Eric Tennyson Postlethwaite was born on the 5th March 1916 on the kitchen table of the two up/two down back to back stone cottage in a small mining village in south Yorkshire. He and his three younger brothers were miners as was their father and his father before him. They had survived the Depression which had put steel in their backs and Socialist fire in their bellies. As might be deduced from Eric’s middle name his father was unusually well read for a man of his station in life and the Socialist Worker was a source of news and much debate around the Postlewaite parlour table. The struggles of their brothers in arms in Spain were a particular source of debate and as the eldest son Eric was determined to “play his part”. Somehow and with the help of friends, family and a donation from the local Trades Union Eric’s father had raised the money for a steerage ticket out of Liverpool and being the first man in his village to take up arms for the Socialist cause Eric was given a hero’s send off.
Some weeks later having entered Spain on a tourist visa he had arrived at Albecete and been drafted into the thirty fifth International division where he and a motley collection of other raw recruits had joined veteran Polish and French comrades. They had been drilled constantly and the more naive recruits “politically indoctrinated”. They were placed into the front line at a place he could barely pronounce somewhere in the middle of Spain.
Three days later at around 8 o’clock in the morning they were pounded by the largest artillery concentration since the Siege of Seville and then by an infantry assault lead by the 13th Nationalist division supported by colonial cavalry and elite Legionaries. They could not withstand the assault but it was with some pride to Eric that they withdrew under fire in good order to protect the vital Madrid/Valencia rail line.
That was a week ago, since then they had been relieved in the line and redeployed.
Now they were to attack……
Weather: all clear
Supply ; Nationalist enclave at 2031 (Nr San Sebastian) goes U1
Reinforcements; Delayed reinforcements appear at Seville 1-5 infs 1Sev, 2Sev (Fal), 1-8 Cav VMS (Fal)
Replacements; 1 SRP recovered.
2x inf (Fal), 3x Inf (Nat) and 1x art RP (Nat) replaced and form 6-6 inf XX 52
1-8 lt 3, 1-8 mtn 7, 1-6 mg 3 and 1-10 lt tk Dro replaced.
Delayed upgrade; 2AV to 5-6 inf XX 71
NT-1 Transport 2-6 inf 8Rif (Col) from Cadiz to Motril and returns to Ceuta
NT -2, 4, 5 Transport AS from Virgo to Seville and return to Vigo
Sortie 1: Mxd T attempts to bomb rail junction at 2911 (Alanjuez) but is Returned by Mxd F
SM.81 (CTV) Terror bombs Madrid (2 VPs)
Sortie 2: Ju 52g4e, He 51 fly to bomb 3332. Intercepted by 1-15/t22 allocated to He 51 and I-16/t5 allocated against Ju52 g4e. I-16/t5 Aborted. 3332 rail line bombed and cut.
Attack1: 3111 clear (NE of Alcazar De San Juan) Supplied 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 7-6inf XX 13, 2-1-8 cav 2O (Col), 2-1-8 cav 1E (Col), 2-6 inf 3Ceu (Col) , 2-3-6 art 61, 2-1-8 art O, 4-3-6 art Lag (CTV) attack 6-6 inf 35 (Int) @ 4:1 = DR Advance 13th XX
Attack 2; 2606 rough (SW of Soria) Supplied 1-5 mech 1, 1-8 mtns 5, 8, 5-6 inf XX 4 (Req) and 3-4-5* inf XX 32, and 4-6 inf XX 2 (Req), 1-8 Cav 3 attack 3-6* inf XX 1 @ 5:1 (-1) = EX. Lose 5, 8 mtn, 1-8 cav. Advance 32nd , 1st mech
Exploitation: 1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 1-10 lt tk Dro (KL), 4-3-6 art leg (CTV) with Transport, join the 13th inf XX in 3111
Reinforcements: 1-6 sec 17GC converts to 1-2-6 sec 4GA
Replacements: 1 SRP recovered.
3-6 inf XX 1, 1-8 mtn 3, 1-6 sec 17Gc, 1-6 infs 2, 9 , 1-5 inf Mej, Cast, Lar, AgL (An), 0-1-6 art CNT (An),1-2-5 infs 8,10, 11 (Bas) replaced.
Attack1: 4120 rough (Motril) Supplied 3-4-5* inf XX 26 (An), Unsupplied 1-5 inf Fan (An) and Supplied 2-6* inf 4ch, 1-8 bike 1, 1-6 mg 3, 1-2-5 TL (An) attack 2-6 inf 8Rif (Col) @ 6:1 (-2) = DR Eliminated as no retreat path. Advance 4ch, 1,3,TL.
Attack 2: 3714 mtn (Penebetica mountains), 3-6* inf XX 3, and 1-6 sec 15GC, 1-6 inf 14, 1-2-6 art 2 and 1-2-6* inf 20 with A101, R-Z Attack 1-6 mg O @ 5:1 (-2) = AS
Attack 3: 3211 clear (Alcazar De San Juan) Supplied 1-8 tk 6, 1-5 mech 2, 2-6 eng ZM, 1-2-6 art 4, 2-6 inf 15AL (Int), 6-6 inf XX 35 (Int) and 2-1-8 tk 1, 2-1-8 tk 2, 2-6* inf 2Ch, 4-6 inf XX 6, 3-4-5* inf XX 16 and Bre.19 attack 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 2-1-8 cav 1E (col) , 2-1-8 cav 20 (col), 2-6 inf 3Ceu (Col) , 2-3-6 art 61 , 2-1-8 art O @ 3:1 (+1) = DR. Advance 2-1-8 tk 1, 2-1-8 tk 2, 4-6 inf XX 6, 1-2-6 art 4, 2-6 inf 15AL (Int), 3-6* inf 1. Alcazar de San Juan once again flies the Republican flag!
Attack 4: 2430 mtn (French boarder) Unsupplied 1-8 mtn 1, 1-8 mtn 2, 2-7 mtn 130 (cat), 1-6 art 11 (Cat) 1-8 cav Buxo (Cat) attack 1-6 inf 20 @ 5:1 (-2) = DR. Advance 2-7 mtn 130 (cat).
Mech Movement; 1-8 lt tk 1 to 3210