About This Blog

Arlequín's World has been running for a while now and in fact began its life as a vehicle for a long-aborted project based on an Interwar imagi-nation. From there it slowly changed into a catch-all for my various projects and interests. Over time those interests have slowly been whittled down to just four main themes, but with much more individual depth given to each of them. As a result I decided to give each of them their own separate blog.

You will probably see a lot of the 'Estelada' in 
2017, but it probably originates from 1918.
As my original blog and covering my main interests, Arlequín's World is now returning to its roots in the Interwar Era. With the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) as its core, it will also cover selected conflicts, real and imagined, within the same period. My 'Pulp' adventure games also fall under its scope, as they too are set within the same time period. While I am more than happy to explore the 'what-if' aspects of history, I try to keep at least one foot on the ground and stick to what forms the possible; so no Tiger Tanks in 1939 or anything like that. A 'what-was in a might-have-been' is the throwaway term I might use to define my interest. 

The Spanish Civil War coverage here will be 100% historical up to the end of 1938; at which point (after the end of the Ebro Offensive) there was no doubt that the Republic had lost the war. I will be creating a scenario where Catalonia declares itself independent of Spain at this point. 1938 also forms a convenient point for changes in the history of the rest of Europe, as it lies in the same time frame as the Austrian Anschluß of March 1938 and the Munich Crisis that ended in September 1938. From here the real world becomes "Arlequín's World".

Crisis? What Crisis?

British troops were to safeguard Czech communities in reality, but that is a whole new wargame scenario waiting to happen in Arlequín's World.   
I have little real interest in the Second World War as a whole. As I began wargaming with the old Airfix Magazine Guide back in 1976, using Airfix model vehicles and figures, I have had my fill of the mainstream 1943-45 period. For quite some time now my interests have instead focused on; the Spanish Civil War, the rearmament period of 1936-39, the Munich Crisis, the Battle of France, the 'Invasion Scare', and the Early Western Desert and Middle East.

In essence therefore, once all of the Pre-War Era concepts and equipment fade into the past, I lose interest in the War. The difficulty here is also that the Pre-War way of war had an extremely short shelf-life in WWII. For example; the Vickers Medium Tank, the mainstay of Britain's tank fleet in the '20s and '30s, never actually fought in battle. The old four section platoons of the British Army were likewise replaced by a manpower saving three-squad structure in 1937.

A war that began at the time of the Munich Crisis however, merely a year before the real thing, is a totally different conflict in many respects. While Britain and France were not ready to fight, it was the same for Germany. The incorporation of both Czechoslovakia and Austria into the Reich made a considerable difference to the German military. The timing also means that the iconic elements of the Blitzkrieg; the Panzer III and IV, the Bf 109 and the Stuka, are almost entirely absent from Germany's order of battle.

My World

There may be no annexation or invasion, but the Sudetendeutsches Freikorps will carry on.
The popular depiction of Hitler is of a madman steadily distanced from all reason. The Hitler of 1938 had not yet reached that point however. He was a gambler nonetheless and sought to cement his position as leader by delivering on all the promises he had made to the German People. Austria was a gamble, but Czechoslovakia was a much bigger one and although his bluff was finally called over Poland, he almost won the game too when the French folded, but then Britain called him on his hand.

In Arlequín's World his bluff is called at Munich in 1938. Hitler knows he can beat the Czechs, but also knows that German propaganda has concealed a military that is far weaker than it appears on paper. A plot to unseat him if he does go to war over the Sudetenland becomes known, fuelling his paranoia and instead he backs down. Hitler now switches to consolidating his position and rooting out dissent. If Poker characterises the real descent into war, Chess characterises the game here.

A cold war thus develops between Germany and the rest of Europe. The Pact of Steel of 1939 will still come into being, but an actual war will not. Instead a 'Game of Pawns' develops with the major players acting through influence, rather than raw military power. Britain and France continue to re-arm, but Hitler is still committed to a drive to the East in the '40s. Mussolini still pursues his dreams of making the Mediterranean an Italian lake however and it is here were most of the action will take place.

The Spanish Civil War will continue past its original end date, as the French opt to support the self-determination of the new Catalan Republic and to terminate the treaty regarding the Spanish Protectorate in Northern Morocco. While France's actions are unilateral, Britain is forced into the role of defender of Tangiers and will need to secure its position in Gibraltar. This will result in increased tensions between Italy, France and Britain, which will be the anchor for this blog.

France ordered quite a number of aircraft from the U.S., many of which did not arrive in time to save France in the real world. In the undeclared war between Italy and France as part of the extended Spanish Civil War here, aircraft like the P-40 Warhawk will fly to defend Catalonia.