No Pasaran!

Last weekend was another Williamsburg Muster and as usual Williamsburg Legati Attended and ran some interesting games.   First a demonstration of Radio Dish Dash’s new game Skirmish Sangin on Friday, followed my Chain of Command Espana and Chris and Peter’s beautiful Ronin game.  I will leave it to others to report on those games though I was in some way involved in playing a;ll of them!

While scenarios set in the Jarama campaign of the Spanish Civil War is not something new for me, the rules were.  Chain of Command is an excellent set of skirmish rules by Too Fat Lardies.  As is common with their games the rules revolve around the leadership abilities of men on the ground.  Unlike most of their games which are card driven, CoC relies on rolls of command dice.  too Fat Lardies has very generously provided several PDFs for free to back date the game to actions of the Spanish Civil War.

The scenario, based upon the Republican counter attacks of Feb.23 and 27 1937, pitted a platoon of the Lincoln Battalion against a platoon of the Army of Africa.  Primarily this was a platoon of Spanish Legion though it was brigaded with some Moroccan Regulares.  In part that was because it was frequently done and in part because I was lacking a Section of La Legion figures.

On of the more unusual aspects of CoC is the “Patrol Phase”.  this is a phase prior to the start of the game which represents the effect of scouting and intelligence gathering from both sides which serves to create the position of the front lines for a game.  In this scenario, described in the rules as an “Attack and Defend”  The defenders begin with their Patrol Markers placed 18 inches into their side of the table.  The attacker then rolls to determine a number of free patrol marker moves before entering into the usual alternating on side to another.

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   The Nationalists held a small farm  along the road, the Republicans were advancing through a wood line and attempting to drive the Nationalists back.  The IB began approaching through an olive orchard on the left of the Facist rebels. There they discovered strong resistance from the elite Legionnaires but their steadfast determination whittled away the Nationalists numbers.

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   The Republicans were supported by a Machine Gun Company firing barrages from off board and a Soviet supplied T26 tank.  the tank approached up the road but found a safe spot far from the action just below the bridge.  here it was safe from the Petrol bombs carried by the Moorish scouts which were about the limit if the Nationalist Anti Tank capacity in this scenario.  The tank did what it could to help the 1 section’s advance.015

   On the Nationalist right however things were unfolding quite differently.  Two of the larger squads of the Legion held the farmhouse and were engaged in quite a firefight with communists and close range in the pig sty.  One squad was pinned and nearly destroyed.  Only the presence of their capable Sargeant prevented them from breaking.

   The Nationalists took advantage of this circumstance to send their section of Moors into close combat.  Leaving the shelter of the farmhouse the charged into the communists but thanks to their brave Sargeant, not to mention the presence of the Company Commisar and a light machine gun the moors were repulsed.

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  Unfortunately it was about here that time allotted for our game ran out.  I called it a draw though I suppose I could have given victory to the Nationalists as they still held their positions at game end.

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      I should mention, just for the point of honesty, all the photos on this page are reconstructions.  I had my camera on the wrong setting for the game itself and all the original pictures were therefore badly focused.  I guess that makes these a re-enactment, or perhaps just propaganda as was so common in the Spanish War.

Viva Republica!

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The Battle for Suicide Hill

This weekend was of course the return of Williamsburg Muster here in Williamsburg, Virginia.  As has become our custom, Williamsburg Legati took the opportunity to run a number of games which I hope were all well received and most of which were pretty well attended.    I will leave it to other (Chris) to make a full convention report but will take this opportunity to write an after action report for my Spanish Civil War game THE BATTLE OF SUICIDE HILL.

Suicide hill is the name given by the British Brigade of the  International Brigade  to a fight on the first day of the their  three day fight in the Jarama  Valley.  (February 12, 1938).  Four companies of the British Brigade were tasked with defending what was at the time being called Casa Blanca Hill and Conical Hill from and attack by Nationalists forces of the Army of Africa.  These are Moroccan Regulares and Spanish Foreign Legion.

Moroccans advancing

Moroccans advancing

The game was based upon the introductory scenario in Egglestone’s A World Aflame Rule book published by Osprey.

The fight began with Nationalist artillery firing upon the two hill tops, and some ground support provided by the Condor Legion.

Henschel 123 strafing 15th IB

Henschel 123 strafing 15th IB

Unlike is usually the case however, the Nationalists did not enjoy air superiority at Jarama, and soon a Republican I-16 was on hand to chase off the other plane and to repay the Nationalists with their own medicine.

Republican Air Support

Republican Air Support

Then came the advance of the Nationalist Brigade, with a platoon of Spanish Foreign Legion and a platoon of Moroccan Regulares.  Lively fire from the LMG in Casa Blanca (the farmhouse from which the hill gets its name) proved disastrous to  La Legion’s 2nd Company, causing it to seek cover and eventually to depart in hopes of finding a safer location.

Unfortunately this early success would not be enough to stop the onslaught as the Nationalist’s experienced soldiers continued up the slopes of the two hills , towards the positions of their outnumbered foes.  Withering fire from the Nationalists soon proved too much for the Republic’s British friends.  the company of the conical hill took a large number of casualties including their company commander and were soon driven from the field.

With the cover provided by the farmhouse, the British Brigade’s 1st Company faired better, but it still could n0t stand against the forces quickly climbing up the hillsides towards their beleaguered positions.  The Platoon headquarters came forward in the hope of strengthening Casa Blanca’s defense.

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The 2nd company of the British Brigade armed with 3 maxims, had been suffering from ammunition difficulties all day, having been supplied with the wrong ammunition for their old Russian supplied guns.  Matters were finally corrected but only after the loss of a great deal of important time.  Finally the 2nd company made their way forward, to their defensive position at the edge of the plateau,, just across the small valley from the two hotly contested hills.

2nd Company did its best to save the day and served to slow the Nationalist advance, but in the end it was in vain.  Neither their firepower or even the addition of a t-26 which had finally arrived on the scene would prove enough to save the 1st company from the withering firing it was now receiving from both the Legionnaires and the Moroccans together.  They died bravely within Casa Blanca, and both hills were now in Nationalist control, just as the sun set on this scene of blood and violence.

Republican T-26 moving through the valley

Republican T-26 moving through the valley

I would like to thank those Ron, ,Justin and Pete who participated in the game on Saturday, as well as my fellow Legati who helped to fiddle this game into existence.

I also wish to give my heartfelt thanks to Age of Glory.  This business was just short of being an official sponsor for the game and was the source for a great deal of the elements within the game.  Always a great Pleasure to do business with!

Casa Blanca

Casa Blanca

Ron Carnegie