Thursday, 27 September 2018

Arnhem September 19th - 24th 2018



Not the usual battle report, but a melange of pictures, musings and ramblings from a 4 night break in Arnhem, Holland, with 3 nights of Bolt Action gaming thrown in... So we booked back in December 2017, when we discovered it, Bolt Action gaming in Arnhem on the weekend of the commemorations of the Market Garden campaign.
 
Chris Carr and I didn't bring any figures and just wanted to visit as much as game, but have to say we found the whole long weekend far exceeded our expectations. We spent 4 hours walking around Arnhem on Thursday, then chilled on the balcony of our room at the NH Rijn Hotel https://www.nh-hotels.com/hotel/nh-arnhem-rijnhotel?campid=8435708&ct=287135537&dclid=CJ6cz9mS290CFQmRGwodo5IMnQ 
 
On the Friday, after more walking around Arnhem, we hopped on a bus to Oosterbeek to the Hartenstein Museum and then walked up to The War Cemetery. I didn't take any pictures there. Then we came back for an evening gaming.
 
Saturday was a bus excursion around Oosterbeek and up to Ginkel Heath, with more gaming Saturday night. On Sunday, a quiet day with another stroll around Arnhem, before the big finale game with XXX Corps trying to breakthrough.
 
The one thing above all else that I wish to convey is my admiration and respect for the people of Arnhem and the surrounding areas. Every year, they commemorate the Battle, in appreciation of the sacrifice by Commonwealth forces over 74years ago. The statues, plaques, and areas are immaculately kept, and the local schools are all involved. The Airborne flags are displayed everywhere, both on and in shops, and in residences. It is genuinely moving...
 
It was excellent  to unwind with an eveing of gaming, and I'd like to thank Chris and Pat for organising it all, Paul Walker (of WarHQ) https://warhq.co.uk/blog/
and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoN5iy7clhN2yS75GEfQVog for helping make it more (or less) organised, Bill and Tom and their better halves for accompanying them, as well as all the others that turned up for the weekend, not all of whom I got to know. But thanks for those I played against, or with, including Brian Sweeney, Jan, Thomas Stoesser (http://stoessisheroes.com/ )who makes some exquisite miniatures, and the Dutch lads, Patrick, Angus, Pim, Robert "the light mortar man" and Jonas with his Beute Flammpanzers...
 
There are a few descriptions of things, but generally the pictures speak for themselves.

The first picture I took, at the North side of the John Frostburg (John Frost Bridge)


The Bridge from the side held by Frost and 2 Para






The view from the South side, where Grabners attack column came over



 4 Hercules practising on the Thursday, before the Saturday drops...

The screen was for commemorations on the Saturday


The flag of the Parachute regiment was displayed everywhere...






We could see the bridge from our hotel...

The rail Bridge could also be seen further west down the Rhine..


Coolest guy in Arnhem... Takes his dogs out from his houseboat via speedboat to run around on the other bank...




The bridge lit up at night...










The AirbornePlein below the roundabout on the bridge approach




The Hartenstein Park/ Museum. Sadly the outside was under restoration and surrounded by scaffolding...

6pdr or 17pdr?












The big "bomb" is a Nebelwerfer rocket...









The basement of the museum has the sound of battle and mock ups...















We then did a perimeter walk of the Thumb, the area in Oosterbeek held by the Para's around the Hartenstein to the Rhine









Plenty of Jeeps and historical vehicles around the area...


We played various games of Bolt Action on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with Chris Brown organising and supplying most of the terrain and figures...







This board was done locally and represents Arnhem pretty accurately in 20mm, for Rapid Fire rules






The first game on the Friday involved 4 locals (Pim, Patrick, Angus and Robert) playing British Paras. Their objective was to move up the board to a central area and set up a mortar platoon. Myself, Chris, Brian and Thomas Stoesser (yes, of Stoesser's Miniature Heroes fame) http://stoessisheroes.com/ took the Germans with the same mission...









The game lasted about 3.5 hours, with the Dutch lads winning the day with their half strength mortar platoon making it. Chris's Germans on the right flank crumpled under assaults, although Brian on the left did a good job of stymieing the British advance while Thomas troops secured the mansion... However, it was the Para light mortars that really stole the show, repeatedly ranging in first shots and holding up the Germans...



The game for the North ramp of the Bridge...

The Bridge again

The NH Rijn Hotel has some lovely rooms with balconies that make breakfast a real treat...

Saturday saw another excursion up to and around Oosterbeek. This church was in the "thumb" and was the location for the Para artillery battery...



Adjacent to the church is Kate van Der horst's house. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kate_ter_Horst

The rail bridge at Arnhem, visible from the church

Around the corner from the church, re-enactors put on an first aid station...


















Saying it was pretty realistic and good aren't the words best used to describe it but it was a well delivered re-enactment. The smell of Dettol and the chaplain giving last rites were really poignant touches, as were the equipment used...










Last ambulance in, and then the Yanks showed up...

















From the re-enactment we headed down to the Rhine, where the Polish airborne managed to cross the Rhine from Driel...






Then the seven Hercules were circling again, so it was off up to Ginkel Heath for the paradrop...










Found a few poster boys for shortbread...

And an Apache... well, why not?












Also had a wee Chinook...



That's a 28mm scale building of the NH Rijn hotel where we were staying (and playing)

The bridge is over there...

The Saturday night game found me playing Inexperienced Germans with BeuteFlammpanzers trying to break the Para perimeter... Chris and I drove straight between the defending paras lines, using trees for cover... 

Chris did breach the trenches first (the bases) with a Flammpanzers, but it got taken out by a dug in 6pdr in the flank. I had the first troops arrive and cut the road...

But there were Piats aplenty and the tanks didn't like them...


The British were cleared out of the two houses and the woods between them...


But our Germans didn't have much left to hold the road. Chris had the worst of it crossing the open fields, while I did better using the woods...

Additionally, I had flanking support from Patricks Aufklarungs, essentially giving us a 3:2 match up in the area...


Sunday, and it was wet and grey...

But the screens were down...


Sunday night was "the big game", as XXX Corps tried to break inot the "thumb" via the bridge road... The tables were put into a horseshoe to represent the thumb, and I had the top corner to hold...





























Despite the best efforts of the Germans, with their Beute Flammpanzers, the British managed to get XXX Corps close enough to save the day... Well, it was just a game!!!

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