The General Staff Archives

Europa Games and Military History

Month: January 2018

By the roll of a dice

Strategy games usually focus on the front lines of a conflict, and gamers will have long discussion when the rollout of a new anti-tank gun happend and in what numbers, and if the upgrade of this or that unit is justified as per OB or should happen earlier – or not at all. Logistics, the art that does indeed decide wars, and  which usually takes up 90% of a commanders time, is usually abstracted, since until the advent of computer games the process of raising, training, equipping and organising forces was too tedious to be converted into a playable game.

Yet another aspect sometimes cripples consims: The hindsight that enables players to approach a situation with much more information than available to their historical counterparts. Hindsight defines a lot of the strategies employed in most Europa games, and only its most egregious problems can be corrected by artificially straightjacking the player into historical behaviour by victory point mechanisms or outright enforcement by rules (garrisons, no-retreat-rules, Plan XVII, etc).

Which brings us to the Asturian Gambit, a series of opening moves during the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in For Whom the Bell Tolls. In hindsight it was obvious that the balance of forces and the deep-set enmity between the two political movements precluded a quick end to the conflict that broke out in July 1936. Hindsight enables the nationalist player to play the long game and secure an andvantageous position from which to better prepare for a conflict that will span several years.  A reasonable, game-changing, and completely ahistorical strategy. Carlos Perez lays out the Asturian Gambit and its implications for you in the last article for now that Carlos gratiously allowed us to publish and which first went online at his website belliludi.com.

The Asturian Gambit of course runs contrary to all strategic assesments and convictions in the chaotic summer of 1936, where possession of Spains capital was seen as key to a quick and desicive victory by all parties. A possible fix would have to take the political value that Madrid held at the beginning of the war into account, forcing the nationalists to devote their assets to a serious attempt to take the capital as soon as possible for an extended amount of time. One possibility would be a rule prohibiting units of the Army of Africa to move north of hexrow 25xx as long as the weather is clear, and to require all units of the Army of Africa to attack in the direction of Madrid as long as they are in general supply. This could be com,bined with a modification surrender rule, requiring a roll for surrender for the side that just lost possession of Madrid, while giving them a strong modifyer in 1936 and a smaller one in 1937.

Together, these rules would reflect the prevalent belief that whoever held the capital would decide the conflict early on, and also simulate the political reality that any general on the nationalist side not pursuing a quick victory over the republic would have lost his position from where to make such strategic choices really fast. However, as with all rule modifications, these ideas would have to be playtested and evaluated before being made a recommended rules modification.

The Asturian Gambit

Editors Note:
This article was originally published in El Miliciano, nr. 5 (1996). It has been translated from Spanish by Wolf Broszies (with a little bit of google help)

The Fate of the Republic is decided in the North

Several games  demonstrated the crucial importance of the North Front for any war game concerned with the Spanish Civil War. In For WHom the Bell Tolls, the rules governing the political impact of the northern regions that remained loyal to the Republic vastly overstate their importance to the Loyalist cause. One point is the real potential of the Santander Army Corps as compared to the OOB in FQtBT.

For example, at the beginning of the Battle of Vizcaya on March 31st, 1937, the Basque Army was not yet even organized in Brigades, but employed about 40 maneuver batallions organized into several sectors of varied size, composition and capabilities. It took until the end of April for the need of higher echolons to finally be recognized. A total of 18 brigades were created and grouped into four dividions over the next months, with a fifth added on May 17th.

In total there were about 70 Basque battalions, although of very diverse structure and history. In FWBT however, the scenario of Mediated War starting April I 37 the Basque Army Corps deploys up to 6 divisions and 8 other brigades, as well as a regiment of light tanks, two of artillery, two of engineers and two of construction. This is opbviously a more powerful force than the historical one.

Jul I 36

For this reason the player on the Nationalist side decided to concentrate on the North Front, even at the cost of sacrificing greater achievements in other sectors. The turn of July II 36 began by placing the two brigades of requetés that enter reinforcement in Pamplona and Vitoria to support the attack on San Sebastián. Because of the Rise and Revolution rule [37.C], the first two first turns are special. All the units are supplied and do not have to check their isolation situation, but also on the turn of July II 36 the metropolitan units can only move one hex and can not attack, can not use rail movement, air units can not perform intercept, patrol or CAP missions, amphibious landings can not be made (although they can be planned for later turns), both fleets can not provide naval support and the Republican Fleet can not go to sea. Only African Army units can move up to half their movement capacity and can attack.

In this first turn, the national player initiated the airlift by moving the battalions of African Hunters 4th and 5th as well as the 3rd regiment of Regulares to Cádiz. In this city also landed the 2nd Tercio de la Legión and the Oriental artillery group. Units that attacked together Jerez de la Frontera to occupy this way, the aerodrome of this town. While, in Asturias, the two units of Oviedo occupy Avilés with its important port and the hexagon 1107 with what cuts the withdrawal to the units of Gijón. The republican subturno is fast. In the center, different columns depart from Madrid towards Toledo, Talavera and Somosierra. In Catalonia, the ideological purification of its cities prevents the large number of units present from marching on Aragon.

July II

On the turn of July II 36, restrictions remain for metropolitan units. While those of the African Army can move and attack freely, the remaining ones can only move half of their movement capacity, although they can attack. This turn begins with the placement of reinforcements. Between them arrive two important units of Italian submarines that are immediately placed in front of Cartagena in order to block the Republican fleet of cruisers anchored there.

The national player decides to put into practice his plan to occupy Gijón and thus leave, outside the war, all of Asturias and its bellicose militiamen. For this purpose, your Fleet escorts the transports that are going to land in Avilés the 2nd Tercio de la Legión and the Oriental artillery group. This fleet travels its last ten hexagons at night to hinder the interception by the republican fleet located in Santander. This one, in its attempt fails, reason why the two regiments disembark in Avilés without more setbacks. Once there, next to the two units of Oviedo, arrivals by rail and Leon, prepare to attack Gijón. The Asturian brigades pass the militia check so the attack reaches a 3: 1 without modifiers. A four in the dice means the withdrawal of the Asturians, their elimination to withdraw by Zone of enemy Control and the fall of Gijón. The importance of this fact is reflected in the fact that if it is not reconquered in the immediate death of the Republican Asturias, it will collapse and its troops will be definitively eliminated from the game. The strength of the national units that defend the two cities of the Principality, Oviedo and Gijón, makes their reconquest unlikely. This maneuver, the disembarkation of two of the best units of the Army of Africa in Avilés, baptized already as the ” Gambito Asturiano “, has a key importance. Even supposing that the republican player does everything possible to avoid it from the beginning of the game, the fall of Asturias is very likely. Let’s see why.

Aug I 36

In the turn of August I 36, only the republican fleet that starts the game in Santander has the possibility of intercepting the national fleet. The probabilities of doing so are 2/6, and in the event that it is achieved, a combat would start with an enemy force of the same potential as his (3) and, consequently, an uncertain outcome that will depend on chance. Assuming that the transported force disembarks without setbacks in the Asturian port, it will be found that the maximum republican forces capable of defending Gijón are three brigades, one regiment and the intrinsic defense of this city, with a total of 7 combat points without support, what in fact are 3’5 points. The national player, after placing the 32nd Rto in the previous turn. in hexagon 1107 you can bring 3 points by rail in addition to the unit that starts in Leon. In total, he will attack Gijón with 11 combat points, which gives him a 3: 1 ratio. With this table, Gijón is only saved if a combat comes out 1. Of course, if the republican units fail the militia check (what happens by taking a 1 on the die) its value will be 1.75 points, so the proportion will increase to 6: 1 and the fall of Gijón will be inevitable.

The republican player can move his aviation to Asturias at the cost of unprotecting other sectors. In total and through DAS missions, it is a battle point to add to the defense of Gijón, which reduces the proportion to 2: 1 (5: 1 in case the militia check fails), since the support of the National aircraft is insufficient to counteract Republican aviation. A 2: 1 attack is risky for the national because if a 1 comes out, the result is AR and would have to retire unprotecting Oviedo. It should be borne in mind that, if rule 45.B is used, the incremental Combat Table, by which the fractions of the proportion are rounded to the nearest column by means of a percentile roll, it is possible to reach 3: 1 again. although it is still as risky to not be able to cancel the attack if this new roll fails.

In turn, the national player has the possibility of counteracting the Republican air support by transferring the combat TF to Avilés without escorting the transports and having it in that hex during the last three steps of the naval movement preparing the artillery support. In this way, just adding 2 support points (3 in the case that the national aircraft could not support) would again reach the 3: 1 ratio. The transports would arrive without escort taking advantage of the rule of Protected Waters (those own coastal hexagons in which it can not be intercepted by the movement of reaction of the enemy fleet). A problem arises in this respect, and that is that according to the rules, the hexagons to be their own must either be occupied by their own chips or submitted to their Control Zone. This implies that those on the coast between El Ferrol and Avilés could not be considered as the national player’s own hexagons at the time of the naval movement since no unit of their own could pass through that area. In addition, for subsequent turns, the unit that is awarded the only mission to travel this coast to turn it into its own hexagons will have to move through hexagons “rough” which will greatly slow down its progress. If this function is already somewhat absurd, it is even more so when we know that there existed (and exists) a coastal road not reflected in the map, whose importance is reflected by the fundamental use made of it by the Galician columns that marched to the command of Colonel Martín Alonso to free Oviedo. In this regard, I suggest that some flexibility be applied and that the condition of own hexes or enemies be made according to the situation of the fronts. Especially when taking the exhaustive control of all the hexes of the map in a game like this one of the Civil War forces to mark each and every one of them. The only exception is the railway lines, which must be marked as they take possession of them because of the great importance they have during the first shifts.

In the Republican subturno, if you still have the city, this player will place the Asturian reinforcements and the brigades that activate the garrison in Gijón, which will raise up to 11 combat points for those defending Gijón. In addition, through the half point of replacement of artillery produced by the Gijon factory in this turn, and another half point landed as reinforcement (the national naval interdiction will prevent taking 4, 5 or 6 in the corresponding roll, although the Republican may try it until four times), the republican player will have been able to replace an artillery regiment 1-6 with which their units will have support. Apart from those that defend Gijón, other units may move to other hexagons.

The situation will have precipitated in Asturias and with prospects of stagnation before the enormous number of defending units. Even, the national player can try the attack 2: 1, because, they are a 50% chance to take Gijón and destroy the defending units. The risk lies in the 16% chance of AR leaving and having to withdraw. Even in this case, Oviedo would be defended by a maximum of 4’5 points (5 with DAS), which seems sufficient to stop the Republican counterattack.

Returning to the game described, the national player isolated San Sebastian with its Navarrese columns, reached the heights of Somosierra and in the south, taking advantage of the fact that the republican units of Malaga have advanced to the important hexagon 3723 -communication center-, units from Cordoba, Granada and Seville attacked those units. When carrying out the militia check, the Bda. Anarchist “RIM” obtained a result “Rout” with which the entire stack had to retreat, victims panic militants. The naval transports returned to Africa while continuing the airlift.

During the republican subturno, this player continues in Catalonia the ideological purification. The isolated troops of the area of ​​Malaga are concentrated in the city. There are three republican regiments along with three anarchist units, so it is very feasible a new rout at the time of the check of militias. The cities of Toledo and Teruel are occupied by militia columns after being abandoned by their defenders. In the north, Santander troops prepare to defend their region before the national troops that advance from Asturias. At the same time, the Basque troops entrenched themselves in Bilbao and San Sebastián.

August II 1936

In the turn August II 36, new reinforcements from Africa disembark in the port of Gijón and together with the units already present in Asturias attack the three Santander brigades that located in the 1205 hexagon defend the coast. A new failed militia check, causes its combat factors to be worth half. The attack is an 8: 1 and the result is an Eliminated Defender. The fall of Santander is only a matter of time. In the south, the advance on Malaga continues. For the attack on this city, the national player deploys the Italian Fleet, which he can use once a year. With its 18 naval support points, it reaches a 3: 1 ratio. In the air, the republican Nieuport 51 brings down the Breguet XIX in combat. And this time, all the units pass the militia check. Only a 1 in the dice will prevent Malaga from falling. Not so, a DR means that national troops enter Malaga while in their withdrawal, the six Republican units are eliminated by doing so through enemy Zones of Control.

This last action has ended by demoralizing the Republican player. With an army still dispersed, with all the troops of Catalonia occupied in the pacification of this region, with a North Front whose end is a matter of few turns and without real forces with which to counterattack in Andalusia, the republican player decides to capitulate. The fall of Asturias, and consequently that of the entire Republican North, greatly imbalances the game, and as has been shown, this is difficult to avoid.

 

Revised OB for the Basqe Forces in FWtBT

Editors Note:
This corrected OB is the result of historical research by its Author, Carlos Perez, as well as an imbalance in FWtBT as published, wehre the nothern goubernitos are vulnerable to the “Asturian Gambit”, in which the Insurgent Player, guided by the hindsight knowledge that the Loyalist Forces have limited mobility and capabilities in the first turns of the game, tries to knock out the northern goubernitos before they finish mobilisation. In the confused and chaotic first weeks of the Insurgency such a strategy would have bordered on the lunatic, since all sides were squarely concentrated on taking or holding Madrid as the center of political power. While this making sense in terms of a struggle both players know will most likely take years to resolve, and legal according to the rules, it is nevertheless a strategy not available to the historical actors. Should these OB variations not resolve the issue, a Grest War “Plan XVII”-rule should be considered.
This article appeared in the bulletin
El Miliciano , nr. 5 (1996)

BASQUE FORCES

Regular reinforcements

JUL II 36

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 1, 2 (Bas)

AUG I 36

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 1 (Bas)
1x 1-pt Task Force LtTF-1 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
2x 1-4 Inf X 3, 4 (Bas)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Bas)

Join the General Section of Reem installments:
1x 0-1-6 Mortar III Ortiz (Bas)

SEP I 36

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-4 Inf X 3, 4 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
4x 1-2-4 Inf X 5, 6, 7, 8 (Bas)

OCT I 36

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
1x 1-6 Eng III 1 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 5, 6 (Bas)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
3x 1-2-4 Inf X 9, 10, 11 (Bas)
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Bas)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-8 Tank II N (Bas)
1x 1-6 Art III 14 (Bas)

NOV I 36

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
1x 1-6 Eng III 2 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 7, 8 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
3x 2-4 Inf X 13, 14, 15 (Bas)

DEC I 36

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 9, 10 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
1x 1-4 Inf X 16 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, form:
2x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3, 4 (Bas)
2x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2 (Bas)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-6 Art III 17 (Bas)

JAN I 37

Bilbao (23A: 1701):
1x 1-6 lt Tank III CAO (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
1x 2-4 Inf X 13 (Bas)
1x 1-2-4 Inf X 11 (Bas)
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, form:
1x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 5 (Bas)

FEB I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 2-4 Inf X 14, 15 (Bas)
1x 1-4 Inf X 16 (Bas)

MAR I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3, 4 (Bas)
2x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
1x 2-4º Inf XX 6 (Bas)

APR I 37

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932)
1x 1-8 Pole III Ert (Bas)

MAY I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
1x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 5 (Bas)

JUN I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
1x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 6 (Bas)

INITIAL FORCES, APR I 37

Active Army

Army of the North

Anywhere in Euskadi:
Add
9x 1-2-4 Inf X 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (Bas)

Delete:
4x 1-4 Inf X 5, 6, 7, 8 (Bas)
1x 1-8 Police III Ert (Bas)

ASTURIAN FORCES

Regular reinforcements

JUL II 36

Gijón (23A: 1006) or Oviedo (23A: 1007):
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 1, 2 (Ast)
1x 1-4 Inf X 3 (Ast)

AUG I 36

Gijón (23A: 1006) or Oviedo (23A: 1007):
1x 1-2-4 Inf X Di (Ast)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 1 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
8x 1-4 Inf X 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (Ast)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-6 Art III AD (Ast)

SEP I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
4x 1-4 Inf X 4, 5, 6, 7 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
1x 1-6 Eng X 1 (Ast)

OCT I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
4x 1-4 Inf X 8, 9, 10, 11 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Ast)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Ast)

NOV I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 1-6 Eng III 1 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 13, 14 (Ast)
1x 1-6 Inf X 1 Exp (Ast)
1x 1-6 Eng III 2 (Ast)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-6 Art III 16 (Ast)

DEC I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, form:
1x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3 (Ast)
3x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2, 4 (Ast)

JAN I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3 (Ast)
3x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2, 4 (Ast)
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 13, 14 (Ast)
1x 1-6 Eng III 2 (Ast)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
1x 3-4 º Inf XX 5 (Ast)
1x 1-6 Inf X 2 Exp (Ast)

FEB I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 5 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
2x 2-4º Inf XX 6, 7 (Ast)
2x 1-6 Inf X 3 Exp, 4 Exp (Ast)

MAR I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
2x 2-3 4 * Inf XX 6, 7 (Ast)

APR I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
4x 1-6 Inf X 1 Exp, 2 Exp, 3 Exp, 4 Exp (Ast)

The Official History of Canada in World War II

Land Campaigns

Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Vol I Six Years of War, Stacey, C.P, 1955

Official history of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Vol II The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945, Nicholson, G.W.L, 1956

Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, Vol III The Victory Campaign: The Operations in Northwest Europe, 1944-45, Stacey, C.P., 1960

Arms, Men and Governments: The War Policies of Canada, 1939-1945, Stacey, C.P., 1970

Other

The Canadian Army, 1939-1945 : An Official Historical Summary,Stacey, C.P., 1948

A History of Canadian Naval Aviation, 1918-1962, Kealey, J.D.F., Russell, E.C.1965

The Naval Service of Canada : Its Official History. Vol 2, Activities on Shore During the Second World War., Tucker, Gilbert, 1952

Official History of the Canadian Medical Services, 1939-1945, Vol 1 Organization and Campaigns, Feasby, W.R., 1956

Official History of the Canadian Medical Services, 1939-1945, Vol 2 Clinical Subjects, Feasby, W.R., 1953

The R.C.A.F. Overseas, Volume 1: The First Four Years,  Historical Section of the RoyalCanadian Air Force, 1944

The R.C.A.F. Overseas, Volume 2: The Fifth Year,  Historical Section of the RoyalCanadian Air Force, 1945

The R.C.A.F. Overseas, Volume 3: The Sixth Year,  Historical Section of the RoyalCanadian Air Force, 1949

Seasons in the Sun

We continue our publications from the rich trove of articles kindly provided by Carlos Perez from belliludi.com.  An excellent overview on the state of Spains Army at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, we have Alberto Arzaneguis essay on The Spanish Army in 1936 in the department of Order of Battle research.

Additionally, a kind gamer provided us with an Index of Gary Stagliano’s newsletter Nuts & Bolts, which we’ve also published today. The individual game indices are also updated, so you have comprehensive reading lists to every game. Enjoy!

 

The Spanish Army in 1936

by Alberto Arzanegui
This article appeared in the bulletin El Miliciano , nr. 1 (1993). Translated by Wolf Broszies

Without the Spanish Army there would not have been an insurgency in 1936. The leadership of the insurgency was composed nearly entirely from officers of the Army. The insurgent regiments and its soldiers constituted the backbone of the  nationalist side in the Civil War. The parts of the Army staying loyal to the government were not used in the same way, many of its regiments being dissolved and incorporated into the new brigades of the republic. This article discusses the state of the Army  in the summer of 36, right up to the nationalist insurgency.

The Army had for most parts adopted a passive attitude towards the newly declared republic Republic. The new civilian authorities undertook a rapid reform, mainly reducing the number of officers. Thus, in just one year, the number of men serving had gone from 190 generals and 20,303 officers and NCOs to 72 and 13,032 respectively. However the reformes failed to achive their main goal, which was a reduction in budget, which despite the reforms had to be increased. This and other decisions created nothing but discontent among the professional military. The second goal of the reforms, to keep the Army in its barracks, was not fulfilled either: Due to the volatile and violent political situation ts services were constantly needed to maintain law and order. Moroccan troops intervened for the first time in the Peninsula during the Sanjurpo rebellion. This increased the political power of the Army and contributed to its image as the last stalwart of order.

Reform and military resources

In the spring of 1936 the Republic decided to reduce the size of the Army for several reasons:

  • reduce the state budget
  • reduced need for national defense due to the political situation in Europe
  • the desirability of the Army not being disproportionate to principles of a prudent national policy oriented towards the maintenance of peace abroad and the conservation and defense of order and public freedoms in the interior.

At least, these were the official given reasons and conditions. As as result of the reform, the Army was established as follows:

    • Infantry: 40 regiments, 8 mountain battalions, two assault regiments, four machine gun battalions, one cyclist battalion, the Presidential Guard battalion, and the War Ministry group.
    • Cavalry: 10 regiments, a machine cannon group, the Central Repository of Remonta with two deposits of breeding and dressage.
    • Artillery: 16 light regiments, one regiment on horseback, four heavy regiments, four coast defense regiments, two regiments and a mountain group, three mixed groups, two anti-aircraft groups, three groups of artillery information, four army corps and eight divisional parks.
    • Engineers: A regiment of sappers-miners, eight battalions and a group of sappers, a battalion of bridgeing engineers, two regiments of railroad engineers, a regiment of airdome engineers, a transport regiment, four mixed groups of sappers and telegraph engineers, Central Park of Automobiles and a Center of Transmissions and Technical Studies.
    • Intendance: Eight divisional groups and two companies for the Balearic and Canary Islands plus sections at naval bases.
    • Medical: Two commissions with four divisional groups each, sections for the cavalry division and the mountain brigades, companies for the archipelagos and mobile veterinary evacuation sections.
    • Other forces: Republican music band, train corps, 16 mobilization and reservation centers and 60 recruiting boxes.
  • Army of Africa:
    • Spanish Foreign Legion: two legions (regiment-sized) to three banderas (bataillon-sized) plus one of deposit. Six battalions of light infantry, two groups of machine guns, two artillery groups, a battalion of sappers, a transport battalion, three quartermaster groups, two medical groups and two sea companies.
    • Regular Forces Indigenous: five grupos with three infantry tanks, and one cavalry. Ifni Forces: Ifni battalion with three infantry tanks and one cavalry, and the forces of Cape Juby and Rio de Oro. Jalifian Forces: Five Mehalas and Jalalian Police.
  • Forces in Guinea: The five companies of the Colonial Guard.

Army Structure and Command

The supreme head of the Army according to the constitution was the Minister of War. He exercised his authority through the Ministry of War and recieved advice by the Superior Council of War. The Ministry consisted of a subsecretariat in charge of administration and a Central Staff to which he had responsibility for everything related to war.

In place of the old captaincias general, eight Amry divisions were created that were in charge of everything related to instruction, discipline, services, administration, etc., of the units organic to or permanently assigned to them. Apart from these divisions, there were garrisons and autonomous regions such as the naval bases of Cadiz, El Ferrol and Cartagena, and regions such as Asturias, Baleares and Canarias. In case of war, the divisions would be grouped into three army corps: First Army Corps composed from the 1st and 2nd divisions and the cavalry division, second corps fomr the 3rd, 4rth and 5th divisions, and thrid Army corps from 6th, 7th and 8th divison. Each division consisted of:

  • A divisional headquarters.
  • Two infantry brigades to two regiments of two battalions each. Each of these consisted of four companies of infantry, a machine gun company plus a section of supporting arms. The regiments were established with two active battalions but enough equipment to outfit its third battalion at mobilization.
  • A cavalry squadron, with an automatic weapons section and another of infantry cyclist.
  • A light artillery brigade composed of two regiments, one of cannons and another of howitzers, both consisting of two groups of three batteries each. The regiments also had the necessary weapons to constitute their third group.
  • A battalion of sappers-miners from three companies plus a park.
  • A division park, quartermaster, health and transmission groups and veterinary and lighting sections.

Independent of these divisions existed the troops of corps of army and army:

  • Two mixed mountain brigades. Each with a headquarters; four mountain battalions grouped in two half-brigades; a mountain artillery regiment with two groups of howitzers, to three batteries each; a company of sappers-miners and sections of services.
  • Two regiments of two battalions of light tanks of combat and four battalions of machine guns, all dependent on the weapon of Infantry.
  • Eight regiments of infantry, same as divisions, for naval bases and autonomous regions.
  • A cavalry division with: Headquarters; three brigades of cavalry to two regiments of two groups, and each of them with two squadrons of sabers and another one of automatic arms; a group of cyclist infantry from a rifle company and another from machine guns; a group of machine-gun-guns of two squadrons; an artillery regiment on horseback with three groups of three batteries; a company of sappers on horseback and services.
  • Four regiments of cavalry, four squadrons of sabers and one of automatic weapons.
  • Four regiments of heavy artillery formed by two groups of three batteries each.
  • Four regiments of artillery of coast, for the naval bases.
  • Three mixed groups of artillery (light and mountain).
  • Two Defense Against Aircraft (DCA) groups, each consisting of two anti-aircraft guns and an infantry machine gun company.
  • A regiment of sappers-miners, from two battalions to four companies each.
  • A battalion of pontoneros with four units of bridges.
  • A regiment of railways formed by three battalions of three companies.
  • Two autonomous mixed groups with a company of sappers and another of telephones.
  • An artillery regiment.
  • Four artillery parks of corps of army.

…and the rest of service units.

The African Army

The protectorate of Morocco was divided into two military districts: the Oriental (areas of Melilla and Rif) and the Occidental (Ceuta, Tetuan and Larache). Command fell to a division general and his staff with residence in Tetuan. The troops were as follows:

Eastern District :

  • 1st Legion of the Third. In Tauima (Melilla), with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Flags. Each flag had three companies of infantry and one of machine guns and machines of escort. During the war a fourth company will be added.
  • Groups of Regular Indigenous Forces Melilla nº 2 in Nador; and Alhucemas nº 5 in Segangán. Each had three infantry tanks and one cavalry. The infantry had three companies of rifles and one of machine guns, and of the cavalry three squadrons.
  • Eastern group of light infantry from Africa with battalions of hunters Melilla # 3 in Al Hoceima and Ceuta # 7 in Melilla. Each battalion has four companies of riflemen-grenadiers, one of machine guns, a section of machine of support, another of transmissions, another of workers and train of battalion.
  • Eastern group of artillery with its staff in Melilla and consisting of two groups, one in Melilla with three batteries of 105 mm and one of 155 mm, and the second in the Rif with three 105 mm batteries, all of them howitzers.
  • A mixed battalion of sappers-transmissions with four companies, two of each.
  • Group of machine guns of position of Melilla.

Western Circumscription :

  • 2nd Legion of the Third in Dar Riffien (Ceuta) with the 4th, 5th and 6th flags.
  • Groups of Regular Forces Indigenous Tetuán nª 1 in Tetuán, Ceuta nº 3 in Ceuta and Larache nº 4 in Alcazarquivir. Its structure was the same as the previous two with the exception of the cavalry, which in these were only two squadrons.
  • Western grouping of African hunters with battalions San Fernando nº 1 in Alcazarquivir, Las Navas nº 2 in Larache, Ceriñola nº 6 in Tetuán and Serrallo nº 8 in Ceuta. [At the time the Republic was established, there were five infantry regiments in Morocco, which were dissolved, numbers 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44. The latter gave rise to machine gun battalions No. 2 and No. 3, and the other four to eight battalions of hunters, who were numbered successively. During the ministry of Gil Robles, the numbers 4 and 5 were transformed into the groups of machine guns of position of Ceuta and Melilla.]
  • Western grouping of artillery with its first group of three batteries of 105 mm, one of 155 mm and another one of coast in Ceuta; and the second group in Larache with three 105 mm batteries. Also all of howitzers.
  • Mixed battalion of sappers.
  • Group of machine guns of position of Ceuta.

In addition, it would be necessary to include the service troops: quartermasters, medical, transport, etc, and two companies of marines in Ceuta and Melilla.

During the mandate of Gil Robles reinforced the artillery in the Protectorate with six new batteries: two of 75, two of 105, one of 150 and one of 155.

There were other forces on the African continent that were the Ifni Shooter Battalion, created on June 11, 1934 and with three infantry tanks (similar to regular groups) and one of my cavalry. The Forces of the Sahara, formed by three garrisons featured in Cape Juby (the largest with a disciplinary company), Villa Cisneros and La Agüera. Sections of the different weapons gathered about 500 men. The Jalifian Forces, born as palace guard of the Khalifa and that will form the pictures of the future Moroccan army. There were five mehalas: Tetuán nº 1, Melilla nº 2, Larache nº 3, Rif nº 5 and Gomara nº 6, with headers in Tetuán, Melilla, Larache, Villa Alhucemas and Xauen. Each taxi included three of me) for a total of 360 men. The Jalaphian police were made up of five mezzanines and were about 1,650 men. In Guinea there was a minimal garrison made up of the Colonial Guard. It was constituted by five companies distributed throughout the territory that fulfilled the functions of police. The troops of this unit were mostly indigenous.

Army Strength

The total numbers were as follows:

  • In the peninsular army, that is to say, the eight divisions, the two commandos of the Balearic and Canary Islands, plus the commandant exempt of Asturias, had on the paper 81 generals, 8,851 officers, 6,988 non-commissioned officers and 101,455 troops. The total was 117,385 men. There were also ten generals assimilated.
  • The Army of Africa had three generals, 1,683 officers, 1,572 non-commissioned officers and 30,383 soldiers. The total was 33,641.
  • The General Directorate of Morocco and Colonies had 527 officers, 246 non-commissioned officers and 12,713 troops. Total 13,486.
  • CASE personnel were 4,285 in the territorial army, 594 in Africa and 354 in the Residency forces.
  • In the Reserve there were 481 generals, 4 officers of staff, 97 officers of infantry, 21 of cavalry, 88 of artillery, 71 of engineers and 128 other auxiliary bodies. Complement officers were 1,930 infantry, 630 cavalry, 632 artillery, 158 engineers and 676 other corps. The number of retired military personnel was 13,642.

Mobilization

With the military reform the old structure of mobilization was discarded. Mobilization and Reserve Centers were created tak take over the task of organizing the individual soldiers and assigning them to their units. The soldiers, once they joined thre reserve, passed to a first situation of availability always belonging to the active units in which they served. In case of mobilization, these reserves would complete the templates of the existing units at first, to later unfold these units. Those in the second situation, depended on the mobilization center of their place of residence and would form if necessary reserve units in a number dependent on the nature of the mobilization. The Mobilization Centers were sixteen, one for each infantry brigade. Recruitment is done through 60 Recruit Boxes. The number of handlers for recruitment and replacement was as follows (for years):

1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933
142,901 140,275 150.116 153,885 139,139 144,615 148,522 148,423 149,140 157,359

The actual situation

In July 1936, the army units were not fully staffed. The summer period and rumors of uprising had led to a massive granting of permits. Then the real situation of the barracks, by divisions and regions:

Republican zone National zone
Infantry
I 2,957 58%
II 785 62% 2,860 56%
III 3,838 61%
IV 4.335 61%
V 382 55% 2.618 52%
SAW 1.643 84% 3.261 55%
VII 2.802 55%
Balearics 655 52% 729 57%
Canary Islands 1.475 58%
Artillery
I 1.632 54%
II 1,744
III 1.747 58%
IV 1.525 61%
V 792 36% 955 96% (?)
SAW 532 79% 1,242 fifty%
VII 1,174 56%
VIII 1.420
Balearics 836 70%
Canary Islands 1.008 [1]
Chivalry
II 395 62%
III 413 65%
IV 800 63%
V 347 55%
SAW 1,207 64%
VII 807 64%
Engineers
I 3.128 71%
II 284 67%
III 258 61%
IV 268 63%
V 488
SAW 233 55% 248 59%
VIII 212 fifty%

Equipment

As for the armament, the infantry had the rifle of own production Mauser M-1.893 of 7 mm. The most common machine gun was the Hotchkiss M-25 7mm and the heavy Hotchkiss M-14. Elite units (legions, hunters, marines and mountain troops) used the Star S 135 and Gollat ​​9m submachine guns. The mortars were either the Spanish Valero of 50 mm, or those of 81 mm that were copies of the French Brandt.

Most infantry guns were the old Schneider M-08 70mm mountain. The elite units were being equipped with the new Arellano L-32 45 mm. In addition to the organic artillery units, infantry units had some battalion-level pieces. Thus, each battalion of hunters, each flag of the Third, each taxi of Regulares and the Knights of Ifni had a piece of accompaniment. In the rest of the army, each battalion of infantry (three by regiment) and each battalion of mountain had the same thing.

Each DCA group had 8 pieces, the three mixed groups totaling 20 pieces and an unknown number of fixed pieces. In the garrison of Villa Cisneros there were two other cannons and each artillery grouping in Morocco had 28 pieces. If we add all the artillery crews gives us a total of 916 pieces of campaign in the territorial army, 88 in Africa, 192 in coastal regiments and 16 in anti-aircraft groups.

In artillery the basic unit was the four-piece battery. Like half Europe, it counted massively with the famous French barrel Schneider M-06 of 75 mm that represented about 60% of the whole park. In theory he had to equip only two of the groups in the light artillery regiments, although in practice he practically constituted all three. The light batteries in Morocco and those of the Islands had the modern Vickers M-22 of 105 mm manufactured in Spain. The mountain regiments and the group of Asturias had the Schneider M-19 mountain howitzer of 105 mm. The heavy artillery regiments had a group equipped with 150 mm Krupp M-13 guns and the other with 155 mm Schneider M-17.

The four regiments of coast artillery gathered in total 192 pieces mostly of fixed character. They were broken down as follows: Regiment No. 1 had 6 batteries with a total of 24 pieces, Regiment No. 2 had 13 batteries with 52 pieces, Regiment No. 3 had 16 batteries and 64 pieces, and Regiment No. 4 had 13 batteries with 52 pieces. There were also pieces of these characteristics in the mixed groups of the archipelagos, but the number of them is unknown. Of the total, 132 of them were between 101.6 and 381 mm of caliber. Many of them were old pieces from fixed ships, although there were some mobile batteries with Elswick Mark I 127 mm guns and some anti-aircraft parts. Precisely in this type of weapon, there were in acceptable number the Danish M-33 of 20 mm and the French machine guns Hotchkiss of 13.2 mm. The Spanish Army had no anti-tank guns.

The Spanish military industry was concentrated in Trubia, where the 45, 105 and 155 mm guns were manufactured, as well as modernizing those of 75. In Reinosa and Placencia de las Armas artillery pieces were also manufactured.

Between the two regiments of existing cars only had 20 operating cars: 10 Renault FT-17, 5 Schneider M-16 and 5 Trubia A-4, in addition, there were about 62 armored transports. All this stuff was really outdated. In contrast, the group of machine-gun-guns had 28 modern armored vehicles. They were a Spanish version of the 1 Tm Dodge truck and had two 8 mm machine guns.

Finally, the engineering units were equipped with French material from the Great War.

As has been said each infantry regiment had a reserve of arms to constitute its third battalion when it was decided, the light artillery regiments to constitute their third group and generally, the rest of units and bodies had the necessary material to equip up to 25% of its troops in time of peace. In addition, they had the regulatory reserves. In the divisional and army corps parks an enormous amount of arms and equipment was stored from the reserves for a mobilization and of the remnants that had produced the reduction of Azaña. The exact figures of this material are unknown, although it is estimated that no division park had less than 25,000 rifles and at least twice as many corpses, for a total of 400,000 to 500,000 in the whole army. The total quantities of machine guns and machine guns were 2,247 and 1,458 for the Territorial Army and 528 and 220 for the African Army.

Order of Battle in July 1936

Infantry Regiments

nº 1 Wad-Ras Madrid nº21 Valencia Santander

nº 2 León Madrid nº22 San Marcial Burgos

nº 3 Castilla Badajoz nº23 América Pamplona

nº 4 Covadonga Madrid nº24 Bailén Logroño

nº 5 Lepanto Granada nº25 San Quintín Valladolid

nº 6 Granada Sevilla nº26 Toledo Zamora

# 7 Pavia Algeciras # 27 Algiers Caceres

nº 8 Vitoria [2] Málaga nº28 La Victoria Salamanca

nº 9 Otumba Valencia nº29 Zamora La Coruña

nº10 Guadalajara Valencia nº30 Zaragoza Lugo

nº11 Alicante rate nº31 Burgos León

nº12 Vizcaya Alcoy nº32 Milan Oviedo

nº13 Badajoz Barcelona nº33 Cádiz Cádiz

nº14 Alcántara Barcelona nº34 Seville Cartagena

nº15 Almansa Tarragona nº35 Mérida El Ferrol

No. 16 Albuera Lerida nº36 Palma Palma

nº17 Aragón Zaragoza nº37 Baleares Mahón

nº18 Gerona Zaragoza nº38 Tenerife Santa Cruz

No. 19 Galicia Jaca nº39 Canarias Las Palmas

nº20 Valladolid Huesca nº40 Simancas Gijón

Mountain Battalions

nº 1 Chiclana Figueras nº 5 Flanders Vitoria

nº 2 Asia Gerona nº 6 Garellano Bilbao

nº 3 Madrid Seo Urgell nº 7 Arapiles Estella

nº 4 City Rodrigo Barbastro nº 8 Sicilia Pamplona

Combat Tank Regiments

nº 1 Madrid nº 2 Zaragoza

Battalions of machine guns

nº 1 Castellón nº 3 Almería

nº 2 Plasencia nº 4 Manresa

Cyclist Battalion Alcalá de Henares

Presidential Guard Battalion and War Ministry Group Madrid

Cavalry Regiments

nº 1 Castillejos Zaragoza nº 6 Numancia Vitoria

nº 2 Villarrobledo Palencia nº 7 Lusitania Valencia

nº 3 Calatrava Salamanca nº 8 Taxdir Sevilla

nº 4 Spain Burgos nº 9 Santiago Barcelona

nº 5 Farnesio Valladolid nº10 Montesa Barcelona

Aranjuez group of machine gunners

Light artillery regiments

No. 1 Getafe nº 9 Zaragoza

No. 2 Vicálvaro nº10 Calatayud

No. 3 Sevilla nº11 Burgos

No. 4 Granada nº12 Logroño

No. 5 Valencia # 13 Segovia

No. 6 Murcia nº14 Valladolid

No. 7 Barcelona nº15 Pontevedra

nº 8 Mataró nº16 La Coruña

Heavy artillery regiments

nº 1 Córdoba nº 3 San Sebastián

nº 2 Gerona nº 4 Medina del Campo

Mountain artillery regiments

nº 1 Barcelona nº 2 Vitoria

Regiment of artillery on horseback Campamento (Madrid)

Coastal artillery regiments

nº 1 Cadiz nº 3 Cartagena

nº 2 El Ferrol nº 4 Mahón

Mixed Artillery Groups

nº 1 Palma nº 3 Las Palmas

No 2 Tenerife

Defense Groups against Aircraft (ACD)

nº 1 Campamento nº 2 Zaragoza

Mountain artillery group Oviedo

Regiment of sapper miners Madrid

Regiments of railways

nº 1 Leganés nº 2 Leganés

El Pardo transmission regiment

Regiment of Aerostación Guadalajara

Battalions of Sappers

nº 1 Carabanchel nº 5 Zaragoza

nº 2 Sevilla nº 6 San Sebastián

nº 3 Valencia nº 7 Alcalá de Henares

nº 4 Barcelona nº 8 Gijón

Bridging Engineer Battalion Saragossa

Mixed groups sappers-telephones

No. 1 Palma nº 3 Tenerife

nº 2 Mahón nº 4 Las Palmas

TO/Es of Spanish Army units in July 1936

Unity Official Non-commissioned officers Troop
Rto. infantry 49 87 1.122 [3]
Bon. Montana 27 Four. Five 561
Bon. machine guns 22 42 362
Bon. cyclist 36 74 789
Rto. fighting cars 36 87 399
Gpo. War Ministry 10 17 342
Rto. chivalry 35 35 558
Gpo. auto-cannon 16 17 174
Rto. sappers 39 57 853
Bon. sappers 19 27 373
Rto. railways 38 57 779
Rto. transmissions 56 92 783
Rto. art. light 32 54 628
Rto. art. heavy 31 60 576
Rto. art. horse 44 79 967
Rto. art. Montana 3. 4 63 924
Gpo. DCA 13 22 237
Third Flag twenty-one 29 618
Tábor inf. Regular 18 twenty-one 473 [4]
Tábor cab. Regular 17 2. 3 317 [5]
Bon. Ifni Handles 31 38 1,166
Unity Rifles Fusam Machine guns Mortars Cannons
Bon. inf. 446 16 24 17 1
Bon. Montana 541 16 8 17 1
Bon. ametra. 156 4 24 4
Bon. cyclist 635 28 24 28
Rto. Cars [6] 569
Rto. cab. 595 fifteen 8 2
Rto. art. lig. 453 9 36
Rto. art. cab. 790 9 36
Rto. art. feet 266 6 24
Gpo. DCA 111 6 8

The provision of rifles. of sappers, of railroads, of transmissions and of bones. of sappers was 989, 556, 920 and 454 respectively. The gpo. of auto-machine guns had 214 rifles, 5 fusam and 28 vehicles.

Notes

  1. A figure that reflects both regions: the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
  2. Later it was called of Oviedo.
  3. This regiment is of two battalions.
  4. Of the total, 394 soldiers were Moors.
  5. Of the total, 260 were Moors.
  6. It had 67 vehicles.

Links

The Spanish Army’s Order of Battle in July 1936 from the Nafzinger Collection