In our first Action Point on Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden from GMT Games, we took a look at the Airborne units, their Airlanding Procedure, how they move and fight and their objectives. In this Action Point, we will examine the cavalry that is on its way to the rescue, and yes, the cavalry here is 30th Corps supported by elements of 8th and 12th Corps. We will also take a look at the Traffic markers and the role they play in slowing down 30th Corps as well as a simple example of combat with tanks!
30th Corps…and the Support Cast 12th Corps and 8th Corps
The main event in Holland ’44 is the race of 30th Corps up Highway 69 (affectionately referred to as Hell’s Highway) to attempt to connect with and take Eindhoven Bridge and then on to the more northern bridges over the next few days of the operation. 30th Corps consists of some very powerful armored units, led by Vandaleur’s 2nd Irish Guards battalion, and supported by two equally powerful Artillery units (5 AGRA and Gds Div Artillery) along with a cadre of other support units including Engineers, Bridging units and Motorized Infantry. Their goal is simple, attack and keep moving up the highway, doing all that they can to advance.
But, if the Allied player doesn’t do some early planning, like properly over stacking units to allow for Breakthrough Combat and Advance After Combat, they will find themselves in an overcrowded quagmire being clogged up by the infamous German Traffic markers.
12th Corps on the left is to cross over the Bocholt-Herentals Canal and dislodge the German Fallschirmjager and Penal division from the flanks of the advance. They need to work quickly to get these units out of the way as their main job is to offer a defensive shield from German reinforcements from the west getting onto the highway to slow down the advance. As 30th Corps advances, their supply lines have to stay intact or there is no hope of reaching the embattled 101st at Grave and Son, must less the 82nd at Nijmegen and British 1st Airborne at Arnhem.
8th Corps serves a similar purpose on the right as they will attempt to push across the same Bocholt-Herentals Canal and set up a defensive screen to the east to slow the advance of the German reinforcements from the east. They also can serve a significant role in crossing over the Wilhelmina Canal near Son in case that bridge falls as they will have to focus on crossing the canal and then converging on the German units holed up in the town hexes there defending against assaults across the bridge. They also have Engineers and a Bridging unit that might need to be used on blown bridges as 30th Corps advances.
One of the really great parts of the design is the use of Traffic markers by the German player to simulate the traffic jams that plagued 30th Corps as they advanced up the highway. Single lane roads jammed with lines of tanks, trucks and other vehicles, worked against the Allies and their meticulous plan. This is modeled in the design with Traffic markers.
During the Traffic Marker Phase, the German player will be able to place any number of Traffic markers that are located in the Traffic Marker Holding Box. At the beginning of the game during Turn 1, there will be three available markers and they can be placed by the German according to very specific rules. They cannot be placed on or adjacent to another Traffic marker and cannot be placed in a hex north of the advance of 30th Corps.
These markers cause any mechanized unit entering them to increase the Movement Cost by +2MPs. This has the effect of simply slowing down the advance. The markers cannot be removed by the Allied player. Each of the markers are numbered 1-6 and after placement of new markers, the German player will roll 2d6 and remove the appropriate numbered marker according to the dice roll. So, if the German player rolls a 1 and a 4, if Traffic marker number 1 and 4 are placed on the map, they will be removed and relocated to the Traffic Marker Holding Box. At any given time, there will be at least 1 Traffic marker on the road after Turn 1. If the Allies are unlucky, there can be as many as 5 active markers on the board, in the case where all markers are present and doubles are rolled. Then only that numbered marker will be removed leaving the rest languishing on the board slowing down the Allies.
Combat with the Big Guns
The tanks of 30th Corps are pretty powerful. The previously mentioned Vandaleur’s 2nd Irish Guards battalion are the spear head’s workhorse as they have the best statistics in the bunch. Their Attack Strength of 8, with Armor Rating of 3, is the best amongst the Allies, and their Movement Allowance of 5 is only slightly less than other lighter tanks.
In this example of combat, the Allies are attacking the StuG support unit along with the 3-5-3 Kerutt battalion that has been forced to retreat previously. The Allied Attack Strength is a 14 and there is no positive Armor Shift bonus because of the presence of the German StuG unit which has the same Armor Rating of 3, bringing the total to 14-7 or 2-1. There is however a column shift granted due to the use of an Allied Air Support unit so the final odds are 3-1. The Allies roll a 4 and the result is a DR forcing the Defender to retreat 2 hexes and become disrupted. The Allies then can follow through with a Breakthrough Attack on the retreating unit up to 3 spaces away.
What a great game Holland ’44 is. In our first play, I played as the Allies and conceded at the end of Turn 6 as I had not yet reached the Wilhemina Canal with 30th Corps and had started to feel the negative effects of my Airborne units finally running out of supply. We were playing the short 11 Turn scenario and I just didn’t see a path to allow me to meet the victory condition for the short scenario. I made some critical errors at the beginning with the way I attacked Arnhem Bridge with the 1st Airborne Division and with the 82nd Airborne as I was unable to take the bridge at Grave. I also got very unlucky in round 5 and 6 and rolled double Overcast weather so I was unable to bring in any reinforcements for the Airborne units. We loved the game though and I hope to get it back to the table soon for another play.