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Market Garden 65 Logo Market Garden 65
by Jon Cleaves

Market Garden 65 was the year long observance of the 65th anniversary of the battle through the game of Flames Of War headed up by the 10th Cavalry game club.  Market Garden 65 was made possible by the hard work of dozens of gamers around the world and supported by Battlefront.

The Goal

The goal of the Market Garden 65 project was to be able to both hold a large themed tournament as well as permit the club to put on Market Garden themed scenario games.  We knew the end of 2009 would be the start of Battlefront’s attention on the Market Garden campaign and coincidentally the month of September 2009 would be the 65th anniversary of the battle. 
As another coincidence, one of the two big game conventions in Kansas City is held in September.  So, we set ourselves the goal of running the themed tournament at Fall Recruits 2009 and the large scenario game in the following months.  Planning began in the summer of 2008, which I originally thought would be plenty of lead time and ended up being just enough.  To achieve our goal, we’d need a lot of things we didn’t have, but more than anything it meant we needed a lot of terrain and we needed intelligence briefings for all the forces involved.

The Terrain

In order to have the terrain serve both purposes: supporting a large tournament and a huge scenario game, we chose to make the scenario map out of interconnecting 6’ x 4’ tables, each an interesting Market Garden table unto itself.  Using aerial photographs, battle maps and the ways other game clubs had solved this problem, we built a plan that turned the Market Garden battlefield into fourteen 6’ x 4’ sections.  The main highway runs down the center of eight of the sections starting with the front line near Valkenswaard and ending at the Neder Rijn.  Across the Rijn, the tables shift orientation somewhat and the area of Arnhem and Oosterbeek is represented by 6 more tables in a 3 x 2 configuration that along with the main highway sections forms the classic “L” shape of the Market Garden battlefield.

The stories around the building of this terrain our now legend in our club, from Rich Lonski discovering 150 feet of garden shade cloth for $28 in the back of a local Home Depot to the ungrounded belief that showing A Bridge Too Far on my big TV would be motivational but not a distraction. 
Table Layout Diagram
The table build From buying the first materials in August 2008 through many weekends in my basement, garage, yard and driveway our club built several hundred hedges, trees, forest templates and polder fields.  We acquired many of our buildings from Miniature Building Authority, but in order to have the most differentiation across all 14 tables, we bought over a thousand dollars in TT scale model railroad buildings from Auhagen.  My friends of 10th Cavalry showed their true grit in putting those models together, where every window shutter and roof strut had to be carefully put in place and where each of several dozen buildings had several dozen parts.
When the sawdust settled in the late summer, we had fourteen tables worth of terrain that could be set up to represent the entire Market Garden battlefield.  Certainly looking from the Valkenswaard end toward the city of Arnhem one gets a feel, even at the scale at which we morphed the battlefield, for the enormity of the Allies’ task.


With tables underway, it became time to develop the intelligence briefings.  Given we were starting in 2008, we were ahead of Battlefront’s
Market Garden material, as they were finishing up the Bagration material at that time. 
Playtesting underway
KG von Pluskow We put out a call for all players who were interested to help us research the forces involved and the call was well answered.  Eventually the Market Garden 65 research team grew to 35 members.  I can’t talk enough about the work these fine gentlemen performed.  For several months from late 2008 to the summer of 2009 this team discussed, haggled, argued, finessed and refined.  War diaries, photos, maps, orders of battle, memoirs and unit logs were pored over and distilled.  The result were six Special Intelligence Briefings (SIBs) containing 25 Allied and Axis company types from British and Polish Para, 82 and 101st, Guards Armoured, 2d Household, 50th and 43d Divisions and Kampfgruppe (KG) Spindler, Brinkmann, Knaust, Tettau, Graebner, Pluskow, Wild, Henke, Chill, Korps Feldt, 107th Panzer Brigade and the Fallschirmjaegers of 6FJR and 3FJD.
We hashed the initial research into some basic army lists and then outlined them roughly into the Cobra format.  But as much work as was done to research and prepare the material for the SIBs, it pales next to the work Mark Gunter did in putting them in readable and useable form, along with the overall look of Market Garden 65 and the production of the arsenal, the special rules, and the player packet.  The SIBs in fact were so professionally put together by Mark, they earned us a phone call from New Zealand.
Gaming under way
My personal thanks go out to the Market Garden 65 Research Team, including especially the Market Garden 65 Special Intel Briefing and article contributors: Joe Abrisz, Mike “Puma” Lesniowski, John Sulek, Eric Lauterbach, Kevin Dowsett, Hugh Harvey, Andy Parkes, Grahame Wright, Roger Whittam, Paul Virostek, Tom Wall, Chris Grau, Rich Lonski, Jeremey Harder, Tom Burgess, Jason Condon, Will Muckel, Ray Gluck, Rich Hamilton, Nigel Maddaford, Charles Stubbs.  As you read your copies of Battlefront’s Hell’s Highway and A Bridge Too Far, much of the article material was submitted by these fine folks.
More gaming The Market Garden 65 Tournament

Ok, so now that we had terrain rolling along and the forces for players to choose.  Who knew that was all the easy part!

Announcing the Market Garden-themed Flames Of War tournament at Fall Recruits 2009 in Lee’s Summit, MO 26-27 September 2009 got us 30+ sign ups in the first day and we were at 50 players the first month.  The event dawned with 68 players, the largest event in the states in 2009.
Fourteen of the tables were provided by the club’s effort, but we needed sixteen more and our friends across the country responded with some simply superb terrain of the Market Garden battlefield.  Thanks to the guys who made or provided terrain for the event: The Members of 10th Cavalry, Eric Lauterbach and the I95 boys, Jeremey Harder, Ray Gluck, Mark Gunter, Steve Tinsley, Jeff Hady, Tony Davis, Bill Wilcox.
Airlanding Gliders
Market Garden gaming table Market Garden gaming table
Market Garden gaming table Market Garden gaming table
Six rounds were played, entirely Allies versus Axis.  And not just Allies versus Axis, but Guards Armoured and US Para players versus the Hell’s Highway Axis forces and British and Polish Paras versus the KGs in the Arnhem area.  Incredibly and without having to use any of my plans for balancing out, the morning of dawned with 35 Axis and 35 Allies.  One last minute, literally LAST minute, drop left me one short, but my good friend Mike Turner volunteered to sit out and help me run things instead of playing and forcing me to my Plan D.  Mike had already served as my terrain captain, coordinating all the tables provided by folks outside of 10th Cav. Not only did Mike forego playing in this long-planned event, he grabbed an event staff shirt and provided absolutely invaluable help with scoring, umpiring and judging.
British Armoured cars More gaming tables
More gaming tables More gaming tables
More gaming tables More gaming tables
More gaming tables More gaming tables
More gaming tables More gaming tables
More gaming tables My Event Staff also included Merle “Mother” Delinger and Tim “Skippy” Gaffney who also gave up playing in the tourney to help with me with administration, judging, and stuffing the goody bags every player got at sign up.  The Market Garden 65 swag bag contained the player information packet, two Market Garden 65 dice, a Market Garden 65 pen, a Market Garden 65 GF9 deployment marker set, a Market Garden 65 t-shirt and two Flames Of War blisters.  Thanks to Jess Hodges for his help with the t-shirts, Mother with the pens, Puma Mike with the dice and Joe Krone and the guys at Battlefront and GF9 for the Market Garden 65-themed deployment markers.
More gaming tables More gaming tables
Prize Donations came from: The Josh Gaffney Memorial Fund, Tom Wise (who donated TWO beautifully painted armies), The Members of 10th Cavalry, Tabletop Game and Hobby, Battlefront, Jeremey Harder, Mike McMann and Bill Wilcox. 

Pictures of the Tom Wise's armies can be found here...

Prizes included: four painted armies - two by Tom Wise – and one painted platoon, two army boxes, four historical books, nine platoon/company boxes, five trophies, terrain and the 144 platoon, vehicle and gun Flames Of War blisters in the player’s swag bags – a total donation of right around $7000.

Some of the prizes Thanks to Duane Fleck for being the best Convention Organizer I have ever worked with.  The Recruits website can be found here: http://recruits.mtswebsites.com

And special appreciation to my lovely bride, Theresa - Bridge Too Far viewing partner, sounding board for ideas, sacrificer of garage space, and goddess of gaming support.  You’re the best. 68 players struggled to pry open or slam shut the long road from the Escaut Canal to the Neder Rijn.  When the smoke cleared, as it happened 65 years ago, the German forces denied the Allies an early end to the war after 200+ separate small desperate actions. The prize winners are:
Best Overall
Bill Wilcox, KG Knaust.

Best German General
Steve MacFarlane, KG Knaust.

Best Allied General
Joe Abrisz, Brit A/L.

Josh Gaffney Memorial Best Sport
Annette Gunter, 101st Airborne.

Best Army

Steve Wooster, Brit A/L.

Player’s Choice Army

Bill Wilcox

More prizes

The Black Heart winners dice rolls 3d German General
James Rush, KG Henke.

3d Allied General
Jeff Hady, Polish Para.

3d Sportsman
Chris Coffelt, Brit Para.

3d Best Army
Tom Burgess, 3FJD.

Military Misfortune
Alan Wright, Brit 50th Div.

Next Generation
James O’Keefe, KG Henke.

10th Cavalry Black Heart
Jason Condon, 82d Airborne.
But wait, there is more!

Hell’s Highway Game

With the tournament behind us, it was time to put on a big historical Market Garden game.  10th Cav member Craig Maksimik took charge of the terrain and pretty much planned the whole thing himself.  He scheduled the event for the Spring Maneuvers convention in Kansas City the weekend of February 27, 2010.  Craig deployed the eight tables leading from Valkenswaard to the Rijn, thirty-two feet of highway.  The game would start in the morning with the US airdrop and continue all day until XXX Corps reached the Rijn…or not…Certainly the view up the highway was daunting to those playing Guards Armoured forces.

Hell’s Highway Game
British Armoured cars
Craig hit on a very novel and fun way to work the US Para airdrop.  The para players were given a ball of cotton for each team in their force.  As they ran along the table trying to toss their cotton into the drop zones, German players on the other side of the table launched cotton balls at them.  For every hit on a US player, one para team was lost.  Everyone had a great laugh and the drop went quickly and cleanly, if not bloodlessly.
Craig did a masterful job of guiding the flow of arriving forces to keep the game moving, while simultaneously teaching the game to new players.  The game gathered a lot of attention and very deservedly won him the Best of Show award from the con.
Jon lends a hand
Air strike J.O.E.'s bridge

Craig’s superb After Action Report can be found here:

Read Craig's After Action Report here...

A lasting effect of the whole Market Garden 65 project is that the club now has 14 terrain tables specifically keyed to a particular campaign that can also be used to fill out other events.  Indeed, eight of the tables at the Spring Recruits 10 tournament were terrain sets from the
Market Garden 65 tables.  Also, we now have intelligence briefings for all the Market Garden forces that Battlefront is not covering with their own material.  It was a lot of hard work by a lot of people, but the goodness of that work will benefit gamers for years to come.

Thanks to everyone for making this something very special and I hope to see you all soon.

~ Jon.

Market Garden 65 logo

Last Updated On Friday, June 25, 2010 by Blake at Battlefront