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Skirmish at Bellavista, 1936


The Spanish Civil War, Chain of Command, 28mm

This week, three of us played a Chain of Command game, set near the start of the Spanish Civil War. The idea was, a detachment from the anarchist Durutti Column was charged with seizing the village of Bellavista, while another column of Falangists was heading there too. So, this would be a straight-up fight for the village, with both sides approaching the table from opposite long edges. We played it out on a 6×4 foot table, with the village in the middle, and the River Huerva dividing off part of the village from the rest of it. Giles played the anarchists – four small sections of them, supported by a section of Asaltos – regular troops. Sean and I played the bad guys, with me commanding the falangists – two sections of them – while Sean took the supporting section of the Peninsular army. Apart from the Asaltos who were regular, all of the other troops on the table were rates green.Oh, both sides also had the use of an improvised armoured truck (a tisnao), while the anarchists also had a baby tank – a Renault FT-17. As Giles had a poorer “force rating”, he also spent extra points on a temporary leader, a flag bearer and a light machine gun team. I let Giles and Sean play out the patrol phase, which left us in a fairly good position, with three jump-off points in the southern edge of the village, with one of them on the far bank (eastern) of the river. Giles had three – one in an orchard, another in a walled cemetery, and a third in a patch of rocky and tree-covered ground on the north-west corner of the table. The game began with the anarchists advancing on the village, and Sean and I deploying a section each. Giles got the first blood though, shooting up my falangists with some long-range fire. He used this to sprint forward and get an anarchist section in the building across the village street from me, while on his left another anarchist section advanced to the edge of the orchard, facing the river. That’s when Giles discovered Sean also had an LMG, which he used to good effect as soon as the anarchists broke from cover. In the firefight that followed Sean’s army section pretty much wiped out their opponents across the river, firing from the cover of a couple of buildings. What was left of the anarchist section broke and ran. By now I’d brought up my second section too, and while I was taking casualties, Giles’ other anarchist section was suffering badly – so much so that it eventually broke too. At that point Sean played a “CoC die” to end the turn. That meant both broken sections were lost, and the anarchist “force morale” took a hefty tumble. It went down even more when Sean sent troops over the river, then advanced into the orchard to seize one of Giles’ jump-off points. Still, Giles still had two more anarchist sections – each of ten men – one of which had an LMG. HE also had his regular Asaltos, and after deploying them on his far right, he advanced towards the village. This was a bit of a problem for me, as one of my sections was now down to a third of its strength, having lost two of its three fire teams. Still, I sent a falangist sergeant there to bolster their morale, and they hung on. So, when Giles reached my side of the village street I couldn’t fire on his first wave of troops from the building, but my reserve could. This was my own makeshift armoured truck, which kept its distance, and acted like a mobile pillbox to suppress the Asaltos hiding out by a small carp pond. That bought time for my other falangist section to come out of its own building, form a firing line in the street, and open up on the Asaltos as they crossed it. When they broke they took their leader with them, which brought Giles’ force morale down to zero. That pretty much ended the game, although he still had undeployed reserves – a section of anarchists and his FT-17 tank. Actually, he brought the tank on during the final phase of the game, but it didn’t get a chance to do anything. So, this was a victory for the rebels, who used a combination of firepower and manoeuvre to win the day. Giles was a bit unlucky though – both Sean and I had some pretty good die rolls for shooting. Still, it looked good, it was good fun – even Giles enjoyed it – and we all swore we’d paint up more kit in time for our next Spanish outing. 

 

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