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 Division Leclerc

Genesis of an Army:
Mike's "La Nueve" Company

By Mike Haught 

When I got Simon MacBeth's email with his Free French 2éme Division Blindée (2nd Armoured Division), I thought that it was pretty cool. Admittedly, Ive never been a fan of French forces in any theatre or era, but this list sounded rather interesting, with some good flavor.

I set to work researching and writing up the briefing. That’s when I discovered the very interesting story of the Spanish who volunteered for the Free French forces. I got lost, as one often does, on the internet, reading all I could on the Spanish volunteers to discover why were fighting for France.

 Death of a Loyalist Soldier, Spanish Civil War Turns out, they were veterans of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). I knew nothing about war and decided to read more. I sifted through a few brief overviews and countless abbreviations for the many factions of the civil war and found that the two sides were generally sorted into the fascists on one side and the Popular Front on the other.

Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler supported Francisco Franco's fascists while the Soviet Union and the other western nations supported the Popular Front. In the end, Franco succeeded in capturing Madrid and declaring victory. This forced an exodus of nearly 500,000 Spanish refugees to nearby countries, most directly to France, to avoid persecution from the new fascist government.
Then there was World War II. I remembered the cool Mid War article and briefing on the Flames Of War website about the Spanish Blue Division, the Spanish fascist volunteers who fought for Germany on the East Front. These were the Spanish troops who fought for Franco in the civil war.

About a year ago a friend of mine, Tony Hernandez, modelled a Blue Division based on this briefing and took it to the major WCP Flames Of War tournament in Vancouver, British Columbia. I'll always remember his cries of "España!" as the tournament rages on. So, when I saw the story of "La Nueve", I knew Tony would kill me if it didn’t become a briefing!

Mid War Spanish Division Azul (Blue Division) PDF ...

Division Azul
La Nueve Flag

So, I set to work adding "La Nueve", or The Nine, to Simon's already stellar briefing. Over the course of the project, it became obvious that I would have to build the list myself. The army presents all sorts of great modelling opportunities and that's all I needed to get under way!

Free French 2éme Division Blindée History ...

The Free French 2éme Division Blindée PDF ...  

When putting an army together, the first thing I look at is the history and what sets this army aside from the others. For me, it was the historical flavour of Spanish troops, serving in the French army, using American equipment. Ha! That’s quite a combination! Naturally, it would have to happen!

Furthermore, after discovering that the Spanish worked with the French resistance I knew I had to include a partisan component to the briefing because I wanted to model them! Honestly, thats the reason they are there!

That’s all it took. A bit of history, a dash of partisans and there you have it—Mike's gotta build himself an army! So I got all the miniatures together. I was stoked; this was going to be brilliant! And when I saw this....
Ahhhh!

Just a little intimidating! Chris here at the office, suggested that I should take it to the Late War NZ GT, and to use that as motivation to get it painted... With mere weeks to spare, that’s just the deadline I need to get it done. So, hopefully with the tournament deadline and the social pressure of making a very public vow to have it done, I'll have a nice new shiny army by the end of October!

Check in each week as I post updates as to how its coming along, and feel free to mock me if I slack off!

Next week: Assembling a 1750 point Armored Rifle Company... 


Last Updated On Thursday, September 4, 2008 by Mike at Battlefront