Amado Granell

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Amado Granell Mesado (Burriana -Spain- November 5, 1898 - Sueca, May 12, 1972) was a Spanish military officer of the 20th century. He participated in the Spanish Civil War framed in the Spanish Republican Army and later went to France, where he joined the French Foreign Legion who fought against Nazi Germany during World War II. He headed the column of the 9th Company "La Nueve" of the 2nd Armoured Brigade, which consists of Spanish combatants, that was the first allied military unit that entered Paris after its occupation by the Wehrmacht.[1] As such, he appeared on the cover of the newspaper Libération after the Liberation of Paris, and met with the leader of French Resistance, Georges Bidault.[2]

Early life[edit]

Amado Granell was the son of timber importer from Burriana, Spain. Amado Granell enlisted in the Spanish Legion in 1921 reaching the rank of sergeant,[2][3] While in the service, his father's boat sank during a cruise and Granell returned to the family home for economic reasons. After he married Aurora, the couple operated a motorcycle shop in Orihuela until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936.[1]

Spanish Civil War, 1936[edit]

In Orihuela he joined the Comité de Enlace Antifascista and in September in the Volunteer Army, formed to defend the Second Spanish Republic, where he was assigned to Batallón de Hierro.[3] In 1937, partly based upon his experience in the Legion, Granell was promoted to major, receiving the command of Regimiento Motorizado de Ametralladoras, composed of about 1,200 men,[3] and participated in the defense of Madrid.

Later, he was made commander of the 49.ª Brigada Mixta del Ejército Popular Republicano, which defended the city of Castellón, but the June 15, 1938 forces of the army revolted and retreated south. With the collapse of the upcoming Republic, on March 29, 1939 Granell, along with some 2700 people, including civilians and soldiers, embarked in the port of Alicante on the merchant ship Stanbrook, which moved them to Oran, in French Algeria.[4]

World War II[edit]

The ª 2. Armored Division victory parade in Paris on the Champs-Élysées, near the Arc de Triomphe on August 26, 1944.
Main article: Invasion of Normandy

After a stay in the camps established by the French colonial authorities, Granell and other ex-combatants were released after the Western Desert Campaign by Anglo-American forces. Then, along with 7000 Republican soldiers, enlisted in the French Foreign Legion, in the Marching Regiment of Chad, which was later integrated into the 2nd. Armored Division under General Philippe Leclerc, in which there were about 2000 Spanish men.[3]

The ª 2 Armored Division was transferred to England where, after a period of training, should pass to France after the Normandy landings. On August 1, 1944, the 9. ª Chad Regiment composed of Spanish fighters, which was organized by Granell, landed on Utah Beach. After a bumpy progress toward Paris, meeting German resistance at Écouché, the regiment arrived at the gates of Paris on August 24. General Leclerc, and as a matter of honor, ordered Captain Raymond Dronne, who commanded the 9. ª Company, which was his unit who, without waiting for orders from the Allied command, first entered the city in anticipation of U.S. forces. At nine in the evening, two sections of 9th Company, one headed by Dronne and the other by Granell, composed of 120 men and 22 vehicles, entered the French capital coming to the city hall. There Granell met with resistance leader Georges Bidault had already been installed there. The image was captured by a photographer and the next day appeared on the front page of Libération.[5][nb 1]

After the liberation of Paris, La Nueve was transferred to the German front, where Granell actively participated in taking the Eagle's Nest, the holiday retreat of Adolf Hitler in the Bavarian Alps. Of the 144 men who composed the first La Nueve. that landed in Normandy, only 16 survived the war. 96 of the deceased were former Spanish Republican soldiers.[3]

Postwar[edit]

After the war, Granell received the Legion of Honour from Philippe Leclerc, and rejected an offer of promotion to commander of the French army which would have required him to have become a French citizen.[3]

Significantly, in France he acted as intermediary between monarchist politicians and Spanish Republicans in a program sponsored by the U.S. and the UK plan trying to locate Juan de Borbón, who was heir to the Spanish throne before the war. For this purpose and on behalf of Francisco Largo Caballero, Granell met in Lisbon on April 4, 1946 with José María Gil Robles, but the operation to get Prince Juan failed.[6] An agreement was made between Don Juan and General Franco Prince Juan Carlos to be made the future head of state.[1] After this failure that undermined all hopes of Granell to overthrow the Franco dictatorship, he completely abandoned life of politics.[7]

In 1950, he opened a restaurant in Paris, which became a meeting point for the Spanish Republicans. He later returned to Spain, where he lived in Santander, Valencia and finally Alicante. He died in a traffic accident near the town of Valencia, on 12 May 1972.[1] precisely when he headed the French consulate in Valencia, to manage the payment of a grant for his service as an army officer francés.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Erroneously, the newspaper reported that the soldier who appeared in the picture was a Frenchman named "Drome" referring to Captain Raymond Dronne who led the other column that entered Paris.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Rafael Torres presenta el libro en el que narra la vida de nuestro paisano Amado Granell". El periodista. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Trilles: "Amado Granell fue un hombre libre y utópico que luchó por sus ideales hasta las últimas consecuencias"". El Periodic. Retrieved May 31, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Amado Granell Mesado, El Burrianense Que Libero Paris". Aula Militar. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  4. ^ "Supervivientes republicanos rinden homenaje a los hijos del 'Stanbrook'". El Mundo. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Alvarez, A. "El misterio del hombre que liberó París". Público. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
  6. ^ Luis de Llera Esteban, José Andrés Gallego (1992). CSIC, ed. La España de posguerra: Un testimonio. CSIC Press. ISBN 8400072421. 
  7. ^ Julio Arostegui (2013). Largo Caballero: El tesón y la quimera. Debate. ISBN 8499922988. 
  8. ^ "Trilles reivindica al ´héroe de la historia´ Amado Granell". Levante. Retrieved 6 June 2013.