Europa Games and Military History

Month: November 1998 (Page 1 of 2)

JUL II 1937


The Nationalist offensive in Murcia ground on slowly but inexorably although encountering stiffer resistance (now 10 CF per hex) and tougher terrain. Troops advancing from Albacete took Hellin and begin to threaten the flank of Loyalist forces still holding strong positions south and west of the Segura river. A second thrust along and north of the Jucar river valley northeast of Albacete has reached Cabanas-Ibanez (hex 3607) and is approaching the border of Valencia province. Losses on both sides were moderate (one HX).

All other fronts remained quiet.

While merchantmen again transferred troops from Morocco, the Nationalist Airforce staged another major effort. A motley assortment of fighters and attack bombers struck the remnants of the Republican Fleet at anchor at Cartagena. Defending I-15 “Ratas” and heavy anti-aircraft fire (5col) forced most of the attackers to turn tail with some losses, but a flight of intrepid Nationalist He-51 fighterbombers got through at deck top and sank the cruiser *Libertad,* one of the last capital vessels under government flag. Another major air raid was launched against the Valencia airbase and inflicted some damage and destroyed aircraft on the ground.

Cartagena has proved anything but a safe haven for the Fleet but, unfortunately, no other port now is out of range of the dauntless Nationalist Airforce.


Reeling from the Nationalist onslaught and trying to preserve the integrity of their front, the Loyalists in Murcia staged a tactical retreat, falling back along the Cuenca-Valencia rail line toward Requena (hex 3506) and from the foothills of the Sierra de Segura toward Cieza. Although they gave up good defensive terrain, their front is still strong, however, and in no danger of collapsing.

All other sectors remained quiet.

While the Navy are still licking their wounds, long-range Po-540 bombers made another unsuccessful attempt to disrupt communication by bombing Madrid’s rail yards.


The front now extends in a narrow arc from forward of Cartagena, Cieza,Yekla, Teruel, and Lerida to the Pico de Aneto west of Andorra, at no place more than 100 miles (6 hexes) from the coast. The farthest protusions are in the mountains just west of Terual (hex 3305), at Fuentes del Ebro down-river of Zaragoza (3033), and at the National Park in the high Pyrenees (2927).

Play is now quite sluggish. The Loyalists have a surplus of attack supply, an overflowing replacement pool (62 RE), and practically no accrued Rpls except for Anarchists. They cannot really risk attacks because any HX or EX result would greatly benefit the Insurgents. The Insurgents, in contrast, have a superabundance of accumulated InfRpls (now over 100) and an almost empty replacement pool except for artillery, but have used up their reserves of attack supply. They don’t have to fear losses at all (in fact, they’d welcome them because the rebuilt units could be used to ferry attack supply forward from factories or ports), but they can’t afford to spend attack supply unless success is reasonably assured. Against the strong Loyalist line and with an average of only just over 4ASP arriving per turn, this restricts them to about two attacks per turn. Moreover, without motorized artillery their puny c/m forces remain unsupported if they exploit any gap created by an attack, and so can do no more than embark on suicidal missions that delay Loyalist reinforcements. As a result, in most turns nothing happens beyond a one-hex gain by the Insurgents in one or two places while all other sectors remain quiescent. At least in October an upgraded Madrid factory will come on stream and upgrading of Bilbao’s will be completed, but at that time ASP imports dwindle and good campaign weather will be at its end. Were it not for the ASP limitation, the Insurgents by now could stage “yellow jello” attacks all over and have the Loyalists collapse from attrition in no time at all.

The bugging down into 1918-style warfare is not ahistorical for 1937, even though the reasons for it are different in the game. Also, the only way the Insurgents can break the stalemate is different: only by constant and persistent attrition, not by a decisive victory followed by deep pursuit, which is an impossibility in the game.

Trench warfare is not entirely dull, however. It also requires tactical skills, though rather different ones from those in mobile warfare. But let me not give my worthy opponent ideas …..


May I 15

The weather remains the same, clear everywhere but mud in the Alps. The French and British quickly spend their new manpower points on rebuilding their cadres to full strength. This is also the first time that the Entente production has matched the historical production – if you do not include the Italian front in the historical production. It is the closest it has every been so far.

The French withdraw their 1st Corps, surrounded by enemy ZOCs with the destruction of the Belgian army. The Belgians are able to rebuild one of their two cadres, but it will be over a year before the other can be brought back up to strength. The British continue to strengthen their front lines and construct another line of entrenchments behind them in case of need. The Italians shift some more troops to the 3rd Army and continue to press their advance towards Triest.

An attack by the Italian 3rd Army is repulsed with the retreat of the Italians out of the mountains leading to a quick advance into Italy by an Austrian fortress unit. The Italian 4thArmy attacks towards the East just north of Triest. The 7th Corps is stopped while the Austrians retreat in front of the 6th Corps. The 5th Corps and the Cavalry attack becomes a disaster as the Italians are nearly destroyed. The Italians end up losing 41 Manpower and 3 Equipment points overall while the Austrians lose nothing.

The Austrian R(10) Army reacts and two more Austrian units invade Italy following the 3rd Army.

Tom: This has been a bad turn. The attack on the Belgian Army was a small surprise – the result however was devastating. To see him attack, destroy, and capture a hex with 30 some defense points (about the average for my entire line) from only two attacking corps is extremely bad news for me. This hints that he could potentially attack at advantage any hex held by the French Army. To add to the hurt, I had to withdraw from another hex in order to save a French Corps from being surrounded. This is really bad news. I only hope that the Eastern Front will take away more of his troops. The Italian front gave me more bad news with the lousy die rolls almost destroying two corps while the Austrians have invaded Italy following the 3rd Army’s retreat. This probably has saved Trient from any serious danger, the only bright spot is my continued advance around Triest. Perhaps this will be able to be saved, although if any troops come south, I could be in big trouble with the Italians.

Production sees the Central Powers get enough manpower and equipment points to catch up on its reorganization. The rest of the turn sees the French front get reorganized with the new divisions. The Austrians redeploy their defenses to stop the Italians attacking near Triest.

Carl: A quiet turn on my part. The major portion of the turn has been reconfiguring and moving around the German troops to best use the reorganized troops best. It seems as though I have managed to survive the worst of the shipments eastward for the next few months. I really do not have the combat supply to really press the French like I would like to, but I will continue to build up my supplies and forces looking forward to that. I have sent some resource points south to aid the Austrians in their fight with the Italians. I am still playing with the thought of what one good German or Bavarian corps could do against the Italians if used between Trient and Triest. Perhaps when the Bavarian Alp Corps is formed next turn.

JUL I 1937


At the central front the Nationalist juggernaut continued to inch forward. The main thrust along the Madrid-Cartagena rail line gained ground beyond Albacete with air ample support. Spearheads advanced beyond the important rail junction Estacion de Chinchilla (hex 3709), at which the lines to Valencia and Cartagena branch. This has severed the only remaining high-volume rail connection between the Cartagena-Murcia area and the rest of Spain. Casualties were high on both sides.

Farther southwest, another column is approaching Hellin. In this area, a Loyalist detachment consisting of four infantry brigades attempted to retreat from the northern foothills of the Segura mountains under the umbrella of almost the entire Republican airforce. However, Legion Kondor 88’s took a heavy toll of SB-2 and A-101 attack bombers, and the detachment was cut off and wiped out. Anarchists still hold one last position higher up in the mountains to the southwest (hex 3711), with only a tenuous supply line.

Farther north, Nationalist armor was active again, attacking in a pincer movement along and south of the Cuenca-Valencia road with massive artillery support. The Republicans suffered losses, including one armored brigade, and had to retreat.

All other fronts remained quiet. Nationalist merchantmen transferred fresh troops from Morocco to mainland Spain, unhindered by the Republican Navy.

Nationalist fighter bombers attacked the Murcia and Valencia airfields without success. Even so, the Republican aircraft losses south of Albacete have tipped the balance of forces in the sky back into the Nationalists’ favor.


The Barcelona revolt is over! Guardia Civil has restored order in all of Barcelona. Ultimately, the revolt has helped the Loyalists about as much as it hurt them. Military cooperation between the political factions has improved, recruiting for the Army in Cataluna has become easier, and even Catalan units are now willing to fight anywhere. For this, the loss of the POUM units in the field and the temporary tying down of a few Guardia Civil units for ideological repurification was not too heavy a price to pay.

Although by now their hold has been reduced to less than 15% of Spain’s area and little more than a quarter of the population (by count of hexes and cities according to their final VP values, respectively), the Loyalists managed one more time to field seven brand-new infantry divisions, if mostly of low quality, and to reconstitute several additional units from remnants and stragglers. They were helped in this by continuing generous deliveries of field gun components and tanks from the Soviet Union and the start-up of new armament factories in Valencia. However, The People’s Army is now scaping the bottom of the manpower barrel, with little hope for a repeat of any such feats in the foreseeable future.

While the Fleet continued to remain inactive at Cartagena, PO-540 bombers made a half-hearted and unsuccessful attempt to bomb Madrid railyards.


Although in the last two turns the Loyalists have suffered heavy losses (33 CF), these have been more than made up by reinforcements, replacements, and special replacements. Loyalist troop strengh is at an all-time high! In addition, the Nationalists will not be able to continue expending attack supply at the current rate (12 ASP in JUNE II-JUL I). However, Loyalist reinforcements will now slow to a dribble, and starting September InfRpl will accrue only every other month. It remains to be seen whether this will enable the Nationalists to wear down their opponents.


Apr II 15

The weather has begun to clear. The Alps are still in mud, but the rest of the front is now clear weather. The British have begun to build a second line of entrenchments behind the first from the Somme north to the Channel. Some reorganization along the French lines continue as the front as a whole is strengthened and the French army begins to rebuild its losses from the 1914 campaigns. The Italians begin to shift more power to their 3rd Army as it begins to try to cut the supply line to Trient.

The Italian 3rd Army declines combat, but an unsupplied attack by the Italian 4th Army using the 6th and 7th Corps completes the capture of the Austrian defenses behind the Isonzo River. There are no losses as the Austrians retreat in haste from the hex.

The German 2nd Army reacts and sends reserve units towards the Channel.

Tom: I am not sure what the movement towards the Channel indicates – but I think I am ready for it. The Italian 3rd Army will be getting more reinforcements next turn which should allow a good chance at cutting the Austrian supply line to Trient. Another corps has pushed over the Isonzo so I should be able to continue trying to surround Triest. It will be slow going though. I am looking forward to production next turn because I need a lot more resource points.

Zeppelin raids on London and Lyon fail. A quick movement to the Channel to reinforce the 8R and 12th Saxon Corps. They will spearhead an attempt to knock out the remainder of the Belgian army. There is little movement on the Austrian front other than to reinforce near Triest to stop the Italian 4th Army offensive.

The first use of gas on the Western Front is utilized in the German attack on Dunkerque defended by the remains of the Belgian army. The Belgians successfully utilize their reserves and move the entire remains of the army into this last defensive attempt. A 6:1 +2 and a die roll of 6 destroys the Belgian army and captures the hex at no loss to the attackers!

The Entente loses 17 Belgian manpower and 13 Equipment Points.

Quick reactions by the Belgian cadres and the French 5th Army manages to plug the hole but they cannot muster enough for a counter-attack.

Carl: I think that I have just put the Belgians out of the war. With only .5 manpower points each production phase, it will be a long time before the two remaining cadres will be ready to do anything other than guard the rear lines for the Entente. This will mean the British or French will have to spread out one more hex in defense. It will be good to get production next turn – I am almost out of resource points. There will be another offensive by the Germans later this year against the French to try and wear down their morale. If all goes well, the French will be in deep morale problems by the end of the year. It will probably be an attack on a fortress which the French would lose 10 morale points if they lost it. This should set up another bleeding would like Lille for them.

Apr I 15

The weather is still mud. The Entente begin to reorganize the French defensive line. The Italians begin to redirect their attacks on the Austrians, moving some units from the 1st and 3rd Armies to reinforce the main thrust by the 2nd Army on Trient. The 4th Army shifts into a defensive mode to hold their positions.

The Italians decide not to attack Trient after all and there are no attacks.

The Central Powers fail to react.

Tom: This is the first turn we have played after our holiday break. It may take a short while to get back into the game and the thinking, but it was a good place to stop for a while. The Italians just do not have the supplies for a sustained offensive at this time and the odds really stink around Trient. I will have to shift the emphasis to the 3rd Army and try to cut the supply line.

The Central Powers do some small scale reorganization of their armies. Very little else occurs while the Austrians reoccupy Villach and entrench at Triest.

Carl: A shortage of equipment points is slowing down the reorganization of the German armies. The Austrians have a strong position and will sit in it for as long as the Italians will let them. The starting back up of the game has had some effect on this turn’s inaction. However, I think the lack of supply has a much greater effect. It will be a few game months before the next heavy offensive, at least on the Central Powers side.

JUN II 1937


The Nationalist offensive in the central plain gained momentum with the arrival of additional combat divisions. The main axis of advance remained the Madrid- Cartagena rail line, but attacks were conducted on the entire front between Albacete and Cuenca and gained ground.

At Albacete, the Republican Airforce massed its fighters and ground attack aircraft to support the defenders. Some were driven off by strong anti-aircraft fire, but more than half got through. However, all they achieved was to enable the defenders to retreat in good order as the city fell to frontal assault. The Loyalist positions in the foothills of the Sierra de Segura to the southwest of Albacete now risk being outflanked.

Southeast of Cuenca. Nationalist and Republican tanks clashed head-on for the first time. Although one-on-one the light Nationalist tanks (mostly German Mk I and II of the Legion Kondor and Fiat-Ansaldo and Fiat Tipo 3000 of the Italian “volunteers”) are no match for the heavier Russion T-26, the better Nationalist organization and massive artillery support carried the day: Their retreat blocked, two Republican tank units were wiped out. Two Nationalist tank battalions then broke through and fanned out into the Green Fields Beyond. They are unlikely to survive for long, but will certainly wreak some havoc with Loyalist communication lines in the meantime.

Another strong attack by infantry halfway between Cuenca and Albacete also yielded a substantial number of prisoners. The front in this sector was left a shambles and will not easily be patched up.

All other fronts remained quiet. A new forward airfield was constructed on the approaches to Albacete, and the bulk of the Nationalist Airforce including strong mobile anti-aircraft units moved to it from Madrid. The new field was used as a springboard for a renewed air offensive against the fleet at Cartagena and the Murcia airbase. Cartagena’s anti-aircraft defense had been beefed up and succeeded in shooting down several Ju-52s. However, He-45s swooping down low sank or wrecked three destroyers and some smaller craft. The attack on Murcia remained ineffective.


In Murcia the Loyalists scrounged up whatever reserves they could get hold of to mop up in their rear, clear communication lines, and reestablish a semblance of front running from southeast of Cuenca to the eastern outskirts of Albacete. The strongest contingent was sent to the Albacete sector in an attempt to stop the Insurgent advance from that city. Some troops including heavy artillery were shifted from Aragon to Murcia, but the High Command still appears reluctant to weaken the northern front to any significant degree.

The Fleet remained inactive again. Even the energetic airforce chief slowed down: The only action in the air was an unsuccessful attack on a marshaling yard in western Madrid.


The Loyalist command’s benign neglect of the front in the central plain is now causing some headaches. The Nationalist now field vastly superior forces in this sector, and further set-backs must be expected.

The Nationalists are now using two tactics rather effectively. They have drawn all their cavalry and fast Italian units (except armor) out of the line for use as carriers of attack supply from ports to the front. They are also shielding both one front-near airfield and a key ground attack with massive anti-aircraft batteries (7-10 AAF), having the motorized 88s of the Legion Kondor shuttle back and forth between protection of attacking troops at the front and the airfield in the rear.

The Luftwaffe’s continued success against the Republican Fleet has now reduced the latter almost to a state at which the Nationalist surface forces can meet it on the open sea on even terms — if it ever leaves the protection of the Cartagena naval base. It certainly is no longer much of a threat to Nationalist merchant shipping.

In game terms, for the first time since the city count in JAN I, the second hit on the CA at Cartagena lifted the victory-point ratio to above 3:1 in favor of the Nationalists, as needed for a decisive victory. However, the loss of the Drohne tank battalion of the Legion Kondor has reduced the ratio again to just below 3:1, and the JUL I city count (38:14) will drop it even farther.


Mar II 15

Spring has come to the Western Front with Mud weather. The British reinforce their front lines. The Italians continue their advances on Trient and Triest. Some shifting of French reserves to support the weaker parts of their defensive line completes the Entente’s moves.

The Italian 1st Army, attacking from the northwest of Trient attempting to cut the supply line, is forced to retreat. The Italian 3rd Army, attacking from the southeast of Trient attempting to cut the supply line, almost destroying the defenders at large cost to the attackers. The Italian 4th Army now attacks eastward. The 5th Corps successfully captures Villach. The 7th Corps is stopped with casualties. The 8th and 9th Corps come close to destroying the Austrian defenders, but they do hold and throw back the Italians with large losses.

The Entente lost 40 Italian Manpower and 11 Equipment points. The Central Powers lost 11 Austrian/Hungarian Manpower and 6 Equipment points.

The Central Powers are unable to react in any meaningful way.

Tom: I think I would have been better served if the Italians had waited until better weather to declare war. I have been pressing attacks that only harm the Austrian/Hungarians on a 4-6, and two of those results are DRs. I just don’t think I can afford to wait until clear weather on the front because the Central Powers are sure to reinforce the Austrian/Hungarians soon. As it is, the combat is centered around Trient (with 3 Italian armies attacking it) and Triest (with 1 Italian army). If additional Central Powers armies appear (and I am sure they will), I will have to pull back some of the attacking armies on Trient. Trient is a hard enough nut to crack (half attack for improved old fortress and halved for mountain terrain) without attacking with only one or two armies. The supply situation in the mountains is just too restricted to maintain a large front with a single army HQs.

The last of the cavalry divisions head to the Eastern front. The army reorganization begins but falls short due to lack of equipment. Hopefully next month will see enough equipment points from mobilized artillery to finish the job. The Austrians begin to dig in near Trient and in Triest. The newest army is defending to the north of Trient to stop the Italian drive on Klagenfurt. The French front reorganizes due to the new army reorganization. All offensives are put on hold until the weather clears.

The Entente fails to react.

Carl: I have been considering sending some of the Bavarian mountain troops to aid the Austrian/Hungarians. So far, though, they do not seem to need it. Now that the bulk of the reinforcements are in down there, the Italians do not appear to have an easy time of it. One thing that I have been thinking about is a counteroffensive into the eastern plains in northern Italy. Perhaps try and cut off the Italian 4th Army attacking Triest. I will have to wait and see what will occur. I have decided to postpone my drive to the English Channel until good weather comes. I am going to be able to rebuild my forces faster than the Entente can, so waiting should not cost me much. If I can reach the channel, it will cause heavy casualties for the Belgians and British and force the French to send troops to help them. I am considering going after one of the southern French fortresses and create a situation much like Lille where the French must bleed for a while. This may send them into serious morale problems later this year.

Feb II 15

The Entente rebuilds their line behind Lille. The Belgians now have a single corps holding Dunkerque. The French 1st Corps is between the Belgians and the two British armies. Some more movement of reserves to strengthen the area is all that occurs during the turn.

The Central Powers continue their attacks near Lille with an assault on the British 1st Corps. The British are able to reinforce the line and bring the odds down one column. The Central Powers lost 14 German Manpower and 34 Equipment points to the Entente’s 20 British Manpower and 13 Equipment points.

Tom: I had hoped for some peace, but Carl is continuing to put more pressure on my forces. Although the British morale is high, their manpower situation is not good. He has almost taken the Belgians out of the war, the French morale is low, and now he looks to be going after the British. This could get very bad very quick. My morale is slipping almost as bad as the others.

The Central Powers shift more forces into the Lille area to face the British. They attack the British line, the British 1st Army is out of resource points so they will not have combat supply. The British 1st Corps is shattered. The British 3rd Corps is reinforced with an Indian Cavalry division and it holds with heavy losses. Total losses are 8 German Manpower points versus 8 British Manpower, 5 Indian Manpower, and 17 Equipment points.

The Entente react by sending a French corps moving towards the Lille area to help bolster the French and British defense of the area.

Carl: The attacks on the British were kind of a last minute decision. I had thought to wait and rebuild the strength of the army back up and for better weather. But there I was with a good odds attack on the British 1st Corps in my reaction phase. This used up the last of the British resource points for the area and gave me good odds against two British corps. The losses that the British suffered will take a long while to replace.

Mar I 15

The weather has cleared, but Zone D continues with Winter weather. Great news picks up the morale of the Entente as Italy enters the war on their side. An interesting event where Zone D (most of the Western Front) is in Winter while Zone C (the Alps) is in Mud weather.

The Italians advance against both Trient and Triest. The Italians are at maximum odds but most of the attacks are with -4 die roll modifiers due to weather and terrain. The Austrian border guards are forced to retreat in a few areas (notably around Triest) but the Italians are halted in their attacks towards Trient. The Italians lose 2 Manpower and 17 Equipment points.

The German 2nd Army attacks the British 1st Army causing some casualties but the British hold the defensive line. The Central Powers lost 32 German Manpower, 10 Bavarian Manpower, and 22 Equipment points. The Entente lost 22 British Manpower, 8 Canadian Manpower, and 4 Equipment Points.

Tom: There I was with visions of an Italian blitzkrieg, much like the Central Powers marching through Belgium, and then nothing happened in Austria. I am adjacent to Triest and Trient, but it is obvious that the terrain and the weather is just too bad for a very good advance (especially with the 6:1 Mobile CRT ceiling). Obviously, the Italian front is going to go slower than I had hoped. In the meantime, Carl is picking on the British now. All of the March production manpower points are already gone into units. The French are stronger now and may have to defend more of the line and allow the British to consolidate for a while.

All is quiet on the Western Front as the Austrian/Hungarians rush up to defend Triest and Trient. On the French line some shifting and rebuilding occurs, but the Central Powers are looking forward to the reorganization of the German army starting next turn.

The Entente breathes a sigh of relief in France. The Italians react with the 3rd Army and tries its attack towards Trient again. The Austrian defenders mow the Italians down as they attack and the Italians lose 12 Italian Manpower and 1 Equipment Point without anything to show for it.

Carl: I definitely needed a breather on the French front. The Austrian/Hungarian front is more stable than I had feared. I think that his successful activation of Italy was too soon, at least weather-wise. The Italians will have a hard time slogging through the Alps and Trient should be able to hold. The worry for me is Triest and its factory. This could be a bad loss for the Central Powers if the factory falls to the Italians and halves the Austrian/Hungarian production. I have not yet sent the Bavarian mountain divisions to help, but it is possible that I may have to do so. They should stop any hope the Italians have of advancing too far.

JUN I 1937


Being now faced with forbiddingly strong defenses in Aragon (15+CF/hex), the Insurgents shifted their stance, railed their elite formations into Castilla, and started a strong offensive on a broad front in the central plain between Albacete and Cuenca. The main thrust developed along the Madrid-Cartagena rail line and penetrated to within a few miles of Albacete, apart from Teruel the only city once held by Nationalists and now still in Loyalist hands. The attack near Cuenca was once again spearheaded by the small but effective Nationalist force of light tanks and also included engineers to contend with enemy entrenchments. In Aragon the Nationalists pulled more troops out of the line, to be available for exploitation of any successes elsewhere. The fronts in the mountains between Teruel and Cuenca and between Albacete and the Mediterranean remained quiet. While the Republicans had kept their fighters and fighter bombers concentrated in Aragon, the Nationalists Airforce struck again at targets in Valencia and Murcia. Targeted were ships in port at Valencia and Cartagena and rail lines near Valencia and Albacete. This time, anti-aircraft fire proved ineffective, and Ju-52s from the Legion Kondor hit the cruiser Miguel de Cervantes at Cartagena in a low-level bombing run, causing her to blow up (in the words of Franco’s delighted press “avenging the slaughter of her officers at the hands of the mutinuous crew” a year ago). Except for this success, however, little damage was caused. (Historical footnote: Miguel de Cervantes was of course not the only vessel on which this happened, but by all accounts the massacre aboard her was the worst. Whether it can be called mutiny is debatable, however: The crews acted on instruction from the Loyalist-controlled Admiralty in Madrid.


The Loyalist managed to field two new and well-equipped infantry divisions composed of International Brigades. Both were dispatched to Teruel to stop any Insurgent attempts to break through to the sea. Other reinforcements were raised in Murcia and used to patch up the teetering front in the central plain. The Loyalist Airforce kept busy under its new commander. An all-out strike was launched to damage Insurgent air power. A massive attack on Lorca remain without much success, however, and so did smaller excursions against Cordoba and Almeria. The Fleet remained inactive, but Cartagena’s anti-aircraft defenses were beefed up to guard against a repetition of last week’s raid.


The Loyalists appear more concerned about Cataluna and a possible Natinalist breakthrough from Teruel to the sea than about the front in the central plain, where territory seems to be judged expendable. According to informed sources, the shift in Nationalist Schwerpunkt did not come as a surprise and was in fact quite welcome because it relieved the pressure on what is considered the most vital area. This tallies with the relatively small portion of reinforcements the front at Albacete and Cuenca has received.

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