WtP: Slag om Nederland – Turn 8 (Final Turn)

Well, here we are. The final turn processed. The last push of all encircling German troops, eeking a few more miles out of their advance. It just wasn’t enough. The SS troops in the north, made a plunge towards Leiden, but were to be judged as they entered the outskirts of the town. The northern marshlands infantry finally breaking through almost sprint towards Utrecht, again missing the mark.

The central lines edge forward without much ground being taken, and the infantry in the South pincer the resistance caught there, but gain little ground or momentum towards the flooded polderland defensive water line. Its time for the cyanide pills amongst the 9th Panzer divisions held at the Moerdijk bridge to Dordrecht.

Against all odds the SS-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler (SSAH) managed to drive ahead of the twin pronged advance from the two SS-Verfügungstruppe (SSVT) divisions, and finally made it to the edge of the town of Leiden. With the bridge out there, and the Dutch 3rd infantry entrenched in the town even with more time, there would have been a fight on to make progress beyond Leiden.

To the north of Utrecht, the SS-Verfügungstruppe (SSVT) along with the 225th and 227th Infantry were perched on the brink of assaulting Utrecht from two sides. No time.

You can see my SS Troops are stretched in terms of supply, the green colouring is well supplied and the yellow,  and red areas are poorly supplied. I think it was wrong to bank my northern push on being able to keep a very shallow corridor of supply open, while its pushed up against a coastline and easily cut by the minimum of resistance.

The central plod forward has been quite a disappointment, since locking horns with the brave Dutch resistance, they’ve made very little progress and have only just started to fragment the defense along the road west from Arnhem.

The 56th infantry pincer movement has cut off the Dutch Light Infantry, but they are now staring at a fairly robust defensive bulge spanning the Waal river. The 207th and 208th infantry divisions are also working their way forward interleaving the weakened Dutch defense on their way to Utrecht, but they’d still have a long march ahead to make any difference.

At this point in the game, I was devastated for the 9th Panzer division and their lack of movement for the last three turns! I’d obviously made a huge error in judgement regarding the ability of a blown bridge to bring the whole push to a complete halt. Even trying to correct that mistake, I was hampered with the poor Engineers exhaustion and lack of points to make the fix happen when they got there.

You can see from the supply colour of the area around the Panzers that they were poorly supplied, the piecemeal incursions from a few Dutch troops in the South of Breda, seems to have choked the road from Tilburg to Breda and beyond. I think perhaps I should have had supporting troops protect that roadline, and perhaps a better supply situation at the site of the bridge, would have allowed my Engineers to get the job done, and get the Panzers rolling on again.

Debrief

A number of you, following the AAR, have questioned why I didn’t use any of the Scenarios Action Cards available to the Germans. To someone who has played through this scenario, or who knows a lot about the historical background of the conflict their omission is glaringly obvious. Since I’m quite new at playing WtP and I had my head down trying to apply the planning/tactical suggestions made in the Secret to Operational Wargaming post, I played the scenario through without the use of such cards.  Mid game, as you can see, I was down in the mud with the soldiers, and didn’t really lift my head up to see the higher possiblities of playing the key Action Cards.

So, my AAR stands as a testament to how vigourous the Dutch would flood the frontlines aggressively and cause major problems for the German Blitzkrieg into Holland itself. It may also highlight how not to use your engineers and how not to set up reliable lines of supply to the overstretched front.

The final assessment of the scenario objectives:

VP point status

Losses

Victory Status

The statistical Graph of Casualties inflicted

and the Graph of Total Troops

People who are interested in the historical background to the Slag om Nederland, might want to check out the very informative web site War Over Holland.

The three cards available to the Germans can make all the difference to the outcome of the scenario, I’ve since played through applying the cards and they really did give me an edge, not only an extra division of infantry

but two divisions of paratroopers (Fallschirmjäger )

and the ability to bomb Dutch cities and reduce the base morale.

In that second attempt at the scenario, I landed the paratroopers, the 7th Flieger Division, around the bridge at Moerdijk and by the time the second wave arrived I’d more or less secured the route through to Dordrecht. I then landed the second paratroopers, the 22nd Luftlande Division directly upon the port of The Hague. Coupling this with the Terror Bombing of the Dutch Cities, and the drop in National Morale caused them to simply give up. I’d won the scenario by turn 4.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following this conflict through, and I hope I’ve inspired one or two of you to give the game Decisive Campaigns: The Blitzkrieg Warsaw to Paris a go. In my opinion it is one of the stand out wargames released this year, and with further campaigns and development will become a fond favourite from history buffs and wargamers alike.

As a fitting end to this AAR, I want to thank Blunt Force Gamer for bringing this movie clip to my attention, a 10 minute film of the Battle for Dordrecht.

Ah, Dordrecht, if only my 9th Panzers could have got through… *sighs*

  • http://www.rpgcodex.net Trash

    Awesome AAR. Interesting to see the battle for the Netherlands in a wargame. Apart from Arnhem there really isn’t much out there. I really enjoyed it.

    Last fun fact. The 128 strong Dutch airforce was almost completely destroyed after 5 days of battle. However of the over 1000 airplanes the luftwaffe used over 300 were shot down (mostly by Dutch AA). Destroying a third of the attacking airforce is a feat which wasn’t repeated in WWII.

  • CFKane

    I loved the AAR, as well as the “Secret to Operational Wargaming” post that proceeded it. This has inspired me to try operational wargames again, and I have been having great fun with Gary Grigsby’s War in the East, even if it took me a few attempts to figure out that just pushing forward as far as possible with my Panzer divisions would just result in them getting encircled and destroyed.

    Based on your play throughs, would you recommend WtP?

  • spelk

    @Trash, Thanks for the kind words and the info regarding the Dutch AA during the Battle. Its the off the beaten track scenarios like this that suddenly expand into something worth investigating, to gain a fuller knowledge of the history behind the Battle.

  • spelk

    @CFKane, its great you’ve been able to get back into Operational Wargaming, and diving into WitE is no mean feat. I must say WitE is remarkably accessible compared to how I imagined it, there is a very grognard level of detail packed in there, but the basic mechanics are straight forward enough for a whole range of players to enjoy it, without delving into the micro-management depths of the likes of War in the Pacific.

    Based on my limited play of the game WtP is probably one of the better Operational wargames for players who enjoy the actual manoeuvre warfare, plus WtP is about as good as it gets in terms of presentation at the moment. So, if there was only one turn based “chit shuffler” you bought this year, I’d recommend WtP.

    With an update to its predecessor Advanced Tactics (Gold Edition) being on the cards for Q1 2011, and then further expansions to the Decisive Campaigns engine being planned, its all good from VR Designs as far as I’m concerned.

  • http://kriegsimulation.blogspot.com/ JC

    This is a great website and this was a wonderful article. Keep up the great work!

    Cheers,

  • Nomowhale

    I am trying to decide between purchasing WiTE or WtP. Any thoughts that could push me in either direction? I am interested in the subject matter of both games so that is not a decisive factor.

    Thanks.

  • spelk

    Personally I think WtP is more approachable in terms of getting going, and it certainly has a better overall presentation – but it really depends upon the level of detail you want to play with – WitE is deep and control/micro-management can be taken to quite an extreme level. WtP is much more manageable.

    So if you want an enjoyable operational wargame, with the use of action cards and a decent presentation – go with WtP. If you want depth and control at the lowest level of micro-management, with simply massive encounters, then go with WitE.

    I think I lean towards WtP because I’m an aspiring grognard, whereas a seasoned grognard would probably lean more towards WitE. 🙂

  • Nomowhale

    I appreciate your opinion. Time is a big issue for me with work and young children. It sounds like WtP would be the right purchase for me now. I just don’t have the time to dig into a game like I would like to. WiTE may have to wait.

  • Nomowhale

    Great stuff. I just finished my first crack at this game playing the same scenario. I had a very similar result. Holland is a tough nut to crack because of the terrain and the tenacity of some of the defenders. My plan now is read through the rules, and read your AAR again. I am going to give it another try.