Weather is auto clear on the ground and in the Med. The Atlantic is clear with a 4 rolled. All units remain in supply and unisolated. The CATF, strength 3 but w/ 2 hits shows up at El Ferrol. Italian submariners stealthily join the war by arriving at the grand naval base in Ceuta. A host of other Italian naval units, an air unit, a Mixed ground X, pos AA and some attack supply show up in Cagliari as well, all awaiting future developments in Spain. Il Duce intends to ensure Italy’s strategic considerations are well taken care of. Franco begins marshaling trucks to help run the war effort (5 SMPs added to the pool, bringing the total to 5!) Finally, German and Italian imports begin arriving, with a res pt, attack supply, and .5 Arty RPs showing up at La Coruna’s docks. Two more attack supply and a res pt are produced at Sevilla, while one of each is produced at Oviedo. The pool has 0.5 Nat and 1.0 Arty in it. Two supported XX’s are formable now (Van & 1st Cas), but neither is particularly needed at this point, so the Insurgents will wait a bit before doing so (the best units for forming a 3-6* XX are the 3-2-6 Inf III’s. They can single handedly fulfill the 2.5 inf necessary to form the XX unsupported, followed by a .5 arty upgrade to 3-6 * status. However, the 3-2-6’s are also the most efficient units on the board in terms of attacking (3 AS for a single RE’s worth of attack supply spent… good units (nearly all Colonial Inf III’s, plus a few of the better Arty III’s) will get you 2 AS per RE, while the mass of Spanish units are just 1 per RE… so pulling one off the board for a turn to create a XX isn’t necessarily best, especially in the early game before the XX’s are really necessary. In a turn or two, once the lines start to form and full support and full ZOC’s are more important, these XX’s will definitely be formed (though even then they are at best defensive formations, since you are getting just 1 AS per RE of attack supply for a 3-6 XX.) A mine damage roll of 2 indicates that safety protocols are still in effect for the BB, and it doesn’t blow itself up. Neither side flies any CAP (the Insurgents don’t even have a fighter unit!) and neither side declares naval patrol.
[Sidebar: The Insurgents can get up to 4 RE’s of units transferred into mainland Spain per turn via naval mov’t, 2 of which could go to Sevilla, if the NT’s are properly placed. The trick is to ensure that no more than 30 mps are spent transiting back and forth btw ports on the double trip. NT’s can start in Ceuta or Larache (at least one must be at Ceuta because Larache is a minor port) to get 2 RE’s to Sevilla. The first cycle must drop 1 RE off at Cadiz using each NT; each NT then returns to Larache and runs the next 2 RE’s into Sevilla. If the optional ground mp cost rule is not used the ground units will have plenty of mps available for additional mov’t. If the rule is used, then the units at Cadiz will typically have ½ or more of their mps, while the ones landed at Sevilla will have just 1 or 2. In my case, I’ve got some future plans involving units in the Canaries and was more interested in protecting units from air strike, so on this turn 3 RE’s will go to Cadiz and just one to Sevilla (as both NTs start at Larache, the NT that has to go to Ceuta to pick up unit(s) for its second run will be 1 nmp shy of making Sevilla.]
The recently arrived Italian subs take on provisions, then head for hex 2408, 2 hexes southwest of Malaga, just out of range of Bre19 range from Almeria, but well within interdiction range of the port or reaction range of any naval mov’ts into the Straits-Malaga-Almeria area. They remain on station the whole turn. NT’s 1 and 2 load 2x Col Inf III’s (2-6’s) at Larache and then bring them to Cadiz, followed by a return trip to Larache and Ceuta, where they pick up 2 Lt Inf II’s and the ZMO Eng III respectively. The Lt Inf II’s are dropped off at Sevilla, while the Eng III goes to Cadiz. The NT’s end mov’t at sea west of Larache and on the river leading to Sevilla respectively. The CATF departs El Ferrol for the coastal hex just south of Huelva, and begins prepping for NGS. The BBTF moves to Ceuta, replenishes, and spends the rest of the phase relaxing in port… er, guarding the Straits of Gibraltar from Loyalist aggression. None of the above mov’t is within reaction range of a Loyalist TF.
In ground mov’t, 6th Car Bdr & 7th Cav engage the militia garrison of Huelva, 6th Car aligned w/ the cruiser off shore. The victors of Jerez then move to clear the gap to Malaga at 2406, the O Arty III taking the overland route while 2LE Inf III travels via train (with other units described below gaining ownership of the rail lines leading to the gap.) These units are joined by the 1 Tet Col Inf III offloaded at Cadiz and the 1st & 2nd Lt Inf II’s offloaded at Sevilla, with the Col III moving via train and the LtInf cutting through the woods. 7th Inf, moving from the La Linea hex occupies Ronda just west of these units. To the north, 2nd Eng occupies 2304, which cleared the rails for mov’t to Malaga via zoc projection across the river. Further east, 2P Art and 1 Cor Fal X invest Jaen, defended by the meager intrinsic garrison, with the PA’s 18GC Sec III having tucked tail and scampered into the mountains. These units are joined by 3 Ceu Col III, railing in from Cadiz after being offloaded by NT’s at that port. One attack supply point is moved via SMP from Sevilla to Cordoba. On the Granada front, 5th III occupies Loja, simultaneously screening the town from the Anarchists in the mountains and protecting Granada’s western flank. 1 Gran Fal X occupies the port town of Motril, while the 2 Lt Inf II’s flown in to Malaga last turn, as well as the 4 L Arty and 8 GC Sec III’s form a line facing Murcia and the port of Almeria, running from the gap east of Gaudix southwest to the pass NW of Almeria then west in the mountains, with their flanks covered by the high mtn hexsides further west. This line should easily hold off units in Almeria or coming up from east of Lorca, at least until units clearing out the Malaga pocket are available to join them. Back near Sevilla, 6th Inf moves up the rail line towards Merida and Badajoz, allowing arty and the 1 Sev Fal X to admin into hex 2922. Behind them are the ZMO Eng III and 33rd III, admining in from the Cadiz-Jerez area. 27th Inf III occupies Merida itself, while 21 GC Sec III from the Salamanca region moves to the rail junction at 2217, which joins Estramadura to Leon and leads southeast to Madrid. 7th Car Bdr III shoots the gap and admins into Caceres to help defend the town and seal it off from PA III’s moving out of Badajoz, while the 26th Inf & 8th Car Bdr admin up to the rail junction from central Leon. Near Madrid, 2 GC Sec returns to Toledo to prepare for the city’s defense, while 9 or so units, including 3 arty III’s move to seize mtn passes northwest of Madrid and terrain near Segovia. Only two hexes of the Cordillera Central are occupied by Insurgent forces, but the western half will be Insurgent owned next turn, while the PA will likely own all but 1 hex of the eastern half. 9th Cav and 10 L Arty III’s take up position 30 miles east of Guadalajara, cutting off the Madrid line running east and protecting the town of Calatayud and the rail lines leading down to Teruel. 20 GC remains in the pass southeast of Teruel against any incursions coming up from Valencia, while 17th Inf moves to join them, albeit at some distance. We’ll see whether the Loyalists in Valencia wish to engage our brave defenders of the Spanish Thermopylae. In Aragon, 8 units have nearly completed seizing all of the region, forming a northeast-southwest running line roughly parallel to the southeast border of the province, about a hex or two back from it. For now they face only 3 PA units on the east bank of the Cinca, but other Loyalists will no doubt arrive on scene shortly, despite the injustices taking place in Catalonia by ‘pacification’ forces of the Loyalists. Up in Navarre-Euzkadi, 8 Nat units, including 2 arty III’s, plus the two big Req X’s form a strong line facing Basque forces protecting Bilbao. San Sebastian is laid siege to at a distance, with small units unable to completely close the city off until supporting artillery can arrive on the scene (San Sebastian starts with strong units, including a 2 pt Arty III, so unsupported 1 pt units would be foolish to engage directly.) Basques are unlikely to leave the city itself however, so we should be able to more fully invest the city next turn. 22nd Inf and 1st Cav occupy a portion of Santander province, but Insurgent units start the game too far from the best defensive terrain in this area, so the mtn hexes will be taken by the Santander and PA defenders in their turn no doubt. In Asturias, the Nationalist High Command is taking a both an aggressive and defensive approach, albeit not via the Asturias gambit. A Mchg II rails into 1206, completing a line from Oviedo southeast to the border, all in excellent terrain, albeit the 2 southernmost hexes are weakly held with single unsupported units. Even so, the Asturians are for now weak and without artillery, and are currently limited to just the coastal hexes of the province. If the current line can be held, the Nationalists believe they can prevent Asturian XX’s from forming up later in the game (to form a XX, even in garrison, you must have a friendly hex not in zoc… by holding this line, the Nationalists prevent the Asturians from forming those XX’s since they will have no hex free of enemy zoc’s. The only solution would be to slowly send units into Santander province and then slowy bring them back along the coastal route. This should help weaken the Asturian defense through the upcoming winter… I don’t anticipate a chance to seize Gijon directly, unless the Loyalists make some sort of obvious mistake, given I wouldn’t play the gambit card, as they’ll have good garrison forces for the city and arty next player turn.) In the meantime, two II’s of mtn troops are railed into Oviedo itself to bring its defense up to 3.25. This should be sufficient to prevent any 3:1 -2 craziness on the Loyalist side (typically managed by bringing the arty III from San Sebastian into the city via NT’s and praying for luck… bit risky in my opinion, but some are gamblers… I had a face to face game collapse when the opponent risked a 4:1 -2 and rolled an AR at Oviedo, causing all his units in Gijon to die via zoc kill. Gijon fell the next turn of course and the opponent decided to toss in the towel halfway through turn 3.) Obviously, this strength will need to be increased over time as the Asturians form up units… the hard part is deciding when to release the Asturian garrison. Oviedo is hard to defend with a 4 RE limit forever, even more so if you make the attempt to seize the terrain line I have. It doesn’t help that the intrinsic garrison of Oviedo counts as ½ RE, or that Mieres to the city’s rear starts as Loyalist owned, so it goes Insurgent as soon as the game starts and therefore cannot be drawn supply through. Odd that you can draw supply overland through enemy terrain, including enemy owned towns, but if they are friendly but not pacified, you cannot! Pacifying the town of Mieres, occupying the line and defending Oviedo should prove a worthy challenge. Finally, up in Galicia 7 units make their way as best they can out of the province and into the war.
The Loyalists fly no DAS, and the Insurgents no GS. First, Huelva is seized in an NGS supported assault (7:1, +0, no a/s provided, no morale effects rolled (4 for Loyalist), 6 for a DE. Next, Jaen is taken after a shaky start by both sides (both sides roll a ½ effect for morale, but while this reduces both sides by .25, this cuts the defenders in half and has a negligible effect on the Nationalists). The Cordoban Fal X is provided no attack supply, no doubt the reason they were hesitant to jump off on the assault, but 1P Arty and 3 Ceu have no problem routing the defenders after being provided plentiful shells and bullets (34:1, -1, partial a/s, 1 rolled for H PA morale, 2 rolled for H Fal morale, 5 rolled for DE vs the garrison of the city.) Lastly, the AoA clears the pass to Malaga at 2406 with a massive assault against 2 unsupported PA units (9:1, -1, a/s provided for all units, no morale effects (3 for PA), 5 rolled for a DE.) 5th Car and 16GC III’s shuffle off to the dead pool, the first non-intrinsic garrison units to die in the war. 1 a/s at Cordoba is used to supply the units in the latter two attacks. 0.5 Nat RPs each volunteer for duty at Huelva and Jaen, while the PA will earn 0.5 specials for the loss of their 2 units.
The Italian SS’s hang off the shores near Malaga, while the CATF moves to Ceuta to replenish and wait out the turn, along with the BBTF. NT-1 moves to Cadiz from the river leading to Sevilla, then moves to Larache for next turn’s transfers. NT-2 heads off to Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where it too replenishes and then waits for future mov’ts.
In the war’s first real c/m exploit, 2nd Mech III moves into the line w/9L Arty in Aragon. The Bre19 hiding out in La Coruna transfers south to Salamanca, from which point it can provide DAS to Toledo or the units in the Cordillera Central region. The Loyalist Vild, that had transferred from Cartagena to Bilbao last turn now transfers to Barcelona this turn, at which point the turn ends.