Battle of Oosterhout

This is a Kampfgruppe Commander scenario describing the attack by the British 43rd Wessex Division against Kampfgruppe Knaust on the 22nd September 1944. This was XXX Corps last lunge to link up with the beleaguered 1st Airborne Division outside Arnhem.

In this case the "divisional attack" actually meant two reinforced infantry battalions going forward, followed later in the day by another pair so the game is quite manageable in an afternoon.

A full game OB is here; and there is a PDF file showing the map and the initial deployments. Note that most of the British units do not move on turn one (07:00 hrs) they may fire if the Germans attack them but otherwise must stay inert until the turn they may move.

Force morale is 12 for the Brits and 6 for the Germans.

There is detailed information available on the British forces involved in the operation so the allied OB is quite accurate. The weather was bad in England and artillery ammo was in short supply due to the enormous traffic jam on Hells Highway; this accounts for the lack of allied air and artillery support. Details on the German OB are somewhat muddled. The exact formation of KG Knaust is open do debate. KG Hartung was definitely on the Island at the right time, but is location is nebulous; adding it to KG Knaust helped balance the game. The 506th Schwerer Panzer Abteiling (Heavy Tank Battalion) was certainly in Elst by the end of the day but the timing of its arrival is unclear. It didn't intervene in the attacks on Oosterhout: I've forbidden it to move until the allies cross the railway line to reflect this. The 9th SS Recce are the remnants of the battalion that tried to charge across the Arnhem bridge against Frost's paratroopers. They were definitely in Elst at the time but may have moved east later in the day. One last liberty with the German OB, I've divided KG Knaust in to two parts sud and nord which makes it work better under the KGC rules.

The objective of the game for the British is to get at least 10 stands off the north edge of the map down the centre two roads. These roads lead to the positions of the Polish Parachute Brigade. The Germans must prevent this happening. The game lasts 15 turns: 0700 to 2200 assuming a turn is one hour.


The map provided shows the battlefield. This is taken from contemporary maps and aerial recce pictures so is as accurate as I can make it. Its intended for a 4'x6'(ish) table.

The dark grey areas are towns.

The light grey areas with dashed edges are orchards. They are treated treated as light woods but there is an almost complete lack of undergrowth so visibility in the orchards is 4". The slightly darker grey around Oosterhuis represents "normal" light woods. Oosterhuis was a manor and the woods are part of its grounds.

The lines of grey blobs to the right of Oosterhout are tree lined hedges. They break line of sight. There is a similar hedge lining the road to the right of the main Arnhem road where it says "IPB"

The grey "banana" in the bottom left of the map is the River Waal, its banks are marshy.

The black lines are roads. The road with the 4th Wilts on it is on an embankment until the second T junction. The road next to the Waal is also on an embankment. Embankments break line of site. Their banks are too steep to provide hull-down positions, AFVs are either on the top of out of LOS. The banks give infantry a defence roll of 5 vs fire crossing the embankment if the infantry are on the back slope.

The main road going north (the thicker line) is paved, the rest are a mixture of paved and unpaved. All roads have two ditches either side. Infantry may move along them and take cover giving a defence roll of 5.

The dashed line is railway. It has no effect on the game except it is not boggy (see below). In our game the railway to the right was just off board. There are ditches alongside the railway in the same way as the roads

The open ground, and the orchards is boggy. Tracked movement is halved over it, wheeled movement is quartered. Foot movement is unaffected. The ground is so flat that no hull down positions are possible.


The day starts foggy. Visibility in the first turn is only 2". This rises to 10" in turn two, thereafter. The 2100 and 2200 turns are considered as darkness.

Historical Outcome

At the start of the day, two troops of the Household Cavalry Regiment swept round the German positions in the fog and linked up with the Polish Paratroops. The 7th Somerset Light Infantry were initially repulsed from Oosterhout, but then regrouped and had taken the village buy 1700hrs. The 4th Wiltshire's made some small progress up the main Arnhem road but got involved in some messy fighting in the orchards and ultimately didn't get far, however as a diversionary force they kept the Germans occupied while the 7th SLI took Oosterhout. The 5th DCLI were in some ways the heroes of the day. Moving up behind the 7th SLI they had mounted their infantry in B echelon vehicles, managing to motorise themselves. They made a swift motorised dash up the left hand flank to link up with the paratroopers by last light. There was a nasty moment at De Hook, on the way, when 5 Tigers of the 506th counter-attacked, but a masterful anti-armour ambush resulted in five wrecked Tigers. The 5th Wiltshire's were late setting off and advanced along the line of the railway. They stumbled to within 50yds of German positions in the dark but then decided to halt the advance.