Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2017, Paul Scrivens-Smith

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written permission of the creator.

Friday, 16 May 2014

¡En el filo! - Delaying Action

¡En el filo! - The Battle of the Taberna


Milicianos deploy from their bus
Yesterday evening James and I played out the next battle in our Spanish Civil War campaign using the At the Sharp End supplement for the Chain of Command rules.

As Durutti with his Anarchist Militia and Asaltos had failed to hold the village of Gran Salchichas during the second Nationalist attack by Teniente Arrojo and his Moroccan Regulares they had fell back towards the strategic el Puente de Queso. Durutti halted his troops at the taberna along the road and formed a defensive line. It was time for Teniente Arrojo to push on.

Rolling for Force Morale, the high opinion of the men mean that Arrojo would start on Force Morale 11 while Durutti only managed a Force Morale of 8.

We then played out the patrol phase and the Anarchists were effective in pushing the Regulares quite far back. The subsequent jump off points are shown in the aerial photograph on the right, Anarchists in red, Nationalists in blue.

I rolled a 7 for my Force Support which due to my commanding officers opinion was increased to an 8. James would have 3 points.

Taberna
I spent my 8 points on a Foreign Legion section, a Bilbao Armoured Car and a pair of VB launchers. James purchased a Renault FT 17 (mg armed) and a unit of Antes de la Siesta (these were Socialists from my own UGT militia).

Note that I did not field the Panzer I, I think that the whining noise would have become unbearable :)

Due to casualties from earlier in the campaign we were both a little light on numbers and had to do some reorganisation. I fielded one Regulare section as normal and the other one with LMG section then team of 9 Regulare including the HQ runners, these were given the VB launchers. James organised his Milicianos into one section of 22 with the LMG and one section of 21 with the flag. The Asaltos were organised into two teams each of six Assault Guards.

Republican Militia deploy
I kicked off the attack, deploying a section of Regulares and Sergento Primero Al-Makawi on my left most jump-off and the Legionaries on the right, the Bilbao made an early appearance. The Anarchists replied by deploying their LMG Militia section on their right and the other Militia section on their left.

I was soon ensconced with my Moroccan LMG team in the central wood when things went desperately wrong. The Anarchists maintained the initaitive and lined the hedge and started shooting, they then continued to maintain the initiative for a total of four phases shooting away at my Regulares. At the end of this travesty six Regulares were down and the LMG team pinned!

Legionaries advance
Regaining my composure I pushed ahead with my attack down the right with the Legionaries supported by the Bilbao and the Milicianos that had just extracted such pain had to withdraw as their flank was becoming exposed this manoeuvre.

The turn ended and my pinned troops were rallied. Al-Makawi pushed on the attack and Teniente Arrojo arrived with reinforcements, soon a brisk fire-fight with the Asaltos who had occupied the Taberna was under-way. Realising they were out-gunned the Assault Guards soon withdrew.

Viva Espana
The FT-17 was pouring ineffective fire into my Legionaires moving up the road, so Durutti personally gathered up a team of Asaltos and launched a charge against them, after a stiff fight, all seven Legionaires were down as were five Asaltos and Durutti was wounded and would not be able to give any more influence until the end of the turn. James used a Chain of Command dice to end the turn as he was reliant on this initiative.

The militia abandon their barricades and charge
James again maintained an initiative so the Milicianos who had been hiding from the advancing Legionaries on my right played their hand, leaping the line of scrub they had been defending and launching a bayonet charge. I used a Chain of Command dice to skedaddle from the overwhelming odds, but was caught in the open and cut down taking a few of the Anachist scum with me. However, the Anarchists were now in the open and the Legionary LMG took a great toll of their numbers as they tried to withdraw. By the time they had regained cover there were only a handful left.

Tear-gas is used on the Bilbao
The Bilbao was bearing down on the objective so James had to try something, first the Asaltos attacked it with tear-gas but it came on so then the FT-17 tried a ramming action (indeed!) however the Bilbao was wiley and the FT-17 was running with closed down hatches and managed to immobilise itself (ha-ha).

Soon the Bilbao was on the objective and machine-gunning down Asaltos with abandon. If the turn ended the game would be mine.

The Anarchist on the right tried to move back to the centre but were cruelly cut up by the concentrated fire of the Regulares. With the militia numbers thinned, despite the presence of an LMG, Teniente Arrojo gathered up his troops and launched an assault. The Militiamen were all cut down, but El Scrivs was mortally wounded and breathed his last outside the taberna.

Arrojo leads the fatal charge
Running to assist in the chaos Al-Makawi was struck by a bullet from an Asalto and fell down dead. The Nationalists were now out of leaders!

Things were looking terrible for the Republicans though. James summoned his last hope and called up the Antes de la Siesta. The UGT miltiamen were deployed and tried to take advantage of the loss of the Nationalist command. Durutti gathered them up and launched a charge around the flank of the Taberna. The Regulares again skedaddled and left the Republicans in the open where a pair of well sited LMGs commanded by the Moroccan Sergentos soon cut them up cruelly, Durutti was twice more wounded in this action. Reduced to just two men the UGT militia fled taking the bleeding Durutti and the Sergento from the Asaltos from the field.

FT-17 ramming tactics fail
James was now down to Force Morale zero ( I was somehow still on Force Morale 5), the game was won and the objective captured.

However the butchers bill was huge:

  • Arrojo Dead
  • Al Makawi Dead
  • Durruti ran away escorted by Asaltos Sergento and two UGT militiamen - never seen again!
  • 12 Legion dead
  • 1 Legion Sergento dead
  • 19 Regulares dead
  • 32 CNT Milicianos dead
  • 13 Asaltos dead
  • 8 UGT Milicianos dead

The end of the campaign is nigh, the Moroccans are again victorious but at a bloody cost. The Anarchists are virtually wiped out as a fighting force. What will happen in our final game, the attempt to seize el Puente de Queso?

The butchers bill!



Sergento Hassan surveyed damage in the tavern, a miltiaman had scrawled on the wall:

Durruti 
él estaba aquí

Hassan took out his bayonet and added below:

pero él se escapó



Republican jump-off point

That taberna again

Regulares pinned in the woods


UGT militia are deployed.