This turn presents an interesting dilemma and decision for the Nationalists attempting to re-establish contact with the “Pamplona Pocket”, halt the Republican advance north and capture San Sebastian.

The situation is like this (See Photo) last turn the Republic finally linked up with the Basques. The Republic thus have a substantial stack of 21 Factors in 2733. The Basques moving south have a far weaker force comprising a 3-4-5* XX in 2133 and immediately to the northeast 2x 2-3-5*XXs in 2032.  These two hexes are separated by a mountain Hexside.

(The Basque move south now appears rash but they anticipated a Republic advance a turn previously when the Nationalists were relatively weak and concentrating on Bilbao. The fortunes of war were not in the Basques favour and the Republic rolled a 1 resulting in an AS, thus throwing off the timetable and allowing the Nationalists to muster a counter attack force against the weak Basque sally south).

The Nationalists can amass sufficient factors to attack either force but not both.  So which Hex do they attack?

The Pros and cons are as follows.

Option1 2133.

The stack is weaker.
Any attack will consume less precious AS
An advancing force will sever the tenuous ling with the Basques
An Advance will place a substantial blocking force between the 1 frontage Republican force moving north and the Basques blocking any advance along this axis.

Ignoring the two divisions further north in 2133 will allow them to escape into San Sebastian and form a strong redoubt which will take a couple of turns to reduce.
This will allow the Republic time to bring additional forces to the fight.
The force sent to the southernmost hex will be unable to join any reduction of San Sebastian.
The mountain Hex 2032/2133 will slow movement and limit the attack capability of this force should the 2-3-4s decide to stand in place.

Option 2: 2032

The 2x 2-3-5* XXs can be eliminated while in the open to prevent them falling back to San Sebastian
The 3-4-5 further south will be prevented from moving north
The force will be marching towards the eventual target of the campaign, San Sebastian
The force will be available for the attack on the city quicker
Any advance will be shielded from counterattack by the mountain Hexside 2032/2133.
The Republicans still be blocked from linking up and will be stretching their attack force too thinly to sustain any further attacks.

Not occupying 2133 will allow the21 point Republic force a “free move” one hex further north without the need for an expensive high AS attack.
This will allow the Republic the option to attack Pamplona from 4 sides in lieu of any further moves north.

Which will you choose?

Read on to find out the choice taken, the result and future turns for the eventual outcome.

Nationalists Turn

Weather; Clear across land and sea
Supply:  Pamplona Pocket U1 Isolated.
Replacements: 4.5 SPR recovered. 1-8 mtn 4 t, 1-8 Mech S rebuild (No art points to rebuild divisions.

Air Activity. In 6 separate Rail bombing sorties only 2 are successful. 3304, 3702.

Attack 1: 3610 clear (immediately West of Albacete.  Supplied  6-6 inf XX F (Mxd), 3-2-6 infs 1LE,2LE, 5-6 inf XXs 53, 105, 2-6* inf cadre 71, with Mxd (10)  GS attack 1-2-6* inf 23, 2-3-5* inf XX9, 1-6inf14 @ 4:1 = DR. Advance 53XX, 105 xx.

Attack 2: 3209 clear (NW Albacete)Unsupplied 4-6 inf XXs 15, 107, 5-6 inf XX 11 and 6-8 lt xx 150, 1-6 inf 17 and 6-6 inf XX 102 attack 2-3-5* inf XX 54 @ 4:1 = DH. Advance11XX

Attack 3:  1834 wooded rough/fort. (Immediately SE Bilbao.) Supplied 6-6 inf XX 3, 5-6 inf XX 82, 4-8 cav XX 1, 2-5 inf AGM (Req), 2-1-8 cav 1E (Col), 2-6 inf 1Tet (col), Unsupplied 1-2-6 art 49, 1-6 art 9L Attack 0-1-4 cons 2 (Bas), 1-8 pol Ert (Bas), 1-6 art 17 (Bas) @ 7:1 (-3) = DH. Lose Ert, 2.  Advance 1 Cav XX, 3XXm 49 art. Fort destroyed.

Attack 4:  1094 wooded rough/ fort (W of San Sebastian) Supplied 5-6 inf XX 54, 4-6 art 2HRG , 2-3-6 art 62, 2-1-8 lt tk 2, 1-8 mc B (CTV), 2-1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 1-8 mg Ard (CTV), 2-10 AA 88 (KL)  attack 1-2-4 inf 5, 0-1-6 art Ortiz @ 6:1 (-3) = EX. Lose 5-6 inf XX to  Cadre. Advance Ard, 62 art, 2RG, 54 cadre. Fort destroyed.

Attack 5: 2032 Rough (Immediately SE San Sebastian) Supplied 7-6 inf XX13, 4-6 inf XX 85, 3-2-6 inf 3LE, 2-1-8 cav 2O (Col), 4-6 arts 1RG, 3RG, 2-1-8 arts O, E. With Do 17E, Ju 52g4e GS Attack 2-3-4* XXs2, 5 (Bas) @ 6:1 (-1) = EX.  Cadre 13 inf XX.  Advance 3LE, 3RG.

Mech Move; 2-1-8 lt tk 2, 1-8 Mc B (CTV) , 2-1-8 lt tk Bab(CTV) , 2-10 AA 88 (KL) to 2032

For Whom the Bell Tolls: Jul II 38 Tactical

For Whom the Bell Tolls: Jul II 38 Tactical, (c) Ken Newall 2017

Republican Turn

VPs : Lack of Goberneto collapse (+10 VPs)
French border; Closed
Replacements:  0.5 SRPs, 2 SRPs (Bas) generatedSB-2 repaired.
Supply: 3311 (“Albacete Pocket”) becomes U1.  3-4-4 XX4 at 2133 U1/Isolated.
1 Res Pt expended to raise Rail Cap to 12.75

Air Activity: 2X SB-2 escorted by 2X I-16/5, I-16/t10 fly to 3410 on a GS Mission. Intercepted by CR.32 , Me 109B (KL). Interceptors Attempt to Bypass the screen. 1-16/t10 attacks CR.32 returning it.  First I-16/t5 attacks Me 109B (KL) and Kills It!. (R +2 VPs)Mission force proceeds to provide GS Support (Attack 1)

Attack 1: 3410 clear (NW Albacete).  Supplied 3-6* inf XXs 4, 66, 72, 2-6* inf5Car, 2-6 inf 211C, 2-6 inf 15AL (Int), 1-2-6 art 1 and  3-6*inf XXs 3,70, 3-4-5* inf XX 27CM, 2-6 inf 152c, 2-6 i f 150 (Int), 2-6*13Dom (Int), 1-2-6 art 4 and  U2/Isolated 4-6 inf XXs 47, 65, 2-6* inf 14Mar (Int), 1-2-6 art 19, 2-1-8 Tk 2, 1-0-8 Ac AAC with 2x SB-2 GS Attack 1-10 lt tk Dro (KL),  1-5 mech, 2-6* inf cadre 52, 2-6inf 5AL (Col), 1-6 art 16L @ 5:1 (-1) = DR. All except Dro (KL) eliminated. No retreat path. Advance XXs 47, 65, 14Mar (Int), art 19, Tk 2, AAC

Attack 2: 2132 wooded rough (N of Pamplona) Supplied 5-6 inf XXs11ch, 45ch, 5-6 inf 15 (Int), 2-6 nvl 151, 1-6 art 7L, 1-8 tks 1, 8 Attack 3-4-5* inf XX 14 @ 5:1 (-2) = DR. Eliminated no retreat path.

Advance  !!ch XX, 151 nvl. Once again a tenuous link is established with San Sebastian.Pamplona Isolated 

Except for the vast stocks Isolated at Bilbao and Gijon the Republic have no more Attack supplies left.