Friday, November 30, 2012

28mm Spanish Civil War - Carlist Requetés

As I apparently have the attention span of a sugar-addled 4-year old, I decided to do some more models for my Spanish Civil War collection. This time up are a dozen Carlist infantrymen who fought alongside Franco's Nationalists.

Illustrations kindly provided by Juan from Jose Bueno's 'Militares de la Guerra Civil Espanola'

The Carlists were (and are) an ultra-conservative popular political movement in Spain. They took their name from Carlos V, son of Ferdinand VII, who was a pretender to the throne of Spain with his declaration to be rightful heir on October 1, 1833. Politically, the Carlists advocated for a monarchical form of government modeled on the late-fifteenth century reign of Ferdinand and Isabel, who shared their power with the regional governments of Spain's various kingdoms. In addition, the Carlists supported the Salic Law enacted by Felipe V (r. 1700-1746), which reformed the process of succession in Spain such that only male heirs could inherit the throne and female heirs only in the absense of a male heir on any royal line. (Yeah, these guys weren't exactly lighting the world on fire with their progressive social agenda...)

Although they historically rejected any form of strong centralized government in favour of greater regional control, the Carlists allied with Franco and the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War. From 1931, the Carlists had been cooperating with right-wing Catholic movements in an effort to resist the spread of republicanism, which they saw as the greater threat. Starting in 1934 the Carlists began to organize and become more paramilitary in nature, with several plots attempted to overthrow the Republican government. With Franco's military coup, he found the Carlist militias instrumental in driving forward his Nationalist cause. Throughout the Spanish Civil War it is estimated that the Carlist Requetés accepted between 70,000 to 100,000 volunteers into their ranks.

While many Carlists had no difficulty in allying with other right-wing groups, even those that were fascist-based, in ideological terms many Carlists were divided in their opinions. Purists hoped for a Carlist uprising that would install a government that was sympathetic to a decentralized monarchy. Other Carlists were more flexible and were in favour of a strong state that would 'purify Spain' in order to prepare her for a decentralized Catholic-monarchist utopia. Nonetheless, in spite of these differences the Carlist Requetés were a powerful force, vital to the Nationalist effort, especially in the early part of the war.

These 28mm models are from Empress Miniatures, though I understand several of them had their origins as Anglian castings before they were acquired. The figures are very nice, with great animation, requiring very little cleanup.

I find the Requetés' uniform to be quite smart (in a fascistic sort of way). The tasseled red beret with khaki jodhpurs and puttees are very distinctive. I have to admit that when Juan informed me that these troops often wore home-spun checked shirts and civilian pattern blanket rolls my eyes glazed over a bit. Nonetheless I tried out a few and they turned out alright I guess.

Next up for this project will be some Republicans from the International Brigades.