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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

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Las Granjas Gamalas, Toledo 1937

The Spanish Civil War, Chain of Command, 28mm

With none of us able to attend the wargame club this week, Sean 2 and I staged a small Spanish Civil War skirmish in my house over the weekend. This was a standard Chain of Command scenario, using the very straightforward amendments for this particular war. In this one, I had an International Brigade platoon, while Sean had one from the Spanish Foreign Legion. Nothing but the best for us! The 6×4 foot table was dominated by two small farms, one on either side of a road. The rest of the table had a light scattering of walled or hedged fields, small olive groves and a scattering of other light cover. In this one, the Rebels (Nationalists) came on from the top (southern) table edge in the photo, while my Government forces (Republicans) came on from the bottom (northern) one. The Patrol Phase ended with both of us having control of a farm apiece. Sean’s Foreign Legion also had jump off points to the east of their farm, while I had ones to the west of it. We began by deploying sections in each of out farms. In this, both sides had two large rifle sections of 15-18 men, while the Republicans also had a 9 man mortar section – without mortars. I used them as a reserve. We both stuck our second large section on near our other jump off points, while my reserve was tucked in behind my farm. Sean led things off with an advance across the road into the field to the left of my farm. He had a jump off point there, which ne needed to protect. Heavy covering fire was coming from the Nationalist-held farm, firing straight into my farm buildings.We’d both got support points to spend -which we both blew on two LMGs apiece – once for each of our rifle sections. This gave Sean’s troops a bit of firepower, and they began whittling away at my guys holed up in a garage across the street. Eventually, the handful of survivors in there were forced to bail out through a back window. This was Sean’s chance to take the building for himself.  He took a good few losses going in  -almost half of his section – but the survivors eventually made it. That meant they could fire on my people in my farmyard. So, I moved them into cover, while moving my reserve section – the small mortar one – into the field so recently vacated by the Legionaires, so I could fire into the garage. Things seemed to be going well – so I blundered. I still had my International Brigade second section, waiting behind a stone wall to the west of the enemy-held farm, screened from it by a small olive grove. That’s then above, at full strength. My guys in the farm laid down covering fire, concentrating on a small wash house on the western end of the enemy farmstead. Soon the enemy were pinned, and looking vulnerable. That’s when I attacked. It could have bene glorious. I made it up to the high farm wall without taking casualties, and then assaulted over it into the farmyard. However, I’d forgotten two things – just how effective  defending LMGs and SMGs can be in close combat – – and grenades. I forgot to lob grenades over the wall before I launched the assault. As a result, I lost heavily- some 12 casualties from my 16 man squad!That’s my four survivors up above, together with two red markers signifying “Broken”, and a pile of beach pebble “Shock” markers. the Legionaires lost 7 men in the scrap. As a result, I had to fall back, and by the end of the phase I was back where I’d started – only with a handful of the men who’d launched the assault. That, essentially, was them out of the game, as I spent the rest of it trying to rally.Over in the twin farms, the firefight was slowing as casualties mounted, as the Legionaries in the garage and the farm had been badly whittled down. So had my own farmhouse defenders – the only unit still in play was my mortar section, which was doing well, capturing a jump off point and pinning the enemy. The only Rebel reserve was their command group, grouped around their flag. They though, were pinned down too, not by suffering casualties but by the fact that to break cover was tantamount to suicide. So, that’s where we ended this very straightforward but brutal game. International Brigaders versus Spanish Legionaires was always going to be bloody – both sides count as “Aggressive” – but while morale was holding for us, we’d both lost around 50% of our platoon in the fight. So, as neither of us had the strength to do much else, we called it a draw and packed our toys away.  Sean is still getting used to the CoC system, but I think this game gave him a better understanding of its nuances – and the importance of grenades! 







2 Responses “Las Granjas Gamalas, Toledo 1937”

  1. mr sean m page
    9th August 2023 at 11:47 am

    I suppose there’s always going to be rules you take to and those you don’t….I have struggled with Chain of Command, but I must admit that this was a good game and I’m beginning to understand the complexities of the initiative phase. I really need to buy my own rule set and study them as I have with the others to try and get the flavour a little more. Now that I have some Spanish Civil War toys (thanks to Sean1 for generously giving them to me), I have the motivation to get to grips with Chain of Command.

    As far as the game was concerned, I thought I had lost when the enemy started through the orchard and climbed over the high wall. I was a goner until my unit actually fought back like lions! Thank goodness grenades didn’t fly over the wall first as all those troops in an enclosed space would have suffered more than a little.

    • 9th August 2023 at 4:08 pm

      Memo to self – when assaulting, don’t forget to chuck grenades first!
      Actually, your guys fought well earlier too, using their firepower to grind down the defenders of my farm.
      You also really have the Patrol Phase down pat now, and have the basic idea of what do when you roll your Command dice. As a rules set its so much better than its nearest rival Bolt Action that it’s well worth persevering with.

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