Copyright © 2020, Paul Scrivens-Smith

Copyright © 2020, 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, 27 February 2015

The Spanish Coup July 1936

It's the  morning of 17th July 1936 and the rebel uprising has taken place. Battle lines are drawn and both sides rush to arms and attempt to wrest control from the hated enemy.

The anarchist militia have secured the small town of Alta Gallito along with the arms cache they had buried after the uprisings a few years earlier. The local Asaltos remain loyal to the government, but the Guardia declare for the rebels. The Guardia commander defects to the government forces but his Guardia call out the locale Falange and attempt to wrest control of Alta Gallito.

The Milicianos have thrown up barricades just in time, the rebels Guardia and Falange supported by an armoured car appear in the outskirts of town, while the Asaltos have also arrived in the nick of time to man the barricades.

This would be our first game of 'Big Chain of Command' and it would be Toms first ever game of Chain of Command.

Nick commanded the government forces and the troops at his disposal were:
Teniente and Sargento Primero
Two sections each comprising; one team of Sargento plus 5 Asaltos plus two teams of 6 Asaltos
Bilbao Armoured car

Tom supported him with a Anarchist militia
Jefe plus Army Officer Advisor
Four sections of 12 Milicianos (one section had a flag)

I commanded the rebel forces and had at my disposal:
Teniente and Sargento Primero
Two sections each of one team of Sargento plus 5 Guardia plus two teams of 6 Guardia
Bilbao Armoured car

I was supported by James commanding
Jefe de Centuria and Subjefe with 3 Falangista
Three section each comprising; one team of Jefe de Falange plus 4 Falangista plus two teams of 5 Falangista

The loyalists also had about 4ft of barricades to hide behind.

We did not bother so much with a patrol phase, the Republicans had two jump-off points for the Milicianos and two more for the Asaltos placed behind the barricades while the Nationalists had two each for the Guardia and Falangista.

The Nationalists took first turn and were off. The Bilbao made a steady advance up the centre while a section of Guardia tool the left and the Falange broke right. The Republicans ran to man the barricades and soon the Asaltos were exchanging shots with the advancing Falangista. With the superior Asaltos behind their solid barricade while the Falangistas were either behind fences, or worse caught in the open, it was not long before the Falange on the extreme right (where else for them) was broken and running to the rear.

The section Guardia on the left fared much better, with two teams exchanging fire with the Milicianos on the barricade we took advantage of a double phase and one team with their Sargento ran across the open road and jumped the wall on the other side. They were then able to move into a terraced orange grove outflanking the barricades.

As the Falange were suffering in the centre we deployed the Bilbao to help out, plus the Falangista machine-gun team with a Chauchat was set up in a substantial house overlooking the barricades. A sharp exchange of fire with the Asaltos defending the church at the centre of their lines forced the Republicans to temporarily abandon the church. However, accurate rifle fire from the Republican lines soon silenced the Chauchat.

With flanking fire falling on the Milicianos manning the barricades against the Guardia, the Republican commander took the decision to commit their armoured car to that flank, but it was too little too late, the Militiamen manning the barricades were soon breaking to the rear and the second Guardia section deployed on that flank to exploit the breakthrough. The final Republican reserves were deployed in the second line of barricades to counter this.

Things were going badly from a Falangist point of view, with the light machine-gun silenced and one Falange already wiped out the Jefe deployed most of his troops in the taberna facing the main line of resistance. Supported by the armoured car the fire-fight initially went well. However, one section of Asaltos now took their chance and scrambled over their barricades and were moving into a flanking position.

The rebel Bilbao crashed through a gap in the Republican line and two teams of Guardia were now manning a building overlooking the flank of the main line of defence. It was time to wrap up the game and go home. Both paramilitary police units had done really well while both sides militia units had fared badly, an inconclusive draw for now but the Republicans will have a nasty shock when the Moroccans arrive on the scene.

A great game, set nicely in the very first days of the conflict with the opportunity to put all our buildings and barricades on the table.

All the figures and buildings are from the collection of myself and Nick.

As for Tom, he seems hooked, not only is he revamping his WWII US infantry to play Chain of Command he is also considering starting an International Brigade force of his own.

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