To relieve pressure on the Madrid defences and to divert Nationalist forces from their offensive towards Valencia, the Republic ordered General Juan Modesto to launch an offensive across the River Ebro. The attack, which was made by the newly formed Republican Army of the Ebro, forced the Nationalists, who were led by General Juan Yague, to retreat. In its initial phase the offensive was very successful, and on some parts of the front the attackers managed to advance up to 25 miles. The attack then began to lose impetus and the Republican forces began to dig in to await the Nationalist counter-attack. Superior use of air power and relentless attacks on the ground gradually forced the Republicans to retreat. This culminated, on 30th October, in a massive Nationalist attack and by 18th November the Republicans had been forced back across the River Ebro.
Spain at the end of July 1938. The red areas are under Republican control whilst the blue areas are under Nationalist control.
The work required to do this took somewhat more time and effort than I had expected, but that task is now over and both editions are now available. They can currently be purchased from Lulu.com for £14.99 (paperback) and £4.99 (eBook), but should be available from Amazon etc., within the next fortnight or so.
The Republican gunboat Laya.
Juan Negrin, the last Republican Prime Minister of Spain.
With the failure of the Republican attack upon Teruel the Nationalists were now able to mount an offensive eastward into on Aragon and Levante. The intention was to cut Republican Spain into two parts. The assault, which was led by General Fidel Davila, began on 9th March and by 16th March the Nationalists had forced the Republicans to retreat up to 60 miles in places.
Lerida, in Catalonia, surrendered to the Nationalists on 3rd April, and twelve days later Vinaroz, a village about half-way between Valencia and Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast, was captured and the Republic was cut in two. The Nationalist sought to widen this gap and on 14th June they captured Castellon de la Plana, 40 miles North of Valencia. Republican resistance was, however, increasing, and the Nationalists brought the offensive to a halt to allow time for their troops to rest and re-equip before the attack on Valencia.