This turn sees an epic breakout attempt by the Republican Navy and a fighting engagement around the whole of the Spanish coast as a mixed force of Republican capital ships, subs and cargo transports attempt to reach their comrades in the north and return supplies to the main front.  By far the largest naval engagement of the war it encompasses almost every element of the naval rules as a Mixed and Sub task force takes on various Nationalist task forces, submarine groups and CDs in daytime and night. (I hope I have interpreted the naval rules correctly in the engagement – any comments welcome) Spoiler Alert if you want to read how the engagement unfolds step by step skip now to the Nationalist Turn and read the rest of this narrative after the Republican turn.  The attempt did not end well with almost the entire Republican fleet being eliminated but it was a close run thing and only the second interception at El Ferrol sealed the fate.  In retrospect the whole fleet should have attempted to disengage immediately but as the die rolls went this would have saved only Cargo transports which would have been easy pickings should they have attempted to return next turn. Was it a good trade-off for the potential gains – probably not.  Was it attempted to see how such an attempt would play out in game terms – probably yes .  Would the fleet have been better utilised covering an amphibious landing behind Nationalist lines – possibly  but no such opportunity has presented itself so far and the small forces involved would be no more than a distraction. So the net result of this adventure is the total destruction of the Republican fleet with the exception of 2 NTs at Bilbao and the reduction of the Nationalist Surface combat felt to BBTF-1 (2 hits). However without anyone to fight this merely represents a very small NGS capability. The other consequence of the reduced capability and especially the elimination of the Republican LCs is that the Nationalists will be able to move their coastal defence regiments to the front line and no longer fear an assault on Morocco.

Nationalists Turn

Supply; Aranjuez Pocket feeds of GSPs  (4-3-6 art Leg (CTV) unsupplied) 8.5 points -1 AECD considered better than 9.5 no AECD

Reinforcements, All divisions engaged so not upgraded except 2Cas replaced and  upgraded

Replacements; HE51 replaced5x 1-6  inf II and 1-6 art 11L replaced  1-8 cav 6, 1-6 sec 8GC replaced.

Vittoria  Pacified.

1 Res Pt expended to Temp increase rail cap to 10.75 pts

Moves; 2 Mad abandons 2631 mtn (NE of Zaragoza) to shorten line,  Nationalists abandon attempts to clear rail north of Vittoria line,  leave screen to protect gains and pull out attack force to redeploy  North of Madrid. (Nationalist accept the late attack on  Euzkadi was too late and they should have finished off the Madrid force first, rather belatedly they are returning to that focus to try to break the stalemate.

Air Activity;

Sortie 1; mxd T air drops 4GSPs into Aranjuez pocket 3 successfully,  1 scattered.

Sortie 2:2x CR.32bis (CTV), CR.32 escort RO 37, HE 45 (KV) on GS mission to 2611 (Northeast of Madrid) intercepted by I-16/t5 which tries to bypass screen and is Returned

Sortie 3; SM.79-1 (CTV) successfully Terror Bombs Madrid (+2VPs)

Sortie 4; HE 51 (KL) attempt to Transfer to Zaragosa and is Returned via Patrol attack by I-16/t5.

Attack1; 3816 rough/3 cap airbase with 1 hit and  1-15/t25, Res pt (NE of Guadix) Supplied 2-1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 206 inf FA (Mxd), 1-8 cav 1, 5-6 inf XX 62, 6-6 inf XX 152, 4-6 inf XX 112 attacks 2-3-5* inf XX 25 (An), 1-5 inf RIM (An), 1-6 art 6L @ 4:1 (-1) =  DH. Lose 25XX. Advance 112XX, 152XX, 1 cav, Bab (CTV)  I-15/t25 escapes to Cartagena. Res pt destroyed, airbase captured.

Attack2: 2716 rough/fort. All unused unsupplied adjacent attack 1-6 inf 2 @ 9:1 (-2) = DE.  Advance 3-4-5* inf XX 14.

Attack 3: 2409 (Segovia) Unsupplied 3-2-6 inf 3LE, 1-8 mtn 5, 1-8 lt 6, 1-8 aslt G (CTV) attack 1-8 cav 9 (U4) @ 6:1 = DE. No advance.

Attack 4: 2611 mtn (Mtn pass N of Madrid) Supplied 3-2-6 infs 1LE, 2LE, 2-6 art 4P, 7-6 inf XX 13, unsupplied 5-6 inf XX 4 (Req)  with GS  HE 45, (KL) Ro 37 attack 1-8 cav 10, 1-2-6art 3 (U4) @ 6:1 (-2) = DE. Advance 13XX

Republican Turn

VPs: Lack of Goberneto collapse (+15 VPs)

French border; Closed.

Reinforcements: 1-8 cav 10 rebuilt/converts to 2-1-8 cav 2.

Replacements: 1 SRP recovered.   4 regiments, XX (An) rebuilt.

Air Activity:

Sortie 1; Republicans launch a large co-ordinated raid on the airfield at 3414(West of Valdepenas) 1-16/t5 out of Madrid is patrol attacked by CR.32 bis (CTV) at Toledo for No Effect. The bomber force thus comprises 2x A-101, 2x R-Z,  R-5, escorted by 1-16/t5. Intercepted by  CR32.bis  (CTV), CR.32 over the target.  Interceptors attempt to bypass the screen and I-16/t5 engages and Returns the CR.32. The CR.32Bis engages one of the R-Zs eliminating it for no loss. (Nat +2 VPs)

The  2xA 101s combine and the R-Z, R-5 bomb separately. All fail to hit the airbase (and the Ro.37 on the runway)

Sortie 2; I-16/t5, SB-2 attempt to bomb the airbase at 2235 (Logro). Intercepted by the He 51 stationed there which engages the SB-2 for no effect. Bombers combine to make 1x 2pt attack and Hit.  He 51 returns to Vittoria.

Naval Activity;

NT-1 (Cat) moves offshore at Cartegana  and joins Task force comprising CLTF, LC-1. LC-2. NT-4, with SS-1 sailing parallel with the intention of moving to Bilbao to load valuable attack supplies. The Cargo elements of the task force and SS-1 uses inshore waters to Motril then forms up with  CATF at and moves  into the channel.   All 3 SS groups (CTV) fail to contact the Task but CATF  (-1 hit) makes contact in 4322. (Out of range of Naval Patrols)

As CATF enters the combat Zone of SS-1 it is engaged. SS-1’s torpedoes run wide and CATF scores a Hit sinking the sub.

CATF now engages Task force.  CLTF forms the Screen and all LCs and NTs form the main body.

Round1:  Both players allocate all gunfire to the engaging group.

CATF(Nat)  makes 2x 1pt attacks. CLTF (PA). CLTF makes 1x1pt and 1x2pt attack.

Both miss.

Neither wish to disengage and prepare for Round 2.

CATF (Nat) changes fire order to 1x 2pt attack and scores 1 hit. CLTF also scores 1 hit

Again neither wishes to disengage and fight Round 3. CLTF makes 1x 2pt attack. Both miss

Round 4 (as before) both miss

Round 5 (as before) both miss

Round 6 (as before) CLTF hits and sinks CATF ending the engagement.

Task force now moves toward to 4027 (Ceuta) under cover of darkness and is engaged by the Ceuta CD.

CD allocates the 1 pt to the reserve group. The escorting CLTF (2 pts) has insufficient strength to fire at night. The CD reserve group fires with a strength of 3/2 pts at the Cargo main body making a 1pt attack and misses.

The Task Force continues into the Atlantic and passes Cadiz as dawn breaks.  As the task force rounds the Punto de la Estaca (west of  El Ferrol) it is intercepted by BTF-1  in 0111.

Round1:  Both players allocate all gunfire to the engaging group.

BBTF(Nat)  makes 1x 1pt attack and 1x2pt attack. CLTF (PA) makes 2x1pt attacks. Both miss.

Neither wish to disengage and prepare for Round 2.

BBTF (Nat) changes fire order to 3x 1pt attacks and misses.  CLTF also misses

Again neither wishes to disengage and fight Round 3.

BBTF reverts to 1x 1pt and 1x2pt attacks and CLTF makes 1x 2pt attack. Both score 1 hit.

Round 4 – CLTF makes 1 pt attack. BBTF makes 1x 2pt attack both Hit.

CLFT is sunk, BBTF has 1 point remaining.

Cargo group (PA/CAT) fails to disengage and BBTF initiates Round 5 making 2x 1pt attacks and sinking LC-1

Cargo group (PA/CAT) fails to disengage and BBTF initiates Round 6 making 2x 1pt attacks and misses.

Cargo group (PA/CAT) fails to disengage and BBTF initiates Round 7 making 2x 1pt attacks and sinks LC-2

Cargo group (PA/CAT) fails to disengage and BBTF initiates Round 8 making 2 x1pt attacks and sinks NT-1 (Cat)

NT-4 successfully disengages and moves to Gijon ending the engagement.

Total VPs from this voyage (Nat +28), (Rep +12)

Moves: Republican forces shorten the line West of Madrid.

Attacks; None