The Nationalist Army Divisions during the Spanish Civil War

Whilst returning some reference books that I had been reading to their places on my bookshelves, I found a book that had been misplaced. The book was HISTORIA DE LAS DIVISIONES DEL EJERCITO NACIONAL 1936-1939 by Carlos Engel (published by Almena Ediciones [2000] ISBN 84 930713 5 8).

The text is in Spanish and each section is devoted to one of the Nationalist Army’s Divisions. Each division’s subunits are listed at the beginning of each section, and this is followed by a brief history of the part played by the division during the Spanish Civil War. There are some colour plates, and these show typical uniforms worn by Nationalist troops during the Spanish Civil War as well as a selection of corps and divisional badges.

Because this book had been misplaced, I had forgotten that I owned it. It has now been added to the shelf space that is devoted to the history of the Spanish Civil War … and I have no doubt now I know that I own it, I shall be referring to it in the near future.

Really Useful Boxes

Over the past year or so I have been acquiring quite a number of storage boxes from the massive range manufactured by REALLY USEFUL BOXES. My particular favourite is the 4 litre-sized box, mainly because it will take A4-sized paper and card but also because two fifteen-compartment Hobby Trays will fit into it.

Each compartment in the Hobby Tray has enough space to accommodate at least one BATTLE CRY, MEMOIR ’44, MEMOIR OF BATTLE, or MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE unit of 15mm or 20mm-scale infantry figures, and it is my plan to reorganise my collection so that I can get an ‘army’ into one or two 4 litre-sized boxes.

This is not as daft as it may sound. I understand that Stuart Asquith has been doing something along these lines for quite a few years … and as I get older I feel the need to consolidate rather than expand my wargames collection, and this is one way in which I can do that.

Normal Internet service has been resumed … I hope!

During this afternoon my connection to the Internet (which is provided by Virgin Media) has been somewhat erratic. This may have been due to the bad weather … but a more likely cause was an engineering problem. What may have caused such an engineering problem is unknown, but I did notice a large British Telecom van parked next to the local junction box. Sabotage … or were they trying to fix the problem? I don’t know, but as you can see from this blog entry, the connection has now been restored.

Trying to report the fault was … interesting. Virgin Media recommend that you report faults via their website … the very website that you cannot connect to because the Internet connection isn’t working! I tried telephoning … but all I got was a recorded announcement that told me that there was a ‘fault’ in the area where I live … which I had sort of worked out for myself!

I pay good money for this service. Do I feel that I get good value? Well I don’t … but then neither do my neighbours, and they use different service providers. In this digital age we have all come to rely on our Internet connections, and this has left the service providers in the position of having the whip hand over us. Of course we could all change service providers … but will the replacement be any cheaper or reliable?

I doubt it, so I will stick with Virgin Media … for the time being.

The Portable Spanish Civil War Wargame

Other wargamers continue to use and develop my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. Amongst them is Nick Huband … and this afternoon he sent me a photograph of the starting positions for a wargame set during the Spanish Civil War.

Nick has extended the board so that it is 12 squares x 8 squares and plans to use it to fight an action between an advancing motorized column of troops from the Italian C.T.V. (Corpo Truppe Volontarie) and a defending group of Spanish Republican militiamen.

The C.T.V. have three tankettes, a towed infantry gun, two motorcycle infantry units, six motorized infantry units, two motorized infantry support weapons, two infantry trucks (to carry the motorized infantry), and a motor tricycle command unit.

The Republican militia appear to have eight infantry units, a couple of infantry support weapons, and an armoured car … and the advantage of being dug in.

I will be interested to hear how this action pans out, and if Nick shares a battle report and any photographs with me, I will write a special blog entry about it.

Madasahatta revisited

Way back in the mists of time (well at least thirty years ago!) there was a wargames shop in Manor Park, East London, called NEW MODEL ARMY. It was owned and run by Eric Knowles … and to me it was almost heaven on earth! Not only did Eric have a large stock of wargames figures on sale (mainly Minifigs and Hinchliffe) and the usual wargames paraphernalia you would expect to find – books, paints, brushes etc – but his shop had a basement where a few invited wargamers were allowed to join him to fight tabletop battles. I – and a young man named David Crook – were amongst the chosen few, and we were both lucky enough to have taken part in Eric’s massive ‘Madasahatta’ campaign.

The background to the campaign (along with copies of the campaign newspaper that appeared during the opening months of the year-long campaign) can be seen on my Colonial Wargaming website, and regularly revisit it every so often because it brings back so many fond memories. But that is not the reason why I am currently studying the campaign map with a degree of intensity. The reason lies in a chance remark the David Crook made to me in a recent email.

What David asked was whether I thought that the map could be recreated in 3D on a six foot by four foot tabletop using Hexon II terrain tiles … and whether I had enough figures to re-fight the campaign using the sort of rules I outlined when I fought THE INVASION OF ROHAN wargame in July.

On reflection I am not sure that it is possible to recreate the island of Madasahatta on a six foot by four foot tabletop using Hexon II terrain tiles (the island is a funny shape, with all sorts of irregular inlets) … but I think that it might be possible using Heroscape™ terrain tiles. As to figures … well I have quite a sizeable number of suitable 15mm-scale figures mounted on both single and multi-figure bases so it might be possible.

I am hoping that this is not going to turn into an itch that I just have to scratch … but somehow I think that it might!

End of the (financial) year

I managed to finish reconciling my company’s accounts for the last financial year this morning. (My company was set up in July 2001 and its financial year ends on 31st July each year.) I had to wait until the bank statement for July/August arrived last week to do the reconciliation, and now all I have to do is to produce the Income and Expenditure analysis (which should take me another hour or two) and then I can send everything off to the accountant to be checked and the financial return for 2011-2012 can be prepared and sent to Companies House.

Running a small company can be fun … but making sure that you don’t fall foul of the regulations takes time, effort, and money. That is why I use an accountant to check everything that I do, even though I am quite capable of doing the work myself. (My father was an accountant for almost all his working life, and I picked up the essentials from him.)

All this means that so far I have not been able to spend any of today’s Bank Holiday wargaming … but with a bit of luck I might manage to do some later.

Film feel-good factor

In my recent ‘My Twenty Questions‘ blog entry I stated that my five favourite films were:

  • Things to Come
  • Zulu
  • The African Queen
  • Gettysburg
  • Enemy At The Gates

I have been feeling somewhat under the weather for some time (my wife and I have Summer colds which we just cannot seem to shrug off) and I decided to watch a film … and came to the conclusion that I should choose one of the one’s featured on my list.

But which one to choose?

This question made me think about why I had chosen each film in the first place.

THINGS TO COME is there because of the profound effect it had upon me when I watched it as a child.

ZULU is on the list because even though I have watched it many, many times, it still makes my heart rate quicken and my spirits rise (it also has a wonderful cast of actors and some great lines!).

THE AFRICAN QUEEN is there because I love C S Forester’s books, and this film was so well made and the acting was superb.

GETTYSBURG is on the list because it represents a pivotal point in the history of the United States and because the sheer size and spectacle of the film is unmatched by any other I have seen.

ENEMY AT THE GATES is included because the battle scenes have what I feel is a realistic grimness that captures what it must have been like to fight on the Eastern Front.


In the end I did not manage to watch any of my chosen films … but I did watch edited highlights from three of them. They were:

The charge by the 20th Maine (GETTYSBURG)

The final Zulu attack of Rorke’s Drift (ZULU)

The charge by the newly landed Soviet Riflemen (ENEMY AT THE GATES)

Watching these film clips did not make my cold go away … but for a short while they did make me feel better!

Holiday purchases

During my recent cruise up the Adriatic, I bought a few more buildings to add to my now quite large collection.

The resin buildings I bought are not to a constant scale, but generally look all right when placed in large numbers on the tabletop.

I also bought some ceramic buildings, but these were not for me. They are destined to be passed on the David Crook as they match ones that he already owns.

The Memoir ’44 ‘Breakthrough’ Terrain Boards

I finally managed to unpack the MEMOIR ’44 ‘Breakthrough’ Terrain Boards that were delivered whilst I was on my last cruise. They are twice the size of the normal terrain boards and therefore allow you to fight battles over a much larger area.

Having unpacked them, I then decided to compare the four terrain boards that come in the pack with their ‘normal’ equivalents. In each of the following photographs, the ‘Breathrough’ terrain board is shown first and then it is shown with its ‘normal’ equivalent terrain board placed on top of it.





The ‘Breakthrough’ pack also includes a booklet that contains fifteen scenarios that have been specially developed for the larger terrain boards. The scenarios are:

Western Front

  • Counter-Attack of the BEF
  • Battle of Abbeville
  • Sword Beach
  • Breakthrough to the Beach
  • Coldstream Hill
  • Breakthrough at Montain
  • The Surrender of Elster’s column
  • Noville to Foy
  • Operation Amherst

Mediterranean Theatre

  • Operation Crusader
  • Battle of Alam el Halfa

Eastern Front

  • Nach Moskau!
  • The Tatsinskaya Raid
  • Battle of Prokhorovka

Pacific Theatre

  • Manado Landings

You have an iPad AND a Kindle?

I have had an iPad for quite a while now, and I must admit that I am not sure how I managed before I owned one. (In truth, I am actually on my second one … but that is not important.) I have downloaded a range of ‘apps’ (better know to non-iPad owners as applications or programs) as well as a load of music, several films, and three TV series. I have also used it to draft my blog whilst I am away from home, to write articles, and to make notes for (and to write) wargames rules. I have also stored a number of books on my iPad, and whilst on my recent cruise I tried reading some of them … without a great deal of success.

The problem is sunlight. The iPad’s screen, which is made from something that is very similar to Gorilla Glass, is highly reflective … and in sunlight it is difficult to read black-on-white text. I have tried … and I have had the eyestrain and headaches to prove that it is not a good idea. And yet on board ship I was surrounded by people who were reading books, and who were obviously not having the problems that I was having. The reason why was simple to find out … they were all using Kindles.

After some discussion my wife (who is also an avid reader) and I decided to each buy Kindle. We have now had them for less than a week … and have been converted! My list of Kindle books is not yet a long one, but it includes:

  • Little Wars (by H G Wells)
  • Floor Games (by H G Wells)
  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes (by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
  • Complete Works of Rudyard Kipling (by Rudyard Kipling)
  • The Complete Series of Richard Hannay (by John Buchan)
  • The Works of Anthony Hope (by Anthony Hope)
  • Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles (by Kim Newman)
  • The Riddle of the Sands: A Record of Secret Service (by Erskine Childers)
  • The Secret Pilgrim (by John le Carré)

Some of the books were free, some were less than £1.00 to buy, and the rest were all less that £6.00. I think that I now have enough reading material for the next few weeks at least!

One added bonus to using the Kindle rather than the iPad is that it is a lot lighter to use and it fits into one’s pocket. I will now use my iPad for what it is really good at doing … and whilst I am away from home I will leave my reading to be done on the Kindle.