bob.
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Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:01 pm

I don't know enough about the battle system to really assess the situation.
I can only say that I don't think this is a result that should happen. The losses are way, way, way too high for ONE SINGLE DAY of fighting.

However, I have no clue as to what you can do to make it better, so I'm not saying you didn't do the best you could with what the engine can do.

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GlobalExplorer
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Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:23 pm

But you outnumbered the Republicans, so it was not only the Generalissimo. The Republicans can hold by putting more troops around Madrid.
I also have doubts Franco was that much of a general, 6-7-7 are more like Bonaparte or Lee.

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Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:04 pm

the losses ratio is near a 2-1 against reps. Not so strange as nationalist have several veterans units with them. I miss the Internationals there.
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bob.
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Mon Jun 02, 2014 9:53 am

Well, outnumbered is a strong word, I think you can say that manpower-wise they are more or less equal, 2.000 men more or less shouldn't make a difference like that with 40.000 on each side.
In general, I don't know much about this war, but weren't casualties for battles usually rather equal?

But another, imho more important point: this is ONE DAY (let's be generous and say "one turn", although there was even another battle after that during this turn!). The problem is that the Republican player has zero time to react because this is just one turn - and after that one turn he had lost the game!
If this would be the combined result of 3-4 turns of continued fighting, then at least the Republican player could react in some way, rail more stuff to Madrid etc.

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ERISS
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Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:31 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:From what I read about the SCW, the Republican would no longer have complete, direct control of a large part - lets say 50% - of their forces, because these forces do not respect a proper chain of command. Orders are given every turn but somehow don't materialize. For example the militia have decided that they do not want to follow their assigned leader and have promoted someone else. Or they could have disbanded before the order could be carried out because of many psychologic, politic or economic reasons. Or they could also quite simply not have recieved rifles and ammunition. Or some of them even switched sides. Let's say it boils down to either did they not agree with you and your order or they were not able to fulfil.
At the same time, other militia may have become active in the area and taken what they consider appropriate action, and the same process of orders and disobedience repeats over and over again.
What we get could be complete chaos, with a helpless high command (you), trying to enact reasonable strategic decisions in a world where people's capacity to fight is entirely unpredictable, and depends on anything from interpersonal problems to overabundance of alcohol, love interests or jealousy, lack of respect, etc, and a cohesive strategy can never be implemented. People rather prefer to fight a bit here and there, or they don't.
(and I think this is the real truth about the SCW, that the Nationalists won because they worked mainly as a military force, the Republican forces more like a population of individuals with very different motivations)

So it could be in the end - while I will still stick to what I have said before, that the political aspect is mostly missing - it is not necessarily that this would be a better game if it wasn't.

The really good news in that would be that it could be enough to have a bit more "realistic" dissent inside the factions (mostly but not only Republicans), and we automatically approach a sweet spot between realism and playability, without changing the current game on a dramatic scale.

Yup, the CNT was somewhat traitor, letting the government to command and so destroying fighters morale (their best war tool). Trying thus to show clean hands (non Reds..) was bad political trick, as for others governements it made no difference, and so then with a totally reversed trick came the bolsheviks...

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Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:02 pm

An excellent analysis, GlobalExplorer.

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Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:06 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:That the Republic defeat was largely to internal division between the government and their unloved pawns, the workers militia.
I believe it was to a large degree the meddling of the Soviets, who wanted to snatch the revolution from the Spanish people, and tolerated no socialist platform that were not controlled by themselves.
In the process they handed Spain to Franco, but got their hands on Spains gold reserve.


An excellent analysis, GlobalExplorer.

numantia
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Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:07 pm

GlobalExplorer wrote:You're right, I often wondered who the politicians in Madrid feared more, the Fascists or the Anarchists.
The whole story that a government does not hand out rifles to their workers militia, or sacrifices the only weapons factory they have instead of giving it under workers control, reeks of treason.


It's strange that you mention "the politicians in Madrid". I'd rather say "the politicians all around Spain and most Spanish people" instead. While we tend to view the Spanish Civil War in a late 20th century fashion (left vs. right), there were many different factions both in the Nationalist and in the Republic sides. In the Nationalist side, you had everything ranging from Moroccan nationalists, Nazis, devout Catholics, right-wing democrats, Navarran federalists (defending local autonomy for Navarre of "fueros"), Spanish nationalists, capitalists from all around Spain (including many Catalan capitalists with a Catalan nationalistic background) and the military in Africa.
In the Republic side, you had everything ranging from right-wing democrats, Spanish centralists, Catalan independentists, Basque independentists, Stalinist Communists, anti-Stalinist Communists, Anarchists, trade unionists, mine workers, anti-Catholic militants, anti-Fascist militants, and a big part of the military and even some capitalists who bet for this side.
It's self-evident that this conflict is politically very complex and such a limited analysis as "Madrid politicians feared the POUM" is just a very small part of what was going on.
I am not even talking about the foreign support for each side. Franco had Catholic Tolkien sending money and Hitler sending planes.
I think Leibstandarte made a great contribution to SCW games and he made a good point of avoiding simplistic political mechanics and going for the military side of the conflict. It's a consensus view that Franco won the war primarily because he had a ready, veteran Army from Africa which could be transported via air against all odds.

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Mon Dec 22, 2014 10:58 pm

numantia wrote:a limited analysis as "Madrid politicians feared the POUM" is just a very small part of what was going on

Sure, but "politicians feared the workers" is not a small part: The nationalists could have be beaten in their barracks, if the government had given the weapons to people and let them fight like they want (hey, is that not democracic republic?..): Where people had steal weapons AND organize as they could, the fascists were defeated in their neasts.

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Tue Dec 23, 2014 4:31 pm

ERISS wrote:Sure, but "politicians feared the workers" is not a small part: The nationalists could have be beaten in their barracks, if the government had given the weapons to people and let them fight like they want (hey, is that not democracic republic?..): Where people had steal weapons AND organize as they could, the fascists were defeated in their neasts.


This is a really complex issue and I don't think it's fair to suggest the Republican Government could have won easily with just an early change in policy. The Government did disband the military in the Peninsule and did give weapons to workers. This, however, didn't mean workers formed one and only one faction. That's what I was talking about in my previous post.

You had deeply Catholic workers, religiously indifferent workers and anti-Catholic workers; I don't think deeply Catholic workers were very happy to see some events I don't think I even need to write here.

Some workers wanted a unified, laicist Spain. Other workers wanted an ultra-Catholic, independent Basque Country. Some others wanted to abolish the state, and even others wanted to create a strong state, but a Catalan independent one. How well did they get along with each other? So badly, in fact, that at times they were fighting more against each other than against Franco's troops (e.g. look at Catalonia in the early war, with anti-Stalinists in the POUM, Catalan nationalists in ERC militias, Durruti's uncategorizable CNT militias...). It's not fair to say there was democracy in the places these militias were conquering. You don't need to read too much to know this.

HidekiTojo
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Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:09 am

I'm glad to see some strategy discussion about the game and that this thread is still going. Though I hope that this doesn't turn into a flame war :bonk:
TEAW Beta Team

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Durk
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Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:17 am

I have really enjoyed the shift in this post. From the position of being an citizen of the USA, the Spanish Civil War is still loaded with political controversy. I am so glad the game address some of the politics, but mostly focuses upon the military issues. Kind of like CW2 does with the American Civil War. Their are important issues which are still raw even today, but lets play a wargame and have fun.

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Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:38 pm

+1

MajorMayhem
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Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:26 am

I play the Republicans as if they were the Reds in Revolution under Siege: build, build, and build some more. Use every event that gives you more troops and get them digging in behind rivers, in front of major cities and other important areas. Republican milita may not be all that impressive, but get enough of them in entrenchments behind a river and they'll make a decent show.

You need to fight on the defence until you can form the Popular Army and you can form mixed brigades. That lets you create divisions that have a large number of elements (and are pretty resilent in combat) and you'll start getting the generals you need to lead them.

Probably the only area you can consider serious offensive action is around Zaragoza, where you can overwhelm the Nationalists with the sheer number of anarchists, and then roll up the Ebro and try to link the north with the rest of Republican territory.

Bismarck1940
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Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:35 pm

It is currently far too easy to roll up Zaragoza. Hopefully a future patch will have some mechanism to prevent Anarchists, perhaps without an active leader, from following orders.

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Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:43 pm

I think you can hold Zaragoza but you have to make it a priority. Feed artillery and units quickly to Zaragoza.

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Thu Jan 01, 2015 9:19 pm

Bismarck1940 wrote:It is currently far too easy to roll up Zaragoza. Hopefully a future patch will have some mechanism to prevent Anarchists, perhaps without an active leader, from following orders.

Anarchists should be blocked, like historically it happened by order given, but there should be an option (and then an event) giving the choice to let them go:
. " 'No show of authority': 'The best government is who governs the less': The Republic let the anarchists self-commanded. As republican, you lose much VPs, but gain some MN, and anarchists are no longer blocked (you can move them). "
. And, if letting them blocked, there should be an unprobable event (35%?) where anarchists unblock by themselves, but it makes too a huge loss of VPs, for anarchists show of not following republican orders:
as a paradox, you can use the self-commanded anarchists, to simulate they are more efficient than being interfere with hierarchy wills.

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Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:12 am

To me, Zaragoza is a race between Nationalist and Republican leaders. Whoever gets their forces organized first, wins.
Lots of hope for Nationalist march on to Barcelona, but likewise, Republican/Anarchist forces with army command and relieve Madrid.

kongxinga
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Sun Jan 04, 2015 8:59 pm

Is there any counter against this superb Republican Strategy playing as Nationalists? Durruty unlocks in turn 2, and takes 11 days by train to arrive, That gives Nationalists 3 turns to Prepare. A requete takes 2 turns to build, and you can possibly build a couple in Zaragoza (and give up the chance to play EP events. As for the city next to Zaragoza (initially Nationalist,) it seems a lost cause unless Nationalists can attack and take the Republican city across the river from Zaragoza so camping there can defend both cities. Problem with attacking is the penalties for attacking in bad terrain, the cohesion loss, and material loss. I am not sure if the Nationalists would have enough time to regain cohesion when Durruty's doom stack arrives.

The Zaragoza stack is 300 combat power while Durruty starts at 360 and has armoured cars. It would seem digging in and getting a few requetes will turn the tide but it seems repubs can ship several units (and artillery!) to Durruty. You can possible spends lots of rail points as Nationalists shipping troops from the north, but that is just begging for the Basque countries to break out. There also does not seem to be enough time to dismantle railroads to slow Durruty's arrival from Barcelona and to give him supply problems.

This is mostly theory crafting, as the AI never made me realize how weak that sector was. All I recalled was an easy march to the sea, splitting the republicans yet again, but it seems a crafty human player can fully exploit this with railing and or forced marches.

I want to thank you guys for bringing up this excellent attention. I know there has already been some discussion, but is there any evidence whether this strategy was undertaken or whether it ever was even conceived/ drafted/ planned for? If it was not undertaken, what were the reasons? Part of the reason I wargame is to gain insights into the situations commanders faced in history. It is easy to criticize commanders who seems to have made obvious mistakes, but on second reading there usually is a very good reason why they chose to commit what seems to be a blunder. Most of the time, there are fog of war/ supply/ friendly fog of war/ communications/ politics that are rarely mentioned in documents, and often rarely modelled. AGEOD engine does ok on supply, and ok on politics (and decent on enemy fog of war, although friendly fog of war is only modelled in the most specialized products), so I like to know if there were any sort of executive meddling/infighting that happened to make Republicans fail in their rush for Zaragoza strategy.

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Mon Jan 05, 2015 1:23 am

kongxinga wrote: I like to know if there were any sort of executive meddling/infighting
that happened to make Republicans fail in their rush for Zaragoza strategy.

It's not republican, but anarchists which were rushing everywhere they could, from the start of the events; but:
It's the CNT, through Garcia Oliver and Santillàn,
against the will of Durruti (whose collumn was standing waiting at the feet of Saragosa),
who followed the republican State will:
Oliver made the attack on Saragosa cancelled, to instead attack Majorca(!?)
(the goal was international bourgeoisy support.., damn what a successfull strategy... :/ ).

Durruti, July 27, sermon to his troop (I translate as I can):
"(...) Our victory depends on the swiftness of our action. The quicker we attack, the more we would win.
Until now, victory is on our side. For this, we must immediatly concquier Saragosa. (...)
"
(and here once conquiered they would have much troops, waiting in Saragoza jails)

kongxinga
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Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:50 am

Thank you Eriss, your explanation is very good, and your translation is clear and understandable. I appreciate you taking the time to translate original Spanish language sources. These are usually not accessible to the international historian (often leading to very warped views). I know, since I work to translate some historical works into English myself to try and correct misconceptions, which are pervasive if you rely only on English sources.

These factions within the Anarchist subfactions is new to me. My reading is CNT were anarchist labor unionists, FAI were your run of the mill anarchists.
Was Durruty affliated with either FAI or CNT? My only readily available source is Wikipedia, so apologize if I am perpetuating incorrect information. Wiki seems to say he worked for the two, but was not actually part of either ( completely in character of a true independent anarchist). And it appears from what you were saying is Madrid ordered CNT which told Durruty to change targets. What a complete mess. Might have been a good opportunity to "accidentally" lose the orders.

In hindsight, attacking Majorca to gain Western Liberal support sound stupid, but I don't think anyone knew how fearful of war the West were at the time, not even the West itself. I found it stranger about the decision to send back the INternacionales at the end when Republicans most needed them to counterattack. That seemed to be done to garner Western Support, but that was also the time where isolationists and appeasers held sway. Is there anything special about Majorca that led to the Republican government thinking it was a better target?

Were the prisoners captured labor unionists or POWs? Also I never realized Durruty died so fast IRL, since he seems to stay forever in game.

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ERISS
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Mon Jan 05, 2015 6:25 pm

kongxinga wrote: it appears from what you were saying is Madrid ordered CNT which told Durruti to change targets. What a complete mess.

The CNT voted the July 20th to have hands tied to the republicans, the Socialist bourgeois government of Giral-Azaña.
The FAI in CNT was then tied too. So, the means were to be secret again, illegal, like in just past peace, but nothing could seem be done. Some anarchist opponents tried to gather in Nosotros or Friends of Durruti groups, IIRC.

Might have been a good opportunity to "accidentally" lose the orders.

Losing the orders would have been good if the government had given enough ammunitions to launch the attack. The halt was for many reasons: military counseillor wanting Durruti to wait for other columns, lack of ammo once arrived near Saragosa, order cancelled. Bourgeois and communists told that it was anarchists fault..., despite it was State and military which prevent Saragosa from being taken. Even, if State lovers had been listened from the start of coup-d'état, fascists would have taken the whole Spain in only 1 day without almost any fight.

In hindsight, attacking Majorca to gain Western Liberal support sound stupid, but I don't think anyone knew how fearful of war the West were at the time, not even the West itself.

It was not hindsight to Durruti, he never believed in any help from bourgeois governments, foreign or even the allied spanish. The war that government fear the most is the social one, and so they keep fascists parties to kill revolutionaries. The usual war is even launched to forbid the social one,
see WW1 (and it almost failled as it gave weapons and reasons to people),
and maybe WW2 after that Popular Fronts had controlled people, to make the war take people back their social and economical advances (like government succeeded in WW1, compelling fascistly people in factories) but Stalin, successfull competitor, compelled west bourgeoisy in increasing further the advances to prevent extension of communism. Paradoxally so, 'Cold War' has been excellent for western people luxury. Now that Berlin wall fall, 'crisis' is voluntary made by the invisible grabbing hand of bourgeoisy who only after WW2 learnt that war can be not so succesfull for them (they had to let wealth to people).

Is there anything special about Majorca that led to the Republican government thinking it was a better target?

It was planned in hope to provoke Italy in a declared war,
so that England had to intervene directly too, then France.

Were the prisoners captured labor unionists or POWs?

Thousands anarchists, many jailed by republicans (and surely not freed by fascists), awaited liberation in Saragosa.
Maybe that's why too that republicans didn't want Saragoza to be freed..

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ERISS
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Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:05 am

I edited and added in all just past post.

Bismarck1940
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Sat Jan 10, 2015 3:19 pm

This great discussions shows why there should be some mechanism to have the anarchists not automatically be able to move forward/attack Zaragossa. You can of course even more forces w/o the leader, if inactive . . .

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ERISS
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Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:16 am

ERISS wrote: who followed the republican State will:
Oliver made the attack on Saragosa cancelled, to instead attack Majorca(!?)
(the goal was international bourgeoisy support.., damn what a successfull strategy... :/ ).

It was not a bad move, but it was not the time: Spain country had to be strategically secured first (for the help/support sent to who don't/can't protect themself can be more easily one to controle the applicant.. see Russia help as example).
It appeared so to Republican high command (that Spain is more important than Majorca), who after so preparations and tactical battles for Majorca, canceled this ongoing attack too as troops were needed on mainland (and Italy much delayed its expected declaration of war, maybe for like Durruti had said before the launch of attack on Majorca, that Italy secretly would find agreements with France and England to not enter all in open war: it would be just 'local events').
What a waste of time and men for letting the fascists to reinforce in strategical positions, like Zaragoza (highway to go North)..

MajorMayhem
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Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:16 pm

After a good bit more gameplay, my thoughts on the Republics move in the early war are as follows:

1. Everything that spawns in Madrid stays in Madrid. Miaja should be your first Army commander, and he should sit in Madrid with as many units as you can give him so that he can train as many milita up to infantry as possible. Forget about mounting a forwad defence of Madrid - only a stack in the Madrid region is defending Madrid.

2. Try to concentrate the dispersed forces around Granada into one or two stacks. Holding Malaga is a good idea, but hard. The overall goal is not to counter-attack the nationalists, but prevent a drive from Granada to Valencia and to tie down nationalist troops that could otherwise march on Madrid.

3. In Western Spain, mount hit-and-run raids with what units there are. Train a few militia in Banajoz and Huelva to tear up railroads and take ungarrisoned cities, and generally tie down nationalist troops.

4. When he arrives, send Hernández Saravia to Catalonia to help the Anarchists drive the nationalists out of Zaragoza. Between him, the other anarchist leader and Durriti, there should be enough command points to allow a big ancharist stack.

5. Don't bother with invading Majorica, it's not worth it, and you get the troops for free in Barcalona anyways. When they arrive, send them to Madrid.

6. In the North, focus on holding the cities, esepcially the Basque ones. Make use of the internal railroad to move milita from one end of the line to the other.

You should, doing this, be able to hang on till the Popular Army is formed. At that point, once you start getting mixed brigades, divisions, and, the international brigades and trained troops, you can start looking at pushing the Nationalists back.

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Durk
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Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:29 am

I really appreciate you sharing these thoughts. I think you are spot on with regard how to play.
So if the Republic player heeds your advice, then what does the Nationalist player do?

MajorMayhem
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Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:31 pm

Durk wrote:I really appreciate you sharing these thoughts. I think you are spot on with regard how to play.
So if the Republic player heeds your advice, then what does the Nationalist player do?


If I was in that situation, I'd start aiming to grab as many cities producing conscripts/money/WS as I can. The Nationalists get much more in terms of actual support than the Nationalists, and combined with an aggressive recruitment campaign, I'd aim to build the Nationalists forces up to par with those of the Republic. Stabilize the front, then strike at a particular point with my best leaders and troops.

It's quite an interesting divide between the two factions:

The Republic has the army, but not the leaders.
The Nationalists have the leaders, but not the army.

Baris
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Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:37 pm

Just started playing pbem game, I think there is also some priority to spare WS and money to improve rail capacity as Nationalists for autumn. Very informative topic, thanks.

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