Sunday, September 30, 2012


This weeks big game was held at Hugh Wilsons house on Saturday.  It was a Spanish civil War game based on the siege and relief of Oviedo in 1936.  It gave Colin Jack and I the chance to get our rarely used 20mm SCW collections onto the tabletop.  Colin Jack and I provided the figures, buildings and defences while Hugh Wilson provided the rest of the terrain.  I provided the scenario and acted as the umpire.  We used the Triumph Tragedy rules with an amended initiative system.  Thanks to Suzanne Wilson for providing us with a Spanish inspired lunch….

Oviedo and some of its formidable defences
The game was along a 14ft by 5ft table.  Oviedo and its defenders 3 under strength brigades occupied the last 3ft of the table.  The Nationalist relief column initially of 2 brigades with another 2 due to enter later was at the other end of the table.  The rest of the table was held by the Republican forces made of 9 brigades of anarchist, trade unionist and loyalist militia.
Dave Paterson played Colonel Aranda the commander of the garrison of Oviedo with Dave OBrien and Mark Taylor commanding the relief column.  Colin Jack commanded the republican blocking force of 2 brigades, while Donald Adamson commanded the main assault on the town with 6 brigades and Hugh commanded a diversionary attack with the weakest brigade on the Republican left.

Additional equipment, special characters and air support were all controlled by a set of chance cards of which we drew 3 or 4 each turn following turn 1.  Before the play started we drew 4 cards from a Republican subset to add some variety to the militia forces.  These gave the Republicans another 75mm gun, more dynamite bombs, an anarchist leader to inspire a brigade of the blocking force and El Toro - an improvised armoured tractor.

Militia at the wire...
How the game played

Around Oviedo
The Republicans attacked the left side of Oviedo’s defences with a massed assault by 6 brigades.  The brigades attacking over the open flat ground were initially stopped by the barbed wire and the effective fire of the Nationalist machine guns which pinned their raw troops.  The brigades attacking along the ridge at the edge of the table where there was no barbed wire succeeded in overrunning the left most entrenchment held by  a squad of falangists.  It was retaken almost immediately by a police squad acting as a reserve for the defence.   This success did not last for long as it fell again soon after to another militia brigade stiffened by some asaltos who had joined them (another chance card).   A socialist hero joined one of the brigades facing the wire and with the defences breached on the ridge the nationalist line was rolled up as the Republicans stormed over the wire. 
The diversionary attack on the right of the town by an under strength anarchist brigade succeeded beyond any expectations as it got thru the wire and routed the other falangist squad holding an entrenchment.  
The Nationalist commander withdrew his last surviving units from the outer defences into the town hall to make a last stand.    Only at that moment did some succour appear firstly in the form of a nationalist fighter which made a completely ineffective strafing run and secondly by the garrison managing to a refurbish a Trubia tank which rolled out of the barracks towards the town hall.   Things still looked very bad for the garrison…….

Last minute air support as El Toro creeps forward below..

Trubia speeds to support the last stand in the city hall
Blocking Action
The relief column started with the Galicia infantry and volunteer cavalry on the table.   They made steady progress against the militia who had been deployed in depth holding strong buildings.  The Galicia under Mark forced the militia unit holding the first hamlet on the road to flee and then when in the open they were ridden down by the cavalry under Dave O.  The Galicia then attacked the impressive church dominating the road from its hill.  As the Galicia fired at the church the militia defending it were suddenly attacked by a fifth column of priests, nuns, civilians and guardia who had been in hiding in the crypt.  (another chance card)  The clerics were defeated and surrendered to the militia.  One can only imagine their fate.   The volunteer cavalry overran the Republican gun supporting the blocking force and swept on further to overrun the gun supporting the attack on Oviedo.   Who dares say that cavalry has no future role in modern warfare.  The Galicia eventually stormed the church.  The motorised Legion 5th bandera arrived but its early advance was disrupted by a bombing raid by a Republican Potez bomber.  However they pressed on and supported by a FT17 that arrived they took the 2nd hamlet on the road.  At the end of the game their advance squad was approaching the last blocking position on the road.

Militia surrender to Volunteer cavalry

Volunteer cavalry overun the blocking force gun...
We declared the game a winning draw for the Republic - they had not quite achieved their objective of eliminating the garrison but with a mass of raw troops they had achieved more than anyone had expected.  Col Aranda (Dave P) blamed the relief columns obsession with capturing the church for delaying their advance on Oviedo.

5th column emerge from the crypt...Arriba Espana
More photos and descriptions at

Here are the player briefing notes and Order of Battle for the game. 

The Rebels did not consider Oviedo, capital of the province of Asturias, as a likely place for a successful right wing revolt, and initially it was considered a lost cause for the uprising. The town was the center of the Asturian October Revolution of 1934, and became an ongoing hive of revolutionary activity since the election of the Popular Front government earlier in the year.
The garrison commander Colonel Aranda was reputed to be a freemason and a Republican, and got along well with the local Republican officials; in addition, the Falange distrusted him.  Aranda declared that he would be loyal to the Republic when the rebellion started on July 17, and he convinced the civil governor and the union leaders that all was calm. So satisfied were the authorities that 4,000 miners left by train for other parts of Asturias and Spain to fight in the growing conflict. Aranda secretly called in Civil Guard and Assault Guard personnel from all Asturias to concentrate at Oviedo. He had gained a reputation in Africa of being a top strategist, and after the miners left, he declared for the rebellion on July 19. The Falange, Civil Guard, and Assault Guard immediately rallied to his side.
Aranda easily took over Oviedo as the republicans panicked, and the rest of Asturias became hostile toward him. Between the two large zones, east and west of Oviedo, Aranda was landlocked and surrounded in the town.  The Popular Front parties and their allied Anarchists began besieging Oviedo on July 20 but there was no serious action until after the fall of the Rebel holdout at Gijon in mid August. 
As the Republicans pressed their final attacks which had started on 4th October, the Nationalists held on grimly, ready to make their last stand. In the distance, they could hear the relief column of the Army of the North attacking. Help had arrived, but would it be in time?

Victory Conditions: The Republicans are the attackers. They must eliminate the rebel garrison before it is relieved. Nationalist must avoid conditions.

Nationalist Notes
Though well supplied with rifle ammunition ( a million rounds at the beginning of the siege) the garrison is running short of MG ammunition.  Its usage needs to be recorded.  The Nationalist player gets 6 d6 worth of bursts from MGs.

Republican Notes
Your forces are mainly made up of workers militia stiffened by a few Assault Guards who remained loyal.  You are mainly armed with rifles but the factories of the industrial zone are working on improvising heavier equipment for the siege.  The Republic’s airforce is active in the area and controls the sky.  It has been bombing Oviedo since September.  The rebels held up in Oviedo must be running low on supplies and it is known that typhoid has broken out in the city.

Milan Infantry Regt
 2 squads of 10 figures TRAINED
 1 MG
Civil & Assualt Gds
 2 squads of 10 figures VETERAN
 1 MG
 2 squads of 10 figures RAW
 1 MG
Plus support
Field Gun      TRAINED
1 MG             TRAINED

5th Bandera of the Legion
 3 squads of 10 figures ELITE
 1 MG
Navarese Requetés
 3 squads of 10 figures VETERAN
 1 MG
2nd Galician Regulars
 3 squads of 10 figures TRAINED
 1 MG
Combined Cavalry
3 squads of 10 cavalry figures TRAINED
Battery of 70/19 mountain guns        TRAINED
Armoured car of the Assault Guards  TRAINED

1st REPUBLICAN Militia Column:
3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
2nd REPUBLICAN Militia Column:
3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
3RD  REPUBLICAN Militia Column:
3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
1st ANARCHIST  Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
2nd ANARCHIST  Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
3rd ANARCHIST  Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
1st CNT Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
2nd CNT Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
3RD CNT Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
Battery of 75/27 field guns RAW


  1. I thought we had declared it a winning draw for the Nationalists?

    Irrespective of who got the result it was a great game and the rules seemed to work very well. Thanks for organising and umpiring it.

  2. Wonderful photos of a great period! Very nice blog too!