This was probably my favorite SPI monster game. If you could find 6-8 people to play it, the game was a blast.View attachment 49005
SPI's " Highway to the Reich " - Publihed 1977 - the original version.
Obviously, it is another monster wargame depiction by SPI ;....... the main difference between this and others, being that the unit scale is at company level for infantry, and platoon level for tanks, afv's etc. Lots of units and detail.You could lose 25 men in increments and individual tanks etc.... A long map; over 9 feet in length, with about the usual map width of almost 3 feet.. The game depicts the Allied " Operation Market Garden ", airborne assault to take all the main bridges to the Arnhem Rhine river crossing; ostensibly to allow the divisions of the British Xxx Corps to race forward and create a salient beyond Arnhem. There are tan counters for the Brits; green counters for , " amerikanischer schweinhunder " .....,... grey for Germans; light blue for Luftwaffe/ composite forces and red for British 6th Airborne troops ,and, naturally black for SS units.
With almost 2600 counters;.......it's super detailed. The 2nd Editon was better, as unit sheets with boxes made organization of the different divisions easy to manage. The great aspect about this game was the innovative use of an interlinking play turn system; meaning that the usual one move and then combat system was interrupted by your oppnent, being able to bombard and attack during a certain stage of your turn. The Combat Results Chart was more intricate and had the use of morale levels; as I remember; there were 1 to 4 triangles to depict this. SS units having 4 small triangles on the counter front. It was a tactically interesting game, wherein small mistakes could be pounced upon by your opponent. My pet cat always used engineers in a fighting role, rather than blowing bridges, ...................You can play smaller one map scenarios, rather than the full 10 day, 2Hour turn slug-fest.
The British 6th Airborne units were an attractive matt red and looked good on the green wood and tan colour broken terrain. It was very interesting and fun, just dropping the buggers,.... as there was a scatter mechanism which could throw them miles from their initial landing zones. Not so problematic at the start, but was a bit hazardous with ever increasing german build-up. The Germans main blocking force to stop the Brits getting to the Arnhem Bridge;.....about 12 miles away was a battalion of Dutch Ss troops,..... consisting of 3 infantry companies and 1 machine gun/heavy weapons company,.....which I believe had mortars,...... and could hit at range 2-3 hexes;..... think that's right. Anyhow, they could be a pain in the butt, if handled properly,... blocking the main road. With the ever increasing arrival of further airborne regiments; it became a difficult tactical decision as to whether sending more men into Arnhem was a good idea. With the imminent arrival of one SS division from the south of the bridge and then another from the North-east; anything in Arnhem would be surrounded and eventually have supply issues.
The American 101st and 82nd Airborne drop zones were easier and build up would see the bridges taken and held quite easily. Opposition to the Americans was mainly consistent of sporadic Luftwaffe brigades and some regiments of german armour dripfed through . Sensing half of the Ss division south of Arnhem to help their comrades was a bit tricky, as a few minor bridge blowouts neutralized the heavy tanks quite nicely.
The British XXX Corps attack and advance was less interesting to play in overall terms, because of the high unit density on both sides, and all the Germans had to do, is block the main highway with anti-tank gun batteries and threaten to cut off advanced elements with sharp attacks of reserves. The drip feed of German re-inforcements on both sides of the map against the American airborne troops did create nervous moments, and the game in this area had a greater degree of variability in outcome, depending where the Germans wanted to concentrate.
It would be a rare thing for the British XXX Corps to be able to cross the Arnhem Bridge; I remember having a brigade worth of tanks sitting near an airfield with nothing to do, as SS Panzer, heavy armour tanks were covering the southern streets of Arnhem, and with Brit infantry still needed to cover the flanks of the Highway, are next to impossible to shift, without combined assault modifiers.