Arnhem Bridge 28mm …..
Amongst other commission projects I have is a 28mm Bolt Action gaming project for the vehicles from the 9th-SS Hohenstaufen SS-Aufklärung-Abteilung (Recce Battalion). We’ll be using about 14 kits mostly from Warlord with a few from Blitzkrieg and JTFM thrown in.
So as usual for my bigger projects now I’ll start with some suck-eggs basic historical background.
The Hohenstaufen ended up in Holland and the area north of Arnhem recovering after the mauling it and it’s sister Division the Frundsburg received in the Normandy Battles. The unit was in the process of entraining for Germany to re-fit when the first Airborne drops were made on 17 September. Kampfgruppe Harzer was formed with approximately 2500 men and precious little heavy equipment. General orders were received to recce the Nijmegan / Arnhem area, secure the bridge and wipe out the airborne landings west of Arnhem in the Oosterbeek area.
The 9th-SS-AA (Aufklärung-Abteilung) was located in the area of Hooenderlo where most of the divisions still mobile armour, SPWs and A/Cs, had been concentrated into 3 companies. Rapidly mobilising it was ordered South and drove though a deserted Arnhem and over the Neder-Rijn highway bridge, reporting it clear, having just missed the advancing 2nd Battalion of John Frost. Failing to leave a blocking force at the bridge (a major mistake) it continued on and into the Nijmegan area.
On the second day the 9th-SS-AA returned from Nijmegan as units from the Frundsberg had arrived to hold the area and the road bridge there, having crossed the Neder-Rijn by ferry (a slow and tricky process that would continue for most of the battle).
This set the scene for the now infamous dash across the bridge, an action made famous by the movie A Bridge Too Far. Leaving a small group of SPGs in Elst, at approx 9.00am an over confident SS-Hauptsturmführer Viktor Gräbner led his units in a dash across the bridge and straight into the fire of a prepared and dug in opponent. Several vehicles made it through the surprised British lines before 6pdr AT, PIAT and small arms fire decimated most of the remaining column, losing around 20 vehicles and the commander himself who went missing presumed KIA.
And some reference pics (from web sources and included here for discussion purposes only)
The Highway Bridge over the Neder-Rijn at Arnhem photographed shortly after the ill fated attack by the 9th SS AA. Note the houses surrounding the bridge have yet to suffer the destruction later suffered in the battle to defeat John Frosts 2nd Battalion.
SS-Hauptsturmführer Viktor Gräbner
Various SdKfz250s from the bridge and surrounding area.
Troops identified as belonging to the 9thSS
Stugs from Sturmgeschutz Brigade 280 which blocked the advance of the British 1st and Third Battalions into Arnhem and towards the bridge. Of interest is the “waffle” pattern zimmerit and the camouflage with field applied ambush dots on the side skirts.
Movie scene from the shooting of Grabners attack for the movie A Bridge Too Far
The scene at the bridge after the battle. Compare this devastation with the first reference picture!
The last word goes to Sean Connery playing Major General Urquhart in the Movie A Bridge Too Far ;
So for Bolt Action Gaming purposes the 9th SS Panzer Recce Abt unit (and with a little historical licence) will comprise;
1x Humber A/C – Grabners Humber
1x Schwimmwagen – Recce/command (4 troops)
1x 251/8 – Medical (2 medics, 2 troops )
1x 251/7 – Engineers (9 troops)
1x SP Flak – Opel Blitz and SPAA Quad20mm
1x 222 – 20mm light a/c
1x 232 – 20mm heavy a/c
1x Luchs – 20mm recce light afv
1x 250/1 – SPW (5 troops)
1x 250/1 – SPW (5 troops
Heavy Support Platoon
1x 250/7 – 81mm Mortar
1x 250/8 – 75mm SPG
2x 251/1C – 20 troops
1x Opel Blitz – 10 Troops
And yes, some actual modelling coming soon …… Q