Friday 4 November 2022

Drive to the Sea Pt2

 Drive to the Sea (Part 2)

April 1938

This game follows straight on from the last one, the Republican commander realised that throwing men into a battle already effectively lost was pointless, so decided to try and form a new defensive position.

I therefore changed the table moving the farm up allowing for another couple of feet of new terrain at the southern edge.

We have to assume the Italians will spend maybe an hour or more clearing out the last of the militia from the farm and then reorganising themselves to continue their advance south. From my reading, the Italians seem to have had a good reputation for the way they treated Republican prisoners, though once handed over to the Francoists their fates was less pleasant. 

The Italian Battalion HQ will remain at the captured farms and observe the advance

The Republican commander has all remaining units from the first game (the uncommitted reinforcements) plus a platoon of stragglers and a couple of support weapons hastily borrowed.

The new table:

The remains of the farm burns on the hillside

Wrecked and destroyed vehicles on the road

The downed Henschel

Looking south towards the Republican lines

Yet another ruined farm

Church and graveyard behind

The Italians

Tank company

Re-organised recce unit

M/C platoon, 2 truck born platoons, HQ

2nd unit

2 infantry platoons in trucks, a 65mm + tow, a 75mm + tow, HQ

3rd unit

Motorised Infantry company + HQ

80mm mortar platoon

MMG platoon 

They can also call in attacks from a Henschel 123 which will arrive 1D3 rounds after called and stay over the tabel for one bombing and one straffing attack before having to return to base to re-arm and refuel. It can be called again after 6 turns, once again taking 1D3 to arrive.


Militia Infantry company


T-26 and a Fa-1 armoured car

Support weapons

14pdr field gun, Vickers MMG, Hotchkiss AA, 80mm mortar

HQ staff


Recce platoon

Platoon of stragglers

The Republican commander can call on air support which will arrive 1D6 turns after called - a single bi-plane fighter which will carry out 2 straffing runs. It then returns to base to re-arm and refuel and can return in 1D6 + 4 turns and try again. 

The game

The Italians decide to open thier attack with an all-out drive, the tank company and the motorcycle/recce unit straight up the road. They also called in for air support and a friendly Henschel 123 arrived just as the lead units were moving off. 

Turn 2 the Henschel is met by a hail of machine gun fire from no less than 3 guns, it takes light damage and is driven off. The Italians continue their advance.

Turn 3 The Italians reach the edge of the fields so the motorcycle troops begin to deploy

Turn 4 The Henschel returns and plants some bombs on top of one the machine guns, but lucky for the Republic a single bi-plane fighter arrives and bounces the Henschel shooting it down!

The now deployed Italian motorcycle/recce troops are engaged by Militia on both flanks, the tanks move to support their infantry.

Turn 5 the lead L3/33 is blown to bits by a 14lbr shell

This takes the sting out of the Italian advance. The infantry exchange fire with the various militia units.

Turn 6 the second wave of Italians arrive and begin to deploy.

Unfortunately for them the Republican fighter has circled around and strafes them destroying a truck and causing casualties

The Republican 80mm mortar lands a lucky shot among an advancing Italian platoon too causing several casualties

Turn 7 The Italian CVs launch and all out rush against the 14pdr located within the church yard, spraying machine guns and spouting flame (which panics and breaks one militia platoon). The flamethrower tankette takes a direct hit and blows up (quite spectacularly), at the same time the Republican T-26 moves from its concealed hull-down position on the far left and slams a 47mm round into the last CV33 – killing it too!!

The Italian attack is blunted!

Turn 8 The Italian guns target the 14pdr

Their troops from the second wave move to reinforce the motorcycle/recce troops.

The Republican 14pdr, 80mm mortar and T-26 all drop shells among the advancing Italian infantry, but they are pretty spread out and take few casualties.

Turn 9 the final Italian wave arrives and moves off road toward the left (the road now being blocked by burning trucks).

The Italian 75mm lands a shell close to the 14lbr causing casualties among its crew, the rest fail their morale check and abandon their gun!

The Republican 80mm mortar target the Italian 65mm (near miss)

In the centre the Italian infantry are beginning to win the upper hand over the militia

So the Republican commander orders his reserves forward to strengthen it

Turn 10 The Italian third wave begins to deploy, the infantry move to the left supporting those already engaged there, their mortars deploy on the road.

Unfortunately for the Republic more Fascist air support arrives too

On the Republican right the T-26 drives forward and scatters the Italian infantry along the road

The Italian 75mm scores a direct hit on the Republican 14ldr (the Italians didn`t know the gun crew had already run away)

Turn 11 the Henschel and Me109 both deliver death from above upon the Republican reserves

On the Italian right the Republics 80mm mortar drops a bomb on the 65mm`s tow also killing a couple of crew – the rest abandon their gun

The Italian 75mm targets the T-26 (miss), on the Republican right the Italians begin to overwhelm the defenders.

Turn 12 The T-26 catches a 75mm shell

On the Republic right the defence collapses

Turn 13 the Fascist planes circle around and attack the farm.

The Henschel is bounced by a Republican fighter which scores its second kill of the game

Unfortunately the Me109 catches the Republican pilot whilst he`s busy with predictable results

Turn 14 The Republic right has broken and the Italians are streaming forward. On the left they still hold the church and grounds but are targeted by Italian mortars and the 75mm. And the Italians are reorganising for their assault.


This second game seems to highlight the fundamental weaknesses of both sides.

 The Republican forces lack enough air support to balance that of the Rebels, the fact that the Rebels eventually controlled the skies (and the seas) will mean defeat for the Republic is inevitable. To be honest even the best Republican troops aren`t really equal to the best their enemy has, but man for man they could hold their own when the odds were even. The need for a strong anti-aircraft defence must be a priority for any Republican commander. 

 The Italian CTV, the various sources I have read give a varied picture of the competence and abilities of the Italian volunteers. For large periods of the war they were in fact the only totally motorised force on the Rebel side and the Littorio Division is often considered the best formation within the CTV. The soldiers seemed to have been brave, some of their officers had a good grasp of tactics and leadership - not all but many countries militaries of this period were still suffering from the nightmares of WW1. Their artillery was good, their personal weapons as good as most other combatants, but their armour is just shocking. When faced with any sort of anti-tank defence the 12mm armour of the L3/33 just didn`t protect it or its crew! 


  1. Excellent AAR as always. That Republican pilot was definitely flying by the seat of his pants.

  2. Another good report, inspiring SCW scenario.

    1. Cheers Carl, 11 games this year (may be a record) :)

  3. Time for a twelfth before Christmas? Enjoy. Carl

    1. Yep, Ardennes `44 next, scenario already written