Spanish Civil War for NUTS! – Part One, Small Arms

Pistols

Militiaman Holding Pistol on Captured Soldier

There was a myriad of pistols used.  The most common was the M1921 Astra 400.  It was a heavy pistol weighing almost as much as the 1911 Colt.  However, rating a pistol as heavy, medium, or light caliber has much more to do with the size of round and energy expended upon impact than the size or weight of the pistol itself.  Though there were a few number of high caliber pistols used in the Spanish Civil War, the vast majority of pistols were medium caliber.

Rifles and Carbines

The most common rifle used by both sides was the 1893 Bolt Action Mauser.  However, there were many different makes and models supplied.  It has been documented that Republican forces received rifles of 19 different calibers and the Nationalist used 10 rifles of different calibers.  Though the 1893 Mauser design was over 40 years old, it was still state-of-the-art throughout the world in the 1930s.  As a side note, I read one source which said the International Brigades were mostly equipped with the Soviet Mosin Nagant bolt action rifle.  I’ve not found collaborating sources, but the Mosin Nagant was supplied in quantity to the Republican forces.

Ernest Hemingway with a Mosin Nagant Rifle

When we think of carbines, we often think of paratroops or cavalry.  In Spain, at the outbreak of the war, the carbine was the principal weapon of its paramilitary forces – the Guardia de Asalto (Assault Guards, urban police formed to handle riots and organized crime), the Guardia Civil (Civil Guards, rural police) and the Carabineros (Frontier Guards, border police).  Though many were rearmed with the 1893 Mauser rifle, many carbines remained in use.  The most iconic and usually most seen in photographs was the M1892 lever action Winchester.

Submachine Guns and Machine Pistols

There were several machine pistols available to the combatants.  Machine pistols seem to have been a favorite among political officers and operatives.  The Spanish arms industry sold them in China before the war broke out.  I’ve given the machine pistol the same Target and Impact stats as the submachine gun.  The range, however, is that of a pistol unless a stock is attached.  With a stock attached, the machine pistol has the same range as the submachine gun.  Why would adding a stock improve the range of a pistol?  Remember, all of the ranges in the charts are “effective” ranges, not maximum ranges.  Adding a stock gives the shooter better control of the weapon and therefore better able to hit a target at a longer range than a machine pistol without a stock.

Canadian Volunteers with Machine Pistols

As with the other types of small arms, there were many different submachine guns used in the war.  As with most armies, they were often issued to NCOs and Militia squad leaders.  There were three manufactured in Spain, the Star RU35, the Naranjero (a copy of the German MP28), and the Labora-Frontbernat.  Submachine guns, like rifles and pistols, came from all over the world.  The Bergmann M28 was common among the Nationalists.  The problem with submachine guns was their complexity requiring more maintenance and care.  To reflect this when playing a campaign, before each battle roll for a success on 1d6 for each figure armed with a submachine gun.  If successful (1-3) the figure has use of the submachine gun, if not successful (4-6) the figure has use of only his or her backup weapon, a pistol.  This roll is not necessary if playing a single battle or engagement.

Two Canadians from the International Brigade with Submachine Guns

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