paras have top right. They both had 6pdrs and Jeff was smart enough to bring a para gun battery, which was essential to any successful attack on defended buildings. Stephen had ATGs and HMGs but no arty and it seriously, seriously, hurt him. Keeping in the spirit of the battle, I had only a mortar platoon and a pair of IGs but these wrecked havoc on the attackers and I was quickly able to take out the Para ATGs in both forces, all except for one of Jeff's - which I never killed but always remained pinned.
Perhaps the orderly preparations from some planned, future, attack?
 After the first couple of rounds I went to take this pic. It was rumoured that Allied armour was moving to join the fun at Arnhem but the German commanders between me an them seemed pretty blase. So I thought I'd check to make sure the 'alleged' tanks were actually there. However, it looked like I wasn't likely to have to cover another flank anytime soon!
Damn, didn't put HMGs to cover that approach.
 After a few rounds unsuccessfully trying to force my right flank (bottom of pic) Stephen's Paras are pinned down. However, Jeff's troops have decided to use the concealment provided by trees near the river and move in on the Sperr Pioneers holding that end of the line. So I sent in my Panzer reserves. Not too close though! There was a railway line there and that really camped the movement of the Panzers, since throwing a track near numerous platoons of Paras was a good way to lose scarce tanks.  Jeff was not perturbed though and kept his platoons advancing. My mortars could not reach the troops at the river edge and concealment and infantry saves kept them fairly survivable. I also had to devote fire to reducing Stephen's force lest I be caught in a pincer. This meant that a number of Jeff's platoons were almost in position to attack me. Belatedly, Stephen (with a little encouragement) decided to leave a token force to tie some of my troops down and then move back to reinforce Jeff. Despite numerous entreaties from Stephen, Jeff kept all his arty support to himself and used smoke to restrict my ability to use my tanks and HMGs against his advancing troops.
 At that point, one of the troops taking a leak out the back of the defensive line noticed something scarcely believable - some of Colonel Frost's paras had snuck out of Arnhem, marched all the way to the Oosterbeek, and were now preparing charges so as to blow a hole in the wall and assault my Sperr Pioneers. So a battle on multiple fronts now unfolded, with my forces having to squeeze into a narrow space to keep out of reach of too many para assaults. Luckily the Allied air could only strike within 6' of the advancing Allied armour... and they were miles away, right? Hang on, that trail of smoking columns seemed to be getting closer - had the Fallschirmjager run out of Panzerfausts  and the Reluctant and not very well trained Luftwaffe infantry been rolled over?
Hells Highway
Gott in Himmel, one more turn and they would be able to target my precious armour and that also meant that I needed to do more to push the Paras back and secure the river so that I could prevent the newly arriving mobile forces taking the Bridge. So the Sperr platoons left their cosy holes and a number of rounds of interlinked independent team coordinated shenanigans ensued around the t-junction in the middle of the pic (below). At one stage, I was using Panzer IVs to assault buildings occupied by paras, and only a rare mistake by Jeff about where to lay to lay the smoke saved me from losing the buildings held by the Sperr pioneers.
We are about to meet by the riverside. 
At the end of it all though, Sperrbervande Harzer prevailed and my Panzers were finally rolling up to join the Pioneers in filling the river-banks with lead. At that point, the lead recon elements of the Allied armoured columns appeared in view. Was it all too late?
Frost's last stand
No, Dave D's SS (with a couple of armoured platoons supplied by Josh's reserves) had broken the rest of Lionel's (Col Frosts) forces and the Arnhem Bridge was safely in German hands.

That was the most fun I've had playing FOW in ages. The game is much better within scenario parameters like that and it was great to spend the day at the club with all the guys around one big table.
Much fun was had by all.
 Cheers for making it happen, Simon.


  1. I like seeing the battle from the Sperrverbande Harzer perspective, having just read 'It Never Snows in September.'
    Good write up and great job!
    See you Thursday.

  2. Fantastic looking game guys, very well done. Great photos.

  3. Thanks Rodger and Adam. It was a very impressive event and Simnon outdid himself setting it all up. Due credit also has to go to Stepehn S for providing the lion's share of that great terrain.

    Also full marks go to Axis commander Andy (Gen. Model) who arranged things so I could turn up on the day with a clear mission and an appropriate set of tools (note to attacking Para players - bring smoke templates!) to perform that mission and then appearing near the end to ensure I did not lose sight of the mission objectives.

  4. The game looked a blast Jamie


  5. It was a blast and being part of a larger battle really added to something. I think it is a better format than Firestorm style games but obviously required more of Simon and Andy in terms of balancing.

    Speaking of which, two more of say 75mm guns or mortars could have seen my two opponents almost cover the width of the board in smoke so I was incredibly fortunate to not have to suffer much heavier losses in hous-to-house fighting. I brought along the tanks because I fully expected to need the ability to shift my defense as a fought 'tooth and nail' but those points could have got me Panzerpioneers and artillery, which might actually have permitted me to take the fight to Stephen's army across that damned railway line - which we played as going all the way to the board edge to resrict me.

  6. Impressive scale of game put on, well done.
    Where did you get all the buildings from?

  7. Hi Scott - the organisers did a good job, eh? Not everyone at our club is so rough as me!

    Most of those buildings, certainly all of Arnhem/Oosterbeek (my end of the table) actually belong to one of the club-members, Stephen. He has a not insignificant hobby budget and more stuff on the way. He has a range of building makes and types (even a heap of paper-terrain's stuff, not shown in this game) and some of those pieces eg the Church in Arnhem, are some seriously quality models. I am not so sure about the rest. Some will be club terrain but most larger buildings, roads and bridges are owned by club members.

  8. Yep, clearly one of the pluses of a club like yours where several members get together to pool resources.
    It's one of my sticking points with FoW - getting enough buildings to look good; I don't fancy forking out loads of money on resin buildings, but making enough from scratch will take me an age...
    Luckily i am snowed under with other projects at the mo'... ;-)

  9. I stumbeled across this report on the Battlefront website too. Mucho Kudos!
    Another little query; I noticed you used some model railway tracks. Nice little extra terrain effect! What scale railtrack is compatible with FoW 15mm stuff?