Operation Market Garden is a favorite battleground amongst many wargamers, for very clear reasons: the classic heroic fantasy movie ‘A Bridge Too Far’; the Para’s Last Stand’-theme: the good vs evil antagonism ‘British Elite Paratroopers’ vs ‘Hitler’s SS’; and the what-if-feeling: what if the Germans had reacted slower, or the besieged paratroopers had kept the bridge a day longer? Next year is the 75th anniversary of the battle.
Besides, the Low Countries were an important battlefield. The Fall Gelb Offensive in 1940 with 12.000 Fallschirmjäger capturing bridges, in an attempt to get the Rotterdam bridge and the Dutch queen and goverment, was a ‘German Market Garden’. The 1944 Scheldt liberation battle was harder than the Battle of the Bulge.Being Dutch and a (6mm) WW2 wargamer, I will write a series about ‘typical’ Dutch scenery and surroundings. I focus on Arnhem/Nijmegen and Rotterdam.I – proper Dutch city sceneryII – bridge and a cathedralIII – dikes, polders and millsIV – Arnhem/ Market Garden/ the Rapid Fire campaign tableV – RotterdamFor Dutch wargame scenario ideas, check my earlier blog
Dutch city architecture
Normandy has typical architecture, but so has Holland. The dominant urban style late 19th century was in Northern Europe was Revival Renaissance, and in Holland we had a ‘Dutch Revival Renaissance’ variant. Below two striking examples: the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Centraal Station Amsterdam.
Near the marketsquare and the riverfronts you often see classic monumental townhouses in white and red/brown.
You will recognize this Dutch Renaissance Revival style in pre-WW2-pictures
Here on the left picture you see typical style elements: (1) a grey base, (2) white window frames, often with one or three vertical white stones above the window (3) pink, red or brown walls, with horizontal white stripes (4) grey slate roof. White balconies, and sometimes (as above) white corners. House blocks were less ostentatious than the villa above.
I don’t want an exact 6mm-copy of Arnhem or Nijmegen or Rotterdam. I use my scenery in different scenario’s. But the houses must appear Dutch, not Spanish, Normandic French or German/English Tudor. I bought scenery online, 6mm Timecast & Leven. Timecast sells bigger buildings. In particular the East European Berlin/Lvov range is easy to convert: the buildings have distinct horizontal lines. Leven sells very authentic buildings. Together the two ranges make a great ‘Dutch’ city.
Below a few examples of the originals and how I converted them.
Timecast Berlin Inn. Converted to a Renaissance Revival Dutch hotel. In the background Leven Miniatures corner pub. I printed in 8pnt Broadway font “Nederlandsche Middenstandsbank” and glued that as sign on the facade
The cinema. Any self-respecting pre-war-city is not a pre-war- city without a cinema, and no 6mm-city builder can be a self-respecting wargamer without this Leven Miniatures art deco cinema. Here with home made Dutch signs and on a small scenic base. I base all my buildings on 80 or 40x40mm foamboard, preferably in groups and/or trees/bush.
With a downscaled film poster. Gone with the wind. 1938.
Leven Miniatures canal houses. I modeled a canal base. Many Dutch cities have or had canals, not only Amsterdam, but Arnhem, Dordrecht, Rotterdam, Groningen, Utrecht too, for example.
A combo. The buildings on the left are Timecast, a French manor and a Lvov building. On the right a Normandy casino from Leven and on the foreground a Leven housing block. I converted a 15mm figure to a bronze statue.
The train station. The engine shed and detached houses on the left (picture above) are Leven, the station on the right side of the track is a Timecast model.
A true cathedral with a tall tower is unavailable in 6mm. I bought a paper model, but a true 6mm model is 40×30 cm, too big. So I will build only a simple facade with a tall tower as building in the background.
I have about 30 buildings now, not counting the ruined houses. Below a selection with photoshopped Deventer as backdrop. Do they blend in?