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.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A world in flames, or at least the Taberna at Gran Salacias

Since arriving in Wisconsin I've painted enough troops to field an International Brigade platoon for the Republicans and a Foreign Legion platoon for the Nationalists. Yesterday was a good opportunity to play a game before the den is temporarily re-imagined as a bedroom for the next couple of weeks.

I set up the gaming table with the village of Gran Salaicias dominant, a large wood was placed in one sector and south of the village was an area of broken ground.

La Legion are a Regular +10 platoon, aggressive with six command dice while the International Brigade are a Regular +1 platoon with five command dice 5. I balanced the forces by making the Brigadiers Anti-Facista (also making them aggressive), two 5cm Mortars, two LMG and two Machine-rifles.

Rolling for Force Morale the Nationalists were starting at FM8 while the Republicans a very respectful FM11. Randomising the mission I would be playing a Delaying Action with the Republicans attacking out of the sun (or the table edge nearest the window as it is more commonly known).

Rolling for Force Support the Republicans would have five points which was spent on an Adjutant and a T-26B, the Nationalists spent their two on an Adjutant of their own and a Road Block.

Only having three scouts the Patrol Phase was very aggressive for the Nationalists and they managed to peg the Republicans well back in front of the town..

Early phases of the battle involves the scouts from both sides getting into position, the Republicans deployed their mortars in the grounds of the substantial house, while the Nationalists countered with their own positioned behind the small hillock in the wasteland on the far side of the village. The T-26B started to roam across to the right. With their scout in position early and a good number of fives rolled, the Republicans use a Chain of Command dice to deploy jump-off point into the vineyard on the right with easy access into the woods.

To counter this the Nationalists deploy a section of Legionaries in and around the taberna, but the Republican secure a double phase, deploy a section into the vineyard via the moved jump-off point and start to move towards the woods. In response the Nationalists in taberna open fire with little effect.

Things start to go well for the Republicans who throw four sixes, then a three, the taberna being the closest building to the centre of the table catches fire forcing evacuation, the Nationalist Sargento Primero rushes to the scene to calm the situation. The Republicans double six again and push on slowly towards the woods while confusion reigns in the Nationalist ranks as the Legionaries rush to exit the building. However, maintaining the initiative the Legionaries get their LMG set up and the first casualties of the game occur as two International Brigade fall. One of the squads that evacuated the building made use of the smoke to advance on the Republican lines.

Two of the observer-scouts set up in the church tower and the Teniete arrives at the mortar battery to coordinate the fall of shot, shock starts to mount on the Republicans own mortar battery. With two Chain of Command dice already the vulnerable jump-off point is pulled back from the free-ranging T-26B. The recently evacuated LMG squad concentrates its fire on the Republican tank forcing it to withdraw.

A new squad deploys on the recently moved jump-off point to counter the Republicans flanking move through the woodland. The Sargento leading the Nationalist squad pushes them on towards the vulnerable jump-off point, maintaining the initiative it is captured and they also add their fire to the shells falling amidst the Republican mortar teams.

With a poor run of dice and seeing the need to protect the mortars and the jump-off point they are holding the Republican Commander steps in and starts to rally the troops. The Nationalists roll a triple six to end the turn and push their troops towards the courtyard. Maintaining the initiative again the Legionaries press on and charge through the side gate, in the initial brawl the Nationalist lose four men to the Republicans six so both leaders steel their troops for the fight, this time it's damned conclusive, amidst the bodies of the Legionaries and his mortar crew the Teniete remains. Both sides suffer a loss of three Force Morale points.

The Nationalists still hold the initiative and the mortar shells begin to fall around the rather exposed Republican Teniete who calls up his remaining troops and orders them to clear the Observer-Scouts in the bell-tower who are responsible for his predicament. While the first Republican section push through the unexpectedly dense undergrowth in the woods the second section accompanied by the Teniete push into the village causing more Observer-Scouts deployed there to skedaddle back to their own lines.

After a hard push through the woods the Republicans finally form a firing line at the woods edge only to come under mortar and concerted small-arms fire from the Legionaries deployed opposite, the casualties are nominal but the Junior Leader suffers quite a severe wound. Return fire is desultory, but would be much boosted if the mortars of their own would have been around to provide support.

In the village the Republicans push on, but a random shot from the rapidly retreating scouts creases the Tenietes skull and knocking him out cold. Fortunately in the next phase the Republicans triple-six and he is back in the action. The Sargento at the woods edge is less fortunate, another bullet whips through the trees and he is carried to the rear loosing blood. Things look bad for the Republican right now, leaderless the troops are stuck in a firefight that they cannot hope to win and are carrying too much shock to effect a retreat deeper into the woods.

Shaking his head to clear it the Teniete gathers his force, with the LMG squad providing covering fire from the building he launches an assault onto one of the Legionary rifle squads and the observer-scout wiping the nationalists out to a man but with nil effect on their Force Morale.

Hoping to press the advantage things go disastrous for the Republicans, the Nationalists double-six for five phases in a row and the concerted fire from a well handled LMG squad sees the attack that was progressing so well reduced to the Teniete, a Sargento and a couple of their men running for cover.

With only three Command die, few troops left of his own, an un-commanded section on the right in the woods and the Nationalists sitting on three Chain of Command dice the Republicans withdraw.

What a great game, two aggressive forces, neither of which can have troops broken in a titanic clash with heavy casualties on both sides. If this had been a campaign game I would have likely withdrawn the Nationalists as soon at the taberna caught fire as it seemed key to the position.

More pictures from the game

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