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The Spanish Army in 1936

by Alberto Arzanegui
This article appeared in the bulletin El Miliciano , nr. 1 (1993). Translated by Wolf Broszies

Without the Spanish Army there would not have been an insurgency in 1936. The leadership of the insurgency was composed nearly entirely from officers of the Army. The insurgent regiments and its soldiers constituted the backbone of the  nationalist side in the Civil War. The parts of the Army staying loyal to the government were not used in the same way, many of its regiments being dissolved and incorporated into the new brigades of the republic. This article discusses the state of the Army  in the summer of 36, right up to the nationalist insurgency.

The Army had for most parts adopted a passive attitude towards the newly declared republic Republic. The new civilian authorities undertook a rapid reform, mainly reducing the number of officers. Thus, in just one year, the number of men serving had gone from 190 generals and 20,303 officers and NCOs to 72 and 13,032 respectively. However the reformes failed to achive their main goal, which was a reduction in budget, which despite the reforms had to be increased. This and other decisions created nothing but discontent among the professional military. The second goal of the reforms, to keep the Army in its barracks, was not fulfilled either: Due to the volatile and violent political situation ts services were constantly needed to maintain law and order. Moroccan troops intervened for the first time in the Peninsula during the Sanjurpo rebellion. This increased the political power of the Army and contributed to its image as the last stalwart of order.

Reform and military resources

In the spring of 1936 the Republic decided to reduce the size of the Army for several reasons:

  • reduce the state budget
  • reduced need for national defense due to the political situation in Europe
  • the desirability of the Army not being disproportionate to principles of a prudent national policy oriented towards the maintenance of peace abroad and the conservation and defense of order and public freedoms in the interior.

At least, these were the official given reasons and conditions. As as result of the reform, the Army was established as follows:

    • Infantry: 40 regiments, 8 mountain battalions, two assault regiments, four machine gun battalions, one cyclist battalion, the Presidential Guard battalion, and the War Ministry group.
    • Cavalry: 10 regiments, a machine cannon group, the Central Repository of Remonta with two deposits of breeding and dressage.
    • Artillery: 16 light regiments, one regiment on horseback, four heavy regiments, four coast defense regiments, two regiments and a mountain group, three mixed groups, two anti-aircraft groups, three groups of artillery information, four army corps and eight divisional parks.
    • Engineers: A regiment of sappers-miners, eight battalions and a group of sappers, a battalion of bridgeing engineers, two regiments of railroad engineers, a regiment of airdome engineers, a transport regiment, four mixed groups of sappers and telegraph engineers, Central Park of Automobiles and a Center of Transmissions and Technical Studies.
    • Intendance: Eight divisional groups and two companies for the Balearic and Canary Islands plus sections at naval bases.
    • Medical: Two commissions with four divisional groups each, sections for the cavalry division and the mountain brigades, companies for the archipelagos and mobile veterinary evacuation sections.
    • Other forces: Republican music band, train corps, 16 mobilization and reservation centers and 60 recruiting boxes.
  • Army of Africa:
    • Spanish Foreign Legion: two legions (regiment-sized) to three banderas (bataillon-sized) plus one of deposit. Six battalions of light infantry, two groups of machine guns, two artillery groups, a battalion of sappers, a transport battalion, three quartermaster groups, two medical groups and two sea companies.
    • Regular Forces Indigenous: five grupos with three infantry tanks, and one cavalry. Ifni Forces: Ifni battalion with three infantry tanks and one cavalry, and the forces of Cape Juby and Rio de Oro. Jalifian Forces: Five Mehalas and Jalalian Police.
  • Forces in Guinea: The five companies of the Colonial Guard.

Army Structure and Command

The supreme head of the Army according to the constitution was the Minister of War. He exercised his authority through the Ministry of War and recieved advice by the Superior Council of War. The Ministry consisted of a subsecretariat in charge of administration and a Central Staff to which he had responsibility for everything related to war.

In place of the old captaincias general, eight Amry divisions were created that were in charge of everything related to instruction, discipline, services, administration, etc., of the units organic to or permanently assigned to them. Apart from these divisions, there were garrisons and autonomous regions such as the naval bases of Cadiz, El Ferrol and Cartagena, and regions such as Asturias, Baleares and Canarias. In case of war, the divisions would be grouped into three army corps: First Army Corps composed from the 1st and 2nd divisions and the cavalry division, second corps fomr the 3rd, 4rth and 5th divisions, and thrid Army corps from 6th, 7th and 8th divison. Each division consisted of:

  • A divisional headquarters.
  • Two infantry brigades to two regiments of two battalions each. Each of these consisted of four companies of infantry, a machine gun company plus a section of supporting arms. The regiments were established with two active battalions but enough equipment to outfit its third battalion at mobilization.
  • A cavalry squadron, with an automatic weapons section and another of infantry cyclist.
  • A light artillery brigade composed of two regiments, one of cannons and another of howitzers, both consisting of two groups of three batteries each. The regiments also had the necessary weapons to constitute their third group.
  • A battalion of sappers-miners from three companies plus a park.
  • A division park, quartermaster, health and transmission groups and veterinary and lighting sections.

Independent of these divisions existed the troops of corps of army and army:

  • Two mixed mountain brigades. Each with a headquarters; four mountain battalions grouped in two half-brigades; a mountain artillery regiment with two groups of howitzers, to three batteries each; a company of sappers-miners and sections of services.
  • Two regiments of two battalions of light tanks of combat and four battalions of machine guns, all dependent on the weapon of Infantry.
  • Eight regiments of infantry, same as divisions, for naval bases and autonomous regions.
  • A cavalry division with: Headquarters; three brigades of cavalry to two regiments of two groups, and each of them with two squadrons of sabers and another one of automatic arms; a group of cyclist infantry from a rifle company and another from machine guns; a group of machine-gun-guns of two squadrons; an artillery regiment on horseback with three groups of three batteries; a company of sappers on horseback and services.
  • Four regiments of cavalry, four squadrons of sabers and one of automatic weapons.
  • Four regiments of heavy artillery formed by two groups of three batteries each.
  • Four regiments of artillery of coast, for the naval bases.
  • Three mixed groups of artillery (light and mountain).
  • Two Defense Against Aircraft (DCA) groups, each consisting of two anti-aircraft guns and an infantry machine gun company.
  • A regiment of sappers-miners, from two battalions to four companies each.
  • A battalion of pontoneros with four units of bridges.
  • A regiment of railways formed by three battalions of three companies.
  • Two autonomous mixed groups with a company of sappers and another of telephones.
  • An artillery regiment.
  • Four artillery parks of corps of army.

…and the rest of service units.

The African Army

The protectorate of Morocco was divided into two military districts: the Oriental (areas of Melilla and Rif) and the Occidental (Ceuta, Tetuan and Larache). Command fell to a division general and his staff with residence in Tetuan. The troops were as follows:

Eastern District :

  • 1st Legion of the Third. In Tauima (Melilla), with the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Flags. Each flag had three companies of infantry and one of machine guns and machines of escort. During the war a fourth company will be added.
  • Groups of Regular Indigenous Forces Melilla nº 2 in Nador; and Alhucemas nº 5 in Segangán. Each had three infantry tanks and one cavalry. The infantry had three companies of rifles and one of machine guns, and of the cavalry three squadrons.
  • Eastern group of light infantry from Africa with battalions of hunters Melilla # 3 in Al Hoceima and Ceuta # 7 in Melilla. Each battalion has four companies of riflemen-grenadiers, one of machine guns, a section of machine of support, another of transmissions, another of workers and train of battalion.
  • Eastern group of artillery with its staff in Melilla and consisting of two groups, one in Melilla with three batteries of 105 mm and one of 155 mm, and the second in the Rif with three 105 mm batteries, all of them howitzers.
  • A mixed battalion of sappers-transmissions with four companies, two of each.
  • Group of machine guns of position of Melilla.

Western Circumscription :

  • 2nd Legion of the Third in Dar Riffien (Ceuta) with the 4th, 5th and 6th flags.
  • Groups of Regular Forces Indigenous Tetuán nª 1 in Tetuán, Ceuta nº 3 in Ceuta and Larache nº 4 in Alcazarquivir. Its structure was the same as the previous two with the exception of the cavalry, which in these were only two squadrons.
  • Western grouping of African hunters with battalions San Fernando nº 1 in Alcazarquivir, Las Navas nº 2 in Larache, Ceriñola nº 6 in Tetuán and Serrallo nº 8 in Ceuta. [At the time the Republic was established, there were five infantry regiments in Morocco, which were dissolved, numbers 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44. The latter gave rise to machine gun battalions No. 2 and No. 3, and the other four to eight battalions of hunters, who were numbered successively. During the ministry of Gil Robles, the numbers 4 and 5 were transformed into the groups of machine guns of position of Ceuta and Melilla.]
  • Western grouping of artillery with its first group of three batteries of 105 mm, one of 155 mm and another one of coast in Ceuta; and the second group in Larache with three 105 mm batteries. Also all of howitzers.
  • Mixed battalion of sappers.
  • Group of machine guns of position of Ceuta.

In addition, it would be necessary to include the service troops: quartermasters, medical, transport, etc, and two companies of marines in Ceuta and Melilla.

During the mandate of Gil Robles reinforced the artillery in the Protectorate with six new batteries: two of 75, two of 105, one of 150 and one of 155.

There were other forces on the African continent that were the Ifni Shooter Battalion, created on June 11, 1934 and with three infantry tanks (similar to regular groups) and one of my cavalry. The Forces of the Sahara, formed by three garrisons featured in Cape Juby (the largest with a disciplinary company), Villa Cisneros and La Agüera. Sections of the different weapons gathered about 500 men. The Jalifian Forces, born as palace guard of the Khalifa and that will form the pictures of the future Moroccan army. There were five mehalas: Tetuán nº 1, Melilla nº 2, Larache nº 3, Rif nº 5 and Gomara nº 6, with headers in Tetuán, Melilla, Larache, Villa Alhucemas and Xauen. Each taxi included three of me) for a total of 360 men. The Jalaphian police were made up of five mezzanines and were about 1,650 men. In Guinea there was a minimal garrison made up of the Colonial Guard. It was constituted by five companies distributed throughout the territory that fulfilled the functions of police. The troops of this unit were mostly indigenous.

Army Strength

The total numbers were as follows:

  • In the peninsular army, that is to say, the eight divisions, the two commandos of the Balearic and Canary Islands, plus the commandant exempt of Asturias, had on the paper 81 generals, 8,851 officers, 6,988 non-commissioned officers and 101,455 troops. The total was 117,385 men. There were also ten generals assimilated.
  • The Army of Africa had three generals, 1,683 officers, 1,572 non-commissioned officers and 30,383 soldiers. The total was 33,641.
  • The General Directorate of Morocco and Colonies had 527 officers, 246 non-commissioned officers and 12,713 troops. Total 13,486.
  • CASE personnel were 4,285 in the territorial army, 594 in Africa and 354 in the Residency forces.
  • In the Reserve there were 481 generals, 4 officers of staff, 97 officers of infantry, 21 of cavalry, 88 of artillery, 71 of engineers and 128 other auxiliary bodies. Complement officers were 1,930 infantry, 630 cavalry, 632 artillery, 158 engineers and 676 other corps. The number of retired military personnel was 13,642.

Mobilization

With the military reform the old structure of mobilization was discarded. Mobilization and Reserve Centers were created tak take over the task of organizing the individual soldiers and assigning them to their units. The soldiers, once they joined thre reserve, passed to a first situation of availability always belonging to the active units in which they served. In case of mobilization, these reserves would complete the templates of the existing units at first, to later unfold these units. Those in the second situation, depended on the mobilization center of their place of residence and would form if necessary reserve units in a number dependent on the nature of the mobilization. The Mobilization Centers were sixteen, one for each infantry brigade. Recruitment is done through 60 Recruit Boxes. The number of handlers for recruitment and replacement was as follows (for years):

1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931 1932 1933
142,901 140,275 150.116 153,885 139,139 144,615 148,522 148,423 149,140 157,359

The actual situation

In July 1936, the army units were not fully staffed. The summer period and rumors of uprising had led to a massive granting of permits. Then the real situation of the barracks, by divisions and regions:

Republican zone National zone
Infantry
I 2,957 58%
II 785 62% 2,860 56%
III 3,838 61%
IV 4.335 61%
V 382 55% 2.618 52%
SAW 1.643 84% 3.261 55%
VII 2.802 55%
Balearics 655 52% 729 57%
Canary Islands 1.475 58%
Artillery
I 1.632 54%
II 1,744
III 1.747 58%
IV 1.525 61%
V 792 36% 955 96% (?)
SAW 532 79% 1,242 fifty%
VII 1,174 56%
VIII 1.420
Balearics 836 70%
Canary Islands 1.008 [1]
Chivalry
II 395 62%
III 413 65%
IV 800 63%
V 347 55%
SAW 1,207 64%
VII 807 64%
Engineers
I 3.128 71%
II 284 67%
III 258 61%
IV 268 63%
V 488
SAW 233 55% 248 59%
VIII 212 fifty%

Equipment

As for the armament, the infantry had the rifle of own production Mauser M-1.893 of 7 mm. The most common machine gun was the Hotchkiss M-25 7mm and the heavy Hotchkiss M-14. Elite units (legions, hunters, marines and mountain troops) used the Star S 135 and Gollat ​​9m submachine guns. The mortars were either the Spanish Valero of 50 mm, or those of 81 mm that were copies of the French Brandt.

Most infantry guns were the old Schneider M-08 70mm mountain. The elite units were being equipped with the new Arellano L-32 45 mm. In addition to the organic artillery units, infantry units had some battalion-level pieces. Thus, each battalion of hunters, each flag of the Third, each taxi of Regulares and the Knights of Ifni had a piece of accompaniment. In the rest of the army, each battalion of infantry (three by regiment) and each battalion of mountain had the same thing.

Each DCA group had 8 pieces, the three mixed groups totaling 20 pieces and an unknown number of fixed pieces. In the garrison of Villa Cisneros there were two other cannons and each artillery grouping in Morocco had 28 pieces. If we add all the artillery crews gives us a total of 916 pieces of campaign in the territorial army, 88 in Africa, 192 in coastal regiments and 16 in anti-aircraft groups.

In artillery the basic unit was the four-piece battery. Like half Europe, it counted massively with the famous French barrel Schneider M-06 of 75 mm that represented about 60% of the whole park. In theory he had to equip only two of the groups in the light artillery regiments, although in practice he practically constituted all three. The light batteries in Morocco and those of the Islands had the modern Vickers M-22 of 105 mm manufactured in Spain. The mountain regiments and the group of Asturias had the Schneider M-19 mountain howitzer of 105 mm. The heavy artillery regiments had a group equipped with 150 mm Krupp M-13 guns and the other with 155 mm Schneider M-17.

The four regiments of coast artillery gathered in total 192 pieces mostly of fixed character. They were broken down as follows: Regiment No. 1 had 6 batteries with a total of 24 pieces, Regiment No. 2 had 13 batteries with 52 pieces, Regiment No. 3 had 16 batteries and 64 pieces, and Regiment No. 4 had 13 batteries with 52 pieces. There were also pieces of these characteristics in the mixed groups of the archipelagos, but the number of them is unknown. Of the total, 132 of them were between 101.6 and 381 mm of caliber. Many of them were old pieces from fixed ships, although there were some mobile batteries with Elswick Mark I 127 mm guns and some anti-aircraft parts. Precisely in this type of weapon, there were in acceptable number the Danish M-33 of 20 mm and the French machine guns Hotchkiss of 13.2 mm. The Spanish Army had no anti-tank guns.

The Spanish military industry was concentrated in Trubia, where the 45, 105 and 155 mm guns were manufactured, as well as modernizing those of 75. In Reinosa and Placencia de las Armas artillery pieces were also manufactured.

Between the two regiments of existing cars only had 20 operating cars: 10 Renault FT-17, 5 Schneider M-16 and 5 Trubia A-4, in addition, there were about 62 armored transports. All this stuff was really outdated. In contrast, the group of machine-gun-guns had 28 modern armored vehicles. They were a Spanish version of the 1 Tm Dodge truck and had two 8 mm machine guns.

Finally, the engineering units were equipped with French material from the Great War.

As has been said each infantry regiment had a reserve of arms to constitute its third battalion when it was decided, the light artillery regiments to constitute their third group and generally, the rest of units and bodies had the necessary material to equip up to 25% of its troops in time of peace. In addition, they had the regulatory reserves. In the divisional and army corps parks an enormous amount of arms and equipment was stored from the reserves for a mobilization and of the remnants that had produced the reduction of Azaña. The exact figures of this material are unknown, although it is estimated that no division park had less than 25,000 rifles and at least twice as many corpses, for a total of 400,000 to 500,000 in the whole army. The total quantities of machine guns and machine guns were 2,247 and 1,458 for the Territorial Army and 528 and 220 for the African Army.

Order of Battle in July 1936

Infantry Regiments

nº 1 Wad-Ras Madrid nº21 Valencia Santander

nº 2 León Madrid nº22 San Marcial Burgos

nº 3 Castilla Badajoz nº23 América Pamplona

nº 4 Covadonga Madrid nº24 Bailén Logroño

nº 5 Lepanto Granada nº25 San Quintín Valladolid

nº 6 Granada Sevilla nº26 Toledo Zamora

# 7 Pavia Algeciras # 27 Algiers Caceres

nº 8 Vitoria [2] Málaga nº28 La Victoria Salamanca

nº 9 Otumba Valencia nº29 Zamora La Coruña

nº10 Guadalajara Valencia nº30 Zaragoza Lugo

nº11 Alicante rate nº31 Burgos León

nº12 Vizcaya Alcoy nº32 Milan Oviedo

nº13 Badajoz Barcelona nº33 Cádiz Cádiz

nº14 Alcántara Barcelona nº34 Seville Cartagena

nº15 Almansa Tarragona nº35 Mérida El Ferrol

No. 16 Albuera Lerida nº36 Palma Palma

nº17 Aragón Zaragoza nº37 Baleares Mahón

nº18 Gerona Zaragoza nº38 Tenerife Santa Cruz

No. 19 Galicia Jaca nº39 Canarias Las Palmas

nº20 Valladolid Huesca nº40 Simancas Gijón

Mountain Battalions

nº 1 Chiclana Figueras nº 5 Flanders Vitoria

nº 2 Asia Gerona nº 6 Garellano Bilbao

nº 3 Madrid Seo Urgell nº 7 Arapiles Estella

nº 4 City Rodrigo Barbastro nº 8 Sicilia Pamplona

Combat Tank Regiments

nº 1 Madrid nº 2 Zaragoza

Battalions of machine guns

nº 1 Castellón nº 3 Almería

nº 2 Plasencia nº 4 Manresa

Cyclist Battalion Alcalá de Henares

Presidential Guard Battalion and War Ministry Group Madrid

Cavalry Regiments

nº 1 Castillejos Zaragoza nº 6 Numancia Vitoria

nº 2 Villarrobledo Palencia nº 7 Lusitania Valencia

nº 3 Calatrava Salamanca nº 8 Taxdir Sevilla

nº 4 Spain Burgos nº 9 Santiago Barcelona

nº 5 Farnesio Valladolid nº10 Montesa Barcelona

Aranjuez group of machine gunners

Light artillery regiments

No. 1 Getafe nº 9 Zaragoza

No. 2 Vicálvaro nº10 Calatayud

No. 3 Sevilla nº11 Burgos

No. 4 Granada nº12 Logroño

No. 5 Valencia # 13 Segovia

No. 6 Murcia nº14 Valladolid

No. 7 Barcelona nº15 Pontevedra

nº 8 Mataró nº16 La Coruña

Heavy artillery regiments

nº 1 Córdoba nº 3 San Sebastián

nº 2 Gerona nº 4 Medina del Campo

Mountain artillery regiments

nº 1 Barcelona nº 2 Vitoria

Regiment of artillery on horseback Campamento (Madrid)

Coastal artillery regiments

nº 1 Cadiz nº 3 Cartagena

nº 2 El Ferrol nº 4 Mahón

Mixed Artillery Groups

nº 1 Palma nº 3 Las Palmas

No 2 Tenerife

Defense Groups against Aircraft (ACD)

nº 1 Campamento nº 2 Zaragoza

Mountain artillery group Oviedo

Regiment of sapper miners Madrid

Regiments of railways

nº 1 Leganés nº 2 Leganés

El Pardo transmission regiment

Regiment of Aerostación Guadalajara

Battalions of Sappers

nº 1 Carabanchel nº 5 Zaragoza

nº 2 Sevilla nº 6 San Sebastián

nº 3 Valencia nº 7 Alcalá de Henares

nº 4 Barcelona nº 8 Gijón

Bridging Engineer Battalion Saragossa

Mixed groups sappers-telephones

No. 1 Palma nº 3 Tenerife

nº 2 Mahón nº 4 Las Palmas

TO/Es of Spanish Army units in July 1936

Unity Official Non-commissioned officers Troop
Rto. infantry 49 87 1.122 [3]
Bon. Montana 27 Four. Five 561
Bon. machine guns 22 42 362
Bon. cyclist 36 74 789
Rto. fighting cars 36 87 399
Gpo. War Ministry 10 17 342
Rto. chivalry 35 35 558
Gpo. auto-cannon 16 17 174
Rto. sappers 39 57 853
Bon. sappers 19 27 373
Rto. railways 38 57 779
Rto. transmissions 56 92 783
Rto. art. light 32 54 628
Rto. art. heavy 31 60 576
Rto. art. horse 44 79 967
Rto. art. Montana 3. 4 63 924
Gpo. DCA 13 22 237
Third Flag twenty-one 29 618
Tábor inf. Regular 18 twenty-one 473 [4]
Tábor cab. Regular 17 2. 3 317 [5]
Bon. Ifni Handles 31 38 1,166
Unity Rifles Fusam Machine guns Mortars Cannons
Bon. inf. 446 16 24 17 1
Bon. Montana 541 16 8 17 1
Bon. ametra. 156 4 24 4
Bon. cyclist 635 28 24 28
Rto. Cars [6] 569
Rto. cab. 595 fifteen 8 2
Rto. art. lig. 453 9 36
Rto. art. cab. 790 9 36
Rto. art. feet 266 6 24
Gpo. DCA 111 6 8

The provision of rifles. of sappers, of railroads, of transmissions and of bones. of sappers was 989, 556, 920 and 454 respectively. The gpo. of auto-machine guns had 214 rifles, 5 fusam and 28 vehicles.

Notes

  1. A figure that reflects both regions: the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
  2. Later it was called of Oviedo.
  3. This regiment is of two battalions.
  4. Of the total, 394 soldiers were Moors.
  5. Of the total, 260 were Moors.
  6. It had 67 vehicles.

Links

The Spanish Army’s Order of Battle in July 1936 from the Nafzinger Collection

Pasaran?

The Spanish Civil War ended in the Summer of 1939 with the defeat of the Republic and the takeover of fascist dictator “Generalissimus” Franco. Mass executions and an exodus followed, as hundreds of thousands of republican, communist, anarchist or democratic Spanish tried to flee to neighbouring countries. Only months later the Second World War broke out, engulfing most of Europe. For many of the exiled this meant taking up arms against fascism again, and Spanish soldiers fought against Germany and her allies on all fronts of the war. For them, the end of the war ment more uncertainty, since returning home was not an option they had, Franco remaining as the last fascist dictator in Europe, having successfully and skillfully maintained neutrality throughout the war.

Adding to the articles provided by Carlos Pèrez, the following two essays capture the fate of Spanish soldiers on both fronts of the Second World War, more than repaying the assistance both factions had during the Civil War.

Spaniards in World War II Part 1: Fighting for the Third Reich

Spaniards in World War II Part 2: Fighting against the Third Reich

Addtionally, Carlos research resulted in an inofficial Grand Europa OB for the Spanish Axis contingent.

Spanish Bombs on the Costa Brava…

The second round of updates provided by Carlos Pérez is going online today: An essay on the history of the Spanish Air Force in World War Two, and the resulting suggestion for a Grand Europa OB for the Spanish Air Forces.

On a random side note, how do you call a linklist that exclusively links to online versions of books? Its a form we’ve used a lot on this website, and both “linklist” as well as “bibliograpy” seems insufficient. A linklist or bookmarks refers to websites, whereas a bibliography is a list of books. These lists are a mixture of the two, pointing the reader to digitalized verions of paper books available online. Confusing.

 

JAN I 1937

Narrative: Year End Review.

Victory PointsNationalists Republicans
Territory 2128
Interventionist Losses 02
Naval Losses80
TOTAL JAN I 19372930

(*Arguably these should be from enemy action but RAW does not make reference to how the hits are obtained so I have decided to award these points)

Front Line: The south end of the Nationalist line is anchored on the coast at Motril (4120) and then follows roughly north along the mountain ridge with the Nationalists in control except for the Republican presence on the rail line at 3918. The line then turns East to the end of the mountains at 3714, NE to 3412 then straight NW to circle the Republican mountain redoubt at 2616.The line then then curves East with the Republicans controlling the Cordilla Cental. Up to this point all frontline hexes have units but from here both sides rely on ZOCs to control the front until at the eastern end just 30 miles short of Calatayud where the line solidifies again and turns south to Teruel. The Nationalists control a row of mountains on the western valley sides.  After returning north from Teruel where the Nationalists control one or two hexes of the eastern valley sides it reaches 2836 where the line turns directly east and thence through Zaragoza to the Pyrenees at 2639.

Facing the gobernetos there are 4 self supported divisions plus a few regiments in Asturia and minimal guards elsewhere with a few regiments occupying the southern portion of Ezukadi.

Nationalist view of the progress of the war to date: The Nationalists are pleased with progress to date. They met their initial objectives and are well on the way to fulfilling their longer term goals. The decision to isolate and effectively ignore Seville is not regretted.  At first the loss seemed a disaster but Seville is not actually on the main rail line to the rest of the country and so can be isolated with little effect on communications. Had they decided to deal with this outpost early on it would certainly have weakened them elsewhere and allowed the Republicans to gain a much larger territorial advantage early on and may possibly have allowed the Nationalist to be split in the Caceres/Badajoz area.  The decision is not free of consequences however and the loss of 6 extra attack supplies plus those still bottled up outside the city (early arrivals at Cadiz yomping cross country around the city) has required higher troop concentration to attack unsupplied at places and reduced the total number of attacks.  More damaging perhaps is the loss of the Seville Rail Cap. The Nationalists have had to expend 9ResourcePoints into replacing this (now at 9REs) so have very little spare for fort development. So with the promise from Il Duce of specialist artillery and troops has brought the capture of Seville to the forefront of Nationalist thinking for early 1937.

The Nationalists have managed to check the Republicans at Zaragoza and still retain a tongue of units down the Jiloca valley between Calatayud and Teruel however this is very tenuous (2 hexes wide at the neck) and is in imminent danger of being severed and isolated. They want to try retain this as an “anvil” on which the (slow moving)”hammer” pushing east from Jaen is to strike splitting Madrid from the rest of Republican territory but given the low force levels and tenuous connection to the main front it is looking increasingly unlikely that this area can be held.   The loss of the Jiloca valley will result in the Jaen offensive punching into thin air but yet if Madrid’s rail connections can be severed this in itself will limit the Republican’s ability to reinforce the capital in due course so the push east remains the prime objective for 1937

The one failure for the Nationalists is that they had hoped to compensate for the loss of the Seville factory by an early capture of Gijon but Asturian resistance just seemed to keep ahead of them by a turn or so. Just when the attack troops were sufficiently strong (and naval task forces were on hand and rebuilt at El Ferrol for NGS) pressure from the Republicans moving NE from Catalonia forced the attack to be called off and troops moved south to bolster the Army of Aragon.  So while the Asturian hinterland has been cleared and the ground prepared for a renewed assault in the spring new forces will need to be assembled for this task. Nevertheless this remains a secondary objective for 1937 but may need Santander clearing in preparation for a full scale assault on Gijon.

The Zaragoza front.

Zaragoza front.

Republican view of the progress of the war to date: The Republican view is one of disappointment and lost opportunity but with some relief in the North. The early hopes of a swift suppression of the revolution by splitting the Nationalist forces and establishing link to Seville proved beyond their capabilities. The thrust west from Madrid was halted and Seville remains a lone isolated outpost.  The plans for an amphibious landing at Huelva required the forcing the blockade of Nationalist subs, capital ships and the CD at Ceuta so at best the plan had a thin chance of success. The early onset of bad weather and the mine hits on BBTF-1 reduced the chance of success to close on zero so the operation was cancelled.

Their main objective of thrusting north from Catalonia via Zaragoza was derailed by the AE on the right flank which occurred due to a combination of a low militia reliability roll and an equally low combat roll resulting in the elimination of most of the Catalonians from the front line. This stopped the offensive cold and the one month respite before replacements were available allowed the Nationalists to reinforce the front.

The only bright spot in this catalogue of doom was the fact that the renewed offensive obliged the Nationalists to call off their attack on Gijon and send troops to hold the line at Zaragoza.

Gijon has now assembled a good defence and has maintained a coastal strip where divisions can be formed and fed back into the city which will make Gijon a tough nut to crack for the Nationalists.

The Republican objectives for 1937 are therefore to continue to thrust northwest from Catalonia, taking Zaragoza and Calatayud thus protecting the eastern approaches to Madrid and at the same time isolating and eliminating the Nationalist at Teruel. However the chance of linking up with the Basques is now considered remote.

The Nationalist thrust east from Jean will be contained with minimal force and the Anarchist thrust towards Grenada will be supported as troops are available although this is seen as a spoiling action to siphon off Nationalists reserves from their own attack further north.

Game Report

Nationalist Turn

Weather: Snow/Mud and Storm/Clear.

Supply: Teruel force Isolated. (7.5 REs). Seville feeds of GSPs and expends another ASP.

Reinforcements & Replacements; Recover 1 SRP

Replace 2-3-6 art 61, 1-6 art 2, 1-6 sec 21GC, 3 x 1-6 infs 5, 18 and 30 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 1-5 inf Vald (Fal).

Replace 0-1-10 AA 88 (KL) and convert to 2-10 AA 88.(KL)

Rail Cap: 3 Res Pts expended to permanently raise Rail cap to 9.

Moves: Nationalist front now becomes continuous around the perimeter with units and ZOCs.

Attack1: 3412 woods (SE of Tomelloso)  Supplied 4-6inf XX Mov and  1-6 lt tank Bab (CTV), 1-10 lt tnk Dro, (KL)  2-1-8 cav 1E, (Col),  2-1-8 cav 20, (Col), 3-2-6 inf 1E, 2-3-6 art 61, 2-1-8 art and Unsupplied 1-6 sec 18GC and 2-3-5* inf XX  Ov Attack (1-2-6*inf 21, 1-6 inf 10, 1-6 inf 40) @ 6:1 (-3) = EX loose: 3-3-6 inf 1LE , 1-6 sec 18 GC. Advance; Cav1E, 20, art 61.

Attack 2: 1211 mtn  (End of Operation “Eagle”, mountains of NW Asturia). Unsupplied 3-2-6inf 2LE, 2-6 art 1P, 2-1-8 art E, 2-5 inf 5 (Req) and 1-6 sec 13 GC and 1-5 inf cord (Fal) attack 1-4 inf 8 (ast) U4 isolated @ 9:1(-3) = DR. Surrounded so eliminated.  Advance All except 13GC .

Air Activity: First successful rail bombings of the war!

Sortie 1; Mixd B and Mixd T Hit rail line at 4115.

Sortie 2; He51 and Ju52g4e Hit rail line at 3332.

Republican Turn

French Border: Open. Supply: Seville feeds of GSPs

Reinforcements & Replacements; Recover 1/2 SRP. 2-3-5 inf XX 9 and 3-6* inf XX 10 arrive supported.

Replace 1-4 inf 5 (Ast), 1-2-6* inf 21,1-6 art 11 (Cat), Replace 1-6 infs 2, 9, 10,40 1-6 art 5L and form 5-6 inf XX  11Ch.  Form: 3-4-4 inf XX 3 (Ast), and Convert 2-5 inf LE (P) to 3-4-5* inf 29Le (P).

1-2-4 inf 11 (Bas) and 1-6 art 14 form 2-3-4* inf 2 (Bas) *

*The Form within garrisons seems to cause some problems such as what happens when some units used to form a division in a garrison are released but others are not.

More significantly the Asturians are allowed to form a number of divisions but then certain “formed” divisions are released some with supported sides.  The OB seems to assume that the artillery units or art RPs generated at Gijon will be applied within the garrisons but I have the art regiments the field and in ZOCs which prevents Forming. Rules state that divisions can be formed at either side and presumably this applies to the garrison divisions but is there any significance to the fact that some are shown supported while most are not? When the units are  Released from the garrison e.g. Oct I  presumably if still in the Form box these are “released” to the General Pool Form box. If the garrison has already been released then normally “available” units are treated as reinforcements but presumably divisions not already formed are treated as “available” forms.  Does anyone have any intel on this? .  There have been some OB corrections to remove certain upgrades which act like forced “Equips” and possibly these “forced” forms should also be removed. 

Attack1: 3212 Clear (adj. Alcazar de San Juan) Supplied 2-6* inf 14Mar (Int),  2-6* inf 13Dom (Int), 2-6* inf 11Th (Int), And 4-6 inf XX 6 And 2-1-8 tk1, 1-2-6 sec 2GA, 1-2-6 art 4, and 3-6* inf XX 6,Attack (2-3-5 * inf XX 3Mad) @5:1 (-2) = DR. 3Mad eliminated as no retreat. Advance: 20Ga, art4 and 1Tk

Attack 2; 3002 rough( over mtn hexside (Top of Jiloca valley south of Calatayud). Unsupplied 1-6 inf 13,1-6 sec 5GC, 1-6 mg4, 2-6* inf 5Car, 2-6* inf 6Car, 2-6 art 2P, 1-8 mtn art 1  Attack ( 1-8 mtn 4) @ 5:1 (-2) = DH.  Advance; 1-6 sec 5GC, 1-6 mg4, 2-6 art 2P, 1-8 mtn art 1, inf 13

Attack3: 2831 clear (east of Zaragoza) Supplied 1-5 infs 5, 6 (Cat), 1-2-5 infs 3, 4 (Cat), 1-8 CavBuxo (Cat), 1-6 art 11, Unsupplied 2-5 infDur (An) And 1-0-R art (Cat), 2-3-5 * inf 32 (Cat), 1-2-5 infs Maur and AN (P), 1-2-6* inf 19, 1-6 sec 3GC And 1-8 mtn1, 1-6 art 8L, 1-8 Cav 4, Attack (3-6* 2Sor) @ 4:1 (-2) = EX. Loose 1-5 inf 5 (Cat), 2-5 infDur (An). Advance 1-2-6* inf 1P, 2-3-5*inf 32

Air Activity; First Air-Air Result of War!

Sortie1: A101 out of Seville and Bre.19 out of Albecete combine to attack Airbase @ Jaen.  CR.32bis intercepts and “Returns” BRe19. Attack aborted.

DEC II 1936

Narrative

Miguel now looks back fondly to his cramped barracks with the burley fellow from Leon. His unit has been hunting the remnants of the Asturiansin the mountains now for two weeks, up and down mountain trails, helping to lug the heavy guns. There are few of the enemy left as a coherent force but they must be hunted down to a man if the rear is to be secured.  Meanwhile unknown to Miguel as he struggles in the mountains a number of divisions have been transferred south in response to desperate pleas for reinforcements from Zaragoza. Here the slow but steady advance by the Republican forces are threatening to cut across the head of the Jiloca Valley and trap a number of regiments at Teruel. This Nationalist held valley points like a sword towards Valencia and its retention is considered key as a jumping off point to cut the enemy into two.

FWtBT No 4 - DEC II 36: Tactical view: Teruel defenders supply line cut.

Teruels supply line cut.

The continuing advance on Madrid from the south west becomes a rallying call from socialist organisations all across Europe and while there is little support from the democracies the Communist Party in Soviet Russia is far more willing to help and indeed has had agents in place since the 1920’s . The outbreak of war is seen as an opportunity and financial support “for humanitarian purposes” is plentiful as well as T26 tanks and lately the Chato and Mosca fighters now in the skies over Gijon and driving off the fascist air power in the region.

Game Report

Insurgent Turn

Weather: North: Snow, South: Mud, Atlantic: Storms, Med: Rough

Supply;. A portion of the Republican line in the Sierra de Segura, West of Albacete goes U3 while Seville feeds off GSPs. Expends AS for 12 GSPs

Replacements: ½ SRP recovered,. 3 X 1-6 Inf 5,15 and 26 replaced. BBTF-1 and CATF repaired.

Moves: NTs move 1Res Pt from Cadiz to Malaga. 3-6* inf XX 3Sor and 3-6* inf XX 2Casrailed from Gijon front to Zaragoza front.  Ju52g4e and HE 51 transfer to Zaragoza

Attack 1: 3313 clear (Rail junction Just West of Tomelloso). Unsupplied. 2-3-5* inf XX Ov and 2-3-5* inf XX 3 Mad  and 1-6 inf 28 , Supplied 4-6 inf XX Mov, 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 1-6 art 4L, 1-8 lttk Bab (CTV) , 1-10 lttkDro (KL). Attack 2-6* inf12Gar (Int) @ 6:1 (-2) = EX. Loose; 1LE. Advance;Mov.

Attack2: 2803 mtn (SW of Calatayud) Supplied 3-6* inf XX 2Cas And 1-5 mech 1, 1-6 art 10L, 1-8 Cav 9 and Unsupplied 1-8lt 1,and 1-8 lt 2 attack 1-6 inf 8 @ 6:1 (-3)  = DH. Advance 1 LT

Attack3: 1010 mtn (Operation “Eagle”, mountains of NW Asturia). Unsupplied 3-2-6 inf 2LE, 2-6 art 2P, 2-5 inf 5 (Req), 2-1-8 art E attack 1-4 inf 5 (Ast) U3. @ 9:1 (-3) = DE. Advance All

Republican Turn

French Border: Open.   Fort at 1106 (adjacent Gijon) completed

Supply Seville draws on GSPs.

Reinforcements & Replacements: 1-6 sec 14GC upgraded to 1-2-6 sec 2GA.

½  SRPs (Int) recovered.

1-6 infs 2 & 9 and 1-6 art 5L replaced and form 3-6* inf XX 8 at Madrid. 1-6 inf 19 and 1-5 inf PI (An) rebuilt.

1-2-4 inf 10 (Bas), 1-4 inf 4 (Bas) and 1-6 art 14 form 3-4-4* inf 3 (Bas)

Moves: 1-4 inf 4 (Ast) exfiltrates to 1211 onto rail line (but U4 so not enough MPs to cut line and no ZOC)

Attack 1: 3035 rough (Southwest of Zaragosa) Unsupplied 2-6* inf 5Car,  2-6* inf 6Ch,  1-6 mg 4 and 1-8 mtn art 1, 1-2-6 sec 10GA,and 1-6 inf 13, 1-6 sec 5GC, 2-6 art 2P attack 1=6 inf 18 @ 9:1 (-2) = DH.Advance5Car, 4 mg.

Attack 2: 2934 clear. Supplied 1-8 mtn 1, 1-8 cav 4, 1-6 art 7L (over river) and 3-4-4* inf XX 27ch attack 1-6 inf 5 @ 9:1 (-1) = DE.  Advance 27ch.

DEC I 1936

Narrative

Miguel was feeling cramped. Over the last fortnight thousands more troops had arrived and he was now bunk sharing with a burley fellow from Leon. But if cramped it was at least rested.  Until that was Operation “Eagle”. HQ must have decided that it was not a good idea to cram thousands of troops into a working town and give them nothing to do. So they were to carry out a large “anti –partisan” operation to root out all the Asturian stragglers still at large in the mountains and coastal plain to the north west. His unit along with the howitzers of the 1PL was to drive to the coast and sweep behind the 15TH infantry holding the Narcea river and block their escape so that the 1st Madrid and comrades from Avila province could finish them off.

FWtBT No 4 - DEC I 36: Tactical view: Internationalists become involved in force.

The Internationalists arrive in force

As the military situation worsened Republican circles harboured a naive belief that help might come from external sources such as Britain as the champion of the underdog. However in 1936 British prime minister Eden did not recognise the growing threat of fascism and in fact he preferred “on balance” a “fascist” victory to a “communist” one and thus refused to sell arms to the Republic.  Notwithstanding this official stance the Republican forces were being supplemented by the Internationalist brigades in growing numbers who were taking on some of the toughest fighting.

FWtBT No 4 - DEC I 36

Nationalist line again breached around Zaragoza

Game Report

Insurgent Turn

Weather: North: Winter, South: Mud, Atlantic: Storms, Med: Clear.

Supply:  PA 40thinf goes U4 but there are still some areas where the front is not continuous so it is not isolated.

(I considered taking the view that the line to the PA unit was so long, crossing most of Spain and over mountain ranges that it should have an “isolated” status. However I want to play the game strictly according to the rules and it could be argued that in a civil war there would be supplies slipping through line from sympathisers, local sources etc. Anyway this punishes the Nationalists for not sealing the front more effectively.)

Seville draws on GSPs and expends another supply unit for 12 more GSPs.

Reinforcements and replacements: All arrive unmolested. At Mieras (23A:1108) 1-5 Inf Vald (Fal) , 1-6 inf30  and  1-6 art 16L form 3-6 inf XX 1Av and 2x 1-6 sec 6GC &10GC and 1-6 art 16L  form 3-6*inf XX 2Av

4-6inf XX Mov arrives at Jean and 2-3-5*inf XX Pos arrives at Zaragoza both supported.

Replacements: (½ SRP received)  1-6 mg E, 1-6 inf 24, 1-6 sec 21GC  replaced and . 1-6 art 9L, 1-6 infs 26 and 5 replaced and form 3-6* inf XX 2Cas @ Leon.

Construction: 3 Res Pts expended to increase rail cap to 7 RE

(The limited fighting has allowed the Nationalists to build up a large manpower reserve)

Moves: BBTF and CATF Fleet moves to La Coruna for repairs.

Attack1: 3212 (west of Alcazar de San Juan) Supplied 0-1-10 AA88 (KL), 1-10 lttnkDro (KL) 3-2-6inf 1LE, 1-6 art 4L, and 2-3-5*inf XX 3Madwith Mixd B and Mixd T attack 1-6  inf 17  and 1-5 AgL (An) @ 8:1 (-2)  – DH  loose AgL.  17th retreats NE. Advance: Dro, 88 and 3Mad.

Attack2: 3303 (Alfambra valley, east of Teruel)  Supplied 1-6 inf 31, 1-8cav 31, 1-6 art 11L and 1-8lt 3 and 1-8 cav 5 and 1-67 sec 20GC attack 1-6 inf 9 @ 8:1(-2) = DE. Advance: 3Cav, 11L.

(The following form the combined “anti –partisan” operation “Eagle” north west of Oviedo, All PA and Asturian forces are unsupported and at least U2)

Attack3:3933 (Tineo) Unsupplied 1-2-6* inf32, 2-1-8 art E, 2-5 inf 5 (Req),  attack 1-4 inf 7 (Ast) @ 9:1 (-2) = DH. Advance32nd

Attack4:0908(rough) Unsupplied 2-3-5*inf XX 1Med (over river) and 3-6* infXX  1Av (over river) and 3-2-6  inf 1LE, 2-6art 1P attack 1-2-4 inf Di (Ast) @ 7:1(-2)  = DH. No advance.

Attack 5: 1209 (rough) Unsupplied 3-6* inf XX 3Sor and 3-6* inf XX 2 Cas and 1-5 inf1Cord (Fal) attack PA 1-6 inf40 @ 6:1 (-3) DR. 40th eliminated surrounded. Advance: 2 Cas

Attack 6: 1110 (mtn) Unsupplied 3-6* inf XX 2Av, 1-6 sec 13GC with HE51, Ju52g4e attack 1-4inf 5 (Ast) @ 5:1 (-3) = AS

Exploitation; 0-1-10 AA 88 (KL) exploits to 3211 {Alcazar de San Juan) and breaks the rail line.

Republican Turn

French Border open.

Supply: Seville draws on GSPs.

Reinforcements: All reinforcements arrive equipped.

Replacements: 1-6 Bdr 4Car, 2 X 1-2-6 art 3 and 4, 1-6 inf 40. 1-4 inf 4 (Ast), 1-2-4 inf Di (Ast), 1-5 inf 5 (Cat)

1-6 inf 9,19 and 1-6 art 5Lreplaced and form 3-6* inf XX 6 at Cartagena

1-2-4 inf 8 (Bas), 1-4 inf 3 (Bas) and 1-6 art 14 form 3-4-4* inf 4 (Bas)

Moves: I-15/t22 and I-16/T6 transfer to Gijon. D.371 transfers to Madrid. Repaired Po.340 arrives from France and stages to Lorca. Vild and Bre.19 fly Naval Patrol but fail to contact National subs off Almeria.

Asturian remnants cut off in the north east of the province move deeper into the mountains.

Other moves establish a continuous front of Republican units and/or ZOCs around the perimeter.

Attack1: 3919 (mtn) Supplied 1-5 inf AmL (An), 1-5 inf Pi (An),1-5 inf Cast (An),1-5 inf Lar (An),1-2-5 inf  TL (An),0-1-6 art CNT (An) attack 1-6 Sec 10GC @ 5:1 (-4) = EX. Loose PI. Advance TL, AmL and eliminate Attack Supply point in hex.

Attack2:  3211 (Alcazar de San Juan) Unsupplied 1-6 inf 40, 1-2-6 art 3 from the north and 2-6* inf 13Dom (Int) , 2-6* inf 14Mar (Int) and 2-6* 11Th (Int) from the south Attack 0-1-10 AA 88 (KL) @ 9:1 (-2) = DE.  Advance 13Mar, art 4

Attack 3:  2830 (rough) Unsupplied 2-5 inf Durr (An) and 1-2-7 mtn 130 (Cat), 1-5 inf 6 (Cat), 1-2-5 inf4 (Cat). 1-8 Cav Buxo (Cat), 1-0-R art 1 (Cat), and 1-2-5 inf  AN (P), 1-2-5 infMaur (P) attack 1-6 inf 17 @ 7:1 (-2) = DE. Advance 4,6 and Buxo

Attack 4: 2935 (rough) Supplied 1-6 Sec 10GA, 1-6 Sec 5GC, 2-6 art 2P and 1-5 inf  Hi (An)  attack 1-8 mtn 4 @ 5:1 (-5) = DR.  1-8 retreats to 2936 to hold rail line to Teruel. Advance 2P, 5GC.

NOV II 1936

Narrative

Miguel was glad of the R&R. His unit had been pulled back from the coast and he was now resting in a school house in Oviedo.  The persistent rain had called a halt to operations in the area. There were a few scattered Asturian units to their west but they were unsupplied and leaderless and considered of little threat so the army was using the lull to rebuild and prepare for a major attack when the weather improved.

FWtBT No 4 - NOV II 36: Tactical view, the Republicans pull back their MLR on west flank

The Republicans in retreat

As a result of the Anarchist rout around Ciaudad Real Communist leaders in Madrid were determined to improve training and stiffen resolve. They formed new units and improved training. “Steel” companies paraded through Madrid well trained and walking in step and these were impressive compared to the ramshackle efforts of the militia. This resolve was enforced by slogans and actions “If my comrade retreats without orders I have the right to shoot him”. Time would tell if this would prove effective.

Insurgent Turn

(Last turn of Militia Unreliability)

Weather: Mud and storms throughout Spain.  French border: Open.

Supply :Seville draws on GSPs. Republican “bulge” West of Toledo and Andalucían Mountaintop troops go U1 as do stranded Asturians.

Reinforcement/Replacements: Nationalists recover ½ inf special RP from losses

5 and 26 inf,  4L art rebuilt and form 3-6* inf XX 3Sor

Attack: 3213 Unsupplied 2-3-5* inf XX 3Mad and 1-10 lt Arm Dro (KT), 1-8 lt arm Bab (CTV), 0-1-10 lt AA 88(KL), 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 1-6 art 4L attack 1-6 inf 11 (Failed Militia check)  @ 9:1 (–2)  = DR

Republican Turn

Supply:  Seville draws on GSPs.

Rebuilds 1-8 mtn 3, 1-6 sec 16GC, 1-8 Cav 7, 1-0-8 lt arm AAC. 0-1-4 cons2 (Ast), 1-8 Buxo cav (Cat) 1-2-5 inf 4 (Cat)

Moves: . Vild and Bre19 on Naval patrol.

Line pulls back between 2717 and 3114 to keep in supply.  Stranded Asturians infiltrate to attempt to cut Oviedo – Leon rail line but lead unit (40th inf) is U2 so has no ZOC

Attack 1 3917 (Guadix) Supplied 1-5 inf Cast (An), 1-5 inf Lar (An), 1-5 inf PI (An), 1-5 inf AmL (An), 0-1-6 art CNT(An) and 1-2-5 inf TL (An) attack 0-5 cons 2 , 1-6 inf 24. @ 9:1 (-3)  = DH. 24 lost 2nd  retreats,. Advance Cast, Lar, CNT and TL

Attack2 3816 (Supplied) 1-6 sec  9GC, 1-6 art 6L, 41-6 bdr 4Car, 1-8 bike and 2-6* inf 4CH, 1-2-6* inf 20  attack 1-6 MG 4 (Militia check ½)  @ 7:1  = EX. Loose 4 Car.  Advance; 9GC, 6L

NOV I 1936

Narrative

Miguel stood on the Northern coast of Spain and looked out over the Bay of Biscay. They had attacked at first light. The Asturian infantry regiments had perished in the first assault and the artillery and support troops with their backs to the sea had quickly surrendered. It was encouraging to see the appearance of German aircraft overhead and this in itself had steadied the shaky morale of the Requite comrades who had fought alongside him.

“Disaster in the Ebro Valley”, Thousands dead”, The flower of a generation of Catalan youth cut down like wheat”, These were a collection of headlines strewn across the desk of Catalan minister for war Diaz Sandino, in the Barcelona hotel acting as his HQ.

An absolute disaster had befallen the Army of Catalan. A large scale attack involving 6 regiments plus supporting arms had dissolved into panic and confusion. Half the troops had refused to fight or marched in the wrong direction. Those remaining had met the guns and fixed bayonets of the well trained 30th Nationalist infantry regiment and perished against that steadfast wall. None had returned. The attack on which the Republic had put so much hope had failed and a huge gap had opened up on the right flank.

FWtBT No 4 - NOV I 36: Tactical view: The Nationalist push eastwards from Jaen.

The Nationalist push eastwards from Jaen.

News from elsewhere was also bad.  Valdepenas had had to be evacuated by the International Brigade following a complete collapse and retreat of the anarchist flanks guarding the town. The ACC unit was not so lucky and exposed and abandoned by the anarchist’s collapse they faced the Nationalist alone and unsupported by infantry were complexly swamped and eliminated.  In the North Aviles had fallen and Asturas was cut in half with a number of regiments isolated in the barren North Western section. If all this was not bad enough Jamie 1 the flagship Republican battleship in dry dock at Bilbao for routine maintenance suffers a fire which ignites the mine store.  The resulting explosion causes extensive damage which will need months of work to repair.  Reports were also being received that food shortages in Seville had caused at least one Anarchist formation to dissolve and go home.

FWtBT No 4 - NOV I 36: Tactical view

The Republicans reach the outskirts of Zaragoza

Insurgent Turn

Intention: To clear the flanks and invest Gijon preparatory to taking the city in the spring. To continue to push East to Alcazar de San Juan and isolate Madrid from the rest of Republican territory. To hold at Zaragoza. To continue to isolate Seville.

Weather:  Mud in the north and Rough in the Atlantic.

Supply; Right flank of Army of Aragon still unsupplied. Seville uses GSPs from previous turn.

Reinforcements/Replacements; 1-6 sec 23GC, 1-6 inf 26 and 1-6 art 9L rebuilt and form 3-6* inf XX 2Sor @ Zaragoza

1Mad, 2Mad, 3Mad Equipped and received as 2-3-5* inf XX.   All supplies, RPs, Air etc received at various ports unimpeded.

Attack1 ; 3513   Unsupplied 2-3-5* XX inf Ov and 1-6 inf 22, 1-8 art Ter (CTV) 1-6 Sec 12GC attack 1-5 RIM (An), Militia check Retreat.  Advance; Ov

Attack 2; 3314   Supplied 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 1-8 art 4L, and Unsupplied 1-6 sec 18GC,, 1-6 sec 22, Attack; 1-2-5 inf Jou (An), 1-0-8 AAC. Militia Check Jou retreats. Attack AAC automatically eliminated. Advance; 1LE, 4L

Attack3; 3214  (Ciaudad Real) Unsupplied 1-8 lt4, 2-3-5* XX inf 3Mad attacks ?   @ 2:1. =  DH Advance 3 Med

Attack 4; 0907 (Aviles) Supplied 3-2-6 2LE, 2-3-5* XX inf 1Med, 2-1-8 art E, 2-6 art 1P, 1-6 art 16L, 3-6* XX inf 1 Cas, 2-5 inf 5 (Req) with JU52g4e  attacks 1-4 inf 4 & 6(Ast)   , 0-1-4 Con 2(Ast) , 1-6 art AO.(Ast)  Militia Check Failed by defenders  @ 8:1  (–2)  = DH. No retreat path so all eliminated.  2LE, 1P. 2-5 inf 5 (Req)

Republican Turn

Intention: To hold at Zaragoza until losses can be replaced and then resume offensive north to relieve the Gobernitos.  To press West into southern Andalucía and if conditions permit launch an amphibious assault at Huelva to relieve Seville.

Supply Seville checks for U4 status and 1-5 Met (AN) is eliminated. Seville ASP expended for 12 GSPs

BBTF–1 suffers 2 hits from mine damage.

French Border Open.  Po.540 needs 1 month to repair

Reinforcements/Replacements; 0.5 art RPs to Gijon and Bilbao. Rest of RPs and Supplies to General Pool via Barcelona, Valencia etc.

Inf 12 Gar (Int), and infs 16 to 23 (PA) placed equipped as 2-6*

Rebuilt from pool 2-1-8 tank 1, 1-6 art AO (Ast)

Gijon Fort completed.

Moves: 2-6*inf (Int), 1-6 eng 2 , moves out of Valedepas Incomplete fort abandoned

Attack 1; 4117  Supplied 1-5 inf AmL (An), and 1-5 inf LM (An) and 1-5 inf Cast (An) and  1-5 inf Lar (An) and 1-5 inf PI (An) (An), 1-2-5 inf TL (An)  and unsupplied 0-1-6 art (CNT) attack (Isolated U2 in mtn) 1-6 inf 5 @ 7:2 (– 2) = DR  Advance 1-5 inf Cast (An) and  1-5 inf Lar (An) and 1-5 inf PI

Attack 2 3234 (Ebro Valley) Unsupplied 2-6* infs  ch5 and ch6, 1-6 MG 4, 1-6 bdr 2Car attack (Unsupplied U2) 1-5 inf 1Zar (Fal) 10:1 -3 = DE Advance; 5 car, 4MG

Attack 3 Supplied 2-5 inf Le (P) 2-6 art 2P, 1-2-6 Sec 10GA, 1-8 mtn 3 attack 1-6 inf 28  (Militia check failed so ½) @ 6:1 -3  = EX (Lose 1-8 mtn 3). Advance Le, 2P

Attack 4, 2730  Unsupplied 1-2-5 ins 3 & 4, (Cat) 1-6 art 11 (Cat), 1-2-6 art 10(Cat),  1-8 cav Buxo (Cat) Militia check Failed so ½) 5:1 -3  = AE !!!.

OCT II 1936

Narrative

Miguel looks out of the box car. They have been moving north by train now for hours but as he sees the mountains and feels breeze he realises he is approaching the northern coast of Spain. His regiment is hurried off the train and lined up on the platform. He sees the smoking chimney pots of the industrial complex and he is advised they have reached their destination; Oviedo a lone Nationalist outpost within the semi-autonomous Northern republic of Asturas. Their task is to protect the town and factory.  Loyalist sympathisers have been encroaching upon and surrounding the garrison and he is to restore order and push them back to safe distance. In particular scouts have reported the Asturians are digging in on hills overlooking the town from where they can interfere with any movements in or out along the rail/road line to the South.  His regiment is tasked with taking the fortified redoubt, securing the flank and establishing a foothold to the east of the town. This will enable a major push on the industrial port of Gijon to proceed.  Supported by the ever present 1P artillery regiment and stiffened by Nationalist regulars they take the position with ease, destroy the fortifications and push the Asturian rabble back towards the coast. Another victorious engagement!!

FWtBT No 4 - OCT II 36: Tactical view. Pressure continues on the Elbro Valley front.

Pressure continues on the Elbro Valley front.

The march of Lt Col Yague’s column across Spain was indeed well organized, professional and effective.

In the Republican Zone however the ineffectiveness of untrained militia in regular combat might have been expected but the uselessness and sloth of regular officers was extraordinary. One observer at the front during heavy fighting noted that “The staff were sitting down to a good lunch. chatting, telling dirty stories and not caring a bit about their duty, not even trying to establish contact with the fighting lines for many hours” Nevertheless the Catalonians were expectant of victory. The events in South West Spain being as a distant war in a foreign land compared to their dreams of an independent Catalan State. The capture of Zaragoza, now within 15 miles of their lead elements, was within their grasp and with its fall, they believed, Catalan would be freed and the war as good as won.

Insurgent turn

Weather remains Mud in the North and rough seas in the Atlantic.

Supply Extreme right flank of Army of Aragon out of supply. Seville feeds off GSPs

Rebuilds; 1-6 inf 17 at Zaragoza, 1-6 art 15L at Oviedo.

Attack 1; 1107.(adj Oviedo) Supplied 2-6 art 1P. 2-1-8 art E, 3-2-6 2LE, 3-6* inf XX 1Cas, Unsupplied 1-6 art 16L, 1-6 inf 30, 1-6 art 15L and 1-6 inf 31 and 1-6 bdr 9Car attack  1-2-4 inf 1 (Ast), 1-4 infs 6 & 10 (Ast) in Fort @

6:1 (-5) = DR advance; 1cas, fort destroyed.

Attack2;  3613  Supplied 1-8 lt tnk Bab (CTV), 1-8 art ter (CTV), 1-6 Mg o, 1-6 Sec 12GC attack 1-6 inf 12 @ 8:1 = DE  advance Ter, Bab, 12 GC

Attack 3; 3513 Supplied 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 1-6 sec 18GC, 1-6 art 4L,  and Unsupplied 2-3-5* inf XX Ov with Mixed B and Mixd T GS attack ( 1-6 mg 1, 1-6 inf 11)  @ 8:1  = DE.  Advance OV

Mech Move 1-8 lt tnk Bab resists temptation to exploit into Loyalist rear and falls back to 3415.

Republican Turn

Reinforcement/Replacements; All scheduled units upgraded/converted.

Fortifications started 3413 Ciudad Real, and Valdepenas.

Asturias Garrison Released.

Attack 1 3134 Supplied 2-6*inf s  5CH, 6CH and 2-6 art 2P, 1-6 inf 13, 14 and 1-6 art 7L and unsupplied 1-2-6 Sec 10GA, 2-5 inf LE (Poum) attack (1-6 inf 26, 1-6 art 9L) @ 5:1(-3) = EX (1-6 inf 13,14). Advance: 10GA 6CH

Attack 2; 2933 Supplied 1-8 mtns 1,3, 1-8 Cav 4, 1-6 sec 3GC, 1-8 ntn art 1, attack (1-5 Mech 2 and 1-6 inf 17) @ 5:1 (-2) =  DR. Advance Mtns 1,3 and Mtn art 1.

Attack 3; 2931   1-2-5 inf 4 (Cat), 1-6 art 11 (Cat), 1-5 inf 6 (cat) and 1-8 cav Buxo (Cat)- (Cat), 1-2-5 inf 3 (Cat), 1-2-6 art 10 (Cat) AND 1-6 engs 4,8, 1-6 art 8L (Militia check failed so halved) attack 1-5 inf (Fal) @6:1 (-2) = EX (1-5 inf 6 (Cat)) Advance 1-6 eng 5,6 and 1-6 art 8L

OCT I 1936

Narrative

The rainy season has struck early in the North so instead of the usual narrative I thought it would be a good time to carry out a recap of the game to date. The Nationalists outlook looked bad in the first couple of turns due to Seville declaring for the Republic. The moto-mech force from Madrid took Toledo and drove up the Tajo valley threatening to cut the Nationalists in two which together with a penetration East could have fragmented the Nationalists and their precarious supply network. However the timely arrival of the first Nationalist division stopped the drive up the Tajo dead and the very weak eastern drive was easily blocked.

Basically the Republicans are just too weak to take advantage of the situation. I wonder if the strong presence in Catalonia would have been better railed and used elsewhere.

I think perhaps the Nationalists have been played a little tighter and better than normally in the critical opening stages. There are as well perhaps some mitigating factors; a few of the cities which declared for the Nationalists were helpful for example Jaen, Huelva and some smaller towns which allowed quicker capture of rail lines and allowed some naval transports.

The front line now runs from Almeria north to about 4 hexes North West of Toledo, along the mountain range north of Madrid to a few hexes west of Calatayud then South to Terual and then East to the Ebro valley where the Nationalists are falling back on Zaragoza. (Most mountains are unmanned by either side). Gobernetos garrisoned.

I had thought the variable start might produce a radically different game but the front lines would appear to be forming up very much as in the historical game at this point with the exception of the Seville outpost .

FWtBT No 04 - OCT I 36 Tactical view of republican push up the Ebro valley

The Republicans push up the Ebro valley

Insurgent Turn

Weather Zone D Mud!. All sea Zones Rough! (6, 6 and 5 rolled!).

Supply Teruel out of supply. Seville draws on GSPs.

Reinforcements; Cadiz; AA pt Supply pt, Res pt / Huelva Supply pt / La Coruna, 2 Sup pts 3 art pts / Vigo Supply pt. / Malaga. 1-8 lt arm Bab (CTV) , 0-1-8 AA (CTV), 1-8 art Ter (CTV), Mxd Bomber,sup pt.

2x 3-6* XX infs –Hue and 1 Sor equipped and placed at Zaragoza and Cordoba

2-5 inf 5 & 6 (Req) placed at Pamplona and Vitoria

Replacements. 1-6 inf 17, 1-6 sec 2GC, 1-6 art 15L Formed as 3-6* inf XX 1cas at Valladolid

1-8 mtn 4 at Logrono, 1-6 inf 1MT (Col) at Ceuta

3 Res pts expended to build permanent rail capacity. Now at 6 Res.

Attack1 2033 (Euzkadi) Unsupplied 1-8 mtn 4, 1-6 sec 13GC, 2-5 infs 3 &6 (Req), and 2-5 inf 5 (Req)

Attack the 1-4 inf 3 (Bas) @ 4:1 -3 = AR

Attack 2 3414 (East Andalucía) 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 1-6 art 4L, 1-6 sec 18GC and 2-3-5 inf XX OV, plus Mxd T and Mxd B attack 1-6 eng 2, 1-6 sec 23GC  @ 5:1 = DH . Loose 26GC eng retreats, 18GC and 4L advance.

Republican Turn

Amphib operation cancelled due to rough seas.

Supply: Seville Expends Supply point.

Reinforcements: 2-6* inf 1V (equipped) to Madrid. 1-5 inf Met (An)  to Seville, 1-5 inf PI Almeria. (An). 2-6* (equipped) 11Th (Int) at Albacete (Designated the Int Rep City), 1-6 eng 1 (Bas) to San Sebastian.

Pos AA to Valencia.  Art and Arm RPs, Supplies Res pt to various ports up to capacity then to General Pool as appropriate. Arm to Bilbao.

Rebuilds: All arriving built except 1-6 aa AM. Recovered from pool; 1-8 bike 1, 1-6 inf 16, 1-5 LM & RM (An) 1-5 inf 5 (Cat)

Attack 1 4016 (Guadix area) Supplied 1-6 Sec 9GC, 1-8 bike 1, 1-6 inf 25, 1-6 art 6L and 1-6 sec 15GC, 1-2-6 art 2. Attacks 1-6 sec GC, in mtn @ 6:1 -2 = DH.  9GC and art 6L advance. (This advance surrounds & isolates 1-6 inf 5 in 4117).

Attack 2: 3233 (Catalonia front) Supplied 1-6 mg 4, 1-6 infs 13, 14 & 15 art 7L, AND 1-8 Cav3, 1-6 Sec 19GC, 2-6 art 2P  attack 1-6 inf 26, 1-6 art 9l @ 4:1 (-2) = DR 7L , 13 and 14 advance. (This advance cuts off 1-8 cav3, 1-6 inf 16 in 3334 and 1-5inf 12ar (fal) in 3434 which is already U1)

Attack 3; 3031 Supplied 1-8 Cav 4, 1-6 sec 3GC, 1-8 mtn art 1, and supplied 1-8cav Buxo (cat), unsupplied 1-8 mtns 1 & 3 and  unsupplied 1-5 inf 6 (Cat), 1-2-5 inf 3 (Cat) and 1-2-6 art 10 (Cat) attack 1-6 inf 20  (Militia check failed so halved)  @ 6:1 (– 3) DR.  Advance All (Cat) units.

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