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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Battle for Cojonazos (2), 1937

The Spanish Civil War, Chain of Command, 28mm

This was the continuation of last week’s game – a real hum dinger set in a little Spanish village during the early days of the Spanish Civil War. Joe and I played the good guys (he had Security Forces while I had International Brigade), while Alan, Gyles and Sean played the baddies (fielding Moors, Falangists and Army Regulars respectively). Essentially it was a platoon sized game, although we had a bit more kit on the table than that might suggest. The week before the Falangist section got something of a pasting, and they were on the verge of breaking. Otherwise casualties had been remarkably light. The Asaltos held the church and churchyard, and the Internationalistas were on one side of the square, with the rebels (Nationalists) on the other. It was still all to play for.This week, the game began with fresh Falangists arriving – a new section – which deployed near the railway station. There the Bilbao armoured car had recovered from its attack by a Moorish tank killer team, and had disgorged its own team of six Asaltos. They took over the station, just in time to find themselves surrounded by Moors and Falangists. The firefight there was short and sweet – it ended with a few dead Moors, and the Asaltos team wiped out. The armoured car was lost too – falling victim to a Moorish 37mm anti-tank gun. Things were starting to take a less than pleasant turn! Fortunately on the far side of the village the first section of Falangists broke and ran, or rather most of them did. Gyles did some nifty rallying and saved his section command team, just before a fresh roll of Command Dice produced three “6’s”” and so ended the turn. This meant that the rest of his broken Falangist rifle teams were removed from the table. Unfortunately it also cancelled out two mortar missions – one from each side.Back in the central square of the village the Nationalist regulars were having the worst of it in their exchange of fire with the International Brigade. The Republicans were supported by an Asaltos machine gun in the church tower, and soon the rebels were wiped out. That left their observer team in the building – the guy responsible for calling in the Nationalist mortar stonk. In a fit of enthusiasm we brought on a full section of reinforcements, and charged it across the square. We stormed the buildings on the far side, bayoneted the pesky observer, and began firing on the rest of Sean’s Nationalist infantry milling around in the big garden behind the house. That left the rebels with just one toe-hold on the square – the narrow tall building in the photo up above, on the far side of the square.The Nationalist retaliated by catching my platoon’s light mortar section and command group in the open, wiping out the mortar crew and two men. Fortunately they missed the platoon commander and the commissar, who dived for cover across the square. Then, another team moved up and assaulted the tall thin house, held by three Falangists – all that remained of a six man rifle team. Grenades were lobbed, and the building was stormed. The Falangists were wiped out, for the loss of one Internationalista. That meant that the entire square was now in Republican hands. trouble was brewing though, as the Nationalists were now advancing on the church and its walled garden, while on the road at the far side of town a small rebel armoured car was approaching, supported by the Nationalist machine gun that had wiped out my mortar section.Having wiped out the defenders of the small village railway station the Moors were on something of a roll. They assaulted the little chapel at the end of the church garden, which was held by a Republican machine gun team. Once more grenades were thrown – enough to kill everyone inside the chapel twice over – and the building was captured. That gave them control of the second square in the village – the small one which the chapel stood on, and which was overlooked by the walls of the church garden. The Moors dropped smoke to cover the square, and then moved their troops up, ready to attack the Asaltos holding the church garden. Their ludicrous armoured bus towed the anti-tank gun onto a nearby hill, ready to support the assault when it came. Elsewhere the Falangists moved their way past the station, but one rifle team advancing up the lane from the station were pinned by enemy fire, and took refuge behind a handy truck. That was when the Republican mortars were called in.The stonk caught the bulk of the Falangists in the open, in the yard in front of the station, and several men were killed. As we didn’t have another turn-end before the game finished, this barrage was still going on, and the likelihood was that the Falangists would get badly plastered. That though, was where we left the game. Both sides had made advances, and the casualties were mounting. Slightly more rebels were dying than Republicans, but the battle for Cojonazos had turned very bloody. Although I was due to drive down to Edinburgh the next day, the rest of the guys agreed to continue the game the following week. They even threatened to speed paint reinforcements, to feed them into the fight. They certainly enjoyed the game so much they want to keep it going! I’ll keep you posted.


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