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Are proud to announce
Campaign Challenge XXXVIII
Crusade in Spain
(with the LG Equipment File)
Are proud to announce
Campaign Challenge XXXVIII
Crusade in Spain
(with the LG Equipment File)
CC38 is a special made version of Santiago's Crusade in Spain. To be on the scroll for CC38 you will have to use the version that says "Crusade in Spain - CC38 version" in the campaign list when you start up PG2 (the campaign download for CC38 is the correct one).
Playing levels are as follows:
FM level - 25%
General's Level - 50%
Officer's level - 100%
NCO's level - 200%
Troopies level - over 200%
THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR - REVOLUTION AND WAR.
*** From the 19th Century to 1931.
The Spanish Civil War was the bitter end of a chain of many different and tragic events since the 19th Century up to the first 30 years of the 20th Century. The Spanish Empire saw it's end with the Napoleonic invasion and the colonial revolts during the first years of the 19th century, from that time until now, the Spanish don't use to look beyond the borders but yes into the complex internal affairs -historical or political. The Napoleonic invasion took back Spain 30 years of progress with massive destructions, the political problems, a lot of military coups, the Carlist Civil Wars, a failure 1st Spanish Republic, the war agaisnt USA, the War of Morocco, plus the end of the monarchy of the king Alfonso XIII, were a bad inheritance for the upcoming 2nd Spanish Republic. The new Republic which was born on April, 14 of 1931, hadn't had only to deal with both enormous economical and structural problems, but also with the hard tensions between the right and left parties. The middle-class practically did not exist, the engagement between workers and peasants agaisnt the industrialists and landowners, was a single matter of time. In addition, the world situation was bad, just a couple of years before, the Wall Street Stock Exchange crack down, in 1929.
*** From the 1934 Revolution to the victory of the People's Front in 1936.
In 1933, the general elections gave the victory to the righty coalition of parties. In October of 1934, the entry of 3 CEDA ministers (a fascist party) on the goverment, led to a general strike, later an armed uprising, in many parts of Spain. The most important uprisings were carried out in Catalonia, and Asturias, were the uprising lasted from October 5th to October 19th (1934). The ''Socialist Republic of Asturias'' was proclaimed in Oviedo, the capital of the region. The poor ''Red Army'' formed by workers and miners was no match for the colonial elite troops who came from Morocco to re-stablish the goverment soberanity in Asturias. Lead by the general Franco, the Spanish Legion plus many Moroccan units got back the control of the region for the central goverment. Dut to this incident, and the trials and executions who followed the militar intervention in Asturias, the general Franco was so-called from the left sector as the ''Butcher of Asturias''.
The Spanish 2nd Republic, was basically died after 1934. In January of 1936, new elections were celebrated. This time, all the lefty parties, plus some nationalist parties, formed the ''People's Front'', which won the elections by few votes agaisnt the righty coalition of parties. As can be seen, the centre parties did not exist, and both sides, -lefty and righty- were not ready for any kind of cooperation.
The end of the Republican period arrived when gunmens from the Phalanx (an important fascist party leaded by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, son of the former dictator) killed the anti-fascist lieutenant Jose Castillo on July 12. The next day, Jose Castillo's comrades shot the monarchist and leader of the righty opposition Calvo Sotelo.
4 Days later, the military uprising began in Morocco, the Canary islands and in some parts of the Peninsula where the right coaliation of parties gathered a bigger number of votes in the 1936 elections. As a result, the Republican territories were divided in two parts, the northern regions were only linked with France by a narrow corridor, which would be soon cut off by the rebel troops.
The central goverment didn't accepted the coup like in the coups of the 19th century, and that, meant the beginning of the Civil War.
Thanks to the partial success of the military uprising, the foreing fascist powers mainly Italy and Germany, were going to support the rebel side. Later, the rebels or nationalist, would receive also help from portuguese volunteers (the ''Viriatos''), also from Ireland, a catholic nation, which would send the ''St. Patrick's Legion'', and other nations like Romania, which also sent a few volunteers.
The Republicans would receive help from the USSR, as well as socialists and anti-fascists volunteers from around the world. They would be the ''internationalists'', included into the famous ''International Brigades''. The International Brigades (Brigadas Internacionales, in the game you will see it as ''BI'') had also volunteers from the USA (Licoln Btn.), UK (the British Btn.), Germany (Thaelmann Btn., Edgar André Btn.), many french and italian battalions, and many others from different countries, Belgium, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia...
In the case of the democratic powers, only France (just in the first days) and Mexico would sent some kind of aid to the Spanish Republic. Soon, a Non-intervention Comitte was installed by the UK, France, Germany, Italy, the USSR, Portugal and Sweden. This countries signed the agreement which in fact left isolated the Republicans: the Nationalists continued receiving a good number of weapons and equipment at a low cost till the end of the conflict in 1939.
*** Onwards to Madrid!.
The military uprising more or lest prepared for months after, left and army and a navy broken. The goverment still had around the 50% of the units, but the most of the officers supported the coup, and others were only loyals due to their geographical situation. The rebels had the best army units; the Spanish Legion and the Moroccan units, plus some experienced generals, the ''africanists''. That generals took their experience during the War of Morocco in the 20's. The rebel plan was not complex: while rebel columns from Navarra came to take Madrid, the African Army would cross the Gibraltar strait (with the Italian help) to support the offensive on to Madrid from the South.
Madrid, the Spanish capital, the head of the Republican Goverment, was the main objective of the rebels. The poor equiped and bad trained republican militias, quickly recruited from supporters of the different lefty parties, weren't a problem for the rebels, and Madrid was soon under the fire of the rebel artillery. The rebel side, promptly received help from Italy and from Germany. While Mussolini sent 4 motorised divisions (the ''CTV'' -Corpo di Truppe Volontaire-), Hitler would sent the ''Condor Legion'', mainly composed by air units, but also in the first days of the war with some ground units.
The Soviets also sent quick help to the republicans, in the form of advisors and some equipment (this help was later paid with the last gold reserves from America in the Central Bank of Spain).
*** The Alcazar of Toledo and the way to Madrid. (Scenarios #1 and #2) July - September 1936.
The crossing of the Gibraltar was succesful thanks to the Italian help. The remaining Republican fleet was blocking the strait, but the nationalist easily crossed it with the help of German and Italian transport planes. The elite units from the Spanish Morocco were now in the Peninsula.
The major cities of Andalucia were soon into the rebel hands, the most of Extremadura was soon also captured after a bloody engagement between nationalists and republicans. With the chaotic republican retreat, reach Madrid was not difficult. Meanwhile, the link between the Republican northern regions and France, was destroyed in September, when the nationalists captured Irun in the Spanish-French border.
During the Revolutionary summer of 1936, many people in the Republican side thought the revolution was arrived. It was like a party, far from the real front the militias in the Republican rearguard had the real control. One of the strongest militia was the formed by men of the CNT/FAI, the powerfull Spanish anarchist syndicat. The CNT/FAI and the other strongest milita by that time (the UGT) took the control of Toledo during July of 1936. Toledo (71 Km Southwards from Madrid), a medieval city, with intrincated streets and ancient buildings would become one of the most popular legends of the entire war.
The garrison of Toledo (composed mainly by students from the military academy in the ''Alcazar de Toledo'', a medieval building), supported the uprising in July of 1936. Leaded by the colonel Moscardó, the geographical situation of Toledo did not help the cadets, and they were soon besieged on the Alcazar. From this point, it exists a hard controversial discussion: some authors sais the colonel Moscardó kidnapped some civilians from Toledo to act as hostages during the siege, while other authors sais the colonel just took the families of the garrison members to the Alcazar, to protect them from the republicans.
The supporters of the hostages, sais that Moscardó didn't surrender because he executed the prisoners... and he feared the republican revenge after discover that incident. The reports don't show any word of casualites or wounded.
Anyway, the Republican militias were unsuccesfully besieging the Alcazar from July to the end of September, when the columns from Morocco where dangerously near to Toledo... and the Alcazar had a simbolic importance by that time, as a redoubt of the nationalist resistance agaisnt the ''red hordes''. And, that importance, make to change the route of the nationalists columns which were going to Madrid. Some units from the African Army did the job, and the Alcazar, with the colonel Moscardó, were both liberated.
The Alcazar, was now a symbol of the nationalist ''Crusade'' agaisnt the red hordes, and the way to Madrid, was now only occupied by some fleeing militias.
*** The Battle for Madrid. November 1936. (Scenario #3)
Madrid was in sight. But the columns from the South were the first to arrive to the South neighbourhoods. The overconfident Northern Nationalist columns of the general Mola, were stopped at the Guadarrama ridge, Northwards to Madrid. For the republicans, there were no more places to escape. Now, many of the militiamen were defending their own homes and families. While the first assaults were carried out by the nationalists, the rebel 5th column into Madrid began to appear from the roofs of the buildings. The Nationalist onslaught reached some important parts of the city after cross the Manzanares river, the Universitary City and the Clinic Hospital show hard skirmishes between Republicans and Nationalists, but, the exhausted Rebel troops weren't able to conquer the whole city, agaisnt the hard Republican determination to defend Madrid at any cost. Was the borning of the motto ''¡No pasarán!'' (They shall not pass!).
Due to the real danger to see the Nationalist columns on parade formation walking throught the city center, the Republican Goverment was move to Valencia in November of 1936.
Madrid will only surrender at the end of the war, and the front would remain without many variations till the Republican surrender.
*** Jarama Offensive. February 1937. (Scenario #4)
Franco turned the Nationalist strategy. The conquest of Madrid, with a direct assault was now impossible. The city should be surrounded, closing the gaps initiated by the North and South columns in the last months of 1936. The South units should cross the Jarama river to link with troops from the North.
However, it was not going to be an easy job... Unlike in 1936, the Republicans had now the first regular units of the newly formed ''Spanish People's Army'' organized in ''Mixed Brigades'' (BM, Brigadas Mixtas). The first International Brigades would show also more actions again. This regular units won't escape as the first moroccan soldier appears from the top of a hill. Also, the new Soviet equipment of the republicans, tanks (BT-5, T-26), planes (I-15, I-16, RZ, SB-2) and Red Army advisors, would be a complete surprise for the Nationalists, which expected an easy advance again.
The Jarama river won't be crossed, and the operation was a complete failure for the Nationalist side.
*** Guadalajara Offensive. March 1937. (Scenario #5)
The Italians, with their 4 motorised divisions, thought now, after the initial Nationalists failures, that they would be able to capture Madrid by their own means. The 4 Italian divisions (Dio Lo Vuole Div., Littorio Div., Fiamme Nere Div, and the Penne Nere Division) supported with 2 Nationalist divisions (74th Division and the Soria Division),launched the attack the 8th of March. During the first hours of that day, the Republicans, listened extrange songs from behind the enemy lines... soon identificated as Italian war songs.
With extremely narrow supply lines, advancing by a territory wich doesn't allow the fast advance of the motorised units, and far from good airbases, the Nationalist and the Italians were decimated by the well entreched and air supported Republicans.
It was clear that take Madrid won't be an easy job.
Later, on April of this year, Franco become the supreme commander of the Nationalist side. Burgos, would be from now, the seat and capital of the Nationalist Spain. The Republicans continued divided, and with internal conflicts. The best example of the internal division of the Republic are the incidents of Barcelona in May of 1937, when the CNT militias had a chain of hard and bloody engagements with the goverment security forces.
*** The North first, and then the rest of Spain. May 1937. (North Front Scenarios #1 and #2)
As Madrid proved to be impossible to conquer, the Nationalist guns will aim now the Northern Republican Regions (the North Front). Euzkadi, Cantabria and Asturias, were the most industrialised Republican lands, with weapon factories, important ports and mines. Divided into three different regions, sometimes the goverments of the Northern regions were unwilling to act together or to cooperate between them.
The Navarre brigades plus the Italian CTV will strike the North Front, beginning with Euzkadi. The Basque goverment was unable to stop the Nationalist offensive, even with the help of some asturian units. Soon, the Nationalists were at the gates of Bilbao, the Euzkadi capital. Before the beginning of the offensive, in April of 1937, the terrible and terrorist bombing of Guernica happened. The Legion Condor destroyed the historical Basque capital, Guernica, as a test, for future conflicts, where the civil populations were going to be attacked as military objectives.
Bilbao, was protected by a chain of fortifications, the famous ''Iron Belt'', designed by the engineer Alejandro Goicoechea (later creator of the Spanish train ''T.A.L.G.O''). The problem was that Goicoechea was a monarchist... and he deserted to rebel side. Now, the Nationalists had all the fortifications planes, and the Legion Condor knew how to shoot down all the Basque defenses. The defense of Bilbao, house by house, was the suggestion from the Soviet advisors, but, the basque goverment of the Basque Nationalst Aguirre decided to abandon the city... Bilbao was in the Nationalist Spain the 19 of June of 1937. The Nationalists captured all the Basque industries, which were not destroyed, as the orders from the central goverment said.
As soon as the whole Basque territories fell under the red and yellow Nationalist flag, a good number of Basque battalions, surrendered to the Italian troops in Santoña (Cantabria), triying to save themselves, or listening the vain promises from Mussolini, to stablish an Italian protectorate on Euzkadi like some authors have written.
Cantabria soon fell also. Asturias was the next step.
The Asturian units were unsucesfully besieging Oviedo, the regional capital, since the beginning of the war in July of 1936, but now, in the months from September to October of 1937, Asturias was isolated, surrounded from the ground, and blocked from the sea, any kind of hope to resist the enemy assault was just a dream. Was a fight until the death. Gijon, the last Republican Capital in the North, fell on October 21. Just a few thousands of soldiers and goverment members could be evacuated by sea. The fate of the Republicans that remain on the Asturian soil was dark: going to the mountains to act as guerrillas or meet a military court, surely to receive a life imprisonment penalty or even a death penalty.
*** The Summer of 1937: the Republican attemps to halt the Nationalist Northern offensive. (Scenarios #6 and #7)
If you visit Madrid during July, you can get sometimes a taste of the horrible hot weather which the inhabitants of Castilla use to suffer each Summer... and the Summer of 1937 was one of these Summers with African hot. The Central Republican Goverment wanted to surprise the Nationalists launching the first Republican offensive operation in the whole war. The main objective of this operation was the encirclement of the Nationalist forces at the SW of Madrid, and stop the Nationalist Northern offensive. Some members of the goverment thought also, that this offensive could be the first step to win the war, but obviously, that was an overstated idea. Under a smashing heat, the Republicans began the offensive, but it was soon stopped in part by the Nationalist 13th Division of the General Barron (a Division with a size of an Army Corps) at Brunete.
In August, the Republicans launched another attempt to save the North. An attack on the region of Aragon, with the main objective of seize the regional capital, Zaragoza. But, like in the case of Brunete, the Nationalist reserves were succesfull stopping the Republicans.
Althought the Spanish People's Army had brave men, the bravery was not enough to deal with the experience, the training and the equipment of the Nationalists.
*** The hard winter of 1937. The battle for Teruel. (Scenario #8)
With the North Front conquered, and all the Republican offensives defeated, the Nationalists could now focus their power on the advance on to the new Republican capital, Valencia, and also to the Mediterranean sea. However, the hard winter of 1937 delayed a bit the Nationalist actions. Meanwhile, the Republicans were planning a counterstrike to halt the Nationalist offensive on the Spanish Levante. The main Republican units would strike the salient of Teruel under extremely cold temperatures around -20º in December of 1937. Teruel would be conquered by the Republican offensive, but again, the quick Nationalist reaction could recapture the city, opening also the way to the northeastern Spain, and to the Mediterranean sea.
*** The Ebro, July to November of 1938. (Scenario #9 and #10)
The Nationalists reached the Mediterranean at Vinaroz (province of Castellón) on the 15th of April of 1938. The Republican Spain was again divided in two parts, Catalonia, and the still remaining Republican parts of Aragon were separed from their link with Valencia. In addition, this year the Munich Agreement of 1938 sealed the fate of Czekoslovakia, it was clear the foreing democratic powers were unwilling to make an intervention anywhere in favour of the freedom. For the international community, the Spanish Republic was dead, and just needed a lucky shot to be buried out by the Nationalists.
Was the situation when you need to show the world you are not died, and you don't want to be buried while you are still alive. Althought the most of the Soviet advisors were agaisnt the idea, the Republicans began to plan an offensive. The big river Ebro was the border between the two Spains, a border to be crossed... and the best units of the Spanish People's Army where present in the area, the V Army Corps, and the XV Army Corps also. Meanwhile, the Nationalists where planning more offensives, agaisnt Valencia and Madrid, and, in some parts of the Ebro river there where only weak garrisons.
Vicente Rojo, surely the best general of the Republican side planned the offensive. Around 100,000 Republican soldiers shall cross the Ebro river in three different places. This, will be the biggest offensive in the whole war. The objectives of the offensive where mainly stop the Nationalist offensive on Valencia, and get the iniciative of the war, but also to show the foreing powers the Republic was not dead.
At the 00:15 hours of the 25th of July, battalion by battalion, the Ebro river would be crossed. Bridges over the big river where installed by the brave Republican sappers, and the surprise was almost complete. Only the Nationalist and Falangist General Yagüe feared a Republican attack across the river. Other officers in the area, like the cavalry General Monasterio, thought a river such as the Ebro was impossible to cross (following the strategy standards of that time), and was on a cavalry exhibition.
Gandesa, the biggest local city, and the many ridges present of the big curve of the Ebro near to it's mouth would be covered by the blood of many soldiers from the both sides. Due to the lack of reserves and weapons, the Republicans couldn't take Gandesa. The Nationalists needed to move around 90,000 troops to the area, and more than 5 counteroffensives to defeat the Republicans.
After the Ebro, like in the Battle of the Bulge case, the Republicans were basically defeated, althought they launched another offensive not far from the battlefield of the Ebro, across the Segre river, an affluent of the Ebro. The objective was to fix the lines, and to capture the Electric Plant of Tremp, but again, the offensive ended in a defeat for the Republicans.
The Nationalist capability to move reserves, and their weapon and equipment superiority bring the victory to Franco. The entire Catalonia would be soon into the Rebel hands. Barcelona, fall withouth resistance in January of 1939. Madrid would be taken in March of 1939 (after another coup into the Republic in favor of the peace negotiations with the Nationalists), and the 1st of April, the war ended with the complete victory of the Nationalists.
*** Gibraltar (hyphotetical-what if scenario #11).
Gibraltar was always an objective of the Nationalists or Franquist propaganda issues. Franco rejected the German plans to take Gibraltar, he feared that, like in the case of Napoleon in the 19th century, Hitler took the oportunity to invade Spain at the same time. But the General Franco also had his own plans to capture Gibraltar.
The Spanish plans to capture Gibraltar consisted on put around 2,000 sea mines to block the Gibraltar strait, and carry out a massive bombing of the Rock to allow the ground advance. This kind of plans were not forgotten by the Spanish goverment until the 50's. The main reason for not finally begin the operation was the British had also their own plans: Gibraltar surely would be recaptured by Spain, but the Royal Navy knew what to do with the Canary Islands...
Javier M. Reverte, La Batalla de Madrid. ISBN: 8484325571
Javier M. Reverte, La Batalla del Ebro. ISBN: 8484324699
Georges Soria, Guerra y Revolución en España (1936 - 1939). ISBN: 84-253-0980-8
Frances Lannon, The Spanish Civil War 1936–1939 Osprey Publishing (Essential Histories 37)
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Original post updated by lvjtn