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.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Action at the outskirts of Talavera - September 1936

Following our game at Little Wars we arranged another Chain of Command Espana big bash, so yesterday I picked up Drew, Bruce and Sasha and we set off for the couple of hours drive to Palatine IL. to meet up with Phil, Ed and Liam.

After dropping off the toys at Phils fantastic games room we headed over to Brandts for a slap-up lunch and a chin-wag before retiring back to Phils to get the game underway.

Ed had already set up the table and we added the buildings and vineyards that I had bought with us. The Republicans would be attempting to retake some of the ground captured by the Nationalists at the battle of Battle of Talavera de la Reina, we would have four Republican platoons attacking against three Nationalists and would be playing the Delaying Action scenario with two objectives for the Nationalists to defend rather than one.

The Nationalist forces were made up of Phil with his newly painted Carlist Requetes, Liam with his Italians and Drew using my Moroccan Regulares. The Republicans were Ed, Bruce, Sasha and myself each using an International Brigade force. Ed used his Abraham Lincoln Battalion collection while my Commune de Paris was padded out with my UGT militia to make up the other three platoons.

We had quite a bit of support on the Republican side - 31 points if I recall - but we soon burned through that equipping each of the attacking platoons with a complement of automatic weapons, light mortars, and an adjutant to help feed in reinforcements once the platoon commanders were committed to the fight.

After that we had a few points left for a preliminary bombardment, a T-26B, a 70mm mountain gun and a 75mm artillery piece.

The Republicans were soon committed across a broad front to pin the Nationalists in place and probe their defences. For a couple of phases a lot of ground was covered without a single Nationalist showing their heads above the parapet.

However, the effects of the bombardment soon came to a halt when we ended the first turn on the third phase with a quadruple six from the incompetent Republican commander - you guessed it, it was me.....

Without the disruption from the bombardment, the Nationalists were better placed to coordinate their defence, but undaunted the Republicans pushed on across the entire front.

A brief aside from the game, my local supermarket always has a good selection of imported beers, I was delighted to find that they were stocking Estrella Damm, fond memories of holidays in Barcelona. At about $10.00 for six bottles it's a great buy!

The newly painted Ernest Hemingway was soon into action, directing the fire of the Republican Howitzer, there were few targets of opportunity, but some plinking away at the Regulares was undertaken.

Phil was fielding his newly painted Regulares, here they can be seen blending in with their advance through the peach orchard.

I was on the extreme left of the Republican force so did not get too involved in the other parts of the battle, my fight was mainly against the Regulares and their supporting Italian allies, as befits all newly painted troops their debut was of questionable results. In one viscous hand to hand scrap, Phil was rolling 28 die to my 24, I caused 13 kills to Phils' six, although both sides were destroyed it did feel like a replay of the many times I have used newly painted  troops eager for the fight only for them to to let me down at a crucial moment.

On our left the Moroccans were being given quite a beating by the two platoons fielded by Ed and Sasha and were soon cut down to a man. In the centre the Italians and Requetes put up a stiff fight, but the application of a Chain of Command die saw two jump-offs captured and a Junior Leader routed for the Nationalists and their morale collapsed.

A rare victory for the Republicans, the news sheets will soon proclaim the collapse of Fascism in the Peninsular.

The protagonists; Drew, Liam, Phil, Bruce, Sasha and Ed.

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