Monday, 8 December 2014

Facultad de Medicina - Bloody November Campaign Grand Finale

Fascists! Surrender or  be annihilated!!
The Bloody November 1936 campaign in the Spanish Civil War for Chain of Command concluded today with a major game depicting the assault of the Medicine Faculty at Ciudad Universitaria. In fact, the campaign concluded a few weeks ago, with the victory of the Republican arms when the Nationalists players failed for the second consecutive game to cross the Manzanares; but nevertheless we wanted to play this grand finale of the last scenario, involving 5 infantry platoons with supports between both sides (3 Nationalists and 2 Republican).

Unfortunately, I had to leave this morning in a rush the game sometime after the start, as I was called and informed that a very close friend's mother unexpectedly passed away in the early hours of Monday. This battle report includes my initial photos and another  batch taken by the other players, as well as the information emailed by the contenders.

Carlista Jump-Off Point

In a guided visit last week to Ciudad Universitaria, we discovered that the topography in 1936 was totally different to now: instead the familar flat campus that we are familiar with, at the time of the conflict it was crossed by a steep ravine and the site of the Medicine Faculty was at a much higher level than the limits of the Nationalists positions.

Nationalists Jump-Off Point
The final table lay out is presented in the following picture. The Republicans in the buildings and the Nationalists entering through the right (where else!) edge of the table.

Once concluded the patrol phase, the Nationalists jump-off positions were placed at the foot of the slope leading to the buildings. The attack started almost immediately, with the three platoons deploying their first infantry sections and a wide array of high-caliber support weapons, from mortars...

 ... to artillery...

 ...and heavy machine guns!

According to the Republican sources, after I left the game the Nationalist attack lacked any tactical  finesse and the players only wanted to reach as soos as possible the buildings to engage into hand-to-hand melee to benefit from their superior combat skills.

As an image is worth 1,000 words, you only have to see this Nationalists player (the main commander, incidentally)... how eager to put all his models on the table!!!

The mad dash across open terrain resulted in a terrible blood bash, as the Republicans machine guns firing from the heavily fortified positions in the buildings wiped out the first ranks of legionarios and Moros... death collect a good harvest this morning.

But in spite of the the rain of bullets and shrapnel, the Legionarios reached the main building of the Medecine Faculty... albeit  severely weakened in men and moral... the melee resulted in a total rout of the attackers.

...but already severely weakened in men and moral, the melee resulted in a total rout of the attackers...

Atacar es vencer camaradas!!!
The attackers were now pursued by the emboldened Republicans 
Victory for the Republic!! Madrid, the tomb of fascism!!!

Victory for the Republic!! 
Madrid, the tomb of fascism!!!

And with this game, the Bloody November campaign concludes. It has been a very hectic and intense two months of play but extremely enjoyable nonetheless. Both Chain of Command and the campaign rules At the Sharp End have proved to be extremely well designed, flexible and versatile. As I have already commented in previous posts, playing campaigns requires a totally different approach to that of the casual or standalone game; my guess is that in the future, it looks like we will be only playing small mini-campaigns or large and well researched campaigns, but hardly any more standalone scenarios. 

Special mention to Rolf Grein and Jim Hale, co-authors of the the Chain of Command España lists: a wonderful addition to play this specific period, catching the main features of each of the forces involved. The detailed crafted support lists offer all types of options to adpat our armies to each of the diferent scenarios played. Our warmest congratulations for such a fine piece of work.

Note finally that the full Bloody November campaign will be published in the TooFatLardies Christmas Special 2014 issue, to be released by the end of this week. Any comments, suggestions or questions, be free to send to my contact email:

Next stop... El Jarama??


  1. A great end to a wonderful campaign! Glad to see the Republicans won as I have a soft spot for them.

  2. A fantastic finale - lovely miniatures and a true spectacle. Those JOPs are fab.

  3. Hello Benito:
    Sorry to hear about your friend's mom but grateful for this report. It looks like a severe tactical challenge for the Nationalists - how to cross all that open ground against an enemy in hard cover? What could they have done differently? Did they have artillery supports to help, perhaps?
    I am very pleased that the comrades won and that Madrid is safe. Power to the people!

  4. Beautiful figures and terrain! How big is the table?

  5. What a nice AAR! It's a real feast for the eye to see such lovingly painted figures on a formidable table like yours.

  6. "Nationalists enter through the right (where else?) side of the table" is truly an inspired line!

    Great looking game and I have enjoyed following the campaign. Workmanship on the figures is outstanding.

  7. Really nice looking game and write up on the whole Campaign, given me some great ideas for my own games so thank you for that.

  8. That looks like a great game, plenty of eye candy. Sorry to hear you had to be called away.
    I have not played Chain of Command Spanish Civil War since the beginning of September, however that changes this week and I have a game arranged on Thursday.