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Hell's Highway

Hell’s Highway Design Notes
with Mike Haught

Note:
Hell's Highway is no longer available for purchase.

Since long before I came to work for Battlefront I’ve had a fascination with Operation Market Garden. The brave forces involved and the heroic commanders that led them are well known and provide an excellent story for a series of Flames Of War books. So you can perhaps imagine my excitement when I got the opportunity to bring my favorite operation alive in Flames Of War, starting with Hell’s Highway.

The main forces included in Hell’s Highway are an Irish Guards Armoured Squadron, a Welsh Guards Armoured Recce Squadron, a Guards Rifle Company, a 2nd Household Cavalry Squadron, US Parachute Rifle Comapny (both 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions) and a Fallschirmjäger company with two variants for the veteran 6th Fallschirmjäger Regiment and the battered and rebuilding 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division.

The Guards

The Guards used a really unique march column formation as they charged toward Arnhem, integrating infantry and tanks so they could quickly overcome enemy resistance.

The Flames Of War company organization reflects this, allowing Guards players to build their squadrons and infantry companies according to the needs and tactics of the situation.

Close cooperation between infantry and tanks are certainly rewarded with some special rules to help players secure victory in the field.

Introduction and history pages
Armoured Cars

The tough nature of the Guards along with excellent equipment, such as additional Firefly tanks, will rightly establish the Guards the elite British force in Flames Of War. The Welsh Guards are equally exciting with their new Challenger tanks mounting a 17 pdr tank gun to accompany their Cromwell cruiser tanks.

The Challenger’s massive turret accommodates an extra loader, giving the tank an impressive rate of fire and making it deadly against German tanks. The platoons are extremely fast and able to keep the pressure on the enemy.

The 2nd Household Cavalry sped ahead of the column scouting alternative routes and reporting enemy activity.

They too were Guards, and performed with conspicuous distinction launching surprise attacks against opposing forces twice their size, earning them some new cool special rules. They’ve added a second Dingo to each of their armoured car platoons to improve the versatility and mobility of the platoon.
Welsh Guards tanks
These armoured cars are aggressive and exciting to play —something that will likely catch your opponent of guard!
US Parachute Rifle Company pages

The US Paratroopers

Being an American, I really looked forward to working on the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. I’ve got a soft spot for the 82nd Airborne because of Operation Market Garden. The battle of the Waal Canal is one of the greatest and tragic stories of WWII and I really looked forward to giving that battle the attention it deserves.

Plus, while researching the 82nd Airborne, I discovered a relative named Private Vernon Haught who fought with the division’s 325th Glider Infantry Regiment—so that was a pretty cool find!

The American Parachute Rifle Company was an interesting project. Some subtle organizational and uniform changes from Normandy make them slightly different and give them unique Market Garden flavor compared to their D-Day counterparts.

Historically they were given lots of quality support, and in Hell’s Highway this is absolutely the case. Guards tanks, armoured cars and infantry are all support options for the paratroopers.

US Paratroopers
British companies

With these platoons you can build your force based on the many times in Market Garden where the paras have linked up and fought with the Guards.

Alternatively, if you’re an airborne purist, you can build your force as all parachute and glider deployable. They have some cool new platoons of their own including the Airborne Divisional Recon Platoon, armed to the teeth with machine-gun toting jeeps, hell-bent on blasting some Jerries! 

The Fallschirmjäger

I wasn’t very familiar with the German side of the battle, so I also enjoyed researching and learning about their involvement and spotting familiar names such as Oberstleutnant Freiherr von der Heydte. As the project progressed I became more and more interested in the Fallschirmjäger forces in the area and their surgical strikes against the corridor.

Hell’s Highway focuses on two Fallschirmjäger forces involved in the battles along the Allied corridor.

Fallschirmjager pages
Fallschirmjager Support pages

Kampfgruppe Walther was deployed across the road directly ahead of XXX Corps and was charged with holding the line there. Meanwhile, the battered 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division was rebuilding in Kleve, Germany and was quickly organised into a battlegroup to face the 82nd Airborne east of Nijmegen.

Kampfgruppe Walther, the Fallschirmjäger and SS battlegroup lined up against the Guards, was well stocked with infantry anti-tank weapons backed by some armoured support ranging from SS-tank hunters to Panzer III and IV tanks from the Hermann Göring Training and Replacement Regiment.

Kampfgruppe Becker was formed from the 3rd Fallschirmjäger Division along with Heer troops and sent into battle against the US 82nd Airborne Division. The Kampfgruppe had its own armored cars, assault guns, artillery and FlaK guns so players will be able to create their own Fallschirmjäger battlegroup to take on the enemy paratroopers. 

Fallschirmjager
Warriors

The story of Market Garden is one that involves a lot of heroes. With Hell’s Highway we included several key figures that played important roles in the corridor to Arnhem. To reflect this, we’ve put the feel and flavor of Market Garden straight into these heroic figures using special rules and a few new teams.

Vandeleur and Guards Shermans
Colour sections and painting guides

JOE Vandeleur
The Irish Guards are led by the famous Lt. Colonel JOE Vandeleur, the commander of the Irish Guards battlegroup. This new warrior can join your Irish Guards battlegroup. His special rules will keep you column moving forward as well as helping blast away anything standing in your way with precision air strikes and point-blank volleys from your tanks.

Major Julian Cook
Julian Cook is the warrior for the US paratroopers. Under his direction your paratroopers from the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment will be an assault force to be feared.

He has access to extra parachute engineers, river crossing abilities and a cool special rule for your pack howitzers to help prepare the way for your assault.

Von der Heydte
Oberstleutnant Freiherr von der Heydte should be no stranger to the Flames Of War community, appearing in both North Africa and Normandy.

Jagdpanthers
Guards Armour

Those familiar with von der Heydte will tell you that Holland isn’t the last place he’ll turn up either! 

When the Allies attacked, he assumed command of all Kampfgruppe Walther’s assets south of Valkenswaard.

Under his excellent direction, the battlegroup stalled the Guards for several critical hours with cunning counterattacks and Panzerfaust anti-tank traps. His special rules capitalise on his excellent leadership, keeping teams in the fight when normally they would run and generally keeping his men extremely motivated. He also allows you to field several deadly Panzerfaust traps that you can use to wreck enemy armour platoons. 

Writing the Book

The book itself was quite fun to write. I’m a very visually-minded person, so I kept the Graphics team busy with lots of maps, diagrams and pictures to illustrate the story of Hell’s Highway. The book includes lots of maps so you can see where your favorite unit was fighting. The maps cover Operation Market Garden as a whole, the 101st Airborne’s corridor, the 82nd Airborne’s assault across the Waal River, and the German defense and attacks from Valkenswaard to Nijmegen. 

I also put together a timeline so it’s easy to get the events in the right order and see how they influenced each other. One nice thing about Operation Market Garden is that it was fought over the span of about nine days, making it easy to pin down when events occurred.

However, with so much happening in such a short period of time, it’s easy to get confused where things are happening and what is going on elsewhere. So where ever possible I put in dates and times if they were available.

Each unit has carefully researched histories attached to it. For this I have to thank the unceasing support of the Market Garden 65 guys who helps put together these histories and supplied us with quality research.
Our painting team put together a great painting guide for the British Guards, including a handy reference detailing how to read Brigade squadron markings (those red, yellow, blue and white shapes put on the turret of a tank). The German guide has a bit on painting Luftwaffe splinter camouflage and some tips on painting tanks and assault guns from the Hermann Göring Training and Replacement Regiment.

In the end, I was very happy with Hell’s Highway, and I’m sure you will all enjoy it. There are exciting forces in the book for all kinds of players including paratroopers, elite tanks and daring armored cars. Operation Market Garden is about to hit your game tables—what will your role be in the greatest airborne invasion in history?

Mike

Map from page 3


Last Updated On Wednesday, January 30, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront