Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

PMZ Campaign: Antwerp

Report from General Dietrich,
commanding
Sixth Panzer Army
The second battle for Antwerp, dated
November 20th 1944

As part of operation Autumn Mist, I had been given the task of driving the British back and siezing the port of Antwerp, thus depriving the Allies of their supply base. My orders were to drive as rapidly as possible for the port before the poor weather cleared which would allow the Allied airforce to operate. The British were occupying polder country so I was forced to attack on a narrow front in one of the clear corridors dominated by a line of low hills.

I attacked on the right with the 10th SS Pz Division supported by the 30th SS Inf Division, a Tiger Pz Abteilung and Jg Panthers. On the left the 9th Panzer Division was to make a diversionary attack supported by the 26th Infantry Division. The attack got off to a slow start as the Panthers and Tigers were forced to negotiate forested ground. Emerging from the forest they came under heavy fire from Shermans and antitank guns on the ridge in front of them and took significant casualties as they closed. After considerable manoeuvring, the British gave way and retired behind the hills.

On the left the 9th Panzer swung away from the wooded ground in front of them and advanced on the central ridge. They came under heavy fire from the ridge and forced to stop. At this point they were attacked in the flank by a battalion of Churchills hidden in the wooded ground and forced to retreat. Despite repeated attacks, they could make no further headway. Short on fuel, they retired from the battlefield.

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The view from behind the left flank. The lead elements of 9th Panzer are advancing on the central ridge. In the background 10th SS Pz have driven the British from the ridge.
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The 10th SS Pz advanced up onto the ridge and found themselves facing another British division which had moved up behind it. Another lengthy battle ensued, using up more precious fuel. Eventually the British were forced to retire, leaving the 10th SS Pz in possession of the ridgeline. With intact Britsh troops on the flanking hill, two British divisions in front and very little fuel, I knew it was now impossible to capture Antwerp and so was forced to call off the attack.

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The view from behind the German positions. 10th SS Pz have advanced onto the ridge. The British are in front of them and on the central hill.
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