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.
Having given it some thought, I’ve decided to see how quickly and easily this could be done, and if it does not require too much work on my part, I hope to be able make them available in the near future.
It is currently listed as ‘Temporarily out of stock‘, but I’ve discovered that this is Amazon-speak for ‘no one has ordered a copy yet‘. Interestingly they are also selling it as ‘post free’ to Amazon Prime customers … but at a slightly higher price (£26.69) than Lulu.com quote without postage and packing (£24.99).
I understand that the Amazon Prime price has now dropped to £24.99 with free postage, although it is still listed as ‘Temporarily out of stock‘.
The Republican Army launched an offensive to capture Teruel to pre-empt a Nationalist attack upon Catalonia. Two Republican armies (led by Generals Hernandez Sarabia and Leopoldo Menendez) advanced on Teruel and by nightfall on 15th December they had surrounded the city.
The garrison, which was commanded by Colonel Rey d’Harcourt, held out in the southern part of the city until 8th January; casualties and lack of supplies then forced them to surrender. On 29th December General Franco had ordered Generals Jose Varela and Antonio Aranda to mount a counter-attack to relieve the defenders but the appalling winter weather hampered their advance and d’Harcourt had surrendered before they could raise the siege. The Republicans now found that they were in danger of being besieged in Teruel themselves.
On 7th February Nationalist cavalry attacked the Republican forces to the North of the city and forced them to retreat and by 17th February Moroccan troops (led by General Juan Yague) had crossed the River Alfambra. Three days later the Nationalists had almost surrounded the city and the Republican armies were forced to retreat along the Valencia road to the south-east. The Nationalists then reoccupied Teruel.