Breaking Fortress Holland No. 14 – 0500 Day 2 – 0600 Day 3

It’s 5:00 a.m. on Day 2. Let’s have a look at the historical context before we dive in to today’s play.

The arrival of III Bn, 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment (it’ll be here in an hour) turns out to have been one of the key decisions. I have to digress for a moment to talk about geography: our action takes place primarily on the island of Dordrecht, bounded by four waterways: to the south, the Hollands Diep, the to the west, the Dordtsche Kil, to the east, the Nieuwe Merwede, and to the north, the Oude Maas. The south end of the Moerdijk crossing is on the European mainland, and our forces are arriving over the roads from the invasion points I mentioned in the prior post. To the northwest, across the Dordrecht bridge, is the island of Ysselmonde (WW2-era spelling). Bridges from Ysselmonde cross to Rotterdam. At this point in time, German forces control the important crossings from Dordrecht to Ysselmonde, and from Ysselmonde to Rotterdam.

The Hollands Diep, being in excess of a kilometer across, was the major chokepoint; the Germans likely would not have been able to bridge it easily. By contrast, the crossing at Dordrecht, across the Oude Maas, would have yielded much more easily to combat engineering.

Kurt Student, the commander on the field, faced stiffer-than-expected resistance. His paratroopers on the island of Dordrecht were under intense pressure, while his men in Rotterdam, though engaged, had reserves to hold out. III Battalion, 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment, was uncommitted on Ysselmonde, and difficulties in holding Moerdijk led Student to call it across the Dordrecht bridge to reinforce the paras’ position.

On the land route in, German forces have captured Mill, and are beginning to engage Dutch forces at the Zuid-Williamsvaart, the canal which runs through Den Bosch.

The results of the vote were Paulus 1, and nil for the others, so we’ll continue to play cautiously, moving II Battalion HQ and its paras and other attached forces out of the line once III Battalion arrives to take over the defense at the south end of the Moerdijk crossing.

0530 – The situation remains fairly static: German forces are holding out against the Dutch counterattack at Moerdijk, and our poor garrison company at the Dordrecth bridge is getting beaten up on. Reinforcements arrive in half an hour, which ought to change things.

0600 – The 1st Ersatz-Battalion, a company-sized unit containing replacements and reinforcements for the 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment, arrives near Moerdijk, and is ordered to attack the Dutch company pressuring the bridgehead. 6th Company joins in, having had a few hours of rest.

At Dordrecht, III Battalion arrives. I order them to form up and attack across the bridge.

0715 – This proves to have been a good idea: there are Dutch defenders north of the bridge.

0800 – As you may recall, I sent 7th Company, 16th Infanterie-Regiment down to Moerdijk to join in the defense of the Moerdijk crossing. They arrive north of the bridges, and join the two paratrooper companies in beating up on the Dutch infantry company. Once that engagement is decided, 7/16th IR and the ersatz battalion will cross the eastern Moerdijk bridge and join the defense.

0930 – At the Dordrecht crossing, III Battalion is making good progress toward the crossing, eliminating a mortar platoon and inflicting heavy casualties on an infantry company.

1000 – The Dutch company at the north end of the Moerdijk bridges finally surrenders.

1100 – The two reinforcing companies for the south end of the Moerdijk bridgehead are crossing the bridge now, while at Dordrecht, III Battalion’s combat companies have made the crossing. The support companies are on the move now.

1300 – Our second reinforcing battalion arrives: Gruppe de Boer, comprising two infantry companies, an infantry gun battery, and supporting units. They’ll attack the Dutch units still north of Dordrecht, before crossing, taking over guard duties at Dordrecht, and clearing out the Dutch from the part of the city due south of the bridge.

1445 – Phew. Busy few hours. Here’s a big, updated situation picture.

A bunch of things are going on here. At the north, III Battalion has made it across the bridge altogether, and is now forming up to head south. Gruppe De Boer will soon have wrapped up the fight on the north side of the Dordrecht bridge, and will take up its position south of it.

At the north end of the Moerdijk crossing, another infantry company plays cat and mouse with us. I may have the two defending companies pack up and hit it, but I don’t know if I want to leave the bridgeheads undefended going into the evening.

South of the Moerdijk crossing, II Battalion has been reinforced, doubling its combat strength (four companies instead of two). They’re making solid progress now against the Dutch in Moerdijk itself, and I expect to have the objective back in a few hours.

Next, the bad news: the beating my regimental base took in the early hours of the campaign is starting to tell. They’re down to about 30% strength, only 80 men. Both of our infantry gun batteries are currently out of ammunition, and my expectation is that they won’t really play a major role in the rest of the scenario—with such limited supply-movement capacity, the priority has to go to the units in front-line combat.

1700 – A much-less-busy few hours. III Battalion has been taking forever to get moving, but they should finally be altogether on the march now. Gruppe De Boer is making its way across the bridge.

1845 – Our men at the south end of the Moerdijk crossing spot the first French unit: a motorized infantry company, which soon joins the attack. Fortunately, it proves to be less formidable than the French tanks in the last scenario.

2000 – Though Moerdijk is going well, the situation in Dordrecht is a little iffier. 3rd Company, 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment, was on its way to check the ferry northeast of Moerdijk, at the top left corner of this picture, and encountered some resistance. I recall them to the bridgehead, in part to return fire against the Dutch at Zwijndrecht, who appear to have regrouped somewhat. (Not unexpected; I destroyed their HQ and their mortar support, but only heavily attritted their combat companies.)

Meanwhile, the two companies in the southern portion of Dordrecht run into three or possibly four Dutch companies. Reinforcements may be needed here later.

2200 – III Battalion finally arrives at Moerdijk. They’ll cross the bridge, attack the Dutch to push them off of II Battalion, and take over the defense.

2230 – 3rd Company 1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment is moving to the Wieldrecht crossing, while 1st Company, 22nd Pioneers, which was previously holding the Wieldrecht crossing, is joining up with Gruppe De Boer. (The pioneers are better-equipped and better rested.)

Day 3

0315 – Conscious of the need to let my men rest in big, long scenarios like this one, it’s been a little quieter. III Battalion is attacking the Dutch at Moerdijk. II Battalion needs only hold out a little longer, before they can collapse for some much-needed sleep.

0600 – The end of this section is upon us. At Moerdijk, III Battalion has taken over the defense. II Battalion is heading off to the east a few hundred meters to get some shuteye. They should be back in fighting condition in a few hours.

At Dordrecht, the situation seems a little more settled now: my three combat companies are attacking into Dordrecht from an odd angle, but it seems to be working well enough.

In the next segment, from 0600 D3 to 0700 D4, the following reinforcements will arrive:

D4, 0200: I Battalion, Aufklarungs-Regiment 9, motorized infantry
D4, 0600: Gruppe Apell, battalion-sized kampfgruppe of mixed motorized-infantry and tanks
D4, 0600: I Battalion, 33rd Panzer Regiment, tanks
D4, 0600: II Battalion, 11th Schützen Regiment, motorized infantry

Here are your options.
Paulus – It is critical to maintain a reserve, in case Dutch resistance should appear at any point. Use one of the reinforcement battalions to eliminate the Dutch defenders at Moerdijk. Use another to hold the road between Wagenberg and Moerdijk, the route our reinforcements will have to take. Send the other two through to Tweede Tol, where they can be committed on Day 4 to open a gap for forces bound for Ysselmonde and Rotterdam.

von Rundstedt – The elimination of effective resistance at both bridgeheads is more important. Divide the reinforcing battalions evenly between Moerdijk and Dordrecht, seeking out and destroying the enemy instead of passively holding positions.

Student – I agree with von Rundstedt, except Moerdijk is more important. Dedicate three battalions to Moerdijk, and one to Dordrecht.

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