Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Happy HQ Birthday

I've been at this blog almost a year now, and have had nearly 6,000 page loads. That's more than I had imagined it would receive.

Thanks to kindly posters who left comments and to readers who have stopped by and lingered more than 10 seconds.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Google-eyed View of COTA

Just published a Google Earth walk through of COTA scenarios. Visit this BBS if you want to download
the file: LINK

In case you missed it...

These are the new features coming with COTA:

Realistic Resupply System
Mixed Mode Movement and Slope Effects
Realistic Delay Task
Exit Tasks
Linked Tasks
Map Improvements
Enhanced Interface, including:
- Order of Battle display
- Display Tool Bar
- New Planning Tools
- Message Log and filters
- SOP History Log
- Enhanced Terrain popup
- Improved Data displays
Improved AI, including:
- Force Allocation
- Reaction and Reassessment
- Formation code
- Retreat code
Additional Weather Patterns
Over 20 new maps
Over 1,000 new Estabs
Over 30 new scenarios
Force List Export/Import
Mod-able Victory Messages
Mod-able Terrain Key

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sources for Arras Battle

Here's a listing of the sources I've used thus far in compiling data for this little scenario:

HRN Horne Allistair - To Lose A Battle, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England 1984

RMML Rommel, Erwin and Liddell-Hart, Basil H.(editor) - The Rommel Papers, Decapo Press, NY, NY 1953

FSCHR Fischer, K. H., Blitzkrieg Legend Link: Map is a scan from book.

USMA United States Miliatry Acadamy Map Collection Online. Map: Northwestern France, 1940. Campaign in the West 1940, Situation 21 May and Operations Since 16 May Link: Map is from scanned from unknown source, probably: Atlas of The Second World War: Asia and the Pacific (Wayne, NJ: Avery Publishing Group, Inc., 1985).

SPRHD John Moher, Spearhead Games Website, 1997-2000 Link: Games Website with OOBs and Rules

WKPD WikiPedia: British Expeditionary Forces; Modified 3/27/2005 Link:

FLDGR Online message board at

WW2DB World War II Data Book, Essential Facts and Figures for All Combatants. John Ellies, Aurum Press, London 1993

LEX German language website about SS formations:

TIL HPS - France 1940 Game OOB

NIEH Niehorster Website:

5th Panzer OOB

This outfit participated in the Arras counterstroke not at all, I think. But they were in very close proximity to the battle, holding down the right flank of 7th Panzer along the Scarpe river.

5th Panzer Division

8th Pz Brigade
31st Panzer Regiment

14th Panzer Regiment

8th Panzer Reconnaisance Battalion

5th Shutzen Brigade
14th Rifle Regiment

13th Rifle Regiment
1 Btl.


89th Pioneer Battalion (Motorized with Bridging Equipment and Armor)

77th Signals Battalion

53rd Antitank Battalion

116th Artillery Regiment
1 Btl.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Dreaded 88

It was at the high watermark of the BEF's attack that Rommel is reported to have employed the 88mm anti-aircraft gun as an antitank weapon for the first time, easily defeating the heavily armored Matilda, and halting the attack.

I wrote the above quote believing that this was indeed the momentous occasion in which the 88 became the dreaded weapon of the Germans. However, it is apparently not so. 88s were pressed into anti-tank service in Poland and possibly even Spain. I'm looking for more info on this.

OOB for Rommel's Ghost Division

7th Panzer Division

25th Panzer Regiment (of three battalions)
1.Abt. 44 x Pz II, 19 x Pz IV
2.Abt. 44 x Pz II, 19 x Pz III
66.Abt 44 x Pz 1, 19 x Pz III

37th Panzer Reconnaisance Battalion
2 x 75mm how
3 x 37mm anti-tank
3 x 81mm mortar
48 x armored cars

6th Rifle Regiment
1.Btl. 8 x heavy m.g., 6 x 81mm mort.
II.Btl 8 x heavy m.g., 6 x 81mm mort.

7th Rifle Regiment
1 Btl. 8 x heavy m.g., 6 x 81mm mort.
II.Btl. 8 x heavy m.g., 6 x 81mm mort.

s. Inf. Gesch. Kp.705
2 x 75mm ho
3 x 37 mm anti-tank

7th Motorcycle Battalion
54 x light m.g.
15 x heavy m.g.
9 x 50mm mortar
6 x 8 mm mortar

58th Pioneer Battalion

78th Field Artillery Regiment
Battalion x three four-gun batteries
Battalion x three four-gun batteries
Battalion x three four-gun batteries

42nd Antitank Battalion

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Battle of Arras

I’m announcing (very prematurely) my hopes to make an expansion pack for COTA that will cover a small part of the battle for France in 1940. Specifically, I will be working on a map, force list, and scenario for the battle of Arras. Below is some background on the battle.

At first glance, the British counterstroke at Arras appears to be a small gesture of defiance in the face of the overwhelming German blitzkrieg. Pitting two battalions and some slow-moving, underpowered British armor against the vanguard of the entire German panzer army seems like jabbing a penknife into the snout of a charging rhino. But Alistair Horne, in his book "To Lose A Battle", paints the British-lead strike as an engagement that may well have been the most decisive battle in all of WWII. And when you look at the battle, and think about the outcome, he may well be right.

Pouring forth from Germany, the Panzer Divisions had driven hard against the faltering French for 10 days. On the May 20, 1940 the foremost Panzers reached the English Channel. In the words of Horne: "The dog tired Panzer crews filled their lungs with sea air and wondered in amazement at how much more they had achieved than the Kaiser's army before them."

In the process of reaching the sea, they had encircled the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in a pocket along the coast, leaving the BEF with the option of either fighting its way out or evacuating via Dunkirk. Lord Gort, who commanded the BEF in France was, by this time, chiefly concerned with ensuring the survival of the BEF as Britain's primary ground force. However, at the most senior levels of the Allied armies, an operation was conceived for the British and French to make a concerted strike at the Panzer column that had encircled it, and to cut off the "head of the tortoise."

The position of the Germans at this point was indeed tenuous. In addition to out-doing the historical achievements of the Kaiser's army, the lead elements of the Panzer thrust had also outstripped their real-life infantry counterparts who were miles behind them. As a result, what separated the BEF and a number of French units from the main body of the French was a thin "Panzer corridor" absent of the German troops needed seal the fate of the BEF.

The great Allied counterattack was slow in coming together, as coordination between the French and the BEF was poor, and French seemed to be reeling from the devastating psychological effects of the Blitzkrieg. And there was the problem of resources. Attacked on every side, it was difficult for the British and French in the pocket to pull units out of the line and commit them to the attack. So, what was conceived by the higher ups as a strike by four divisions, would only be a riposte of two battalions of the BEF’s 150th, some armor and little to no support from the RAF.

A limited attack to interrupt German communications and supplies was all Gort felt he ever could accomplish. But like a pebble thrown into a pond, the ripples of Arras would eventually reach Berlin. Gort waited only a brief time to see if French support would materialize. Then he moved into action.

The attack was launched on the afternoon of May 21, 1940 and was lead by General Martel, Britain's foremost tactician in tank warfare. On the extreme right, the French provided a force of cavalry tanks and guns to cover the flank of the attack. Martel divided his forces into two columns. One equipped with 50 Mark I tanks, the other containing 16 Mark II tanks, called "Matilda's." Both the Mark I and the Matilda were infantry tanks - heavily armored, under-gunned compared to the German tanks, and slow moving.

The attack trundled into its first objectives, and scored early victories against German troops that had grown accustomed to easy wins. It was not long, however, before the Stukas arrived to drive the BEF infantry to ground. The armor kept on going without the infantry, achieving success against the opposing forces. But, without the infantry to make good on the ground gained by the armor, the attack became overextended and began to falter.

It was at the high watermark of the BEF's attack that Rommel is reported to have employed the 88mm anti-aircraft gun as an antitank weapon for the first time, easily defeating the heavily armored Matilda, and halting the attack. Eventually, the 25th Panzer arrived to reverse the BEF’s gains.

Two days later, without the approval of his superiors, Gort began pulling his troops back toward the beaches of Dunkirk. His motive was clearly to preserve the BEF.

In all the attack achieved a only marginal battlefield victory in men and material for the BEF. The Germans reported to have lost significant numbers of men and tanks. The BEF also lost the greater part of its tanks. But the psychological victory of the British over the Germans was the achievement that may have been the most decisive of the war. The attack by Martel and the tough skin of the Matilda must have shaken the Germans. Horne describes the them as feeling a certain amount of disbelief that their attack was going so well to begin with. German reports filtering back to the high command described hundreds of enemy tanks and five enemy divisions. By the time of Arras, the Germans were apparently ready to believe that they had finally run out of luck. And so they paused.

This temporary abatement gave the British time to pull back and organize the “Miracle of Dunkirk,” which returned the BEF to England, giving the English the confidence and spirit to resist Hitler and buying time to bring the U.S. and the U.S.S.R into the war and assure victory over the Third Reich.

Gort would also survive the German Blitzkrieg, but one can only imagine the effects of Dunkirk. Monty - who was then only commander of the 3rd Division - met Gort on the beaches of Dunkirk amidst the evacuation and wrote in his diary about Gort "C-in-C very pathetic site, a defeated and dissapointed man."

But there can be no denying Gort's tremendous achievement in stepping forward and delivering a major psychological blow to the Germans at Arras thus preserving the BEF to fight again another day.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Pardon My Dust

I have to find a new host for the files for this site. The host where I store the images and game files is being transferred to another owner. Therefore, you'll not be seeing the images and "stuff" for a while.

In other news, I embarassed myself today by completely forgetting what the password I used for my saved tournament game. I sent the file to Panther and I hope they can dig the password out of the file for me.

So, rather than finish up round one against Isacco, the Milano Master of Disaster, he and I started a new game against one another: "Battle of the Boxtel Bases." I took command of the vaunted Axis forces, and Isacco lead the Allies. We played for two hours and I have to admit that he is getting the better of me. Before we could finish, my son woke up from his nap, and my wife strolled in to remind me of the things I needed to get done, so I had to save the game and bid Isacco farewell till next time.

All this while he was driving a Guards armored regiment right across my flank, threatening to envelope the entire 1034 infantry regiment in Boxtel proper. I had recognized the threat and had given them orders to pull back from the city, but they were so war weary, I couldn't get them to move. Grrrrrrr.

Mercifully, I won't have to watch the disaster unfold for another week or so.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Another Hero Gone

Last week, Bill Kasson passed away. He was a childhood friend of my father, and they served together in the U.S. 71st Infantry Division during WWII.

The picture above is of my father (left) and Bill. The photo was taken at Stanford University after they finished basic training. They were enrolled in specialized training programs at Stanford when suddenly they shipped to Europe as replacements for the many soldiers who were wounded or killed in the early fighting of the invasion of France.

In the photo, they look excited and proud; ready to embark on the adventure of a life time. And what an adventure it was - across France, into Germany, and ending the war in Austria. Bill carried the 45-lb base of a 81 mm mortar a good part of the way, through eight river assualts, a handful of battles, and the liberation of a concentration camp.

Military life meant much to Bill - much more than it did to my dad. While my father was proud to have served and the war figured into his life in many ways, he never had the desire to wear a uniform again and never wanted to spend another night outdoors. Bill, however, spent 30 years in the military reserves and ultimately lead his reserve unit.

During the war, my father and Bill served in different regiments and saw little of each other. One of my dad's favorite stories was how, after crossing the Elbe in a small boat, he scrambled ashore to where a G.I. extended a hand down the river bank to help him up. It was Bill.

They were able to re-enact the happy moment in the 1980s when they followed the Division's path across Europe. Spending time with Bill remembering the old days brought my Dad much joy. In 1986 my dad died. Bill remained a devoted friend of the family ever since, and we will miss him.

I'd like to think that, as Bill went to go home to the Lord, my dad was waiting to extend a hand and help him up those final few steps.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

New Map Resource

The library downtown just got a new map scanner and they have a good collection of Military Service maps from 1942. Spent some time there today getting ready for the next project. Can you guess battle what it will be?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Links and Info

The Game
Airborne Assault: Highway to the Reich - This is what this blog is all about. A great new game that lets you call the shots during Operation Market Garden. Whether you lead the Allies or defend as the Germans, you'll need to think steps ahead and react quickly to achieve victory in real-time battles against an advanced AI or live opponent.

- the upcoming "Conquest of the Aegean" is nearing completion and should be available this fall. Read more here.

Panther Games - The creators of Airborne Assault: Highway to the Reich and its predecessor, Airborne Assault: Red Devils over Arnhem.

The Matrix Games forums for HTTR - Matrix is the publisher of HTTR and hosts an active forum for the game and its follow-on Conquest of the Agean. Query the developers and you'll likely get a response. You can find an online opponent there, and it's also a great place for tips from many very good players.

The Usenet "games - war historical" Message Board - This is the unfiltered usenet group (via Google Groups) that discusses a wide variety of topics... sometimes even wargames. Often Airborne Assualt. Good detailed info is often posted by the developer and updates are provided frequently.

Game Patches and Downloads - The official page for game downloads and patches. Includes a couple of good map graphics map packs by Bil Hardenberger, game reference charts, and tools for scenario creation.

Fan Sites
The Drop Zone - The granddaddy of AA fan sites. This was the fist (and, until I started doing this, the only) Airborne Assault fan site going. Currently, you can follow the HTTR Tourney at this website. The Drop Zone was started after the launch of Airborne Assault: Red Devils After Arnhem. Most, if not all, files are for AA:RDOA and will not work with the current game. But, it still contains a wealth of information about the game and is well worth a look.

El Savior's Airborne Depot - A very informative fan site and home to the Battle of the Bulge mod for HTTR. Plus El Savior hosts a number of other scenarios.

Hedgerows Mod - Mini-site for my Hedgerows expansion pack.

Crossing the Moselle River - Great map and scenario by Count Sessine. Go to the downloads section of the Airborne Depot.

Heartbreak Ridge - One of the great Airborne Assault: Red Devils Over Arnehm scenarios that has been converted by JeF for the new game.

Hohenstaufen Holiday Scenario - Modified Arnehm scenario that asks "What if the 9th SS Pz Div was rotated out of the Arnehm area prior to the Market Garden op?" If you were in the British 1st AB Div, you would answer: "Only if..." By Paul Roberts. Send him a message via the Matrix forums for the file.

World War HQ
- Currently hosting two AA:HTTR mods and will likely host more soon. Mine I hope.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Love / Hate

The best time and worst time I've had playing this game is against a human opponent.

Having gotten fairly well crushed in my first game in the tourney (my worst time?), I am facing my opponent again in round two. Today we played for almost two hours, but had to stop before the match was over. I enjoyed the game a lot, but can't stop wondering how things will go in the final hours.

There isn't much time left... and my situation is looking okay thus far. BUT, I'm wondering when he'll unleash the knockout blow. Because we are playing a scenario that came with the game, I know full well what forces he has to work with. And so far, I've only seen maybe half or less of his forces.

The question is where will they come? And will I have enough time to react? This is the part I truly love and hate... stay tuned!

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Block the Beaches Beta 1.03 Released

Made some more tweaks and am close to finalizing this scenario.

I have probably played this one about 40 times and it is still fun. It's a good challenge and the map offers opportunities to mix up the strategy and attack.

I hope you enjoy it - download here.

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Isacco handed me a stinging defeat in the HTTR tourney. A 25 point difference in our scores! I will post a more detailed AAR when the whole thing is over. Knowing how balanced the scenario is - and how solid Isacco is - I fear the spread is too much to regain in round two.

On a good note, I've published the Carentan map with a new scenario. Check it out.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


It's been a while since I've posted, but I've managed to put together a small scenario for my new Utah Beach map. It's meant to be played as the Germans. You'll definitely struggle to contain the para drop, consolidate the situation and prepare for the onslaught of the beach invasion.

I've got to finish up two things and then I'll post it for download. Watch this site this weekend....

See some screenies here.