MEXICANSKI 36
A Spanish Civil War Variant of
AK47
Devised by
Martin Rapier


Note

A copy of AK47 (published by RFCM) is required to use these rules. AK47 can be obtained from PETER PIG.

SCW Anti-tank Gun

Introduction

Whilst the Spanish Civil War has been seen by many as a rehearsal for WW2, and it did see the deployment of weapon systems and techniques used in that conflict, by and large the actual fighting bore much more relationship to WW1. Tactically combat was dominated by machine guns, entrenchments and massed infantry attacks. Artillery support was generally quite limited, and although tanks were present in increasing numbers as the war progressed, many were little more effective than their W.W.I predecessors, apart from greater mobility and reliability. The few attempts at independent armoured operations were disastrous failures as the lightly armoured tanks of the time outran their infantry support and were shot to bits by field and anti-tank guns. The main innovation was the increased use of air support, both in the form of tactical air strikes, and in terror bombing.

Troop Composition

A pre-war Peninsular Army infantry division had two infantry brigades, each of two regiments, each regiment with four battalions. The battalions had four rifle and one machine gun company. There was also an artillery brigade with two artillery grupos, each of three batteries. Cavalry regiments had four squadrons and a machine gun squadron. During the war, many units operated in more ad-hoc formations, especially the Republicans. Both sides tended to operate in "columns", forces of indeterminate size, designated by their commanders name, but roughly brigade sized forces. More formally, the brigade replaced the regiment as the primary tactical formation, and these could be composed of anything between two and five battalions. Divisions became groupings of columns and brigades.
Battalion sizes were generally far below establishment, but the proportion of automatic weapons (sub, light and heavy machine-guns) was considerably higher than comparable WW1 formations, even amongst militia units. Other heavy weapons were in short supply, especially mortars and tanks (a total of twenty in the whole of Spain in July 1936!), although field and anti-tank artillery was more plentiful. Whilst high hopes were entertained for the role of armour in the war, the new "wonder weapon" turned out to be the current generation of Russian and German anti-tank guns, both the Pak 36 and Russian M-35 37mm AT gun proved to be extremely effective against the tanks employed at that time. The superpower backers of each side did contribute considerable amounts of equipment, especially trucks, tanks, artillery and aircraft. The Italians even committed four weak divisions of ground troops, including the only fully motorised division in the war, however the bulk of support given to both sides was in the form of cadres and advisers. The overall degree of motorization was very low, and both sides improvised transport from any vehicles which came to hand. The TO&Es below can be used to derive appropriate ratios of artillery and machine-guns.

Official TO&Es

Standard Infantry Battalion - Four rifle and one machine gun company. In practice, most only had four companies, either four rifle or three rifle and one machine gun company. This was the standard unit on both sides. There are plenty of exceptions to this however.

Foreign Legion Bandera (Battalion) - Three rifle and one machine gun company.

Tabor of Moroccan Regulares (half - Battalion) - Two rifle companies and one machine gun platoon. The Machine guns may be amalgamated into companies at brigade level.

Tank/Armoured Car Battalion - Three armoured companies. Given the limited armoured strength available to either side, the companies would be very weak.

Artillery Grupo - Three batteries

Infantry Brigades (Republican mixed brigade) - Four infantry battalions, and artillery Grupo and one anti-tank battery. In practice more usually three infantry battalions and a single artillery battery.

Armoured Brigade - Four tank battalions and an armoured car company.

Infantry Division - Three infantry brigades, one artillery Grupo, one anti-tank battery. Republican units tended to be smaller, with only two infantry brigades.

The AK47 rule system is a bit vague about the size of forces represented. If players desire then the force in Mexicanski 36 can be taken as approximate brigade size. This in turn implies that each unit is roughly a battalion, with the individual stands being platoons/companies. If you wish, the units may be made up along the lines of the TO&Es above with an appropriate mix of infantry, MG, artillery etc. stands. So for example, a Moroccan unit would have two infantry companies (2-8 stands) and a single MG platoon, a regular infantry battalion 3-4 rifle companies (3-16 stands) and a 1-2 of Machine guns (or maybe not!). Company sizes are somewhat variable, ranging from 1-4 stands depending on how many figures you have, and see section 9.5 revision below. Personally I treat each stand as a platoon, so companies have 1-3 elements. If you prefer more skirmish level stuff, then the force is a battalion and the stands are fire teams...

SCW Italian Tank

Section 8     Flag Generator etc.

It is necessary to generate a flag, although if desired they may be pre allocated. Republican Flags were red (communist), red and black (anarchist) or red, yellow and purple (ordinary Republican). Nationalist flags were generally red/yellow/red, although some Moroccan units had their own designs. Many of the more irregular units had flags in odd colours.

Republican

1,2

Red

3

Red/Yellow/Purple

4

Red/Gold/Purple

5

Black and Red

6

Blue

Nationalist

1,2

Red/Yellow/Red

3

Red/Gold/Red

4

Red

5

Blue

6

Green

Appropriate slogans may also be applied to these, examples being: "No pasaran!", "Solidario proletaraia!", "Venceros fascistas!", "Viva EI Cristo Rey!", "British Battalion" (who said we lacked imagination). There were also frequently crests, stars and other symbols.

It is not necessary to generate a country name. Force names, however, may be generated, these will be of the form of either nnth brigade (where nn is a number) or name Column (where name is a suitable Spanish surname).

For the numeric type, roll percentile dice to determine the nn value.

For the name type, select Republican or Nationalist and roll below:

Nationalist

1

Franco

2

Astray

3

Primo de Rivera

4

Yague

5

Mola

6

Conde

7

Varela

8

Moscado

9

Aranda

10

Davila

11

de Llano

Republican

1

Miaja

2

Rojo

3

Sarabia

4

Caballero

5

Lister

6

EI Campesino

7

Modesto

8

Asensio

9

Castejon

Section 9     Force Compositions

Points Costs

Militia

Regular

Professional

Infantry with rifles, SMG etc.

7

10

17

Infantry with HMG

14

20

27

Mortar

20

30

36

Manhandled Gun

20

30

35

Manhandled Field Gun

25

35

40

Towed Gun

30

40

50

Towed Field Gun

35

45

55

Light (MG) Tank

35

35

40

Medium (Gun) Tank

60

60

85

Armoured Car (MG)

35

35

35

Armoured Car (Gun)

40

40

50

Truck

15

10

10

Armoured Lorry

30

30

40

Use the points costs and weapon types above, with the following modifications to "AK47":

All units must be divided up into companies of one to three elements of the same unit type. So for example. an infantry unit with seven rifle groups, two Machine guns and a gun could have three rifle companies (3/2/2), a MG company (2) and a gun company (1). I would suggest a maximum of six companies per unit.

There only four army/political types in the basic game. Once these are determined the Republican player may dice for political allegiance of each unit (see optional section later).

Sectarian Faction

These are Basque Nationalists, Catalonian Nationalists, Carlists etc.

Revolutionary

These are Anarchists, Communists, Marxists, Fascists etc.

Intervention Force

These are the Condor Legion, Italian CTV, and, maybe the International Brigades.

Government

These are the ordinary Republican or Nationalist forces.

Section 10     Scenery

Use the method in the rules or use the dice rolling method in "Bayonet and Ideology". Each player rolls a D6 against each terrain type below:

Terrain/DR

1

2

3

4

5

6

Hills

1

2

3

4

5

6

Woods

0

1

1

1

2

2

Rough

0

0

1

1

2

2

Buildings

0

1

1

2

2

3

Stream*

0

0

0

1

1

1

River**

0

0

0

0

0

1

* 12" length

** 24" length

The terrain is always just a templated area, but hills, buildings and woods block line of sight as per the rules. Rivers/streams must start and end at a board edge. Templates are roughly 6" square in this case, but may be put together to make larger pieces. All templates, except hills, are impassable to vehicles (putting a template on a hill will make it impassable). Streams are fordable, rivers are not unless at a bridge. Players alternate in placing terrain pieces.

SCW Field Gun

Section 11     Political Flow Charts

Modified charts appropriate to the Spanish Civil War are presented below:

Sectarian Faction (Basque or Catalan Nationalists, Carlists etc.)

Declare sectarian war.
Cost = 4xD6
1,2,3: One unit becomes zealous,+2 to move dice for whole game. Owner's choice.
4,5,6: One unit becomes imbued with terrifying delusions of heroism, probably due to cheap supplies of San Miguel. +4 to move dice for whole game. Owner's choice.

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Appeal to local loyalty to overcome other factional interests such as political allegiances. Cost 10xD6
1,2,3: Populace unites behind you, add 40 points of militia forces to one unit. Owner's choice.
4,5,6: You are declared the new regional leader, recruits flood to your cause. Add 60 points of militia forces to one of your units. Owner's choice.
Start a reign of terror & ethnic cleansing. Cost 6xD6
1: Troops indulge in bloody massacre and go wild on looted sangria and garlic mushrooms. Discipline falls apart. Select one unit, roll 5,6 for each group to remove it.
2,3,4: Enemy troops are terrified of falling into your blood drenched hands and desert. Choose one enemy militia unit. Roll a 5,6 for each group to remove it.
5,6: Nominate 1 of opponents regular units. It falls to militia class.
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Local leaders, folk musicians etc. are appointed to military rank and power. Cost 4xD6.
1,2: Bad idea. An interest in Celtic bagpipes does not necessarily qualify one for command. -3 on all movement rolls for one unit. Owner's choice.
3,4,5,6: "EI Gordo" (and his band, available for weddings & birthdays) manage to inspire a battalion of fanatics. One Unit becomes professional. Owners choice.

Gain support from similarly inclined groups elsewhere. Cost 8xD6
1,2,3,4: Upgrade any 4 groups to HMG/manhandled guns.
5,6: Two tanks or two armoured cars or two towed guns added to one unit of owners choice.

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Sectarian strife affects opponents troops. Cost 9xD6
1,2,3: Enemy militia class units desert. Select one enemy militia unit (if any). Roll 4,5,6 for each group to remove it.
4,5,6: Select one opponents militia or regular unit. Roll 4,5,6 for each group to remove it. They have realised the error of their ways.

Extreme sectarian regime installed.
Cost 6xD6
Troops are imbued with extreme fervour.
1,2,3,4: Roll 5,6 for each unit to raise it one class.
5,6: All units rise one class.

Revolutionary (Communist, Fascist, Anarchist, Marxist etc.)

Whip up dissent with existing system.
Cost 6xD6
1,2,3: No-one impressed.
4,5,6: 50 points of troops added an existing Militia unit (if any). Owner’s choice.

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Carry out atrocities against your political opponents. Cost 10xD6
1,2: Enemy morale hardens. One Regular unit ungraded to professional (owners choice).
3,4,5,6: Enemy troops tied down in security operations. Enemy unit with most militia groups rolls D6 for each group,3,4,5,6 to remove for security operations.

Issue political manifesto with lots of "wealth readjustments". Cost 4xD6
1,2,3: Add 20 points troops to one unit of owner’s choice
4,5,6: Owner adds 40 points of troops to a unit of choice.

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Launch propaganda campaign to gain foreign backing. Cost 6xD6
1,2,3,4: 40 points of Heavy Weapons added to a unit of owners choice.
5,6: Two armoured cars or tanks are donated (owners choice). Opponent chooses which unit gets them.

Become hailed as a "man of peace" by League of Nations. New York Times does a special feature on you. Cost 4xD6
1,2: Receive shipments of grain to aid in reconstruction. Not much use in a war.
3,4: Receive ex-First World War army boots for "your people". +3 to movement roll of one unit for duration of game. Owner's choice.
5,6: League of Nations sanctions on your opponents. Roll D6 for each enemy vehicle, a 6 removes it.

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Seek professional help with training. Cost 3xD6
1,2: Upgrade one unit to regular. Owner's choice.
3,4: Upgrade one unit from regular to professional. Owner's choice.
5,6: Add 1 morale point to unit of owner’s choice.

Step up pressure on League of Nations to deal with your opponents aggression. Cost 10xD6
1,2,3: Enemy supplies are cut back. Remove two enemy Heavy Weapons groups. Opponent's choice.
4,5,6: International blockade bites deep. All enemy heavy weapons roll 5,6 for removal.

Intervention Force (Italian CTV, Condor legion, maybe International Brigades)

In accordance with your orders from Rome/Berlin/Moscow your volunteer force arrives in Spain as a gesture of international solidarity to bolster the local forces. Cost 6xD6
1,2: Many of your volunteers turn out to be mercenaries, escaped criminals and other undesirables. Downgrade one unit of opponent’s choice by 1 class.
3,4,5,6: Your troops manage to salvage and recondition a number of weapons provided by the Spanish. Every unit may upgrade one group to HMG.

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Visit Rome/Berlin/Moscow. Meet Mussolini/Hitler/Stalin to confirm unity of purpose and obtain material support. Cost 8xD6
1,2,3,4,5: Two armoured cars or tanks added to a unit of opponent’s choice
6: Further cadres are despatched from your backer. Upgrade one unit of owner’s choice to professional.

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Carry out a spectacular armoured raid deep into the enemy rear, this seriously disrupts their logistics and communications. Cost 10xD6
1,2: Fuel dumps destroyed. Opponent loses mobility. All vehicles, tanks etc. removed from a unit of opponent’s choice, which must have at least one vehicle.
3,4: A consignment of vehicle spares and several armoured warfare advisers turns up. Opponent nominates one of owner’s units to receive +3 movement bonus on all rolls.
5,6: More vehicles are sent for combat evaluation. Two tanks or armoured cars given to a militia or regular unit of the owners choice.

Government (Republican Popular Army, Army of Africa etc.)

Deal with unreliable elements in occupied areas, suspects arrested and rounded up. Cost 4xD6
1: Wrong people arrested. Any reinforcements arrive at a point of opponent’s choice when they make a successful roll.
2,3: Real troublemakers manage to escape. No effect.
4,5,6: Huge numbers of communists/fascists are arrested and re-educated or otherwise dealt with. Subversion falls away to negligible levels. Upgrade one unit of owner’s choice by 1 class.

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Use assets seized from unreliable elements (see above) to purchase weapons and advisors. Cost 10xD6
1,2,3,4: Any 4 groups upgraded to HMG, Owner's choice.
5,6: Influx of modern equipment and experienced "advisers". One Regular unit upgraded to professional. Owner's choice.

Use Gold Reserves to buy weapons abroad. Cost 6xD6
1,2,3: Owner may nominate one unit to have +3 firing for 1 turn of the game. Owner's choice as to when.
4,5,6: Opponent nominates 1 unit to have +1 firing for whole game.

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Land reforms and wealth redistribution in favour of your forces. Cost 8xD6
1,2: Troops motivated. +3 on one units movement dice for whole game. Owner's choice.
3,4: Troops very motivated.+2 on two units movement dice for whole game. Owner's choice.
5,6: Troops exceptionally motivated. +2 on all units movement dice for whole game.

Invest in propaganda and security services. Cost 10xD6
1,2,3,4: Intelligence coup. +6 to first movement dice roll of all units, including late arrivals.
5,6: Enemy thrown into confusion by sabotage operations. Opponent's arrival dice rolls all -1.

Section 15.2     Late Arrivals

The SPANISH CIVIL WAR was more linear than modern Africa wars. The attackers starting edge determines the permissible entry locations.

Defender’s units may enter on the centre edge of any board apart from the attackers start edge. Attackers may enter only enter board corners along their starting edge. If desired, players may designate the situation as "fluid" and use the printed rules for entry.

Section 18     Movement and Command Radius

Command and Control

Although the SPANISH CIVIL WAR featured many ad-hoc unit organisations, they were quite structured internally. As indicated in the section 9 revisions, units must be organised into companies of 1-3 elements of the same type. Each unit has two kinds of command radius, company command and unit command.

An element is in company command if it within its normal command distance from another element of its company (2/4/6").

A company is in unit command if all its companies (at least one element of each) is within twice the normal command range of another company of the same unit (4/8/12"). Having many companies allows a unit to spread out more, but at the cost of reduced command and control (see below).

If any element of a company is out of company/unit command, the unit suffers the standard morale penalty as per the printed rules. This should encourage players to manoeuvre their units in more realistic groupings.

Movement Modifications

Units move as per the printed rules (roll a D6 when activated) with the following additions. Along with the move dice, roll a command D6 to generate command points. These command points are used to activate companies/elements to move. Command points are re-rolled each turn and may not be saved.

A company in unit command costs 1 CP to activate. Note: activating a company allows all its elements in company command to move freely, even out of company/unit command.

A company out of unit command costs 2 CP to move. Again this activates all its in-command elements. Individual elements may be activated too, at a cost of 2 CPs. This is mainly of use for moving up out-of command elements.

If a unit is deployed in a column i.e. one company behind the other and in base-to-base contact, the lead company may be activated for 1 CP, and all the "following" companies may move with it at no cost as long as they maintain their column formation. This basically allows units deployed in column to be guaranteed the ability to move. Column movement was a unique feature of the SPANISH CIVIL WAR. If the lead element/company is pinned, tough, you have to activate the rear companies individually.

Optional: There is sufficient scope for chaos and confusion in the current movement and C3 system, however if players wish they may penalise a force with mixed troops, units of dubious political allegiance etc. by reduced command or movement rolls (up to a maximum of -2 off each) or possibly if enthusiastic (for example Anarchists with an Anarchist Brigade CO) give them some pluses. These considerations would normally apply to the Republicans as their units were more polyglot and factional. Similarly whilst there were cases in factional in-fighting between units on the same notional side (such as the Barcelona uprising), these were highly unlikely to occur in a pitched battle in the face of the common enemy, although players may wish to develop special rules to cover these situations. This sort of thing is probably best covered in specific scenario victory conditions rather than the more open ended "standard" Mex 36 game.

As a suggestion. For Republicans only, roll for each unit to determine their political allegiance. This will need to be recorded on the unit sheet.

1

Regular (Government)

2

Communist

3

Marxist

4

Anarchist

5

Socialist (Intervention Force)

6

Basque Nationalist (Sectarian)

The Brigade CO allegiance is determined by the force political allegiance, Government = Regular, Intervention Force = Socialist, Sectarian Faction = Basque Nationalist. The only one you need to dice for is if revolutionary (Marxist, Anarchist, Communist).

If a unit is the same allegiance as the Brigade CO, then +2 on move and command dice. If it is a different allegiance then -1 on move and command dice. This still applies even if the Brigade CO is killed/routed (as it shows the overall leadership of the unit).

Random Fire Effects

I was strongly tempted to include friendly fire incidents etc. in here, but decided against it.

The main changes are as follows:

Double 3 (breakdown). Vehicles breakdown on a 4,5,6. They just didn’t make them as well in the 1930s. Professionals can still try and fix them.

Double 4 (air support). This can be called in by Professional or Regular troops. Both sides had a reasonable amount of air and artillery support, and there is no reason to restrict this to just Professionals.

Otherwise, use the rules as printed.

Notes on Troops

Nationalists

Army of Africa

The Army of Africa was made up of professional long service troops who saw continuous (if light) action against rebel tribesmen. They were composed of two main elements, the Tercio (Foreign Legion) and the Regulares (locally recruited Moroccan troops). Both types proved to be among the best soldiers available to the Nationalists during the war. They were flown to Spain by transport planes from the German and Italian airforce, as well as a daring naval convoy (the bulk of the Spanish Navy joined the Republicans).

Carlist Militia*

The Carlists supported the claim of the descendants of Don Carlos (the uncle of Queen Isabella II) to the throne of Spain. They wanted a return to a "traditionalist" ultra-Catholic monarchy. Although they hated the Alfonsine Monarchists, whom they regarded as too "liberal", they loathed the anti-clerical Republicans. The movement’s support came from the Requetes (the Carlist Militia), the Pelayos (the Carlist Youth Movement) and the Margaritas (the Carlist Womans’ Service), whose recruits were mainly drawn from the families of Navarrese smallholders.

Right-wing Militia (Falangists)*

The Falange was a small fascist party that was founded in 1933 by Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera. It gained a degree of popular support when it merged with the JONS (Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista), in 1934, to form the Falange Espanola de las JONS.

Italian CTV

Several tens of thousands of Italian "volunteers" flocked to the aid of the God fearing, right thinking nationalists. Mysteriously a lot of these volunteers brought aircraft, artillery and tanks with them.... They also brought the only fully motorised division available to either side (the Littorio Division). The CTV divisions were quite weak, really only being reinforced brigade size formations.

Nationalist Regular Army

Approximately half the Peninsular Army sided with the Nationalists against the government.

Republicans

Communist Militia

Various Communist, Marxist and left wing militias were formed, usually linked to Trades Unions. Some were closely linked with Moscow, many were not. The POUM militia (with whom George Orwell fought) were an anti-Stalinist Marxist group.

Anarchist Militia*

Anarchism (or anarcho-syndicalism) has a very strong tradition in Spain, and similarly to the Communists, anarchist militias were formed, among them the famous Durutti Column. The anarchist trade union was the CNT and the anarchists main political organisation the FAI.

International Brigades

Although the formation of such units was suggested by the Comintern, the vast majority of troops in these units were simply foreign volunteers with anti-fascist ideals. They contained contingents from all over the world (including thousands of Austrians, Germans and Italians), and had a very high proportion of troops with military experience. They were used as Shock troops by the Republicans and suffered very heavy losses. By the end of the war, they were mainly composed of native Spaniards.

Basque Nationalists

They want independence. They may not get it under the Republicans, they certainly won’t get it under the Nationalists. The Basque Nationalist Party was the PNV.

Republican Regular Army

About half the pre-war Peninsular Army decided to support the government. Similarly various paramilitary forces such as the Guardia Civil, Guardia Asaltos, Carabinieros etc. supported both sides. Strangely these heavily armed policemen proved to be extremely effective troops, especially in street fighting, possibly due to the long term guerrilla war with Basque, Catalonian and Valencian separatists.

* indicates thanks to Bob Cordery

Sources

Marks Hannan’s SCW Website and SCW DBA variant rules: http://members.aol.com/gaun1let/SCW/Main.html

Bob Cordery's SCW Website, book "La Ultima Cruzada" and Spanish Civil War Rules: http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~warden/scw/scwindex.htm

Osprey Elite Series "International Brigades in Spain 1936-39"

Osprey "Spanish Civil War 1936-39"

"Tanks and Trucks of the Spanish Civil War" by Wilson

"Blood of Spain" by Ronald Fraser

"The Spanish Civil War" by Hugh Thomas

Miniature Wargames "The Spanish Civil War" series

Ken Loach’s film "Land and Freedom"

"Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell

"Moment of War" by Laurie Lee



This page was last up-dated on 22nd December 1999

Martin Rapier (Mexicanski 36)
RFCM (AK47 Rules)
Robert George Cordery (Layout)