Monday 24 April 2017

Cervantes Refuge, Alcoy

Cervantes Refuge, Alcoy

One of a number of public bomb shelters build around the town now preserved as a tribute/museum. Entry was very cheap (about a Euro each), the attendant gave us a booklet in English to explain the exhibits.

The town was never faced with ground attack during the war isolated as it is by high peaks and steep-sided valleys, there was several factories and a large international hospital run by Swedes and Norwegians. Refugees plus sick and injured were sent to this relatively safe area.
But eventually between 20th September 1938 and 11th February 1939 the town was subject to raids from Italian planes (mostly Savoia SM-79s), the worst period being 20th - 23rd Sept `38 when a total of 50,000 kilos were dropped over several ten-plane raids! The town initially had no anti-aircraft defences, but eventually was given three 20mm AA guns.

Tunnel leading down

Wartime signs still on the walls, an air-raid siren echoed through the galleries, causing the boys to jump

Medical room

Maps of the layout and construction plans

History boards


Wartime posters

Republican soldiers ID card and weapon

There was also a short film with survivors and eye witnesses giving their accounts (in Spanish), but easy to follow if you know enough.  

Mexican Revolution game

Mexican Revolution game

Just got back from a nice break at our Spanish home. This time we also took two friends of our Chris with us to keep him company and save us from killing ourselves playing basketball, tenis, etc, etc all day long to keep him entertained :) Jonas & Mats are 15yr old Dutch twins, nice bright boys and after a few days they pressured me into running a game.

Now I had nothing planned and also had the problem that neither had played before and I usually run historic based games where one side will loose (as per the history). So I had to write an easy to follow narrative where both sides had an equal chance to based on how the game unfolded. looking at what we had available I decided on a big(ish) Mexican Revolution bash based (loosely) on the 2nd battle of Rellano Station, 23rd May 1912 during the Orozquista Revolt.

President Madero`s government forces commanded by General (later President) Huerta are chasing the Colorado Rebels across the countryside. Both sides had multiple columns moving too and fro on a variety of axis, clashes were often small and inconclusive, but occasionally major engagements occurred. Rellano Station was the site of the first major defeat of the Federal (government) forces by the Orozquistas, but that was several months previous and the Federal forces have learned from their mistakes.

Battlefield overview
Plane just for fun :)

Church hill

Federal scout train held up by mined track

 Some shots of the forces

Federal Lt battery
 37mm Hotchkiss auto canon and a Colt machine gun

Federal cavalry

Villa`s irregular Cavalry

Col. Rubio`s artillery

Colorado forces

Colorado motorised column + artillery
Vehicles are just poetic licence, just fun toys on the tabletop 

Colorado Cavalry

The Game

I have taken huge liberties with the history and forces involved - please don`t get too upset - this is just playing soldiers NOT an historic re-enactment.

In pursuit of the Rebels, the Federals of Huerta`s Division of the North sent a scout train ahead of their main column towards Rellano Station. It discovered the enemy had blown the tracks and was holding the station and nearby hills in force. The defence company dug in and by morning Colonel "Pancho" Villa and Artillery Colonel Rubio had arrived along with infantry from the Carabineros de Nuevo Leon commanded by Raul Madero (the president`s brother). Villa and Rubio formulated a plan of attack to commence as soon as all forces were assembled and ready to go.    

For the game, my Alex (19) and one brother (I`ve forgotten which) took the Colorados whilst Chris and the other brother played the Federals.

Opening moves

Villa`s irregular Cavalry (Rubio`s `75s in the background)

Raul Madero`s volunteers

More irregulars and the railways company

A better view of the Federal right wing

Villa + Rubio overseeing the battle

Colorado Col. Diez moves his vehicles to the centre

Whilst his men (dug in) await the attack

The 105mm (too far forward and not well enough protected)

Colorado cavalry in reserve

The game started with a long range artillery duel between the Federal `75s and the Colorado 105mm whilst the various Federal units advanced towards the river and their enemy beyond. The gun duel ended in a draw with one Federal `75 destroyed and the 105mm loosing most of its crew.

To prevent the Federal cavalry breaking through on his left, Diez moved his armoured car to the centre as a mobile pillbox and sent half his cavalry to counter charge also.

On the Colorado right, Villas cavalry scare-off the remaining gunners, but then are faced with with a Colorado counter-charge

On turn 5, Federal Yaqui indians attack the Colorado left rear at Church Hill.

For the next few turns fighting swung back and fore on the left and right, the Yaqui silenced the Colorado machine gun, but were slaughtered by the enemy cavalry soon after. The armoured car halted the Federal cavalry on their left and the cavalry melee on the right left both forces depleted and hors d`combat, but the Colorado`s re-manned their 105mm and resumed firing at the advancing Federal infantry.

At this point, the lads became unfocussed (particularly the new players) the Colorados needed to be aggressive and launch a counter strike against the Federal infantry before they could organise themselves for the final advance, but this didn`t happen :(

The Federals moved their 37mm and a couple of machine guns into position in the centre and peppered the station, the armoured car and any dug in positions they could see! Over the next few rounds the Colorados took so many casualties, their morale just evaporated and it was game over........
37mm on the bridge

The final attack