I was planning on providing some historical context here, but I’m running low on time, and in actuality, there isn’t a lot to say. Between noon on the 11th, when the previous scenario ended, and the start of this scenario, the infantry divisions we controlled in Melee at Mill expanded the breach at Mill, and German forces waiting at the border rushed through the gap. Dutch forces disengaged and fell back to the Zuid-Willemsvaart, the canal running south from Den Bosch, and organized a second defensive line. Partially survivors from the battle for Mill, and partially fresh troops, the Den Bosch line was not, in reality, reinforced by the French. Here, though, the scenario briefing says I should expect French resistance.
I suppose there is some extra context to give: why it was so important to push so quickly. The Germans had attacked Rotterdam proper with paratroopers and air-landing infantry on the first day of the war—a bold call, considering that the German border was more than a hundred kilometers away from Rotterdam. In the same spirit as my Bastogne AAR from a few Christmases past, my goal here is to establish supply lines.
As befits this more free-flowing scenario, the Aufklärungs-Regiment of the 9th consists of motorcycle infantry, who use the motorized movement tables. As widely-spread as they are, the pathfinding tools say that it should only take them about 40 minutes to reach the forming-up point.
On the attack order, I tick the ‘secure crossing’ box. The pre-battle intelligence says that the Dutch might have engineers near the bridgehead who can attempt to prime it to blow before we can cross. Secure Crossing instructs my men to specifically discourage any such attempt.
So much for 40 minutes. Maddeningly, 1st Company of the Auflklärungs-Regiment decides to take the long way around, delaying the attack for half an hour or so.
The attack at the Dungen bridge is well under way.
At the Dungen bridge, the reconnaissance troops reach the objective and begin to push across.
Reinforcements arrive: Gruppe Apell comprises some support troops, II Battalion of the 11th Schützen Regiment (motorized troops), and I Battalion of the 33rd Panzer Regiment. I split it into two pieces: the Gruppe headquarters and II/11 Schützen Regiment, which has orders to leave the main highway at the Varkenshoek junction toward Gesticht. It will head west from Gesticht to the road into Orten, where it will then turn southwest to attack the northern Den Bosch bridge. I Bn/33 Panzer Regiment, along with a flak company from Gruppe Apell’s headquarters will continue down the highway to De Built, where they’ll hold until the assault commences.
The northern bridge bypasses the main bulk of the town, and the route on which it sits has fewer bridges between our jumping-off points and points west, so I’m dedicating the heavier force to it.
Tanks and motorized infantry stream down the Den Bosch highway.
The reconnaissance troops at Dungen bridge reach and secure the objective.
One of the biggest things this version of Command Ops has over previous versions (the Airborne Assault series) is the box labeled ‘Assault At’ in this screenshot. That determines when the assaulting forces will leave their jumping-off points, which allows we commanders to coordinate attacks between multiple forces. This one will attack at 2201. (It’s in five-minute increments, and started one minute off the hour.)
With all the attacking forces nearly in place, I bump the start time up to 2130 (or 2131).
As Gruppe Apell reaches its marks, scouts spot the first French unit. I order a brief artillery barrage to say hello.
So far, we have mediocre artillery support: the unit counter marked ‘701’ in this screenshot is an assault gun company, equipped with self-propelled 15cm low-velocity guns. Right now, they’re serving in the indirect fire role. Further up the road is a regular artillery battery, equipped with twelve 10.5cm guns.
The next big wave of reinforcements arrives, but it’s a little disappointing. It’s primarily headquarters: the XXVI Armeekorps HQ, the 9th Panzer Division HQ, and the SS Regiment Deutschland HQ. We also get one company of motorized infantry from the SS Regiment, and two light flak companies, which feature a large number of 20mm guns, which translates to a truly staggering amount of anti-infantry firepower.
Oops. Looking at the orders, I don’t think I ever actually changed the assault time. Looks like we’re starting at 2200 after all.
The assault starts on time. All of the French units my units can see are moving to counter our push at the Dungen bridge.
Although we’re advancing toward Den Bosch unopposed, progress is nevertheless slow.
It takes another half an hour to get close to the bridges. Crossing polder is the worst.
As soon as German forces near the southern Den Bosch bridge, it blows up. That’s not good.
I order I/33 Panzer Regiment to fall back for now. It’s too late for them to join in the attack on the northern bridge.
Gruppe Apell spots a defending company at the north bridge. I order an artillery barrage on it, to keep the Dutch heads down while my engineer company gets in close to cut the wires.
My engineers successfully unprime the bridge! All we have to do now is force the crossing. I give I/33 Panzer Regiment orders to head northwest and rejoin Gruppe Apell on the far side of the bridge.
What happens next? You decide.
Guderian – As soon as we have crossed the bridge, send a panzer company and motorized infantry west as quickly as possible. We must reach the western objective as soon as possible!
von Rundstedt – Consolidate on the far side of the bridge, then attack into Den Bosch to pin the French in place, leaving us room to maneuver next morning’s reinforcements through to the western side of Den Bosch.
Paulus – Divert forces from the Den Bosch crossing to reinforce the Aufklärungs Regiment at Dungen. Expand the bridgehead at Den Bosch, focusing on clearing a path for tomorrow’s reinforcements.
P.S.: I warn you now, it’s going to be a little while before my next update: I have plans for the next weekend, so my usual wargaming time will not be available.