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"Homage to Catalonia POUM diversion attack." Topic

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rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2021 1:10 p.m. PST

In Chapter 7 of Orwell's SCW memoir, he describes a night raid conducted by the POUM militia against a Nationalist position. The purpose of the raid appears to be to draw Nationalist attention from an Anarchist attempt to storm Huesca. The action is a bit confusing, which I suppose reflects the reality of what happened. At first, Jorge {the company CO?) or Kopp (the CO of the POUM foreign contingent?) request 15 volunteers, but a few lines later there are 30 or so militia involved. The only special weapon is that each participant is issued with a "Mill's-type" bomb. The Nationalists seem to be about a section strong but are protected behind a double belt of wire. Though Orwell believes that the Nationalists have an MG, he only finds an empty tripod when he and his comrades manage to storm the enemy trench. Orwell does find a fancy telescope but forgets to bring it back with him when the Nationalists counterattack to recover their lost position. Another fleeting factor is that Orwell's outfit is supported at one point by some stragglers from a German shock unit that has been directed to attack another area of the Nationalist lines. I'm not sure if these shock troops are POUM or PSUC? If the latter, would they be members of the Thaelmann battalion? In any case it is an interesting account.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2021 5:36 p.m. PST

Orwell's book is one of the best memoirs of war I've ever read.

Oddball12 Dec 2021 7:02 a.m. PST

I have only read Orwell's classic, 1984.

I have been reading more about the Spanish Civil War recently and picking up some Empress Minis to start yet another period.

I will have to pick up a copy of Orwell's memoir.

I recently read one from a British volunteer for the Nationalist, called "Mine Were Of Trouble".


The author has an amazing adventure starting with in Spain with the Carlists then moves to Foreign Legion.

After the war he becomes SOE during W.W. II and mercenary in Cold War.

He wrote 3 books, the above only covers the his time in Spain.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP12 Dec 2021 9:42 a.m. PST

If you are interested in learning more about the SCW, check out my marketplace ad. I'm selling off my SCW library at very good prices.

Londonplod14 Dec 2021 11:25 a.m. PST

The trench assault scene in Land and Freedom seemed to be based on Orwell's experience in this action.

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2021 6:47 a.m. PST

Londonplod, I was thinking the same thing. I recently rewatched Land and Freedom.

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP16 Dec 2021 2:47 p.m. PST

I think Ian Hart's character was loosely based on Orwell.

Makhno191818 Dec 2021 7:39 p.m. PST

I don't know the answer to these questions either, but please update us if your discover anything. Agreed re Land and Freedom. Good movie, great book (Homage). The first chapter is one of my favorite pieces of literature. I've recently read The Sons of the Night, by Gimenez, which I would recommend if your interested in that sort of action on the Aragon front. He was in the International group of the Durruti Column and describes many raids, diversionary tactics and other guerilla actions behind the lines. Its exciting, heartbreaking, and super long, in part due to the massive appendix full of research conducted by the volume's editors, attempting to make sense of the same sort of questions your asking regarding Orwell's war stories. I can only imagine the stress, speed, adrenaline, trauma, fog, and rumors during battles like these make it difficult to recount stories clearly? The editors of the book have a website, where I've found useful info for scenarios before, such as a map of a diversionary action at Perdiguera, where most of the unit perished.

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