I’m back after a short 10-day break. As you’ll see over the next days, I’ve been all except idle having used this time to make a second visit to El Puerto del León (this time visiting the Republican lines), painted an initial batch of Spanish Civil War forces and even played with Chain of Command España.
This is the first post with the battle report of a game we played last weekend. The setting is the summer of 1936, where a column of Requetés (Carlists) Nationalists is confronted by a group of local Republican militias at a key cross road in a rural area.
This was in fact my second SCW game and with the militias, a very tricky army lists but one that you really enjoy given the challenge involved in handling these irregular forces (Note to self: write a specific post next week dealing with the pros and cons of this list?)
The Requetés are well trained, experienced and well lead, while the militias are green, firepower-weak and badly lead. The previous game we played showed that there’s no use in trying long range fire exchanges, but a close combat is a different thing due to the sheer size of the units (that you can reinforce and staffed with a lot of additional squads and weapons given the usual large number of support points available top the militia players…)
As the victory conditions were to control the central buildings in the table and the Nationalists had to enter by the road, we skipped the patrol phase and deployed the jump-off points aligned with these restrictions (see photo below).
The first Nationalists forces arrived to the table (an infantry platoon and a Pz I tank), the made a hasty advance on the Republican main defensive position. Waiting until de last minute, the Republican militia and a contingent of Assault Guards stormed out of the house and charged on the surprised Nationalists.
Thanks mainly to the advantage in manpower, the close combat dice of the Republicans tied those of the Nationalists. The fight is as expected bloody, confronting two units in good shape and high spirits, with numerous casualties (over 15 per side!). The Nationalists unit is wiped of the table due to casualties but the Republicans lost the melee by a difference of 1, forcing a retreat to the base line and pinned due to accumulation of shocks.
In the following phases the Nationalist kept the offensive momentum and a second section hit the table, this time approaching the house under cover of some trees in their right flank. In addition a gun was brought and the FOO of an off-table mortar battery.
The Republicans placed an MMG in a hose on a hill in the right flank of its line, overlooking the battery and the FOO team. In the left flank another section occupied a house to reinforce the line…
… and to face the threat of the Pz I, a “volunteer” by popular vote of the section to attack the grey steel beast with a Molotov cocktail. Unfortunately, the brave syndicalist failed not only to throw the bottle on the target but got frozen in place! …
… so the pity-taken Nationalists sent a priest to provide the last rites before the tank was activated in its own phase.
The rest of saw (1) the MMG broken by the nationalist artillery and (2) the units previously broken in the close combat melee caught by the mortar barrage including the senior leader. As casualties mounted and shocks accumulated, the moral crumbled and the units broke.
With the main position virtually lost to the incoming attack of the Nationalists infantry and the remnants of the Republican forces at clear disadvantage to retake the house, the Republicans conceded defeat and pulled back from the table to fight another day.
It was a short but intense game, and a good practice facing the SCW campaign we`re planning for autumn. As said at the beginning of this post, the militia forces are a real challenge and you should carefully plan your support choices in advance.
One aspect that I’m having trouble with is the artillery. While in the IIWW games that I have played so far, the off-board artillery were another asset, I’m having the bothersome feeling that in the context of the SCW rules it is too powerful and too decisive in the development of the game.
Nonetheless I think I need to play some more games before making a final judgment. And probably something to discuss with Jim Hale and Rolf Grein the brains behind Chain of Command España.
I finish this post with the photogrpahs of these two beatiful Nationalists jump-off points painted by a good friend of my gaming group and who very soon will launch a professional painting service