The fall of Bilbao (see below) was in the end swift, falling at the first attack. Bolstered by engineers and artillery the Nationalist took the city with little resistance. The Basques decided to evacuate the civilians from the city only in September, blowing most of the bridges but not the steelworks and war Industries which horrified the leaders in Alicante. The coast road to the west was soon packed with refugees under constant bombardment from the Nationalist Ships in the bay. A junta defence under Leizaola, the minister for justice, stayed behind to defend the city while other officials fled as best they may. Some by small ships although larger vessels were impounded by the Nationalist capital ships anchored offshore.
The Basque defence curved around the bend of the river Nervion with an outpost at Guernica. Nationalist 5th columnist’s shooting in the streets were summarily dealt with by an anarchist squad who burned the church of the Nationalist sympathising priest. But with the imminent arrival of the Nationalist army aided by an unblown bridge from a withdrawing Italian communist brigade the agent provocateurs once again thronged the streets awaiting the arrival of the army troops. In a final dramatic twist a Basque tank appeared in the main square, fired a few rounds and withdrew. At 5 p.m. The Nationalist 62nd division entered the city. The cheers from the local populace sounded hollow in the empty streets.
Only Guernica remained defiant………..
Weather; Clear across land and sea
Supply: All Peoples Army units move back into supply, other than the 2 isolated pockets near Pamplona and Zaragoza.
Replacements 2.5 SRPs recovered. CR.32bis repaired.
Air Activity: Sortie 1: Me 109D transfers to Zaragoza and is intercepted by I-16/t10, I-16/t5. I-16/t10 is returned and the I-16/t5 eliminated. (n +2VPs) The Me 109D lands at Saragossa.
Sorties 2 & 3; CR.32bis, CR32.bis (CTV) transfers to Zaragoza without interference.
Sortie 4: SM.81 (CTV), SM 79-1 (CTV) , Mxd B fly a Strategic Factory bombing Mission to Murcia. Limited AA fire is ineffective. Each squadron makes its run but only the SM-79-1 scores a Hit.
Attack1: 1735 rough/dot/fort (Bilbao) (Mindful of the shortening days and predictions of Rain the Nationalists risk a low odds attack to clear the city before the autumn.) Supplied 5-6 inf XX 62, 2-6* cadres 3, 54, 3-6 * cadre 13, 2-1-8 art 3, 4-6 art 2RG, 1-6 eng ZMO, 2-6 eng AM and 5-6 inf XX 71, 2-6 inf 1Tet(Col), 2-5 inf AGM (Fal), 1-2-6 art 49, 4-6 arts 1RG, 3RG, 1-6 eng ZME and
Supplied 5-6 inf XX 62, 4-6 inf XX 122, 1-8 mtn 7 and 1-6 eng GG, 1-6 art 9L, 1-8 mg Ard (CTV), 2-1-8 art O, Plus 2pts NGS Attack 3-4-4* inf XX3, 2-3-4* XXs1,6, 1-2-4 infs 1,2,11, 1-6 art14, 0-1-6 art17 (all Bas) , 1pt Garrison @ 3:1 (+1 -2) = HX Lose 1Tet (Col), AGM (Fal), ZME, ZMO, GG, AM (all eng). Bilba0 falls but at the expense of the entire combat engineer corps.! Advance 62, 71, 122 XX, 1RG, 3RG, 49 arts, 7 mtn. Fort destroyed, Garrison dispersed, Vast stocks of ASPs, Res pts destroyed, 0.5 art and 3.5 Arm RPs captured. Remainder destroyed , 0.5 REs Railcap captured. Factory captured almost intact. Production scheduled for Dec I 1938.
Attack2: 3133 clear/airfield (S of Zaragoza) Supplied 2-1-8 lt tk 2, 2-1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 2-10 AA 88 (KL), 1-8 mc B (CTV), 2-3-6 art 62, 2-6 art 4#P attack 3-6*infs XX 5, 72, 1-2-6* inf 25, 2-6 engZM, 1-6 eng 7 @ 1:1 (+3) = AS Republic breath sigh of relief that the line held.
Attack3: 2932 rough (East Saragossa) Supplied 5-8 inf XX LA (CTV), 4-6 inf XXFM (Mxd) and 6-6 inf XXs52, 63, 152, 2-6* inf cadre 102, 3-2-6 infs 2LE, 3LE, 3-1-2 sge art Man (CTV) attack 2-3-5* inf XXs44, 62 (Cat), 2-1-8 cavs 2,3,4 @ 5:1 (-1) = DH. Lose 62 (cat) 2,3 cavs. Advance 52,63 XX, 102 cadre, 2LE, 3LE.
Attack 4; 2934 clear – All adjacent all unsupplied except KL, CTV and Mxd troops. Attack “Zaragoza pocket comprising 3-6* XX 10, 2-3-5* inf XX 48, 2-6* inf 11Th (Int), 1-6 mg 1m 1-6 inf 29 @ 4:1 = DR. All eliminated no retreat path. (N +2 VPs) Advance Dro (KL), 51, 108 XXs, 1 cadre, 1LE, 11L art, 7Lam (Col)
VPs : Lack of Goberneto collapse (+10 VPs)
French border; Closed
Guerrillas; Break Rail Line at 2911 (Aranjuez)
Supply; Basque XX 4 U4 2934 Trapped Republicans in 2133 (adj French Border SE of San Sebastian) U3
Replacements: 0.5 SRPs, 0.5 SRPs (Cat), 3.5 SRPs (Bas) Received
Factory Production; All Murcia Production Received. All hits repaired.
Air Activity: Nationalists achieve 2 x 4 Harassment Hits at 2602 and 2702. . I-16/t10 attempts to intercept over 2702 and is eliminated by the M£ 109D escort (N +2 VP)
Moves: 2-6 Nvl 151, 1-8 tk 1, voluntarily move to Internment in France (Nowhere stated but I assume these never return to play but are not counted as eliminated for VP purposes)