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Author Topic: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland  (Read 11887 times)

Fishbreath

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Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« on: December 11, 2014, 01:05:42 am »


Hi, I'm Fishbreath. You may remember me from such AARs as Arsenal of Democracy (if you've been around for a while) and The Battered Bastards of Bastogne. Today I break a long drought of such content to bring you something new, and something out of the ordinary for me.

It's an audience-participation AAR of Command Ops: Battles from the Bulge and a scenario pack called Brabant Breakthrough. Authored by Matrix Games forum user tukker, it comprises three scenarios covering the mad dash from the German border to the city of Rotterdam in 1940, prior to the invasion of France. They're loosely continuous, with the option to fiddle with reinforcement and supply schedules to make performances in one scenario affect the next, and we'll be playing through all three.

I say we, and here's what I mean. Every eight hours of time on the game clock, or whenever something happens to disrupt previous plans, I'll post an update, and we'll decide democratically what to do next. You'll get to choose among three strategic directions to take for the next eight hours, or until the next major upset to our plans. To simplify things, I'll distill the full spectrum of potential actions into three options, roughly corresponding to the command personalities of three German generals. To vote, reply to the post with the name of the general in bold: Guderian, von Rundstedt, or Paulus.

Your options in detail


1. Friedrich Paulus
A longtime staff officer and noted battle planner for many years before the war, Paulus has a fine grasp of deception and a distaste for throwing away the lives of his men. He prefers testing the enemy and striking at his weak points. Will his more measured approach cost too much time in this fast-paced operation?

2. Heinz Guderian
A pioneer of motorized tactics, Guderian tends toward breakthrough and exploitation, no bad thing in an invasion. The divisions we have to work with move almost entirely on foot, though. Will his experience with mechanized forces bog down when applied to our infantry-heavy force?

3. Gerd von Rundstedt
A long-serving officer with a history in command reaching back to the Great War, von Rundstedt favors grand plans: vast flanking maneuvers and encirclements covering the whole of the field of battle. He lacks a sense for the finer details of his battle plans, though. Will the battlefield turn into a slaughterhouse as it did in von Rundstedt's last war?


That's all I have for this introduction. I'll introduce the first scenario soon.

Fishbreath

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2014, 08:26:50 pm »

Quote from: Melee at Mill (scenario briefing)
On 10 May 1940, the Wehrmacht started "Fall Gelb", the attack on France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The 18th Army formed the northern wing of the attacking forces, tasked with breaking through Dutch defenses. The focal point of the 18th Army was its XXVI Army Corps. It consisted of two infantry divisions (the 254. Infanterie Division and the 256. Infanterie-Division) and a Panzer division (the 9. Panzer Division) in its first echelon, and three more i nits second echelon.

The Dutch defenses consisted of two lines: a forward line on the River Maas, only a few kilometers from the German border, and a main line in the marshy area of the Peel, the so-called Pell-Raamstelling.

The Germans had landed airborne troops in the Rotterdam-Dordrecht area [ed. We'll be headed there in the third scenario], so it was imperative that the Dutch resistance be broekn quickly. In order to achieve this, the Germans concocted an original and daring plan. A special force called the Bau-Lehrbattalion 800 (later known as the Brandenburg Battalion) was to attack the bridges across the Maas dressed in Dutch uniforms and assisted by Dutch Nazis. As soon as the bridges were secure, armored trains carrying regular infantry were to cross the driver and drive through the Peel-Raamstelling, unloading the troops beyond the Dutch lines.

Most of the attacks failed, but at Gennep the Germans secured the bridge, the train rode across it, and a battalion of German infantry was unloaded west of the German positions. This was achieved before 5:00 a.m., which is when the scenario starts.

Map and Objectives
Spoiler: Map (click to show/hide)

This is the field of battle. It's ten kilometers tall, and twenty-two kilometers from east to west. The terrain is mainly flat and clear, with some patches of woodland and a good deal of polder—land enclosed by dikes. Good roads run in between the Maas River and the Defensiekanaal, the two watercourses which cut the map into rough thirds north and south. There are three quick paths between the river and the canal: the Gennep-Mill road and rail line, which run through the town of Haps (the road cuts through the Peel-Raam line further to the south, past St. Hubert), the northern roads, which run from Cuijk through Beers to Mill, and the southern roads, from Beugen on the Maas's west bank through Rijkevoort and Ham to St. Hubert.

The grid squares visible on this map are 1 kilometer by 1 kilometer. (Black lines signify 10km squares.) At standard march pace, infantry move at about three kilometers per hour on good roads. (Motorized troops, of which we have very few, move at about 12 kilometers per hour.)

All of the objectives which involve holding territory are scored based on time held; there are no extra points granted for occupying territory at the end of the scenario. We have from right now (Day 1, 5:00 a.m.) to noon tomorrow (Day 2, 12:00pm).

0. Destroy the Enemy (21 pts): needs no explanation.
1-2. Mill Rail Bridge, Mill (11 pts): this town and its rail bridge sit in the middle of the Peel-Raam line. Control of Mill yields control of the major roads from the northern part of the map to the southern around the Defensiekanaal, which will be important, as you'll see in a bit.
3-4. Gennep Rail Bridge, Gennep crossing point (5 pts, 4 pts): as you can tell from the green outline on the objective marker at Gennep Rail Bridge, we've already captured it. Our forces, on the east bank of the Maas, will need to hold crossing points, ferries, and bridges for resupply and reinforcement.
5. St. Agatha crossing point (4 pts): the crossing point at St. Agatha, between Cuijk and Gennep, is a secondary objective. The map says 'Ferry', which represents assault crossings as the German infantry historically made.
6-7. Peel-Raam 1 and 2 (4 pts): these two objectives sit on road bridges north and south of Mill. Peel-Raam 2 is important, as you'll see in a bit.
8. Cuijk Bridge (11 pts): the Cuijk bridge is a primary objective. It will carry supplies and forces across the river, and after this scenario ends, it plays an important role in pushing from Mill toward Rotterdam. Late activation.
9-10. Exit troops toward Schaijk and Volkel (21 pts): get troops to these exit points, on the west edge of the map, at the middle and toward the southwestern corner, then clear the exit points and exit troops off the map to continue the operation further west. Late activation.

Forces and Reinforcements
Spoiler: Map (click to show/hide)

At present, we have elements of two divisions on the map. Neither division has all its elements present; another seven infantry battalions will be joining us, along with some miscellaneous support units. The last arrive at 2 p.m. on Day 1. The first arrive starting at 7:00 a.m., with the bulk arriving between 11:00 and 12:00.

The 256. Infanterie Division occupies positions east of Gennep. Two battalions of infantry from the 481st Infanterie Regiment are lined up facing the Gennep crossings, while the 481st's third battalion is past the Peel-Raam line near Mill, having taken the armored train over.

The 254. Infanterie Division is well below full strength. Its headquarters, and the headquarters of its subordinate the 454th Infanterie Regiment, occupy positions opposite Cuijk. Only one battalion from the 454th is currently on-map and ready to rumble.

That brings you up to speed. Time to vote. You have until Saturday or Sunday, whenever I decide to play the first few hours.

At the Maas
Paulus - Make probing attacks at Gennep and St. Agatha, but move the bulk of the force south to the crossing between Beugen and Heyen and cross there.
Guderian - Make strong attacks at St. Agatha, Gennep, and Heyen, attempting to force a crossing as quickly as possible.
von Rundstedt - Make an attack at Gennep, moving the bulk of the force north to push a flanking maneuver through St. Agatha and down from the north.

Beyond the Peel-Raam line
Paulus and von Rundstedt - Attack south toward the Peel-Raam 2 objective.
Guderian - Attack toward Mill.

Hanzoku

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2014, 02:10:38 am »

Heh, this is somewhat poignant...

Guderian and then Paulus and von Rundstedt once we make the crossings. Massing our forces and crossing in only one location lets the defenders do the same. If we hit them hard enough in several locations, we can force beachheads through and then move to threaten defenders holding up other crossings as needed.
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Ghazkull

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2014, 09:46:00 am »

At the Maas
von Rundstedt. The Southern crossing seems utterly unimportant. Once we have secured the two northern ones Heyen becomes useless since the Enemy will have to abandon it to stop our advance at which point we get it for free.

Beyond the Peel-Ram line
Paulus and von Rundstedt.
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Parsely

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2014, 10:49:35 am »

PTW
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Fishbreath

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2014, 03:25:48 pm »

Voting has closed.

At the Maas
Guderian - 2
Paulus - 1
von Rundstedt - 1

We'll attack the the north and central crossings with as much force as we can manage.

Beyond the Peel-Raam line
Paulus/von Rundstedt - 3
Guderian - 1

The battalion beyond the Peel-Raam line will attack the road bridge south of Mill.

I'll be playing the first seven hours of the scenario today, ending at noon, Day 1. I'm traveling on Tuesday, so it might be Wednesday or Thursday before I have a result.

Fishbreath

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2014, 06:01:55 pm »

Mill: Day 1, 0500-1200

0500, Day 1


We're off to the races. I and II Battalions of the 481st Infanterie Regiment attack across the two crossings at Gennep. III/481 pushes south from its starting positions on the train tracks west of Mill, while I Battalion of the 454th Infanterie Regiment attacks opposite St. Agatha.

0630


Companies have pushed across to establish bridgeheads at the Gennep and St. Agatha crossings.

0645


Our infantry pushes the defenders at Gennep away from their prepared positions.

0700


III/481 captures the Peel-Raam 2 road bridge, but its support and command elements have come under heavy artillery bombardment, and are having a hard time organizing their march down to the objective.

0705


Engineers begin to construct a bridge at Cuijk.

0715


II/456 arrives as reinforcement. Since the attacks at Gennep have the defenders more than well in hand, I send it straight through the lines to Haps.

0740


II/481 secures the bridgehead west of the Maas at Gennep, while III/481 sets up defenses at the Mill bridge. I/481 is on its way across the Gennep bridge. Since II/481 will be more than sufficient security for the bridgehead, I order I/481 to Haps as well.

0800


I/454 secures the bridgehead at St. Agatha, and currently has orders to attack Cuijk. If Cuijk proves to be unoccupied, I'll split it into its component units and use them to provide security behind the front lines.

Since there will be at least two battalions at Haps, I order the 481st Infanterie Regiment's headquarters up to Haps, too. It may make sense to use it to organize an attack with the forces at Haps.

0845
I/481 is across the Maas and marching to Haps.

0900
III/456 arrives as a reinforcement, and is also ordered to march to Haps. We'll have a full three battalions there, plus the headquarters of the 481st, once everything en route arrives.

0940


III/481 continues to take a beating from artillery, and will eventually need to be relieved.

1100


It's been quiet since 0940. The Cuijk force is finally lining up to attack. At Mill, III/481 has finally managed to get all its force to the bridge, where it has established a defensive perimeter. The crowd of units crossing at Gennep has turned into a traffic jam—the 481st Infanterie Regiment's HQ has gotten stuck, and is now re-planning its movement.

The bridge at Cuijk is finished. I send two of the combat engineer companies forward to Haps, where they'll join the assault force. The remaining combat engineer company and the bridging platoon sit back for now. They'll help build another bridge as soon as the next bridging unit arrives at noon.

The 476th Infanterie Regiment HQ and its I Battalion arrive as reinforcements, and are sent to Haps; we'll have four battalions and two regimental headquarters there when they arrive.

1200

More reinforcements arrive. The battalion from the 454th can cross at Cuijk, while the bridging unit and the pioneers will head down to Gennep to build another bridge.

Spoiler: Current situation maps (click to show/hide)

What happens next? Voting will be open through Thursday, probably.

Guderian - Momentum is the most important consideration! Immediately strike Mill with the three battalions at the staging area at Haps, sending the 476th Infanterie Regiment's battalion to join the attack as soon as possible.

von Rundstedt - It is folly to throw one's entire force at the enemy's positions head-on! Attack Mill with two of the three battalions at the staging area, sending the other south to assist III/481. The 476th Infanterie will spearhead the flanking maneuver from the south.

Paulus - We have men in tenuous supply holding open a breach in the enemy's line! Use one battalion from the staging area to probe Mill while sending two south to relieve III/481. The 476th Infanterie will join the other battalion at Mill to make an attack once it has arrived.

Parsely

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 08:00:39 pm »

Let's go with Guderian's suggestion. Attack!
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BishopX

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2014, 08:44:26 pm »

The the train troops are more than just a road block. Reinforce them to up up a 2nd vector. I vote Paulus!
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Hanzoku

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2014, 02:06:55 am »

I vote for von Rundstedt, let's relieve the III/481 and threaten the enemy position from two sides.
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Ghazkull

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2014, 10:32:35 am »

von Rundstedt, we need to relieve those troops and push forward the attack at the same time.
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Sheb

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2014, 10:48:57 am »

von Rudstedt. Let's encircle the hell out of those dutch.
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Fishbreath

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2014, 08:30:55 am »

Between comments at my blog and posts here, here's where voting stands:

Paulus - 3
von Rundstedt - 3
Guderian - 1

If you're looking to throw your hat into the voting ring, now would be a great time to exercise your will!

Ghazkull

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2014, 11:10:31 am »

ah so thats where those extra votes come from...
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Fishbreath

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Re: Let's Play Command Ops: Breaking Fortress Holland
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2014, 12:12:41 pm »

Voting has closed!

Paulus - 3
von Rundstedt - 4
Guderian - 1

In the absence of any other votes, I called upon my designated tiebreaker, parvusimperator, who's only voting in case of ties.

He chose von Rundstedt because, in his opinion, one battalion is sufficient to relieve III/481. I'll play through the next eight hours tonight. The update might go up tonight, or it might go up tomorrow.
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