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Allied AAR - CMPzC Campaign: The Road to Eindhoven - Dommelen Battle (hex 1, 6)


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Thanks,  I am not very happy with my self for loosing two of those tanks.  One because I did not get eyes behind the town before putting a tank there and another because I failed to check the key hole status of that same gun.  Mind you that was not much of an even fight even if one platoon of infantry and one troop of tanks was pinned down for the majority of the battle I still out manned and out gunned the opposition by quite a lot.  Which is the point of an operational fight.  So thanks to the CO @nathangun.

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This map seems very open, with all the houses some distance apart, and without much in the way of hedges, bushes, walls etc to break up line of sight. As such, it really favours tanks, because you can bring them to bear on pretty much any part of town without too much trouble..

Were towns in really that open spaced in the Netherlands in WW2?

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Actually I would have said it favours AT guns. He managed to destroy three tanks and severely damage another with three AT guns. I never was able to maneuver on my right because of them. 

I don't know the terrain in real life but my impression is that there was a lot of places with long  sight lines broken up only by raised roads and ditches.

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If I may, the Canadians who liberated the Netherlands faced an almost insurmountable task, and they paid dearly for it. The terrain was largely flat and laced with polders (reclaimed farming land from the sea), broken up only by dikes.  The roads/dikes were elevated from the "regular" land, so you can imagine any vehicle moving along them would be a sitting target for ATGs....and historically they were. Towns were few and far between. Mainly small isolated farming communities/settlements with the exception of the notable built up areas like Amsterdam, Nijmegen, etc.  The Canadian solution was to pound a target with HE and smoke, leave the tanks well behind to provide support fire from the hull down positions behind the dikes, and storm an enemy position with infantry and the Wasp flamethrowing carriers, which were hugely effective from both a psychological and damaging aspect.  I am surprised they were not included with the new flamethrowing vehicles, because the Canadians and Brits used them extensively after D-Day. There, my two cents worth :)

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So not to far off what I did except no flame throwers and I brought the tanks up once the infantry had taken some cover.  Lost two tanks doing that so there ya go.

That ATG that was so close behind the building was a bit of a surprise.....we knew it was back there somewhere, but an unlikely position.  Damn them for not following the rules :)

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Maybe the Allied AAR for the "2nd battle of Dommelen" should/could roll here from this point? Your guys call...

Is Chappy gonna command the defensive effort?

*******************************

Gentlemen!

Our friends in the Dutch underground have come to warn us of an impending Jerry assault in Dommelen.

Turn%203B%20Axis%20Assault_zpstvjs9vm2.p

Please select a battle commander! The battle will be 50 minutes long. Starting at around 1100 and going to around 1150.

If your CO Nathangun even authorizes a withdrawal, it can begin only when the clock says 1115. Some logistic units in the rear must be re-positioned first or we'll have a bloody disaster!

We will push forward an ATG unit as soon as possible...!

The Brigadier has been on the phone with the RAF and the tiffies will go full bollocks to arrive within the hour!

It is your call to have that weakened company come up from near the bridge...as reinforcements. Just tell us when it should arrive on map's edge. T=x minutes into the battle...

Good luck lads!

 

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Chappy has been assigned as the allied battle commander!

On map at the start..<oh, and a great big beasty of a map she'll be lads! 2128m wide by  3600m height....!>

2/3 IG at 80% strength with an FO and 2x81mm mortars.

You will have the previous axis foxholes and the best duplication of craters I can manage.

...and maybe some scrapings that the soldiers managed to make.

1/2/2 IG 5 vehicles incl 1 Firefly

1/3/2 IG 4 vehicles incl 1 Firefly

Firesupport from offmap 25 pounders, 2 units of 2 guns each.

Reinforcements:

1/3 IG at only 51 men with an FO, way down at the south edge arriving in vehicles at T=5-10.

A 6 pounder ATG unit (4 guns) way down at the south edge arriving in vehicles at T=10-20.

1 Sherman with Major Morningwood way down at the south edge arriving T=15-20.

Typhoon(s) arriving at an unknown time late in the battle. White knuckle excitement!

The battle is 60 long with 5 minutes variable time.

We await mjkerner returning from a roadtrip and his final decision to assault or not. Standby!

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  • 2 weeks later...

2ND BATTLE OF DOMMELEN

 NOTE:   this battle of the Eindhoven campaign occurs immediately after Ian secured the town of Dommelen, and as such, it begins as soon as the dust settles. The AAR will also be posted here in Ian’s original Dommelen thread. Enjoy!


    Captain Chappy sat on the warm grass, pondering the vital losses the Regiment had felt today. It is said that no man is indispensable, but right here, right now, the men who were lost were indeed indispensable. Little did he know that the day was going to get a lot worse. The sound of the approaching jeep broke his reverie.

    “Sir, the CO sent me to get you. You are taking over the defence of Dommelen. But first I am instructed to take you to meet a Dutch Resistance bloke. A chap named Jan. Things are intense up front, sir. You better hurry.”

    Chappy grabbed his map, binoculars, rifle and a few other items and climbed aboard. As they were approaching the front, near a crossroads, the driver slowed the jeep and then it came to a halt. Out of the adjacent ditch came a ragged figure in dirty civilian clothes.

    “You Captain Chappy? Sorry, English not good. I am Jan. I have bad news.”

    Jan went on to explain what his Dutch countrymen had witnessed not long ago. The report was indeed grim. Apparently a battalion of “sky soldiers” and about a dozen large panzers were on their way to assault the recently won Dommelen town. Sky soldiers. Paratroopers. The dreaded Fallschirmjager. From listening to the recent battle on the battalion radio net, Chappy knew that the force he was soon to command was less than company sized, with the remnants of two troops of tanks and some mortars. To make matters worse, his outnumbered force was spread out considerably between three towns. Not the best outlook, but then, who foresaw this kind of counter-attack coming?


    This battle could be called the 2nd Battle of Dommelen. With the aid of the map below I will outline the position of the current Allied forces and expected axis approach. I will also discuss my thoughts about the defence and what decided my course of action.

    Currently, my forces are positioned as follows:

    1. Around Dommelen - two infantry platoons (minus) and one Sherman troop (one firefly)

    2. Around outskirts Valkenswaard - one infantry section

    3.  Around Deelshurk - Coy HQ and FOO, one infantry platoon (minus), 2 x 81mm mortars, one Sherman troop (one firefly) as well as 2 x 25lber batteries on call

    For reinforcements (off board)  I have been informed that I will receive, at some point, a badly battered infantry company and a troop of 6lber AT guns. And maybe a tank or two. Finally, a Typhoon(s) is on the way but it will take some time to get to the battlefield.

    The Dutch Resistance has informed us to expect the enemy approach from two directions:  

    1.  from opposite Dommelen (north) - 10-15 panzers and some infantry elements

    2.  from Valkenswaard -  one battalion FJ with light vehicles (halftracks, ACs, trucks)

The map is so large that I had to take two zoomed out screenshots:

Dommelen1_zpspeesvupe.png

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-15%20at%205.35.4


    Defensive Estimate

    1.  Force composition was the first thing I looked at. It is glaringly obvious that I will be outnumbered (initially) at least 3-1 in infantry. And they aren’t regular line infantry either - they are paratroopers. The Germans also have the edge in armour, and I fully expect that not all of them will MkIVs either!  I will need to be located somewhere with good defensive protection yet possess good lines of fire and kill zones to overcome this deficiency. An escape route will also be necessary.

    2.  He who defends everything, defends nothing.  As a result of gains made in the previous battle, my forces start spread out near three towns.  My first aim is to consolidate as fast as possible and create a mutually supporting defence. This will be tricky. I can try and consolidate forward, near Dommelen and under the guns of the advancing Germans, or to the rear of Dommelen where my forces will be much safer.  Either way, they must be able to support each other to give us a chance.

    3.  Reinforcements must be able to reinforce.   If I defend forward, around Dommelen for example, the reinforcements have a LONG way to travel to get there.  And the travel is over flat, open ground and fields. The enemy would have great target practice in such a case. And when the Typhoon shows up, the battle could be over before it is able to help at all.

    4.  Terrain.  I usually consider terrain higher in this list, but the three considerations above are vital.  That being said, the overriding geography of the area is long, open, flat ground/farmland. Here on this map it is punctuated by three small towns - two of which are very close to the enemy approaches/set up area. A winding river meanders roughly north-south and divides this area effectively into two pieces, crossable at one major bridge and several muddy fords. Moving from one side to the other will greatly slow the enemy forces (I am hoping he maintains a split or “canalised” force). Finally there are three thick woods - two to the immediate north of Dommelen (enemy approach) and one a kilometre south of this town.

    Decision time!   Course of action

    Our soldiers paid the price in pixel blood in getting to Dommelen, and to give it up is a decision that weighed heavily on me. But I have decided that if I make a stand there, I will be defeated in detail. Dommelen is close to the enemy arrival area, and we will feel his full might if we defend it. If I try to consolidate forward there, I expect that my forces wouldn’t make it, and they would be destroyed in the open, piecemeal, as they tried to press on. Similarly, I highly doubt my reinforcements would make it to Dommelen - they have a long way to travel and would probably arrive under blazing German fire. My forces actually in Dommelen would be surrounded with nowhere to go - the only withdrawal is across open fields. massive death and surrender.

    So…..in order to preserve the bulk of the current force, and to give the Hun a bloody nose, and to allow reinforcements to boost our defences, and to allow our forces a chance to withdraw if things go badly, I have decided NOT to defend Dommelen town. Instead our forces will withdraw and consolidate from the woods (to the south) to the destroyed bridge area to the town of  Deelshurk.  Some elements will be left behind for observation of the enemy, and to make him pause…the more I can make him pause the better.

    I will have two good killing zones, as indicated on the map below.

    If only soldiers could ride tanks in CMBN like they do in CMRT - this would be so much easier to accomplish.  Instead, some of my infantry will have a 1 km jog to the rear….

 

Dommelen2_zpsfzw3xgc6.png

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I see your concerns and they make sense. So your defense will be along the road and trees outside of town towards the bottom of the map. There are some places to get some cover there for sure. The town and forest create lots of blind spots so you will only really get clear shots once they pass those obstacles. One thing that the enemy did to me was use the buildings in the village to create keyhole opportunities for their AT guns. Your tanks could do the same and then use the town to screen their withdrawal.

Looking forward to following this battle. 

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2nd Battle of Dommelin

Minute 60-58

        As the carrier sped on towards Deelshurk, Captain Chappy started hearing the frantic contact reports of his sub units who were well forward. The Germans were literally pouring out of Valkenswaard.

        How did they get there so bloody fast and under our noses?

        He issued some hasty withdrawal orders to his sub units in Dommelin, and those situated along the river to the north. If they didn’t get going now, they would be surrounded and overwhelmed. The force had to be consolidated, and consolidated quickly in a safe area that afforded good cover and provided for some excellent kill zones. After a quick map study and a hasty look around he made a snap decision to make a stand around Deelshurk, the destroyed bridge, and the woods to the west of the destroyed bridge.  It would be a long haul for his infantry, but they would thank him later.


Screen%20Shot%202015-10-19%20at%2012.06.

After 2 minutes, you can see the forces departing hastily from Dommelin (top left); additionally the force located along the river is withdrawing in the center. As you can see, the Germans have arrived right in our front yard, pouring from Valkenswaard. Note the Pak40 and AA halftrack.

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-19%20at%2012.01.

The hasty withdrawal from Dommelin

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-19%20at%2011.53.

Captain Chappy and his HQ dismounts from the carrier...he has arrived in Deelshurk to take command

 

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Yikes!  A firefly gets bogged in the ford, in the center of the battlefield...fortunately it became unstuck and traversed the ford successfully

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-19%20at%2011.55.

This AA halftrack is located on the outskirts of Valkenswaard, and it immediately began spec firing its deadly, fast firing gun....Captain Chappy passes this critical info up to higher  for the Typhoon pilot to be aware!

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-19%20at%2012.05.

One of the Shermans withdrawing from Dommelin was engaged by something deadly, but fortunately it missed. At the very end of the second minute, our soldiers spotted this on the outskirts of Valkenswaard!

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This AA halftrack is located on the outskirts of Valkenswaard, and it immediately began spec firing its deadly, fast firing gun....Captain Chappy passes this critical info up to higher  for the Typhoon pilot to be aware!

Is this just part of your narrative, or is there some effect on air support if you have located enemy contact markers? I have been wondering if aircraft are more likely to spot the enemy close to markers, and if they will avoid areas with AA contacts?

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Is this just part of your narrative, or is there some effect on air support if you have located enemy contact markers? I have been wondering if aircraft are more likely to spot the enemy close to markers, and if they will avoid areas with AA contacts?

I am hoping that the umpire takes note of my narrative, and makes an adjustment :)   That was my intent!

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2nd Battle of Dommelin

Minute 58-55

 

After 5 minutes, the withdrawal is well under way.  Everything is going to plan so far. Some long range fire has been exchanged, but nothing noteworthy until this:

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-21%20at%208.10.0

My 2-man OP was located in the upper story of a building on the edge of Valkenswaard, hidden and watching. But the paras stormed the house. The German sniper was the first victim...

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-21%20at%208.10.4

This German leader with an MP-40 was the next one eliminated.  Unfortunately, the house was then riddled by at least a platoon of German paras, and my OP was eliminated.

 

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-21%20at%208.17.2

 

The troops are excited. Maj Morningwood has arrived!!  A brave and charismatic leader, he earned his hero reputation in several previous battles. No doubt he will be a steady influence in the coming battle

Screen%20Shot%202015-10-21%20at%208.18.4

At the end of the first 5 minutes of battle, the withdrawal is proceeding to plan. Yes, that is a lot of German contacts in Valkenswaard!

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