MAR II INSURGENT
Unusual atmospheric conditions brought sunny skies and crisp spring weather to all of Spain (die roll “1”). The Insurgents made good use of dried-up ground to forge ahead in Aragon. With maximum concentration of strength they achieved a deep though narrow penetration north of Ebro river in the Alcubierre hills (33:2932). Also, a concentric attack eliminated the salient at Herrera de los Navarros (23A:3001), from where the Loyalists had shelled the Jiroca valley road, the supply artery of the Teruel front. Loyalist air support in Aragon was strong, but took command of the skies over the wrong sectors. The change in weather was also cheered by the Insurgent outposts in the Pyrenees near the French border, some of whom received their first full replenishment of goods and ammunition since the onset of winter. In a small, local operation, Italian volunteers and Falangists attacked out of the Sierra de Segura in southwestern Murcia and pushed weak Anarchist defenders out of one of their last toe holds in the foothills and back toward Hellin. All other fronts remained quiet. While the Republican airforce was busy with ground support in Aragon, the Nationalists launched air attacks against rail lines in Aragon and airfields at Valencia and Murcia. Damage was light, except at Valencia, where some aircraft were destroyed on the ground. Sea traffic in the Bay of Biscay continued unmolested as Italian submarines kept the Republican fleet bottled up in Cartagena.
MAR II LOYALIST
Faced with being outflanked in their forward positions, the Loyalists in Aragon gave up Huesca and withdrew from the environs of Zaragoza to consolidate their forces in a shorter, stronger front. All other fronts remained quiet. Reacting to growing unrest in Cataluna, the Loyalists pulled several of their Guardia Civil units out of line for transfer to strategic points in that province. While the Republican Fleet remained inactive, the People’s Airforce attacked Insurgent communication lines, but failed to do damage. A bombing attack on Madrid’s railway station angered the authorities, who are now demanding reprisal raids against Valencia or Barcelona. The French had a change of heart again and closed the border. This, however, will have little effect on events.
Despite the arrival of fair weather, fighting has still been sluggish and is apt to remain so. The fronts are now continuous and strong (up to 11 CF/hex), except in mountain areas. In Castilla and Murcia, where the front has been stable for some time, both sides are almost completely entrenched. Although the Nationalists can achieve high concentration of force (up to 36 CF/stack of 14RE), attacks at favorable odds against so strong a front consume attack supply at a high rate. As a result, only very few attacks can be made per turn. The Nationalist have adopted a tactic of deep penetration that lengthens and thereby thins the Loyalist front unless the Loyalists pull back voluntarily from positions that have become exposed. The Loyalists are forced to choose between sacrificing real estate for troops or troops for real estate. With the end of the MAR II turn the period covered by the Early War scenario is over. With ten dot cities (LaCoruna, Gijon, Santander, Bilbao, S.Sebastian, Zaragoza, Valladolid, Cordoba, Granada, Malaga) and the major cities Sevilla and Madrid, the Nationalists have garnered 35 victory points, more than twice the 15 needed for a decisive victory. However, the count toward the Grand Campaign stands at 122:46, quite a bit shy of the 3:1 ratio a decisive victory requires. It remains to be seen whether the Nationalists will be able to reach that ratio even if they can force the government to surrender.