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Europa Games and Military History

Tag: Spanish Civil War (page 1 of 12)

By the roll of a dice

Strategy games usually focus on the front lines of a conflict, and gamers will have long discussion when the rollout of a new anti-tank gun happend and in what numbers, and if the upgrade of this or that unit is justified as per OB or should happen earlier – or not at all. Logistics, the art that does indeed decide wars, and  which usually takes up 90% of a commanders time, is usually abstracted, since until the advent of computer games the process of raising, training, equipping and organising forces was too tedious to be converted into a playable game.

Yet another aspect sometimes cripples consims: The hindsight that enables players to approach a situation with much more information than available to their historical counterparts. Hindsight defines a lot of the strategies employed in most Europa games, and only its most egregious problems can be corrected by artificially straightjacking the player into historical behaviour by victory point mechanisms or outright enforcement by rules (garrisons, no-retreat-rules, Plan XVII, etc).

Which brings us to the Asturian Gambit, a series of opening moves during the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in For Whom the Bell Tolls. In hindsight it was obvious that the balance of forces and the deep-set enmity between the two political movements precluded a quick end to the conflict that broke out in July 1936. Hindsight enables the nationalist player to play the long game and secure an andvantageous position from which to better prepare for a conflict that will span several years.  A reasonable, game-changing, and completely ahistorical strategy. Carlos Perez lays out the Asturian Gambit and its implications for you in the last article for now that Carlos gratiously allowed us to publish and which first went online at his website

The Asturian Gambit of course runs contrary to all strategic assesments and convictions in the chaotic summer of 1936, where possession of Spains capital was seen as key to a quick and desicive victory by all parties. A possible fix would have to take the political value that Madrid held at the beginning of the war into account, forcing the nationalists to devote their assets to a serious attempt to take the capital as soon as possible for an extended amount of time. One possibility would be a rule prohibiting units of the Army of Africa to move north of hexrow 25xx as long as the weather is clear, and to require all units of the Army of Africa to attack in the direction of Madrid as long as they are in general supply. This could be combined with a modification surrender rule, requiring a roll for surrender for the side that just lost possession of Madrid, while giving them a strong modifier in 1936 and a smaller one in 1937.

Together, these rules would reflect the prevalent belief that whoever held the capital would decide the conflict early on, and also simulate the political reality that any general on the nationalist side not pursuing a quick victory over the republic would have lost his position from where to make such strategic choices really fast. However, as with all rule modifications, these ideas would have to be playtested and evaluated before being made a recommended rules modification.

Revised OB for the Basqe Forces in FWtBT

Editors Note:
This corrected OB is the result of historical research by its Author, Carlos Perez, as well as an imbalance in FWtBT as published, wehre the nothern goubernitos are vulnerable to the “Asturian Gambit”, in which the Insurgent Player, guided by the hindsight knowledge that the Loyalist Forces have limited mobility and capabilities in the first turns of the game, tries to knock out the northern goubernitos before they finish mobilisation. In the confused and chaotic first weeks of the Insurgency such a strategy would have bordered on the lunatic, since all sides were squarely concentrated on taking or holding Madrid as the center of political power. While this making sense in terms of a struggle both players know will most likely take years to resolve, and legal according to the rules, it is nevertheless a strategy not available to the historical actors. Should these OB variations not resolve the issue, a Grest War “Plan XVII”-rule should be considered.
This article appeared in the bulletin
El Miliciano , nr. 5 (1996)


Regular reinforcements


Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 1, 2 (Bas)

AUG I 36

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 1 (Bas)
1x 1-pt Task Force LtTF-1 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
2x 1-4 Inf X 3, 4 (Bas)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Bas)

Join the General Section of Reem installments:
1x 0-1-6 Mortar III Ortiz (Bas)

SEP I 36

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-4 Inf X 3, 4 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
4x 1-2-4 Inf X 5, 6, 7, 8 (Bas)

OCT I 36

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
1x 1-6 Eng III 1 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 5, 6 (Bas)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
3x 1-2-4 Inf X 9, 10, 11 (Bas)
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Bas)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-8 Tank II N (Bas)
1x 1-6 Art III 14 (Bas)

NOV I 36

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932):
1x 1-6 Eng III 2 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 7, 8 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
3x 2-4 Inf X 13, 14, 15 (Bas)

DEC I 36

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 9, 10 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
1x 1-4 Inf X 16 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, form:
2x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3, 4 (Bas)
2x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2 (Bas)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-6 Art III 17 (Bas)

JAN I 37

Bilbao (23A: 1701):
1x 1-6 lt Tank III CAO (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
1x 2-4 Inf X 13 (Bas)
1x 1-2-4 Inf X 11 (Bas)
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, form:
1x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 5 (Bas)

FEB I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 2-4 Inf X 14, 15 (Bas)
1x 1-4 Inf X 16 (Bas)

MAR I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
2x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3, 4 (Bas)
2x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2 (Bas)

Garrison of Euskadi, available:
1x 2-4º Inf XX 6 (Bas)

APR I 37

Bilbao (23A: 1701) or San Sebastián (33: 1932)
1x 1-8 Pole III Ert (Bas)

MAY I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
1x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 5 (Bas)

JUN I 37

Garrison of Euskadi, activate:
1x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 6 (Bas)


Active Army

Army of the North

Anywhere in Euskadi:
9x 1-2-4 Inf X 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (Bas)

4x 1-4 Inf X 5, 6, 7, 8 (Bas)
1x 1-8 Police III Ert (Bas)


Regular reinforcements


Gijón (23A: 1006) or Oviedo (23A: 1007):
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 1, 2 (Ast)
1x 1-4 Inf X 3 (Ast)

AUG I 36

Gijón (23A: 1006) or Oviedo (23A: 1007):
1x 1-2-4 Inf X Di (Ast)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 1 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
8x 1-4 Inf X 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (Ast)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-6 Art III AD (Ast)

SEP I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
4x 1-4 Inf X 4, 5, 6, 7 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
1x 1-6 Eng X 1 (Ast)

OCT I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
4x 1-4 Inf X 8, 9, 10, 11 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Ast)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Ast)

NOV I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 1-6 Eng III 1 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 13, 14 (Ast)
1x 1-6 Inf X 1 Exp (Ast)
1x 1-6 Eng III 2 (Ast)

Join the General Replacement Section:
1x 1-6 Art III 16 (Ast)

DEC I 36

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 1-4 Inf X 12 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, form:
1x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3 (Ast)
3x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2, 4 (Ast)

JAN I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 3 (Ast)
3x 2-3-4 * Inf XX 1, 2, 4 (Ast)
2x 1-2-4 Inf X 13, 14 (Ast)
1x 1-6 Eng III 2 (Ast)
1x 0-1-4 Cons X 2 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
1x 3-4 º Inf XX 5 (Ast)
1x 1-6 Inf X 2 Exp (Ast)

FEB I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
1x 3-4-4 * Inf XX 5 (Ast)

Garrison of Asturias, available:
2x 2-4º Inf XX 6, 7 (Ast)
2x 1-6 Inf X 3 Exp, 4 Exp (Ast)

MAR I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
2x 2-3 4 * Inf XX 6, 7 (Ast)

APR I 37

Garrison of Asturias, activate:
4x 1-6 Inf X 1 Exp, 2 Exp, 3 Exp, 4 Exp (Ast)

Seasons in the Sun

We continue our publications from the rich trove of articles kindly provided by Carlos Perez from  An excellent overview on the state of Spains Army at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, we have Alberto Arzaneguis essay on The Spanish Army in 1936 in the department of Order of Battle research.

Additionally, a kind gamer provided us with an Index of Gary Stagliano’s newsletter Nuts & Bolts, which we’ve also published today. The individual game indices are also updated, so you have comprehensive reading lists to every game. Enjoy!


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.


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
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%
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]
II 395 62%
III 413 65%
IV 800 63%
V 347 55%
SAW 1,207 64%
VII 807 64%
I 3.128 71%
II 284 67%
III 258 61%
IV 268 63%
V 488
SAW 233 55% 248 59%
VIII 212 fifty%


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.


  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.


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

The terribly beauty of wargames

Carlos Pérez was one of the most active spanish Europa-players. His historical interest mainly lay with the Spanish Civil War, and at his website he assembled an impressive collection of essays on the history of the civil war, written by internationally renowned military historians such as Brian R. Sullivan and Klaus Maier, to name but two.

Since Carlos does not have the ressources to keep his website updated, he recently gave permission to the General Staff to reproduce some of the essays and articles here, an offer that we accept with deep gratitude. So in the following weeks we’ll add the Europa-related articles as well as selected essays to Make sure to thank Carlos if you see him!

First to go online is an essay by Williamson Murray titled The Consequences of Italian Intervention in the Spanish Civil War.

Plus, for Friends of knowledgable Europa variants: An Alternative Rule for the surrender of Italy in Second Front by Rich Velay


I had at one point intended to playthe game out to a final military victory but due to the inevitability of the result next turn this now serves no purpose  – the end is predictable.

This was without a doubt the closest run game in Military terms I have played and it went right down to the wire.  Of course in terms of VPs this is a different story.:

Final Victory Tally

Victory PointsNationalists Republicans
From Jan I 1939248702
Interventionist Losses 4
Air Losses818
Naval Losses80
Terror Bombing 4
Gobernetos Non-Collapse/Late End 220
Game END Terrtory22732
Game End Losses695.553.5
TOTAL JUL I 19391190.51029.5

Result: Republican Major Victory

A word about victory conditions.

It seems this result is a reasonable basis to judge payer victory in an historic game. However this AAR is of an alternate reality version (Variable rebellion). What if in this universe the Nationalists decided on a strategy of Gobernetos last.  The game does nudge players to adopt the historical path such as attacking before the Gobernetos reach peak strength, gaining  port access close to the main front, gaining the factory production etc. all good real reasons and this in itself could be deemed sufficient incentive without the swinging penalties for not attacking the Gobernetos  first.

However would a “Gobernetos last” be viable strategy?

Removing all rewards from the Republic for the Nationalists failing to take the Goberetos produces the following result.

Nationalists 1190.5. Republic 449.5 Ratio = 2.64/1 = Insurgent Marginal Victory.

To me this feels a more realistic result for this alternate reality game.  The Republic is after all utterly crushed, hardly a “Victory” but the war has dragged on for 6 long months extra, the Nationalists still have much heavy industry to rebuild, their fleet is crippled and the air force severely damaged. So marginal is a credible result grounded in reality.

Personally although it does permit a less historic strategy to be adopted. I feel this is a better way to the judge the Variables Start to the Rebellion as an alternative reality game.

(Indeed an argument could be made to remove all artificial constrains and requirements such as the border garrisons and operational restrictions but this is an argument for another day)

FWtBT Post game summary

The tides of War: The game can be divided into 4 phases. Phase one ‘the land grab’ comprised the initial explanation and consolidation by both sides from game start to around September/October ’36.  The Nationalists were initially frustrated by the failure of Seville to declare for the cause but this did not appear to hurt their efforts too much. The early capture of Malaga meant that the Nationalists had a route for the arriving reinforcements and colonial troops and became something of a backwater for the main troop entry to the front. The loss of production did make itself felt in latter turns but production soon returned after capture. The front stabilises in the region of a line, Motril (on the south coast), Gaudix, Aquilegia, Valdepenas, Alcazar de  San Juan, Aranjuez, then along the Cordillera Central north of Madrid to Catalayud and south to Zaragoza still firmly in Nationalists hands. The revolutionaries made an attempt to collapse Asturias but gave up as resistance stiffened and this proved to be a significant error.

Phase two of the game in the spring/summer of 1937 centred around the large battles for the central plain and the towns of Valdepenas, Alcazar de San Juan and Aranjuez characterized by these towns changing hands several times. The breakout to Ceunca by the Nationalists finally broke the Republican resistance and a somewhat precipitous retreat that resulted lead to the sudden collapse of resistance and the rather easy capture of Madrid (it should be recorded that a misinterpretation of the abilities of transport units ability to advance after combat resulted in breakthroughs being a lot more fragile than necessary which prolonged this period of see saw actions.)

Simultaneously and perhaps the decision which the most long term consequences was the persistent failure of the Nationalists to provide enough defensive support on the Zaragoza front which was slowly and inexorably pushed further north with the Republic briefly capturing Catalayud(May ’36) for a time.

This defined the start of the third phase of the game where the Republic held the upper hand. The Nationalists aware that the struggle in the East had resulted in a northern expansion of the Republic so stripped the central front to the minimum and tried to stiffen the defence in the east whilst at the same time trying to reduce the northern gobetnetos.  The Republic still retained the momentum and came within one attack of reaching the Basque lines and taking Pamplona. Simultaneously they were retaking grounding the West and indeed for a moment it looked like a push to Madrid was feasible .

At this time the Nationalists considered conceding and indeed had the Republic linked with the Basques in strength they may well have done so.  However the failure of the Republic link up with the Basques gave the Nationalists fresh hope and the final phase of the game began

This was initiated by a prepared attack south from Catalayud area to Zaragoza. The Republic had pushed their best troops to the far north and the Nationalist breakout threatened to trap apppprox1/3 of the republican forces in the far north. The secondary Albacete front was stripped to reinforce the defence South of Zaragoza to contain the Nationalists while the far northern forces started the long retreat south.

The Republic with the aid of the northern rains did finally contain the breakout and the war from the end of 1938 was characterised by the Nationalists pushing South to Valencia thus cutting the Republic in two Having held back for good weather the Nationalists had been stockpiling supplies and pre-positioning units Thus the good weather saw the unleashing of a massive final offensive south towards Barcelona. As with the 1938 operation ultimately the breakout failed to complete a large encirclement of troops although many were eliminated in the large scale retreat

The final days of the republic saw a lone defiant Murcia in the West and a collapsing Republican rump in the East one hex away from collapse at game end.

Air and sea; the air war was interesting in so far ask each side was ascendant for part of the game although the. Nationalists were dominant overall. The republicans tried to maintain a mixed force but as defenders rarely used the air force effectively. The exception was naval patrol which seems especially effective at eliminating naval assets and netted them quite a few victory points. After the early attrition Naval battles the Nationalist fleet was never strong enough or bold enough to significantly interdict reinforcements. Both sides have considerable engineering assets so any rail destruction can only be of limited effectiveness. This play through suggests that other than a naval patrol wing the Republic would be best served with a pure fighter force deployed in depth to limit Nationalist hits.

The nationalists have a generally longer ranged and effective and balanced force which is able to perform a variety of tasks and did so well particularly the harassment campaign against the retreating forces in late 38 and 39.

The naval war was short. The Republic forced an encounter and lost and thereafter the Nationalist rump dominated the seas but was not strong enough to perform anything other than occasional and ineffective interdiction activities and some transport and NG support.

Triumphs & Tragedies; The Nationalists certainly played the better tactical game, they paid good attention to maximum stacking, armour effects and minimised reliance on air power as “flying artillery” to achieve odds. However they were strategically less successful. The move on Seville was timed correctly and the initial move for territory was well executed with a secure flank south of Zaragoza and a good line in the west. However thereafter the decision to coral the gobernetos and continue the battles in the centre was a strategic error. It is true that this gave them Madrid at little direct cost but this allowed the gobernetos to reach full strength and thereafter it was always to be an uphill struggle. Similarly there was never quite enough defence in the east. The golden rule here is that it is far easier to hold ground than to retake it if given up and even with the final precipitous collapse of the Republicans the Nationalists never quite finished them off before game end due to the start line being way back at Catalayed when they began the final offensive push

By contrast the Republicans played a good strategic game and came within an ace of a Nationalist surrender. They attacked where strongest in the East, north through Zaragoza to the Basques almost taking Pamplona. They created a good spoiling attack in the East out of Albacete which caused the Nationalists pause for thought and deftly swapped from an offensive to defensive posture when needed.

However tactically they were less adept. There was no effective use of armour. The rules make attacking with armour difficult for the Republic but had they thought more about defensive use of their tanks they may have been able to assemble some defensive modifiers mid game. The larger stacks and 2 unit stacking limit  makes any effective use limited in endgame especially as their armour is only 1/2 AECD

Perhaps their worst errors came with the lack of a secondary defensive line which allowed a number of significant Nationalist breakthroughs this should have been avoided for little detrimental effect Too late they developed the better tactic of a thin secondary line overrun proof from most exploitation stacks and a reserve of top line divisions as a “Fire fighting” force for localised counter attacks. This worked well until losses required that these troops join the front line. Had all these tactical developments been employed from the start I feel the Republic could have ended the game in a much stronger position militarily. Ultimately however the whole worked good enough to save the day but it was a close run affair.

'Autorretrat vestit de millicia' c 1938 by Pere Daura I Garcia (1896-1976)

‘Autorretrat vestit de millicia’ c 1938 by Pere Daura I Garcia (1896-1976)

A personal note

FWtBT is my favourite Europa title which is surprising as the East Front is my main area of interest and indeed it was DNO which got me hooked on wargaminig all those years ago.

In particular in FWtBT the force balance nice and the use of supply counters tends to create a more realistic “pulse” of offensives, lulls and counter attacks. I am certainly keen to play this game again and try out different strategies and put into place the lessons learned from the errors of both sides in this game. The AAR reporting and the reference to VPs ( not normally a solitaire concern) provides for tighter more considered play which itself is a different experience to my normal  quick solitaire run through  The game which has taken 9 months real time has become a part of my daily routine and I have gained many insights about the game. In this regard I am grateful to those who have offered help, advice and, in particular, corrections and rules interpretations where I have gone astray.

Regarding the war itself Franco, no doubt mindful of the awful slaughter kept Spain out of the Second World War despite entries from his invaluable ally Hitler. In 1947 he was made head of state for life.  When he died in November 1975, the monarchy was restored when Prince Juan Carlos became head of state, as Franco had decreed. Spain quickly translated itself into a fully functioning modern democracy just as much as other European countries. Ultimately therefore the War now appears a pointless bloodletting marking a moment of madness in Spain’s history.

These last words are penned between Palamos and Tarragona in Catalonia as part of a cruise around the Western Mediterranean and l finish with a photo of a painting seen in the Covent Museum of Ciutadella in Minorca on this same trip. The portrait has the following explanatory note about the artist which is interesting particularly for the American connection.

“The son of a Barcelona family Pere was born in Ciutadella and married an American painter Louise Blair. He subsequently joined the Republican forces and was wounded on the Teruel front. At the outbreak of WWII he and his family were visiting in America and so remained spending his later years at Rockbridge Baths, Virginia where he died in 1976.

The portrait is entitled.  ‘Autorretrat vestit de millicia’ c 1938 by Pere Daura I Garcia (1896-1976)

(Translated from Catalan it reads “Self-portrait in Militia uniform”)

To me it captures the weariness and futility of this war perfectly and is, I feel, a fitting bookend to end this AAR.

JUL II 1939

Nationalists Turn

Weather; Clear skies across land and sea. D=C. E=C, A= C, M= C
Supply: 12 REs of the defenders in Murcia city draw and expend the last supply from GSPs.
Do 17E replaced. G.50 (CTV), CR.32bis (CTV) repaired
Airfield At 3333 augmented to 6 capacity
Movement: 1 Res pt spent to temporarily increase Rail Cap to 27 REs

Air Activity: Sortie 1: Me109E (KL), HE 51, He 111B, Do 17E, 2B3 deliver 5 GSPs to 3328 unoposed.Sortie2: 3624 (Eastern Barcelona) Unescorted SM.81 SM.79-1 on airfield bombing mission intercepted by I-16/t5 who engages the SM.79-I.  No result. Bombs miss target.

Sortie 3:  SM.79-I, SM.79-I (CTV), HE 111E (KL) fly Terror bombing to Barcelona. The He 111E (KL) is aborted by the intercepting I-16/t5. The remaining bombers score 2 Hits (N +4 VPs)

Attack 1:  3028 mtn (n of Lerida)  Unsupplied 1-8 mtns 7,8,  1-8 mtn art 2 and 3-4-5* inf XXs, 24, 75, 1-6 inf 22, 1-6 inf I-S (Col), 2-1-8 art O and  3-4-5* inf XXs 12, 74, 1-6 inf 27,  1-6 art 12L, 1-8 cav VMS (Fal) Attack 1-2-5 inf 1 (CAT) @ 6:1 (-2) = DH. Advance 24, 75 XXs.

Attack 2:  3531 rough/fort/over river (Tortosa) Unsupplied 6-8 lt 150, 5-6 inf XXs 51, 71, 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 2-6 inf 10BT (Col), 2-1-6 cav 2O (Col), 2-6 art 1P, 2-1-8 art E and 7-8 inf XX 13, 5-6 inf XXs 61, 82, 2-6 infs 5Alh, Tdi (Col), 2-6 art 4P and 6-6 inf XX 52, 102, 2-6 inf 2Mel ~(Col), 2-3-6 art 62, 1-6 arts 10L. 11L and 5-6 inf XX 11, 4-6 inf XX 85, 2-6 infs 8Rif, 6Xau, 4Lar (Col), 2-1-8 cav1E (Col). 1-2-6 art 48 Attack 3-4-5* inf XX 27CM @ 6@1 (-2) = DR. Eliminated as no retreat path. Advance 13, 52, 102 XXs, 6Xau, 8Rif, 4La (Col), 4P, 62 art.  Fort destroyed.

Attack 4: 3229 clear (Lerida). Supplied 2-8 mtn Guad, 5-6 inf XX 53, 4-8 cav 1, 3-2-6 inf 2LE, Unsupplied 2-6 eng AM, 4-6 inf XX 83, 1-2-6 art 49, 1-6 art 2 and (over river)  4-5-5 inf XX 50, 4-6 inf XX 154, 2-6* inf cadre 54, 2-6 infs 3Ceu, 7Lam(Col),, supplied 4-6 XX FV (Mxd), 1-8 mot art L (CTV), 1-8 art Ter (CTV) and  (over river) 3-1-2 sge art Man (CTV),  4-6 art 3RG, 3-2-6 inf 3LE, unsupplied 6-6 inf XXs 3, 4, 152, 2-1-8 lt tks 2,3 and 2 pts GS from 1A2 Mxd. Attack 3-4-5* inf XXs 77, 30(Cat), 1-2-6 18, o.5 Garrison (unsupported) @ 4:1 = DE.  Advance 53 XX, 2LE, Guad mtn, 2, 49 art, AM cons. Fort destroyed 2X AS destroyed, Garrison dispersed.

Attack 5: clear (SE Lerdia).  $ Points AA form 88 (KL) fires at DAS 2X SB-2 Returning one.

Supplied6-6 inf XXs 5, 63, 108, 4-6 arts 1RG, 2RG (Transported), 3-2-8 lt tk N, 2-1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 2-10 aa 88 (KL) attack 3-4-5* inf XX 74 (Cat), 1-8 lt tk 1, 2-6 nvl 95, 1-6 inf 16, 1-6 eng 4, 1-6 mg 3, 1-2-6 art 2, 1pt DAS @ 2:1 (+1) = DH!.  Lose 95 nvl, 1 lt tk

4 eng ,16  inf 16, 3 mg. Advance 63, 108.

Jul II 1939 - Lerida and Tortosa fall

Jul II 1939 – Lerida and Tortosa fall

Republican Turn

VPs : Goberneto none collapse (R+5 VPs) None Surrender( R+10 VPs)
Guerrillas;Hit the rail junction at Aranjuez.
Supply:  Western Zone: 12 REs @ Murcia Cty U4 all GSPs and Ass exhausted so roll for elimination:  2-6 nvl is unafect4ed, all 3 divisions eliminated*  2 tk, 15 art are eliminated.
Interesting rules point are attected divisions completly eliminated or reduced to cadre?  Rule 9E Cadres specifies “in combat”, Rule 13 Overuns specifically states they are not formed yet Rule 12 Supply is moot on the point. I rule that they are NOT formed on the bais that this is not combat and combat staying power does not make you any less lilely to starve.)

Eastern Zone:  Isolated 3-6* at 3534 U2.
Replacements;   3.5 SRP, 1 SRP (Cat)  recovered.   R-Z  Rebuilt..
Air Activity:  sortie 1: R-Z, SB-2bis fly DAS to 3427
Sortie2:  R-Z flies DAS to 3428
Sortie 3: The last Sortie of the war 2x SB-2 fly DAS to 3327
Moves: The mighty fortress of Murcia is reduced to a ptiful rump which can be overrun.

The Republic’s northern flank is constrained by The Nationalist drive due East and can only move one hexand is thus unable to aid the more critical defenders south of the penetration.

The Republic thin the main line still further to get an overrun proof second line.

The line is thinner than last turn and the Nationalists will inevitably take another hex towards Barcelona and force the Catalans to collapse and thus end the game.

BUT the Nationalists , of course,  have no more turns left to do this.

The Republic has survived by one hex and one turn.

Jul II 1939: Murcia garrison reduced by famine

Jul II 1939: Murcia garrison reduced by famine

JUL I 1939


A growing problem for the Nationalists administration was the containment and management of prisoners of war. Camps were set up across the country and although the worst of the winter was past still posed a vast problem of logistics.  In all there are now 190 plus prisoner of war and transit camps holding between them 367,000 to 500,000 inmates. During the final offensives 60,000 have been taken in the Western Zone, and 45,000 in the East. Some were now put into employment, some given provisional liberty and escapee’s suicides and execution squads also helped reduce numbers

The internments continued after the war for many. One such place put into service I discovered on a recent trip was part of the former Roman Circus at Tarragona, known as Pilatus prison. It is a tribute to the indomitable spirit of the ordinary soldier that one inmate penned the following.   ”People of all ages experienced the same sense of oppression when they were put in solitary in that dungeon Of course our generation had grown so accustomed to suffering that even without noticing we had adapted to any possible situation, however difficult, dangerous, uncomfortable. Some hours after living in such terrible conditions, badly eating, sleeping on the floor, enshrouded by darkness, covered in lice and bedbugs and fearful of a court martial that could condemn us to the maximum sentences, we felt veterans of that home and could offer comfort and advice to those who arrived every day”.

Jul I 1939: The end in the West; Murca beseiged

Jul I 1939: The end in the West; Murca beseiged

Nationalists Turn

Weather; Clear skies across land and sea. D=C. E=C, A= C, M= C
Supply: 12 REs of the defenders in Murcia city draw supply from GSPs (2 REs @ U3) and expend their last ASP for 12 more GSPs.
Replacements: 4.5 SRPs received.   1-6 eng ZME replaced. Me 109B/D, HE111B (KL)
Movement: 1 Res pt spent to temporarily increase Rail Cap to 27 REs
1 REs pt spent to build airfield at 3333.

Air Activity:  Sortie 1: Large mixed fighter/bombing force flies an airfield bombing mission to Lerida. The I-16/t5 on the runway scrambles to Barcelona; 1 Hit achieved.

Sortie 2: G.50 (CTV), C2.23 escorts 2B3 Mxd, SM.81, SM.79-1 to bomb Taragonna airfield. An I-16/t5 aborts the G, 50 and an I-16/t10 and the CR.32 The G.50 is aborted and the CR.32 eliminate each other.  The mission force scores a Hit and knocks out the base, (N+2VPs, (R+2 VPs)

Sortie 3: Taking advantage of the cleared skies a He 111E (KL) flies GS to3430

Attack1: 3329 clear (S of Lerida) Supplied 6-6 inf XXs 5, 63, 108, 2-1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV), 3-2-8 lt tk N, 4-6 arts 1RG, 2RG Attack 4-6 inf XX 47, 2-3-5* inf XX 21, 2-6 nvl 95, 3-4-5* inf XX (Cat), 1-2-6 art 12 v(Cat) @ 2:1 (+1) = DR (Excitement at a roll of 5 turns to disappointment  as it is the only none lethal defender result – if only those tanks had broken down!). Advance 5, 108 XX, N lt tk

Attack2: 3430 clear (Bend of the Ebro nth of Tortosa), 4 points AA fires at the DAS SB-2bis and misses.  Supplied 6-6 inf XXs 3, 4, 152, 3-2-6 inf 3LE, 2-6 inf 10BT (Col), 4-6 art 3RG, 3-1-2 sg art Man (CTV), 2-10 AA 88 (KL) and 5-6 inf XX 54, 3-2-6 infs 1LE, 2LE, 2-1-8 art O, unsupplied 2-6 art 1P, 2-6 inf 7Lam (Col) and 2 pts GS attack 6-6 inf XX 35 (Int), 3-6* inf XX 1, 2-6 infs152C, 222C, 2-6 nvl 56 and 1 pt DAS @ 3:1 = HX. Lose XX54 to cadre, O art. Advance 3, 4, 152 XXS, 3RG art, sge art Man (CTV)

Attack 3: 3631 canal intensive (Coast adj Torosa) Unsupplied 6-6 infs XX 52,102, 2-6 inf 2Mel (Col), 2-3-6 art 62 Attack 1-6 eng 2, 0-1-5 cons 3 @ 8:1 (-1) = DE. Advance All.

Attack 4: 3532 clear (W of Tortosa) Unsupplied 5-6 inf XXs51, 71 and 7-6 inf XX 13, 2-1-8 lt tks 2,3, Supplied 1-8 mot art L (CTV) and Unsupplied over mtn 5-6 inf XXs 61, 82, 3-4-5* inf XX 33, 2-6 art 4P Attack 2-3-5* inf XX49 @ 5:1 = DR. Eliminated as no retreat path. Advance 61, 82XXs, 2, 3 lt tk, L mot art (CTV), 4P art

Attack 5: 3533 Mtn (nth of coast road W of Tortosa)  Unsupplied 2-8 mtn Guad, 2-1-8 art E, 2-6 infs Tdi, 5lah (Col) and 6-8 lt inf 150, 5-6 inf XX 11, 2-6 inf8Rif, 2-1-8 cav1E, 1-2-6 art 48 and Supplied 5-8 inf LA, 4-6 inf XX FA(Mxd)  1-8 mg Ard( CTV), 1-8 mot Ter (CTV) attack  1-6 bdr 8car, 1-6 art 5L @ 6:1 (-2) = DR. Eliminated no retreat path. 150 XX lt.

Jul I 1939: Tortosa encircled

Jul I 1939: Tortosa encircled

Republican turn

VPs: Goberneto none collapse (R+5 VPs) None Surrender(R+10 VPs)
Guerrillas; Ineffective
Supply:  Western Zone: 12 REs @ Murcia City draws of GSPs (Underlying supply condition is now U4) 2 REs roll for elimination 1-8 inf GP sand all 3 succumb and are lost.
Eastern Zone:  Isolated 3-6* at 3534 U1.
Replacements;   4.5 SRP recovered.   SB-2 Repaired. 1-2-6 sec rebuilt.

Air Activity: Sortie 1:  2X SB-2 fly DAS to 3328

Sortie 2:  SB-2Bis, R-Z fly DAS to 3528

Moves:  Fort built at 3239 (E Tortosa)

Republicans abandon the Cinca river line and fall back towards the Sagre river.  Lerida is exposed and will fall but supplies are flowing through the French border so they can fight on in general supply if so.

Attacks: None

JUN II 1939


The end is in sight and dismay, betrayal and naïve belief that a settlement could still be negotiated or at least respect gained on a professional basis was still held by some. The commander of the Western Zone; Colonel Segismundo Casado a professional cavalry officer from a peasant background was one of the latter.  He still felt that professional soldiers could negotiate with The Nationalists- professional to professional as it were. He was not one who hoped he could save his life and career by a last minute betrayal but was naïve in his belief that Franco could be swayed. In fact the last thing Franco wanted at this point was to have to share the victory stage with anyone else. Casado made contact through a variety of means including the British but the reply from Franco was unequivocal; Unconditional surrender

“Delay in surrender and a criminal and futile resistance to our advance will carry a grave responsibility, which we will exact on the grounds of the blood spilled uselessly”.

Nationalists Turn

Weather; Clear skies across land and sea. D=C. E=C, A= C, M= C
Supply:  The defenders in Murcia city draw supply from GSPs the outlying posiiotns forage off the land as best they can and are at U2 Alicante defensers now cut off from the rest are U2.
3-6* XX inf 14 (An) comes of GSPs so rolls for elimination as would be U4+ without GSP use. The Republic converts a further ASP to GSPs in Murcia for next turn.
Replacements: 1.5 SRPs received.

Movement: 1 Res pt spent to temporarily increase Rail Cap to 27 REs

Naval Activity: TFs prepare for NGS off coast at Alicante.

3 X NTs transport ASP from San Sebastian to Cartagena then move empty to Malaga.

Air Activity. Severely weakened by the continuous air combat of recent months the Nationalists devote the majority of the sorties this turn to airfield bombing in an attempt to eliminate the Republicans capability in the air.

Sortie 1: He 51 and CR.32Bis fly to Lerida. Intercepted by I-16/t5. The CR.32Bis jettisons payload and forms a screen. The i-16/t5 engages. All is ineffective

Sortie 2: 2X CR32.Bis (CTV) fly to Tarragona; One escorting the other joining a He 111B. Intercepted by I-16/t5 whom engages the escort aborting the CR.32Bis for no loss. The mission force fails to score a hit

Sortie 3: 2B3 Mxd flies to Barcelona. Intercepted by an I-16/t5 air combat, AA fire and bombing all ineffective.

Sortie 4&5 SM.81, SM79-1 (CTV) avoid flack and cause 1 hit Aborting a SB-2Bis on the ground and 2X SM.79-1  also avoid flack but miss.

A disappointing campaign.

Western Zone:

Attack 1:  rough (Alicante) Unsupplied 5-6 inf XX 105, 1-2-8 art 50 and 4-8 cav XX 2, 4-6 inf XX 117, 151, 1-6 mgs E, O and 4-6 inf XX 60, 3-4-5* inf XX 16, 34, 2-5 inf AGM (Fal), 1-6 art 10L  and 5-6 inf XXs 62, 64m 4-5-5 inf XX 55, 1-22-6 art 42 and 2 pts NGS Attack  U”/Isolated 4-6 inf XX 34, 3-6 art 1Man, 1-8 tk10, 0-1-5 cons, 1pt pos AA, 0.5 Garrison @ 5:1 (-1) = EX. Lose 16, 34 XX,  E, O mg, 10L art

Advance 105, XX, 50 art

Attack 2: 2208 clear (Orihuela) Unsupplied 4-6 XX 15 and (over river) 3-4-5* inf XX s 40,72, 73, 1-6 sec 2GC, 1-6 arts 1, 15L, 1-2-6 art 46 and 1A22 pts  GS Attack U2/Isolated3-6* XX3, U1iosolated 0-1-5 cons @ 4:1 = DR. Eliminated no retreat path. Advance2GC sec, 46 art, 15XX

Attack 3: 4109 rough (Adjacent Murcia) Unsupplied 5-6 inf XX 81, 4-6 inf XX 106, 1-6 mg IMPex, 1-6 arts 4L, 13L and 4-6 inf XX 107, 3-4-5* inf XX 32, 1-2-6*inf 32, 2-8 mtn Pir, 1-6 inf30, 1-6 bdr 7Car and 4-6 inf XXs 112, 122, 1-6 infs 1MT, 5MR (Col), 2-6 inf 9Arc, 1-6 art 16L, 1-2-6 art 43 and ME 109 1pt  GS Attack  U4 isolated 3-6* inf XX 14 (An) U2 2-1-8 tk O @ 6:1 (-1) = DE.  Advance 61XX.

Coastal Zone

Attack 4: 3632 clear (Cpast road Valencia/Catalan boarder) Unsupplied 7-6 inf XX 13, 6-6inf XX 52, 102, 3-3-6 inf 3LE, 2-6 infs2Mel, 6Xuan (Col), 2-3-6 art 62, 2-6 art 4P Attack 2-3-5* inf XX 42 @ 5:1 = HX. Lose 3LE. Advance 13XX, 62 art.

Eastern Zone;

Attack 5:  3431 (N of Torosa) Supplied 5-6 inf XXs 51, 54, 71, 3-2-6 inf 1LE, 2-6 infs 7Lam (Col), 10BT (Col), 1-6 art 12~L, 2-1-8 art O Attack 3-4-5* inf XX 27CM, 2-6 inf 211C @ 5:1 (-1) = DR. Advance 51, 54, 71 XXs

Attack 6: 3433.wooded rough  (E of Teruel) Supplied 5-8 inf XX LA (CTV), 4-6 inf XX FA, FM (Mxd) 1-8 mg Ard (CTV) , 1-8 art Ter (CTV) and  Unsupplied4-4-5 inf XX 50, 4-6 inf XX 85, 4-8 Cav XX 1, 2-8 mtn Guad, 1-6 bdr 8Car, 1-6 inf 27, 2-1-8 artE Attack 3-6* inf XX 40 @ 8:1 (-2) = DH. Advance 1 CavXX, 50XX,  Guad mtn, 27, 8car bdr, E art

Attack 7: 3432 rough (NW Torossa) Supplied 2-6 infs Tdi (Col), 3Ceu (Col), 2-6 eng AM. 2-6 art 1P, Unsupplied 5-6 inf XXs 61, 82, 83, 1-2-6 art 49 = 5:1 (-2) m= DR Eliminated no retreat path. Advance 61, 82, 83 XXs, 1P art, TDi (Col).

Attack 8 3330 (S of Lerida) This is the important attack of this turn to breach the river line.

Supplied (Over river) 6-6 inf XXs 5, 63, 108, 2-6 inf 5Alh (Col), 2-10 AA 88 (KL), 1-8 mc B (CTV), Transported 4-6 arts 1RG, 2RG and (over river) 6-6 inf XXs 1, 4, 152, 3-2-8 lt tk N, 2-1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV) 3-2-6 inf2LE, 4-6 art 3RG, 3-1-2 sg art Man (CTV) attack 3-4-5* inf XXs 17, 57, 2-3-5* inf XX 39, 1-2-6 art 20 @ 3:1 = EX! Success and elimination of defenders- but at a cost… Lose 2LE, 3RG, Cadre1XX Advance 5,108 XXs, 1RG

Jun II 1939 Ebro line breached.

Jun II 1939 Ebro line breached.

Republican Turn

VPs: Goberneto none collapse (R+5 VPs) None Surrender(R+10 VPs)
Guerrillas; Ineffective
Supply:  Western Zone: Murcia City draws of GSPs (Underlying supply condition is now U3)
Replacements;   4.5 SRP recovered.   SB-2bis Repaired.
Air Activity; Sorties 1 & 2; Escorted DAS missions. Not intercepted result in a SB-2 over Lerida and a R-Z over 3103 (N of Lerida)
Sortie 3: 3430 (Elbow of the Ebro adjacent Tortosa) SB-2, SB-2b The SB-2 and CR.32bis are Aborted. The SB-2Bis survives to provide DAS
Attacks: None

JUN I 1939


The game is now firmly divided into two parts; the Main front facing Barcelona “The Eastern Zone” and the diminishing resistance in Murcia “The Western Zone”.

The Nationalists have ramped up the offensive to fever pitch to try and deal a final death blow to the Republic.  They launch 11 attacks; 8 in the East; 3 in the West; the most ever in a single turn. Most in the East however are against single divisional rear guards designed by the Republic to slow the attack and penetration depth of the fascists while the bulk of the front line retreats behind the Cinca/Ebro river line, as yet unbreached.  So while the Nationalists are making many attacks most are single divisions at risk and the Republic anticipates they will have a very strong river MLR by mid-June.  The Nationalists are not unaware of this tactic and have expended very few supplies this turn in the east and none at all in the Western Zone. This limits the odds which will cause them more exchange losses but they still have a few IRPs in the bank. Many of the Republican rear guards are surrounded so their elimination is assured. Only on the coast road from Valencia is there a chance of complete failure but this is only 1/6 and due to the narrow frontage so this thrust needs to be almost fully supplied, (The Nationalists are only 1 point short of the next odds column but unfortunately so many aircraft are inoperable following the earlier Harassment that there are insufficient machines left to get the one elusive attack factor even after adding in the two available points of NGS.)

The question in the West is whether the Republic will have any survivors by game end which is rapidly approaching. Possibly not.

In the East the Nationalists need to try and trigger the collapse of Catalonia, which will force the Republic to the negotiating table. To do so they must advance to within 45 miles of the city; but time is on the Republics side.

Jun I 1939, Murcia threatened

Jun I 1939, Murcia threatened

Nationalists turn

Weather; Clear skies across Spain both land and sea. D=C. E=C, A=CR, M= C
Supply:  6 RE in Murcia plus adjacent anarchists draw supply from draw from GSPs. Adjacent PA units are U1. Republic expends 1ASP for 12 more GSPs. All Republicans in Eastern Zone back in supply
Replacements: 4.5 SRPs, 0.5 SRPs (Col) received.   1-6 eng replaced.
Reinforcements; 154XX equipped on arrival.
Movement: 1 Res pt. spent to temporarily increase Rail Cap to 27 REs

Naval Activity:  NT-4 Transports 9Arc (Col) from Morocco to Cartagena

Air Activity:  Sortie 1:  SM.79-1 flies night Factory Bombing to Barcelona. Feeble AA misses but so do the bomb aimers.

Western Zone;

Attack 1: 4007 (s of Yecia) Unsupplied 5-6 inf XX 84, 4-5-5 inf XX 55, 3-4-5 inf XX 16, 1-5 mech 1, 1-6 mg IMExp and 3-4-5 inf XXs 34,m 74 and 4-6 inf XXs 15, 106, 117, 1-8 arts 4L, 10L, 13L Attack U1 Isolated 2-3-5* inf XX9, 2-1-8 to 1 @ 5:1 (-1) = DH. All eliminated – no retreat path. Advance 34, 74 XXs

Attack 2: clear  ( N of Alicante) Unsupplied4-6 inf xx 151, 4-8 cav XX 2, 1-6 mgs O, E and 5-6 inf XXs62, 105, 2-5 inf AGM (Fal), 1-2-6 art 42, 1-2-8 art 50 Attack U1 isolated2-3-5* inf XX36 @ 4:1 = DH. Advance XX 62, AGM (Fal), 42 art

Attack 3: : 4310 clear (between Cartagena and Murcia) Unsupplied  4-6 inf XX 107, 1-2-6* inf 32 and  4-6 inf XXs 14, 122, 3-4-5* inf XX 14, 1-6 inf 17, 1-6 bdr 7car, 1-6 inf 1MT (Col), 1-2-6 art 43, 1-6 art 16L and 3-4-5 inf XXs 19,  40 and 3-4-5* inf XX 72, 2-6 inf 9Arc (Col), 1-6 5MR, 2-8 mtn Pir, 1-6 inf 24, 1-6 sec 2GC, 1-2-6 art 46, 1-6 art 1, 15L Attack U1 Isolated 1-5 Muer, Isolated 3-4-5* inf 26 (All An) @ 4:1 = EX. Lose 40XX, 17, 24. Advance 14XX.

Valencia/Barcelona coast road

Attack 4: 3633 rough (on the Valencia/Catalonia boarder coast road)  Supplied 6-6 inf XXs 52, 102, 7-6 inf XX 13, 406 arts 1RG, 3RG, 3-2-6 inf 3LE and  Unsupplied 2-6 infs 6Xau, 2Mar (Col) attack 4-6 inf XX65, 2-6 nvl 56, 1-2-6 art 2  @ 4:1 (-1) = DR. Advance 52, 102 XX,  6Xau, 2Mar (Col).

Attack 5: 3634 Rough. Unsupplied  6-8 lt XX 150, 5-6 inf XXs 11, 52, 2-1-8 lt tks 2, 3, 2-1-8 cav1E (Col), 2-3-6 art 62, 1-2-6 art 46, transport and 3-4-5* inf XX 56, 2-6 infs4Lar, 8Rif (Col), 2-1-8 cav 2O (Col), 2-6 art 4P,  Attack 3-6* inf XX 77 @ 6:1 (-1) = DR. Eliminated,  as no retreat path. Advance 53, 56 XX.

Eastern Zone;

Attack 6:  3334 rough (E of Teruel) Unsupplied 3-4-5* inf XXs 12, 57, 1-68 eng GG, 1-6 bdr 8Car, 2-8 mtn Guaf,And  6-6 inf XX 5, 5-6 inf 54, 4-6 inf XX 85, 1-6 inf 28, 1-6 mg 2, 2-1-8 art E And 4-8 Cav XX 1, 2-6 inf 3Ceu (Col) Attack 2-3-5* inf XX 64 @ 5:1 (-1) = DE. Advance 57XX, 27, 8Car bdr, GG eng, Guad mtn, E art

Attack 7: 3232 clear/fort (S Zaragoza) Unsupplied4-6 inf XX 63, 3-4-5* inf XX 33, 1-6 23, 2-6 infs 7Lam, 5Ahl (Col) and 5-6 inf XX 82, 4-5-5 inf XX 50, 4-6 inf XX 154, 2-6 cadre 105, 1-6 inf I-S (Col), 1-6 art 11L, 12L Attack 2-3-5* inf 60 (Cat) @ 5:1 (-1) = DR eliminated as no retreat. Advance 50, 83 XXs fort destroyed

Attack 8: 3332 Clear (NW Tortosa)   6-6 inf XXs 1, 4, 63, 2-6 inf 10BT (Col), 3-1-2 sge art, Man (CTV),  2-10 AA 88 (KL), 1-8 AA 71m  2-6 art 1P  Attack 3-4-5* inf XX 58 with 1 pt. GS.

AA attacks SB-2 GS with 6 pts. AA and Returns it. Attack is now 7:1 = DH Advance 1, 4 XXs, Man (CTV)

Attack 9: 3030 clear (MW Lerida) 3= Unsupplied 3-4-5* XXs 24, 75 and 3-4-5* inf XXs 19, 22, 58, 1-6 inf 33, 1-6 art 2, 1-8 cav VMS (Fal) Attack 1-2-5 inf4 (Cat) @ 9:1 = DE. Advance 22, 24 XXs

Attack 10: 3031 rough/fort (NW Lerida) Unsupplied 5-6 inf XX 61, Supplied 4-6 inf XX FV (Mxd) and  4-6 inf XXs FA, FM (Mxd), 5-8 inf XX LA (CTV), 1-8 art Ter (CTV), 1-8 mg Ard (CTV), 2-1-8 lt tk Bab (CTV, 1-8 mc B (CTV) Attack 2-3-5 inf XX 31 (Cat) @ 8:1 (-2) = DH. Advance FA, FM XX (Mxd)

Attack 11: 3231 clear (W Lerida) Supplied 6-6 inf XX 152, 4-6 art 2RG, 2-6 eng AM, 2-6 inf Tdi unsupplied 5-6 inf XXs 71, 51, 1-2-6 art 49, 1-8 AA 72 Attack 2-3-5* inf XX 69 1 pt GS. . AA attacks SB-2 Bis GS and misses. Attack @ 5:1 = DH. Advance 51, 71, 152 XXs, 2RG art, AM eng

Exploitation movement; 3-2-8 lt tk N, Transported 2-1-8 art, 2-10 AA 88 (KL) exploit to 3230 (Bend of Ebro immediately W of Lerida)

Jun I 1939: Outskirts of Lerida reached

Jun I 1939: Outskirts of Lerida reached

Republican turn

VPs: Goberneto none collapse (R+5 VPs) None Surrender(R+10 VPs)

Guerrillas; Break the rail junction at Catalayud

Supply:  Western Zone: Republicans feed of 12 GSPs from previous turn. (Underlying supply condition is now U2) The 3 6 and 5 strength XXs are put into supply plus 3 regiments at Murcia. The rest are U1.  Due to the MSP any factory generated ASP will not be able to be used for supply till the Nationalists next turn.

Replacements;   2.5 SRP, 1.5 SRP (Cat) recovered.  1-2-6 sec replaced.   SB-2 Replaced

Reinforcements: Arrive at Barcelona following Nationalists withdrawal of fleet to Murcia.

Moves: In the Western Zone; The Republicans in Murcia pull back for a last stand at the Factory.

In the Eastern Zone the Republic pull back to make a final stand behind the Ebro/Cinca rivers.  Confined to a narrow frontage they still manage to defend with stacks of 13-14 points (Except at the extreme right flank in the Pyrenees) which is behind a river in all but one hex.

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