Friday, August 21, 2015

Command Ops 2 - Speed and Surprise

The order to hold the Goesbeek Heights and the high terrain between them and Nijmegen during Operation Market Garden has been attributed to General Gavin and pointed out as a source of loss of momentum for the XXX Corps movement through Hell's Highway.

The "All American over Nijmegen" scenario in Command Ops 2 (Panther Games, published by Lock N' Load Publishing) displays the actions of the US 82nd Airborne Division in a digital recreation of command, maneuver, logistics and combat.

As for where get your bearings on the All American during Operation Market Garden, this book by R. Pouloussen is just fantastic.

What's the issue with the order to hold the heights?

      After examining Field Order No.11 and Field Order No.1 of the 508 PIR, it becomes clear that "holding the Groesbeek Heights" had become dominant in the plans of the 82nd Airborne. This was not just a tactical change, but a strategic one.

Poulussen, R.G. (2011-08-01). Lost at Nijmegen: A rethink on operation "Market Garden" (Kindle Locations 1253-1255). R.G. Poulussen. Kindle Edition.

What General Gaving said about this order?

"even if we were driven off the low ground, around the bridges, if the high ground could be held, ultimately the Second Army could accomplish its mission".

Poulussen, R.G. (2011-08-01). Lost at Nijmegen: A rethink on operation "Market Garden" (Kindle Locations 1272-1273). R.G. Poulussen. Kindle Edition.

I played this scenario for 4 days (out of 5) of simulated operations and found myself without a feeling of being delayed or stranded at Groesbeek.

Clearing Groesbeek with a mix of Battalions from the 508th and 505th Regiments. The US paratroopers run into trouble here and there, despite the ring of encirclement tightening on the Germans.

The main body of the 505th Regiment (left) starts to march towards Nijmegen. German roadblocks will waste their timeline for the next two hours. This is the point where I had wished not to bother with Groesbeek and move north towards the Wall Bridge at Nijmegen with those troops on the right.
Groesbeek, finally clear! Note the clock in the bottom left window. It took almost 3 full hours to clear the stubborn German opposition.
If a bridge is not blown up under your feet, it is not Command Ops! A bridge goes up in the air elsewhere.

Around 18:00, 5 hours or so after their landing, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 508th Regiment gain a foothold on Nijmegen.
The Germans fight hard for Nijmegen, but they appear disorganized. Reinforcements rain down from all corners of the suburbs.

A crucial moment of battle, day 19:35. The 2nd Battalion of the 508th holds the near side of the Waal Bridge. This had the effect of re-routing German forces via the railroad bridge on the west.

The Alamo at Nijmegen. One night and one full day spent kicking out the Germans who attempted to break into Nijmegen. And re-organizing my Regiments to cross the Waal ...

A late evening crossing by the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 508th. With a lot of suppression from mortars, the weary paratroopers accomplish a great feat of tactical awesomeness.

When the armored spear tip of the XXX Corps arrives, they shovel away any German unit that dares to sit on their path.
Alas, I was treated to a crash to desktop a few minutes later, maybe because my scheduled virus scan started (?). The win-o-meter was not looking too good, but the situation looked promising nonetheless.

      The failure to make the capture of the Nijmegen Highway Bridge of primary importance produced a large delay in the advance of the ground troops to the north.
Historical Officer Captain Westover
Poulussen, R.G. (2011-08-01). Lost at Nijmegen: A rethink on operation "Market Garden" (Kindle Locations 1276-1279). R.G. Poulussen. Kindle Edition.

Given the differences between real life and a computer war game, and that hindsight is always 20-20, I think I can understand the issue being put forward. But as you can see, I could get away with my lack of speed and surprise to seize and hold Nijmegen. Maybe I was just lucky.



Chris said...

Great blog JC! Makes me want to dust off HTTR.

JC said...

Thanks Chris,

It is always good to see you around here. Cheers,


tsnouffer said...

I should give CO a second look. The Market Garden aspect is really enticing but when I've tried the demo I just get lost.

JC said...

Hi tsnouffer. I hear you. Try to start small and look at the stuff that is happening around your command. You will develop an eye for what is important. Don't give up! :)