Chris Brown talks about Arnhem and playing awesome Bolt Action games there and invites you along, read more about it here!
Chris: It may not snow, but for a long weekend over the 21/22/23rd September Arnhem is awash with things that interest WW2 gamers. It is of course the commemorative event for the Arnhem aspect of Market garden and there’s plenty to do and see. The Hartenstein Hotel – used as a headquarters by the Germans before the battle and by the British during it – has been a museum for decades and is well worth a visit. There’s another visitor centre at the famous bridge and the 1940-45 war museum about 4 miles north of the city. Every year substantial numbers of re-enactors and military vehicle collectors congregate in Arnhem and Oosterbeek and almost all of them can be found at the annual parachute drop on Ginkel Heath – which is of course where 4th Parachute Brigade landed on 18th September 1944.
That’s all well and good, but if you want to attend the weekend what do you do in the evenings? Easy…play Bolt Action games with a Market Garden theme.
This year we are staging a weekend of Bolt Action games in a building formerly known as ’The Rhine Pavilion’ which is now part of the NH Rijn Hotel. The Pavilion was a significant location in its own right during the fighting. It is slap in the middle of one of the most intense combat areas, just a hundred yards or so from the St. Elizabeth Hospital and the Zwarteweg house where General Urquhart hid from the Germans.
Naturally if you are going to go to Arnhem you are unlikely to want to spend all your time indoors playing wargames (though we can largely accommodate that if you want!) so we have ensured that there will be plenty of time to explore in daylight and that games will be set up ready to play in the evenings.
There will be quite a variety of games including some rather large ones. The biggest project will be based on the activities of 1st Battalion Border Regiment…and yes, it will have the whole battalion on the table top and it will have places for about 20 players. Another will be a ‘Road to the Reich’ game with elements of XXX corps pushing up the highway toward Arnhem with a full squadron of Shermans and an extensive armoured Recce unit…more Bren Carriers and Scout cars and Stuarts than you can shake a stick at.
There will be lots of more modest games laid out as well, including a small ‘site-specific’ board which will include the building we are playing in… you can’t really get more ‘site-specific’ than that! Another will depict the defence of the British gun lines at the Oude Kirk at Oosterbeek and a third will be the 21st Independent Company’s combat in Oosterbeek.
So where does all this kit come from? You may well have already seen some of it in the various Market Garden articles I have written for Warlord website. Pat and I have fairly large (AKA ridiculous) collections – she’ll be providing masses of British and German infantry and scores of vehicles, – Shermans, Panzer IVs, Panthers, FlaK, trucks, Hanomags, Stugs – .and I will be bringing rafts of British Airborne, loads and loads of jeeps, AT guns and a full battery of 75mm howitzers. We will also be bringing masses of scenery – the Border Regiment table alone will be about 30 foot long so we’re going to need it! Our pal Tom Howley from the very wonderful Alba Studio painting service (they’ve done a lot of the figures) will be bringing more, as will some of the other participants. We can supply everything; however you are more than welcome to bring anything you want – all we ask is that your kit is clearly marked underneath – as ours will be. It would also help if you let us know what you are bringing if you want to use it in the big games.
So if you want to join us, how does this work? The best thing to do is to visit the ‘Arnhem Wargames’ Facebook page, but you can get in touch with me directly at thathistorybloke@Outlook.com if you’re not a social media person. You deal with transport to Arnhem yourself and we can book rooms for players at the NH Rijn Hotel at a reasonable rate, but if you want to come along do act quickly – the hotel is obviously going to be very busy for the commemorative weekend so we need to book rooms sooner rather than later.
There is a charge of 45 Euros to cover the hire of the conference rooms. We will provide information and tips on getting around the battle areas and we expect to organise a bus trip which will go to the major sites and take us to the commemorative drop on Ginkel Heath – obviously we will need to hire a bus for that so there will be a separate charge which will depend on numbers. There will also be a ‘walk and talk’ session round the combat areas adjacent to the hotel which is exclusive to participants and the hotel staff and we hope to have the odd little surprise addition to the programme as well.
We are keeping player numbers to around 30 – big enough to provide plenty of variety in the way of opponents, small enough to be a relatively intimate event. We have three special guests – Tom Stoessi of Stoessi’s heroes, Paul Walker of War HQ (hats off to Paul who has been a great help with this project) and Ludwig van Dijk who will be bringing his totally awesome Arnhem set-up which includes specific one-off models of every iconic Arnhem building as well as many that are less well-known…it has to be seen to be believed.
The rules will be BA version 2 with a couple of minor ‘local amendments’ for the big games to speed them along and we understand that a certain WW2 28mm wargame manufacturer is going to provide some goodies for participants! This is the fifth wargame event to be held at the hotel. They’ve all been great fun and the staff are accustomed to our special sort of madness – where else can you get room service meals delivered to the battlefield!
Raring to go? Start a new force!
Check out Operation Market Garden!