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CM:BN Market Garden BETA AAR #2 - ALLIED


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Hi all and welcome to this AAR of a battle using the forthcoming Market Garden module for Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy. Now if you are wanting over-the-top hyperbole and mixed metaphors then you have come to the wrong place. If you want fancy arrows and symbols then you have also come to the wrong place. Heck there won't even be movies of the action. Now if you are still reading , I will try to provide plenty of screen shots of the action as it unfolds (and maybe use the odd smilie and occasional really bad joke). I will even take requests. Just don't ask me to sing.

Now to the actual battle. The map is from part of the Nijmegen Master Map that comes with the Market Garden module, cropping it the Highway Bridge section of the city. The talented Bil Hardenberger has then weaved some magic and the scenario was born.

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View looking west.

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Looking South east, hopefully you can get a feel for how big this bridge is.

I have the honour of playing the Allied forces with Johnsy (who will be doing his own AAR for you guys soon) requesting the Germans. The briefing was short and sharp:

"You have 1 Para Battalion (-) to defend your sector, keep the enemy from capturing our end of the Highway Bridge and the city itself, see the map for your key objectives.

You should be able to barricade the end of the bridge, and you have 6 6lb AT Guns to help with your defence. Expect American TDs to arrive around 30 minutes from battle start. Hang on until then!

Enemy: Expect strong enemy armour to attempt to cross the bridge, also expect an enemy infantry force, with some armour support on your side of the bridge fighting their way through the city the long way from the West towards the bridge."

Here is the breakdown of my forces:

2 companies (C and D) consisting of three platoons of three squads each. Each platoon has a PIAT in one of the squads. There are at least 6 Stens per squad with a Bren, two Enfield's and a smoke mortar rounding out the unit.

3 sharpshooter sections

4 3in mortars with ammo bearers

2 Bren LMG sections

6 PIAT sections

4 Vickers HMG with ammo bearers

and 6 6lb AT Guns with one APDS round each

There is also a plethora of hedgehogs and foxholes to be used.

Coming soon: Deployment.

Oh and let me know if the images need to be bigger/smaller or otherwise

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My set up zone is most of the city so I decide to deploy C Company well forward to slow the German advance. I also give them some added support in the form of two HMG's and the Bren sections, along with three additional PIATs. I normally split squads on an as needed basis, but in an urban battle I feel I need to have the flexibility. I do my best to occupy the houses that have a rear exit, to allow me to fall back easier. The Sten sections will be the main ambush units, with the other two sections supplying support. I plan to make full use of the smoke mortars that are part of the squad to block any heavy hitters that might appear, while I retreat er attack in another direction. I also use some the hedgehogs to block off sections to force any armour to travel laterally across the city. This will hopefully get me some flank shots with my PIAT's or, at the very least, slow the German advance.

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D Company is placed in the edge of the city near the bridge approach. This area will be my last line of defence and rally point. HQ units and 2IC's also find themselves placed here. Depending on how fast I have to fall back they may be pushed forward to bolster C company.

Around the bridge I deploy my AT Guns, trying to key hole them, and remain in cover. The bridge sits much higher than the banks of the rivers so I think it might be possible for units to traverse the length of it without me getting a shot off, so I make sure I have some AT Guns sighted on my end, with one gun sacrificed to look along the length of the bridge. They are under a nice shady tree, so hopefully reasonably well hidden. I also deploy the remaining hedgehogs on the bridge approach to again force some flank or rear shots on enemy armour, should they make it this far.

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The sharpshooters get deployed along the river front in second highest floor of their building. Don't want to be too obvious. Their job is to keep the heads down of any unit that tries to cross the bridge an act as my eyes. The HQ unit for the mortars also gets placed here.

Now it is a case of setting cover arcs, looking over the map, adjusting a few minor things then hitting the go button, and hoping to heaven that I haven't stuffed it all up.

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Womble: I will try to cater to your request. Might be best to ask Johnsy when he starts his one though as he will have all the mobile units. But here is the best I can do at the moment: An AT gun and the Battalion HQ.

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Thanks for thinking of me! :) I'll repeat the request to your oppo when he surfaces. What I'm most interested in seeing is the units traverse under the bridges.

If I may, and it's not too late, can I point out that "nice shady trees" don't necessarily give very much at all in the way of concealment, and from your screenies, the ATG at the end of the bridge looks like it might as well be in an open field. While you say it's "sacrificed", I fear that it really is just meat for a Quick 81mm stonk in turn 1... Is there nowhere you can put it that will let it shoot at the exit from the bridge, but where it's screened from immediate sight? Just by the houses near the end of the bridge, maybe.

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We are into turn four now so yep too late ;) . I was running out of spots to place the AT guns without having them on top of one another. My biggest concern is/was a turn one stonk on my end of the bridge. I went for spacing and had one gun left over. I placed empty foxholes on the other side to help confuse things from Johnsy's point of view. Whether it pays off or not well you will have to read tomorrows post....

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Turn one:

It turns out to be a rather quiet affair. The heavy armour I dreaded seeing on the end of the bridge don't appear - instead three halftracks packed full of infantry pop over the rise. One of them spots my AT gun that looks down the bridge, and starts to spray it with machine gun fire. Fortunately most of it bounces of the girders of the bridge, but some suppression is caused. My sharpshooters take a few shots at the gunners but fail to hit, bouncing a few of their rounds of the sides. My AT gun holds fire - the halftracks are not in his covered arc. That could have been a big mistake on my part if he had some heavy armour.

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In the main city area I spot some infantry contacts, one of them turns out to be a HMG under a shady tree. (See it is not just me! ;) ) I have a Sten armed team that can see him, but the range of 120 odd metres is a bit too far for my liking. I can block it off with some smoke if needed though.

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Oh and here is a typical make up of a Paratroop squad. The Antitank member can have a PIAT (the third squad of the platoon normally). The guy armed with the smoke mortar also packs a Sten so there is a lot of close range fire power goodness to be had.

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Orders:

Orders for the nest turn are quite simple: AT gun to engage the halftracks, with the sharpshooters helping out. The mortar HQ sets up a short barrage around the halftracks, ETA 5 minutes.

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Phil, Johnsy, the other side of this AAR, has had some work travel issues get in the way... he will start his side in the next day or two, hopefully. He will have to catch up, but with his style of AAR I think he will be able to do that relatively quickly.

OK, thanks for the update.

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Looking good so far! I'm really interested in seeing how Johnsy plans on crossing that bridge.

Bil

One concern I have is that I block off the bridge with destroyed vehicles. Two abreast would do it I think. If I was a gamey person I would have charged my jeeps across the bridge in hope of that exact result. Something for scenario designers to think about perhaps.

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Turn Two:

A few more halftracks appear at the bridge approach - a HQ unit judging by all the aerials and something with a nasty looking gun. Some sort of flak unit I guess. Could certainly chew up my men if it gets a line of sight to them. With all the vehicles on the approach Johnsy has a bit of a traffic jam, with units lurching forward a bit then stopping.

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My AT gun rallies enough to get three shots off, the first falling short, but the two are right on target. I count five casualties in that halftrack - a reminder to all that they are death traps if you get hit by anything bigger than machine gun/rifle fire.

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In the city Johnsy advances two teams with the HMG and other covering them. My Vickers lays into on team as it crosses the road, catching one guy, but missing the rest. The team that is heading left are trapped however. There is no door on that side of the building. They can either come straight at my machine gun or follow the other team. Either option is not going to end well for them.

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Orders:

Nothing special, double check the cover arcs and that is about it.

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One concern I have is that I block off the bridge with destroyed vehicles. Two abreast would do it I think. If I was a gamey person I would have charged my jeeps across the bridge in hope of that exact result. Something for scenario designers to think about perhaps.

Don't you have the bridge blocked with hedge hogs alread?

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