LOYALIST APR I ADDENDUM
Because of a misunderstanding, the previous report went out prematurely, before the turn was finished. It was not: The Loyalists still had something up their sleeve.
Spurred on to make a supreme effort, new Russian tanks that had been ferried by ship to Tarragona moved into the Ebro bend for a wild charge, coordinated with a cavalty and armor foray out of Alcaniz (13:3432). The pincers were to close at Caspe (3332) and pinch off the Nationalist spearhead at Gandesa (3431). However, despite strong artillery support the operation fizzled (a “1” on 1:1 +2) and the disorganized attackers streamed back, not even stopping at their jump-off positions where they were heaped with scorn by their comrades.
True to form, APR I turned out to be an all-fools’-day affair. Elias overlooked that I could block his land route to Tortosa by harassment. I wasted a good bomber on that mission, thinking abatement would negate a bombing factor rather than a two-factor hit. I also underestimated what he could ferry in by sea and how respectable a pincer attack he could launch with his armor. Moreover, he had commented that all but retreat and concession of my corridor would invite disaster, and I had taken that as an indication that he would not attack, and so I did not bother to assign defensive air support. But after looking things over, he decided to attack after all. Then, through no fault of his other than a poor die roll, the attack gave an AR, costing him 2ASP for nothing and weakening the positions it was launched from. So my laxness gained me an advantage. Well, that’s gaming, and it beats the hex-by-hex slugging we have been at for so long.
INSURGENT APR II 1938
Eager to capitalize on their successes, the Nationalists pressed on with their offensive without pause and regardless of risks.
The new thrust out of the widened Cinca bridgehead at Barbastro and Monzon (13:2929 and 3029) met with determined Loyalist resistance and ground to a halt at least temporarily. Lerida appears safe for the time being.
Farther south, Nationalist forces closed to the Cinca river, mopping up stragglers in the process and reducing the Loyalists to a bridgehead opposite Fraga (13:3230).
The main action was at the lower Ebro. The mechanized taskforce reinforced by two infantry divisions pushed forward from Gandesa (13:3431) along the south bank of the river. Although again suffering substantial losses (EX), tanks and infantry reached the coast road opposite Tortosa in strength. The Condor 88 Flak Regiment, as usual in the van, raced on and reached the coast at Sant Carles (3631) in the Ebro delta to jubilant shouts of “das Meer, das Meer!” Meanwhile massive infantry attacks widened the breach by taking Alcaniz (3432). Loyalist losses were heavy. Cataluna and Valencia are split apart for now, but whether the Insurgents at the coast and on the coast road can hold out until they are reinforced is still anyone’s guess on even money.
All other fronts remained quiet.
Over the Tortosa sector, a battle for control of the air ensued. Nationalist Fiats bravely took on superior Ratas and held their own (1 A on each side) while Me-109s chased off Loyalist bombers and kept the sky clear for Nationalist ground support aircraft.
The Nationalist Fleet sortied from Maddalena. A surface taskforce stands off the Ebro delta to support the Condors at the coast while submarines blockade the ports of Tarragona, Castellon, and Valencia.
LOYALIST APR II 1938
As was to be expected, the Loyalists collected all their armor in a new attempt to break through again at the coast road and reestablish communications between Barcelona and Valencia. However, once again the Soviet tanks were stopped in their tracks by the Insurgent mechanized taskforce (AS on 1:1 +2).
Farther northwest in the Ebro bend, another fierce Loyalist attack was mounted against the weak Nationalist group holding Gandesa (13:3431). This attack succeeded with some losses (EX at 4.5:1 -1) and Gandesa is now firmly in Loyalist hands. However, the Insurgents still have a secure line of communications to the coast through Alcaniz (3432) and over the mountains.
Untouched by all the brouhaha farther inland, the Condors at Sant Carles enjoyed peace and quiet under the protection of the guns of the Nationalist Fleet, and many a soldier relished a swim in water not as cold as at home.
Some inconclusive engagements were fought in the air over the Tortosa front, resulting in no losses to either side. Both Loyalists and Insurgents called in ground support, but not to much effect.
This was a dramatic turn. The Nationalists risked a dsh for the coast instead of opting for a safe but tedious further push into the Ebro bend and toward Lerida. They succeeded in getting across the coast road and then holding their ground on even chances against the inevitable counterattack by armor. The corridor to the sea was held and can now be reinforced. This is bad news for the Loyalists in the Valencia district: They will be U2 next turn and isolated.
On the other hand, the failure of the Nationalist attack in the north out of the Cinca bridgehead has given the Loyalists time to consolidate their front and dig in. Although Lerida already seemed within grasp of the Insurgents, it now looks at though it will be tough nut to crack.