For the Republic! (Republican Spain HoI3 AAR)

August 1936 - the Spanish Civil War has begun.

Spain at the start of the Civil War

With the civil war started I estimate that over half the army has defected to the Nationalists, including the strong garrisons of Valencia and Barcelona - both cities seem to be shortly under the control of the Nationalists. Elsewhere the north of the country is basically lost to me and my only real point of strength is around Madrid where the garrison has remained loyal and two new brigades of infantry have been raised to defend the city. Forces north of Madrid are now falling back on that city where I will hope to hold a defensive line, but we should have time to stabilize the front as all brigades mobilize.

Elsewhere there is some good news - it seems all of the airforce has sided with the government, however most of the navy besides two light cruisers and several transport vessels have defected to the Nationalists. They’ll make an attempt at removing a division that has remained loyal to the central government in Morocco before being scuttled as we will almost certainly lack a port with the loss of Valencia and Barcelona.

Finally I’ve invited several left-wing radicals into the government and have instituted a forced draft and economic mobilization to get the country prepared for war - though unfortunately it is fairly certain we will not be able to sustain our economy in the long run.

The Civil War - Part I

Shortly after the Civil War started we got word that the British had decided to intervene and in response we got ahold of three new infantry brigades at Madrid - giving us a total of five infantry brigades and a reserve light armoured brigade around the capital. For now we’ll use this to form a protective cordon around the city, mostly to the north but also moving a single brigade west to hold off what I assume is two reserve brigades coming from the Portuguese border.

The next day we also got word of French intervention, in the form of three more infantry brigade which I’ll use to reinforce my northern border and form three two brigade divisions. A further seven reserve brigades are also moving south from Burgos and the other Nationalist owned areas north of Madrid. These will be moved behind my lines and form a provisional reserve.

On 16th of August we suffered our first overwhelming loss as our naval convoy en route to North Africa was attacked and then utterly destroyed by the Nationalists. With no means of rescuing the 6,000 men still in Morocco we now look to take control of the colony and resist all attempts by the Nationalists to use the area as a base.

August 20th 1936

By the 20th the situation throughout Spain is now extremely dangerous. Our reserve forces streaming south from Burgos have been utterly destroyed and strong Nationalist forces are now closing in on Madrid, but by now forces are digging in around the city - roughly five divisions worth.

Throughout the rest of the country though the situation is now almost hopeless as the Nationalists seem to have fully mobilized brigades attacking my reserve forces that have barely managed to reinforce at all. So be it - I shall hold around the capital. We can only hope that our production of militia divisions will be effective before we get overrun.

However on the whole I find my position could be much worse and we will, on the whole begin campaign of active defense - starting with attacks on their leading divisions moving towards Madrid.

August 26th 1936

Within a week I feel much better about my positions. With our forces still active in the northwest, near Barcelona, and in the far south the Nationalists have had to divide their attention, thus giving me time to strengthen my lines and push outwards. I’m now planning an offensive to move my lines towards the Portuguese border. That should hopefully give me space in front of Madrid. I also hope to have enough forces coming around Barcelona to retake that city. If I can I’ll be able to permanently divide the Nationalists and give myself a much better chance of ultimately winning this war.

pardon my total ignorance of this game (and its predecessors) but can you give any insight as to just what is going on on that map?

edit: ok now with the second post its a bit more clear, shoulda waited 2 minutes heh

Am I the only person who can’t for the life of me understand why you’d use the NATO unit icons outside the military?

Not that I’m complaining! On with the butcherin’!

To make it clear, the light areas are under Republican (CSL) control and the darker areas are under Nationalist control. The units are colored in the same fashion. Areas where you see a striped coloring indicate an area originally owned by one side that is now owned by the other. As all the striped areas are predominantly dark, that means they are all now controlled by the Nationalists.

I control the yellow territory. The Nationalists control the brown.

Movement is attack in this game so green arrows are movement arrows. Arrows with numerical values are attack moves. If that arrow is green then I am winning a battle, if it is yellow it is basically a stalemate at that point, and if it is red then I am losing.

For the Nato counters…

x = brigade
xx = division
xxx = corps headquarters
xxxx = army headquarters
xxxxx = army group headquarters
xxxxxx = national headquarters

As of right now I have only a few divisions mobilized. Most of them are around Madrid, however I have several reserve divisions collecting around Barcelona to retake that city. Isolated brigades are still clinging to resistance in Galicia in the northwest.

A lot of people are used to them from wargaming conventional use.

Also, the sprites in HOI3 have the disadvantage of telling you almost nothing about what they represent other than unit type unless you mouse over or click on them. The counters, on the other hand, show units via a stacking graphic you can’t see except zoomed in further, as well as unit type and some indication of strength.

The Civil War - Part II

On August 26th we receive our first new infantry brigade from production. It’s been posted to Tarragona where we hope it can be used to effectively attack the Nationalists at Barcelona. However in bad news the northwestern front has now been decimated besides a sole two-brigade mountain division which is holed up around the town of Piedras Blancas, halfway between Oviedo and La Coruna. The two brigades will hold until they are decimated, to give our southern forces as much time as possible to strengthen their lines.

Those are at the moment being pushed forward as further attacks from the Madrid line are being made against Nationalist forces near Salmoral and Guadalajara. Following up these attacks my forces manage to invest a Nationalist brigade which had begun probing around the south of my Madrid lines, after I managed to fix it by a frontal attack starting on the 27th.

Lister’s 1/1a Division fixes a Nationalist brigade around Guadiana

Perhaps more importantly my corps around Barcelona now also attacks, moving against the Nationalists who lightly control that city. However with reports that the Nationalists have two divisions further east of the city our chances of taking and then holding the region now appear slim. Despite this our attacks on the city proceed apace.

With the start of September the situation throughout Spain is still in flux. In the north my mountain troops under Lukacz are fighting for their lives around Piedras Blancas and I estimate that they will at most last until the second week of the month before they are forced to surrender. Around Madrid my front is now almost totally stabilized and indeed we are pushing forwards towards Burgos which is currently the Nationalist capital. I have roughly three divisions worth of troops available to make that advance and it seems I have a distinct advantage over the fascists who oppose me with mere brigades.

Madrid front September 1st 1936

Our attacks thereafter succeed beyond my wildest expectations. Within a week Republican forces are nearing the Duoro river and elements of the forces that surrounded and destroyed the one Nationalist brigade have closed in on the Portuguese border. Furthermore a division has taken Salamanca and we are now in the position to encircle a further four or more enemy brigades.

Republican forces advance on Salamanca and now have two Nationalist divisions in the position to be cut off.

While the Nationalists are being beaten back to the Duoro they are still attempting to destroy my mountain troops in the far north of the country on September 6th - though all hope is now lost for those men they’ve diverted at least two, possibly three divisions away from the critical front. Furthermore the enemy has largely been inactive in the south, for while they are taking up territory it is barely effecting me and indeed their forces have merely garrisoned the area around Valencia instead of attempting to cut my divisions around Barcelona off from the Madrid front. Wide gaps will remain in my lines for the time being.

The Barcelona Front

Around Barcelona itself the situation is not nearly as dire as I had once thought. The brigade that had chased some of my forces south from around Zaragoza have now stopped around the Ebro where I’ve attempted to sustain my own defensive line at Tarragona. What forces are left will move to attack and defeat the two enemy divisions that are left in my rear. Once that is done I’ll extend the line north along the Ebro and attempt to link with the Madrid front in the future. My only current potential reinforcements are due to arrive in the first two weeks of October when two militia divisions become available.

Looking forward to seeing how this goes! I played Nationalist Spain from 1938 as my first “complete” game (where complete means going until the Republicans were beaten). I was planning to switch around and play as Republican Spain from 1938, but when I looked over the Republican’s situation in 1938 I concluded it was untenable. I guess I should have started in 1936 but I didn’t know how the Civil War got triggered or what my options would be once it started.

I believe it starts at random after a set point and it appears as though its entirely randomized whether or not any particular divisions stay loyal to you or not - though it may be that you will get more on your side if you shy away from putting them in Nationalist zones - ie. Burgos, Seville.

Man, I know it’s beating a dead horse, but I just can’t get over how butt ugly this new engine of Paradox is.
CSL, maybe you could edit the images yourself to include some basic level of information, like operational objectives or long term movement targets of units and stuff?
To me this looks like a gobbled mess of unpersonal information - heck, there’s not even region names. Most screenies (except those zoomed so far out that you can see the outlines of Spain) you could tell me you were fighting Japan as China or Brasil as Argentinia and it’d have no reason to contest your claim.
That’s just sad.


I really wish the stacking graphic would show up a bit further zoomed out. It’s a very useful indicator and it only seems to be present when I’m zoomed almost to max.

There wouldn’t be a problem at all had they simply left in the perfectly good number of divisions in a province display.

Great to see an interesting AAR. Thanks, I blawged it. But damn though, no city names on the map, no names on units until you get close, no region names… this is meant to be a strategy game? Perhaps mods will fix it…

…oh, rezaf beat me to it. Great minds think alike.

The province names do show up on the map, but there is a delay. Also, the province borders seem all screwed up. I don’t know if that’s due to the image compression or some problem with CSL’s install.

In my Steam install the province borders look identical, but judging from screenshots elsewhere maybe there is a problem. I’m assuming the lines shouldn’t be dashed?

It really is a pity the engine doesn’t label major features (countries, mountain ranges, rivers, oceans) when you zoom out a bit. I love maps. HOI3, like EU3, doesn’t really deliver the same mappiness as the games on the earlier engine did.

Yeah, when I play they are solid. Though the reviewer who posted on their forum mentioned that the province lines were messed up on his install (perhaps due to installing over an earlier version?). I don’t know why your steam install would be messed up though.

Before you win the Spanish Civil War, shouldn’t win the American one first?


If I had the files still I would. But I had to reformat one morning due to a fairly pesky virus and didn’t back them up. Plus if I remember correctly that game ended with me crushing an amphibious landing force in the Carolinas and getting the Europeans to involve themselves - or at least thats where it was heading.

That and I read the thread when it got bumped.

This is making me want to read Homage to Catalonia again.

Hearts of Iron always sounds so awesome when people are talking / making AARs about it, but it doesn’t look fun to play at all. Maybe I should play it in a window with a war movie running next to it, just to spice things up a little.