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

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

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

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

The Nationalist push eastwards from Jaen.

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

FWtBT No 4 - NOV I 36: Tactical view

The Republicans reach the outskirts of Zaragoza

Insurgent Turn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Republican Turn

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

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

BBTF–1 suffers 2 hits from mine damage.

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

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

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

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

Gijon Fort completed.

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

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

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

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

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