NOV I INSURGENT
While rain in the north continued as predicted, southern Spain still enjoyed dry days of Indian summer. However, a storm over the Atlantic may portend the arrival of poor weather even here.
Cartagena, attacked from all sides with extremely heavy artillery support, has fallen. As in Alicante, damage was minimal: port, naval yards, airbase and some stocks of supply were seized intact. Instrumental in this quick victory were heavy Italian siege guns and brand-new Nationalist heavy-artillery regiments rushed in from Madrid. Nevertheless, losses were serious (EX).
Concentrating on Cartagena, Franco’s troops merely screened the Orihuela-Elche pocket.
Engineers worked around the clock in Murcia to repair rails and the airbase. They could do little, however, to help rebuild destroyed industrial facilities. Production is not expected to begin until late February or early March (first delivery APR I 38).
Having run into very strong defenses across the Madrid-Valencia highway east of Bunol, the Nationalist shifted their weight slightly to the north. Even here, however, they ran into the newly constructed “no pasaran” line. Despite massive and uncontested air support they were, for once, stopped in their tracks (a “1” at 5:1 -2).
As before, the front from Teruel to the Pico de Aneto in the Pyrenees remained quiet.
Security elements are now spread out all along the rail lines connecting Sevilla, Madrid, Bilbao, and San Sebastian with one another and the fronts at Cartagena, Alcira, Teruel, and Zaragoza and stand by in anticipation of guerilla attacks.
Long awaited but at the moment hardly needed, the first Me-109s from Germany made their debut, finally giving the Legion Kondor a fighter aircraft that even the best Ratas cannot match.
NOV I LOYALIST
A flurry of activity on the beaches of the pocket: In a confused action, Loyalist transports and barges braved the hostile seas and managed to evacuate some of the troops under the eyes of the Nationalist fleet and airforce. Needless to say, the commanders asleep at ythe switch were fired immediately.
(There was a misunderstanding on whether or not shipping to and from beaches was permitted under the rules as agreed upon. The insurgent player was under the impression only port-to-port shipping was permitted after his original suggestion to be given LCs to match the Loyalist ones was discarded (the Insurgents have LCs in the late-war scenario, but through an apparent oversight don’t get them in the campaign game). Accordingly he had not blockaded the pocket’s beaches as he well could have. The Loyalist player understood only the amphibious rules had been scrapped and the transport rules left unchanged. A friendly compromise was reached to leave the transport rules as is but treat LCs as NTs. This allowed the Loyalists to evacuate some troops, but not to land general supply points as he had planned.)
Although they have lost command of the seas, the Loyalists are still receiving ample shipments of materiel from the Soviet Union, especially artillery and tanks. This and local levees enabled them to beef up their “no pasaran” line even farther. The units rescued from the pocket (one crack infantry division, one tank and one armored car brigade, and one artillery regiment) will provide an additional cushion.
No other operations were initiated.
Loyalist guerrillas made their first appearance, unsuccessfully attempting to blow up a railway tunnel in the Guadarramas near Avila.
The successful evacuation of about a quarter of the troops in the pocket, among them all the mechanized units, makes the now unavoidable and imminent loss of the others less bitter for the Loyalists. A repetition does not appear possible as the Insurgents are now well aware of what can happen if the beaches are not blockaded.
With the end of the pocket, warfare will inevitably revert to a slugging match. The Insurgents must bleed the Loyalists white, but can hardly ever afford more than one attack per turn, and in winter weather its chances of inflicting a loss even at 6:1 odds, the best they can possibly get against the Loyalist line with 16+CF per hex, are only 50%. On the other hand, a few successive DE, EX, or HX results might weaken the Loyalist line sufficiently to cause real trouble.