【 Chapter 9 – Spanish Civil War – Battle of Brunete (1) 】
June 28, 1937
Central-Western Spain, Salamanca, the Main Stronghold of the Spanish Nationalists
Colonel Walter Model was industrious.
No, he was a bit too hard-working.
The Condor Legion was dispatched to Spain in the form of a volunteer unit after being discharged from the German Defence Forces, albeit on paper.
As a result, it was operated relatively loosely, especially the Army of the Condor Legion, which had a small number of troops and was sent for weapon testing or training, and was mainly deployed in the second line or rear.
In the Battle of Guadalajara, both the Nationalists and the Republicans exhausted their forces, and as the Nationalists abandoned the attack on Madrid, the central front was in a state of lull, so there was no need to explain how relaxed we would be.
And Field Marshal Walter Model, who flew from Berlin’s staff headquarters, was not very pleased with the situation, and this capable and tactless general was full of desire to improve it.
“Hah, hah, uhh, haah…. I’m dying, man. Dietrich, I’m dying…”
“Say, uh, hah, hah, later, hah, run.”
The officers of the Condor Legion contingent had been running on the training ground since morning. No matter how many battalions, how many companies, all of them.
Even my immediate superior and battalion commander, Major Beckers, was running out of breath with his face stained red.
“Hoo-hoo, isn’t the morning air clear? Hoo-hoo, a healthy body, hoo-hoo, a healthy mind!”
Colonel Model was running at the front while talking loudly as if it was not difficult. A colonel in his mid-40s runs with us. What can I do? I’ll do it if I have to.
When he was a cadet, he was so weak that he thought about giving up the military service? Human will is great, but isn’t this a little too much!
Motivated shitheads usually roll soldiers for drills, but this guy was crazy about his officers while caring enormously about the welfare of his soldiers.
It’s not a machine, but at 5 a.m., he jumps up and leads all the officers to run on the morning walk, and goes from unit to unit all day to understand and discuss the current situation, and he does it every day.
Lieutenant General von Thoma, the Commander of the Condor Legion, guaranteed autonomy at best and no presence at worst, but Colonel Model became extremely famous to all officers a few days before his arrival.
…mostly for the worse.
“Ah, I’m really going to die because of that bastard’s Chief of Staff!”
Having finished my day, I was enjoying beer and sundae with Clement.
Yes, it’s a sundae! When I first saw this, I doubted my eyes, but I ate it with tears of emotion because it looked and tasted like a sundae.
In Spain, it is said that it is called morcilla, a special dish, but it is a sundae. The chewy texture…
It’s the taste of Korea that I can’t even remember anymore….
“No, there is no engagement right now, so how about taking a break! Huh? We’re in the position of roll or to be rolled!”
“Uh, um, yeah…”
Usually, such officers are called cadres, my friend. I can’t say… Dietrich Schacht has never been a regular soldier, so…
However, most of the Condor Legion officers thought this way, and Colonel Model was really getting all the swear words.
To be honest, I had nothing to say if it wasn’t for the “Walter Model,” I would have come and cursed at why I was suffering.
“By the way, Clement. I applied for training with Colonel Model.”
Clement spilled his beer back into the glass. Ugh, it’s dirty.
I feel guilty when I see your face full of betrayal.
“I’m going to try 88 indirect shooting training.”
It is no wonder that Clement is full of question marks. At least no one has done it yet to fire indirectly with anti-aircraft guns.
But 88 can. During World War II, it was not called the ‘Almighty Gun’ for nothing.
The 88 is not good at anti-aircraft fire using a time fuse, as well as a low-angle direct fire, so if you adjust the angle, you can achieve a fairly accurate hit rate even with indirect fire.
No one knows yet, and Rommel will find out and use it well throughout North Africa later, but for me, who has to make a merit that doesn’t exist and go to War College quickly, the knowledge that I know must be made an achievement.
Colonel Model is a person who is ruthless towards lazy or incompetent subordinates, but does not intercept the achievements of his subordinates who are working hard, reports them properly, and does not forget their honors.
It was fortunate for me that Colonel Model was here at the same time.
“No, why do we do that?!”
Well, I feel sorry for Clement.
The original plan was for the Condor Legion to quietly conduct training and experiments in company units and report back when the Nationalists got permission.
But why is the Colonel Model here himself?
The training goal submitted was to test the indirect shooting performance of the Flak37 version 88 anti-aircraft gun, which had just been received as a prototype and had no data yet.
“Hmm. Well, it’s worth it. Is the effective range of 2 km that can guarantee the accuracy rate?”
It was quite an ordeal to shoot the 88 all day long with Colonel Model while receiving the resentment of Clement and the platoon commanders in the scorching heat.
But, indeed, Walther Model. He observes the firing point with a telescope right next to the 88 anti-aircraft gun, and if he can’t see well, he drives back and forth and beats the calculator at an amazing speed (a table used to match artillery fire with minimal training). It was creating something similar to the data accumulated through experimental shooting and the weather environment.
Originally, it was made by substituting tens of thousands of shots in an extremely controlled situation into a calculation table derived from a complex formula, but this is done manually by humans on the battlefield? In just one day?
I suggested training, but the Colonel Model was doing it all by himself. It’s too much of a monster to say.
Is one of the best masters of World War II really a different class?
Colonel Model approached me, who was puzzled, smiled, and tapped me on the shoulder.
“Great idea, Lieutenant Schacht. We’ll have to do more experimental shooting, but it’ll be practical enough. I’ve heard that many of the improvements to this prototype have been made by the Lieutenant. I was dubious, but the Lieutenant really seems to have an eye for it.”
I don’t think I did anything, but the goal seemed to be achieved. I feel sorry for Rommel, who was deprived of future merit, but I made a good impression on Colonel Model.
If you want to be a general staff member, the general staff’s recommendation is the best.
“Haha, at this rate, I might have to call this anti-aircraft gun SS (Schacht Schacht), not 88 (Acht Acht).”
“…Ha. Ha. Ha.”
“It’s a joke, so don’t make that face.”
Everything else is fine, but I don’t want you to make random jokes, Colonel Model.
There isn’t much time anyway. Soon my father, Hjalmar Schacht, will be replaced as Minister.
Before that, there was no guarantee that it would not affect me if I do not enter a War College and receive protection from the National Defense Forces.
Besides, Anschluss (the annexation of Austria) was in March 1938, and from that point on the world started speeding toward World War II.
Fortunately, Hitler’s Nazi Germany was a much more unstable system than people often imagine, and there were several coup crises.
At least knowing that, I could turn it into a real coup, not a crisis.
Knock down the Nazi regime and stop World War II!
Even if the war itself cannot be prevented, the future that becomes a symbol of evil and remains only ashes after fighting the world should be prevented.
Only half a year to Anschluss. So I have to go to Germany as soon as possible.
Before the Munich Agreement, September 1938, at the latest!
July 2, 1937
Madrid, Capital of Spain, Central Spain – Republican HQ
Colonel Enrique Líster, the hero of the Republican faction who made the Nationalists tremble in fear and the Commander of the famous 11th Division, was attending a sighing operation meeting.
“So you’re going to go on the offensive in this heat? Right next to Salamanca, the headquarters of the Nationalist Central Army?”
Líster’s remarks were openly noticed by his immediate superior and fellow colonel, Juan Modesto, but Líster did not give in.
He just jumped up to the ranks of a Colonel, and it wasn’t even a day or two that he didn’t treat him like a Colonel.
“Yes, Colonel Líster. We’re going to put pressure on the Fasho traitors who have captured Brunete and surrounded Madrid this time. If we succeed in blocking the Extremadura road, we can expect the Madrid siege force, which has been cut off, to retreat altogether!”
The Commander of the Republican Central Army, General José Miaja, twitched his chunky face and talked about operational goals and rosy blueprints.
“Isn’t that a story when it’s possible? We still haven’t recovered all the losses in the battles of Jarama and Guadalajara.”
His face got red right away at Líster’s direct words and he had to keep his mouth shut.
“No, Colonel! Are you making such a defeatist statement? So we’re just gonna have to wait and see how the Nationalist get the North in their hands? It can’t be seen as long as Spain’s freedom and people’s justice are alive!”
Líster crumpled his face in remarks from his immediate superior, Juan Modesto.
His defeatism. Most of the results of the ambitious attack, driven by the opposing commanders with defeatism, were disastrous.
Most of the Nationalist commanders in this chamber were Colonel except General Miaha. Colonel subordinate Colonel subordinate Colonel.
The reason for this situation, which cannot be stopped from laughing, is that those who were originally Colonel, who were lower class while the incompetent, were grinding their subordinates, worked hard to get to the Colonel.
And yet the ‘incompetent Colonel’ group was still a boss, and most of the operations were being drafted by them.
“Oh, well said, Colonel Modesto! Their main force will all be in the North anyway. Can’t we beat the rest? Colonel Líster, don’t be greedy for a major, think about leading a battle well!”
He was clearly greedy for his major. After suffering from an incompetent superior, he gnashed his teeth in pursuit of a major with the desire to breathe in this command.
However, nothing much changed even if he became the same Colonel. As the ‘incompetent Colonels’ worked hard to side with each other, Líster had to struggle to hide his sighs.
After all, the Northern Separatists were not really people with an understanding of communism.
A situation where you can’t even defend your own province after joining in to receive autonomy forces us to lose?
At least Líster didn’t want to spill the blood of his beloved men on the blazing dry ground to save them—which he didn’t think he could.
“Hmm, yes. Somehow we need to capturet Brunete this time and let our comrades in the Soviet Union know that Spain’s legitimacy and initiative are in our hands!”
“That’s right. General. If we succeed in this offensive, we will be able to persuade those cowardly, opportunistic Frenchmen to open the border, and get more support!”
The flow of operations of the Republicans was usually like this. Most of them paid attention to the political gains that would come when it succeeded, rather than the rationality or the possibility of success of the offensive.
You have to succeed in order to get that benefit. Enrique Líster was clearly a communist and a pro-Soviet figure who had learned advanced Soviet military technology at the Frunze Military Academy on Russian soil.
However, the current Republic was gradually becoming incomprehensible.
Are we fighting for Spain as we prepare for a battle to look good to the Soviet Union by exhausting all of Spain’s capabilities?
It was for Spain that Enrique Líster himself was fighting with the skills he had learned so hard in Frunze, not to turn his country into a puppet state for the Soviets.
Right now, the anarchists and the commanders of the International Brigades were keeping their mouths shut and making faces that they did not like.
How long will the militias of democratic countries, who sacrifice their soldiers to look good for the Soviets and receive more support, and the anarchists who fight for freedom against state oppression, how long will they fight for the Republicans?
Intelligence says the German army has been heavily reinforced this time. The Republican leadership thought of their unit, the ‘Condor Legion’, as their international brigade, but Líster’s thoughts were different.
They are qualitatively different. Although small in size, it was clearly stronger than the Nationalist armies or the more numerous Italian armies.
The part where the Republicans had a solid advantage over the Nationalists was in the Soviet-provided cavalry and air force, but even that suffered continuous losses, and much of the bleeding was caused by the Condor Legion.
“I hope we don’t see any Germans in this attack….”
Líster had no choice but to mutter lamentably as he watched the leaders who were eagerly talking about the rosy grand strategy among themselves.
【 Spanish Civil War – Battle of Brunete (1) 】- End
Thank you for reading!