Where's My Kampfgruppe?

Bridge by Bridge Where's My Kampfgruppe?
with Mike Haught

As the Allied steamroller poured across the Belgian border as a part of Operation Market Garden, the Germans threw a vast variety of battlegroups to stop it. These groups from all branches of the German armed forces consisted of anything from training and replacement battalions to hardened veterans.

Learn more about the German Market Garden compilation, Bridge By Bridge here...
When I first wrote the Market Garden books, Hell’s Highway and A Bridge Too Far for Flames Of War, I had to make tough calls as to what battlegroups to include in the limited number of pages I had. The solution at the time was to create a force that could cover as many as possible in one company diagram. The trouble was, it didn’t look like any specific unit, leaving many to ask, “Where’s my Kampfgruppe?”

With the compilation, Bridge By Bridge, I was able to split many of these out into their own company diagrams and to improve the existing ones to include even more. This time around I wanted to make sure that it was easier to build your favourite unit out of the book. There are several famous examples that come up in the histories that are not featured as a distinct force in Bridge By Bridge at first glance. However, many of these obscure forces are actually in the book, you just need to think outside the box a little bit to find and field them.
In this article I’m going to highlight a few of those battlegroups that can be fielded using the existing company diagrams. Some companies in the book, such as SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler, actually cover several battlegroups that fought in west Arnhem and Oosterbeek. Others, such as SS-Kampfgruppe Arnheim, are designed for you as the player to construct your own Kampfgruppe. So let’s take a little tour of a couple of these units and see what holes we can fill with the forces of Bridge By Bridge.

Right: Fallschirmjäger from Kampfgruppe Jungworth assault a British column near Kovering.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
SS-Kampfgruppe Krafft
SS-Kampfgruppe Krafft was the first on the scene in the Oosetrbeek area when Operation Market Garden began. Sepp Krafft’s battalion of training and replacement SS-Panzergrenadiers reacted quickly, taking the local troops under command and patching together a loose but effective cordon. Krafft’s men sprung several deadly ambushes as the British tried to push through.

Soon, the gathering British became too strong for Krafft’s men to handle alone and they pulled back and joined the rest of SS-Kampgruppe Spindler.

Krafft’s men were reinforced by two marine regiments as well as police forces. While not the best soldiers, they freed up Krafft’s SS troops to get on with the work of attacking the British perimeter. On 19 September, Krafft received further reinforcements from the 280. Sturmgeschütz Abteilung (280th Assault Gun Battalion).

Below: SS-Panzer Pioneers assault British positions around Oosterbeek with the aid of StuG G assault guns.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Krafft
You can field Krafft’s battlegroup using SS-Kampfgruppe Arnheim. Sepp Krafft’s SS troops were about 40% new recruits with the remainder seasoned veterans. You can field these using either the SS-Panzergrenadiers (veteran) or SS-Panzer Crew (trained). You have two options for fielding the police and marine troops. If you want a small force to hold an objective, use the Security Platoon, but if you want a large, imposing block of troops, field the Sicherheits Company.
Below: Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Krafft using the SS-Kampfgruppe Arnheim table of organisation as found on page 102 of Bridge By Bridge. The green check marks represent the units available to SS-Kampfgruppe Krafft at the time of Operation Market Garden.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Below: Kampfgruppe Von Allwörden supported by armoured half-tracks and a Jagdpanzer IV tank-hunter.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
SS-Kampfgruppe von Allwörden
As the full weight of British brigades began to be too much for Krafft, the Germans received support for SS-Kampfgruppe von Allwörden, a unit comprised of dismounted anti-tank gunners and a few self-propelled guns.

Klaus von Allwörden commanded the 9. SS-Jagdpanzer Abteilung (9th SS-Tank-hunter Battalion). After the
retreats through France, the battalion was left with only two Jagdpanzer IV tank-hunters left and a couple of antitank guns. Von Allwörden organised his men into infantry companies and fought the battle dismounted. Along the way he added a pair of 3.7cm Möbelwagen and at least one Sd Kfz 10/5 (2cm) self-propelled anti-aircraft guns to his force as well as some armoured half-tracks from 9. SS-Panzeraufklärungs Abteilung (9th SS-Armoured Reconnaissance Battalion).

Like Krafft, von Allwörden bolstered his unit with naval troops and other rear-echelon troops. The battlegroup grew in size, eventually forming a third of Spindler’s front line.

Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe von Allwörden
You can field von Allwörden’s battlegroup using SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler. Von Allwörden’s dismounted anti-tank gunners benefit from all of the same advantages as SS-Panzer Crews so that platoon will form the core of your force. You can also include his remaining anti-tank guns, the unit’s two Jagdpanzer IV tank-hunters, and the self-propelled anti-aircraft guns.
Below: Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe von Allwörden using the SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler table of organisation as found on page 112 of Bridge By Bridge. The green check marks represent the units available to SS-Kampfgruppe von Allwörden at the time of Operation Market Garden.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Below: British paratroopers try to break through Kampfgruppe Möller’s position.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
SS-Kampfgruppe Möller
The 9. SS-Panzerdivision (9th SS-Armoured Division) wedged itself between the British 1st Airborne Division and their objective, the Arnhem bridge. The battle focused in western Arnhem where the two divisions clashed head-on.

In the thick of this battle was Hans Möller’s 9. SS-Panzerpionier Abteilung (9th SS-Armoured Pioneer Battalion), having arrived on the scene on 17 September. Coincidentally, Möller had fought through Arnhem and Oosterbeek before as a platoon commander in 1940, so he had a good idea where and how things would take shape.

Möller’s troops ran straight in to the 2nd and 3rd Parachute Battalions, which were heading to Arnhem. The fighting forced the pioneers back into the nearby buildings, but Möller’s stand bought time for the first of Spindler’s troops to arrive. Only the 2nd Parachute Battalion would end up slipping through to make its appointment with destiny at Arnhem Bridge.

Once the British division was stopped in western Arnhem, Möller’s assault pioneers used their skills to help reduce the British perimeter.

Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Möller
You can field Möller’s battlegroup using SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler. Möller had 90 pioneers for the battle, which he divided into two understrength companies. You might wish to represent this by fielding reduced platoons.
Below: Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Möller using the SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler table of organisation as found on page 112 of Bridge By Bridge. The green check marks represent the units available to SS-Kampfgruppe Möller at the time of Operation Market Garden.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Below: Kampfgruppe Harder is reinforced by Königstigers from the 506. Schwere Panzer Abteilung.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
SS-Kampfgruppe Harder
SS-Kampfgruppe Harder formed Spinder’s second major blocking force along with SS-Kampfgruppe Allwörden. Harder’s force was based around one company of panzer crews from 9. SS-Panzerregiment (9th SS-Armoured Regiment), another company of fitters and logistic personnel, and a final company of naval troops.

Spindler placed Harder in the south and gave him the 9th SS-Panzer Division’s last remaining three Panther tanks. However, these were quickly knocked out early in the fighting and so Harder was reinforced by assault guns and howitzers of the 280th Assault Gun Battalion to help crush the British perimeter through West Arnhem and into Oosterbeek. Later, Harder received some Tiger II heavy tanks from the 506. Schwere Panzer Abteilung (506th Heavy Tank Battalion).

On 22 September, Harder’s troops repelled the British and Polish attempt to cross the Rhine. Following that, the battlegroup participated in the final assault on the Oosterbeek Perimeter.

Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Harder
You can field Krafft’s battlegroup using SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler. Harder’s SS tank crews are covered by using the SS-Panzer Crew Platoons. Here, I have featured Harder using SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler.

You can field Harder’s other companies by looking at Sicherheits Companies from SS-Kampfgruppe Arnheim or
Kampfgruppe von Tettau (using the Kampfgruppe Knoche variant). Focus on taking the Reluctant Trained troops where possible, with SS troops in support.
Below: Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Harder using the SS-Kampfgruppe Spindler table of organisation as found on page 112 of Bridge By Bridge. The green check marks represent the units available to SS-Kampfgruppe Harder at the time of Operation Market Garden.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Below: Grenadiers open fire on a British supply column.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Kampfgruppe Huber
Kampfgruppe Huber was a regimental force from the 59. Infanteriedivision (59th Infantry Division). The battlegroup attacked Hell’s Highway from the west. Their target was Veghel. The unit didn’t have any armour support, so they were reinforced by four Jagdpanther heavy tank-hunters of the 559. Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung (559th Heavy Tank Hunter Battalion). They were also given a light howitzer battery to support their attack.

The attack put pressure on the US 101st Airborne Division, but Huber’s force was unable to push the US paras out of Veghel. Instead, Huber’s men went around the village and cut the highway to the north and south. Once on the highway, the Germans tore into the British support troops and inflicted grievous delays and casualties on the Allies.

Fielding Kampfgruppe Huber
You can field Kampfgruppe Huber using the 59. Infanteriedivision variant of the Grenadierkompanie. As Kampfgruppe Huber was part of the 59. Infanteriedivision, use the Grenadierkompanie from that division’s variant, rated Confident Trained.
Below: Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Huber using the Grenadierkompanie table of organisation as found on page 38 of Bridge By Bridge. The green check marks represent the units available to SS-Kampfgruppe Huber at the time of Operation Market Garden.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Below: Jadpanther tank-hunters take up positions to ambush enemy armour, backed up by veteran Fallschirmäger.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?
Kampfgruppe Jungwirth
Major Hans Jungwirth’s battlegroup assembled at Schijndel to attack the airborne corridor of Hell’s Highway. Kampfgruppe Jungwirth was built around Jungwirth’s Fallschirmjäger battalion, which had spearheaded the airborne assault at Vercours in August 1944. This unruly bunch of paratroopers were bolstered by Jagdpanther and StuG G tanks of the 559. Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung (559th Heavy Tank Hunter Battalion) as well as a battalion of training and replacement paratroopers. The battlegroup was further reinforced by Oberstleutnant (Lieutenant Colonel) Friedrich von der Heydte’s 6. Fallschirmjägerregiment (6th Parachute Regiment).

Jungwirth’s attack struck the highway near Koevering at 0900 hrs on 24 September. As the Fallschirmjäger tied down the Allied troops, the tanks of the 559th stuck south, running amuck along the road. Von der Heydte’s infantry moved to the road and dug in to tighten the battlegroup ’s grip on the road. In the end, Kampfgruppe Jungwirth managed to hold the road for 40 critical hours.

Fielding Kampfgruppe Jungwirth
You can field Kampfgruppe Jungwirth using either the Veteran or Ersatz Fallschirmjägerkompanie. Use the Veteran briefing to field Jungwirth’s or von der Heydte’s paratroopers. Jungwirth’s men had very few heavy weapons, but von der Heydte’s men managed to keep a hold of the bulk of their infantry guns, mortars and other light guns.

Use the Ersatz one to field the training Fallschirmjäger (‘Bloch’ Training Battalion). The battalion would have been reasonably strong, but lacked any regimental weapons.

~ Mike.
Below: Fielding SS-Kampfgruppe Jungwirth using the Veteran Fallschirmjägerkompanie table of organisation as found on page 24 of Bridge By Bridge. The green check marks represent the units available to SS-Kampfgruppe Jungwirth at the time of Operation Market Garden.
Where's My Kampfgruppe?