Many Americans living in the west were not content to sit idle and watch events unfold in Spain and so elected to join in the fighting with most ending up in what's is now called the Abraham Lincoln brigade which supported the Republicans although some Americans also did join the Nationalists although these were fewer in number.The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was composed of battalions from the 17th and later the 58th Lincoln battalions which were largely made up of American volunteers who were part of the International brigades( Foreign fighters in Spain) fighting on behalf of the Spanish Republican Government vs the Rebel Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39.
The battalion while commonly called the Lincoln Brigade was actually made up initially of the Lincoln battalion which was later was joined by the George Washington Battalion, Canadian MacKenzie-Papineau Battalions, some Irish, Latins and eventually a small amount of Spanish. The Lincoln battalion was formed in January 1937 of highly motivated recruits which after less then two months training were thrown into action with a rifle and some bullets and then used primarily as assault troops. Obviously this lead to the battalion having very high casualty rates indeed losing some 22.5% of it's strength by the end of the war.
In 1937 the Lincoln Brigade participated in the battle of Jarama losing 2/3 of it's number including it's commander in several fruitless assaults. After a short reconstitution the battalion then moved on to the offensive at Brunete where it was joined by the Washington battalion securing the town of Villanueva de la Cañada after a hard fight before eventually attacking "Mosquito Ridge," in series of grinding assaults that failed to remove the Nationalists. The casualties were so high including the loss of another commander that the result was the two battalions were joined together to form one unit. The brigade then saw action again in the Aragon offensive fighting well yet again. They were later joined by Macenzie-Papineau Battalions for the fighting at Fuentes de Ebro again receiving high casualties in leading the action at the front. After Fuentes de Ebro the exhausted brigade was finally given a rest. In December the brigade fought in the battles around Teruel fighting both defensive and offensive engagements to dislodge the Nationalists before ending in a stalemate.
1938 could best be described as a disaster as the brigade was caught up in what became known as "The retreats" which was basically a series of delaying and holding actions as Nationalists forces cut the Republic in two. The brigade was dispersed and reformed repeatedly during the retreats losing it's two highest ranking officers before finally consolidating at the Ebro river. The brigade then participated in the Ebro offensive which eventually stalled out after the Nationalists regrouped halting the offensive in it's tracks. At this point the International brigades were withdrawn from the conflict by prime minister Negrin in the vain hope that Franco's Nationalists would do the same with his German and Italian troops which they of course did not as they had the advantage at this point.
The brigade included 3,015 volunteers over the course of the war made up mostly of Americans and included some Canadians and small amount of Latins and Irish. Because the Americans were an independent bunch that preferred to vote on things rather then dogmatically follow orders the Spanish government decided to add Spanish troops and commissars to the brigade for communications, but more importantly to insure loyalty to the government on the governments terms. The brigade was mostly white, but did include some African Americans making them the first American integrated combat unit. They were also mostly communists/socialists and ardent anti-fascists, but did include some who joined just for adventure or to escape a bad life back home.
The figures are of course from the excellent Empress miniatures SCW line and are 28mm. The very nice flag is from Flags of War. I painted the figures using mostly Vallejo paints, but did include some Foundry paints. They are organized for Bolt Action with a Captain/Lt. and two guards and Standard bearer and his two guards, but they can also be used with Chain of Command as well.
I still have more SCW on my near to do list to try and keep competitive in the SCW side challenge with Curt, Nick and Phil plus I'm starting to get close to a battle worthy force which is always nice!:-) I have a some more Republicans in the pipeline, but will be tackling some Nationalists pretty soon as well.
This is my latest entry for the Analogue Hobbies painting challenge Bonus theme round found here.
Thanks for viewing!
Miniature Company- Empress