Carabanchel – A Crossfire Scenario in the Spanish Civil War

A scenario for Fuego Cruzado – my variant of Crossfire for the Spanish Civil War – set in the Carabanchel Sector as the Nationalists attempt to rush Madrid in early Nov 1936.

Historical Situation

Setting: Carabanchel Sector, Madrid, Spain; 8-13 Nov 1936

See Timeline La Marcha for full historical situation in 1936.

At dawn on 8 Nov 1936 the Army of Africa launched their attack on Madrid (Beevor, 1982; H. Thomas, 1986). The main attack went in on a 1 km front across the old royal hunting ground to the west of Madrid called the Casa de Campo . Meanwhile Tella and Barrón conducted a diversionary attack through the suburb of Carabanchel.

Antonio Coll, a republican sailor fighting in the Usera suburb, invented a new anti-tank technique known as “echando cojones al asunto” (basically “with balls”) (Beevor, 1982). Coll threw himself on the ground in the path of three enemy tanks, let them nearly reach him and then threw his bombs. Two were blown up; the third turned tail and fled. Coll was killed, but tanks were no longer seen as invincible.

On 9 Nov 1936 Varela swapped his main attack to the Carabanchel sector, but suffered heavy casualties and made no progress (Beevor, 1982; H. Thomas, 1986). Varela’s Moroccans were baffled by street fighting in an unfamiliar city, whereas for the militiamen the opposite is true.

The battle continued in Carabanchel for several days (at least until 13 Nov) where hand-to-hand fighting occurred in the Military Hospital (Beevor, 1982; H. Thomas, 1986).

This scenario merges several events from Carabanchel Sector into one days fighting. It involves Moroccan Regulares supported by tanks attacking Militiamen in the streets and buildings of Carabanchel.


The table represents a hypothetical part of southern Madrid. Map produced in CC2

Table - Carabanchel - Crossfire
Table – Carabanchel – Crossfire

Key features are:

  • The table is built up.
  • The Nationalists start south of line A-A.
  • The Republicans start north of line A-A.
  • Neither side can deploy on line A-A. This restriction includes the building sector intersected by line A-A.
  • The objectives are north of line A-A, with the majority north of line B-B.
  • The edge of the military hospital is in the north-west corner of the table.
  • The building sectors in the military hospital have a capacity of three squads. All other building sectors have the normal 2 squad capacity.

This is the first scenario which features my new buildings for diagonal streets.

Pre-game preparation

The pre-game steps are:

  1. Republicans roll for the number of snipers.
  2. Republicans place a terrain objective
  3. Republicans place barricades, visible
  4. Republicans deploy hidden (don’t forget the CC, snipers and bomb guys)
  5. Nationalists place two terrain objectives
  6. Nationalists deploy visible
  7. Record the real time the game started (as there is a time limit).

Republican Player (Defending)


Kill Nationalists and prevent the Nationalists reaching their objectives.

Forces Available

The republicans get a Anarchist militia century.

Republican Orbat

  • 1 x Anarchist Militia Century
    • 1 x CC (0/+2)
    • 1 x HMG
    • 3 x Militia Rifle Platoon:
      • 1 x PC (0/+1);
      • 2 x Rifle Squads;
      • 1 x Rifle Squad with bombs (gets a +2 in close combat with tanks)
  • 1d3 x Snipers
  • Morale: Regular
  • Command & Control: Dependent, i.e. Russian
  • Political Cooperation = +2
  • 2 x Barricades

Militia PCs get +1 for rallying only. Militia BC and CC get +2 for rallying only.


Deploys first north of line A-A. Cannot deploy inside the building sector straddling line A-A. Deploys hidden except for the barricades.



Nationalist Player (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.


Take the objectives from the Republicans without suffering undue losses.

Forces Available

The Nationalist forces are, largely, Moroccan Regulares.

Nationalist Orbat

  • 1 x Regulares Rifle Company
    • 1 x CC (+2)
    • 3 x Rifle Platoons: 1 x PC (+1); 3 x Rifle Squads
  • 1 x HMG
  • 1 x FO for an off table 75mm gun (12 FM)
  • Morale: Regular
  • Command & Control: Independent, i.e. Commonweath
  • Reckless
  • 3 x Panzer I


Deploys second south of the line A-A. Cannot deploy inside the building sector straddling line A-A.



Victory Conditions

Terrain and Casualty (AD) objectives

The game ends immediately when:

  • The time limit expires (2 hours game time; need to monitor this in play testing as I suspect it is really a 3 hour game)
  • Either side reaches it’s moral limit through causalities (and thus loses)
  • The Nationalists capture all three terrain objectives (and thus wins)

The morale limit for both sides is 6 casualty points (CP). A side loses if it reaches it’s CP limit. CP are incurred as follows:

  • +1 CP for each lost Tank, Squad, HMG, or CC killed (but not PC or FO)

If the time limit expires a side wins if it gains more Victory Points (VP) than the opposition. VP are awarded for control of the building sectors designated by either side as terrain objectives. Control means the objective is uncontested, and the player either has a stand in the feature, or was the last to have a stand in a feature. All objectives start in Republican control. VP are awarded as follows:

  • +1 VP for a terrain objective in the forward zone (i.e. between line A-A and line B-B.
  • +2 VP for a terrain objective in the rear zone (i.e. to the north of line B-B)

Terrain Objectives

The players place Terrain objectives during pre-game preparation. The Republican player deploys their forces after they place their objective but before the Nationalist player places their two. There are some constraints on placing the terrain objectives; all constraints must be satisfied:

  • There are three terrain objectives, one placed by the Republican and two by the Nationalist.
  • All terrain objectives must be placed in a building sector. The lone building in the north-east corner is a legitimate location for a terrain objective but the building sector that spans line A-A is not.
  • No two terrain objectives can be in the same building sector.
  • No two terrain objectives can be in the same building complex (i.e. connected building sectors). Note: one building sector spans the forward and rear zone.
  • At most one objective can be in the forward zone (i.e. between line A-A and line B-B); all others must be placed in the rear zone (i.e. to the north of line B-B).

Scenario Special Rules

  • See Crossfire House Rules and Fuego Cruzado (Crossfire House Rules for Spain’s Wars).
  • The game ends after two real hours of play. Start the clock when the first player starts the first initiative. (if you’re worried that the defender will procrastinate then use a Moving Clock.)
  • Special Rule. Political Cooperation is in use. The Anarchist Militia have a political cooperation of 2. On two Republican move actions during the game the Nationalist can use the Political cooperation rule. One moving stand is immediately pinned. The Republican player must immediately try to rally the pinned stand. Success means the stand rallies and can then take the intended move action. Failure means initiative passes. In the case of a group move only one stand is pinned.
  • Treat Barricades as hedge that is impassable to vehicles. They provide protective cover to chaps sheltering behind and block LOS.
  • All building sectors and intact barricades are impassable to vehicles.
  • All adjacent building sectors count as being part of a building complex. Remember that movement between adjacent building sectors within a building complex never attracts reactive fire.
  • A rifle squad can dismantle a barricade in the same way that a Engineer can clear a minefield (CF p. 17). A rifle squad removes the barricade if the squad is adjacent to the barricade, and is stationary, unsuppressed and does not fire for one entire Phasing Initiative. Dismantling a barricade is a successful action.
  • The Nationalist tanks have a special morale rule. When two tanks are destroyed the third will flee the table. The fleeing tank must move first, on the Nationalist initiative, and move as fast as possible towards the Nationalist base edge. It can shoot as it flees but any firing must be reactive fire or after it’s movement.
  • The building sectors in the military hospital have a capacity of three squads. All other building sectors have the normal 2 squad capacity.
  • Republican squads with bombs get a +2 in close combat against tanks (but not other stands). The tanks, as per the normal rules, get a +3 in close combat so get a net +1 against the the bombers.

Weapon stats

Type ARM ACC PEN MG HE/EFF Smoke HD Spd CC Comment
Panzer I 1/1 4 -/- Yes 2 3


I upgrade the morale of the Militia to reflect they were defending their homes. Similarly I’ve downgraded the Regulares due to their relatively poor performance in the built up area.

Antonio Coll, the republican sailor who invented the anti-tank technique known as “echando cojones al asunto”, is the justification for giving each Militia platoon a squad with bombs. From there I assume Antonio’s exploits are handled by the normal close combat rules against armour … and a bit of dice luck. I have given the Nationalist tanks a special rule regarding morale to reflect how they behaved, i.e. when two tanks are destroyed the third will flee.

Although not mentioned in the historical account it was standard militia practice to set up barricades in the streets. I assume this happened in Carabanchel and that the barricades are sufficiently robust to stop a Panzer I. I haven’t given the Nationalists the ability to dismantle a barricade as I assume this wouldn’t be possible during combat.

My sources don’t specify the type of tanks the Nationalist had. I’ve arbitrarily given them Panzer Is because that is what I’ve got.

This is the first scenario which features my new buildings for diagonal streets. Of course it also uses generic building sectors.

Although set in the Spanish Civil War it can easily be adapted for other arenas, for example, it would require very little work to adapt it to Stalingrad. The defenders become Russian and the attackers German. Replace the Panzer Is with something a little more 1942 in style (assault guns perhaps) and give the defenders one or two anti-tank guns (at most 76mm) to compensate. And lose the Political Cooperation special rule.

See the Battle Report Summary and two Battle Reports (1, 2).


Beevor, A. (1982). The Spanish Civil War. Cassell & Co.

Thomas, H. (1986). The Spanish Civil War. Simon & Schuster.

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