The Red and Black Column – “Columna Roja y Negra”

Many of the militia columns formed in Barcelona flew flags divided diagonally into red and black fields. It represented cooperation between the Anarchists (Black) and the Socialists (Red). A Spanish Civil War column is roughly equivalent to a regiment in regular armies.

The Red and Black Column was primarily composed of F.A.I. members (Federacion Anarquista Iberia). The column was deployed in the Aragon forest and also took part in the failed attempt to take Palma de Majorca.

I painted a box of 20mm militiamen from Minairons Miniatures. The company is located in Spain, but you can also purchase the figures from Scale Creep Miniatures here in the U.S. The box comes with 17 figures, 18 if you count the machine gun separately and a sheet of three flags. The flags in my box were all Anarchist militias, which is a little bit of a bummer because I was hoping for a POUM flag.

They painted up to a tabletop standard pretty quickly, I think I spent a total of five hours on them from start to finish. At this scale, I do not paint the eyes or do a lot of extra highlighting.

You need ten figures to make up a militia squad consisting of a Delagado (squad leader) armed with a pistol and nine militiamen armed with 1893 Mauser rifles. The squads had no rank structure (they are anarchists after all) and no second in command.

In addition, there are nearly enough figures for a HMG team (Heavy Machine Gun). On paper a HMG team consisted of a gunner with a Hotchkiss M14 HMG and five militiamen to carry ammo, assist the gunner and provide protection.

And finally, there are two figures left over that can be used as the Centura or platoon command section.

I now have enough figures to begin playing Nuts while adding to my collection. While Nuts is primarily a late war rule set, there are rules in the supplements Clash of Titans and Stalingrad – Heroes All to cover early war equipment, armor, cavalry and male and female militias. These rules are also in the Nuts Compendium. For a little extra help I have a copy of Primera Batalla from Iron Ivan Games which has the tables of organization of the various forces, which fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Before closing, here’s an interesting photograph taken over 80 years ago during the Spanish Civil War of some militiamen:

The gentleman holding the puppy is George Orwell, you may have had to read a book or two written by him in school. He actually fought in the trenches and was wounded. As an extra surprise in this photo, the tall fellow wearing glasses in the back of the crowd is Ernest Hemingway. Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia is an account of his time spent fighting in the Spanish Civil War and is a good read.

The Count

I realize I’m still running a little behind, but I’m enjoying the challenge of transforming the lead pile into finished figures. With the completion of these 17 figures, my total stands at 209 figures painted this year.

  • 38 28mm Fantasy Figures.
  • 59 10mm Seven Years War Figures.
  • 57 28mm Old West Figures.
  • 5 28mm Colonial Era Figures.
  • 32 20mm Spanish Civil War Figures.
  • 18 28mm Science Fiction Figures.
  • Rebased 11 28mm Science Fiction Figures.
  • 35 Terrain Pieces.

One of the things you may notice from the figures and period photographs is there was a lack of uniforms, so many militiamen and women wore mechanic’s coveralls in a variety of greens, grays and khakis.

Your comments and suggestions are always welcome and put a smile on this old floozy’s face.

One comment

  1. They look really nice.

    I’ve boxes of the Minairons stuff sat in the shed waiting to be painted, should really get round to it.

    The SCW lists for the Chain of Commsand rules are worth looking at too for ORBAT data if you’ve not seen them.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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