Kevin Bernatz
United States
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Playtest of GMT’s The Spanish Civil War, Northern Campaign Scenario

See previous post for Background and the first turn of the scenario (Turn 7)

Turn 8

With the relatively good progress in the North, I wasn’t too concerned with Javier’s attacks near Madrid and Teruel. However, I knew I would need to keep air power in reserve to provide defensive factors (and column shifts, in the case of a Legion Kondor air unit). The Southern front turned fairly static, with no attacks being declared and my units holding an “every other hex” defensive line. Again, with locking eZOCs, this is often the best strategy.

Likewise, in the center I simply reinforced what I had and was content to let Javier bang against my units, hoping that he wouldn’t string together a bunch of high rolls. I was counting on my air assets to assist in any attacks, given his numerical superiority in this region.

In the North, I took to the offensive by attempting to take advantage of Javier falling back into Bilbao, as well as his attack with the Asturian units. I reinforced into Vitoria and railed units there during the Admin phase (before regular movement), allowing myself to get a decent attack against three hexes in the North.

The attacks against the Bilbao and the Astorian units succeeded above expectations, essentially breaking the North into three distinct pockets of resistance. The attack against the Santander units was repulsed with heavy losses on both sides, however. The question would be whether I could eliminate all resistance in the next two turns, while avoiding losing 4 victory cities to Javier!

In the South, Javier attacked almost every place where he could get reasonable odds, knowing that I simply didn’t have the units to provide extra steps or take advantage of any losses he may suffer. He also had numerical superiority, so he enjoyed the luxury of having “loss units”, should things turn south for him. Unfortunately for me, things did NOT turn south and he managed to kill the CTV FN Brigade (note: it was pinned due to being unable to move eZOC to eZOC), as well as surrounding a stack of Nationalist units in hex 2309. Talavera de la Reina resisted, but I still took losses in the attack.

In the center, Javier, repeated his attack against my out of supply unit near Madrid and attacked out of Teruel, which had fallen last turn (I think I had mistakenly stated that it had held in my Turn 7 posting…). In addition, he attacked the 2-6-3 Vanguard brigade North of Teruel and guarding the road to Zaragoza and Soria. With added Legion Kondor air support, the VG brigade held (albeit at reduced status), as did the 1/52nd brigade, also at reduced status. My line was looking quite thin in terms of number of steps!

In the north, Javier fell back into a defensive hedgehog around Santander. His units in Gijon were pinned by eZOC, but would be a bear to crack given their strong defensive strength. What would the next turns bring!

Turn 9

I knew I would have to make haste to win the scenario, and managed to get lucky by drawing the random event “Basque Surrender”
. This eliminated many of the strong Basque units, leaving only a few remnants to clean up. Taking advantage of this break, I decided to leave the Astorian stronghold of Gijon until turn 10, and attempt to eliminate all other Northern units this turn. You’ll note that I committed one of my HQ units to place a stack of CTV and Nationalists into reserve mode. This will allow them to move and attack in the Exploitation movement phase, after the regular movement and combat phase.

The attacks worked almost perfectly, though I was hoping to actually be able to enter Santander. However, my eZOC on the hex was sufficient to knock the last stack of defending units out of supply (other than the “fortress” of Gijon).

I moved up in the reserve phase and attacked these units, eliminating them. Note that all motorized units that start the exploitation phase not adjacent to enemy units are also able to move and attack again, which is why the Italian CTV HQ and the two Armor regiments were able to participate (giving an additional +1 for a concentric attack bonus).

In the South, I did one attack to attempt to straighten my lines, but was repulsed with light losses.

In the center, I reinforced what I could and did my best to hold on while Javier poured tons of reinforcements into the region. It was going to get ugly…

And ugly it got! Javier attacked in no less than 5 locations, easily swamping my available air of 1 CTV air unit and 1 Legion Kondor air unit.

His attacks opened a huge hole in my line, with the victory cities of Zaragoza and Soria appearing threatened. The “evacuation” markers are just to indicate that I needed to take a step loss from those hexes, though both of those victory cities held.

Javier even attacked in the North, which may have been unwise if he rolled poorly. However, he had reinforcing units and extra replacement steps available, so his risk was minimal. As it resulted, the hex held and his defensive strength was not compromised.

In the south, Javier counter-attacked my units which failed to take the hex I had attacked in my portion of the turn. With Nationalist HQ support I was able to hold the hex, but took some losses in the process. Javier had extra units, so the losses he incurred were not going to blunt his offensive options during the last turn.

Stay tuned for the last turn...can I manage to eliminate the North while keeping Javier from 3 more victory cities?
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