Weather is automatically clear on land and in the Med. In the Atlantic the sea swells of last turn dissipate (3 rolled for clear.) All Insurgent forces are now in supply and none are isolated. On the Loyalist side, the lone unit in Estramadura is U-2 black (now ½ strength and without a zoc). All other units are in supply, but the PA ones in the northern Gobernitos are isolated. Garrison forces are checked in the Loyalist turn, but I glance about and all are in place. Local bandits have been cleared from the towns of Merida, Ronda, Loja and Motril, while the cities of Huelva, Jerez and Jaen are similarly cleared of bandits. Sufficient numbers of locals volunteer to form defense companies in the larger cities (pacification complete in each of the above cities and towns, while the larger ones get their intrinsic defense.) Elsewhere, the 1st Sev Fal X begins looking about the Almendralejo countryside for ‘undesirables’, while the Anarchist hotbed at Malaga is searched by the 2 GC Sec III, a process likely to take a bit longer due to its size. Lastly, the 38th III at Mieres, to the rear of Oviedo, begins the process of clearing the area of bandits and terrorists.
In reinforcements, the Cac Inf XX arrives in Zaragoza, while the Ov Inf XX arrives in Valladolid. The two new Req X’s are brought in at Burgos and Vitoria, and a goodly number of Fal X’s arrive at their specified cities, except the Bad Fal X, which is delayed as that city hasn’t yet come under Nationalist control. A third CTV sub shows up at Larache for duty. Italian bullets and shells are offloaded at the docks of Sevilla, Malaga, Cadiz and La Coruna, while rail cars are imported to Malaga as well (1 res pt), and artillery tubes are imported at Vigo. The Italians send a CR.32bis (in this game, a beast of a fighter!), arriving at Malaga as well. Finally, 1 NRP arrives in the form of a completed cruiser, added to the CATF currently at that port. In production, 7.5 Nat, 1.5 Col, 3.5 Fal, 2.0 Req RPs are received, but sadly no ARPs are yet on the books. 0.5 arty is spent to equip the Cac and Ov XX’s. The 2 LE Inf III is replaced at Zaragoza, then immediately formed into the 1 Cas XX, which then is equipped with the last 0.5 arty remaining to the Nationalists. All units in the pool are rebuilt, except the just returned 2 LE Inf III which must spend the remainder of the turn in the pool since it’s already been built once. The 8th Car Bdr arrives at Valladolid, the 9th Cav (the raiders) at Zaragoza, and the 2 MG II’s survivors regroup and are reinforced at Oviedo. At end of phase, the Nationalists have 3.0 Nat, 1.5 Col, 3.5 Fal, 2.0 Req and no other RPs.
Next, 2 res pts at Sevilla and 1 just landed at Malaga are used to rebuild the Malaga RMY up to 1.5 RE’s cap (from the 0.5 it was at after the combat in the city occurred during late Aug.) A mine damage check results in another 5, so the BBTF remains afloat. Neither side flies any air missions.
NT-1 at Larache loads the ZME Eng III, carries it to Cadiz, then returns to Larache, picks up the 5 Alh Col Inf III and carries it to Sevilla. NT-2 takes the elite 39th Inf III off Gran Canaria and carries it to Vigo, then heads south. All 3 subs units move to Ceuta, where they replenish, joining the BBTF there which does likewise. The BB with the subs in ‘escort’ then head out to sea. They are in 2 groups, as subs can’t ‘officially’ travel in a group w/ TF’s, but they travel the same path at the same time, to ensure that the subs combat zone is consistently with the BBTF. In this way, they will screen the BBTF (2 pts, after 1 hit it begins the game with) from any reaction that the Loyalist CLTF (3 pts, no hits) might choose to make (sub combat occurs prior to surface combat, so they make a good screen.) This combined force moves to 2511 during the day, then runs into Almeria’s hex at night. There, the BBTF begins preparing for NGS, while the subs create a cozy perimeter. The CLTF does attempt to react (I’m not sure if Sam’s intent was to do so in the 3rd substep, or later in the 5th), but it fails, and it makes no other attempt during the 3 substeps NGS prep took. Meanwhile, the new cruiser in the CATF (now at strength 2) shakes out (the CATF must remain in port the entire turn since it is being ‘repaired’ with an NRP.)
Ground mov’t opens with a pair of important overruns. First, the PA unit sitting in 2420, just southwest of Caceres, is overrun at 12:1 by the 4th Lar Inf III and the 3L Art III (thanks to the PA force being U-2, 3 pts was sufficient.) The Colonial III has no more mps, but the Arty started 1 hex closer, so it chooses not to advance into the overrun hex from Merida (where the OV was initiated), and then moves NW one hex along the rail line to Badajoz. The 21 GC which had been screening Cacares’s north side takes control of the rail line leading to Portugal at 2122 via zoc, then turns south and joins the arty for an eventual cross river assault on Badajoz. Elsewhere in Estramadura, the 7th Cav III was freed up for field duty after pacifying Huelva… it moves into south Estramadura, gaining ownership of wide swaths of unowned territory in NW Andalucia and SW Estramadura, essentially cleaning up the Nationalist rear. 27th III, at Merida, moves down the Don Benito line, gaining ownership of the town, then heads into the rough at 2817, to begin the advance into Castilla la Nueva’s western reaches.
The second OV occurs just outside of Almeria, blowing open the line to the city and allowing for a follow-on assault on the city during the coming combat phase. The 8th GC holds the mtn pass at 3206, where it is joined by the 1Tet Col Inf III and O Art III’s via rail mov’t on low volume lines (4 rail cap used, of 8.5 available now that the Nationalist rail nets are linked. These two units are the heroes of Jerez and Malaga, and now soon to be Almeria… they are the two units immediately positioned to move out of Africa on turn 1, so they have been my strike force from the beginning of the game. This pile is joined by 5th Lt Inf. These 6 units are able to OV the hapless PA unit defending sector 3307 at 12:1. The Tet and O arty remain in place, but the 5th Lt Inf II continues the advance to 3407, followed by the 4th Lt Inf II to 3408, thereby encircling the city on its eastern approaches. 1st Gran Fal X moves from Motril through the mountains to 3108, engaging the AmL An X on its western side, putting zoc’s into any retreat available to the Almerian defenders and fully isolating the pocket. 5th Inf at Loja moves up to join the GC Sec in the mtn pass (the Sec cannot move, as it was preventing zoc’s from prohibiting the rail mov’t that got the Tet and O Art units to Almeria), ready to engage the AmL An as well. 2nd Lt Inf II, at Loja as well, advances to take the mountains at sector 3205, which had been vacated by the 5th Lt Inf which performed the overrun. To these units rear, 7th Inf moves from Ronda to Antequera, where it can continue hunting bandits next turn, and also ensuring a good supply line to the Guadix-Almeria front.
On the Linares-Valdepenas front, the Nationalist’s launch a full scale assault against the northern 2 hexes of the Loyalist line. The Van XX, plus the units that assaulted Jaen two turns ago, and crossed the Gaudalquivir river last turn take on the southern bit of the northern part of the line, joined by a few other units from the rear. 1st LE Inf III and the E Art III, another great striking pair, attacks the northern hex (just 1 pt unsupported, but in good wooded rough terrain.) To their southwest, the O MG II assaults as well, keeping the supply lines open. Key, the 1st Lt Inf II shoots the gap in the Loyalist line, and takes the line in the rear by occupying 3315, thereby ensuring these two hexes will be isolated come the combat phase. To the rear, two pairings of III’s and II’s each admin and cartage forward attack supply from the Sevilla storehouses. Three SMPs move another point from east of Jerez into those same storehouses, while 2 more are used to move the Granada a/s to Gaudix, from which point it can supply some of the Almeria attackers and some of the southern attackers on the Linares-Valdepenas front. In this area, the 6th Inf moves out of Estramadra and down the Don Benito-Puertollano line, ensuring ownership of that low volume line as far south as Puertollano itself. All in all, the assault against the rail lines leading towards Valdepenas-Alcazar and from Gaudix towards Almeria and perhaps Lorca are going very well, with little in the way of Loyalist units to stop them.
The Madrid front is on the other hand pretty much in a designed stalemate at this point. The Nationalist line is reinforced a bit, so 2 arty units are each on the western and eastern ends, with single units in the mtns or just north of the mountains. The line runs, roughly, from 2706 to 2407, thence to 2412 and then back southwest to 2613. The ends are held in ‘strength’, as is the salient at 2510… strength meaning an arty unit is present, even if no other unit is! The western tail of the line is reinforced a bit, such that the line continues west to 2615, with its flank against the lonely mountain at 2616. Both sides seem inclined to let the Madrid front settle into a defensive front (neither has sufficient force really to attack the other, at least not without moving arty away from the ends towards the middle… and attacking the middle means attacking mountains if the Insurgents attack, or into clear terrain that leads nowhere unless you can get 5 hexes distant if the Loyalists attack.) I expect this front to be stable for some time, since all the real action is in Andalucia.
Which is not to say the other fronts are without any at all… On the Teruel front, 3 additional small units are railed in to protect the flanks from purple slime, which allows the forward positions in the mountains at 3404 & 3404 to remain held. This also allows a link up with the Cataluna front. The front remains the same as last turn, since no Loyalist attacks were launched, but is extended by occupation of wooded rough hexes north of the southeast Cordillera Iberica, and then into the mountains joining the Teruel front defenders. Units were freed up for the extension and link up thanks to 2 big XX’s (a 2-3-5 and 3-6!) joining the line. The first takes the open terrain area at 17:4530, just south of the bend in the Ebro river where it turns eastwards. The 3-6 1st Cas XX moves into the river salient at 4428, allowing the Mech/Arty stack to back up and defend the salient western flank. The northern one still relies on 1 pt unsupported units, as the line along the Cinca has not changed. These XX’s may begin the process of entrenching next turn, assuming no major Loyalist assaults materialize, which seems unlikely given more pressing concerns in Andalucia and southwest Castilla la Nueva.
On the northern front, 2 Req X’s move into the line in Euzkadi, freeing up some units for moves to the south into southern Aragon. The hex to the southeast of San Sebastian on the French border is abandoned to free up more troops, as there seems little risk that the weakly garrisoned city would send out any of its defenders to take an otherwise worthless hex. Units in north Euzkadi and on the Santander front are spreadout and joined by reinforcing units too, such that the line is nearly complete all the way to Asturias. In Asturias itself, the decision is made to move significant forces into the province, which will result in the release of the Asturian garrison forces. Four X’s were going to be released anyway, and it seems impossible to hold the hexes Nationalist high command wishes to hold given the 4 RE limitation. So, the Generalissimo decides to send in the troops to create a strong defensive front that should hold the terrain and prevent major attacks by the released garrisons. First, the elite 32nd Inf III moves out of Oviedo, and takes the 0908 hex across the river from Aviles. The elite 39th III rails into the Oviedo itself from Vigo, where it had been dropped off after arriving from the Canaries (3 of the 4 elite, supported III’s are now in Asturias, with only the one on Majorca not yet actively engaged. That will arrive as soon as shipping is freed up from duties moving the AoA and Canary island forces, and hopefully poorer weather arrives in the Med, mitigating to a degree possible reaction by Loyalist naval forces (the other option would be to bring in the Italian fleet, but with just 1 call up per year, I’d prefer to leave them sit till later, as a threat-in-being against any Loyalist naval adventures. Using them as escorts for a single III and a cons unit seems overkill to say the least.)) The elite 38th is currently in Mieres, but plans are laid to assault the wooded rough in sector 1107, which would shorten the frontage, and require the 38th to abandon pacification and move into the hex. The Leon Fal X is moved into the mountains at sector 1207, and the 2 Mtn II’s consolidate at 1206, which should limit Asturian counterattacks. Assuming the planned attack goes well, the Nationalist line will be one hex off the coast from 1206 through Oviedo to the 0908 coastal hex. Just one would be subject to NGS, and that one would be cross river and not adjacent to the Gijon hex, presumed to be the center of any Asturian defense. In addition, the 2nd Mtn Arty III is railed in from the Euzkadi front, bringing support to the 2 MG II and the intrinsic defense unit, raising the DS of Oviedo to 4.5. Any attack would be subject to a -2 roll as well, so the city and factory appear safe even from a released garrison, at least as long as the frontage against the city can be kept to 30 miles. To the rear, the Oviedo Inf XX is admin’d up from Valladolid, where it arrived and was equipped earlier in the turn, but it remains just behind the line due to admin limitations.
Way in the south in Africa, only a few units remain to be sent out, including 2 strong Cav III’s and a few weaker inf 1-6 III’s. They position themselves for mov’t next turn, though the plan is to leave 2 1-6’s and and a 1-8 Cav III in Africa to act as a defense/garrison against Loyalist adventures.
Overall rail cap usage was 8.5 RE’s, so to date the Nationalists have managed to avoid spending res pts to temp increase cap. At the end of the turn the CR.32’s fly CAP over the 24:3415 hex on the Linares-Valdepenas front (the larger of the two stacks, and the one subject to a greater impact on DAS should it get through (the other hex will presumably get the Bre19’s, which would move a 10:1 -2 to a 5:1 -2, but I’d prefer the 5:1 -2 rather than an odds shift against the bigger stack, hopefully to reduce the chances of an EX/HX in the potentially more costly attack.
The Loyalists assign 2 pts of NGS to Aviles, and 1 pt to 1106, ensuring support for each. The Vild air unit flies DAS to 1107 in Asturias, which was expected. The PA Bre19 flies to the wooded rough at 3316 in southwest Castilla la Nueva, as expected/desired as well. The Nationalist Bre19 flies GS to Almeria to bump the odds there up to 6:1, while the Mxd T ends its transportation of AoA units, and flies GS to 3415 in the attack against that 2 pt stack on the Linares-Valdepenas front. Both NGS points from the Nationalist BBTF off Almeria are assigned to that attack.
The BB lights up the Almeria harbor, while Bre19’s drop bombs on the unfortunate souls in the defending PA 3 MG II plus the militia in the city. Despite this, morale remains high, and the 2 II’s of Lt Inf get off to a slow start in the assault. The defenders attempt a fighting withdraw, but with troops closing in on all sides, they are eventually forced to surrender (6:1 -1, 6 for PA morale, a/s to one of 2 II’s attacking, 2 rolled for a DR zoc kill. Almeria is occupied by both II’s, 0.5 Nat’s drafted.) Taking the city ensures that no less than 6 Anarchist X’s will never see action (one X shows at Malaga, and another at any city in Andalucia Sep I… 2 more show up in the next two consecutive months at any city in the district… since reinforcements in FWTBT are delayed, not killed into the replacement pool if there reinforcement location is enemy owned, they are effectively removed from the Loyalist OB until such time as they can seize a city in Andalucia to free up the 5 “any” X’s for reinforcement. Given the state of affairs in Andalucia at the moment, this seems unlikely. A nifty byproduct of an Insurgent focus on Andalucia.) Just to Almeria’s north, the heroic 1st Tet & O arty III’s, joined by a few other units, make short work of the Anarchist AmL unit hiding in the mountains, though they too march off to POW camps singing leftist diddies (5:1 -2, 6 for Loyalist morale, 4 for Fal morale, so no morale effects on either side, partial a/s provided, 5 rolled for another DR zoc kill.) Both these attacks were against isolated foes, so no specials were generated for the Loyalists.
Moving to the Linares-Valdepenas front, the 3316 hex on the north is first assaulted by the 1st LE Inf III and E Art, supported by a single II of machinegunners to take any possible exchange. The defending 23rd GC Sec III acquits itself well, but the force arrayed against it is overwhelming and they too are sent to the deadpool (5:1, -2, no morale effects possible due to good terrain and DAS, 2 RE’s of A/S provided, 6 rolled for a DH, though zoc’s would have killed on a DR too.) The larger battle to the south, in sector 3415, sees costly errors on both sides. Surrounded, the PA’s 12th Inf III panics, but the 6L Art continues firing into the whites of the Nationalist’s eyes… the professional ZMO Eng & 6th Lt Inf assaulting from the southwest sustain heavy casualties, but when the slower moving Van Inf XX joins the field, ultimately the PA units are wiped out to a man (6:1 -1, 1 rolled for PA morale, ½’ing the Inf III, most Nat units receiving attack supply, 1 rolled for an EX. Lt inf II & eng III taken as Insurgent losses, since the 2-6 Col III in the fight could not have been immediately replaced, no specials on the Loyalist side due to isolation.)
Next up, Badajoz is easily cleared of the local militia (3:1 +0 up to a 6:1 +0 when the morale roll is a 2 for a PA ½’ing, no a/s provided, 6 for a DE.) The attacking 21 GC Sec III advances into the hex to complete mop up operations next turn, while the arty remains on the east side of the river to move to the trains at Merida next turn. Falangist volunteers flock to the flag (0.5Fal drafted.) Finally, the 40th Inf III is attacked from four sides at sector 1107 in Asturias, giving a good account of itself and taking down a Fal X before succumbing and giving up the ghost (5:1 -2, attack supply provided to all, PA morale solid due to DAS and terrain, but Falangists halved due to a 4 rolled (didn’t shift odds, they were included as EX/HX fodder), 2 rolled for an EX, with Leon Fal X dying). The 38th Inf III abandons pacifying Mieres (the 31st Inf III remains to restart that process next turn), moving into the battlefield to being preparing for any counter attack from the soon-to-be-released Asturian army.
All told, 6 attacks were launched, causing 8 points of Loyalist losses, none generating specials, while 3 pts of Nationalist troops died in EX’s. Even so, 4 of the 6 attacks had the potential for an AS, and none resulted, so not a bad turn for the Nationalists. Loyalist air units land at their originating hexes, while the CR.32’s land at Jaen, where they can cover both the front and the Bre19’s landing at Granada and the Mxd T’s landing at Cordoba.
NT-1 and -2 both head for Ceuta, where they replenish and finish out the turn, positioned to move larger Cav III’s next turn. The combination of Italian subs and the Nat BB head west at night from Almeria, generating no reaction attempt by the Loyalists. The BB eventually reaches Ceuta, where it too replenishes and sits tight for the rest of the turn. The Italians peel off and head for the coastal hex at the eastern tip of Spanish Morocco, using inshore waters to screen their mov’t. There they wait until 10 nmps remain in the 5th naval substep of the exploit phase, whereupon they move towards Cartagena at night. They reach a point 5 hexes distant (4009) from the major port and naval base, home of the Loyalists Med fleet, without incident (no reaction attempts), where they are well positioned to interdict the port or react to future mov’ts by the Loyalists. No air missions are flown.