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The Fight for San Nicolas, 1936


The Spanish Civil War, Chain of Command, 28mm

This week we were off to sunny Spain, and an early war clash between the Government security forces and a mixed bag of Falangists and rebel soldiers. This was a straightforward Chain of Command encounter game, using the Chain of Command Espana period variant to the main rules. Peter played the Fascist bad guys, while I took command of the Government Asaltos. No grudge match there then! This wee game, by the way, was played out on a 6×4 foot table.We played out the “Patrol Phase”, which we did slightly differently from normal. Both sides had an advanced section already in the hamlet of San Nicolas – Guardia Civil for the rebels, and Anarchist militia for me. In fact, tthis was largely immaterial, as both sides brought their reinforcements on from the table edge. In my case this was my platoon of Asaltos, while Peter had a section each of Falangist militia and green army troops.We also both had a funky armoured truck apiece, complete with an LMG in its turret. These didn’t achieve much in the game, but they looked pretty good. My Anarchist militia started the ball rolling by advancing through the hamlet, harried by fire from the police. Then though, I had the bright idea of sending a section of my reinforcements onto the table in trucks.This looked pretty sensible on paper, and my aim was to grab part of the village before the enemy could. However, I didn’t reckon with some bad movement rolls, and Peter countered my move by deploying his section of regular army troops, and opening up. My leading truck got shot up, and everyone else piled out and took cover in a nearby orchard. So, there was no dramatic coup de main from my flying column”!In fact they found themselves pinned down by the regulars firing from one side, and the police from another. As if this wasn’t enough the Falangist armoured truck advanced into the hamlet, and added the weight of its fire to the mayhem.So, things were starting to go badly for the Republic. The only glimmer of hope was that the rest of my Asaltos had fired into the buildings on their side of the hamlet, and cleared them of Guardia Civil troopers. That let them advance and take them, and so get into a firefight with the army and police on the far side of the village street. Back in my orchard the flying column of Asaltos were pinned down, with fire coming from two sides. In the end I retreated deeper into the orchard, and then out the far side, my withdrawal screened by a pair of bullet-riddled trucks. The section of rebel army troops followed up, and occupied the abandoned orchard. What made things look even more hairy was the arrival of the Falangist tiznao – or armoured truck. It rumbled onto the main village street, and headed towards the orchard. This prompted me to advance my Anarchist one, which also lumbered onto the street, and started firting its machine gun at its facist opponent. So, a makeshift “armoured” duel followed, which bought time for my Asaltos to regroup. Meanwhile, back on the far side of the hamlet the Anarchist militia had been firing at some army troops across the street, who were lurking in a walled garden. their shooting wasn’t very good, so I decided to charge. Surprisingly it worked, and the outnumbered regular soldiers were either chopped up or fell back.That though, exposed the militia to flanking fore from the police in an adjacent two-story building, which made it a Pyrrhic victory. It also brought the game to a close in something akin to a stalemate. On the Republican side, they held most of the village, and one of the rebel jump-off points. One section of Asaltos had been battered though, and was now licking its wounds. the rest were still up for it, and in a pretty strong position.

So too were the remains of the army section in the olive grove, and the now rather depleted Guardia Civil squad in the hamlet. As for the Falangists, they never broke cover throughout the game, and had amused themselves with some long-range shooting at the Anarchists. Both tiznaos were sitll in play, although the rebel one was in a positino where it could be close-assaulted unless it pulled back. So, the game was deemed a draw, with neither side in a position where they could claim victory. Still, it was a good, tense little game, and a pretty one to boot. We’ll be returning to Spain soon. 

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