After the unsuccessful coup on July 19th 1936, the various Infantry formations found themselves either in Government or Rebel-held areas, irrespective of the political ideologies, or indeed apolitical views, of many of the soldiers within them.
On either side politically ‘unreliable’ officers were being arrested and with the exception of those units activated by officers involved in the coup, confusion reigned, with many soldiers milling about in their barracks in confusion.
The Rebels found themselves in possession of nine Infantry Regiments concentrated in the North, a further six in Andalucia and the South, with six more spread across Spain, although some of these were besieged in their barracks by forces loyal to the Government. These regiments were to form the core of what was to become known as the Nationalist Army.
The formations that remained in Government-held areas, although in many cases actively attempting to put down the Coup, were viewed with distrust by both the Government and the as yet largely unarmed militiamen. The result was that the army was disbanded and its weapons issued to the Trade Unions who controlled the militiamen.
While numbers of former soldiers joined the militias, either as individuals or as complete units, whether in uniform or without, others took the opportunity to return to their homes. Overnight any formal military entity in the Government Zones ceased to exist.
This list can be used to represent a Regular Infantry Platoon from a Peninsular-based Infantry Regiment, either as part of one of the units which became the ‘Banda Nacional’, or one of the units which fought as part of the Republican Popular Militias in the early weeks of the Civil War.
Like most nations in the post-Great War period, Spain reduced the size of its military for financial reasons. While its forces in its Moroccan Colonies were maintained at their full strength, its domestic military was reduced by over a third.
All of its units and their traditions were retained, but by deactivating a battalion in each regiment, one company in each remaining battalion and one platoon in each remaining company, considerable savings in manpower were achieved.
While in theory the weapons for these deactivated units were kept in storage, the need to maintain equipment levels in colonial units and the creation of the Assault Guards, resulted in stored weapons being removed to equip them.
Such was the need, that there weren’t even enough support weapons to fully equip all of the battalions on their peacetime establishment, let alone if they had been mobilized for war.
The list for this force is here: CoC – Peninsular Army Infantry (1936)
Fear not loyal readers of Lard Island News, my recent silence has not meant that I have been caught by the NKVD and put up against a wall, but that I have been hugely busy with the Stalingrad project as I now have just one week left to get the game onto the table (more