Race To The Bridge

Race To The Bridge

Race To The Bridge
By Livio Cavallaro
Operation Market Garden was launched by the Allied in Holland on 17 September 1944 and it was a matter of capturing and defending a number of bridges. A “carpet” made by three airborne divisions was laid through German occupied territory in order to allow ground forces a race up to the bridge on the Rhine River in Arnhem. The area at the bottom of the “corridor” including Veghel and Eindhoven was seized by the 101st US Airborne Division “Screaming Eagles”. Their task was to capture and defend the bridge on the Wilhelmina Canal at Son to the North of Eindhoven, four bridges in the area of Veghel and two bridges in the vicinity of St. Oedenrode.

In the event, the American paratroopers were able to capture all the bridges except the one at Son. When men of the 1st Battalion, 506th  Parachute Infantry Regiment, arrived just 50 meters  from the site, the garrison blew up the bridge in their face. However, after clearing the German resistance, a precarious footbridge was put in place and the other battalions crossed the canal moving South to Eindhoven.

0n 18 September the paratroopers in Eindhoven established contact with the advancing ground force of the British XXX Corps. On the following day at Son, engineers built a Bailey Bridge on the western side of the destroyed one and tanks and troops of the British Guards Armored Division could continue their advance northward. The German reaction to the Allied operation was to immediately assemble units on both sides of the codenamed “Club Route”, the single road leading to Arnhem, with the obvious intent of cutting it at suitable locations

One of the attacks was led by Panzer Brigade 107, a unit only recently formed from the ashes of the 25th Panzer Grenadier Division, but with a considerable strength in terms of tanks and antiaircraft weapons. On 19 September, the brigade commanded by Major Berndt-Joachim Freiherr von Maltzahn assembled in the area of Helmond where it was reinforced by the I.Batallion of Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 21. After that,  Major von Maltzahn pushed toward Son with six Panthers (Panzer Abtailung 2017, Major Hans-Albrecht von Plüskow) and Panzergrenadiers (Panzergrenadier-Batallion 2107, Capt. Kurt Wild). A coordinated attack by the 59th Infanterie Division on the northern side of the Wilhelmina Canal was not to begin due to heavy fighting involving that unit further North.

It was around 17.15 when the first Panther led by Lieutenant Graf Von Brockdorff-Ahlefeld rolled along a dirt road parallel to the canal to the southern approach to the Bailey bridge. Among other targets, the 7.5 cm gun engaged the top of the church’s bell tower in Son in an attempt to destroy possible American observers inside it.

The American forces at the bridge comprised one platoon from A Company, 1st Battalion 506Th Regiment and some engineers; the Divisional Commander General Maxwell B. Taylor with his HQ was located in the Schoolhouse on the eastern side of the village. During the attack, a column of trucks belonging to Q Battery, 21st British Anti Tank Regiment was crossing the canal, many vehicles were hit by German fire, one of them, carrying ammunitions, exploded just in the middle of the bridge.

Race To The Bridge

Race To The Bridge

After some fire exchange, Taylor rushed back to Landing Zone W where he picked up a 57 mm Anti-Tank gun and its crew from B Battery, 81 Anti-Tank Battalion. Once in Son, the gun was positioned among the houses on the northern side of the canal by the battery commander, Captain Alphonse Gueymard, and the first shot disabled the leading Panther. The blocked turret of the panzer remained pointed to Son, the crew bailed out and escaped. After another Panther was knocked out by bazooka fire and since darkness was falling, von Maltzahn decided that it was enough for the day and ordered a withdraw. The bridge defenders were relieved during the night with the arrival of C Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Glider Infantry Regiment

On the next day, 20 September, Panzer Brigade 107 repeated the attack in the early morning mist: once again Panthers and Panzergrenadiers reached the bridge area engaging the defenders. But  this time the Allied response was even stronger. Having reversed from the North, ten Cromwell tanks from B Squadron 15/19 King’s Hussars Regiment, then followed by other armor from C Squadron, crossed the bridge southwards and engaged the German spearhead. Some time later, another tank unit arrived in the area from the South: spread out on a large front to the west of Club Route, Sherman tanks from 44th Royal Tank Regiment, 11th Armored Division, charged the Panzer Brigade on its left flank. The ensuing tank battle saw heavy losses on both sides. 

With his men surrounded on three sides,  von Maltzahn was forced to withdraw for the second time having lost around 150 men and four more tanks. Although the Germans missed their objective, the action imposed a serious delay to both combat and logistic Allied convoys on Club Route. That was one of the reasons for Operation Market Garden to fail..

Race To The Bridge

Race To The Bridge

Race To The Bridge


It never snows on September, Robert Kershaw; Hell’s Highway, Tim Saunders;
September Hope: the American side of Market Garden, John McManus;
Panzer Brigades in the West, https://panzerworld.com/panzer-brigades-in-the-west-1944#panzer-brigade-107
Panzer Brigade 107 – Axis History, http://www.axishistory.com/axis-nations/152-germany-heer/heer-brigaden/4413-panzer-brigade-107

Race To The Bridge - Scenario
This scenario proposes the second attack of Panzer Brigade 107 aiming at capturing or destroying the Son bridge, on 20 September 1944. .

Special Rules

The wreck marked Race To The Bridge on the map is a Panther tank destroyed on the first day of battle. That wreck and any possible wreck that happen to be on the Son Bridge are only passable at Tactical Speed after a successful Cross Check. All other wrecks are treated in accordance with the rule on page 40 of the 1939-41 and 1944-45 Rule Book (V4).

Logistic Trucks
A convoy of 5 Allied Logistic Trucks arrives on Club Route from the southern side of the table, on Turn 1. The convoy is treated as a unit and it is always in Good Spirit, regardless of losses. It can move everywhere but must exit the northern side of the table on the same road before the end of the game. These vehicles are so heavily laden that they can only move at 8”/20cm each turn. They are Slow Wheeled and cannot move at Dash Speed, although they can make Blitz Moves. 

MAJOR GENERAL MAXWELL TAYLOR see page 20 of the Special Rules and Warriors Book.

INDIAN COUNTRY See page 20 of the Special Rules and Warriors Book.

BRING UP THE GUNS See page 20 of the Special Rules and Warriors Book.

EARN YOUR JUMP BOOTS See page 18 of the Special Rules and Warriors Book.

PLATOON MORTARS See page 18 of the Special Rules and Warriors Book.

Setting Up
Set up the terrain as shown on the map, the table is 4’/120cm by 6’/180cm. Off-road terrain is Soft Terrain (Terrain Dash). The Wilhelmina Canal is a Deep River impassable to vehicles, guns and tanks. An infantry team can cross it starting adjacent to the near bank, moving at tactical speed after a 4+ Cross Check. No enemy teams must be within 4”/10 cm of the landing site on the far bank.

Allied and German units are deployed as shown in the appropriate Army List. Allied units held in reserve enter the table at their own specific points as Delayed Reserves.

Winning The Game
The game cannot be won before the end of Turn 6, unless one of the opposing formations is destroyed. The German player wins if he starts his turn Holding an Objective. The Allied player wins if there are no German teams within 6”/15 cm from the sides of the whole Club Route.  There are two Objectives. Objective 1 marker is placed before the game starts, on Club Route, with the long side of the marker adjacent to the southern ramp of the bridge. Objective 2 marker is placed by the German player anywhere on Club Route but at least 8”/20 cm away from Objective 1 marker and no less than 8”/20cm from the table edge. It can only be placed at the end of Turn 4 or at the end of one of the following Turns.

Victory Points
Victory Points are determined as normal (page 93 of the RB). However, when counting the number of Units from the Winner’s Force that were Destroyed, including HQ Units, the Winner:

- if Allied, he will consider one unit less in the total amount of lost units in case he was able to get at least three Logistic Trucks out of the table;

- if German, he will consider one unit less in the total amount of lost units, in case he  was able to destroy at least three Logistic Trucks;

- the owner of Objective 1 will also consider two units less in the total amount of lost units.

Allied Force - US Glider Rifle Company (Support from 11th Armoured Division) From Market-Garden
Force HQ - Major General Maxwell B. Taylor  (Commander 101st US Airborne Division) and HQ 1/327 Glider Infantry Regiment. 

Company HQ with 1xCiC Carbine, 1x2iC Carbine, 2x Bazooka Team
(Combat - Confident Trained)
Gen. Taylor (Warrior, Higher Command Rifle Team, Fearless Veteran)

1st Platoon, C Company 1/327 Glider Infantry Regiment.  Glider Infantry Platoon with 1x Command Rifle,1x Bazooka, 1x M2 60mm mortar, 6x Rifle 
(Combat - Confident Trained)
1st Platoon, C Company 1/327 Glider Infantry Regiment.  Glider Infantry Platoon with 1x Command Rifle,1x Bazooka, 1x M2 60mm mortar, 6x Rifle 
(Combat - Confident Trained)
B Battery, 81 Anti-Tank Battalion (Captain Alphonse Gueymard) Glider Anti-tank Platoon with 1x Command Carbine, 2x M1 57mm gun, 2x Bazooka Teams
(Weapons - Confident Trained)
HQ 15/19 King’s Hussars Regiment British Armoured Recce Platoon with 1x Command Cromwell IV, 2x Cromwell IV
(Support - Confident Trained) – DELAYED RESERVE
 B Squadron, HQ 15/19 King’s Hussars Regiment British Armoured Recce Platoon with1x Command Cromwell IV, 2x Cromwell IV, 1x Challenger A30
(Support - Confident Trained) - DELAYED RESERVE

A Squadron, 44th Royal Tank Regiment

British Armoured Platoon with 1x Command Sherman V, 1x Sherman V, 1x Firefly VC
(Support - Confident Veteran) - DELAYED RESERVE

B Squadron, 44th Royal Tank Regiment

 British Armoured Platoon with 1x Command Sherman V, 1x Sherman V, 1x Firefly VC
(Support - Confident Veteran) - DELAYED RESERVE

Logistic Convoy 

 Transport Platoon with 5x Matador Truck
(Confident Trained)
German Force - Panzer Brigade 107- from Bridge by Bridge 

HQ Panzer Brigade 107
(Maj. Berndt-Joachim F. von Maltzahn)  

Panzer kompanie HQ with CinC Panther G, 2iC Panther G 4xPanzershreck, can be combat-attached
(Combat - Confident Trained)

1.Panzer Kompanie, Panzer Abteilung 2017 (Major Hans-Albrecht von Plüskow) Panther Platoon with Command Panther G, 2x Panther G
(Combat - Confident Trained)
4. Kompanie (Panzerjager), Panzer Abteilung 2017 Panzerjager Platoon with Command Panzer IV/70 (V), 1x Panzer IV/70 (V)
(Weapons - Confident Trained)
Cannon  Platoon/1. Kompanie Panzergrenadier-Batallion 2107 Cannon  Platoon with Command Sd Kfz 251/9, 1x Sd Kfz 251/9
(Weapons - Confident Trained)
1. Kompanie Panzergrenadier-Batallion 2107
(Capt. Kurt Wild)

Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier Platoon with Command Panzerfaust MG, 6x Panzerfaust MG, 4x Sd Kfz 251/1 half-track
(Support - Confident Trained)

I.Batallion/Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 21

Fallschirmjager Platoon with Command Panzerfaust SMG, 6x Panzerfaust Rifle/MG, 3x 3-ton truk
(Support - Fearless Veteran)
Race To The Bridge

Last Updated On Sunday, February 25, 2018 by Luke at Battlefront