Scenarios Little Soldiers

World War 2: Taking the Son Bridge

Operation Market Garden, Son, Netherlands, Sunday, 17 September 1944

Historical Situation

The U.S. 101st Airborne Division was tasked with taking the bridges of Son and Veghel. Historically they failed at Son.

In the south the 101st met little resistance and captured four of five bridges. The bridge at Son was blown up as they approached it, after being delayed by a short engagement with a German Flak 88mm Anti-aircraft gun and a machine gun. Later that day several small attacks by the German 59th Infantry Division (a 15th Army unit that had escaped across the South Beveland isthmus because of the failure of XXX Corps to seal it off) were beaten off, while small units of the 101st had moved south of Son.[1]

Map/Terrain

This map (and the basic scenario) is based on one from the computer game Close Combat II.

Son Bridge Map

Key features are:

Map made with AutoREALM


Pre-game Preparation


American Player (Attacking)

Objective

Take the Son bridge before the Germans blow it up.

Forces Available

"B" Company 1/506 PIR, from the American 101st Airborne Division

1 x CC (+1)
1 x HMG
1 x FO for off-table 81mm mortar (12 FM)

3 x Rifle Platoons:
1 x PC (+1)
3 x Rifle Squads

Morale: Regular

Deployment

Deploys second north of line A-A.

Reinforcements

None.

German Player (Defending)

Objective

Hold off the U.S. attack until the bridge can be blown up.

Forces Available

Elements of the 59th Infantry Division

Infantry Company
1 x CC (+2)
2 x HMG

2 x Under-strength Rifle Platoons:
1 x PC (+1)
2 x Rifle Squads
2 x 88mm Flak 18

Morale: Regular

Deployment

Deploys first. All units are deployed hidden in the town or surrounding area south of line A-A. The 88's are deployed in the gun pits.

Reinforcements

None.


Victory Conditions

Major US Victory:
Bridge is captured intact and 5 or more German stands are killed
Minor US Victory:
Bridge is captured intact
Minor German Victory:
Bridge is destroyed

Scenario Special Rules

The Moving Clock rule from Hit the Dirt is in effect. The clock advances 15 minutes on 5+ on one die, rolled at the end of each German initiative.

It takes the Germans 15 minutes to place explosives on one half of the bridge. The German player must have control of that side of the bridge to make a roll to successfully place explosives. Once both halves of the bridge have been rigged with explosives a final roll must be made to detonate the explosives. Any time a U.S. squad takes either end of the bridge the German player must take an additional 15 minutes to check the explosives once the American unit(s) are eliminated or driven off.

When a unit enters a multi-story buildings it is considered to be on the highest floor. The buildings act like contours/hills in that they allow the unit to see over hedges, fields, and contours. Optionally you could also allow the tall buildings in town to see over one adjacent building, as long as it is lower.

I have not decided how to treat the bridge. Should it:

  1. Be treated like an extension of the road with no additional effects
  2. Give cover like a rough ground, but not block line-of-sight (LOS)
  3. Be tread like a crest was in the middle, blocking LOS from one side to the other
  4. Or all LOS passing across the bridge is blocked

I played the scenario once using option 1.

The German 88's are in fortifications that give cover to the gun and crew.

Name ARM ACC PEN HE/EFF Smoke MG HD Spd CC Notes Pts
88mm Flak 18, 36 [4] - +1 +2 5/2 4 - - - -2 45° arc of fire, rotate like turret 10.5

Notes

The scenario was played on January 31, 2009.

This scenario has a tight time requirement. After playing the scenario, I changed the moving clock roll from 4+ to 5+ to give the Americans more time to reach the bridge. Also a final clock tick is required to destroy the bridge, giving the American player an average of 9 initiative phases to capture one end of the bridge. Once they do so, they're limited only by the danger of the Germans retaking the bridge before they take the other side.

So while it seems like very little time, I'm basing it on the original scenario from the computer game, which gave one about 3 minutes of game time to reach the bridge. If it's still to short, one could change the roll to 6+ (which should double the time) or just increase the number of clock ticks required for the Germans spend on each end of the bridge.

Another option, if the German side is just too strong, is to remove one Flak gun and/or one of the infantry platoons. If you decide to remove a Flak, then the German player should have the option to deploy it hidden in either of the gun pits.


Sources

[1] Wikipedia: Operation Market Garden

[2] Market-Garden Campaign Pt. 3: The Bridge at Best by Patrick Graham. A scenario for Axis and Allies Miniatures

[3] Battle Detective: Pictures of Holland

[4] 88mm Flak 18

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