“When you have had a glimpse of such a disaster as this – and however it ends the Spanish war will turn out to have been an appalling disaster, quite apart from the slaughter and physical suffering – the result is not necessarily disillusionment and cynicism. Curiously enough the whole experience has left me with not less but more belief in the decency of human beings. And I hope the account I have given is not too misleading. I believe that on such an issue as this no one is or can be completely truthful. It is difficult to be certain about anything except what you have seen with your own eyes, and consciously or unconsciously everyone writes as a partisan.”George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia
I’ve been asked from, time to time, to collaborate on a Sourcebook for the Spanish Civil War, but I can’t – my heart belongs to the Republican cause and I find it sometimes hard to be fair, even though I know the Republicans also committed the same atrocities as the Nationalists. I also fear I would end up ripping off many of the excellent works already done on this subject. And finally, my Spanish is atrocious.
One of the books on which I rely is “Primera Batalla” by Jason Gardner for Iron Ivan Games, a book I heartily recommend. The book is full of weapon statistics and troop descriptions making it a valuable resource for the tabletop gamer. Another resource which has been helpful is “Clash of Titans” by John Cunningham for Two Hour Wargames. While “Clash of Titans” covers the Eastern Front of World War II, much of the equipment used in the Spanish Civil War was still being used in the early war years by combatants on the Eastern Front. The book also has rules for militias, female soldiers, cavalry and political officers. And finally, I want to give a shout out to an early PDF document, “The Spanish Civil War for NUTS!” by James Chamberlain. This PDF file is both a very brief introduction to the troop types which fought in the Spanish Civil War and a quick summary of some of the vehicles.
This document is my go at producing reference tables and house rules covering the Spanish Civil War for playing “NUTS! – Final Version.” Why Final Version you may ask and not 4th edition? It’s simple, Final Version is the rule set I own. Very little in this document is based on original research – I’m just translating stats from other sources. None of this is official rules, just what I’d use in my own personal games.
Finally, if you don’t have a copy of NUTS! and/or Primera Batalla, you should pick one up. And if you’ve never read “Homage to Catalonia” by George Orwell, you really, really should.
Small Arms and Machine Guns
The majority of Spanish armament manufacturers were located in the Basque region of Spain. The weapons produced by these companies were available to both sides in the civil war until the Basque region fell to the Nationalists in late 1937. In addition to Spanish produced weapons, both sides received arms from many different countries, some of them were WWI surplus and some state of the art. This would be a very long document if I included every single weapon used in the conflict. Instead, I’m listing the stats of the most common weapons and the ones modelled in 20mm for tabletop games. In reading accounts of the war it is interesting that in the opening months of the war, militiamen spent personal money on extra weapons, pistols, knives, etc., but by the start of winter in 1936 they were spending their money on things like extra socks, blankets, coffee, tea, tobacco – items to make life on the front more bearable.