Panzer Campaigns Scheldt ’44 – Research and References

Hi All,

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.

Scheldt_44_September_Early

Scheldt_44_September

Scheldt_44_October

Scheldt_44_October_Late

Scheldt_44_November

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.

Till then!

5 thoughts on “Panzer Campaigns Scheldt ’44 – Research and References

  • It is always a worthwhile endeavor to provide insight into the development of a new PzCampaign release. As a customer and devoted player of JTS/WDS games, information like this adds to the anticipation and value of a new product title. And gives some insight into the effort required to create a top notch military simulation like Scheldt ’44 looks to be.

    Thanks for posting this latest dev update!

  • The depth research and your commitment to accurate OOBs is impressive! …You just need to wrap this thing up so I can click the buy button…how about tomorrow ;). How many games are there where you can honestly say that you are looking forward to not just playing the game but almost as excited to read the docs.

  • Sorry to be a pain but I can’t follow how KG Muller’s Gliederung is translated into PzC?

    F.E.B. 1719 is missing?
    The II SS Bn has 3 rifle coys and a hvy weapons coy. So I guess that has been rolled up into 3 PzC companies?

    • Ian,

      As mentioned in the blogpost, any given report is a “snapshot” of a single moment. The September OOB covers the period from 17 to 29 September and many battalions, including FEB 1719, switched between different commands during that time. This means we have to make (sometimes hard) choices about where to place a given battalion in the OOB.

      As in many PzC titles, HW companies are not represented as individual units but instead represented as being “distributed” amongst the rifle companies in the form of increased hard and soft values and manpower.

      -Mike Prucha

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