28 January, 2006

Battle for the Rhine Bridges

I ran a large Ogre demo with the help of Eamon Honan (again). We used miniatures and terrain for visual effect, though the terrain and felt used was hexed for use with the Ogre/GEV boardgame rules.

To give you an idea of the size of the demo: the table was 18 by 4 foot (or 105 by 25 hexes), points per side were 1200-1350, this was divided evenly between the 6 players on each side.

Panorama of Southern Netherlands from Rhine

Essentially the table was the southern half of The Netherlands, from the North Sea to the Rhine.

The scenario was based on Operation Market Garden (which you may remember from the classic film “A Bridge too Far” or the TV show “Band of Brothers”) except that with Ogre canon making paratroopers impossible, I opted to have a large Combine Marine contingent march up the Scheldt Estuary and up the rivers to seize control of the bridges at the Dutch cities of Arnhem, Nijmegen and ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Two large armour columns with Ogre support rush up the motorways from Antwerp, and two large GEV columns up the rivers to relieve them.

Massed Combine GEVs and a Landing Craft rush up the Scheldt Estuary

This advance was primarily made of GEVs, with significant numbers of light and personnel-carrying GEVs, but there were also two large LCACs (Landing Craft-Air Cushion) carrying heavy tanks.

The PanEuropean defenders were strung out in small groups outside all of the cities on the board, negating their points advantage. Their attempts to concentrate were hampered by the Marines controlling all the major bridges and by the stream of civilian refugees who were evacuating the cities in front of the Combine army.

As the Combine GEVs hurtle upriver, a small force of PanEuropean GEVs move downriver to spoil their advance. The aim being to give the PanEuropeans outside the major cities time to clear out the marines before relief arrives.

PanEuropean GEVs head down-river to spoil Combine advance

The major Combine armoured thrusts approach surround Breda and begin moving eastwards towards 's-Hertogenbosch, skirting the northern suburbs of Tilburg. The small PanEuropean frontier battalion at Breda attempts to slow their advance. Allowing civilians inside the city time to evacuate.

Combine Armour Brigade overwhelmed PanEuropean garrison at Breda, with some help from MkII Washington

The Combine forces display no regard for civilian lives, unleashing a strike on the Breda city centre, knocking out single light tank for the cost of over 5000 civilians.
This causes some consternation at PanEuropean High Command.

A suspicious-looking snorkle in the estuary reveals itself to be a MkIII Ogre, much to the dismay of the PanEuropeans. This completes the encirclement of the Breda force as the rest of the Combine units advance towards 's-Hertogenbosch.

MkIII Einsenhower pops out of Estuary with MkV Petraeus in background

With the swift advance of one of the Combine amphibious commands, the defence of the 's-Hertogenbosch bridge is crushed, and all PanEuropean forces west of the canal are destroyed. Although their loss is heavily felt at HQ, the single Combine bridge-laying unit was taken out, forcing the conventional Combine units to cross at the bridge

PanEuropean Armour and Infantry prepare to defend canal bridge and 's-Hertogenbosch

PanEuropean losses mount as all four Ogre units merge on the bridge and prepare to cross the canal.

Massive Ogre assault on Canal Bridge

Meanwhile Combine Marine units are under huge pressure, especially at Nijmegen where a huge amount of effort is being put into clearing the city. Even armour units from Arnhem are being utilised in the assault!

As the larger amphibious command advances upriver to flank the defences of 's-Hertogenbosch, Nijmegen is cleared of the last Marine resistance.

Aerial shot of Combine GEVs rushing into 's-Hertogenbosch from north-west

But, Combine HQ is aghast when strategic missile assets are unveiled right under the noses of the surrendering Marine units in Nijmegen. Due to the flagrant lack of concern shown for civilian casualties by Combine in Breda, PanEuropean High Command in Berlin has authorised the use of strategic nuclear weapons.

PanEuropean Theatre HQ in Oss is conservative with its deployment of the single strike, minimizing the possibility of a shoot-down.
Still the strike takes out over a dozen GEVs and with that the concentration of PanEuropean armour near Oss has little trouble dispensing with the remainder of the command.

Strategic Nuclear Missile takes care of that then!

Although the Combine forces were stopped well short of their objectives, serious losses were inflicted on the PanEuropean command, but it looks like Combine will have to find an alternate route to Berlin...

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