23rd September 1944
On the 22nd September 1944 the German 107 Panzer Brigade launched an attack on Hells Highway to the north of Veghel. Initially the plan went well the 107 Pz Brig cut the road north of the town starving the XXX Corps of supplies as they struggled to relive the 1st Airborne Division in Arnhem. The second part of the plan failed. 107 Pz Brig from the north, supported by Kampfgruppe Chill from the south, were supposed to take Veghel and blow the bridges; permanently severing the link to the British in the north. A valiant defence by the 1/501st Parachute Battalion in Veghel repulsed the initial German advances and a constant stream of 101st Division reinforcements throughout the day, supported by British artillery and Typhoons, held the Germans at bay; indeed KG Chill was all but annihilated. As night fell the Germans still occupied the road, but Veghel was securely in American hands.
Overnight the Germans were reinforced with units that should have been in place for the attack on the 22nd. The 6 Fallschirmjäger Regiment arrived to replace KG Chill and I Abt 21 Fallschirmjäger arrived in the east to attack along the canal. The Germans re-started their attack in the morning of the 23rd desperate to take Veghel and destroy the bridges before the British armour in the north attacked the 107 Pz Brigade.
Note the order of battle is bath-tubbed - each stand represents a company.
US wartime 1:25000 map of the battle area
Units are deployed as indicated on the map.
The elements of 327th Glider Infantry Regiment (+) are deployed around Veghel in the area delineated by the pink dashed line. At least one company must be adjacent to the main canal (not the spur) with 6" of the entrance to the spur. Another company must be on the railway embankment. They are mostly in foxholes (-2 cover), except 2/501, 2/506 and the tanks.
The 326th Engineers are deployed within 6" of Zijtaart, They are in foxholes (-2 cover)
HQ and 3/501 PIR are deployed within 6" of Eerde, They are in foxholes (-2 cover)
907th Glider FA Battalion is a reinforcement, it comes in to action off table. They arrive turn 5 on a roll of a 6(d6). Turn 6 they require a 4-6 and subsequent turns they arrive on anything but a 1.
86th Field Regiment RA and XXX Corps AA Regiment are deployed around Veghel, within the pink dashed lines, the guns and command infantry are in foxholes, but not the vehicles.
The Grenadier Guards are reinforcements. They arrive turn 5 on a roll of a 6(d6). Turn 6 they require a 4-6 On turn 7 they automatically arrive. They enter on the top board edge within 24" of point A but may not enter within 12” of an un-demoralised German stand.
107 Panzer Brigade is deployed within the pink dashed line shown on the map.
KG Richter is deployed within the pink dashed line shown on the map.
6 FJR is deployed anywhere within 12” of point B but not within 12" of Eerde
I Abt 21 FJR is a reinforcement. It enter on turn 4, within 12” of point C. It may not enter within 6” of an un-demoralised Allied stand.
The open terrain is split into small fields with intermittent buildings, trees and hedges on the borders. The ground is wet so non-tracked vehicles and man-handled guns move at half speed. The terrain limits LOS to a maximum of 12". However both Eerde and the grey BUA in Veghel have dominant buildings (a church tower in Veghel and a windmill in Eerde). Stands within these BUA may spot and call artillery fire up to 24" from the edge of the BUA over the "open" terrain. Woods and other BUA still break LOS.
The the red lines are major roads. They have intermittent trees and bushes alongside which break LOS (about 25% of the length). Hell’s Highway has a broad but shallow ditch either side (and outside the tree-line). This provides medium cover (-2) for personnel stands from direct fire. Hells Highway is littered with burning British trucks to the north east of Veghel; they prevent movement along the road at road speed and break LOS along the road.
The green patches are woods. The woods along the canal are pine forests and are dense woods, impenetrable to vehicles and half speed for infantry. The other woods are mostly orchards and are open woods. Half speed for vehicles and no impediment to infantry. Both give light cover (-1).
The straight blue line is the Willemsvaraart Canal, it has a small spur leading to Veghel. The canal is wide and un-crossable except at the bridges. The wiggly blue line is the River Aa. It is not so wide but also un-crossable. The Aa is bordered by trees and scrub which intermittently break LOS along approximately 33% of its length.. The spur from the canal leasing in to Veghel is crossed by a footbridge at its mouth. Only personnel (not towed guns) may cross the bridge.
The railway is on an embankment which breaks LOS. Units on the embankment can see and be seen up to 18" range.
The turquoise areas with black dotted borders are marshy. These are impenetrable by vehicles and cause infantry to move half speed.
The squares are BUA. The grey squares are stone and brick buildings, they break LOS and give hard (-3) cover. Vehicles and towed guns may not enter the grey squares. The brown squares represent scattered buildings. They give halted non-vehicle and non-towed gun stands medium cover (-2). All other stands get light (-1) cover. Brown squares do NOT break LOS.
The game runs for 11 turns with a 50% chance of a 12th turn rolled at the end of turn 11.
The allied player may issue a maximum of two movement orders a turn. This represent the confusion as to exactly where the German attack was going to come from. This restriction does not apply to the Guards armoured division who my use movement orders freely without contributing to the two orders per turn limit.
For a monumental victory the Germans must control two out of the four bridges at the end of the game. These bridges must cross the same waterway (i.e. one bridge over the Aa and one over the canal is not good enough)
For a decisive victory the Germans must control one of the road bridges at the end of the game
For a marginal victory the Germans must control one part of Hell’s Highway at the end of the game.
For a marginal victory the Allies must prevent the Germans making any of their victory conditions.
In addition, for a decisive victory the Allies most control Eerde, Ham & Veghel.
For the Germans to control a bridge they must have a stand on or adjacent to the bridge and there must be no Allied stand of good morale within 6" of the bridge.
For the Germans to control Hell’s Highway they must have infantry stands on or adjacent to the road or they must have AFVs within 12" and LOS of the highway (i.e. able to interdict traffic down the road by fire)
For the allies to control a town they must have at least one stand in the town and no German stands of good morale within 6" f the BUA.
The 107 Panzer Brigade renewed its attacks on the morning of the 23rd. Despite some hairy moments the paratroopers held their ground and repulsed the panzers. The 6 FJR were not really up to the job, being ill trained and tired. Their attack stalled by midday: indeed I Abt 2 FJR was so poor it never really participated having gotten lost in the rough ground and trees to the west of Eerde. The German’s final fling with the I Abt 21 FJR seems to have made little impact either.
A counter attack by 2/506 PIR was launched up Hell’s Highway early in the afternoon. Sending paratroopers against panzers was perhaps not the world’s greatest idea and the attack promptly stalled until tanks of the 44th RTR came up in support. By late afternoon the Germans had had enough and the Guardsman attacking south encountered little resistance as did 2/327 GIR in their attack on Erp. The Guardsmen met 2/506 about 1700 in the afternoon and the battle for Veghel was over. However the road was still vulnerable and the Germans would again cut the road south of Veghel on the 24th.