This is the second part of a three-part series. Have a look at part one if you don’t know what’s going on.
Welcome back to Breaking Fortress Holland, wherein we take on the role of the Germans in 1940, during the invasion of the Netherlands. Last time, we achieved good success at Mill, breaking through the first Dutch defensive line.
Now, we find ourselves facing off against the Dutch again, across a different canal: the Zuid Willemsvaart, running through the town of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. (It means ‘the Duke’s forest’. I’ll adopt the Dutch colloquialism and call it Den Bosch—the forest.) You’ll have to wait a few days for the deeper historical context, as I’m running short on time, but to tide you over, here is scenario author tukker’s synopsis:
The French Arrive
On May 10, 1940, the German 254 and 256 Divisions had broken through the Dutch defenses of the Peel-Raam Line. In the afternoon of the first day of the war in the west, 9 Panzer Division crossed the river Maas and started moving west, with the SS Regiment ‘Deutschland’ in its wake. Their goal was the great bridge across the Hollands Diep at Moerdijk, where they would link up with the Fallschirmjäger of 7 Flieger Division. After their defeat at Mill, the Dutch have reacted quickly, and sent part of their III to positions behind the Zuid Willemsvaart canal, reaching their destinations in the early afternoon of May 11. At the same time, reconnaissance forces of the French 1 Light Mechanized Division are moving north after crossing the Dutch-Belgian border.
It is now the late afternoon of May 11, and the stage is set for an armoured clash between the German and French forces in Brabant.
It is indeed the case that most of my force this time is mechanized. Reinforcements for the first eight hours include an armored kampfgruppe, an armored regiment, and the SS Regiment of motorized infantry. That’s good, because the map is now 30 kilometers across, and we don’t have much more time to cross it than before:
At the numbers 1 and 2 are two of our main objectives: heavy road bridges in Den Bosch itself, which will get us across the canal and into the backfield. You’ll notice, though, that the objective markers (the squares) are overtop of red circular markers. Circular markers are crossing points; the red indicates that they’re primed to explode. If we don’t secure the bridges with enough force, the Dutch can easily blow them and force us to detour south. Numbers 3 through 5 indicate auxiliary bridges.
The aim here is to cross the entire map (again), and get to the exit points at numbers 6 and 7, which will take us to Moerdijk and the final scenario.
We have one day and about eighteen hours: it’s currently Day 1 at 1730, and the clock runs out at Day 3, 1200.
Here’s what we start with: a single cavalry reconnaissance regiment (the motorized kind, not the horse kind), which will have to do for the entire first two hours of the scenario (after which point armored forces begin to arrive, along the arrows from the first map).
How should we proceed?
Guderian – Marshal the cavalry regiment in the center and attack Den Bosch directly, to gain the initiative.
von Rundstedt – Marshal the cavalry regiment in the center and hold it in reserve, to aid in delivering a decisive attack once reinforcements arrive.
Paulus – Marshal the cavalry regiment to the south, then make a diversionary attack to draw Dutch attention away from Den Bosch. When reinforcements arrive, attack Den Bosch.