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Friday, January 22, 2016

Quinto: A Campaign for CoC Espana

Over the past month or two, I've been working on an in-depth and (I hope) well-researched campaign for Chain of Command, following the American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion in the Battle of Quinto. A draft is finished (and 30-something pages long!), full of maps and pictures in the style of the Lardies' "Pint-Sized Campaign" and I hope to make it available in some fashion after I've play-tested it and tightened it up. It looks like I'll be having the opportunity to play both sides of this fight in the coming weeks, and as I'll be posting battle reports I wanted to offer some of the background first.

So, the natural question for many is... Quinto?  ¿Que?  Sure, you may have heard of Jarama or Brunete, maybe Belchite in connection to the Lincolns, but the Battle of Quinto?  Not really the first thing most think of. Why? Personally I think it is because it's the one time where the Lincolns really kicked a little ass and didn't suffer horrific casualties. Quinto shows what the XV International Brigade, and the Lincolns in particular, could do if well-supplied and well-supported. At the beginning of the Zaragoza Offensive, the Battle of Quinto was the successful capture of a heavily fortified town (similar to Belchite) in three days with relatively low casualties. This doesn't fit the romantically tragic narrative of sacrifice and horror that has built up around the Lincolns.

Hopefully, however, it will make for some very good games. With its short duration and easily identifiable phases, as well as the multitude of smaller platoon-sized actions, it's perfect for CoC in a way that Jarama or Brunete wouldn't be (probably better for IABSM).

I'll be playing this as a half-ladder mini-campaign of 5 tables total, which must be captured within 9 games by the Lincolns. The ultimate objective is the town's church, perched on a hill overlooking the town and the Ebro (upper part of the picture below) and the dry plateau to the west, where the Lincolns' starting positions were.

 The campaign map:

 Each side gets one platoon of reinforcements, and one chance to reinforce one of the platoons during the game, as despite the short duration, we know that replacements were arriving during the battle (and we know that the campaign will be bloody). I'm using a special list for the Lincoln Battalion as follows, as well as customized support lists, and my own character creation charts for the SCW along the lines of At the Sharp Edge.

Lincoln Platoon: HQ: Senior leader with Pistol, flag bearer (entirely for decoration), two scouts with rifles.
2x Junior Leader with rifle, three teams of five riflemen.
The Platoon is rated regular, and is considered aggressive, and has the anti-fascisti rule (although support does not).  Platoon rated -2.

The men defending the town were rear-guard troops, and the defender gets one platoon of professionalized Requetés (using the Ejercito Nacional list, rated green) for the first few battles, replaced by a platoon of regular infantry once the Requetés are unable to fight on.

There are some wild cards, two per side, that I'll describe as they're played, and some scenario-specific rules that should be very interesting to play out. The Lincolns will also have commissars available with my custom commissar rule:

Commissar (2 points): Treated as a senior leader in all respects, the commissar may only use his command initiatives to remove shock unless the main senior leader dies or is knocked unconscious for the turn. In such a case the commissar may use his command initiatives as normal.

Stay tuned for the first battle as my buddy Fritz leads the Lincolns against the fortified front lines near Quinto's walled cemetery.  With the Lincolns supported with T-26 tanks and unopposed by AT guns, defending with my green Requetés won't be a picnic.

Later on, I'll be playing the Lincolns myself against my friend Jamie. It's going to be a very Spanish Civil War couple of months!


  1. ¡Buena suerte! with this, I will be following the reports keenly.

  2. Marvelous! I will be watching with much interest also...

  3. Excellent stuff. It is time comsuming to do the research but will be following the payoff with interest.

    1. Thank you. Personally, I really enjoy the research for its own sake, but seeing it play out on the table is going to be epic.

  4. I look forward to seeing your AARs. There are some nice videos of Quinto with historical footage and photos spliced in.

    I hope you will add a character figure for Charles Nusser (he often wore a white shirt). His company followed the tanks in. He recalled that his men wanted to bunch up behind the tanks and he had to keep getting them to disperse. The tanks tended to be magnets for fire.

    Salud! Chris B.

    1. Thanks! I've seen the footage and it's wonderful.

      I'd made a note about Nusser somewhere... he was one of the company commanders? I'm mostly using randomly generated characters for this, but I might keep Nusser as a C.O. when I play the Lincolns.

    2. Oh, found him. He's in my write-up. He was promoted to company commander during Quinto, when 3rd company's commander was wounded. 3rd Company took a different path during the battle, helping the Dimitrov Battalion take the cement factory and rail station, while the other two Lincoln companies (which are the ones I'm following here) fought in the streets and took the church.