Saturday 8 June 2024

The Road to Toledo

The Road to Toledo

22 July 1936

I was doing a little reading into the Schneider Ca-1 in Spanish service and discovered they were used during the very early days of the Civil War. I wanted to see one on my table top so wrote a couple of quick games; I also wanted to use my recently built militia armoured trucks. So this particular game is a fictional encounter, pitting a militia column heading from Madrid to Toledo against a scratch blocking force of Rebels.


On 21 July, a large column under the command of General José Riquelme y López-Bago left Madrid and headed south towards Toledo. The column consisted of various confiscated trucks and cars plus a number of improvised armoured vehicles and two Schneider Ca-1s from the Regimiento Ligero de Carros de Combate N° 1 at Madrid. The next day the column arrived at Toledo, unfortunately they arrived too late to stop Col. Moscardó and his Rebels withdrawing into the Alcázar.

The game

Col. Moscardó knows the column is coming, but needs more time to transfer the arms from the Toledo arms factory into the Alcázar. So he has sent a company of Civil Guards and some Falangists north to form a blocking force and delay the column. The Militia column has 20 turns to cross the table for a strategic win, if they clear the blocking the blocking force but haven`t crossed the table this is a draw. If by some miracle the blocking force still prevents traffic after turn 20 they can consider this a strategic win. 

Republican Column

1 company of militia (carried in improvised armoured vehicles)

Militia HQ
Complete company

1 x `75 field gun + crew & tow

1 Ca-1 

This is carried on a trailer and takes 3 turns to unload during which time it cannot fire

Rebel blocking force

These can be concealed and dug in (only soft cover due to hardness of the ground) obviously stone walls give the usual hard cover.

1 Civil Guard company (2 x 12-man platoons)

1 platoon Falangist militia 

Includes a Hotchkiss MMG manned by army cadets

My table

(This cannot be seen until the lead vehicle rounds the bend)

Dry river bed (it is July) and bridge 
After looking at the forces I added a second farm around the bridge and dry river

The game started with the Militia column already on the road and the first armoured truck rounding the bend and being confronted by the road block (which until that point was concealed from their view). The vehicle was immediately sprayed with MMG fire, but its mild steel and mattress armour saved the occupants from casualties.

Turn 2 the militia bailed out of their vehicles, now coming under fire from Falangists around the road block as well as the MMG. The lead platoon took casualties!

Turn 3 The MMG again sprays the lead vehicle causing more casualties among the lead platoon, the truck`s armour is finally overcome and it bursts into flame.

The first platoon LMG targets the Falangists around the barricade, causing enough casualties to make them take a morale check.

The armoured truck with the Maxim moves forward and engages the MMG supported by its own dismounted platoon

2nd militia platoon moves to outflank the road block, but comes under fire from Civil Guards in the farm.

Turn 4 the MMG is wiped out and the Falangists around the road block fail their morale and flee.

The Republicans deploy their `75, and start to unload the Ca-1

The Militia commander orders men forward to open the road block (this will take 3 turns)

Turn 5 The militia start work on the road block the truck with the Maxim moves to cover their work, whats left of the 1st platoon advances towards the farm

The `75 targets the farm buildings

Turn 6 & 7 the militia continue to clear the road block and the `75 targets the farm buildings, whats left of 1st platoon and half of 2nd platoon advance on the farm once the defensive firing slacken off

Turn 8 the road block is clear, the militiamen (and women) remount all available transport and re-start their advance along the road. The truck with the Maxim spraying any potential defensive points. The `75 crew limbers up and Ca-1 now off its trailer moves slowly forward along the road 

The Militia advancing on the farm occupy the nearest building, they find the other farm building occupied by Civil Guards

Turn 9 The Militia advance along the road, random rifle fire from Falangists and Civil Guards can`t stop them. The Militia and Civil Guards in the farm exchange fire to little effect.

Turn 10 the Militia column nears the bridge and second farm where more Civil Guards await, the `75 unlimbers to provide support

Turn 11 the Ca-1 arrives at the farm and moves to support the militia

The Militia column debusses and the vehicles lead the attack across the bridge supported by the `75

Turns 12 – 15 sees the Republicans push through scattering the Rebels and clearing the farm buildings by close assault – a strategic victory!

Vive La Republica! – forwards to Toledo

A pretty one sided game, I`m not really sure what more the Rebels could have done to slow the Republicans down? If I was to try this one again, I`d give the rebels a 37mm trench gun or Bilboa armoured car maybe to help balance the game better.




  1. A victory for the Republic! Given the size and structure of the Republican forces then it was always likely to be difficult for the Nationalists to achieve victory.
    I suppose that, rather than give the rebels more “assets”, you could always reduce the number of turns for the militia column to cross the table (exit the battlefield). That would then possibly oblige the militia commander to “press ahead”.

    1. Initially the scenario gave the militia 15 turns to cross the table - this proved impossible!! I therefore ajusted the game to 20 turns to at least give them a chance (the first vehicle finally crossed the table edge on turn 18).

    2. I know the Republic force seems far more powerful than the Rebel defenders, but actually man for man the forces were pretty even. As it was only a good morale throw and a leadership test prevented the 1st militia platoon from folding, which could have changed the whole outcome.