When Battlefront started bringing out “add ons” to Version 3, such as Fate of a nation and WW1 I clung to the hope that they would also release a supplement for the Spanish Civil War (SCW), now I know there is an “unofficial” Spanish language version that’s been around a while, but my Spanish isn’t that great. Sadly so far I have been disappointed, but for frustrated SCW fans like me Battlefront has provided two Spanish lists for us to use in WW2.
Firstly in Mid War there is a pdf for the Division Azul (Blue Division) that Franco sent to fight alongside the Axis as payment for their help in overthrowing the democratically elected Government of Spain and secondly in the 2eme Division Blindee pdf for LW there is the opportunity to run an Armoured Rifle Company as representing the 9th Company of the Regiment de marche du Tchad, a unit formed in North Africa largely of Spanish republican soldiers and know more commonly as La Nueve.
I have zero interest in building up Axis forces but the chance to build a force representing La Nueve was too good to miss, and also provides me with an opportunity to highlight another unusual unit from the war for use on the tabletop.
The Régiment de marche du Tchad was formed in July 1943. It became the infantry regiment of the 2nd Armoured Division.
The RMT was formed grouping personnel from mainland France belonging to the Régiment de Tirailleurs Sénégalais du Tchad, as well as other elements from mainland France or from Europe who had joined the Allies in North Africa. After the fall of Republican Spain many Spanish refugees headed to France and to the French colonies in North Africa. With the Fall of France in 1940 and the establishment of the Vichy Government many former Republican soldiers were interned, some sadly were also returned to Spain where they were executed by the Francoist Government. When the North African colonies were liberated in 1943 many of these interned soldiers joined the Free French Army to carry on the fight against fascism. There was a genuine belief amongst Republican exiles during the war that the defeat of fascism across Europe would mean the overthrow of Franco and give them the chance to return home. These soldiers were formed into the 9th Company of the Regiment de marche du Tchad (Chad Composite Regiment) and placed under the command of a Frenchman Capitaine Raymond Dronne and a Spanish officer Amado Grannell. The Regiment became part of the armoured infantry complement of the 2nd Free French Armoured Division
The unit’s most celebrated action was during the liberation of Paris. Originally the allies planned to bypass Paris, but when the French Resistance under Henri Rol-Tanguy staged an uprising in the city from the 19 August, De Gaulle threatened to send the 2nd Armoured Division into Paris, single-handedly, to prevent the uprising being crushed. On 24 August, General Leclerc, the Divisional Commander, sent a small advance party to enter the city, with the message that the Second Armored would be there the following day. This party, commanded by Captain Raymond Dronne, consisted of the 9th company. Dronne and his men arrived at the Hôtel de Ville, in the centre of Paris, shortly before 9:30 pm on the evening of 24 August. On 25 August, the 2nd Armored and the U.S. 4th Division entered Paris and liberated it. After hard fighting that cost the 2nd Division 35 tanks, 6 self-propelled guns, and 111 vehicles, von Choltitz, the German military governor of Paris, capitulated at the Hôtel Meurice. The following day, 26 August, a great victory parade took place on the Champs Élysées, which was lined with a jubilant crowd acclaiming General de Gaulle and the liberators of Paris.
La Nueve continued to serve with the 2nd Armoured as it fought it’s way across France, taking part in the liberation of Alsace and Lorraine, before ending the war at Berchtesgarden where Allied troops were sent to prevent any possibility of the Germans creating an “alpine redoubt” around Hitlers summer home. By the wars end however many of the Spanish Republicans had become casualties
As the war ended in Europe and soldiers and civilians were able to return to their liberated homes, the Spanish were amongst a small number for whom there was no home to return, although they had fought to liberate Europe from the grip of fascism, their homeland remained under the control of fascist dictator Franco until his death in 1975.
it’s now a little bit more difficult to create La Nueve as the electronic version of the list has not yet made it onto Forces, and is no longer available on easyarmy, sadly although there is a version on FOW BlogSpot it is currently not working
The US took over the equipping of Free French forces in 1943 after the liberation of North Africa so La Nueve is based around an American Armoured Infantry Company in terms of uniforms and equipment. There are however some subtle differences. All the French 2nd Armoured Division lists are “Always Attack”, French infantry were not equipped with the Garand Rifles used by US units and do not use the Automatic Rifles, Excellent Communications, Under Command, or Hit ‘em With Everything You’ve Got special rules. They do however get all the other US special rules and in addition one non-recce Unit gets a spearhead deployment if they are attacking and they use the French central fire control rule. The also get a special “Remember Madrid” rule which gives the Company HQ and all combat platoons a re-roll of failed motivations to counter-attack.
The Combat platoons are similar in make up to a standard US Armoured Infantry platoon, with the exception that the two support sections don’t have an integral bazooka so there are only 3 bazooka teams rather than 5.
The Company also gets access to a mixture of French and American support platoons, Shermans, Stuarts, 105 and 155mm artillery, Recce units (or Spahis as they are called in the list), and also a unit of French Tank destroyers (which was formed from the French marines), which also gets the US TD rules
The big difference in support platoons however is the ability to take platoons of FFI units (French resistance), both infantry or captured armour, well technically as the unit consists of 2 Hotchkiss H39 tanks I suppose they are “re-captured”. The units are Confident Conscript and cannot be held in reserve – so whilst they are good at bulking out the army they do pose some tactical issues.
I’ve won competitions with them in Scotland, and they achieved a creditable 20th position at Corrivalry in 2017 (though at 1515 points they struggle to get above 7 platoons). At Corrivalry they were aided by some of Ignacio Ignacio’s special La Nueve dice.
I use standard US Infantry figures for the infantry, however I have used a bit of artistic licence for the CinC and 2ic as I used Peter Pig Spanish Civil War figures, and painted them in Republican uniform and gave them Republican flags
For one platoon of M3 Half Tracks I have added Republican flag decals, historically the vehicles had Civil War themed names painted below the windscreen, however that is way way way beyond anything I’m capable of replicating so I wrote the names on the sides of the vehicles, and the names Brunete and Teruel are authentic, being battles from the Civil War, I added the slogan “No Pasaran” to my command half track along with a Republican flag at the rear, and to another vehicle the name “Jarama” to honour the British Battalion of the International Brigades, for whom Jarama was a first major engagement.
So if you’re looking for something that’s a bit different La Nueve can provide it and be competitive too.