And we’re off. I’ll be playing in 25-hour increments, which neatly meshes with the four-week timeframe for this AAR.
After some late voting at Bay12, here are the totals:
Paulus – 2
Student – 2
von Rundstedt – 1
My usual tiebreaker, parvusimperator, picked Paulus, so we’ll play it safe, dedicating appropriate forces to Moerdijk and Dordrecht, and attempting to retain a reserve as we are able.Day 1
0430 – The rest of today’s paratroopers have landed: I and II Battalions of the 1st Fallschirmjager Regiment, along with a mortar platoon. 2nd Company will serve as our reserve. 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Companies landed around the Moerdijk bridges, and 3rd Company will move up to secure the near end of the Dordrecht crossing.
Important to note is the currently-unbridged crossing at Wieldrecht. Although I don’t think the Dutch have any bridging units yet, letting them in that way would be catastrophic.
0600 – The defense at the south end of the Moerdijk bridges may have some trouble going forward. There are several companies of infantry, as best as our defenders can see, and although the Dutch aren’t equipped or trained anything near the German standard, enough numbers will eventually tell.
Up north at Dordrecht, 3rd Company has beaten off attacks from two enemy companies. On the highway between Tweede Tol and Moerdijk, regimental HQ has encountered some enemies on the way to take command of 5th and 6th Companies, stationed at the north end of the bridges. As an HQ unit, it lacks the oomph to work against that kind of opposition, so 5th and 6th Companies will have to move north to support it.
0830 – Over the past two and a half hours, Dordrecht has been fairly quiet, but Moerdijk has seen quite a bit of fighting. II Battalion HQ and its attached units fought off a determined Dutch counterattack on the south bridgehead, while 5th and 6th Companies push toward regimental HQ. 5th Company obliterated a Dutch unit. It’ll surrender or disband soon.
1100 – After reorganizing, the Dutch throw themselves at the south bridgehead again. This attack makes more headway, but the paratroopers are holding strong. Since the attacks on 3rd Company at Dordrecht have calmed down, I may move I Battalion HQ and its attached mortar company south to provide fire support to the Moerdijk units.
North of the bridge, 5th and 6th Company bog down after making good progress in the last hour or two. With a little bit of breathing time, they’ll be able to make progress again.
It looks like the Dutch have a bridging unit, although for some reason it’s hanging out over there on the far bank, instead of heading for the crossing point at Wieldrecht.
1215 – Another hour of brutal fighting sees 5th and 6th Companies link up with the regimental HQ. They’ve trapped a Dutch infantry company against the river (or is it a canal?), and will probably proceed to beat the stuffing out of it.
1345 – Literally nothing has changed in the past hour and a half, except my reserve at Tweede Tol is now my reserve guarding the Wieldrecht crossing.
1430 – Spoke rather too soon. The Dutch managed to push the paras at the south bridgehead away from the road bridge. As my units reorganize and prepare for an attack to retake the bridgehead, the Dutch sneak a few reinforcements past me.
There’s also bad news on the logistics front. A Dutch unit attacked my base at Tweede Tol, and you’ll recall that my guard company is now guarding the Wieldrecht crossing. That leaves a mortar platoon, the regimental supply base, and a battalion headquarters against two hundred infantry. My troops, backline though they may be, acquitted themselves well, but as men from the base tried to pick up supplies from the airdrop point, they took heavy casualties. As paratroopers, this force was already operating with limited logistical capacity–whatever guys can carry in packs–but now it’s undermanned, too.
1630 – Here’s the situation as it stands. I get reinforcements in an hour and a half, arriving from Rotterdam. (They were dropped in gliders this morning, at about the same time as we were.) Incoming are two infantry companies, not paratroopers, but still well-equipped and well-trained, and the regimental artillery battery. Though it’s only four guns, the regimental artillery will provide some much-needed additional firepower to help even the odds.
The regimental artillery has some curious equipment. If you’re familiar with military organization in the 20th century, the term ‘mountain infantry’ will ring a bell for you. For the rest of you, mountain infantry is a sort of light infantry equipped for terrain where motor vehicles are a nonstarter. One of the things you typically found in 20th-century mountain infantry units was the pack howitzer: a small artillery piece which could be broken down into small, man- or mule-portable pieces. A perfect fit for the modern, circa-1940 paratrooper. (Although the Germans did design an actual air-dropped infantry support gun/light howitzer, it wasn’t in service for this part of the war.)
1830 – Reinforcements arrived half an hour ago. They are the 7th Company of the 16th Infantry Regiment, and the 1st Company of the 22nd Pioneers. They’ll support 3/1 Fallschirmjagers for a quick push to spring the artillery, and eventually percolate south to free the paras’ 2nd Company at Wieldrecht, and fill in at the Moerdijk bridges.
At the Moerdijk bridges, 5th and 6th Companies have eliminated another Dutch infantry company, and are moving south to secure the bridgeheads proper.
1945 – The infantry push in the southwest of Dordrecht has succeeded in opening a path for the artillery, so I put in the move order. At the Moerdijk bridges, the situation remains unchanged. The southern bridgehead is still heavily contested, but 7th and 8th Companies are extracting a very heavy price from the Germans, and have succeeded in stymieing further reinforcements. At the north end of the bridges, 5th and 6th Companies are grinding down another Dutch infantry company.
2300 – The situation has stabilized somewhat, and the fighting is cooling off as we head into the first night. 5th and 6th Companies have nearly secured the northern Moerdijk bridgehead, while the southern bridgehead is looking a little healthier, though still heavily contested.
Up north, there have been some changes. The artillery has almost reached our little base at Tweede Tol, along with 2nd Company, which is in the process of beating up on a Dutch company. I’m taking a bit of a gamble here, unplugging the Wieldrecht gap, but the pioneers from Dordrecht will be taking up the banner shortly. 7th Company/16th Infantry Regiment will be heading south to help secure the northern bridgehead at Moerdijk. Right now, they’re both pinned, so 3rd Company/1st FJR will swing around the left flank and counter-pin the Dutch.
2340 – Finally in position, the artillery opens fire for the first time, supporting the northern half of the Moerdijk force.Day 2
0140 – Fighting into the night, the paras at Moerdijk are making good progress. II Battalion HQ, at the south end, have pushed the Dutch back from the road bridge, and at the north end, regimental HQ and its two companies will soon be solidly in control of the north end of the road bridge.
0240 – Having fought for nearly 24 hours, 5th and 6th Companies take a well-deserved rest. They’ll be back in the action in the early morning, probably. The northern edge isn’t quite secure yet.
0500 – We’ve reached the end of Day 1. In the north, the situation is mainly unchanged: 7/16 IR just broke free and is now marching south, 3/1 FJR is covering the Dordrecht bridge, and 1/22 Pioneers is holding Wieldrecht. The troops at Moerdijk are getting tired, but hold a fairly strong position on both sides of the bridges.
Today, we get a pretty big chunk of reinforcement: a full battalion of paratroopers, III Battalion/1 FJR, from Rotterdam, arriving at 0600; a paratrooper company, dropped near Moerdijk at 0600; and an infantry battalion, from Rotterdam, arriving at 1300. Our next reinforcements won’t arrive until early morning on Day 4, so we have a good 36 hours or so to last with what we get today.
At the end of today, the window also opens for the arrival of French forces on the field, potentially from the north, west, and south. I’m not sure exactly where, north of the area of operations, the French might arrive from. I will note that there’s a bridge, not marked with an objective, in the north-northeast part of Dordrecht which is still in good repair and which leads away to the north, away from Rotterdam. I wonder if they might punch through there?
Anyway, that’s our first day. Here are the plans for Day 2.
Paulus – We must exercise caution in the face of potential French intervention. Devote a company or two to holding the northeast Dordrecht bridge. Use the remainder of the reinforcements to take over at Moerdijk and Dordrecht. The first wave will rotate out and serve as our reserve.
Student – Only the main route matters. The reinforcements should bypass enemy resistance at Dordrecht as much as possible, then wipe out the enemy at Moerdijk.
von Rundstedt – Only the main route matters. Use the reinforcements to eliminate resistance in Dordrecht, then to add weight to the Moerdijk position.