I know we keep talking about our next release – Panzer Campaigns Scheldt ’44, but we are genuinely close to being finished.
We spent a lot of time in our last blog post talking about the scenarios included. That has not changed though a lot more play testing has been done. That has resulted in several additional variants and in some cases specialised scenarios built for HTH or vs the AI play.
A lot of effort has also gone into trying to balance the new campaigns and there have been changes to both Herbst Sturm and Market Garden. The playtest notes have been fascinating reading
For this post, we are going to talk about the Order of Battle (OOB) and the trials and tribulations in pulling them together. There are five OOB’s included with the game.
Here is an image of a typical high level OOB.
The Scheldt ’44 OOB was particularly difficult to research because the events covered fall in the middle of the larger campaign in Northwest Europe. The Allied and German orders of battle on the eve of the Normandy invasion are thoroughly documented and are laid out in detail in numerous sources. Many changes, however, occurred between June of ’44 and autumn of that year and no single source, either in print or on the internet, outlines the Allied or German organization for this period in sufficient detail and accuracy to create a Panzer Campaigns order of battle. We had to piece together the order of battle using a variety of both primary and secondary sources, many of which contained incomplete or contradictory information. Creating the Scheldt OOB involved putting together clues, assessing the validity of different sources, and reconciling conflicting accounts – it very much felt like detective work. Compounding the difficulty, it became apparent early on that a single OOB file would not suffice as significant changes occurred on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, particularly in the German army.
While many changes had occurred within the 21st Army Group since Normandy (several divisions had switched from one corps to another, many artillery units had been swapped between various AGRA, certain units had been disbanded, and others had arrived), overall the Allied armies were not as difficult to research as the basic structure and divisional organizations remained intact. The 2nd Tactical Air Force had undergone more significant reorganization, but this was well-documented in Chris Thomas and Christopher Shores’ work on the subject. The principal difficulty was in realizing the German 15th and 1st Parachute Armies, both cobbled together from the remnants of battered divisions that had retreated through France and Belgium plus various security, training, and other rear area units.
The most valuable sources were digitized copies of microfilm rolls containing German war diaries, situation reports, strength reports, organization charts, maps, and other miscellaneous documents. These provided the most precise and trustworthy information regarding the German OOB, though it was always important to keep in mind that any given report is only a snapshot of a particular moment and can’t necessarily be taken as being representative of the campaign as a whole. Here are some excerpts from the LXXXVIII. A.K. rolls:
This is Kampfgruppe Müller, within 719.Infanterie Division (all images can be clicked for full size);
And the equivalent entry in the Order of Battle;
This report covers the various components in Flak-Rgt.100
And the regiment in the Order of Battle
This image shows the frontage of 245.Infanterie Division.
And here is the make-up of Kampfgruppe Weichsel, one of the Divisions subordinate units;
Unfortunately, NARA only contains relevant records for LXXXVIII. A.K. and Korps Feldt, as well as some fragmentary material for LXXXVI. A.K.
Where German records were not available, the most important sources were Allied documents. The Canadian government has made digitized copies of all manner of World War II primary source materials free and available to the public, including war diaries, patrol logs, situation reports, and most significantly, intelligence reports. These intelligence reports were compiled roughly every other day and contain identifications of German units. Identifications were principally made through POW interrogations but also through captured documents, intercepted messages, and reports from the Belgian and Dutch resistance. The Canadians did not always accurately assess the composition of the forces in front of them and their assessments evolved over time as more information became available. While no single intelligence report can be considered authoritative, when viewed in a sequence and compared to other primary or secondary sources, a picture emerges of which information is likely accurate, what is questionable, and what is most definitely inaccurate, and from that reasonable inferences can be made. Here are some excerpts from Canadian intelligence reports:
This report allowed us to determine the components for Kampfgruppe Martin;
Also useful was the Canadian document Information from German Sources Part III: German Defense Operations in the Sphere of the First Canadian Army (23 August-8 November) and the American Foreign Military Studies (FMS) series, both of which contain postwar interviews with German generals. The utility of the FMS reports varied as they were compiled well after the events and are based on recollection. Some interviewed generals provided very precise information while others were vaguer.
In addition to the primary source documents described above, many secondary sources were consulted in designing Scheldt ’44, both for OOB and scenario design. Here is a list of most of the books and articles referenced:
Beale, Peter. The Great Mistake
Bernard, Henri. L’armée secrète
Brooks, Richard. Walcheren 1944
Buckingham, William F. Arnhem: Battle for the Bridges.
Cerfont, Noel. L’armée secrète: historique de la Zone II
Chevalier, Hugues. Les combats de la Libération du Pas-de-Calais
Copp, Terry. “To the Last Canadian?: Casualties in the 21st Army Group,” Canadian Military History, vol. 18
Davis, Gwilym. In My Father’s Footsteps
de Jong, Loe. Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, Deel 10a – Het laatse jaar
Delaforce, Patrick. The Black Bull
Delaforce, Patrick. The Fighting Wessex Wyverns
Delaforce, Patrick. Monty’s Highlanders
Delaforce, Patrick. Monty’s Ironsides
Delaforce, Patrick. Monty’s Marauders
Delaforce, Patrick. Monty’s Northern Legions
Delaforce, Patrick. The Polar Bears
Delaforce, Patrick. Red Crown and Dragon
Delaforce, Patrick. Smashing the Atlantic Wall
Didden, Jack and Martin Swaarts. Herbst Sturm/Autumn Gale
Didden, Jack and Martin Swaarts. “Highlanders in the Low Countries,” After the Battle, no. 120
Didden, Jack and Martin Swaarts. A Thorn in the Side of Market Garden
Doherty, Richard. Hobart’s 79th Armoured Division at War
Everitt, Chris. The Bomber Command War Diaries
Ford, Ken. Operation Market Garden 1944 (2)
Ford, Ken. Operation Market Garden 1944 (3)
Frisius, Friedrich. “Mein Tagebuch,” Le Journal du Vice-Amiral Friedrich Frisius
Greentree, David. British Airborne Soldier Versus Waffen-SS Soldier
Gullachsen, Arthur Willoughby. “An Army of Never-Ending Strength: Reinforcement of the Canadian Army 1944-45.” Western University.
van der Haar, R.G. “De Stoottroepen,” Het Grote Gebod, vol. 2
Haasler, Timm. Hold the Westwall
Hart, Stephen Ashley. Colossal Cracks
Hill, E.R. and the Earl of Rosse. The Story of the Guards Armoured Division
Kershaw, Robert. It Never Snows in September
Korthals Altes, A. and N.K.C.A.A. in’t Veld. The Forgotten Battle
Kraandijk, Th. and J.N. Lodders. “50 jaar regiment Stoottroepen,” Militaire Spectator
Macdonald, Charles B. The Siegfried Line Campaign
Marchal, Jean-Paul. Gent September ‘44
Margry, Karel. “The Battle of Den Bosch,” After the Battle, no. 64
Margry, Karel. “The Capture of Le Havre,” After the Battle, no. 139
Marquet, Victor. “La sauvegarde du port d’Anvers,” Cahiers d’Histoire de la seconde guerre mondiale, vol. 13
McGilvray, Evan. Black Devil’s March: A Doomed Odyssey
Moberg, Stig H. Gunfire!
Moulton, J.L. Battle for Antwerp
Mulder, Toon. “KP-Noord-Brabant-Oost,” Het Grote Gebod, vol. 1
Naert, Jan. “Het Gentse Onafhankelijkheidsfront in de naoorlogse Jaren. ‘Une victoire sans lendemain?’” Universiteit Gent
Naninck, Joep. “KP-Noord-Brabant-West,” Het Grote Gebod, vol. 1
Northwood, Arthur and Leonard Rapport. Rendezvous with Destiny
Nordyke, Phil. All American All the Way
Oddone, Patrick. “Dernier ‘Seigneur’ de Dunkerque,” Le Journal du Vice-Amiral Friedrich Frisius
van Ojen, G.J. De Binnenlandse Strijdkrachten I
Pellerin, R. Daniel. “‘You Have Shut up the Jerries’ Canadian Counter-Battery Work in the Clearing of the Breskens Pocket, October-November 1944,” Canadian Military History, vol. 21
Rawling, Gerald. Cinderella Operation
Reed, John. “The Cross-Channel Guns,” After the Battle, no. 29
van Reest, Rudolf. “KP-Zeeland,” Het Grote Gebod, vol. 1
Rely, Achiel. “The Battle for Merksem,” After the Battle, no. 85
Ryan, Cornelius. A Bridge Too Far
Schulten, J.W.M. “De strijd bij Meijel,” Militaire Spectator
Shores, Christopher, and Chris Thomas. Second Tactical Air Force, vol. 2
Stacey, C.P. The Victory Campaign
Thomas, Chris. Typhoon Wings, 2nd TAF 1943-45
Thomas, Graham. Attack on the Scheldt
Verney, GL. The Desert Rats
Weiss, Stephane. “Le jour d’après : organisations et projets militaires dans la France libérée : août 1944 – mars 1946.” Université de Lyon
Wheeler, Nicholas. “I British Corps and the Battle of the Scheldt: A Reassessment,” Canadian Military History, Volume 28
Whitaker, Shelagh. “Eugene Colson and the Liberation of the Port of Antwerp,” Canadian Military History, vol. 3
Whitaker, W. Denis and Shelagh Whitaker. Tug of War
Williams, Jeffrey. The Long Left Flank
Zaloga, Steven J. Operation Market Garden 1944 (1)
Zuehlke, Mark. The Cinderella Campaign
Zuehlke, Mark. Terrible Victory
Special attention should be drawn to Didden and Swaarts’ Herbststurm/Autumn Gale and A Thorn in the Side of Market Contain. These volumes, covering the actions of Kampfgruppe Chill, Kampfgruppe Walther, and their opponents, are exquisitely detailed and were invaluable to both order of battle and scenario design.
Several online resources were also helpful, including the Lexikon der Wehrmacht, Leo Niehorster’s Order of Battle site, Axis History, Feldgrau, WW2Talk, and Defending Arnhem.
Here are a few more examples from the Order of Battle. This entry shows the corps structure under the various armies (all images can be clicked for full size);
This image shows the units within the Dunkirk Fortress;
And this image shows some of the French Resistance forces;
Our next post will cover the representation of the resistance forces in Scheldt ’44 with a specific focus on the Belgian resistance.