|Part of the Spanish Civil War|
Map of Spain in November 1938, after the end of the Battle of the Ebro and immediately before the start of the Catalonia Offensive. Republican territory is in red, and Nationalist territory is blue.
|Commanders and leaders|
| Thomas: 300,000 |
Thomas: 360 artillery pieces
Beevor: 250 artillery pieces
Thomas: 200 tanks and armoured cars
Beevor: 40 tanks and armoured cars
Thomas: 80 aircraft
Beevor: 106 aircraft
| Jackson: 350,000 |
Beevor: 1,400 artillery pieces
Thomas: 565 artillery pieces
|Casualties and losses|
| ? dead|
220,000 disarmed in France
| ? dead|
The Catalonia Offensive (Catalan : Ofensiva de Catalunya, Spanish : Ofensiva de Cataluña) was part of the Spanish Civil War. The Nationalist Army started the offensive on December 23, 1938, and rapidly conquered Republican-held Catalonia with Barcelona (the Republic's capital city from October 1937). Barcelona was captured on January 26, 1939. The Republican government headed for the French border. Thousands of people fleeing the Nationalists also crossed the frontier in the following month, to be placed in internment camps. Franco closed the border with France by February 10, 1939.
Catalan is a Western Romance language derived from Vulgar Latin and named after the medieval Principality of Catalonia, in northeastern modern Spain. It is the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia. It also has semi-official status in the Italian commune of Alghero. It is also spoken in the eastern strip of Aragon, in some villages of Region of Murcia called Carche and in the Pyrénées-Orientales department of France. These territories are often called Països Catalans or "Catalan Countries".
Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.
The Spanish Civil War took place from 1936 to 1939. Republicans loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, in alliance with the Anarchists and Communists, fought against the Nationalists, an alliance of Falangists, Monarchists, and Catholics, led by General Francisco Franco. Due to the international political climate at the time, the war had many facets, and different views saw it as class struggle, a war of religion, a struggle between dictatorship and republican democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, between fascism and anarchism. The Nationalists won the war in early 1939 and ruled Spain until Franco's death in November 1975.
After its defeat at the Battle of the Ebro the Republican Army was broken and would never recover. The Republicans had lost most of their armament and experienced units.Furthermore, in October 1938 the Republican government agreed to withdraw the volunteers of the International Brigades. On the other hand, the Nationalists received new supplies of ammunition, weapons and aircraft from Germany. Furthermore, after the Munich Agreement, the hope of an intervention of the Western democracies in order to aid the Republic against Germany and Italy vanished. France had closed the frontier again in mid-June 1938 and frozen Republican financial assets in French banks.
The Battle of the Ebro was the longest and largest battle of the Spanish Civil War. It took place between July and November 1938, with fighting mainly concentrated in two areas on the lower course of the Ebro River, the Terra Alta comarca of Catalonia, and the Auts area close to Fayón (Faió) in the lower Matarranya, Eastern Lower Aragon. These sparsely populated areas saw the largest array of armies in the war. The results of the battle were disastrous for the Second Spanish Republic, with tens of thousands of dead and wounded and little effect on the advance of the Nationalists.
The Spanish Republican Army was the main branch of the Armed Forces of the Second Spanish Republic between 1931 and 1939.
The International Brigades were paramilitary units set up by the Communist International to assist the Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic during the Spanish Civil War. The organisation existed for two years, from 1936 until 1938. It is estimated that during the entire war, between 32,000 and 35,000 members served in the International Brigades, including 15,000 who died in combat; however, there were never more than 20,000 brigade members present on the front line at one time.
At the beginning of December, the rebel faction concentrated an Army Group, the Army of the North, of 300,000–340,000 men led by the general Fidel Dávila in order to conquer Catalonia. The Nationalists assembled their best divisions all along the front from the Pyrenees to the Mediterranean. Along the Segre the Nationalists deployed Muñoz Grandes's Army of Urgel, Garcia Valiño's Army of Maestrazgo and Moscardo's Aragon Army; in the confluence of the Segre with the Ebro Gambara's Italian Cuerpo Legionario Italiano of four divisions (55,000 men) and Solchaga's Army Corps of Navarra; and in the Ebro the Yagüe's Moroccan Corps. The Nationalists also had, according to Beevor, 300 tanks, more than 500 aircraft (among them the Bf 109E and Heinkel 112 fighters) and 1,400 cannon.
Catalonia is an autonomous community in Spain on the northeastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, designated as a nationality by its Statute of Autonomy. Catalonia consists of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. The capital and largest city is Barcelona, the second-most populated municipality in Spain and the core of the sixth most populous urban area in the European Union. It comprises most of the territory of the former Principality of Catalonia. It is bordered by France (Occitanie) and Andorra to the north, the Mediterranean Sea to the east, and the Spanish autonomous communities of Aragon to the west and Valencia to the south. The official languages are Catalan, Spanish, and the Aranese dialect of Occitan.
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between Spain and France. Reaching a height of 3,404 metres (11,168 ft) altitude at the peak of Aneto, the range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from the Bay of Biscay to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Segre is a river tributary to the Ebro with a basin comprising territories across three states: France, Andorra and Spain. The river was founded by the hero Francesc Lara.
Opposing the Nationalists, the Republicans had Colonel Perea's East Army and Colonel Juan Modesto's Ebro Army under the command of General Juan Hernandez Saravia, commander of the Oriental Region's Army Group, with 220,000 grams of lentils) the morale of the government troops and civil population in the Republican zone was very low. The people only wished the end of the war: "...just let it be over, it doesn’t matter how it ends, but let it end now."–300,000 men, many unarmed (Hernandez Saravia said that the Republican army had only 17,000 rifles for all Catalonia), 106 airplanes (most of them Chatos), 250 cannons and 40 tanks (many of them unserviceable due to shortage of spare parts). The Soviet government agreed to send to Catalonia a shipment of 250 aircraft, 250 tanks and 650 cannons, but the shipment did not reach Bordeaux until January 15 and only a small part of it crossed the border. Furthermore, because of the international isolation of the Republic and the lack of food (according to Beevor, in Barcelona the ration per day was down to 100
Juan Guilloto León, usually referred to as Modesto or Juan Modesto, was a Republican army officer during the Spanish Civil War.
The Polikarpov I-15 was a Soviet biplane fighter aircraft of the 1930s. Nicknamed Chaika because of its gulled upper wings, it was operated in large numbers by the Soviet Air Force, and together with the Polikarpov I-16 monoplane, was one of the standard fighters of the Spanish Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, where it was called Chato (snub-nose).
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.
The Nationalist offensive was planned for December 10, but was postponed to December 23. On December 23, the Italians and the Navarreses crossed the Segre at Mequinenza, broke the Republican lines, and advanced sixteen kilometres, but they were stopped by the V and XV Republican corps led by Lister on December 25. On the left flank, Muñoz Grandes and Garcia Valiño advanced towards Cervera and Artesa, but they were blocked by the 26th Republican Division. On the south, Yagüe's troops were held back by the Ebro's floodwater. The Republicans had stopped the first Nationalist attack; nevertheless, they had lost 40 aircraft in the first ten days of the battle.
Mequinenza or Mequinensa is a town and municipality of the province of Zaragoza, in the autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It is located beside the river Segre, close to its confluence with the river Ebro.
Enrique Líster Forján was a Spanish communist politician and military officer.
Cervera is the capital of the comarca of Segarra, in the province of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. The title Comte de Cervera is a courtesy title, formerly part of the Crown of Aragon, that has been revived for Leonor, Princess of Asturias. The city is also the birthplace of five-time MotoGP world champion, Marc Márquez.
On January 3, Solchaga attacked Les Borges Blanques, Muñoz Grandes and Garcia Valiño occupied Artesa, and Yagüe crossed the Ebro. Moscardo attacked from Lleida and the Italians occupied Les Borges Blanques on January 5. The same day, the Republican army started a surprise attack in Extremadura towards Peñarroya in order to divert Nationalist forces, but the offensive was halted after a few days and the Nationalist offensive in Catalonia continued. On January 9, the Moscardo's Aragon Army Corps joined Gambara at Mollerusa and broke the northern part of the front. The V and XV Republican Corps collapsed and retreated in disorder. On January 15, the Aragon and Maestrazgo Corps conquered Cervera and the Moroccan Corps after a one-day march of 50 km occupied Tarragona. By this day, the Nationalists had conquered a third of Catalonia, had taken 23,000 prisoners, and had killed 5,000 Republican soldiers.
Les Borges Blanques is the capital of the comarca of Les Garrigues, in the province of Lleida, Catalonia, Spain. According to the 2014 census, the municipality has a population of 6,088 inhabitants.
The Battle of Valsequillo, also known as Battle of Peñarroya, was a diversionary Republican offensive which took place in the Sierra Morena area in southern Extremadura and the north of Andalusia between 5 January and 4 February 1939 during the Spanish Civil War. The main goal of the offensive was to distract forces from the Nationalist offensive against Catalonia, but after having occupied 500 square kilometers the Republican advance was stopped and all the territorial gains were lost to a Nationalist counteroffensive.
Extremadura is an autonomous community of the western Iberian Peninsula whose capital city is Mérida, recognised by the Statute of Autonomy of Extremadura. It is made up of the two largest provinces of Spain: Cáceres and Badajoz. It is bordered by the provinces of Salamanca and Ávila to the north; by provinces of Toledo and Ciudad Real to the east, and by the provinces of Huelva, Seville, and Córdoba (Andalusia) to the south; and by Portugal to the west. Its official language is Spanish.
The Republican government then attempted to organize a defense of Barcelona, ordering the general mobilization of all men to forty-five and militarized all the industry. Nevertheless, the successive defensive lines (L1, L2, L3) fell,the Republican forces were outnumbered six to one and the Nationalist air force bombed Barcelona every day (40 times between January 21 and 25). It became clear that the defense of the city was impossible. On January 22, Solchaga and Yagüe reached the Llobregat only a few miles west of Barcelona, Muñoz Grandes and Garcia Valiño attacked Sabadell and Terrassa, and Gambara advanced to Badalona. The chief of staff of the Republican Army, Rojo told the Republican prime minister Negrín that the front had ceased to exist so the government abandoned Barcelona after releasing most of its prisoners. A large part of the Barcelona population fled from the city as well. On January 24, Garcia Valiño occupied Manresa, and on January 25 the Nationalist vanguard occupied the Tibidabo in the outskirts of Barcelona. The Nationalists finally occupied Barcelona on January 26, and there were five days of looting by the Yagüe's Regulares and extrajudicial killings (paseos).
After the occupation of Barcelona, the Nationalist troops, tired from the long marches, slowed their advance but soon resumed their offensive, pursuing the retreating columns of Republican soldiers and civilians.On February 1, Negrín proposed, in the last meeting of the Cortes in the Figueres Castle, capitulation with the sole condition of respecting the lives of the vanquished and the holding of a plebiscite so the Spanish people could decide the form of government, but Franco did not accept. On February 2, the Nationalists entered Girona, arrived within 50 kilometers of the frontier on February 3, occupied Figueres on February 8 and Rojo ordered the Republican troops to withdraw to the French frontier. Hundreds of thousands of Republican soldiers, women, children and old men marched to the French frontier on foot and on carts, buses and trucks through bitterly cold sleet and snow. Their retreat was covered by units of the Republican Army, which carried out hit and run attacks and ambushes. The Nationalist air force and the Condor Legion bombed and strafed the roads leading to France. On January 28, the French government announced that civilians could cross the frontier and, on 5 February, the Republican soldiers as well. Between 400,000 and 500,000, Republican refugees crossed the frontier, among them the president of the Republic (Manuel Azaña), the prime minister (Juan Negrín) and the chief of staff of the Republican Army (Vicente Rojo), as well the president of Catalonia (Lluís Companys) and the members of the Catalan government. Negrín returned to Spain on February 9, but Azaña and Rojo refused to return. By February 9, the Nationalists reached the frontier, and on the following day the last units of Modesto's Army of the Ebro crossed into France and the Nationalists sealed the frontier.
With the fall of Catalonia, the Republic lost the second largest city of the country, the Catalan war industry and a large part of its army (more than 200,000 soldiers).On February 27, Azaña resigned and the same day France and the United Kingdom recognized the Francoist government. Further military resistance became impossible and the war was lost for the Republic, despite the fact that 30% of Spain was still under Republican control after the offensive and Prime Minister Juan Negrín insisted that the Republic could continue to resist.
The Catalonia autonomy was abolished. The Catalan language, the Sardana and Catalan Christian names were forbidden. All Catalan newspapers were requisitioned and the forbidden books retired and burned.Even the inscriptions on tombs in the Montjuïc Cemetery commemorating Durruti, Ascaso and Ferrer i Guardia were removed.
The Republican exiles were interned in fifteen improvised camps (mostly barbed-wire enclosures on the sand, without basic shelter, sanitary or cooking facilities)by the French government in places such as Argelès, Gurs, Rivesaltes and Vernet. The living conditions in the camps were very harsh: in the first six months, 14,672 refugees died from malnutrition or dysentery. The French government encouraged the refugees to return and, by the end of 1939, between 70,000 and 180,000 refugees returned to Spain. However, 300,000 never returned. Many sought asylum in other countries: the Soviet Union (between 3,000 and 5,000), USA and Canada (about 1,000), Great Britain, Belgium and other European countries (between 3,000 and 5,000) and Latin America (30,000 to Mexico, 10,000 to Argentina, 5,000 to Venezuela, 5,000 to Dominican Republic, 3,500 to Chile, etc.). Nevertheless, at least 140,000 refugees remained in France while 19,000 went to the French colonies of North Africa. After the fall of France 10,000 –15,000 refugees were detained by the Nazis and deported to concentration camps. Another 10,000 joined the French Resistance and more than 2,000 joined the Free French Forces.
Vicente Rojo Lluch was Chief of the General Staff of the Spanish Armed Forces during the Spanish Civil War.
Rafael García Valiño (1898–1972) was a Spanish army officer who participated in the Spanish Civil War.
The Battle of Málaga was the culmination of an offensive in early 1937 by the combined Nationalist and Italian forces to eliminate Republican control of the province of Málaga during the Spanish Civil War. The participation of Moroccan regulars and Italian tanks from the recently arrived Corpo Truppe Volontarie resulted in a complete rout of the Spanish Republican Army and the capitulation of Málaga in less than a week.
The Aragon Offensive it was an important military campaign during the Spanish Civil War, which began after the Battle of Teruel. The offensive, which ran from March 7, 1938, to April 19, 1938, smashed the Republican forces, overran Aragon, and conquered parts of Catalonia and the Levante.
José Solchaga Zala was a Spanish general who fought for the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War.
In the history of Spain, the White Terror was the series of assassinations realized by the Nationalist faction during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), and during the first nine years of the régime of General Francisco Franco. In the 1936–45 period, Francoist Spain had many enemies of the state: Loyalists to the Second Spanish Republic (1931–39), the Liberals, the Popular Front, and the Socialists; the Trotskyists, the Communists, and the anarchists; Protestant Christians and freethinkers, intellectuals and Freemasons; and nationalists from Galicia, Catalonia, and the Basque Country.
The XYZ Line, or Matallana Line, was a system of fortifications built during the Spanish Civil War in order to defend the capital of the Second Spanish Republic in Valencia, Spain. Unlike the Maginot Line, or the Iron Belt of Bilbao, which were expensive systems of fortifications and bunkers made of reinforced concrete, the XYZ Line was a simpler system of defenses in depth consisting of trenches and bunkers that took advantage of some of the most difficult terrain in Spain in the Iberian System ranges to the north and northeast of Valencia. The defenses were built to withstand bombardment by either heavy artillery or 1,000-pound aerial bombs.
The Asturias Offensive was an offensive in Asturias during the Spanish Civil War which lasted from 1 September to 21 October 1937. 45,000 men of the Spanish Republican Army met 90,000 men of the Nationalist forces.
The Extremadura campaign was a campaign in Extremadura, Spain during the Spanish Civil War. It culminated in the Battle of Badajoz in August 1936, from which the troops of the Army of Africa under the command of Francisco Franco moved quickly to begin the march to Madrid.
The Segovia Offensive was a Republican diversionary offensive which took place between 31 May and 6 June 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. The main goal of the offensive was to occupy Segovia and divert Nationalist forces from their advance on Bilbao. After a brief initial advance the offensive failed due to Nationalist air superiority.
The Huesca Offensive was an ill-fated Republican army thrust toward Huesca between 12 and 19 June 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. Hungarian writer and communist commander Máté Zalka was killed in the course of the battle.
The Battle of Alfambra took place near Alfambra between 5 and the 8 February 1938, during the Spanish Civil War. This battle was a part of the Battle of Teruel. After, the conquest of Teruel by the Republican army, the Nationalists started a counteroffensive in order to reocuppy Teruel. On 5 February a huge nationalist force broke the republican lines in the north of the Teruel towards the Alfambra river, taking 7,000 republican prisoners and threatening the Republican forces in Teruel.
The Battle of Caspe took place during the Aragon Offensive of the Spanish Civil War in 16–17 March 1938.
The Siege of Gandesa took place between July and November 1938 during the Spanish Civil War, a few months after a battle in the same town.
The Cartagena uprising took place 4–7 March 1939 during the Spanish Civil War. The troop transport SS Castillo de Olite was sunk during the revolt.
In Francoist Spain between 1936 and 1947, concentration camps were created and coordinated by the Servicio de Colonias Penitenciarias Militarizadas. The first concentration camp was created by Francisco Franco on July 20 1936 and was located in the castle of El Hecho in Ceuta. The last concentration camp, located at Miranda del Ebro, was closed in 1947.
Manuel Tagüeña Lacorte (1913–1971) was a Spanish military officer of the Spanish Republican Army. Before the Spanish Civil War, he was a member of the socialist youth and studied mathematics and physics at the Madrid University. In July 1936 he led a militia column in the Somosierra front, in August on the Tagus front and took part in the defense of Madrid. He joined the PCE in November 1936 and was one of the first commanders of the mixed brigades. He rose through the ranks from company to army corps commander and he was promoted to Colonel. He was one of the Republican commanders in the retreat of Aragon. In the battle of the Ebro and in the Catalonia Offensive, he led the XV Army Corps of Modesto's Army of the Ebro. After Casado’s coup in March 1939 he fled from the Monovar airport to France.
The Levante Offensive, launched near the end of March 1938, was an attempt by Nationalist forces under Francisco Franco to capture the Republican held city of Valencia during the Spanish Civil War. The Nationalists occupied the province of Castellón, but the offensive failed due to bad weather and the dogged resistance of the Republican troops at the XYZ defensive line.