Battle of Irún

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Battle of Irún
Part of the Spanish Civil War
Date August 19 - September 5, 1936
Location Gipuzkoa, Spain
Result Decisive Nationalist victory
Belligerents
Spain Second Spanish Republic Francoist Spain Nationalists
Commanders and leaders
Spain Antonio Ortega
Spain Manuel Margarida Valdes
Francoist Spain Lt. Colonel Alfonso Beorlegui Canet
Strength
over 2,000[1]-3,000[2][3] over 2,000[4]
a battery of 155 mm guns[5][6]
some Ju 52 bombers[7]
some tanks Panzer Mark I[8]
Casualties and losses
? ?

The Battle of Irún was the critical battle of the Campaign of Gipuzkoa prior to the War in the North, during the Spanish Civil War. The Nationalist Army, under Alfonso Beorlegui, captured the city of Irún cutting off the northern provinces of Gipuzkoa, Biscay, Santander, and Asturias from their source of arms and support in France.

Background[edit]

Irún is located on the northeastern coast of Spain, between the French border and the city of San Sebastian. The town was defended by 3,000 Republicans, including CNT militia, Asturian miners, Basque nationalists, and French communist volunteers. Major Beorlegui's force was smaller, but it included 155 mm artillery, German light tanks, Junkers Ju 52 bombers, and a 700-man bandera from the Spanish Foreign Legion.[9]

The battle[edit]

The Nationalist ships España (battleship), Almirante Cervera (cruiser), and Velasco (destroyer) bombarded the town on August 11. The main fighting took place on the Puntza ridge south of the town. The peak of the battle occurred at the convent of San Marcial, which was defended by Asturian miners and militia who threw dynamite and rocks when they ran out of ammunition.[10]

The French had closed the border with Spain on August 8, leading to a shortage of ammunition and supplies on the Republican side. When the Republicans finally abandoned the town, they set it on fire to destroy anything that might aid the Nationalists. During the duration of the war, when the Nationalists would bombard, then occupy a town, they would announce that the Republicans had destroyed it, citing the example of Irún. Beorlegui was wounded by a sniper's bullet when he entered the town. He refused to have the wound treated and soon died from gangrene.[11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. Princeton University Press. Princeton. 1967. p.273
  2. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1931-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.116
  3. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. p.364
  4. ^ Jackson, Gabriel. The Spanish Republic and the Civil War, 1931-1939. Princeton University Press. Princeton. 1967. p.273
  5. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1931-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.116
  6. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. p.365
  7. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1931-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.116
  8. ^ Thomas, Hugh. The Spanish Civil War. Penguin Books. 2001. London. p.365
  9. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1931-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.116
  10. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1931-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.116
  11. ^ Beevor, Antony. The Battle for Spain. The Spanish Civil War 1931-1939. Penguin Books. 2006. London. p.117

Sources[edit]

Coordinates: 43°20′N 1°47′W / 43.333°N 1.783°W / 43.333; -1.783