Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Off to Spain

As I’m nearly done on the Society of Ancients game I’ve been able to pay a bit more attention to my Spanish Civil War project.

I’ve been working my way through Robert Colodny’s book “Struggle for Madrid” which I referred to in an earlier post. This is turning out to be quite interesting. It dates from the late 1950’s and is a work-up from Colodny’s doctoral thesis. As such it is very heavily footnoted. Possibly about 40% of the book is footnotes as some of these contain hefty chunks of quotations from source materials. Pretty much all of this is valuable stuff, so you have to read the notes as well.

Colodny is an interesting character. He was wounded whilst serving with the Abraham Lincoln Battalion during the Spanish Civil War, and was also investigated by the House Unamerican Activities Committee (have I got that right? – I’m mean MaCarthy’s lot). He denied being a communist all of his life and seems to have survived the experience.

The book is both passionate and raw and Colodny clearly has an internal agenda. Franco’s forces are “rebels” or “fascists*” and whilst he is heavily critical of the Republic as well (especially Caballero) it is clear who he thinks are the good guys.

From a wargamer’s point of view it has some really good day by day analysis of the attack on Madrid together with excellent orbats, especially for the rebels. All in all I’m rather glad I picked it up.

I also managed to sort out my next load of painting the weekend before last. I’ve taken the Falange Peter Pig black box and turned the figures into Army of Africa Spanish Foreign Legionnaires. The first Bandera is painted and based and is looking quite natty. I’ve got the piping on the hats and I’ve painted up a few with rank insignia, - Cabo & Private 1st Class. Can’t work out how many PFCs the Spaniards had in this period as a proportion of the army. I’ve done enough so there’ll be noticed because the one thing you can always say about a fascist army is they do like their insignia. I’ve struggled to get the right shade of green however. Using Trebian’s golden rules of quick painting I try never to mix paint for basic uniform colours and only buy from my local hobby shop. I spent 15 minutes or more looking at paint colours on Saturday before finally settling on Tamiya’s Nato green, which is probably a shade too dark but it’ll do.

I’ve also cleaned up and readied for painting a couple of guns to go with the Legion. These are two guns from Irregular’s “Really Useful Gun” range. This pair are RUG 1c, which is a sort of 77mm Schneider field gun.

These are the first RUGs I’ve used. They are a bit odd being neither one scale nor another and being close but not exact to their historical prototype. However I’m quite pleased with the look and I think they’ll fit in just fine. Just to be sure I trimmed the gun shields to give them a lower profile. The Peter Pig gun crew are nice, although they suffer as there’s three poses in an eight figure packet. As I want four man crews it usually means duplicating a pose on the gun base. Luckily I had some spare odd figures from the HMG packets so I’ve mixed them in.

So, three blogs in three days. What’s the secret?

I’m blogging in my lunch hour….

*Having read a few books now I'm not convinced Franco was a fascist as we understand it. I mean he was an unpleasant individual but he's got more in common with Catholic absolute monarchs or military dictators. He hasn't actually got a political philosophy other than he's the strong man and he wants to be in power in as traditional environment as possible. Both Hitler & Mussolini were radicals in their own right. Just a thought. I'll probably continue to call them Fascists, but that's because that's what the Republicans called them.


  1. McCarthy was a Senator and therefore not connected with the HUAC which was, as the name suggests, a committee of the House of Representatives. The committee that McCarthy chaired still exists - unlike HUAC - and is the same one that was told where to get off by George Galloway a few years ago.

  2. IM -

    Thanks for the correction. Colodny was investigated by HUAC and not McCarthy. According to Wikipedia McCarthy's hearings are often incorrectly conflated with those of HUAC, and I must mnow confess to incorrect conflation.

    Of course most of what I know about McCarthy comes from that movie with George Clooney in it.