Using the newly discovered Secret to Operational Gaming as a guide, I’ve been dabbling further in Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg from Warsaw to Paris (WtP). One of the smaller scenarios available is the Battle of the Netherlands or as the Dutch say Slag om Nederland.
I thought I’d give it a try and document my progress to encourage others to take up the challenge and start playing more operational wargames. I must say WtP is a very polished experience, full of historical interest and a set of mechanics that are easy to learn but require some effort to master.
Onto the AAR..
Slag om Nederland – Turn 1
In the Battle of the Netherlands I chose to play the invading Germans, you have 8 days to push through the whole of the country and take as many Victory Points as you can. Victory Points are usually assigned to sites of industrial or tactical interest, such as cities, ports, airfields etc. To win the Germans start with 8 VP and have to conquer 22 of the 27 VP locations on the map. The Dutch have to prevent this from happening. With their soldiers lives.
WtP has a groovey feature to save the screenshots of the entire map between turns, which would have been incredibly useful for this AAR, except I forgot to turn it on. So I started saving the game and capturing the output after the resolution of my first turn. Here’s the lie of the land at the beginning of 11th May 1940, after my troops have been mobilised.
My initial “top down” strategy, was to execute a pincer movement north and south, with my SS motorised troops skirting the northern perimeter on to Amsterdam, and my 9th Panzer column pushing through the southern routes to Tilburg. The central locations of Nijmegen and Arnehm seem like the gateways into the lands west beyond, and onto Rotterdam, but I’m hoping to hold them with the Wehrmacht and perhap draw some of the Dutch defense down from Utrecht. As a back up plan, I’m going to try and penetrate the marshlands around Otterlo and push west there onto Utrecht with my SS-Verfügungstruppe (SSVT).
The Dutch seem to have already formed a line of defense along the marshlands bisecting the northern half of their country, so key roads and bridges will become very important for swift movement, bypassing the entrenched Dutch army.
At the top of the map, the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (SSAH) still has a long way to go along the north western roads to the towns of Apeldoorn and Harderwijk to arc over the top of the watery line of Dutch protecting the marshlands.
In the center, having rushed my SS-Der Fuhrer (SSDF), SSVT, 207th and 208th Infantry division, I managed to secure the crossroads at Arnehm. At Nijmegen the 254th Infantry division put up a solid defense against the Dutch Brigade B.
Covering the approach to Nijmegen from the South West, we have the 26th Corps Artillery ready and willing to bombard.
To the South of this the 9th Panzer Division has raced ahead up to the outskirts of the town of Mil (defended poorly by the Peel Divisie / Artillery unit) and is attempting a crossing of the sabotaged bridge there.
It seems the rivers and bridges all over the Netherlands provide key choke points for the steel death machine of the Panzer Army. I’ll be looking to grab an Engineer troop to fix the bridge or take the hefty Action Points hit, in wading my panzers across the river.
Next turn, I will try to push all SS divisions hard and fast to their respective entry points into the Dutch Defense. My hopes are pinned on the 9th Panzer making good progress along the southern edges to capture the Victory Point town of Tilburg and then do a 90 degress turn to sweep up northwards to storm Dordrecht. The southernmost 56th Infantry division (you probably can’t make out on my initial map) will mop up the VP from Eindhoven.