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The Sheriff of Oosterbeek – A Scenario Design DAR/AAR


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From IMDb:

"Did General Urqhart really personally kill a German soldier as is portrayed in the film?

Yes, the events happened exactly as portrayed, he is the only General in WW2 to kill an enemy combatant with a pistol."

At first I hope my English is not too bad. I am Dutch and not a native English speaker. The whole situation during that incident was in fact crasy and thus remarkable.

Before my reaction reagarding that incident I wish to tell you, as a new forum user, also something about myself. I was born 15 years after the battle took place at the Utrechtseweg in Arnhem West on a location about 100 meters west of the St. Elisabeth Hospital. That is in birds eye about 70 meters from the location in the Alexanderstraat where the Urquhart shooting incident took place. My secondary education period was in Oosterbeek, and up to today I have always lived in Arnhem or its vicinity.

The parents home of my mother were she (and me too) was born is clearly visible at one of the photo's posted in this threat. It is picture 2.3 in posting #68 (with the German StuGs). Looking at that picture it is remarkable to grasp that at the moment that photo was made my family was just about 65-70 meters away, sheltering in the large basement below their home for the raging battle fought above their heads. On the right-below side of the photo is a bent in the sidewalk visible, being the T-junction Utrechtseweg-Zwarteweg direct west of the St. Elisabeth Hospital.

Photo 2.3 (the one meant in posting #68) is made about 80 meters south of the adress Alexanderstraat 135 where General Urquhart killed the German soldier, just after Brigade General Lathbury was wounded by a German bullet and brought inside that house. Two very high ranked officers together and already in front of the British positions after they made the huge mistake running to the wrong direction towards German positions, was a remarkable (crasy) event during the fights in Arnhem West. You can use Google Street View for a 360 degrees view arround in the Alexanderstraat were this incident happend. (The latitude-longitude coordinates are "North = 51 59'05.56 East = 5 53'04.87) This part of Arnhem West (known as the Lombok district) looks today still the same as in 1944. Having the same houses as at that time, including the former St. Elisabeth Hospital what is today an appartment complex.

The incident at the Alexanderstraat 135 is also mentioned in a larger context in the informative website "Freedom Trail Arnhem". I have placed a direct link to the relevant webpage "08 Zwarteweg 14"

See: https://sites.google.com/site/freedomtrailarnhemengelstalig/08-zwarteweg-14

The web homepage is: https://sites.google.com/site/freedomtrailarnhemengelstalig/home

The adress Zwarteweg 14 is located at the west side of the St. Elisabeth Hospital and was the place Gereral Urquhart moved to after the incident in the Alexanderstraat. In front of the house at the Zwarteweg 14 was already a German self propelled gun positioned. But the German crew had not the slightest presumption of the very nearby presence of the highest ranked British officer, being isolated from his own units and forced to hide himself at the attic of the small workers-class house for about 24 hours during one of the most crucial phases of the battle.

with regards, emeg.

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I recently had an experience which some scen designers might find instructive, and which I thought I'd share.   I've recently been re-reading John English's Canadian Army in the Normandy Campaign. Tow

While I'm reading your document and examining the map in the Editor, I've noticed I did a battle scenario called < The Sheriff of Oosterbeek - small >where there are no British SUZs and the map

Hi folks, Creating a scenario in the Combat Mission editor has been described as the-game-within-the-game. I know a number of people who’ve spent more time playing with the editor than they have

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emeg

Truly amazing story that your life is linked so closely to this historical place.

That is a reason why this thread draw my attention ;) Central Gelderland is a densely populated area. The city region Arnhem-Nijmegen is one of the seven metropolitan areas of the Netherlands. Being a conurbation of 20 communities with more than 730.000 inhabitants, living in a space of about 1000 square kilometres. So it is i.m.o. not really special to be Dutch and living there.

But the occurings of September 1944 are not forgotten. There are many locations in Arnhem and its western suburbs where you can find memorial signs and monuments regarding the battle. Every year, on the first Saturday in September, there is in Oosterbeek the Airborne March, by the number of its participants the largest one-day march in the world.

I am very interested how this project shall be continued. May-be I can give some what more help and information, if wished. By example using my own knowledge to give additional information, or taking information from in Dutch written (internet) sources, or to give help by some other way's.

With regards, emeg.

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Hey emeg,

No promises but when I have the OMG module all loaded I will plan to open any Oosterbeek scenarios in the editor, find your birthplace grandparents' house, add it as a landmark in red and also make it a preserve terrain objective!!!! If my battlefield leadership is faulty and the house is destroyed please don't hold it against me.

Your posts remind me of the grade school "show and tell" episodes and those kids who would always have cool stuff to bring in and talk about....:mad:

Thread is going awesome Jon. Thanks so much again. You have a very nice and organized mind. You apparently skipped all the booze and drugs in high school didn't you? If you don't mind me asking, what type field are you in for a living?

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8 - The Map Pt.5: Finishing Up

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”
Greg Anderson

Having created a map on which civilians could live, love, work and play, it’s now time to start thinking about how two opposing sides will fight on it.

For this battle, my general concept is that the British forces will be mostly on-map during setup, but they will be dispersed and disorganised, having just fallen back from Arnhem in great confusion. That means their setup zones (SUZs) are spread across the map, in discrete blocks, but mainly along the main route. There will also be some units – notably Thompson’s artillery batterys - set up outside any SUZs. When I get to placing individual units I’ll probably distribute them so that elements of any given platoon will be scattered amongst the different SUZs in order to further degrade British C2.

The Germans, on the other hand, will start with a fairly small on-map force, but it will be concentrated and coherent. They, therefore, get a single main SUZ, on the eastern side of the railway embankment. This area is also where most German reinforcements will appear. This main SUZ is shaped so that initially there cannot be any units from either side with LOS into it across the railway embankment. This ensures that the majority of units won’t start immediately in-contact. Having units immediately in contact sounds like it’d be fun, and in the right circumstances it can work, but usually it’s just annoying.

8-1SUZs_zpsd66e5792.jpg

8.1: The German SUZs are in red and orange to the right/east. British SUZs are in blue to the left/west. Note that the German SUZs are compact, while the British ones are quite straggling and scattered.


The smaller area west of the underpass is to add some immediate interest to the battle, and impel the German player into action as soon as possible. I’ll probably allocate a small, under strength platoon to that SUZ, and it will probably start in contact with the British forces, or get into contact within the first turn or two. It’s likely that this will cause the German to drag more forces quickly through the underpass to support their colleagues under fire, and so the battle will start off with a roar rather than a whimper. But the roar will be of the players own choosing.

For the British, the SUZ is necessarily more complex. I want to create SUZs that are big enough for the forces to be contained, and allow players to shuffle them about and re-organise them, but also small enough that the British player’s set up options are quite constrained. I also want the SUZs to tie into the overall story – disorganised forces, falling back in disarray, trying to congeal into an effective defence.

What I’ve done is create three main British SUZ, which I think of as ‘forward’ (nearest to the Germans), ‘centre’, and 'rear' (near the Oosterbeek Church. These SUZ are irregularly shaped, and largely follow the main roads, with a little bit of spill-over into the houses on either side. There are also a few little outlying pieces of SUZ, which the player can use to start establishing some breadth to his front. I think of these outlying SUZ as being occupied by a handful of guys who have become isolated from their units (or absented themselves from their units) and are wandering almost at random through the streets of Oosterbeek.

The foremost section of the Forward SUZ is either just in or just out of LOS to the western German SUZ, although I haven’t checked exactly. Either way I’m not too worried. If it is in LOS, the British player will only be able to pack a few units in that area, and anyway placing to much force too far forward risks compromising the main defence later in the battle. Nevertheless, I will have to make it clear in both briefings that the Germans are following hard, and that the lead units on both sides are in, or have just broken, contact.

When I get to the point of actually placing the British forces on the ground, I will probably mix units up so that platoons are split across the three SUZ, further complicating C2 and the development of a cohesive defence over the first phase of the battle.

There will also be British units in ‘fixed’ locations, outside of any SUZ. This will particularly apply to the 75mm Pack Howitzer gun batteries.

So, that’s the SUZs done, based on my overarching idea for the forces to be used. They are in plausible locations that are consistent with the overarching story. The Germans are concentrated to the east of the rail line, while the British have three broad deployment areas – one around the church at Oosterbeek, and at two discrete locations along the road from Arnhem. They are falling back at speed and in disorder, so it isn’t plausible that they’d spread out much either down into the Rosander Polder or up into the heavily built up areas of Oosterbeek. It is not my task – in this particular scenario – to set up a coherent defence for the British. It is the player’s task to take a disorganised force moving along the road and fashion a defence as best they can.

It’s a good idea to go back now and look at the map in detail in the area of each SUZ. Depending on the tactical task and situation, each SUZ should be free and clear of obstacles so the player can rearrange forces at will, and isn’t faced with an obstacle course just to get his units moving. The main German SUZ has been changed by removing quite a few trees and some fences to open it up so the German player has more open space to use.

In the back of my mind is the idea that these SUZs will probably change as the forces become more defined, and as a result of playtesting. At this stage they’re mainly placeholders to give a sense of where the major moving parts will be starting.

At this point, consider releasing the finished map as a QB map, in addition to using it for your scenario. The world can always use more QB maps. Even if you don’t know how to modify a map for QB use (and I don’t) there’s bound to be someone around who will do that for you. Also, large-ish maps can often be broken up into multiple smaller pieces, so you might be able to create two or more sub-maps, in addition to the full map.

8-2QBs_zps8bfb3260.jpg

8.2: Potential sub-maps for QBs to be made from overall Sheriff of Oosterbeek map. There are a mix of built up and open, as well as rectangular maps that can be cut out of the master map.


And that’s the map done. Well … sort of. It’s finished, but I never really consider any map Finished, with a capital-F, until the scenario is released. And sometimes not even then. There’ll be tinkering and twiddling and adjusting, right up to the last moment. But it’s good enough to play on now, which means that the most time consuming part of creating the scenario is complete, and we can move on to other things.

But before we do that, let’s have a quick look around the map.

8-3church_zpsd2923711.jpg

8.3: View towards the east from the Oosterbeek Church, out across the village and polder. It's quite a big map.


8-4rooves_zpsee3794d1.jpg

8.4: Some of the new roof styles available in the Market Garden module - flattened, and tapered end pieces. The skins for these are still in development.


8-5railembankment_zps808afa15.jpg

8.5: View back west across the open polder to the Oosterbeek Church. Examples of ditchlocking to create dykes and ditches can be seen in the foreground.


Back to start of thread Edited by JonS
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Thread is going awesome Jon. Thanks so much again. You have a very nice and organized mind. You apparently skipped all the booze and drugs in high school didn't you? If you don't mind me asking, what type field are you in for a living?

Thanks :) I trained as an engineer, and have spent the last couple of years working as a business-process-guy.

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Beautiful work and well explained, JonS.

I like the new roof shape options very much.

Tell me: Is there any chance we'll see those Dutch stair-stepped rooflines that are so common on their older, narrow brick buildings? They'd be very Dutch/Belgian, extremely cool, more useful in more places than windmills, and highly immersive.

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JonS, how many man hours did it take you to get this scenario to this point? How many man hours do you expect it to take until it is finnished? I am just asking out of interest. BTW the idea of cutting a very large map into several smaller maps is pretty cool.

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Quite a few :) Creating this map was, hmm, maybe 1-3 hours/day for about 2 weeks? Something like that. I suspect that a faster machine would help a lot here, because I seem to spend a lot of time waiting for the 3D map to load so I can go in and fiddle about with something, then back out to the 2D editor, back to 3d, etc etc. :)

I think that getting the map to this point is probably over half the total effort for the scenario, though. There are still a lot of fiddly elements to do, but they aren't as time consuming as the map. The only other really big time-sink is the AI. But as I mentioned right back at the beginning; spending some time so that you have a clear idea and settled concept before you start working in the scenario editor can ultimately save a lot of time.

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Quite a few :) Creating this map was, hmm, maybe 1-3 hours/day for about 2 weeks? Something like that. I suspect that a faster machine would help a lot here, because I seem to spend a lot of time waiting for the 3D map to load so I can go in and fiddle about with something, then back out to the 2D editor, back to 3d, etc etc. :)

I think that getting the map to this point is probably over half the total effort for the scenario, though. There are still a lot of fiddly elements to do, but they aren't as time consuming as the map. The only other really big time-sink is the AI. But as I mentioned right back at the beginning; spending some time so that you have a clear idea and settled concept before you start working in the scenario editor can ultimately save a lot of time.

So this means you spent up 42 hours in total on making the map. You said that this is over half of the effort needed for finnishing the scenario, wich means that 73,5 hours (if making the map was 75% of the effort needed for the whole thing) may be a good estimate of how long it is going to take you to finnish the scenario. Now this means that if you made a campaign consisting of ten equally large and complex missions, it would probably take 735 (!) hours or 30.5 days of work :eek:. You probably just detered me from ever trying to take on such a huge project :D. Well, at this point i would like to honestly thank everyone who ever made a campaign without beeing a on BFCs payroll (and of course those who are making the campaigns for BFC deserve respect too, but if you can do this for a living, it is probably easier to find enough time).

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So this means you spent up 42 hours in total on making the map. You said that this is over half of the effort needed for finnishing the scenario, wich means that 73,5 hours (if making the map was 75% of the effort needed for the whole thing) may be a good estimate of how long it is going to take you to finnish the scenario. Now this means that if you made a campaign consisting of ten equally large and complex missions, it would probably take 735 (!) hours or 30.5 days of work :eek:. You probably just detered me from ever trying to take on such a huge project :D. Well, at this point i would like to honestly thank everyone who ever made a campaign without beeing a on BFCs payroll (and of course those who are making the campaigns for BFC deserve respect too, but if you can do this for a living, it is probably easier to find enough time).

Well JonS was kind enough to mentor me with this helpful bit of info - don't start on the big stuff. Start out with just a platoon size engagement. They will allow you to learn all the basics including the map editor, AI plans etc. Once you start getting the hang of it you can then expand. Don't try a battalion size engagement as your first scenario. ;) I am still very much a noob at this and am still wading in the platoon size pool, but it is an interesting experience. It has definitely enhanced my appreciation for all the designers out there.

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So this means you spent up 42 hours in total on making the map.

Or as little as 14 hours ;)

When you tot anything up, over several weeks, it always comes out to a lot. Think of it this way: creating a map is 14 hours (or 42 hours :) ) that you won't spend reading the forums :D

As sburke mentioned: start with something small. Really small. Much less than a square-km map, and forces of about a platoon on each side. All the same things that I've been talking about above apply, there's just a lot less of it, which means it's a lot easier and quicker to get it all done ... as long as you can resist the urge to add just a bit more map over here, and a few more men over there.

Well made platoon-sized scenario are gems. We need more of them.

Edit: oh, and ...

Well, at this point I would like to honestly thank everyone who ever made a campaign without beeing a on BFCs payroll (and of course those who are making the campaigns for BFC deserve respect too, but if you can do this for a living, it is probably easier to find enough time).

It's been pointed out a couple of times recently that none of the scenario and campaign designers are on BFCs payroll :)

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9 - British forces

"There, look at him! It all depends on that article whether we do business or not. Give me enough of them and I am sure of victory."
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, referring to a disreputable looking Redcoat just before the Battle of Waterloo

Immersion is created by telling the story of a situation in which the player feels the forces really are theirs, where they feel involved in the story, the battle and the units, and where the player cares about the units and the outcome he can craft with them.

It’s hard to get attached to a completely fictional unit or one that is obviously not real. Using portions of actual formations helps the player get into the role of commander and create an attachment to the force. There are also plenty of mods to increase that sense of belonging. Using a fictional force can deprive the player of the opportunity to engage in that immersion.

For this battle I’m lucky because the British forces are easily identified, and a cohesive and coherent story about why these particular units are fighting here in this place is easily told. With other battles, this aspect isn’t always so straight forward, and the designer should give a lot of thought to the exact force structure they intend to use, and the names they give to their forces.

As a rule of thumb, by 1944 every army in Europe ‘got’ combined arms, and practiced it with a degree of competence and professionalism. There were practically no battles fought during the second half of World War II by ‘pure’ forces, so pitting a pure rifle company against another pure rifle company isn’t just fictional, it would be fantasy.

For the British or Canadian armies a ‘combined arms’ force means that – generally speaking – a CM infantry battalion could reasonably be supplemented by up to a squadron of Shermans or Churchills, a battery of 25-prs, a platoon of engineers, a platoon of Vickers MGs, and a troop of SP or towed anti-tank guns. Basically, and very coarsely, at each level, a unit is a miniature of the one above it. So a brigade is a mini division, with about a third of the divisional assets, a battalion-group is a mini brigade with a third of the brigade’s assets, a company-group is a mini battalion with a third or a quarter of the battalion’s assets, and a platoon-group is a mini company with a third of the company’s assets. Other nations have similar ratios specific to their own force structures, and they can be roughly determined by looking carefully at standard divisional organisations and accounts of battle.

A designer should have a clear reason, and a good story to tell, if some element of the combined arms team is not going to be included in a battle, or if the ratios are going to be skewed too much. The reason will probably be related to the central idea for a scenario – an infantry force with a few anti-tank guns in defence, or a tank heavy force trying to clear a town, for example. That reason then needs to be conveyed to the player in a plausible way … but that’s for the briefing. The immediate task is to create a British force for this battle in Oosterbeek.

9-1Sherrifmap_zpse1b49608.jpg

9.1: This map was produced by Sheriff Thompson after the battle, and shows the layout of units around his guns in Oosterbeek. Although showing the situation a day or two after the setting of this battle, this map provided a lot of guidance on which units to include, and where to place them. From: Pegasus Archive website.


Referring back to the Refined Scenario Concept, at a very gross level the British force consists of the following units:
* 1st Air Landing Light Regiment (23 x 75mm Pack Howitzers in three batteries, and a lot of jeeps)
* 2nd Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment (air landing battalion, remnants, only C Coy still a coherent unit)
* 1 PARA (weak remnants, ~40 men all told)
* 3 PARA (weak remnants, ~40 men all told)
* 11 PARA (remnants, ~150 men all told)
* 1st Air Landing Anti-Tank Battery, RA (elements of)
* Glider Pilots (from B and G Sqns, 1 Wing)

Obviously that’s different to the typical British combined arms force described earlier, mainly because the scenario is dealing with airborne forces. Still, even with depleted forces, that’s a lot of moving parts. All the more so given that it is a defending force. I’m going to have to heavily prune that structure for the final scenario.

While researching this battle I came across the following snippets of specific information, which will be incorporated in the purchased units either directly or as specialist teams:

C Troop, 2 A/L Bty missing one gun. (from 2 Bty war diary)

50-odd glider pilots attached to each A/L bty, and 30-odd attached to RHQ

B Sqn, 1 Wing, Glider Pilots with 2 Bty, A/L Light Regt

There was a knocked-out 17-pounder anti-tank gun, named "Pathfinder", on the Benedendorpsweg to the east of the Church in Oosterbeek. The gun belonged to "P" Troop of the 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery.

From Thompson’s post-battle report:
Monday 18 SEP: 3 Bty being somewhat isolated I proposed to the CRA that I should spend the night with them and take some of 1 and 2 Bty's Glider Pilots with me. He agreed and gave me some A tk guns in addition (I think 4 6-pdrs and 2 17 pdrs)

Tuesday 19 SEP: By midday I had three 3" Mortars, two Vickers [later reported as 3 x MMG] and a bren carrier. … The S. Staffords had some Vickers and 6-pdrs. The Vickers were deployed covering the rly embankment, but it was difficult finding any good positions for the 6 pdrs. … the only troops in the area I could rely on for offensive undertakings were the Glider Pilots

1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery, RA
Commander : Major Bill Arnold
A Troop : 6pr (12 glider pilots)
B Troop : 6pr (12 glider pilots)
C Troop : 6pr (12 glider pilots) (1 lost on landing)
D Troop : 17pr (16 glider pilots) (2 lost on landing)
P Troop : 17pr (16 glider pilots)
Z Troop : 6pr (12 glider pilots)
Based at Heckington and Helpringham, with P Troop at Tarrant Rushton. Flew in 30 Horsas from Manston (mostly) and Blakehill Farm, P Troop in 8 Hamilcars from Tarrant Rushton. Went in: 191 men Died: 24 Evacuated: 52 Missing: 115

Info from various pages at Pegasus Archive

I’ve given some thought to exactly how to represent the British forces. One way would be to buy a single battalion, make Thompson the Battalion Commander, and reconfigure the various companies to be the elements listed (S STAFFS, 1, 3 and 11 PARA, 1 A/L Light Regt, and others). That would have the advantage of wrapping it up in a nice neat bundle, and having Thompson as the commander of all British elements, so he could move about from place to place to rally routers and other feats of derring-do. It would also make some sense in that the combined total of the four airborne battalion remnants will be somewhat less than a single battalion at full strength. The unit editor is sufficiently powerful and flexible that I’m fairly certain that I’d be able to create a pretty authentic force that way.

However I’m not going to do that, for one key reason: command and control. Having all the forces in a single hierarchy would, I believe, bestow too much C2 on the British forces, when they should actually be stumbling backwards in great confusion. Therefore, each real battalion sized force will be represented by its own weak battalion in CM. This should greatly impede the passage of information, and make it harder for any single HQ unit to wield too much influence.

I’ve also decided to only have 2nd Air Landing Light Battery on the map, instead of the whole Regiment. 23 guns deployed near the church would look really cool, and it’s highly tempting for that reason alone, but it’s just too many men and too much force. Cutting it back to just one 7-gun battery means that the British defences will be that much weaker, the British player won’t be able to rob the gun line to shore up crumbling positions to the east, and it also means that I can have one of the other batterys available as off map artillery.

9-2Brits_zps153d6fa5.jpg

9.2: The basic structure of the British units in the editor. Some customisation has already been applied, notably the unit names. This has ended up being a fairly large force, and so I expect this will change as the scenario is tested and refined. In particular, I expect that the number of men the British player controls will be reduced.


The next bit of customisation relates to the ‘soft’ attributes – morale, experience, and motivation. The 1st UK Airborne Division had seen combat in 1942 and ’43 in Africa, Sicily, and Italy, but only returned to combat in Europe in September as part of MARKET GARDEN. Crucially it completely missed the furnace of the Normandy campaign where the rest of the Allied forces learnt a great deal about fighting high intensity war. As a result, while the men’s performance was uniformly good to excellent, the division was specifically criticised for the poor quality of its staff work compared to what would be expected from any unit that had been through the mill in Normandy. It was a highly motivated, highly trained, combat tested division, but with less than stellar staff work.

By mid-morning on the 19th September – the time of this battle - the units involved had been on the go and in heavy combat continuously for 24-48 hours. They had also just been decisively defeated in a final attempt to reach their primary objective. The parachute and air-landing battalions, in particular, had been severely damaged. Therefore, I am going to use the following settings as average across the force:-
* Experience: Veteran to Regular
* Motivation: uniformly High
* Fitness: Weakened or Unfit for the forces falling back, Fit for the remainder.
* Leadership: +1 or +2
* Supply: Scarce or Severe for the forces falling back, Adequate for the remainder. All on- and off-map 75mm howitzers Scarce.
* Headcount: 50-70% for the forces falling back, 80-90% for the remainder.

Supply, especially for the forces which start nearest to the Germans, will very restricted. There will be sufficient jeeps about the place that these units can acquire more ammo, but that is a tactical dilemma the player will have to deal with – they will have to hold with forces that are running out of ammunition for long enough for a new main defensive position with units more fully supplied to be established, then somehow withdraw the units that are out of ammo back through the MDP and to the rear to be resupplied before they can be used again. This does create problems for an AI-controlled British force, since the AI will not acquire ammo.

There are exceptions to the above average settings, both higher and lower, so that players will need to pay close attention to specific settings to get the best use out of each unit. There will also be a couple of ‘hero’ units, too. Thompson, obviously, will be one, and so will Major Cain of the S STAFFS, and Major “Dickie” Lonsdale of 11 PARA. These three officers were pivotal in holding together the British position at Oosterbeek. I’m also going to name Jack Reynolds as the STAFFS 1 (HC) Mortar Platoon commander even though technically he was a PW by this time, and have Lance-Sergeant John Baskeyfield in charge of one of the STAFFS 6-prs. In fact, with the information available at Pegasus Archive it’s possible to go a little crazy naming the British commanders. So I did.

9-3DetailedBrits_zps596eb416.jpg

9.3: Detailed breakdown of 2 S STAFFS in the editor, showing how the unit was customised by deleting many units, and re-naming the remainder. Many of the HQ elements have been given personalised names, which I've indicated by including their initials.


The glider pilot units will be the most cohesive and effective force the British player has. The Glider Pilot Regiment was composed entirely of sergeants and higher (no privates flying His Majesty’s gliders, thankyouverymuch!), and were comprehensively trained in ground combat in the expectation that once they had delivered their aircraft to the LZ they may as well contribute to the fight, rather than just standing around waiting to go home. Generally the glider pilots were retained as formed bodies, acting as brigade or divisional reserve.

I don’t want to have all the British forces on-map at start, because it’ll make them too strong, especially because the German forces will be coming on piecemeal. Also, having reinforcements coming on can provide impetus to a battle at later stages, when the initial forces might be flagging.

The editor allows reinforcements to arrive either at a specific time, or during a window of time. In principle I prefer to use windows, because it adds a bit of variety and tension during play – when are these units going to arrive!? However when creating AI plans that randomness can be downright problematic, and means that the first AI move generally has to be a null move to waste time, or cannot begin until after the arrival window has closed so that you – as designer – know that the units will be on map and will commence their plotted string of orders. In terms of programming the AI it is much easier – and more reliable - to simply have reinforcements arrive at a definite time.

Ideally I wanted some of the British forces coming on the eastern edge of the map, ahead of the German forces, but for gameplay reasons that isn’t going to be practical, so all the forces that are notionally falling back from Arnhem will be on map at start, except for a few small remnants from 1 and 3 PARA arriving to the north of Benedendorpsweg and the rail line, away from where all the Germans will be arriving.

On the other hand, units like the Glider Pilots, the off-map 75mm pack howitzers, and the towed 6-pr anti tank guns can all quite happily arrive at various times from the direction of the DZs and LZs to the north west. The 17-pr can be set-up, moved, and packed up during the battle, but it’s really slow. To give the AI a helping hand I’ll probably start one of them on-map in a good position, and leave it there.

9-4BritReinfs_zps15fe33e4.jpg

9.4: Setup for British Reinforcement Slot 1. They’re due to arrive at exactly 35 minutes into the game, and are given the useful title “A-Tk Pn, 2 S STAFFS” to let the player know what has arrived.


The anti-tank guns are arriving earlier because they’re motorised, and so would be able to move about easier, and also because they take longer to get into position and set up than infantry. The proposed scenario length is 90 minutes (although I’m thinking now that might be too short), and generally there isn’t much point bringing in any reinforcements in the last third or quarter of a scenario because there really isn’t time for them to go anywhere or do anything. That means all British reinforcements are in the period from 5-60 minutes, or a 55 minute block of time. I want to use six reinforcement slots for units, and spacing them out more-or-less evenly means that something will be arriving about every 10 minutes.

Reinforcement Slot No.7 is reserved for ‘Unwanted HQs’, with the arrival time set to the maximum 3 hours. There always seems to be a few company HQs, or XO units that cannot be deleted but which aren’t wanted on the map. Exiling them to a never-never arrival time gets them out of my hair and off my map.

The on-map forces – most of the three Parachute Battalions, and 2 S STAFFS - are mainly spread along the length of main east-west route, Benedendorpsweg. Sections have been separated from their headquarters, and all four battalions are thoroughly intermingled. Most of the rifle elements are forward, while most of the support weapons are back around the church at Oosterbeek. The thinking here is that the support weapons would tend to be back a bit in any battle, and would have missed the worst of the disaster earlier in the morning. The infantry are weighted forward, and un-coordinated because they’ve had to break contact with the Germans then make their way east as best they could. This deployment of the forces is supported by Thompson’s sketch map (see 9.1 above), and also descriptions of the battle. A few key people, including Thompson having his fateful face-to-face meeting with Major Cain, are in the thick of the rout, ready to start organising a defensive line.

The early stages of the battle will probably be chaotic for the British player. I anticipate that it will be necessary to sacrifice a number of units to try and stall the initial German advance, buying time to sort the remainder out so that platoons and companys are more-or-less together, while simultaneously establishing a defensive position. This will be made all the more difficult by the weakened fitness state of most units. Rushing to try and get into position before the Germans arrive will just result in a lot of Tired or Exhausted units.

That’s the British. The Germans are next.

9-52alltbty_zps0a72544e.jpg

9.5: 2 Air Landing Light Battery deployed in the open ground north of the Oosterbeek Church.


Postscript: This is a really useful site that breaks down the structure of a standard US 1944 infantry division, and shows the kinds of typical attachments that could be expected. It’s not much use to me for the Sheriff of Oosterbeek, but I’ve used it a lot for other scenarios involving American forces.

Back to start of thread Edited by JonS
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Jon,

a. Thanks for that idea/tip about touch objectives with zero points known only to the attacker. I could use that....

b. What do you think about terrain occupy objectives (with points) known only to the attacker and thus the defender is under pressure to figure out and defend the proper location?

Have you used your "new" method a. in your scenarios so far? I have played your smaller scenarios and not noticed it but admit have not yet played the larger ones (hard knocks, C&F, etc.)

Bren carriers for British Airborne: You highlighted it in the one paragraph but I never saw you purchase one. Maybe I missed it. But my question is I seem to always see the Bren carrier driver wearing a regular British helmet and not an airborne helmet. Is that correct or a bug or a "just the way it is" or am I making some type of mistake in my purchases...

***Now come on, tell the truth, do you get kind of excited as the cookies are still baking so to speak and sneak in a nibble of a battle with half-finished map and stuff? I know I do!

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When this is completed will it be going into MG or will it be uploaded to the depository for download?

The intent is that it'll be included in the MG module. If not, it'll find its way onto the Repository :)

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b. What do you think about terrain occupy objectives (with points) known only to the attacker and thus the defender is under pressure to figure out and defend the proper location?

Hidden objectives? They're fine, I think, as long as it's made clear that

a) there is a hidden objective, and

B) some guidance is given over where the hidden obj is, and

c) the hidden obj makes sense on it's own terms and in the context of the scenario. By this I mean that it be reasonable that the location of the obj not be immediately known, and that it is reasonable that these forces i this battle be rooting around trying to find an unknown location. A hidden obj would not, for example, make much sense in the context of a battalion attack.

Have you used your "new" method a. in your scenarios so far? I have played your smaller scenarios and not noticed it but admit have not yet played the larger ones

I have, but not often and not in this scenario. It's an occasionally useful technique though :)

Bren carriers for British Airborne: You highlighted it in the one paragraph but I never saw you purchase one. Maybe I missed it.

Ha, no, you didn't miss a thing! I haven't included any yet. Actually, as of the build I'm currently using there aren't any A/B Bren carriers available, and I haven't put an Army one in as a placeholder. When (if?) it gets in to the scenario it'll mainly be there for flavour.

***Now come on, tell the truth, do you get kind of excited as the cookies are still baking so to speak and sneak in a nibble of a battle with half-finished map and stuff? I know I do!

haha :D

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some type of mistake in my purchases...

***Now come on, tell the truth, do you get kind of excited as the cookies are still baking so to speak and sneak in a nibble of a battle with half-finished map and stuff? I know I do!

Actually not a bad idea as you get to see how your map influences the battle and from my little experience it is usually quite a bit different than my initial expectations. LOS/LOF, cover and concealment are complex in CM. Without trying out your map you can't really be sure the effect you are looking for is actually there.

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