For my next ASL game with Patch, I ended up looking at the earliest scenario I had available, which is set in the Spanish Civil War (this is actually our second scenario set there, though this one is even earlier than “Italian Brothers“). Patch easily agreed to another SCW scenario, and I took the Nationalist side as it may be my only real chance to drive Pz Is.

“Far From Home” is from Action Pack #6, and is set in December 1936 during the Madrid campaign. The Republicans set up six first line (Russian) squads and three HS on the bulk of board 2a with Control of three of five victory buildings. The Nationalists set up in/near the town on board 2a with nine elite (Axis Minor) squads, a MMG, and an ATR. On turn 2, they get another 10 squads, better leadership, another MMG, a DC, and six mobile machine gun nests Pz IBs. The Republicans then get a pair of T-26s (with an AL) on turn three, and then twelve squads, a Commissar, MMG, two DCs (and two crews… for the DCs?) as well as another pair of T-26s. Each side also has one British 51mm MTR which doesn’t count as captured (representing a common Spanish design?).

Victory is by a custom schedule of points. You get one VP for each of five buildings there is a GO MMC in at the beginning of your first three turns, and then a point for each one you Control at the end of the game. There’s also a bridge in the Republican area and a crossroads in the Nationalist area that are worth 5VP each at the end of the game (only). Since everything but the crossroads is out of the Nationalists setup area, they can’t get any VPs on their turn 1, and it is physically impossible to take one of the Republican buildings on the first turn. Taking the two ‘unoccupied’ buildings isn’t hard, but with Patch’s setup, getting at the second one on the first turn would mean braving a 4 -2 shot. That implies a standard opening of 3 VP for the Nationalists and 9 for the Republicans. Staying like that would be a 10-17 loss, but taking the bridge would make it 15-12; or taking the buildings without the bridge is 13-14…. Not liking the idea of throwing everything into taking and holding the bridge (and I had real doubts about that), I went against every instinct I had from looking at Patch’s set up, and came up a plan to try and disrupt Patch’s control of his initial buildings before the beginning of his turn 3. The Nationalists win on ties, so just lowering the Republican VP total opens up possibilities.

And a word about those Pz IBs… They use the Axis Minor version of the counter, which is exactly the same as the normal German one, but the scenario makes them much less useful. First of all, they have no radios (and neither do the T-26s), and second, they have Inexperienced Crews. Normally, that’s bad enough with the 6 ML and all, but the CMGs are also the MA, so the +1 applies to every shot it makes. This is a +2 TH (since a 1MT must be buttoned up to fire), and CMG use is 6 +1, plus any TEM…. The good news is that they do still have the two TK rolls against tanks; the base TK# is low, but Patch wasn’t happy with taking the two rolls on each hit….

Oh, I should note that it is snowing at the start of the scenario, so the boards are in winter colors to remind us of that, even though Ground Snow is not in effect. Of course the snow stopped on the first roll of the game….

Having decided to go after Patch’s victory buildings from the start, the bulk of my troops lined up and headed for some woods that would be a good jumping-off point for the main assault. Despite the cover, there was a gap through all the trees where Patch could fire, and he promptly caused an ELR failure in my 8-1 leader, which also pinned a squad. In addition, my squads set off his Sniper while passing the same 1MC, and he pinned my ATR squad. In DFPh his MTR zeroed in on 2aQ17, which was a natural place to want to advance, and to emphasize the problem, his second hit was a CH (not that that meant anything, but…).

Situation, Nationalist Turn 1, showing the full board. North is to the left, and remember the winter colors are purely a reminder of falling snow (which has already stopped).
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