Thursday, December 27, 2012

From Curt: 28mm Spanish Civil War Republican Dinamiteros (20 points)


Here are four Republican 'Dinamiteros' seen in various poses depicting their high-risk work. I know,  I know, what the hell is a 'Dinamiteros'? Good question - I had no idea what they were until I started reading more about the Spanish Civil War. Of course with me there is no short answer...

Even though the Republicans were the legally elected government of Spain, they were dealt a crippling blow when several of the European powers, which included Great Britain,  France, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union, formed the Non-Interventionist Committee in an attempt to enforce outside neutrality and stifle the flow of arms into Spain. It did none of these things. In truth the Committee was a complete farce largely due to the fact that three of its members were active participants in the struggle - the Soviet Union supported the Republicans, while Nazi Germany and fascist Italy aided Franco's Nationalists. In practice Stalin was very lackluster in his aid to the Republicans, often shipping them sub-standard arms and munitions, with much of it being impounded by the naval blockade. Germany and Italy, on the other hand, were relatively unimpeded in sending arms and supplies to their Nationalists allies.


So, with the Non-Interventionist Committee slowly strangling the Republicans' access to military supplies, the Republicans were often forced to resort to extraordinary measures in order to bridge the gap. One of these stop-gap measures was the creation of specialist 'Dinamiteros' teams to make up for the paucity of modern-day grenades. The Dinamiteros used slingshots to toss improvised explosives, often dynamite packed in metal sleeves or jam tins,  at Nationalist strongpoints, vehicles and troop concentrations.


Many of the men that volunteered to become Dinamiteros were either miners from the Asturian mountains who had experience with dynamite from their mining work, or Andalusian shepherds, who, prior to the war, used slings to ward off predators from their cattle (quite possibly the decedents of Iberian slingers of the ancient period?).


As one can well imagine being a Dinamiteros required an incredible amount of nerve. Their work required that the fuses be lit, the sling prepared and then they had to expose themselves from cover to properly sling their explosives at their enemy.


In a January 1938 article of the New York Times it was reported that Dinamiteros were so hated by the Nationalists that they had a standing order that any who were captured were to be summarily executed. A tough duty indeed.


These 28mm figures are from the Empress Miniatures range. They have a great mix of clothing and poses which makes them interesting to work on. I painted some of the flowers on each base with a touch of red so we can quickly spot the dinamiteros within a squad, if required.



I'll probably bodge up some special rules to reflect the possibility of them self-detonating if they blunder while lighting their fuses or are hit while preparing their slings...





These four will give me 20 points.

26 comments:

  1. Superb! Love the chap lighting his dynamite from his cigarette!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Michael, yes, he's one of my favorite figures as well.

      Delete
  2. Very well deserved points, Curt. They are fantastic!!!

    As you can see, Spain had a first rate army in those times...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Juan! I was thinking of you when I was painting these lads. You've come a long way since 1936 (then again, we all have).

      Delete
  3. great brush work Curt, you can sure push that paint
    Peace James

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very nice figures, I did not know about those guys so a nice bit of history as well

    Ian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ian, yes, I really enjoy the research aspect of the hobby.

      Delete
  5. Lovely figures Curt. Ditto what Michael A said. They have a proletarian toughness about them that one would expect of shepherds and miners.
    Bravo.
    Mike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, they do have that working class sang-froid about them...

      Delete
  6. Excellent painting Curt! They have loads of character.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Curt, a wonderful work on those "dinamiteros", sí señor!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Benito, much appreciated!

      Delete
  8. Nice work Curt.. guess you just need to hope you don't roll a fumble!

    ReplyDelete
  9. WoW! I'd never heard of these guys? Some top painting there Curt!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ray, I like finding these odd niches in military history.

      Delete
  10. Wonderful looking figure , these lads are new to me also great job

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great work. As a re-enactor who has been involved in various recreations in Spain I have found that the my Asturian friends retain their ancestors' fondness for explosives! At their largest regular event at Candamo they expended over 100 "petardos" in just over half an hour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha! Well, it would seem that old habits die hard. :) Thanks for dropping by to comment Bob.

      Delete