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Pueblo Tranquilo, 1937


The Spanish Civil War, Chain of Command, 28mm

This week we were off to sunny Spain. Quite a few people weren’t at the club (it’s the Edinburgh Festival), so this week it was just Peter and I, playing a small Spanish Civil War game on a 6×4 foot table. It was a “Patrol” scenario, with both sides approaching from opposite long table edges. In the middle stood the small sleepy village of Tranquilo, sitting astride the junction of four roads. The rest of the table was fairly open, with wall-lined roads, and the odd small orchard or copse.During the “Patrol” phase Peter’s Rebel (or Nationalist) Nationalist patrol markers came on at the top right of the picture above, while my Government (or Republican) ones came on in the bottom middle. This meant I got into the village first, and we were soon “locked down”. When this turned into placing our deployment points, Peter’s were behind the orchard on the top right, and mine were in the town, and in the walled garden with the fish pond in it. Peter’s platoon was a mixed bag of rebel regular army soldiers, and a section of Falangist militia. I had Ejercito Popular, which included a smattering of Asaltos. We both had 3 support points to spend. Peter made a better choice than me – he opted for a medium machine gun, while I took an extra light machine gun, a 50mm mortar and a Political Commissar. That’s him up above. You actually don’t see much of my men in any of these pictures, as they spent most of the game hunkered down in buildings. The game began with the Nationalist infantry setting up the machine gun and opening up, while his infantry advanced through the orchard and engaged in a firefight with my defenders on the eastern edge of town. I have to say, the machine gun proved a real beast – it killed at least one of my men each time it opened fire, and this whittled down the squads serving the light machine guns I’d posted in the front of the two buildings. Still, we were firing back with some effect, and the body count mounted steadily. Peter hadn’t deployed his Falangists yet – that’s them below – a unit I bought from somebody a year ago, but still haven’t touched up. No, he was relying on the firepower of his regulars to win the day. When his platoon command team arrived he hived off part of his regular section, and led them in a rush to the small copse. From there they ran to the high wall skirting the fish pond garden, which was too high to see over. Using it as cover they began working their way round the back of the village. Meanwhile things were going badly for me. My Commissar died when trying to rally the “hits” on the crew of an LMG, and my light mortar ran out of ammo. I was still holding off though, and even broke a Rebel fire team to the north of the central road, which silenced their own solitary LMG. Still, that damned big machine gun kept chattering away – it accounted for most of my 10 casualties in the game – a third of my force! I actually managed to push a fire team forward into the orchard, but I didn’t really have anything to counter the machine gun. Meanwhile, the small unit and corporal pictured above reached the centre of the town, and one of my jump-off points. I led a spirited counter-attack, and wiped out the Rebels – which meant a hefty drop in their morale. What kept my units afloat despite the casualties was Peter’s ability to kill people, rather than inflict “hits”. Still, by now we’d sort of fought ourselves to a standstill. I had to pull out of the buildings facing the machine gun, but while the Nationalists had the tactical upper hand, I’d still held my ground.So, the game was duly declared a draw. The Falangists by the way – a unit Peter had little faith in – did virtually nothing all game. All of this was duly  recorded by the war correspondent at the scene – a Senor Hemingway. That’s him below – a freebie figure I got at the door at Partizan a few months ago. It was a great and well-balanced little game, and both Peter and I thoroughly enjoyed our rare visit to sunny Spain. 

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