Copyright © 2019, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2019, Paul Scrivens-Smith

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Friday, 13 June 2014

¡En el filo! - el Puente de Queso

Durutti is dead and his column is scattered. Those Milicianos caught by the Moroccans have been dealt with out of hand while many of those who made it back to the Republican lines were summarily executed as defeatists and deserters by their Communist 'allies'.

Following the deaths of Teniente Arrojo and Sergento Primero Al Makawi, el Coronel has put the Caid, Al Alambri, in charge of the Sección while Sergento Masfiwi is promoted from leading one of the Pelotones to become the Sergento Primero. 

To block the Nationalist advance on el Puente de Queso the Republicans have rushed a company of 5th Legion veterans to the front. El Coronel has provided the Sección with a draft of reserves and promised Al Alambri that this could be his day. The Soldados shoulder their rifles and prepare to assault the village around el Puente de Queso.

The Caid leads the attack
Following on from the previous campaign games the Republican Militia is no longer a fighting force, their Jefe is dead and most of the men are dead, captured or scattered. James will instead be fighting with a Secciones of 5th Regiment, taking the Regular option with four Command Dice. The Moroccan Regulares were in much a better shape, both Senior Leaders were dead, but a draft of replacements bought the Sección back to pretty much full strength.

I set up the table with my river and bridge, but when James arrived he bought his river and it was much more impressive, but too wide for my bridge so the battle changed from el Puente de Queso to el Vado en el Queso.

James balanced the forces by adding two LMG, an army officer advisor and the T-26 that he had been itching to use all campaign.

Rolling for Force Morale, I was at +2 while James' new force was at +1. I rolled a 4 so was at Force Morale 11 while James unfortunately rolled a 1 was was at Force Morale 8.

We played out the Patrol Phase and ended up with the Jump-off points as per the image on the right. I then rolled for Force Supports and rolled a 7 that was modified to a 9, choosing a Pre-game Barrage, a pelotones of Foreign Legion, an Adjutant and two VB Launchers. James spent his four points on two teams of 6 Milicianos.

The Regulares took the first phase and things started very well, I double-sixed the first phase so deployed a Pelotones of Regulares with Sergento Masfiwi on the Jump-off on my left and then immediately ran them towards the Jump-off point between the building and the ford on the subsequent phase. James tried to counter by bringing on the T-26 and a Pelotones of Milicianos but they were disrupted by the barrage and did not arrive.

Republican Milicianos
Urged on by Sergento Masfiwi the Regulares pressed their advantage and were soon holding the Republican Jump-off without any opposition.

The barrage continued to be effective, but the Republicans managed to deploy a Pelotones of Milicianos on the Jump-off on the ford although the fires was desultory and the Moroccans soon started making used of the ground to take cover.

The Nationalists pressed on, the Legionaries pushed up the centre while the other Pelotones of Moroccans pushed up the right. Soon the T-26 arrived and was pouring fire into the Regulares on the left with some effect. The Jefe summoned his Milicianos and covered by the LMG team the two rifle teams assaulted one of the rifle teams, but I used a Chain of Command dice to move Sergento Masfiwi and his team into the fight. This was a resounding victory to the Moroccans, for the loss of four Soldatos and a light wound on Masfiwi they had wounded the Republican Sub-Jefe and killed all but two of the Milicianos who retreated swiftly back over the ford. The Republicans were down to Force Morale 4 while the Nationalists were only reduced to 9 due to the wound on Masfiwi.

La Legion advance
Due to the presence of the T-26 and the LMG team remaining from that section Masfiwi and his men were unable to take advantage. However the Caid, Al Alambri was pushing on up the other flank and had soon secured another Republican Jump-off. The Republicans countered by deploying another Pelotones of Milicianos but these were soon under fire from three flanks, the Legion in the centre, the LMG team that had accompanied the troops on my left and the entire Pelotone that Al Alambri was leading.

Al Alambri rousted his accompanying team and charged into the Milicianos, taking a wound himself they destroyed completely the opposing section. We were now at Force Morale 8 while the Republicans had collapsed to 3 and were now on only two Order Dice.

Scant resources contest the ford
The end was nigh for the Republicans, Al Alambri manoeuvred his team around a building and then joined them with another rifle team, under covering fire from his own LMG and that of the Legionaries he launched an assault on the Republican LMG team scattering them, with Force Morale two and me sitting on two of the Republican Jump-off points I ended the turn and caused their Force Morale to collapse.

At the end of the game the Republicans were at Force Morale 0 while my Nationalists were still on a very respectable eight.

I had had two senior leaders wounded and 14 Soldatos were down, for James he had a Senior Leader wounded, a Senior Leader dead and 26 Milicianos had been killed. The Legionaries I had taken in support were practically untouched, their only part in the battle was to provide a modicum of fire support with their LMG and to keep up the pressure in the centre.

Al Alambri pushes on his troops
The 'man of the match' award though must go to my pre-game bombardment, I had three phases before the Republicans were able to deploy anything on table so James was on the back foot from the start. James also admits to making the mistake of getting carried away in the Patrol Phase and deploying his Jump-off both too far forwards and too spread out allowing me to easily over-run them and preventing him from concentrating his forces to defend the ford.

This was a fine win for the Nationalists but rather an unsatisfying 'Death of a 1000 cuts' for the Republic.

The campaign is now over, many of the characters are dead, but the Republicans were pushed out of the village of Gran Salchichas and el Vado en el Queso is now in Nationalist hands. It's been a great series of games, but the Republicans really do struggle against the Regulares. In a couple of weeks, James and I will have another one-off game allowing me to give the newly painted Falange an outing and then we will be into a new campaign, this time I get to be the victims, errr.... Republicans.

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